I turned 39 weeks on Sunday, April 24.
I have never, ever been 39 weeks pregnant.
I am not sure what the deal is.
Sometimes I worry that I’m doing something wrong.
So the time I thought I’d never see was here. I didn’t have very much to show for my being so far along. I wasn’t experiencing a lot of contractions. I had spent the last two mornings pulling Aurick and Beatrice around to yard sales in a wagon, and it hadn’t triggered anything at all.
a change of heart
Thankfully all the anxiety I had been feeling was starting to bleed out into impatience. I was becoming really ready to just get the show on the road. I tried what I knew had worked for me in the past, but without much success. Particularly in the mornings I would feel very ready and hopeful that that day would be the day. This feeling would gradually subside as the day went on, though, and by evening I’d be glad nothing was happening and hopeful that maybe the next day would be IT.
a couple of false starts
On both Monday and Tuesday mornings I had episodes of contractions that were on the milder side with a smattering of stronger ones thrown in. They would be reasonably spaced but not too close together; I would monitor them as best I could though really once I was on my feet everything would disappear into the Irritable Uterus stuff. But each day they would peter out about noon and be gone entirely by around 1:30-2.
On Tuesday I called my doctor to ask if there was maybe something I could be doing to stop the contractions from disappearing on me. Or if I should come be checked out or something. Thankfully they got me in right away to see my doctor, who was now thankfully back in town.
The check showed nothing–absolutely no progress! Still 3-4 cm, 90% and Flannery was between -2 and -1. I was a little disappointed but also glad because it was around 4 in the afternoon and that’s about the time I start deciding I’m done hoping for labor for the day and start looking forward to the next day. I was also very thankful that I was able to see my doctor rather than going to L&D, which would have taken much much longer.
We briefly discussed induction with him. He said so long as Flannery seems to be doing well per her weekly ultrasounds, he doesn’t see a need to induce yet. That was encouraging as I really hope that’s not something we’ll have to do.
an extra complication
Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of this week was actually a very bad time to have the baby, because Aurick was sick. He came down with a fever on Saturday night. On Sunday I took him to the walk-in clinic, reasoning that if it was something treatable like an ear infection, it would be best to get that taken care of right away.
The clinic diagnosed him with an ear infection and prescribed an antibiotic.
The antibiotic they gave is one Ephraim is mildly allergic to, but Clive has taken with no trouble. So I was a little wary with giving it to Aurick. As it turns out, he did have a reaction to it. I was very glad I was at home with him and not in the hospital, in labor.
The next day I called the pediatrician to ask for a different antibiotic. She said she wanted to see him to make sure it was actually an ear infection–apparently our walk-in clinic has a bad habit of over-diagnosing those. She looked Aurick over, and pronounced his ears clear–no infection present. So probably a virus.
On Tuesday his fever broke and on Wednesday a nice little rash appeared on his torso. Just one of those random toddler viruses that they all get. I am glad our pediatrician double checked before just prescribing us something. And I’m glad I wasn’t in labor during that time, although I was a little worried at the pediatrician’s office on Monday with all the contractions I was having. But of course, as I’ve already described, on Tuesday I learned all that action wasn’t really that action-y after all.
the awful feeling of limbo
I was glad, as I always am, to know what kind of progress (or lack thereof) I’m having. But that didn’t totally alleviate the emotional roller coaster I’m continuously finding myself on. It is hard to know, at this point, how much you should leave up to nature and how much you should be proactive with. Why was this time different from all the others? Was I doing something different? Was my body behaving differently–more stiffly, maybe–because of my hip problem and my difficulties walking normally? Was that causing her to have trouble engaging? Why the heck was she still -2 when Beatrice was +1 at 35 weeks, for crying out loud? Was that difficulty–if it existed–going to affect how my labor would progress once it started? Should I be doing specific exercises; would they make any difference, really? How much control did I really have over this process?
a nice day, anyway
On Wednesday I took the kids out to our local Mennonite community. My parents went along. We bought our jam from the Jam House and all kinds of goodies from the bakery, and then spent quite a while at the place that bills itself as an “Amish Store” but really more like a delightful little tourist trap (the real Mennonite grocery is a couple of roads down and a lot cheaper, but this one has a deli and a playground for the kids.) It felt wonderful to just get out somewhere with everyone and not worry so much about contractions and labor and all of that. Everyone had a great time except for Aurick, who was still a little clingy and crabby from his sickness.
