If you’re like most other mommies to be, you’ve probably downloaded some kind of app (or several) that give you daily updates on the status of your little one inside, weekly growth descriptions like “Your baby is the size of a leek!” and little tips on pregnancy and what might be happening to you at that particular point in time. Most of them also come with some kind of countdown.
You are 29 weeks, 2 days!
You have 47 days to go!
It’s really exciting when you get down to that one week mark (if you haven’t popped already!). This is when you get everything sorted if you’ve been procrastinating, getting the hospital bag packed and finishing all of the baby laundry. And then you wait around for the day to come. And then it gets here. And then everyone asks you “Isn’t he/she here yet??” and you’ll reply with a sigh, a shake of the head, and a finger pointing at your enormous belly. You app will have some kind of reminder that TODAY is your due date, and probably start giving you updates on how to care for a newborn, but it’ll all be a little to early.
Then the next day, your app widget will say PAST DUE DATE… along with the next day, and the next, and the next. Thanks a lot, app. As if I wasn’t under enough pressure already, I don’t need you springing notifications on my cell phone telling me how inadequate my uterus is. If it hasn’t happened already, you’ll start getting totally frustrated, sad, angry, and snippy. At what? Who knows. Partly the fact that you thought you’d have had your baby by now, partly due to the fact that your body is aching in so many different ways, and a little bit to do with having to consider induction scenarios when you go completely post date. It kind of makes you feel like a failure. It’s the walking that didn’t work, the spicy food that didn’t work, the sexy time that didn’t work, and the bouncy yoga ball that did nothing but make you seasick.
I had a midwife appointment yesterday where she scheduled a second biophysical profile ultrasound for next week, and also an induction date 11 days from now. It’s nice that they’re booking a plan B, but it’s also scary since I really want a natural, go-with-the-flow experience. I took hypnobirthing classes for crying out loud. She explained to me that it would take place at the hospital with the insertion of prostaglandin gels to ripen my cervix, send me home to wait for contractions, and then hopefully get labour going that way. I signed a waiver to book it for April 18th, almost 2 weeks after my due date. Ugh, pleeeeease don’t let it get that far…
Then she tells me she’s going to do an internal exam to “see what my cervix is doing.” I knew this was happening, because for the past 2 appointments I’ve been offered a stretch and sweep, which is where your caregiver “sweeps” their fingers around the cervix to try and separate the connection of membranes between cervix and amniotic sac. For the longest time, everyone was telling me this was done with a “crochet hook-like tool,” and I was terrified. I declined it for 2 weeks because I wanted to go naturally, but by the time 40 weeks and a day went by, I was all ready for it. Well, not ready for it, because who really wants someone grabbing and prodding all up in there, but I wanted something to start.
First she takes my blood pressure and tells me it’s still in the normal range, but a bit high for me. Yeah no kidding. I’m tripping balls over here because my baby is overcooked and I’m minutes away from getting a hand shoved up inside me. Then she measures my fundal height (or size of my uterus) and tells me that I’m measuring juuuust a little bit under. I’m kind of okay with that. Having the GD and all, it’s better news than having a really big baby stuck inside me post date. Then she feels around my belly and looks for the head. She finds it, gives it a squeeze, and then says that she’s engaged but still a long way to go. In other words, she hasn’t dropped, which sucks because everyone’s been telling me that my belly is still high. Which means it’s not time yet. Great.
Then she puts on a glove and squeezes a ton of lube onto it to do the internal exam. I employ my breathing skills which weren’t at all what I learned in hypnobirthing, but turned into more of a “hoo” exhale-through-your-mouth kind of thing that we aren’t supposed to do. But whatever works, they say. As soon as she sticks her hand in, she says “Whoa, Heather!!! You’re doing great!!” Apparently my body is doing more work than we thought. She could feel the “bulge of membranes” and that my cervix has shortened significantly. 2cm dilated, and 70% effaced. I don’t know if I got the sweep, but she did say she was going to do a bit of stimulation. It didn’t hurt any more than the rest, but I was more distracted by my breathing and the fact that it felt like there was So.Much.Space up there. It was very disorienting. But no crochet hook, so phew.
She told me that my body is definitely getting ready, and that I should be really pleased with the progress I’ve made. The induction is booked, but she wouldn’t be surprised if I went within the next few days and that we would just end up cancelling it. Music to my ears. She warned me about some potential cramping afterwards, and to expect some birth show.
I went home really happy, and in a significantly better mood than when I left. I started feeling like something was happening, and that I wasn’t stuck in post-date limbo. Although initially I wanted to avoid them at all cost, having the internal exam and getting some answers was really helpful in just giving me some hope that Sweet Pea wasn’t stuck in there. Sweeps kick-start most labours within 48 hours if the circumstances are right, and I hope my 70% effaced cervix is one of those circumstances! I went to sleep last night with a few cramps, more than I’ve ever felt before, and I was able to practice a few of my breathing techniques.
And this morning… birth show!! Here’s hoping Sweet Pea gets here by tomorrow night!