Have you ever just needed someone to snap you out of your current mindset or limited perspective? Sometimes we know it and fight it; other times, we don't even realize it!
Can I just say right now that there are SO many resources out there about pregnancy? So. Many. I went through a time period in the first trimester where I tried to absorb everything I could get my hands on. Then, I realized that I was reading too much. Thinking too much. *Worrying* too much. The plethora of information was overwhelming and causing some anxiety.
So, I stepped back for a bit. Shifted my focus. Got into a better mindset.
Later in the second trimester and during the third trimester, with a better mindset in tow, I tiptoed back into doing a little bit of research (because goodness knows this baby is coming!). My perspective was that knowledge could help prepare me not to be anxious - the opposite of how I'd approached knowledge previously. My goal was to learn a few things about labor and delivery so that *IF* one of those situations comes up in my own L&D, I wouldn't be as anxious in the moment because I would have heard of them before and seen how they could be addressed. Instead of having a pessimistic outlook (thinking "this is going to happen to me, I just know it"), my aim was to have a realistic/positive outlook (thinking "this might happen to me, and if it does, I'm going to take it in stride").
The approach has worked for the most part...up until last week. At my latest doctor's appointment on Wednesday, I was clearly progressing towards labor (ladies, just imagine some positive stats), and the doctor gave me a 50/50 chance of making to this Wednesday's appointment without going into labor beforehand. One of the positive stats was that she tracked fairly regular contractions. I had called in two days before the appointment about the contractions because they were occurring with some regularity and were pretty strong. When I called and spoke to the nurse, I got the impression that she thought "Awww...first time mom thinks she's having contractions at the 37-week point." I was told to call back if the contractions got painful, my water broke, etc., and otherwise they would see me on Wednesday. So, I felt a little justified when the monitor at the appointment confirmed the contractions. The doctor still said I should wait to officially track the contractions until they hurt and sent me on my way with the expectation that she might see me before this coming Wednesday.
Let's just say the contractions have lasted the whole week. Here's my concern: I'm an athlete. Or, at least I was in my school days, and I like to think I stay decently active. Anyways, I've dislocated a shoulder twice, hyper-extended a knee, shattered a wrist in 7 places, and broken both feet and an elbow in one fall (that one's a story for another day...). So I'm a little worried that I have a high pain tolerance and that when the doctor says I should start tracking contractions when they are painful...will I know when?
This week, I've been really looking into other mother's birth stories and progressions: Did their water break? Did they have the typical contractions that got to 5-1-1 before they went into the hospital? Well, it turns out, only around 15% of women's water breaks on its own - the rest have it broken at the hospital during labor. And I know a number of women who did not have the typical contraction situation (or didn't even go into labor and had to be induced). Ack!
Unfortunately, I've allowed these differences and questions to fog my mind and cause doubt and concern. Even last night, Jacob and I sat on the couch and counted the contractions for an hour, and they occurred with a 6-min frequency, lasting about 1-min each. BUT THEY DIDN'T *HURT*. What does that mean? I called the on-call physician, and she echoed my doctor: Until they hurt, I probably don't need to grab my hospital bag. She did say I could go to the hospital for monitoring or wait them out until morning. We decided to wait.
Back to the purpose of this post. This afternoon,a friend texted me to check in on how I am feeling. I relayed the latest update to her, and she told me that her water broke with all three of her pregnancies. Then, she said something simple and profound - exactly what I needed:
"Isn't it amazing how we all have different experiences in bringing life into this world?"
Before I really had time to think, I responded "Yes - I think it forces us to place our trust in God more. There is no one formula!"
And then I sat there and let the thought wash over me. My words made sense, but am I living them? Am I trusting God in the midst of the unknown? Maybe in some moments of the day, but there have definitely been moments of frustration and uncertainty where I should have turned to God first.
With a renewed perspective, I go into the night and this week casting my anxieties on my Father because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). We will see what tomorrow brings.