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Waiting For Labor

At 39 weeks pregnant, I can’t think about anything except going into labor.

Is it going to happen now?

How about now?

Maybe now?

I worry that my water will break while I’m at work, when I’m in a meeting, while I’m driving or while I’m in bed.

I’ve considered putting plastic on my couch, which is only a year old, because I don’t want to ruin it.

I’m exhausted from the worrying.

And, although this is my second child, I don’t really know what real labor feels like or what to expect.

With my daughter, I was induced because she was a week late.

When I woke up on Aug. 8, 2005, I knew I was going to have a baby in the near future. I remember putting on makeup, doing my hair and fussing over what to take to the hospital.

I spent 48 hours in Memorial Hospital being pumped full of pitocin to bring on contractions. A doctor broke my water. And I opted for an epidural sometime during the second day of labor.

Although the overall experience wasn’t much fun, and my daughter still didn’t come until she was ready, at least I had a schedule.

Right now, there is no schedule. Just a due date, which I know could come and go without a hint of a contraction.

My husband joked recently that we should always be showered and ready to go to the hospital, just in case.

But I know that it doesn’t matter how much I plan, my little boy is going to come when the time is right for him, not for me.

In other Eberle family news: My daughter never ceases to amaze me.

Just when I think I have her figured out, even a little bit, she does something I never expected.

Take this past Saturday night, for example.

My husband and I were lounging on the couch with Mara stretched out between us. We were watching TV, counting down the minutes until bedtime. Mara seemed to be winding down.

It was a rare moment of peace and relaxation that I should’ve known couldn’t last.

“Mara, get your toe out of your eye!”

I heard my husband say the words but didn’t comprehend them right away.

Then I looked at our daughter, who was curled in half, pushing the big toe on her left foot into her left eye.

“Mara!” I said. “What on Earth would possess you to put your toe in your eye?”

Instead of answering, she stopped poking herself in the eye and stuck her toe in her mouth.

“Eh! Get your toe out of your mouth!” I yelled, mostly because I was shocked by her bizarre behavior.

Mara, who had apparently gotten the reaction she wanted, stopped sucking on her toe and laughed.

My husband and I looked at each other, shrugged and shook our heads. “At least she had a bath already,” I said.

We both knew why she acted up. We hadn’t been paying enough attention to her, because no amount of attention is ever enough for a 4-year-old.

Kara Eberle is editor of Smart. Sign up for a free subscription to the magazine at www.smartmamapa.com/subscribe.

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