I'd like to share my journey on what to expect after expecting. My name is Suzi Sands, Founder and CEO of Aviva Woman. This is my 4th and last pregnancy. I've had 2 vaginal deliveries, 1 C-Section, and a hopeful VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). Since there is plenty of information about being pregnant but little about what happens to our bodies after delivery, we are going to start just a couple weeks before the anticipated delivery date of September 20.
My 37 week check up gave me some great news. I was dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced. Here is link that explains what dilation and effacement are. Being this far along at week 37 is major for me. I am usually 10 days past my due date and perhaps a 3 dilation when I get to the hospital in labor.
I elected to have my membranes striped, which basically means my provider used his finger to gently separate the bag of water (amniotic sac) from the side of the uterus near the cervix. (I see Dr. Watts at St. Marks OBGYN Women's Clinic, the same clinic that provided care during my 3rd pregnancy.) After my check-up I headed back to work. I felt relatively fine that day but did notice a lot more bleeding and mucous. This is normal as a result of the membrane sweep. **I highly recommend using panty liners all day long especially during the last few weeks of pregnancy. It keeps me feeling fresh and clean from all that 'stuff'.
The next day of having my membranes striped or swept, I noticed more contractions. I kept track of when they would occur and how long. It's crazy, because you would think that after doing this pregnancy thing a few times I might recognize a thing or to about labor, but it is still all a guessing game at this point. My contractions were pretty irregular going from every 10 minutes to 15 minutes, then skipping an hour and picking back up again throughout the day. They felt tight and I had a little cramping but nothing major to report on. However, I really thought to myself, "Tonight is the night." And I wasn't sure I was quite ready for the baby to arrive even if my body was terribly uncomfortable. Sitting. Standing. Laying down. It all feels miserable. Right?!
Well, the weekend came and the new week started. Still pregnant. My husband had a work trip planned on Tuesday through Thursday. He was pretty anxious on whether to stay or go. I told him to go and work while he can. I can handle this. Plus, he stayed at a hotel near the airport in California, which is only a short flight. I highly doubted I would go into labor....until my 38 week check up.