Any sign of baby?
Baby here yet?
Are you in labor?
Hurry up and pop that thing out!
When is that baby coming?
Each one I answer with some version of “no.” Whomp, whomp.
I also wake up each morning with multiple voicemails and phone calls asking how I am feeling and if today is the day. I truly appreciate so much that many people care about this new sweet little one. It means a lot to me to be so supported and loved and worried about. However, I hate the expectation that something has to have happened by now- after all, I am only 40 weeks. It stresses me out and prevents me from staying in a mindset that is free of fear. Even my WTE Pregnancy Tracker App is kind of pushy about it – “You are past your due date.” Gee, thanks. (Also, a pumpkin?! Really? Yikes!)
I keep reminding myself that due dates are estimations. Babies can come before or after and it’s actually okay! The average pregnant woman gestates for 41 weeks or so. It’s normal to be “overdue”- actually a term I wish we would abolish because it doesn’t really fit the reality of the circumstance. It creates an attitude that something is going “wrong” when in fact all is well and baby just needs a few more days to bake to perfection. Sure, I’m uncomfortable, but being pregnant is not unbearable. I am trying to enjoy it because this is very likely to be the last few times that I ever experience a baby moving in my womb. It also may be the last time I can convince my husband to paint my nails for me without complaint. I am definitely enjoying these last sweet moments.
And thinking about it further: one of the most wonderful, yet hardest things after having each of my girls was the moment I first held them in my arms. After being stunned and shocked with love for them, I was also blindsided with the realization that they weren’t only mine anymore. One of the most terrifying moments for a new mom is realizing that you have to share. Handing over a new baby that only I had held for the last 9-10 months to someone else to hold for the first time- when grandparents came to visit or aunties and uncles wanted to get to know them- sometimes was a fight inside with my inner self. I had to talk myself out of not snatching them right back or deciding that I needed to nurse them or put them to sleep right then- just to get them back into my arms. There was always an intense desire to protect my helpless newborn from the world. After all, I was mama and that was (and is) my job.
So right now, I’m calm. I’m okay being past our guess date. After all, it’s only a guess. There is something so organic feeling about it… I’m learning to really trust my body and allow it to function as nature intended. It’s all new to me, going forward with a homebirth and not relying on the standards of an OB or hospital protocol. It feels wonderful.
I won’t lie and say I didn’t want it to happen a little sooner. The last week has been really hard. My mom leaves today. I had my older daughters both at 39.2 weeks so we fully expected this baby to come early as well, which lined up with my mom’s spring break schedule. It looks like (as I have been told by countless birth professionals) this third baby is the wild card. I never expected to reach (much less pass) my due date. And I never expected to be faced with giving birth without my mom by my side. She was my labor support for both of my previous births. It’s a little scary to not have her there. In fact, it makes me want to cry.
This last week there has been temptation to mess with nature and try to “encourage” labor to begin, so that my mom could be here for the birth. I have tried every food that people swear brought on their labor, from Italian to Mexican, pineapple, spicy things, and more. I have been drinking raspberry leaf tea like it’s my job in hopes of an easier labor. I have bounced and rocked on my yoga ball. I have walked my preschooler to school and I have walked miles shopping with my mom and kids. I have even tried a bit of clary sage in my bathwater. I have tried sex. I have gone to the chiropractor. I considered acupuncture but couldn’t get up the nerve to do it (needles- ugh). I have firmly said no to membrane sweeping because that just crosses a line for me at this point, although my midwife has sweetly offered to do so at any time if I want to (and I know she is GOOD at it).
I just really want my homebirth to happen as naturally as possible and I don’t want to do anything that may jeopardize that. I want to labor with zero intervention. I want to heal from my past birth experience and take back the control that was stolen from me. I suppose if I get a little too close to 42 weeks I will be more adventurous in trying a natural approach to induction, because once I hit 42 I have to transfer to an OB and I think that would break my spirit into pieces – especially without my mom to advocate in the hospital for me.
I do have to say it’s weird that I don’t know how dilated I am! I think keeping it a secret is helping me to stay relaxed. I think it’s better not to know. Also, I made a baby arrival guessing thing at bebepool.com/kolker … today is the latest day that anyone has guessed. Unless today is the day and my best friend made the winning guess.. everyone lost! I never would have bet on that! Thankfully we didn’t put any money in the pot.