Today was another doctor's appointment. I'll start going every week from here on out! It's getting exciting!
Here are the stats:
Weight gain: None this week. Holding steady at 30 pounds.
Blood pressure: 120/74
Baby's heart rate: 140 (The dr. checked it this time, so she actually gave me a number)
Uterus: Didn't take a measurement today
Though the Dr. didn't measure my uterus, she did check it out and confirm that James is in the head-down position! Hooray! She said it's very unlikely that he will move from that position, so that's good news! Babycenter says that James is about 18 inches long and 5.25 pounds. From here on out he'll just be packin' on the weight with not much more growth lengthwise.
I had a Strep test today, which is just a simple swab test of the vaginal area. If the test comes back positive, that means that James could contract strep as he passes through the birth canal, so they would put me on an antibiotic before delivery to avoid that.
My eczema is doing okay. The steroid cream is keeping the inflammation down for the most part, and the itching has become fairly minimal. My skin is starting to peel on the palms of my hands, but it's still minor right now, and hopefully it will stay that way! Dr. W said that if the eczema sticks around longer than 6 weeks after James is born, she'll send me to a dermatologist to make sure there's nothing more we can do.
We discussed labor options again today. I recently watched a documentary about hospital births vs. home births. It was very one-sided (leaning toward midwifery), but it showed me something I hadn't realized before: the Pitocin used to induce my labor with Caleb was probably what put him in distress, which resulted in a very harried (and hurried) delivery. Pitocin causes contractions to be stronger and longer, which is very hard on the baby. For some reason I hadn't put those two things together. So anyway, at today's appointment, I reiterated my desire to not be induced, and to avoid Pitocin if at all possible (many drs will prescribe pitocin to women whose labor began naturally but isn't progressing "fast enough" or whose contractions are erratic to regulate them a little more). Dr. W asked if that included using it after delivery (it's used to help the uterus contract back down and stop the flow of blood), and I said I thought that would be fine, since James would already be out.
Dr. W also asked me about the episiotomy, if I would rather the cut or to tear naturally. I had to pause about this one, because it sounds so much more in control to have a surgical cut. However, I know of several cases (including my own) where a cut has led to further tearing, excessive blood loss, or other complications. And recent studies seem to be indicating that a tear is actually faster to heal. So, I told her I'd rather the tear. Yikes! I'll have to do a little more research on the topic and make sure I'm certain about that decision.
My desire is the same as it was when I was pregnant with Caleb: I would like to stay at home as long as possible, and have as natural a birth as possible. That, of course, did not happen with Caleb, since we were induced and I checked into the hospital with barely a contraction in my belly. And it really seems that it was necessary to be induced (though I just spoke with a friend who self-induced with castor oil for all three of her kids, which worked like a charm and still allowed a natural delivery...wonder if I should have tried that). But Dr. W seems very fine with the fact that I want a natural delivery, and just emphasized that I need to be very clear about it to the hospital staff.
Perhaps because of our discussion about induction and Caleb's late arrival, Dr. W gave me a handout about "natural methods for induction" and suggested I start them at 37 weeks...starting slow and ramping up to 40 weeks. The handout included things like intercourse and using a breast pump. Well I gotta tell ya, I hadn't expected that! So I probably won't be keeping you apprised of that kind of stuff, but I thought it was interesting/funny that my dr. would pass on that helpful bit of information.
I won't get cervical exams until starting at 38 weeks, which somehow seems like a long way away! Not that I'm expecting anything, but it would be nice to know if there was any progress, and now I have to wait 3 weeks to find out. Oh, well! It'll all happen soon enough, I know!