Baby overdue? A survival guide

The last month of pregnancy is the slowest since time began, it is well documented that it has 74 days. If your baby is too comfortable in the fluid filled home you have created for them, this can stretch to an extra 14 days.  Nobody ever thinks this will happen to them. You focus on the due date as if it is a target you will be lucky to reach, never considering that you might still be lumbering around awkwardly for a further two weeks.

Neither of my babies got the hint that it was time to vacate the premises and both of them had to be evicted!

I was born prematurely myself so having some notion that my first baby would definitely arrive early, I finished up in work four weeks before my due date. And was still pregnant six weeks later. I was climbing the walls (if climbing the walls looks like sitting on a yoga ball, crying and eating crisps). On my second I was more appreciative of the time at home….

I read an inordinate amount of articles on-line about how to induce labour. I was doing all I could to help nature along, but I was suffering with SPD and on crutches so wasn’t too mobile. I had two scheduled inductions at almost two weeks overdue with both babies. Having labour induced is no walk in the park but having been through it twice I have some practical advice.

 This isn’t a list of spicy curries, labour inducing cupcakes or aromatherapy oils, but a more realistic survival guide.

  1. As you will more than likely have gone past your due date, you will be tormented by well-meaning nosey bodies texting and calling non-stop looking for baby news. Buy yourself a large toblerone and every time a text reading something like “any sign of that baby?” pings into your phone, eat a triangle. Sure, you will go through that bad boy in record time but it’s not like you have much else to do.
  2. It can be fun to respond to those “any sign of the baby” questions with “oh god, did we forgot to tell you! It was a …” or have some stock newborn photos to reply with.
  3. Forget the batch cooking enthusiasts who would have you cook and freeze enough meals to sit out a zombie apocalypse and instead find yourself a bubblegum TV series to distract you. Dance moms was my particular poison.
  4. If you are being induced, I would really, really recommend keeping the date from as many people as you can. Being in labour is rough enough without your auntie Jean seeking a dilation update.
  5. Don’t expect to have your baby the same day you are induced. My daughter was two days old when I bumped into another mother who was induced at the same time as me, her baby was only a couple of hours old.
  6. On a practical level, some info on being induced: In most cases, the first thing tried is a gel. Which is basically inserted like a tampon. This may or may not get things going, and may or may not need to be repeated.
  7. Another route is the drip with Syntocinon, I needed this second time round when the gel didn’t work the same magic as the first time. Some people might go straight to the drip, policies differ everywhere. I’m told the contractions from the Syntocinon are three times stronger than natural contractions. Be prepared.
  8. You may end up with a c-section, the chances are higher when induced than going yourself. Just something to have in the back of your mind.
  9. I liked the assurance of being induced, of being in hospital with professionals around me monitoring me at all stages. There was no second guessing of “is it time to go to the hospital yet?” or being sent home because you weren’t far enough along.

If you don’t fancy getting to the point where any of the above apply to you, the word on the street suggests dusting down your apron to bake some lemon drop labour cookies to scoff after a vindaloo dinner before a night of passion…

This post first appeared on the wonderful M Word


Sleep. The (day) dream.

My son has no respect whatsoever for sleep.  His own, mine, his sister’s or father’s.  He will happily reign supreme all during the wee hours only to contentedly conk out just in time for my daughter (and by default me or Daddy too) to get up.

He kept us up all night last night, screeching at the injustice of eye-teeth.  He wanted everything and nothing by means of comfort.  I rocked, shushed, cuddled, paced, sang, patted, returned the favoured soother repeatedly……… no one “trick” worked for more than a few moments.

To put it mildly, I am tired.  The last few nights have been getting progressively worse.  An ear infection added insult to injury and medication was prescribed and my empathy levels upped a notch.

I wandered bleary-eyed to my desk in work, facing a day of keeping my eyelids propped open.  I just know he is most  likely happily slumbering away now in a marathon length nap in the crèche.

I’ve read every article that I can find about how to help you baby sleep, dealing with sleep deprivation, avoiding bad habits (that ship has sailed I’m afraid), I’ve bought the books, the white noise CDs, the slumber-bears and all other gadgets pedalled to desperate parents.   I won’t leave him to cry, it’s just not right for him or I.  I need to find something that works for us.

The tiny tyrant will object to sleep in his cot at night, until he is nestled in bed beside me he objects most vociferously.  I have to admire his tenacity.  He knows exactly what he wants, and will settle for no less.  He has no doubt that he is entitled to what he views as the best possible service and will wail until he gets his own way.

Even I have forgotten by now what my point is.  But you get the drift.  I would dream about sleep, if I could get some sleep.  In fact I did conk out on the bed around 11am over the weekend (when I was meant to be changing the bed clothes), my husband was under no illusions that household chores were being tended to and left me to doze.  When I did wake up 1.5 hours later, I realised I had been dreaming about being tired.  So even when I got the sleep I (day)dream about, I was even tired in the land of nod!

So please, anyone out there.  Tell me your success stories about how at 18 months your toddler decided to opt in to the notion of sleep.  Or else just sympathise with me and discuss what bottles of wine are on special offer…