Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Don't Like This Game...

... the waiting game, that is. Today is my due date and there are still no promising signs of labor on the horizon. I've had contractions for the last 3 weeks. Earlier in my pregnancy, I had asked another pregnant mom how she was able to differentiate Braxton Hicks contractions from real contractions (I've been having BH contractions since week 20). She said that real contractions sort of take your breath away and the pain is very similar to bad cramping during your period. My uterus gets so hard and tight with the BH contractions I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to discern the difference, but once I started having real contractions, I definitely knew what they were.

One evening a few weeks ago I started having contractions 15 minutes apart for an hour, then 10 minutes apart for an hour, and then they just stopped. I swore after that happened that I was going to see the doctor at 37 weeks and she would tell me that I was dilated and ready to deliver this baby soon! Alas, I was not.

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Then there was another evening when I had contractions every 5 minutes for an hour. They say to call if you have contractions every 5 minutes lasting for over an hour, or if your water breaks, so I thought surely I was going into labor. Silly me, because as soon as the one hour mark hit, the contractions stopped! Still, with all those contractions I thought I would definitely be at least a little dilated at my next appointment at 39 weeks but all the doctor could tell me was that my cervix was starting to soften.

I just went in again yesterday at 39 weeks and 6 days and I'm apparently making some progress. Not much, but a I was "a fingertip dilated" and my cervix is softer than it was previously. The baby has dropped a little further and my doctor said she could easily break my water at this point if she wanted to. She also said she could feel my pelvis "opening up." So, the baby could come at any time now, or she could take her sweet little time.

At this point, I am so ready for this baby to be here. I can hardly walk anywhere without getting winded (though I'm trying to walk a lot to induce labor) and I just cannot get comfortable enough at night to get some decent sleep. I toss and turn, and once I am finally able to fall asleep, I am woken up by the urge to pee again. I've heard lots of moms say that this is common and it's nature's way of getting you used to all the sleepless nights that come with taking care of a newborn. That's probably true, but that doesn't change the fact that I would love to get a good night's sleep right now!

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Only 5% of all babies are actually born on their due date - most are born somewhere between 38-42 weeks. I can't reliably wait on my water to break as an indication of the start of labor, as only 8% of pregnant women have their water break before they go into labor. So for now, I just get to hang around, over-analyzing every contraction and wondering when this baby will come.

We've decided to schedule an induction for next Monday if the baby doesn't come on her own sooner. I will be 40 weeks and 5 days at that point. It's my understanding that some doctors won't even induce labor until after 41 weeks, but my doctor said that she doesn't like to let her patients go beyond 41 weeks because the baby's risk of meconium aspiration are much higher then. We had originally discussed inducing as early as tomorrow, but have decided to give the baby some more time to come out on her own.

If you do some research or ask around, you'll find all sort of methods out there that are supposed to induce labor. Shopasaur blogged about it here. I'm not entirely sure that I believe in any of them, but we're going to give some of those methods a shot (can't really hurt, right? Except for the castor oil - blech!). We'd really prefer for this baby to come in her own time, but if it's better for her to be induced next week then that's what we'll do. Either way, you should be hearing an announcement from us any day now...

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