Pregnancy #11 Update: Week 29 – How Early is Too Early?

I’m exhausted and feel huge, but can honestly say that I’m enjoying this third trimester.

This pregnancy has been the most physically difficult for me. I’m blessed not to have any serious physical problems, but all those things that I thought were a big deal/inconvenience/huge discomfort (tiredness, nausea, and baby being up under my ribs) when I was in my 20’s and 30’s are now more pronounced. However, it’s just been easier to do the next thing.

Perhaps it’s because, with older, helpful children the house is able to continue to function at a high level despite my tiredness. Perhaps it’s because I’m more appreciative of the blessing of pregnancy now that I’m not looking at decades more of potential child bearing. Perhaps it’s because I realize how fleeting pregnancy really is. Perhaps it’s because of the how extremely busy we’ve been since the end of the first trimester. Whatever the reason, I’m thankful. Thankful for this pregnancy, thankful for this child and thankful for His grace that enables us to do what He requires us to do.

At my last OB check (this past Wednesday) the baby was transverse. Bella was also transverse until the end when she turned breech for the c-section.

This little one moves frequently, but it’s more of a squirming than a pounding. I’m thinking that he may be a little more laid back than some of his siblings and I’m OK with that.

We’re currently discussing whether we want to go ahead with the scheduled c-section at 39 weeks or, considering that this little one is a boy (and boys don’t do as well with being early), wait until later or even wait until I go into labor.

Edited to add: **Please, before explaining to me the risks of repeat c-sections or suggesting that I should have a VBAC, be sure to read this post where I explain why, after 9 ‘natural’ births including 2 home births we decided to have c-sections for any subsequent children. It wasn’t an easy decision, it isn’t an uninformed decision and it is not a decision that we made lightly. Thanks for all of your prayers and input!

The pros of waiting:

  • less worries of prematurity or problems with the baby

The cons of waiting:

  • I have to be pregnant longer
  • if I go into labor it’s then an ‘emergency’ c-section. We’re less prepared and my OB and the anesthesiologist are less prepared. Our hopes for a family-centered c-section may be compromised.

My OB is pretty cautious and, while he will not schedule a c-section before 39 weeks, he’s fine with doing one anywhere between 39 and 40 weeks. We’re hoping to speak with him at my next OB visit and get more of his thoughts.


I’d love to hear thoughts on scheduled vs. non-scheduled c-sections bringing baby early.

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34 Responses to Pregnancy #11 Update: Week 29 – How Early is Too Early?
  1. Annie
    June 13, 2012 | 9:21 am

    Two of my three were not scheduled and it seemed rushed, hurried, and chaotic. My third was scheduled and though I was in the very early stages of labor, it was very smooth transitioning from being admitted at 6 am to that actual surgery and delivery at 8 am and 8:05 am respectively.
    I would say the last c section was the easiest in terms of recovery because it was in and out so to speak but the saddest as we learned I would not be able to have more children biologically( unless the Lord has other plans of course). He was very large for me and caused a great deal of stress on my uterus which lead to massive hemmoraging. My second one was transverse also and boy was THAT uncomfortable! So I know your pain and discomfort! You are being prayed for Kimberly! :0)

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  2. Rachel
    June 13, 2012 | 9:34 am

    My mother is a pediatrician, my father an anesthesiologist and they have said if a c-section must happen it is best to have it scheduled so all medical staff needed will be ready.

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  3. Catherine Gonzalez
    June 13, 2012 | 9:52 am

    From a medical standpoint I would wait until mid week 39, as there are such occurrences as late full term preemies, which are full term babies that were just not ready. The extra 4 days in may help him alot!

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  4. Kami
    June 13, 2012 | 9:53 am

    I’m a homeschooling mom to 6 kiddos (2+Quads) and all were c-sections. (scheduled on the first 2- emergency on the quads)
    I was awake and loved knowing the date- (my first was 37 1/2 weeks – girl and 2nd was 39 weeks – boy) Quads were 32 weeks and emergency, so I was asleep and hubby wasn’t able to go in – he wasn’t even there until the end.

