Saturday, December 18, 2010


It is the wee hours of the morning before Saturday begins.  There is no baby yet, at least not outside of my increasingly crowded womb.  I went in for my 38.5 week appointment just over a week ago, hoping for more good news: this baby is significantly smaller than your first; we anticipate a successful VBAC; oh look! you're already 5 cm dilated; would you care for an epidural while you wait for her imminent and painless birth?

Any of these options would have been pleasing to the ears.  In fact, at 36 weeks, the first two pieces of good news above were, indeed, what I received, and from one of the more pro-just-schedule-your-section-already doctors in the practice. 

But at 38 weeks instead I heard:  She's clocking in at over 8 lbs.  Hmmm, she appears to have gained about the same amount of weight as you have in the past two weeks.  How big was your son? (9 lbs, 15 oz)  And how late was he? (9 days)  Yeah, if we let you go that late, you very well might be looking at another baby that size.

To which I replied: What is she EATING in there!?  I'm on a DIET!  I haven't had sugar since AUGUST!  And then promptly developed an overwhelming craving for cheesecake which has neither been indulged nor abated in the past week plus.

But this time I was seeing one of the more pro-let's-try-this-VBAC-thing doctors in the practice, and so, while he did reiterate (which I've been told by multiple other doctors for some months now and more or less come to accept) that they don't want to wait past my due date, he was fine with waiting until my due date and trying the VBAC if she comes naturally by that time.

Tomorrow is her due date.  My mom is here.  My husband started his paternity leave yesterday afternoon.  I'm scheduled for a c-section first thing Monday morning.  And just as I began to wrap my head around the fact that I'm going to have a c-section, I began to lose my mucus plug.  Very slowly, over the past 24 hours.

Which, like the sonogram's estimated weight, could mean a great deal.  Or it might mean nothing at all.  After all these years, so much about birth is still a mystery.  My sister, a veteran of two home births, and I, awaiting and preparing for what might well turn out to be a repeat scheduled cesarean, talk often about how little is guaranteed, and how much available information is emotional and biased.

Which I suppose is preparation for parenting itself!  I'm more vulnerable to the shoulds and the ought-tos around birth.  My first experience turned out very different from the way I envisioned it.  I wasn't traumatized by it, nor even particularly disappointed, but I suppose I did have a story in my mind where I could "correct" the elements that didn't go according to my plan or my liking the first time with my second birth.  That this time, if I did everything right, if I tried hard enough, I could control the outcome.  It's always worth a shot, to try and do things right, to attempt to control your own fate.  But there is folly there too.

And so we wait.  And when she kicks me hard in the ribs I say to her father:  She's grounded after she gets here for that one.  But then I think:  She's alive!  And healthy!

And all the shoulds and ought-tos fade into background noise.  And while we wait, I meditate on gratefulness.  And fantasize about cheesecake, with gloopy cherry sauce and graham cracker crust.  And although I'm not entirely sure I believe it, I think:  Everything happens for a reason.  It's one of those things we say to make ourselves feel better in the face of uncertainty.  Not as good as cheescake would feel, but sometimes what we have are our words, and so we do what we can.

And here comes Saturday, as the night sky slowly lightens, still grey where I am, over the white snow-covered ground.  Waiting feels fruitless, but it does eventually result in getting you somewhere else entirely.  I hope Saturday wherever you are is lovely!


  1. I hope YOUR saturday (and Sunday and Monday!) are wonderful as well. I'm thinking of you and wishing you a safe (and painless!) birth process. How exciting!!


  2. Thinking of you as you go through this waiting process. We are going through the same thing. The mucus plug was the most reliable sign of labor for me the first time around. I started losing it 3 days before I went into labor and it was tinged with blood the day before I went into labor. Perhaps they'd be willing to delay the c-section a couple of days if you have this sign? Wishing you an imminent and painless birth!

  3. Thank you both! I did think of asking to postpone the c-section, but after Friday, there has been no more sign of anything and no contractions. And while anecdotally people tell me the plug means a few days, everything I read says it could be up to 2 more weeks, and my mom has to leave the 23rd, so I think I'll stick to the original plan at this point. Back to assuming I'll have a section, but that assumption has changed so many times I never really know!

  4. Okay, so I am late reading posts and now it is Monday and I am hoping everything went well and you are eating cheesecake and smooching on your healthy little bundle of love.

  5. Just checking in, thinking of you!
    Baby here!?!? Hope all is well :)