Thursday, August 9, 2012

Unsolicited Advice: Friends of Pregnant People, Don't "Check In"

Two things inspired today's post:

1) I have a bunch of friends who are pregnant and due in the coming weeks.
2) I came across a few pictures from the final days of my pregnancy.

Why the above inspired this post will become clear in a moment. But for now, let's jump back in time a bit.

Baba G had a single-artery umbilical cord (also known as "SUA")—most normal umbilical cords have two arteries. If you were to Google this condition, you would come across awful and scary descriptions of deformities that can accompany an SUA diagnosis. That is why Google is a pregnant woman's worst enemy.

I tried my best to just listen to the reassurances of my doctors, who said they saw SUAs at least once a week, NEVER encountered a case where the baby had any other issue whatsoever, and that part of the reason why there's so much alarming information out there is because very few pregnant women have access to the kind of specialty ultrasounds that are required to diagnose SUA in the first place. What little research exists is outdated and skewed, yadda yadda. Well that's all fine and good, but I still couldn't stop myself from reading a few message boards where other parents of SUA babies had gathered. About 99% of the stories these parents shared ended happily, and absolutely everyone wished they hadn't spent so much time worrying about the whole thing while they were pregnant. That helped put my mind at ease.

BUT the other thing these stories had in common was that all of the SUA babies came a few weeks before their due dates, and all of the babies were also relatively small. That—coupled with the fact that almost all of my best friends' first babies (products of issue-free, healthy pregnancies) arrived FOUR to FIVE weeks ahead of schedule—had me convinced that Baba G was going to come far in advance of my January 14 due date.

And so I waited. My husband thought I was going to deliver on New Year's Eve. That was my worst nightmare because I thought the "B-team" would be on hand at the hospital that night. But we ushered 2012 in with no drama. Another week passed. And another. My due date came and went. My birthday, January 21, came and went. We celebrated it at a local restaurant (picture below), where the staff was shocked to see me waddle in. I'd been there several times toward the end of my pregnancy and they all knew I was a week overdue at that point. Happy Birthday To Me, indeed.
Yep, still pregnant.
Seven days overdue. And that's a glare from the candle -- not a cap on my tooth!

By this point I was beside myself with fear and worry. When the hell was Baba G going to get this party started? Was he the ONLY SUA baby on the planet who hadn't come early? I felt a weird mix of emotions: I wanted to finally go into labor... yet I was also scared senseless about going into labor. I seriously starting thinking that I might be pregnant for the rest of my life. Somehow in my head that seemed possible.

As my due date neared, came, and then went, I received the inevitable stream of calls, texts, emails, tweets and Facebook messages, wondering if there was any news. Soon I felt like if I didn't respond to someone's message right away—even if they didn't mention anything about my long-lasting pregnancy and were just wanting to talk about something random—they'd think I was in labor. I hadn't told anyone about the SUA situation, so no one knew how worried I was. Finally it got to the point that I decided to ask everyone to refrain from "checking in." We'd be sure to let our friends and family know when Baba G made his grand debut, but until then, we just needed to take our minds off of the ticking clock as much as possible, thank you very much.

So this is what I would suggest to any well-wishers before "checking in" with someone who's nearing her due date: don't. Unless you are without-a-doubt POSITIVE that she wants to hear from you and/or discuss her impending Big Day, leave her alone. Let her grab some extra sleep, read a magazine, zone out in front of the TV, finish that one last project, or spend some quality time with her significant other. And rest assured the proud parents will let you know when there's something TO know.

As for that stinker Baba G who didn't want to leave the comfy confines of my stomach, the docs had to finally force him out 10 days past my due date. And he weighed in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces. And he was pretty much perfect, if I do say so myself.

A few weeks after he arrived, I went back on the SUA message board that had helped me feel better about things. I wrote out the longest post of all time, sharing the many ways that my situation had been different from others who had posted before me—especially in the fact that BG arrived so late and was no small dude. A worried father-to-be wrote me back and thanked me profusely for my message, since his wife was also overdue with an SUA baby and they were freaking out.

Now that six months have passed, I think it's kind of funny how the situation has completely flipped. Instead of me not wanting anyone to "check in," I'm sure my friends and family members are wishing *I* would stop "checking in" with email upon email filled with pictures of Baba G!

But seriously, even if the SUA thing hadn't been a factor, I think I still would've been very much on edge during the days leading up to my due date and wouldn't have wanted to talk to many people outside of my husband. I'd love to hear if anyone felt the exact opposite during the final days of their pregnancies. I wish I were more like you non-worriers!

1 comment:

  1. Ha! Well I'm not late yet but I don't mind the check-in although I want to know why your other friends are getting pics of D and I am not! ;)