What to Expect When You’re Still Expecting: Comfort for the overdue mum

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A rare treat: Out to lunch with Luke, 3 days overdue with baby#5

As of this writing I am 4 days overdue with my 5th baby. Out shopping this week the lady at the counter of the health food shop asked when my baby is due. When I replied that my baby was due a few days ago she gave me one of those looks. You know, “what are you doing standing here, shouldn’t you be in the hospital?” kind of looks. I tried to find it amusing. This is not the first time I’ve seen my due date come and go. With my second baby I went to 42 weeks and 2 days before I finally gave in to the doctors to have labour induced. My 3rd baby, I was a few days overdue before being induced and with my 4th baby I went to 10 days overdue before agreeing to be induced.

In this post I’d love to share with you:

  • How I feel when I’m overdue
  • What’s up with due dates anyway
  • Why I’m against being induced
  • Ways to cope while waiting for baby to come

The anticipation leading up to the end of pregnancy can be crazy! You have waited 9 months (3 months short of a year!!) for this baby. You’ve watched your belly (and the rest of your body) expand until you are feeling like a beached whale. You are excited and perhaps a little nervous about meeting your little one and how the birth will unfold.

The weeks leading up until birth I usually have lots of contractions (Braxton Hicks) and also cramping or an ache in my lower back and abdominal. Similar to what you might feel when your period is approaching, if you’ve ever had period pain. Sometimes these ‘practice’ contractions will come so regularly that I could time them and are intense enough that I need to stop what I’m doing and breathe through them. With my last pregnancy I even went to the hospital …twice…thinking I was in labour only to be sent home again feeling very discouraged and a little embarrassed. I get excited when I have all these contractions and I go to bed hopeful – only to wake in the morning with the contractions gone and no real labour in sight. It can get really discouraging and emotionally exhausting. It’s hard to plan ahead when I’m overdue. I feel like a can’t make a meal plan because I don’t know when the baby will come so I just end up planning one days meals at a time. I don’t like to go out much either when I’m overdue because I’m feeling sore and I get worried about going into labour when I’m a while away from home. I often get emotional during this time, partly because of hormones and also because I’ve just had enough. “Maybe I’ll be pregnant forever…”

But I’ve done this enough times now to know that my baby will have a birthday and it’ll be sooner than I think.

So what’s up with due dates anyway? Not many women give birth on their actual due date, they are all approximate and you really shouldn’t worry if your baby doesn’t come on your due date. I have really been enjoying listening to podcasts and periscopes by Kristin from Natural Birth and Baby Care in the past few weeks. She has a great video posted up on her website about due dates and why we shouldn’t get too worried if we carry our babies past them. This post is all about going over due, the pressure of a due date and how induction can be dangerous.

Speaking of induction, I’m against being induced because it’s unnatural. It can have all kinds of unwanted side effects and often one intervention can lead to another. If labour doesn’t begin within 4 hours of the doctor breaking your waters then this can lead to a hormone drip which causes unnatural contractions. This can lead to epidurals, and if labour is still not progressing it can lead to a C-section. This could have all been prevented by just waiting until the mum’s body was ready and letting labour come on naturally. The doctors at my local hospital are very strict on not letting you go more than 7 days past your due date because of risk of problems that can happen to the placenta and the fluid around the baby. But I managed to talk my doctor into letting me go 9 days past. It’s not nice feeling pressured into being induced. I really don’t see how waiting another few days will make a difference if the baby heart rate is strong and the baby seems happy.

The best way I’ve found to cope with going post dates I’ve found is all in my attitude. If I make a conscious decision that I’m going to stay positive and enjoy these last few days and weeks of my pregnancy then it makes so much difference to how I handle each day. I try to remain hopeful and wake up each morning thinking “today could be the day I meet my baby.” Then I go on with the day as normal and in between resting I shuffle around the house getting last minute things ready for the baby and getting the children through their daily routine. It helps to keep my mind occupied and to stay as busy as I can without going overboard then the hours and days go by quickly. My worst times being overdue with past pregnancies have been when I have mentally just given up. I grew so tired of being pregnant  that in my mind I just gave up and decided I was going to just lay in bed and mope around until the baby came. I can tell you it made for a loooong and miserable last few days and weeks and I don’t recommend doing this! This time around I decided that I wont be miserable and I’ve enjoyed extra snuggles and stories with my children and especially 20 month old Holly – because she wont be the baby of the family for much longer.

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Out with Luke on a little ‘baby moon’ 3 days overdue with baby #5. Notice the pillow under my arm! I carry a pillow with me everywhere to sit on when I’m this pregnant because I’m getting rather sore down there. There is a giant baby sitting on me after all.

I really believe diet plays a huge part in how you feel when heavily pregnant. When I eat a nutrient dense diet I feel so much better and have more energy than when I eat sugar and processed foods.

Whenever I begin to become anxious, I look to the Lord for comfort. I pray and usually get Luke to pray for me. I also like to write prayers in my journal.

Keep shuffling on overdue mum, you are doing well. Though the days may seem long, when you look back on this time it will seem like an instant. Keep looking on and imagining your baby’s sweet face and soft skin and that intoxicating newborn smell. It really wont be long.  Rest up as much as you like and plan to do something fun and simple with your family.

 Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

 

 

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