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34 Weeks: Birth Plan, Smirth Plan

And here I am, another week along. 34 weeks pregnant. Almost, almost 35. (Forever the optimist now, apparently). It’s strange because it’s that time now where I need to move my focus from just trying to keep this baby alive inside me to actually thinking about her evacuation.

Way before infertility, I used to want this natural, drug free birth, in a birthing center or my living room, it didn’t matter. But then I got pregnant for realz and suddenly, I had no time to do research on midwives or home births or things like that. I saw an obgyn and my blood pressure and Lovenox injections put me at risk so I resigned myself to giving birth at a hospital with a doctor.

Up until recently, my birth plan consisted of something like this:

1. Drugs.

2. As Many As Possible.

3. As Soon As Possible.

We’ve been attending a four week childbirth class through our hospital. We just recently were given the option of delivering at the hospital that is right down the street from us, which they recently built a Mother Baby Center from scratch. Every room has a birthing ball and squat bar to give mom options to labor with. It made me start rethinking about this whole birth plan thing and maybe I could still attempt the drug-free birth that I used to want.

Last Friday, when I turned 34 weeks, we had another growth scan. Seaweed is now an estimated 6 lbs, plus or minus 6 oz, putting her in the 87 percentile for weight. I have had friends tell me this can’t be accurate and they could be off by a whole pound. Let’s hope so because if that measurement is true, I could have a 9 pound baby in there (or more!) by my due date!! My husband’s side has a history of big babies so this could entirely be my fate. In fact, maybe I should have titled this post:”My Vagina is Tiny: So, How Exactly Does This All Work?”

Possibly the cutest picture of Seaweed to date

Hair. Lots of hair. Floating in her amniotic fluid.

She’s still also sitting frank breech, happily ass down and her feet still hanging out by her face.

At my non-stress test and OB appointment Monday, Seaweed was much more reactive with the test and everything was looking good. I had plans of starting the conversation with my doctor about delivery options until he spoke.

“So because you’re on blood pressure medication, we’re going to be delivering her early.”

Say what, now?

He went on to say that his plan was to induce me at 39 weeks. That’s ONLY if my sweet baby decides to head south and get in the proper head-down position in time.

We briefly discussed an external version by 36 weeks if she doesn’t turn on her own. If I chose not to do it, if we do it and she flips back breech, or if the version doesn’t work, he will have me schedule a C-section at 38 weeks.

Now don’t get me wrong. Any way this baby comes into the world is more than ok with me, as long as she comes safely. And I hardly thought I would make it beyond my due date with blood pressure issues anyway. But to be told suddenly that your only options at this point is an induction or a C-section, is something I guess I wasn’t expecting. So much for my ideal birth experience.

Right now, the thing to make a decision on in the next week and a half is if we want to attempt to turn this baby. Because something, maybe mother’s intuition, is telling me she is perfectly happy with her head smooshed under my ribs and she isn’t going anywhere. I’m not sure why she hasn’t turned and I’m concerned about going through a version where I have to stop the Lovenox for 24 hours prior just to risk the chance that it won’t work or she’ll turn back or we’ll cause damage.

And then there is the decision on an induction (assuming she is head down) vs a C-section. Honestly, I am not a fan of inductions. When you are forcing a labor to start when it’s not the time, it can be tough. There is a lot of medical intervention. And it doesn’t always result in a vaginal birth. It’s a higher chance of an unplanned or emergency C-section. I could end up laboring for 14 hours just to be rushed into an OR, exhausted and worried, just to undergo major abdominal surgery.

So then I think, ok, maybe I just need to do a planned cesarean. Get a good night sleep the night before, come in rested, excited to meet my baby in a matter of several hours. But then the thought of not getting that labor experience is hard to accept. What if the induction isn’t that bad and I get to have her born into my waiting arms? She could immediately go to my chest. A C-section is a longer recovery. There are risks there too. And it makes me want to cry thinking of them taking her away while I get stitched up.

It’s hard. It’s a good problem to have after infertility. But still. It’s a rock and a hard place. It all comes down to if she remains breech or not. In some ways, I wish my provider would tell me “Sorry, no can do Bob. I don’t do external versions.” Having to make a decision between one less than ideal birth and another is not how I envisioned this. Again, I get it. However she comes if just fine with me. But…

We’ll have to see what the next week brings.

Thoughts? Advice? Stories? I’m in need of some direction.

****This just in!!!****

You guys, there is an incredible blogger at Trials Bring Joy who is doing a TTC mug exchange! I haven’t done an exchange in so long and I’ve of course already signed up! Check out her post “TTC Mug Exchange 2015” if you would like to participate!

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34 Comments on "34 Weeks: Birth Plan, Smirth Plan"

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Kris
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First time commenter here! Congrats on your pregnancy and best wishes on an excellent delivery, no matter how she arrives! I don't have any thoughts on a version as I have never needed on, but I've been induced three times (41 weeks, 39 weeks due to a cord abnormality, and 40 weeks 5 days.) While I know not every induction goes as smoothly, I wanted to send positive vibes by telling you that all three of mine were awesome. My labors were fast even by un-medicated standards with zero complications. My last baby I elected to go without pain medication… Read more »
Kris
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Oh, and that last, epidural-less delivered kid ended up being 9 lbs 6 oz. Big babies are a blessing (and they hurt.)

Jennifer
Guest

My advice if she turns would be to start exercising a lot at around 37 weeks. Obviously check with your doctor first. It wouldn't surprise me if your LO came early. It may be a surprise to you, but on average, first babies come early, not late.

Congrats on being so close!

Anonymous
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Dear Risa,I have been reading for a little while and this is my first time commenting. Congratulations on your pregnancy and thank you for sharing your story.I found out at 34 weeks that my son was breech, and was told that it was unlikely at that point that he turn spontaneously. And he didn't , despite me doing every trick I could find on the Internet, involving lying and crawling in various positions and lights and music etc…I felt like I almost had to try a version, though I was afraid of the risk of complications and emergency delivery, and… Read more »
Melissa
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I've been there! My first was an induction and I did regret not waiting longer to see if he'd come naturally. My second, I held out and my water broke on its own, but he flipped face up and stalled things out so I still ended up on pitocen and eventually an unplanned c section. I will say this, I preferred my c section recovery over my vaginal, but I had extremely bad tearing that took 3 months to heal with my first, so I can't say that's typical. Do remember that you could go into labor naturally early. I… Read more »
Melissa
Guest
I've been there! My first was an induction and I did regret not waiting longer to see if he'd come naturally. My second, I held out and my water broke on its own, but he flipped face up and stalled things out so I still ended up on pitocen and eventually an unplanned c section. I will say this, I preferred my c section recovery over my vaginal, but I had extremely bad tearing that took 3 months to heal with my first, so I can't say that's typical. Do remember that you could go into labor naturally early. I… Read more »
Anonymous
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Congratulations on your pregnancy! I waited 4 years for my miracle baby who arrived in June. I was induced at 38 weeks and everything went very smoothly. Like you, I was offered a C-section and told that there was a 1 in 3 chance I would need one anyways. I was worried about the same thing as you…laboring forever, or even tearing down there and then having a C-section anyways and having to heal from both (happened to my friend). The induction went really smoothly though and I was able to push him out! First I had Cervadil to "ripen"… Read more »
Jenny
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I have no advice on trying to turn Seaweed, but I can tell you that my first waited FOREVER to turn head down. I was getting pretty worried toward the end, but he finally did it on his own. Both of my labours were induced. With the first, my water broke but I wasn't in active labour. The hospital gave me the option of staying and being induced, or going home for the next couple of days to see if labour started on its own. I chose the induction because going home meant an increased chance of infection and having… Read more »
Brianna
Guest
I cannot speak to the decision about attempting a version, but I can share info about my 2 full-term deliveries. Let me preface it with the fact that I knew prior to conceiving that I would be induced if baby wasn't born by 39w due to my T1 diabetes. I think that's why I don't have the same feelings about induction as some others, because it wasn't "sprung" on me late in pregnancy like with a lot of women. With Gus, I had pre-term contractions, had mag sulf, steriod injections just prior to 33w. It finally came to my 38w… Read more »
Suzanne
Guest

We have so many similarities with our pregnancies! At 31 weeks our baby girl is in the 81st percentile. WHA!? My doctor seems to be sticking to his "doesn't induce early" rule much to my displeasure. I'm a wee girl, and I'm trying to figure out how an 8.5-9 pound baby is supposed to come out of me!

belovedburnttoast
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Risa! I just spent like an hour reading my old blog posts to try and figure out when Molly turned (because I know it was late-ish and they were concerned), but I can't find the post, and if I get fired because I'm supposed to working not sitting here reading my blog, then I'm totes blaming you. I kid. Anyway, I distinctly remember the night she turned because it freaking hurt and I had a U/S the next morning and I remember they were like "Oooh! She turned!" and I was like, "Yeah, no kidding." Felt like an earthquake in… Read more »
Meredith
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First of all congratulations! I agree with all the other comments that in the end you will be happy she's here and the rest will be easy to come to terms with even if it doesn't go perfectly. My experience with induction due to high blood pressure has been very positive. I was induced at 35 weeks with both my daughters (the first time took me completely off-guard I just got a call one morning that my blood work wasn't looking good and to come to the hospital). Most importantly my babies (I feel so blessed to have two!) were… Read more »
Non Sequitur Chica
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I agree with this 100%. I was all for a natural birth but then I had fibroid/endo surgery and my doctors said that my uterus could rupture if I went into labor. C-section it was! I was terrified of the C-section because I thought that my recovery would be worse than my fibroid/endo surgery and it turns out that I was completely incorrect! My recovery for my c-section was EASIER and less painful. Imagine that. While I didn't get to hold my daughter right while they were stitching me up, my husband did and he held her right next to… Read more »
Risa
Guest

Kris, hi! Thank you so much for your insight. It's good to hear the "good" induction stories. The Pitocin contractions scare me. Still, even if an epidural was used because of that, maybe this could all work out (assuming of course she is head down!) And awesome on the 9+lb sweetie for an unmedicated birth! You are my inspiration!

Risa
Guest

Ha ha that's a good idea if I could control my huffing and puffing. Though maybe I could breath easier if she went head down because right now she is sitting right under my ribs! And thank you! I can't believe it's almost time!

Risa
Guest

Karen, this so helpful! So is it really true that breech babies have a tendency to come early? I know, I am definitely a bit concerned with a version and… I don't know if it's something I feel totally comfortable with. Obviously I'll have this discussion with the doctor, but I just wish something would happen or he would just tell me what is the best thing to do. But it's so good to hear you had a good C/S experience. Thank you so much for your comment!

Risa
Guest

Eeek! That's why an induction makes me so nervous! And true, maybe she will come early and make the decision for me 🙂 Thank you!

Risa
Guest

Maybe if I have an induction, it will be similar to yours. 🙂 And epidural for sure with those Pit contractions!! I have such a low pain tolerance. I love the last part of your comment! It's so true, right? I need to keep that in mind.

Risa
Guest

I do remember some of your birth experience with your first. Epidural all the way then!! I will definitely take that advice. I must find your blog again because I loved reading it and then I lost track of it awhile ago and now have no idea where it is 🙂 If you happen to come back and check my reply, can you email me your link? You were always one of my favorites to read 🙂 Hope all is well and thank you so much for your insight.

Risa
Guest

Thank you for sharing your story. It goes to show how different everyone's birth story really is. I know my doctor will evaluate me on my Bishop score to see how ready I would be anyway for an induction. So that would take things into account too, like you had. And honestly, a part of me wants the labor experience. It's definitely something to think about.

Risa
Guest

Ha ha Suzanne! Yep, she was in the 80th percentile at 30 weeks and now is in the 87th! Cheers to big babies!

