Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Due Dates Annoy Me

Bear with me while I go on a crabby rampage, OK? Pretty much everyone's favorite question to ask me is when my due date is. It's understandable in some respects: I've been pregnant for the better part of a year and it looks like I'm smuggling a very large watermelon under my clothes. However, it irritates me when people don't accept my answer or continuously ask me the question again and again as if my answer is magically going to change.

Here's the thing about due dates that people fail to recognize: They're really called ESTIMATED due dates. No one knows when a baby is going to come. No one. Even if you're being induced, you don't know that the baby isn't going to come early.

Generally, estimated due dates (EDD) are calculated by adding 40 weeks to the first day of your last period. What this fails to take into account though is that all women and all babies are different. If your menstrual cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days, the 40 weeks is already off.

Secondly, even though ultrasounds seem like they're super accurate because you're told you're "X weeks and # days", after the 12 week of pregnancy ultrasounds aren't very accurate at dating pregnancies because fetuses develop at different rates after that point. (Think about how some babies walk at 10 months and others walk at 13 months. It's the same type of thing when they're still in the uterus.) The EDD from ultrasounds also seem to be a moving target since almost everyone I know who has had more than one ultrasound has had her due date changed, which is always funny to me since the conception date didn't change.

In addition to your cycle and your baby's development, the 40 weeks is just an average too. A baby is considered full term if it comes anytime between 37 and 42 weeks. So basically, your baby is normal if it comes anytime within a one month time frame. My birth instructor told us that on average, first babies come ten days after the EDD and one of the books I'm reading says that the chance of a woman delivering on her "due date" is only around 5%.

So when people ask me when I'm due, I tell them "in April", which is about as accurate as I can be. I'm not a psychic. These nosy parkers never accept that answer though. More than one person, most often a Facebook "friend" I haven't seen in 10+ years, has gone on to insist, "No, when is your exact due date? I want to write it in my calendar." Hell no. If you found out about my pregnancy on Facebook, you can find out when I have my baby on Facebook. I don't need you emailing me to ask if I've "popped" yet. (Incidentally, this is my least favorite phrase ever. Do they think the imagery of popping or exploding is pleasant to a woman facing imminent labor? Really? Think before you speak, Dummy.) Multiply the same mildly annoying question by every single person I know and some random strangers who decide they have a right to be up in my business and you get one irritated mama-to-be.

The icing on the cake of irritation is my father-in-law who asks weekly if we have a more precise due date yet. We have explained to him numerous times all the above information about how EDD are just guesses and there is no way anyone could be certain, but he refuses to accept it and just keeps asking. It's enough to make me want to bang my head (or his?) against the wall.

Now, when Chuk or I get an insistent due date questioner, we quip, "It's a baby, not a library book." If we can get a giggle, usually it's enough time for us to change the subject. Phew.

Since you readers are all nice and I have gotten one respectful question about this issue, I will tell you I have two EDDs. I was told by one midwife that I'm due April 8, which was simply based on 40 weeks after the first day of my last period. My current midwife has my EDD as April 20, which she calculated according to my freakishly long menstrual cycle.

Personally, I'm really hoping to either have the baby April 18 because 18 is a special number to me (I think this baby was conceived on July 18; Chuk proposed on August 18; my dad's birthday was September 18; and my birthday is October 18) or April 25 because that was my grandma's birthday. (I've written about her here, here, and here.) I would also be happy with April 8 because Easter is my favorite holiday.

The absolute worst day for me to have this baby is April 15 because Chuk has a second round Jeopardy audition that day, which cannot be rescheduled. Because I want him to fulfill his life dreams, I've told him he's going to the audition no matter what, but he insists he wouldn't go if I was in labor. Obviously, this means I'm going to have the baby on April 15 or 16 because that's just how the universe works. I would appreciate it if you kept your fingers crossed that I'm not in labor April 14-16 anyway though. (And although it's secondary to a healthy baby, if you want, you can also keep your fingers crossed that he makes it onto the show because that would be so fun and make him so happy.)


  1. I love your response about the library book! that's a great way to answer. I think it is crazy that people insist on knowing the actual due date, but I always figured that most of them realize it's an estimate. It's just one of those things people like to ask, like "how are you doing today" when you're checking out in the store. It's just something you ask!

  2. Agree with Jessica about the library book! People always feel like they have the right to know your personal business a) because they ask and b) because you're pregnant and really, then you become public property. Right?

    Good grief, if I ever get pregnant I think I'm just going to ignore people who feel the need to know things I've basically told them I'm not going to tell them. Ugh.


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