- Eager anticipation: you are 38 weeks and your baby is fully developed. You get excited every time you feel a Braxton Hicks contraction or show signs of pre-labor (i.e. loss of mucus plug). Even though you are two weeks away from your due date, you secretly wish (s)he will come early. You won't entertain any notion that your baby will be overdue. Example: When people ask, "when are you due?," I start to answer "any day now" instead of saying "two more weeks."
- Nesting: you will start cleaning and organizing like a woman possessed. You check and re-check the birthing bags. Everything has to be ready because it could be any day now, right? Example: I woke up at 3:00 am one night with a deep desire to sweep entire first level of our house.
- Taking matters into your own hands: you literally try to make a deal with your baby. You promise him or her a pony if they will come out. If that doesn't work, you try physical encouragement: exercise and constant movement, sex, drinking herbal teas, eating black licorice(?!). Example: I drove over the speed bumps on my block at full-speed.
- Misery: The days, hours, minutes, seconds tick by. You and baby are still sharing one body. Your belly is stretched beyond its capacity, your pelvic region is sore, you have contractions that don't seem to go anywhere. You just feel discombobulated. Your distress is compounded by the fact that you have been tricked into believing that you were in labor a few times. Example: After a walk on Sunday night, I started having contractions that were stronger, closer together and lasted longer. I thought this was it and jumped in the shower to get ready only to have them stop suddenly.
- Disillusionment: you are confused by all the false alarms and starting to distrust your instincts when it comes to your own body. You might even start thinking that you'll be pregnant forever. You get annoyed when people inquire if the baby is here yet. Example: I stopped checking email and answering my cell phone on Sunday because I was tired of having to tell people, "not yet."
- Consulting: You start seeking advice. You get reassurance from some wise women. They tell you to relax and get plenty of rest because that will be a luxury you can no longer afford soon. You decide to take their advice. Example: I sleep for four hours on Monday afternoon. It was bliss! When I wake up, I stop fretting over my bump and resume my life (which consists of emailing, texting, blogging, chatting on the phone). After all, a watched pot never boils.
- Acceptance: the gradual realization that your baby is going to come out when (s)he is good and ready and not a minute sooner. You stop stressing over the when and start focusing on the now. Example: By Monday evening, I was over trying to rush the process and resolved to live in these last moments when I have her all to myself before I had to share her with the world.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
My Version of the Stages of Labor
Teresha: It is generally believed that a pregnant woman goes through three stages of labor: early labor, active labor, and birth (some believe delivery of the placenta to be a fourth stage). Anyways, I have found these "stages" to be lacking in emotional context. So, here is my version (based on the 7 stages of grief):