Due dates are the worst. No matter how hard you try to view them as an approximation, if the due date comes and the baby doesn't your brain instantly switches over from rational to irrational. Every day past the due date feels like a week. You begin calculating everything, what you eat, where you go, when you do laundry, trying to figure out how it will coincide with baby's arrival. Every bodily discomfort is wishfully interpreted as a sign of impending labor. You're even searching the weather forecast for changes in barometric pressure. Anything! Just give me a sign that this baby will come out!
This is where I'm at. 40 weeks plus 5 days and baby is sitting quite comfortably in my belly.
Waiting is hard, and I don't do it well. Yet there are many times in life when we are stuck waiting. When as much as I might wish or will it, the thing that I want to come isn't coming and there's nothing I can do about it. This particular period of waiting has an end in sight. I will be induced at the end of this week if baby hasn't come on his own by then. I know that by this weekend I won't be pregnant anymore, and, God willing, I will be at home snuggling my healthy new baby. That makes the waiting a lot easier.
But there have been times in the my life where I have waited for something with no guarantee that it would ever come.
Those last few months before I started dating Alex, really wanting to be in a relationship, desiring marriage, feeling like I was ready, and wondering why it wasn't happening.
The two years before Johnny was born when Alex and I were longing for a baby, but no baby was coming. Two years filled with doctors appointments that weren't providing any answers, and the sting of seeing many of our friends have babies while we kept getting negative pregnancy tests.
That kind of waiting is excruciating, lonely, and heartbreaking. It's the kind of waiting that makes me question who I am, and if I've missed God's call for my life. But even during those hard waits, there were beautiful things going on, if I could be present enough to notice them.
When I was a single young woman, discontent with my single status, I found so much grace and beauty in my female friendships. Lovely women who I could enjoy life with. We could celebrate the good things together, and tend to one another's hearts when things were not so good. As much as I wanted to be married, having good friendships that I could rely on helped me to not settle for anything less than exactly what I was looking for in a relationship.
And when Alex and I were in the deep darkness of infertility I was keenly aware of the great blessing of being united with my spouse. We were united in our longing for a child, we were united in our grief, we were united in our desire to seek God's will for our marriage. After we suffered a miscarriage I took Alex's hand and looked in his face and said, "we are going to be really close." We chuckled a little at the time over the simplicity of my statement, but it has proven true. The unity we established during that difficult season of waiting has continued through all the subsequent chapters of our marriage.
So here I am, waiting again. While this period of waiting has a definite end in sight, it's still a good reminder to stop and notice and savor what is good and beautiful around me right now. So here goes.
Sitting the backyard after dinner, when the heat of the day has passed and the sun is starting to get lower in the sky. Johnny picks cherry tomatoes from the garden and puts them directly into his mouth. Trixie points out every butterfly that flutters in and out of our yard.
The cuteness of my children as they are right now. I know as soon as their baby brother makes his appearance they will all of a sudden look like teenagers in comparison. So I will enjoy how small their arms and legs seem to me now, and the little bit of baby fat still left in their cheeks and chins. I will feel how good it feels to hold their little hands, and hear their little feet padding around the house, and to receive their hugs, when they can slow down enough to give them.
A few more nights of just Alex and me in our room. Being able to to talk without worrying about waking a baby. Undisturbed sleep, no babies in our bed. Well, except this in-utero one.
Time for uninterrupted conversations with my kids. Like tonight when I was putting Johnny to bed, he pulled up my shirt so that he could "see the baby." He patted my tummy and occasionally kissed it and we talked about when the baby might come, how small he will be, and how he will eventually grow to be as big as Johnny, and how Johnny will grow to be as big as Papa. For a five year old who doesn't really understand these things, he sure seems to understand so much.
So if you need me I'll be right here, trying to wait well. Because I know it will be well worth it.
"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint." (Is. 40:31)