Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last Day of Pregnancy

I had an appointment with my midwife first thing in the morning yesterday, and she finally pulled the plug on my hopes for a med-free, birth center birth. I'm being induced at the hospital this evening. Sad face.

Things have been deteriorating over the last week. I have an awful, unbearably itchy PUPPS rash that started on my belly, but has spread to my arms and legs. A rash like this is sometimes an indicator that your liver is stressed and the toxins it is not able to cleanse from your blood have nowhere to go but up through your skin. Lovely.

In addition to being driven out of my mind by itching, there are some other indicators that things are not going well. For one, Snapdragon is still floating really high, not settling into my pelvis at all. She seems to be head-down, but was so far up that Joyce could not even reach her during my internal exam. I am a tiny bit effaced, but not dilated at all. Add that to the cyst, my low iron, and the fact that even Tufts thinks that she will be a 9-pounder, and there are just too many risk factors for the birth center. Snapdragon's eviction notice has been served.

Joyce gave us the option of being induced right away (Monday night) or waiting until Tuesday (today). We opted for Tuesday so that we have a bit of time to get our affairs in order, contact our families, and repack our bags for what will be a longer hospital stay than we were anticipating.

I was pretty disappointed about the whole thing and cried right after the appointment, but I am feeling resigned to the reality of it now. There are plenty of positives: We get to meet Snapdragon! No more waiting! No worrying about going into labor at an inconvenient time/place! Time to charge the camera and phones! Time for my parents to travel in a non-emergency fashion!

Still, I am feeling a little bummed that I have to go to the hospital and worried about the level of intervention I may be getting into. They'll start the induction with a 12-hr dose of Cervidil tonight. There's a chance that that will get everything started, but if it doesn't, they'll have to bring out the Pitocin. More worrying than the drugs is the fact that drugs mean constant fetal monitoring, IVs, etc. Not only will I not have the comfort of the birth center, where they have beds big enough for Pete to get in with me and whirlpool tubs for laboring, I may not even be able to walk around very much (depending on the monitor/IV situation). If I'm stuck on my back, I won't be able to make use of all of the pain-management strategies and positions that would allow me to cope with the pain and avoid the epidural.

I have to decide whether I am ok getting the epidural. While I don't want to abandon my plan, I also don't want to put myself in a situation where I have the worst of both worlds: all the pain of going med-free with none of the freedom to use coping strategies. There are lots of reasons why I don't want the epidural — groggy baby, higher risk of c-section, inability to walk — but I may need it if I can't use warm water and movement to get me through. If the induction goes smoothly enough that I can still have some freedom of movement, I think I'll be able to make it. If not, I have to be ok with accepting the epidural without feeling like a failure. I don't want it, but it may be the best option for my situation. I'll have to discuss this with the midwife and doula before they start the induction so that my final decision is not coming from a place of panic in the moment, but from reasoned, conscious choice.

So, wish me luck. I check in at 8:00 pm. If all goes well, I should have an outside baby by Wednesday night — Thursday morning at the latest.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fun, Not Fun

Fun: Going to the grocery store and and telling people who ask when you're due, "Oh, last Wednesday."

Not Fun: Being 41 weeks pregnant.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last Ultrasound? Please?

I have been wrong before, but I really do think that we are all done with the ultrasounds.

Joyce acknowledged that the radiology dept at Little Hospital is not really all that great, so she sent me back to Big Hospital to have a final growth estimate/fluid check/cyst update. We went yesterday morning.

The final weight estimate (@ 40 wks, 1 day) is 4,088 grams, just a smidge over 9 pounds. This is fairly consistent with Big Hospital's estimate from 38 weeks — they estimated 7 lbs 12 oz, with a rate of growth of 1/2 pound per week, so this is fairly consistent with that. I don't know whether it is accurate, but it is consistent.

