38 Weeks


What?!

How did this happen?!

Seriously.

This pregnancy has completely surprised me every single step of the way.  My body has made sure that I never know what the heck is going on.  From conception, to extreme pain at only 8 weeks pregnant, to having to shorten my work days very early on and then stop working nights and going on “desk duty,” then a week long scary admission, modified rest, 2 full rounds of steroid shots, 2 more admissions and countless other hospital visits.  Even the fact that my aortic root has not changed in diameter has surprised me.  Everyone was sure I’d have a baby by now and yet here I am, still very uncomfortably pregnant with a strong, active, healthy baby.

In truth I had hoped to have delivered by now, the last two weeks I’ve been doing a lot to try and encourage it along.  Nothing like taking potions but doing a lot of organizing and moving boxes up and down stairs, pushing my body to it’s limits urging and begging it to just get things going.  Yet at my weekly appointments there has been no change to my cervix.

Crazy.

Still, as uncomfortable and impatient as I’ve been it’s also been a blessing.  I’ve had enough energy to get some things done before babe comes.  I’ve set up a mock nursery in our master room – using the bathroom counter and cupboards for a changing station and our huge closet as a nursing station.  It’s a temporary fix until we get a chance to move our current office into the basement and transform that room into a big boy room for Ezekiel.  I also did a bunch of organizing and cleaning in the basement in preparation for Carlos’ first son to arrive just a few days after the baby does.  It’s a crazy month around here and I’m happy to have gotten those things out of the way.  Also Ezekiel has been pretty attached at the hip this weekend and we’ve had a lot of time to cuddle and have lots of conversations about the baby.  I don’t think the transition is going to be as difficult as it could have been had the baby been premature and having to spend a lot of time in the hospital.  We’ve talked about things we’ll be able to do once baby arrives, how baby is actually going to arrive (thank you c-section for the easy conversation!), how the baby will eat and how he can help with the baby.  He’s incredibly excited and daily takes note of my belly and talks to the baby.  It’s been so sweet and wonderful to watch him grow in understanding and excitement of my pregnancy.

I’m excited that I will probably have a relatively short admission and that most likely I will be able to come home with my baby in my arms.  There is a very small chance that babe will need to be monitored a bit more closely due to the medications I’ve been on during pregnancy but I don’t think it’s actually going to be a problem.  I’m really excited to get this babe home and establish some new routines.  Instead of dreaming and planning I’m ready to start implementing.

I never once thought that I’d ever see 38 weeks in any pregnancy and I’m counting this as a miracle.  It’s a nice consolation that I know I’ll never see 39 weeks!  This is the week we meet our second miracle baby and we are beyond excited.

36 Weeks!


If you were to ask anybody – friends, family, all the medical professionals involved in my care – I doubt you would find anyone who could have imagined I would make it this far in my pregnancy.  It truly is such a blessing!

This pregnancy has been the very opposite of easy, but every single step of the way from conception to today has been miraculous.  It’s this fact that has carried me through without mentally hating every single second.  My body has fought against this pregnancy in a lot of ways but I owe it so much for protecting this miracle baby of ours.  I am at ease now, knowing that I will most likely be able to take my baby home when I leave the hospital instead of leaving it there to be cared for by doctors and nurses.

Despite all my gratefulness, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

I am definitely ready.

The last few weeks have been difficult.  My pre-term symptoms are increasing – most days I’ll have about 50 contractions and some sort of cramping along with it.  Recently the contractions have increased in intensity and I think my body is preparing itself for the big day (little does it know that all control of getting this baby out is going to be taken away from it!).  Half of the days I have really great mornings – like today I got up and felt pretty good – I baked, did laundry and planted some more seeds for this years garden but by the afternoon I am wiped and beyond exhausted.  The other half of the days I feel awful for most of the day and night.  The exhaustion is similar to my first trimester where I just can’t fathom getting up and doing anything productive.   So most days I spend at least half of it in bed resting.  I’m doing a lot more than I was before 34 weeks.  I now lift my toddler if I need to, I carry the laundry up and down the stairs, I walk the grocery store instead of using their electric wheelchairs, I cook supper and do a lot of baking.  It’s a start but it’s still not normal life yet.  I can only tolerate a little of each before I need to sit down and rest.  The extra weight paired with the extra relaxin makes my body ache more and more each day.  The baby is uncomfortably low making standing and walking fairly difficult.

So I’m ready for D-Day and I’m no longer doing anything to stop it from coming.  I’m daydreaming and planning for the days ahead when I have a babe in my arms and a toddler by my side.  Some things I’m most looking forward to:

  • Trips to the zoo
  • Mom and tot/babe yoga
  • Walking, walking and more walking
  • Cleaning my house in one day
  • Playground visits
  • Playdates
  • Transitioning all the rooms in the house to accommodate 2 new members
  • Exercising to gain back strength in my body
  • Gardening

There is just so much to look forward to once this babe makes an appearance.  Of course I’m also keeping myself in check and being realistic to the fact that I will be having a c-section and will definitely need to rest for a couple weeks before being able to even begin to transition to some sort of normal.  I think one blessing of being on modified rest, is that it has taught me how to slow down and take it easy when I need to.  It’s broken my “super-woman” mentality and need to prove anything (mostly to myself and no one else).  It’s taught me to know when enough is enough and it’s stopped me from pushing myself farther than I need to.  All these things will come in handy post c-section when I feel the urge to clean my house 7 days after a major surgery.

So, I’m still here and still pregnant, anxiously waiting for a clear sign that it’s go time!

 

All Consuming


Well, I’ve hit 34 weeks! It’s an amazing milestone considering where we have come from.  When I look back on the last 34 weeks I am astonished at just how blessed I am.  This miracle baby that was naturally conceived (something that does not come easy for my body) and has held on strong ever since.  This body of mine that really fights against pregnancy has held on as well.

Nothing short of a miracle.

Now, after hitting 34 weeks and having the danger of bringing a tiny baby into the world pass I am definitely getting impatient to meet this little one.  My body is again in pain most of the time.  My preterm symptoms are out of control which makes me miserable most of the time.  The changing of the weather is making me antsy to get outside.  The ever growing state of my body is getting uncomfortable.  Sleep has disappeared from my life.  My toddler needs more time outside, more interaction with little ones but I fear leaving the house too often with him in case something happens and I need to get to the hospital fast so he’s often stuck indoors.

So as grateful as I am, I am also ready to hold this little one in my arms.

I expected this pregnancy to be more difficult than my last but honestly I didn’t expect it to be so consuming.  I knew I would likely have a few more appointments but the amount I have had with several different specialties has been crazy.  I thought it would be harder on my body but I didn’t expect my body to be in such pain from 8 weeks on.  I thought I would have an early delivery but I didn’t think I would have so many scares so early on and not to mention hospitalizations.  I knew I’d have to be done work earlier than before but I never expected to be on modified rest for more than 10 weeks.

Usually it’s the first pregnancy that consumes your mind and life, getting ready for your first little one tends to have that effect.  I’ve heard second pregnancies aren’t so consuming because you are running after a toddler and busy already being a mom rather than dreaming about it.  For me the opposite has been true.  This pregnancy has been completely all consuming, it has taken over every aspect of my life.  It’s been what I talk about, what people want to talk about and what I think about the majority of the day.  I analyze every pain and how I’m feeling several times a day and wonder if I need to be checked or not.  I’ve had more doctors examine me than I’d like to admit.

I’m just over it.

I’m ready to start the challenge of mothering two.   I’m ready to have my body back, to start the very long process of healing it.  I’m ready to meet this miracle baby of mine.

Here’s hoping it happens soon! If it doesn’t, 4 weeks is sure to fly by :).

33 Weeks and Counting

Well, here I sit in the same hospital bed I was in only 3 short weeks ago wondering if this time I’ll be going home pregnant or not.  At this point I’m betting on still pregnant but really – who knows?!

It’s nothing that’s new and exciting at this point – more of the same old threatened preterm labor.  My cervix seems to be slowly changing and getting ready for labor – keyword “slowly” so honestly I don’t think it’s going to happen right away.  If I were anyone else I would have been sent home to wait it out.

I came in Saturday because I had some lower abdominal pain that was new and hadn’t gone away in 18 hours.  Then I became crampy and had the criteria of 6 contractions per hour for two consecutive hours.  Honestly had it not been for the new pain I would have stayed home with those contractions because they were so irregular and didn’t feel much different than anything else I had previously.  I came in reluctantly – at this point the “better safe than sorry” mantra only convinces me so much because I get here and things ALWAYS settle down.  Yet I came in anyways.

They hooked me up and could see some uterine activity and they checked me and my cervix was still pretty long but now dilated at the top.  At first they were going to send me home if they checked in two hours and nothing changed but then decided that because I was still having contractions that they weren’t comfortable with that plan and they would admit me.  They did recheck and nothing had changed thankfully.  That night was pretty uneventful but the next day I was really crampy and having contractions so they checked again and my cervix had shortened and softened but remained at 1 cm.  Due to the shortening and softening they kept me another night and here I am today playing the waiting game (and doing A LOT of knitting!).

