Well, I had my 36 week check up yesterday and all seems to be chugging along still. I thought for sure this was the week that I would start getting "checked", but they said they'd rather wait til next week as it was unlikely I was dilating this early. I have a few days left in week 36 still, and they prefer to wait until I'm technically in week 37. Is it wrong to be disappointed that I didn't get a pelvic exam? I think so. Sounds like next Thursday, which will be midway through week 37 I will have my first exam where they check to see if I'm dilating and also test me for Strep B, which is rather common but harmless if treated with IV antibiotics during labor. Obviously, it would be way less of a pain in the ass to NOT have an IV during labor, but we'll see.
For now, the heartbeat sounds healthy and the baby's head remains firmly in the down position with her legs and butt on my right side. I know that doctors are notoriously off with estimates, but she thinks the baby is currently a hare shy of 6 pounds and that in the end, she's putting her money on a 7 1/5 pound baby. In the meantime, I've got about 6 pounds of hiccuping baby inside me, kicking me in the bladder and making sleeping impossible. I wish I could just fast forward the next week or two.
Lindsey reminded me that I never recapped our birth class experience. The truth is that I wrote a big post about it at about 5am last week when faced with a bout of insomnia, but then when I went back to reread it the next day, I found that it sucked, and then it was hot, and I don't know. I basically spent a week just trying not to die from heat-induced pissedness. By the time the heat receded I forgot about the post entirely.
Shockingly, our 8 hour birth class went really well. I think Jeff and I were both surprised by how not-annoying the whole process was really. The teacher was great and no one else in the class sucked. I think maybe I expected us to spend the whole time watching videos with close up money shots of the baby coming out of the birth canal, but actually that wasn't the focus at all. I was pleased by how much time was spent focusing on the Father's role in the process and we got to practice a number of different positions with our partners which was simultaneously helpful and awkward. She had us hold fistfulls of ice chips while practicing these positions (and breathing) for 60-90 seconds with about 2 or 3 minutes between poses where we could put the ice down. Who knew holding ice could suck so much? Turns out ice is super cold. And it hurts to hold for more than about 5 seconds. Granted this was nothing compared to what a real contraction will feel like, but it still helped to be in some level of discomfort while Jeff tried to rub my back and I bounced on a ball, etc...
Helpful things learned during this process:
-A bouncy birth ball is a must
- we need to buy one to bring with us in case they run out at the hospital
-A wood "mr. smiley" back rubber needs to also be purchased. It allowed Jeff to use more pressure for longer periods of time after his hands got tired.
-Our height difference makes the “hugging poses” a little uncomfortable.
-I have to breath VERY loudly for Jeff to hear when I'm breathing in and out and therefore rub me with my breathing patterns. This lead to exchanges such as:
Jeff: I can’t hear whether you’re breathing in or out.
Me: Who cares, just rub my back bozo!
Jeff: You only breathed in 3 times when I was holding up 4 fingers.
This comment was met by a combo of the stink eye and silence.
We also did another "exercise" in class where she gave each couple a set of 16 flash cards. There was writing on either side of each card that said things like "Boy" on one side and "Girl" on the other, or "Vaginal birth" on one side and "C-section" on the other, or "Freedom to move during labor for as long as possible" vs. "Restricted to bed". You get the idea. You were supposed to look at each card, choose the side you preferred for your birth experience and put them in front of you with your answers face up. They were all sort of stupid questions, like who was going to choose "On-Call physician delivers my baby" over "My physician delivers the baby"? While doing this exercise, Jeff mutters, "Do you want to be punched in the face or NOT punched in the face?" Weirdly, everyone else in the room seemed to be discussing these options in earnest while we giggled and snorted in the corner.
I was starting to question the purpose of the whole activity when the instructor asked someone else to come over and randomly flip over 6 of our cards to the answers we didn't want. All of a sudden the on call physician was delivering our baby, I was having my membrane artificially ruptured, Jeff was meeting me at the hospital instead of being with me during early labor and I was requiring an internal fetal monitor during labor that required me to stay more or less put in bed during labor. So then we had to talk about what would happen if those things really did happen and blah blah. Essentially I found it helpful. I think it's unlikely that everything will go the way we envision and it's good to be ready for that up front.
So there you have it. My birth class experience in something slightly larger than a nutshell. Next week we signed up for a breastfeeding/newborn care class, then I think we're done with classes.