I continue to get larger and my belly button continues to flatten out (except for that top lip that continues to peak above the rest). Trey’s movements are more like stretches and twists than kicks these days, except for when he gets the hiccups. William didn’t believe me at first, until he put his hand on my stomach the other day at lunch, and felt the rhythmic movements. We’ve decided that the old wives’ tales about standing on your head and drinking water as cures for the hiccups are bogus, because they don’t seem to work for Trey! I’ve been starting to feel the Braxton Hicks contractions. At first, I couldn’t figure out if they were contractions or Trey’s entire body totally pressed up against the front of my abodomen. I know that they aren’t supposed to hurt, but I figured they would be more noticeable than they have been.
Last week at my prenatal appointment, I was checked for the first time for cervical changes. (I believe that this will be the only time in my life when I will openly discuss the changes of my cervix with all who care to read). Anyway, I was only a fingertip dilated, 0% effaced, and the baby was still high up in the pelvis. Today, at my 38 weeks appointment, I was 1cm dilated (which I don’t think is much different than fingertip), but I was already 60% effaced, and at station -2. For those unfamiliar with the lingo of obstetrics: the cervix must be dilated (the opening increases in diameter) to 10 cm and 100% effaced or thinned out (the tissue becomes paper thin and shortens in length) in order for the baby’s head to pass through the opening of the cervix. As the baby makes his descent through the mom’s pelvis, he travels from station -3 to 0 (in negotiating the narrowest point of the pelvis) and then down to +3 or 4 in order to emerge from the birth canal. Usually, first time mom’s can dilate and efface up to 2-4 cm in the weeks before the baby is born. Labor is usually pretty slow through the first 4-5 cm of dilation anyway, but then the rate increases during what is called the active phase of stage 1 of labor (as the cervix finishes dilating to 10 cm). Then comes the pushing of stage 2 of labor until the baby is delivered. Stage 3 of labor is the delivery of the placenta, and stage 4 consists of the first couple postpartum hours.
So, my body is getting prepared for delivery. Although it is interesting to know that the body is continuing to change, the amount of dilation and effacement are not very accurate predictors of the time left before labor ensues. He’ll come when he is ready.