Saturday, February 18, 2012

34 week update

Dear Elliot,
I'll be honest. As we get closer and closer to the end here, I'm having a pretty tough time. I was doing really well, feeling (mostly) positive. But my nerves have been getting the best of me the last few days or so. It's so hard knowing that at just under six pounds now(!), you'd probably be just fine if you were born today. Again, not like I actually want you to be born prematurely, but I keep thinking 'what if' you'd be safer on the outside.

I have gone back and forth about the whole planned induction thing. On the one hand, I just want you out and in my arms as soon as possible. Then there's the part of me that really, really wants to have a natural delivery. And I know that the odds of that being possible go down whenever you add Pitocin (the medication they use to cause your uterus to contract) to the mix.

I understand a lot of people don't understand the desire to go through labor and delivery without pain medication, and that's fine, but it's something that is very important to me. One of the main reasons is that I want my birthing experience with you to be vastly different than my birthing experience with Stevie. I had an epidural with her, and while I don't regret having one, I hated how it made me feel so helpless. I remember already feeling so broken, and then being confined to this hospital bed, with a cathader and all these IVs running through my arms, not even able to go to the bathroom by myself...I just felt even more broken down and useless. I just really want my experience with you to be empowering, healing, different.

So anyway, I'm scared of being induced before my body is ready, only to have a long, extra difficult labor, and maybe even end up being forced into a C-section in the end. I had a really good conversation with my doctor about this yesterday and here's what we decided:

She won't induce before 39 weeks. I'll be switching over to twice-daily Heparin when I finish the Lovenox at 36 weeks (Heparin, also a blood thinner, has a half-life of 12 hours vs. 24 hours, so if I were to go into labor on my own after 36 weeks, it would likely be out of my system by the time I delivered). I'll continue to have weekly doppler flow studies, and NSTs/BPPs. Then IF at 39 weeks my cervix is 'favorable' (ie: dialated to at least a 3), and I'm showing other signs of being 'close,' we will induce. My doctor thinks that if my body is almost ready on its own, an induction is much more likely to work, and I'll be much more likely to still have the birthing experience I am hoping for.

So I am hoping I can get this cervix of mine in a 'favorable' position in the next few weeks. By Friday, March 23rd, to be exact :) I feel good about this plan. Of course, I could always end up going into labor on my own before 39 weeks, but I kind of doubt that's going to happen. You have been measuring pretty far ahead of the curve all along though, so I guess you never know!

In other news, our last couple ultrasounds showed you already have a head full of hair! I had no idea they could even tell that from an ultrasound, but it was pretty cool to see. You must have gotten that hair from me, because I'm pretty sure your dad was bald at birth :)

Yesterday during the ultrasound, as the tech was doing measurements, she said, "so...does Andy have a pretty big head?" Well, it appears you may not have gotten Dad's hair, but you got his huge head (measuring around 38 weeks at 34 weeks--yikes!) Must mean you're going to be extra smart, right? Ha.

Well I guess that's it for now. My friend Mandy is taking maternity photos for us tomorrow morning so I need to get on Pinterest and start collecting ideas!

Keep growing baby boy. To say I'm excited to meet you would be the biggest understatement of all time!



Amy L. said...

I totally get the mixed feelings about induction and also the desire to have this time be so different. When I lost my twins at 14w2d, I had my labor induced, and chose to have a Dilaudid IV pump. I was in such shock and was adamant I didn't want to feel any pain since emotionally it all hurt so badly. In hindsight, I regret that decision. The drugs made me lose track of time and a bit of my clarity, so that when our babies came, it just happened, rather than me having anything to do with it. I never wanted to be a hero before or see what my body could do on its own and would have likely been required to have an epidural with the twins anyway, but now I think next time, at the very least, I want to labor drug-free as long as possible, and maybe even have a drug-free birth.

Hugs to you...have fun at your maternity shoot, and can't wait to see a few photos!

Shan said...

Having done a pain meds-free, Pitocin labor... I am *really* pulling for you not to be induced! However, March 23rd is my birthday, and I'm thinking, what could be better than delivering naturally on that day?! LOL :+)

Lindsay said...

Just remember that you CAN do this.... remember to really accept every affirmation that you listen to. Rather than just listening to them, really AFFIRM them to yourself in your mind. Listen to fear release! Keep practicing all of the stuff you've been practicing and just visualize things going as you would like them to go. If your cervix is not 3cm by 39 weeks will she let you wait to go on your own? Just curious. I have been to births where the mom switched to heparin and just stopped taking it when she went into her birthing time. Anyway, I need to get that "baby come out!" track to you sometimes when you hit 37 weeks if you want it!!!! And remember that those U/S can be off in weight and head, I don't know WHY they like to say things about size to moms.... he will be the perfect size!

B. Wilson said...

Your kid sounds like my kid. Benjamin has a head in the 90th percentile and at 34 weeks even, it was measuring over 38 weeks. I'm in my 36th week now... do the math! Eeeeek!

Should be interesting to deliver these (not so small) little boys! Mine however will likely have little hair as Andrew wasn't exactly a hairy beast. ;)

I understand those same emotions as I contemplated giving birth in the next few days (per my OB's allowance but decided he needed to be full term before I'd consider). Such hard calls as a BLM to make because we just want to know our decisions are the right ones and making sure these babies come out healthy and alive.

AnotherDreamer said...

I understand wanting a different experience. I would too.

I don't know if I shared my history with you, but I also have MTHFR and PAI-1. Mine caused 3 first trimester miscarriages, while my sister has APS and had a late term stillbirth. We were both very anxious for my labor to get on the way, we even hoped I'd go early because we were both scared after what we'd both experience because of clotting disorders. The blood thinners did their thing for me though, and my son is alive and well because of them. And my sister, she took Heparin with her next two pregnancies and she has two beautiful sons now. It's scary though, and the blood thinners are certainly no walk in the park.

