the smell of my desperation has become a stench

38 weeks

As of today there are only ten days left until my due date:

38 weeks

Yesterday morning I had a weekly appointment with my OBGYN where she checked to see if I was dilated. You know how that is done, right? Because I remember the first time my old doctor told me how he was going to “check me” when I was pregnant with Leta, and I was all YOU’RE GOING TO DO WHAT? And then he snapped on one of those latex gloves, held up his hand like he was flashing the peace sign, and then I had go home and tell Jon that I cheated on him with the knuckle on my doctor’s index finger.

It is not a pleasant experience, not at all, no way, not even. Someone basically has to reach up inside you and casually estimate the circumference to the opening of your cervix using the tips of their fingers. And in order to garner the most accurate measurement they have to sweep around the opening like they’re cleaning the mouth to a water bottle. When you’re laboring in a hospital room you learn really fast that the person walking around with their index and middle fingers in the air is coming straight for your lady parts, and sometimes that person is not the same person who measured you an hour ago, and next thing you know you’ve violated every single standard of the BYU Honor Code.

The doctor who delivered Leta retired just a few months after she was born, so I had to find someone new to deliver this baby, and this doctor must have much tinier hands because that is the only way to explain the maneuvers she has to pull in order to get her fingers far enough inside me to reach the cervix. And I am not even kidding, at one point I thought her forefinger was going to poke out of my nose.

Jon was standing by my side during this procedure so that I could squeeze his hand when the pain became unbearable, and afterward as he taped up his broken fingers he asked if it had really been as bad as the expression on my face seemed to indicate. And I was all, Jon, that woman just reached through my vagina and scratched the underside of my brain. Whatever the expression was on my face, it WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

The last three times she checked me I’d shown no progress whatsoever. My cervix hadn’t dilated or softened, and I’d go home thinking I was going to be pregnant for another two months, and they do not make a powdered doughnut big enough to medicate that kind of misery. But yesterday when she pulled back her arm her face brightened with the news that I’ve dilated to two and half centimeters and am 50% effaced, a good indication that my body is getting ready. According to all the pregnancy shows I’ve been watching, though, this means absolutely nothing, and I could either go into labor tonight or waddle around for 13 days past my due date and then accidentally give birth in a toilet.

  • Noelle

    2009/06/06 at 2:32 am

    Awesome Rack!!!!! Good Luck with the birthing stuff!

    Ok, is anyone else disturbed by #409’s post? Am I crazy, or did she just post that her DR groped her and she didn’t mind because he looked like Kennedy? #409, please tell me I read that wrong!

  • Myssie

    2009/06/06 at 6:33 am

    I do enjoy your blog, quite funny.
    I hope you are aware of your rights as a patient, you can and should say “no thank you” to the frequent requests for cervical checks. Especially if they are that unpleasant for you, during labor this can be huge pain (as you know).
    After your bag of waters break, frequent cervical checks can introduce germs into the vagina, like if you happen to be birthing in a teaching hospital with an Ob and there are many eager residents.
    Best to you and your family!

  • BJ

    2009/06/06 at 6:42 am

    You look so beautiful! I’m positive that I never looked that good! Sending good vibes your way and hoping for a speedy delivery!

    I have to tell you that I snickered 25 times while reading this. You sense of humor is astounding. Just love it!

    My daughter Kelli, is expecting her fourth! Yes….you heard right. We are excited to be having another little one coming. Her baby boy is 15 months. The girls are 8 and almost 5. She is the one who encouraged me to start reading Dooce.

  • Darcie

    2009/06/06 at 7:27 am

    If they offer to “sweep your membranes” to help things along…..RUN. Ok at this point waddle but avoid that. Trust me that makes exams look like a walk in the park.

  • Brea

    2009/06/06 at 8:11 am


    I am so excited for you and your family! I had to chuckle when I read your newest post, because it’s may not be as far from the truth as you think.

    Things were moving along quickly with my second childbirth. We got to the hospital and I had in my mind from the pregnancy class that I should empty my bladder to make labor ‘easier’.

    And then I had my son on the potty.

