Baby #8 and Why I Pick My Own Due Date

Baby #8 and Why I Pick My Own Due Date // jessconnell.com

Exciting news! Baby #8 is on the way. :)

(Which you already know if you read last Monday’s post about Doug’s tremors. By the way- he ended up hospitalized and it became obvious it was his narcolepsy medicines causing his tremors. Thankfully, now that he’s off the meds, it’s all but stopped.)

We are all thrilled, and Doug and I are talking through names more slowly and methodically than we ever have before. (We always choose new boy and girl names, from scratch.) We have so many options and we both like them all, dagnabit. It’s going to be hard to narrow them down.

We’ve also never had anything other than spring and summer babies, so this will be new — a few-week-old baby at Christmastime!!!

Our 9-year-old daughter MeiMei has been praying for months, and hoping for another baby. She cried when we told her. (Video here.) You might think she’s hoping for a girl, and I think she is, but she’s been telling me every night, before bed, “I love whoever is in your tummy!” She’s learned over many babies that God already has this decided, and that the best thing we can do is embrace who He gives. She knows this lesson perhaps better than any of her boy siblings– God always gives us exactly the right person, and we’re never sorry once we see the person he sends. 

You also might think that perhaps pregnancy is “old hat” for our family. But it truly isn’t! It never ceases to amaze me that 3 weeks ago, the baby was a size of a poppyseed, then an orange seed a week later, then last week a little sweet pea. The way God makes people is just mind-blowing.

To me, it’s awe-inspiring to be a vessel for it, whether it’s the first time or the (now, because we’ve had 3 miscarriages) 11th time.

MY DIY APPROACH TO DUE DATES

So let’s say my due date is June 18.

What I used to do is this:

  • People ask: “When’s your baby due?”
  • I’d say “June 18th.”
  • Then, for months, I’d get comments about “I hope you don’t have to go into July. Your doctor won’t let you go over, will she? July is sooooo hot and humid!” Etc.
  • I’d start feeling nervous about not having the baby in June.
  • Then the doctor would do some re-calculations based on my long cycles and realize that my actual due-date was June 28th.
  • I’d start really making a big deal in my head about whether the baby went that 4th day “overdue”– and would we be pushed into an entirely different birth month?!
  • Those 10 “extra” days from my changed due date felt like an eternity.
  • Then, imagine my surprise when we waited, and waited, and waited ANOTHER 10 days before that baby was born on July 7th. Almost a full month after what I thought my “due date” was. 

This was actually– true story– what happened with baby #1. It was hot and sticky in Washington, D.C. I thought I was going to die. (I didn’t.)

But I did start to learn a lesson about what to tell people who ask for the “due date.”

Now, nearly a dozen pregnancies in (we’ve had 3 miscarriages), it goes something like this:

  • People ask, “when are you due?,”
  • I give a general time frame (ie, late November/early December) but then– for my mental stamina– I add 10 days to my official “due date.” So it sounds like this– “late November or early December. Lord willing, we’ll be holding our baby by December 7th.”

This is one way that right now, I’m doing a little end-of-pregnancy self-care from the beginning of my pregnancy

  • I build in some wiggle room from people’s expectations. They’re less pushy, less insistent, and I get less stress-inducing comments, by doing things this way.
  • It helps with my own expectations too. I’m less disappointed when the “due date” comes and goes if I’ve been thinking “one way or another, by mid-December, we’ll be holding our baby”– rather than “November 23th is the day!”

“Due dates” are often wrong. (Do you know about the difference between a 28- and 40-day cycle length and that your due date can be two weeks “off” if you happen to be one of us gals who has lengthier cycles?) And the pregnant hormones and emotions can make it seem like our baby is NEEEEVER gonna come as each day passes beyond that supposed “due date.” But then add to that that perhaps you ovulated later than the 28-day gal, and you haven’t even hit your actual “due date.”

You could be “sweating it” and feeling like you’re overdue, when in fact, you haven’t even hit the full 40 weeks yet. 

