Nine months ago, our doctor told us that today would be the day we'd meet our baby. Unfortunately, I still have swollen feet, numbness in my fingers from pregnancy carpal tunnel, and still wearing maternity clothing. Our house feels extra quiet even though both of my parents are with me and my husband will be home from work shortly. We're all trying to stay busy to avoid thinking about how I will mostly likely not go into labor today. My mother is in the kitchen fixing us afternoon tea with cookies, my father is talking to our relatives in Turkey on the phone, and I just woke up from my second nap. I haven't been getting enough sleep lately. Tossing and turning all night and having the need to use the bathroom every half an hour is the perfect combination for a restless sleep.
Between yesterday and today, we're received beautiful, thoughtful texts, emails, and phone calls from friends and family. Just like us they can barely contain their excitement. Just like us, they also thought the baby would be here by now. A few minutes ago, my mother-in-law texted "HAPPY DUE DATE!!!" as if this arbitrary date should break my water, bring on the contractions, and lead me to the birthing ward on the third floor of the hospital where Jeremy and I toured a month ago with other pregnant women. After all, we prepared for the baby's arrival based on this date. From picking a color for the nursery walls to registering for our baby shower to rearranging furniture in our house to organizing the miniature things our baby will need, everything was planned for this day.
Yesterday, after my doctor told me that I was only a centimeter and a half dilated, she asked me to get a few precautionary tests done before the end of this week in case we end up having to go through induction.
I was disappointed. It felt like a backhanded slap, to hear the word induction. Of course it's not my doctor's fault that my body isn't ready to go into labor. I was lucky to have an amazing doctor who was encouraging but very firm. She's made me feel at ease and never hesitated to answer any of Jeremy and my questions. On top of that, I've had an amazing pregnancy. I've never experienced morning sickness or other pregnancy horror stories that you may have heard of from other mothers. So, the possibility of being induced which will increase my chances of having a C-section wasn't a part of my plan.
I know I may sound like someone who watches too many romantic comedies where the women have their water break at an opportune time, end up at the hospital with their husbands, scream out funny things while they're in an excruciating pain, have the doctor place their (unusually grown and clean) newborn babies on their chest, and smile at the camera for the most perfect family portrait.
No, those aren't my sentiments toward labor. My life is certainly not a romantic comedy (even though we all have romantic comedy moments at times...). I'm married to a scientist and we're both well-read about pregnancy and aware of the consequences of various ways going through labor. After reading so much about pregnancy and talking to many of our friends, it made sense to give myself the chance to go through it all naturally under my doctor's supervision. My body is made for this. No matter what your pain threshold may be, if you're a healthy woman and your baby isn't at risk, your body is made to go through this. So, for me, choosing to go through labor with drugs and opting out for a scheduled C-section would be incredibly unfair.
Now, I'm in a position where I might have to be induced in a few days. I might also go into labor tomorrow. Maybe I won't until next week. Maybe I won't go into labor at all. All I know is that I can't be pregnant forever. No one stays pregnant forever. I have to remind myself that I can't control everything that happens to me. Sometimes, I have to remember to let my body do what it needs to do. In the opening passages of Ina May Gaskin's book Spiritual Midwifery, it says, "When a child is born, the entire Universe has to shift and make room." Whichever way our baby comes into this world, the Universe will in fact make room for our baby and we will fall in love with him or her every single day.
So, for now, we take a deep breath, let go of what we can't control, and continue to wait.
[Photo: The cover of the book I'm currently reading- Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman]