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No Such Thing as Ready

Still here. Still waiting.

Today I woke up with loads of energy—not a usual occurrence at this stage of the game. As usual, my first thought was Ok, still pregnant. My second thought was Quick! What can I get done today?

I could tell you I'm ready to have this baby...but it wouldn't be true. As excited as I am to meet him, to see his face and hold him close, I don't believe there's such a thing as "ready." Ever. At this point, it’s a battle every day between my body and my brain. My aching, swollen body is more than ready to get the darn baby out already! But my brain goes into panicked overdrive at the thought of actually going into labor: Wait! Hold on! I need more time!

My friends have been watching me spiral deeper and deeper into a vortex of MUST-DO-NOWs. I had to be talked out of making a 45+ minute drive (each way!) to pick up a batch of yarn I special-ordered months ago, for a baby blanket I was supposed to have finished by the end of May (and obviously haven’t started, and won’t get to now.) Thanks to their intervention—and a quick phone call to the store—my yarn is now on its way via USPS for less than it would have cost me in gas. But for every silly, non-essential item I manage to cross of my list, another pops up to buzz around my already-crowded head like a kamikaze fly.

What if I have to leave for the hospital with a bunch of undone errands? If the laundry isn’t folded when I walk out the door, if that Target return is still sitting on the hall table, if E doesn’t get the new crib sheets I keep meaning to buy her? If my special occasion homemade granola doesn’t get baked? “What’s the worst thing that could happen if it doesn’t all get done?” my friends keep asking, trying to keep me calm, trying to get me to sit down for a few minutes at a time.

But I can’t. I’m used to doing it all on my own, and even though my back hurts so much it hurts to stand up , I can’t stop myself. Leaving things undone on my to-do list means relinquishing the precious control I have over my life. Admitting I’m too pregnant to do certain things I’ve done every day for the last nine months means admitting something even scarier: this baby is coming. Soon. And, just like the first time, the inevitability of that terrifies me.

I’m scared of hospitals. I’m scared of labor. I’m scared of pain. Though I realize how irrational it all is, my neurotic tendencies are in overdrive and I’m scared I won’t come home again. I’d like it to all be over, safe at home again with a newborn in my arms and a happy E snuggled next to me, with needles and IVs and beeping fetal monitors all in the distant past. I know I need to pack a hospital bag, but can’t, because that would mean accepting I’m actually going to the hospital. To have a baby. O. M.G.

So the to-do list keeps growing, and I keep running around town, and lifting and cleaning, and reorganizing closets, because it’s keeping me sane (ish.) If I wake up tomorrow, still pregnant, and able-bodied enough to get myself out of bed, I’ve got a busy day of tasks ahead. I have this fantasy that #2 is a little bit psychic, and can “see” the to-do list from his nesting place inside. And when I’ve got that last item crossed off, when everything is folded and stocked and color-coded and organized, then he’ll yawn, stretch, and make his way downward. Where I’ll finally be calm and ready for him. Hey, a pregnant mama can dream…

To all my readers (so talented by now at talking me off ledges!) here’s my question for the day: Were there things left undone when you left for the hospital? Did they drive you crazy when you were enduring labor, or were they forgotten in the happy chaos of new baby? And what did you do to keep sane in those endless, nerve-wracking days near the end? Any suggestions that don’t involve heavy lifting, color-coordinating or alphabetizing greatly appreciated!

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