Here's the image I had when I woke up this morning:
You've been training and preparing for a marathon for months (9 months, to be exact). You're psyched up, you've invited family, friends, photographers and reporters. Everyone is there, ready, excited, watching. You go to check in and get your race number and starting position, only to find out that the rules of the race have changed, and instead of standing in the big mad crush and taking off in a great rush you're going to start whenever you feel like it, but you have to walk. Not only that, you have to hold your two year old's hand, which means stopping to look at bugs and stones and occasionally sitting down to have a snack and a nap. The starter gun will go off, but they can't say when, and in the meantime you, and all of your team have to just walk along the race route.
I've been having what I think they call prodromal labor for awhile now, and it's been getting increasingly frustrating. My body is making progress, slowly, SLOWLY dilating and effacing and my water broke, but sealed up again, and everything is ready, but the contractions are random and not too intense. It's hard to be the watched pot, everyone standing around waiting for some action to happen. It's hard to be ready and feel things starting, starting, never really getting on with it, though.
I've only had labors that started fast, with water breaking and immediate contractions 1 to 1 1/2 minutes apart. Even if it's taken a while to get through the beginning stages, it has at least been INTENSE, and both times I've gone from 3 cm to baby in arms in 45 minutes exactly. So that part, the really hard part of labor, has gone REALLY fast.
This image I'll just keep reminding myself of, though. I AM making progress. I AM getting the work done, just without the drama. That's okay, right? So what if I walk half the race route before the starting gun goes off? That much less to run, right? Now I should try to enjoy a nice walk, a leisurely pace, more time with just two kids to walk with.