I have a problem with the way we approach birth. Due dates, in particular.
Due dates (often based on guesswork, unless you know EXACTLY the day you concieved, which for many women, is not the reality), set expectations for the birth to happen on or before a certain day. If it doesn’t happen then, you are deemed “overdue.” Yet a woman is still only 40 weeks. Since 38-42 weeks is considered full term, the “overdue” label can be discouraging to the woman and is not entirely accurate. Due dates compel many woman to get induced, often before their body is ready for labor. It’s almost humorous that we expect something as ancient and instinctual (dare I say natural?) as the birthing labor process to fit neatly into our modern regimented world of planners and convienience.
Once the due date approaches the inquiries from friends and relatives start coming in, which bless them, can only heighten the anxiousness. As if your body has the ability to say, “it’s February 14, that’s the due date, baby come out.” Our bodies are not computers and I think when we treat them as such, complications arise…
I write all of this because I myself am a bit anxious (my due date was yesterday). I admit. I can’t help it. I’m trying to stay present, enjoy my kids, the time off, the opportunities to relax. But I’m 9 months pregnant for heavens sake. I have a lot of pressure on my pelvis, I tire easily, and the watermelon that is my belly often gets in the way of things now. I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep. Or I wake up in the middle of the night and HAVE to eat something, but don’t know what. Or I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom (about 6 or 7 times). Not that I’m not enjoying this pregnancy party, but all parties must come to an end, and I wouldn’t mind if this one did, and soon.
Aside from all this, I’ve taken a certain amount of time off of work, my family is in town to help out with the birth and baby, my house is clean, blankets are washed, clothes and diapers ready. We are ready. So baby, come on, make yourself known!
Why is it that the first 8 1/2 months can go by relatively quickly, but the last weeks slow to a crawl, gradually getting longer and longer. I feel simliar to Bill Murray in Groundhog Day–will this day of waiting EVER end?
I’ve been dialated at a three for over three weeks. I checked out at a four last week and was 70% effaced. I’ve had contractions, but only sporadically and not too intense.
To distract myself I’ve done the following: 1) gotten a facial 2) got 2 massages in the past 3 days (one a deep tissue massage and had all the labor inducing pressure points worked on) 3) got a manicure and pedicure 4) went to the movies with my husband and watched The Eagle 5) walked to the park, walked at the mall, walked some more. So I’m doing my part, clearly the labor switch has not been turned on yet.
As far as my birth plan. Here it is: 1) go to the hospital when I have to get into a fetal position or child’s pose during a contraction AND have experienced this type of contraction more than a few times, at less than 10 minutes apart (I’ve never had natural contractions closer than 5 minutes apart before they break my water). 2) breathe, deeply 3) have my midwife (CNM), doula, and sister (a massage therapist) give massage as needed, particularly on the low back area 4) have the baby, without medication (yes, I can do this, it’s worth it, is my mantra). There you have it. Oh, and I’m delivering at the hospital, but a small, intimate, and very personable hospital.
I decided today that I want to refocus on presence. Not just for the birth, but for right now (hence, the present, aspect of presence). Not getting anxious, and allowing my body to take it’s time and trusting that the baby will come when the time is right for both her and me.
P.S. If you’ve had a positive experience with natural birth, could you write me a little note of why you did it, would do it again? I’m committed to doing it for a fourth time, but it wouldn’t hurt to hear some words of encouragement!