How I’m Feeling Ahead of Labour & Birth

I would have assumed by now, I’d be feeling ‘ready’. But, in actual fact, if anything the last 39 weeks have prepared me for, it’s the unexpected and therefore, No, I categorically don’t feel ready. All I know is that a painful final exam is fast approaching, I’m cramming in my revision and also aware that once I’ve sat the exam, there’s no ‘after-party’ or holiday to Ibiza like there was post A-Levels. Instead I’m going to be left holding a baby and in charge of keeping it alive. With such a daunting task, does anyone ever truly feel ready??

The ironic thing is I am actually a very positive person. I also signed us up to the "hippy trippy" world of hypnobirthing and have embraced it with gung-ho. I am an essential oil sniffing, meditating, positive affirmation yielding woman who is one click away from ordering a tie-dye maternity tracksuit. I have had my head in a very calm, confident and 'you got this' headspace for months now and if I'd written this post a few weeks ago, it would be dripping in girl power. There is definitely still some of that girl residing under this very stretched skin suit but it also feels like the last few days, cracks in the armour have started to appear. Triggered, most likely, but the fact my daily app now says there are '0 weeks and 6 days' until baby is due. Oh, and it's the size of a pumpkin! That and the onslaught of texts from friends to the tune of ‘Any sign? Any news yet? Why are you texting me, I thought you were going to say you’d had the baby?!’. 

In my mid-twenties, I remember saying during a particularly stressful period of time at work, “I would rather be giving birth today than having to do this”.  I think my point being, whatever the task at hand was, surely it was more painful than enduring a crowning baby. Well, now I will have to eat my words and find out, won't I? Given I find myself in a particularly less stressful job now than when I had uttered those words, I feel karma coming to bite me precisely on the behind! 

Another anecdote from my past is the series of dreams I have had since I was a teenager about being heavily pregnant, normally sat in my school assembly hall, waiting for labour to start. I will psycho-analyse myself that it probably has something to do with a lack of control or feeling uncertain or not ready… or d) all of the above. It’s just funny that I am now actually ‘living’ out that dream and walking around in my normal life waiting for this big gush of water or first contraction to cripple me sideways. Of course, that is more how it happens in the movies than real life (yes, I did actually pay attention in my hypnobirthing classes and NCT course: One Born Every Minute is not friend but foe!)

So here I am now, 39 weeks + 1 day and with a little devil on my shoulder whispering words of doubt, fuelling a creeping sense of panic. The logical part of my brain is being dosed up on daily meditation and reading all the positive affirmations I have carefully poised around the house: My baby will come, when my baby is ready. Luckily, there are many sources ‘out there’ that say this state of mind is all entirely normal as you approach the final weeks and days of pregnancy. Much like the anticipation of a wedding, after months (if not years) of planning in the making, when you are finally a few sleeps away you may start to have doubts; Will the caterers remember my Great Aunt’s allergy to dairy? Will the flowers turn up on time? Will I trip walking down the aisle? Why didn’t we just run away and elope? At least with a wedding, you have a set date to work to (unless COVID-19 scuppers it, I’ll give you that!) but with the arrival of a baby, especially if you’re gearing up for a natural delivery, there is really little you can do to predict or plan your life around it.

For the moment, I’ve hunkered down and fully embraced nesting mode. Thank you, Lockdown, for the trial-run. I now feel completely content to remain inside these four walls for months on end, and sometimes days without stepping outside. I hear that’s much like the first few weeks of parenthood so at least that won’t surprise us too much. Plus, we’ve had the added benefits of over 100 days just the two of us, getting to share more of the pregnancy together than we could have hoped. Silver lining, eh? Of course, the other side of the coin is less shiny and talk of whether the grandparents will be able to hold baby or just look from a safe distance while masked up to the eyeballs is a heart-breaking thought. It’s not how anyone would have envisaged their grandchild coming into the world but safety is key and hopefully it will be safe at some point in the near future for them to get a whiff of our newborn’s head.

For now, I’m 50:50 between nesting instinct and enjoying my last few relaxed days of freedom. You'll either find me half-lolling about in my pyjamas sprouting a mum-bun or trigger-spraying everything with Zoflora and playing with my new Flash mop. Now the preparation tasks are all ticked off, it really is just a case of sitting on my birthing ball and waiting for the show to start! 

The Task List:

  • Pack the hospital bags packed - yes, there are four of them!
  • Fix the car seat in the car
  • Finish The Positive Birth Company’s Hypnobirthing Digital Course and revise that up-breathing and down-breathing!
  • Finish The Positive Birth Company’s Post-Natal Digital Course
  • Meditate daily, hourly, whatever your anxiety levels need!
  • Try my hand at hand-pumping colostrum for some added freezer-supplies
  • Perineal massage (if you dare / can reach!)

My baby will come, when my baby is ready. 


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