I Trusted My Body; You Should, Too


Waiting is Hard 

Waiting on your tiny human to make their grand appearance can be one of the toughest things you might ever do. The waiting game is hard and when the prize is your little one that you've been growing for months, it can seem like a grueling tasks. I recently wrote a blog about why your Estimated Due Date is actually based on a guess. I like to call it a Guess-stimated Due Date. So much weight is placed on EDD's and so often I see expectant parents feeling all the feels when that date comes and goes with no birth of a baby. 

I recently met Taylor Kader, a former teacher turned stay-at-mom and lifestyle blogger. She has a two year-old child and one on the way. I was immediately drawn to her blog posts and her "realness" that shined through her site. You can find her at www.coffeeandcandor.com. She is also on Facebook and Instagram with inspirational posts. 

She shared her story with me about how she trusted her body to know when her little one was ready. Her story is inspirational and I wanted to share it with the world. I often feel like hard-to-do's are not that hard to do after hearing someone has done it before me with success. 

Nauseau, Heartburn, and Restless Nights 

Most birthing parents spend the majority of their pregnancy battling fears and anxieties--of all kinds--premature labor, birth defects, prodromal labors, baby getting stuck, baby being too big. However, once you hit that 38 week mark, your fears automatically shift--being pregnant forever!



"When you have spent 39 weeks enduring nausea, heartburn, restless nights, sciatica, backaches, food aversions, growing out of clothes, and waves of fatigue that knock you right off your feet, the last thing you can fathom is doing all that one more week. You are so ready to meet your baby, so ready to have your body back, so ready to start this new journey. Your bags are packed, the baby clothes have been washed, and you’ve run out of shows to binge watch on Netflix (because you started maternity leave already ‘just in case’ baby came early - ha!). And then your doctor tells you at your 39 week appointment that there are still no impending signs of labor - no dilation, no effacement, no baby dropping. Your heart sinks and you  immediately think, “it’s official: I will be pregnant forever.”



A study done by R. Mittendorf of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston Massachusetts (1) found that the average woman carrying her first child will go a full 8 days past her Estimate Due Date. This study was conducted on women who were considered standard, uncomplicated pregnancies and were without interventions.

When hearing buzz words like effacement  and dilation, ask yourself, do you really know which one is more important? Does one tell you more than the other? Is one a predictor of labor? Yes! A 2003 study found that effacement (at around 37 weeks) is a pretty good indicator of labor onset (3). If by your 37 week of pregnancy, you are 60% effaced, you are likely to have your baby before you stated due date. If you are 40% or less effaced at this point, it is likely you will be carrying for a tiny bit longer than expected (or what you had been planning). 

Feeling All The Feels 


"Doubt, fear, frustration. But instead of giving in to external pressures and the ease of inducing, I simply waited, and the result was an amazing experience that I am very grateful for. Let me first tell you that I am not some zen-powerful patient person. Quite the opposite, actually. I have the world’s most limited patience, and at 39 weeks pregnant, I was so envious of any person who had delivered prior to that. I didn’t care that statistics said most first-time moms go past their due date; I didn’t care that making it to your due date meant your baby was at the most optimal gestational age to come into the world. I wanted my pregnancy to be over and parenthood to begin. To say I was anxious and frustrated would be an understatement. So when my doctor told me with one week left until our original due date of March 31, 2015 that baby “just didn’t seem ready yet” and we needed to discuss inducing, I was beyond depressed. We both looked at each other and simply said, "no."



In 2008, the US Department of Health and Human Sciences, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and National Center for Healthy Sciences (2) found that out of all births (spontaneous/with no induction intervention) in the US (on average that year), 18% of women will have their baby in the 38th week, 30% in the 39 week, and 27% will have their baby between weeks 40 and 42. That means that 75% of babies are born within that Guess-stimated Due Month. This also means that alot of tiny humans are born after their "due date." The remaining 25% is made up of premature babies, those who are born past the 42nd week, and induced births.



That 40th Week...


"The next week was hard. I was so disheartened that my baby wasn’t with me yet, that my body hadn’t felt my urges to have her here and given me what I wanted. Well, 40 weeks came, and went. The doctor said I was now 1 cm dilated and about 50% effaced, but this was not enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. I’d had zero contractions, my water hadn’t broken, and there was “no need to rush baby out." Since I was 40 weeks now, though, we discussed induction again and how it was looking more and more like the only option. It wasn’t a conversation we ever wanted to have, because I wanted to go into labor on my own and know that my body was doing what it was created to do. But we were also miserably desperate to meet our baby and knew the risks of baby getting too big for the womb, so we set up a tentative induction for 1 week from that day at 5:00 am when I would be 41 weeks. I felt defeated; I was giving up on my body by setting that induction date. Plus, as I researched induction and the implications it carries with it, I grew more and more weary of my decision.I was horrified by the thought of the Pitocin making my body have such strong contractions to start labor that would be ten times worse than when a woman’s body begins them naturally. I was also terrified of the statistic that many more induced labors end with a C-section than those that start on their own. I also hated the fact that I had to be up and in the hospital at 5:00 am, but there was no guarantee that we’d even see our baby that same day, because induction doesn’t always work quickly. I was pretty convinced that I did not want this for me or my child, so I looked up ways to induce labor naturally. Unfortunately, none of these caused the results I was looking for and I was still pregnant as the induction date drew closer."

