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Well, as I posted on Facebook, the babies face eviction on the 15th, unless they are prepared to vacate the premises on their own before such time.

And under other thinly veiled euphemisms, unless I go into labor on my own before next Thursday, I’m being induced then. 

I have mixed feelings about this.  While it’s kind of a relief (albeit unnatural) to have a deadline, a timeline, a birthdate (practically, though it could happen Friday if this takes a while, or Wednesday if the Pitocin drip is feeling frisky), and a plan, it feels like we’re jumping the gun and subverting Mother Nature.

If full-term for twins is 37 weeks, and average gestation is 35 weeks, then they can be born now anytime.  It’s not their health or development that is concerning me.  For goodness sake, I’ll be 38 weeks tomorrow, which is pretty much full-term (38-42 weeks is the range, actually) for a singleton pregnancy.  That’s not my worry at all, and that, of course is what’s most important — having two healthy babies.  By all signs, that’s what they’ll be.  I’ve witnessed fetal breathing (practicing for the real thing), and seen numerous ultrasounds.  I’ve felt thousands of kicks, and seen them recorded during non-stress tests.  My babies are within normal range for weight.  Today they were estimated at 6lb 5oz and 6lb 9oz, respectively.  And I’m shocked I can still walk around.  All this is very, very good.

No, what worries me, is a loss of control, a loss of a plan, ironic, really, when we have a scheduled induction of labor.  Much as I’m not the type of person to go to a birth center or even dream of  a homebirth, I worry about jumping into medical interventions when there doesn’t seem to be a need.  I’m upset that continuous fetal monitoring will ruin my plans to walk my way through contractions, that I’ll be confined to the hospital bed, and so miserable I’ll jump at the chance for an epidural, rather than taking the wait-and-see approach I’d planned on.  I worry about the cascade of medical interventions.  I worry about causing fetal distress from inducing labor before the babies tell us they’re ready.  I’m worried that the increased risk of a C-section will ruin my plans for a vaginal birth. 

Sure, I’ve done too much Googling, and not enough talking with my doctor directly.  Of course, she’s on vacation until next Thursday, so I’d have to talk to some other doc at her practice and try to get him to explain her clinical judgment that lead her to decide inducing labor was the best choice.  I should have asked her about risks and benefits when I had the chance.  And I’m not thrilled that I haven’t found any clinical studies or journal articles that indicate that a multiple pregnancy is a reason to induce.  I don’t have any other indicators — pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, threats to maternal well-being, babies not growing inside me, threats to their health, lack of access to medical facilities, being more than 2 weeks beyond my due date — so why?  I should have asked, eh?  I guess it all just made sense in the moment, or at least I made it up to convince myself that if I went to 40 weeks, they might get too big and make delivery more difficult.  Is that true?  Or did I make it up completely?

As any good mother-to-be who has an abstract-sequential personality, I have a list of pros and cons. 

Pros:

  • My family can actually plan a time to be here. 
  • My sister can start her 16 hour drive from St. Louis, and won’t miss more than one class. 
  • My mother-in-law can put in for time off before the frantic phone-call. 
  • My parents can make a hotel reservation. 
  • The 15th is my late grandfather’s birthday. 
  • It’s as far from Christmas as can be, given our Dec. 24th due date. 
  • The babies will (hopefully) be home with us in time for Chanukah, so they can wear the “My First Chanukah” bibs my crazy aunt sent (just kidding about that last part). 
  • I won’t have to worry about a skeletal hospital staffing near the Christmas holiday. 
  • I can work up until the last few days before the Holiday break, and I’ll only miss 2 days of work, days dedicated to packing up and moving from our old building to the new school (work a pregnant lady oughtn’t do anyway). 
  • We can plan dog care. 
  • We can go to the hospital after rush hour, with our bags packed, and hopefully in a lower panic mode, sans regular contractions. 

And then there are the cons:

  • I’ll be on continuous fetal monitoring, and, lacking telemetry, be restricted to finding laboring positions a hospital bed will allow.
  • Contractions won’t be “natural” and are rumored to be stronger when induced with Pitocin.
  • Inducing might not actually work. 
  • It can take a long time.
  • I don’t get to have the realization that I’m in labor, and the opportunity to labor at home comfortably during the early phases.
  • Increased risk of C-section.
  • Increased risk of additional medical interventions.
  • I won’t get to walk around, not even in my room.
  • I’ll never know how long I could have naturally maintained this complication-free, miraculous pregnancy. 

I mean, come on!  Who else can boast a nearly full-term twin pregnancy with a net weight gain of only 25lbs, and babies estimated to weigh over 6lbs each?  Without any morning sickness?  Not on bed rest?  Still able to drive and walk dogs and craft and only having edema in her last week (and still wearing my wedding band)?  Without wretched mood swings that drove her husband nuts? I must say, I have had a pretty awesome pregnancy.  I just wonder how it would have ended, had we given it the chance to end naturally.  And that’s part of my confusion, too. 

When it’s all over and done with, God willing we’ll have two healthy, beautiful, brilliant babies, I’ll miraculously get my figure back, lose the eight thousand stretch marks I’ve incurred over the last 6 weeks, and my dearest husband and I will have a family that all sleeps through the night.  That, of course, is the end goal, one I must not lose sight of, even as I prepare for the end of the pregnancy, and the labor and delivery that will mark the beginning of our little famly.