it’s been a while…

i do not actively blog any more.  my passion sort of fizzled after having brian.  also, i went through a lot of muck trying to conceive again last year and just didn’t feel like i had a lot of positivity and encouragement to share.  however, if someone happens to stumble upon this blog, especially for support through infertility, loss, or a difficult pregnancy, i’d like them to know how things turned out for me.  so here goes my update.

most of 2016 was hard for me.  i do not want to rehash my infertility woes in this post, but see immediately proceeding posts to read about the muck.  i was not in a good place.  hubby and i {mostly i} decided it was time to move to a new fertility clinic.  the one we used to get pregnant with brian operates more like a business than a medical facility with the goal of trying to help couples build a family.  i couldn’t take the nickel and diming any more – after having lots of bad luck and feeling like my doctor {and the other doctors and nurses} really didn’t care about me, i could not keep forking over thousands of dollars for fees not billable to insurance.  we had things all ready to move to a new, smaller clinic that was establishing a presence in town.  in the meantime, we had one last ovulation induction cycle at our {soon to be} former clinic as a trial to see if we could transfer a frozen embryo on that type of cycle vs. a classic FET cycle since i kept having allergic reactions to something in the FET protocol.

so, i took letrozole and used gonal-f, triggered with ovidrel, and just had sex.  i couldn’t even bring myself to pay the extra $160 non-billable fee for an IUI.  besides, i knew this drill… we did this type of cycle several times before moving to IVF to conceive brian, and it. just. doesn’t. work.  at least not for me.

well, surprise!!  as sure as i was that my period was coming – sore boobs, cramps before menstruation – we actually got pregnant!  10 days after triggering, something possessed me to pee on a stick, and there were two lines.  hubby didn’t want me to call the clinic that day.  we’ve had so many chemicals, why bother.  a dear friend who had been walking most of the struggle with me last year encouraged me to call anyway.  i did, had my first beta draw that day, and my hcg was 11.  my estrogen and progesterone were also pretty low.  whomp whomp.  nurse denise kindly told me not to expect this to turn into a viable pregnancy.  that was a wednesday.  she told me to double my progesterone suppositories and originally told me to come in the next monday for repeat labs, but then said she would feel better if i came friday.  i actually got a call the next morning saying that dr. wing wanted to check my levels that day (thursday), so that if everything went up, he could administer intralipids that friday.  {side note: intralipids are sort of a controversial treatment – in theory, this IV administration of fat and proteins is supposed to keep your immune system from going crazy and attacking the embryo.}  surprisingly, my hcg, estrogen, and progesterone all experienced a decent increase the next day.  for the next 3-4 weeks, i had a lot of blood draws to keep tabs on hormone levels and a lot of intralipids.  eventually, we had our first ultrasound and saw one tiny little baby, measuring perfectly on track with a strong heart beat.  i still can’t believe it… i got pregnant by having sex {yes, with letrozole and gonal-f too.  but sex.  and no FET}.  this was definitely healing for me.

my pregnancy was scary, and we were high risk… again.  sigh.  i had a bleeding scare at 11 weeks.  my OB’s nurse had me come in for an ultrasound.  i knew it was a bad sign when the tech left the wand in my vagina and walked out of the room to get the doctor on call.  their assessment, a damage to the lining of my uterus that could cause a miscarriage.  i was immediately sent to the high risk doctor {i was supposed to see them the next day anyway for my initial appointment and NT scan}.  turns out my OB’s office just had crappy equipment and the “damage” to my lining was actually a blood vessel that they couldn’t pick up the blood flow on.  my time at the high risk doctor was supposed to end after making sure the repaired separate uterus didn’t compromise the integrity of my cervix, but by that point i had been diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), so i had appointments with the high risk doctor for the remainder of the pregnancy.  ICP is a liver issue that can happen during pregnancy.  my liver was too busy trying to process high levels of estrogen and progesterone that it couldn’t keep up with processing bile, so bile acids spilled to my bloodstream.  this is super, super dangerous for the fetus, like causes stillbirth dangerous.  believe it or not, my OB did not want to diagnose me as having cholestasis despite lab results to prove it.  he was acting under one of the four high risk physicians who has a wildly different idea of what constitutes ICP.  so, at 20 weeks pregnant, i set out to find myself a new OB.  the new OB listened to me, explained what he knew about ICP, and treated me for it.  this OB is still in the same hospital network and had to work with the same high risk physicians, but he consulted with a different doctor at the high risk practice who agreed that i should be treated.  the most important treatment for ICP is early delivery, and for me, that meant 36w4d.  there was a lot of swirl leading up to my induction date.  apparently the high risk physicians said the baby couldn’t be born before 37 weeks unless i had an amniocentesis to prove lung maturity, even though my new OB had been telling me all along that delivery needed to happen at 36 weeks.  my OB continued to keep tabs on my bile acid levels during weeks 35 and 36, and they continued to rise.  he decided it was best to stick with the original plan for induction at 36w4d.

