"Due dates are an estimate," I would say.
"Babies come when they are ready."
"Pregnancy doesn't have an expiration date."
All of these are things that would likely come out of my mouth if I were the birth professional talking to me, the pregnant mama. But that is why I am writing this post, so I can more vividly remember the craziness that a woman goes through in the final weeks and days of her pregnancy!
I remember well going through this same feeling with each of my other babies. With my first, it was my due date though I don't remember even being aware of this. In my mind, I had expected her to come early though I have absolutely no recollection as to why I believed it so strongly. I think actually in searching my own psyche that I had some belief that if I was healthy and I was ready and I had no fear of birth that there would be nothing to hold me back from birthing before my due date. Of course that was not the belief of the me that was a birth professional but the pregnant me apparently had her own ideas!
So on the evening before my due date, feeling like I was already 2 weeks late, my husband and I jointly entered into what can only be described as some sort of pregnancy-induced psychosis. Tired of waiting and waiting with nothing happening whatsoever, we discussed it and decided together that there was no baby. That she was NEVER coming. That it would literally NEVER happen. It is so funny to even think about this now but we were quite serious at the time! So we did what any couple who wasn't expecting a baby would do. We stayed up until some ungodly hour playing cards and not discussing anything baby related. We enjoyed a few hours of complete forgetfulness that there was even a baby in there. Then when I stood to go to bed, my water broke and the spell was broken. I guess the joke was on us! In fact our daughter was coming and she did exist and she was in our arms 8 hours later.
With my second, I literally did go 2 weeks late. This time I was determined not to care how far I went. I decided to apply more of my birth professional expertise, talking to myself like a doula would talk to a client. I told the baby I was ready for her any time she was ready. I prepared to birth her early and then when that didn't happen, I prepared to birth her late. I tried, I really tried, to not let it bother me and for the most part it didn't.
What I remember the most vividly was the feeling of being insulted by my own yet to be born baby. Exactly HOW clean did she expect this house to be before she came? I felt like she needed peace and calm to be born but exactly HOW much meditation did she expect me to do? What was this little baby needing that I was not trying to provide for her?!? I remember wracking my brain for any possible reason why she would not be born, trying everything I could think of to entice her to come out. Ultimately it also happened in a moment of surrender when I gave in to the labor I felt every evening for 3 weeks, telling myself not to get my hopes up. It wasn't going to be this night either! Until it was...the very night that I decided that for sure it wasn't going to be "it."
Now I sit here waiting for the birth of my third and likely my last baby. Early in the pregnancy I told her I would miss being pregnant so much that she should stay in some extra time so I could savor it. I guess she is listening! I am not uncomfortable. I don't feel "done" with being pregnant like a lot of women who are past their guesstimate. But I do feel a bit driven crazy by thoughts of when. When is it going to happen? Is it going to happen now with a sink full of dinner dishes that I haven't gotten around to yet? How about now before I've had a chance to mop my floors? Will it happen in the day time when no one is home with me? Will it happen on my walk to school or in some other public place? Will I know?
Then in comes what I call the "post dates mom thoughts." WHY isn't this baby coming? Doesn't she know how much I want to see her? Doesn't she want to come before her grandparents visit so they can meet her? Doesn't she want to come meet her sisters who are growing impatient by the minute? Is she not done growing yet? Maybe I should eat more. Does she need more water? Here let me guzzle some. Maybe she needs us to test her birth pool. Check. Still no? She must be waiting for me to get the house completely decluttered from end to end. Still no? Maybe she needs me to care less about the house being clean. Still no? Better clean it again! Perhaps she needs me to check in with her more often. Doesn't she feel as connected to me as I do to her? Maybe it's that her dad is working and she's waiting until the weekend. Well, it's the weekend, maybe she needs dad to wrap up some more work at the office this week. Maybe she can't figure out a time in each of our busy lives to actually make time for labor when we will all be there. Maybe she isn't in the right position or maybe the stars are aligned yet. Maybe she wants to be born on the 12th. No? The 13th? Perhaps it's the 14th she's after. Ahhhh!"
I think perhaps the most likely explanation is a combination of things.
1.) She will come when she is ready.
2.) She will come when she is ready.
3.) She will come when she is ready.
If the other 2 births are any indication, she will come in a moment of surrender, a beautiful moment when I let all of this slip to the side and simply ALLOW the birth to happen as it is supposed to. And if my other births are any indication, the timing will be perfect and the setting will be exactly as it should. Happy Birthing to me and Baby Araylee!