I may or may not have a baby tonight.
Turns out, my six hours of contractions yesterday were not for naught. I had my midwife appointment today. (BP normal, weight same as three weeks ago and up 15 lbs. from pre-pregnancy, fundal height 40 cm, fetal heartrate 130, baby’s estimated weight based on the palpations of two midwives is 7 lbs. 6 oz. ish.) And I had her check my cervix. She reached inside, looked a bit shocked, and said, “I don’t know if you’re going to want to hear this…” I thought for sure she was going to say that I was closed as a virgin, or 1 cm dilated or something…but no. Instead, she said,
“You’re five centimeters dilated. I can feel the membranes bulging. You don’t happen to have an overnight bag with you, do you?”
Ack! My kids were with me. The midwives didn’t even want me to leave and drop them off, even though I wasn’t in active labor. So after many, many phone calls, we arranged to have them picked up, got my husband to the birth center, and got settled in. The midwife said we could consider breaking my waters (I declined) or using a breast pump and/or castor oil to see if we could get labor going. All the midwives (five of them!) and I have been worried for the entire pregnancy that I’d have the baby in the car on the way, and it seemed worth it to see if we could get labor going with a breast pump today. She was sure that if I went home and my waters broke, that I would have a baby in the car. So I agreed to try some things, but not to have my water broken. I’m not a fan of interventions, especially not induction (even natural), but given my concerns about a car birth baby and my being HALFWAY DILATED already, I think it was a wise decision.
Our R.N. birth attendant showed up and started getting things ready. She tested my urine, and I was spilling lots of protein (hadn’t eaten since since late morning) and was dehydrated. So she made me a yummy scrambled egg + cheese sandwich, and made me drink two glasses of cranapple juice + 1 glass of water. Boy, did I have to pee. And my urine cooperated nicely, bringing the ketone level back to almost normal. She monitored the baby’s heartrate for a few contractions while Jason kept busy writing down starting times and duration (“I need something useful to do, please”). Baby was doing great. But still no midwives, no breast pump, no castor oil–something was delaying them.
Then later, the appointment midwife and the midwife on call both came in to our cozy birthing room (“The Forest Room”) and dropped the bomb:
“We made a mistake. You’re only 37.5 weeks, and we cannot augment or induce labor, even naturally, until 39 weeks. We are so sorry…”
It turns out, in their excitement to see how far dilated I was and their willingness to help me avoid a car birth, they neglected to pay attention to my gestation (“only” 37.5 weeks). They called their consulting doctor, who agreed that he didn’t want me to have a birth in the car, either, but he didn’t want them to help “induce” until 39 weeks. (Normally, I agree with this. But I’m 5 cm dilated and having contractions, people!) He suggested I go to the hospital for monitoring (I was having contractions again) or have an amniocentesis to determine fetal lung maturity. If the fetal lungs were mature, they’d go ahead and “let me” induce with a breastpump. How ridiculous!
Well, I’ll wrap this up…the midwives declined a hospital stay and amnio for me, without even asking me, because they knew I’d have no part of that. (Hurray for in-tune midwives!) I stayed for another hour to record the contractions and get another cervical check…still 5 cm. Blah.
We picked up the kids (thanks again, K & P, and T for picking them up initially), who were so sad that there was no baby, and now we’re home.
They (midwives) told us to leave the kids where they were overnight in case the baby came tonight. I just couldn’t impose on our friends without being certain of an imminent birth. Plus, I missed my kids. It seems that it’s unlikely that I’ll walk around 5cm dilated with a bulging bag of waters for two more weeks, but it’s not impossible. I could do the breast pump and/or castor oil at home myself, but that’s not the point–I only agreed to it to avoid a car birth. The midwives are getting the birthing room ready for me anyway, and I figure he’ll come when he’s ready. Perhaps he’ll be ready in the car. I’ll just have to deal with that.
So the baby might come tonight. Or, he might not. Either way, I’m all crampy and contraction-y, and my oldest daughter turns five tomorrow. At least I’ll have time to finish up her present (a waldorf doll who still needs her hair sewn on) and plan her birthday meal.
I’m so sad not to have my baby yet, though–they really got my hopes up.