Oh, ladies.... today has been a crap day. Can I just say that? I am usually a pretty darn sunny and optimistic person, but this week is really taking its toll on me, and today just seemed like the culmination of the crazy.
To set the stage, last night was a bad night. My contractions have been quite intense and strong for much of the last week, often strong enough to make me hopeful that labor was at least around the corner if not actually started. When they reach a certain point of strength they seem to pulverize all my poor internal organs too, which results in all kinds of fun. Hence, last night I ended up totaling about 3 hours of real sleep because most of the night was spent dealing with a very unhappy stomach and, ahem, some violent clearing-out of my system. After that was done, I kept trying to go back to bed but every time I'd be almost asleep, a whopper contraction would come and squeeze my bladder and my spirited daughter would do her circus dance for a few minutes and then I'd need to get up to pee. (Which was really ridiculous, by the way, because surely after a certain point there is NO LIQUID LEFT IN YOUR BODY, right? Right???) Things finally calmed down and I was able to snatch my 3 hours of sleep before it was time to get up and get ready for my regular Tuesday round of appointments (weekly checkup with my primary OB and an NST with the high risk OB team).
I am 39 + 3 today, which is shocking because we all spent so long expecting this baby to be a preemie and hoping we could at least get to 34-36 weeks, and so I knew that this would be the appointment where we started laying tentative plans for a "just in case" induction in the future. Now, in all honesty, my appointment went GREAT. My OB was AWESOME, kind, understanding, and very willing to listen to my concerns and work with me. Considering that women with my disease (cystic fibrosis) are routinely induced at 37-39 weeks and that was what they initially wanted to do with me (until it became obvious that I was handling the pregnancy much better than anyone expected), I am so impressed by how well my wonderful doctor handled today's appointment. He initially got his dates a little mixed up and was saying first he wanted to put a tentative induction date for next Wednesday (40+4). I said I wasn't really comfortable with that, because statistically as a FTM I have a high chance of going into labor in that week, right? Then he realized that he was thinking I was further along than I was, and suggested an alternative induction day of the 26th, two weeks from today (41 + 3). I was much more comfortable with that day, and he agreed to pencil them both into his calendar, let me think about it, pray about it, and talk to my husband about it, and if things are still looking good with me and baby he's fine doing the later induction. He also said that (again, as long as things are going okay) he's perfectly fine taking things with induction slowly, in the hopes that I won't need too much of a push because my body obviously has this dang contracting thing down. (On average I contract every 3 minutes, 90 second to 2 minute contractions, all day and all night. If they space out to 5 minutes or more I honestly start thinking "where did my contractions go?" because it feels so slow! LOL.) He also said that he's still really hopeful & optimistic that I could go into labor on my own this week, and that he's very much hoping we don't even have to keep our next appointment because we'll be seeing each other on the L&D ward before then.
Oh, and my cervix was the same as it's been for the last 3 weeks (about 1cm and 70% effaced), which I honestly suspected based on my own fumbling self-exams. But after how intense my contractions have been this week, and especially how intense they were last night, I won't lie... there was a genuine part of me that was just hoping I'd go in and the doctor would say "Turns out you ARE in active labor, go have a baby!" Of course... that didn't happen!
So... things with the appointment went great. Really, exactly as I might have hoped. But still, bleh, I have been a hormonal, teary, emotional wreck today. I have felt lousy this week on so many levels and can just feel my body wearing down more and more each day. I am also beginning to genuinely wonder if maybe my body and my baby, because of our combination of circumstances with this pregnancy, WILL need a little push to get real labor going. My baby seems to pop in and out of engagement all the time. She has been stubbornly either posterior or occiput transverse (head facing the side) this whole pregnancy, despite me doing all the "right" stuff - all those spinning babies techniques, homeopathy, chiropractic adjustments regularly, walking, praying my guts out for her to just turn her head already, talking to her, doing Hypnobabies stuff... etc. etc. etc. Lately whenever I lay down I feel these sensations of her bumping up and down against my pelvic bone, like she's trying and failing to become more engaged, and I am beginning to suspect that it is a sign that she is not fitting into my pelvis at the moment - I don't think it's because she's big (which she is), I think it's because she won't turn and therefore can't get in there. Plus, I am carrying lots of extra fluid which gives her more room to wiggle even though she's so big. I think between the extra fluid and the head position, she is just not able to engage/engage consistently. Again, I've been doing every trick I've ever found to get her low and keep her there... I can tell it will work for a day or so, but then she'll be back up and floating again. This is part of what makes me wonder if maybe we really are going to need a little help to get the ball really rolling. Ultimately, I also suspect that this positioning thing is probably what kept us from having a preemie on our hands (since I've been contracting so strongly for so long now), and so in the end I feel like if that is how God designed this pregnancy to work to keep my baby healthy inside me for a longer time... that's that, even if it does mean that I have to change my ideal plans. But I still feel so frustrated at the idea of even thinking about something other than my perfect, idyllic, intervention-free childbirth experience. ;) Because we all know that life goes according to our idyllic plans, right???
So anyway - I feel like I am not only exhausted and overwhelmed physically and emotionally by this point in pregnancy and all my body's crazy tricks (contractions & resulting sickness), but I am also at war with myself over these induction dates. Part of me thinks I shouldn't even consider taking the earlier one unless an urgent problem arises (possible but unlikely, based on how well things have gone). The other part of me thinks that I have already gone farther with this pregnancy and done better than anyone (myself included) ever anticipated - truly a medical miracle - and that my body is really, really wearing down, and that maybe the best thing all around would be to take the earlier date. (All of this IF I don't go into labor this week on my own, which is still my fervent hope.) The good thing is, I don't have to decide this now - I really don't have to decide any of this til after next Tuesday. So I don't plan to make a decision yet. I will definitely be spending this week doing a lot of soul searching, practicing my hypnobabies, talking with my husband, and praying for some peace and direction.
But my question is - given the whole thing with the engagement issue/funny head position/extra fluid etc., what would you do? Would you keep trying to hold out til the bitter end or consider an induction as a potential way to help give my body the extra boost it needs to have the power to turn her (since my own contractions, strong as they are, don't seem to be managing it on their own) or at least help get my body dilated a bit more, since she's not putting enough pressure on my cervix? I have been SO anti-induction this whole pregnancy, not even really willing to consider it, but the more I have thought about it this week the more I wonder if my intuition about the fact that it feels like she is continuously trying and failing to engage is right. Anyone have any experiences like this?
Wow, sorry this is SO DANG LONG. ;) My commendations to anyone who has made it this far! I guess I'm just feeling a little in need of some good vibes sent my way this evening... preferably, good "baby will get her head on straight and labor will commence immediately" vibes! ;)