Sunday, May 19, 2013 41+3
Woke up this morning still pregnant. This was not disappointing. I anticipated being overdue. I've shared this an obnoxious number of times. Looking back over my pregnancy posts it seems that has been a major theme. (Obnoxious posts here and here.) I suspected I was carrying a girl which made me believe that I wouldn't go into labor until the 42 week mark. I have this rather unscientific theory, based solely on my experience that my boys come earlier (around week 41) and my girls tend to be later (around week 42).
We went to church. I stood up during announcements to remind moms that we had a playdate coming up. I also mentioned the church should pray for fellow expectant mom, Julie, and maybe, if they thought about it, they could pray for me. I was hoping this would be my last Sunday pregnant (It wasn't, by the way.)
I really was still in a good mental place. I had decided that I would maintain a hopeful frame of mind until I delivered even if I had to wait the full 42 weeks. In previous pregnancies, I, at some point or another, would lose heart and patience and spiral into a frustrated, emotional mess. I was determined that this pregnancy would be different. I had kept myself busy going to my MOPS meeting, lunch with a friend, a movie with my sister, etc. I planned to devote the next couple of days to completely emptying my to do list and inducing labor.
My church took a moment to lay hands on me and pray. Despite my good mental place, when people touched me, all my vulnerability bubbled to the top. I couldn't look anyone in the eye, I lowered my head and teared up. I was nervous about the wait and the pain and the health of my baby.
I was excited, too. I was excited about the experience, the memories that were going to be made, the challenge of it all, and most importantly, the ability to meet this child who was still veiled in my womb.
Thursday, May 23, 2013 42 weeks
Woke up this morning still pregnant. This was the first morning I really thought I might wake up in labor. I got out of bed, paced the floor, and cried in frustration. I downright threw a fit. Stephen woke up to give me a hug. He went back to bed, and I went downstairs at 6am to make blueberry pancakes and pull weeds in our backyard.
I had this theory that I would go into labor in the morning. My last two labors began urgently at around 5am and ended around 6am. On most days in the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I would wake up at 3 or 4 am and would analyze how I was feeling and pray that maybe my water would break. If nothing had happened by 6 or 7 am, I decided I would be pregnant for another day and I might as well get up and accomplish something instead of sitting in bed brooding.
Sometime on this particular day, it occurred to me that this process of waiting that I was concerned might harm this baby might also be the reason this baby is alive at all. What if I hadn't been patient to wait for Julian and went in for a c-section and then had a c-section with Schroeder and Maggie. Would my uterus have even been healthy enough for a fifth baby? I felt encouraged and resolved.
Friday, May 24, 2013 42+1
Woke up this morning still pregnant. We were supposed to close on our house in Texas, but that ended up getting postponed. The appraisal came back $2500 under the agreed selling price. I was feeling like our finances were being attacked. We had already paid for a home birth and now we might have to pay for a hospital one, too. We might also have to lower the price of our home in order to close the deal. It isn't that we don't have the money. I would just rather spend it on something else. I'm always wanting to get ahead, but it occurred to me, sometimes, it's good to just abide and be thankful that your every need is met.
We met with our midwife, and I finally had my epic meltdown. I had no doubt that my body can go into labor on it's own, that it would eventually go into labor on its own. I was struggling with how long I might have to wait for that to happen, though. At what point do I decide that my body is holding my sweet baby hostage?
My friend Julia took me for a pedicure after my appointment. Turquoise toes and good friends make everything better. These days of waiting reminded me that I am loved. Our moms took turns staying with me while Stephen was at work, and I had four or five friends who texted me daily, offered to visit and bring me Starbucks. Several of these friends I didn't even know when Maggie was born three years ago. My prayer for new relationships here in Indy has been well answered.
Monday, May 27, 2013 42+4
Woke up this morning still pregnant. I got up, got dressed, and headed to Home Depot at 6am. I'm not sure why Home Depot opens at 6am, but I was going to take advantage of it. (Just that once). Stephen's coworkers gave us a $100 gift card, and I decided I would spend it on paint for the hall bathroom (the one that has had paint sample colors on the wall for over a year). I was done with a first coat by 10:30. My extra large, bright orange cultural trail t-shirt came in handy as a painting dress.
