The Shift

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I felt the shift exactly. My husband said it was last week, and that sounds about right. But at some point I went from endlessly, obnoxiously happy to the most anxious I’ve been in my life. I’m not scared of being a mother, not even a little bit. I’m scared of not being one.

Every day that this baby doesn’t make his appearance is another day that I sit around and worry, endlessly, that something is going to go wrong and we won’t catch it in time. That we will be returning home from the hospital without a baby. Yes, it is morbid. It consumes my every moment, trust me, I’m well aware of exactly how morbid it is.

My desire to deliver this baby soon is not just selfishness. It’s not even really being uncomfortable. I mean, I sit on the couch all day, I’m not that miserable, I’m pretty lucky really (though I could seriously do without the 2 hours of intense contractions that then just evaporate into the air). My desire to have this baby is partially based on the fact that I have waited SO long to get here and partially because I’m afraid if we wait too long, something bad will happen.

This is a fear born out of education, I know too much. I know the statistics. I know that the rate of complications increases once you’re over term, especially over 41 or 42 weeks. I know the things that can go wrong, the long term consequences. I’ve seen them, I have worked with the mothers of these children, I’ve worked with some of the children who have the best case scenario outcome.

I am terrified.

I obsess over kick counts. This afternoon the baby didn’t move at all during the first 40 minutes of the hour I was counting. I tried everything you’re supposed to try. Cold water, juice, laying on my left side. I pulled out our doppler and listened to his heartbeat, which made me feel better, but a heartbeat doesn’t mean that nothing’s wrong. And when a baby isn’t moving because of distress it’s because he’s conserving oxygen, his heart will still beat.

I just felt so unbearably scared. So entirely weighed down, unsure of what to do. I have tests and an OB appointment tomorrow morning, so rushing to the hospital seemed unnecessary, and eventually with some music, he woke up and moved. I judge my child a little bit for only responding to Glee and Kelly Clarkson, but in spite of his girly taste in music, I am just beyond relieved.

I just cannot shake the fear. I cannot shake the relentless feeling that something will go wrong. I am so excited to have this baby, so excited to meet him and be his mother. But every day he’s not here is like a marathon of emotions, of fear, of panic. I can put on a happy face just long enough to pass as okay (which is good since my MIL is apparently coming out here soon, and staying indefinitely, which, no I actually don’t want to talk about at all because it makes me want to scream and while that does seem to wake the baby up, it seems not so great for my blood pressure), but inside, I’m afraid. Always.

I don’t know what there is to do except wait. Try to stay calm. Not try to pretend like I’m fine when I’m not, because I know that’s making it worse. I just need this baby to come. I need to know he’s okay. I need him in the world where I can care for him because right now, I can’t. And it’s making me crazy.

14 Responses to “The Shift”

  • Becky C:

    Doggone hormones!:( I doubt there’s anything I can say that will make a difference, so just know…you’re not crazy!! Sending lots of love, hugs, prayers and contraction vibes!!♥


  • Susan:

    Sorry you are so anxious. I cannot know what is best for you or baby, but almost hope your OB decides tomorrow is baby birthday, even if it means C section, so you can meet and hold him and relax and enjoy him.


  • Oh Katie…I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I hope that baby is born soon. Please don’t hide this…I’m sure being an educated person, you know that depression can show itself as anxiety, and antepartum depression can be a real concern too. Not saying that’s what you have because I’m obviously no expert, but something to keep in mind. Sending external baby thoughts your way!!


  • Mindy:

    Hugs to you.

    I felt that horrible anxiety with all of my pregnancies. The first trimester was always full of anxiety, second was ok, and once I hit 32 weeks the crippling anxiety started again. It was awful.

    I suffer from ppd and anxiety, too, so for me it didn’t get better. Hopefully for you it will subside (especially since it didn’t start until last week).


  • purplebreath:

    Have you tried the wives’ tale list of things to get your labor going? Spicy food? tea? sex? walking? Stop channeling my mother and be proactive. At least try the raspberry tea :)


    Katie Reply:

    @purplebreath, I’ve tried everything that I can think of save for castor oil, because I won’t do that, and I’ve been too lazy to find the tea. But otherwise yes, I’ve tried it all. I’m also a big believer in the idea that none of that is going to work if my body’s not ready, so I’m not killing myself with it at this point.


  • And you thought he’d only give you conniptions once he arrived! Try to take it as easy as you can, and trust your instincts.


