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It's just a date

Baby boy’s due date has just about come and gone as I sit down to write this post, and it’s not looking like he’s going to be making an appearance anytime soon. Although Hannah and I are excited to bring our first son into the world, we’re not nearly in as much of a hurry this time around as we were a year and a half ago for Lydia.

When you stop to think about the actual “assignment” of a due date, it’s easy to realize how silly you would be to expect your baby to adhere to it as though it were a requirement. If your doctors are like the ones we’ve had, they basically measure the length of the baby on one of your first appointments and use that number to decide when the “official” due date is. We started to feel like due dates aren’t as scientific as we’d thought when we switched doctors between the first and second appointments. Each doctor assigned Hannah a different due date off pretty much the same measurement.

A quick Google search will tell you that only about 5 percent of women actually have their baby on their assigned due date. Sure, I’m sure many of them have the baby early, but I’m also willing to bet that almost as many women have their babies “late.”

My point in bringing this up is that I think it’s an emotionally healthy practice to not read too much into your due date. My advice is to replace the due date from your doctor with a range of about two weeks. Sure, it might make things a little complicated for giving your mom a specific day to fly out and help you; and yes, it’s true that nobody wants to hear you say, “Oh, sometime between April 24 and May 8,” in response to asking when you’re due, but it might all be worth it for your own sanity.

The reason I bring this up is because we are much calmer for the arrival of our second baby, and it’s made our lives much less stressful. Much of the calm we are experiencing is because this second pregnancy has been easier on Hannah than the first, but a lot of it is also because we accept the fact that he’ll come when he’s ready to. Hannah is feeling so great, in fact, she was the photographer for a wedding today! Although it’s a bold move to agree to shooting a wedding on your due date, it doesn’t even compare to what Hannah did with our first baby.

When our doctor told us that Lydia was due on October 31, Hannah wanted to do anything possible to make sure that she wouldn’t be born on Halloween. For whatever reason, Hannah felt like Lyds was going to come early, so by the time the due date rolled around, we were already very anxious. Hannah was upset that it hadn’t played out like she expected, and we ate our sorrows away with gigantic burritos at Chipotle on Halloween night.

Things got even more stressful when Hannah’s mom flew into town with a limited amount of time to stay with us. Every day that the baby didn’t come felt like a waste of a day that we could have had help. After going five days over the due date, Hannah decided she couldn’t take it anymore. For some inexplicable reason that could only be explained by a minor stroke of insanity, she decided to go on a 2-mile hike with her mom to try and knock the baby out. When that hike didn’t get things moving as fast as she wanted, she decided to put some faith in a wives-tale concoction of castor oil and lemon juice that supposedly knocks women into labor within hours. Whether it was the concoction or the hike, we’ll never know, but late that night she went into labor, already exhausted from a long day of adventure.

This time around, we’re managing our expectations a little better, and let me tell you, it makes a world of difference! So, next time you’re tempted to let your “official” due date stress you out, just try to find comfort in the fact that your doctor probably made it up within a range of potential dates. It will be better for you to just go with the flow and enjoy the whole process.

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