Thursday, August 02, 2007

ESTIMATED Date of Delivery

[warning: cranky pregnant woman rant ahead]

My dear friend and fellow nine-months-pregnant woman Julie posted a helpful list a few days ago of "things not to say to a pregnant woman." It is astounding, really, the rude things people feel free to say to you when you are expecting. I've gotten a couple of the ones Julie listed, and added one of my own in the comments.

However, the question I'm finding increasingly annoying lately is not at all rude like the ones on Julie's list. It's a perfectly normal and common question, without the least bit of insensitivity or stupidity on the part of the asker. I just find it personally obnoxious because I'm anal-retentive like that. The question I'm tired of is, "So exactly how much longer do you have now?"

Have you ever heard the abbreviation "EDD"? It stands for Estimated Date of Delivery (or Expected Date of Delivery, or Estimated Due Date). It reminds me that my "due date" is an ESTIMATE: an educated GUESS. The fact is, your guess is as good as mine or my midwife's as to when this baby will be born. I do not know. She does not, either.

I knew before I even got pregnant that I wanted to try extra hard not to get attached to a certain date. Babies--especially babies of first time moms--just aren't that predictable. And I have personally seen due dates make expectant parents crazy, on more than one occasion. So I didn't circle a number on the calendar and write "Baby!" And I purposely have told almost no one specifically what the "exact due date" is--because the very phrase itself is oxymoronic.

It is highly, highly likely that Baby Kannel will be an August baby. But this is a baby, not a library book. If he/she sticks around past my "EDD," he/she is not "overdue." God has ordained the days of this baby's life before one of them came to be, and He alone knows the perfect time for delivery.

Consider also:
  • Only 5% of babies are born on their due dates. (source)
  • "It's perfectly normal for 80 percent of healthy babies to have anywhere from a 38- to 42-week gestation. Several generations ago, a physician might tell an expectant mother that she was due 'sometime in late October or early November'" (source)
  • "Robert Mittendord of the University of Chicago Medical Center has isolated 16 factors that can influence the accuracy of a predicted due date. ...First-time mothers can almost be counted on to deliver ten days or more after their due date."(source)
  • "No two women gestate for the same length of time. The 244 days of gestation used to calculate from your last period is an 'average.' It does not represent the 'ideal' length of pregnancy." (source)

That's why I'm trying to avoid preoccupation with a specific date. Frankly, I find it pointless. I want Baby to come when he or she is ready, not when the due date calculator says it's time. In other words, it could be tonight. Or a week from now. Or not until the end of the month. I have absolutely no idea. And that's why I find the question "How much longer do you have?" somewhat tiresome.

(Disclaimer: This post is not directed personally at any readers of this blog, and I hope none will find it offensive. If you have asked me this, you are definitely in the majority, and it's a perfectly innocent question--I am not annoyed with YOU, simply with the concept. It's just my anal-retentive take on pregnancy, and this is my blog, so I'm allowed to rant about stupid things once in while. Humor a pregnant woman, okay?)



Bethany said...

Awwww. Enjoy your last days or weeks whatever they may be. I know at the end you really just want the baby to come...or at least I always do because I am so uncomfortable. But I can say there is something special about having them inside and so close not that there isn't a special bond when he/she is out but it is different. And I do think people asking is just a way of making conversation and trying to share in your excitement.

Can't wait to hear about your little peanut.

Amy said...

thanks for commenting, Bethany :) I DO know that people mean well as you's just my dumb little pregnancy pet peeve that I felt like venting about :)

I'm actually not anxious to get this baby out yet--there is still plenty I'd like to get done first :) I'm uncomfortable, but haven't yet reached the "get this baby out of me now!!" point, thank goodness!

Jules said...

I completely agree! I have seen far too many women grow anxious and frustrated (even frenzied and hysterical) when the EDD comes and goes with no baby. I am fully expecting to go at least a week past mine. Ultimately this little one will arrive when he or she is ready so all we can do is trust that it is in the Lord’s hands—not ours.

The Chinlund Family said...

Ha! I love your honesty! I have known plenty of women who become anxious/irritated when their EDD comes and goes. I, fortunately, was not one of them. I had the same viewpoint as you, and it worked great for me! Yet I was also one of your friends that asked you your supposed due date, oh well :)Enjoy the last few days/weeks of being pregnant, you will never be pregnant with your first child ever again!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
This entry made me think about the animated movie "Lady and the Tramp". The human couple was expecting their first and in one scene the husband stands in front of a calendar with a marker looking desperately for a date to circle and concedes to circling the entire month! :) Take heart & be strong. And don't worry; we don't mind you ranting on your own blog!
Love ya girl. I'm praying for you & Steve and Baby,