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Week 39: Imminence

November 10, 2009

On Thursday, my checkup revealed that I was nearly 3 cm dilated; my midwife was confident that I’d go into labor that evening. In fact, I kind of did; similar to my episode of Oct. 26, I wound up with regular, painful contractions every 7 minutes. But as 9 p.m. loomed, I became anxious: at midnight, birthday politics would kick in. My husband’s daughter’s birthday, over which she claims exclusive domain, is Nov. 6.

But I needn’t have worried; by 1 a.m. things had calmed down enough that I went to sleep. I’ve had about a dozen contractions a day since then, but was ok with that, too. This feels like it should be the week. Since I’ve been kinda couch-ridden for most of these days, D. took me out to his parents’ place for a change of scenery yesterday; we experimented with bumpy roads and spicy venison chili, but nothing happened.

Today has been mostly quiet, aside from a few contractions this morning. I have to admit I’m a little disappointed, because 11/9 happens to feel like a good day, and it was so beautiful out. I finished up a little freelance work, got out for a walk in the afternoon, and wound up just feeling exhausted, which has been the main theme of the past four days. After picking up Elder Son from school, I conked out on the couch for a couple of hours. To hell with nesting, which I have the desire to do but none of the energy–but again, that’s more fodder for why the baby should have come on Thursday, because last Wednesday I was a whirlwind in the house.

I’ve dropped several pounds over the course of this week, however, and I’m noticing the water retention–a brief phenomenon for me this pregnancy–is abating.

Right now, I’m thinking tomorrow or Thursday. Wednesday would be an interesting day for him to show up too–numerologically, 11-11-2009 is a 33 day, plus it’s Veteran’s Day–but every time I show signs of labor on days when my midwife isn’t available (and Wednesdays are one of them) I find myself highly anxious about anyone trying to “manage” my labor.

And that brings me to my feelings on induction. I’m carrying a big baby and I know it; big babies run in the family. But they can get rather lethargic about showing up, and often need prompting in the form of stripped membranes or broken water once the cervix is ripe, which mine is. I consider these physical interventions, and for some reason, I don’t have a problem with physical interventions the way I do with chemical ones such as Cervadil or Pitocin, or surgical ones such as C-sections done when they don’t need to be. I also know that in our family, once the water breaks, the labor moves *very* quickly, particularly in subsequent babies. It’s nice to have my mother’s recollection of her sisters’ and younger brother’s births as well as her birth stories of me and my brother, as well as my aunt’s tales of her two big boys, in knowing how my body works and it giving me strength and faith to know what I will most likely experience having my second: that chances are, it will be as gentle a birth as I had with my first.

That faith goes a long way toward actually looking forward to childbirth and embracing the pain that comes with it.

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