Labor and Delivery Is a Lot Like Russian Roulette

Pregnancy 14

Pregnancy labor and deliveryMy husband has been working as a commercial pilot through my last two pregnancies. Thankfully, I've never been on bedrest or had any sort of high risk issues. I can only imagine the havoc that would wreak for a family with a schedule similar to ours.

Other than moving a little slower and being much more tired than I usually am, I'm fortunate that being pregnant doesn't really change our daily routine. But it definitely creates some major issues as we prepare for the actual labor and delivery.

Even though my husband doesn't choose specific trips yet, he is still able to bid for certain days off. But unless you're a really good psychic, it's pretty hard to predict exactly when I'll be going into labor.

If history repeats itself, then I'll definitely be late, with two of my three children being born exactly three days past my given due date; my first was just under two weeks late, but I actually think that was more because her original due date was completely inaccurate.

But there's absolutely nothing that says I won't be super early or even super late this time around.

Since my due date is slated for 10-10-10, we've thought about having him bid off for the first two weeks of the month, but then that potentially leaves me alone with a new baby and three other kids while he takes a trip. Of course, there's a good chance he'll "sick out" if that happens, but we're riding a very thin line with sick time thanks to the never-ending man cold.

It's too bad I hate to gamble or this whole thing might be like playing a few rounds of Russian roulette. Except with pretty darn high stakes.

With my third child, Margot, we just pressed our luck, and it turned out that he was home for the delivery and for about four days before he was called on a trip. But truth be told, that was way too short of a time period to leave me alone. It's one thing if you've got a spouse going back to work who will be home in the evening, but when he's out of the country for three days and you don't have any relatives or childcare assistance, it's a little scary.

I suppose in these situations, the idea of induction might be desirable, but I prefer to go naturally, with induction being a complete last resort for medical issues only.

So at this point, we'll probably just go with the flow and play it by ear. This time around, if he's gone, however, it will most likely be an international trip. Combine that with it being my fourth pregnancy and it's likely that if I do go into labor while he's gone, he might not be able to get back in time. Previously, he was on a domestic rotation, so it would have been a lot easier for him to get home.

It's one thing when you're not able to plan for simple everyday activities. It's certainly an inconvenience, but you get used to it. But when it's major life events that just can't be planned, the sometimes single mom lifestyle becomes an exceptional challenge.


Photo from Flickr/dizznbonn

3rd trimester, delivery, fathers, labor, labor & delivery


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nonmember avatar Therese

Oh, I so feel your pain. My commercial airline pilot decided he would "fly one last trip" prior to my due date with our first child. I went into labor at the exact moment that he was farthest away from home (needing 12 hours to get back). Through sheer willpower or craziness, I help off on pushing until he walked into the delivery room door, full uniform and all. I am now pregnant with our 2nd child. I've told him that there will be no waiting this time, he'll just have to miss the birth... You are so right, it's a big guesing game as to how to bid schedules when you're not quite sure of the baby's arrival. Almost all of his pilot friends' wives have scheduled deliveries to avoid this problem. I, like you, would rather not do that unless there is a medically necessary reason. Our solution to the problem was to move home close to my family so that I would always have a support system when he was gone (this was his idea by the way). It makes for a hellish commute to work for him (small town KY to JFK...)but I know it makes him more comfortable that we're not alone when something happens. Hopefully, your baby #4 will be very agreeable and come when she's supposed to so that your husband is home for the birth and at least a few days after. Good Luck!

Phils... PhilsBabyMama

I understand.  My husband is in the Army and when my son was due he was on a Global Readiness Alert, meaning he could get a phone call and have to deploy within hours.  I also wouldn't get induced so he could be there.  I guess it's just one of those things that comes with the territory.  Best of luck! 

Corey Berman Chernesky

Drew Brees and his wife were on 60 minutes last week.  His wife is due with their second on an away game.  She said that if she goes into labor, she isn't even going to call him.  She'll let him know when the game is over.  Being a Navy wife, my husband was on a submarine on mission for the birth of my first child.  It sucks, but it happens sometimes.

nonmember avatar Allboys

My husband didn't meet our fourth boy until he was 9 months old so I feel your pain. The not knowing is almost worse than them not being there. ALMOST.

nonmember avatar Kristen

I feel for you too, we have lived that kind if lifestyle for the past 8 years and 4 babies. It is hard and stressful at the best, though we make it work and thankfully my husband was never overseas! This fall, last week in fact, my husband took a teaching job and is now home every evening and weekend. I can't tell you what an amazing relief it is, especially with baby number 6 due next Wednesday. I don't think I ever really understood how crazy our life was before, especially with home schooling added in!

I will be thinking of you and pray it all works out for you with minimal stress.


momne... momnesia84105

What will you do if you go into labor in the middle of the night?  Will you really have to load the other 3 in the car?  Oh man.....

nonmember avatar Kathleen

I'm right there with you in the married-to-a-pilot boat. We took a good friend to the birthing classes with us as an "in case" - but didn't need her for my first. Hubbie's chief pilot set it up so that he did a lot more of the close-to-home runs for that last month. It's not really in the airline's favor if he has to leave work, after all (getting the reserve, late flights, etc.) Perhaps that's an option?

nonmember avatar Jaelithe

This is why we need universal parental leave in this country.

Sheesh. I am tempted to show up on your doorstep to watch your kids if he is not there when you go into labor. I could get there in 10 hours by car!

nonmember avatar Wendy

There are options such as postpartum doulas who will come in and help you out after birth of baby... to do basically whatever needs doing!

nonmember avatar Meagan Francis

I was in this same boat with two of my kids. My husband was working for months at a time 800-1000 miles away from home. I was so nervous about him missing the birth that he came home way too early. As a result I felt like a watched pot for weeks, and then had to leave shortly after the babies were born. Still, to me it was better than being alone at the end of my pregnancy and possibly during labor and birth. I second the suggestion to see if you can get a postpartum doula or maybe some good friends and family to fill in any holes after the baby's that an option?

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