I will say right up front that this post will be one that is only truly understood by parents who have had babies early. For all the rest of you, who have had babies around, or after, their due dates, you just won't fully relate. But feel free to read on if it interests you. :)
My first baby was born right on schedule. His due date was May 23rd, he was born on the 24th. Pretty normal. Our second was born at 38 weeks. Our third really threw a kink into things- he was born at 36 weeks. After number two and, especially after number three, we learned a little something about how most doctors view pregnancies. You see, due dates are just guidelines, really. Most hospitals will not stop you, if you begin labor naturally, after 36 weeks. (Some say 37, but the idea is the same) They assume baby will be just fine any time after that, and usually they are.
*Note: I am not talking about induction, which most hospitals will not consider, for convenience sake, until abut week 39.
So, to continue my birth stories, baby #4 was born at 37 weeks, and babies #5, 6 and 7 were born at 39 weeks. All of my babies have been healthy (although our 36 weeker did spend a few days in the NICU.) But having babies early does something a little screwy to your psyche. What happens is, when you are told you "due date" you begin to think, "well, I will never make it that far." So, for example, if your due date is January 20th, you think, "I could have this baby any time in January. No WAY will I make it to the 20th- I'm thinking around the 5th maybe"...
The problem with this of course is that then, when you actually DO go past week 36, 37,38, etc. you begin to feel like you will NEVER deliver. And you haven't even reached your due date yet! When you start to whine about it, your family and friends do not understand, because, after all, you are SUPPOSED to be pregnant until your due date!!
Well, all that to say, I have had a real "shift" in my thinking this time around. I am not going to think about having this baby early, or even *hope* for it. I am going to take my approximate due date at face value and, for once, trust that God will decide the right time for this baby to be born. No herbs. No "stripping of the membranes." No walking myself ragged. Nothing like that. Resting in the Lord and trusting in Him. That's my plan.
And for those of you reading this who are my close friends and who I talk to regularly, please remind me of this when, and if, I start getting discouraged or antsy. Thanks in advance. :)