38 weeks, 1 day. 3:30pm midwife appointment, but the place is packed with women in various stages of pregnancy, midwives with oodles of paperwork in their hands, the phone is ringing off the hook, and we don’t get in to see Georgia until 4pm. Her student, who I met back in week 36 (so long ago, right?) is there as well.
As they’re checking my blood pressure, Maia starts to hiccup. When I lay down and the student begins to palpitate my uterus, the baby is hiccuping; Georgia checks the baby’s position as well and there are still hiccups. Not only that, but she’s squirming all over the place. So they get out the heart monitor, and this is how it sounds:
thumpthumpthump SWISH thump HICCUP thumpthumpthump HICCUP thumpthumpthumpthump SWISH
I was trying so hard not laugh, I really really was. Chris, sitting beside me, was trying to hold back his laughter too. I finally had to ask them to stop listening so I could get all my giggles out, THEN they could resume counting her heartbeats!
They finish. Georgia looks at me and asks, “So, are you okay for the stretch and sweep today?”
I nod. I’ve been preparing myself for this for weeks now. Having not had BHC in the last two days, I’m a little worried that my body is doing something wrong and I’m going to end up carrying really, really late. “Yeah. Let’s do it.”
So a few minutes later I’m naked from the waist down, lying on the doctor bed, my knees up and legs spread. Chris looks as nervous as I feel. Georgia and her student return to the room.
“Bring your ankles together and let your knees flop apart,” she says as she puts on a glove and opens some lube. What? I think. Not the stirrup position? It’s actually more comfortable to lie like this and I assume easier on her. I’m worried about the fact that there’s a 99% chance my stinky feet are clogging up her breathing space and she probably hates me for it. “Now remember, you’re in control. If it hurts, you tell me to stop. If you want me to stop for any reason, just tell me. You’re going to feel some cold goo.”
There I am, my husband sitting beside me, her student standing on the opposite side of the room, my midwife’s fingers in my coochie trying to find my cervix. “I’m looking for your cervix… it’s posterior. That means it’s still in the back. Annnnd, there’s your baby’s head,” she smiles, “I can feel the bones. She’s in a good position.”
“You can feel the baby’s head?” Chris asks.
“Yeah, of course she can,” I answer. This is probably snarky of me.
Then Georgia announces: “My fingers are through your cervix.”
WHAT? It feels more comfortable than when she was poking around looking for it. “Um, okay.”
“I’m going to start the sweep, please tell me to stop if you need to. Your cervix is actually thinned out quite nicely. Not as far as it will, but there’s definitely something happening here. You’re definitely progressing.”
The stretch and sweep was WAY worse in my mind than it was to have actually happening. I’d even venture to say that on its own, it’s not even as uncomfortable as a pap smear.
“Remember, you can tell me to stop.”
“You can stop anytime,” I say, laughing a little. “It doesn’t hurt though, I thought it would be way more uncomfortable.”
“Good, I’ll really sweep it well then,” she answers. Cramps are starting to happen as the stretch and sweep continues. Then, in a totally non-chalant tone: “You’re probably going to be early. You’re really well progressed for a first-timer.”
I wish I had a camera so I could have taken a picture of the look on my husband’s face. Of course, he probably wishes the same for me. “Seriously?” he asks.
“Yeah. You’re two centimeters dilated. Baby is about two centimeters above the pelvic bone.” (Click here for an image of “stations” in relationship to pregnancy. Maia’s at +2.)
Finally: “You can stop anytime,” I choke out. The cramps are getting pretty uncomfortable and I feel as if she’s most likely swept me well enough that stopping is a fine idea and she’s accomplished what we set out to.
“You may see some spotting tonight,” Georgia says as she pulls her hand out, “but that’s perfectly normal. If blood starts to run down your leg, page me immediately. I’ll let you get dressed.”
When Georgia and her student leave the room for me to get straightened up, I make Chris turn his back. If there’s goo or blood or whatever, I don’t want him seeing it. Everything seems alright, though. They come back in.
We go over the things she mentioned — the baby’s position, the cervix’s location, the effacement (about 2/3 effaced), the dilation, what I can expect as a result of the stretch and sweep, etc. And then Georgia says:
“Well, you probably won’t go into labour tonight.”
And then when I booked my appointment for next week, she said goodbye with, “I’ll see you on Monday, if you don’t have the baby before then!”
Oh. My. God.
I’m so not ready for this.