But no...today was a thinking day & my brain got to grinding about stuff as soon as it noticed I was up. So much to think about!
Last night, Logan & I went to our first of two childbirth classes. Up until that point, the extent of my research on childbirth was using an app called “The Bump” recommended by a friend of mine who is also pregnant.
Weekly, I am delighted by the little factoids it shares. For instance, did you know that around 32 weeks a woman’s nipples get darker?! Why, you might wonder (I never did...but was amazed there is actually a reason)?! Well, it turns out that around 32 weeks, although premature, a baby has a strong chance of survival. Some senses will not be fully developed (such as eyesight), so the nipples get darker to make them easier for babies to see, if they do indeed arrive early.
Our bodies truly are amazing, intelligent, spectacular vessels we get to drive around this planet. When I learn stuff like this I always have to take a moment to pause. It’s really hard for me not to believe in some kind of higher power or Universal force when I ponder things like the design of the human body. Who planned that?!
But I digress. Back to childbirth class (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with all the gory details of labor...haha!).
What stood out to me from last night’s class was a conversation about the impact of interventions BEFORE pregnancy that could lead to the possibility of surgical birth (c-section). In a broad sense, there are several very “normal”-sounding things that seem to be standard medical practice which actually run the risk of introducing infections &/or speeding up the process of starting labor. And once that process is sped up, more very “normal”-sounding clocks are placed on mama if she hasn’t progressed a certain amount by a certain time.
What I learned last night was that 90% of women will start labor within 24 hours after the water breaks. And one of the midwives there to answer questions said she had delivered a healthy baby 4 DAYS after the water broke.
This was fascinating to me! Why the 16-hour clock if nature generally takes its course in 24 hours (or more for some women)? Safety? Perhaps. But it is also easier to maintain one standard, PLUS it involves less liability for the hospital if they take a very conservative approach that will ensure healthy babies, even if that means c-sections that might have been avoided.
Another interesting topic was carrying past the due date...something my doctor told me he would only allow for one week. Seems reasonable since I am a high risk pregnancy due to my age (I’m considered an “antique mom” at 42). But is it reasonable? The “normal” gestation for a baby is 40 weeks (at least that’s the common number you find in all the cute books, apps & websites). In reality, there is a range considered healthy: 37-42 weeks.
And what about the fact I myself was born 3 weeks past my due date (apparently, I’ve been a late bloomer from the get-go)? Or that I know EXACTLY the date of conception (because I am a freak & can actually FEEL the exact moment when I ovulate...the weird but true side effect of being really focused on health & tuning into my body over the last few years), which by the way shows that I am actually 2 weeks behind where all the fancy apps & estimated due date calculators (based on date of last menstrual cycle) put me. So “one week late” might actually be a week early if we use 40 weeks as our guideline.
No wonder my brain wouldn’t let me go back to sleep this morning. I’ve got some stuff to figure out...and FAST (or at least FAST-ish...depending on when Baby Riley decides to make its debut).
At the end of the day, here is what I am left with...what’s so wrong with being a late bloomer? Why can’t I let my baby stay inside until it’s ready to come out naturally on its own (as long as it’s safe in there...which thanks to modern medicine, we can most definitely monitor)?
I waited 40 years to meet the man of my dreams. 41 years to marry him. And 42 years to have my first baby. Certainly there’s no harm in letting that baby wait until he/she is actually READY to come out. My mom let me wait...and I think I turned out pretty good (watch your comments here, peanut gallery...that means you, DAD!).
I for one would rather be amazed & even a little inconvenienced to let myself experience my baby’s personality right from the start.
- Early arriver with short labor...great, I love easy!
- Late comer with an epic labor that’s a tale for the ages...sweet, I love a good story.
- A few false starts before REAL labor begins...ha-ha smarty pants, I DO love a prankster.
- Some kind of arrival I haven’t even thought of yet...SCORE, you’re a true original.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder why we even call people late bloomers at all. I only ever think of myself that way is when I compare myself to others (a practice that gets me absolutely nowhere).
In fact, the place I have been the “late-bloomery-est” has been in my personal life (as mentioned above with my first marriage & baby happening after 40)...which is also the place I feel the happiest. And ironically, the most envied. Our love story belongs in a movie & this baby happened on our first try...can’t beat that with a stick. Maybe that extra time I was taking was to ensure the bloom would be spectacular when it did happen. And frankly, I wouldn’t bloom any earlier than I did if I had to change one detail of my life. It’s the perfect life for me.
And if I’m really lucky, it will inspire at least one other person out there to embrace their “not-like-everyone-else” life + timeline and love it a little bit extra today.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta get to spin class. Late bloomers there miss the warm up & that is one kind of late blooming I just can’t deal with today!