On Monday, a day before I was officially 39 weeks, I had my weekly doctor appointment. Baby's heartbeat was fine, measuring at 36cm still, BP was high twice and after a few minutes of quiet and calm, it had gone back down to my normal lower end BP. But yet again, the doctor informed me that the baby was still really high up there and he recommended we start cervical sweeps (aka membrane sweeps/membrane stripping). I guess I wasn't ready for it to be suggested soon- I thought that was our last natural attempt before induction if I went past due date. Doctor explained that it usually takes a week to work and while we could go till 42 weeks if needed, the longer you wait, the bigger the baby gets. So you run into risks of needing a c-section and being induced. That it was up to me but we could start cervical sweeps that week if I wanted. Ok then. I got dressed and tried not to cry for no real good reason other than hormones. I went out into the hallway and made the appointment for Wednesday to begin my cervical sweeps.
I then spent the next day and a half overthinking the whole process. People said it would be painful. Also, definitely don't google these things. Was I rushing my baby to get out when he wasn't ready? My husband said I just have made such a nice home for baby in there that he's in no rush to get out. I had convinced myself I was going to be having a baby on Wednesday night now. I have an active imagination. My doula said it was a good thing and if I was anything like her, it would work. Then I talked to moms who said it didn't work for them at all. I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling anxious. I mean, I basically had read that my doctor would 'aggressively separate membranes from my cervix' like what the actual fuck had I agreed to here?
So here's the real deal. I showed up at the doctor's office that morning, feeling apprehensive. I did the standard empty my bladder then get undressed from the waist down procedure. Doctor came in, told me to lay down on the table, asked me to relax and explained he was going to reach up to my cervix now and then he counted "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" while sweeping his fingers around in a circle. I was a bit tense, realized it, and decided it was time to put the surge breathing I have learned in Hypnobirthing to use. He says "here we go again- and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5" and I was breathing in and out through my nose like I have been training and he says "much better sweep." and it was done! It was really not that terrible. Granted, he did say to me "you did a great job. Not all women can manage that as well as you did." So unexpectedly, I got a little boost of confidence when it comes to how well I am preparing myself to utilize my Hypnobirthing techniques!
So the doctor advised that in his experience, it usually takes three sweeps to work. While there are exceptions to the rule, he anticipates I will still be pregnant on Monday when I return for my next appointment and sweep. All day long my stomach would get really hard, I had some minor spotting, and experienced some cramping. But that was it. It really wasn't a big deal and if it helps move this little baby along without the need for chemical intervention, then it's worth it to me. I'm off to acquire evening primrose oil, get some walking in, and let this baby know that I'm ready to get this party started!