Monday, December 15, 2008

38 Weeks Plus a Little Bit

Another lovely snappy cold morning today-- how happy it makes me... Especially after the freakishly warm mid-70s day we had yesterday.  I will admit that the mid-70s are a lovely temperature to live in and enjoy, but personally I'd rather not have them in December.  Nevertheless, on this brisk chilly morning I made my way to my weekly midwife appointment where I learned that things continue to look good with the new baby.  The midwife checked my cervix for the first time (I was in too much pain last week for such an endeavor) and I am actually dilated to 1 cm!  This seems like wonderful news to me because I went all the way past my due date with Grace without ever dilating one bit.  Heck, I went to the hospital to be induced without having dilated one bit.  I really was expecting the midwife to tell me nothing was happening and to hang in there, sit tight, whatever other quasi-encouraging comments they have in their arsenal for those among us who do not appear to be going into labor anytime soon.  But no!  And she said that the pattern of contractions I've been experiencing in the past several days also sounds promising.  Each day, I have more and more contractions in the afternoon and evening; by the time I turn in for bed, they have been pretty frequent.  Of course, then I go to sleep just fine and wake up in the morning with the contractions totally gone.  This is mildly disappointing, but then the cycle repeats the next day, and apparently it has actually had some measurable effect on my cervix so that is just dandy!

I've realized that my experience with Grace has instilled in me very low expectations for my body being proactive and taking initiative and all that in having a baby.  I am really fortunate to have conceived easily, to have had uncomplicated pregnancies, and to have breastfed without any serious problems, so I don't want to malign my physical self; after all, it has done a generally bang-up job in childbearing activities.  However, I sort of don't believe my body will actually decide to evict its little inhabitant on its own accord.  Prove me wrong, corporeal self!

I am on one or two email lists where they send you weekly messages about your baby's development that week, what to think about or do right then, etc. and these days they seem to be ALL about going into labor-- signs you might be about to go into labor, "false" labor, labor this, labor that.  Of course I know this is appropriate given the nearness of my due date but if you are not immediately going into labor, it feels a bit like the cheery pregnancy experts are taunting you.  They rattle on and on about mucous plug this and bloody show that and I sit there thinking, "Yeah.  Sure.  I got nothing."  With Grace, I remember eventually half-disbelieving that I was actually going to have a baby EVER.   I began to halfway suspect that I was just really fat and cranky and this alleged "baby" was a figment of my imagination.

My midwife did away with those kinds of thoughts this morning by suggesting we schedule an induction for me.  FOR NEXT MONDAY.  I was taken by surprise by this because I didn't think their general philosophy would allow for inductions scheduled just because I am, you know, tired of being pregnant.  She said that since I was starting to dilate and having a good number of contractions (I had another one while being examined today) I probably just needed a little helpful push and if I wanted to have the baby and be home for Christmas, we could try.  I'm sure they would rather minimize the amount of work they'll have to do over Christmas too.  And there is the fact that the difference between a baby at 39 weeks and a baby at 42 weeks is on average 1.5 to 2 lbs, a difference that could push you into C-section territory with your GINORMOUS BABY.  She is talking about trying a prostaglandin gel, which would be different from the pitocin I had to have with Grace; it's generally thought to be a gentler way to go, it doesn't require an IV, and I wouldn't have to be on constant monitoring because of it.  

So now we have to decide whether to keep my Monday induction appointment.  In general, I am a believer that interventions in childbirth pile up and you end up not where you wanted to be; we saw it happen when Grace was born as one circumstance led to one intervention which caused such-and-such result which required this intervention, on and on until I almost had a C-section.  I don't feel like I had a "bad" birth experience with Grace or anything but in my ideal world, I forego all of the interventions and just let nature take its course.  I'm not that concerned with being in the hospital over Christmas or maybe going past my due date.  On the other hand, I am concerned with having as much help as possible with a newborn.  If I have the baby before Christmas, I will have Rob home to help for 2 full weeks (1 week vacation + 1 week paternity leave).  It will also be pretty convenient for my parents to help out then while both of them are off from work.  Heck, it would be much more convenient all around.  Is the convenience worth the risk?  One benefit to the Cervidil is that they say I can just go home if it doesn't work so maybe the risk of escalating interventions is pretty low?  Anyway, I will go back to the office on Friday when she'll strip my membranes if I want her to (but maybe I don't?) and then on Monday to get some prostaglandin gel.  Unless I decide not to.  Aack!  Decisions!


Eva said...

Wow, you have a complicated decision in your hands. Hopefully nature will cooperate, but you shouldn't feel bad at all for trying to make things convenient, modern medicine is there for a reason.

Good luck with everything. I will share the lovely Texas weather with you for another couple of days.

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot said...

I'm excited for you! Doesn't it feel crazy?! You could have a newborn in less than a week?!

Emily said...

What an exciting (but super stressful too) time!

Have you heard of the supposedly-labor-inducing Eggplant Parmesan recipe? I can sent it to you if you want to try.

There is always the natural form of prostaglandin, too. :)

Julia said...

Yeah, the problem with the natural prostaglandins is that we're 99% sure that's what gave me the killer UTI. :) Need to discover a new position or something... Anyway, yes! send me the eggplant parmesan recipe! I'll email you in case you don't ever go back and look at comments.