I was 36 weeks pregnant with my daughter, and we found out that Ohio State was going to be playing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl – only an hour drive away! (*It’s important to note here that my husband is from Ohio, and is a huge fan of The Ohio State University, otherwise this story just doesn’t make any sense. I promise, promise promise we are not Bama fans!*) My husband was completely stoked and wanted nothing more than to see his team beat Bama in the Sugar Bowl in person. I, on the other hand, was a bit apprehensive because I would be 38 weeks pregnant when the Sugar Bowl came around. I told him there was absolutely no way I was going to go to New Orleans and go to the Sugar Bowl because I would undoubtedly have that baby right there on the streets of NOLA since we wouldn’t be able to get out of the city in time to get back to Baton Rouge! (Pregnancy hormones are real, people!)
However, the day of the Sugar Bowl came around, and I didn’t FEEL like I was going to be having a baby anytime soon. So I told my husband that I had changed my mind and to hurry up and buy tickets (another shining example of pregnancy hormones). We got amazing seats at a great price by waiting until the last minute (BONUS!) and on the way to the Superdome, I began to get excited about the possibility of having a great story. The story of walking down the streets of New Orleans and feeling contractions coming or leaving the Superdome in a rush because my water broke. In fact, I expected labor to begin later that evening or even the next day after walking several miles that night for parking.
That did not happen. In fact, the next two weeks passed with not so much as a twinge of a contraction. On my due date, I tried to keep myself busy by going shopping … and told every single cashier who said “How are you?” that it was my due date … and I just couldn’t believe I was still pregnant! Three days later, my doctor induced labor because of low fluid, and she was born the next day.
All that worry or even, dare I say, excitement about going into labor at the Sugar Bowl? That was all for nothing.
Flash forward to my second pregnancy.
Because I was overdue with my first baby, I fully expected to be overdue again and planned to work right up to my due date. I had learned my lesson. I would not let waiting around on the birth of a baby stop me from doing what I needed or wanted to do.
My students were convinced that my water would break at school. I laughed at them daily. This WOULD. NOT. HAPPEN. Furthermore, I told them, most women don’t go into labor with their water breaking. It would be fine. FINE.
And then, two days before my due date, my water broke at school.
I remember the school nurse running down the hall and telling me, “I forgot my sterile gloves” as though she was thinking she might need to deliver the baby right there in the hallway. There was the story I had hoped for the first pregnancy, but this time, I wasn’t ready for it. My students were ready, funnily enough. They were cheering and wishing me good luck as I walked out of my classroom in somewhat of a panic.
I didn’t think the baby would be coming anytime soon (I was right – a full 24 hours later, he finally made his appearance), so I drove myself to the hospital, dropping my daughter off at a friend’s house on the way. I don’t even think I had my hospital bag in the car … that’s how not ready I was. I even had ungraded essays still on my desk (sorry, kids).
Both of these stories make me laugh in retrospect.
Babies come when they want to. Being 38 weeks pregnant and technically “full-term” means nothing to the little person inside. A due date is just a date on a calendar. Looking back, I am so glad that I took the risk and went to the Sugar Bowl 38 weeks pregnant. It was just a part of living my best life – I could have stayed at home and put my feet up, but I wouldn’t have gotten to see Ohio State kick Alabama’s butt (in person!) and I wouldn’t have gotten those elusive roast beef debris fries I had been craving my entire pregnancy. I also do not regret working until the last possible minute for my second baby. I was living my life.
Since having those precious babies, living spontaneously and saying, “Hey, let’s go to a football game in an hour” is a lot more difficult than it used to be. I have no idea if another baby is ever in the cards, but if one is … the only thing that’ll stop me from doing anything crazy at the last minute is not having a babysitter.