According to that little ticker over there in the left corner I am now 41 weeks and 6 days. That is based on my ultrasound estimated due date which was quite a bit different from how pregnant I thought I was. The EDD that I'm comfortable going with is 28th Feb (based on a 28 day cycle).. which I'm not even sure about.. There is also the 4th of March which was thrown in the mix somehow (me stuffing up when trying to calculate I think). Anyway. I feel I'm around 41 weeks. Due dates suck anyway so lets just forget about the date and say I'm still here and can't wait to meet my little squishy!
Today was the first time I have stepped into a hospital in this entire pregnancy. I decided to have some monitoring to ensure that babe and placenta are happy and doing what they are supposed to be doing. I went into this knowing that the outcome of this monitoring could affect whether or not I am able to have this baby at home but I figured that I'd rather know what was going on and be able to make a truly informed decision based on the information received from the monitoring.
So we went in via emergency (which is apparently the procedure) and were directed to the monitoring area where we were greeted by several smiling faces. It was nice to walk in to a hospital and to be greeted so warmly. We only had to wait for five minutes before being directed into a private cubicle and "hooked up" to the CTG. We busied ourselves with crosswords while we waited.
The midwife allocated to us in the beginning seemed a little frazzled and had a medical student shadowing her. She hooked me up without introducing herself, said it would be about 20 minutes of monitoring and left to go on her lunch break. I was kind of happy that we were being allocated another nurse as that one made me feel a little edgy and I didn't feel particularly "cared for" by her... maybe she was just hungry. The next midwife then arrived and introduced herself and gave us an opportunity to introduce ourselves (addressed John directly). She stayed in the cubicle with us while I asked what the trace meant and what the implications could be if we didn't get a "normal" reading. She took the time and answered in depth, acknowledging my plans to home birth (without making me feel like a reckless hippy) and being totally sympathetic that I needed to even set foot in the hospital. She validated my feelings and agreed with my decision to come in for monitoring so that I had all the information I needed to make the decision that was right for me. She reminded me that it was MY decision no matter the outcome and was just so lovely and respectful. I feel she was sent to me... a little angel in a nurses uniform.
20 minutes passed, then 30, 40, 50, 60... They just could not get a baseline. Bub would not settle down! They tried with me sitting upright, semi-reclined and lying on my side but still, baby just wanted to party. So much movement and quite a few contractions and NO baseline in over an hour. The nursing staff seemed a little concerned as they couldn't send us home without a good baseline trace so they asked the doctor to come and have a look and a chat with us about what to do from there. I got nervous. But I needn't have. The doctor was lovely. She explained that they needed to get a good trace before I went home and also spoke about what they would recommend at this stage (which would essentially be an induction) but asked us to go off for a walk and get some lunch, give baby a chance to settle down and come back to try again after that. So that's what we did.
While we were at lunch we talked about the possibility of induction and how that would make me/us feel. I realised that I have processed Molly's birth really well as I was able to honestly say that if there was a legitimate reason to give birth in the hospital (which at this point in the day was a possibility), that I would be ok with this. Having so much more knowledge and an independent midwife who would be with me would help me to make decisions in my own power and to ensure we set ourselves up for the best birth in any environment.
So we returned to the monitoring area and I was directed straight to another bed. I was cared for by another lovely midwife who reminded me of a friend of mine. She lay me on my left side and said that she would try a trick shown to her by a woman pregnant with twins. This woman said that when she would go out in the sun her babies would jump around like crazy but settled when she went inside. So the midwife lay me down, turned off the lights and put a sheet over my belly to create a dark space. Baby responded immediately and began to settle. Then John came in (he had needed to move the car 3 times at this stage) and baby started jumping around when s/he heard his voice. Which is very cute and nice but also annoying at that point in time. John stopped talking and after wiggling around for a while trying to settle, went to sleep and let us get a really good trace with a definite baseline. Yay!
I also had an ultrasound fluid check which showed I still have plenty of fluid. The doctor offered to do a stretch and sweep which I agreed to and she said that my cervix is 1-2 cms dilated and nice and stretchy. 50% effaced. It was mildly uncomfortable but not painful at all. This is a change from Friday when my midwife tried to do a sweep and could only get one finger in. So all signs point to labour not being far away.
After all that, the doctor basically told me that she "had" to inform me of the risks of waiting longer than 42 weeks but it was clear (in her body language) that she thought everything was fine and that I was making the right decision to wait. No one made me feel reckless or silly for planning to birth at home or for waiting. I was sent home and asked to come back in 2 days for another check if I hadn't come into labour before that.
So a long day, but a pretty positive experience all up!