I’ve been counting to 40. And let me tell you, counting to 40 is a bigger emotional investment than counting to three.
Yet, I remain forever grateful to my parents for that first math lesson. Learning to count to three was key to reaching 250, 1000, and, well, 40. I lost track of how many times my mom or dad pointed in my direction and said, “I’m counting to three!”
Forty weeks. That’s nine months, which equals 280 days. It’s 6,720 hours. Forty weeks adds up to 403,200 minutes. It’s 24,192,000 seconds, which I looked up. That kind of math is beyond my comprehension.
I’ve done this before—counted to 40, I mean. While pregnant with each of my three children, I crossed the weeks off the calendar, one at a time. Thrilling countdowns, all of them.
Friends couldn’t explain why, but they told me this latest 40 weeks would be different. They were correct.
During my first three 40s, I watched in awe as pregnancy transformed my body. But when the child I once carried in my womb told me a baby lived and breathed in her womb, I went a little heart-fluttering crazy.
While watching my daughter Kristen as an expectant mother, my cup runneth over with joy one minute and anxiety the next. The closer she got to 40, the more unpredictable my emotions became.
I can read your mind. I can. You’re thinking, “It’s your daughter, not you. You aren’t the one who will go through labor and give birth.”
My baby—which she’ll always be—was going to have a baby. Anytime a momma’s baby prepares to experience a big adult thing, Momma’s protective instincts kick into high gear. At least that’s how it was for me.
It mattered not that Kristen’s husband Andrew is a loving and supportive guy. I’m the mom, and the mom I’ll always be.
Distractions helped. Kristen and Andrew chose not to find out the sex of their child, so I put a Baby Pool together. My dad had conducted similar family pools for the births of each of his grandchildren.
For $1.00, each member on both sides of the family received a slip of paper to guess the baby’s sex, date, weight, and length. To add to the fun, I asked everyone to suggest a name on the back of their guesses.
With the pool complete, I looked forward to pregnancy updates Kristen shared with her sister Jordan and me every Tuesday. At 12 weeks, we received a photo of an apricot: “Baby is now about the size of a ripe apricot, but still plenty of time to go.”
At 14 weeks, baby compared to a radish—not my favorite food. But, by 17 weeks, the little one had graduated to a sweet pomegranate.
At 20 weeks, I shared a song on the update thread: Bon Jovi singing “We’re Halfway There….”
At 32 weeks, small animals showed up along with the food examples for baby comparisons.
Sleeping became a big problem for me at 37 weeks when “Baby is now the size of a striped skunk. Stinky, but also pretty cute. Talk about ‘Bebé le Pew’!”
That comparison was comical, but I was too worked up by then to laugh. Keep in mind, I’ve been described as someone who “sleeps like the dead.”
At 37, 38, 39, and 40 weeks, I spent the wee hours of each night trying to figure out how I could go through labor for my daughter. In the end, that responsibility fell to Kristen with Andrew by her side.
Last Tuesday, I texted “41 Weeks!” on our update thread. Along with a photo of a wee bebé girl, I wrote, “Baby Louisa is beautiful and perfect and oh, sooo LOVED!!”
And now my daughter is the momma who is losing sleep.
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