I am 39 weeks pregnant, as of yesterday. Baby sister is due in less than a week now, on Christmas Day. I've crossed off the most important items on my maternity leave spreadsheet and Jon has crossed off all the important things I tasked him with. Our Christmas shopping is pretty much under control (though I'm afraid our gifting is pretty much limited to our immediate family that we're seeing this holiday season, despite my best intentions). We just need to wait for the final deliveries and find all the presents and packages that we've been squirreling away in random places. And, you know, wrap them...
I've washed all the baby clothes; rearranged the nursery dresser and closet; purged and organized the hall closet and bathroom; cooked and frozen at least eight meals that we can reheat easily once our hands are full with a newborn. My bag is ALMOST packed, the camera is ready to go complete with a new lens, I've finished the reference document for Alice's daily routines. My mom is here now, helping occupy Alice and helping me cross off the last things on my list, like baking Christmas cookies.
I know I should take advantage of this time to rest, to relax, soak up time with Alice, and enjoy these last days as a family of three. I'm having a hard time getting there. I can't stop thinking of things that could be done, organized, rearranged. I see dirt everywhere and I want to bleach it out of existence. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep, I've been searching and shopping the interwebs for Christmas presents and things we need for the baby. I add things to our daily "To Do" list calendar and buy things from my phone, in bed, in the middle of the night. We're getting multiple deliveries a day, piles of packages left on the porch. But our Christmas shopping is done, we have most everything we need, and I'm cutting myself off from internet shopping (or Jon is, he's threatening to turn off the internet when we go to bed. He's tired of waking up to new "To Do" lists).
I still have two more weeks before I have to cross this bridge, but I want to go into labor naturally before my health care providers try to induce me at 41 weeks on the dot. I don't want to have that fight again, I don't want that cloud hanging over me for the next two weeks during the festive holidays. I'm ready to meet this baby. I want to give birth and bring her home in time for Christmas Eve so everyone can have an extra-merry holiday snuggling a new little gift.
In addition to the flurry of holiday prep and fervently wishing that she'll be born before Christmas, I'm cranky and physically uncomfortable. Everything is difficult; sitting, standing, walking, sleeping, rolling over, getting up, sitting down, putting my clothes on. I'm done. And so I'm waiting. Waiting for this baby to make her move. Waiting for my body to give me the signs that labor is starting. I find myself, in the midst of difficult and uncomfortable moments, unconsciously uttering a single-word prayer. Please.
Jana Studelska calls this The Time of Zwischen, co-opting the German word for between. This is the time between the motherhood of pregnancy and the motherhood of birth and the newborn days. She writes about it much more eloquently and evocatively than I can, in my weary state of zwischen. Her words comfort me, though, and I try to follow her advice and let myself go with it and be OK here. And so, I wait.