To my own surprise, I slept like a baby the night before our dreaded Post Date Clinic appointment. Apparently Big M soaked up all my frustration and my anxieties, as he was rolling from one side to the other and muttering in his sleep. Honestly, I think I would have gone mad by now, if he wasn’t at my side.
When they carried out the first scan, I was still so tense that I missed a glimpse on little L’s face. Big M told me afterwards that she looked a bit squished and mimicked her by pushing his face together between the palms of his hands. I just hope she is not that bearded… But I did catch sight of her little hand that, compared to our last scan 10 weeks ago, looked rather well fed and chubby. I think she has the loveliest little right hand I have ever seen, and I cannot wait to hold it.
Turns out little L is doing very well and the likelihood of going into labour in the next 7-10 days is about 68%, according to the state of my cervix (yes! yes! yes!). What a relief.
After this things could have gone terribly wrong. Going over the scan results and confirming that all was well, the midwife said: ‘So we do a sweep now and book you in for induction on Monday.’ Goodbye birth centre. I said ‘No’. She looked a bit puzzled and started her monologue à la UCLH protocol. Why they never ever let anyone go over 42 weeks, that post term pregnancies increased the risk of stillbirth, that there could be meconium in the umbilical fluid etc. We were trying to give her some smart answers – we had done our homework, too – but there was just no stopping her. ‘But I thought there was the option of being closely monitored instead of being induced, when all was well?’ I asked sheepishly. ‘But that would mean you needed to speak to a consultant, and I don’t think that they would let you go over 42 weeks.’ she replied. ‘Well, then I want to speak to a consultant.’ Off she went, slightly upset by the lady who refused to be induced.
By then I was trying hard to fight the tears of frustration and anger. I couldn’t believe that she was actually trying to trick me. Not even did she withhold the option completely, she was trying to make it sound like an absurd idea. I was ready to fight. For every study against prolonged pregnancies I had three ready to disprove their results. Nobody would mess with hormonally overcharged MM!
When the door opened and a woman entered the room, I felt the tension being lifted a little. She went through all my previous results and said ‘I think you are sensible not wanting to be induced. To avoid one stillbirth, we are inducing more than 400 women in the UK. This is totally out of proportion.’ I was gobsmacked. Even more so when she went on about childbirth in the UK being over-medicalised. My shoulders must have shrugged down by half a metre, as I relaxed and listened in awe. She told me about her own experience, having had three membrane sweeps to get things started and finally a natural birth without intervention. Despite the awful stories I was passed on by friends, I decided to give it a go and had the sweep, which was much less painful than anticipated. Just imagine a nurse with very clumsy hands doing a smear – that’s about it.
We agreed on close monitoring for the near future. And she gave us longer than she could remember anyone being monitored in her career. I was happy to agree on an induction date, if I shouldn’t go into labour by then. Because I felt taken seriously and listened too, not just a lady with a hospital number that needed to be ‘done’.