Don’t let the subject line excite you: I am not in labor.
But if I were, I would be pretty excited about it.
And that, my friends, is progress. It is a markedly different feeling than what I was experiencing just two weeks ago. At that point, I had an underlying fear that if the baby came early, I might kind of resent him/her for showing up before we were “ready.” Mmm, hmm: you heard that right. I’m not proud. It would be a pretty awesome way to start a parenting relationship, no? Because babies are all about conforming to what *we* want them to do.
The sentiment seemed even more ridiculous to me because we waited so long for this pregnancy to happen. Not as long as some people, to be sure. But wouldn’t the Me that spent months and years crying and wondering if I would ever meet our baby want to smack the Me that now feels un-ready to do so? With an extra couple of years of pining for a baby, shouldn’t I be darn near ready to meet one now?
I felt ridiculous and a little guilty for not-so-secretly wishing the baby would just wait to show up. If it would be safe to let the baby marinate for a year, I would sign up.
But I feel different now. I do not feel “ready,” as far as the to-do list goes. We still have some significant things left to accomplish (err, pediatrician), as well as many, many insignificant things (nursery set-up, painting, furniture-shopping and the like).
And I am not sick of being pregnant yet.
But overriding both of those things is a sense of excitement about holding the baby in our arms, not just my womb. We might not be ready, per se, but we are ready to meet this baby. That seems like a better parental instinct. Praise be to God.
One week ago I hit the 37 week mark. This counted as “full term,” even though the due date was still three weeks away. I personally think “full term” is a terrible phrase made up to torment pregnant women, so that by the time they are one day past their due dates, they feel like an expired milk jug on the grocery shelf. What 37 weeks really means is that your baby would no longer be considered premature, should she or he choose to show up.
It also means that for a first-time mom, you still have an average of four weeks and one day to wait.
So, I chose to ignore this whole “full term” thing before it happened. A few weeks ago someone at work asked me when my “full term” date was, and I could not answer. I wasn’t even sure how many weeks counted as “full term.” But then the 37 week mark hit, and I couldn’t ignore it, because I had read ahead in the pregnancy book and knew what it meant. So I started thinking about the very real possibility that this little person could make an appearance in the oxygen-breathing world in the near future. And I got pretty excited.
Last Monday when I woke up and partook of my daily pregnancy ritual of lying motionless in bed, feeling weighted to the mattress, I had the following conversation with the baby:
“Hey baby, good morning! Happy 37 weeks! It’s All Saints Day! That would be a pretty cool day for a birthday, if you want to make an appearance.”
And then an addendum:
“Don’t tell your father I told you that.”
Baby declined an All Saints birthday, choosing what was likely best for his/her health and staying put. I don’t expect the babe to make an appearance anytime soon… and we have a pretty packed schedule over the next two weeks.
But ready or not, we long to meet this little person. On his/her schedule, not ours…