In our birthing class, they teach us about the "emotional signposts" of labor. First, you have anticipation and maybe even excitement. I figure I won't even count this as "labor," because I don't know if I'll be able to really tell it apart from all the braxton-hicks I have. Then, you get "serious," and don't really want to be messed with. This is the part where I'm praying that Jay, our practice, and our dear friend Sarah will be able to help me stay relaxed and calm... to let my uterus do the work, rather than myself. The third stage is what I think of as the freak out/give me drugs/I can't do this! stage. They call it "self-doubt." This is where I want Jay, Sarah, and whoever else is around (doc and nurses) to remind me that my body knows what it's doing, and I'll be fine, and I'm almost done!
I'm thinking that pregnancy needs stages too.
The first stage -- nothing is really real, and you want a belly (what was I thinking???), and since I felt like puking a good deal of the time, I decided that maybe adoption was really best for us for any future children. The concept of being "pregnant" was very ambiguous, abstract, and difficult to conceptualize most of the time. It just translated to: "I'm tired, and I hate feeling like I'm car-sick all the time, but can never get out of the car."
Next time I'm in this stage, I will remember to sleep on my back and stomach for as long as possible.
The second stage of pregnancy is more glowy. I really did love the belly (still do, but with a couple caveats now). I had a *bit* more energy (not completely like normal), but this is when the baby starts kicking and wiggling and making the belly look like it has been controlled by strange alien forces trying to get out. I will add that having Christmas and the holidays during this time was wonderful... I could still fit food, and not feel as guilty for indulging. Mmmmm...
I was a bit different than some other moms I listen to. I did not want to rush this stage at all. I liked the boy in the belly, cozy and secure. I didn't feel anxious about him because I could feel him wiggle all the time (unlike at the beginning, where the sound of their little heartbeat every 4 weeks is blissful), and in general felt very happy with where he was, and the fact that I was taking care of him. Labor and Delivery were still very scary, and could stay as far removed as possible.
Now we're in the third stage. The part that is troublesome isn't so much the feeling huge, it's the inability to maneuver, and the fact that my joints HURT! My shoulders and hips and back... I have carpal tunnel in my wrist, and my feet throb if I'm on them for too much. I don't feel strong, I just feel heavy. I laugh when my doc says to "watch my weight," because the LAST thing I want to do is carry around another pound!
If it wasn't for this man moving his little self around, I think I'd be a bit miserable. But he makes me smile and laugh multiple times/day.
He has this funny little habit of either: a) fighting back when his space is imposed upon or b) trying to connect with the outside world. I am not sure of his motivation, but it is hilarious. I will put my hand (or the doggie will rest her chin, or I'll be carrying something, or I'll be laying against the belly) on him, and very soon, he will find the exact spot of pressure and push back. I'll move the hand, give him a few seconds or a minute, and he'll push back again! It makes me laugh. Maybe he's like his mama, and just likes to be comfy... or maybe he wants to say hi... I don't know. :)
But, I am getting ready to meet him. My emotions are changing from "he can stay as long as he needs to," to "I hope he comes a bit early!" Not only do I miss sleeping on my back and stomach, and having my joints remain in their position, but I'm getting ready. I want to love him and hold him and see if his daddy has the same calming effect on him outside of the womb, as he seems to while this little one is inside.
Here are some pictures of the recent days:
This one with my dad... I finally passed him up, at 32 weeks!
Here's Elli's new favorite begging spot:
And here are some of the many onesies we received at my little shower last weekend in Redding! I think we have plenty!