Date With Destiny (or: Window of Opportunity)

exposed belly, 11.09.04Al and I have been purposely vague about the due date of our baby, mainly because well-meaning people are liable to drive you nuts with calendar watching if they know for sure when you're due. I've had a couple friends deliver early recently, but if I happen to go long (as another friend did—by about two weeks—last February), the last thing I want is zillions of "did you have the baby yet???" phone calls and e-mails. Thus, we've alternately told people that the baby was due "in mid-December," "around Christmas," and "during the holidays." God help us if the magi reach the baby Jesus before our baby reaches us.

Anyway, I posted a Due Date Debate logic puzzle back in July, after we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound and before we left on our Last Hurrah Cruise. At the time, there had only been two guesses as to the delivery date—my grandmother's and my mom's—and both were based solely on our "around Christmas" assertion. When we returned from the cruise, I posted additional clues based on the guesses that had come in via comments and e-mail while I was gone, and that update post got two more guesses via the comments. This weekend at the baby shower my sister had the guests record their guesses as to the date and time the baby would be born, as well as the baby's weight, length, hair color, and eye color at birth and his hair and eye color at one year. I can think of at least six people who were present at the shower who did not register guesses, but the guesses we did receive in the box set aside for the purpose, from earliest to latest, are as follows:

  • November 24 at 9:52am
  • November 27 at 8:28am
  • December 1 at 1:30pm
  • December 10 at 4:30am
  • December 12 at 3:45am
  • December 13 or 12 at 11:47am or pm
  • December 15 at 2:00pm
  • December 17 at 4:20am
  • December 22 at 6:05am

covered belly, 11.10.04Note that one of the guesses is my mom's, and one is my niece's (they've pretty much stuck to their original July/August estimates); I won't say to whom the others belong. Figuring from the date I think I conceived, all of the guesses above (as well as the ones from Jimmy, Josie, Lori, and Eric) are within the 37- to 42-week range of a "normal" or "full-term" pregnancy. It should be obvious now why we didn't give an exact due date; babies come when they want to, and only rarely when they're expected.

Keeping people guessing has also helped us be flexible in our thinking; it's partly how we've been able to get our act together so far in advance instead of always thinking, "oh, we've got time." We don't see a due date so much as an arrival window that pretty much spans the entire holiday season. It's why we are politely rejecting all offers to visit relatives in other states for Thanksgiving, and why our Christmas cards might not go out until January this year. It's why we voted heartily to do the tour of the labor and delivery floor at last night's childbirth class rather than waiting until the class with the pediatrician three weeks from now. It's why I'm determined to have my hospital bag packed by the end of the week.

In short, while there's probably no need to worry at this point if I go offline for a few days, there's probably cause to wonder... although I might be more sporadic about posting as I continue cleaning up around the house, start the search for a pediatrician (I'm behind on that front), and get caught up on some things I'd like to do before the baby arrives (like finish the book I'm reading, or do some Christmas shopping, or stock the cupboards and refrigerator with all the foods my mom thinks of as "very simple and plain" but that we'd never think to buy—things like squirt butter, iceberg lettuce that doesn't come in a bag, and Turkey Hill Peanut Butter Ripple ice cream—in preparation for her after-birth visit). I was serious about mulling over a proposed platform for a new political party, but I'm not sure I'll have anything to post on that front for a while (unless the baby goes long and I continue to wake up at 3am on a regular basis, in which case I'll use the time between 3 and 5am for the next month to outline where I think the party should stand on trade, foreign policy, the economy, reproductive rights, and a host of other issues).

One more point on the due date before I crawl back into bed and hope that I can fall back to sleep: I think part of the reason for the wide range of guesses, aside form any vagueness on our part, is that different people have different notions about what a woman in her 8th or 9th month of pregnancy should look like. Believe it or not, there are still people who don't notice I'm pregnant unless I tell them, and they seem utterly shocked when I say I'm due in December. My father-in-law, on the other hand, asked if I had "two in there" when he saw me on Saturday. (If he saw the woman in my childbirth class who *is* carrying twins—and who isn't due until February—he'd know better.) My aunt postulated that I wouldn't deliver anytime soon because I "look too comfortable," but she obviously hasn't seen me rolling out of bed at 3am when my belly hurts too much to sleep. A woman in front of me at the spa last month decided that I was "awfully small to be due in December" and asked if I was carrying all in back. (I responded, "um, would you like to walk around me and see?") Just as one woman who's 50% effaced and 1cm dilated may not deliver for another four weeks while another woman who's "completely closed" may go into labor the next day, some women look three months pregnant when they go into labor, and some look twelve. I won't say which of the first two women I resemble most, but the three-months-pregnant-looking woman I had in mind was my mom—and I was 8lbs., 13oz.

Posted by Lori in pregnancy at 4:46 AM on November 11, 2004