    Congratulations and I know God has the perfect day planned, but I did enjoy knowing and being prepared. My 39 week boy was 7lbs 1 oz and just amazing! :)

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  5. Karla
    June 13, 2012 | 9:57 am

    If this is a repeat c-section, then 39 weeks is best according to preliminary research. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/02/10/repeat-c-section-best-scheduled-at-39-weeks-study-says

    Still, my gut feeling is that 99% of the time, labor starts because that’s when the baby is ready to come out. So, as long as your stress tests are OK, then wait until at least 40 weeks.

    I’ve had two inductions and two precipitous births (labor less than 3 hours…last one was 40 mins.). As terrifying as a precipitous birth is, I recovered a lot sooner…and the babies did too.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.

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  6. Kim
    June 13, 2012 | 10:03 am

    As a L&D nurse for years, and now a certified nurse-midwife, I can say with confidence that if you are cared for by a good obstetrician and hospital staff it makes not one ounce of difference whether the cesarean is scheduled or unscheduled. The anesthesiologist is

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  7. Kim
    June 13, 2012 | 10:03 am

    As a L&D nurse for years, and now a certified nurse-midwife, I can say with confidence that if you are cared for by a good obstetrician and hospital staff it makes not one ounce of difference whether the cesarean is scheduled or unscheduled. The anesthesiologist is

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  8. Beth
    June 13, 2012 | 10:11 am

    While I’ve never had a c-section, I do know about the pronounced discomforts of a pregnancy when you’re older. I had my 3rd one last year at 39yo. There was really never a time I wasn’t sick or in some kind of physical pain or discomfort. And add a broken ankle in the 9th month! I should have been able to walk on it, but the extra weight kept me from doing that without a walker because of the pain. Needless to say, I was induced a week early and am thankful for it. For you, there is more risk involved in rushed and unprepared surgery. If the doctor says you and the baby are healthy enough, I would recommend having it scheduled. But, God is in control of it all, no matter what you choose or what happens. At least there is comfort in that. :)

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  9. Irene
    June 13, 2012 | 10:12 am

    Fwiw, I’ve had one scheduled c-section and one unscheduled due to premature labor with twins at 35 weeks. Once the decision was made to go ahead with the section, I couldn’t tell any difference in procedure or “atmosphere” between the two. The only notable difference was that for the unscheduled, I had to use the OB on call, and even though I’m sure she did just as well as my normal OB would have, I really missed the presence of my normal OB at such a stressful and emotional time.
    So, while in my experience the unscheduled c-section was not bad, if you have special arrangements with your OB, I definitely “vote” for scheduled! (:
    (since my 2 sections were done at 2 different hospitals, I have a suspicion that the security I felt during the unscheduled was due to the nurses, docs, staff, etc., and that my experience may not have been very good at the other location……actually the unscheduled was less stressful and more joyful than the scheduled…….I strongly believe that the personnel matter a WHOLE lot)
    I know you’ve got a lot of experience in child-bearing, so I’ll ask, do an extra few days between 39 and 40 weeks really make a difference for the baby? (I have six, some early, some late, and they’ve all been fine–gestation wise…..Well, the twins at 35 weeks were in NICU for 2 weeks, but even then, bonding has been very good).
    Enough from me.

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  10. rachel q
    June 13, 2012 | 10:14 am

    I would think that at 39 weeks baby would be fine. I have never had a c-section, and all of my babies (we’re expecting #8 now) have come before 38 weeks. All were fine except Baby #5 who came at 33 1/2 weeks…he was ok, too, just needed a bit of NICU time to help w/ breathing and learning to eat. Most of ours however have been between 36 and 37 weeks. It seems like things would go more smoothly if you just went ahead and scheduled it.

