They say that every pregnancy is different. That it's unrealistic to compare woman to woman, or even among babies coming from the same mama.
Since lil' miss Kate will be our 4th daughter, I've noticed that this pregnancy has had many similarities to the others. I've had many of the same cravings: lemonade, pickles, and greasy food (in the beginning, probably because it was the best at keeping my nausea away for the longest bout of time). My belly button has popped out like a turkey timer on all four pregnancies. And I've carried all my babies high, and that probably contributes to the super-crazy amounts of heartburn I've experienced with each one.
Some things that have been a little different with Kate are the cravings I had for meat and salty things early on in pregnancy, the fact that I didn't throw up in my first trimester, the stretch marks that showed up on my belly for the first time, the fact that I'm able to sleep a lot better than with the other three (when the other three don't wake me up in the middle of the night) and...
I'm officially over my due date.
Yup, who would have thought that the 4th baby would be the latest? Ella came right on time, Allie threw me into labor in the middle of a church service a week before my due date, and Caroline was induced a week early because she was due two days after Christmas, and we honestly didn't want to take the chance of missing out on Christmas if she came a little early...not with two little girls full of excitement waiting for us.
But Kate is enjoying her stay in Hotel Mama, and has requested a late check-out of sorts.
At the beginning of this pregnancy, I began praying about her delivery process and felt led to research the possibility of doing labor and delivery without drugs. At first, I thought that I was half-looney. After all, the other three all came with the help of epidurals, and truth be told I had wonderful experiences with all of them. I labored until I was about 7 or 8 and then got the epidural, took a nap, woke up, pushed a few times, and enjoyed meeting my new bundle of joy! What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing, I say.
Perhaps the full explanation of how I came to agree with going natural and unmedicated in this L & D will require its own post in the near future (or after I actually deliver, and we can see my pre- and post- L & D thoughts). But suffice it to say that for now, I am believing that my body is ready and equipped to do what it was made to do, and I am actually excited about delivering Kate without the help of an epidural. Yes, pain and all. And so living out this decision necessitates that I wait for labor to start on its own.
But back to that due date. And her being late. Maybe it's a 4th baby thing...she's just going to be laid back and go with the flow, right? Let's hope so. Maybe she just is a little scared of the three energy-filled sisters she hears on the outside. I don't know why, but for whatever reason she is content to just hang out, even though we all think she should be done cooking.
Two weeks ago, we really thought she was on her way. I had been having contractions 5-6 minutes apart from dinner time on Saturday night, all through the night until Sunday morning. Brandon headed off to church (on my orders, to get things set up, and because his parents were spending the night anyway, so I felt confident I'd be okay), and by 10am, I was still contracting, but it wasn't painful at all, so instead of sitting at home counting contractions and watching my kids mess up my nesting-clean house, I decided we needed to go on to church. Remember, Allie began her arrival during a church service, so maybe Kate would kick it into high gear during praise and worship or something.
Well, Brandon was super excited, and from the stage, he actually announced that I was having contractions and that if we got up and left, it was because we were on our way to the hospital. I wanted to crawl under the seat, as everyone went into hyper-baby mode. By the time service was over, my contractions were 3.5mins apart, but still not hurting, and I knew it wasn't yet time to head to the hospital. So, despite the frantic people telling me to get to the hospital right away before 'that baby comes in this movie theater', we decided to get some lunch and get back to the house to put the girls down for their rest and go for a walk while the grandparents were still around. After the walk, we laid down to rest ourselves...
And the contractions stopped. Completely. Nada. Nothing. Womp, wooommmmmmpppppp.
Since then, we've been thinking every day..."today could be the day". That following week was so very unproductive, as we both kind of cleared our schedules thinking we were so close. Friends and grandparents all were on high alert, ready to help at a moment's notice.
By the next Sunday, I dreaded going back to church with my huge belly, but thankfully our folks were encouraging and supportive in their comments. Another week passed, and by then everyone (especially me) was wondering when baby Kate was going to make her appearance. Friends admitted to Facebook stalking me, searching for clues that I was in labor or pictures of a healthy baby. Phone calls, texts, and almost every conversation revolved around due dates, signs of labor, advice on getting labor started, and the like.
Back at church on Sunday, I was worshiping the Lord, and I heard Him say this to me,
"Nicole, you and everyone else are anticipating the arrival of this new baby and that is wonderful. My question to you is, 'what would your life look like if you anticipated beholding My presence like you're anticipating beholding this child?'"
How would our lives be changed if we waited, ever so hopeful, senses heightened, eyes peeled for any sign of God's presence in our day? What would our conversations, our prayers, our attitudes look like? How would our priorities and daily routines change when we clear our schedules to wait for Him? What kind of ministry would be done through us if we knew that He would be returning for us soon, and recognizing that there will be millions who don't yet know Him.
So that's what I've been chomping on for the last day because I'm convinced that eventually this baby will be born, but seeking the Lord in all His glory will be a lifelong endeavor, and I want to do it with great anticipation and excitement.
"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut 4:29
What about you?