Who invented the concept of due dates? Who’s ever born on their due date? Almost no one, that’s who. (Our friend Mr. Internet tells me 90–95% of women don't deliver on their due date. Am I still bitter than my first baby came out 10 days late? Hell, yes.) A friend of mine went into labor on her due date and was completely convinced it was false labor because she, like me, knew that no one delivers on their due date. Due dates are notoriously fuzzy anyway since menstrual cycles shift and ovaries sometimes have a mind of their own, particularly as you get older. God knows if you’ve had a baby in the semi-recent past, your cycle is hardly regular. For the months leading up to this pregnancy, my cycle was 22 days, then 29, then 27, 26, 22, 31, 24, and 30 (not that I was keeping track or anything). And though I got my period on July 16, I spotted on the 13th—so, really? We’re going to put that information together and say with any kind of certainty whatsoever that my baby is due to be born on April 21st, 2012?
Here’s my idea: how about delivery windows?
I know it doesn’t alliterate, but it’s so much more realistic. Here’s a four-week timeframe in which you’re most likely to go into labor, and at the end of this window, if you haven’t gone into labor spontaneously, you will be shot full of drugs until the baby comes out, ready or not. Did you even know that your baby’s not considered “overdue” until two weeks after your due date—which is less the deadline that it feels like and more a RANDOMLY GENERATED DATE pulled out of your healthcare provider’s ass—er, desktop roulette wheel?
There would be SO MUCH LESS FRETTING with delivery windows. Friends and relatives would get off your case and you wouldn’t feel a sense of being overdue because there would be no such thing. (A quick internet search suggests that delivery windows are, in fact, how things used to work before this whole business of baby-having became the province of the medical establishment. I am not generally a woman to pine for the medical practices of the past—lord knows I’m all about the epidural—but this particular issue is a definite loss, rather than progress.)
I was all about saying “my baby’s due toward the end of April,” but people want a date, dammit. They know there is a date, and they want to know what it is.
So: mine is April 21st.
Or, more recently predicted, April 16th.
One or the other or sometime in between or two weeks before or after either one.
My baby will be welcomed to the world with cherry and plum blossoms and tulips and maybe the plagues and macaroons of Passover, the creepiness and jelly beans of Easter, the W-2 forms of taxes, or the earths of Earth Day. His or her birthstone will like be a diamond (lucky!), and he’ll probably be an Aries, or possibly a stubborn little Taurus like his (or her) daddy. Whatever the case, he or she is most certainly going to be born in April, by hook or by crook, by nature or Pitocin.
Just 27 (or 28 or 30 or possibly 25) more weeks to go.