baby steps: on the road to ripeness at 37 weeks pregnant

February 13, 2012, Michaela Evanow, 12 Comments

Now that I’ve hit the 37 week mark, I’m confident that baby girl is cooked enough to join the world. She’s at least 7lbs, and considered full term. However, I don’t want her out just yet, but I would like things to be ready and raring to go at 40 weeks.

Of course, I’m well aware that babies do not come out until ready, and in reality, no amount of prodding and pushing can get a baby excited to come out.

That being said…this is the best part of pregnancy, as far as carrying a baby goes. Suddenly she feels real. She is a true human tucked away in there. The mystery is gone. Her feet are here, that’s her heel, here’s her bum, and those are little fists down there. It’s mesmerizing to belly map and to rock her to sleep when she has the hiccups, since I can cup her bum in my hand.

Last week my midwife confirmed she is still head down. I had a conversation with Jay about it.

“I went and saw Liz today and she confirmed baby girl is head down! And she’s engaged!”

“What? Liz is like 50?!”

Silence.

“Jay, Liz isn’t engaged. The baby is.”

“Oh.”

“Which means she’s engaged in my pelvis. And flexed.”

I laughed so hard. This is coming from my sweet husband, who, while watching Madonna perform her song ‘Vogue’ at half time at the Superbowl said: “Why is she advertising for Vogue?”

But back to baby girl. Oh sweet flexed chin of hers! What a lovely, buttery word for me to hear! She went from being breech to being perfectly engaged and tucked in. Such a gift to me. I’ve read labor is usually easier when the chin is flexed, so hallelujah.

The checklist for 37 weeks:

  1. Mother’s Time Tea (Ninth Month tea) from Gaia Gardens or another reputable brand. The tea contains a few essential herbs that aid in naturally inducing labor, strengthening the uterus, and aiding in an easier labor. If you can’t find a blend like this, try raspberry leaf tea. Ask your midwife for more information on dosage. I like to make a big pitcher and keep it in the fridge for iced tea.

2. Acupuncture for cervical ripening: Treatments preformed at week 37, 38, 39 and 40 weeks, have been studied and the research indicates that the baby becomes engaged in an anterior position, the cervix softens and dilates, and women often go into labour within 4 days of their due date. These acupuncture treatments are a gentle yet effective way of preparing your body for labour, but do not force the baby to come out if they are not ready too. I’ve done this with both my babies. My first was 4 days late, but my second was born at 39 weeks and I was already dilated to 4 cm before I went into labour.

3. Evening Primrose Oil for cervical ripening and to help prevent tearing (I pushed out a 9.3lb baby and didn’t tear–so I think it works!) Evening Primrose acts as a gentle prostaglandin. “Evening Primrose Oil may be taken orally or used as a vaginal suppository. EPO should not be used before the 36th week of pregnancy because of it’s ability to help in cervical dilation. I recommend taking the supplement orally at 36 weeks, and waiting until 38 weeks to begin using it as a vaginal suppository. You should speak to your doctor or midwife about using EPO, especially if you have had a previous cesarean, as the overuse of prostaglandins can cause hyper stimulation of the uterus. Your doctor or midwife may not “recommend” it’s use, but if you really want to use it, ask them if it will harm you in any way; If the answer is no, it’s your call.” From Natural Family Today. Read more about using it.  I have been “taking it” twice a day. I’ve noticed my Braxton Hicks have become stronger, but usually only when I have to pee and at night. Make sure you wear a liner, because a bit of the oil will come out gradually.

Call me crazy for wanting to shout her name from the rooftops and have birthday cake, but this body is getting thrown through the ringer. I recently acquired a nasty cold that has me wheezing and coughing *ouch*, plus my knee dislocated a few days ago, thanks to all the snapping, crackling and popping relaxin is causing. My pelvis feels like it’s been stabbed a hundred times, so turning over at night time is excruciating, as is sitting and standing. And alas, I’ve finally reached the stage of swollen ankles and feet, which really hurt, by the way. Plus, my scar is beginning to stretch. Imagine drawing a tiny little happy face on a flat balloon, and then blowing it up. Suddenly the smiley face is huge and not so smiley. I’m a little worried by it, since it’s really painful. I’m not sure how much more this body can take…

Just enough to birth a beautiful butterball!

I am counting down the days, and praying everyday that those rushes come on strong so I can finally kiss her face.

UPDATE: I have followed this routine for both of my children, and will for my third pregnancy as well. Both of my births were shorter (7 and 4 hours) drug free in the water or at home. I never tore and my cervix was always nice and soft and dilated to at least 3cm before I went into labour. I really believe in the power of acupuncture and Evening Primrose Oil, and I feel that both of these steps really helped my body tune up for labour.

