One month ago – June 3rd – was my due date with my daughter (my first kiddo). I’m slow getting around to to writing Charlotte’s birth story. But, so much happened (or rather, didn’t happen) in those last couple of weeks of my pregnancy that I feel obligated to write about that experience first.
My husband Luke was a 9 pound, 12 ounce baby, and at one doctor appointment in the middle of my pregnancy the doctor thought maybe Charlotte was super-sized and talked about an early delivery. It turns out that was a fluke. She measured right on the rest of the time. Still, Luke and I thought that my belly was soooo big, surely she’d come early.
Every spring for my job, several of us make the trek to Broadway for a week of seeing shows, attending parties and learning at this great conference how better to market our product, etc. Since I was to be 37 1/2 weeks pregnant during the trip this year, I opted to stay home since I know the flight rules don’t allow for ladies THAT pregnant to fly. Did I mention Tom Hanks and Cyndi Lauper were at my conference this year?! Darn. But, of course, staying home was for an amazing reason. So, all was well. In fact, I met Willie Nelson for the first time, and Carol Burnett for the second time that week. I was just shocked that I hadn’t had that baby yet!
I took some time off prior to Memorial Day, because being due June 3rd, we were certain those would be our last days to get things ready. Memorial Day weekend came and went with me wondering what the hold-up was. I continued to go to work with every single person exclaiming “you’re still here?!” on each passing day. I left work on Friday, May 31st certain I would not be back at my desk until August. Oh, how wrong I was. I was back ON my due date and the following day.
Once my due date came and went, I became obsessed with somehow finding a way to naturally bring on labor. I wanted to induce this baby on out. Google is a troublesome tool when you’re a desperate pregnant lady. The night of my due date, Luke and I drove over every notable pothole in a five mile radius. The next day, I drenched my lunch and dinner in sriracha. I tried rubbing my ankles and between my thumb and finger to bring on labor. I ate lots of pineapple. We walked A LOT! And, after many text messages from my mother, I even tried the old wives tale of… well, nevermind. I’ll keep this PG. But, NOTHING worked! Babies just do what they want, I guess.
With a scheduled induction date of June 10th, I woke up with a terrible headache on the 5th. So, I took a day of PTO and called the doctor. When pregnant, a headache can be a sign of high blood pressure, so they had me come in. I, of course, got the one nurse who always screws my blood pressure up. But, I thought – “That’s cool. Maybe the high reading will get me induced sooner!” Terrible – I know. Just after that, I found out my doctor had to go to a delivery. My only option was to see the one doctor we “fired” early on in my pregnancy because he was super gruff and actually answered his cell phone while performing my initial “invasive” ultrasound. Due to my high blood pressure, he put me on bed rest and sent me home with a jug to pee in for 24 hours to test for preeclampsia. He also painfully checked my progress and with disgust declared that I had an “unfavorable cervix”, and would probably “have a 48-hour induction”. This guy – I tell ya.
This was all very upsetting to me and I preceded to go home and cry on the couch. The next day I got to pee into a hat and then put it in the jug each time (TMI?), but I was in better spirits because my headache was gone. In fact, I got in even better spirits when my brother-in-law Chris and sister-in-law Joy brought us Fazoli’s for dinner. We ate on our picnic table and enjoyed great conversation on a beautiful late spring evening.
The next morning (Friday), I took my jug into the doctor and waited for my appointment. Here’s something I didn’t tell you – you have to keep your “sample” in the fridge so it doesn’t grow bacteria. But, the fridge was downstairs and in the middle of the night I decided I didn’t want to risk to stairs multiple times when I was half asleep and it was dark. So, I only made “entries” into the jug for 15 hours. While the jug was nearly full, this was apparently not enough for them to test for preeclampsia – it had to be for a solid 24 hours. Ahhhh! So, with me at a zero, the doctor sent me to have my blood pressures monitored as well as fetal monitoring. All was fine in Triage, and I was discharged a couple of hours later with a new pee jug – even though I tried protesting it. This time they gave me an ice bucket to keep it in so I could avoid the fridge in the middle of the night.
This was all frustrating, and it was frustrating knowing I would get to do the same monitoring the next day (a Saturday) while they tested my new batch of pee. But, I had great friends – Mallory, Mollie, Kaydin and Traci who came to keep my company throughout the day. Mallory brought Chipotle for lunch! Yum:)
After our all-clear from the Triage nurse on Saturday, I had finally settled on the idea that I would just be induced as scheduled on the 10th. I did not have preeclampsia, and the baby was healthy as well. In fact, the monitor showed I was having contractions. That’s a start, right? We went about our weekend as usual – me just moving a little slower. We went to get groceries in the late afternoon on Sunday and I started feeling stronger contractions. They continued to strengthen throughout the broadcast of the Tony Awards, and I woke up around 4 a.m. and called the doctor on call. He said to just take it easy and come in if they got super close together and painful, or if my water broke. I called the office at 9 a.m. and pretty much got the same answer.
Luke stayed home from work and the contractions continued. I thought “maybe I won’t need to be induced!” One good thing about our slow-poke baby is that it was our cleaning lady Kristy’s day to clean. So, we would be coming home to a clean house. We went and had lunch at Jethro’s and I timed contractions. They ranged from 5-7 minutes apart. Lunch was delish! We tried to rest, make sure everything was packed and ready to go, and we ate our “last supper”. I had a chicken Caesar salad since the doctor said nothing too carb-filled/heavy.
I’ll continue with the birth story in the next post. But, to preface it, I still had to be induced despite by 24 hours plus of contractions. Here’s my advice to overdue mamas like myself:
- The due date is NOT a magical day. Only roughly 5% of babies are born on their due dates. So, take the due date with a grain of salt.
- In my experience, there’s not much you can do to induce labor on your own. In fact, some of the tactics I read about can be dangerous (nipple stimulation) or can make you very sick (castor oil). Disclaimer: I am not a doctor – just a serious Google fiend.
- If you are on bed rest or have left work early, or just want to get the baby off your mind, do seek company! Having our family members and friends visit during this sloooow moving time was so incredibly helpful.
- I know it’s hard, but enjoy these extra days to prepare. Put the finishing touches on the nursery, get last-minute groceries, read up on postpartum and baby care, go out to eat, etc.
- Lastly – keep your eye on the prize. What’s an extra eight days (in my case) of waiting past a random date on a calendar, when the reward is the most beautiful human being you’ve ever seen who you burst with love for? That baby will come out eventually. Just do stay in touch with your doctor about it and have a game plan, because complications can arise at more than a week overdue.
Stay tuned for the fun stuff…