Risa
Guest

Ha ha! You can totally blame me!
And I think it would be such a weird feeling having this big baby now turn inside me! Part of me wants to know what that feels like! And you're right. Molly being there was the most important thing and that's something I have to keep in mind. That this is just one experience, and then it's over and she's here and it won't matter anymore. And I have heard from a number of women that their C/S weren't as bad a recovery as they thought. I will definitely check out your links!

jAllen
Guest
Jessah (Dreaming of Dimples) and my friend in LA both had breech babies. They had versions, which were actually successful (most attempted versions are no successful, the 60% success rate is rather outdated) They both went post dates, had long inductions that ended up in C/sections. My friend was annoyed when she thought about how she could have just had the same result (a C/s) at 39 weeks, rather than waiting an extra two and a half weeks and a horrible 38 hour induction, which she claims was worse than the C/section.The key to a successful induction is to have… Read more »
Risa
Guest

That's so helpful to know! I can definitely see how that theory could totally be accurate. I mean, it makes sense. Definitely something I will discuss with him. Thank you!!

Risa
Guest

I so appreciate your insight, both from a medical standpoint as well as a friend. Thanks so much for this advice and that comment with Myrtle made me laugh!

Amie
Guest

Wow that's a tough decision. Since I have no experience with birth to speak of just yet I don't have any advice at all. My thought from the very beginning has been whatever is the safest way for our boy to get here is what we will do. I haven't made any kind of birth plan at all. That may be a terrible way to go about it but I also won't be disappointed.
It sounds like your little seaweed won't be to far behind our little man, so exciting!! You look fantastic!

Cristy
Guest

Nothing to add as all of this is great advice! Just remember that no matter what happens, it will still be a special birth experience. It will be your story.

Heidi
Guest
I went into labor on my own but Kyle ended up getting stuck. He was a wee guy of 6 pounds 6 ounces so it wasn't his size. However, I was in labor for 31 hours, almost 24 hours of true labor and pushed for 4 hours. I was "rushed" into the OR and he was taken via C-Section. I promise you that I have no regret how any of it turned out. My baby was born healthy and safe and frankly, I have a baby and that's all that matters. However, my recovery was hard and long. It took… Read more »
Jessica_Raph
Guest
I completely understand your thoughts and concerns. I had my daughter 7 weeks ago and I never made a birth plan but always invisioned a normal labor and delivery. That didn't happen. My water broke at 5:30am and I was at the hospital by 7:15. I labored until the following morning at 1am when I started pushing. I pushed for 2.5 hours and in the second half she wasn't making any progress so they offered to let me push for another hour but told me it was likely she wasn't going to come out and I would need a c-section.… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest

Hi Risa,
Is havent been able to find any literature confirming that breech babies come early, and I had definitely not been warned before my water broke!
What I have found a lot is that the incidence of breech decreases as gestational age increases, but that may just mean that there is still a chance that Seaweed turn?
Good luck with everything!
Karen

Anonymous
Guest
Just to provide another reference point. Also had an induction at 39 weeks due to a growth issue (no breech baby though). Had a great experience (although did get an epidural). Super festive atmosphere. No pain due to aforementioned epidural, no real tearing, and seriously, no recovery time. My body went back to normal pretty much right away. I went grocery shopping as soon as I got out of the hospital. That being said, apart from the one issue, everything else about me and my baby was average. I think that when people say that vaginal deliveries are easier than… Read more »
Vicki
Guest

I don't know if you call it an induction or not but my water leaked….no contractions…so they started me on pitocin then they broke my water….2nd time around wasn't much different. Both times went fine. As to having to turn either of the girls, they waited to the last minute to do the right thing 🙂 Praying that is the same for you!! I know one thing for sure, no matter how you deliver or drugs or no drugs…she will be beautiful!

Amanda
Guest

I'm trying to think of everyone who might be worth talking to. JAllen had blood pressure issues and placenta stuff and had to deal with the c-section question. Umm…Jessah did the whole turning thing (ow). I'll keep thinking. I have no help or advice, just hoping someone can offer some wisdom. All decisions seem painful and scary, but I think that's just childbirth. ; )

inconceivable12
Guest
No experience with breech or version but I did wind up having to make a decision between being induced that evening or doing a c-section the next morning. Because I had a chronic placental abruption that had a high chance of abrupting further with pitocin and contractions (among a number of other issues), I opted in the end for the c-section. Before my rather messy pregnancy, I'd always envisioned being as "natural" as possible in terms of birthing experience. The best advice I can give you is to consider and choose as confidently as possible – it helped me that… Read more »