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Advice on DH going away at 38 weeks

(21 Posts)
flippyside Mon 27-Jun-11 16:02:41

Here is my problem: DH is a scientist, works as a researcher at uni, his current contract runs out next April and any valuable additions to his CV are vital. I'm currently 26 weeks pregnant with our first baby. He's been selected to present a paper at a conference in Greece and he'll have to be away for 3 days when I'm 38 weeks. I don't think he should go, and he kind of thinks so as well but these opportunities are so rare, I'm thinking: is it worth us stressing about it? Or should we make sure he's around? How likely is it that I'll pop around that time? (Daft question, I know). I should point out that we don't have any family here (they all live abroad) but we have friends, of course.

Don't know what to do!

MotherPanda Mon 27-Jun-11 16:14:43

First babies are averagely born at 40+5... so you might be ok... 3 days isn't too bad.

I don't think I'd want to be alone at that stage, but if its a rare oppurtunity...


Flisspaps Mon 27-Jun-11 16:17:04

It is unlikely that you'll have the baby then, but possible.

If he goes, it should be possible for him to get to the airport and on a plane and back before the main event if you contact him really early on (although you could be one of those women who is done in an hour)

Do you have a friend who you would be happy to have as a birth partner if he does go?

FWIW, despite all of the above, I wouldn't have wanted DH to go. In the event, I went to 42 weeks hmm

apple99 Mon 27-Jun-11 16:26:12

I would not stress about it and just make sure you have a friend available if you need them to take you in and act as your birth partner.

It is unlikely you will have the baby when he is away and even if you do go into labour he can get on a plane and come home (friends dh did this from South Africa and made it back just in time).

BadRoly Mon 27-Jun-11 16:34:37

How would you/he feel if he didn't make it back in time for the birth? Although it is unlikely you will have it, that is what it comes down to.

I wouldn't have been happy with dc1 but by the time we got to no4, dh was working away Mon-Fri each week knowing that I have fast labours. In the end, dc4 very obligingly put in an appearance early on a Monday morning before his Dad had left for the week!

flippyside Mon 27-Jun-11 17:24:03

Thanks for your replies!

BadRoly, he'd be gutted if he weren't there for the birth. And I can't think who else I'd want to be there apart from him. It's a difficult one.

MissTriangle Mon 27-Jun-11 17:36:03

I am in the same situation as you. OH also works as a science researcher for a uni. He is going away to Oxford when I am 33 weeks, which I don't mind at all. But then is due to go to Oslo when I am 39 weeks to present a poster. I wasn't happy at first, but like you say... These opportunities are hard to come by, and so much of the science budget has been cut it is important to stand out on his cv. This was my reasoning anyway. I will still be nervous about him going as neither of us want him to miss the birth. But fingers crossed baby will hang on till he comes back.
You need to feel comfortable with the decision though, I have my mum a couple of hours drive away... It may be different if I had no one close by. X


Message withdrawn

Sewmuchtodo Mon 27-Jun-11 18:27:24

My DC's were born at 36+6 and 37+1 and both were delivered in under 2.5hrs from first twinge to delivery.

I always assumed my first would be late (as most people tell you) and had'nt even packed my hospital bag (I was more prepared for DC2)!

I guess what i am trying to say is that you can go at anytime and if you feel that you need your DH with you (and he feels he needs to be there) then it is quite the chance to take as to get home from there (even with a seat on first flight) could be 10hrs+.

Good luck! x

wompoopigeon Mon 27-Jun-11 18:31:31

If he "would be gutted" if he wasn't there, then it is too much of a risk IMHO. My firstborn came in 6 hrs start to finish at 37 weeks, so DH wouldn't have made it from Scotland never mind Greece.
If you had another birth partner in mind and if he wouldn't be gutted, then maybe.....

squirrel007 Mon 27-Jun-11 19:03:04

I'm a scientific researcher too, and have a paper to present at a conference a couple of months after I'm due to give birth. A colleague is going to present the paper for me as there's no way I'll be going!

IMO, it's more important to actually get someone (anyone!) to present the paper and get it published in the proceedings than it is to actually be there and present the paper myself. At every conference I've been to, there are always a handful of papers presented by someone who wasn't an author. Having said that, the rules might well differ in his field. Plus if he's also trying to find a job then there are networking opportunities to consider too.

Does he actually have to be away for 3 days, or can he just turn up for 1 day to present his paper? Is there anyone else who can present it for him? If he does plan to go, does he have a contingency plan for if you end up having the baby early and he can't make it? Will he be able to get back quickly if needed? I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but I think it depends on many different factors smile

pinkpeony Mon 27-Jun-11 19:55:09

Your baby will be full term at 37 weeks, which means it could be born any day after that. So bad timing for your DH to go away. Everyone told me too that 1st babies are usually born late. My DC1 was born at 38+2 (waters broke 38+1). With DC2, DH had planned a work trip at 38 weeks. I was a huge pain and forced him to cancel it, he was very cross with me. DC2 was then born at 38+1. I was so glad he cancelled his trip. Also, the risk of complications always is much higher towards the end of your pregnancy, so even if baby not born until later, you may be feeling a lot worse at 38 weeks... Please put your foot down! Is it worth the risk that he misses the birth of your first child?

flippyside Tue 28-Jun-11 10:25:28

Thanks very much for your replies.

pinkpeony, it's not really a case of me putting my foot down. We're both as confused as each other about what to do here. Right now he doesn't know what day he's presenting so he can't make plans, but there is a possibility that he only goes away for one night. Although I can see him cancelling the whole thing. He keeps talking more and more about it.

