William is almost here. I can see the finish line. Today marks 36 weeks and 2 days. Anya was born at 37 weeks and 2 days. I feel excited, but at the same time, the next few weeks are daunting, to say the least.
Past experiences tend to dictate your expectations when faced with the unknown. The second time you drive a car is a bit less scary than the first time - unless, of course, you got in a major collision the first time. In that case, I imagine you would be scared shitless. But you can mitigate that a bit, at least, by sticking to a safer environment - a parking lot, or a quiet street.
I'm not going to have a parking lot to practice in.
William's birth will happen whether I am ready for it or not. I might be just fine and able to give Kayleigh all of the support that she needs - but there's a very real chance that I won't. That's how we're approaching this birth: on the assumption that I will be completely useless.
In a way, this mindset relieves some anxiety, by forcing us to get other help. We've hired an excellent doula, who will be able to give Kayleigh all of the help that she might need. We'll also have Kayleigh's sister to lend a hand.
Looking at the birth in a more selfish way, though: there's only so much planning that can actually help me. Even if I know all of the meditative calming techniques on the planet, I can't know whether I'll know how to use them when I need them. Anxiety tends to prevent me from thinking correctly. There's no magic one-time drug I can take (or at least, not one that wouldn't make me drowsy). I might be in a state of complete panic, and unable to do anything about it.
But I will get through it one way or another. I know, deep down, that William will be fine. I just don't know that I'll be able to hold on to the comfort of that thought. As someone who likes to be in control, that scares me.
And at the end of the day, I am not the one having to give birth. I am not the one who will be born. Compared to what could happen to those two, my fears seem a bit trivial. I can only hope that I will be able to give my wife and son all of the help and attention that they deserve.