  • I was due with my first son on Labor Day. And I even had some minor contractions that felt more like bad cramps. Then…they stopped. After a week overdue, I was induced. Second time around I wasn’t having any contractions of my own and my dad (who had ALS) was heading to the shore so I was induced a week early so he could meet my second son. Both deliveries went great and I am sure yours will too. It is a tough thing, our ladies’ brains that make us worry so. You have done an amazing job these past 9 months and you will be rewarded with a sweet little baby. Hang in there! And good luck!!


  • Jodi:

    I wish you weren’t so anxious, but I have to admit if it were me I would be too! Be sure to express your fears to your doctor tomorrow when you go. I know Friday is your due date, but if things are starting to come along would you be willing to get things started with a little help tomorrow or do you want to labor @ home as long as you can before arriving at the hospital? I know you mentioned no epidural (I think)? Is that because you can’t or because you don’t want one? With “The MIL” joining you, indefinitely (G-d help you) does that mean she will also be in the delivery room with you and and Slappy? Labor may just be the time you get to say what you’ve always wanted to be haven’t been able to. Best of luck, Katie. I will send good thoughts your way, more specifically, thoughts that you won’t have to go to your appointment tomorrow! Happy Delivery, Jodi


  • MisiMarisa:

    My vote is to try sphincter theory meditation and relaxation. Have you read Ina Mae yet? She passes on this theory that says the body tenses up its sphincters, and to open your cervix and labor you should focus on relaxing your mouth and your, well, your anal sphincter. So especially during those times when you’re contracting, if you can, just remember to keep your mouth and backside absolutely loose. I’ve seen this work for moms in labor. I’ve seen it not work so well, but it works for all of them.

    I mean, if you’re already focused on ‘willing’ the kid out, it can’t hurt, right? Might help?

    And yes, as a future (please God!) Labor nurse I’ve read what you have on the increase of complications beyond 42 weeks… but that’s FORTY-TWO WEEKS! And? Only 10% of women make it that far anyway. I enjoy reading you so know you’re an over achiever and I PROMISE it is okay not to be this kind of over achiever!

    All that to say, I’m with ya, mentally at least. And hoping for the best, since I know what all could happen.



  • Gosh, I can’t even imagine how stressed you are. After everything my husband and I have been through (and seen others go through) I know if I ever actually get pregnant, I will spend those nine months completely terrified. You are getting so close! I’m sending lots of good thoughts your way!


  • Tiffany:

    Aw, I’m sorry. Why won’t your doc induce already! Hugs and prayers.


  • Jodi:

    Hey Katie,

    Was today Graduation Day? I am guessing you didn’t participate despite still pregnant? I am so sorry you are not holding Baby Boy McSlapperson in your arms yet. I so hope it’s soon; like happening as I type this. At what point will you have no choice (G-d I hope you don’t get there) but to have an induction? I only ask because I say a “baby program (why do I do that to myself)” on TV the other day where the women was 42W2D and they told her if she didn’t go into labor by 7:00 PM the following evening she had to check in for a scheduled induction. She was working with a midwife and planned to do this with no intervention, no medication, and the help of a doula. She was mad, and very sad, crying sad. She kept saying (she was a doula), “This is not natural! Our bodies know what to do! The baby is fine, happy, etc., as shown on the US and NST!” However, they insisted (I guess they technically can’t make her, can they)? She did, however, go into labor on her own the following morning and had the baby before the induction. All was well, she labored amazingly well especially for not having any drugs (not even an IV); though the baby was quite big. Good luck. I can’t wait to see pictures, hear the name, read the birth story and know that you and Baby Boy are both doing well. You’re a ROCK STAR, Katie. You definitely made this look easy (though I know it wasn’t)! Best wishes!


  • This will probably make you pissed off re: understandably being ready to not be pregnant anymore. But hopefully it will ease your some of your anxiety re being worried about it not being natural/ok for baby to go up to or past your due date.

    Many people say the normal human gestation for a first child is actually closer to 41 weeks. Part of why getting that far doesn’t happen so often in the U.S. is our overly interventive way of dealing with birth (which is NOT a good thing, we have worse outcomes compared to everywhere else with the resources we have). So you can think about it as the fact that you must be getting good care which is avoiding unnecessary early interventions that many U.S. women have to give birth at or before exactly 40 weeks.

    Of course, you probably already knew that since it sounds like you’ve read a ton. And it probably isn’t much consolation for your ready to burst belly & heartburn, etc. But just a thought/reminder, this nurse’s two cents. Good luck!


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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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