Two week wait.

There’s something I forgot to mention in my post about birth intentions.  It’s less of an intention and more of a decision, anyways: I won’t be induced.

As you know by now, my induction with Bingo at 41 weeks and some days was less than ideal.  It limited my options, restricted my movement, included a series of interventions and complications, involved almost two full days of ouch, and still resulted in a c-section.

I hope that Powerball comes out of my vagina, if only because I’d rather not be recovering from surgery parenting both a toddler and a newborn.  My efforts to make that happen include crossing my fingers and toes, eating all of the pineapple from the fruit tray at a staff meeting, and even making another acupuncture appointment (it turns out I still have some insurance money to spare…)  But if s/he doesn’t take the hint and vacate my uterus soon, my efforts will not include Cervidil or an IV of Pitocin.

Instead, if Powerball doesn’t want to be born, we’ll skip the middle step and jump right to a planned c-section.  So planned, in fact, that we scheduled it at our last visit with the OB: October 13th, at 4:00pm.

Sea isn’t keen on the date.  It’s an older cousin’s birthday, for one.  And it will mean that some of Powerball’s birthdays fall on Friday the 13th.  But it’s the time that fit best into the OB’s schedule.  That’s how it goes, I’m realizing: some birthdays are about the end of a 40 week count, a hormonal shift, luck, fate, a full moon, whatever, and other birthdays are about what fit most neatly into a stranger’s calendar.

It occurred to me this morning, as I switched my own calendar from September to October (just in case I don’t make it back into the office next week), that Powerball’s scheduled due date means I am– without a doubt– in my last two weeks of this pregnancy.  Very likely my last two weeks of pregnancy ever.

It’s a strange kind of two week wait, with plenty in common with the one from 38 weeks ago.  There’s anticipation, anxiety, a desire to know exactly how things will play out.  There’s the over-analyzing of ever twinge and cramp, and the compulsive toilet paper checking.  There’s also an urgency that’s all its own.  I clean my desk, procrastinate on packing the hospital bag, try to make sure the cat food bowl is full, make plans that I may or may not keep, click “interested” but not “attending” on every Facebook event, count the days until my favourite midwife (Diet Coke) is back on call, insist that friends and family keep their phones on, and wait.  Just wait.

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Bingo- a birth story.

Somehow, Bingo is six months old. I want to write a post about her transformation from squishy newborn to funny, active little person, but right now I’m painfully aware of both my overall failure to blog and my specific failure to blog about Bingo’s birth. I’ll begin with the latter in an attempt to remedy the former. Still following? Good!

Bingo’s birth story was mostly written at the time of the event, time- stamped updates typed into my phone by me and then, later, by Sea.  If you don’t want to read it, here is the summary:

After the contractions brought about by induction #1– cervical gel- tapered off, induction #2- pitocin- went ahead as scheduled, beginning on November 21st. Labor was long, painful, and scary at times. It culminated in two hours of pushing, followed by a caesarean after I spiked a fever and labor stalled. Of course, what it really culminated in was the birth of the fabulous Bingo. This end product- and the care/love of Sea, our friends, and our fabulous midwives- make this a happy story, even though, at the time, a lot of it felt like anything but.

And here is the long version, written on November 21st and 22nd, 2013.

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Induction, Part 2 (or not).

Once again, as captured at the time.

7:59pm: We arrive back at the hospital, which is much less crowded than earlier.  The receptionist working the evening shift directs all of her questions towards Sea.  When she asks for insurance information and I hand her mine, she says “Oh, it’s you?”

8:57pm: I’m hooked up to the monitor again. I’m still cramping, muscles gripping in a way that reads (slightly) on the printed traces. The nurses are talking about food poisoning and heart attacks.

9:13pm: The nurse comes and reads the monitor’s printouts.  She tells us that the regular cramps are, in fact, contractions.  She’s pleased with this, but less pleased with the fact that Bingo seems to be sleeping.  She leaves and comes back with a styrofoam cup of too-sweet orange juice, which I drink/spill inelegantly down my front.

9:38pm: The doctor, the same doctor as before, comes to check my progress.  He looks at the recorded contractions, before doing a very uncomfortable, thorough internal exam.  I’m now apparently a fingertip dialated.  Contractions + dialation = enough progress to result in the cancellation of gel, round 2.  He summarizes: “Things are progressing… slowly.”  Sea and I are told to go home and come back either when labor picks up or at 10:30am, whichever comes first.

9:45pm: Sea and I are worried about the cancelling of gel, round 2.  On our way out we ask the doctor if he thinks labor will stop or progress overnight.  He tells us that he’s “impressed” with my progress, that earlier he had been sure more than one round of gel would be necessary, that labor could stop but that it’s more likely that it won’t.  Way to impress the doctor, Bingo!

So now we hurry up and wait, once again.  Our support people are on standby, and we’re home to try to sleep.  Contractions are coming frequently but not intensely.  We’ll see how much of the next 24 hours I can blog, but I expect they’re going to be big ones!

Induction, Part 1.

Yup, still no baby.  We’re briefly home between rounds 1 and 2 of gel. 

