This has become the theme of my life now: Just in case.
Last week's overnight hospital stay? Just in case.
The follow-up appointment two days later? Just in case.
Nana's amazingly generous and enormously helpful one-day stay on Tuesday? Just in case. (And, to help me out with the physical stuff that Tom was not around to do.)
Mima's overnight visit at our house, through this afternoon? Just in case.
Today's brief hospital adventure? Well, I've really got to chalk that one up to an episode of temporary near-insanity. But with all of the uncertainty I've been wading through lately, can you really blame me?
I'm still caught up in that same tug-of-war of emotions. I want what's best for my baby, but my need to secure an end to this agonizing countdown-with-no-forseeable-end seems always to win out in the forefront of my mind. I'm forced to admit it. I'm ready to have this baby. Now.
My desires took on a particular urgency yesterday, when I observed what appeared to be more than just "spotting" going on, and grabbed on to a bit of hope, despite my best efforts not to. Pair that with my particular situation, in which I had my mother-in-law around for help, support, and childcare, and my mother on the way with plans to stay overnight and provide the same benefits through the evening and into the next day.
It was a beautiful space of time in which I didn't have to worry about what we would do with the children; where Tom and I were free to get up and go if the need arose. But though the contractions continued on as they've been doing, they never organized or increased in intensity.
I woke up crampy, sore, and contracting this morning, but it was the same old deal. No pattern, no particular strength. And I began to feel increasingly stressed, as my tiny glimmer of hope appeared to be slipping away. I know the deal by now: these "signs" of impending labor are notoriously bad predictors of just when labor will hit, and though bloody show can precede labor by 24-72 hours, it doesn't mean that it will. I could potentially still have weeks ahead of me. And even if it is just days, I've missed my safe little window now. It's back to just Tom and me and the kids all over again, and my constant worries about just how we will organize ourselves quickly and efficiently when The Moment comes.
With all of these thoughts throbbing in my brain, I started becoming consumed by unease and anxiety. As I often do when I feel this way, even though there's often not a simple answer as to why, I searched for a source. And somehow, I began to focus on how long it had been since I felt the baby move. There wasn't really any activity of note when I woke up in the morning, but then again, that's not exactly Raspberry's busiest time. Hadn't felt anything after breakfast, either. Nor did I feel anything as I sat in the playroom, watching over the babies and watching the minutes tick by. With Mima around to take over playroom duty, I decided to take a shower, but I had to calm my growing fears first. So, I ate a couple of Thin Mints, drank a few ounces of cold seltzer water, and lay down. Nothing. I shook my belly around a little. Finally, I got a little shrug, but it seemed slow and weak compared to what I'm used to.
Panic began to set in. I turned to Tom, who suggested that I just call the doctor and talk to someone. The advice nurse, hearing the stress in my voice, thought it best that I come in and be monitored just to ease my mind. I made plans to head to the doctor's office, but received a call just before leaving that because the office was closing early due to snow, I should head to the hospital instead. My heart sank a little at the news. I didn't mind the extra distance, and the monitor there was certainly going to be just as good, if not better, than the one my doctor's office has. But I feared my own response to being back there again, and my tendency to lay my hopes in places they should not go.
What if the stars aligned and things started to happen while I was there? Well, I'd be set! It would all be so perfect...
Silly thoughts from a slightly crazed mind, and I knew it. And I didn't want to "go there." But I needed to hear my baby's heartbeat and be told that everything was okay, so off we went.
I got hooked up, Raspberry began squirming up a storm in a futile attempt to dislodge the monitors, and I had an internal check done while I was there.
Only to find, that despite these "signs" to the contrary, I've had no progress at all since Friday. I'm still at four centimeters, and there's just no way to predict when that will change.
Not only did I feel incredibly disappointed, I felt foolish, as well. Mommy instinct: 0, Mommy irrational paranoia: 1.
And now, here I sit, trying to beat myself over the head with the reminder that this is time to cherish (Who knows when/if I will ever be pregnant again? This is special time with my baby that I won't ever get back, etc, etc.), and getting nowhere. The anxiety is loud, bright, and all-consuming. And coupled with it is my growing dismay at the various ways in which I've managed to turn other people's lives upside-down due to my own unpredictable circumstances.
You'd think, that in the midst of it all, I'd finally have my hospital bag packed, just in case. But that's one task I can't seem to tackle. With all of the "false starts" I've had, it never seems to be worth doing just yet.