The Trouble with Due Dates

posted in: Family | 0

Laughing seems to really help right now, as we wait on baby Reed to decide it’s time to show up. In fact, that seems to be the one remedy that gets my brain off of the obvious and back to feeling good about waiting some more.

 

According to my first ultrasound that was done at 11 weeks, my estimated due date was May 8 or 9, which would now put me at 41 weeks and a day or two. If you know me and have known me through some of my other pregnancies, you know that my last two babies were born at 42 weeks and 42 weeks and a couple of days. It just seems to take me a bit longer to grow a baby. This actually isn’t that far out there compared to most people’s norm, only that most people are induced now when they are around 38 weeks or so, so very few people actually know how long they’d carry a baby. Only 3-5% of people give birth naturally (without induction meds) by their estimated due date. Thirty plus years ago it was quite common for expectant moms to carry babies 41-42 weeks, but it is definitely the minority now. Now it’s so uncommon that people, including in the medical profession, seem to have to pick up their jaws off of the floor when you tell them you’re carrying a baby over 40 weeks.

But if you remember, there were some questions early on in my pregnancy about the accuracy of my estimated due date according to the first ultrasound. Ultrasounds aren’t always dead on, and I had not done the best job at keeping up with dates as in times past. The ultrasound was pretty early on though, so it was assumed that it should be fairly accurate. And my growth and the growth of the baby, along with the subsequent ultrasounds (which were likely less accurate) seemed to support that general due date. I think one of the latter ultrasounds said May 12, if I remember correctly. But initially, I had some concerns that I wasn’t as far along as that first due date said I was- but since I had not done a great job of keeping up with things, there wasn’t much I could do to build a case in another direction.

The reason this is important to a gal like me is that I already know that I carry babies, possibly a bit longer than the average bear. It’s also very important to me to wait on baby’s time. There’s undoubtedly a major connection in unnecessary medical induction, cesarean section rates and the terrible neonatal and mortality rates in the US compared to other developed countries. It’s the proverbial elephant in the US delivery room. Most people do not realize how terrible we are doing in our stats with moms and babies. We rank way, way down on the totem pole of success in the worldwide birthing world- and as inductions continue to lead the way, the c-section rates soar higher than ever, and our moms and babies pay the consequences for our cultural desire for convenience and highest respect for fear in the medical community.

Because of my first two typical US birthing experiences, I sought out other birthing options for my third and fourth births. My third son was born in a hospital that supported water birth/ natural birth, and he was born right at 42 weeks. That experience was unlike any other I’d ever had, and it inspired me to become a doula, where I had the opportunity for a couple of years to support women in their desired birth experiences. I loved it and miss it much! My fourth son was born at home with the assistance of a midwife, and it was another peaceful and successful birth experience that definitely influenced and changed me as a mom. There’s nothing like giving birth in your own home…playing your guitar and worshiping until you’re ready to get in a birthing pool…and having the comfort of your own home and bed with your new baby after your child enters the world.

Midwives are extensively trained at assisting moms in birth- pretty much anything that would be done in a hospital with a vaginal birth is taken care of at home. In most states there are laws that oversee registered midwives. Some of the laws seem to be simply to keep a level of control in the hands of the medical community- and some of the laws seem to actually be for the safety of moms and babies. Of course, a lot of this depends on the state. In my state midwives have certain guidelines to follow that are supposedly for the safety of mom and baby, but the “due-date” myth still hangs over the heads of the midwives who are doing their best to comply with the laws of the state while also not rushing a baby. Because of this delicate balance, it can be difficult when a mama like me already doesn’t have babies until around 42 weeks and I’m not even sure if my due date is accurate! haha! A midwife in my state is supposed to practice according to the due date given by the attending OB who each home-birthing mom must see early on for one visit to confirm pregnancy. The date given to me was May 8 or 9.

If I have not given birth at 41 weeks, I am supposed to be required to go back and see the first OB and receive an ultrasound and some other tests to show that baby is fairing well. Unfortunately I have to pay out of pocket for these tests, even if all other things that are accurate and trustworthy show baby is doing just fine. At 42 weeks, I am not supposed to be able to give birth at home at all with the assistance of a midwife, according to this medical board. I’ve been a bit concerned about this from the beginning of my pregnancy because I wasn’t sure about my EDD at all and I know how long I carry babies.

But thankfully, my amazing midwife and the OB who saw me at my first visit were able to compare data throughout my pregnancy and agreed that my original due date may not be accurate at all. This OB decided, based on other factors in my pregnancy, that May 14 would be a more accurate EDD for me…and so that at least has bought me an additional week before I have to pay for further testing, and its bought me until May 28 to have a baby…

I’ll be honest. I do not feel like there’s anyway I could go on another two weeks with all of the things I’m feeling at the moment. I’m walking every day…doing all of the natural things that gently help baby along but are not invasive enough to cause labor when it’s not really close to time for labor. I know baby will be here when he is good and ready!

So here I am, just hanging out and waiting on this guy to make his appearance. I’m trying to stay busy but am running out of ideas to occupy my mind. Seriously. I need a fun project. haha! Thanks for all of the prayer and kind words! We love our family and friends and can’t wait to meet our newest Reedling! 🙂