so, on june 14th, i reported to L&D at 7:30 PM for cervadil.  my nurse told me it would cause strong period-like cramps in my low abdomen and back.  when i was induced with brian, cervadil was a nonevent, i was expecting it to be the same this time.  well, an hour into it, the cramps appeared just as described.  they lasted throughout the night, and IV pain meds were not touching them.  at 4:45 AM on june 15th, i paged the nurse begging for more pain meds.  she said no, that the cervadil could be removed and i could get an epidural and they would start pitocin.  one problem, there were two people ahead of me for an epidural, and one of them was a c-section.  at some point in conversation, it came out that the cramps i was having were actually contractions, but they were not regular, so i guess my nurse didn’t take them seriously.  shortly after 5 AM, my nurse removed the cervadil and checked my cervix, it was only 2 centimeters.  i got up to wash my face and brush my teeth in preparation for the epidural – i knew i would be stuck in bed after that.  i was still in excruciating pain, and the epidural was taking forever to show up.  at 5:30 AM, i got up to pee.  after i was done urinating, i felt liquid running down my leg.  i knew i was not peeing on myself.  besides, who pees down the side of their leg while on the toilet?  that seems almost impossible.  i wiped up some of the liquid with toilet paper, it was tinged pink.  i yelled into our room for hubby to call the nurse {i did have to yell as he was still snoozing}.  she causally shows up 10 minutes later to confirm it was indeed my water breaking.  at this point i think i’m dying through contractions.  my nurse still didn’t take me seriously, she said they will hurt worse now because there is no water to cushion the blow.  she didn’t check my cervix again.  she leaves the room, and my only pain coping mechanisms were squeezing hubby’s hand off and swearing like a sailor.  around 6 AM (i don’t know what time exactly as it was all a total blur at this point), my crappy nurse returns and barks for me to get on my side.  apparently the baby’s heart rate was dropping during my contractions.  i was ordered to breathe too.  i told her i couldn’t and that i needed oxygen.  the oxygen didn’t make a difference, but i wore the mask anyway.  at some point i demanded she find a doctor or an anesthesiologist because i knew my pain was not normal.  she snickered at me and asked why.  she still didn’t check my cervix.  she at least stayed in the room to monitor the baby.  finally, around 6:15 or so, i told her something was coming out of me.  she asked if it felt like i had to poop.  the answer was yes.  i was still on my side and she asked to look between my legs.  she immediately told me to keep my legs closed and paged for everyone to show up – extra nurses, a baby nurse, a NICU nurse, a doctor, and a table of instruments for the doctor.  yeah, turns out i was in transition after my water broke, and my inexperienced nurse still didn’t pick up on that.  the doctor on call from my OB’s practice was in the OR with the long awaited anesthesiologist finishing up a c-section.  so, the OB on staff at the hospital had to be found.  she walked in, and several nurses helped me turn to my back because i was in too much pain to do it myself.  they put my knees/legs in the stirrups, i pushed one and half times, and baby austin entered the world at 6:24 AM {along with a giant gush of amniotic fluid, might i add… so the nurse’s explanation about less amniotic fluid to cushion the contractions was not entirely valid}.  the OB on call from my OB’s practice walked in to deliver the placenta.  my OB showed up an hour and a half later – still in shock from delivering without an epidural, i was super snarky and told him he missed the whole thing, that delivery did not go as planned, and that i did not have an epidural as planned.  i can say that recovery after this birth was much easier and quicker than with brian.  austin basically birthed himself, and i had way less drugs and pain meds, which had to be helpful. 

