The Slow-Cooked Sentence

For every rule there is an exception

Rachael Conlin Levy

As I waddle to week 41:

Max sings “Flying Purple People Eater” in falsetto.

Sam licks his fingers, habitually, and complains about his dwindling stash of Halloween candy.

Chaja wanders about the house asking no one and everyone, “When will the baby come?” prompting me to grit my teeth and grumble that I’m making her replacement as she speaks.

What is a due date, anyway, but a statistical blip, a technique first used by a German doctor in the 1800s, and now backed up by ultrasound. But guess what? The Estimated Due Date is fraught with assumptions, among them the average lengths of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the calendar year and the gestational period, which means the due date could be off by a week or so. But what about ultrasound, you ask? Doesn’t measuring the developing embryo prove when it was conceived and therefore tell a doctor when it will be born? Yeeesss, but a scan performed in the first trimester has a 95 percent error margin of six days. And then there are more recent studies that lengthen or shorten the due date based on number of pregnancies, the mother’s ethnicity and the quality of prenatal care.

Which means I crossed the finish line, but the race ain’t over yet.

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