Over the last several days, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time with my curser blinking helplessly in Google’s search field and my mind in the same condition. I can’t think of the right search term. I’ve tried them all. Nothing is giving me the information I seek. Mostly because I know better than to directly ask Google the question I really want answered: When, exactly, will I go into labor?
Google doesn’t know. And while that sentence should read, “Of course, Google doesn’t know,” some part of me simply cannot believe this incredibly vital information is unavailable to me. I’m aware that my doctor doesn’t know. I can accept that how dilated or effaced I may or may not be has zero correlation with the date or time this party is going to get started. But if I can just read enough women’s responses to various pregnancy questions on enough random forums, surely I can piece together the puzzle, right? If I match their symptoms to mine or complete the activities they believe got their labor going or notice patterns in their (largely rambling, unhelpful) experiences, I should be able to glean something of value, shouldn’t I?
Of course I shouldn’t. But being someone who internet sleuths for a living, on top of simply being a person who, like so many others, derives most of the resources necessary for survival and financial wellbeing via the internet, it is difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that there is any information that is unobtainable to me through digital means. If we recognize the internet for what it is, which is a set tubes connecting every bit of data about the human experience that has ever been compiled (more or less), it’s actually a startling fact. For something so common and as studied as childbirth to be as unpredictable and inexact as it is, is phenomenal. Mind-boggling. Excruciating. Do note, my due date was yesterday. And, while I feel just fine physically, I am officially losing my mind over this lapsed deadline. Tardiness and waiting things out and general wheneverness is not how things work here in the civilized world.
Being a mammal is weird. More specifically, realizing you are a mammal is weird. The cognitive abilities that have allowed us to create such things as the internet and medicine and art are enough to make us forget the fact that we are just animals, subject to the laws of nature. This one law, that states you can’t just will yourself into labor (even though your work is done and your careful planning has deemed it time and your entire family is coming to see the darn kid in two days), is a real challenge. It goes against everything that is natural to me, except, of course, my own nature.