This little nugget of a blog post has been on my mind for a long time, but I decided (as with most blog posts) to wait till the last minute before writing it (maybe that’s where Marin got her untimeliness?). Exactly one year ago, I was very, very pregnant and awaiting the birth of that little girl, along with family, friends, social media, and our midwives. I was at a within-normal-range lateness still (less than week late at this point) and was still all-in-all pleasant about my in-womb-baby state with the exceptional fear that Marin would decide to make her grand entrance on my birthday, August 17th. But really, what are the odds of that happening? Apparently, they were more likely than her coming 3 weeks late.
But what I’d first like to say is that that hasn’t always been the case. BOTH of my grandmothers gave birth to their firstborns at EXACTLY 43 weeks (sound familiar?). My Mom, with only 2% of mothers (I look into these facts, and so do a lot of post-term mothers who start putting their faith in the statistical odds that they’re still actually pregnant vs. when they can expect to not be), had me on my due date. So to be honest, part of me never, ever expected I’d have a baby before 40 weeks (even though I was always concerned about having a pre-term baby. Ironic, right?). As your-baby’s-not-here humor turned into concerns, a lot of the joy and excitement about having a baby dwindled too. I began to really guard myself, took a social media hiatus, and watched Mike hate going to work everyday he thought our baby would, and statistically, should have come. But she didn’t.
Here is a brief and amazing list of the things I wish well-intentioned people didn’t say to me at that time.
1) How long are they going to let you go?
There are so many things wrong with this question that it probably took a year for my blood not to boil in responding to it – even if this silly blog post. First of all, ‘they’ (I’m assuming birth team here), didn’t get me pregnant, and I’m not looking to them to get me unpregnant or tell me when I can be done. I’m looking for them to support me, my birth plan, all in the context of (as is the whole blog post, mind you), wanting what’s best for us and our baby. Our midwives, normal birth certified professionals, monitored us daily after 42 weeks and had us going to post-term ultrasounds every 2 days to check Marin, the placenta, fluid levels, etc. Incase I look like Casey Anthony to you, I’m not. I went as long as my baby and I were safely doing so, and thankfully, that was at 43 weeks on no one’s timeline.
2) What if the baby is too big?
Upon making one of those unpleasant ultrasound appointments, a billing clerk (who I was asking about insurance logistics. Story. Of. My. Life.), decided to tell me her opinion on the matter. She explained that I had to come in to see if the baby was too big to deliver vaginally (quite ignorantly since a vagina’s biggest hurdle is head circumference and not weight, but I digress…). I cried. Correction: I sobbed. And called Mike. And sobbed some more. As if the fact that my precious baby wasn’t here (and everyone else’s was all over my newsfeed! Agh!), how do you and your non-medical opinion have any say in what my body can accomplish? Again, nonsense I tell you.
3) When are you getting induced?
You’re starting to see the trend here, right? Everyone is now waiting for your baby to come, and while they’re wanting to know how much longer they have to wait, you’re not necessarily wanting to get your Pitocin on and get this party started. Necessarily. Or at least in my case. See question #1 for further commentary.
4) Are you sure your dates are right? or “Your dates must’ve been wrong”
I’m actually punching you in my head right now, but might smile and nod as if I’m not. This, in hindsight, is my all-time I-hate-this-question-with-a-passion question. I took Marin to a dermatology appointment to get a second look at some diaper rash (all’s well!) and the doctor asked at what gestation Marin was born and I said (proudly) “43 weeks” to which she said “Oh, your dates must’ve been wrong”. I liked this doctor before she said that, and while her care for my daughter was excellent, my mind went to a world of “how dare you!”. You’re going to undermine my experience because it wasn’t your own or because your textbook says it can’t be that way? There’s just no empathy in this kind of statement. I was looking more for a – “that must’ve been hard, but it sounds like she was worth the wait”.
As much as this post is getting these feelings off my chest, it’s about also moving forward and encouraging your wobbling pregnant friend who’s most-likely somewhat uncomfortable, an internal emotional mess, and who wants their baby here happy and safely more than you. Encourage that mother, cheer for her birth plan, and while you’re at it, take her out and do something fun that you can’t do once that lovely lady has a newborn.