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The Pregnant OB Part 8: Countdown

Posted on Jun. 26, 2015 ( comments)
Pregnant OB Part 8

In my 35th week of pregnancy, I was on call for a 24-hour shift. Due to some construction around our usual sleep room in the birth center, our “call room” has been moved to one of the patient rooms.

So I settled my bags into a patient room, right in the birth center. “Wow,” I thought, “it’s like I’m being forced to start preparing for this childbirth experience. In just a few weeks, I’ll actually be the patient, giving birth in a room like this.”

To be honest, I feel completely unprepared. I ask my patients if they’re getting things ready for their babies, and some plan so well that by the time they’re 30 weeks they have everything ready.

I’m the opposite. When 30 weeks rolled around I panicked and realized I had absolutely nothing ready!

On the other hand, I feel like I already know what to expect because I’ve seen so many labors and deliveries.

I had my friend and her husband over for dinner the other week, and she’s only a week ahead of me in her pregnancy. She told me how she’s taking a birth class with her husband, and even he commented about how helpful and informative it was. My husband sat there with eyes wide open. Is he supposed to know something about this? Is he supposed to be involved?

Oops. I think I’ve left him completely out of the loop! I figure I’ve seen most possible scenarios and I’m just hoping everything goes smoothly for me.

However, I can never anticipate what it will feel like for me to actually be on the other side of things, feeling the contractions myself. No matter how much preparation you have — whether it’s a birth class or years of taking care of laboring patients — you won’t know what it’s really like until it happens.

Everyone has their own birth story. Some people have painful contractions for days before active labor begins. Some walk in the door at 8 centimeters dilated and deliver their baby just a few hours later (not fair, I know!). Some get an epidural, some brave it without. Some have to push for four hours, and unfortunately end up with a cesarean section. Some have to be induced for medical reasons, and it occasionally can take days to get the cervix to open.

A lot of people imagine their water breaking and that’s when everything is going to begin, just like in the movies. However, the water breaks before labor starts in only about 10 percent of pregnancies.

So, ready or not, my own time will come. And whatever way it happens, I’m just hoping for a safe and healthy baby as the big reward!

More in this series

The Pregnant OB Part 1: How to find the right doctor
The Pregnant OB Part 2: First kicks
The Pregnant OB Part 3: Holding my breath
The Pregnant OB Part 4: Baby on board, will travel
The Pregnant OB Part 5: The 20-week ultrasound
The Pregnant OB Part 6: I can see my baby
The Pregnant OB Part 7: The good moments

Posted in: The Pregnant OB

About The Author

Dr Sarah Chen Dr. Sarah Chen
Sarah Chen, MD, The Pregnant OB, works at our MultiCare Kent Clinic. She recently graduated from Loma Linda University and moved to the Pacific Northwest with husband Benjamin Chen, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital. The couple welcomed their first child into the world in July 2015.
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