I had my weekly OB appointment on Monday and was sent for a routine non-stress test to the hospital because another patient was already using the monitor in the office. (My doctor’s office is connected to the hospital so it wasn’t a big deal.)
I walked into the maternity floor and sat in the room I was supposed to be in, and a nice nurse came and set me all up, and then left me alone…and my mind started racing.
Last week on this blog I talked about how much I love having babies…I love the hospital stay, the smell of the sheets, the excitement, the visitors, everything about it. It’s all true. But that day, actually BEING there, in the hospital, on the floor where I’ll soon be staying-and maybe it was just my state of mind at the time (anxious, worn down from parenting five children 24/7 all summer long, and very very uncomfortably pregnant) I began to feel the opposite. I had a bit of a brain break-down.
Like this is REAL. I’m really really having a baby. (I didn’t just eat a whole watermelon like it looks like above!) This time, I didn’t just remember the good stuff…that seemed to all vanish. The smell, sights and sounds brought back all of it…the hard stuff too. The frightening physical pain towards the end of labor that there is no preparation for (no matter how many times you’ve experienced it!), the overwhelming love I feel when that baby is born but that is soon followed by the same dose of overwhelming responsibility, that quiet time when everyone leaves to go home after the baby is born-Jeff to the kids at home-and I am left bone-tired and in bed (and yes, in love with the bundle in my arms) and with quiet that leads me to think, “Holy Moley, can I handle all this? What was I thinking 9 months ago? I’m just a kid, I can’t take this baby home! They shouldn’t let me! And all the ones at home that still need me? I can’t do this!” No matter if this was one baby or six (!) I know those teary feelings, that weight on my shoulders, will come again. I will feel very, very vulnerable. I will feel self-doubt. I will feel scared. Scared to death.
And for a minute that day, I thought, hooked up to those monitors the other day, watching the little heart beat go up and down, “Maybe I’m OK with just staying like this-hugely pregnant-forever. This just might be easier.”
But staying stagnantly, endlessly pregnant is not really an option, nor do I really want that. (God, no!) But moving forward requires so much of me, and the reality of it all is enough to make me, for a moment, let my mind choose to travel over the hard stuff.
My nurse came back and unhooked me, and everything with that sweet little baby looked good. And I got myself up out of that chair (no easy task) and walked (waddled?) my way out of the hospital. I got in my mini-van and drove home and fixed lunches, and swept the floor, and refereed arguments and answered endless questions and drove someone to a practice. I had to stop entertaining my doubts, my fears, my anxiety, but was almost grateful that I had the quiet time to do it-to get it all out of my system.