forget what I said ten weeks ago

Now that the birth of our third child is imminent–I am due in three weeks, and my OB tells me I could go sooner– one would expect me to be excited, or at least relieved. But I am completely panicked. NOT ready. I am clutching at my current life with my fingernails and digging in, praying for every one of the twenty-one days I have left.

I am more than ready to be done being pregnant; however, it has suddenly occurred to me that childbirth is much more of a beginning than it is an end, since I will eventually weigh less than my husband again (please God), but that will be with another BABY on my hip.

I don’t know why, but I have had to have this realization over again with each of my three pregnancies. While pregnant, I often feel strangely disconnected from the end result. I know a baby is coming, and that’s why my pants don’t fit me; but I feel like I just have to endure this big belly marathon for 40 weeks, and then the stork will come. I tend to lose sight of two rather important facts: one, the reason my belly is big, and that it feels like there’s something moving around in there, is because there IS someone moving around in there. Two, that someone is going to have to come out.

“I’m nervous about the birth,” I told my husband the other night. “Why?” he said, meaning to be reassuring. “You know exactly what to expect now.”

From where I lay beached on the sofa, I turned slowly, and gave him the evil eye. “Precisely,” I said. “Now I know EXACTLY what to expect.”

And yet I feel entirely unprepared. I wondered, briefly, if I should dig out all the birth books I read the first time around, and brush up a bit, or at least Tivo a few episodes of A Baby Story, just to feel like I’m doing something to get ready. But if you learn anything by the third time around, it’s that “being prepared” is a complete fallacy. There’s no such thing. There’s no way to be ready for the upheaval in your life that a new baby brings.

And so perhaps that is why all of the infant clothes are still boxed up in the basement, I don’t have a hospital bag packed, I have no idea where our infant car seat even is,and I haven’t done a Kegel in months. The baby might come any day now, but until the contractions start, I’m telling myself that the stork will have it all handled.