Yeah, did you notice that Strawberry changed all our tickers to make today our due date? It makes us feel better since today would be the due date based on conception.
Yesterday’s midwife appointment included another cervical check and a vigorous stretch and sweep, which is about as much fun as it sounds. It did however bring on some cramping and some bloody show through the evening and night. Actual sleep is a thing of distant memory for me and I suspect it will be many more months until I rediscover it.
Everything checked out fine, urine, weight, BP, heartbeat, fundal height (40 weeks). The cervical check revealed that I am 3.5 cm dilated but the midwife could easily stretch me to 5 cm. She was feeling the top of Cupcake’s head as he wiggled it against her fingers. She could actually feel his fontanels! We were sent on our way with a referral for the back-up OB to get a bio-physical profile on Friday, but also with well wishes that we would go into labor before then. We certainly hope so!
So it’s due date eve and we actually have news! Today’s midwife appointment included a cervical check, something we had previously understood they only did when you showed up in labor. I’m not sure if it was because I’m hours away from my due date or because the midwife took pity on us, but in any case, she did one. And lo and behold, I am 3 cm dialated and 80% effaced! I can’t say that the check itself was all that comfortable, but nothing jarring or harsh, just pressure. She said that as she was checking it, it was “melting away” which is another sign that things are progressing. Cupcake’s head was right on my cervix and he was moving it around as she was there.
Strawberry and I are much encouraged by this news. It is reassuring to hear that all the discomfort that I’ve been feeling is amounting to something. Last night was particularly bad, with very broken sleep and a few episodes of cramping and painful contractions. Nothing regular or timable, so still technically “pre-labor”.
Everything else checked out fine at the midwife too. My BP is back to normal, very minimal swelling in my feet and ankles, fundal height, urine, heartbeat, all right on target. We have an appointment for next Tuesday, but we really, really hope that we’ll be there to give birth before then.
6 days until the due date. No real changes. Still having lots of baby movement, lots of braxton-hicks contractions, and a few of them are crampy or painful. Still sleeping like crap. I wake up every 1.5-2 hours to pee or change position. Nothing is comfortable. I’m waddling for real and my walk is very slow. Feet, ankles and lower legs are swollen, but not enough to be of concern. Weekly midwife appointment was uneventful. Urine, weight, BP, fetal heartbeat all normal.
We had our favorite midwife again and she told us that she’d had a dream that I had gone into labor over the past weekend. And then she got a call to come into the birth center on Sunday to attend a birth for another woman that shares my first name! We told her that we hope her premonition was just off by a week and that we could be the ones in labor this Sunday. We also discussed what happens if I make it to 41 weeks. If I still haven’t gone into labor on my own by my appointment on 4/28 (which is 40 weeks 6 days), then they will schedule me for a bio-physical profile with their back up OB for the next day. This will include a non-stress test to count contractions and fetal movement and also an ultrasound to confirm amniotic fluid levels. If everything looks good then I get another week to wait for labor to begin on its own.
She also talked to us about their methodology for induction, if needed. Their first intervention of choice is Pr*pidil, a prostoglandin gel to ripen the cervix. However, the use of the gel is contraindicated in women with a history of asthma. I had very severe asthma as a child, but it’s now exercise or allergy-induced only. I haven’t had to use a rescue inhaler in several years. She didn’t give a final verdict on whether or not I’d qualify to receive it, but I’m hoping it never becomes an issue. Their 2nd intervention would be Pit*cin. It is my understanding that the need for either intervention would require giving birth in the hospital.
I am feeling very worn down and impatient. I’m sure the dreary, rainy weather we’ve had for the past few days hasn’t helped. But, the sun is out and it’s warm today and this weekend looks to be beautiful as well. Come on Cupcake, don’t you want to come out and see how lovely everything is?
It’s very tempting to make some sort of April Fools post, but I promise this isn’t one. We’re very happy about today though, as today marks 37 weeks and thus, full term. We will hopefully be meeting our little one near the middle to end of this month. Since my topics will be all over the place, I’m going to switch over to bullets:
- We now have a working shower again, completed as of yesterday afternoon. Thank goodness.
- Our professional photo shoot was put on hold until this coming weekend due to said shower catastrophe and what seemed like a rainy day. The rainy day actually turned into a beautiful one, so Nutella and I went out and took our own pictures with the spring blossoms (one appears at the end of this post)
- My boss invited my co-workers and I to a cookout yesterday afternoon during our lunch break. At the end of the cookout, he said “Wait, I have dessert” and ran to his car. He returned with cupcakes for all and a baby shower card for me, signed by everyone, with a $100 Target gift card. I hadn’t really thought they would do anything for me, and I was really touched and delighted.
- We had a good midwife appointment yesterday. Nutella does not have Group B Strep which means no antibiotics during birth- yay! Baby is still doing well with a beautiful heartbeat. Everything else looked good and we had our favorite midwife for the third appointment in a row.
- We have *almost* everything we need for this baby, but would be ready if he came now. The nursery is still full of stuff to be put away, but it’s getting there. I really want to share pictures of the room with you, but not while every surface is covered with piles.
