At best, I knew that sleep tonight (today?) would be fleeting. Alas, I’m beginning to write this just before 1 a.m. because my heart is beating too fast to even think about settling down.
Luckily, my amazing husband is fast asleep. He’ll probably be called upon to do some incredible feats in the next few days, and I’m thankful that at least he’s getting some rest.
The Decision to Induce
On our doctor’s advice, today we are going to induce because of low amniotic fluid. I am at 41 weeks.
At our non-stress test on Wednesday, we learned that my amniotic fluid was measuring around 6 centimeters. According to the docs, a “normal” pregnant woman after 40 weeks should have anywhere from 8-24 centimeters of fluid. Anything between 5.1 and 7.9 is considered low. On top of that, a woman after 40 weeks loses about 30% of her amniotic fluid a week because the placenta does not function at optimal levels and can’t keep up production.
We made some calculations and determined that by Friday my fluid would probably be below the “danger zone.” This means there may not be ample fluid to support the baby and the doctors start tossing around horrifying terms like “cord accidents.” Even our au natural midwife said that induction would occur if we dropped below that level.
I was still pretty conflicted and asked the nurses if we could see the doctor on duty. She was very good, unpushy, and said things like “I understand your concerns that….” and repeated them back to us (go patient sensitivity training?). I explained my hesitancy to unnecessarily induce at 41 weeks, that I would rather go into labor naturally when Charlie was ready, that I was concerned about the increased risks associated with induction.
She explained that she’s given the green light for women to go past 41 weeks when everything looked good. However, my low amniotic fluid concerned her, especially knowing that women keep losing fluid post-40 weeks. I’ve been really “leaky” this week, so I have tangible evidence that some kind of liquid is leaving my body. I believed her when she said it was her professional opinion that we move forward.
The plan is to call tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. to find out when we can go in. To have a baby.
My Current Mental State
I have lots of emotions/thoughts floating in my head. I’ve given myself permission to feel all of them and not to judge myself for expressing anything.
I am literally at the precipice of one of the Most Important Days of My Life. And I’m nervous for many reasons.
I’ve done enough reading to know what to expect when I get there, but the exact details of how everything will shake out are, of course, unknown. How will my body respond to the induction? Will I be one of those women who have their babies in several hours, or one who labors for a few days? Will I be one of the many induced women who end up with a C-section? Does that scare me?
Can I handle labor, especially the pain of induced labor, which is supposed to be much harder? My goal, induction or not, has always been to get to at least five centimeters before asking for pain management. All of the midwives and doulas I’ve heard interviewed on Pregtastic have recommended getting to that point to increase the chances of an alert baby who breastfeeds better.
Now that it’s unlikely I’ll sleep tonight, do I have the strength to even get that far? Will I feel exhausted and defeated from the get-go? If that’s the case, what will I feel like after a few days of labor?
I’m also nervous about the low amniotic fluid. The doctor said she saw no immediate need to induce on Wednesday, but gave me instructions on monitoring the baby over the subsequent days. These include drinking lots of water, and doing my kick counts three times a day, instead of just once. Charlie has been a champ at kick counts, but I can’t help but feel Scared To Death if I haven’t felt him in a while. I’m sure I’ll feel even more Scared to Death tomorrow about some kind of tragedy during labor.
And, of course, I’m nervous about meeting my son. How will it feel to suddenly become A Mother? Can I handle the amazing responsibility of taking care of something so fragile? How could I ever be worthy of such an incredible gift? What if I don’t do a good job?
Every birth story is different, and the majority of birth stories go differently than what a woman envisions in her mind. That being said, I can’t help but feel a sense of loss for not experiencing that “OMG I’m in labor” moment of excitement. If I do, it will be because the hospital has administered synthetic hormones that make my body do what it hasn’t done yet. There’s a bit of “failure” feeling in that. That being said, I’m thankful that my placenta moved high enough that I didn’t automatically require a C-section. At least I get the chance at vaginal delivery.
I’m also sad to be ending the pregnancy. Why does 41 weeks suddenly feel too short? Why can’t he stay longer, where I can protect him from the outside world and the bad parenting decisions that I’ll inevitably make? I’m not sure how much of this is wrapped up in having a firm “end date.” Maybe it would have been better if labor came on suddenly, instead of having the time to think about it.
I have absolutely loved being pregnant. Physically, I could have continued this for weeks. I cherish every single kick and nudge and squirm. It’s been me and Charlie, together for 41 weeks. We are an incredible team. I have been his home, and because of him, I have learned to love and appreciate my own body and inner, natural strength.
It’s been the most amazing experience of my life, and I fully understand and feel the connectivity that women who’ve been pregnant have with one another. I can’t even imagine how much stronger that connection becomes once you give birth. It’s an incredible gift to be able to experience life growing within you. A life that Charles and I created together.
I cannot wait to meet my son. My son! Aren’t those the two most incredible words ever uttered?
I was reviewing information from our childbirth prep classes and came across his first ultrasound pictures, when he was a minuscule, blobular peanut. My eyes filled with tears knowing that I’ll be seeing him very, very soon. He started as just a cluster of cells, and now he’s a 7.5 lb little guy with eyes and hands and lungs and a heart and probably the most precious little toes that ever existed. How is that even possible?! It’s boggling.
I wonder what he’ll look like. Who he’ll resemble. What I’ll feel when I look at him and feel him for the first time. What I’ll feel like when I see Charles hold him. I think about my mother meeting him, and Charles’ parents, and every other person who has showered us with so much love. There are so many people excited about his birth; in a way, I feel like I’m giving the entire world the gift of his life.
I read this fantastic quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. today that nicely sums up what I feel:
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.