I am sitting here at my desk, doing hip circles on my birth ball. Although I’m not feeling particularly inspired to write, it’s probably the one thing I haven’t tried yet to induce labor (a sort of emotional release, if you will). Things I have tried include all the obvious, acupuncture and induction massage, mowing the lawn on our tractor, lots of crying, and Spinning Babies techniques. The logical part of me knows there’s probably nothing I can do to make him or her come. But part of me feels broken.
Having gone 13 days past my due date last time hasn’t made this time much easier. My body or my babies need more time to gestate; someone has to be at the bottom of the bell curve at 42 weeks. It’s not abnormal. So why is it so hard?
I have a few theories for me. The first is that I was hopeful that baby just might come early! Not too hopeful, but hopeful enough that I ordered my home birth kit on time and started assembling supplies at 38 weeks. I installed the car seat a couple of weeks ago. And I’ve been slowly checking things off my list… But most were checked off by 39 weeks.
That was over two weeks ago.
So what have I been doing? Waiting. At home. I’ve been feeling very vulnerable and anti-social, so the idea of visiting friends hasn’t sounded appealing, so we’ve mostly stayed home. But what happens at home? I feel like I need to have the house ready to go, so we spend a lot of time cleaning- and that’s driving me crazy. I haven’t felt like reading or otherwise engaging in anything too crafty (I did recover the cushions on the glider and finish crocheting baby’s blanket though). So I’m just in this perpetual state of waiting.
I’ve done it to myself, I realize, since I don’t want to go out. But, my main problem with going out right now is the endless commentary from strangers on me and my family. It sounds horrible but frankly I don’t want to hear anything from anyone about my pregnancy or my family- even compliments. I just want to talk about normal things. Everyone stares at me with giant eyes, comments on my basketball belly, asks how many kids I have and stares at me even more when I tell them this is my fifth. Or, if the kids are with me, they’ll count them up and ask if this baby is a boy or girl, then I have to explain I don’t know because we chose not to find out, then they say, “Oh I could never do that!” and we laugh cordially. I’ve had that exact conversation 100 times. While I am very thankful that I haven’t received any rude comments (apparently those have been reserved for Ryan), I am just tired of the small talk.
Spiritually I feel very dry, because I haven’t been able to engage in any stimulating conversations due to my self-inflicted confinement, and I haven’t been able to force myself to read anything spiritual. Or anything at all, really. I feel like my brain doesn’t have the capacity to think or feel right now.
I’m in a tunnel. It’s pitch black and I can’t see the light. I know the light is ahead because, well, no one is pregnant forever, right? Right now I feel like I’ve been in this tunnel for a lifetime, and this particular tunnel has been more challenging to navigate than the other four I’ve already been through. This tunnel held apathy, depression, vulnerability, and feelings of abandonment. When I finally had to give up the one thing at 32 weeks that made me feel like ME (which was working out and lifting weights), my body actually started to feel better physically, which frustrated me that I couldn’t even do the one thing anymore that made me feel normal.
I’m happy with our decision to labor and deliver at home, but I’m not looking forward to having to actually labor again. Having been through it several times already, and having witnessed nearly 50 births as a doula, I am very aware of what I’m about to go through. I made a (probably heretical) comparison to feeling like Jesus in the garden before His passion. He knew what was going to happen to Him; He didn’t want to do it. He sweat blood! I haven’t sweat blood before but I know pretty well what to expect. The tightening, the stretching, the pain that my body will endure. It’s the only way to bring this baby into my arms, and I wholly accept that this is the way it has to happen. And we’ve chosen to do it at home (under the care of a midwife) because I don’t feel there are any better options for me. Jesus knew His Father’s will, yet He still asked for another way. I don’t feel guilty about asking for the beginning of the end of this pregnancy… I just have to remember His words: “Not my will, but your will be done.”
I see the opportunities for grace, for growing in patience and endurance, for humility, for redemptive suffering. I see that perhaps God has a great plan that I don’t know about yet, or a plan better than the one I’ve made. But… I just don’t want to do it anymore. I’m ready to have this baby, ready to accept and embrace the pains of labor, ready to move on with life. Yet I must wait.
And so… we wait.