Lots of pregnant women go past their due date — sometimes well past. We’re talking WEEKS past, not days. It’s super common. But not for me.
Peanut arrived at 37 weeks, 3 days (and I went into the hospital at 37w/2d). I had a nearly painless labor and the weeks/days leading up to her birth were relatively easy. I felt no Braxton-Hicks contractions, no painful contractions at all… basically no real pain to speak of. It was CAKE.
My OB has been away for 3 weeks, so I’ve been seeing Dr. Fill-In — the same doctor who saw me the day I was sent to labor and delivery with Peanut. She remembered me because of my strange checkup that day back in 2012: 6cm dilated, completely effaced, large bulging bag of waters, and absolutely zero contractions or pain. Weirdness like that tends to stick with you.
Last week, I was 1cm dilated and 25% effaced. This week, I was 2-3cm dilated and 60% effaced. Things are happening, but not nearly as fast as last time.
On top of it, the relatively painless experience I had last time is a distant memory. I have pain constantly, whether from Squeak using my cervix/bladder as a trampoline or crampy pains that last anywhere from 5 seconds to half a minute (I’ve discovered that they mostly happen after I eat, which means it’s my intestines voicing their displeasure with the situation). It sucks. I can’t pick up 30-pound Peanut for more than a few seconds before shooting pains start coursing through my abdomen. Everything hurts.
So here I am feeling sorry for myself, bummed that I’m past the Peanut birth point and still no Squeak. My brain knows that it’s irrational to be depressed when I still technically have several weeks to go. But my set point is 37 weeks, 3 days. That’s what feels normal to me. Every day past that is brutal and feels like a major punishment.
I mentioned in my last blog that my doctor has agreed to induce me August 4th, five days before my due date, because my husband has to go out of town for work August 7-9. His work trip is not negotiable. It might have been 9 months ago, but we got cocky and thought, “Surely Squeak will be early like Peanut! We don’t need to cancel it!”
(Wow. We were REALLY stupid. I’m kicking myself for that decision now.)
I was all set on the August 4th induction plan, but then I fell victim to a Random Internet Article.
Written by a labor and delivery nurse, she recounts a traumatic maternal death, where a woman bled out after giving birth. It was scary. Her advice to pregnant women:
We all have to start working together to make sure that you and your baby leave happy, and healthy, and together. No one thinks that this is something that could happen to them. … But it can happen, it does happen, and it is happening every day in the United States. Unless there is a medical reason to be induced, wait for labor to start on its own.
That last line got me. Especially since I’m all queued up for a not-medically-necessary induction in a week and a half. And now I’m terrified.
My alternative to being induced is taking the very real chance that I’ll give birth without my husband. It will be just me, my friend Shannon (who has graciously offered to be my Faux Husband for the birth) and my rookie doula, all while my husband is 9 hours away. And while part of me wants him to be there for him, a much bigger part wants him there for me — for support.
The 4th of August is still over a week away. I could go into labor any time between now and then. The amount of dilation doesn’t tell me how soon I’ll give birth to Squeak, but it does tell me how quickly I need to get my ass to the hospital if my water breaks. Given how fast things happened last time, I consider that to be valuable information.
I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself and this situation I’m in. Yes, it’s not unique to be 38 weeks pregnant. But most women don’t have the added worry of a might-be-absent husband to tack onto the last days of their pregnancy. For most, going to 40 weeks just means more days of major discomfort and pain. For me, it means giving birth without my husband with me, 1950s style.
Squeak is a saucy little bug — I predict this based on the amount of dramatic movements I endure on a daily basis — and I’m scared that he (or she) is holding out until August 8th. Peanut’s birthday, and also our wedding anniversary, just to doubly ensure we are not permitted to properly celebrate our anniversary for the next 18 years. And oh yes, the 8th is part of the 3-1/2 day window that Daddy will be in Michigan.