That evening, I watched The Tale of Princess Kayuga and tried everything I knew how to do to help Flannery’s head engage, hoping of course, as usual, that any action in the labor direction would happen in the morning and not during the night!
downhill turn, emotionally
I don’t know what happened to me the next day. It was the day of my regularly scheduled appointment–yet another I didn’t think I’d make it to that I was actually going to make it to. I woke up irritable. I spent the morning trying to research reasons why she wasn’t engaged yet and repeating the positions and exercises I knew how to do. It all felt a little too late, honestly. I have never, ever had to worry about this kind of thing, so I didn’t this time, either. But now I was seeing that starting these exercises weeks, even months ago would have been the best scenario. I accidentally read a story about a baby that wouldn’t descend in labor (ended in c-section.) Wish I hadn’t done that. I made appointments for prenatal massage and a chiropractic visit on the off-chance that there was something “stuck” that needed loosening for her to engage properly.
I didn’t think I’d have any progress at all since I was just in two days previously. Flannery’s ultrasound was good again. I had the tech check and see what body part I was feeling in my right hip (that I had been pressing back in as I did those stretches and exercises)–looks like a shoulder or an arm. I don’t know if that is hindering things. I push it back in when I feel it stick over there, now, usually.
But the surprise was this: she was now at a +1, from -2 two days before. So either she had wiggled her way down on her own, or my pushing her shoulder back in continuously had helped, or the exercises and stretches had made the room she needed, or maybe all three, plus something else I couldn’t fathom? At any rate, it was wonderful news!
“You might go tonight,” my doctor told me.
“I don’t want to do it at night. Let’s do tomorrow morning,” I said. We laughed.
I was also a full 4 cm now. I think he swept my membranes as I was very sore all evening and had some spotting. There were a number of painful contractions, too, which started regularly and then spaced more and more out before disappearing entirely. I was in the car when all this was happening, and kind of miserable.
It’s the roller coaster that gets me
A friend asked how I was holding up, if I was managing to be patient. I told her it depended on the day and the time of day. I am all over the place. If there were anything I could change about this pregnancy, it would be my emotional state. I wish I could be even-keeled and just take things as they come. I wish I didn’t have days like today (I am writing this on Thursday, in the evening after my doctor’s appointment) where I get good news like her head is engaged but then just feel anxious all evening that I’m going to go into labor. I joked about it with the doctor, but I do think I am mildly terrified of laboring all night. It all feels so monstrously silly. I am aware that were it not for this persistent, dubious anxiety and dread, that this would actually be a wonderfully enjoyable time. Spring is blooming all around us; everyone is healthy; everyone is looking forward to Flannery joining us. She will join us soon. Everything that comes will be difficult but not impossible. I have done it many times before and I know this to be true.
Way back at the beginning on this pregnancy, I felt reminded not to be double-minded. But that is precisely what I am being. Lord help me to not be! I don’t know how to do it on my own.
I booked a prenatal massage and chiropractor visit on Friday, at 39 w 5 d. I was hoping that either might take care of anything that may be too tight, rigid, etc. in my body and consequently holding things back. The chiropractor did mention my tailbone was “horizontal” which made me nervous, but didn’t seem to indicate that should be causing any problems when I asked.
I also had my nails done. No time like the present.
I had passed bloody mucus ever since my appointment on Thursday, and this continued all day Friday. But there was not much else to show for it. All Friday afternoon and Saturday morning (at which point I am now writing this) my belly has just been very sore. Friday evening I could not walk between the soreness and the weird thing that Flannery’s shoulder/arm that presses into my right hip does to the nerves on that side, so I had a nice, hour-long crying fest about how I don’t ever want to do this again, ever. (See earlier section on the emotional rollercoaster.) Jeremy listened patiently and reminded me that this time doesn’t exactly lend rationality to statements like that. (He’s right.) In a way I feel like the period of transition has been lengthened and stretched to encompass weeks instead the minutes or hours it should. Nevertheless the outburst was cathartic and I think I could have managed emotionally with going into labor in the night. I didn’t, though. Just had a handful of contractions that woke me up from time to time.
The last day of week 39
So here we are. Tomorrow, Sunday, May 1st, is my due date. It is the first due date I have ever seen while still pregnant. Unless something drastic happens today, of course.
Every single day this week that I’ve been in town I thought about buying paint for the colloquium, but I never did because I honestly thought I’d have the baby some time this week. In hindsight, now, I am kicking myself. Think of all the things I could have gotten done this week!