I woke up this morning, 38 weeks and 2 days gestation (you know, approximately), with Lentil's rump causing a massive protrusion off the left side of my abdomen. I had never felt it quite so dramatically, and once again, excitedly, I began poking and prodding my stomach, trying to see if she had switched back to an anterior position (face towards my spine, instead of spine towards my spine).
No such luck.
But then I noticed that despite my poking and prodding, Girlie wasn't kicking and flailing in protest.
Out of character. Definitely weird.
I got nervous.
I got up from bed and poured myself a [refreshing] glass of iced decaf coffee, laced with a healthy slug of cream, and unwrapped a Mojo Cliff bar. No time to slice strawberries and stir them into yogurt... I wanted a more rapid infusion of sugar into my bloodstream.
Of course, since I don't drink juice, there was no juice in the house. I started to drink my emergency container of Coconut Water... but then realized it expired in April, 2011. Ooops. No sense in poisoning my poor girl on top of everything else.
So then I retrieved my bag of Jolly Rancher hard candies, leftover from first trimester nausea days, and started sucking on them frantically, while noting the time to do an official hour-long kick count. While simultaneously sitting down to do ever-more online lactation consultant coursework (access possibly expiring today, so no time to lose). A few minutes later, I threw on some clothes and went to the closest bodega and bought a bottle of Gatorade, harkening back to my Ovarian Hyperstimulation Days, when I was forced to mainline the stuff.
An hour went by, with only three feeble kicks. My heart was beating faster and faster.
I called my midwife, knowing she was off camping for the weekend with her daughter, but needing to get the phone number for the back-up midwife off her voicemail. To my surprise, she answered... it was nice to hear her voice. I think I kept the panic mostly out of my voice, and she gave me the number for the back-up midwife.
The back-up was lovely, and told me to head over to Labor and Delivery to get checked out. She also asked "where do you guys live?" and then, "how will you guys get there?" At first, I wasn't sure if by you guys she meant me and Lentil, or me and my partner (I'm sure that in Brooklyn, she would never assume I was in a straight couple, God forbid, but ahh, now us SMCs have taken the need to be PC to the next level.)
The hospital was uneventful, except that I started feeling dizzy and nauseous when I got there. My sort-of- friend, the hospital-based midwife, is on vacation, so that meant I had to go through official channels, and fill out paperwork... telling them I felt like I might faint didn't seem to particularly move things along any faster. Good to know. There was another woman in triage who seemed far more uncomfortable than me, with her face in her hands, breathing heavily (and likewise, very pregnant). They seemed, if anything, even less interested in her. Poor girl. This makes me even less excited about going to the hospital in actual labor. (I still have fantasies about somehow "ending up" with a home birth... like if the baby came so fast that there was nothing to be done but deliver her in the bathtub in my very own bathroom. Seems unlikely, but it's my fantasy. Apart from the cleaning of the tub afterwards.)
Once in my own little triage room, The nurse did, however, reprimand me for taking Metformin without a particularly good reason, as did the OB Chief Resident, who scolded me, "Well, now I'm going to have to go look up the [Pregnancy] Category of Metformin."
Umm, since you just acknowledged a moment ago that Metformin was approved for first trimester use in women with PCOS, to prevent miscarriage... how do you not know that it's [relatively] safe to use in pregnancy? (I say "relatively" just because you never know with any medication that it's definitely safe.) Isn't that a thing that an obstetrician who has made it to her chief resident year should know?
Anyway, the dizziness subsided rather quickly, once they started tending to me. My blood pressure was 98/60, which is fine... perhaps it had been lower before that, leading to the dizziness? Blood sugar (which the nurse insisted on checking, since I am on Metformin, when I remember to take it, anyway, which I did not today) was normal at 107, baby's heartbeat was perfect, there were no uterine contractions, and the ultrasound/BioPhysical Profile/Non-Stress Test all looked normal.
Then the OB chief resident did a pelvic exam.
Now, I'm kind of a veteran of pelvic exams at this point, especially what with my seven months of fertility treatments, all in (each with many cozy encounters with Wanda, the ultrasound probe, plus the rare exam by the Reproductive Endocrinologist). So I wasn't nervous or worried about this particular exam.
But then she jammed what seemed to be her entire hand up my yoni, sans lubrication. She forcibly shoved against me while urging me to move closer down the table to her... which was an absolute impossibility, given the force she was exerting on me.
Then she said, "sorry I have to push so hard, it's just your cervix is irregularly placed," as she shoved ever harder. Ahh, so it's not really your fault you are hurting me, it's my damn cervix's fault?
I gasped, "yeah, um, it's usually on the left side."
"No, no, " she answered defensively, "I've already got it."
Then a moment later, more quietly, "Oh, you're right. It is on the left side."
A moment later, she withdrew her hand and I gratefully snapped my shaking legs back together.
And as she snapped off her gloves, she pronounced, "no changes in your cervix. Well, it's shortened, as you'd expect it to be, but it's closed."
Although I am everlastingly grateful that Lentil is okay, I was definitely hoping to find out that I had made some progress. Either that, or else being told, "sorry, everything is fine, but you have to have a C-section. You know, right now. For a really complicated reason that you'd never before considered."
Which wouldn't have made any sense, but would've gotten me out of wondering and worrying how this whole labor thing is going to play out. I've been feeling the last couple days a bit like I am peering down the barrel of a gun, realizing that there is no way around this giving birth situation, except, you know, going through it.
One of the big downsides I am suddenly realizing about late-stage pregnancy.
(It only just occurred to me now, pushing "publish post," that a blog post advertising itself as entirely about pelvic exams might not really that much of an enticing advertisement to most of the world. This little SMC/infertility/pregnancy/childbirth/parenting blogging world we live in is a strange one, isn't it?)