Last night I was checked once more and there has been “no change” but here’s the very frustrating part of having several different people sticking their fingers in ungodly places – no one has the same perception or finger size of the other! One persons long is another’s short.  One persons open is another’s closed.  So really who the heck knows what’s going on down there really! This morning I had a couple hours of crazy cramping and lots of contractions but they’ve settled and so they haven’t checked me again but are keeping me another night at least.  If I can go the evening/night/morning with no crazy contractions they’ll send me home tomorrow.

The thing is – because of my previous silent labor with my son and because my delivery is not straightforward they don’t want to send me home without being absolutely 100% sure I am definitely not in any silent labor.  They would rather me be here and have a heads up and time to arrange for my c-section than me come in super dilated and have to rush me to an OR.  The only thing they can give to slow contractions is a blood pressure medication but my blood pressure is super low and I’m already on a beta-blocker as it is so it’s not a safe option for me.

I get it and to be honest I’m no longer as stressed out as I was with previous admissions.  I am now 33 weeks and I feel great about that.  I would love to make it even farther but if we don’t I know that we will only face a few weeks in NICU and baby will be just fine.  Since being sent home after my admission three weeks ago I’ve been noticing subtle hints (and not so subtle) that my body is preparing to deliver.  I’ve had far more bad days then good – just generally not feeling good.  Lots of nausea, cramping, contractions.  I’ve just been waiting for the more clear signs.  Honestly I would be so thankful if my water just broke because then I would KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that this was it.  Instead I’m hanging in limbo, waiting, guessing and over analyzing every single little thing.  It’s quite frustrating really.

Am I ready to have a baby? Heck no! In all this craziness I think I’m still not mentally prepared to be bringing a life into this world and to not be pregnant anymore.  This being our last baby I’m having all sorts of emotions about the end of pregnancy for my life.  Yet delivery is imminent and there’s not much I can do to delay it so I guess I’ll just have to adjust!

Since I didn’t get a 32 week update up in time here’s last weeks pic.

img_9229

30 Weeks


Well it’s been exciting going into my 30th week of pregnancy.  I thought I was doing pretty well, coasting along and actually feeling not to bad.  My pain in my joints drastically increased but I’ve been controlling it with a newer medication which has been working fine.  My last ultrasound was great, everything looked good – baby was growing well (although with a jump in abdominal girth which isn’t a huge concern), and my cervix remained the same.  We were even hopeful enough to schedule my section!

Then on Sunday night I went to bed feeling pretty crampy, this isn’t new so I wasn’t really concerned about it.  I woke up at 230 and still felt pretty crampy and wasn’t able to go to sleep.  Then around 3am I began to have contractions – again not new so I didn’t really worry about it but since I was awake I sat up and tracked them.  I had about 15 contractions in the first hour – definitely the most I’ve had in an hour since being home but they have always settled in the second hour.  Then about 15 minutes into my second hour of contractions I hit the “worried” mark of 6 more contractions.  The rule of thumb to go get checked is at least 6 contractions an hour for two consecutive hours.  I didn’t really want to get up and drive the 30 minutes to the hospital if the contractions were just going to settle and I wasn’t convinced it was anything to worry about so I stayed put.  By the end of the second hour I had had about 30 contractions and began to think that I probably should wake my husband to take me in.  I sat there for another 15 minutes trying to will them away, and they did slow a bit but were still coming.  So I got up, got my bag ready (very very poorly I might add – something I’m definitely going to have to work on), washed my face and brushed my teeth.  Then I woke my husband and my mom to let her know that we were heading in.  I grabbed some snacks and we made our coffees and made the drive in.  By the time we arrived to the hospital the contractions were definitely slowing down.  We got there and they hooked me up to the monitor and a doctor came in to check my cervix.  I was expecting to hear “long and closed, you can go home” but instead I heard “it’s still long but open about one cm at the bottom.”  I muttered an expletive and started to get stressed.  She did say that it doesn’t feel like a cervix in labor – it’s still firm and not ripening – good news.  The plan was to stay for a couple hours and recheck and she thought if the contractions and cramping had slowed and there were no cervical changes that I could still go.  Then she left but came back soon after because she had spoken to my regular doctor who thought it was a better idea to administer my second round of steroids and keep me overnight to ensure that nothing was happening.  I was even more concerned at that point – but eventually my doctor came in and we had a long discussion.  She was convinced I wasn’t going to deliver imminently but wasn’t sure that I would make it much farther than 32 weeks so she wanted to ensure I get the steroids now because they are good up to two weeks after administration and it’s more critical to have them now.  I felt reassured after our talk and calmed down significantly.

