Five years to the day from when we first met, Spence and I will take our first childbirth class.
Could I have seen that coming? Maybe not on March 21, 2010 — but life moves fast when you’re in love.
Because we had a “date-aversary” before a wedding anniversary, I still look kindly upon March 21. When I started researching childbirth resources, the six-hour class tomorrow — filled with all the “necessities” of getting ready to bring a baby into the world — was the only Saturday available. Everything else was held during the week, broken up over multiple nights, etc., and I’m already tired with a short attention span.
And I really need to pay attention.
I’m 29 weeks along today, the first day of spring, and starting to get these jittery, anxious nerves firing through my body. In the home stretch. This is a phrase I’ve heard often lately — and even said myself — but, honestly, it hasn’t really processed yet. The third trimester sounded impossibly far away when I was struggling to keep down dry toast in those early days, and yet . . .
And yet . . .
And yet . . .
Here we are. Closing in.
I woke up at 2 a.m. this morning when Baby J landed a few good kicks to my left side. I put my hand there to feel that jerky, alien-like movement and was suddenly alert, wide awake. With each punch came the sudden, jarring thought that there is a baby in there. And that he must get out.
I know it sounds ridiculous. I mean, I’ll be 30 years old this summer — this isn’t exactly a mystery or anything. But I’ve always had a mental block regarding childbirth and have been, you know, afraid of the concept, so I was determined to know as little as possible in advance. Ignorance, as they say, is bliss.
That theory worked . . . in the beginning. Back when we were still in shock that I was actually pregnant, I consoled myself with the knowledge that we had so much time before I had to worry about a hospital stay and breastfeeding and pushing and . . . well, everything else.
So much time. Months. Three-quarters of a year.
But now, 11 weeks from D-Day, it’s time to be a big girl.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about what comes after the baby is here. We’re meeting with a day care provider this Sunday, for one, and Spence and I have already started talking about how we’ll be changing our schedules to accommodate the little guy.
Though I know nothing can really prepare you for parenthood, I’ve done some soul-searching about how our relationship might change . . . and how we’ll be growing as a family, not just a couple.
That’s intense, too — but in a different way. A good way. A way that decidedly does not keep me up at night.
But everything else?
Part of me is ready to get this show on the road . . . I mean, between the back aches, heavy belly, feet swelling, occasional bouts of lingering nausea and other fun symptoms, I’m less than comfortable. I can’t get off the couch unassisted. I’m tired all the time. The weight gain has been hard for me — and I still have months to go.
But another part of me? A bigger part, perhaps? Is totally okay with Baby J just, you know, hanging out in there for as long as he needs to. I recognize that this is a precious time in my life, and I’m not trying to rush it. Spence and I have our happy routines, and I’m content to daydream about all that’s to come.
Anticipation is half the adventure, right?
There’s something to be said for just soaking up the moment. Be Here Now — my life’s mantra — follows me everywhere.
And tomorrow, while I try not to panic and gag at the thought of all that labor entails, I will remember how I felt the day a curly-haired Spencer walked into a cafe and met my eyes with a smile. How we talked and sipped coffee on the first warm day of spring, soaking up the sunshine in a stiff breeze, and how my nerves drifted away immediately.
There was such a sense of this is right, you know? A sense of realness that I have never questioned. Anticipation buzzed right through me.
Five years later, we’ll be listening to the early signs of labor and taking notes. Later, we’ll pop over to the restaurant where we celebrated our first Valentine’s Day — probably one of our last “nice nights out” before Baby J arrives — and likely reminisce about that day at Panera.
It’s fun to remember what was . . . but even better to think of what will be.
As long as he’s next to me.