Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pregnancy: Week 40!

Today marks our official 40 week date. We are totally full term and ready to rumble. Which means this morning I went in to have a prenatal check-up since they like to see you on your "due date". So instead of waiting to take a belly shot and then post, I figured I would post now and photograph later while it's all still fresh in my mind.

I saw Heather again today, who I'm starting to grow really fond of. She walked into my room with a sympathetic hello, and was nearly as bummed as I was that I was there in the office and not at home nursing a sweet baby. But we quickly got to business. She started by asking if Baby was still moving, which is one of the most critical factors for me to keep an eye on as I approach being overdue. I, of course, replied that yes, she is. The reason being that the placenta physiologically only lasts for so long before it starts to die off. So the risk of stillbirth goes up once you go past your due date. This isn't generally a concern until 41 or 42 weeks.

She then asked if I wanted to be checked. I had been thinking about this all week and wasn't decided on what to do. On one hand it would be nice to know if my body is making progress, but on the other, I wasn't sure I wanted to potentially hear that nothing was really happening. I am also skeptical about getting checked being GBS+, since the risk of infection is greater. So I asked her what she thought. She said it's really up to me, but if we did do a check then she could sweep my membranes if I wanted.

I remember learning about membrane sweeps in birth class, but asked her to explain more. I wanted to make sure that we didn't do anything that would prematurely coerce the baby out. I was also concerned with whether this was acceptable being GBS+. She said that the sweep might be a bit painful—like strong cramping—but it could possibly get labor going if the baby is ready. It wouldn't, however, force the baby out if she isn't ready. Heather also explained that studies show no greater risk to GBS+ women from a membrane sweep and that it was unlikely to cause any infection, but that this was still a possibility to factor in. The way she explained it to me, it would either work and get labor going sometime soon—maybe a day or so—or it wouldn't do anything.

The process seemed gentle enough, so I decided to go ahead and do it. She warned me ahead of time that it will be uncomfortable, but that if I wanted her to stop she could at any time. She did say though that the longer she can do it for the more effective it is. So I told her to go for the gold and I would deal.

We started by checking my cervix. I've made a bit of progress from last week and am now about 3.5cm dilated and still 50% effaced. When she told me this her tone was really positive and cheerful, which was encouraging. She said she could definitely tell a difference from a week ago. From there she basically just said, "here we go" and started sweeping a few fingers around my uterus, I guess. My yoga breathing techniques were so helpful and it ended up not being as bad as I expected it to be. I forgot to ask how long it would last beforehand, but couldn't get the words out during the sweep. It ended up being maybe about 30 seconds to one minute.

Surprised that it wasn't as bad as I was anticipating, I asked her if she was done. She said she was and that she could feel how strong the contraction I was having at that moment was. She said she could feel my bag of waters pressing down really hard, which was good! Sorry for the TMI, but she then showed me her glove and explained that there was my bloody show. She mentioned that I might continue to bleed a bit today and into tomorrow, and as my cervix continues to dilate there may be more blood. I was told that my contractions will likely get stronger this afternoon, but may end up not sticking around. I'm definitely having some very strong and consistent contractions right now, so we'll see what happens!

She also said that having sex after a sweep can be really effective since the prostaglandins in semen help ripen the cervix—not to mention the nipple stimulation is a natural way to release oxytocin which brings on contractions. We've already been doing the jig pretty often, but we'll definitely give it another shot tonight. I know, another dose of TMI.

After the sweep, we talked about what my appointment next week will look like, should I still be pregnant. It will be a much longer exam that involves getting a quick ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid levels (AFI) and quality, as well as a non stress test (NST) which is just a monitoring of the baby for about 20 minutes. The appointment will be with Mia and we can do another membrane sweep then.

When I went to schedule the appointment, it hit me how one week from now we won't be in October anymore. My appointment is set for November 1st, which isn't something I have mentally prepared myself all that well for. Not having an October baby would be sad since that's what I've been imagining this whole time, but I realize God's plans are way better than worrying about my sweet baby's birth date. On a side note, I ran into Mia at the front desk. With a very sweet and empathetic tone, she said how surprised she was when saw my charts and that she thought I was going to have a baby after I saw her in the birth center that fateful night two weeks ago...uh, yeah, ME TOO! Good thing I really like Mia ;)

During the appointment, Heather and I also talked about induction and how that process is handled. She said that as long as the NST looks good, as well as my AFI, we should be fine holding off on inducing. But if anything looks strained, it's a conversation that likely will come up. She explained how inductions work at the midwifery and how they are a bit more of a pain in the rear than spontaneous labor since they can take longer and generally mean sitting at the hospital twiddling our thumbs for a day or two. But we will talk more about it next week if it comes to it.

All in all, the appointment was reassuring and helpful. Her final words to me were that she doesn't think I'll be pregnant a week from now, but I'm not going to count those chickens before they hatch!

Other than this, not much has happened over the past week. I've definitely had quite a few emotional ups and downs, but Arthur has been really supportive through it all.

I'm also starting to get pretty antsy and bored at home, but I keep reminding myself what a blessing this time is. If we would have had the baby two weeks ago like we thought, we would have missed out on so many special times together. So for that I'm very thankful.

Another pitfall of the past week is my stretch marks getting worse. Ugh! They sit low on my belly right in the front and started to show up right after LB dropped. I think it was the almost overnight stretch down low that my skin just wasn't prepared for. And unfortunately they are only getting longer as the days pass. I consider it taking one for the team and know they will fade just like the ones I have on my sides from growing when I was younger. But it's still no fun.

On a happier note, I was able to spend an afternoon this week making this nursing cover, which I am entirely proud of! I got the fabric at Ikea for maybe $7/yard and used this tutorial verbatim (without the pocket and terry cloth square). Super simple!

Praying for lots and lots of contractions tonight!

Need to catch up?

Pregnancy Posts:

Weekly Updates:

1 comment:

  1. Kels, I'm praying that membrane sweep will kick things into gear. I cnt believe you are already 3.5 cm. FYI, I was nothing, nada, zilch with both girls until I went into labor. The first few centimeters are the hardest and you are through them without labor starting yet! Wahoo! My doc swept my membranes...a little differently since I was not dilated, but I started contracting harder and then had diarrhea all night and went into labor 30 hours later. Tmi, but trying to give you hope. Praying your body is ready so it will work:) so so so excited for what you are about to experience! Xoxoxo


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