Tuesday, January 8, 2008
38 1/4 Weeks (But Who's Counting...)
The estimated due date is in less than 2 weeks folks! Of course, the reason its called estimated due date is it certainly isn't an exact science. As our midwife says, babies pick their own birthdays, we really can't control the process. So basically we could birth this monkey anytime between now and 3 1/2 weeks from now. Umm, I'll take now, please? The stats as of our midwife visit last Friday (for those of you in the know as to how women's bodies work) are as follows: 70% effaced, 1cm dialated, and the LFM is at -1 station. For those of you to whom this sounds like a science fiction novel, it basically means that the process has begun. We're not in active labor yet, but my body has begun doing the work it needs to do. This could last 2 weeks or more, however, so don't get your hopes up. Our midwife says that the more work my body does now, the less work it will have to do in labor so I shouldn't want to rush this period. Good point.
The annoying thing is that my body seems to be doing the majority of its work at night only. While the contractions aren't painful (they're like very mild menstrual cramps at this point, accompanied by some back pain and the occasional stabbing pain, but really I'm more uncomfortable than in pain), they do wake me up all night long because with every contraction comes the extremely urgent need to pee. Does this mean I'll spend labor on the toilet? (which is great for letting gravity help move the baby down and put pressure on the cervix to open, but I hadn't envisioned all of labor in our bathroom...) So I sleep in the mornings and generally feel in a bit of a fog these days. I'm exhausted, huge, uncomfortable, and I swear to you I STILL LOVE IT! Every single moment! I must be a masochist.
What I am not enjoying is the interweaving of birth and death. The two are so closely connected now, each so much a part of the other. I was telling Kindness Girl, who's name could not be more fitting and who's kindness work has touched the lives of many (including myself) in huge huge ways, that one day I will see this as a beautiful experience but that day isn't today. Now, in the thick of it, sometimes its a struggle to get through the day. This weekend was definitely like that. The car broke down on the side of the highway on the way to pick up the birthing tub, prompting a massive waterfall of tears and a phone call to Dad to pick us up. As he was driving me to get the other car while WB waited for the tow truck, he told me that Mimi had fallen again that morning. She had fallen several times in the past week and a half, and had even been stuck on the ground for an hour and a half unable to reach a phone and get help.
Last week I talked to her about hiring someone to come help out, because she really can't be left alone now. This conversation happened right after I had stupidly driven her home alone, and had to catch her as she was going up the porch stairs and her body decided it couldn't support her anymore, and basically carry her up the rest of the way. Nine months pregnant. That's not doable at all, physically speaking. When I proposed hiring someone, she said "But the only person I want around all the time is you!", and I had to tell her that I couldn't do it. You have no idea how hard that was to say. But the truth is that I physically can't do it right now, and then how would I take care of both her and a newborn once the baby is born?
Fast forward back to the weekend, where we decide to go and check on Mimi after getting the car towed. As we pull up in the driveway, I see the neighbor leaving, which can only mean one thing...something happened with Mimi. Sure enough she had fallen again, the 2nd time that day. She fell again on Sunday. These falls are happening with the use of the walker that I made them get. Her brain is still swelling from the Gamma Knife Radiation that they used to attack the 6 new brain tumors, and that's most likely what's causing the falls. But I wonder if she's going to be able to get her strength back from this one or not. I'm having trouble staying positive the more she falls and the weaker she becomes.
Today is the first day with her nurse...I'm about to go over there and check in on her before going in to work. It will make her feel nurtured and protected. I get my nurturing tomorrow night in the form of a much needed and oh so beautiful blessingway ceremony that these amazing women from our birthing community are throwing for me. The timing couldn't be better- this is so much exactly what I need in this moment that when Kindness Girl phoned to tell me about it all I could do was sob incoherently and blubber "Thank you so much! This means so much!" I can't even put my gratitude into words.
Its unbelievably hard to have everything happening simultaneously. I feel torn between birth and death, like I haven't been able to give as much to either as I would have wanted to. That breaks my heart. This isn't the way I would have wanted either experience to be. I know deep down that this is exactly how it should be or it wouldn't be happening, but I can't say that my trust in the universe runs all that deep these days.