Okay, I promise to come up with more original titles eventually, but for now, I'm sticking to facts. :-)
Doctor's appointment went well, and honestly, that's all I accomplished today. I have been feeling ooky/gross all day, and I suspect the next post you see here will be all the gory details of labor and delivery (can't wait, can you?). The virus I had has settled down for a long spring nap in my chest and larnyx, which means that when I attempt to talk, I barely manage a squeak. Well-wishers have been calling tonight and have been aghast at how bad my voice sounds. It's exhausting to talk.
The doctor poked at my belly and noticed the contraction I was having, which is a constant thing lately. They are just Braxton Hicks ("practice") contractions, but they are constant and they are building. She then checked for dilation and effacement, which is really an uncomfortable thing. For those of you who are curious what it feels like: For women, imagine your standard pap smear, only the "little pressure" lasts for around 45 seconds to a minute. For men, imagine a rectal exam that goes on for about a minute while the doctor is conversing with you and poking around at the same time.
Now that you have a good picture, I'll tell you I'm 3.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. This means that my cervix has an opening about 3.5 cm in diameter and the cervix walls have thinned to about 50% their normal thickness. The pushing begins at 10 cm and 100% effacement. Many women can walk around at 3 cm for weeks. I know for a fact that I was 3 cm for at least a week with Athena before she was born. The major pain and transition comes between 5 and 8 cm generally. With any luck, this labor will be like my last one, and I'll move through that transition phase rather quickly. In fact, the doctor said today that as soon as I feel my first real contraction, to go ahead and call in. My last labor only lasted five hours, and most of the time, the second labor is quicker. Chris was very pleased to get permission from the doctor to basically come on in as soon as we know "this is it," as he would rather put bamboo shoots up his fingernails than deliver this baby himself either here at the house or in the car by the side of the road.
I can't make a direct comparison to Athena as far as where I am in the process, because they checked me a week earlier with Athena. As crummy as I have felt all day and as tired as I have been, I suspect that I am actually going to see the inside of the hospital within the next 24-36 hours. And in all honesty, I think it may be tonight. The doctor was fairly sure it would be before the end of the weekend, and coincidentally, she goes on call tomorrow morning at 7am, so she may very well be the lucky one to deliver our strapping young man... unless of course I go tonight.
So that's the update. I'll keep posting as long as I'm not hospitalized. We should have pictures of the new guy up within a couple of days of delivery, and if the Austins are kind enough to give us some space on their website, we may be able to get a video up (not of labor and delivery... just of the little guy's first few moments.)