Every time I see someone post on Twitter, their blog, Instagram, etc etc that their due date has come and gone, I immediately want to reach out to them and say so many things, because this is something I can definitely relate to! But, I’m not sure my unsolicited feedback on their uterine situation would be welcomed, so I’m going to write an open letter on here, instead!
Thank goodness for blogging, where we can say all things unsolicited!
Anyway, if I were going to send an email to every pregnant lady over 40 weeks along, this is what it would say:
First of all, you are beautiful. You’ve never looked more lovely, even if you feel like crap. You are growing a little human being, darnit, what is more lovely than that?! Actually, you aren’t even really growing a human, because I’m pretty sure that little person is fully done and just working on gaining weight and putting the finishing touches on those lungs. If your little one is anything like my Clara, (s)he is also growing super long fingernails and long hair with highlights, but maybe my gal is just more high maintenance than most. Anyway, I know what it feels like to be ‘overdue’, because I went 41+3 with Clara. That’s 10 days over my ‘due date’ and I understand that those last few days/weeks can be awful.
But here’s the thing, 41 weeks is not ‘late’ at all. The average first time mom goes over 41 weeks before going into labor. Going over your due date does not mean your baby is ‘late’ it means that the doctor wasn’t so great at predicting your baby’s birth date! Darn medicine, getting our hopes up only to keep us waiting!
I know it doesn’t feel fair that some women go into labor at 38 weeks and have a perfectly healthy baby while you’re still waiting for weeks and weeks longer than that for your little miracle to arrive. Trust me, I hope my baby decides to come out a little earlier next time, as long as (s)he is healthy. But, research tells us that babies are healthiest after 39 weeks and before 42 weeks, so if your baby is taking a bit longer than 40 weeks, know that it’s normal and healthy and just hang in there!
Knowing that 41 weeks is still actually earlier than ‘average’, I personally would not want to be induced until 42 weeks (which is when most hospitals insist the baby be born by because of increased risks after that), but that’s just my personal opinion, because I would try to avoid Pitocin, if possible. I did the Pitocin thing, and it wasn’t fun. I wouldn’t do it again just to get the baby out a few hours/days earlier. (Of course, if you’re feeling like something is wrong, get your butt to the hospital and check it out! It’s no big deal to go into triage and have them monitor the baby for a bit to make sure everything is okay.)
Well-meaning people are probably recommending you sleep more now, because you won’t after the baby is born. Let me just say, I slept way better after Clara was born. My bladder suddenly felt huge and I needed to pee much less and I could lie on my side or my back and after a while I could lie on my stomach… Sleeping at 40 weeks pregnant (or anywhere near there) is next to impossible, I get it. I had so many pillows around me that I was practically sitting the whole night. I feel your pain, there is no way you’re sleeping at this point.
People might also recommend you go on dates with your husband. I understand that dates (probably) aren’t fun at this stage either. You’re most likely feeling huge and people are staring and your belly pushes against restaurant tables and just trying to fit into a booth is comical/embarrassing. Plus, once you get comfortable (anywhere) you probably need to get up to pee every few minutes and the whole thing may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Tim and I chose to watch season after season of Modern Family and it was boring and I didn’t feel like doing anything else, and I think that’s okay.
To keep your sanity, you could try natural induction methods to get the baby out. I personally am sure they work, but they didn’t work for me! It couldn’t hurt to have lots of sex though. Yeah, it’s awkward, but you can’t do it for weeks and weeks after the baby is born (and I doubt you’ll want to) and did you know that breastfeeding kills your libido?! I just learned that one today. Anyway, I digress, but basically, if you’re stuck inside the house at this stage, you may as well get busy with your man between episodes of Modern Family, I think that’s what I’m trying to say.
It’s okay to cry because you’re miserable and you just want the darn baby to come out. I cried. I was so frustrated with how huge and uncomfortable I became, and I was scared about the labor and delivery because I felt like it was never going to start, and I really am not good at waiting for big life events! You don’t need to love these last few weeks. You don’t need to treasure your last few moments of being a two person family with just you and your husband. You can wake up every day feeling disappointed that you didn’t go into labor the night before. I like to think that all of those feelings are very, very normal.
I promise, once you go into labor, all the mysteries will be revealed. Your baby will come out and it might be a natural delivery and it might be a completely medical delivery and it might not matter what you prepared for these last few months. Most importantly, you will finally know the baby’s birth date and gender (if you didn’t find out ahead of time), and all of that stuff is so exciting!
And then when you’re recovering in the hospital you will be exhausted. And when you go back home you’ll be exhausted. But here’s the thing, you will also be so, so happy and relieved. You will quickly decide your little miracle was worth the wait and be thankful about the health of your baby and wondering how your body could create an entire little person. Yeah, there are going to be hard days, I’ve written about some of those already and I’ll write about some more in the future. But don’t think about those now, think about the happy times to come!
Now that Clara is here, I haven’t really thought about those last few weeks of pregnancy. They seem like a blip in time, and pretty really insignificant.
What I’m saying is, try to get through these next few days. Honestly, it’s only days. You can do this. You might be miserable, but you can survive. Remember you’re beautiful, you’re capable, and there’s nothing you need to do right now other than rest. Take it easy, lady, and don’t worry too much – worrying doesn’t help anything. Try to remain positive, because it’s more fun to be positive than negative, but also don’t be afraid to complain to friends, especially those who have been pregnant before.
Good luck! Before you know it you’re going to be a mommy, and I bet you won’t be able to believe there was life before your little one. Babies have a way of making you realize how incomplete you never knew you were without them.
Update: I wrote this blog post shortly after my first baby was born. I’m now pregnant with my third! My second one was even later than my first, gulp. Follow along on Instagram to see what we’ve been up to!