As a pregnant lady, especially toward the end of a hot, big, tired pregnancy, the difference between these two perspectives is more massive than my everyone-keeps-asking-are-you-sure-it’s-not-twins-massive belly.

If you’re newly pregnant, do yourself a favor and consider adding some days to the answer you give… you might be super-super-super glad you did, 8 months from now. 😉 

 

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:

  • If you think we’re crazy. No, not really. Please don’t share. If you think that, kindly keep it to yourself. 😉
  • What your experience has been with “due dates.”

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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52 Responses

  1. Nancy Wang says:

    My 3 were all born in December–including one on December 25th itself! Congratulations and good luck with this new little one.

  2. Melanie says:

    Congrats, Jess! I’m so glad Doug is doing better. We must be due about the same time — I’m due with #6 on Thanksgiving Day! Hope you’re not feeling too bad yet. I’m feeling pretty wretched most of the time. :)

  3. Kelli Motzkus says:

    Haha, so crazy. With all my pregnancies I had 28 day cycles. I delivered before my due date with all of them. My first was 12 days “early,” my second was 4 days “early,” and my last was 10 days “early.” I am currently pregnant with my 5th (I miscarried #4 in January) but my cycle was 25 days before these recent pregnancies. So I am courious to see when God will bring this little one into the world! I never thought about it being based on the cycle. So I suppose I’ll stick to mid November to tell people my due date since it is usually before :)

  4. Miranda says:

    Congratulations! I’m so happy to you. Brian and I have had some really rough years but we both truly believe that God had brought us on the other side. We have talked for years about more kids. He had a vasectomy (I think I already told you that) and we had a reversal 5 years ago. It didn’t work. We have been talking about trying again. I feel like it might be too late just because I’m already 36. I have been reading a lot of stories about women having children well into their 40s. I am praying about it though! It is such a strong desire of my heart. Sometimes it gets me down but I keep reminding myself who is in charge.

    • Jess Connell says:

      It’s encouraging to me to hear your update, Miranda. It’s hard when you go through all the “trouble” of a reversal and it doesn’t help. But yes… God is able, and He ALWAYS gives us what is best. That’s true even when “best” is trials and struggles.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Sandrine says:

      For what it’s worth… I had my first baby at 36 and went on to have the fifth at 42, so age alone is not necessarily an obstacle. I pray that God may give you peace about the situation whatever the outcome.

    • Lisa says:

      Congratulations, Jess! That is amazing news.

      Miranda, I also wanted to chime in (though I haven’t experienced the vasectomy reversal challenge). I also had my first at 37 & 1/2. My third at almost 39 years old. And I found out I was pregnant with my third the day after my 40th – he was born 4 months before my 41st birthday. I’ll be 42 this summer and we are praying and hoping that the Lord will bless us again with a little one by the end of the year.

      May the Lord grant you the desires of your heart!

  5. stephanie says:

    Congratulations!! With my last pregnancy the midwives kept changing my date so I just gave a general time frame. I’ve always gone early and start contractions at least a month early so I have to watch that I don’t get anxious about how early I’ll have the baby. Its easier nownthst I’ve had 6 babies to know what my body does and I’m not in as much of a hurry to get it over with because I’m busy with the other kids.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Definitely true. I feel like around babies #5 & 6 was when I started having a good sense of what MY body does during labor. Isn’t it ironic? People would probably look at your numbers and mine and think we had it all together (birth/labor wise) much earlier.

  6. Shannon says:

    Oh, I think that is such a great idea! I always got impatient at the end of my pregnancies.

  7. Diana says:

    I have done the same thing on the recommendation of an older friend of mine. “Mid-March” or “Early June.” Unfortunately, it still drives people (i.e. family) crazy, but I’ve learned how evil due dates can be. :)

    • Jess Connell says:

      Yes, people want A DATE. Weird. We’ve been trained over the last 60-70 years… but for thousands of years, people used to say things like “this fall” or “sometime near Christmas”, or “I think the baby will come early in the new year.” Or (LOL!) not even talk about it, GASP!

      • bekahcubed says:

        It is odd how attached to a date people can get. I recently told my dental hygienist that my husband and I are expecting baby #2 in early August and her first question was “Oh, when are you due?” Umm – early August?

