Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Any baby yet?

Just like last time, when people find out that I'm past due, they're confused. A typical conversation goes like this:

"When are you due?"

"Last Friday."

"Oh. Well, are they going to do anything, like induce?" (my emphasis)

"We're having the baby at home."

"How do you do that?"

"Well, we just wait for a baby to pop out."

Even with our first child, we waited for instead of scheduling his arrival. In fact, he was right on time and I still got questions about whether we would have an induction. From what I've heard (and correct me if I'm wrong ladies), being on Pit is the pits - probably the most painful way to go through labor and a virtual assurance that you'll desperately want an epidural. That is why I don't want them to do anything. Besides it's just not up to them, now is it? At least in my case and the case of most healthy, low risk women, the baby has the final say in when it's born. And no woman, to my knowledge, has ever been pregnant forever.

But as eager as we are to have this baby, I get the feeling that others are even more anxious. Most people don't understand why, in this age of scheduled deliveries, any one would wait for labor to start naturally. It's as if we are inconveniencing them.

Nor do they understand why we would choose to just not find out the sex of the baby or even get an ultrasound. Guess what? Our mothers didn't have them routinely. The technology was available for high risk pregnancies or when there was a question as to the health of the baby. Why do we suddenly need to see our babies on a regular basis throughout a healthy, normal pregnancy? I guess nine months is a long time to wait in a society where we can have or know almost anything we want nearly instantly. I thought about getting an ultrasound, but decided it was too much trouble to go through just to know the sex of and see the baby. The expense, the inconvenience, the questions and suspicious attitudes from OB/GYN community about home births ... it just wasn't worth the trouble. And as my midwife pointed out, "It depends on what you're going to do with the information." Right ... I don't need to spend the extra money to find out whether to buy or dig out the pink or blue clothes or know for certain what external signs and symptoms already tell us about the health of the pregnancy.

Another weird attitude that I've encountered, with this pregnancy and Fiona's, is the utter shock with which people regard me as I carry on, four days past due, alone with small children in public places. The notion that a pregnant woman past her due date should just hole up in her house until labor starts is absurd. What's that they say about a watched kettle? At this point, not sticking to my normal routine would make me more anxious.

In the grocery store this morning, I stopped to talk with Jai, an older female Thai immigrant who is a stock clerk there. About Jai ... I love talking to her about her country and her family and her impressions of life here in America. And I think that she would make a great nanny or baby sitter. She adores the kids and we began talking over a year ago when she saw me carrying Fiona around the store in a sling. The first thing she ever said to me was "Oh, that's how we carry the babies in my country." Anyhow, I suspect she's been in this country too long. Today she seemed genuinely shocked that I was four days past due and in the grocery store ALONE with the two children.

"What if something happens in the car?" she asked, wide eyed.

I laughed and said, "Oh, Jai, babies don't come that quickly. I live three miles from here and I have a cell phone. I'll be fine." (I actually know a woman who drove herself to the hospital in Washington, DC traffic while she was in labor.)

So, yes, the appearance of this post means that I have not had the baby yet, I am not in labor and I am actually feeling rather normal (except for having to pee three times an hour) for being four days past due. If I hold out till Friday when the kids are at Parents Morning Out, I'll be treating myself to a pedicure. That alone may be worth a few more days of pregnancy.

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