26 August 2011
"Are you ready for the baby?", I'm forever being asked. Well of course I am. I've bought several presents for Xander so he has something to distract him from the new baby; we've planned and made careful changes so Xander's routine has the absolute minimum of interruption; asked visitors coming to see the baby to make a fuss of Xander, so he doesn't get too jealous. No baby was ever coming to a more well-prepared house. When I tell people this though they usually mutter "weirdo" under their breaths and shuffle away. I don't get it. Is there such a thing as being too prepared?

I guess there is. I'm now a week overdue, in a society which doesn't seem to allow for that occurrence. We like to control everything in our lives these days, and a baby that doesn't show up by it's due date is seen to be, you know, a little bit hippy, a little odd. As Eddy told Saffy, at term with her own child in Absolutely Fabulous, "No one goes to forty weeks. Pay extra, get the express delivery". Why suffer through the very late, very uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy? Get a (these days) straightforward elective caesarean at 39 weeks and have done with it.

I'd like to say that I'm overdue because of a determination not to rush my child, to let nature take it's course, to refuse to live my life according to a socially acceptable timetable. At least, that's what I would have said before I was pregnant. A couple of years back I fell in with a crowd of hardened home birthers, who convinced me that everything the medical establishment do to pregnant women is a giant scheme to make money from unnecessary interventions. No way was I going to fall for that, I thought smugly as I organised my planned waterbirth. I was going to 43 weeks if need be! My kid would set their own timetable for entry into the world and doctors could shove it!

That was before the anaemia; the symphis pubis dysfunction (aka pelvic instability) which made it impossible for me who would normally cover over 5km a day to walk more than a few hundred metres at a time; the carpal tunnel syndrome which has left me without much feel in or use of my hands. Then there's the usual, boring stuff - the sleeplessness, reflux, inability to sit comfortably, the fact I haven't had prawns or wine since last year. So I would kill for some intervention now, but of course it's too late to hire an obstetrician on three days' notice. I've got to tough this out.

It's hard killing time when I can't go anywhere and I can't hold a pencil and I can't string a coherent thought together. Baby brain may be an anti-feminist lie, but any scan of my brain at the moment would look like this:

For I can assure you, the world is such a source of irritation at the moment it is not to be borne. Let's see...I ordered a cot net from a website last week and was assured it would be delivered Wednesday. They call me on Thursday to inform me they no longer stock the product. Why did it take a week to tell me? Yet another trip out I'm going to have to make. I don't expect special consideration in public just for being knocked up, but I do think it would be nice if people could at least try to stop ramming into my stomach. My husband keeps asking what I want. If I knew that, I could get it myself. I can barely follow any of the columnists in the SMH. My attempt to read the whole Harry Potter series stalled at The Chamber of Secrets, when I kept wondering why Harry and Draco Malfoy couldn't just get on.

Lest anyone think I'm giving birth in a goat pond with Enya music playing, I am actually getting medical care from a team of midwives. And they keep assuring me this is all completely normal; the average first baby born naturally arrives eight days after their due date. Really? You wouldn't know it from popular culture. Pregnancy books switch to motherhood mode at 41 weeks. All the pregnancy apps on my iPhone have stopped updating apart from incessant reminders to purchase their babyhood options (or worse - they have a cute little graphic saying "baby should be here by now!"). Before my encounter with the homebirthers, I'd never heard of babies being late, and thought it was a weird and risky thing. It's a common perception - certainly everyone I know feels the same way, and is worriedly calling looking for updates. (As if they'd call asking if the baby was born yet and we'd reply "Dammit, I knew there was something we meant to tell you". Just kidding everyone; we do appreciate that you care.).

The nesting instinct hasn't kicked in either, though I have had the urge to dye my hair. Our freezer lacks a supply of casseroles ready for cactus hour, but I am sporting a fetching head of Manic Panic red. And yes, I was first assured it was okay from a medical point of view, as birth defects aren't exactly a concern at this stage unless an already-grown foot drops off, or something. My hair required bleaching first, then to settle for a couple of days before being dyed, and if you want to attract attention let me suggest waddling around forty weeks pregnant with crunchy orange-and-yellow hair; Lady Gaga would weep with envy. My hair does look rather smashing now, though I wonder if in years to come my kid will look at their mother in their baby photos and think it's normal for mothers to have vividly coloured hair and drawings on their skin, and those who don't are the weird ones. Gosh I hope so.


  1. Your post made me laugh. So understand. Nothing as hard as waiting past the due date. The discomfort, the questions, the desperate urge to get it out! I love that there is now an iphone app to track it all and it does not stretch past 41 weeks. I feel positively prehistoric knowing my pregnancies were not charted by such an app.
    You are nearly there. I will keep being annoying and asking you if you have given birth. The day i completely gave up on ever giving birth, calling my doula and weeping hysterically was of course the day I went into labour with my 1st. 12 days late.

  2. My doula giving me pep talks has been one of my saving graces in this. I admire you going back for more!

  3. EDDs have done such a disservice to women and birth. And waiting on that first babe is like waiting for someone you don't even know, to blow a whistle at which point you begin to run but you don't know if it's a sprint, a marathon, a jog to the bus, the City to Surf, or from here to the couch. In my experience, babies always do come out, and on their birthdays, which is very convenient for the scheduling of future birthday parties.

    I hope you're being loved up and nurtured as you deserve and doing all the stuff that will be hard to do for a while once the babe is earthside.

    I wish you a beautiful birth and a beautiful earthside welcome for your babe. May your hands be the first to touch your little one.

  4. That is such an excellent analogy about waiting for the race. My problems are more mental I think as I don't handle uncertainty well. I do have a lovely husband and Doula supporting me to stay the course and relaxed for a natural birth.

    But I realise more and more that it's so true what you've said about EDDs - society places so much expectation on them and some people seem to think because I'm over, something's wrong and the baby is in peril...the foot poking out of my side says otherwise!


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