[I am jumping back in the story – alas, I’ve long abandoned hope of a chronological account.]
At 38 weeks it is inevitable. It is pressing on us from all around – at any moment labor could start and then we will have a baby and then we will always always be parents. I have never felt the inevitable like I feel it now, even when other things were just as certain and binding.
Perhaps it is because this inevitability is accompanied by so much unknown. You are a stranger to me. I know your movements and little else. It is enough to establish familiarity, a curiosity, but who will you be? And who will I be, as I am born anew into this?
At 40 weeks it feels improbable. Sure, we have a washer and dryer. We have the car seat installed. We have the crib set up and my belly is enormous. But this is our new normal. I will be pregnant forever and all the rest is a bit of pretending. I stop moving things around in a frenzy of preparation. There is a stack of diapers I haven’t washed yet. But we have time – we have all the time in the world.
At 41 weeks it is once again cerebral. I end where I began. There are twinges – things that say: You are not what you were. You are not yet what you will be. At 41 weeks and waiting it is hard to remember the wonder, to recall how I thought I’d feel at this time: peaceful and abiding in the process. I walk and walk, aggravated that with all my effort there is nothing to show for it. I remind myself that effort does nothing during labor, that this is a time to let my body progress and trust, but then I swear at that other self because she is pretentious and I hate her.
The days between 41 and 42 weeks are blurry, emotional and restless. I rubbed a lot of clary sage onto my ankles. I logged a lot of miles, walking on curbs because I’d heard it could start things up. I walk the graveyard. I walk the path along the lake. I walk the neighborhood and wonder if anyone sees, if a woman stands inside a window and points and says “There she goes again.”