        • Jess Connell says:

          Ha! True. “I’m a stranger to you. Why does the date matter?” Truth is, probably because she, or her husband, or her baby, or someone else she loves, has a birthday in August. Nonetheless, why does that matter, that you’re due around that same time? We’re all trained to think it does.

  8. Kender says:

    Congratulations! I missed the earlier announcement, but Yay! Babies! I have a personal philosophy regarding family size (large or small). “Thems that pays the bills gets to make the babies. Thems that don’t pay the bills don’t get a vote.”
    So…. YAY! You’re having a baby!
    My experience with due dates? With our first baby we knew down to the day when that baby had been made & since I had always been a really consistent regular 28/29 day cycle gal… I stuck to my guns on the first due date that we calculated. Thankfully my Dr agreed and induced me at 10 days overdue, which just happened to be the due date we would have had if we had followed my ultrasound measurements. Turns out Baby Girl already had meconium in the amniotic fluid and was just short. So I’m glad we didn’t go past THAT day. But I totally understand the pressure of people getting excited about an exact day. Our due date was early July & both sides of our family became CONVINCED we were having a June baby. People are crazy. They mean well, but they’re still crazy.

  9. Charisa says:

    Congratulations Jess!!

    We just had baby #5 ten days ago – born at 42 weeks. Our 3rd child was born at 41+5. Those two births alone have me convinced to pad the numbers by a full two weeks if/when there is another baby. It would sure help with the incessant questions (and my own frustration) during those “overdue” days if I had anticipated them from the beginning.

  10. Erin says:

    Congratulations Jess! With my four, my first was 5 days “early,” my second was 2 days “late,” and my third pregnancy (twins) were actually 6 weeks early. I always share the story of my second pregnancy with anxious new moms. The baby was measuring ahead of schedule and my doctor gave me the option of inducing. I decided that if she didn’t arrive on her own by her due date I would induce that day. That morning I was not in labor but I absolutely did not want to be induced so I canceled it. Two days later I went into labor naturally. I was in labor for maybe an hour total and she came out in one push! I made it to the hospital but the doctor did not! My theory is that she knew and God knew when she was ready to be born and by waiting just a couple days it was the easiest labor and delivery I had!

  11. Lynn says:

    My first baby was born at 44 weeks and 1 Day at the hospital, so I really had to be convinced that I didn’t want to be induced. I have “normal” cycles and by ultrasounds my due date was “accurate”–whatever that means. 😉 I wanted to wait until going into labor naturally UNLESS it really was an emergency–then I’d have an emergency c-section. The doctors didn’t like it, but I declined induction (and had to sign to release myself from the hospital), and the baby was born healthy in God’s timing. If I had been induced, he could have been THREE WEEKS EARLY.

    It’s interesting, the younger generations were freaking out–“What’s the date set for an induction?” “Don’t you just want the baby out?” “I can’t believe your doctor is letting you go this long!” “Here’s some natural induction tips that worked for me.” “What if you never go into labor?” “I’ll pray that you’ll have your baby this week.” –all comments/questions to make you never say a specific date again!

    But the older generation (around 65 and up) said things like– “He’ll be born when he’s ready.” “Well, only God knows when is best–I’ll pray that he gets all the time he needs to develop.” “I knew a lady that had 5 kids and they were all 2-4 weeks later than expected.” ” Some people just have 10-month-babies.” “Well, you didn’t look ready three weeks ago.” –much more encouraging and trying to eliminate stress rather than add stress!

    • Lynn says:

      For my second kid I said–“January or beginning if February. But you know my track record, so we’ll see!”

    • Jess Connell says:

      WOW, I love that contrast of the comments. Thanks for sharing that.

      Sidenote: It’s really sad to me that our society is producing increasingly neurotic and nervous mommies. It’s not only an indication of what feminism actually produces (confidence in virtually everything but what’s natural for women to do), but more than that, an indication of a loss of understanding of God’s sovereignty (which used to be built into society at large– a sense that we can’t control life).