i struggled a lot, emotionally, throughout this pregnancy and am still struggling postpartum.  i spent the first 18 weeks in denial that i was actually pregnant and that another baby would be joining our family.  i also hid the news from most of my friends.  once i finally started to share about being pregnant, i was diagnosed with ICP, and spent the next 16 weeks living in constant worry.  now that the baby is here, we’ve had a lot of challenges with feeding.  breastfeeding was not going well because austin was too sleepy to eat, then he was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, leading to my decision to wean.  a couple of weeks later, his intestines still seem to be a hot mess, and i’m regretting my decision to wean.  i have a few other health challenges that i’m trying to sort through – following up with the GI to make sure my gallbladder and liver are fine/healing post ICP, a small hole in my left retina, i’m overdue for a filling, and i’m trying to avoid a D&E for retained products {again}.  while none of this is life threatening, the combination of all of these issues plus a fussy newborn and a toddler in the terrible twos has almost sent me over the edge.  

to be totally honest, i’m still struggling with these challenges in the context of my faith.  i didn’t get pregnant when i wanted.  when i finally did, i had a scary condition, despite praying that my pregnancy would be free of complications.  i also prayed the entire time that i would be able to breastfeed, and that didn’t pan out either.  i definitely feel removed from God.  i know my expectations are probably too high in terms of living problem free, i am a perfectionist after all.  the Bible promises that we will have trials in this life, and it tells me i should rejoice through all seasons.  i know a lot of women are still waiting to become a mom, and would take small health challenges and formula any day to achieve motherhood… so, i guess i need to be grateful.

i’ll close by adding some of the verses that carried me through pregnancy with austin. to all those who are still suffering through infertility, loss, or a high risk pregnancy… keep running the race and keeping the faith. 

and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed  {Deuteronomy 31:8}

have I not commanded you? be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go  {Joshua 1:9}

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand  {Isaiah 41:10}

postpartum appointment

i had a post in draft discussing my postpartum recovery experience so far.  it was detailed and, as usual, a little sarcastic.  then i went to my OB yesterday {exactly 6 weeks after delivery} for my postpartum appointment, and i have something a little more pressing to write about.

the appointment was a hot mess.  after waiting for 45 minutes {even though i was supposed to be the first appointment after lunch}, my doctor finally graced me with his presence.  i needed a repeat pap due to having abnormal pap smears while pregnant {apparently not all that uncommon}, but as he began his exam he handed the nurse something that was large and in a sterile wrapper.  i instantly knew that was not needed for the pap and just about the time i started to focus on the instrument, he says “amber, there is something coming out of your cervix here.  it is either placenta or a clot.  and if it’s placenta, we need to know about it to make sure you don’t have a condition called placenta percreta.”  i said gross and didn’t think too much about it as he dug a little bit of the mass out and then performed the pap – both tests to be sent to the lab.  he didn’t talk too much more about the mystery mass other than mentioning surgery might be required.  after that, i moved to asking him the 1,000 questions i had been saving for 6 weeks, which he answered.  the appointment felt a bit rushed as he was late from the OR and had a backlog of patients, so there was no further talk about the possible placenta issue, whether my reproductive system is healed, and birth control.  did i mention that my appointment was a hot mess?

mother-in-law was watching brian as he napped, and i needed to get home to pump, so i was very focused on getting out without thinking too much further about the placenta issue or the fact that we barely covered anything other than my 1,000 questions during the appointment.  i honestly thought surgery would be something like a d&c – would stink, but very manageable.

several hours later, i finally googled placenta percreta, and i was not prepared to find what i did.  essentially this is where the placenta attaches itself too firmly to the uterus.  in my case, even though {most of} the placenta was delivered, there could be a portion that is leftover and embedded in my uterus.  treatment looks pretty grim, as surgery is not usually successful at removing the leftover placenta due to the risk of bleeding to death, and a hysterectomy is often needed.  i should’ve known something was up when i had an excessively large clot {oversized golf ball} 5-6 days after delivery.  here’s the thing, the clot wasn’t all clot looking… part of it seemed to be grainy, dried up tissue.  while i’m not gushing blood, bleeding hasn’t ceased for me either.  and the last couple of weeks, when things should be mostly healed, i get weird uterus cramps and a sensation like something is stuck inside me/moving down my vaginal canal every once in a while {although i never see anything large coming out}.

here is where i have to assume the worst.  if it is a clot, wouldn’t it simply detach itself and come free?  i’m a fairly active person – take walks or use the elliptical almost every day.  i go up and down stairs probably 100 times a day at home {i should really count this one day}.  i would think all of that activity should jiggle a clot right out.

