Sorting through facts and feelings about being late

I'm deeply thankful for the loving comments on this post. You've helped me keep this pregnancy in perspective. I'm feeling much better about everything lately... Two thoughts: I forgot to mention that some of my impatience and emotions come from the fact that Natalie was born two days before her due date in a relatively fast labor (8 hours from first painful contraction to birth); and Bret reminded me that he and his two brothers were all born at least two weeks after their due dates!

I thought for sure that the baby was going to be born yesterday. I had a gut feeling starting two days earlier; I felt a bit off all day; I had contractions on and off throughout the day, which then increased in intensity that evening. Yesterday felt like the day.


But after rushing through dinner, relaxing on the couch, talking to my midwife, taking a shower, and getting ready for bed, everything stopped. On some level, I’m sure there was an element of relief fueled by the knowledge that it’s just not time for this baby to be born. However, emotionally, I was crushed.

Watching Bret fill up the birth tub with 100-degree water made me so excited to give birth and to meet this baby. I couldn’t wait to go through the pain, only because it meant that all the anticipation and preparation for labor would be over and I’d be holding our new baby. Our real challenges and adventures would begin. I’d finally know if I’ve been carrying a boy or a girl this whole time. I’d finally get to move on.


When the contractions stopped for the evening and didn’t even pick up while nursing Natalie to sleep, I cried. I couldn’t stop crying. I was deeply disappointed and sad, and I let myself be sad. I turned off the analytical part of my brain that was eager to spout knowledge and encouraging facts to try to stop the tears. “The baby will be born when he/she is ready.” “Your body is working in other ways.” “You shouldn’t have taken a hot shower.” “Enjoy the time you have.” “Get some good sleep.” “There are lots of things you can do to stimulate labor.” And on and on.


As I cried on my pillow, I tuned out the facts and focused on the feelings for a while. I even ignored my own deepest heart that truly wants to respect this child and his/her entrance into our family. I don’t want to impose my own impatience on the baby before he/she is even born only to look back in 10, 20 years and realize that I’ve always been impatient with this child. But I can’t deny that going five days beyond the due date has affected me in many ways, even after I had a hunch this would happen.


At church on Sunday, one day before the due date, I remarked offhandedly to a friend that I was kind of hoping to go past the due date just to see people’s reactions when they asked, “When are you due?” My friend, speaking from experience, said that it’s not as fun as I’d like to think. She was ever so right. I now mentally brace myself for the wince and “wow” reaction I get from store clerks and random well-wishers when I tell them I was due on the 13th.


The best way to share what’s going on in my head vs. what’s going on in my heart would be to break it down, bullet-point style.


What I know:

1. My friends and family love me, love this baby, and are genuinely excited for me and this baby’s birth. Even strangers are excited when they see the belly and act on their care when they ask about the due date.

2. My families’ lives are affected by the timing of the birth.

3. There are lots of things I could be doing to help go into labor. I’ve read many a book that lists things like: have sex, nurse/stimulate nipples, eat spicy food, take castor oil, get a foot massage, get a chiropractic adjustment, take long walks, go up and down stairs, suck your thumb (really), have my midwife strip my membranes, etc.

4. If the baby waits much longer, there will be a sense of urgency as we have to make sure the placenta is still functioning properly and the baby is still healthy.

5. My families are excited to spend time with Natalie and help out in any way they can once the baby is born.

6. This baby will be born at the right time.

7. In the grand scheme of things, nine months and a few extra days is nothing.

8. My midwife and birth team are highly trained professionals who don’t mind a few false alarms. They are excited about this birth and genuinely want to support me and ensure a safe birth.

9. I’m as prepared as can be expected.

10. I should enjoy the time that I have before this baby comes.

11. I’ve done everything I possibly can to prepare for this baby’s presence in our family.

What I feel:

1. I don’t want to hear another well-wisher ask, “No baby yet?” It makes me feel pressured and defensive.

2. There’s absolutely nothing I can do to predict when this baby will be born, and it stresses me out to try to coordinate when all the family wants to visit so they don’t overlap and all have a place to stay other than my house.

3. I’m eager to have this baby born in his/her time, not mine.

4. I’m nervous about getting to the point of having to stimulate or even induce labor.

5. I’m excited to see my families and am deeply thankful for their love and support.

6. I’ve been ready for this baby to be born for so long that it feels like he/she will never come.

7. I’ve been pregnant for a very, very long time.

8. I can’t help but feel a little unsure about when to call my midwife and self-conscious about inconveniencing her with my excitement at any sign of impending labor.

9. No amount of preparation will get me truly ready for the experience of this labor. Just with going past the due date, this labor’s already weeded out my hidden expectations and stretched me beyond what I thought I was ready for.

10. I have been enjoying this pregnancy for a long time—I’ve been treating myself and Natalie to lunches, coffees, treats, scrapbook and craft supplies, outings, clothes, new things for the baby, and other special things. I’m going to go bankrupt! Plus, Bret and I are both a little restless.

11. I have absolutely no idea of what we’re really getting into by having another baby.

Andrea, Saturday 18 July 2009 at 11:46 am four comments
Regina, (Email ) (URL) - 18-07-’09 12:50

We love you. May the Peace that passes all understanding flow through you and dwell with you.

Anne-Marie, (Email ) (URL) - 18-07-’09 13:28

Just so you know, you’re not alone in all those feelings. Evan was 5 days late, but I had 3 days of labor, so it wasn’t so crazy. But our Batalie was 10 days late. I was fine for the first five, and then all those emotions hit. I was especially petrified of the possibility of Pitocin. But patient and gracious midwives, stripped membranes (which makes one rather sore, I was surprised to find out), lots of Black and Blue Cohash teas, an amazing doula, a supportive family, and a birthing tub later, and all was well. But those five days in between were really tough. (I also didn’t tell people the actual due date and started saying “any day now” or “she’ll be here by the end of the month,” though I mostly just stopped going out.) We’re praying for you!

Susan, - 18-07-’09 17:53

Thank you for so openly sharing your thoughts and feelings. I imagine women have been dealing with this same problem since forever. From one who will never be able to have a natural birth and who may never be able to carry a baby full term, try to remember how truly blessed you are to have been able to carry this precious child for the full nine months and then some. The alternative is so much worse. Your little guy/gal will be absolutely perfect no matter what or when.

Praying for peace for your heart and mind and soul and for a smooth labor and delivery when the time comes.

In Him. And hugs and kisses from Sue, Andy, and Brian

Jen Smith, (URL) - 24-07-’09 16:14

Oh Andrea,

You have all my love and support and my courtesy in staying away as I fight this stupid sinus infection.

So don’t take my absence as a sign of anything but the deepest concern for you and the newest Rooks.


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