    • Rebecca says:

      Lynn, Love these positive comments! Thanks for sharing!

      Jess,

      Congrats on the new baby! I am expecting my 7th and have just been saying early June as a due date. :)

  12. Carrianne says:

    So happy for you all! I agree with your strategy except with my last one. Number 4 was a scheduled c-section on February 9th, so I knew the exact date. When people asked, I told them. Most responses fell along the lines of, “Gosh! You’ll never make it that long!” If I had added 10 days I can’t imagine what they would have said. Of course, it’s truly no ones business and you can always look puzzled and tell them you’re not pregnant.

  13. Ah, can’t believe you’re on baby #8! How crazy and exciting. Congratulations Jess and fam! I’m sure all the kiddos are pumped. :)

  14. Kate says:

    My first was born on his due date so I didn’t expect to go late with my second. But I did. Ten whole days. With a house full of people who had come to “help.” I learned two lessons. 1) pad the due date for your own emotional state and 2) limit house guests to people you really REALLY like until after the baby has arrived.
    I’m pregnant with #3 now and am only telling people “end of September” but I may start saying ” Lord willing, no later than 10/10!” Thanks for the wording on that one!

    • Jess Connell says:

      Oh man, it’s so tough. And you’re absolutely right. House guests, even beloved people, can be rougher and rougher the longer you go. Tough lessons to learn, but you’re right on both (I think!).

  15. Kate says:

    And many congratulations!

  16. Bethany says:

    I’ve always given a range (mid-late June, first half of August, etc.) because full-term is 37-42 weeks, which worked out well since I ended up being a 41 weeker (6, 5, and 9 days past my official date) for the first three. As uptight as I am about pretty much everything in life, not focusing on a particular date came easily to me. Round four was my shortest (3 days over, going into labor 2 days over), but it was the hardest, hands down. I’d never been miserable in pregnancy before, but that was so hard on so many levels and I’m thankful God let Teebs come earlier than my norm. :)

  17. Bethany says:

    Speaking of Teebs … You mentioned December 7th, which is his birthday. He’s also the only kid to not get the memo that we have June and August birthdays (with two sets of shared birthdays among those five summer birthdays). I say it’s a great day for winter babies born into families of spring/summer birthdays. :)

  18. Michelle says:

    This is fun. =)

    40 weeks is an average, like someone said above. Full term is 37/38-42 weeks and all women are different. My sister has had three and the first two were born at 37w6d and 38w1d, she was induced at like 39w with the last one. I, on the other hand, am a 42-weeker (in America, at least). My first was born at 42w3d (induced, and my due date may have been wrong but only off by a week, max). My second was born at 39w4d but I think it was early for me and my body, induced by the hills of Istanbul and all the extra walking. My third was born at 41w5d (due date was not wrong), once again induced because I knew from the first one that my babies born in America can be LATE and I was so miserable, unlike with the first two, that I didn’t care to attempt to wait another week!

    Congrats! I wish we could have eight. =)

    • Jess Connell says:

      The hills of Istanbul brought on my first non-induced labor experience (with Silas– baby #4). I loved being able to pound it out on those hills & immediately feel my body responding with fierce contractions. :)

  19. Jennifer S. says:

    Congratulations!!!
    I’ve had eight babies. I can’t remember when, but early in my baby days I learned to just give general times. It really does make life less stressful. My babies have been all over the place from two weeks “early” to nine days “late”. I generally have lots of Braxon-Hicks which can make the last month hard emotionally. Everything is always worth it though when I finally have that sweet baby in my arms.
    Our children are praying for another baby. Our youngest is three. It would be lovely. We’ll have to see what God wants.

    • Jess Connell says:

      The Braxton-Hicks really can be so convincing. I have started reminding myself that if I wonder if they’re real, they’re NOT the real thing. For my body, real contractions can’t be ignored… but the Braxton-Hicks can be so persnickety in getting one’s hopes up. :-/

  20. Kristy says:

    Congrats! We must be due around the same time. I just found out that we are expecting a “surprise” third baby near the end of November/early December :) My other two were both born thru induction at 42 weeks…thanks for your article and some food for thought :)

  21. Betsy says:

    Congratulations! With my first, my due date was 8/25, but I told everyone, “oh, the first part of September!” And wouldn’t you know it, he was born on September 1st. The most on time of all his siblings! Words definitely have power.

