We had our second midwife appointment today. I've met two of the three midwives now. I requested a dilation check, more out of curiosity than anything else. For those of you who are first-timers please know that being at 0 dilation or 3cm is not indicative of when labor will start! You can be dilated and have to be induced or you can be at 0 and go into labor within hours.
So the verdict? 1cm and soft (which means not effacing just yet)!
Baby girl dropped on Tuesday, the day after I started drinking the raspberry leaf tea. I woke up and it felt like someone dropped a ton of bricks into my pelvis and my belly just looked different. I can feel her head working some magic on my cervix. If you've not had a baby yet, basically the baby's head is grinding and moving against the cervix which can help it to dilate and efface. It is not a pleasant feeling but one I welcome because I really want to go into labor on my own!
My Braxton Hicks contractions have become really intense since drinking the tea as well. I'm wondering if there is a correlation because I never really felt contractions in my previous pregnancies until I was in early labor. Since the tea does cause the uterus to contract "better" I'm thinking it might be the tea! Highly recommend it so far and it doesn't taste bad. I made a huge pot of it and put it in a pitcher in the fridge (note: sugar and this tea don't mix! Use honey... the sugar just settles at the bottom).
So between her dropping and these very intense and uncomfortable contractions I think the dilation probably began just this week. In previous pregnancies (always have to compare!) I was 2-3 cm with my other girls for weeks. I'm hoping things move along quickly and that I'm at 2-3 cm next week and that we do a membrane sweep.
Membrane sweep (aka stripping of the membranes) is when the midwife or doctor gently sweeps the bag of waters from the cervix with their finger. It causes a hormonal reaction that can jump start labor for some women. It doesn't always work and sometimes you have to do it multiple times. It worked in the past with me as I had both of my daughters the following day after having it done. If it's going to work it works within 2 days of the sweep. So we could have a baby next week! Eek!
Another interesting thing was that I was measuring 40cm (fundal/uterus height) at 38 weeks. The reason was because I was contracting while she measured. It's normal for it to be 1-2 cm bigger when you're having a contraction! I didn't know that. I like learning new things.
She told me to get Evening Primrose Oil. You're supposed to put it in your hoo-ha (lovely) and it supposedly helps with softening the cervix. The most important number during an internal is actually the effacement, not the dilation. Once you reach 100% you're pretty much going to be having the baby really soon. You usually don't stay at 100% effacement for much longer than a few days. So EPO will help with effacement. I'm probably going to wait until after my luncheon on Saturday to try that trick!
After my internal today I was incredibly crampy and sore. The drive home was tolerable but uncomfortable, which made me think, "Great, when I'm in labor this drive is going to be absolutely wonderful!" I also told Daniel I'm going to have to keep my eyes shut the entire drive there because the last couple births we had I'd yell at him, "SPEED UP!" and then seconds later, "SLOW DOWN! Do you want to kill us?!" The crampiness and soreness are gone now, after my nap.
Pre-Registration and Tour
Before my appointment we pre-registered. I really like how this hospital does their pre-registration and many hospitals should follow this example. Instead of giving consent forms and anesthesia forms while in the throes of labor they let you take the paperwork home to bring back when you are admitted (if you forget them then you have to complete them at the hospital while you are in labor).
They go over everything with you. They also give you the birth certificate form to fill out (minus baby's info, of course) so it's all ready to go. After the paperwork we went on the tour! The entire process was done by an actual nurse. The nurse talked to me about what physically happens when a baby has shoulder dystocia (shoulders stuck in pelvis, which can result in a broken collarbone like Abigail had). What she said mirrored what the midwife said. Once the baby's head is out I can't stop pushing! I have to get her out fast.
Otherwise a pause may cause baby's shoulders to get stuck and sometimes they purposefully have to break the collarbone to get baby out. Another result is that momma's tailbone can break from all the pressure. The different pushing positions we're going to try should also reduce the risk of another dystocia/broken clavicle. This makes me want to avoid an epidural as much as possible. Pushing in a supine position (on your back) like you see in the movies is actually the worst position to push in but if you have an epidural there isn't much you can do unless you've got feeling back in your legs. They can tilt the bed and lower the bottom half so that you're kind of in a squatting position on the bed but still laying down, if that makes sense. So if you get an epidural and want the help from gravity and from squatting, request they do that for you!
The unit is very, very nice. They are incredibly secure as well. The nursery is locked down on a locked down unit. Daddy gets a special ID bracelet to be allowed in the nursery. We don't have plans to use the nursery but it's nice to know that Daddy will get to accompany her in the event she needs to be monitored or something.
There are two rooms reserved for midwife patients that have the big whirlpool jacuzzis and let me tell you... I want that tub! The nurse, who gave us the tour, told Daniel to bring clothes that can get wet even if he doesn't get in with me.
The labor rooms themselves are very comfortable looking and are pretty standard. They don't look any different from the four L&D units/birthing centers I've seen at other hospitals.
So that's about it! Now we just wait on baby............................