Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Discouraging Day

Well, it's been a pretty discouraging day, and we'd really appreciate your prayers. As a background, I've been having regular contractions for a week now - generally about 15 minutes apart. They are not at all painful, but I can feel that my uterus is tightening up - like the feeling when you flex your arms or something except I'm not in control of when it tightens and lets go. So last night they started to come closer together, 6-10 minutes apart. I went to sleep and woke up at 4am, and they were coming CLOSE. So I timed them and they were every THREE minutes. Generally, you don't have contractions 3 minutes apart unless you're giving birth. I timed them for a full hour to see what they'd do, and they stayed 3 minutes apart for a full hour. So I thought about waking up Justin and seeing if we should go to the hospital, but I knew from how calm I was and how little pain I was in, that there's no way this was actually it. So I just made myself relax and went back to sleep. I figured even though this clearly isn't time now, these fast contractions must mean that something is happening, and I'm going to need my rest. So when I woke up this morning, the contractions were more like 6-7 minutes apart and still not at all painful. So we just got ready and went to our scheduled doctor's appointment this afternoon, thinking they could tell us what was up.

So we got to the doctor, and the first thing we have is the ultrasound. The technician is like "Whoa, this baby is big..." "That's one big head he's got there..." "His belly measurement is off the charts..." In fact, he was so big that the machine couldn't actually give us an estimate of what it thought he weighed. It came up with 10 lbs, 5 oz, but the ultrasound tech said that doesn't really mean anything, because his belly measurement was so big that the machine didn't even use it. She that just from looking at him, she'd estimate him at 9-something. She said it's highly unlikely that he'd gain almost 2 pounds in 2 weeks, so she knows that 10,5 isn't accurate. (We didn't get any good pictures of him this week - sorry!)

Then it's time to see the doctor. I tell her about my night of contractions, and she does an internal exam... Nothing, zip, nada. He hasn't dropped at all, and so he's not putting any pressure on my cervix to make it start dilating. That doesn't mean he won't drop or that I couldn't dilate fully in just a matter of hours. But it's looking less and less likely that is going to happen. She said that of course they can never predict these things and every woman/baby is different, but if she were to make an educated guess, it would still be weeks before I went into labor on my own. Waiting weeks is not recommended considering how big this baby is. So she recommended that we go over to the hospital and hook up to the monitors to actually check my contractions and see if they're putting any stress on the baby. They also took some blood because they want to recheck my sugar and see if I developed gestational diabetes since I had the test weeks ago. This would explain the baby's large size and would affect how they treat him after birth. We should get those results at next week's appointment.

We did NOT expect a trip to the hospital today! But off we go to labor & delivery to get checked in and hooked up to the monitor! (Side note: I'd never been admitted to a hospital before... I got the wristband and everything. Didn't expect that would ever happen until I was giving birth.) So I get settled into a room and they hook me up to the monitors: one measuring my contractions, one measuring the baby's heartbeat, and one measuring my blood pressure. (Which the nurse said was a little high... I wonder why... Maybe I was a little stressed out?!?!) She said that as long as everything was looking fine, they'd only leave me hooked up for 15 minutes. It wasn't incredibly comfortable, but it wasn't the end of the world. It was a little nerve-wracking sitting there listening to the baby's heartbeat and the way it fluctuates. I would get nervous with every drop in rate, but I could tell that its fluctuations were in no way related to my contractions. So after the 15 minutes, the OB on call came in to talk about what's going on. This is the first OB I ever met with, the one who first introduced to me the idea of c-section.

He said this is the situation: The baby is doing great, healthy as a horse, having a grand old time in there. What my uterus is doing is so weak that it really can't even be classified as contractions - more just like little muscle irritations. This is why I'm not in any pain. With the baby still so high above the birth canal, my cervix just isn't dilating. And now the baby is getting so big that it's getting likely that he may not be able to drop into my birth canal. So there is a chance that we could sit here for weeks and weeks, and I'd never go into labor on my own, Eli would just get bigger and bigger in there. We are already past the point of inducing labor - he is already so big that an induction just isn't worth the risk. So our two options are to wait for nature to take its course, acknowledging that at some point we're going to have to make a decision that we've waited long enough, or go ahead and schedule the c-section. Both doctors we talked to today didn't have any problem at all with us wanting to wait another week or even 2 weeks to see what happens before we schedule a c-section. But they both seemed pretty confident that that will be the end result here. They just don't think I'm going to go into labor on my own, they don't think that Eli will even fit into the birth canal to get it started. So their basic stance is: Wait as long as you want before you let us give you the c-section you're going to end up with.

