39w2d - And still, the lists are being made, and the tasks are being stricken, and time feels all at once sticky and slippery as I evaluate each ache, each fart, each baby hiccup for signs that Real Labor has arrived.
It has not.
My doula is on 24-hour call. My mother is packed and ready to head here from across the country when she gets the It's go time text. The Mister is around, having scheduled his work to be close to home in the weeks flanking our due date. Every time I ring him to ask something trivial, he answers with, "I'm ready, and I have the chapstick," alluding to the hyper-important job I gave him of keeping my favorite lip lube in his pocket throughout labor. (It's my personal panic dissolver.)
Everyone is set except this baby, who likely chuckles defiantly as I make and freeze yet another pan of muffins. Every couple days I float around in the 90-degree kiddie pool at the Y—I'm all about this optimal fetal positioning hoo-ha—and immediately the baby's jabs taper off as if to insinuate, If you're going to make it so comfy in here, why should I leave, exactly?
The driver's seat of my car is covered in plastic, in the event my water breaks en route somewhere. There's a bag in my hatchback with an extra pair of pants and undies and two towels. (Though friends say anything short of a ShamWow wouldn't be absorbent enough to stave the gush. They use "garden hose" as a flow comparison: Lovely.)
But still, I have no signs that things are speeding up (well, down), labor-wise. I indulge in spicy-as-I-can-handle-it meals, nightly insertions of evening primrose oil capsules, and near-daily walks long enough to leave me haggard but the dog disappointed. The Mister and I, um, introduce prostaglandins into my cervix regularly. What else am I missing from this regimen of labor-inducing methods?
This Monday, May 2, is my due date. And I cannot believe how similarly the end of this pregnancy feels, compared to its beginning. Here again, I sit staring at my belly, willing this baby to be strong and healthy, wondering with abandon what else I can do to ensure the best possible outcome for us three. Only in the fall, I would finish my silent pleas with Stay. Please stay. Hold tight in there.
And now my 40-inch belly fully rests on my lap and I can nearly pinch the heel that sticks most of the day below my right ribs as I assure this child, We are ready to meet you when you're ready to be here. Travel safe. We cannot wait.