Monday, April 13, 2009

39 Week Doctor Appointment (and don't forget to cast your vote!)

This morning, I have my 12th OB appointment. Tomorrow, Tuesday, I am officially 1 week from my due date, so I am 38 weeks, 6 days pregnant today.

Mike just posted yesterday about milestones during these past 9 months, moments where the reality of what exactly we're doing here, starts to set in. And today is another one to add to the list!

When Mike and I are in the car on the way to the doctor's, I ask him, "Do you think I'm dilated at all yet?"

"I don't know," he says. "Maybe. Do you?"

"No," I say. "Not yet."

I say this because this is my conservative guess. But inside, I am thinking, "Maybe I am!" But I don't want to say this out loud. So I don't.

The doctor seems refreshed from his vacation and I ask if any of his patients went into labor last week while he was gone. "No," he says. "But I have four who have waited for me and should go this week!"

And while I am not one of the slotted women he's speaking of at this point...

Today, he tells me that he can feel the baby's head again, very low, even lower than before ("You can actually feel the head?" I ask. "Yup."), and again stresses that he is quite surprised I am not complaining about how I feel. I throw him a bone, "Well, I do feel him wiggling a lot down there. And when I pee, I feel a lot of pressure, like the baby is dropping lower and that can be really uncomfortable." He's not too impressed by this 'complaint.' "Yes, but most women would be complaining constantly." So either, I have become accustomed to feeling how I do, or I am lucky.

He also informs me that I am about 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced, and based on this, the descended head, and a few other pregnancy details, he says, "We'll schedule you for another appointment a week from today--but I don't think you'll need it."


Meaning...I'll have the baby BEFORE Monday? But Monday isn't even my due date yet! My due date is...well, Tuesday...

"Really?" I ask him smiling with giddiness.

"I think so. Your uterus is only measuring 37 cm, but it seems to be about a cm behind each week, and it's still growing, so I'm not too concerned about that. I think you have a good chance of having the baby in less than a week."

He also stresses, "When your contractions get to be about 5 minutes apart, definitely call me, and get to the hospital. Don't try to be a hero and stay at home longer, because I have a feeling once you get to 3 cm or so, your labor is going to progress very quickly."

"Really?" I say again--again, all smiles.

"Yup. And you don't need to give Mike a heart attack in the car, trying to race to the hospital. I really think you'll have a short labor. I couldn't have colored a better pregnancy."

So...when Mike and I leave the appointment, we both are in a mild state of...childlike excitement. This is real. This is happening. And this is happening soon. I will be happy if we have the weekend together, pre-baby, as Mike has Friday-Sunday off, and we have no plans for the first time in months. But if the baby decides to enter the world during the weekend...well, that will be the biggest event we have had ever on a weekend! And we won't even have to cancel plans--

Since the appointment, the baby has been moving and jumping and popping, kicking, gallumping, shaking, in all areas of my belly. I look down and it almost never stops moving (except for my frequent braxton hicks contractions, when the uterus gets rock hard and the baby doesn't move much or at all). He was relatively calm at the appointment (heartbeat 120 or so, which is normal, as the heartbeat gets lower as the pregnancy goes on), but perhaps he got excited by someone touching his head, or he's just reminding me that he's here, energetic, alert. He's still been very active regardless, but today is even stronger and more constant.

So--those of you who have not yet voted on the due date, feel free to check out the poll on the right hand side. So far, only one person has posted an actual guess at a due date, so she is the forerunner for the possible prize! If you want to make it a healthy competition, leave your guess as a comment on this post.


Monsoon Mama said...

wow, this is SO exciting!! i have to admit, i cheated and voted after i read the post, so i probably voted for earlier than i would have had i voted before reading :) that 1 cm is 1 cm that you don't have to do later, so GOOD for you! that's great that you are already effaced and that the baby's head is so low (but yeah, i bet that's uncomfortable... like a bowling ball between your legs!) and how wonderful that your doc remarked on how healthy your pregnancy has been and continues to be! FWIW, at 39w3d, i was 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced, and anand was born 2 days later, so, yes, you never know!

the other thing i will say is that what's great about having a doula is that she can help you figure out in the moment how long you feel comfortable staying at home and at what point you want to make the trip to the hospital. no matter what, though, you know what's right for you, and your instinct will kick in about what you want to do.

we are thinking about you so much and sending all our happy, healthy, easy birth vibes!

Tara M said...

Thanks, Div! It's interesting to look back at this knowing that I did go into labor so soon after!