Tuesday, April 14, 2009

36 Weeks-- Noah is Trying to Escape!

When last we left the saga of Noah and his life inside of me, I was cleared to fly to MI for our shower with friends and family back home. Noah had dropped low and against my cervix, but I had not begun to dilate or efface at all, so no worried about flying home and seeing everyone.

Fast forward 2 weeks to my 36 week appointment-- the first of my now weekly appointments and the beginning of regular cervical checks. I told my OB that I was excited to see if I was dilated at all, because Noah has seemed determined to wiggle his way out of me, and it felt as if he were opening my cervix, whether or not he is realistically capable of doing so. I was also experiencing some Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions) with a lot of tightening and a little bit of pain. These contractions usually do not dilate you, but doctors do want you to monitor them, just in case they come too frequently because they can signal real labor. Dr. Ambur told me at this appointment that now as many as is possible is a good thing, in contrast to the previous tactics of trying to stop them as quickly as possible.

After our regular chatting and questions at our appointment-- yes I am having some foot swelling, yes my blood pressure is still good, yay- my iron levels are considered normal again, we finally moved on to checking me for Strep B (I won't say anything more about that test) and checking my cervix.

I can't say who in the room was more shocked, Jim, me or Dr. Ambur, when she said, "Well, you are dilated to three cm." Three? I think Noah was the only one who wasn't in the least shocked, since he has been determinedly pushing the top of his head against my cervix and I like to think he enjoys the new toy and task that he is mastering as he strengthens his muscles and feels the changes on the top of his head.

In retrospect, I think that Jim was the most shocked. I have the opportunity to feel all of Noah's motions from the inside and knew that it felt like he was opening the gate to this world, but Jim has only what I tell him to rely upon. I tend to leave certain pains and sensations out, simply because I know that they are normal and will only worry him that Noah is coming early. Now the worry about Noah being pre-term is gone since we have reached 36 weeks and everything seems to be happening in quick succession. Dr. Ambur advised us that I could go into labor or my water could break at any time, or that I could walk around this dilated until after my due date.

Going from 0-3 cm isn't unheard of in a 2 week period-- many women start at 0 when they begin their eight hour labor, but it certainly got our attention and made us aware of the things that we still have to do to get our home ready for our little man, and for visiting family. On our way back through the skyways we stopped at the downtown Target and got toiletries and a back massager and several other items we had been putting off getting for our labor bag, and then went home to clean and get our guest room ready.*

Since last Friday I have still been feeling the same Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions and the same pushing by my son, so I am eager to see where I will be at my next appointment-- if I make it that long. We haven't done any of the "Old Wives Tales" to begin labor-- I am not that impatient and we still have so much to do to be ready--- if you can ever feel really ready for something like this. We even went on a mile and a half walk on Saturday and ate lots of spicy foods this weekend, which didn't set me off.

So if Noah needs to bake for a while longer, I am content to have him in there, and if he and the BH keep dilating me more, then I say go right ahead. Any little bit that happens before I have to be in real labor is less that I have to be in horrible pain for, will make it less likely that I have to be induced later on and will make labor shorter overall.

* I later told Jim that I didn't think that Noah was going to come over Easter weekend and that he would probably stay put for a while longer, and he had the best comeback-- "Yeah? Well you didn't think that we would be able to conceive either." That managed to freak me out a bit and showed me that while I may think our baby still wants to be a May baby, he may very well arrive any time now.


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