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  11. Kim
    June 13, 2012 | 10:23 am

    on-call 24/7 for a reason. Pediatrician’s do not typically attend deliveries – NICU staff are available as needed.
    Without strong medical indication and sure dating, there is no reason to deliver by cesarean before 39 weeks. Labor is also helpful to babies prior to cesarean. Vaginal birth has far more benefits to mom and baby over cesarean in the absence of strong medical indication.
    I don’t know if you’ve considered having a vaginal birth after cesarean, but that is the only way to maintain the integrity of the uterus for additional pregnancies. This is pertinent if this baby is not your last. The risk of complications drastically increases after the second and third cesarean, e.g. placenta accreta/increta/percreta, hemorrhage, etc.
    Transverse babies usually situate that way as a result of a roomy womb, i.e. baby has several older siblings. Abdominal wrapping is helpful to encourage baby to stay put once turned vertex (head down). Spinningbabies.com offers tips to encourage baby to turn.
    I hope and pray for have a lovely birth and that all things will glorify the Lord!

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    Kim Reply:

    Pediatricians – sorry for the ‘smartphone’ autocorrect typo. Apparently grammar was not included in smart phone programming.

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  12. Sarah @ Frugal Fun for Boys
    June 13, 2012 | 10:24 am

    Hi, I’ve had to make this decision three times. My second son was breech, and so we did a c-section at 38 weeks because I went to a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment, and I had lost most of my fluid. For the third and fourth boys, I wondered what to do… It’s a pain to go into labor first, plus if you have just eaten then they don’t want to do the surgery! Thankfully, the Lord was gracious each time. We scheduled c-sections at 39 weeks, but for both #3 and #4, I went into labor at 38 weeks and we knew it was time to do the c-section that day. But labor wasn’t so intense yet and I was able to wait until the right number of hours after eating had gone by for the anesthesiologist to feel okay about going ahead with the surgery.
    Prayers for your baby to come at just the right time – the Lord knows!

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  13. Diana
    June 13, 2012 | 10:26 am

    The benefits of scheduled are all practical. The benefits of waiting are all medical. I would put my vote in for waiting as long as you possibly can, even into labor. Here’s why:

    (1) Less risk of iatrogenic prematurity by waiting for baby’s timing, and
    (2) If you wait to go into labor, baby will get some of those good labor hormones which are so important for a good start in life.

    Is VBAC not an option?

    Good luck to you!!

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  14. Heather
    June 13, 2012 | 10:27 am

    I think so much depends on your babies and your gestational history. Some women grow babies that are meant to come at 37 weeks and some are meant to come at 42 weeks (or later). What has been your typical labor pattern before you had c-sections? I personally wouldn’t schedule for much before what your normal delivery time frame is for the babies sake. I know people don’t like to talk about it because so many elect to have c-sections without a valid medical reason, but there are actually babies delivered via schedule c-sections at 39-40 weeks who are not ready to be born and end up as ‘full term premies.’ I know for me personally my babies take over 41 weeks to cook. Our last was an emergency c-section (breech at the last minute and lots of craziness to go along with it) and if I really had to have another one I’d be waiting until as close to 41 weeks as possible. 39 weeks would be too early for my babies based on my history. Of course, most OBs would freak at that, but we ended up meeting a great one after our midwife discovered our breech and he is okay with that if it came to it again.

    I just think there isn’t a one size fits all babies when it comes to delivery dates!

    Best of luck with your decision,
    Heather

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  15. Christa
    June 13, 2012 | 10:31 am

    We are expecting our 5th (4th c-section)in November and we are scheduling it. But we are scheduling it as close to 40 weeks as possible. I have had both ‘emergency’ and scheduled c-sections and by far the scheduled was much easier on me, my hubby, and our whole family. It is major surgery so for me being able to prepare ahead of time and go into it ‘ready’ was very helpful for my recovery.

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  16. alizabeth
    June 13, 2012 | 10:35 am

    Hello. I am pregnant with our 7th child and this will be my 6th c-section…it could be because I am used to c-sections, but planning is okay. My doctor is amazing and I am able to have a mirror to watch, hold the baby right away-barring any problems-, if there is any problems my husband goes right to NICU with the lil one, and i follow shortly after. He takes awesome care in removing scar tissue, sewing me up, preparing for the worst yet we have never needed it. I would love to be able to have children naturally but after my first and second (which turned into a emergency c-section…I don’t recommend that!) I am content…we make it as special as possible and in the end, the baby is safer and so am I. And I end up with a beautiful bundle of joy, no matter how he or she got here…I truly love every moment and treasure the entire process. How blessed am I to be able to have children!

    blessings

    alizabeth

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  17. Stephanie
    June 13, 2012 | 11:21 am

    I think waiting is good because you have some good laboring hormones starting and more odds that your sweet babe is ready for the outside world, but going in/calling very early in labor.

