Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And a bloody good show it is, too

Progress!  I am in the process of losing my mucous plug.  This is also called "bloody show," yet another fine example of a pregnancy thing horribly named (but, in this case, the name is pretty accurate. Ick.)
What does this mean?  Not much in terms of our timeline.  Loss of the mucous plug could mean labor starts in a few hours or in a few weeks.  It does mean that my cervix is softening and opening, trying to prove that it is not an over-functioning, Type A cervix as some people have suggested, thank you very much.
There'd been some talk of induction today, but that plan changed due the apparent good health of mom and baby.  If Walt doesn't arrive tonight we'll head back to the hospital again tomorrow for some tests to confirm that good health: an ultrasound and a non-stress test.  Sean thinks "non-stress test" has to be the greatest name for a medical test, ever. "For this exam, we are going to make sure you are very comfortable and happy.  May we offer you another pillow? You'll notice that we have very good cable TV, here ... enjoy!" (That's actually exactly how the test goes.)
We'll keep you posted with the postings as much as possible. Thanks to all for your prayers!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Everything is Broken

Bob Dylan's classic 1989 track "Everything is Broken" is a powerful meditation on the seemingly futile case for hope in a world increasingly yielding to chaos. With deft timing and pitch-perfect characterization, "Everything" draws the listener into a journey of the spirit, as the forces of entropy unreel against -- or only amidst? -- its protagonists. Juxtaposed against the approaching birth of their first child, the casual decay of the environment around them is revealed first in a sick dog, a dead ceiling fan, then the failure of a lovingly and meticulously stocked refrigerator/freezer, the appearance of a defective nursery furniture part, the odor of a dead mouse in their Toyota Yaris.

Oh, dear. As it turns out, this is not, in fact, Bob Dylan's classic 1989 track "Everything is Broken," but actually Annie and my life over week 39 of this pregnancy. In truth, I don't believe I've ever heard it, and have absolutely no knowledge of the lyrics or tune -- all due apologies to Bob -- I've just felt inspired by his choice of title these past few days, as all of the above actually did happen to us. Fear not -- Hank's back to his old tricks, replacement parts are winging their way to us as we speak, some already installed, and a feast of salvaged pork chops and fried chicken is a challenge to which we gladly acquiesce.

Throughout all of this, though, one thing has remained resilient -- Annie's cervix.

There is a terribly sad and terribly named condition called "Incompetent Cervix" -- I learned this in my reading -- in which the cervix "ripens," or becomes yielding, early in the pregnancy and the child is delivered too soon. As it turns out, in pregnancy, as in all things, Annie has proven to be hyper-competent, her cervix unflagging in its duty to guard passage to the womb. You can imagine that what was a comfort and a blessing throughout most of the pregnancy has become a bit frustrating to Annie in these later weeks, when we want things to begin moving along. And, given enough time, this too could become medically dangerous. Well, I'm happy to report that today, on Walter's official due date, Dr. M announced the first indications that Annie's cervix was open to negotiations. So, while induction is still on the table, particularly if the cervix remains reticent, this was a bit of happy news.

Thermodynamics informs us that with the passage of time comes the introduction of chaos. We've been passing time long enough -- we're ready for our introduction.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Are we there yet? No, we are not.

Last week, it seemed like maybe Walt would arrive any minute now.  This week, I am thinking he's just going to hang out in there for a couple weeks more.  Motherly intuition?  No, this is based on what I learned at our birthing class on Saturday and at my regular check up today.

From here I can easily direct all nesting efforts.
Here are some signs of immanent labor and how I measure up:

  • Nesting: A burst of energy combined with an irresistible compulsion to clean and ready the house for baby.  Does it count if I arrange for other people to do this cleaning and readying?  And, you know, kind of direct the nesting from my bed?
  • Lower back pain: I've got this one!  But not as a sign of labor progress, sadly, just as a sign that I should have been more careful trying out those laboring positions in birthing class.  Dr. M says, "Your round ligaments are stretched just as far as they can be.  So when you bend, they're going to tell you 'Ow! Stop that!'"  I am getting that message, yes.
  • Practice contractions, which turn into real, time-able contractions: Nary a Braxton nor a Hicks to be found here.  Not even a little one.  
  • The bag of waters breaks: Heh. Bag of Waters.  I think there's a town with that name somewhere near here. Good old Bag of Waters, Wisconsin. Has a great Octoberfest! 
  • Flu-like symptoms (diarrhea, vomiting): Like the lower back pain, any recent experience I've had with this has been entirely due to poor choices on my part. ("I will have a mushroom and swiss burger and a pumpkin shake, please! Make it a double!")
  • Cervical pain and pressure: Yes!  For the past few months!  Does that count?
  • Cervical ripening: What a delightful image for this harvest time of year. My exam today revealed none of it--no effacement, no dilation, nothing.  The exam, while painful, was not as bad as last week's.  I used breathing techniques from the birthing class, namely the classic technique: "Remember to Breathe!" 
  • The baby "drops" or The Lightening: Not sure which one of those descriptors is more disturbing.  I'm going to go with The Lightening for it's Stephen King-esque qualities. This may actually have happened sometime last night.  I didn't have any heartburn during the night and slept well (other than the many trips to the bathroom.  "Ow! Stop that!" says my back.  "YOU stop that! I have needs!" says my bladder.)  I woke up this morning without any heartburn and with more space between belly and bosom than I remembered.  Also, I can breathe now without having to raise my arms above my head. These are all good signs ... that the baby is coming sometime in the next two weeks or so.  
I'm going to see how tonight goes before I commit to the idea that this baby has dropped ... he may just be messing with me, trying to see how much he can get me to eat before popping his little feet back up again and kicking me right in the stomach.  Hmmm, that sounds pretty adversarial and paranoid on my part.  I've heard that's a good sign of impending labor!