- Finally, like one of the moms over at Reproducing Genius spoke about recently, I feel like I’m going through major emotional “housecleaning.” At this point, little else seems to matter to me but my wife and our child. I know what kind of parent I will strive to be, based on my own experiences and what I’ve seen around me. I also have no tolerance for people who do not respect the choices we have made and will be making, since all of our choices are made with the physical and mental health of the baby and Nutella foremost in our minds. I’ve been feeling very withdrawn lately, to my surprise, and have been avidly nesting. I am also feeling very overprotective of my little family and our home, and I can only imagine this feeling increasing when the baby is born.
That said, here’s one of the pictures we took among the cherry blossoms this weekend…Happy April!
belly and blossoms
I’ve got Braxton-Hicks for real and Cupcake does NOT like them. As Strawberry & I sat watching tv last night, we stared as my whole belly got hard and Cupcake would dramatically move to one side or the other in response. It’s nice to know my body is doing what it’s supposed to, right on schedule. It’s not painful, but not too pleasant and highly distracting. I appreciate that it means we’re getting closer to the end.
Midwife appointment today was lovely. We had the young, perky midwife again and she graciously agreed to fill out the health profiles for the second-parent adoption for both Strawberry and myself. I was sure she’d fill mine out, but we weren’t so sure about Strawberry’s. I think we were lucky to have seen her today, because she seems very gay-friendly and had no problem helping us out in any way she could.
We asked her about taking evening primose supplements and she seemed pleased that we has asked because it was on her list of things to bring up today, at the 36 week appt. Basically, I am to take 1,000mg either orally or up the hoo-ha from now until birth. It helps soften the cervix and prepare the body for labor. We picked up a bottle of pills on the way home and I was a bit daunted by how large they are, but they’re very slippery and easy to swallow so no worries. I’ll probably stick with taking them orally until at least my due date.
Last thing on the agenda for today’s appointment was my Group B Strep test which involved a front-and-back swab culture. Fun times! This was my first “pants down” appt since my 10 week appt with the OB. Luckily, the midwives have expressed to us that they are not fond of doing cervical checks unless requested or during labor.
Up next: birth class, prenatal yoga, and our final shower and pregnancy photo shoot with a professional photographer friend this weekend.
Tuesday’s midwife appointment was totally uneventful, which is terrific. We met with a different midwife this time and she’s fantastic. Very warm and caring, but focused and quite knowledgeable. She answered all of our questions in detail and treated us like informed individuals. And she never batted an eye when I introduced Strawberry as my wife and included her fully in the appointment. Couldn’t ask for better, really. I think we are both hoping she’s in attendance for our birth.
Last night’s Bradley class was mercifully devoid of any big slip-ups. We did, however get very detailed information in the form of a video and workbook pages about the stages of labor. Now, being the motivated and educated people that we are, we have already done a fair amount of reading and research on our own into this subject. But this video was FAR more detailed and graphic than anything we’d read or seen before. It uses computer animation to show what’s happening internally and it’s very well done. And we saw a placenta being birthed. I admit that was a bit of a shock to me, it’s huge and bloody. I’d seen illustrations and photographs before, but it was still a surprise.
In addition to the info from the book and video, the instructor shared personal observations from her work as a doula and from her experiences as a mother of 2. And then we did more relaxation and guided meditation stuff. I found it to be quite an excellent class.
OK, one tiny funny anecdote. The Bradley class is held in the instructor’s home and her husband and sons are usually home during class. So far, they’ve left us and her alone while we are “in session” but last night her eldest (9 years old) interrupted meekly to ask if she would come upstairs and cuddle him when class was over. It was very sweet!
We had our first midwife appointment this morning. Unfortunately, since one of the two midwives was attending a birth in the hospital, things were backed up. We spent the first half hour filling out paperwork on and off. Then we waited for another 20 minutes. Then Nutella went to weigh herself and pee on a urinalysis stick. When she came back to the waiting area, she told me there was no protein in her pee but her glucose level was as high as it could go. We both thought this was strange since she passed the 28-week glucose test with flying colors (118 with a cutoff of 130) Then a student midwife (registered nurse in midwifery training) took us to a room and did a 20 minute interview about health history, etc. Then we waited some more until the midwife was finally able to see us.
This next portion of the appointment was thankfully quick. The midwife looked over all the historical notes and asked a few questions. Then she listened to the baby’s heartbeat (150bpm) and measured fundal height, declaring it “just perfect” which I take to mean 31cm at 31 weeks. She was a bit perturbed at the glucose in Nutella’s urine, asking what she had for breakfast. The answer to that is frosted mini-wheats and lactaid milk. The midwife thought that might have been enough for that much sugar to “spill.” And then we were pretty much done. Next appt at 33 weeks.
Before leaving, Nutella went to the bathroom and peed on another stick. This time, no glucose appeared in her urine. We told the midwife who said her body is handling sugar just the way it should then…quickly!
Finally, it surprises me when healthcare professionals are still shocked when they see lesbians. There’s always that intial second or two of the deer-in-headlights look, although they don’t seem to have any problems with it. In this day and age (and specifically in the area in which we live), I expect it to be a complete non-issue, don’t bat an eyelash sort of thing. Guess we’re just not there yet.
Third Bradley class tonight. Many thanks to the instructor for sending out articles on what it means to be a father.