I wasn’t worried about the bump on my head, not one bit. All I cared about was how strong of a heartbeat I would hear from the monitor before me. Such a simple confirmation turned my worries into smiles, and I became frantic with excitement. The weeks were winding down and my prenatal appointments were scheduled weekly. While I planned to be ready by this point of pregnancy, my doubts settled in and stuck around for the show. I had so many tasks at hand that required my full attention, but the want to sit down and prepare for her arrival was fully out of reach. I spent hours lying in bed wondering what my life would’ve been like had I not been pregnant… which lead to the guilt and frustration that wrapped around me like a cord.
That what if was always brewing in the back of my mind. I challenged my own competence and worried that my daughter would be placed in the wrong hands. My anxieties often led me to a place that took days to dodge from. During a moment of weakness, I wished that she would just stop kicking so that I could sleep without interruption. I was mentally exhausted from adjusting my pillow all night, just to get up and go to the bathroom again. I had nightmares about what my birthing experience would be like… usually ending with the worst possible outcomes. My Braxton Hicks often played mind games with me – it was time, and then it wasn’t. The emotions I battled were setting me up for a failure with clear motives. I was in for a ride… it was called motherhood.
A Wednesday morning, I (literally) rolled out of bed to begin my usual routine. My boyfriend left for work and I was left to continue the arrangements in welcoming our daughter. My bladder was speaking obscenities and begged to be noticed… for the fifth time that morning. When I looked down and saw blood, I was sent into a full panic. My due date was only a couple days away so it was only a matter of time before the waiting was over. I was advised to check into Labor & Delivery at our local hospital. Calls were made and texts were sent out – it was possibly time to birth my baby.
My boyfriend swerved in and around traffic with no time to waste. Upon arrival, I was frightened. Becoming a mother was now in clear view, but I wasn’t convinced that I was fit for the job. I kept a smile on my face for the visitors of the hospital. With one look at my belly, questions were thrown around in an elevator full of families. “Is it time?” … I wanted it to be, but then fear struck a nerve and I was back to wishing I were home instead. When describing my symptoms, the nurses thought it was best to call a doctor and perform an exam. This was always the part I dreaded when arriving to all of my appointments, but I knew it had to be done. I was barely three centimeters dilated, no contractions… you could tell it was my first time at the rodeo. My doctor advised me that he would most likely see my face within 24 hours. “By this time tomorrow, you should be checked in and waiting for your daughter to be born.” That was all I had… 24 hours to get ready, whether I felt ready or not.
I stripped the hospital gown from my over sized body and felt a sense of relief. Just a little more time, that’s all I needed. But as I struggled to put on my clothes, I felt a huge wave of pain. All I wanted to do was go home and snuggle in bed, so I told myself it was probably normal being that I just had an exam. Every few steps I took lead to a forceful demand to take a break. I squeezed my boyfriends hand and sat on the nearest bench. I wasn’t even sure if I was experiencing contractions, but they were increasingly painful… not like what I felt from the Braxton Hicks. While he went to find the car, I felt it was best to stay where I was and ride out the pain. I hadn’t even left the hospital parking lot before feeling like I shouldn’t have checked out of my room just yet. These last few weeks have been overrun by waiting. I wasn’t sure I could wait another hour more…
My boyfriend dropped me off at home. “False alarm!” He was asked to return back to work, and I assured that with anymore pain I’d give him a call. With each contraction, I felt my daughter moving around… only making the pain of them even worse. I needed one thing from those who scattered around me – silence. I tried to focus on one particular tile on the kitchen floor, while I held my breath through the long seconds. As much as I wanted to make my big return to the hospital, I knew I had to wait it out… more waiting until the contractions grew closer together.
In the midst of conversation… “hold on, I’m having a contraction sooner than expected.” I clenched my face with my sweaty palm in search of a release.
Start the timer… another one is coming.