Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Yes, I'm still pregnant.

I am officially 41 weeks pregnant today. Overdue, as some would say, but I've developed a recent aversion to that word. What am I, a library book?

And really, I'm not exactly overdue unless I go past 42 weeks, since gestation varies from baby to baby. Fewer than 5% of babes arrive on their actual due dates, and more than 50% decide to extend their stay at Hotel Utero. Can you blame them? The place has room service, turn down service, and really nice mood lighting.

But on a serious note, this is the point where it's hard not to worry. There are real risks associated with going too far past one's due date: An aging placenta might not provide adequate support to the baby, or the baby could inhale meconium in her lungs. If the little lady doesn't make an appearance soon, we'll have to encourage her to come out, meaning I'll be induced.

But of course, there are risks to induction as well. Being induced means heightened risks of infection to mother and baby, umbilical cord prolapse, and the need for a c-section. While rare, there's also a higher chance of uterine rupture and serious bleeding after delivery.

I've balanced these risks before--in fact, almost three years ago, when I carried my first daughter past her due date. While I ultimately chose induction that time, I was able to proceed after the cervical ripener with a med-free, intervention-free birth and 12 hours later, gave birth to a perfect, healthy little baby who blinked her dark eyes at us and reached for me with her long, slender fingers.

In other words, I was lucky.

So here I am at 41 weeks, hoping that this little girl, who is now the size of a small pumpkin (how fitting that it's Halloween?) will decide that she would, in fact, like to come out and meet us. That she will still surprise me with some real labor pains, or even cause my water to break, so I can have the "honey, it's time" labor that you see in the movies. But I know that might not be in the cards, that I might have the "honey, let's stop for a bagel on the way to the induction" labor that I had last time. And that's ok, too, because in the end, the result is hopefully the same.

And I can't wait to meet her.

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