Friday, June 20, 2014

Fun with membrane stripping

40 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  OB appointment this morning.  The ultrasound tech assured me that Manuji's head is quite low (it sure fucking feels like it too).  My amniotic fluid continues to be perfect, and good ol' Manooj appears to be super happy and comfortable in there.  Growth estimate is 8lbs 3 oz.  

Today we had Dr. D, whom we both like very much.  We discussed picking an induction date for between weeks 41 and 42.  I should step back a little.  First off, my practice/hospital will only schedule inductions (other than ones where the mother's health is at risk) Sunday through Thursday.  The induction starts in the evening with cervical ripening, followed by a Foley balloon, and if necessary (and it usually is), Pitocin.  

The second element is that I watched my sister get induced at 41 weeks with my first nephew and it ended in a c-section, and the whole thing seemed awful and I'd like to avoid it.  

When we started this journey, I felt pretty strongly that if everything was okay with the baby, I'd like to go to 42 weeks before induction (not too many doctors, mine included, will let you go past 42 weeks, and based on the studies, especially for women my age, I understand why).  

Then this week, and deserving of its own post, something happened.  It's been a really rough week.  On Tuesday, Dad went to his oncologist and they decided it was time to stop treatment and start hospice care.  I had wanted Dad to have a blood transfusion in the hopes that it might help his anemia and give him some relief from the fatigue.  But his doctor felt it would not do any good.  Later, when I talked to his hospice case manager, she told me she thought the doctor was right - that at this point, the cancer would just eat up all those red blood cells and it might actually help the cancer grow even faster.

So, Dad started hospice care.  I'm going to save all the stuff that happened with that for another post, but the day after that, Dad had a really bad day and I started to wonder if he'd make it to meet the baby.  After seeing him yesterday, I feel like he will make it and will be cognizant when he meets his grandson.  But I don't feel very comfortable letting it go until week 42.  And Dr. D said that at my age, they prefer a woman go closer to week 41 than week 42.

Jeeves and I discussed induction dates, and I definitely want to wait until after I hit 41 weeks - I want to give this kid a little more time to come on his own and avoid what I suspect is going to be a miserable experience that may very well result in me having a c-section.  We had to pick two dates - first choice and second choice.  We'll find out if we got our first choice on Monday.

In the mean time, Dr. D offered to strip my membranes.  In case you don't know what "stripping the membranes" is, it means that the doctor inserts a gloved finger into your cervix and gently separates the bag of waters from the cervix.  This should release prostaglandins, which can kickstart labor.  All of the studies I have read indicate that stripping the membranes is safe and can help labor start naturally.  The only real downside is that it is uncomfortable and can hurt and may not work.  

Warning - I'm going to describe the stripping, so if you find such talk gross skip the stuff between the stars.


I was hooked up to the fetal monitor, and Dr. D started the exam.  She had a hard time reaching my cervix (I have a posterior cervix) but was ultimately able to get to it.  In order to do it, she needed to push the baby down, but she was finally able to get her finger into my cervix and do the sweep.  It was very uncomfortable and it was hard for me not to clench up.  Lots of pressure.  Not a lot of fun.  In retrospect, I should have had Jeeves stand next to me so I could squeeze his hand.  I think that would have helped.  When she finished, I sat up and I had pretty strong menstrual-type cramps.  They subsided.  


Dr. D stepped out to start the process of scheduling the induction date in case I don't go into labor before that.  I was still hooked up to the fetal monitor.  And as I sat there, I started to feel not right.  I started sweating profusely, my heart seemed slow, and I felt very woozy.  The room looked funny.  "I don't feel so good," I told Jeeves.  He asked if he should get the nurse and I said yes.  Dr. D came back in a moment later, put the table back and had me roll onto my side.  Apparently I was having a vagal nerve reaction - my vagus nerve had been stimulated, probably because of the discomfort from the membrane stripping.  As soon as I was lying down and on my side, I felt much better.  I drank some juice and stayed like that for a bit, and was able to get up and go a little while later.  The fetal monitor indicated that I had a couple of contractions - one I did not feel at all (it happened while I was worried that I was dying during the vagal reaction) and the other I felt a little.

Jeeves made me take a cab home, which was the right thing to do, but it made me sad because I had so wanted to stop at the pastry shop next to the subway.  Oh well.  Once home, I basically slept for two hours - the appointment and near-fainting had wiped me out.

Now we wait to see if this worked.  Dr. D said if it works, I'll go into labor within 24 to 48 hours after the stripping.  I've had some contractions, but nothing worth timing, and cramps for a chunk of the day.  I don't want to get my hopes up.  I know how incredibly lucky I have been in my life - I have the most amazing husband and a good job, I was able to get pregnant through IUI, my pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated, and my dad managed to last 5 years in pretty good health with stage IV colon cancer.  So I don't want to complain.  But the last couple of weeks, it's sort of felt like we can't catch a break.  The timing of Dad's decline has been terrible, and I just want this little boy to come out and meet his gramps.  It would be nice to get a win.


  1. I just want to say that with everything is going on, your mind is still so food-centric. It's adorable that you were bummed about the pastries!!

    I do hope that boy comes tomorrow, on his own, and your dad enters that stage I've heard some people go through, where they seem to get better before the end. He deserves some easier time after such a long fight. Thinking of you every day <3

  2. Hope you are in labor right now as I type and if not, hopefully soon so your dad can meet his grandson. Hugs.

  3. Anonymous8:06 PM

    Um, some of that sounds awful! However, I really hope you're having Manuji right now (quickly and painlessly...I know, long shot but I'll hope anyway!)!

  4. Wow. I hope that labor starts from all that, since it was pretty eventful! I pray that things go smoothly, both with the birth and your dad meeting your son. So many prayers!

  5. Hoping that the stripping did the trick and that you are in labor or snuggling with little Manuji as we speak!