Knowing helps… (aka, finding a zen point)

I had my 39-week exam yesterday. After much debate about whether to insist on an internal exam — because at my hippie practice, they don’t do them as a matter of course — I ended up with the new midwife who recently joined Hippie Center from a more medical practice and thus made the recommendation herself.

Verdict: 70% effaced, not dilated, kid’s head at -1 station.

I will clue in the non-pregnancy people: that really means very little in terms of the future. I could go from not dilated to dilated in an a matter of hours. If I was dilated, I could stay at 2cm or whatever for weeks. Effacement (the thinning of the placenta) is a natural process that often takes time, but again, could take anywhere from no time to forever to complete.

And yet, I feel better. The looming sense of doom has lifted, probably because that estimate confirmed how I’d been feeling: like I’ve been progressing but am not going to go into labor in the next few minutes. Or hours. I am not in labor and not knowing it!

I tend to believe in not worrying about finding things out if knowing them won’t change your actions. I got that from a brilliant vet for whom I worked in college. If knowing the result of a test would have an impact on her recommended next steps, she’d suggest the test, regardless of the cost or apparent ability of the customer to pay. If that same test result wouldn’t make a difference either way, she’d advise against it regardless of cost.  “It’s our job to recommend a strategy that makes sense, not to take people’s options away because we don’t think they can afford it.”

But this time, I was feeling the constant sense of doom. It sounded like this in my head, “OHMYGOD We have to _____ because for all we know, I’m in labor and don’t know it and we could have this kid today!” It also sounded like that when it came out of my mouth.

Because I was pretty much right, though (and yes, I am THAT MUCH OF A NERD so I guessed at my own answers before the exam as though it was a test I could ace – and I did), which is giving me the confidence to tune in to myself more and tune out all the rest.

*big sigh of relief*


In other news, my mother-in-law lent me “an old sewing machine I’ve had in storage for a while” that turned out to be an early 90’s Bernina, the kind that is entirely mechanical and made of metal parts. Yum. It weight a ton and I’m totally in love, so look out for photos of my latest sewing crafts.

Despite hating the act of sewing, I love the results – plus, I need something to distract me from sitting around and waiting. So far, two quilted bibs, two PUL-backed* changing mats, and a quilt I’ll be piecing tonight. Oh, and I’m starting on a car seat slipcover**.

*PUL is the fabric used in cloth diapers that is laminated and waterproof, but more like regular fabric than true laminate.

**Yes, I know, check the warranty for car seats so as not to invalidate them by adding a slipcover, yada, yada. I’m thinking of this as more like a throw to soak up the sweat and protect the kid from hot parts than a slipcover that would stay on the seat.

Oh! I need to take pics of the stuff I made for the Birth Day party too.





4 thoughts on “Knowing helps… (aka, finding a zen point)

  1. I love this post! One of my friends who just had a baby told me her doctor doesn’t do a check until 39 weeks because it’s pointless. You could be dilated and not go into labor for weeks or not dilated and go that evening. She has no way of knowing. That said, I still would like to know for the same reason you gave. Even if it means nothing, if I’m dilating, that would put me (and my husband)in high gear to make sure things are done and ready! That said, tomorrow is my first check (doctor starts at 37 weeks) and I fully expect to not be effaced or dilated at all and baby not engaged. Maybe that’s wishful thinking though, but there’s MY nerd guess!

    I’m happy for you that you ARE effaced though. It’s my fear that I would have to be induced and if you’re effaced, it’s less likely because your cervix is already preparing itself for labor. It just hasn’t started dilating yet. Seems like you’re right on track for where you are in your pregnancy.

      • @Marisa, I was wrong as I’m apparently 60% effaced! It’s too bad it doesn’t mean anything. Even though I’m behind you, the doctor thinks baby is already over 8 lbs so I’d like her to make her debut early please. He already is asking me to come with a frame of mind to consider that things may not go the way I’ve planned (natural birth). UGH.

  2. I want to know where I am at too. it will help me wrap my mind around what is going to happen. I’m not super anal or anything but I know at work people depend on me so if it looks like Bug will come early I have to make arrangements for that.

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