  22. Male Reader says:

    Great news about Doug’s progress, medically!
    Hurray!!!!

  23. Allison says:

    Congratulations! That is exciting. :)

    As for your question, my first was born after an induction 5 days after my due date, and my second was induced 5 days before his due date. I had great experiences with both inductions, so I might have done it with my 3rd, but I never had the option because during a particularly hectic shift at work (I’m a nurse), I started having contractions and dilation at 31 weeks. With time off work, rest, and meds, he stayed put until 37 weeks, when I went into labor on my own. He was definitely a little early as he still had the cheesy stuff (I forgot what it’s called) on him and hair on his back, but he was healthy, and now he’s two years old.

  24. Kim D says:

    This is my first visit to your blog. Congratulations on Baby #8! I love your family picture!

    I am due with our 7th soon. My midwife suggested I tell people two weeks over. It has helped, but there are lots of people still asking me this past week. My first three were “early” and my last three have been “late”. I do hate the Braxton Hicks. They always trick me at this point because they start hurting. I just keep reminding myself to enjoy this time with my kids.

    We have one girl, our oldest, and this will be our 6th little man. My daughter always gets comments on how much she must want a sister (a lot of times much ruder than just that). She always replies, “Nope, I love having all these brothers. It’s so much fun!”

  25. Sandrine says:

    First of all… congratulations on #8! I like what you said about your daughter. Here they are still all pretty young (the oldest turned 7 today), but they all like new babies and for them it is just the normal thing. My oldest already asked a couple time if there was another baby in my tummy or if there would be another one after his little sister (she is almost 9 months).

    Due dates… I’ve been 10 days late with the first, 2 days late with the second, 2 days early with the third, 2 weeks late with the fourth (who became a July baby because of that) and 2 days early with the fifth. So all over the map, but rather late than early. My cycles are pretty regular and I know my body, so I always stuck to my own calculated date and refused to accept the one they would calculate with the ultrasound (my babies were big and they always gave me a date that was too early). My midwife agreed with me and even said we could push it a bit further to be sure we did not have to induce if the baby was late (here they do not let you go past 42 weeks). My labors were all different, but except for the first one, there was a general pattern: things start slowly, but when it picks up, it goes really fast. Number 2 arrived before the real midwife came in (the student delivered it), the third went out 20 minutes after we arrived at the birthing center, for the fourth I had to send my husband to get the midwife in the other room and she barely had time to put on gloves. So for the last one, the midwife was worried that the baby could arrive in the car and told me to stay home and call her if things were going too fast. Turns out we had time to get there, but I went from 3 cm (which I had been for days) to full dilation in less than 30 minutes. My body was so exhausted that I literally slept between contractions. This was a rather strange experience.

  26. Brittany says:

    Hooray for #8! What a blessing! :) And I’m so thankful to hear that Doug is doing better.

    I definitely agree that due dates cause more stress than not, because every woman’s body is so different. I tend to have my babies 10-14 days before the due date, even though I have 28 day cycles and ovulate around day 13-14. So for me, I try to subtract two weeks from my given due date and set that as my “have everything ready by” date. I tell myself that if baby would linger, I would just enjoy the extra relaxation time with my others, but I might be a little impatient if that happened! 😉

    I’m expecting #6 in early July and try to give that as my “due date” but most people want a specific date. This is also our first girl, and we get all kinds of comments about that. The worst is about how we can be done now, as if the only reason we’ve continued having babies is to have a girl. (To which my husband keeps saying, “well, I can tell you what we’re NOT done doing!”) I try to explain that yes, we’re very excited it’s a girl, but we would have been EQUALLY excited if it would have been another boy. Like you said, God knows just who you need in your family, and we’re looking forward to the dynamics this little lady will bring. But it really seems like few people get that, unfortunately. So I just try to keep reminding my boys how much we love them and are glad God put them in our family!

