I’m nine days “overdue.” When I first started reading up on natural childbirth, I never thought I’d be seriously considering getting induced at some point because I just assumed that, with this kid being my fourth, and having had one baby (Callie) come early, that things would just happen on their own, in an acceptable time-frame. Now I’m past the part where I can chit-chat cheerfully with the neighbors about “any day now” and I find myself wondering if I really am doing the right thing. What if something happens to the baby and I never forgive myself for not inducing when everyone said it would be a fine time to do it (last Friday, at 41 weeks)?
I’ve had more monitoring (a couple non-stress tests and an ultrasound to measure amniotic fluid) than hardcore natural birthers would request; my midwives are supportive in waiting till 42 weeks, if things stay as good as they are now. The baby moves, a lot; more than they’d expect of a baby that we estimate to weigh over nine pounds. So there’s no reason, no medical or scientific or objective reason to induce. (Not even to mention whether 42 weeks is really overdue or not).
Why am I doing this, again? Is it because I trust God, my body, the baby? This is a lot harder when it’s me making the decisions. When I’m responsible, when everyone from my husband to my medical providers is happy to do what I want to do. (How do I know what I want to do?)
Also, it felt pretty good when I suggested or agreed or whatever, to be induced with Lucy at 39 weeks last time. It was what I wanted, it was fine. She was out in five hours and two pushes. That epidural worked better than the previous ones because we knew how to get it working on both sides.
Reading all those books and practicing pain management and relaxation — that all felt so empowering a month ago. Now, overdue and second-guessing, waiting, waiting, waiting, this surrender to a timetable I can’t begin to guess at — this doesn’t seem empowering at all.
It makes me wonder what other areas of my life I allow, encourage, accept others to make decisions for me, and do I do that out of fear, or ignorance, or laziness, or apathy?
If she’s born on Wednesday she’ll go to school a year later than if she’s born tomorrow or Tuesday. Does God care what day we’re born? Does He care (do I care?) if my daughters are old or young for school? If she’s born tomorrow, I can decide in five years whether to send her early or late. But wait until Wednesday and it’s not a choice. Do I trade this choice for that choice?
One thing I do believe — it’ll be easier to labor and birth if I’m not induced — even if it means her gaining another pound, so that’s not an issue. Another — even a “mild” induction (breaking my water but not hooking up pitocin unless things weren’t moving along after two hours, which is their limit and seems a really short time) would most likely set off a cascade of interventions that I would have no control over, and perhaps rightly so, having taken that first step of relinquishing autonomy.
Perhaps this is only cosmic justice, meant to be, the only way it could ever have turned out once I decided I wanted to do things a certain way. Oh really? You really want to do it your way? Good luck with that. Are you sure? How sure?
The longer it goes (and I know nine days isn’t the record or anything, but holy crap it seems a long time), the more surreal it seems that we will ever have a baby, a new person in the family. It felt this way before each of the other births, like we couldn’t really believe there was a whole separate person floating around in there, but this time it seems even more so. It’s easier to just accept that I’ll be pregnant forever, because all evidence points that way.
I’ve always been fascinated by why we do what we do. It was part of the motivation for the electricity fast, part of the delight in living in Japan and Cairo and New York City. Part of the simple pleasure in moving furniture, painting walls, changing things. If we change this or that, will we change? Does anything ever change? Will it make a difference in ten years, to me or to the baby, if I choose this or that? Will I feel empowered if I surrender? To what? To who? To myself?
Can you live deliberately if you stop making choices? (Why does everything have to be a choice?)