It's this feeling of waiting without any real knowledge of when the next change is coming.
I struggle with focusing. With sleeping. With making plans that may have to be cancelled at a moment's notice. We're about to tip over the edge into an entirely new adventure, and I don't know when or how it will happen. I can't plan for this more than we already have.
I dislike uncertainty.
Uncertainty is hard to live with, and it is inescapable. I can't live a life without it, yet I am always in tension with the principle of unpredictability.
I keep wondering how it's going to start. Will it be like the false labour I experienced a couple Saturdays ago, when I woke up with contractions so painful that I couldn't breathe deeply until I'd been standing under the hot water in the shower for at least five minutes, and then it really got easier to handle once I threw up from the pain? Or will it be slower than that, more like the milder contractions I've been experiencing for the last two weeks, but building in intensity? Will the contractions regularize like the books say they do? Will my water break earlier or later? Will I even realize I'm in labour at first? Will I keep getting these preliminary contractions, this false labour (or pre-labour, which is what the book the clinic gave me calls it), for weeks and end up being overdue? Or are all these little pre-labour signs happening now to get me ready and I'll end up going into proper labour in a day or two? I'm already hoping for the latter, because I'm tired of waiting, tired of aching constantly with no apparent progress being made.
I sit here, typing, my back aching, wondering. I've been pondering what labour might look like for me since I found out I was pregnant, although I put most of my concerns about that to the back of my mind. It was more important to deal with what was at hand then, which was the constant vomiting. Now the vomiting's mostly subsided, and my back hurts and there are twinges happening at the top of my uterus, or the base of my uterus (or both at once), and every once in a while, the baby rolls over, kicks me in the side or in the ribs, and seems to settle her head ever more deeply against my bladder.
There's also not knowing where and when this is going to happen. Will I be at home when the real labour starts? The grocery store? What about during church on Sunday, or knitting group Monday nights? Will it be the morning, evening, or afternoon? The middle of the night? Will I be able to wait for J. to get home from work at the normal time, or will I have to call him, tell him to come home, and then call my back-up ride to get me to the hospital?
The waiting is strange and a bit surreal. It's the first of August, and we're less than 3 weeks out from my official due date, but realistically, the baby could decide that it's time tonight, or that it's time 4 weeks from now, or any time in between. J. has compared it to waiting for Christmas to arrive when you're in grade school. I pointed out that at least with Christmas, there's a set date, but he countered with the response that, for most kids of seven or eight, their perception of the passage of time doesn't really make that fixed day seem to arrive any faster. For me, all I know is that sometime during this month, I will give birth to a baby.
This is a bizarre idea. Ever since December, we've been getting ready for this, and it still doesn't seem like it will really happen. I mean, seriously, a baby is going to emerge from my cervix? Are you kidding? I've seen this kid on the ultrasound (and since they've had to double-check the baby's growth rate because she's on the smaller side, I've had four of those), and most of the time, I still can't quite believe that there's a tiny person inside of me. There's a small part of me that goes in to every pre-natal appointment expecting that they'll tell me there's been a mistake, and I'm not actually pregnant at all, but that there's something seriously wrong with me instead. And yet, every time, there's a heartbeat, there's the baby kicking, and this week, the confirmation that yes, the baby is still head-down.
There really is someone in there. And very soon, she'll want to come out.