Wednesday, November 11, 2009

40 Weeks

It's here: that big official estimated due date! Of course, it doesn't really mean anything except that I'm now halfway through the period during which my baby is considered "on time." Thanks to the two weeks of prodromal labor I am feeling like he'll never come. It's frustrating and tiring and I feel sore and I'm sick of all the false starts. If I add up all the hours of contractions I've had over the last two weeks I'm sure I've clocked a good 12-15 hours of early labor. Most days I have minimal appetite and it's difficult to maintain my attempts to stay well-hydrated, avoid sugar, eat lots of protein, and take all my vitamins/supplements every day.

Bear was born at 39w1d (have I mentioned that yet?!) and of course laborish things started with this kiddo at 38w2d, so I've been anticipating birth any day now for a while. That is mentally exhausting in and of the physical discomforts of loose hips and a big belly. I think I mentioned before that there have been several nights where I was so sure that I'd be wakened in the middle of the night with hard labor that when I woke in the morning and found myself still pregnant it was a bit befuddling.

About a week ago there was a rainstorm all night long...every time I woke to go to the bathroom or settle my toddler I heard the rain pattering on the roof and thought "that would be perfect for laboring...tonight would have been a good night to have a baby."
Last Saturday we woke up to a dusting of snow, and throughout the morning more gently wafted down, and I thought "this is so beautiful, this would be a good day to have a baby."
Yesterday was 11/10/09, and I thought (as I have been thinking for several weeks) "this is such a neat date, it would be a great day for a birthday."
But Eagle has not come on any of those perfect days. I don't know why, but apparently the time is not yet right. I am having contractions--even regular ones that come close together for several hours at a time--but they never progress. We know that the baby is floating pretty high, and until he comes down and his head engages then my cervix isn't likely to dilate because it has no pressure on all these contractions are essentially unable to progress into active labor because of his position.
Ironically, most labor encouragements focus on stimulating contractions--and I'm already getting plenty of those--so they are useless to me. Even a pitocin drip would probably do me no good, since it merely causes contractions, and I have plenty of those! If I were to go in for a traditional induction I would probably spend several hours hooked to an IV with hard contractions but little or no dilation, then they'd conclude that my labor was not progressing so they'd break my water, (which brings the risk of prolapsed cord since the baby's head isn't covering the cervix, and that's an automatic c-section...) If the cord didn't prolapse then the birth would probably follow shortly BUT then one still has to ask the question--if this baby is not engaging on his own, why not?! And is it really a healthy idea to force him out if he's not ready yet?
So instead I am spending time doing hip tuck/belly lifts, hip spirals on the birth ball, and some lunges. All those positions are supposed to encourage the baby to drop into position, and once he does that I suspect that labor will come on and move quickly. For now it's just a matter of waiting for baby to come down (because I can only encourage and facilitate, not force him down!) so I keep talking to him about it and sooner or later he'll decide he's ready.

Until then, I have only one pair of pants left that fits, I have managed to accumulate more stretch marks (in spite of being well-striped already from last time), and I am feeling very very large. I keep crashing into things with my belly because I'm just not used to sticking out so far (need a cup from the cupboard? I'll need to grab a step stool cuz my belly holds me out so far from the counter that I can't reach the shelf any other way!) I'm tired, I'm sore, I'm cranky, and it's entirely possible that I'm losing my mental acuity at least a little bit (remember how I keep waking up confused at still being pregnant? Yeah, that...)

Here are a couple of pictures taken today (please forgive them being slightly's hard to take pictures of myself in the mirror one-handed, but I consistently forget to remember to ask Hubby to take the pictures on the right day, so this is what ya get!):

(No, I did not wear my shirt tucked into my pants all day--I may be losing my mind but I'm not THAT geeky! It was just easier to get an accurate profile that way.)

And the belly in all it's big stripey roundness:
(The other night Hubby put his hand on it as I was having a contraction and commented at how hard it was "it's like a basketball" he said "I could palm it!" Yeah, but betcha he couldn't throw it through a hoop!)


Christa said...

wow look at that momma belly! I've gained a few extra stretch marks this week... I'm thinking that my belly will look like yours once I'm 40 weeks.
I know I still have 7 weeks until my "due date" but my body is convinced I'm a week over due! But I don't feel as huge as I did with my twins, yet, I know that day is coming quickly though! My jeans don't fit at all, even my athletic style pants have seen their last wear!

Stacy said...

I always thought your baby would be born on November 13th, like Max, but didn't submit an official date because you were so sure you were going to have him early. So here's my official guess- Friday, November 13th! (Hang in there- he'll be here soon!)

Mallory said... are looking incredibly good, even if you are totally done carrying this baby! You really have a perfect pregnant belly! Hang in there. That little guy will come eventually!

Carrie said...

I am with Stacy, but I am going to be a little more broad. I really think that he is going to come this weekend. Hey, I am never very good at these games though.

On a weird note, I am actually really glad that you made it to 40 weeks. As perverse as it sounds I really hate it when people get to deliver before 40 weeks because I went over two weeks with my last one and towards the end it was torture. It sounds like you can relate so my empathy has kicked in once again and I am sending labor vibes your way!

Sheesh, what if I was the one keeping you from giving birth this whole time? Whoa, the power!

Christa said...

I came back to read this today, on my due date. It's so funny because I can relate so well now. Prodromal labor will make anyone think their baby has decided to stay inside forever. I have been contracting for weeks, she dropped 3 weeks ago, and I've been 4cm for over a week now. I'm hoping that she will make her appearance today, but I am to the point that I'm exhausted from getting my hopes up. I don't even get excited about contractions anymore, but I'm going walking in a bit, and I think I'm going to try some of the exercises you mentioned.

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