Ready Or Not

A very belated thank you for the kind comments and emails about my last post. Pregnancy is interesting—it can be such an isolating experience, but the moment you reach out, you realize how many women have been in your same position. It’s  reassuring, and I really appreciate all those who’ve shared their stories with me.

So I’m 35.5 weeks and the baby is still inside my belly rather than outside, which is a good thing! I’m hoping to keep her in there for at least a couple weeks longer, but if she came now (eeeek!), the doctors wouldn’t be all too concerned.

It’s all seeming very, very real to me. I’ve been pretty cool about the whole process of birthing a human until, well, now. Now I am freaking out. This morning, I read that baby kangaroos are born after only 31 days of gestation and are the size of a lima bean. “WHY CAN’T WE BE LIKE KANGAROOS?” I asked Matt, who had just woken up. “Why do we have to wait until babies grow into the size of a baby before we push them out of tiny slot? It doesn’t make sense! Why can’t I have a kangaroo pouch?” He then explained that humans are intellectual mammals and need to grow big brains and blah, blah, something like that.

The truth is, I’m terrified of labor. I have been ever since I was about 5 and happened to watch some PBS special showing a woman stuck in medical stirrups screaming her brains out as this bloody being was extracted from her. (Note to parents: Stick to Sesame Street at this age.) Pain, I dread thee. I’m the type of person who wimpers at the sight of a hangnail.

I’ve been doing what I can to prepare, most notably hiring a birth doula and practicing hypnobirthing. But it’s still scary not being able to fathom the intensity of contractions, not knowing what my body can handle. I’ve been trying to read a lot of positive birth stories to strengthen myself mentally. They’re empowering—all end with a beautiful, blinking baby on mama’s chest—but they’re all so different. I guess nothing can truly prepare you for your own birth experience. Seems like the most important thing is for me to simply trust my body and expect the unexpected.

Ready or not, she’ll be coming soon.

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5 Responses to Ready Or Not

  1. So very exciting. I realise I only know you “virtually” and Matt is my WWF nemesis (!!) but all the same, I am so excited for both of you.. by the way, you know pandas (who are um.. big) give birth to a baby the size of a small fist? Dammit. what is with these big brains of ours??

  2. Okay. So I wrote something VERY similar to this when I was 30-something weeks pregnant. (Here.) I wish SO badly that the stupid Disqus comments were still there because I seriously printed out some of the comments from that post and read them when I got scared. There were SO many encouraging messages.

    I relate so, so much to what you write here. And I will say this about this: “not knowing what my body can handle” – your body can handle way more than you think it can. It’s pretty crazy. I remember looking at my belly and being like, “How in the HELL is that! supposed to come out of there!? THE MATH DOESN’T ADD UP.” And yet. It happens. I mean, I watched Gabe be born (sorry if that’s weird/gross to say) and it still makes no sense. Hoooooow?!

    One suggestion: bring some sort of candy bags or cookies for the nurses. :)

  3. I know it’s all very scary – but even after a 24 hr labor and a non-routine emergency c-section, my fears and apprehensions prior to the experience were far worse than reality. Once you’re in the moment, you just get through it – and go with what you feel & know you want. Be flexible, but if you don’t understand why something is being done – don’t be afraid to question it first. Finally, don’t make the mistake of trying to be the nice, undemanding patient. If you need something, you may have to be assertive. Trust me though, not speaking up ends up way worse. You’ve got this woman! Promise.

  4. look up the youtube dateline episode on hypnobirthing. airdate 1995 or something like that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llT30oHxz6g). ever since then I have been very intrigued by natural birth and now that I’ve watched it again, I wonder wtf was wrong with our hair back then (ha!)!? if that’s what what you want, you can do it! you said you couldn’t even feel the contractions you were having right? that’s a great start to trust yourself that you can do this. ;)

  5. So the good news is once you start, you’re in it until you’re finished. That gives you intense focus because you don’t get to call a time out and say, hey, let’s do this next week. And, um, it is gross. But, then everybody gets cleaned up and you have a beautiful baby. You should name her Ivy.

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