Pregnancy is a continuum.
People like to neatly categorize animals and behaviours and stages of life into perfectly distinct categories, but I am beginning to think that none exist. First trimester, Week 16, "the first kick", the on-set of morning sickness, pre-labour and then real-labour.
Bearing in mind that I am NOT yet experienced in all facets of the "being pregnant" then the "no longer being pregnant" phases of life, I feel like I am starting to gain some insight nonetheless. For instance, the slow migration through first and second trimesters brought about an on-slaught of changes to my body and mind, and I had read about all of the aches and discomforts of third trimester. But what I am only now beginning to realize is that these aches and discomforts are merely a slow continuum, a gentle slippery slope into "the expulsion of the fetus" (as my Medical Physiology textbook would say).
Maybe labour begins weeks before labour, if you know what I mean. Labour probably began with my first sciatic nerve spasm which indicated the baby was migrating in the southerly direction. Labour was beginning when my back began aching or my kicks became pinchy, painful episodes during which I couldn't walk completely upright. Labour was beginning the moment I filled my first hot water bottle for some relief. And this morning, when I found for the first time in at least nine months that I could hardly bring myself to eat the food on my plate because of the awful nausea and general PMS-y achiness in my body, that was the beginning too. But this beginning feels nowhere near the actual conclusion. I haven't even felt the need to stop planning events to fill my agenda for the next week.
Contrary to what tv sitcoms will show (or what the beloved Dr. Huxtable would have you believe), maybe a woman doesn't just immediately clutch her abdomen in an instant of sudden shock and declare her baby "done". Maybe instead, women get tiny samplings of the contractatory episodes for days or weeks and then finally the uterus has had enough; hormone levels and uterine stretch receptors peak above a threshold and a positive feedback loop becomes irreversibly triggered. That moment has yet to arrive for me, and I'm sure that the shock of that is something unmistakable.
When I experience it, as is my usual style, you can be sure you'll get to read about it. Until then, I'll be here slip-sliding closer and then farther then closer to the big blast-off day.