If you get to your due date, the odds are in your favor (2). There is a 60% chance that you will have your baby in the next week. Of those who are still pregnant by week 41, theres a 60% chance that your baby will come by week 42. In the US, it is standard practice to induce birthing parents who have reached the 42nd week of pregnancy. That leaves you with a 100% chance of meeting your little one if you are still pregnant by 42 weeks!

When 42 Weeks Begins to Close In

"On the eve of my induction, we headed over to my parents’ house to stay the night there. My mom made a delicious meal of some of my favorites as a treat to me - my ‘Last Supper’ in a way. Having put going into labor naturally out of my mind at this point, I basked in the smells of my mom’s kitchen and the excitement of the next day’s events. As I chatted with my mom, I suddenly felt the most powerful sensation ‘down there.’ It was one of the most painful things I had ever experienced, and the best way I can describe it is as a ‘shock,’ or like a taser to my lady parts. My mom described the expression on my face as incredibly pained and alarming to her. I immediately went to the thought that something was wrong with the baby. But with the induction set literally 12 hours from then, I figured we’d be okay if it didn’t happen again. So the evening progressed, with no more ‘shocking’ sensations. I headed to the bathroom for the thousandth time that day, except this time was different. There was blood; why was there blood? I ran out of the bathroom to my mom and asked why I would be bleeding. She had no idea; she had never ‘gone into labor’ with either of her pregnancies, so we both stood their clueless. So we sat down to dinner. We talked and laughed and envisioned how drastically all our lives would change once our daughter was here. As my dad asked me a question, I suddenly had the strongest cramp in my lower abdomen that stopped me in the middle of my answer. Moments later, though, I was caught by another strong cramp and everyone at the table knew something was up. When asked what was going on with me, I simply said, “I think I’m going into labor.” Those six glorious words that I never thought I would get to say brought on a slew of preparations; calling the hospital, being told to time the duration of the contractions and length of time between them, getting me in a more comfortable position to endure these painful but manageable sensations, making sure the bags were ready, watching the length of time between contractions lessen, loading up the car, praying the hospital would admit me, getting checked in and set up on the monitors, and finally, being told I was going to meet my baby soon."

Worth The Wait 

When you hear your baby cry for the first time, it is a sound you will never forget. The look on your partner's face beaming with pride from how hard you have worked is priceless. The sheer glow that you will have following the birth of your little one is one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the honor of witnessing. The moment that everyone waits for is whirlwind of emotions. It is an whirlwind of physical feels, too--pain, tingles, exhaustion, an all around body high.

"The trials of pregnancy, waiting for her to come on her own, and the overall uncertainty of the whole process was instantly wiped away. I heard her cry, saw her open her eyes, felt her breath against my skin, and I knew this was exactly how this was all supposed to happen. The detailed whirlwind of labor and delivery is a story for another time, but the whole point and purpose of my story is to tell you this: I am so eternally grateful that I went 41 weeks with my first born. Because when my body decided it was time, I had nothing but peace and clarity that this was right, that this was it. I had no doubts or fears, and I was able to fully trust my body and it’s ability to deliver the biggest blessing I’d ever known: my daughter. Of course, some women have experiences where medical intervention is absolutely necessary, and I do urge you to listen to your doctor as well as your body. You want your child here with you, but you want both of you to be healthy when that happens. My advice is simply to not let fear, doubt, impatience, jealousy, or frustration drive your decision to fight your body’s natural ability to bring a child into the world. So if you are encroaching on the last few weeks of pregnancy and wondering if you can make it or why you haven’t gone into labor yet, do yourself a favor: trust your body. Let your body work the way it was designed to, and above all else, don’t lose hope. You will NOT be pregnant forever. You will eventually meet your child, and it will be the most amazing moment of your life. Everything else will melt away and you will be completely wrapped up in a happiness you’ve never known before."

Trust your body. Trust your baby to let your body know when they are ready to sustain life on the outside. Take the time to explore your options so you know what to expect. Be intentional when planning your birth team so you have the right support in place before the time comes. Practice finding a place of serenity and confidence in your body's ability to do it's job. Finally, prepare yourself to remain calm and wait for this beautiful journey to begin.


Tranquility by HeHe, A Concierge Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts
"We can't wait to pamper you."


Cited Sources: 
  1. R. Mittendorf et al., "The Length of Uncomplicated Human Gestation," Obstetrics and Gynecology 75, no. 6 (1990): 929-32
  2. 2008 U.S. Natality Detail Files  
  3. Ramanathan et al., "Ultrasound Examination at 37 Weeks' Gestation in the Prediction of Pregnancy Outcome." 

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