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  18. Amanda
    June 13, 2012 | 12:18 pm

    I have never had a C-section before and frankly am terrified of having one. However, if I were in your shoes I would schedule the C-section so everyone is prepared. It would make me far less anxious having it scheduled then being in an emergency situation. I’m sure you will make the right choice for you and your baby and I support you either way.

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  19. Danielle
    June 13, 2012 | 12:30 pm

    In most cases, I think 39 weeks is OK. I had a C-sec at 39 weeks for my second child when I found out she was breach. We were too far from the hospital to risk going into labor, so it was the right decision for us. My fourth was also born at exactly 39 weeks, though not cesarean. In fact, it may have been earlier than 39 weeks because I was always skeptical of the due date assigned to me. Both of these children are healthy and beautiful!

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  20. Mischelle
    June 13, 2012 | 2:00 pm

    After reading why you have chosen the c-section, my heart goes out to you. As for when to have the c-section, I want to share my experience with you. Baby #4 (a boy) was born at a little over 37 weeks, he was an emergency c-section. I had gone into labor, and after my water broke and he hadn’t dropped I started to get concerned. After laboring all night and he didn’t drop any further, I began to pray earnestly for my precious baby…something was wrong, I knew it in my heart. About 9 a.m. the dr told me that we were going to do the c-section, and my precious little boy was born just in time. His cord was wrapped around his neck twice and he was being strangled during labor. I praise God for my son every day! He has had some health issues b/c of his early birth, but he is a very active 4 year old inspite of all.
    Baby#5 (also a boy) was a VBAC. He was born at exactly 39 weeks with no complications what-so-ever (even though I had developed gestational diabetes during this pregnancy)

    I would tell you that the planned c-section at 39 weeks would be a good choice. Having been through an emergency c-section, it is not something you want to go through if you can avoid it. In addition to recovering from the c-section, you are also recovering from labor, and that taxes your body immensely. You and your precious little one will both do better with the scheduled birth.

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  21. Sara
    June 13, 2012 | 3:25 pm

    I was scheduled for a 39 week c-section with my 2nd. (My 1st was a true emergency c-section, I abrupted!) I developed pre-eclampsia, so we bumped the c-section to 38 weeks…but my daughter decided to come on her own time schedule and we had the c-section a few days earlier than planned. The hospital staff was great, it was so relaxed. But, I guess I’m comparing it to the time I almost died! Whatever ends up happening, I’m praying for you and the baby!

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  22. Michelle @ Arrows and Olives
    June 13, 2012 | 5:22 pm

    A scheduled C-section sounds very wise! I myself have not had a c-section, but I’ve had several close friends get rushed into EMERGENCY c-sections and that is nothing anyone WANTS! Will be praying for you and your little-one. Your blog is such a blessing. :)

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  23. Renata
    June 13, 2012 | 5:55 pm

    Hi Kimberley
    I’m glad you’re keeping well & hasn’t this pregnancy gone fast ( at least for me here on the other side of the world :) A scheduled C-section is much more relaxed & calm than an emergency one. It seems everyone has time to pre-plan & so things seem more peaceful. Over here 38 weeks is considered full term, so 39 weeks is when most scheduled c-sections would occur. With twins 37 weeks is considered full term. Either way at 39 weeks there should be very little chance of prematurity problems unless your dates are completely out ( which I’m assuming they aren’t if you have had regular u/s & checks). Anyway just my opinion. Will be praying for you & bub!
    Have a wonderful day
    Blessings
    Renata:)

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  24. Shannon H.
    June 13, 2012 | 8:09 pm

    After my first was born via ‘emergency’ c-section, my other 3 biological children were scheduled sections… however, with this last one, my daughter decided to try to come a week prior to the scheduled date… We had to hurry about, unprepared, but I tell you it was just the Lord’s timing b/c everything went SO smoothly… we had the most wonderful nurses and anesthesiologist… everything I’d been praying about for months was not a concern at all (Will they whisk my baby off to the nursery and run tests? Will they let me nurse her in recovery? Will they try to give her formula or sugar water???) It was honestly the best birthing experience I’ve had yet, even though we were all thrown for a loop a week early. So all that to hopefully give you some peace, remembering God is sovereignly in control – even in the ‘emergencies’. ;)

