Thin Places at Ikea?
My entire life I wanted to be a mother, but in an abstract way, and I assumed there would be a huge loss of identity. I didn’t know I’d feel the most like myself at my most pregnant.
Monday night I was sure I was going into labour. There was mucus and pain and blood, and then it slowed, and now, Friday night, it’s down to a contractions that seem to mostly happen in bed when I’m feeling safe and sound that are big and slow and require attention and breathing through, but not “real”.
I’d asked this baby ages ago to ignore his due date on the 4th of May, and kindly come any time on or after 13th. I thought I might be whacky doing that, but he’s listening. My midwives, who have demonstrated over and over the power of ones mental state over a pregnancy, are not at all surprised.
Anyway, since Monday, I’ve continued to live my life, sort of, slowly, cautiously. I had one last trip to Ikea with a sort of heavy return on Wednesday (it’s a long story, but a few months ago I decided we needed to redo the kitchen. I was a little worried I was crazy, and it got frantic as all kitchen remodels do, but it was exactly the right thing to do and I’m thrilled.) I slowly got it up the stairs and to returns, bought the thing I needed, and gave myself a treat: Ikea meatballs.
I sat eating, realising it was one of the last alone moments I’d have for a while. It felt sweet and momentous, and quiet. The auntie who put the meatballs on my plate gave me “one extra for free, for the baby”, a gesture I absolutely loved. I tucked into my delicious, cheap food, looking out over the view of Brooklyn and Manhattan, being consciously alone for the last time in a while and there it was suddenly. In the middle of the chaos of having to make one last trip to Ikea, which I had NOT wanted to make, in the middle of a place notorious for sparking arguments and being complicated: a thin place in the Ikea cafeteria.
I thought my water broke later that day, as soon as the last drawer was assembled, but it was… something else. Not pee, just… liquid? From my vagina? This whole “not labour labour” is weird and gross. I’ve leaned into it. It’s been on and off all week. I took the bus to lunch with friends today, almost a mile away today, but walked home, and it took me forever. People smiled at me while I shuffled.
I’m sentimental about it being the end. There have been difficult moments, but I have really loved being pregnant. The girl who lives downstairs is almost six. Her mother told her I was having a baby, and she asked, “Is she proud of herself?”
Yes, kiddo. I actually am.
I can’t wait to see his face. Marley is picking his name, and I have no idea what it is, so I’m giddy for that, too. I knew our first child, boy or girl, would be named Marley after their father – I adore him so much I couldn’t think of a better person to name my kiddo after – but that we’d call them by their middle name for the sake of keeping track of who is who. I turned the task of picking that name over to Marley after I found it was causing me anxiety, and he’s going to tell us both together what it is.
I’m looking forward to not being as cumbersome, and the contractions that come at night are wearing on me. I’m ready to hold him in my arms, and I’m going to bite that foot that has been worming it’s way into my ribcage for months!
But still. I’m really going to miss this.