After the Braves game last week (Wednesday), I had my 37-week appointment with my midwife. Everything looked good (BP, urine sample, baby's heart rate, etc. etc.) until she measured my uterus and found I was only measuring about 34 cm. Now, I had been measuring about 2 cm behind for weeks now, and she wasn't that concerned, but 1-2 cm off is okay and 3 is something to be a little worried about. We decided to have an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay.
At the ultrasound, the baby looked great- size was good, heart/organs normal, practicing breathing, etc. Problem: my amniotic fluid was really low. 5-25 cm is considered normal, and I was measuring 5.4 cm. Anything below 5 is an automatic induction. Luckily my midwife decided to give me the weekend to try to get my fluid levels up. I was supposed to drink as much water as I could (which is tough, because I already drink a ton!) and come back on Monday for another ultrasound. If my levels were the same or lower, we were looking at an induction on Monday or Tuesday.
I spent the weekend pretty much in the bathroom, as I was drinking about a gallon of water a day, but when I went back to the midwife's on Monday, my levels were up to 6 cm! Yay for no induction! But now for the complication- after my cervical exam, it turned out I was already 4-5 cm dilated and 80% effaced, which should have been exciting- except for my midwife was going out of town the following weekend! So we had to decide what to do. I was really worried because the doctor scheduled on call has a super-high intervention rate- pro-epidural, etc. My midwife basically told me that the natural birth I wanted was probably not going to be a possibility with that doctor. What to do?!?!
I thought everything over and came back for another appointment on Tuesday. Although I could have justified an induction due to fluid levels (thereby assuring my midwife would be there), I definitely didn't want to push the baby at only 38 weeks if he/she wasn't ready. But I was so scared about birthing without my midwife- I've never even seen another doc for a prenatal visit!
In the end, we decided to take some natural steps to see what would happen. Basically, these steps would potentially speed up the labor process if I was ready, but if my body wasn't ready, basically nothing would happen and I would take my chances on making it through the weekend. I decided to: 1. Have my membranes stripped 2. Do the castor oil treatment.
I had my membranes stripped on Tuesday at about 12:00 pm and did the castor oil treatment when I got home (2 tablespoons in a smoothie, then wait an hour and repeat). The membrane deal wasn't that bad- sort of like a deep, thorough exam, but caused some cramping after. I don't think the castor oil was necessary because I started having contractions before it really kicked in- around 2 pm.
I basically spent the rest of the day Tuesday praying the contractions I was having wouldn't go away. Up until that point, I'd only had Braxton-Hicks- that is, tightening but no pain. These were definitely different and uncomfortable, but still not really regular or timeable. At about 8 pm I took a bath to relax, and for some crazy reason decided I wanted to go for a run. I know, I am crazy, but I can honestly say this is what my body was telling my to do. So about 8:30 pm I headed out the door to run in our subdivision.
I had a glorious run- because the baby had dropped, I could breathe really comfortably, and because of the cold front moving through it was really nice out. I got about 2 1/2 miles in when all of a sudden I couldn't run through the contractions anymore. I actually stopped to walk- which I NEVER do- and realized I had to really breath and vocalize to get through the contractions. Then I promptly threw up in someone's yard and knew this was the real deal.
I made it back to the house (somehow)- I knew I had to do it because I'd told Brett not to look for me until I'd been gone at least 30 minutes, and it hadn't been that long yet. I immediately grabbed my birthing ball and headed for the nursery- where I turned out the light and hid like some kind of animal for a few more contractions on the ball. I felt kinda bad because Brett knew things were getting serious, but I definitely didn't want ANYONE around me/touching me/talking to me. About 10 minutes after I'd gotten home my water broke. And that's where I'll leave this for now!