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  25. Becky
    June 13, 2012 | 9:50 pm

    Hey! I am 29wks 3 days today. I am a c/s mom period. All 5 off mine have been born via c/s as will this little guy. My first was breech, thus the c/s journey began. My second tried to to vbac, but no contractions = another c/s. The rest have all been scheduled right around 39, 39wks 1 day. They have all been fine. Boys/girls responded the same. Being a type A person, I enjoy being able to schedule my births and also my help for the 6wks following my c/s. My oldest is only 7 and my husband is active duty navy, so it is very important that I have help for my recovery period. :)

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  26. Jamie
    June 13, 2012 | 9:52 pm

    I’ve had 3 c-sections with my last 2 being scheduled at 39 weeks, both boys. They were big, healthy babies (9lb 7oz & 8lb 13oz). I loved the laid back “in & out” deliveries. This baby, #4, will probably be a little past 39 weeks though since that date lands on Thanksgiving :) I like the idea in one of the above comments of waiting until 39 1/2 weeks just in case.

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  27. Chellie
    June 13, 2012 | 11:32 pm

    My son was a scheduled C-Section at 39wks 1day (he was born the day after labor day, they wouldn’t “schedule” on a holiday). I think that was the scariest thing I have ever gone through. We had him in a small local hospital, and within 12 hours, he was mediflighted to a NICU 2 1/2 hours away, while I had to stay in the hospital he was born in for two more days while I recovered from surgery. He spent 3 weeks in that NICU, and while he was there, I was admitted to ICU for three days due to eclampsia (had some high blood pressure the week before he was born, then massive post-natal stress). I was later told by one of my sons doctors, that there was a higher probability of my son having to be taken to a NICU at 39 wks simply because he was a boy (which you already pointed out), and knowing this his doctor should have sent me up to a larger hospital with a in house NICU to deliver, or waited until I actually went into labor. My twins (both girls) were born at 35 wks 1 day, but I was taken to the larger hospital for the operation, and was very grateful. Although, they too spent a week in the NICU, it was only down the hall from my room (and my doctor refused to discharge me until they were going to be discharged). I would recommend, if you do decide to go early, arrange to be in a hospital with a NICU, just in case. It might be more trouble to get there, but it is much better to be down the hall from your baby (or at least in the same building) than halfway across the state. I’ll pray for you to have a very uneventful birth (well one event ;) ).

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  28. Sarah Harris
    June 14, 2012 | 12:11 am

    Hi

    I have never had a c-section, and have only had 2 children so far myself. But having read some of your stories and reasons for having a c-section, I do agree that it is a wise choice. As for when, I pray God gives you the wisdom in making this decision. I personally would go for the dated prepared option, but make the date as late as possible. If you have had a history of being overdue, then closer the 40 week mark might be okay. I don’t know.
    Father, please guide the minds that make this decision that they make the best decision. Please guide the surgeon’s hands, and may the whole happening be peaceful and give You the glory. Amen

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  29. Hannah H
    June 14, 2012 | 12:38 pm

    First I just want to say thank you SO much for posting about family centered c-sections, it inspired me to talk to my Dr about it a few days before we delivered our son on Tue the 12th.My Dr was completly on board with and just ran with it, throwing out ideas of what we could do. I got to see him right after birth, then they cleaned him real quick and I got to hold him while I was being sewn up, he was on my chest while I was wheeled out of the OR. It was amazing! The last 2 births we had were scheduled sections at 39 wks, one girl and 14 mo later a boy. They both did fine. Scheduled is best in my opinion, less risk than an emergency, more peaceful. The hospital makes a big difference, we are in a metropolitan area with 7 or 8 large hospitals, a small town hospital would be higher risk for an emergency in my. opinion. I will be praying for all of you, I have to have. sections so I understand what you’re going through. Love in Christ – Hannah, Levi and Olivia- 4, Faithful -1 and Nathaniel- 8lbs 10oz 21 in 6-12-12

