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What to Do When You're Overdue

40w4d - You know that scene at the beginning of the Lion King where Rafiki the monkey is holding up newborn Simba to the Pridelands, and the music swells and the animals all do their respective zebra-ibex-elephant happy dances and your throat gets chokey because oh, has this menagerie ever waited for this new being?

We are still waiting. And I am so terribly, guiltily impatient.

The Tertiary Bambino has begun his or her descent, it seems, as I was 2 cm dilated and 40% effaced as of last Friday. But despite several evenings since full of real contractive zingers—fueled (thank you!) by spicy eggplant-laden eats and consistent nookie and tubs of evening primrose oil pills; long walks and longer naps, deep squats and sweet massages and acupuncture—we have not made any significant labor progress thus far.

This afternoon, I'll find out just how long my midwives are willing to let this bun bake before ratcheting up the heat and then shutting off the oven. Induction is both terrifying and, I'll admit it, gorgeously enticing at this point. I am the sort of person who likes to leave the party when it's in full swing: Who wants to stick around for everyone to get sloppy and tired at the end of the night? Likewise, I'd love to end this pregnancy while we're still on high, and my hope is that the sheer act of choosing a date will send this baby crawling south.

Doula Extraordinaire shared with me this week that in her experience, women who've experienced loss do tend to exceed their due dates. It's her speculation that we gals who've had past pregnancies yanked from us too soon are so tethered throughout our subsequent pregnancies to the hope that this baby will stay, will stick around to grow to full term, that once we do reach that point we forget to give our babies our permission to, well, leave. Knowing how much clout I put in the mind-body connection, Doula mused that perhaps I spend some time just … letting go. Giving Tersh my faith that s/he is whole and ready and set for the jaunt out, and faith that the Mister and I are prepared—in whatever laughable way we can be—to take on what comes next.

And so, I've asked my posse of protective favorite people to begin to silence their own please, please, stay! mantras. And I'm swapping in my own: