Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Estimated due date as calculated by my midwife - September 6, 2007
Estimated due date as calculated by me - September 8, 2007
Estimated due date based on The Ultra Sound - September 11, 2007

And briefly, EDDs are based on statistical averages. The average pregnancy reaches completion about 38 weeks from conception, aka 40 weeks gestational age. The EDD being an average means some women are full term at approximately 37 weeks, and some women are term by 43 weeks. Ah, the beauty of statistical averages. We all know what Twain said about statistics. (And yes, I know it might be an urban myth that Clemens said it at all, but work with me people)

When do I think I'm having this baby? I always figured it would be a New Years baby (the Jewish New Year, that is) so I'm not worried about it. Rosh HaShanah, by the way, begins tonight at sundown and the holiday itself runs through Friday.

Adam's parents arrived on the 10th, as they expected little fish to arrive on the 6th, and now they're hanging out with us till birthday. Could be here a while! Last night we went out to a teppen-yaki type Japanese place where I was unable to finish my dinner due to a late lunch and A GIGANTIC BABY SITTING IN MY THROAT. ahem. Oh, and I'm the only one eating vegetarian so I'm the only one at the table of 8 eating, 2 couples being strangers.

Chef asked if I there was a problem with the food. I said, "No," laughing "I'm just pregnant and have no room." This leads to the inevitable question "What are you having?"
"A baby," I say.

"No, I meant the sex."

"We're waiting to be surprised."

"You mean after all those ultrasounds you still don't know what the sex is?"

A slight shifting as I start to get uncomfortable (we haven't had a bunch of U/S)... "Nope, still waiting to be surprised."

"Ookkay, how for along are you?"

"41 weeks" * (I'm 40.5ish)

"41 weeks!!!! Why don't you demand to be induced!??!?!?"

"We trust our baby to know when it's time," Adam said slowly.

I wanted to say: "There is growing evidence that elective induction of labor is not risk-free. One problem with induced labor is that due dates are not exact. If there is a 2-week error in calculating a due date, a woman scheduled to be induced at 38 weeks might be only 36 weeks pregnant.Researchers at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, also looked at pregnancy outcomes by week of gestation. After examining more than 56,000 pregnancy outcomes at 40, 41, and 42 weeks, Dr. James Alexander and his fellow researchers concluded that “Routine labor induction at 41 weeks likely increases labor complications and operative delivery without significantly improving neonatal outcomes." Many researchers believe that when a baby is ready for life outside his mother’s uterus, his body releases a tiny amount of a hormone that signals the maternal hormones to initiate labor. In most cases, only when both the mother’s body and the baby are ready do the powerful maternal hormones of labor begin the process of birth."

But I just nod in agreement with Adam.

He looks incredulous and says, "Well, what hospital are you having your baby at?"

(Mind you this entire conversation is happening over the table, with pretty much everyone in earshot listening to us)

I wiggle some more in my seat and say, "We're not having the baby at a hospital. We're having it at home."

Chirp. Chirp.


" uh.... good luck. You're gonna need it!"

Now, despite blog posts to what amounts to (mostly) a bunch of strangers, Adam and I really don't go around shoving our particular birth/parenting ideas in people's faces. We've done the research and arrived at what we think is the best place for us and our baby. Sometimes, however, the misinformation, ignorance, and blind fear that accompanies most people's expectations of birth and pregnancy can be overwhelming.

"Good luck - you're going to need it." I don't doubt birth is going to be a sensational process which, despite my efforts to prepare my conscious, modern brain, will likely take my breath away with it's intensity and power. That said, women's bodies were made to do this. We have been properly designed to grow, nourish, and birth our babies. Yes, there are days I wonder if I can do this, what I've gotten myself into; and more often, days where I feel grateful that I'm going to experience this. The choices we've made aren't for everyone. We plan, Gd laughs, right? So who's to say how it will all turn out - but I HATE when people tell me I can't do something when I've never even attempted it.

For those who are interested, information regarding normal birth and practices that promote birth as such can be found at

The statistics quoted above are from:

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