Since I have had approximately a million ultrasounds during this pregnancy, I feel qualified to offer a few suggestions to the techs/doctors who do these scans:
  • If you are going to use the entire bottle of gel on me, the very least you could do is hand me an extra towel at the end. I have long since learned that you will not, under any circumstances, actually help me clean myself up, and I suppose that's ok, but the towel tucked into my underwear is already covered in gel, so it isn't really adequate for the full cleanup job.
  • It is very uncomfortable for me to lie flat on my back at this point. Please get on with what you are doing in an efficient manner.
  • It is also difficult for me to shift positions, especially since the "bed" is a flimsy, narrow gurney with no handrails, not an actual bed. With this in mind, please keep requests that I turn on my left side, then my right side, then my left side, then my back, then my left side, to the absolute minimum necessary for you to get the shots you need.
  • Narrate. I know the techs are not allowed to say anything diagnostic, but a simple, "Now, let's have a look at the kidneys" would be much appreciated. It all looks like static to me, and I have been very pleased with the very few techs who have bothered to tell me what they are doing.
  • Always give me a picture. I will feel better about being sticky and uncomfortable if you give me a picture of my baby at the end of the procedure. It doesn't have to be a shot of her face! Hands and feet make excellent ultrasound pics — even the heart looks pretty cool. Leaving me with no pics makes me grumpy.
I hope we have seen the last of Snapdragon's ultrasounds. It's time for us to see her in person!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


pregatory: the time after your due date, but before your baby's actual birthday

All the week-by-week calendars have run out. All the tiny clothes and diapers are clean and ready. All the maternity clothes are worn out.

Seriously, baby. This has gone on long enough.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Due Date!

This date has been circled in bright colors on my calendar all year. Now, it's here . . . and it's just another boring day of waiting. Grumblecakes.

I'm actually trying to get some things done today so that I don't just sit around and mope. I wrote a 500-word summary of my summer research project, followed up on some work emails, went out to lunch with FB, and took a short (very short) walk. Honestly, it was pathetic. I walked to the library branch, which is a little over a quarter mile from my house, before admitting that my back was killing me. Unfortunately, at that point, I had to walk home. I walked less than a mile and feel like I need an ice pack.

FB has downloaded PuzzleQuest 2 on the Xbox for me, so that has killed several hours. It's my kind of video game — instead of fighting monsters, you defeat them by playing a version of Bejeweled. It's much more my speed than FB's shooting games.

I've been doing all I can to get ready, but there just isn't that much left to do. Yesterday, I made two playlists for labor — a mellow one and an energetic one. I don't know whether I'll want to listen to music while I'm in labor, but at least I'll have the option. I suppose I could vacuum again or clean the bathroom, but that doesn't sound like much fun. Perhaps I will write a letter to little Snapdragon that I can put in her keepsake box and give to her when she is older. It would mostly say,

Dear Snapdragon,
Get your butt out here. No, seriously, it is time.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Getting Sick

FB had a bad cold last week and I fear that I am coming down with it this week. I woke up this morning with a sore throat and a groggy headache. Sad face.

I had hoped that Snapdragon might be born today (Talk Like a Pirate Day), but it looks like that is not going to happen. I still haven't had any noticeable contractions or mucus plugs fragments or any other signs of labor.

While I am impatient to meet Snapdragon, I'm not very excited about laboring or caring for a new baby with a cold as bad as the one FB had. Hopefully, whatever symptoms I have will run their course over the next few days and resolve themselves before Snapdragon makes her appearance. I wouldn't want her to get seriously sick in her first week of life because I have the sniffles.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Stupid Doctor's Appointment

I went to my appointment this morning, where the doctor checked my vitals, measured my belly, and shrugged at me. Yes, I have too much fluid, but there's not really anything anyone can do about that.

For the record, my belly is GIANT. When they measure it, the number of centimeters is supposed to correspond to the number of weeks (24 cm = 24 weeks pregnant, etc.). For most of the pregnancy, I was right on target, but around 35 weeks, I started measuring 1 or 2 cm bigger than expected (this was when they noticed the high fluid). Today, I measured 47 cm. For the love of all that is holy, get this baby out of me.

The doctor also told me that the weight estimate from yesterday's ultrasound was 9 lbs 14 oz, but that is bullshit. Snapdragon was moving around so much and was so uncooperative that I know that they did not get good measurements. Besides, the Tufts estimate from last Wednesday was 7 lbs 12 oz and I trust their staff and machines way more. The Tufts office specializes in obstetrical ultrasounds and sees all the high-risk patients, while the Cambridge Hospital radiology dept is an all-purpose unit that does everything from mammograms to gall bladder scans, so their technicians don't do growth ultrasounds all day long. I don't expect that Snapdragon is a tiny peanut, but there is no way she is a 10-pounder at this point.

The doctor did offer me a c-section, though. I declined.

So, I have a huge baby, extra fluid, and an itchy, stretched-to-the-max stomach. Still no progress with the whole effacement/dilation thing. Due date is in 5 days, but it is looking like that is not going to happen.

Side note: my blood pressure is 100/68. Does that sound too low to anyone else? I'm not running any marathons over here.