Thursday, October 29, 2009

Birth Pet Peeve #42

Okay, while I don't have an official "Pet Peeve" list or anything, I'm sure I could come up with at least 42 items of frustration.  

However, I do have one that has been on my mind not only because I have been hearing it "happening" to other mothers I know, but I have also experienced it first hand.  

First, let me ask you a question?  Would you ever assume that your very well educated and experienced OB would be able to tell you when he/she thought you might conceive?  

Have you ever asked your OB when he/she thought you might become great with child?
Have you ever had an OB tell you, without your asking, when they thought you might conceive?  
I'm going to take a big guess that the answer is NO.  Why would you, right?  It's not like they can predict these things.  

HOWEVER.. fast forward to 39 weeks of pregnancy and all the sudden you and said OB are convinced that if they said, "you are going to have this baby by this weekend, I'm sure of it" that now all the sudden they have supernatural powers that have been hidden up until now.  

You might want to ask them to purchase a lottery ticket for you too, while you're at it.  

Okay, I jest.  But here is my frustration: 

NO ONE, except the LORD HIMSELF, knows when that baby is coming.  Can you guess? Sure that's why its called and ESTIMATED due date (EDD).  That is NOT an eviction day: either the baby comes on that day or else.  

Besides the fact that no doctor is that smart to "know" when baby is coming they also do not "know" how long a labor will last.  

With my third child I walked into my OB appointment at 37 weeks, with no contractions and yet, when my beloved doctor checked me I was a whopping 5 cm's.  He was in complete shock.  Of course he started asking me if I had had any contractions of any intensity (as if I could forget what a contraction feels like) and whether I had any bloody show..etc.  I told him.. "nope. I've just been taking my Evening primrose oil everyday."   Well the next thing out of his mouth was, "Well, Rachel, I think you will have this baby by the end of the weekend."  Of course, I laughed thinking "how silly."  

But what happened next was a surprise , even to me.  I got in my car.. called my hubby, my sister and every other friend I have to tell them "guess what?  I'm 5cm's dilated.. and the doc thinks I'll have the baby by Sunday."  NEVERMIND the fact that I knewI had been taking EPO, this was my third child, I had NOT ONE contraction and dilation can happen even before labor officially "begins."  
Nope. None of that mattered.  My doctor is knowledgeable.  He's seen women in labor for years.  He's delivered countless babies.. surely he knows a labor about to begin when he sees it.  


I stayed 5 cm's for another week.  In fact, at my next appointment (when I hadn't had that baby by SUNDAY), he came in and what did he say?  "I am so shocked to see you here!"  Why?  Because you now realize that with birth nothing is guaranteed and that you can not predict the future?  I then told him how disappointed I was when Monday morning came and I didn't have that baby and I begged him to never, never, never, never, ever, no matter how much you have the urge to "encourage" a mom, please, please, DO NOT tell her something that you can not, in fact, guarantee. I was dead serious and I believe he actually considered my words.  

Here is the point.  You need to consider every single gestation not in terms of 40 weeks but in terms of 42 weeks.  Even ACOG standards consider postdate to be 42+ weeks.  Meaning, even the "holy grail" of medical standards says you don't need to induce until 42+ weeks, unless there is medical indication.  

Point being:  40 weeks is not the eviction day, its the estimated due date. And when you will begin labor is unknown.  The AVERAGE gestation for first time moms is 41.5 weeks.  Average means some go before, and some go after that.  

And whatever you do.. if your doctor tells you that supposed encouraging info "I think it's going to happen this week (or enter day/time here)" remind them (and yourself) that NO MAN knows the future and that we would call that prophecy, and in the days of  Old Testament Law... if your prophecy didn't come true you were killed.  

Not that I'm saying a hormonal, frustrated, very pregnant woman should consider killing.. even if you want to.  


Enjoy Birth said...

Oh yes, this bugs me too!

In Hypnobabies we call it a Guess Month. Really it is a 5 week window of time the baby can come.

At least your OB didn't send you to the hospital to do a sneaky induction.

Marie said...

Bugs me too! And I had a very much needed at the time c-section delivery. I read some more on the topic after I read your post and it really irks me that women are not fully informed of their healthcare choices. But I also believe some of it is stuff we don't want to I know you've been doing the count down to the due date we gave you but God has his own timing and we should wait. I didn't want to hear it. I wanted my little guy yesterday already. :)

Jodi said...

Amen, amen, amen! I am SO glad to hear another woman say this! I was adamant about not inducing with both of mine b/c there was no medical reason to do so (except that they didn't come out before their eviction date) - love that term! I was told that it was my fault that I ended up w/ an emergency section w/ Samuel b/c I didn't let them induce me when they wanted to. I'll admit that it was my fault for listening and letting them use pitocin and break my water, but not for avoiding induction. I quoted the whole ave of 41.5 weeks thing to my OB and every one of his partners that I saw, and they still acted like I was insane and holding Samuel hostage in my uterus! Good word!