Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Things I Did While Waiting

My friend Amanda is very, very pregnant. She has a little over a week to go before her due date, and, as anyone who has been pregnant knows, she's ready to be done. She says every twinge, every cramp makes her look at her watch and start waiting for a pattern to emerge.

Gabe and Amanda (and Bert and Ernie)

I think about Amanda every day: while I'm brushing my teeth, driving, soothing Westley to sleep for his nap. How tired is she? Is she getting any sleep? Is today the day?

I think back to that week before Westley was born, and it's sort of blurry. I was due the Thursday after Thanksgiving; my maternity leave started the day before Thanksgiving. I remember packing up the contents of my desk at work and shutting down the computer. We'd had a potluck Thanksgiving lunch at the office, so I rode home on the bus with a casserole dish of roasted root vegetable salad leftovers on my lap.

Rob and I had just moved, but I couldn't bring myself to unpack. I remember having terrible insomnia and sitting up in our dark, bare living room watching "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "Ace of Cakes" and "A Baby Story." I hope Amanda isn't watching mediocre Food Network programming. And I really hope she isn't watching babies-getting-born shows. The last thing you need when you're hugely pregnant and insomniac and counting down days to your due date is to watch other women go through labor.

The nights before my due date are all a blur of not sleeping and the light from the TV shining on me. The same programming, over and over. Impossibly huge cakes shaped like cars and office buildings, and that same TLC angle of women in that same hospital bed. The funny thing is: I don't remember what I did during the day. On Thanksgiving Day, I cooked and ate and felt horribly crampy after dinner. But that's all I remember, until my due date a week later.

I hope Amanda isn't cooking. I really hope she's not standing in front of a hot oven, bending down, basting a Tofurkey roast and having giant Braxton-Hicks contractions. (Not that Amanda would be cooking Tofurkey. I'm not sure she's ever even had Tofurkey.) I hope she's ready. Or, rather, I hope she's relaxed into the reality that no one is ever "ready," and is at ease with her level of preparedness. Somewhere, I have a "to do" list I was working on the week before I was due. About a third of it is checked off, and one of the unchecked boxes is "Baby's Room."

The week before it is gone, but I remember my due date really, really well. I forced myself to leave the TV off, not to watch any babies-being-born shows, and to think as little about babies and childbirth and labor as possible. A few hours later, I remember feeling a little rush of fluid when I stood up, and I remember thinking, That was weird. I wonder what that's about.

Two days later, I met Westley.

I hope Amanda doesn't have to wait much longer.

Your turn: Do you remember the week before your baby was born better than I do? What did you do while waiting? What did you not do?



Allison the Meep said...

Tofurkey! I loved that so much when I was a vegan. Being pregnant is actually what made me not be a vegan anymore, because the only thing that made me feel well were scrambled eggs.

I remember being a week past due and thinking that I would be the person who has a 2 year elephant pregnancy. And going to Starbucks to order an iced coffee (Oh the dirty looks people give you when you're pregnant and drinking coffee. Baby killer!!), and the barista asked me when I was due - and I said, "Three days ago." And she had this look on her face like she had no idea how to respond to that.

Wade and I took lots of walks around our little neighborhood in Studio City, CA, looking at all the tiny, old, overpriced houses and hoping to one day be able to buy one and wondering how and if we would ever be able to afford $700K for a 2 bedroom house.

What I didn't do was sleep or find any position that was comfortable to be in.

Amber, The Unlikely Mama said...

I really wish I could have waited to see Alexa. She came way early...and earlier, during the same day she ended up being born, I lamented about not being ready for her to be here....in TWO MONTHS! Boy did I get a surprise.

Thomasin said...

The week (well, 1/2 a week) before Uli was born I spent a lot of time laying with my hips/legs tilted up, and cold packs on the top of my uterus, trying to get her to turn. I said that aloud a lot, too: "Turn, baby, turn!" Alas, she didn't and in my city that meant a c-section. But I was still happy to see her, face to face. At that point, I was able to set aside most of my bitterness about my homebirthing dreams being dashed and was just happy to meet my baby.

What I did NOT do: cook, clean, or fit my swollen feet into anything other than wide sandals.

Cindy said...

Luna was a week late. That week was my husband's school's spring break. Consequently, we spent a lovely week doing nothing but fun stuff. We figured, why not? We went to movies and dinner. We walked A LOT! Everything was ready in the house. We were just waiting. But, we had a lot of fun doing so. I still moaned about being pregnant still, but that's not what I remember most about that week. It was the last week that it was just the two of us!

Rob said...

Since I don't have a cell phone, I was intensely conscious of being out-of-touch every time I wasn't home or at work, wondering if there was labor going on that I was missing. When I got home on the day there was labor, with you and your mom just sitting on the couch in very anticlimactic way, it didn't really seem real.

Candace said...

My mom came to stay with us for a month to help with the delivery and the recovery, and thank god she was here because I was a wreck. I remember taking LONG walks and having contractions every 30 minutes for 2 weeks, and then my water breaking 3 days before actually having Emma. My mom did her best to distract me by taking me to see movies like Burn After Reading which was absolutely hilarious and caused many contractions.

My midwife was concerned with Emma's weight (way big) and so swept my membranes a week before I was due, had me inserting evening primrose oil 3x a day, I drank castor oil soy shakes, ate spicy foods, drank a small glass of wine in the evening, and had lots of uncomfortable sex. Nothing worked and Emma was born 4 days late, via induced 18 hour labor, a c-section and weighed 9.7 lbs.

Yikes see if I ever do that again!