Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Complete {38 weeks}

Exploring Curtis's grandmother's farm where he spent many a summer in his childhood; photo taken the day before we found out we were pregnant.

With my first, after 37 weeks and five days of pregnancy, my water broke. I labored all through the next day, delivering my daughter with a grateful and exhausted heart on the first day of my 38th week of pregnancy at 3am on a Monday morning. I was not mentally ready to deliver a baby two weeks early; I still felt like I had a lot more to accomplish. Even as had I left my desk that previous Friday night in perfect condition--all papers graded, all grades entered, all stacks of copies meticulously organized in the event that someone else needed to take over--I assumed I would be back. I wanted to finish the third quarter; I wanted to rest over spring break. I took my due date as a date of completion; it wasn't.

I find myself ordering the details of my life in the same way as I did before this time around--with a larger sense of expectation that I seek to guard. I buy an extra carton of milk at the store, and wash towels and sheets a bit sooner that I might otherwise. I feel like a kitchen of dirty dishes can't be put off quite as long, and every morning I can workout represents a last bit of alone time that I might not have for a while. We make plans to host our usual Bible studies, and to attend the community play. 

As much as my body is feeling the strain of a baby preparing to make an exit, my mind is straining to appreciate the last moments of our life as it exists right now: a bit more simple, more relaxed, more quiet. 

Yesterday evening we had dinner with Curtis's parents after the first day of track practice. I had been outside, standing in the 30 degree sunshine for two hours observing and critiquing drills and stretches. When I returned to Curtis's parents, where our daughter had spent practice singing songs and coloring pictures and laughing and playing with Nana, Curtis had already made it over from work and they all were lounging around the living room talking and laughing--my daughter in her prime with three people who couldn't love her more hanging on her every move. I was exhausted from the physical demands of practice and from the cold, but I was so content to just observe life as it is right now. 

When a woman is in labor, she is deemed "complete" when the baby is ready to exit, when the pushing can begin, when the body has fully dilated. This takes a different amount of time for every woman, with every birth, and the experience is never the same and rarely predictable. Though I know that there is no sign that my pregnancy is complete until we are entering full-blown labor, I find myself simultaneously looking for clues and distracting myself from desiring them. 

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