I was preparing for a late baby all along.
My mom went late with all 4 of her births. My oldest sister would have gone late, but she was induced because her doctor was going out of town. My other sister was late on both of hers. I wasn’t going to enjoy waiting (remember, I suck at patience). But I was prepared for this thing to go way past my due date. Which is why I was so surprised when I went to the doctor this week.
Four days ago, I went in for my 36 week appointment. I apologized to my doctor for the “snot factory” she was about to encounter — sorry, TMI — because there was an obnoxious quantity of mucus [I hate that word] flowing, which showed no signs of stopping. This had been going on about a week.
My doctor, however, was happy. “That’s a good sign! It means you’re already a little bit dilated, and that won’t stop from here on out,” she explained.
Neat, I thought. I’m dilated! A moment later, when she got the exam started (or, as Jenny McCarthy puts it, when she “turned me into a hand puppet” — omg rofl) and felt my cervix, she started laughing. “Wow, girl. You’ve got one heck of a cervix. You’re already dilated to 4 centimeters and almost completely effaced.”
She nodded, still feeling around. “Yep. Now I’m trying to feel if the baby is head down, but your bag of waters is protruding through the cervix a little, and I am afraid I could break it if I try much more.” She pulled her hand back and took off her gloves. “I’m just going to pull the ultrasound in here and check baby’s position. Because if I grope around too much and break your water, that’s a quick trip to D-day.”
She went on to explain that given the state of my cervix and bag of waters, I could go into labor any time. Or not. But she didn’t expect me to make it the 27 days to my due date. A drop in barometric pressure, or a thunderstorm rolling in, could break my water, she said. But she’d prefer it if I could go 5 more days and hit 37 weeks. If Baby came sooner, no big deal. She was good size, head down (the ultrasound revealed as much), and ready to go.
I asked about an upcoming trip to the State Fair (a tradition in my family; in 32 years, I’ve missed only one), and she put the kibosh on that. “No way. If you go to the fair, I should send you with a copy of your chart, because you’re guaranteed to go into labor if you spend all day walking around in the heat. Go if you want to, but plan on having your baby there,” she said.
I was okay with not going. I could skip the fair, and its amazingly wonderful fried cheese curds that I look forward to all year — if I had my own little cheese curd to take care of.
That night, I barely slept. My coworkers updated their “Baby Arrival Date” guesses in the baby pool (cheaters!). But another night passed. And another.
And here we are, four days later. I’ve gone past excited anticipation to irritation. Nothing has happened. I have weird little contractions several times a day, but they’re short and irregular (Braxton Hicks, most likely). Then a giant thunderstorm rolled through this afternoon, and still…nothing.
Now I wish my doctor had said nothing at all about the possibility of going into labor early. Because every day that goes by just frustrates me more. I’ve been talking to my baby every morning: “It’s okay to come out. Mommy and Daddy are ready, we have all the loot, and I’m all set for you to arrive. Now COME OUT! Because Mommy says so, that’s why!”
*wags finger at belly*
This is a crappy feeling. It’s especially excruciating for someone like me: a plan-ahead kind of girl. Now, when I leave work, I have to make sure all my projects are completely finished and that I’ve debriefed my coworkers on where I left off. I can’t go anywhere without my phone, nor can my husband. And every time I call a family member and they don’t answer, I get a panicked phone call in return: “OMG IS IT TIME?!?!”
(Because of this, we implemented a code word. If we call them to announce we’re in labor and they don’t answer, we’ll text the word “GIRAFFE” afterward so they know the missed call is the call. Basically, a missed call with no giraffe = no big deal. A missed call from us with a giraffe text and they can do a little happy dance.)
I fell for the oldest ruse in the book: getting my hopes up for an early delivery. Now I’ll go two weeks past my due date, just because fate is laughing at me. “Take that, dummy,” it says. “That’s what you get for thinking you’ll be special and lucky enough to miss these last 4 miserable weeks.”
We’ll have to wait and see how Baby wants to cook: crockpot or microwave. 🙂