The day before labor started….

The day before labor started, we had developed a new plan.  The plan had been for delivery at 37 weeks, but frankly no one expected me to make it until 37 weeks.  The thought was with the low fluid we would see some distress at some point during my three week hospital stay and have to deliver me.  We were all pleasantly surprised how well the baby was doing. No distress.  So earlier that week I asked the question- can I stay pregnant longer?  Originally we thought 37 weeks was a good goal because we (in obstetrics) usually deliver women at 37 week if we discover oligohydramnios.  The thought is that usually the low fluid is an early sign of distress, that the placenta is beginning to function poorly and increases the risk of stillbirth.  We knew my baby’s low fluid was not a sign of distress and my baby had shown no signs distress on the monitor.

 

Luckily my primary MFM doc was on that week and so when I asked about potentially waiting until 39 weeks for induction, she thought there might be something to it.  We weighed out the risks and benefits.  Pros: the lungs might mature more, the baby would be bigger (and weight is always good for a sick baby), my cervix might be readier for induction and it gives me more time to go into labor on my own (the latter two would decrease my risk of c-section).  Cons: more time on the monitor means more time for baby to show distress, possibly leading to an emergency c-section, the lung development might not be all that much between 37-39 weeks, so we might be delaying the inevitable and in theory increased risk of stillbirth due to cord accident (though being on the monitor in my mind essentially solved that).  There was also the impact on me mentally and emotionally- could I survive another 2 weeks in the hospital?  Would I regret not waiting the extra two weeks if the baby dies due to pulmonary hypoplasia?  Would I regret waiting the two weeks if I have a stillbirth?

 

Ultimately we decided to wait- give her an extra two weeks.  We called our families and told them of the new plan.  I felt bad because some had already bought plane tickets for 37 weeks but I knew that we had to do what we thought was best for our baby.  Give her the best possible chance.  I wanted to look back and have no regrets on our decisions for her.  I went to bed the night before labor feeling oddly happy about spending another two weeks tethered to a monitor.  I got two more weeks to feel her move and grow her.

 

We now know Mabel had her own plans, but I’m glad we made that decision.  I’m also glad that she made the decision to come on her own.  If we had induced I might have always thought, what if we had waited?

 

I’ve been writing my birth story and I’m almost ready to share.  As a midwife and as a mother whose child has died, I want to remember every second of my time in labor and my time with her.  I want to get it right.  I want the world to know how she came into this world and how she left it.  It’s her memoir.  And this decision to wait as long as possible for her is part of that story.

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4 thoughts on “The day before labor started….

  1. Meghan, just wanted to know I’m following the blog and you, Chris, and Mabel’s journey. Love you and thinking of you all!

  2. Dear Meghan,

    Its amazing how us women find eachother, I feel so drawn to women like you. Women going through what I am going through. Women who KNOW what this feels like. The sweet woman from inallthingsrejoice commented on my blog a few months ago. I started following her. Then through her blog I found you. I am 32 weeks pregnant with my sweet baby boy Gideon who is diagnosed with Bilateral Renal Agenisis and Potters Syndrome. No fluid, no kidneys, only a combination of love and pain like I have never experienced before. The day of his coming is still before me and I wanted you to know I have found encouragement from reading your story and immense LOVE for your sweet daughter Mabel. These days are hard, these days are long and yet too entirely short at the same time. I only pray that somehow we come out of all of this better and stronger because of the difference our babies made in our lives. Their impact is immeasureable and so special. Thank you for sharing, if my sweet boy goes to join our Heavenly Father I know he will have beautiful and precious playmates in Mabel and Seraphim.

    Love Maria (a fellow hurting Momma)

    • Maria, I am so sorry you have had to struggle through this diagnosis. You are so right that it is a combination of love and pain like no other. I hope beyond hope that things will turn out different for you. I hope you get to spend as much time with Gideon as you need. And I hope you can continue to enjoy this pregnancy. I yearn for those days, feeling my baby move, knowing she was safe inside me. Cherish and enjoy these times best you can. Cry and write when you need to. It is amazing how hearing others’ stories makes me feel less alone and makes my experience more real. thank you for following and I will keep march 31 in my heart as a day to hope for your Gideon.

  3. I am looking forward to reading the birth story. When our baby came a week earlier than the planned induction day (funny how they chose just what they want in the end!), my husband was really distraught at first, saying, “Why didn’t he just wait the extra week?” I know the extra time wouldn’t’ve made any improvement, and in the end, I’m glad he came when he was ready. It was a much easier process, despite how complicated the experience was for us (at least you were already in the hospital! I kind of wish now that they had hospitalised me!), and I will never have to regret any decisions we made. Our son came when he needed to, and so did your daughter. I am relieved, at the very least, that both of our babies were born alive and that we got to see and hold them for just a little bit. I wish I could hold my baby again, but I am thankful for the short while we got with him. For me at least, it was all worth it. Wish he were still with us, but I’m glad we got the time we got. And I’m glad for you, too, though I was hoping for a different outcome for you as well.

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