From BabyCenter:Your baby is still putting on the pounds — about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds and is a little less than 19 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the creamy substance that covered and protected her skin during its submersion in amniotic fluid. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, which will stay in her bowels until birth. This blackish mixture, called meconium, will become her first bowel movement.
At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Babies between 37 and 42 weeks are considered full-term; a baby born before 37 weeks is pre-term and after 42 is post-term.) Most likely she's in a head-down position by now, which is optimal for a smooth delivery, but if she isn't in the next week, your provider may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position manually, by manipulating her from the outside of your belly.
We're all regressing today. Everett had the most trying morning, crying at everything, talking back, refusing to answer to his punishments, needing attention every second. He was just in a terrible mood and it was near impossible to get anything done around him. My best guess is that he's feeling our stress level about the impending baby and is regressing into bad behavior thanks to the competition for attentions Truman will signify. And my labor appears to be regressing. Sure, I've had a few contractions, plenty of back pain, and some nausea. But all signs are decreased from yesterday - no 5-1-1 rule (as Destiny reminded me today, contractions every five minutes, lasting one minute, for one hour - or more).
Truman's just as busy as always, even bonking me through the beginning of some of my nastier contractions this evening. But there aren't enough of them to cause dilation of any magnitude. So I suffer through, exhausted but unable to sleep, in pain but not going anywhere, nesting but not finished with anything, working but not producing my top quality.
The worst part of this stage of pregnancy (which I experienced, similarly, during Everett's birth) is the waking up in the morning, knowing that nothing happened overnight to progress your labor, but nonetheless hurting from all the pressure built up in your overworked abdomen (my bladder and bowels are full and there's just not room for everything so it HURTS!). I don't want to get out of bed. Yet I must, because I feel about ready to explode. And I'm not, yet, in labor.
I've promised to be patient this time, not to go to the hospital unless I am - without a shadow of a doubt - IN LABOR. Destiny came over for a chat this morning and thanks to her questions and probing I realized something I hadn't really - that the separating of membranes and breaking of my water is an intervention, one that probably didn't help anything with Everett. It didn't seem to have an effect on my labor's progression. And yet it became necessary for me to give birth, by hook or crook (ack! punny).
We ended our discussion in a pretty good place with regards to Jonathan's support for whatever his crazy wife wants - which is, labor the way women have been laboring for thousands of years. That no-pain-medication, no-medicalization, natural-as-the-rain labor. My hubbie is behind me, if not completely understanding of my motives. And that's something to be happy for.
2005.04.19. two, two, two pains in one!
Am I having contractions tonight? I can hardly tell, because of all the damned gas pains. Yes, that's right, I SWORE. Oh, crikeys.
Truman is going strong, I am having some contractions, and for some reason I'm emitting the most frequent and pressure-full blasts of gas I've felt in a very long time. I have no idea if it's just a bad dietary decision (crispy chicken sandwich from Burgerville right before track practice? super-sausagey pasta sauce from chez Jonathan? who knows...) or an indication that there's just no room down there for anything, including food and its digestive gases.
*sigh* All I do know is that I can't have the baby tomorrow. Why not, you ask? Because I dropped by Mabel's tonight to check on the status of the Lorna's Laces order. Sure enough, it had arrived. I was so eager. But.........no Shepherd Sport blackberry. No anything in blackberry. I can't finish Truman's blankie without blackberry yarn. And I can't give birth until the blankie is done. I just can't.
Never fear, I won't have to wait until the next shipment arrives at Mabel's. I found an online source. My blackberry yarn should be shipped to me tomorrow. And guess what? Her store is right here in Oregon. I should receive it by Thursday if all goes well. Yay! And then, after an all-day Friday of knitting, I am free to give birth. So that's my plan. Whaddya think?
In the meantime, I'm making Truman a sweater out of my second-fave, the "tahoe" variegated yarn that borders his blankie. I'm planning on starting that tonight. Gas-contraction-kickboxing be damned.
I've finally attained focus. I'm getting work done, I'm getting nesting done, I'm keeping my spirits up. I have Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by my bed and our 'spare' (as in, partially demolished and waiting until its appointed time some years hence to be renovated) room converted into a yoga space. I have a dresser for Truman and his diapers are within reach. I've packed Everett's and my bags for the hospital and have only "nursing bras" still to purchase from my LIST. And if you're interested? Oh, I'm very, very regular.
2005.04.20. noon-ish update
Excitement! I'm 3 cm dilated. Dr. Kehoe doesn't think I'm going to give birth tomorrow exactly, but soon...
We've all agreed, however (we being Jonathan, Destiny and myself) that I can't go into labor until Friday evening. So that remains the birth plan.
In other news, Dr. Kehoe insists that I come to the hospital immediately upon reaching active labor, given the 1% or 3% (somewhere in there) chance that my c-section scar might separate. Scary! But, at least I don't have to wonder if it's time. I just have to go. And Dr. Kehoe seems to be in a good place with regards to letting my labor progress as gently as possible. I'm definitely warming up to her...
Could Dr. Kehoe be wrong?
So now I'm questioning everything. I've been having contractions for the past 2-3 hours, every two to nine minutes. They've been getting longer apart, not closer together, but they've continued to go at a regular pace. Except...if I get up and walk around they're not so painful.
The thing is, when I was walking around at the track meet today, I felt that birth was imminent. I had to slow WAY WAY down. It would take me 10, 15 minutes to walk the 500 meters or so around the outside of the track. And a few times I felt like Truman's head could be felt if I reached up, it hurt like crazy.
I feel absolutely full of energy, I'm nesting like crazy, knitting and sewing and blogging and emailing. When I have a really big contraction (like between the period and the "W" in this paragraph) I feel like I am wide, wide open. I think I'm ready to go. But...am I ready? Is it time? Jonathan's not sure. If they continue to stay this big for the next hour, I'm making my calls. I'll keep you posted, promise.
I've been using my track-coach watch (the one my hubby gave me for Christmas) to time splits on my contractions. Fun hmmm?
Oh, two things I failed to say earlier: (1) I gained three pounds in four days, to 170. That was my max weight with Everett. I can't gain any more than with Everett! It's not allowed. I need to go into labor tonight to STOP THE GAINING! (2) Dr. Kehoe says that Truman is about six pounds and a few ounces, and she gave me permission to have him anytime. Isn't that sweet?
Current distance between contractions as I upload this at 12:51 a.m.: seven minutes.
2005.04.20.later still. trying sleep before the ?storm?
The contractions, they slowed down. I'm trying to get to sleep now. But, I'm taking my baby sweater (my substitute knitting project since I haven't yet received confirmation that my blackberry yarn shipped) to bed with me. My hubby is all riled up and decided not to go to classes tomorrow. I'm all riled up and worried about the things that aren't done, like my crib bumper and the baby book (luckily the paper is all ready to go).
2005.04.21. seven minutes does not active labor make
My contractions are seven minutes apart, or more. They're most regular when I'm sitting cross-legged with my knitting. And I want to do nothing but knit. So, that's what's going on here. Knitting, timing, waiting...
I'm trying a walk to get things moving. We'll see if it works. S-E-X kept things regular all night (and limited my sleep to four hours of cat naps). I'm sure I'm extremely close (if not already at) 4 cm. But I need my 3-5 minute intervals before I'm ready to close up shop here at home and ship out...
2005.04.21.later. feeling close but no cigar
After a full day of mostly steady contractions (with a few breaks of as much as 30 minutes), I'm feeling close to active labor. But no cigar.
The sensation of these contractions seems different than some of the ones while I was in labor with Everett, and I thought I should describe it in detail so I can compare when I'm pregnant again.
For some reason, this pregnancy is very focused on my tailbone. We've seen it before with my coccyxdinia (I'm far too tired to look up the spelling even though it's in my own blog) around week 28. When I have a contraction, it starts with a sensation of pressure rising from my tailbone, radiating through my lower back, sending its fingers out around the front of my uterus, pressing up into my ribs, then settling back on the tailbone. As a particularly strong contraction finishes, my cervix gets warm and tingly, and I can feel it spreading open further. I can actually sense the dilation. I feel as if warm fluid is rushing out, but typically there's not much more than your average early labor bit of vaginal fluid.
These are the ones that feel as if they're really doing the work. The ones that don't last as long, that hurt but don't take my breath away, start as the top of my uterus rising high, as if it would squash my ribs. I don't have the after-effects of the cervical opening.
After a good one or bunch of contractions, when I stand up, I feel as if my entire amniotic sac might just gush out. But, so far, nothing of the sort. With Everett, my bag of waters never broke - I don't really expect to have it happen, as my mom told me that her water never broke on its own in five births. But I keep thinking it will
I still don't want to go into labor right now. I just don't want to ... not go into labor. The frustrating part of this whole early labor thing is that you put your eggs into a basket. You tell people you're almost in labor. You warn your boss that he may not hear from you for a week. You write some blog posts. You stay up almost all night expecting to have to hit the car at any moment. And then... it doesn't happen. You've cried wolf once. How many times will it happen? How many times will you feel close ... but no cigar?
In "birth plan" news, I thought my blackberry yarn hadn't yet shipped. I hadn't received a confirmation email from Angelicka. I wondered if she was out. I wondered if she was a flake. But no! The spam filter got the email! And it was shipped out yesterday, sure to arrive tomorrow by priority mail. So, mail gets here around 11:30 or so...I can get my knitting going and go into labor sometime around midnight. Sound like a plan? And Truman's sweater is 2/3 done. It's very cute. I can't wait to share pics. Hopefully with Truman in it. Yay!
This is one of those really big sighs. Here's the update: my contractions are fading into nothingness. Well, I've had a few gigantic ones, and it's not like they're going away altogether but...they're not even close to Active status.
Today I felt (from my neck down) exactly as I did two weeks ago, mobile and relatively energetic. Walking? Not scary, not even painful. Sitting? Only occasionally stimulated contractions.
How frustrated am I? I set myself up for labor, I was ready (from an email-and-blog standpoint, that is). Now I'm faced with the same situation as with Everett - interminable birth-less days ahead. I'm not so much ready to give birth as I am ready to stop crying wolf. And to be on the other side, with all the problems of infancy - but none of the problems of wondering when, when, when. You know?
A big one sets in (ooh, it's painful! wow) and I think, maybe... but I need to remember my patience. Remember that it will be in my, and the baby's, and my sanity's, best interest to just wait until my body's really ready. To not rush to the hospital only to sit on the fun monitors (I really like those monitors!) for hours on end, not dilating measurably. To end with Pitocin, again. Patience.
So I know there is lots I can do to stimulate contractions. Like, have sex. Walk a lot uphill or up and down stairs (although, historically, this one has had no effect). Etc. But I'm wondering if it's better just to let nature take its course without any hurrying-up measures. It will, eventually, happen.
In the meantime, I received my blackberry yarn today! Hurrah! Including a 'menu' of, largely, unattractive patterns and a super bonus - a full-color Lorna's Laces chart with all their colorways and samples of each sort of yarn Angelika's carries. Jonathan has already picked out the yarn for HIS sweater - since Truman's is turning out so absolutely adorable. It's 95% done, I just have to finish the hood and kitchener stitch it together. My next one will be better proportioned, but it's still so danged cute!
So tomorrow, between catching up on the work I haven't done for the past three days, I'll be knitting Truman's blankie. That is...if I don't go into labor. Pshaw! Right.
2005.04.23. progress...and not...and sleep-loading
Late last night, before bed, I thought I saw a bit of blood-tinged mucus on my toilet paper. This morning, when I got up for my first-thing-in-the-a.m. bathroom break, I was wiping, and wiping, and wiping, and it just kept coming. This=mucus plug. By afternoon, nothing. My mucus plug has officially been expelled.
While this could be a sign that labor is fast approaching, it could also be a sign that labor is approaching in the next two weeks. So...whatever. As of now (it's after midnight as I write this), I'm officially full term. 37 weeks. If I were to go to the hospital this minute, and I were measured at 4 cm or above, I'd certainly be giving birth in the ensuing 24 hours, by hook or by crook.
So let's talk about sleep-loading. Evidently, one thing my body requires before labor can commence: lots of sleep. Last night I got roughly nine hours of sleep. I awoke around 9:30, got up to sit with Everett and watch his morning TV shows. By 11 a.m., I was falling asleep on the couch. I didn't wake up until after 3 p.m. During all this time, I don't think I had a single contraction. But: boy am I stocked up on sleep.
We got the family moving for potluck tonight, and I started mixing my sugarless berry crisp and sent Jonathan to Trader Joe's. Only to realize immediately after he left that I had forgotten I was out of flour. I hoofed it the three blocks there, with absolutely no contraction stimulation. Damn, I thought. Total reversal of birth fortunes.
We mixed, and chopped, and baked, and headed out. On the way there, I was overtaken by the most awful burst of nausea. I walked into our potluck wanting nothing but water. And Hau made her delicious wings! It's just not fair.
I sat down in a bit of a daze. After 30 minutes or so, the contractions started again, hard and fast for 15 minutes, then slowing down. I finally ate a bit.
Around 10, I convinced Jonathan to go on a walk with me, and we walked about 2 miles, and I felt again the way I did on Wednesday night, where walking caused the terrific pressure and frequent contractions. Aha. I had it back.
Of course, nothing was going regularly much under 7-9 minute intervals. I feel terrifically open, though, and keep wondering....when I finally do get to my desired frequency, will I be dilated almost to 10? I've never heard of that being possible - that you would dilate slowly throughout "active" labor and transition - but it's worth dreaming. It sure would make doing the natural thing easier.
OK, I don't really think it's possible, but it sure would be cool.
I'm listening to a 'guided meditation' of delivery that Destiny loaned me. It's cool, I think I should write my own. My athletes (to whom I give guided meditations before competition some days) say I'm very good at it. And my meditation wouldn't mention 'animal helpers,' who are the last spirits I would call upon to assist me in my birth. I guess this woman is just trying to speak to all possible cultures and religions.
OK, so as I imagine my breath helping my contractions effacing, softening and releasing (with 'plenty of time during the intervals to rest and relax'), I will head back to sleep, to continue my binge...