I am 39 weeks pregnant with my second baby. Every evening for at least the past two weeks (or more) starting at about 6:30 I start having contractions. They are, more or less, painless, spaced 10 minutes apart and continue until I go to bed around 10. I am at once incredibly fortunate, and unfortunate that this is how my pregnancies go.
Let me describe the delivery of my first baby. It was a Sunday, and though I was vaguely uncomfortable during church it was shaping up to be a day just like any other. At 2:45, shortly after our home teachers left, my water broke and I started having painful irregular contractions. After my water broke we left immediately for the hospital, and at 4:15 (90 minutes later) my son was born.
After the fact I was able to recognize that I was having what is called silent labor. I was most likely in labor for days, completely unaware and having painless contractions. By the time I was made aware that I was in labor I was already well into the transition stage. While this made for a blissfully easy birth (only 90 minutes of pain!) it has led to weeks of mental anxiety for me now.
You see, I don't want to have a baby in the back seat of any one's car, at home with just my toddler and cat to attend me, or at the grocery store or anywhere else in between. I don't want to have a baby at the hospital without my husband there, yet because my husband has a 30-50 minute commute, and the hospital is a 30 minute drive away from our house this is a very real possibility.
When I was told 2 weeks ago that I've started dialating I've been on pins and needles ever since. I've been afraid to go anywhere lest my water break while I'm at the store or library alone with my toddler. I reluctantly watch my husband leave for work every morning painfully aware that for the next 8 hours I'm on my own if I go into labor. I fixate on every discomfort and contemplate if it means I should go to the hospital or not. And every evening I sit quietly with my hand on my tummy (the only way I can tell when they start or stop) and time my clockwork-like contractions attentive to any change in sensation, reluctant to give up and go to bed. (Because who wants to get all ready for bed just to have to dash to the hospital once you get comfortable?) This also sets my nerves on edge and lowers my patience, which later leads to guilt for being short-tempered with my husband, son and cat.
Being constantly on edge like this has really taken its toll on me. I'm having trouble sleeping (on top of regular pregnancy sleep troubles), and I'm feeling more and more depressed. I'm starting to think that I'd take the hours of physical pain over this mind-numbing paranoia.
All of our trials are uniquely our own. I'm sure there are countless women out there who could handle this much better than I can, and there are probably quite a few who would do much worse than I. I'm sure there are even women who would chastise me for daring to complain about being pregnant at all, because that is a blessing that, for whatever reason, they don't have. Yet the comparisons aren't fair, I am now and always will be me. The difficulty others perceive in things that are easy for me should not lionize my success or validate my failures. Likewise the ease with which other people could handle my lot should not denigrate the trial that it is for me.