Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Mystical World of Membrane Sweeping and the Avoidance of Halloween

My 39 week appointment was on Monday of this week, and everything looks good- my belly is 39 cm., baby is moving, no protein in my urine, lost 1 1/2 pounds (which supposedly can be a sign that labor is coming), etc. I asked to have my membranes swept (or stripped, depending on what your OB calls it). I asked if the procedure usually works, and my doctor told me sometimes it does, sometimes it does not. Well, since I am 3-4 cm. dilated and 75% effaced, I thought it might just do the trick for me and send me into labor.

Well, first of all, the procedure, which is an internal exam in which your OB takes her finger and inserts into the cervix and sweeps it so as to disconnect the membranes connecting the cervix and gestational sac to release prostaglandins, is not pleasant. It is extremely uncomfortable. However, it does not last that long, and at the thought that I might have gone into labor from it, I was okay with the discomfort. (The only risk of this procedure is if your OB is not careful, she can snag your bag of waters, thus putting you "on the clock" and leaving you open to possible infection. There are really no other risks at all.)

So, what happened? I cramped, contracted, and could hardly move all afternoon. That evening I passed bloody mucus, and I thought maybe, just maybe, my water would break. Nope, no water breaking. Nope, no labor. Nope, nope, nope.

I have to say, though, that I have read lots of accounts of this procedure working, so do not take my story as the end all- be all of what happens if you get your membranes swept. I would do it again in another pregnancy with the hopes it could get things moving without a regular old induction.

So I'm still just hanging around, a full 39 weeks pregnant in my 40th week, wishing and hoping for things to get moving. If nothing happens by Monday, I have my 40 week appointment, and I will be having my induction scheduled. My OB practice does not let women go past 41 weeks, and since I am "favorable" with my current ripeness, effacement, dilatation, station, and position, I should be able to have mine at point from now onward. My husband and I are thinking we would like to schedule for little one's due date (the 28th) or the day after (the 29th) so as to avoid Halloween at all costs.

Avoiding Halloween? How dumb, I know. But here's the rub-- little kids LOVE Halloween. They love it so much, they have parties at school, and they trick-or-treat their little ghoulish hearts out... so frankly, I know my child's birthday will become indefinitely overshadowed by the boo-riffic holiday of Halloween if born on that day. I would like to avoid this. A birthday near Halloween is very cool... late October birthdays afford smashing Halloween-themed parties, and upon the ripe age of 21, an opportunity to celebrate ala Oktoberfest. So anyway, yes, I am being a nerd and absolutely unnatural if I reach my due date for the sake of keeping my son from having his birthday on Halloween. Judge if you like, but I think it makes sense enough, especially since my body is sitting on the verge of labor with a very likely successful induction in store.

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