Have you ever seen the episode of Friends where Rachel hits 40 weeks pregnant? Before she’s saying she’s fine, it’s not so bad but as soon as that dreaded “due date” comes and/or passes, suddenly she’s miserable. I’d say that is somewhat akin to real life experience. I write this as I am 40+1 days – and although I am well aware that a due date is an estimate and not necessarily a very good one, I still feel some let down about “still” being pregnant (check out my recent Reel on Instagram!). Before I get into that, lets talk about last week because that was an experience..
39 Weeks: Appetite Drop to ? Blood Sugar Drop (or Something else?)
Starting last week, I had a huge drop in my appetite. I have always (before, during and after pregnancy) been a good eater. Pretty much the only thing that prevents me from eating well is having some type of gastrointestinal illness. Even with walking pneumonia I was still eating decent meals. By the end of pregnancy, baby is getting bigger and there’s no where for things to go – organs or food. So everything is sort of jammed upwards, and your stomach doesn’t have the same space to expand. In my first pregnancy, I never really noticed a decrease – maybe a small one, but nothing like this. Suddenly I woke up two weekends ago and I was barely able to eat a bowl of oatmeal (my favourite meal of the day). This lasted a whole week and it was horrible! The worst was that my capacity to eat was decreased and so my appetite also decreased. Anything I ate felt like I was force feeding myself and it was unpleasant. All I wanted was cold fruit or juice, and that doesn’t give you much intake in the long run.
Two of my midwives think that partially as a result of this I had some blood sugar drops, because I started getting these “shaking” episodes where I felt very cold and would shake.
I did not have a fever at anytime through out this and I otherwise felt well, other than some residual nausea after these episodes. I was also very tired – nap everyday tired. During the same week, I had also pulled a muscle in my right lower side, just above my hip. It felt like it was a round ligament or a related muscle. It was hurting and that seemed to be making everything worse. So I was just living in the perfect storm. I think over the week I had about 7 episodes of shaking, some were shorter and manageable with food quickly and my weighted blanket, but on Friday morning at 4 am I woke my husband up because it wouldn’t stop. I had to get in the shower to try and warm up and my husband brought me up a plate of food. After I ate, I finally felt better – took a gravol and went to sleep. And yes – we spoke to our care team several times over this week and all signs pointed to it being blood sugar related or potentially some type of weird vagal response. I did go into the clinic and baby was doing well last Thursday with a totally normal HR for him with accelerations, and my blood pressure remained within normal for me (110/58 I believe on that day, but it goes between that and a bit lower).
The second theory was a vasovagal response since my first “episode” happened in the bath – I did wonder if the heat of the water contributed, but after the other episodes my “nurse brain” seems to point it more towards blood sugar. This past weekend we stocked up on healthy snacks with complex carbohydrates, and I made sure to eat very regularly. I had a small shaking moment on Sunday morning, but then by the afternoon my appetite had mostly come back and I was able to eat some bigger meals.
This week so far I have felt a lot better – I have finally got away from using Tylenol since my muscle isn’t bothering me as much, and my appetite seems almost normal so I am able to eat full meals again and snacks in between as needed. I have not had any more shaking! It is such a relief and it was truly a scary experience. By Sunday I was about ready to go to the hospital because I was convinced something was wrong with me – but how quickly my body reacted to food showed that I was obviously just in a prolonged deficit because of the sudden change. Either that or I did have COVID or some other type of very odd illness that came and went – affecting my appetite and leaving me with some weird symptoms that don’t really point to anything.
Premier Protein shakes have been a good in-between meal for me, plus I get Booster Juice often as well with protein boosters (I was having the hardest time eating meat during last week). Staying on top of my pain management was also a necessity for me, but I’m glad to finally not need to take so much Tylenol and to feel “normal” for a 40 week pregnant woman.
Hot tip too: Topical Voltaren contains an NSAID. I am, as a nurse, a very vigilant “bottle checker” in that before I take a med myself or give it to someone else I triple check it’s corrected. I guess between having “pregnancy brain” and being in pain and discomfort, I failed to do this and I used a topical Voltaren and then after 2.5 days I realized what it was and had a complete melt down because I was convinced that I harmed my baby. I read a ton of studies (and spoke to my midwife), and because of the limited systemic absorption of the topical formation, I feel less concerned (but won’t lie that it has caused me an underlying degree of anxiety) but just a reminder that even creams and topical applications should be checked before you use them in pregnancy. I’ll be honest too that I read some forums – but mostly about people taking oral NSAIDs by accident, and baby being ok which also made me feel a little bit better (so yes – I do think sharing experiences has its place, as you know). I feel extremely embarrassed to share that but it’s something that happened to me so I hope others are aware too – it’s easy to forget it’s not just “a cream” when you pull it out of your cupboard. Obviously I stopped use immediately and have not used it since, instead using only heat/cold compress alternating to manage with the Tylenol. Please speak to your provider before taking any pain management in pregnancy, especially if you have concerns. Even “holistic” products can be dangerous as well.
What It’s Like Hitting or Passing Your “Due Date”
I am beyond thankful to wave goodbye to last weeks stress, nausea/unwellness, and discomfort. Yesterday, we hit our “due date” or due time- February 2nd, which would have been the coolest birthday ever at 2/2/22. But whatever, I’m over it.
