Friday, November 11, 2011

I finally get it...

I get what women who are in their waning days of pregnancy experience: Extreme fatigue, chronic soreness, difficulty moving, (hell, difficulty SLEEPING), major swelling (hands, fingers and wrists are not immune to this effect of pregnancy either), intense hip and joint pain (I'm talking pain that almost impedes your ability to walk and forget trying to squat, get into an SUV, pick up something off the ground or get up easily from bed...), anxiety x2 (you're no longer worrying just about your personal struggles or fears but now the health and well being of the baby take center stage), sleep deprivation, differentiating between false labor pains and true labor pains (it's as if you need a medical degree to understand the differences), an overwhelming range of emotions, raging hormones, more anxiety, spontaneous tearful episodes (due to said hormones), a disintegrating mucous plug (gross, I know), and oh yeah, the emotionally draining and physically taxing weekly pelvic exams to check if the cervix has begun the dilation and effacement process. Don't we go through enough?

I have one day left in week 36. Saturday, November 12th will mark the start of week 37 and with that, the baby will be considered full term, which means, if I were to deliver at this point, his lungs would be mature and he would be able to live outside the womb. (Delivery prior to this mark is considered preterm and poses a threat to the fetus.) I had my weekly doctor's appointment on Tuesday and what a day it was. I won't go into detail but let's just say it was not pleasant. My doctor's appointments these last 8 months have been a breeze. Doctor would measure my abdomen, check the baby's presentation, listen to the baby's heartbeat, discuss my burgeoning weight and answer my myriad of paranoid questions. But starting at week 36, weekly pelvic exams are in order. Again, don't we go through enough? I'll skip the delicate details but as it turns out, my cervix was 50% effaced (thinned) and I am 1cm dilated. But just because dilation has begun, does not mean labor is imminent. The only bona fide sign of true labor is the infamous contractions (and this could be coupled with water breaking, extreme lower back pain and of course a bloody mess down below). I asked him if he thinks I'll make my due date, but in true medical fashion, he was non-committal with an answer and reminded me that due dates are simply estimates. And I do understand, the baby's big arrival is so unpredictable. No one really knows what causes the onset of labor. It's Mother Nature's call, really, when labor begins. Here's hoping that Mother Nature has been listening in on my prayers and that Julian stays checked in until the last week of November. I know my opening paragraph may have seemed like a long diatribe but it was more of an affirmation that I understand and can appreciate all the stories women have shared in the past. But as difficult as it can be, it's one of the most beautiful gifts in life and an indescribable miracle that can only be expressed through experience. So until we meet in 3 weeks Julian, here's to a few more painful physical exams...

Before the exam... I really hate this part.

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