Last night, when I was nearly doubled over in pain and fighting back tears, my resolve was admittedly a little shaken as I considered the calendar. “Ten weeks to go,” I thought. “How on earth am I going to do this for ten more weeks?” We were downtown as a family–J, H, my mom, myself and the Button, enjoying the perfect summer weather and our local street performer series, when it really kicked in. I asked J if we could go upstairs to his office for a few minutes, and our evening ended too soon as I quickly realized things were not going to improve enough for me to make the trek back to the car.
I am not good at being down for the count.
I guess I don’t know who is, really, but I know for certain that I’m not programmed to sit things out or take a break very well. It seems this pregnancy may dictate otherwise. I’m not ready to put the next 2.5 months in a box and say that this is the trajectory of the next ten (or so) weeks. I just can’t do it. Not for my mental and emotional state, not for the fact that it’s my favorite time of year and there’s so much I want to do, not for the list of things I’m still planning to accomplish before we meet this sweet baby who is growing stronger every day. And so, I’m deferring to some of the most valuable things I’ve learned as a doula–and also to the coping skills I gained in classes as we prepped for Henry’s arrival two-ish years ago. The same tools that got me through H’s delivery unmedicated are going to have come out of the reserves now. I’m gathering my arsenal.
The thing is, I love pregnancy. I love so many things about it–not the least of which is the fact that I believe it’s a sheer miracle…the way my body can be the vessel with which God chooses to grow a human. I am in awe of all of it, and if you asked my husband, he’d tell you just how often I point out something small and somewhat benign about this baby-growing phase and say, “Isn’t that amazing!?…Isn’t that awesome?!” I probably could solicit an eye roll here or there with all of my expectant interjections, but the fact of the matter is, I’m just so happy to be celebrating a baby on the way! This is why the crazy pain I’ve had these past few nights is so challenging to me. I feel like I have to have my A-game on to battle this…to not get defeated…to stay positive and encouraged and uplifted in this stretching season.
I ended up calling the dr today and they asked me to come in for an impromptu appointment. The suggestion is my gall bladder at this point, but we’ll know more in a few days after an ultrasound. Baby sounds AOK, and judging by the movement in my belly at all hours, is quite happily tucked away without knowledge of whatever is going on. If it is my gall bladder, we’re most likely just going to have to hang in there, so I’m focused on thinking the best and staying hopeful that my discomfort won’t linger long or be constant.
My labor with Henry taught me a lot about staying strong and believing in my own capacity to withstand the process of giving birth. Not only that, but it has been an invaluable reminder over and over again that God provides what we need in the moment we need it, and that He created our bodies to do amazing and unbelievably strong things. I won’t start doubting myself now. I can’t. I’m going into this next delivery with a purposeful resolve, and although I know we can’t control how birth goes altogether, I’m leaning heavily on the knowledge that my mindset, attitude, and faith will all come heavily into play in that room on that beautiful day. Even now, as I approach these more challenging moments with slight concern or reservation, I’m battling back with prayer and affirmations and relaxation techniques to pull through. This is absolutely not a sprint. It’s a marathon. I’d never want to run one without training first.
I share all of this for a few reasons, the first being that I want this little baby to someday know that it’s ok when things are hard. It’s ok to take a moment (or moments:) to cry and question and wonder about what’s next. But it’s also important to trust that God has us and sees us and can carry our yoke. The second reason I share this is because I think it’s important to strike a balance between being positive and being real–and I think there’s room for both. I feel positive about this pregnancy on a daily basis. I never wish I wasn’t pregnant instead. I just need to say that it’s hard sometimes. And the truth is, pregnancy is hard for everyone at some point in the process. You can be glowing and pulled together and breezy for 39.5 weeks, but there will still be some point in time when the process is hard. And well it should be. Growing an entire, perfectly formed little being from nothing is no job for the faint of heart. God uses us to do His will in bringing new life into the world, but He warns us that it will come with its own set of challenges and pain. I think it’s all part of the process of grace, really. Sharpening us to extend grace to ourselves, to our developing babies, to those closest to us and to the world around us, in a season when it would be easy to make room for a lot of excuses and negativity if we really wanted to. And of course, encouraging us to bend to our knees and ask our God for His grace in getting us through. He is the best birthing coach around, and He knows the drill. He created the process, for goodness sake. He can certainly fill in the gaps.
Someday soon this baby will be here, and so much of this journey will seem trivial and trite as it fades to the background. Until then, it is a molding and shaping and growing time of life for us as a family, and I’m so thankful for that! I’ll be here visualizing the best possible outcome and staying hopeful for the next ten (nine? 😉 weeks. And I’ll be praying a lot! Couldn’t do this otherwise.
keeping my chin up, and leaning on God.