Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On Not Yet Having a Baby

I've made no secret of the fact that everything out of Ricki Lake's mouth or fingers in her film the Business of Being Born and her book Your Best Birth has just been so motivational for me. For 41 weeks now, I've felt empowered by her attitudes about women and strength and labor. One of the things that has only recently begun to affect me dramatically is her discussion of "due dates."

Here is what I think about due dates. They are fucking mean. For someone like me, someone for whom absolutely everything is a competition or at the very least an opportunity to work harder, faster, more efficiently...for me the due date is particularly cruel. I'm majorly, chronically, debilitatingly Type A. I must be in control of everything and, whether it's a project for work or a scrubbed bathtub or a knitted blanket, I have to make sure it's done perfectly, ahead of the deadline I've set. This is how I roll.

So you can imagine how well I am dealing with the fact that my baby is now 7 days "late" according to the "due date" the medical world has given. He was given a gestation deadline, and the hardest part for me is not physical discomfort but reconciling mentally with the idea that a deadline has come and gone and I am powerless to do anything about it.

Ricki Lake would try to get me to calm down and point out that really, that due date is pretend. Fake. Totally arbitrary. She points to French research studies that show women actually gestate for an average of 41 weeks, making July 9 sort of the preliminary offer...Corey keeps referring to my "French Due Date" of this Thursday and telling me our baby will certainly come "on time."

Many birth and women's health advocates are pushing for the medical community to offer a birth window instead of the cruel, punishing "due date." A birth window would say Baby Love will arrive at some point between June 25 and July 23. After 42 weeks' gestation, we're talking a whole different ballgame anyway, so that would put me still well within my birth window and wouldn't have me crying, sobbing, gnashing my teeth many times each day.

If I were given a birth window, I wouldn't be avoiding the world for fear of having to answer questions about why my progeny is tardy. I would just be pleasantly excited, a tad nervous. Instead, I have heart palpatations and don't sleep because I, Katy, have been "late" for the first time in my existence.

I am making a pact right now with myself. Even if the rest of the world isn't advocating a birth window, I am adopting one. Baby Lev is due to arrive some point before July 23. He's not late because July 9 was an arbitrary and mean, cruel day someone plucked from a cardboard spinning wheel. Instead, he's just fine. He and I are doing what our bodies need to do, not behind schedule but well within our project completion window.

If he were a writing assignment, this would be the week I would let him fester before beginning final revisions. So obviously, he's in there revising himself and will submit final copy at exactly the right moment.


Snacky D said...

You compared your baby to a writing assignment. I LOVE IT!

Amy said...

That is phenomenal. Y'all are going to be great.

P said...

Could you reframe the issue as Baby Love getting a head start on life b/c of the extra time he spent getting big and strong from you?