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The Conflicting Beliefs Of A Heavily Pregnant Woman

Festive socks and baby bump

On Sunday, I could feel my stress levels rising. Steve and Matilda went out to watch the Santa parade and to give me a bit of space; I got myself comfy and tried to think lots of calming thoughts. And to will the baby out of me.

It didn't work.

I lay in bed that evening convinced of two things:

ONE

That I would be pregnant forever.

I went into labour with Matilda at 40+6 and gave birth at 41 weeks exactly. As much as I've tried to think in terms of the "delivery window" rather than focusing on the estimated due date - or any other significant date - I hadn't entirely succeeded.

A part of me believed that 41 weeks exactly was my body's natural birthing date. If the baby hadn't arrived by then, it wasn't going to happen.

I felt oddly accepting of this. I was disappointed that I would never be able to get a comfortable night's sleep again but, otherwise, I had adjusted to being pregnant - I could cope.

I remember having much the same feeling in the last week or so of my pregnancy with Matilda; it seems to be fairly common to believe that your body is simply incapable of birthing your baby.

TWO

On the other hand, that my body knew what it was doing and would get around to giving birth in its own good time.

In Aberdeen, you're offered induction from seven days overdue. I lay in bed that night realising that, if I had gone along with the standard medical timetable, I would have spent that day on the induction ward and - most likely - would have been spending that evening trying my best to get to sleep in a hospital bed, surrounded by heavily pregnant strangers.

I knew I would have hated that.

I knew it was too soon for this baby - that my body wasn't done with this pregnancy yet; that it was too early to interfere; that I would get around to labour when the time was right.

AND THEN...

I got even more stressed.

Because, the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I didn't want an induction at all. I wanted to let this pregnancy run its natural course - be that 41 or 42 or even 43 weeks. I did not want to pump my body full of chemicals to hurry things along (unless it turned out to be medically necessary).

I reminded myself of the facts - the increased risk of this if I waited; the increased risk of that if I was induced. The variations in the odds were tiny. The only significant difference seemed to be that women who wait tend to be happier with how the birth turns out.

Was I going to put myself and my baby through an induction because it was inconvenient to have a few additional scans? Surely not.

On the other hand, Steve had two weeks of paternity leave and a week of holidays he had to squeeze in before Christmas Eve - to get his full entitlement, he had to finish up work on or before this coming weekend, whether the baby was here or not. Of course I should try to give birth before then, whatever that entailed.

So I let myself stress and fret and cry.

It seemed impossible that I would go into labour naturally before my booked induction. With only four and a half more days to go, of course I wasn't going to have had the baby in time. I was heading straight towards something I wasn't sure I wanted; I felt like matters were spiralling out of my control.

When Steve left for work on Monday morning, I sobbed because he was leaving me to deal with this on my own (I have a whole post somewhere inside me about how badly our system lets parents down in the later stages of pregnancy, of how important it is for the parent who isn't pregnant to be able to support their partner through scans and appointments and tough decisions. But that's a rant for another day).

And then I went to my 41 week midwife appointment. For the second time, I declined a sweep. And I clarified how to cancel the induction and what would happen next, if I did.

While my mind wasn't made up either way at that point, I could feel the stress disintegrating, just from confirming that I still had a choice.

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