Thanks again, that's all really useful.

MmeLindor. Tue 28-Jun-11 10:29:44

The deciding point is how he would feel if he missed the birth. If you say he would be "gutted" then it is risky.

And how likely is he going to be able to get back, if your start having contractions. If it were in Scotland, and he could hire a car/fly/train back asap, then he might make it in time.

If he has to get a flight from Greece - and a last minute flight could cost over €1000 or more - then he might miss the birth.


Kveta Tue 28-Jun-11 10:35:40

also a researcher here - is there any way he can contact the organisers to find out which day he is to talk on? If he explains the circumstances, they should be able to offer some help. then he could arrange to go for a day, or just over night. It may also be worth arranging a midwife appt the day before he's due to go, and check if you're looking ready to labour imminently! then if MW says you are, your DH can back out of the meeting.

if he is looking for more funding soon, then getting his face known at a conference is going to be hugely important, sorry to say. Getting someone else to present is also helpful, but actually being there and having lunch/coffee/general nattering with people in your field is so valuable.

fraktious Tue 28-Jun-11 10:40:04

DH was away for a week at that point with DS. 10 hour flight, 1 flight a day. Admittedly he didn't have a choice but even if he had I think he'd have gone. We had contingency plans which weren't needed in the end.

It sounds like it comes down to potentially missing the birth vs potential career boost. If he missed it but got a fabulous opportunity which sets you up for 5 years, would it have been worth it? If the answer is no then he shouldn't go. If it's yes then you need to think about the possible outcomes and at what point (and what probability) it's not worth it.

Fleecy Tue 28-Jun-11 11:00:26

Dh was due to be away for a week Sun-Fri when I was 37/38 weeks with DC1. I didn't want him to go and he did actually ask his work if it would be possible for someone to go in his place but they said there wasn't anyone else and it would have to be him.

As it happened I went into labour on the Saturday, the day before he was due to leave, so they had to find someone else after all grin

I'd say if he would be truly devastated to miss the birth then it would be too much of a risk, especially if you don't have family around to help you if things kicked off. Sods law surely dictates you'll go overdue though if he doesn't go?

Georgimama Tue 28-Jun-11 11:16:27

Dh ended up in hospital for 3 nights when I was 38 weeks. Unavoidable and I was slightly worried, but I was completely fine. I would say your DH should go but then my husband wasn't even present at the birth (by mutual choice) and I really really don't go along with the idea that it is essential for a father to be present, so if he does choose to go I think you both need to work on not being "gutted" if he misses it. Because it really isn't that big a deal and nothing compared to the rest of his life as a father.

Also if he cancels the conference you can almost guarantee the baby won't come.

mookickkick Tue 28-Jun-11 11:18:19

Very tricky one! I'm a former academic so I understand the pressure. A friend of mine travelled during the week his wife was due and he missed the birth but got a job offer. Conferences are essential for networking. They can also lead to seminar invitations. Going for one day would be a reasonable comprise, but the risk would still be there.

Sorry to go off topic, but does he really really want to stay in research? I thought I did, but after two postdocs I became really disillusioned. I walked away (into scientific publishing) and never looked back.

In any case, good luck with your decision. I'm sure it won't be easy, but it can't hurt to register and then cancel at the last minute.

chippy47 Tue 28-Jun-11 11:31:24

He could speak to the organisers and arrange a video conference/webex/skype/webcam feed. If it were my DW I would not go (Greece is only 3-4 hours flying time but factor in actually getting a flight, wait at the airport, strikes -very current - transfers and you are talking 8 hours plus min). I travel a lot and have blocked out anything from about 6 weeks before the due date -DW due in Sep).

vvviola Tue 28-Jun-11 11:58:48

Like chippy DH has blocked travel from 6 weeks before my due date. But then DD came at just over 36 weeks, and fairly fast, so neither he nor I were comfortable taking the risk (and this time we are living abroad, so I wouldn't even have my Mum on standby).

If he really feels it's important to go (to be fair DH's trip are more his sideline/hobby than work), then I think maybe a 1 day trip might be better - if you have someone who could act as a birth partner/advocate for you if you DH wasn't there.

Would easily refundable tickets (which I know are a lot more expensive) plus notifying the conference of the possibilty that he may not be able to attend himself make things easier? That way he could plan to go - but still be able to cancel at the last minute if he doesn't feel comfortable at the time?

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