I woke up this morning at 6:50. Dustin has been working out of town since Tuesday of this week and he often calls me right at 7:00 to wake me (just in case I don't wake to my alarm) so I can wake up Ella for school. (that's normally his role when he's home.) But today, Ella didn't have school, so I didn't want him to call because the phone would ring which would potentially wake up the kids and I had dreams of them sleeping in. So, I beat him to the punch and called him first. (which, by the way, kept the kids asleep for an extra twelve minutes... hooray.)
I could tell as soon as he said hello that he had been asleep, and, today being my "due date", he said hello in a bit of a panic. I couldn't believe I woke my husband up from a dead sleep at 6:50 a.m! He's ALWAYS awake by then. He's what you might call a morning person. (huge understatement) I assured him that I was not in labor and offered my apologies and expressions of shock that I woke him up. And then I got off the phone and promptly fell asleep again.
During that extra bit of sleep, I had a dream that I had my baby. It was a boy and I had it at home (but really in some sort of swimming pool... you know how dreams are). After the birth I got up, leaving the baby in the water where it was gently floating (I wasn't worried... you know how dreams are!), and went somewhere. I remember feeling disappointed. Not that it was a boy, but disappointed that it was so big! The baby looked like it was about 8 months old rather than newborn. It could sit up and it was wearing overalls and a striped T-shirt and looked like someone else's baby that I know. It didn't feel like my baby.
Then, in my dream, it was the next day and I was laying in my bed with my very large baby. I realized that I had no idea how much it weighed because we didn't have a scale to weigh it on. I was guessing this baby weighed about 18 pounds. I was trying to get used to this baby who felt like a stranger to me and I realized that it had my coloring. It even had freckles. (none of my kids have my coloring which is very fair and freckled, not to mention bright pink when exposed to the sun. My kids all brown up nicely in the sun, but none are quite as dark as Dustin who gets so sun-darkened he looks like he could be some another nationality) Seeing that it had my coloring was a small step toward feeling like it actually was my child, but I was still sad that I didn't get to have a newborn baby. I also realized that we had the baby 24 hours ago and we hadn't called anyone! So, I got out of bed to find the phone to call my mom and just then, in real life, Rohan called out to me and I got out of bed to help him with something. I was still looking for the phone to call my mom after I was really out of bed and it took me a good thirty seconds to realize that it was all a dream. I was actually still pregnant. I was going to get a newborn out of this deal after all, and I would get the chance to love it from that newborn-mother connection point rather than that strange baby that looked like it was 8 months old. My baby would weigh somewhere in a normal, I'm guessing, 7 pound range rather than an 18 pounder who already had freckles, teeth and the ability to sit up on it's own! I was so relieved!
I tell that story because, in all honesty, I've been very nervous about this baby... in all aspects. I've been nervous about the birth. I've been anxious about the change my lifestyle is about to take. I've been in a state of constant disassociation with the whole thing like it's not really real. Like it's someone else's life that's about to change, not mine. Even with my very large belly and very awkward body, I have continued to feel a sense of denial that this is actually happening to me... and soon. VERY soon at this point!
However, this dream was reassuring to me somehow. When I realized it was just a dream and that I would get my sweet, tiny little newborn rather than that big baby that didn't feel like my own, I was SO relieved! And I was excited! Excited to see what it would really look like. Would it really be a boy or would it be what Dustin has been so sure of all along, a girl? I was happy that I would be able to experience the birth and wonder of this brand new resident of Planet Earth! I couldn't stop thinking of that baby in my dream, but I didn't want to think of it anymore. I just wanted to see my own baby! I wanted to see that newborn one whom I will fall in love with... when we are both covered in all the stuff of birth that goes completely unnoticed in that magical moment of connection of mother and child. With those thoughts, I felt a thrill that I have not felt, except perhaps vaguely, in the last 9 months.
I think today I finally feel ready. Maybe that's what my "due date" was for this time around. It was the scheduled date for this reality to find it's way into my heart and become something tangible and exciting for me, rather than a nebulous, anxiety riddled unknown in my life. And it's really interesting to me that I can write this and express it now. I haven't wanted to write anything! And here it is... cohesive thoughts forming and flowing and wanting to find their release.
Dustin is on his way home right now from working out of town, and I feel like I can do this now. Dustin will be home. (having him gone so close to this date has made for several anxious days) I can cope with natural childbirth one last time, with my sweetheart's incredible help and his strength and power to lean on. I can have this baby come into my life with complete joy, excitement and acceptance rather than the reserve, fear and denial I've been experiencing off and on up to this point. Of course there will still be an adjustment period. Of course! There always is. A whole new element is being added to the dynamic of our family and that takes adjustments on all levels and for all of us involved, but I feel a thrill at the thought of it, rather than the skewed sense of fear I've been experiencing.
And I might, just might, even miss this body when it's all over. Dustin keeps reminding me that... to enjoy this for this last time. Enjoy those internal kicks and thumps... the continual reminders of the miracle occurring within me. He also watches me and tells me all the time how beautiful I am, how he loves my round belly, and how I am the embodiment of feminine power. (Golly, I love that man of mine.) I will try to enjoy this complete expression of feminism for however long I have left, despite any pain and awkwardness I feel.
Thank you, Due Date for this gift, and thank you to the unknown baby of my dream who allowed for this expression and excitement to find it's way into the dark fear-places of my heart and bring light.
And for posterity... some photos of the belly. These were taken two weeks ago.
This is my "I feel like a retard standing here smiling for the camera" face!
For this picture Dustin climbed onto the arm of our couch for an 'arial' view...
hence my look of "what the heck are you doing?"
Happy Friday everyone, and Happy Happy Due Date, me! ☺