When Monday morning rolled around, I was positively irritated. Another weekend had come and gone, and this time along with my due date, and I was no closer to having this baby. I had already started my maternity leave 10 days earlier and was beginning to second guess everything. It didn’t help knowing that most women in my family had delivered well before their due date. Must be that cervix of steel, I jested to my partner… but I wasn’t laughing.
I had been experiencing pretty frequent, yet completely random, stomach tightenings aka Braxton Hicks on and off. But nothing serious or painful. In fact, I was and still am convinced that I haven’t experienced a real pressure wave (contraction) yet. You’ll know when you have one, my doctor had warned me, but I was seriously starting to wonder about it and no amount of googling, what does a contraction feel like, was helping my cause.
Still pregnant at 40 weeks, I texted a friend later in the day, I’m ready for this boy to come out.
Keep that bubble of peace strong, she texted back. Baby will come when he’s ready!
By all accounts, I’ve had a dream pregnancy… until now. So, I guess a little delay is nothing to gripe about. It is estimated that only 5% of babies are actually born on their due dates. 11% are delivered prematurely and 80% arrive between 37 and 42 weeks. First time moms are notorious for going over and one study found that boy babies are more likely to go beyond their due date than girls.
Due dates, it seems, are anything but predictable so, why do we let ourselves get hung up on them? When my phone started ringing right around my due date from well-meaning friends and relatives wanting a status update, reality started to stress me out. I mean, how many ways can you really say, any day now… we’re still waiting… you’ll be the first to know…
stop texting me… do you think I would have the baby and not tell you? I resorted to answering texts with pictures while I still had a sense of humor! Eventually, I stopped answering my phone altogether. Sorry mom.
Man proposes, God disposes. We can make all the plans we want, but it’s ultimately the universe that decides its outcome. My partner and I have spent countless hours preparing for an intervention free labor and we always knew that things were out of our hands.We agreed early on that we would be at peace with whatever outcome as long as we had a healthy, happy baby. We were prepared to wait it out until 42 weeks, but our good doctor felt that it was best to medically intervene on Friday, the 13th!
Cue horror music here.
An induction, while quite common these days, is still risky, unpredictable and is basically an interruption of normal physiology. “The strict medical definition of “post-term” (aka “post-date”) is a pregnancy that goes beyond 42 weeks. However, recent research has shown that delivery after 40 weeks may come with certain risks, and OB-GYNs have responded in kind. “We now change our clinical practices at 40 weeks to prevent potential complications in both mom and baby,” says Carri R. Warshak, M.D., an assistant professor in the department of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Cincinnati.”
I’ve enjoyed every minute of this experience, even the somewhat gross, uncomfortable bits. I’m very healthy and so is my baby. Even my doctor has joked that I was a boring patient so, there is no reason to expect the worse on Friday. Still, hospitals are intimidating with their uniforms, rules and protocols and it’s natural to be overwhelmed…
During our 6 week Hypnobabies® class, we were empowered to take the lead in establishing good communication with our caregiver and that’s precisely what we’ve done. As we approach a reality we haven’t planned for, I find myself making a mental list to make this process easier to manage.
- Be prepared for a prolonged birthing process. Inductions are notoriously time consuming and draining with a lot of downtime.
- Write down your birth preferences in short bullet points, no longer than a page, and have a couple of copies available for hospital staff.
- Always be respectful and calm while speaking to hospital personnel. They want to help you.
- Never consent to any medical treatment without being fully informed. If you feel bullied or rushed into making a decision, don’t forget that you have a legal right to request additional time and information. You can also request another nurse, politely, if you feel like you’re not being heard.
- Is there a medical emergency right now?
- Am I or is my baby in danger right now?
- What are the risks for this procedure?
- What are the benefits/ alternatives?
- What happens if we do nothing and wait it out?
- How much time do I have to make a decision?
- Be open to change and don’t forget to breathe! You will be holding your baby in your arms very soon!
I can still have a gratifying, yet safe, birthing experience. So much of becoming a parent is
about giving up control and why should this phase be any different? I can’t predict when my son will be born, but I can visualize a wonderful birthing experience, with the kindest nursing staff and a quick and effective induction. I can still envision a calm and peaceful birthing room and project the kind of day that I want to experience with my partner as we bring our son into this world together.