There are certain things you hear a lot when you choose to do all your prenatal and maternity care in a not-so-mainstream setting, but the biggest, most cardinal-est rule is probably of the “due dates are just a guess” variety.
It makes sense. Due dates, for most women, ARE just a guess, and in reality, only 5% of those guesses end up being accurate. There’s plenty of literature out there about why that is, but the bottom line seems to be that babies come when they are ready, and they like to be in charge of letting us know when that is.
My mantra as we approached Ella’s due date was “this baby is a wizard, this baby is a wizard.” It’s a Lord of the Rings reference – Gandalf rolls up at the 11th hour for Bilbo Baggins’s 111th birthday and Frodo is all, “You’re late.” And Gandalf tells him, “A wizard is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.”
Ella was a wizard. I had absolutely textbook labor, and she arrived late on the night of her due date, with an hour and fifteen minutes to spare. It was the first and last occasion I have ever been on time for anything, probably.
I’ll tell you what: I have felt like this baby is ready to arrive since about Thanksgiving. Everyone, including my midwives, suspected I would go early with this one. I even bought her a Christmas stocking in case she got here in time for the holiday.
But Christmas came and went. In fact, we got through an ice storm, Christmas, a snow storm, New Year’s, a supermoon, and a blizzard. No baby. I even had 36 hours of prodromal labor two weeks ago and was sure it was the real deal, only to have my contractions fizzle out.
Ella’s first dance recital was scheduled for my due date, so of course I was anxious I’d go into labor and miss the show. But nope.
I’m a patient woman, usually. Right now, though, I could climb out of my own skin with impatience.
Partly this is because I’m physically uncomfortable. I mean, of course I am. This is week 41 of pregnancy, I’ve never had to haul this much body around before, and sleep is basically a joke.
Partly it’s because no one on the planet seems to know how to mind their own business when it comes to pregnant ladies. I spent two hours at a crowded grocery store yesterday and when I got home, I told my husband I’m not leaving the house again until we head to the Birth center to have the baby.
It’s not just that I’m grouchy. It’s also a public safety issue. “If one more complete stranger comments on my size or asks when I’m being induced, so help me god…”
Partly it’s because I haven’t only been waiting 41 weeks for this baby. We started trying to get pregnant about two and a half years ago. I’ve felt ready for another baby for more than half of Ella’s life. I am so anxious to hold this one and make her part of our precious little family.
And partly it’s because, due to a number of uncontrollable circumstances, this pregnancy has kept me in limbo for awhile.
I knew my job was headed in the wrong direction by Christmas last year. I’m good at what I do – I know how it should work, and I certainly knew it wasn’t working that way. But almost as soon as I started exploring my options, I found out that, after months and months of trying, we were finally expecting this baby. Stability and security were suddenly our top priorities, and I decided to stick it out and see if I could right the ship.
Irony, right? That ship had not only sailed but sunk.
The layoff in August was equal parts shock, outrage, and relief. It’s been an unexpected blessing to be able to finish this pregnancy without the constant stress of a job gone wrong. But of course, by the time I was laid off I was already quite visibly pregnant. And although I’ve been able to do a lot of networking and have even applied for a few great opportunities, and although it’s technically illegal for businesses to discriminate against a woman because of her pregnancy, the truth is that as a pregnant mom in the U.S., you’re starting at a deficit in the job market.
I’ve been having a lot of work dreams, when I’m lucky enough to sleep. Dreams about confronting the people who put me in this position, dreams about returning to old roles under better circumstances, dreams about entirely new career paths. I’m excited to throw my full weight into what’s next, from a position of power instead of hesitancy.
I’m excited for what’s next in my own creative work, too. I had an audition scheduled for next week (when I thought this baby would be a few weeks old already!), which is looking less likely by the minute. I have plans for this blog that I want to roll out when I’m better positioned to give it my attention (as in, not when I’m adjusting to life with a newborn!).
There’s so much goodness coming, and I’m psyched to embrace all of these changes. I’m also psyched to embrace this baby.
But for the moment, I’m overdue by a week. A week isn’t so bad. At the library, you don’t start racking up fines until you are overdue by two weeks. Babies are like library books, right?