I decided to stop posting after I reached my due date, wanting and needing to experience the end of this journey with my husband (and amazing support team). My need for privacy has never felt so exaggerated and necessary. The absolute classic and inevitable situation that occurs as your due date approaches, and especially once it has come and gone, is that you become a watched pot and no one seems to consider, or to be able to contain their excitement/impatience/curiosity enough to consider, that you will not boil until left alone. Animals in the wild will not birth their young until they have found a dark, secluded, private place without an audience—they will halt their labor if passersby enter their space while it's going down and hold their babies in until their need for privacy is met. Humans are much the same. And so, I slowly disconnected from the world as my due date approached and did the only thing I could: focus on the task at hand, try to work through the mental blocks that were holding up the process, relax, distract myself, enjoy those last moments alone, survive the misery that rolled in waves over my expectant existence, and wait. All was well in my isolated little world….until I went three days past my due date.
And then I lost my shit.
Yes, I lost it. My previous state of peaceful connection to the process, the joy and excitement, the calm patience….it all began to disperse around me until I was a caricature of an overdue pregnant woman, screaming "get this baby out of me!" The impatience, the intense desire for the pregnancy to be over, the unrelenting need to know when this baby was going to come, the frustration of waking up every morning still pregnant, were all driving me insane. Then my hormones chimed in and the battle for what had been such a pleasant journey toward childbirth felt completely lost. My hormones had been inexplicably cooperative until that point, allowing me to remain calm. I thought I was somehow immune to what other women seem to experience at the end (impatience and discomfort). Of course, the Universe knew it was about to blow that notion apart, so it was probably just being cool to me before I descended into insanity.
In the last few weeks, I ended up oscillating between said state of insanity and a reclaimed state of peace and acceptance every few days. With every swing back to peace, though, there was a new lesson learned, another issue or emotional block that was worked through, a more profound sense of what this whole process is all about (or, I should say, what it's about if you really get down in it and let it teach you).
Here's the fun part: as my 41st week came to a close, I had a bomb dropped on me. My due date was changed (though I had already past it). This is incredibly uncommon at the end of pregnancy, and is absolutely maddening to a woman who has mentally prepared to be done any day—a week is an ETERNITY to an overdue pregnant woman, I cannot even explain. But, I had started out my pregnancy with one midwifery practice that was not exactly in the business of listening to or trusting the women they served, so my due date was incorrectly calculated. I had charted my cycles religiously and used several methods to pinpoint the exact day of ovulation every month when we were trying, so I knew, without a doubt, the day I conceived. But, no one would listen. That midwifery practice changed my due date from their original "estimation" early on and that was what we went with. It didn't take long for me to grow undeniably uncomfortable with those midwives, for various reasons, which is when I sought out the help of a doula. I knew I would need an advocate if I was going to birth with a provider who had such difficulty listening to me. But, that doula inspired me to consider all my options and I quickly realized that a homebirth was what I had wanted all along. At any rate, I started with the new practice (the best decision of my life!!). Using homebirth midwives, however, meant I needed to have a back-up hospital-based practice that would keep track of my pregnancy and step in should there be an emergency or if I ended up being transferred to the hospital. And so, the number of providers and records was a little crazy.
Long story short: the details of how my due date was calculated were lost in the shuffle of switching midwives earlier in my pregnancy and an overabundance of records being held in different places. Of course, it is a wonderful thing to be given more time when you are overdue, if you are someone who does not want to be medically induced or ever see the inside of a hospital (which is how I felt). However, it is incredibly difficult to reccaliberate your mental state and expectations so late in the game. As far as I was concerned, I was overdue and the thought of having to wait yet another week was about the worst thing anyone could have told me at that point, regardless of the favor they did me. So, when the date was changed I reached a new level of losing my shit.
But, I was proactive about redirecting my mental (and physical) state after being thrown off my peaceful course. During those last weeks I had Craniosacral Therapy, Reiki, several rounds of acupuncture, several Chiropractic adjustments, prenatal massage, Mayan uterine massage, acupressure, and about a billion talks with my doula and midwives. I'm glad I did all of that, but in the end what seemed to help the process the most was letting go and giving up on trying to coax it to happen. I ended up spending my last week in a great state of calm and surrender, which I believe ultimately gave me the strength to remain calm and surrender when labor finally began. The waiting was for sure excruciating at times, but I learned so much about the process of birth in those weeks and what I, personally, needed to get through it. I learned to tune out the world around me, despite the fact that the world was knocking down my door wondering when my baby was coming, and found an entirely new and powerful kind of focus.
Birth story to come...