Round 1, as written from the hospital:

2:29pm: As Diet Coke pointed out at yesterday’s appointment, inductions are a lot of “hurry up and wait”. Though Sea and I were shuffled through the waiting room pretty quickly, past the crowd of bored looking pregnant women, I’ve been lying hooked up to fetal monitors for a pre-induction check for over an hour now. The paper tracking heart rate now stretches across the floor. I’m pretty sure the nurses have forgotten about us.
 
3:00pm: There’s no privacy here.  We’ve been listening to a schizophrenic woman behind the next curtain explain how her baby has probably died and her uterus is filled with worms since we arrived.  A medical resident has been left to convince her otherwise, but isn’t succeeding. The doctor finally appears. He’s friendly, but rushed in the way that medical professionals tend to be.  He checks my cervix and mutters, “I think she’s going to need more than one dose”.  He tells me to come back at 7:00am the next morning.
 
3:16pm: hooked up to the monitors again, this time for at least an hour. The gel burns and I’m feeling slightly crampy, but that might just be because four people have had their fingers in my cervix in the past week.

4:15pm: Sea and I are now the only people left in triage.  A nurse, who has been asking every single person who comes in whether they’ve had lunch comes to release me from the monitors.  She tells me to return at 8:00pm, which contradicts what the doctor had said earlier but confirms what Diet Coke had said yesterday.  The next 15 minutes are spent with the nurse trying to track down the doctor to determine who said what.  She finally reaches him, “The patient thinks she doesn’t have to come back.”  He sticks his head into the room and laughs at me, telling me that my cervix is still closed and that I’m just trying to avoid him.  8:00pm for round 2 it is.

4:25pm: Sea and I walk back from the hospital.  She asks how I’m feeling.  “Fine.”, I reply.  She presses for more details, so I explain that it feels like somebody just shoved a jalepeno pepper in my vagina.  She doesn’t request more information.

It’s 2.5 hours later now, and I feel slightly crampy but fine.  Sea is packing up our bag of distractions again, preparing for a romantic evening in triage.  “Alright, let’s go have a baby.”, she says. 

Alright, let’s.

Eviction notice.

While we were eating breakfast this morning, I turned to Sea and said: “I think Bingo has inherited my time management skills”.  You see, I’m perpetually late.  Ten minutes before I need to be somewhere twenty minutes away, I’ll be running around trying to find my keys and my right shoe.  I imagine that’s what Bingo is doing now: turning circles in my uterus, looking anxiously at a small watch, saying “I just need to…”

You see, Bingo is now eight days past due.  In addition to this, Bingo hasn’t yet dropped fully into my pelvis.  In addition to this, a biophysical profile done on Monday shows an… *ahem* hefty fetus, at an estimated 9 pounds.  Based on these facts, induction has been scheduled to begin tomorrow.  Sea updated her personal blog with the details of today’s midwife appointment, which I’m copying and pasting here in lieu of my own play by play.

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Full moon.

There’s a full moon tonight.  When we spoke by phone, my father reminded me of this fact and told me that old wives’ tales said that more babies were born at a full moon than other times of the month– a result of gravitational pull.  He told me that Bingo should be born tonight or tomorrow to support the empirical evidence*.

For a short while, I had hope.  Whether it was the moon, the Red Devil cheese, or the stretch and sweep, I felt intermitently crampy and just slightly… different.  But now I’m back to feeling pretty much the same as usual, convinced that Bingo plans to celebrate his/her 18th birthday still firmly located in my uterus.

Despite my pessimism, Sea convinced me to go for a walk.  Though we couldn’t see the moon, there was a slight glow from behind the clouds.  As we walked down the street, Sea insisted that I walk with my knees lifted high (a labor induction strategy learned in our still unblogged about prenatal course)– my body’s gravity working with the moon.  We continued this slow, strange march as we walked down the main street, past the much brighter light of car dealerships and half-filled bars, all the way home.

ImageRidiculous?  Absolutely.  But still, it’s early in the night, the moon is still out, maybe there’s still time for Bingo to feel its pull.

*Sadly empirical evidence doesn’t actually support increased labor rates at the full moon.  Boo!

Red Devil.

Today’s adventures in natural induction were two-fold.

1) The second stretch and sweep.  Performed in the darkened midwives’ clinic, which is apparently not open on weekends.  It would appear that Herbal Tea was so enthusiastic about either getting the show on the road or doing another stretch and sweep, that she brought me and the student midwife into the closed clinic soley for this purpose.  “Oh, you’re here alone!”, she greeted me as I walked into the unlocked building.  The actual stretch and sweep wasn’t as bad as the first one, so maybe that’s a good sign?

2) I came home to find Sea serving large bowls of curry and cutting up a type of cheese called Red Devil.  Wrapped in red wax, the cheese itself was an alarming bright orange and filled with onions and peppers.  Always a fan of spicy food, Sea’s favorite method of encouraging Bingo to arrive seems to be to make my insides uncomfortably warm.  We ate half of the round of cheese between us– Sea looking thorougly pleased with her lunch, me gulping water between bites.  The other half of the cheese is sitting in the fridge for a second try tomorrow.  Let’s hope that we don’t need it.

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(If Bingo does arrive, I’m crediting the cheese.  If Bingo doesn’t arrive, induction is scheduled for Wednesday or Thursday, depending on which process they decide to go with.  Come on, cheese!)