37 weeks

Well, this is it.  37 weeks.  Officially early term.

I had my second NST + AFI with the local OB today, and everything is looking good.  Baby has finally flipped, so hooray for head-down!

Today I was pleasantly surprised to be seen by my favorite OB in the practice rather than the one I had been scheduled with — I think I’ve only seen her once early on in this pregnancy, but she’s the main doctor I saw during my pregnancy with S and she’s really the reason I came into the practice, so it was nice to reconnect with her.

She did ask me about how I was feeling about induction vs. waiting for spontaneous labor.  I told her I don’t want to go much past my due date, and she said that she understood and agreed and they’d be willing to induce me anytime at 39 weeks or beyond.

That was actually kind of reassuring to hear — I’m not into interventions, and I was really pleased to go into spontaneous labor one day before my scheduled induction date at 40+5 in my pregnancy with S.  But at the same time, I worry a lot about the small but rising risk of stillbirth after 39 weeks — for me, even though the probability is low, my experience with late loss tells me that I would not want to torture myself with wondering if I could have avoided it by inducing earlier if I ever did wind up in that situation.  In addition, the closer I get to my due date, the more stressful it is to have to worry every morning about whether or not I should inject myself with Lovenox (which I’m staying on right up until delivery thanks to the Heparin allergy we discovered in my pregnancy with S).  I was a huge fan of my epidural while delivering S, and I know I can’t get an epidural until 12 hours after my last dose of Lovenox, so if things start on their own and happen quickly I could end up with an unplanned, unmedicated vaginal delivery, which I am just not interested in (though I know and respect that many women are) — obviously I’d deal with it if it happened, but I also worry about what would happen if I ran into complications and had to have a c-section.  Without the option of an epidural or spinal, they’d have to put me under general anesthesia, and I both find general anesthesia pretty creepy and also would be sad to be unconscious for the birth of my son.  Induction offers a nice way to have a little more control over the timing of stopping my medication and not worrying about the small but real risk of developing clots.

So, the way I left it with her is that I’ll wait to see what my cervix is doing in a week or two, and we’ll take it from there.  As a multigravida who had a totally textbook vaginal delivery last time, the risk of c-section is pretty low this time, induction or not (especially given the results of the ARRIVE trial).  My plan at the moment is to aim for induction during the week of my due date, unless my cervix is totally unfavorable, in which case I’d wait until the next week (the end of week 40) to induce.  But I am not interested in the risks of going into week 41 and beyond, so if I haven’t gone into spontaneous labor by then I will stop caring what my cervix is doing.

And there it is.  Unbelievably, our baby could be three weeks away… or even less!  It’s thrilling and terrifying and unbelievable all at once.  I can’t wait to welcome him to the world.

13 thoughts on “37 weeks

  1. jwhitworth7

    Oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!! Yay! Good news all around! As always it sounds like you have a totally feasible plan and are prepared for many different options. I’m with you on going past 41 weeks. The thought of that terrifies me, truly. I know I’ll never have that options due to risk of uterine rupture but it still terrifies me for other people. I had a friend who was one day shy of 42 weeks and was hesitant for induction. I couldn’t sleep some nights thinking “what if”

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thanks, Jennifer. That’s exactly how I feel — the “what if,” and the knowledge that I could never totally forgive myself (I still sometimes torture myself thinking about what if I ate some unpasteurized cheese by mistake in my pregnancy with my daughter, which is ridiculous because as far as I know I didn’t, plus there’s no evidence that I had listeria anyway and plenty of evidence that her death was clotting-related! Point is, I am just not going to give myself any other windows for self-flagellation). I have some super-crunchy lesbian friends in England who were very strongly set on spontaneous labor and went almost to 43 weeks and it took all of my self-control not to shake them from across the Atlantic and go “What are your priorities here???” (Their daughter is fine, thankfully.) I have nothing but respect for other people’s birth choices, but my own priorities are so strongly influenced by my experiences of loss that it’s sometimes hard for me to understand, even if I can empathize.

      1. Mamalife

        I am absolutely with you on this sentiment.
        I was asked for a birth plan with my first( after 3 painful miscarriages) and my only plan was – get the baby out alive and kicking+ dont kill me.
        The friend looked at me like I had 2 heads or something.
        I envy those who can go on with child irth without any fear / worry. But I worry for them…. and their innocence in it.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      That’s a good idea — I’m seeing the midwife in the practice next week (at 38w) and I’ll see what she thinks. As I recall you have to be at least a bit dilated for a stretch and sweep to work, but last time I got my first contractions within an hour after a doc did a stretch and sweep on me, so it’s definitely worth a try!

  2. Meiko

    There seems to be some anecdotal evidence (I really don’t know how sound these studies are… ) that eating dates at the end of pregnancy lowers the probability of going past the due date:
    I’m thinking I might try it when the time comes. I guess it cannot hurt…
    Best wishes for baby’s arrival… not too late, but not too early either!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      I tried this last time, in my pregnancy with S! Looked up the study and followed its protocol to the letter. Don’t know if it worked or not, but I went into spontaneous labor at 40w5d, which is pretty much the average for first full-term pregnancy anyway. 🙂 Turns out I don’t really like dates, so I’m skipping them this time around and just hoping for the best!

  3. RJ

    Wow I seriously cannot believe you are almost there! I hope you do not need the induction but I think you have a fabulous attitude toward the whole process. I wish you all the best and I look forward to hearing the good news!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      I can’t either! I’m 38w1d now, and it seems completely unbelievable to me that he could be here anytime in the next couple of weeks. Hope things are still going well for you too!

      1. RJ

        11 weeks today! Had an appointment last week and all is well, and I found the baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler tonight. I am super behind on my blogging bc I’m working so much! Wishing you the best with your delivery!!!

      2. lyra211 Post author

        HOORAY!!!! I am so incredibly happy for you. At 11 weeks, you’ve officially got a fetus, which is a huge step developmentally — that’s so exciting! Lucky indeed. 🙂 Here’s hoping everything keeps going swimmingly.

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