    • Jess Connell says:

      “well, I can tell you what we’re NOT done doing!” HAHA!!

      I can’t tell you how many times I’ve basically said this same basic principle (even though mine has been the opposite): “yes, we’re very excited it’s a girl, but we would have been EQUALLY excited if it would have been another boy.” (Mine sounds like, “yes we would have been happy to have a girl, but we really are just as excited to have this sweet boy.”)

      People don’t get it. We are so programmed by culture to think we need “one of each”… at that point, we are simply seeing children as objects of acquisition to contribute to our own personal “kingdoms” rather than as individual souls given to us to populate God’s eternal Kingdom.

      Congratulations & enjoy your daughter… I’m so thankful to have a little girl, but I’m seriously (like you) just as thankful for all my boys. They are each so unique and such a gift!

  27. Melissa Bowers says:

    My gestation time keeps getting longer and longer with each pregnancy! My babies came 3, 8, 14, and 20 days, respectively, after their “due dates.” With my 4th baby, who was due mid-July, I just told people, “We might possibly get a July baby, but I’m thinking she’ll probably come in August.” And she did, a full week into August! Here’s her birth story: https://melissabowers.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/the-birth-story-of-our-littlest-sweetheart/

    By the end of July, I had quite a few people telling me they were logging into Facebook more often than usual to check if there was a baby announcement from me, but nobody bugged me too much about it!

    I do think maternity care providers put too much emphasis on “getting the baby out” by 42 weeks (or even earlier). There is a lot of pressure put onto us “10 month mamas.”

    • Jess Connell says:

      I liked reading your story! I’d never heard of that kind of umbilical/placenta attachment. Isn’t it amazing how babies grow??! Seeing the sac and placenta is fascinating to me, every time!

      Thanks for sharing!!

  28. Babychaser says:

    I did this with our last pregnancy. My due date was mid September but I told everyone late September. :-) It was my 6th pregnancy and I knew from experience that I dred the comments from people at church every week. “Your still here? I thought for sure you’d have the baby by now!” They still make comments, but atleast this way I can say sweetly, “No, I’m not expecting baby for a few more weeks. ” Total game changer! And so fun when he was early!

  29. Kb says:

    Congratulations on your #8! I’m 40 and have a 5 month old. We have a desire for another child (we have 4 total) but I feel so nervous about it. Do I just disregard that nervousness and move ahead? I can’t shake the desire for more. I’m a mom in training as well! Mothering isn’t something that comes natural for me, I rely on the Lord constantly for guidance and also sound wisdom from Christian friends. I think that fact that I’m not one of those moms who knows just what to do at all times with my kids contributes to my nervousness.

    • Jess Connell says:

      Just now seeing this- not sure why I didn’t respond before, but fear and nervousness aren’t from the Lord. Even if we end up having valid concerns about something, we can decide NOT to do it, in faith. So I would echo the verse– “whatever you do, do in faith.” 😉

      Babies are such a gift. And like so many things, I’m never ever sorry once they’re here… even though the pregnancy and labor parts can sometimes (and especially for some of us) be trying. :) I’m one who has relatively easy pregnancies and (so far, thankfully) mostly good labors & deliveries.

      I don’t always know what to do all the time with my kids either. Many (nearly all?) of us in this generation have had to LEARN these things, after spending most of our lives in age-segregated ways, preparing for careers we might have, rather than getting good at the things that would help the family we would almost certainly have. (more here—-> http://jessconnell.com/motherhood-101-class-never-got/ )

      Hang in there! And whatever you do, do in faith. :) And– it’s been 6 months since you wrote this– maybe you’re already pregnant!!?

  30. Jenni says:

    After walking through over 150 pregnancies with my doula clients, I knew I did NOT want that stress family and friends add when they mindlessly ask these questions! So I added 3 weeks to my due date knowing it is indeed very possible to go those extra 3 weeks. Boy was I surprised (and my family and friends) when baby came 3 weeks early!! They all thought he was 6 weeks early 😀 hilarious

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