Turniphead is due today, whatever that really means. For three weeks, I’ve been “full term,” meaning that he or she has been physically mature enough to be born. We’ve been told “it could be any day now!” for the past 20 days, and still counting.
My bag is packed and sitting by the door. A list of the things I’ll need at the hospital but have been using in the meantime is taped right next to it. The carseat base is strapped into the back of my Sentra. Gone are the days when I would justify going one more day without shaving my legs or washing my hair…now I’m showering compulsively, just in case I have to go to the hospital before I get another chance. I have a hard time leaving work undone at school, just in case I don’t make it back to finish the next morning. I can’t go to sleep with dishes in the sink or clothes draped over the chair, because what if I go into labor during the night?
On top of it all, I’m monitoring my own body like a hypochondriac. While I know that at some point, labor becomes unmistakable, the early stages seem to be less predictable. My water may break, or it may not. If it does, I might notice, or I might not. I might feel sharp cramps or dull aches. I might feel pain in my abdomen, or maybe in my back. Or both. So…basically, any sort of strange and persistent discomfort between my ribs and my knees could signal the early stages of labor. Gues what? That’s what the last month of pregnancy is–discovering all sorts of new and strange pains and pressures.
I went back to work last week, so I’ve had the huge blessing of full and busy days to keep my mind occupied. But I haven’t ever completely shut out the constant running narrative beneath the surface…”Ouch–is this it? Is this the last time I’ll be able to go to the movies/go to bed/go out to eat/clean the floor before TH comes? Could someone else finish this if I didn’t come back tomorrow?” I mentally plan my escape from every public place I visit just in case labor pounces on me with sudden, violent force.
It’s all very mentally fatiguing!
In the meantime, every day that goes by lets me get a few more things taken care of, a little more rest, another chapter read in my book, another episode of Alias watched without distraction. So I’m trying to enjoy these final days, reminding myself that TH is a lot lower maintenance inside than out. Because I never know when he or she will be ready to make an appearance. It could be in the next five minutes. Or the next five minutes… Or the next…