i am now an emotional wreck.  my cervix feels like something is jammed in it – probably more of whatever the OB pulled out yesterday.  or maybe the sensation is more in my vaginal canal.  anyway, it will be about a week before the results are back {and next monday is a holiday, so maybe longer}.  because the first couple of weeks of brian’s life were so challenging for me, hubby and i joked on multiple occasions that brian may be our only child.  now that there is a risk that i may need to have a hysterectomy, i wish i would’ve never been so extreme with joking.  deep down, i know that i’d like to have at least one more child for brian to have a sibling and immediate family other than mom and dad.  not to mention, a hysterectomy at the age of 26 doesn’t sound ideal.  but at the same time, i’m thankful for brian’s life and know that my health and safety is extremely important too.

i’m asking for prayer if you follow along.  i have several friends and prayer warriors already on the job, but the more prayers sent up, the better.  two passages come to mind – the first about the importance of others’ prayers and faith for you, and the second is the verse that carried me through IVF and pregnancy.  God is a mighty God, and i’m praying that if it’s His will, whatever my doctor discovered yesterday is non-issue or is treatable.

some men came, bringing to Him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “son, your sins are forgiven.” now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,  “why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! who can forgive sins but God alone?” immediately Jesus knew in His spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and He said to them, “why are you thinking these things? which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘get up, take your mat and walk’? but I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” so He said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” he got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. this amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “we have never seen anything like this!” {Mark 2:3-12}

ah, Lord God! behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. there is nothing too hard for You.{Jeremiah 32:17}

i can’t even come up with a good title. oh, maybe ‘help!’

here’s my disclaimer, this post is going to be a therapy session for me {if you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know that i can’t find a decent counselor to counsel}.  i almost decided not to post this, but recently got a little stirred up again {about another family thing – a different post for a different day}, so decided to.  feel free to skip or provide advice.

thought 1: my family is insane, part 1 – communication

sister-in-law had been pending delivery for about a month.  after 3 prior admittances, the 4th time was finally a charm, and my first nephew was born weighing in at 9 lbs, 1 oz a couple of weeks ago.  so happy for them, but watching my parents and extended family behave throughout this process has kind of upset me and the hubs.  each time labor began, my dad would start a group text to send updates {or lack thereof}.  one time my mom started emailing me too {parents are divorced so i hear everything twice}.  once it was the real deal, i received very graphic updates like “sister-in-law is 8 cm dilated and the doctor can feel the head with his finger.”  even after the baby arrived, i was informed of his circumcision.  oh, and did i mention the picture i received of my sister-in-law looking a sweaty mess during {what i presume to be} her first skin to skin time with the baby?  while my bro and his wife didn’t seem to mind this behavior, it has me a bit frustrated.  how much of my labor progress is going to be spammed out for all to hear?  and what kind of photos does my family plan on snapping to share?

continuing on the communication front, news travels fast.  after our ultrasound with the high risk doctor where we learned that little boy is head down, i exchanged a few text messages with my paternal grandmother.  she inquired about the baby’s position, so i gave her an update.  that night while sister-in-law is in labor, i get a text from my mom that says “i know you are sleeping but your dad just told me that brian turned head down!! that’s awesome!!”  so looks like grandma told dad and dad told mom.  news certainly travels fast.  i don’t care that my parents know this information, it’s just frustrating that it doesn’t come from me and that it spreads in about 12 hours.

thought 2: my family is insane, part 2 – the hospital

so, turns out that at least my parents camped out in the waiting room over night as they waited for their first grandchild.  my dad lives 1.5 hours away, so maybe i can see his thought process.  but my mom lives 20 minutes from the hospital.  i guess she didn’t think she’d make it in time?  when i face timed with my brother that evening {14 hours after the baby’s birth and 24 hours from my sister-in-law’s admittance}, my mom was still at the hospital trying to look busy shuffling stuff around.  apparently she never left.

thought 3: my brother is not smart

when telling about your wife’s labor and delivery experience, these are things you do not say to your sister, who will deliver in less than a month:

  • “she is doing good, hurting a little because EVERYTHING TORE APART.  i didn’t even know what was what.  but she’s ok now.  sore.”  {i kid you not, a direct quote from a text he sent me, capitalization and all}
  • she pushed for 4 hours
  • “oh yeah and the epidural only numbed her belly and leg!  talk soon.”  {also a direct quote, and why did he use an exclamation point?  that’s not at all exciting.}

thought 4: expectations

so, i didn’t run down to the hospital to meet my nephew on his birthday.  not that i’m not excited, but i had several things going on that day.  i had to leave work {for the second time that week} for a long doctor appointment.  after that, i had to log on from home to finish up my workday only to find that everything was a hot mess and i needed to put in several more hours of work that evening.  after that, i wanted to do something for me, so i decided to exercise.  by that time, hubby came home and it was time for dinner.  then, was i really going to get myself ready and go back uptown to visit the baby at 8 pm {remember, i’m a tired pregnant person}?  i figured no, because they’ll be there tomorrow.  and they were likely more tired.  and, i texted my brother earlier that day and got no response, so i figured they were overwhelmed.  and {here’s the selfish thought}, do i really want to be in a place full of germs during cold and flu season if i don’t have to be?

well, apparently my family had different expectations of me on my nephew’s birthday.  i started receiving text messages asking if i was busy and why i hadn’t gone to the hospital yet from my father.  he told me “you need to call tonight, your brother wants to share this with you.”  i’m  sorry, but i’m an adult with a life to manage.  i do not need to justify myself to my father or anyone for that matter {other than God}.

clearly my family is “all in” on these type of events.  which is all good if that’s what the couple desires.  again, don’t think the brother and sister-in-law minded, but i worry that my family won’t understand that all of the attention isn’t necessarily what hubby and i desire.

thought 5: if you’re sick, stay home

so after my nephew arrived, we had a little get together at my grandmother’s house to celebrate my sister-in-law and the baby because her baby shower prior to the baby’s birth was cancelled after her first pre-term labor episode and because she got sick.  i guess not wanting to miss the fun, several family members showed up to the get together sick or with illness in their immediate family members at home {one of my aunts was late because one of her daughters got sick in the car on the way down and she had to take her back home}.  then these people proceeded to hold and snuggle the 10 day old infant {without washing hands}.  i pray my nephew is healthy.  all i can say is that this event didn’t fare well for me because i came down with a nasty cold 2 days later {part of the reason i’m behind on blogging}.  guess hubby and i will have to be selective on who comes around and holds bitty after he arrives.

thought 6: how will our labor and delivery experience shake out?

if you haven’t gathered from what i’ve shared above, hubby and i are not fans of extra attention.  while we appreciate the prayers and support from our family, we are also a bit private {i guess that’s the right word}.  we definitely can’t wait to introduce our son to our family, but we feel this doesn’t need to take place within an hour or two of giving birth.  we want skin to skin, bitty’s first meal, stitches and getting cleaned up for me to be just for our family of 3.  we don’t think my extended family needs group texts with my cervical progression, and i certainly don’t want any pictures of me remotely uncovered with the baby being taken by my parents and sent to others.

again, we don’t know how our actual labor and delivery experience will unfold, but the current plan is to be induced in about a week at 39 weeks.  i feel we should share my expectations with my parents, hubby’s parents, and my local grandma prior to the onset of labor.  if bitty is still head down and things seem system go for induction after my OB appointment this week, i plan to send a group email {so it doesn’t look like i’m calling out any one individual} with the date of our induction and our expectation for visits.  hubby’s parents have already told us just to tell them when we’re ready and that they don’t feel the need to be present at every moment if that’s not our desire {why can’t my parents be this awesome?}.

one thing i struggle with is the thought of something going wrong… what if that happens and i’ve just pushed my family away?  hubby and i have fought so hard for this baby, i definitely don’t want my wish for privacy to be a reason something goes wrong.  but i don’t think things work this way.  at least i pray they don’t.

3rd trimester – week 35 so far

our 35 week ultrasound went well.  bitty boy measured in the 58th percentile, which was great news.  he was asleep the whole time and didn’t want to show us his face {despite the ultrasound tech’s attempt to wake him up by hitting my belly repeatedly with the ultrasound wand.  really, lady?}.  the biggest surprise of the appointment was that we learned he is head down now!  i’m still shocked since he had been transverse for 2 months, presumably due to having a uterus with more space horizontally than vertically {the byproduct of having a repaired septate uterus}.  honestly, i wasn’t mentally prepared to hear he is head down.  it took a while to get used to the idea that he would likely arrive via c-section, but i managed to get there by thinking of the benefits like having a scheduled date and avoiding rips.  i’d rather have a vaginal delivery, but the fear of the unknown {when will i go into labor, will my water break, who will be on call} is definitely getting the best of me.  but really, we are likely several weeks away from d-day, and let’s face it, i can plan as much as I want, but just because i have a plan doesn’t mean that’s how it will go.

