At 10 days past due, Parker officially cooked longer than any of his siblings so far, but I don’t doubt the midwife’s assessment that my dates were a week off and he was probably closer to 3 days past due.
He is the hairiest little guy I’ve ever seen, with muttonchop sideburns and copious black fuzz on his back and shoulders. He’s also one of our smallest babies, weighing in at 7 lbs. 5 oz.
But he has a big head, big hands and feet, and long rangy limbs so I have little doubt that he’ll have that Coghlan growth spurt and wind up wearing size 13 shoes just like his dad someday.
His birth was, I think, one for the books.
I typically spend some part of each pregnancy dreading the impending labor, but this feeling normally abates as the duedate approaches. This time, I was still struggling when the duedate came and went. I tried not to complain aloud, but I inwardly cringed each time a well-wisher blurted out, “I’ll bet you can’t wait!” Oh yes, I could.
I shouldn’t have worried. I’ve always thought that God prepares us emotionally for labor and delivery, and the fact that I didn’t feel prepared could have – should have – been taken as an indicator that labor was just a little farther off than I thought. By the time it started in earnest, I was ready. Oh me of little faith.
In the meantime, one way that I tried to deal with my lack of psychological readiness was by exercising. I knew that physical fitness often plays a part in how labor proceeds, and I knew that I had spent a large part of the last 6 years being much less active than I used to be, so I finally got in gear.
I started walking daily, building up from one mile at a time to over 3 miles. I didn’t start this until 4 weeks before my duedate, and I worried it would be too little, too late to affect my upcoming labor and delivery, but hubby encouraged me enthusiastically, often walking with me, so I persisted.
God encouraged me too, with unseasonably mild weather and plenty of cloud cover. The blazing south Texas sun hardly showed its face for the entire month of May.
I also found that contrary to what I expected, I immediately felt better than I had in months. My typical aches and pains nearly disappeared, my piriformis syndrome seemed better instead of worse, and my energy levels were much improved. I forgot to be bothered by the mild arthritis in my knees. My prenatal checkups showed that my uterus and the baby were growing, but my weight stabilized and I began to lose some excess padding all over. To top it all off, I found that I felt stiff and achy on the rare mornings that I missed my walk.
My outlook improved, though I was still apprehensive. I found myself hoping to go past my duedate so I’d have a little longer to prepare, both physically and emotionally. God granted that desire.
At 7 days past due, I had a chiropractic adjustment. It wasn’t because I was in any pain or discomfort, but because I had done the same thing just before Becca’s birth – my fastest and easiest labor ever, so fast that the midwife missed the grand event entirely. I didn’t mind at the time because I had been very apprehensive about the labor and I was just glad to have it over with so quickly. In fact, I had been hoping for a repeat performance ever since – the fast and easy labor, that is. Not the part where the midwife arrived after the birth.
Two days after my adjustment, hubby and I walked 5 miles. We didn’t really set out to walk so far, but a casual joke became a challenge and so we did it. Later that day, my intermittent contractions seemed to settle into a 10-12 minute pattern, and I began to suspect that I was in early labor.
Contractions continued throughout the night, still regular but mild enough that I was able to sleep well. On Sunday morning, we decided to go to church as usual. Based on past experience, we knew it was likely that labor would pick up that night. Daytime has always been pretty safe for me, and this time was no different. We stayed out the entire day, and on the way home I finally felt the contractions becoming more intense, though they didn’t increase in frequency right away.
We put the kids to bed and made a few phone calls: the in-laws, and a heads-up call to my mom and the midwife who would be attending the birth to let them know that we’d probably be calling on them in the wee hours.
Then we settled into bed ourselves, hoping for a few hours of sleep before the excitement started in earnest.