In the midst of everyday life and work and responsibility, there is this countdown–a ticking of the clock until the day our baby is born, and with it, my growing need to rifle through details, cross t’s and dot i’s. We’ve somehow arrived at the one month mark, not knowing what God and nature have planned for the next four or five weeks of our lives. This reality is humbling and exciting, and also sobering in a lot of ways. Suddenly, I am aware of every little thing around me in its current state, and I’m also strikingly aware of how I’d like to change it, clean it, refold it, dust it, give it away or throw it out. I know that this is part of the process, and that it’s almost endearing to see how pregnancy and hormones cause us to “nest” in the right timing, but at the moment, it’s honestly just kind of stressing me out.
As the 36 week mark arrives on Saturday, I know that it’s unreasonable to consider anything as set in stone. This is true for our lives everyday, whether we’re pregnant or not, but being within 4 weeks of an actual date on the calendar feels more pressing and real. Along with myths about being able to determine gender by baby’s heart rate or how someone is carrying her “bump,” the thought that first born babies are most often late seems to be among the favorite beliefs of the majority of the Western world. Babies can definitely be “late,” it’s true. But as a general rule, I prefer to think that they’re actually on time, and somehow, we’ve miscalculated nature or the date of conception or how long our little one needs to develop before greeting us. Regardless, I’m a first born and came early–by almost two weeks. A friend delivered her first born last summer, three weeks before he was expected. What we really know about when babies are born is that they come when they’re ready, or they come when we decide that they’re ready and we help them out. The fact about the 36 week mark? Pretty much anything is fair game and would still result in a healthy, happy baby and the birth of a new family unit. And so we wait and wonder.
What I’ve decided is reasonable at this point, as I try not to bury myself in expectations or goals that are out of reach, is to establish some type of a baseline for these next few weeks. There are things that I can maintain that will help me to feel ready for whatever comes, even if our bathrooms aren’t spotless or if all of the pictures we’ve been meaning to hang aren’t quite on the walls. This weekend, the nursery will be as close to done as it can get (with the possible exception of a little artwork..and a baby to make it all worthwhile). From there, my baseline will be a manageable level of order that I think I can live with–dishes done, laundry caught up, dog hair subdued, and piles of mail and extra papers sorted, filed and/or shred. I’ll make the bed. We’ll install the car seat in the car. And when I get particularly antsy, I’ll pack my hospital bag, check and double check lists, and practice the relaxation techniques we’ve been learning for labor and delivery that are sure to help me deal with how un-relaxed I can be about all of these other things.
Hopefully, I’ll arrive in a place where baby can come into this world in a space of peace. I don’t worry about any level of joy going missing in the arrival of the little one, but I surely pray that I can communicate a sense of contentment, calm and grace to the babe as well. I wouldn’t want our precious child meeting us for the first time in any other way.
seeking a baseline, and praying that God will help me to find it–one way or another