(I wrote this post Friday night and began labor Saturday morning! Our little Eleanor Marie was born Sunday morning at 8:28am. I’m glad I wrote this post and got these thoughts down before she arrived – it makes me teary to think about how much I loved this little life before she was born and to feel the way my heart is so full now that I get to hold her in my arms.)
It’s Friday night, the 14th. Today was my last day of work before my maternity leave starts Tuesday (we’re off Monday for MLK day). I’m beginning to feel some fairly serious and regular contractions and it’s beginning to settle in that we might be having this baby soon… like really, really soon. Last night I started having pains I thought might be the real thing. They continued sporadically over the last 24 hours and have settled in for sure for the last two and a half. About 8 minutes apart – not too exhausting, but still very present.
It occurs to me as I realize this baby may be out of my stomach and in my arms soon… I have loved this pregnancy. It’s been such an exhilarating experience to feel a baby growing and moving and kicking inside of me. There are really no words for how special it is. I have friends who have known this feeling many times over and friends who would give anything to know what it’s like. Even as I sit here deeply breathing my way through contractions, I can tell you it’s an amazing thing. I read a few times recently that once the baby is out I will have a hard time remembering what it felt like to have held that life inside me, and that’s sad to me. These 9 months have been wonderful (really, I’ve had a fantastic pregnancy in so many ways!) and it’s strange to think that this will be a fog of a memory soon.
I’ve steadily grown more uncomfortable over the last few months, but in the meantime I’ve also grown more excited and enjoyed more secret smiles as I’ve felt the tiny limbs pressing into my sides. I’m at a loss to explain what it’s meant to me to know that God has given me the capacity to grow a body in me… a body that will grow up to be my child and have a personality and know me. It’s a blessing. But to know that this little one was nurtured physically by me for so long is a miracle in itself. I just can’t wait to squeeze the little feet that have been kicking me – to kiss the forehead that has been pressing in my pelvis for these weeks – to check out those little fingernails that have been tickling my bladder for so long.
As the contractions grow stronger I know that I’m about to enter into the hardest part of this journey. We’ve stuck to our guns and are headed toward labor with the intent of having a natural birth. I’ve already spoken to my doula tonight – she’s a wonderfully godly and encouraging woman who had some positive things to say as I let her know of our timing tonight. I’m anxious about what the next 24 (or even 48?) hours will look like but I know with her and Bronce around I’ve got a great support team.