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!

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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!)

 

 

 

Stretch and sweep, detailed.

(TMI alert: this post contains much mention of vaginas, cervixes, blood, mucus and other such things.  It contains a probably unnecessary level of gory detail.  And I say this after over a year of blogging TTC/pregnancy.)

The student midwife called this evening to schedule another stretch and sweep for tomorrow.  Though I can think of about thirty-six things that I would rather do with a Saturday afternoon, the fact that Bingo is still located firmly in-utero has prompted me to agree.

So that I remember, and for anybody interested in knowing more about what this Medieval sounding  procedure actually involves, I’ll take this moment between “ow” and “ow” to recap.

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Bingo watch.

No, still no baby or imminent signs of baby.  We’ve definitely reached the stage, however, where everybody feels like 30+ minutes of non-communication means that Bingo must have been born.  Which means that I feel obligated to update everybody at regular intervals just to say “Nope, not yet!”

While we haven’t reached the point of desperation yet, we are trying to gently hand Bingo an eviction notice.  Strategies for natural induction that I’ve tried include:

-Eating half a pineapple.  Did nothing except make my mouth hurt due to a mild pineapple allergy.

-Eating a great deal of spicy food (thank you, Indian buffet).  Delicious but ineffective. 

-Walking, so much walking.  And biking, too!  Resulted in a sore ankle.

-The initial probe/exam by Herbal Tea.  This was not a full stretch and sweep due to Bingo’s mystery position, but Herbal Tea has suggested one for Thursday/Friday.

Anything that you/your friend/your friend’s neighbor has tried that they claim has worked?  I ask more out of interest than anything else, and can’t promise to take all suggestions.  While I’m willing to eat pineapple or go for a walk, I also assume that Bingo will show up someday and I’m only up for interventions that require minimal effort/ingestion of unpleasant things. 

 

A visit with Herbal Tea.

Well, today was exciting.

No, still no baby.  And no, I’m still not in labor.  But today I had reason to get dressed and leave my house: an appointment with Herbal Tea.  I had prepared myself for the usual 15 minute wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am appointment to which I’ve become accustomed.  I decided that I was going to go and see Herbal Tea, go grocery shopping afterwards, and be home in time to cook a delicious lunch.  Of course, by now I should have learned that as soon as I prepare myself for one thing something else happens. 

To begin with, Herbal Tea seemed to be in an exceptionally good mood.  She greeted me with a wide smile, and a reminder that today’s appointment was going to be featuring an internal exam.  While I was glad that one of us was enthusiastic about this, I could think of about thirty things that I would rather be doing than getting up close and personal with Herbal Tea. 

After reminding me about the internal exam, Herbal Tea left me in the warm hands of the student midwife.  She had been tasked with instructing me in natural methods of labor induction, which meant trying to look comfortable as she suggested methods such as “making love” with Sea.  I had read somewhere that sperm was a key ingredient in the effectiveness of this strategy (not heterosexism: biology/chemistry), which I asked her about.  She stumbled through a response about how sperm was helpful but not the only useful component before moving on– with evident relief– to other strategies. 

Herbal Tea reappeared just as we finished discussing spicy foods.  The student midwife, followed by Herbal Tea, felt my stomach and listened to Bingo’s heartbeat from various points and angles.  They looked at each other.  “What?”, I asked.  “The baby isn’t breech again, is it?”  They paused.  Herbal Tea smiled her widest, most reassuring smile.  “I’m not sure.  It’s hard to tell.  Your baby may still just have a bony bum.  Let’s see what we can feel from inside.” 

Having just been told that Bingo might be breech, again, I was left to strip from the waist down.  I lay on the exam table, oddly sandwiched between an absorbant medical pad and a purple cloth with a floral pattern that served as a drape.  As Herbal Tea approached, snapping a rubber glove over her hand, her only words were, “Oh, baby.”  (I believe she was talking to Bingo, but still.)

When I had been told that I would be having an internal exam, I imagined the variety that usually come with a pap test: a quick feel, nothing terrible.  Instead, Herbal Tea seemed to be attempting to get her entire arm into my uterus.  “Relax“, she told me, “I can tell that this is making you anxious”.  The exam was actually not making me anxious.  The thought that Bingo might be breech again, that we might be going headfirst (or, rather, butt-first) back into the world of inversions, inductions, c-sections, was making me nervous.  The exam wasn’t making me nervous, it just hurt.  The reason for this discomfort became clear as she removed her hand, saying in her permanently cheerful voice– the voice of a slightly overenthusiastic kindergarten teacher sharing a new book with the class– “I had a fingertip through your cervix!  Look, you can see the bloody show!”  I can’t actually convey how disturbing this moment was, but please trust that the image of Herbal Tea smilingly showing off the bloodied tips of her fingers may never escape me. 

I should consider myself lucky, however: I only escaped a full stretch and sweep (which I’ve heard is about as pleasant as it sounds) because even after the internal exam, Herbal Tea wasn’t sure if what she was feeling was a head or a bum.  She was nervous enough about this uncertainty that she– the least clinical of the midwives I’ve met– asked if I would be available for an ultrasound: immediately.  Which is how I found myself back at the ultrasound clinic, torn away from my initial plans of a leisurely lunch.  The ultrasound clinic at 11am on a Tuesday morning is a very different ultrasound clinic from the one I’m used to visiting after work hours.  While the afternoon ultrasound clinic is filled with nervous pregnant people and their partners, the 11am one seemed to be exclusively visited by older Greek couples.  Old men served as translators between their wives and the receptionists, pointing out where forms needed to be signed.  A woman complained loudly on her cellphone about how waiting for a mammogram was a waste of time.  And I sat uncomfortably among them, waiting to find out what our contortionist fetus/bumhead/Bingo was up to now. 

I won’t leave you in suspense: Bingo is, thankfully, head down.  It would appear that our fetus does, in fact, have a bony bum and is also determined to give both parents heart failure before being born.  As for when Bingo will be born: who knows?  Despite the excitement of today, Bingo is still firmly in-utero.  Though 11-12-13 would have been an awesome birthday, I’m fine with Bingo staying put for now.  If the kid can cause so much trouble now, just imagine what it will get up to with a little more time and space to roam.

Due.

Today is Bingo’s due date.  As you might have gathered based on the fact that I’m posting, Bingo was not born today and I am not in labor.  That’s okay: based on the fact that only 5% or so of babies are born on their due dates, and a very small percentage of first babies are born before their due dates, we weren’t really expecting Bingo to be born today. 

The rest of the world, however, seems to think that Bingo is now running late for an appointment.  Sea’s mother called her (at work!) this morning, her coworkers have been jumping every time she receives a text, and more than one person has texted me asking how today is going.  An old friend even texted with the message, “_____ tells me that today is your due date!  OMG I hope everything goes well!”

Sorry, everybody, that’s not how it works.  Like us, you’ll just have to wait.  Hopefully Bingo will be worth it?

(Also, let’s see if I can maintain this relaxed attitude if I’m still pregnant in a week!)

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