Is there anything more all consuming, more frustrating, or more emotionally roller coastering than waiting for labour to begin? It doesn't really seem to matter what your personality type is or your spiritual philosophy, or your ability to create a logical hypothesis based on the available data and current weather patterns...... It doesn't' matter who you are or where you're from, once you get to 37 weeks, there is only one big question left:
When will I go into labour!?!?
Whether you're a high energy go getter, or very laid back zenesque "Be one with the universe my child" type woman, whether you're an outspoken tell-it-like-it-is chick, or an "I'll just suffer quietly here in my misery and put on a brave face for the world" type gal.... Once you reach that carrot that's been dangling in front of you for 36 weeks, whether you want to admit it or not, you are capable of thinking of pretty much only one thing:
"Does the baby feel lower today?"
"Was that a contraction?"
"Is that my water leaking or did I just have (another) juvenile accident?"
"If I go for a power walk and drink a litre of Red Raspberry Leaf tea, eat an entire pineapple and finally allow my husband to touch me in that "carnal knowledge" way.... will I go into labour?"
You know it's true. You might want to wax eloquently about the joys of pregnancy and parade your beautiful full term belly for the world to see while allowing the general public to admire your radiant fertility goddess-like glow.... But inside you KNOW you're screaming "ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!"
Ok, lets just face the facts: Pregnancy is just one big "Waiting Game" THE Waiting Game!!!
First there's the "Two Weeks Waiting Game"- we've ovulated, and copulated, and now we count down the days till we can realistically start spending ridiculous amounts of money on every brand of pregnancy test on the market.
Once we've got our BFP , now we spend the first 12 weeks holding our breath waiting to feel "safe" telling everyone and their mother our amazing news. Then it's on to waiting for the Zanadu of the second trimester. That's when everyone assures us that the morning sickness will be a thing of the past, when our boobs will feel happy about being in a bra again, and we can go for longer than 3 hours without trying to find a quiet corner to hide in for a cat nap.
Once you've reached the promise land of the second trimester, you start the next phaze of pregnancy craze. I have energy! I can leap tall buildings in a single bound! I can eat an entire banana split covered in crushed chocolate bars, whip cream and candy sprinkles without thinking about my ass even once!!! I am WOMAN, See Me Roar!!! ....and paint an entire room in 4 hours... before deciding that that colour is absolutely atrocious and running out to the paint store to buy new paint, no! wall paper! No! a Wall size fresco poster! NO!! a venetian plaster kit and enough rags to start my own quilting company!!!!!!!!
And we wait.... to feel that first baby kick. Was that a flutter? Or was it just the egg salad sandwich I ate at midnight? To feel those first movements of our growing baby beans becomes an all consuming passion. Your sister felt the first movements at 16 weeks... why aren't you feeling them? Is there something wrong? OPPS! was that a nudge? Yipeee!!! My first nudge!!! Now we wait for the second stage nudge: the one that daddy can feel. Which is followed quickly by the stage of "Come quick! The baby just moved! No really it did! Can't you feel it? No not there, over here! Wait! Come back, it moved again!!!".... Oh the joys of a mother feeling her little belly beasty doing the back stroke!!
That quickly gives way to the next stage: Third Trimester.
By the time you've gotten to the 30 week mark you're now waiting for baby to STOP doing Karate katas and flying round house kicks. How the hell is it possible for a baby to have enough room in there to completely turn in a circle while using your internal organs as hand and foot holds?!? Really baby, I know that the bean burritos with extra spicy salsa might not have been to your taste, but could you please stop using mommy's bladder as a punching bag- some of us HAVE to sleep!!!
Which brings me back to that week 37 mile stone. You are now officially at "Full Term". You haven't seen your feet in months, your toenail polish has grown out, your legs are hairy, you need a weed wacker for your bikini line, your wardrobe consists of your husbands cast off over sized T-shirts and flannel pajama pants, Rolaids has become your after dinner mint of choice, and you plan your forays out of the house by mapping out the most direct route to the closest bathroom at every stop.
Baby, it's time to be born!!!
The ultimate waiting game begins. And you know, it doesn't' matter if it's your first baby or your fifth, you still hang precariously on every single Braxton Hick contraction, every back ache, every bowel movement. Your homebirth/hospital bag/kit is packed, and repacked. You've rewashed the baby clothes 3 times, and written out your birth plan (and re-edited it 5 times because there's always one more detail that you forgot to add....), you're now sleeping with more pillows than a princess with a pea problem, and have seriously considered getting an adult sized potty to put beside the bed.
Waiting waiting waiting......
This is now the stage where you spend copious amounts of time on the internet researching every old wives tale about bringing on labour and hang out in online forums and chat rooms with other full term pregnant moms, comparing notes on every possible way to get baby out. Sex, spicy food, pineapple, walking, sex, nipple stimulation, sex..... you actually stand in the aisle of the pharmacy with a bottle of castor oil in your hands trying to decided if you're "THAT" desperate to have this baby.
As of today, I'm 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant (not that I'm counting or anything) with my 5th child. Let me give you a piece of advice from an old hand at this baby making thing:
Babies come when they damn well want to. Other than resorting to medical interventions by doctors with tee off times, (that will most likely lead to more interventions and a C/S... but that's a whole other article), you might as well just resign yourself to waiting till baby wants to come out.
Now if you'll pardon me for a moment, I'm just going to waddle out to the pharmacy to stare at that bottle of castor oil....