I’m 38 1/2 weeks pregnant. And we’ve already had two “false labor alarms.” I was having 2-3 minute contractions for a few hours each time but once we decided to head to the hospital, which is an hour and forty-five minutes away, the contractions slowed and stopped.
The first false labor alarm was 2 weeks ago. I was 36 1/2 weeks. It would have been perfect. The kids were still out of school, our babysitters were available, our favorite midwife was available, my brother and sister who live out of state were in town and could have met her, the car was packed, the house was clean. And I was ready. But nothing happened.
The ache to meet her grows stronger every day. To see her little face, to feel her weight on my chest, her hair brushing against my cheek. But baby girl seems content to hang out and push her little feet into my ribs. I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and birth, especially the parallel life lessons it provides. Each pregnancy and birth I’ve experienced has been different, but my goal has always been to truly experience it. For me, that has meant the absence of pain medications and epidurals. I wanted to feel all the pressure and pain of the process. I felt somehow I needed to experience that (and I believe all women do with their own unique birth experiences) to fully appreciate the joy that followed.
And really, that’s how life works isn’t it? The process is most often hard, full of pressure and pain, which makes the emergence even more beautiful. Everything worthwhile is hard. The 3 singular moments I saw each of my daughters for the first time were some of the most spiritual and beautiful moments of my life. I remember the crushing wave of love and awe that came over me. And all the hard was worth it. The morning sickness, the aches, the infections, the medications and IV’s, the preeclampsia, the inductions, the awful epidural, the vacuum, the morning sickness, the plateaued growth, the specialist visits, the worry, the fear, the subchorionic hemorrhage, the cord around the neck, the swelling, the pressure, the pain, the morning sickness… did I mention all the morning sickness?… it was all worth it.
And I am so ready to do this hard thing. To work with my body to bring this little one here. To get to the other side if you will. To start healing. To start holding and loving her. Ever since that first false alarm we’ve been walking on eggshells, feeling like she could come at any moment and trying to be constantly ready. It’s been exhausting. The timing has gotten worse and worse with our girls starting school, my mom, who graciously offered to drop everything, starting work, my mother-in-law, who always makes herself available, is now maxed out helping other family members, and although the car is still packed, the house seems to fall apart more and more each day.
Our midwife reminded us the other day that induction was always an option if we wanted it. After months and months of feeling out of control, and these last two weeks of feeling completely out of control, I was seriously tempted. An induction would mean that we wouldn’t have to stress about getting to the hospital in time, our favorite midwife could be there to deliver, our mothers could plan on taking our kids instead of being ambushed, our kids (who are already anxious because of the false alarms) could plan and mentally prepare to meet their new sister, and my husband wouldn’t have to keep anxiously waiting for “the” phone call or worrying about delivering a baby in the car. I could have the house clean, someone scheduled to feed the animals, everything ready and in place for us to leave and peacefully return.
But something about an induction just hasn’t felt right. I had to be induced with my 1st and 3rd for medical reasons. And although I appreciate it’s availability, I don’t prefer it. So why would I choose it now? To be in control? So everything can be perfect? So no one is overly inconvenienced? Why are we always so worried about being in control? Why do we panic when we don’t know how or when something will happen? Why are we always trying to make everything so perfect? And why do we always make our decisions with everyone else’s convenience in mind?
After 3 children, I’ve learned a new life lesson from pregnancy and birth. We are not in control. And it’s OK. Life is rarely convenient or perfect. And it’s OK. Our best decisions aren’t always going to be the best for others. And it’s OK. I don’t want a planned induction. I don’t feel like it’s the right decision for me or my baby right now. Do I feel selfish for putting my desires before my husband’s, my children’s, and the family that is so willing to help us? Yep. Do I deserve to be selfish about this? You’re damn right I do. Gratefully, I know that I’m surrounded by amazing people that don’t mind being inconvenienced on my behalf. That they support me in my decisions. That they will understand. I’m deciding to give control over to God instead of trying to hold onto it myself. And the relief I feel is immense. So, I’ll enjoy these little feet pushing into my ribs a little while longer until I get to meet her and press those little toes to my lips. Because the best things are worth waiting for and anything worthwhile is hard. And it’s all OK.