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  30. Alice Williams
    June 15, 2012 | 1:42 pm

    Hi Kimberly,
    It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, though I lurk occasionally. I am a nurse, so I’m familiar with most of the medical knowledge regarding gestational maturity, but I am also a voracious reader of midwifery materials and other sources of birth information (it’s a bit of an obsession). I have one child, a son (Grant) who was born 15 days past my “due date”, and while I realize that this isn’t much experience, I think my experience is illustrative. I am of primarily northern European descent (Russian, Norwegian, Swedish). It is known to midwives that different nationalities naturally carry longer or shorter than others, for reasons that may have to do with diet and lifestyle, but are likely also related to genetics. For example, Russians, Celts, and French tend to deliver right around the due date, and Scandinavians, Africans, and Germans tend to deliver laatter, up to four weeks after the due date–with no complications, I might add. This is why the postmaturity question is so difficult. Anyway, back to my story, Grant was born at 42 weeks 1 day, and was exactly full term. He had beautiful skin, TONS of lanugo and vernix, and no signs of postmaturity. He was large (over 10 lbs), but my pelvis was adequate and all was OK. Also, he has reached milestones at or before expected times (for example, he held his head up consistently by 1 week, and never had the floppy neck of many newborns). I have talked with some other mothers of larger babies and they had similar stories.
    I guess my point is that gestational age is relative. Have your other babies (the ones who chose their own birthdays) come close to your due date, or a little before or after? If your other kids came close to 39 weeks and were OK, your current child should be ready at a similar time. Every child is different, but your genetics should play into it. (It is believed that this may have to do with adaptation to environment–those who live in more temperate climates tend to come before or near their due dates, while those who live in harsh or cold climates tend to wait a little longer, until they are more ready to face their environment.)
    I would definitely say that it is worth it to wait a little–every day helps your baby be more prepared, and as other posters have said, labor hormones are very important. That said, you will do OK either way. This is definitely your decision. I will be praying for you and your sweet baby.
    Sorry for the book. :)

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  31. Anna@The DIY Mom
    June 15, 2012 | 9:44 pm

    You’re OB really does sound quite good and cautious. Many would schedule a c/s at 37 without hesitation and not even want to give you the option of going later. 39 weeks would be considered plenty long enough by most. You may want to ask you doctor if he feels that there are any benefits to actually going into labor, as some feel that it helps prepare the baby for the outside world. Or if there are any particular risks specifically for you should you go into labor that should be considered. There really shouldn’t be a problem going into labor naturally and many women do have many successful VBACs, but since you have already made the decision that a c/s would be best it may be good to ask.

    As an RN who worked in a special care nursery, you are very right that it is often true that boys have more problems the earlier they come, and it would be wise to take that into account. I would also suggest considering whether your children that you went into labor for naturally came early or late. Some women cycle differently than others and some just seem to deliver consistently early or late for other reasons. If there is a pattern, especially perhaps with your boys, this may help in determine when they are the likeliest to be ready to be born.

    Of course every baby is different, family circumstances always changing, and possible health concerns that could arise, and throw everyone’s plans, except for His off. I am sure that with His guidance and protection everything will go well.

    Remembering you at this time and look forward to seeing pictures of your latest little one, and our own new baby (#3)a few weeks later.

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  32. Regina
    June 21, 2012 | 2:05 am

    it will go exactly as it should – what a blessing

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  33. Kelly
    June 26, 2012 | 9:32 am

    My third and fourth kiddos were c-sections in the 39th week. Since my second was vbac I was trying for vbac with #3 and that stubborn little guy would not come down/progress past 5cm. They wouldn’t give me pitocin and we couldn’t hang out there indefinitely so after many hours proceeded with a section. It wasn’t really an emergency but unplanned nontheless. The doc told me how thin my uterus was during that surgery. So for #4 I chose a planned section to do what I felt was the safest for my daughter and I. Both babies did well and stayed with me 100% of the time in the hospital. Good luck with whatever timing you choose. Can’t wait to read about it!

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