Week 40: 10/08/07


Okay, you've got me. I GIVE UP. I forfeit all sense of entitlement to know when this baby is coming. I eagerly hand over my women's intuition, sixth sense, and hubristic tendencies to think I know better than anyone else. Like the baby. Apparently the baby knows better than I do, and what he or she knows is that my womb was just awarded the #1 Hot Spot by Zagat's survey of available wombs. It must be incredibly cozy in there. The chef must have trained at the elbow of Alain Ducasse. I feel the baby hiccuping right now--a little bubbly to accompany the amuse bouche?

Today, I'm feeling surprisingly okay about still being pregnant. I'm anticipating the labor and birth, and would love to know when it was going to be already... but I'm also going through the days, not especially expecting it at any moment. What I need to watch out for is my growing suspicion that I'm not really having a baby at all. As if it were something that could be called off due to weather; or a project, like knitting a scarf, that could be put aside and forgotten. When in fact, as I realized yesterday, each day it becomes more likely that it will be the day, not less or the same.

All predictions to the contrary

One lesson I keep learning--and will probably have to learn in new ways all the time--is that no one, including me, knows anything about the way a pregnancy will go. From how long it might take to get pregnant, to if a pregnancy is viable, to how you'll feel during the pregnancy, to if you're having a boy or a girl, to when you'll go into labor, to how long the labor will be... When women get pregnant, they should be given a little portable boom box with a looping tape that sings out "la la la la la la la!" any time someone starts making a prediction. Because all sorts of people do; hell, I know I have. The ones that are pissing me off right now are all of the times people have said, "Oh, you went into labor a day before your due date with your first? Then you'll definitely go early with this one." The other one that I'm trying to drown out is the "Second labor? That'll be a snap!" line.

What I'm getting at here is that the grand lesson I'm learning is that just like people, just like the baby I'm carrying versus the 3-year-old I already have, every pregnancy is different. And, like life, it is unpredictable. When I'm not hitting my head against the wall because of it, I find this fact beautiful and apt and something we should all embrace.

What comes next?

The day of my due date, I went for a long walk (see me rocking the latest in late-pregnancy trail-walking haute couteur, above) with my mother-in-law. I've eaten spicy foods. I'm taking evening primrose oil for easy cervical dilation. I had acupuncture to get everything in alignment. But on the advice of my doula and my midwives, I'm not doing anything--herbs, acupuncture, homeopathics, whatever--with the sole intention of jump-starting something that isn't truly happening yet. (Though they did say that if I get to week 41, then they will start talking about these options with me--and since I know a bunch of people who've had success with these various remedies, I'd be more open to them than something more harsh, like breaking my waters or pitocin.)

I do know that as of Friday, my cervix was at about 2 cm dilated at its smallest point, up to about 4 at its biggest. I also had a non-stress test, which initially showed the baby's heartrate with a high and then surprising low fluctuation after the stress of the loud buzzer the nurse put right by its head. After monitoring me for about an hour, they decided that everything was fine, and maybe the baby is just periodically rolling onto the umbilical cord, then rolling off of it. On Tuesday, I'll go in for an ultrasound to check on my amniotic fluid levels, and for further reassurance that the baby is just chilling. Or maybe I won't have to attend that ultrasound, because the baby will be in my arms.

So I'm hanging in there, trying to get behind whatever this baby wants to do. I've had amazing support from Aron, from the many family members and friends who have advocated and modeled patience, and from my doula, midwives, and nursing staff. As one close friend said, "After the baby is born, you'll see how perfect the timing was all along."

Join writer Emily Bloch each week as she chronicles her pregnancy.