By: Gloria Miles
The last days, maybe even weeks, of pregnancy could span a century. Nine months of growing, changing, slams to a halt; time passes differently. The discomforts of pregnancy are now highlighted with every step. Every day crawls, every night is long.
The Virginia air had been thick as syrup with heat and humidity. The air stirred itself around, lazily passing by people who braved a walk. The heat felt stifling for this pregnant woman.
Eventually, dark clouds rolled into the area, the sky crackling with anticipation of relief. The sky opened; the rain poured. The relief was felt in a dramatic drop in temperature. The wind had picked up and the trees chattered in excitement.
The past days for me have been filled with the sort of anxiousness and discomfort that one only feels when in the last few weeks of pregnancy. It's amazing how quickly nine months can pass. And yet, the hours slip by slow as molasses.
"You look tired," my husband said. He stood behind the kitchen island, prepping items for breakfast.
"I woke up to pee last night six times. And this morning, my hips feel like they're on fire from that hard bed," I replied.
He laughed. "Maybe a week left for you. You're so close!"
I knew he was right. "That makes me want to strangle you."
"What?" he asked. "Why?"
"You might as well have said another year."
"Is it that bad?"
I gave him a look.
"Maybe...I'll just keep making breakfast," he said. Then added, "I'll rub your back before bed."
The evening is cool and windy. I want to walk outside in the coolness. I let my husband know so that he keeps an eye on our toddler.
"Walking the baby out?" he asked.
Most days I wake up wondering if this is the last day I'll be pregnant. Each evening I hope that real contractions will begin. Every new morning I'm disappointed at the lack of labor, of no newborn.
This evening, however, I just want to reside in the moment. I want to walk and feel the muscles in my legs work. I want to listen to the trees rustle and speak among themselves. I want the cool air to play with my hair.
"Just walk," I answered.
The family joined me and we walked around our property, through the trees, and down a short patch of our country road. I breathed deeply and was purely in the moment. I didn't worry about labor. I felt the small braxton-hicks contractions intermittently but I paid them no mind. Fetal kicks and punches marked the time between them. I smiled and rubbed my belly.
Most days I'm cranky and irritated. I sleep too little, I feel too irritable, and I walk the way one does when there's a fetal head slowly entering the pelvis. I know that labor is on the horizon. I know that pregnancy doesn't last forever. One day or evening or night the familiar rushes of labor will begin. And yet, it feels so distant.
I think, though, that sometimes it is necessary to get to this climax of pregnancy, similar to the climax before birth. There is a time within labor that most suddenly feel overwhelmed. Cries of not being able to cope or continue are normal. Sometimes there is a moment of panic. The contractions are no longer surges but just a state of being. Labor seems to take over one's body. There is doubt, maybe fear. And then the peak is reached and all doubt is removed. Birth is imminent and then there it is: pressure, pain, power. The pelvis is filled and then it shifts. Crowning, then a head, then a body. Then: I did it!
Pregnancy is similar. It is uncomfortable and not everything is exciting, but it's tolerable. Suddenly, it's overwhelming, it's miserable, it's never-ending. But one day, like in labor, like the storm that's on the horizon, relief will be felt. The first surges will start and excitement will replace it.
Labor will start. Everyone is right. It's so close. It feels as distant and as close as mountains on a horizon. But it will start, it will finish. A new life will be born. A lifetime will begin.
Gloria Miles is a Navy veteran and mother of 4. She wears many hats as a doula, Certified Aromatherapist, and student. She is currently working towards obtaining a Bachelor's in Healthcare Management, with an end goal of becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife. When she is not blogging or hanging out with her family, she enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and mud runs.