Another week, another appointment!
Today's was more eventful than most, though, so more to report. Woohoo!
First, we had a sonogram to check on Caleb's growth. He's growing just fine, but slower than the average baby. In the past two weeks, and average baby would have grown 1 pound (8 ounces a week), but Caleb has only grown 11 ounces. They're estimating he's 6lbs 14oz right now. His amniotic fluid is very good (they don't want it to get too low), and the placenta is also in very good shape (did you know the placenta actually gets old and starts to break down? that's one reason doctors don't like overdue babies.). So overall, nothing to worry about at all. Again, he's still kicking and rocking, which is a very good indicator.
One funny note is that the sonographer noted that yep, we were still having a boy. She said that last time, but Jon missed seeing it before she moved on to something else. So this time I said, "Wait, make sure Jon gets a chance to see!" I was just joking mostly, but not only did she hold that spot for awhile, she zoomed in and printed a picture! So now we have a nice pic of our little boy. And no, I think I'll keep that one off the blog.
After the sono, it was back to the waiting room for us. A nurse friend of mine had suggested we go visit the nurses in Labor & Delivery. The doctor's office is in the hospital, just down the hall from L/D, so Jon and I decided to use our wait time to do just that. I felt a little funny walking in there, but I'm so glad we went. As we walked up, a nurse immediately asked if she could help us. I realize now that a pregnant lady walking into L/D is usually a sign that they're about to check in a new patient, but at the time I thought it was great service! Anyway, we ended up talking with her for a bit.
We had our birth plan with us (to go over with Dr. K), so she asked to see it and we went over it with her. She seemed very open to most of our requests, with a few flags being a hep lock (where they put in an IV port in case it's needed, but don't actually hook an IV up), food consumption, and nipple stimulation. She said a hep lock can sometimes close up, so she'd recommend the full IV, and food was okay if I'd had a natural delivery before and knew I could do it, but otherwise, in case I got an epidural, she wouldn't allow it. Nipple stimulation is a natural way to speed up labor (and avoid pitocin), and I really wouldn't mention it except for our conversation with Dr. K later (keep reading). The nurse said it was fine, as long as we let the nurses know first. She was also very firm about only two people being there at the delivery. We'll see if we can warm her up on that one with some homemade bread or something. :)
She said the shift changes every twelve hours at 7 o'clock (handy to know so we don't show up right at shift change), and there are lots of different nurses on rotation, so we'll likely see all different people than the ladies we saw there this afternoon. She gave us the phone number to the nurse's station and suggested we give them a call when we're on the way, so they can keep a nurse on that might have gone home because it was a slow day or something. So that was neat. All in all, she seemed very nice and accomodating, and I hope the other nurses are similar.
Back to the waiting room.....
Finally our name is called, and here are the stats:
Weight: Gained 1lb. Total of 26lbs.
Blood pressure: 131/93
Caleb's heart rate: 133bpm
If you're paying attention, you'll notice that my blood pressure is high! For the first time, I failed! Well, the nurse had me lay on my left side for 10-15 minutes, and she retook it, and it was back to normal: 117/82. So that whole left side thing really works! As for why it was high, I don't really know. I hadn't had much water today, I had caffeine, and we didn't wait in the waiting room so long that I had fallen asleep. Any of those could be factors, I suppose.
Dr. K did the pelvis check, and there's still no development in regards to dilation and effacement. She'll be gone next week, so we're meeting with Dr. P. I asked if Dr. P would make any decisions, such as to go ahead and induce or something. She said, no probably not, though she might set a future date for induction. She checked her calendar quickly and said maybe somewhere around December 1st. But she said that really, we didn't need to have that conversation until we saw her (Dr. K) on the 26th. She understands our desire for a natural delivery and for things happening on their own, so she actually never used the word "induction," but only said, "We'll have to talk about doing something." So maybe that week before would be a good time to get a pedicure and foot massage to trigger those points that supposedly start labor!
We went over our birth plan with Dr. K. Again, I was amazed and thankful that we have such a great doctor. I know I don't have anything to compare to, but I really didn't expect her to go over each piece with us, offer her own advice and explanation, and even give us some tips on how to talk to the nurses, who can tend to be anti-natural. She specifically brought up the hep lock/IV choice, and said there are many nurses who walk into your room right after you've checked in with an IV bag and pole, ready to hook you up. She said that's unecessary, and the best thing to do is to say, "Dr. K requested that we not have an IV until we're ready for pain medication." That way, they get the satisfaction of knowing we'll get it eventually (if I don't make it natural), and it holds them off "for a little while," Dr. K says. The worst thing to do is tell them straight up that you don't want an IV, because it just starts things off on the wrong foot, and you really want your nurse to like you.
She also mentioned the food issue, and basically said not to eat something that you wouldn't mind seeing later, because around 3 of 4 centimeters dilated, lots of women tend to throw up. I told her I figured I'd only eat things I would eat if I had the stomach flu (clear liquids, bland foods), and she said that would probably be fine. Now regarding nipple stimulation (I told you it would come up again), she said that it was fine as long as I'm on the monitor at the time, and to under no circumstances tell the nurses! She said the monitor was important because it could actually cause the baby's heartbeat to change, and if it did, and the nurse comes running in, just say, "I don't know what happened! I was just scratching an itch, and all of the sudden THIS happened!" Ah....labor humor...I love it.
But I thought it was especially interesting how the nurse brought up these three issues--IV, food, and natural labor stimulation--and Dr. K also (without our prodding) brought up the same issues. She said there's one nurse named Joyce who is the most encouraging nurse when it comes to natural labor/delivery, and will do everything she can to help you meet your goal. So if y'all want to pray for Joyce to be on duty, that would be fine with me!
Dr. K said she would be in and out of the room periodically while I'm in labor, assuming she's around when I'm delivering. I was a little surprised, because I just expected her to show up at the end. She said she used to hang around a lot more, but she values her sleep more these days. I guess I can respect that. :)
I asked about an Arbonne cream I'm trying as an experiment to lessen the swelling in my ankles. She gave her usual response, "As long as you don't drink it or inject it, it's fine." So we'll see how it goes. If it works, I'll report!
And that, my friends, was the appointment! Very informative, for sure! Everyone, from the sonographer to the nurse to the doctor, was a fountain of information today. And I've just passed it on to you and you didn't even have to pay a copay. How's that for service!