Talking the Baby Out

So my due date has come and gone, my belly is round and starting to drop, strangers on the street feel a kind of tribal ownership of my body-- patting my belly and shouting across the farmer's market at me-- You Look Very Pregnant!!! Why yes. Yes I do.  I love that pregnancy DOES connect me with a universal human experience-- everyone is interested and excited and maybe freaked out or pitying-- but I'm not alone in this. It's special but it's universal, too.

I still haven't spent much time thinking about what's happening next-- I worked like a crazy thing up to fall break and through it-- haranguing students about last-minute assignments, grading, crossing my fingers that things would go smoothly over the next two quarters while I take off from work-- and I tell people that working full-time through this pregnancy saved my life. Yes, I was bone-tired, but I never had the time or energy to feel sorry for myself. Pregnancy is not a malady like a nasty cold-- the more you stop and pamper it, the worse it gets. It's better as an exercise in harnessing your will: mind over matter. All day at school I could run, jump, put out fires, start others, bargain, problem solve, leap around like a mad thing-- the second I was on my way home my brain was replaced with a loud empty hum and I zombies my way through every evening. But when it's show time, IT'S SHOW TIME, BABY!

So having the week off for fall break was weirdly------ a let down. What do I do now? Just relax? Just wait? How about.... organize all the files? Clean out my bedroom? Sort through my old teaching supplies?? Run around and around the yellow wallpaper???

The girls are back in school, I am getting texts from coworkers and friends and family-- No baby YET?? Nope. Nothin'.

This baby is making no signs of being in a hurry... my last kid was like this, too-- came moseying onto the scene an idyllic 6 days late with a gentle slow labor build-up and then a quick emergence into the world... I had to go back and reread what I wrote about her birth. It was a really lovely experience-- and the birth of my first kid was really wonderful, too-- intense, but totally happy.

Last night, though, this thought hooked my brain: I'm getting in my own way. I'm hung up. I'm terrified.

I consulted with my sister-- she's been here for a week already, staying with her husband and kids in a classy little condo on the beach in Kapaa. We've been happily availing ourselves of her pool and making pancakes together. She's been patient, but the reason she's here is really to be a help at the birth-- to make sure my big kids are alright and just keep things going smoothly. She's trained as a doula and knows this stuff. She agreed-- birth is intensely psychological. Birth PTSD is a real thing. And yes, you can absolutely get in your own way. And even though I had really great births-- I feel like going into labor is like jumping off a really high cliff into unknown water. You'll probably be okay, but it's scary as hell. I feel like I'm standing on that edge with terrible vertigo, like the last time I tried to hike in Kokee and had to inch out of there half-sitting on the slick sheer path and wait in the parking lot for everyone else to be done. I can't. I cannot. My fears have gained power. Things that used to be easy-- hiking, climbing tall things, jumping into the deep end, going on the roller coaster-- now they're impossible.

But babies-- they just get born! There's no other way out, it's a one way ticket! I keep trusting that and waiting for labor to just start. But are my fears strong enough to be getting in my way? And if they are, how can I psych myself into letting this baby get born?

I took the girls for a nice long walk around the farm tonight-- we said howdy to the family of cute goats-- Mamas Rosie-goat, Maile-goat, Matt-goat and babies Jo and Bexter-- then veered off the path toward the reservoir, around the coconut grove (we noticed dozens of fallen coconuts across the grass like a giant's easter-egg hunt and avoided going directly under the heavily burdened trees) and then back up the steep hill around the bananas, the cinnamon and toward the grapefruit. The cats followed us all the way-- a little poofy about the tail and overly alert as they always are when they leave their immediate territory. As we walked I thought, "down, down, down!" and "low, low, low!" and tried to relax and sway and envision the baby creeping lower and lower in my pelvis. I had lots of nice little contractions and imagined that strong womb-muscle pulling and pushing everything just right. The big girls put their mouths on my stomach and mumble-shouted, "COME OUT BABY SO WE CAN SNUGGLE YOUUU" and announced their plans to dress the baby as a bat or a Japanese tree spirit (from Mononoke Hime) for halloween, to match their costumes.

Now I'm back home, the big girls are in bed listening to an audiobook, Matt is balancing a glass of wine on his stomach and reading about John Cabot on his phone. The contractions have stilled down to nothing and we are back to a tense waiting...

I wonder if my willful ignoring of this pregnancy and general hand-wavy-ness about upcoming major life changes is getting in my way. We don't have names picked, we don't know the gender, we don't have a crib or a really proper spot to put the baby. I figured that babies start out so tiny and with their needs so specific and all-consuming, there was not much to do to get ready. Sort of like the time when a hurricane was coming to the big island and we bought a case of KitKats. Because the scope of destruction is so unfathomable, there's not much you can do to get ready.

But maybe this "It's-a-comin'" attitude is getting in my way.

So baby, this is me intentionally saying, "come out!" I want you! I want to meet you and name you and figure out who you are! Our family will change forever and in amazing and unguessable ways. Your birth will be intentional, loving, and safe. We will embrace every minute of it, let the process happen, imagine everything working perfectly and together to get us both safely through to the other side, both transformed from one state of existence to another.


  1. Oh, Becca. You are not in the way. You ARE the way. Sending you love and my hopes for a peaceful but mind blowing birth day.


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