Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Give me my dues

Due dates mess with your head. They should also be kept a big bloody secret, especially from the pregnant woman concerned.

Months and months ago, when you find out you are pregnant and the doctors spin their paper wheel before proudly announcing that perfectly-calculated date, it takes on some magical significance.

Of course it does. That is the day your new baby will arrive. (The “Or thereabouts” part is often lost in the excitement, anticipation fogging your rational vision.)

Then, as the big day approaches, the one you put in your calendar and in your phone and the one you tell people over and over again when they ask “so, when are you due?”...as it gets closer, you attach more and more importance to that particular day.

Sure you know that it’s an estimate, a guide, and that women rarely actually give birth on that day, but you expect to be holding your little one close to that day.

Well that day has come and gone and it’s now a whole 24 hours later. I know that’s not much, but god dammit I was expecting Everest, my close-up, show time, something, anything, go! yesterday.

The week had been wonderful – my first full one without work. I walked on the beach, I swam laps, I did my stretches/pretend yoga/focused breathing practice thingo and threw in a few squats to ensure a feeling of supreme piousness. I read, I relaxed, I dusted, I wiped down kitchen cupboards and cleaned behind the microwave. I baked, I cooked soups and sauces for the freezer stores and I napped like a newborn.

Sure I hardly slept overnight, but I caught up during the day and even managed to indulge in some quite ordinary daytime TV. Bliss.

On the morning of my due date (Feb. 20) I shaved my legs and underarms, moisturised, plucked my eyebrows and re-painted my toenails in readiness.

It was like I was getting ready for a night out...and had I actually been able to fit into anything other than a sheet-sized singlet shirt and leggings, I would most certainly have been all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Talk about anti-climax.

I am drinking raspberry leaf tea and either swimming or taking short walks, as well as chasing after our little boy. Well, my version of waddle-chasing a four-year-old who has the speed of a whippet. That game of chasey could really go on forever if there was sufficient stamina and/or time.

So I saw my obstetrician today and he said “college guidelines” recommend letting women go no more than 14 days past their due date.

Last week he said I had a 50% chance of going past my due date this week...now I have a 20% chance of doing the same for another week. Beyond that – NOT THAT I WILL GET THERE – it’s down to 5%.

This is, of course, as long as my blood pressure stays fine and as long as all is well with our baby in there.

We talked about induction and I explained that I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. First of all, they can bring on quite intense labours and it all seems unnatural and interventionary, if that is a word (don’t think it is). And secondly, the last induction I had was horrific. I know the outcome this time will be vastly different, but this is what is in my head.

He is also taking next week off – inconsiderate bastard! – so there is extra incentive to pop this baby girl out THIS WEEK, so he can be there and some random colleague of his, who I met for the first time today, isn’t the one scoring all the credit!

I switch from fearful to psyched, worried to excited, desperately impatient to desperately wishing I had more time to prepare.

The labour is all I think about. Especially when I am trying to tell myself to think about something else. Even when I tell myself there is no point anticipating what might happen or how it might go. You just don’t know until it happens.

There is nothing in life like this.

A job interview you can prepare for, an exam you can study for...everything else seems to have rehearsals, dry runs, drills, practice, trials, run-throughs.

Not this time. I must surrender to that. Maybe I need to grasp that concept – really have it properly seep into my soul – before my labour can start?

Who the hell knows?

Soon, soon. Hopefully soon. I just wish I could define exactly what that meant.

So let me raise my raspberry leaf tea in a toast: “here’s to my next post being all about the textbook, incident-free birth of our baby girl”.