Week 37 Wrap-Up

This week in pregnancy: we schedule a c-section, they tell me I’m having contractions, and I discover pre-birth PMS. Plus I’m finally caught up on my wrap-ups.

Last week’s big discovery was baby’s unorthodox position: she likes sitting sideways under mummy’s ribs. After meeting with the doctor and discussing our options, we have planned a c-section (if she tries to escape sooner, we’ll probably have an emergency c-section).

We skipped the version due to my anterior placenta. The placenta usually forms in the back of the womb. Sometimes it slips lower and blocks the exit, causing placenta previa. Other times it creeps around front a little bit or, in cases like mine, it covers the entire front of the uterus. Oh Happy Day.

Left: normal placenta placement. Right: anterior placenta.

After reviewing my latest ultrasound and confirming that I have a full anterior placenta, the doctor informed us that a version would be entirely too risky. The force applied to my tummy in order to turn the baby might also dislodge the placenta from my uterus, which would be bad. Thus we proceeded to a scheduled c-section.

There’s still time for her to turn on her own, but the chances of a vaginal birth are slim. I can tell that she’s been in her current position for some time, and she’s proving no interest in flipping upside down. She just plain loves my ribs.

Our c-section is scheduled for next Thursday, the fifteenth. The surgery was intentionally scheduled a week earlier than her due date. C-sections are usually put off as long as possible, but family history suggests that my water will break early (no guarantee that will happen, as every pregnancy is different, as is every woman). A sudden drain of the amniotic fluid could harm a transverse/upright baby. Worst case scenario, the event would harm the mother as well. The prospect that she could spring forth any minute is making me anxious, but waiting until 39 weeks lowers surgical risks. And so, baby comes into the world on the fifteenth (or at her leisure before).

The thought of someone piling my intestines on me while I’m conscious, even if I can’t feel or see anything, is quite haunting. I understand epidurals for c-sections are quite effective. But I don’t like the variety of disorienting drugs they offer in case I start freaking out at the sight of my own innards. Whenever I felt faint in an extreme situation, sheer concentration would keep me from falling unconscious. I don’t know that my willpower would withstand loopy pills.

My game plan is to have general anesthesia, which means they will completely sedate me. Knock me out, I want to go to sleep pregnant and wake up with a kid. The decision will be discussed and finalized with my anaesthesiologist on the day of the procedure, but it’s my preferred option. There are a few cons. First, Joel cannot be present during the surgery. When a c-section patient is put under, they like to complete the surgery as quickly as possible, so having a family member present is impractical. Second, the initial Apgar score may be low, though with a healthy baby it usually improves immediately. At the rate this child is tuning up my rib cage, I’m not concerned about her viability.

Obviously, my plan for an all-natural birth has been put aside. So here’s my pleasant reminder to you: when you make a birth plan, be prepared to throw it out the window.

At this same OB appointment I also found out I’m having contractions.

Who Knew?!

Who Knew?!

I had absolutely no idea. The OB noted that my stomach felt very firm at one point and then later felt more squishy and relaxed. I hadn’t noticed at all. Once she brought it to my attention, I was able to distinguish when one was happening. It didn’t hurt, it just felt like that stiff sensation just before a cramp or charlie-horse, like a bodily alert to stretch or else suffer. They do make me straighten up a bit if I’m sitting or curled into a ball, but I have not experienced any associated pain. They just feel uncomfortable, like when baby stretches across my stomach.

Moving around has become notably more difficult. Round ligament pain is increasing daily and I’ve suddenly found it hard to crawl into or out of bed or even roll over. I can’t account for this, other than the fact that I’m pretty freaking huge; my body has never before carried so much weight or mass.

Two bizarre end-of-term symptoms: First, I’m having PMS-like mood swings. Pregnant women warn you about having crazy emotions throughout pregnancy, and everyone from your great aunt to your OB will warn you about the massive hormonal shifts following birth, but no one goes as far as to say, “You’re gonna have the craziest PMS mood swings right before you give birth.” I have felt everything from euphoria to depression, anxiety to passive-aggressive fury for the past few days and it has been the strangest thing. As with PMS, the moment you recognize the imbalance, you can begin to regain control, but sometimes that’s after you’ve snapped at your cat for running out of rainbow sprinkles. When I think about it, a 9-month-long period culminating in a massive bout of PMS makes sense.

Second, apparently flu-like symptoms can be attributed to the body preparing for the major biological shift. I’ve personally had an increase in mucus, stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, and a scratchy voice. I have also experienced chills and, at times, a single degree differential in temperature, which can make me feel feverish even though I’m not.

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4 thoughts on “Week 37 Wrap-Up

    • Yes, I wondered about that myself. 🙂 I’ll be double checking with my doctor when we discuss discharge instructions, but I think the first time up will be a slow steady trip and after my outings will be limited to absolute necessity. I’m grateful to have a dear friend staying with us specifically to aid me in the first month or so, and I think she’ll do most of the shopping. Like most activities surrounding recovery and newborns, it’ll be a lot of play it by ear.

    • I wondered about that. The placenta begins to form at conception when the egg implants, so I suppose sleeping on my stomach after having sex could have had something to do with it, but the placenta doesn’t move around after it’s formed. It attaches to the uterine wall and can shift slightly or grow more in one direction or another, but not move front to back.

      It’s possible the side she favors is related to my sleep habits, but I don’t think it would effect head down vs. breech. The first movements I felt were her kicking my hips and in all ultrasounds she has been sideways. I think she just likes that position.

      That said, this is all my opinion. There is very little research relating to how women’s sleeping positions affect their pregnancies. You’ll notice most articles relating to pregnancy sleeping positions are opinion pieces which don’t list references. They tend to list sleeping on your back, stomach, and right side as very dangerous because these positions *can* limit blood flow in specific veins, arteries, and sometimes organs. True, lying on your back can be dangerous, especially for long periods of time late in term, but chances are you’ll be uncomfortable enough to move before you pass out or begin to vomit.

      Keep in mind also that when discussing sleeping on the stomach, most people mean with all pressure coming to rest around the belly button or on the pelvis directly below. My personal preference is to sleep half on my stomach, half on my side, which means the pressure lies around the front of my hip bone. That pressure has been shifted to the outside of my hipbone during pregnancy because I’m just too round to lay on the front of my hip. This is why I say my “stomach” sleeping may encourage my child to favor a side, but not which way her head is pointed.

      This article from livestrong is the only article I found with research references. http://www.livestrong.com/article/493935-do-sleeping-positions-affect-babies-during-pregnancy/#page=1

      This article talks about results from a specific study: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2011/jun/14/pregnant-women-sleep-left-stillbirth

      But notice that in both articles the increased risk to the baby was about 4 in every 1,000. That’s less than half a percentage point. I think you could find similar statistics in plenty of arbitrary comparisons.

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