Even the Sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your alter, O LORD Almighty, MY King and MY God!” Ps 84:3
I kind of thought I'd be writing a birth story this week, but instead here I am. A little rounder. Much more uncomfortable. 2 days past my due date.
One more post before life changes forever, before there is a new dynamic to it that I won't be able to imagine once didn't exist.
This week has been a little surreal.
Trying to memorize all the little "lasts" before the "firsts" begin.
Studying the imprint of a foot as it traces my belly.
Holding a curly headed Dude against my painfully tight skin in the wee hours of morning trying to imagine how I will fit a nursing baby around the other side without his being kicked in the process.
Waking up to use the bathroom and wondering if my water will break. And being terribly relieved when it doesn't, and I can just climb back into my [as comfortable as it is going to get for now] bed.
Remembering back to the day this all began, and how far we've come, and how far we have yet to go.
How much we have grown, and how much we will grow.
(you can go back and read my first pregnancy post here:
I always said he would be a May baby. I even remember telling my doctor that at my first ultrasound. Today, in just a couple of hours, we go back to see him for what will likely be our final appointment. Last week an induction on 5/2 was tenatively discussed. That's tomorrow. And I'm ready.
Even though I've been hoping for the ever elusive spontaneous labor this time around (first time my water broke but no effective contractions so my labor had to be augmented, and second time I was induced), there are definitely some psychological benefits to a scheduled birth.
No waking up the boys in the middle of the night to a mommy in pain and dragging them out of their beds to their grandparents (to Aquaman this might have been an adventure, to The Dude, I fear it would have been a nightmare forever negatively associated with his little brother). A chance to get the laundry caught up and the house in decent order, and groceries stocked.
I was able to go to work all week this week, and left everything neatly packaged for my 8 week departure, and that was a great feeling. JT was able to give his work advanced notice for his 2 week leave.
I'll be signing up for the epidural before my labor even begins, thank you very much.
And hopefully it will all go as smoothly as The Dude's induction went, though I am not sure my body feels quite as "ready" this time, despite being a week later. We'll see. I hope I can avoid pitocin. It was awful with Aquaman. The memories of it were so terrible that in labor with The Dude when I returned to my bed for fetal monitoring after walking the halls for an hour (after having my membranes artificially ruptured), I immediately asked the nurse if they were going to make me have pitocin. She looked at me like I had 3 heads, and said "honey, you're 6 centimeters and in rip-roaring labor. You do not need pitocin".
It is a strange feeling, hoping for "rip-roaring labor". And yet I am, weirdly, kind of looking forward to it.
Even though I do "cop-out" and get the epidural (I don't feel like I have anything to prove, and have found the pushing experience to be absolutely magical with an epidural), I found, with The Dude, that the labor leading up to it was a very spiritual experience. It is an exercise in trust and faith and in dealing with my own anxiety of losing control. Not because I "trust my body", or because I enjoy the "empowerment" (birth stories like that annoy me), but because it takes me so far outside of myself.
I'm really not dreading the newborn all-nighters either.
I've never really gotten out of all-nighter mode with The Dude anyway, and I've found since the birth of my children, that it is in the stillness of the night, while I am tending to them, that God speaks most clearly to me.
Just a few days ago, as I held a screaming Dude, who has been struggling this week to stay asleep (not sure if it's allergies, or waking to use the bathroom, or his sensing a big change- probably a combination of all of those things), I could hear a Jars of Clay song playing in my head: "turn this something normal into something Beautiful."
I've been feeling too "normal" lately. Stuck in the self-centeredness of busy life. Struggling to be more and coming up short.
I read Bible stories to Aquaman at night, and he asks genuine and heartfelt questions, and I answer them, but my answers feel hollow. Scripted. I want them to be more real. I know I am tired. Being 40 weeks pregnant, still working, caring for 2 young boys, it's draining. But I don't like feeling so normal. And I prayed that night, holding The Dude, who kept kicking my sore stomach into uncomfortable contractions: "turn me into something Beautiful." I'm not beautiful on my own. I am drab and boring and everyday. I don't want that to be my life story.
"How?" I asked God. And he answered in one word: "surrender."
I've been praying for wisdom. Wisdom on how to parent my two and soon to be three very different sons. Wisdom on how to live a life that will truly matter.
But what I've been needing, less than wisdom, is for surrender. And so my prayer has changed. To one of: "open my hands". I don't know what it means exactly. But I do feel that some of the revelation of it will probably come to me as I am pacing the halls of the hospital floor, in "rip-roaring labor" tomorrow.
How God takes something normal like two broken people who are in love and makes someone completely new, and then "delivers" him out of his 9 month hideaway through a painful and graphic ordeal.
Well, that's Beautiful. See you on the other side. I'll be a whole different person then.