The Last Week of Pregnancy: A Sweep, Dilation & Possible Induction Plans

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I can’t believe that the next few days will be my final days of being pregnant and I will go from “Mom-to-be” to “Mommy”.

I am currently 40 Weeks and 6 days pregnant and this past Tuesday, I had what will be my final OB appointment.  I had been unsure as to what to expect for this appointment since I had officially gone past my due date, so I brought my hospital bags with me just in case.  I hoped I would get an internal exam done to see if there had been any progress at all and at least have a talk about doing a membrane sweep.  Luckily, all of this DID happen.

Since my SO works during the day, he has unfortunately been unable to attend most of my appointments, so I am very lucky to have parents willing to bring me to them and sometimes stay with me during my appointment.  I usually had my appointments at 1:30 PM but since this appointment had not been pre-scheduled (they don’t schedule them after your estimated due date), the only time available was later on in the afternoon at 3:10 PM.  The change of season brings with it new colds and apparently there is a virus going around so we were called in to the office about an hour late due to how busy the doctors are with other patients.  Having my Mom with me to talk to definitely helped the time pass.

Once we were called in, the usual routine was done- my blood pressure was taken (I have been lucky and my blood pressure has always been fine) and then they checked Liam’s position.  As the resident went to check, Liam started being quite active and he makes his appearance very clear to the naked eye- the resident laughed and said “Oh Hello There!” to him since the ridge of his foot was kicking outwards.  He is still head down but the placement of his head showed that he was still quite far up so my hopes that there had been any progress diminished a bit.  We also listened to his heartbeat which is always a pleasure.

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During this time, my Dr was telling me that if nothing happened during the week, then I will have an ultrasound done this coming Friday, just to check amniotic fluid, the blood flow of the umbilical cord and to make sure everything is okay.  If everything seems healthy and there is no risk to the baby, then I will have a couple more days of being pregnant and then I will be induced on Monday- a Thanksgiving baby!  This was all swimming around my head and the shock was settling in quite quickly that this is very real and that next week, we will finally be meeting our little man.

We spoke about doing a membrane sweep (the Dr simply “sweeps” a finger around your cervix (neck of your womb). The aim is to separate the membranes around your baby from your cervix. This releases hormones called prostaglandins, which may kick-start your labour.)  I had gone back and forth on whether or not I wanted a sweep done, but I ended up saying “Well, this may be my only pregnancy so I might as well experience all that I can during it; let’s do it.” My Dr may have thought I was a bit crazy at that point and she laughed and said “Well, that’s one way of looking at it.”

It was then time for the internal exam.  Now, I will say that from what I have read on other sites, blogs and forums, this experience is not enjoyable and can be quite painful so I was expecting the worst.  The resident asked if it was alright that she also checked me along with my Doctor.  The hospital I am with is a teaching hospital and I absolutely love both my Doctor and the resident, so I happily said yes, of course she could check too.  I put on a gown, got up on the table and the resident began the exam.  I did not feel nervous exactly, but my body knows more than I am allowing myself to admit mentally because my leg would not stop shaking.  I apologized, and I felt silly but they were super nice about it.

I honestly didn’t feel a thing until quite awhile when she said “He is definitely still way up there, that’s for sure.” She then said “So, I don’t feel any dilation or effacement, but your cervix is very soft.” I won’t lie- I was disappointed and my heart fell a little bit but I chuckled and just said “Well, I guess he really doesn’t want to leave yet.” Then my doctor had her turn (she warned me she is not as delicate as the resident and apologized in advance) and that’s when the news changed.

“You’re actually 3cm dilated and 50% effaced.”

I’m sorry…WHAT?!  I could not believe it and I will admit, I said “Holy Crap” about three times which, I felt embarrassed about later but give me a break- I went from having no progress to finding out I was already 3cm dilated.  You can see my shocked face here:

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My Doctor then started the membrane sweep and while I had heard horror stories about this too, it was not bad at all.  I would not say it was ENJOYABLE but it lasted only a minute and it only hurt towards the end.  My Dr described it as feeling like when you separate the skin from raw chicken and it is a good way of describing it.  To me, the only comparison I can make is like when you are juicing an orange or grapefruit because of the twisting motion, but that’s just me. Ladies, if you do get this done, be sure to bring a pad or at least a pantyliner with you- you will bleed a bit and that will continue for at least a day.

They asked if I had any questions, gave me the number to call to set up the Ultrasound if I don’t get a call on Friday by 6 and said that the next time they see me, I will probably have a little one with me.  Hopefully, the hospital will call me during the day on Friday so I won’t have to go there later on in the evening for the ultrasound but you never know what will happen so we shall see!  They also explained that they put me at a 7 on the Bishop’s Score and I am at station -2  which they marked it on an Induction sheet that they will fax to the appropriate department for when I am being admitted for delivery.

I can’t say it enough, I could not have been given a better Doctor and I am so lucky to be having the experience I am.  I feel so grateful for this whole experience. It is so strange to think that I may not have my Doctor be the one to deliver Liam.  I know the chances are very slim to get your Dr as the one who delivers your baby, but after months of getting to know your Dr so well, and going through so many things with them, it doesn’t feel right to not have them there for the birth.   I told my Dr this so she knows how much I love her and she said it is very strange and hard to handle sometimes but that she will only be on call on Sunday.  I told her maybe Liam is just going to wait so he knows he will be seeing her when he arrives to say hello.

Since this appointment, I have felt my tummy tightening more and more and I always know when I am about to have a contraction or that I am having one because I experience a heat wave.  It feels like when you have a fever and your cheeks feel permanently flushed.  I am not feeling them at regular intervals yet but I feel like I am having them more frequently.  I am unsure if the membrane sweep did anything, since it is not a given that it will in fact work, but I am glad that I got it done.  I am glad to have experienced it and now it is just a matter of time.  I am taking it easy to try and retain some energy for when I will need it the most, but I am also still going on walks to keep movement and gravity doing their jobs.

That’s all the news for now!  I will probably write how the Ultrasound goes at the beginning of the birth story I will post, but I wanted to get this all written down so I didn’t forget anything.  The next time I write, I will probably have my little Liam sleeping beside me… I can’t believe it.  Who knows if I will go into labor naturally in the next four days, but if not, Monday is not far away now!  I can’t believe it…..

Happy Early Thanksgiving Everyone (to my Canadian readers at least)!  I know it will be one I won’t forget and I hope it is the same for you.

 

-JLA

 

 

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5 thoughts on “The Last Week of Pregnancy: A Sweep, Dilation & Possible Induction Plans

  1. It’s been fun to read about your pregnancy and to see the differences between yours and my own. I still feel a little cheated out towards the end since I had to have an emergency induction due to HELLP syndrome. I had wanted to go into labor naturally but eh, what can you do. Hope everything ends up going well without complications and that your baby is healthy and happy! Good luck, you got this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow!! You’re on the final stretch! I had my Ella ( 2 months ago today) at 40 weeks 6 days :). I did all my dilating at once and it was a 16 hours start to finish labor – wishing you a healthy delivery! I haven’t been on here much at all to write and I need to, the memories do fade quickly. Enjoy these last few days or hours before Liam’s arrival ❤️

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