Wednesday, December 23, 2009

40 weeks + 1 day: The Countdown Continues

I can't believe that we are finally here.  The destination.  The moment of truth.  The final countdown.  Yesterday was my "estimated" due date and there is a good reason they put the word "estimated" on the beginning of it.  It is a huge guess as to when things actually will happen.  You can watch your estimated due date come and go, as I have, and only have a few minor contractions and absolutely no other inclination of a baby coming.  Frustrating?  Yes, it certainly can be.  Typical?  Abso-freaking-lutely. 

My Mom made it town last Wednesday - 3 days earlier than her originally scheduled flight - because she kept having a strong feeling that I would be having a baby on the 16th.  Upon her arrival that day, I did start having contractions that were not very comfortable but would go away when I would lie down - the VERY sign that it was false labor.  And the news stayed that way - and still is that way.  No pressure or anything (other than the pressure in my lower regions).  Actually, I sometimes do feel like I am not performing as I should.  That my body just isn't doing what it is supposed to in the right time. 

And then my Dad and SMom came in on Friday.  Still no news, no developments, no nothing.  But a great Mexican meal was consumed and it was great to have my family in town.  Monday, Mom went with us to my doctor's appointment.  We started with a non-stress test which is basically me sitting in a recliner with a couple of gooey pads strapped to my belly.  The monitor shows baby's heartrate on the left hand side and the pressure in my uterus on the right hand side.  You could actually see me having contractions.  Sounds promising, right?  Well, no. 

Next on the appointment agenda was the internal exam.  Since Hutch is on vacation, Jodi, the nurse practitioner, did my internal.  This is where the name Nurse Digger came to be...I swear she could pop my eyeballs out from the inside as far up as she was in my business!!  Unbelieveable.  And oh so uncomfortable!!  After digging around for a bit, she finally determined that I hadn't dilated at all.  Completely sealed up tight! 

Next was the sonogram to make sure there was still ample fluid in the uterus.  Everything looked great and I was happy that Mom got to experience a sonogram of her grandbaby.  That was fun.  I really couldn't make out everything because the monitor was aimed more at Mom and T but they got to see baby blow bubbles and move around.  And, of course, the strong heart pumping away.

I guess I left that appointment a little deflated.  I was hoping for more progress and I got nothing.  But I did get some great reports of a healthy baby and that everything was still looking good.

Today I had another appointment with Nurse Digger.  This time I took my Dad and SMom so that they could experience the excitement of a sonogram.  ND did the internal exam first so that I could then dress again before my Dad came into the room.  Good thinking!  But WOW.  I must say that I really do NOT enjoy internal exams.  They are highly uncomfortable and on the verge of painful.  You know it's bad when they tell you not to worry if you bleed a little after.  YOU THINK??  Holy cow!!

Still no real progress.  She asked me to remind her what she told me at the last visit and I told her it was still next to nothing as far as dilation - maybe a fingertip.  She said I was maybe a 1 this time but still not a lot of progress.  I asked her if she thought that I was going to stay like this until the induction.  She kinda thought so.  So I decided to ask a bunch of questions about the induction.  She said she is going to have us check in on Sunday at 8 PM to start me on some drink that I drink every 2 hours throughout the night.  This is supposed to help my cervix relax and open up.  Then they will prick an IV in me at 5 AM Monday and start the Pitocin.  She estimates baby's arrival for around 3 PM or so Monday afternoon.  But she reminded me that anything can happen before then and reminded me of the symptoms to watch for. 

I put my pants back on and she got me set up in the recliner for the non-stress test.  Then she had Dad, SMom and T come back to hang with me and listen to the heartbeat.  Everything sounded great but baby wasn't moving.  She gave me a juice box and the sugar rush kicked in!  It started moving and I did have one pretty large contraction so I passed the test.

Next we took a look at the sonogram and Dad and SMom got to see the baby blow bubbles and move around like crazy in there.  We didn't get a good profile shot today.  But that's good.  Baby was head down and turned toward my back which is how you want it for delivery.  Side note, ND sure did scare me when she first put the wand on my belly.  She asked if I had felt any big movements.  I said why?  She said she thought the baby wasn't head down anymore.  My heart skipped.  But, after she further investigated, there it was, in diving position.  Please don't scare me with that anymore.  Look first and then ask.

