Lately I have just been savoring every sweet moment with Lily a little bit more thoughtfully ~ she's only going to be our baby for seven more weeks. I'm sure we won't treat her any differently, but I know with all my new babies comes a realization that the child just above them in age really wasn't as much of a baby as we thought they were. And there's a certain bitter-sweetness in that revelation every time. Babies do need to grow up, but as a mama I am always reluctant to acknowledge that they are doing so.
Tomorrow we go to see our eleventh baby on ultrasound again. The doctor wants to check on growth - a standard thing to check for women over 40 - and I am just happy to see this little person before he or she arrives. We don't know the gender, and we won't find out tomorrow....although I am extremely tempted right now. My thoughts are dominated by this baby- who they are, what they will look like, when they will arrive, what labor and delivery will be like again, how Lily will react...
....and on and on and on. My baby consumes me.
And the hormones that are multiplied in these last few weeks of pregnancy are bringing with them a flood of emotions. Just ask my family. I think I have a crying meltdown at least once a day, and it's usually around dinner time. I feel guilty for being so slow-moving and sore, I feel large and uncomfortable and unattractive. I feel like I'm not taking care of my family enough- everyone is pitching in extra to keep things running smoothly. My emotions skyrocket one moment in anticipation of this much-longed-for-baby, and plummet the next in anxiety about what could go wrong.
After all the ups and downs of Lily's pregnancy I feel a little nervous, like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even the thought of my routine ultrasound tomorrow has me a bit on edge, because we never had a routine ultrasound with Lily. And the closer we got to her delivery, the more things pointed to the fact that something very different was going on inside of me. I'm trying my hardest to just lean into God and ignore the thoughts of what-if, but the stage of "almost there" is bringing back a lot of memories.
The bottom line is I just want to hold my baby in my arms and know that he or she is here safely. And I wish it were now.
Because there is a part of me that really feels like I missed out after Lily was born. We had a few hours in the NICU with her before she was transported to Portland, and I spent that first night alone at our hospital while Sam spent the night at OHSU with Lily. I missed out on my favorite moments in life and instead spent the night in a drug-induced sleep... and even the next day was so difficult, seeing my baby hooked up to tubes and wires and not being able to nurse her normally or sleep in the same room as her. In fact we slept in a completely different building from her, and even when I was with her during the day I felt disconnected.
That week was such a blur of information and specialists and tests and exhaustion and emotion...it honestly felt like The Twilight Zone, and I don't want to ever go through that again. Yes, there was the grace of God enveloping us, but just like anything in life, you still have to walk through your trials, even with a loving God helping you through it. It was not a fun time, and I think that's what is making me hope and pray so hard for a "normal" birth experience this time around.
Just one more lesson for me in trusting the Travel Agent.
I cannot wait to smell that newborn smell. Favorite.smell.ever. So much of it comes from that creamy white vernix babies arrive covered in, which is why I'm always telling the nurses ahead of time- don't rub it off ! And that's also probably why I am so excited about a water birth this time around... I get to deliver my own baby, pull him or her up onto my chest, and nobody gets to clean them up right away. They're mine ... hands off !
Which brings me to my next source of excitement- a water birth. I love love LOVE to labor in the tub, and with some of my babies I had to be physically pried out of the tub before pushing. Okay, not really. But I did not want to get out of the water. It is so relaxing to me, and I am so looking forward to labor because of the thought of a water birth. I've watched a kajillion videos of water births over the years, and have always wanted to have one.
I'm sure there will be questions after posting this. Here are some answers ahead of time:
No, Sam will not be in the tub with me. He doesn't even want me to touch his toothbrush, so you can be guaranteed he won't even put his toe in the water of a birthing tub. Which is fine with me anyway- I prefer to be alone in my pond :)
I will be fully clothed in a flowing bathing suit top and bottoms, so even though I will have some family members in the room, including my older kids, it will be for the most part private. If you deliver in the buff and that's your thing, great. After ten kids, I am still quite modest... so if you're doing a visual of me when I go into labor, make sure not to forget a long flowy black tankini . Just like I'm going for a swim, very discreet.
Yes, the baby can breathe when he/she comes out under water. Just like they can breathe in amniotic fluid. They breathe in through their mouth when they hit air.
Yes, it is extremely safe. It took many years, and mountains of data for our hospital to be convinced of this, and believe me they would not allow birthing tubs if there wasn't significant data to show how safe it is.
The water might be murky. But a hospital bed doesn't exactly stay clean either; you just clean it up. And I won't stay in the tub for very long after the baby arrives, I'll get into a nice clean warm bed and enjoy my baby there.
And I can't wait for that.
I mean I CANNOT WAIT to hold my little baby and watch my husband and kids do the same, and I cannot wait for the joy, the unspeakable joy that comes from meeting that new little person for the first time.
And I can't wait for her to experience that either...
So here I am at the end of my post...and while searching for a misspelled word or punctuation error I made some decisions. Which is why I love writing and blogging so much - it brings my brain into focus so often. And this month especially, I need some focus.
I'm going to ride out these last seven weeks of emotions, knowing that this is the very last baby I'll carry. I'm going to soak up every moment with Lily as my baby, and look forward to the changes that will happen when she graduates to big sister status. I'm going to let my family rally around me as I depend more on them to do the things I usually do, and know that in just a short time I'll be back to my normal self. I'm going to trust that God will help me through whatever labor and delivery brings, just as He always has. And I'm going to cut myself some slack when my hormones and goals take a plummet or two, have a good cry, and remember those wise words of old...
|To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:|
|a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted....|
He hath made everything beautiful in his time.