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This is officially the longest that I’ve ever been pregnant, and I am very ready for it to be over. As I said to my husband, I love the baby, but I am so tired of the bump.

We’re close. My burst of energy is waning, and I’ve been feeling really clingy with my husband. I put up one final affirmation on the wall, thanking God for fear and pain. I put too much pressure on myself to relax and remain calm during my last labor, and ended up panicked and screaming because I felt like I couldn’t stop myself from failing. So this time I’m giving myself permission to feel terrified, to tense up and scream, to hurt unbearably, and feel as if I can’t do it, because ultimately all that matters is holding on just enough to let the baby come in the place and manner that I sincerely believe is the best for all of us. Plus, we’ve already paid the midwife, so it would be a serious waste of money to transfer to the hospital for some overpriced pain relief.

One of my friends told me that she’s excited to see how I’ve transformed with this pregnancy, and wants to hear all about my upcoming labor when it happens. I told her that I wasn’t expecting to be the poster child for hypnobirthing, but I have a good feeling about this one.

Oi

My girls have been so hyper this week, that I’ve decided that my main goal is to survive through Saturday without going crazy. Yesterday, my 3-year-old got the scissors from the kitchen and gave her little sister a haircut while I was busy making dinner. Today, my 22-month-old managed to pour an enormous amount of water down into the basement. Oi.

Is there any hope of the living room staying clean?

Energy

It almost feels like cheating to know when my final surge of energy before baby arrives is happening. Of course, I’m not expecting baby to pop out tomorrow — what would be the point in my hormones stabilizing and finally feeling good if I didn’t have enough time to do anything with it?

My roller coaster of hormones has such exaggerated ups and downs, it’s impossible to not notice every change. I wonder what it must be like for other women, who only recognize these steps in retrospect.

This week is going to be spent catching up and finalizing, packing for the birth center, and freezing meals for postpartum. I also have one final sewing project that I hope to finish, so it can be my “going home” outfit. My biggest concern is overexerting myself and straining my muscles and pelvic joint too much, since I’m not very good at recognizing when I need to stop. My will is often much stronger than my body.

I cooked liver and onions, just to see if I could. It came out very well, but I could only eat about half of mine before feeling overwhelmed by nutrients. My husband gobbled his down, and said that it was among the best he’s ever had. I think that I’ll try to include it in our diet more, especially when I dislike most grocery store vegetables (they just aren’t as good as homegrown). Who knows? Maybe I’ll get used to the metallic aftertaste.

Hiding

I skipped church today because I didn’t want to be around “normal people.” I worried that maybe I was moping too much in depression, that maybe getting out and talking to others would do me some good, but then I remembered having a similar feeling before the last birth group meeting I went to, and ending the night wishing that I had stayed home.

It was difficult to listen to other women talk about going past their due dates, when I’ve technically never even reached “full term” (thanks to the changes made in 2013, my second was classified as “early term”). I couldn’t relate to anything they said, and I was the only one there who had a preemie in my birthing history. Once again I faced the thought that I was somehow a failure for not being able to carry babies for a full 40 weeks.

So I didn’t want to go to church and be around people who wouldn’t understand my physical limitations, or the emotional rollercoaster that I’m on. I know that no one means any offense, that certain circumstances are difficult to comment on, that everyone is trying to be as polite and supportive as they can be, but it was not something that I felt up to dealing with. I just want to hide, with my pile of pillows to nap on while the kids watch way too much TV, and not face anything outside of my own little world.

My husband likes to tell others that we’re planning on having lots of children, but I think that I want to stop after this one. After feeling so horribly sabotaged and spending day after day crying, I just don’t have it in me to want to go through pregnancy anymore.

Security

My last prenatal appointment was cut short when my midwife got the call that another woman was in labor. As she was leaving, my midwife commented that she anticipated it being a difficult birth since the woman’s husband had left her during the pregnancy, and that there were a number of things that she’d like to do to men who abandoned their wives like that.

I’m grateful that no matter how flawed and crazy we are, I have the security of knowing that my husband will always be there, that we’ll always be together, and always depend on each other. No matter how bad some nights may be, we’ll always wake up the next morning with the determination to do better. A lot of people don’t have that — they don’t have the security of being able to scream out the pain in their hearts with the knowledge that doing so won’t destroy the relationship.

I don’t know how I’d survive without my husband there to help me out of bed every morning and walk me to the bathroom, because my pelvis hurts too much for me to manage on my own.

Sometimes I think that the hardest part is how afraid I am of how others will judge us. It would be all too easy to take a single moment and use it to condemn either of us, to accuse us of maintaining a toxic relationship, to claim that it would be healthier for everyone if we just gave up. But our lives aren’t so simple, and behind all of our weaknesses is the sincere determination to stick together and make it work, no matter what.

In response to my midwife’s comment, my husband pulled out his brass knuckles and advised her that they might be a useful tool to have for when husbands leave their pregnant wives.