    There was no time to move or anything – I delivered from there with three nurses and my husband crammed in that tiny hospital bathroom. One of the nurses threw her back out helping with the delivery – our doctor missed the whole thing. For the remainder of my hospital stay, we became something of a legend – with each new nurse who came on their shift bustling into the room exclaiming, “Well! Someone was in a hurry to be born!”

    In the retelling of this story to my son (who is now 8), we downplay the whole thing a little. Because, really, who wants to be known as ‘the boy who was born on the potty’?]


    Brea (the one who sent Leta the smell-good Princess markers)

  • Bee

    2009/06/06 at 8:20 am

    Hey Heather, I just have to tell you that I love the badass new masthead! You look like Eva Green in Dreamers. 🙂

  • Maureen

    2009/06/06 at 8:34 am

    Heather, can you stand another exclamation at how wonderful you look, despite how you might feel?

    Oy, reading all these stories. It’s been 20+ years, but I still remember being at work on my due date, wishing I were home w/ a newborn, or at least in labor, by then. I worked on the 10th floor of my bldg at the time, got back from lunch to find that the elevators weren’t working. Climbing up 9 flights hauling 45 lbs. of baby weight wasn’t much fun, but I gotta tell ya, I *did* enjoy watching people’s faces as they’d ask “When’s your due date?” and I’d reply “Today.” Their eyes would bug out and they’d continue up the stairs a lot faster…

    When my daughter finally deigned to make her debut, she took her own sweet time about it. I remember one of the midwives saying at one point, upon realizing my baby had finally crowned, “Look at all that hair!” To which I replied “Pull on it!” They thought I was kidding.

    After that experience, though, I became convinced that the sun rises & sets on nurse-midwives. My OB wanted to do a C-section because my daughter was being so dilatory, but the midwives kept putting her off, insisting they first try this, that or the other. She ended up being a vaginal delivery, thanks to my midwives’ patience and an epidural (though how can I tell if I’m pushing if I can’t feel anything down there?!?).

    Heather, I’m adding my good wishes for the easiest possible L&D for you and a sister for Leta who’s much lower maintenance than her big sister was.

  • Kristin C.

    2009/06/06 at 8:41 am

    Dear Dooce,

    Thank you for terrifying me. I am in the 34th week of my first pregnancy. Two days ago I was told that, at my next appointment, they would be doing weekly internal exams to check my cervix. I wasn’t worried about that until now.

    Have a joyful weekend free of fetus’ in the toilet,

  • Wacky Mommy

    2009/06/06 at 10:14 am

    That makes me feel like a natural woman, reading that post. And once again I think, Glad it’s you, sister, and not me, wooo-hooooo.

    Everyone’s lying, you’re not that big. You could go another month. Kidding. It will be any day now.

  • C

    2009/06/06 at 10:27 am

    Oh WOW that sounds horrible!!! Actually makes me sick. I tried to comment on those May 26th white trash pictures but it wouldn’t let me a while back. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them and think they should be published in some magazine lol.

  • Stephanie Kay

    2009/06/06 at 10:49 am

    Good god, would it kill people to go back and see that their “helpful” comments have already been posted a bazillion times? I think it’s been made more than clear that dilation checks are optional. I’ll also go out on a limb and say that once Heather said she was aware of the difference between a cervical check and stripping of membranes, it wasn’t necessary to keep telling her OMG THEY STRIPPED UR MEMBRANES YOU HAZ BEEN VIOLATED.

    You look amazing, Heather. And I wish you a happy, easy, safe labor and delivery and many joyous months and years with your two little girls.

  • Anonymous

    2009/06/06 at 10:51 am

    Im sure Jon is having some fun with those HUGE boobs 😀

  • janncam

    2009/06/06 at 11:00 am

    Dear Heather,
    I have been reading your blog for months and never told you how much I love your words, which have frequently left me in tears, either from laughing hysterically or in commiseration. Not to mention the essential “Daily Chuck”.
    Thank you for lifting my days and I send many blessings and good wishes back to you. You are amazing!

  • Melissa

    2009/06/06 at 11:09 am

    It should be a crime to look THAT good in late pregnancy. Congrats!

  • kim

    2009/06/06 at 11:23 am

    i’m wishing you all the best for the upcoming *youknowwhatthereistocome*. fingers are crossed for a (as) nice (as possible considering…) first meetup and that all goes well. xoxo

1 8 9 10

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

read more