Today marks week 39 of this pregnancy and it’s the point where I’m hoping for a bit of action to start taking place.
You see, with Jarvis my pregnancy stretched to 41 weeks and 3 days. I was well aware that a normal full-term pregnancy stretches from 37 to 42 weeks, but once that magic ‘due date’ passes it’s hard not to feel under pressure.
Pressure from well-meaning friends and relatives and most of all pressure from yourself. Luckily the birth centre where I had Jarvis and where I am going to birth this little man didn’t exert any pressure as they believe in things happening naturally, but the pressure starts to build of its own accord as you approach 42 weeks and know that you can no longer birth in the birth centre and will be facing an induction in the normal birth suites.
So last time I was trying every natural induction trick in the book – the curries, the long walks, the sex, the acupuncture, the evening primrose oil, aromatherapy oils that are supposed to get the uterus moving (clary sage, jasmine and the like) and still he hung in there.
At 41 weeks, following my second acupuncture session, my midwife performed a ‘stretch and sweep’ which is an internal ‘sweeping’ of the membranes that is supposed to get things moving. It’s not a pleasant procedure, despite it’s innocent sounding name. In fact, at one stage in the middle of labour I professed that this was no where near as bad as the stretch and sweep. But as unpleasant as it was, I was in labour by that same evening.
Result, you might say. I say as well. But it’s here that the waters muddy a bit. Sure, I went into labour that Monday night but I didn’t deliver him until Wednesday morning. There’s been fairly thinly-guised questioning from others whether I think that my attempts at eviction (particularly the stretch and sweep) lead to a long labour of a baby that just wasn’t ready to be out yet. Others have questioned why I just didn’t book in an induction. You see, the minute the labour process involves decisions everyone has an opinion.
All you can really do is be educated on the benefits and risks of each decision you make and choose the road you feel the most comfortable with. Which we did. So even though I have questioned my own decisions, especially in light of Jarvis’s facial palsy, I feel I made the best ones for me and if it comes to it, I’ll probably make the same ones again.
But the fact is, I just don’t want to have to make these decisions. I just want to go into labour without the fuss and the seemingly endless waiting.
No matter how zen you think you’ll feel with the whole ‘baby will arrive when he’s ready’ idea, if you’ve been pregnant for that long all zen thoughts and feelings quickly disappear and you feel like clobbering the next person who asks you ‘when are you due’?
So baby bro, if you’re reading this … we’re ready for you to arrive anytime now! Our arms are waiting and your big bro is ready with his best slobbery kiss.
Have you ever endured a ‘post-date’ pregnancy? How did you cope with the pressure? I’d love to hear from anyone who managed to stay relaxed and sane!
*Photo: ‘Get out of mah belllyyy’ – the night labour began with J-boy… 41 weeks pregnant.