Yup. This is how I feel right now. When this picture was taken I was a couple of days overdue with Alice, my only daughter. She weight 9 lbs 15 oz and pushing her out was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my entire life. I had the urge to push when I was only 9.5 centimeters dilated and my midwife (did I mention this was a drug-free, vaginal, homebirth?) coached me through 15 minutes of breathing until I got to ten and could push my gal out safely. Craziest 15 minutes of my entire life. And we still weren't out of the woods because her chubby shoulders got stuck and I had to be flipped over on my hands and knees and push like I've never pushed before just to get that squirmy little piglet out of me. For four hours after her birth my color was grey, and I was exhausted. 36 hours of labor will do that to a person.
But then, a miracle happened. I felt incredible. I was able to move around freely. My mood was good. I had tons of energy. The next day when everyone else was dragging, I was bouncing around like Tigger. And Alice has never stopped blessing me since. She's the happiest person I have ever met in my entire life. Her heart is generous and kind. She's creative and funny and beautiful. She paints and sings and writes songs and stories and cooks and smiles, smiles, smiles. Her sweet face and demeanor touches the heart of every person she meets.
I am reminded of this as my husband and I face a trial. The trial of WAITING. Of expectancy. We have been pregnant with possibility for a while now, waiting for his degree so he could get a better job, and now we are OVERDUE. Swimming in circles. Parked in neutral. Sending up flares with no response. And it's hard. It's miserable. I'm not afraid to say yes to possibility...what do you do when nothing you do works or moves you ahead? Or every step forward takes you three steps back?
I was chronically ill when I was pregnant with Alice. Systemic yeast infection that no doctor could cure. Horrible morning sicknesss lasting longer than it had in the past. Towards the end I could barely walk and had to take a swimming class so that, just for that hour, that her weight would be lifted off my ligaments. I would step out of the pool after bouncing around like an astronaut and instantly gain back 20 lbs. I am sure there were times when I wondered why I was doing this to myself.
And of course, now I know why. Without my sunshine's presence in our house, what a dark place it would be! She lights up our lives in a way no one else ever could. Even her brothers, who can be moody, can't help but fall under her spell. I would do it all over again, a hundred times, for one chance to touch her springy curls and listen to her laughter.
I have to believe that kind of blessing is coming for us. That all this work, and misery, and stress, are not for nothing. That we will give birth to a dream, and it will grow and prosper.
But in the meantime, I ache. I cry. I lose my mind. I say "I can't do this anymore" which, incidentally, is one of the earmarks of transition in labor. When a woman says she can no longer do it, she is near the end!
I was near the end today when I had slogged through another day with a baby who refuses to sleep, a writing project, and mountains of laundry. The entire downstairs looked like Animal House. The boys had basketball at 6pm and it was 5:25 when I started cooking the chopped sirloin for Philly Cheese Steak. I set the buttered buns under the broiler, sauteed the peppers, garlic and onions with the meat, opened the Italian Cheese Blend and began assembling sandwiches on the counter next to my stove which is about the size of a postage stamp. It smelled amazing and my tummy was really rumbling. One boy came up to talk to me, another boy was under foot, an errant elbow flew out and BOOM. Three steak sandwiches ON THE FLOOR.
I lost it. I screamed and cried and kicked a chair. I ran upstairs with the baby who refused to sleep, set him in the crib and stared at the ceiling while he screamed. "I CAN'T DO THIS!" I wept. And here's the kicker...while I was crying I hit my phone and called a person I had been interviewing for an article. They heard me wailing for 40 seconds before I realized what was happening and hung up. And when the guy called back, afraid someone was hurt...I had to tell the truth. I had dropped some sandwiches on the floor. It sounds so ridiculous when you say it out loud.
Of course it wasn't just the sandwiches. It's the house and the baby and the money and work all balled up and chasing me like Indiana Jones. And I am OVERDUE. I hurt and I feel sick and tired and ready to pop. When is this going to HAPPEN?
My son Linus was born 16 days after his due date. I remember when I was a week overdue weeping hysterically because I just wanted to HOLD HIM. I cried so hard I threw up. That's how I feel now. But when I remember that he came out, in his own time, and absolutely perfect, it sometimes makes it easier to wait. Sometimes.
I'm trying to remember that the best things come to those who wait. That being pregnant with possibility is not so different from being pregnant with a child. It's best not to rush things. Let them come in their time. And when you think you can't take it another second, that's where you find your real strength. And when you do, you will be blessed beyond belief.
If our family's future turns out as beautiful as these sparkling, overdue children, I think we will be ok.