That is really, really discouraging to me, and frankly pretty scary. This is my son's life and health we're talking about here, and I don't take that responsibility lightly. But our stance this whole time has been that God is perfectly in control and He can be trusted with the timing and circumstances of Eli's birth. And no matter what happened today, God is no less in control today than He was yesterday. He is not surprised by the lack of progress I seem to be making, nor is He surprised at how big Eli is. (In fact, He's the only One who actually KNOWS how big Eli really is.) At the same time, the responsibility of being Eli's parents is a heavy one and one that God chose for us, and I wonder if at some point He will want us to step up and make a choice for the good of our son? If that is the case, how do we know when that is? We certainly believe it isn't now - we haven't even reached our due date yet. So our next appointment is set for next Tuesday.

And so I'm just begging for your prayers that Eli will come on his own SOON and be born healthy and safely. Pray that we can glorify God with our trust in Him, and that our choosing to trust will prove to be the best for all involved.


JTapp said...

I just wanted to add that the OB in the hospital made an interesting statement-- that it's estimated they save 1 baby for every 1,000 c-sections that are done. Therefore, the reward doesn't usually outweigh the risk. That said, he made it clear he expects a c-section in our case. But, nothing is guaranteed. Joni might go into labor tonight, or on her due date (Saturday), or who knows. That's what's frustrating for me, they can't give you any probabilities like "30% chance he comes tonight, 50% tomorrow," etc.

J & K Wilson said...
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J & K Wilson said...

Wow, what a rough day! I had a similiar experience except Cameron wasn't very big. I went into labor on my own but his heart rate went down with my contractions so they had to do a c-section. I was upset at first but I wanted the best for both of us and the c-section was. I think all women want to have their babies the "normal" way, but for some reason God wanted Cameron to come into this world via my belly. The recovery is a little longer, but it's not that bad. You will still get to hold him and feed him. We will be praying for a healthy, safe, and natural delivery! Hang in there!

Brooke said...

I found your website through a friend of a friend. Sorry for your frustrating day. I was induced on my due date and the doctor was predicting a big baby. I "labored" most of the day (w/ pitocin) and never dilated past a 3 and my son never droped. So I ended up having a c-section later that evening. He ended up being 9lbs. 4oz. He also had low blood sugar because of his size (I didn't have gestation diabetes) and was in the NICU for a couple of days (b/c of jaundice in the end). Just thought I would let you know all of that not to scare you but to let you know that sometimes things can happen if they get too big. I am praying that your baby boy does come on his own and that he is nice and healthy.

Jessica said...

The last ultrasound we had with Azlan was similar to yours today: they couldn't measure around his massive belly, blah, blah, blah. He was born a week later a pound less than they measured that day(at 9lb, 4 oz). I think ultrasounds can be very helpful for development issues, but are less reliable with measuring babies.

I remember reading that, on average, women who naturally deliver their first baby are 5-7 days after their due date. (Maybe Justin can find the actual data.) That's average, which means some women are longer than a week past their due date. Just because you're not laboring yet, doesn't mean it isn't still coming.

I know you're getting tired, and you're so anxious to hold that precious baby in your arms. No matter how it happens, you'll be holding him soon.

In just a couple of years (if not sooner) you'll barely remember the details of your delivery, much less the discouraging days like today. All that will matter is that miraculous little boy.

Whatever you choose to do, we will all be so proud of you and anxious to see that sweet baby!

Nick said...

Sorry to hear your discouraging news. YOu are right that none of this is a surprise to God. I am glad to hear that you are both healthy.

Jeannie said...

I am so sorry to hear about your recent news. How disapointing after all those regular contractions!

In our childbirthing class, we were told that an estimated 30% of pregnancies truly need medical intervention (compared to the 70% that actually receive medical intervention/assistance). It is possible that you and Eli truly fall into that 30%.

Your faith and trust regarding Eli in God is inspiring. I will continue to keep all 3 of you in my prayers, asking God to clearly show you His will for the situation.

Mollie said...

We will definitely be praying for you guys!!! Thank you for being transparent with how you're feeling with all of this! Believe it or not, it is encouraging! The Lord holds Eli in His Hands and we will pray for a safe and timely delivery!!!