I’m coming to you live from the newly established guest room in our unfinished basement, where I will be sleeping tonight.
OK, that sounds a lot worse than it actually is. Our basement is unfinished but well-sealed and definitely habitable. We have moved our guest bed down there and spruced it up with a nightstand, lamp and some carpet remnants. We don’t leave mints on the pillows, but we probably should.
The reason I am down here tonight is that we are less than a week from our due date, and my wife is getting more uncomfortable by the minute. Last night, as I crept into our bed where she was already sleeping1, I realized that her outstretched leg and extra pillows were completely invading my usual parking spot. She woke up and graciously moved over a bit to give me some room, but it was clear that she was not having the easiest time falling and staying asleep.
Indeed, after a particularly restless night, she told me this morning that she had been awake from 4-7 a.m. and actually got up to go watch “Friday Night Lights” since she couldn’t sleep anyway. I had a fitful night of sleep myself, but did not notice her three-hour absence!
Last night I had offered to descend to the guest house if it would make her more comfortable. Tonight, she took me up on the offer.
So here I am, a guest in my own home, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new permanent resident. We have reached the point where our due date is now in the 10-day forecast. By every measure, this kid is ready for primetime, but there’s no knowing or controlling when that’s going to happen.
Until I went back and reread this blog post, I had forgotten how difficult this stage of the game had been for me the first time around as well. The urge to nest has hit me with a vengeance, especially on Sundays for some reason. I know it’s supposed to be a day of rest, but after we go to Mass and lunch and put Maddie down for her nap, I’m always looking around wondering what we’re supposed to be doing with ourselves for the rest of the day. This feeling has been especially prevalent the last two weekends, as our calendar of previously scheduled activities clears itself out with the approaching due date.
Since it finally decided to be spring in Chicago today, I decided to go outside and do some yardwork, without any real plan. I just had to do something. I ended up raking leaves in our front and back yards and swapping in Chicago Cubs World Series Champs license plate covers on our minivan that had been sitting in the garage for too long. I also put a new rug down in the new baby’s room, removed some of the wall decor that was a better fit when his room was still our house’s “office” and hung those things in our basement stairwell–a new catch-all for random framed photos, posters…and now my college and grad school diplomas…that don’t seem to fit in anywhere else in our house.
Maddie is feeling the anticipation as well. She has become extremely clingy to both me and Theresa, and seems to be taking an even keener interest than usual in her baby dolls. She is quick to point out all of the things that belong to the new baby, and talks about him a lot.
Although my official guess for the baby’s arrival is April 30–two days after the due date–I don’t really have any gut feeling about whether this baby will be early or late. With the way Theresa has been so uncomfortable and having more random contractions lately, I’d like to believe that the baby will make his entrance a little early, just as his big sister did. I would also hope that he could make it with less back labor fanfare than she did…
On a more serious note, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how I am completely–and arrogantly–taking a normal birth process and a healthy baby for granted. Things were so relatively straightforward last time that I often find myself mentally rushing things to the endpoint and picturing the joyous outcome without considering what a traumatic experience both Theresa and my son will be going through when the water finally breaks, the contractions heat up and we head to the hospital. With several friends who have recently experienced2 scary birth complications, I’ve been trying to be more conscious of how blessed we are with Maddie’s good health and the nothing-but-positive prenatal reports on Baby Number Two.
I’m trying to channel my restless impatience into fervent prayers for those parents whose moments of joy are disrupted by medical worry or–worst of all–whose stories end in unimaginable grief. It’s a necessary and humbling realization for me.
Theresa, Maddie and I have been living up our final days as a trio with that strange-but-familiar time bomb feeling that this kid could come at any time and that we need to enjoy our current situation before everything gets a little more chaotic again.
Theresa and I left Maddie with my family on Saturday night to enjoy one last hurrah date night. As we savored a carefree, Maddie-less meal at Wildfire, we thought about how biology and fetal development were the only things deciding that we should be eating prime rib at that moment rather than tending to the basic survival needs of a newborn. Where would we be a week from now? If this kid likes being on time as much as his daddy does, we probably won’t be twiddling our thumbs, eating luxurious dinners or looking for nesting projects.
Even though I just used more than 900 of them, there really aren’t words to encapsulate the feelings of anticipation that are running through my head right now. This is not the start of a new job or moving to a new house or buying a new car. It’s meeting a new person who will be part of your life for the rest of your life.
How cool is that?!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to fall asleep before the sound of the sump pump going off startles me again.