Our baby was 8 days late. This doesn’t seem like much now, but it was actually the longest week of my life.
You see, I spent my whole pregnancy with the due date circled on my calendar, and much like many first time moms, when it passed without a baby emerging from my uterus, I felt somehow cheated. What is the hold up?, I wondered. Why is he still in there?
I waited for nearly a year for this. I had the pregnancy from hell. (Which you can read about here, if you like. Let’s be honest, if your baby is late, you probably have the time.) I thought I had put in my time on this project. I grew a baby from scratch. I didn’t eat for 9 months. The further I got past the due date, the more irritated I became, but what else could I do? The baby obviously didn’t get the memo.
So I waited around a little more, wondering if each cramp could be the beginning of the end of this horrible pregnancy. Spoiler: it wasn’t.
Before you tell me that babies come exactly when they are supposed to, and due dates are approximate – blah blah blah, obviously your baby was early or right on time. I don’t want to hear it.
So what is the worst part of having your baby WAY past your due date? Oh boy, so much to choose from!
Here is my short list:
You can’t really do anything in case today is the day:
So you are probably on maternity leave and have some time to kill. Everyone you know tells you to enjoy the peace and calm now before the baby comes, but in truth it is driving you crazy. So you decide to get out and do something to help the time pass.
Whoa, not so fast. When you are way overdue, any day could be the day, so you have to think carefully about your plans. Are you planning on going some place more than an hour from your hospital? Ooh, risky. Do you have your hospital bag, just in case? Oh crap, it’s all the way over there. And it’s heavy. And it’s super hot outside….Maybe it is better just to stay home.
You feel so terrible that even labour seems like more fun than continuing to be pregnant:
There is no way to sugar coat it: the end of pregnancy is bad. You feel huge. In fact, you feel so giant that you are not sure how passing people are not sucked into orbit around your massive baby bump. You can’t sleep, you can’t eat and you just can’t get comfortable, no matter how hard you try. Every time you bend over, you get raging heartburn and your baby keeps kicking you in the bladder or stretching their legs on your ribcage.
Yes, by week 41, the novelty has worn off this whole pregnancy thing. You begin to hope you go into labour, because you can not stand one more day of being pregnant. All those stories about the horrors of labour that you secretly Googled during your third trimester? They don’t seem so bad now. Rather than terrifying, labour now seems like a welcome relief. (Ha!)
None of those ways to induce labour are working, damn it.
So you try everything you can think of to get this thing started. Your friends and family no doubt provide a long list of things you can do: exercise, spicy food, sex and acupuncture were all recommended to me. As you work your way through the list, the universe is laughing at your desperation. When your baby is this late they are not coming out until they are damn well ready.
You have to find creative ways to tell well meaning family that your baby is not here yet so you don’t scream in their faces.
As my due date came and went, I got more and more messages from my lovely friends and family asking if the baby was here yet. The first few were fine, but as the days passed I grew tired of repeating, “No, no baby yet.” As if I would have the baby and just forget to let everyone know. “Oh the baby? Right! Yeah, he came on Wednesday – totally forgot to let you know. My bad!”
So, rather than answer all of these messages individually, I wrote Facebook statuses like these:
Baby hotel review: hotel mom
Quiet hotel, no other guests, and great amenities such as oxygen and climate control. While the rooms were initially spacious, they seem to be shrinking. Food is not plentiful and I kept having to send it back until the kitchen began getting it right. Despite this, I have decided to extend my stay for a while past my check out day. There really aren’t any other hotels around here. 2 1/2 stars.
And this one, on my birthday, which was the 7th day overdue:
So Mr. Baby, this is kind of an awkward conversation, but here goes. When you first came to stay you told us it was only going to be for 40 weeks, but I can’t help noticing that it is now 41 weeks, and you haven’t really packed or anything. It’s not like I haven’t enjoyed your stay, because it’s been great…ish, but your dad and I think it’s time for you to get out there and meet some new people. You know, get out of the uterus and enjoy the weather? Great, well no rush, but time to get going. Oh, and not to stress you out, but just in case you forget, mom is going to be induced on Tuesday, which would be 10 days after you said you would be out. Just saying…okay, Well, good talk.
He was born the next day so I guess it worked!
So what’s a girl to do?
Sadly, there is not much you can do. Here are some things that helped me:
- Take lots of naps. (This will help the day pass more quickly)
- Get someone else to update your family and explain that yes, you are still pregnant and that yes, you will tell them when the baby is born. Someone patient preferably.
- Try your hardest to find something to make you laugh. Watch a funny movie, play a game with family or read a good book.Who knows, maybe you will laugh that little bastard out.
- Get pampered a little. I had a massage, got a pedicure and had my hair cut. This not only boosted my spirits, but I was grateful for these things after the baby was born and the paparazzi arrived. (Aka my family taking pictures of the baby.)
- Go out on a spur of the moment date with your partner. It could be lunch or a movie, but do something to allow the two of you to spend a bit of time doing something fun. People will tell you that you won’t get a chance to do this after the baby is born, and while not exactly true, it does take a lot more planning. You will never be able to be this spontaneous again, so get out there and enjoy. (Just maybe put that hospital bag in the trunk. You never know.)