Tuesday, December 3, 2013

losing my dignity, 37 weeks, 4 days

It must have been my birthday[1]. That's the only plausible explanation for the exciting gift I received at the OB's office yesterday - a cervical exam! For the uninitiated, a cervical exam at nearly 38 weeks is something akin to vaginal torture[2]. Oh the pressure! The pain! But, alas, the reward: I am <gasp> 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Dare I say the OB was rather impressed. After weeks of my not so subtle requests that she promptly and accurately predict my exact due date right now pleaseandthankyou[3], she stated, pretty optimistically, "you won't go past your due date." *angels singing, horns blowing, etc.*

She then proceeded to suggest some natural ways of accelerating the birth process which she says I am free to undertake next week. The exhilarating options range from nipple stimulation to get the pitocin and uterine contractions flowing (specifically, for five minutes, three times a day – because, you know, what full time attorney doesn't have the time for such whimsical endeavors?) and the illusive "stripping of the membranes[4]" which she is, ahem, happy to perform during my next office visit[5]. Because the former made me feel like a 6th grader in sex ed and the latter sounded downright terrifying, I decided to just blush discretely to myself and change the subject[6]. It's kind of a blur, but I think we then started talking about meditation and chocolate truffles. Also Zantac. Because, you know, at nearly 38 weeks, this is what it's come to, people.[7]

After she left, and I rose from my naked-from-the-waist-down stupor, I looked down to find what was essentially a harrowing crime scene. Apparently, and much to my surprise (because I am nothing if not a logical thinker), her exam had left me, how do I say this, bloody. So, with zero of my dignity still in tact, I scampered to the door, still-naked-from-the-waist-down, to try to call her back in. Because, you know, I’m pregnant SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG. A miscellaneous nurse spotted me first, and clearly INCREDIBLY DISTURBED by my lack of dignity, shoved me back in the room, closed the door and abruptly informed me she would find the doctor. Sauntering back in, my OB, visibly amused, apologized, noting "I should have warned you!" before directing me to the PLUS SIZE ADULT DIAPERS “maxi pads” in the corner. Ahem. Noted.

So dear readers, do tell. At 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced should I be lying very still and eating bon bons? Feverishly packing my hospital bag? Going all in, membranes and all? And if the last, what on earth should I expect with that little activity?

[1] Spoiler: it was not my birthday.
[2] It is nothing like torture. Another symptom of the third trimester: drama!
[3] Or, in her case, nothankyou. Since, apparently, obstetricians don’t like to make baseless predictions and later be held to them by anxious patients.
[4] Stripping Membranes. Clearly an 80s metal band with a hair problem. Or something you do while on a skateboard. Or else, you know, cervical agony of an indeterminate variety.
[5] I feel like I just got solicited. The most pregnant hooker in the Northeast.
[6] <Mature adult here>.
[7] (Seriously though. I'm pretty sure we talked about these things, in this order. I kind of adore my OB despite what follows).


  1. Well that is all good news! Definite yes to the nipple stimulation, obviously! I would do your research on the membrane stripping. I have read some negatives about it in grad school, but those were medical and not from the perspective of a pregnant woman who wants the baby out now! So yu may want to do some reading! Either way, congrats in making it to 38 weeks!!!

  2. Oh my, my midwife is very against stripping the membranes. But then again, she's much more into the whole Evening Primrose Oil and nipple stimulation. Although there has been no mention of 5 minutes, 3 times a day. In terms of the EPO if you want to go that route, she said to start at 36 weeks doing 3 pills (1,500 mg) three times a day.
    By the way, I am assuming you are joking about feverishly packing your hospital bag, because otherwise I will feel extra OCD about having mine packed already! :P

  3. There is no research that shows membrane stripping brings on labor faster, but it can introduce foreign bacteria to the cervix and cause infection. I'd avoid it at all costs if I was you...

    Nipple stimulation is definitely the biggest aid I've come across for helping to get labor moving. That being said, if your body isn't ready, it isn't ready... don't drive yourself nuts if it isn't helping! (I hypocritically say this as someone who saw the chiropractor, had sex, and did nipple stimulation to get labor going. I did have my kid about 36 hrs later, but no idea if it was related or just dumb luck!)

    Also, pack your bag already! I planned to do it at 38w, but went into labor at 37w6d, and my husband was USELESS when I was trying to give him instructions on what to pack between contractions. Pack what you can now, and have an easy to follow list on top of the bag for your husband to finish up last minute toiletries, etc.

    So close now!!!

  4. Oh wow, you are SO CLOSE! I can't believe it, feels like this time has flown (though not for you I am sure).

    Not that I know anything about this (yet), but given my albeit limited research, I would second the EPO advice. I have also heard good stuff about raspberry leaf tea as a uterine tonic/stimulant, but then I'm into all that granola-y stuff.

    Whatever you end up doing, I'll be anxiously awaiting your news...You're nearly there mama!

  5. Thanks guys! I was decidedly on the fence about the whole membrane-stripping-bizness and after some light Dr. Googling, I think I'll just let my body do it's thing without that particular intervention. But perhaps some other more "natural" prospects are in my future. Ha. Either way, I think I've resigned myself to the fact that this kid will arrive when he's good and ready - regardless of my opinions on the matter. (Though C has politely requested I go into labor today since he has a talk to give tomorrow that he'd rather skip. Noted.)

    1. HAHAHA - just read this. Nice of little Ezra to comply with Daddy's request!