Afterwards, I decided to use the Black and Blue Cohosh I bought at the herbal store on Sunday. They are supposed to induce labor. I dripped the black cohosh under my tongue as directed and immediately my mouth was on FIRE. I spit it out and started to cry. I'm so weary. I had my membranes stripped a million times. I took castor oil twice. I didn't realize that inducing labor would require torture. Screw that.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 42+5
Woke up this morning still pregnant. We made a plan with the midwife that if I hadn't gone into labor by Thursday, we would set up a hospital induction for Friday. My friend Joy calls to see how I am. I explain the plan to her. She encourages me and Stephen to pray together and make sure we are being led by the Holy Spirit. It was a good word, and we spent some time in prayer that evening.
A couple things occurred to me during that time of prayer. Stephen had asked me several days before if I was hopeful. I told him that I was so weary of conjuring up hope. He didn't really respond, but what I think he was thinking occurred to me in our time of prayer. I need to lean on the Holy Spirit to provide my hope. I don't need to create my own.
I had also been reading a book which talked about prayer being sometimes for her a time when she can simply say out loud that his plans for her are good whatever they are. I had been trying to pray that way for a week, but couldn't get these words out. "I don't know how, where, or when this pregnancy is going to end, but I believe you have good things for me. Lord, I trust you to take care of me." That evening I said it, and I meant it.
Thursday, May 30, 2013 43 weeks
Woke up this morning still pregnant. We had a plan, though, and this baby would be born one way or another the next day. We went to our midwife and put the plan in motion. Our midwife seemed disappointed. I think if it was up to her, she would have had us wait a little longer. Baby still seemed to be in good shape. During our conversation, my resolve began to crumble. What if my dates were wrong?
Just a few weeks ago, I had written a blog post about induction. I believe in protecting my baby and if at all possible respecting my body and it's process to labor. Now we had hit 43 weeks pregnant. We were looking WAY crazy and irresponsible to the majority of United States citizens. Yet, we also realized we aren't completely hippie, baby come as you desire people. Forty-three weeks was as far as I could go. I knew my baby was ready and I also knew my body was ready. I was dilated, effaced, and stretchy (sorry for that graphic adjective). I just needed contractions. Stephen came to my rescue that morning when I began to question myself. He said, "We made a plan. We prayed about it. Let's stick to it."
I threw myself into the activities of the day, shopping and getting my hair cut. Stephen went to work all flustered. Later on that evening I learned that he was in the throws of coming to grips with our new plan. He tends not to worry or think about plan B till he has to. He needed someone to talk to about it all and felt really alone. We snipped at each other all day because we were both going through the same thing in our own way and on our own schedule. We stopped to talk about it all in our muggy front room that evening amid my scurried preparations. We both cried a little which should show you how weary and relieved we both were. Then we both drank a glass of wine. Just one and it was recommended by my midwife.
Friday, May 31st
I woke up still pregnant. Our last hope for a home birth faded as we got in the car at 6am and headed up to Carmel (the posh suberb to our north). I joked that the baby wasn't impressed with southeast downtown as a birthing location.
I had envisioned delivering in our new house in early morning when the sun was coming up and our kids would slowly filter in to get a glimpse of their new sibling. The labor would be quick, and I planned to not lose my cool. Most people who wanted to be present would potentially not make it (including the midwife). D'arcy would get to cut the cord again. I assumed that despite my protests, I would be banned from coming down our treacherous stairs for a day (the only part I was dreading). We would again have a well baked 8+ pound baby with a name way too long for such a little one.
I realized, though, in essence, that was Maggie's birth. Each of our kids births have been unique in some way, and Penelope's would be no different. She would have her own story. Looking back on it, we discovered that her birth was a healing, full circle story. We went back to the hospital like we did with D'arcy nine years ago, but this time it was on our own terms and on our own time. It was also a little poetic that it was our ten year wedding anniversary. We've had five kids in the last ten years, but we've also found our path and voice as a couple.
I'm a little sad that we didn't get to have our baby in our home. I'm a little annoyed to be paying hospital medical bills. (From start to finish we were there 31 hours. I didn't have an epidural or IV fluids or even stitches, but that initial bill was over $10,000!). I'm also a little embarrassed that I let that last half hour of labor get the better of me. I don't think I've ever lost my cool during labor as completely. Other than those little regrets, I'm happy. I'm happy with my story. I'm happy that labor is over. I'm happy to finally have my baby unveiled and in my arms where I can get to know her better.