My Little One seems quite content where she is. In fact, rather than descend into my pelvis (as is usual for first pregnancies), she moved upward. All that activity the other night took her in the opposite direction. However, she is still head down, and that’s good.
Now maybe this is TMI, but the internal exam shows again, for the third week, no change in the cervix. It is not “ripening” (softening and becoming thinner), and I am not dilating.
These two factors — baby being far up in my belly and a not-ready cervix — existing ten days before my due date prompted my doctor to do an ultrasound just to see what’s up.
Yippee! (Not sarcasm.) I’ve longed to have another look at her, but third trimester ultrasounds are only done when there is a concern or anomaly. So in this case I’m happy to be an anomaly. Little One is in good shape. She has a beautiful heartbeat, and I also got to watch her breathing — her diaphragm was moving. I wasn’t worried about a cleft lip, and it turns out she has not got one. (This is something earlier ultrasounds don’t usually catch and genetic testing doesn’t cover. Cleft lip/palate is surgically remedied, but it’s nice to know that it’s not an issue.)
The doctor measured her and estimated her weight at approximately (and this might be quite off-base) 7 pounds, 11 ounces. If that’s correct, she’s a little bigger than I hoped for. I know that’s an average weight. I was hoping for between 6 and 7 pounds (the smaller the baby, the easier the birth). The longer she takes to arrive, the more weight she might gain, which could make it harder to deliver vaginally.
In conclusion, Little One is well. There’s plenty of amniotic fluid. She is not in distress. Next week we’ll see if there has been change. It could happen. If not, then we need to consider our options over the next 10 to 17 days.
- We can wait about a week beyond the due date and see if labor starts naturally.
- At 41 weeks, if my cervix is ripe and she’s dropped, we could induce and probably be successful.
- At 41 weeks, if my cervix has not changed and she has not dropped, an induction is unlikely to be successful. It also means natural labor might not succeed. Which means we’d consider a planned C-section.
One thing for certain is that my doctor said Little One will be born by September 10th one way or another.
I told the doctor that if conditions are such that an induction would be likely to fail and require an unplanned C-section in the end, then I’m leaning toward a planned C-section. Recovering from major surgery is, well, major work; recovering from 20 hours of labor plus a C-section sounds worse. I would rather have the energy available to care for my child.
Today when I thought about the possibility of a Cesarean, I felt a little sad. As I’ve said before, I don’t have a fantasy of the “perfect birth experience.” I just want to be alive and have a live healthy baby. I think the real issue underneath the sadness is some fear — of the surgery, risks, pain, the Unknown. And yes, there is some sadness at the thought that I might not experience the process of labor; I’m curious about it. Every choice we make means other options are not experienced, and there’s a bit of grief in that. I told my doctor, and she was empathetic. There’s still time, and I’m sitting with Not Knowing. She’s a strange companion.
However this plays out, I’m grateful to live in an era and a country where there are helpful options to consider. Somewhere in the world, a woman dies every minute from pregnancy and labor complications. In Afghanistan, it’s estimated that one woman dies out of every seven women who give birth — currently the highest maternal death rate in the world. While I cannot rectify this, I can be grateful for what I have. And I am.