There are few spectacles more ridiculous at the community Y than a pregnant woman doing hand stands in the pool. Tread-tottering, I come up spluttering, my eight-months-gone belly over turning me before I can turn this baby. Aquatic acrobatics are only the latest in a wild list of things I've been willing lately to try. Balanced precariously on the edge of the couch earlier this week, I felt the blood rushing to my head and baby's lodged somehow more firmly under my ribs. Hips lifted on a stack of pillows, my shoulders grinding into the carpet, I wondered if I could read a book balanced on my breasts at this angle. An ice pack pressed against the top of my tummy as long as I can stand it; an iPod tucked into the elastic edge of my panties underneath my belly, crooning Fleet Foxes and Carolina Chocolate Drops. Come closer, baby.
It's not that I'm afraid of a c-section (my only option at the hospital, ass-backwards as my baby), which isn't to say I'm not. Because I am, big time. But it's more than my desire to avoid unnecessary surgery; I've realized that I want to labor. I want to work for it, want the euphoria that follows twelve hours (or much, much more) of the hardest and best work I'll ever have the privilege to do. I've surrounded myself with She-Ra midwives and doulas, the support of the best husband in the known universe, read a whole hell of a lot, all in hopes of being stronger than I've ever known myself to be. Despite being told over and over again that my birth would never go just as I planned, I psyched myself into a place where I thought that could mean I might eventually need an epidural, or baby would become distressed and I would need an emergency c-section. But the thought of scheduling a c-section before labor begins on its own? Picking baby's birthday? Depresses the fuck out of me.
I would and will do anything to cradle this healthy guy or gal in my arms. Still, we've got time. 25 percent of babies are breech at 32 weeks, only 3 percent at term. Let's conform just this one time, little one.