After all that, I actually felt better about the induction.  Almost better than going on my own.  This way, we can have a normal Christmas (and so can Tay) and then we go in Sunday evening when things settle down.  Not to mention that my doctor will be back from vacation with a fresh, cleared head!  I think that I am starting to prefer the Sunday/Monday concept.  I will keep my fingers crossed that it happens before then but won't be disappointed if it doesn't.

Well, I wish I could share more but now we are just in a holding pattern.  But here is the ol' 40 week belly shot (notice my sweet boy down in the corner of the screen):


How your baby's growing:

It's hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but the average newborn weighs about 7 1/2 pounds (a small pumpkin) and is about 20 inches long. His skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit if it's a snug fit through the birth canal during labor. This so-called "molding" is the reason your baby's noggin may look a little conehead-ish after birth. Rest assured — it's normal and temporary.

After months of anticipation, your due date rolls around, and... you're still pregnant. It's a frustrating, but common, situation in which to find yourself. You may not be as late as you think, especially if you're relying solely on a due date calculated from the day of your last period because sometimes women ovulate later than expected. Even with reliable dating, some women have prolonged pregnancies for no apparent reason.

You still have a couple of weeks before you'll be considered "post-term." But to be sure your baby is still thriving, your practitioner will schedule you for testing to keep an eye on her if your pregnancy continues.

You may have a biophysical profile (BPP), which consists of an ultrasound to look at your baby's overall movements, breathing movements (movement of her chest muscles and diaphragm), and muscle tone (whether she opens and closes her hand or extends and then flexes her limbs), as well as the amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds her (important because it's a reflection of how well the placenta is supporting your baby).

Fetal heart rate monitoring (called a nonstress test or NST) will generally be done as well — by itself or as part of the BPP. Or, you may have what's known as a modified BPP, which consists of an NST and an ultrasound to assess the amount of amniotic fluid.

If the fetal testing isn't reassuring — the amniotic fluid level is too low, for example — you'll be induced. If there's a serious, urgent problem, you may have an immediate c-section.

Your practitioner will also check your cervix to see if it's "ripening." Its position, how soft it is, how effaced (thinned out) it is, and how dilated (open) it is can all affect when and how your labor is induced. If you don't go into labor on your own, you'll be induced, usually sometime between 41 and 42 weeks.

So next on the list:
Tomorrow: Christmas Eve!  Dinner with the family here at home!
Friday: Merry Christmas to all of you who have been here for me through all these months.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!!
Saturday: No plans and that sounds GREAT!
Sunday: If nothing has happened before, 8 PM check into hospital.  I WILL be bringing my laptop!!
Monday: 5 AM Pitocin begins and baby will follow at some point that day.


Dear Cashew,

It is hard to believe that we have been attached at the cord for nine whole months!  Can you believe it?  I feel so close to you it is crazy.  I know what makes you kick the most, squirm the most and I can predict your hiccups!  I feel like we have really gotten to know each other over the months.  I am looking forward to meeting you and letting you stretch your legs a bit.  It is getting so tight in there, I can tell.  You look completely cramped on the sonograms.

It has been so cool having your Louisville grandparents here.  They are SOOO excited to meet you!  They now have been able to hear your strong heartbeat and see you blow bubbles on the ultrasound screen.  I think that has built the excitement even more!  They all want you to come as early as possible so that they can spend more time with you but you will be in all of our arms come Monday.  So it is up to you when you think would be a good day for your birthday and if you need a little help getting out. 

I think I might look through my old posts tonight to see how far along we have come.  There have been some tough days, some good days and just some overwhelming days.  But I have never doubted for a minute how much I love you and how much you are wanted.  Daddy is so excited too and just can't wait to find out who you are and what you look like.  You are so wanted, Cashew.  You are so loved.

Your room is all ready including pictures on the wall.  The best part is the painting that Grandpa did for you!  We found the perfect frame and it is hanging above your crib.  I know you will absolutely love it. 

Goodnight for now (although I can feel that you are awake right now).  Give me a sign if you want to come out on your own.  Otherwise, I will be the one waiting for you with open arms on Monday.  Daddy will be the one right next to me with the huge smile on his face.  You won't be able to miss us!

We love you so much!  See you VERY soon!

Mommy and Daddy

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