These days we know so much before our babies even arrive. Our scans tell us how many babies we’re carrying, their due date, if they are healthy and what sex they are (if like me you’re too impatient to wait the 9 months to find out!) It’s so easy to forget that only a few years ago pregnant women were not routinely scanned and so due dates were inaccurate and pregnancies unpredictable. One of my friends (who is now in her 40’s)must have given her mum the biggest shock of her life when after several hours of labour she gave birth to a healthy baby girl and then the doctor said the shocking words “take a few breaths because you’re going to have to push again as you’re having twins!”.
I think that the fact that we know so much these days has made us want to know more. In a time when many of us are control freaks, I often meet mums who hate the fact that they don’t know exactly when their babies are going to eventually put in an appearance. Whether it's that they are worried that their child will be the oldest or youngest in the school year, or that they don't want their baby to be born too close to Christmas, the ‘due date’ mentioned at the first scan appointment becomes all important - ironic when research shows that it is only accurate for about 5% of pregnancies!
For some parents this lack of certainty of where or when they will be when labour starts can cause them some anxiety as they worry about planning for this big day, managing the practicalities of getting partners home from work and other children to childcare etc. But at the other end of the scale when parents have a definite date for delivery (in the case of planned caesareans) the surreal concept of knowing exactly when and where their life is going to change so dramatically can be equally as daunting! At the end of the day, despite our increased knowledge, your baby’s delivery date is one of a long list of surprises that you have waiting for you when your baby arrives and so the best thing is to try and go with it and not worry too much. Labours are generally longer than we’d ideally like them to be(!) and give you plenty of time to call the midwife, get your partner home from work and make your way to the birth centre or hospital. And after your labour that’s when you get your first few answers – Does your baby have hair? Does he look like you as a baby or is he a mini-me of his dad? Is she placid or is she a girl that knows what she wants from day one? Will he fit into that cute outfit you bought months ago or will he be straight into the 0-3 months outfits?
Susie is now 4 years old and I’ve still only found out a few answers to my hundreds of questions about who she is and who she’s going to become. I love (and sometimes hate) her determination, her enthusiasm is infectious and her current passion for writing her newly learnt letters is amazing and whilst I'm excited to find out more about her and what's next, I'm also trying desperately to make the most of this special time together and enjoy taking one step at a time.