I was sitting on the exam table in my OB's office today when she walked in, hand me lay down and started measuring my belly. She said that I looked like I had dropped and she wanted to do an internal exam to check my progress. After I was prepped, she did the exam and I nearly started laughing out loud as her eyes got wider and wider. "You are 4 cm dilated and your cervix is really, really soft. How far do you live from here?" I told her it was about 20 minutes. She replied, "As soon as your contractions are regular and painful or your water breaks, come to the hospital. I will see you in a week if you're still pregnant by then."
So, here we go! It's happening!. I'm just sitting around the house waiting for labor to start! So far today I've had a little cramping, some strange pressure/pushy-ness, and Braxton-Hicks belly tightening. I pray my water breaks first as it always has with my babies. That's an easy, sure way to tell if you're in labor. I'd hate to be in false labor, or very early labor and go to the hospital and be pressured into interventions to "speed things up a little." It means a lot to me to be able to just let my body do what it needs to without artificial rupture of the membranes, pitocin, or what have you.
Funny, though. As much as I did not really enjoy being pregnant, it is bittersweet to look in the mirror and realize I will never see myself all big-bellied again. I'll never feel the kicks and rolly-polies of a baby inside of me. I'll never have exciting ultrasounds again. I'll never stare at the growth chart in the OB office in eager anticipation of my little one within growing.
Whether you have 1 child or 20, the child-bearing years come to an end at some point. For some women, it is a great relief. For others it is a great sadness. For still more, it is bittersweet.