Monday, September 14, 2015

Pregnancy: 36 Weeks

by Meghann on September 14, 2015

36 weeks and baby girl is the size of a head of romaine lettuce!

36 weeks

We had our “big” ultrasound appointment on Thursday. Just to review, I have a bicornate uterus which basically means my uterus is heart shaped with a big dip in the middle. Because of that dip in the middle, I’ve been classified as semi-high risk due to the higher risk of having a smaller baby due to growth restriction, delivering early because of baby girl running out of room, and a c-section because there’s not enough room for her to turn in the proper direction. I think the statistic is 50-70% of babies from bicornate uteruses are either breech or transverse at full term. This is all information I’ve known since the very beginning (or, really, since my miscarriage over a year ago), so I’ve had plenty of time to process and accept it all.

Thankfully baby girl has been growing right on schedule and has remained pretty steady at the 45th percentile range for size. We’ve made it to 36 weeks (woo hoo!) and currently have no signs of going into labor anytime soon. She’s extremely active (in fact, she’s currently having a party in my belly as I type this) and I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am to have nothing but good reports at each doctor visit (*knock on wood*).

However, as awesome as my little girl has been, she’s also a little stubborn. Since the beginning she has been pretty comfortable in the transverse position. She did move into breech during our last ultrasound at 32 weeks, but even then she was still at a slanted angle hugging the left side of my uterus. I think she’s really struggled trying to make it past the dip in my uterus, and the bigger she gets, the more of a challenge it becomes. Still, my doctors have been optimistic since the beginning, letting me know we won’t make any tough decisions until 36 weeks. My office is very pro-vaginal birth and won’t even consider a c-section unless they absolutely have to.

So my 36 weeks appointment was a big one. I went straight back to the ultrasound room where the extra cheery ultrasound tech squirted warmed goo on my belly and crossed her fingers that we’d find baby’s head down below. No luck. In fact, it took her a minute or so to find baby girl’s head because it wasn’t up top either. She found it far on my left side, stating baby girl had a clear view of my kidneys.  Not only had baby girl moved back into transverse position, but she had stretched herself completely across my belly. She’s so stretched out that she impressed the ultrasound tech with how she was positioned. Apparently it was a first for her and made it extra challenging to collect measurements.

As soon as I heard the word “transverse” I knew what was coming… Because of her current position, my funky uterus, and the risks that come with going into labor with a baby who is transverse, my doctor recommended we schedule a c-section for 39 weeks. As I mentioned above, I knew this was a possibility since day 1 so I wasn’t shocked. I’ve had time to process this possibility and learn to accept it. I remained hopeful that something would change, but at this time it doesn’t seem likely. My doctor would still like to monitor baby girl and see if she flips (she even mentioned they would do an ultrasound as I’m being wheeled to surgery to check position and if she flips they would cancel everything), but for now they want to get me on the schedule and to prepare myself mentally for surgery.

A scheduled c-section is never something I saw myself having before I became pregnant. I watched my mom fight hard for her right to deliver my baby brother naturally in the late eighties. After delivering my twin brother and I via c-section, she lost the battle with the doctor for a vbac with my sister two years later. She ended up switching doctors (and going to a new hospital) to finally have her vbac with him. After that she became very pro-natural delivery and she passed those same views down to me. However, my mom knows as well as I that a healthy baby is the number one priority. I feel confident with my doctors and trust them to make the necessary calls. They’re even confident that a vbac wouldn’t be out of the question for future deliveries.

It’s amazing how your priorities change when you’re preparing for labor and you learn to instantly go with the flow. As much as it kills me to admit it, there are some perks to scheduling a c-section, like coordinating schedules with our friends and family, letting my office know my exact last day of work before maternity leave, getting to sleep and shower the night before, and going over a new “birth plan” with my doctor. We’ll still be able to do immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, and all of the other birth details that are important to us.

At this point I am sad that I will not have a chance to experience true labor, but if it means getting my baby girl her safely then I am okay with that. Plus, a c-section is not the “easy road.” I expect recovery to still be painful and difficult, it’s still a major surgery that should be taken very seriously.

So as of right now October 1st is officially baby day (unless she flips in the next three weeks or something happens that causes her to come sooner). Let the countdown begin!

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