40 WEEKS AND WAITING...

Happy Due Date, Riley! 

Today signifies the 40-week mark in my pregnancy. Did you know only 5 percent of babies are birthed on their due date? And only half are born by 40 weeks? I didn’t. I really thought that by now I’d be holding my littlest man in my arms instead of carrying him in my womb.

We had another false alarm Sunday night that felt so real we headed to the hospital to get checked out. As positive as I’m trying to be during this process, I finally broke down and sobbed when the nurse told me I had not progressed any further than what I’d been for two weeks now, even after months of contractions and expectations that Riley would come early. Fears of artificial induction and C-section started taunting me, and my hope of having an uncomplicated birth was beginning to seem out of reach. Why wasn’t this happening? And why aren’t my efforts to kickstart labor naturally working?

My mom stayed with us Sunday night to help with Liam, and when she saw how physically limited and exhausted—and how emotionally keyed up—I was on Monday, she gently suggested that I accept help and let her take Liam home with her until the baby comes. As much as I miss my sweet boy when he’s not here, I took her up on her offer, so I have nothing to do but rest and prepare for labor until I give birth. I am starting to feel better now that I’ve gotten some rest, but I’m already bored and planning to go climb bleachers this evening. (Couldn’t hurt, right?)

Process stirs up impatience in me. It’s why I resist recipes that require more than five steps, or why I begrudgingly go through my bedtime routine each night. Waiting means resting, and we moms don’t rest easily. And after 10 months now of growing a human, this is one process I’m so ready to be done with. And the longer I go, the more restless I get.

Process is so important to our personal growth, though. Sure, we start off with a great deal of motivation. And in the beginning, when the start of something new is exciting, we get a burst of energy that’s sure to last us through until the end. But here at the end of this pregnancy, it’s so easy to get discouraged. Energy is low. Discomfort is hard to manage. And the packed suitcase in my closet is no longer an image of the end being near; it’s a reminder that I’m still waiting. But it’s during the struggle, the waiting, the stage right before the end, that we discover more of ourselves—what we’re made of. The glow in my complexion has faded, but does it still burn steadily in my heart? That’s the real question. Do I have what it takes to still hope for a positive outcome, to still push through the increasingly frustrating circumstances and to believe in God's goodness? To get everything out of this experience that I was intended to?

James 1:4 says, “Perseverance must finish its work in you so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” God is using this process to mature me, as a person, as a wife, and as a mom. I’m learning lessons in letting go of control, in trust, in faith, and in patience that I can’t learn any other way but to rely on those virtues when all other tactics fall short. This process is refining me, making me stronger and smoothing out some of my rougher edges. That’s a process I am learning to embrace.

I have always loved the lyrics to “Rolling River God” by Nicole Nordeman, and these words have given me so much hope, especially now when I need it most:

Rolling river God
Little stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through

So I am a stone
Rough and grainy still
Trying to reconcile this river's chill

But when I close my eyes
And feel you rushing by
I know that time brings change
And change takes time
And when the sunset comes
My prayer would be this one
That you might pick me up and notice
that I am
Just a little smoother in your hand