I know that baby’s do not arrive in due fashion. I went 6 days over with Maggie, and I ended up being induced since my water broke (slow leak) but I didn’t go into labor. I know that they come when they’re ready. But I am also totally allowed to be impatient and a little upset. Going over with my first pregnancy, I remember feeling very emotional. I thought I would be holding a baby by January 1st, 2020 and I wasn’t. I started to cry about everything, and every minor inconvenience felt like the end of the world.
I’ll admit having gone through that once, I don’t really feel as emotional this time. This pregnancy had it’s emotional rollercoaster nearer the beginning and I am just thankful my little guy is okay and I am a bit more accepting of “he will come when he will come”. The constant reminders from others though, can be torturous. I have been pulling away a bit from social media because I don’t want people asking me if I’ve had the baby, or when I think he’ll come. I haven’t and I don’t know.
I do know that I am not keen to get induced again – although I had an overall positive experience, I’d really like this baby to come on his own if he can. I’d like to experience non-Pitocin amplified contractions, if I can. I’d like to spend some time labouring in the comfort of my home, because last time I just went into a hospital not in labour and it wasn’t what I had imagined. So, our plan right now is to wait. I have been walking, bouncing, doing stairs, Miles Circuit/Spinning Babies/yoga poses to help him position, and expressing my breasts. Guess he’s not ready yet!
I have a game plan with my providers – at current I am booked for post dates scans next week to monitor baby, the placenta and my amniotic fluid. If I am honest – I am okay with waiting a bit but I am not sure I want to wait too long. Some risks do increase (though still, overall minor – here is a great document from the Association of Ontario Midwives about risks and monitoring post dates) but mostly I just feel by next week I will truly be tired, but lots of women do it. My hope – and feeling – is that he will come before 41 weeks but no, before you ask – I am not having any signs. Sigh! LOL. I know many mean well, but answering the same questions over and over with no real answer to give is exhausting (it’s like hearing “are we there yet?” in the car).
To sum it up – hitting your due date is exciting. Baby will be coming anytime now, that’s for sure. How baby will come is less known and waiting on someone else can feel very unpredictable! I am thankful that my baby is full term of course and that he seems comfy in his home. I am happy that I will get a few more nights of uninterrupted (well, except for peeing) sleep and that I get a few more days with my daughter where it’s just “her and I” in the mornings, or “we 3” on the weekends. There is lots to be thankful for – but it is totally normal to feel impatient. Even to feel a bit sad or frustrated. I think any type of emotion at this point is free game, really. Last pregnancy at 40+4 I was so distraught that, reversing my small car out of the garage I tapped the mirror on the wall and cracked the glass. I immediately bawled my eyes out and called my husband – poor guy thought I got in another car accident or something! Whoops. Everything felt catastrophic. You’re just experiencing so many hormones, changes and emotions at the end that I think it’s normal to feel all of that. And it certainly doesn’t help when people try to say “they’ll be here when they’re here!”. We know this – but we’re ready!!! Can’t you see??
I’m glad that so far I don’t feel so on edge emotionally, but I am sure that if I make it to 41 weeks I will be there. Send me all your baby dust/labor vibes.
And if you know someone who is over their due date, or have been that person, give yourself so much grace. Because this sh*t is hard, and anyone who tells you different is either the most patient person on the planet or they are just… something else!!!
40+1 Appointment: Membrane Sweep!
I had my 40 week appointment this afternoon and had a cervical check (which I consented to and wanted at this time) and a membrane sweep. You can read more about membrane sweeps for induction of labor here and here (listen or click transcript to read).
I had a sweep with Maggie around the same time, and my water did end up breaking within 72 hours. I did not, sadly, go into labor though in that time- though if I had waited another hour or two by the time I got checked in for my induction I was actually starting to have my own contractions.
I had the sweep done since I am overdue and I wanted to try and spur baby on as much as possible, without a medical induction. My goal with this birth is really to avoid a medical induction unless it’s necessary – which I’ve talked about before. The sweep for me was not painful – it is uncomfortable though. Deep, belly breathing helps and it’s a great time to practice your relaxation techniques!
At my check I was 1-2 cm dilated and slightly effaced. After the sweep I was slightly more dilated, but this will only continue if I start to have contractions. I am hoping that is the case – but we shall see what my body wants to do. I suggest bringing a pad just in case you have any spotting after – I had a bit but not much (your provider may also give you one which was the case for me, but I have pantyliners on hand always too). Since my sweep which was at 430pm, I have been crampy and have had low back aches, but that’s about it.
Baby was active when we checked (HR 150 which is higher than his usual chill self!) – because he just got poked in the head essentially! He is very deep in my pelvis and he seems to be ROT, which is not an ideal birthing position but I’m still working on getting him to turn with Spinning Babies and Miles Circuit techniques. As I’ve said before, most babies turn during labor – so I hope to use lots of positions where gravity can help with that or where I can open my pelvis to allow baby to turn as he needs to.
My BP remained good – I usually have AM appointments so it’s a bit lower then, but it was still well within normal range today. At this point – I am just waiting to see if I go into labor! My postdates are booked for next week as well as another sweep if needed on Tuesday – so I will update again then.
Thanks for reading! Please send me BABY vibes!