When I was pregnant with Miss M, I mentally set my due date a week past the official 40-week count. Everything I read said that the average gestation for first-time moms was 41 weeks, so I tried not to expect anything to happen before that. Even when we hit the point where my OB kept saying, "Might not see you next week!" at every weekly appointment, I stuck to the idea that the arbitrary 40-week mark was just a frame of reference. And sure enough, Miss M arrived at 40 weeks and 5 days, in perfect health and ready for the world (as indicated by the picture over there, where she seems about ready to take out a nurse).
So this time around, I've been operating under the idea that second babies usually come a little sooner. But not too soon. Since one of my midwives will be out of town the weekend before my due date, and my mom can't get down here until a few days before, I've made an agreement with this baby that he is to stay where he is until at least June 12th. Which seemed like a reasonable plan; I mean, it's got to be easier to keep them in than to get them out, right? Horses do it all the time. Spook a mare in labor and she'll hold that foal for another three days if she has to.
It seemed like a breech of contract, then, when I started getting the feeling that this baby might not be so willing to stay put. It began at about 2:40 Saturday morning, when I got hit with The Stomach Crud that has been making its cruel rounds through our social circle. After twelve hours of nutritional evacuation, the general ooginess of the illness started to be countered by a growing unease about the stability of Baby SAM's habitat. The dehydration and low blood sugar were getting to me, both physically and mentally, and the Braxton-Hicks contractions started kicking up. By Saturday night, I was fairly convinced that this baby was on his way. The back pain that came with the bug was causing me to instinctively fold up into shapes I hadn't been in since my last labor. The tightness in my abdomen kept coming, although I was afraid to watch the clock to check if the intervals were regular.
I went to bed at 9:30, hoping that sleep and complete stillness would stop everything, or if not, that I would at least get a little rest before things got more intense. I was also already half in mourning for the homebirth that wouldn't be. Even though I'm on the cusp of the full-term window, the midwives don't deliver at less than 37 weeks. I'm just shy of 36. So on top of any fear about prematurity, I was running down the list of hospital procedures and interventions that I'd now be forced to endure. All the plans and preparations I'd made over the last nine months, out the window. And, crap! I hadn't even washed the baby's clothes yet!
Fortunately, after a solid night of sleep and a little real food, I was feeling much better and less prone to pop at any moment. I still had a moment of panic on Sunday afternoon when I thought my water was about to break at the grocery store, but after that, things pretty much returned to normal. So now I'm back to just feeling awkward, uncomfortable, achey, but, still, patient. This baby will come when it's his time to be here. I can't wait to meet him, but his body will let mine know when he's ready.