I’m almost 38 weeks. Because no one knows why A died at 40weeks 4 days, my doctor won’t let us go past the 40-week mark with this pregnancy. I don’t disagree with this strategy. However, due to the details of my emergencyC-section with Dragon, I am not a candidate for an induction this pregnancy. This is disheartening because induction, though not ideal, has been a nice middle ground for us because we didn’t have to wait past the due date and I did’t have to deal with the risks and ordeal of major surgery.
Except now I do. Or at least, I might. If labor doesn’t start spontaneously before the due date, I’ll have a scheduled C-section. The doc will do it as early as 39-weeks but after E and I discussed it, we’d rather wait the extra 7 days and schedule it for 40-weeks. The doctor isn’t available on the exact due date so we’ve set it for 39 weeks 6 days.
I very much would prefer to deliver this baby vaginally. I’ve had both a vaginal delivery and a C-section (under general anesthesia) and can say that I prefer the vaginal experience and recovery. Plus, for four years I’ve been thinking about and planning for a natural childbirth. I’d like to know what it feels like. At this point, it would be very healing and redeeming. I think it would also help me to regain some trust in my body after being so brutally betrayed by it.
While I wish for spontaneous labor, I realize it is unlikely. With A, I was barely 1cm when we induced the night we found he was dead; I was at 40 ½ weeks. Last checkup, on Tuesday, I was 50% effaced, barely 1cm and -3 station, so nothing really happening. I am tempted to intervene with homeopathic labor inducers – evening prim rose oil, acupuncture, etc. but I worry about pushing my body, and baby, too hard before it’s ready. I’ve met those families who went in for a checkup at 38 weeks, had the membranes stripped, contracted all night at home, went in the next morning and the baby was dead because it was too stressful for the baby. I guess we’ll stick to sex and walking since those seem to be less aggressive.
I’m trying to keep my perspective that although we’re anxious to get this kid out, I don’t want to gamble the baby’s well being just to ease my worrying.
As you likely know, a significant number of intrauterine deaths happen overnight. There are several different theories – low maternal blood pressure, melatonin levels, etc. – and I have always suspected that A died overnight based on his normal active periods. This, of course, makes nights nerve wracking. Several weeks ago, E suggested I drink a large glass of water before turning off the light at bedtime and then, when up to pee during the night, drink more fluids to ensure that I was up at 2-3 times each night. This would buoy my blood pressure and give me a chance to pay attention to baby’s activity during the night.
That strategy has hardened to setting an alarm to wake every 2 ½ hours over night and do kick counts – sometimes we check in with the Doppler too. It is rather miserable to be forcing my waning will power to wake when I’m so flippin’ exhausted, but if a few weeks of sleep deprivation means getting baby here safely, then it’s worth it. I say that, but I also recognize how quickly things can change and that this baby could very well die during one of the 2 ½ hour periods between kick counts. Are we really protecting our child? The only certainty is that it alleviates some of the helplessness we feel as parents.
In addition to the vigilance at home (I’m doing 5-6 rounds of kick counts each day, including the overnighters) I am also going for regular OB visits once a week and biophysical profiles twice a week which is 3 appointments each week. I spread them out so that a professional is checking in on the baby every couple days. Again, the peace-of-mind is short-lived because the minute the ultrasound wand comes off my belly, I know that kid could go into distress and I may, or may not know it and it could all be over. There is just no reassurance for a babylost mom.
And so, this baby will be born one way or the other – vaginally or C-section, dead or alive – in the next couple weeks. I will be sure to post something once baby arrives.