Sitting in limbo

Week 41: 10/15/2007


This may be short*, because if I've ever had an excuse not to write a long blog, it would be this week's. I've been on a physical and emotional rollercoaster for the past few days; luckily right now I'm at one of the peaks, but who knows when I'll dip again into the valley.

Here are the facts, as they stand on Sunday night:

  • This coming Thursday, the 18th, will be my 42 week mark. At 42 weeks, the hospital will insist on inducing me. Pitocin freaks me out. So I've wanted to avoid this deadline at all odds.
  • The ultrasound on Tuesday showed low amniotic fluid, which made my midwives nervous.
  • I went back on Wednesday for a non-stress test, which showed the baby's heartrate doing what they wanted it to do.
  • I had induction acupuncture on Wednesday and Friday, which was somewhat painful, but in a good way--and on Wednesday and Thursday, made me feel like it might actually work, because I felt the baby moving a lot, and had a bunch of Braxton-Hicks contractions. But no.
  • On Friday, I had yet another NST (still fine), a BPP (biophysical profile, or as far as I'm concerned, an ultrasound), and an exam. The BPP showed that my amniotic fluid level rose, and there were cheers from all corners at the office. My new favorite midwife stripped my membranes--basically dislodged the amniotic sac from my cervix, in the hopes that the manipulation of the cervix and the rush of hormones would bring on contractions. She warned that it could give me cramps, and it did. But no contractions.
  • On Thursday, I also tried acupressure on the points my acupuncturist had showed me; homeopathic black and blue cohosh; and taking 2 minute brutally cold showers, four times over two hours. Nothing.
  • I go back tomorrow for another BPP.

On Saturday, I decided to take the day off, and just tried to enjoy myself. As my acupuncturist said on Friday, "If this last treatment doesn't work, I think there's no point in continuing to hammer at this. I think it means you should ease off, because it's just not time yet." And my doula said the same thing. And the midwives were happy because my amniotic fluid was up, meaning they didn't have to make me do anything in advance of the magical 42 week deadline. And in the back of my mind, I thought, "Maybe I just need to relax, and then I'll go into labor." But... no.

The ups and downs of this last week have been intense. When I can get in a positive frame of mind, it's easy for me to repeat back the calm and reassuring words of the midwife I spoke to today: "This baby will come. There's nothing wrong." But at three in the morning--when I've been waking up and unable to sleep--I have a determined sort of panic. I start feeling that this is somehow a sign; there is something wrong--with me, or with the baby. I think, "I'm going to lose it if I don't deliver this baby today." I start reviewing a list of possible induction techniques in my mind. Castor oil? Pitocin? Or maybe I can just skip straight to a C-section right now?

More than anything, in those moments, I want to believe that I can figure this out. That if I just put my mind to it, I'll understand the secret to making labor start. But then I agonize over doing anything hardcore to jumpstart labor, because I also, deep down, think that the baby will come when the baby is ready; I don't really want to shake him or her awake and force my little one out into the world. I want the baby to at least first stir under the covers, give a yawn and stretch his or her arms over her head. Especially when I have the feeling that when I look back at this time, I'll marvel at how short it actually was--a couple of weeks, now down to mere days. Is my impatience really that bad that I'm willing to snatch those days away from the baby, not knowing why they're important?

I keep thinking about how I used to play Hide and Seek with my big sister. I'd be crouched in the dark closet, my heart beating overtime, and hear her approach, looking for me. The anticipation--the fear of that moment, of being found--was overwhelming. I'd jump to my feet and fling open the door. "I'm here! I'm here!" I'd whimper, not caring at all that I'd lost the game, only relieved that it was over.

So in the end, no. My impatience isn't that bad. My seriously down mood from this morning has lifted, due in no small part to Aron and Sylvia being their loving and silly selves. Also hearing from the midwife on call that she has lots of patients who are right now past their due dates, and she thinks it's something "in the air." "Probably you'll all come in on the same night," she laughed.

No matter what, then, the next installment of this blog will be after the baby is born. I feel like it's a jinx to type those words, but honestly, it's true--one way or another. And all of this will already feel like a lifetime away.

* Okay, so it wasn't short.

Join writer Emily Bloch each week as she chronicles her pregnancy.