12 Comments

  • Reply waiting for my child to come: 40 weeks pregnant. | Michaela Evanow October 7, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    […] Yesterday I had my membranes swept, which was a jolly good time. Not nearly as painful as the external cephalic version, so I put up with it for a good 7 minutes. Baby’s head is nice and low, and some dilation has occurred (2cm). I’m really glad I got on it at 37 weeks and started going through my checklist for cervical ripening. […]

  • Reply Miriam February 14, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    I was thinking about you yesterday and how at the end of every season the same characteristic appears: the desire for it to end and the next one to begin! I think it was meant to be that way – whether it’s the weather or pregnancies, those last few weeks or days seem to last forever, and yet they are just as important to the season as the exciting fresh new ones! Now that I have been through this process I still think pregnancy is the honeymoon 🙂
    I REALLY don’t like being pregnant. It’s miraculous, and it’s mysterious, but it’s uncomfortable! I am really excited this time around to meet my new little bundle (I was not that excited first pregnancy – I was so nervous!), but I am so, so in love with my sweet Isabella, I am drinking up these last precious months that will forever be changed with the birth of a new child. She is my sidekick, my little angel buddy, but soon I will have to be shared even more than I already am. The season will burst with excitement and new life, and yet for some bizarre reason, we miss the last one – even if it was miserable…. since it sets the stage, it creates the impetus for the new life to emerge.
    Dear heart – do not wish any of these moments away. I know it’s easier to say that on this side of it, but this precious, very short amount of time will never be back again. I hope that you will experience God’s miraculous peace and comfort as you wait for the next season to announce it’s arrival with all the joy and anticipation that has been building these almost 40 weeks. She’s coming!!!!!!

    • Reply The Laundry Lady February 15, 2012 at 5:27 AM

      What a wonderful attitude! It seems like I feel the reverse way most of the time. I want my son to hurry up and be born so that I can bring him home. While he’s still inside me it feels like there is so much out of my control and that I have so little say in what happens to him. Once he’s born I feel like he’ll really be mine for good. In some ways I find myself resenting my inability to enjoy these last few precious weeks because of the overwhelming worry associated with complications and potential surgery. All of a sudden the sleepless nights and sore nipples of the newborn phase seem so much more appealing.

      • Reply Miriam February 15, 2012 at 9:38 AM

        I can totally relate to that! It’s just that I have found myself at times, despite my enjoyment of motherhood, feeling nostalgic about the days when everything was still so unknown. Before the crashing weight of responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of this little life I am growing with my husband and family. The bliss of not feeling so overwhelmed by the fear of another human being’s life so strongly. The “fine print” of motherhood I was never told about. My attitude has changed this time around…. open arms to what is ahead, but being present in the moment.

  • Reply Shannon February 13, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Hahahaha the best part of that was Jay’s comment. ‘What!? Liz is like 50?!” Silence.
    Aaaahaha laughed out loud.

  • Reply The Laundry Lady February 13, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    I feel your pain (literally). My groin ligaments are killing me at night, though I’m a little behind you at 36 and a half weeks. As soon as this baby turns I will be happy to go into labor anytime. I keep hoping that maybe this one, as second born, will be anxious to make his appearance. Wishing you and easy labor lots of happiness with your new baby girl.

    • Reply Michaela. February 14, 2012 at 6:29 PM

      Thank you! Is your little one still transverse?

  • Reply Miriam February 13, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    I am getting so excited for you! I look at the candle every day and wonder when I will light it. Let that baby cook though! That last minute lung development is worth every uterine bruise 🙂 That being said, if she comes any day, of course it will be a huge party…… btw, the castor oil worked for me when I was two days past due.

    • Reply Michaela. February 13, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      see, I’m afraid of castor oil! I’d like to try as much as I can now, so that it happens at least on my due date. I’ve heard some nasty stories about it!

      • Reply Miriam February 13, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        thankfully I didn’t suffer with the castor oil…. although my water did break (like GUSHING) in a restaurant… that was fun (not!)

  • Reply Holly February 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Oh, I just LOVE reading your words, SO MUCH! I hope I get to see you one last time before baby, and give your belly a rub. I was just looking at that picture of us at my place when you were 29 weeks and I was 20 weeks. Now I’m almost 29 weeks and you are almost there! Time flys. Soon we will both have our baby’s in our arms, and all will be worth it. Love you girl. Xx

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