So I had another hospital stay, but thankfully this one was just one night and very uneventful.  I came home this morning and resumed my normal activity of sitting on the couch.  Ezekiel handled this admission very well and is even napping as I write!! I did try to nap but this little babe in my belly decided to have a dance party instead.

So onwards to 32 weeks! It’s insane to think that we are really getting close to meeting this little one.  It’s now clear that it’s coming sooner than anyone is ready for and that we will have some time in the NICU.  I’m mentally preparing myself for that and wondering how it’s all going to go with a little one at home who NEEDS consistency and a babe in the hospital who I will never want to leave.  It won’t be easy but as long as this one comes home safe and sound I know we are all going to make it through just fine.

28 Weeks

img_8867

Well as of last Sunday I hit the coveted 28 week mark.  Although still VERY early to deliver (and I’m certain I won’t be delivering in the next week or so), hitting the third trimester and getting farther along, closer to 40 weeks the statistics improve drastically.  I’m a stats girl, I like numbers, I like rationalizing through numbers and like looking at odds.  I often browse medical literature related to any and all conditions I have just looking at the numbers and so 28 weeks? I’m liking the numbers more and more.

I remember a few years ago talking to someone who had a premature baby and she was telling me how the week after she gave birth an app on her phone that she hadn’t disabled gave her a notification that said “Congratulations! You’ve hit the third trimester!” She talked about the pure shock and heartbreak that message brought her. I remember thinking how awful that would have been, what a desperate situation.  I can’t imagine being robbed of that much time feeling your baby on the inside and nurturing it like no one else can.

Given that I was so close to a similar situation I am not taking any day, hour or moment for granted.  Sure sitting around sucks, but I’m feeling so much better than I was even a couple weeks ago and can do just a tiny bit more than I could before as well.  I probably push myself a little too much on certain days and definitely pay for it the next day or two but I’m no longer stressing over every contraction or pain.  I’m beginning to learn this new body of mine.  Slowly starting to trust it and trust myself again.  When I initially went to labour and delivery the day I was admitted I had NO clue what was happening and as the hours unfolded that feeling just got worse and worse.  It was so unfamiliar to me, so scary.  I’m extremely aware of my body to the point that when I explain things to doctors it baffles them that I feel how I do and can explain it the way I do.  The things they may stress over I can 100% guarantee are not stress worthy things and sure enough every test will come back negative – they find comfort in that and I only want to say “I told you so.” When I was discharged from the hospital I was still in that scary place of not being able to trust myself with deciphering what my body was telling me and I was terrified to go home.  Today I am closer to being that girl that can listen to her body and know what it’s capable of and when to stop.  Of course, as always I push it’s limits and I probably shouldn’t – I could be playing with fire, but I’m listening and trying to be kind to it.

So 28 weeks has been a good week and I’m looking forward to 10 more of the same before I meet this precious babe of mine.

 

The Battle

IMG_8554.JPG

I’m well into the second week of being on moderately reduced activity and I’ve hit 26 weeks!  It’s both easier and much harder all at the same time.  I’ve been feeling markedly better this week which is awesome and reassuring.  I’ve had far less contractions and no cramping at all.  It makes me really hopeful that I’ll go well into the 30’s (weeks) before delivering.  So in those ways it’s easier – feeling better makes life easier!

It’s also harder because I feel better.  The better I feel the more I want to do.  I want to cook, clean, run errands, lift my kid, move my couch and find those lost toys – all the things.  My brain registers that I’m feeling better because I’m resting and if I don’t rest I won’t feel better.  My heart cries for normalcy and independence.  It’s a constant battle.

Yesterday I had an ultrasound and doctor’s appointment.  Thankfully everything is stable and there’s nothing to be very concerned about right now.  My doctor classifies me as being on “auto pilot” for the time being and has told me to keep doing what I’m doing.  After the appointment I ended up running some errands and doing a bit more than I should have and ended up with some contractions – nothing major but a definite confirmation that I need to be persistent with rest.  Thankfully my mom is here to scold me when I lift Ezekiel, or am on my feet too much – it would be a much different story if she was not.

Christmas is such a hard time to be confined to a couch but I’m so loving this time of year. The lights, the baking, the gift giving – I love it all and I love watching Ezekiel experience it with a whole new level of understanding.

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I’m wishing you a time of peace, love and joy during this season.