I’ve yet to encounter another time in life quite as exciting as the anticipation of labor. As I wait for labor to start with my third child, I can say that with as much conviction as I did the first and second time around. I thought this time around I would handle the waiting game like a pro, but it turns out that I’m filled with the same amount of nerves, excitement and fears as the first two times. Turns out waiting is hard no matter how many times you’ve had to do it. Here’s what I’m most excited and nervous about.
Fear of the unknown – I think this is probably the most common source of anxiety when you’re waiting for labor to start. When will it occur, will your regular OB be available or will another doctor have to fill in, will the kids be in school or will you have to arrange child care, will it happen during the day or in the middle of the night? There are a thousand questions left unanswered until it actually starts, that it’s hard to just relax and let it all play out, but I’m trying to just treat every little step as if it will be my last before it starts, therefore look at things a little differently. Every extra page I get to read in a book, every extra outing I spend with the kids, every extra night I get to sit on the couch with my husband watching TV. Focusing on the now, instead of the unknown future and all the unknowns has helped me relax and let go just a little bit more.
Fear of the pain – Let’s be honest, labor isn’t a walk in the park, and each labor is different, so although this is my third and it may go faster than the previous two, there really are no guarantees, so this could be my easiest labor and delivery, or my hardest. Taking a lot of deep breaths and saying reassuring things to myself, as well as talking about my fears with my husband, is helping me tackle my anxiety about the pain.
Excitement and anticipation of our first meeting – I’ve been growing this baby in my belly for almost 40 weeks now and as much as I feel connected to this tiny human, I also feel like I don’t know this baby at all, and won’t until I meet him or her. What will he or she look like, how big will he/she be, will he or she come out screaming with ferocity like my son did, or come out and gently wail like my daughter? I can’t wait to meet our little baby and make sure he/she is healthy and just hold him/her in my arms for the first time. It’s like meeting a stranger for the first time, yet knowing that person was meant to be a part of you and your family.
The first night at home – I’m not sure why, but the first night at home always makes me anxious, as I think about how it will go. Will baby be fussy all night, as we dance around the house trying to soothe and calm, or will we fall into our roles seamlessly and have a quiet start to the journey? Getting through the first night is always a milestone I’m anxious to conquer.
Any minute, any hour, any day now this baby is coming and while I can’t say with 100% conviction, I’m ready for all the unknowns, I am ready to at least get them started and start getting some questions answered!