I switched from Lovenox to Heparin at 36wks, and I went into labor on my own at 40w+3d. I was so anxious by then. I know the thought about him being safer on the outside than the inside crossed my mind a lot, I was so ready to get him out. I just wanted to say that while my experience and history is different, I can definitely relate to this post and you're not alone. I am so thrilled for how far along you are now. So very wonderful :) I am cheering for you and Elliot.

Mary said...

Talk to your MD about the possibility of using cervidil instead of Pitocin. It can also ripen the cervix and induce labor without being as hard as pitocin. Just a thought. :)

Kelly Jean said...

Hey boo! Lots of cute maternity shot ideas on my Pinterest - check them out! <3

Katy said...

I hope you are able to have the birth experience with Elliot that you desire. You certainly deserve it! You are constantly in my thoughts and I wish you all the best as your due date approaches.

Caroline said...

I really hope it all is on its own time. I had all mine natural no pain meds. When I had my Rainbow Carly they wanted to induce me & I said No this baby will come when she was ready. It all worked out. I'm praying for a great delivery & that precious baby boy in your arms. So excited for you.

Michaela said...

I had an unmedicated birth as well. It was amazing and I hated the feeling of the epidural with my first baby. Just trust that when the time is right, you'll make the best decision you can for both you and Elliot. He's a lucky little man.

Erin said...

I've never given birth- my miscarriages have all been very early along in the process, so I don't know much- but it sounds like the plan you have in place makes sense. Praying that ALL of the details work themselves out in the best way for you & your little guy, and that it won't stress you out. Can't wait to see "real" pictures of that head of hair!!

Elle's mommy said...

I will be praying and praying for health and safety for you and little Elliot. Thank you for always posting your true and honest feelings...they make me dream of the day our sweet baby number 2 comes. We hope you find sweet peace in these remaining weeks...


Ashley said...

I spent my entire pregnancy stating that I wanted a water birth and NO EPIDURAL. Well, after waiting five weeks at only 1 cm dilation, at 41 1/2 weeks decided to induce. I ended up with an epidural after 25 hours of labor. My birth plan was out the window. I almost lost the little guy from my stubbornness. The important thing to remember is to try your hardest and not be disappointed in yourself.

Mellysa said...

If your cervix is favorable when you're close to your due date, ask your doc about blue/black cohosh or castor oil. Natural induction methods are almos always going to be better for you than synthetic chemicals (pitocin is awful), and they're going to increase your odds of having the natural birth you desire! I took castor oil at 40 weeks + 1 day and had my daughter after 14 hours of labor. Good luck, mama!

Unknown said...

I was in your/Stevie's birth club & check in on you every once and a while. Just wanted to say best wishes on the birth! Excited to hear the news.
One tip (as if you're not getting enough). Labor in a front clasping bra instead of a sports bra. Once they plop that warm baby on your chest you're going to want to nurse in the most unencumbered way possible. I actually remember asking the nurse to cut off my sports bra with my first. LOL. Hugs.

Brooke said...

I completely relate to your mixed feelings. I really, really wanted a natural, med-free delivery when I was pregnant with Eliza and we took the classes, listened to the hypno-baby cds, etc. But then all hell broke loose and I went into labor on my own (unexpectedly early) and because everything happened so quickly, and she didn't have a heartbeat and I didn't know what to do, so I ended up sticking with my "plan" and I delivered her without meds. I think I did it because I was totally panicked and this was the one thing I had control over--being able to say no to the epidural--and also because she was born an hour after I checked into the hospital--it just happened so fast. I will say that I was glad I could get out of bed and go to the bathroom--I checked out of the hospital 12 hours after I checked in, and although the emotional aftermath was hell (as you know), physically my recovery was unbelievably easy. My milk coming in was the worst part--I had no other discomfort.

When I try to imagine this time, I don't know exactly what I want. On the one hand, I believe in the value of a natural birth experience, and I'd love to have one with a happy ending (please, please, please!). On the other hand, I wouldn't blink at a scheduled c-section if I know I'll get a healthy baby out of it. Like you, I know I won't want to go much past 39 weeks without an induction, but I also fear that I couldn't labor without pain meds if given pitocin. So I struggle with the same indecision.

I'm such a planner (maybe a little obsessive even) so one thing I've talked a lot about with my therapist is trusting myself to make the best decision in the moment, not feeling pressured to figure everything out ahead of time. We've decided to work with a doula this time, which takes a bit of the pressure off me as well. She knows the whole story and will be respectful of my wishes, while at the same time reminding me of my options (and that the likely outcome is a healthy baby, no matter what). Even though we want so much to control what happens, I think it's okay to give yourself permission to wait and see, and decide everything in another five weeks.

I wish you the best of luck in having the birth experience you want. Just remember that there are no "wrong" decisions here.

dcsvnnhpeach said...

You are going to know what to do when the time comes. Enjoy every minute of it and you will. Pain and all. I enjoyed every single second of my labor with Caitlin and wouldn't change a thing. And through all of that, Elliot will be in your arms and Stevie will be so proud of you. We all will be. ~Lorrie Hooper

Leanne said...

My heart ached for you, reading the first part. I can't imagine how this waiting game must be for you, as you must be so torn. I'll be praying extra hard during these last few weeks of waiting...that you'll have peace, not worry TOO much, your body would prepare as it should, you get the type of birth you want, and most importantly that you and baby would be SAFE!

Yay for hair! I love babies with lots of hair! So cute! Of course bald babies are cute, too; I just see more of those. ;-)

Oh, and I had to chuckle at Lindsay's comment b/c I knew right away which Lindsay it was that was commenting as I read it. Hehe.

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