I had my 36 week OB appointment today. Let it be said that I had a very rough morning beforehand (to be discussed at some later time) and was desperately in need of some good news from the doc. Unfortunately, I was hoping for good news of the "let's go down the hall to a delivery room and have this kid!" variety, and all she was able to tell me was the following:
* I tested negative for Group B Strep.... thank goodness! I had it with Bryn and will never forget the pain of that penicillin burning into my arm while trying to weather the contractions.
* I am 2 centimeters dilated. Of course, this was also the situation at my appointment 2 weeks ago, and I walked around 5 centimeters dilated with Shay for over a month, so this is not really all that big of news.
* I am 50% effaced. The nurse practitioner that checked me last week didn't give me a figure then, so I have no idea if this is a development or not. But again, I was 70% effaced with Shay for nearly a month before we had to induce her (after her due date), so this is not really something to get all that excited about.
* I am having lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions. (Okay, this actually something I told the doctor instead of her telling me, but she seemed to view it as a good thing). I realize that most women do this for quite a long time before going into labor. The only reason that the doctor and I find it notable is that I never once experienced a single contraction (Braxton-Hicks or otherwise) with either of my girls before getting pumped full of pitocin during their inductions. I actually didn't think that my body knew how to do that on its own. So we're viewing it as a positive sign that I at least seem to be capable of contracting this time around, even though it's not currently doing anything productive.
* I am already producing milk. (Again, something that I told the doctor instead of her telling me, but good nonetheless.) I am hoping to avoid the Nursing Debacle that I experienced during the early weeks of Shay's life, which subsequently led to her becoming a bottle baby, unlike her sister, who nursed for a full year. At any rate, having milk this early is a good sign that 1) maybe this baby really will show up sometime soon on his own and 2) I will be able to nurse him when he does arrive.
* My varicose veins are not getting any worse. Of course, they're not getting any better either, but I'll take what I can get. At this point, the pain I'm feeling is more pressure from the actual baby than from the veins. Good, I guess?
* My doctor is not comfortable letting me go more than a week past my due date without inducing me. This would actually have made me really frustrated during my previous two successful pregnancies, as I wanted to go into labor naturally. But with Bryn, my body did not dilate AT ALL, efface AT ALL, or contract AT ALL until we induced after the due date. Sometimes I really think that she'd still be in there if we hadn't gone in after her. We also had to induce Shay because she was showing no signs of coming on her own, in spite of my body cooperating a little better that time. So while in principle I am not a fan of induction and would rather do this naturally, I honestly wonder if my body is even capable of that. Plus I've been in so much stinking pain this time around that it's kind of nice to know that there is a "hard stop" date out there.... gives me something to hang on to!
* Due to the varicose veins and my previous two delivery experiences, my doctor said that she would be willing to induce up to a week early. This is actually better news for Ben than me, as he (and various other family members on both sides) desperately want this baby to come in February instead of March. You see, my birthday is November 11, and both of the girls were born in November as well (Bryn on the 3rd and Shay on the 27th), so we pretty much celebrate that as Girls' Birthday Month. Ben's birthday is in February (tomorrow, actually), so everyone is hopeful that this little boy will show up in time to make February into Boys' Birthday Month at our house. One week before my due date is February 28, so we could theoretically make it happen if we decide it's really all that important. Although I'd really prefer if Baby would just make that happen on his own. :)
9 days until my next appointment, so I'll just continue to hang in there for the time being!