Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jude's Birth: Waiting

[part 2: a doula provided]

So I had a doula. I did lots of reading about natural childbirth and worked through a wonderful book on fear. I made a playlist of songs about not being afraid, trusting the Lord, His being with me, etc. I bought birth supplies and washed diapers and folded onesies. I enlisted an army of trusted friends to pray for me in the weeks leading up to Jude's birth and while I was in labor. All that was left to do was wait.

And wait we did.

I've gotten on my soapbox before about how I hate the idea of of a "due date"--this magic day when baby is "supposed to" arrive and after which he is considered "late." With Elijah, I stubbornly refused to tell people my "exact due date." But the truth is, Elijah was born "early"--at 39 weeks, 2 days. So although we knew it wasn't a guarantee, I think Steve and I both just expected that Jude would come before his "official due date," too.

Well, 39w2d came and went, so we relaxed. I had been wanting a 10/10/10 baby anyway, and now I had a chance! But October 10 passed and I was still pregnant. Next I set my sights on the 15th, thinking it would be fun to give Steve's granny a birthday great-grandbaby. No such luck.

And then my midwife started talking induction.

You see, I had originally estimated the 40-week mark as October 18, but at my first prenatal visit, my midwife changed it to October 11. Once the 11th came and went, the clock was ticking. I was completely content to wait and let the baby come when he decided it was time. But my midwife would be unable (or at least unwilling) to attend a homebirth past 42 weeks. If we reached that point, I would have no choice but to see her backup physician, who would want to schedule a hospital induction immediately. If I wanted to avoid that, it was time to start thinking about "natural" induction methods to get things going and preserve my homebirth plans.

I was distraught. To many of you, it may not sound like a big deal. Some of you may have voluntarily chosen to be induced in a hospital. But for me, that option was terrifying, and the idea of trying less invasive induction methods wasn't much more appealing. I just did not want to mess with the process. I wanted to trust my body and the baby and let labor start naturally, without the use of drugs in a hospital *or* methods at home.

Mercifully, I was not at that point many women reach, where they're miserable beyond belief and all "get this baby OUT of me NOW." I was truly fine with waiting, except that I felt pressured by the circumstances. On top of all this, my carefully laid plans for what to do with Elijah during the birth (I did not want him here!) were crumbling. Actually it went from "crumbling" to "disintegrating" to "blowing up in my face"...I'll spare you the details but it was insane, to say the least.

By October 18 I was officially 41 weeks, though by that point I was pretty sure that the revised due date was wrong. No matter. My midwife ordered an ultrasound, and Jude passed with flying colors. We had a green light to keep waiting, but I was keenly aware of the ticking clock.

I had a prenatal appointment scheduled for Thursday the 21st, and I was so anxious about what was going to happen. I desperately wanted to avoid induction of any kind, but my October 25 deadline was looming. It was such a battle to trust God that week, to believe that He is good and loving and wise and would be no less so even if I didn't get to have the homebirth I had planned. I'm sure that sounds silly, but that was my frame of mind.

I went to bed Wednesday night fervently hoping and praying that my midwife could come deliver a baby the next day instead of coming for a prenatal visit. Talk about answered prayer...

[part 4: finally, labor begins]

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