When I was around 20 weeks pregnant with Eli I foolishly declared to anyone who would listen that when I was due to have the baby I would be perfectly calm and cherish the moments I had when I could carry the baby without needing to use my arms and feed it without having to keep to a schedule. Man, was I deluded.
I’m on pregnancy number 3 now and, if anything, my ability to cope with this final stage has declined rather than improved!
For Eli’s labour, I lasted reasonably well until the due date, though I do remember having an irrational fear of going on drives that lasted longer than 10 minutes, just in case I was to suddenly give birth on the road! At 1am on the due date (a Monday), my contractions started, though I wish I could say ‘like clockwork’. They were fierce and regular during the night hours, and weak and random during the days. I felt constantly like vomiting and the initial anticipation and excitement I had experienced at the commencement of the process sharply faded away. I suspected a fluid leak later that evening and we fronted up to the hospital where my waters gushed over the bed as I was being examined. I was excited again, thinking we were finally getting somewhere, but I was wrong. Apparently unless my contractions suddenly started getting serious I could continue in this state until Friday. I was not impressed. We had to return to the hospital the next day for fetal monitoring but despite another night of little sleep and regular contractions, I was no closer to the goal. By Tuesday night I was completely over it and we begged the hospital to induce me. We eventually succeeded in our persuasion and were booked in for the morning, a mere 12 hours of pain and sleeplessness away. Having a definite end to the uncertainty helped, though, and we made it somehow through the night. After being hooked up to the drip, things gradually progressed and, despite a number of hours of excruciating pushing, Eli Thomas Hughes entered the world at around 4pm that afternoon.
In the past on this blog, I’ve covered the horrific sequel that was Hudson’s (very overdue) birth and it has been a lot on my mind again. The hope that I would have successively smoother and more straightforward labours has been completely shattered and I’m honestly not sure what frame of mind to be in for this impending one. At least for this birth I have an obstetrician who has indicated that the previous experiences were not at all ideal and a similar outcome should be avoided. Particularly in light of the fact that both the boys became infected and required extended hospital treatment. The plan this time is that I will have a semi-elective induction close to the due date with four hours of IV antibiotics. Despite the increased certainty and the semblance of a plan, I still feel as if I’m doomed to repeat the past. My tendency to immediately back off if I even suspect that I could be imposing myself on somebody is not a great quality to have at this stage of the process. That, coupled with my love of control and my fear that I’ll get this far through pregnancy only to lose the baby becomes a dangerous cocktail that has continually plagued my mind in these last few weeks.
The obstetrician examined me today and warned me that it would be highly unlikely that I would go before term. That means I probably have at least two weeks of this mind state to go. It doesn’t help that at the best of times I am massively anal in needing the house to be clean. At this stage of the pregnancy, despite having little energy to do normal things, I suddenly feel like the world will implode if I don’t clean the fridge door, scrub the grout along the bath, prune the unruly bushes in the front garden and bucket out the pool in the garage so we can park our car in there again (just a few of the crazy things I actually did today). Logically, I know that dirty fingers will start smudging the door again tomorrow, and that by the time I’m back from the hospital, the bath will need to be redone, but trying to convince myself of these truths is futile.
It goes without saying that I really want to meet our daughter too! I’m feeling optimistic about breastfeeding this time, assuming I don’t have to go through the extended pre-labour period which has made feeding so difficult in the past. I am looking forward to being able to bend over without swearing, cuddle the boys on my lap and sleep on my stomach again. I bought some Double Brie cheese today and have already earmarked a bottle of wine that will be the first we open to celebrate! There is lots of anticipation amongst the inner turmoil…
I’m really trying to focus on the fact that anticipation can often be better than reality and that this is a special time to be in right now. I only have a couple of weeks to go with just the boys and for the past few mornings we have had a special time in the playroom together as I’ve been able to just watch them play while I am reclined on the armchair focusing on getting my second wind.
In just a brief window of time I know I’ll shake my head at this version of myself and wonder how I could be so tunnel-visioned, but right now, in the vortex, it feels very real. It does give me hope that the next post will probably be the birth announcement and the labour story!
Please God, give me the perspective and patience I need to cherish this weird and wonderful stage and not drive my family (particularly Dave) crazy in the process.. and please, please keep the baby safe as we go into the unknowns and uncertainties of labour. Amen.