Here I am, waiting for labor.
With my firstborn, I was in early labor for many days at home before active labor kicked in. Twenty-four strenuous back-laboring hours after arriving at the hospital my beautiful son was born right on his due date. My punctual little firstborn didn’t give me much of a chance to sit and wait because even while his due date approached I could tell I was already on the road to delivery.
This time around, with my second full term pregnancy, I’ve had such intense practice contractions throughout that the increase of intensity over time had me feeling like I’m constantly starting labor- without the consistency of progressing contractions. I breathe through each contraction and hold my tummy and carry on through the day. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now.
While this has worked fine up until now, I decided a week before my due date that the best thing for my body would be to rest and to not be managing these contractions in front of the twenty little students that I teach each day. I am a teacher and impending labor is not ideal in the classroom. Now that I’m not working you could say I have a bit of time on my hands. And being a mother already, I know that time is precious and that time alone is almost unheard of!
Having spent my entire pregnancy as a teacher surrounded by chatter and energy in the classroom, this spare time is surreal. My exhaustion level was through the roof and I knew if I was to prepare myself for baby at all I could not do it while working. So, here I am with time, not much energy, but a great deal of excitement and nesting instincts on hand.
So what do I do during this time if I don’t want to sleep the whole time? The following is a bit of what’s held me together this past week as I wait for my little one. In no way, shape or form is this a recipe for starting labor (obviously), nor am I saying we should just move and get out and do, do, do- because rest is an absolute necessity as well. I followed my body’s instincts and waited to see where it would take me. Sometimes I needed to move, sometimes I needed to get down on the floor and mop, other times I needed rest.
And in the end, no matter what I did, as you can see from this list- baby comes eventually. More than anything my goal was for this time to go down in the books as a sweet time with my belly kicking baby and my anxiously awaiting family by my side.
Here’s what got me through the waiting and eventually to my sweet, sweet little babe.
- Start a project- don’t be afraid to go big- like repaint a giant hutch
- Go through your closets and make donations
- Pack your hospital bag
- Go for lots of walks
- Take lots of naps
- Read a book (or at least some articles)
- Reorganize everything in your house if you’re feeling ambitious, or if you’re just looking for something you misplaced
- Write in a journal
- Plan some meals
- Go on a date with your partner
- Go on a date with your other children
- Repack your hospital bag because you don’t like what you packed the first time
- Set up an email account for your baby and start writing them emails to be read when they are older- (my version of a baby book).
- Get together with a friend or family member
- Stay away from people if you can’t stand being by them right now
- Research new shows to stream after the baby is born
- Clean out your kitchen cupboards or refrigerator
- Mop the floors
- Return or exchange gifts you don’t need for something you do need- like diapers
- Do yard work
- Wash baby clothes
- Pull out and wash a few larger size postpartum outfits so you don’t have to try squeezing into pre-pregnancy clothes too soon
- Get out of the house
- Stay home
- Take off work if you can
- Go to work if you need to
- Spend time feeling those belly kicks for the last few days before the baby is born
- Talk to your baby
- Sing to your baby
- Catch up on emails
- Go bra shopping for some bigger nursing bras because you’re going to need them soon
- Put together a big sibling gift for the older ones
- Pack a bag for big siblings in case they need to stay with someone
- Try to identify where your baby’s butt and back is positioned and give him a little back rub, reminding him he can come out anytime now
- Show interest in your older one’s new Pokémon obsession and impress him with your latest research
- Make an email and phone list to share the news with once baby arrives
- Research any last minute questions for your OB or midwife and write them down
- Locate all your chargers
- Remind yourself all day, every day that your body is capable of what it’s preparing to do and soon your little one will be in your arms
- Write a list because once you’re done with that list that sweet baby of yours might just be ready to come (no guarantee, though)! In my case, within twelve hours of completing this list, I awoke during the early hours of the morning already in labor and baby boy was born later that night. Yes, he waited until I finished my projects, cleaned up my house, completed the nursery, got enough naps, had some alone time and wrote this list. And, once again, like his brother, he came right on his due date.
How’s that for punctual children?
What have you found helpful when you’re waiting for labor to start?