the day after my appointment with the high risk doctor, i had a follow up with my OB.  he seemed perplexed by my extremely low papp-a level, but healthy looking baby.  he told me he called the high risk doctor.  the appointment was very informative as he shared their plans for me and bitty over the next several weeks.  i will have weekly NSTs for the next 3 weeks.  {assuming nothing happens before}, i will be induced at 39 weeks if my cervix “shows favorability.”  if it doesn’t, i will have two NSTs during week 39.  and i’m not to pass my due date.  sounds good to me!  my OB also tested for group B strep this week, so i guess i’ll get the results next week.

i still have lots of baby prep to do – pack hospital bags, set up playard/bassinet, organize his room, buy diapers {that one is probably key}, get car seat inspected, and the list goes on.  hubby and i did take an infant CPR class this week.

here’s my update for week 35 so far:

  • weight gain: up 3 lbs for a total of 16.  is 3 lbs too much for one week?  let’s just say i didn’t deny myself nightly oreos and milk after last week’s 1 lb loss.  oops.
  • symptoms: i think i may never sleep well again.  here’s a new one, the bottom of my feet itch at bedtime {after i’ve showered and already covered them in lotion because i know they will itch}.  does this happen to anyone else?  also new, my ankles hurt.  maybe due to new flats?  and maybe i have slightly swollen feet, hard to tell.  indigestion, still.
  • emotions: disaster.  can i blame the hormones?  or maybe lack of sleep?  either way, just trying to pray through it all.
  • baby bump: i think it’s getting bigger.  maybe it’s those 3 lbs i gained over the course of the last week.
  • movement: lots of presses and baby hiccups.  the high risk doctor told me i should be kick counting, so i’ve started doing this when i’m at my desk during the day.
  • stretch marks: left boob.

in other news, brother and his wife had their baby this week.  it’s created quite the stir in my emotions.  so much so that it will get it’s own space on the blog and world wide web.  hopefully i can squeeze that post in soon as i need to get my thoughts out and “organized.”

3rd trimester – week 34

yet another week has passed, and we’re 5 weeks 1 day until full term.  crazy.  especially since i don’t look like it {i’ll get to my complex in a bit}.  as always, this week was busy.  here are the highlights:

  1. i had my first NST this week, and it went well.  little boy was pretty active.  the nurse walked in and said “holy happy baby” after he’d only been on the monitor for 10-15 minutes.
  2. i finished all of my thank you cards from the baby shower, which i felt like i needed to do before i could continue to focus on prepping for our boy.  i knew that once i mixed up all the gifts, it might be harder to identify who gave what as i tried to write thank you notes.
  3. i took a half day off work on thursday afternoon, and my mother-in-law and i went to a big consignment sale.  my goal was to score an exersaucer and an infant play mat.  i met my goal and then some {with a few cute little boy outfits}, but i’m not sure i’m thrilled with the infant play mat.  it’s missing some of the toys that hang down and make it fun.

this weekend was supposed to be 100% dedicated to baby preparations.  we did a lot of things for bitty, but of course, i didn’t get as much as i hoped accomplished.  his first load of laundry is going now {you have no idea how hard it was for me to start taking tags off to start washing little teeny clothes}.  hubby just installed bitty’s car seat, maybe we can get it inspected next weekend.  i bought a few nursing friendly bras/tops so that i can start packing my hospital bag.  speaking of nursing, hubby and i took a breastfeeding basics class at the hospital on saturday morning.  i’m glad we did.  it was very informative.  in fact, so informative that i learned my PCOS diagnosis will haunt me for life.  as if getting pregnant were not hard enough, apparently women with polycystic ovaries have a harder time establishing their milk supply.  awesome.  and apparently if your breasts haven’t grown that much throughout pregnancy {yeah, that’s me… well nothing’s really grown that much}, that can also be a bad sign.  really awesome.  oh, and flat nipples aren’t the best for breastfeeding either.  think i have those as well.  really super awesome.  one day at a time.

here’s my update for week 34:

  • weight gain: are you ready for this?  minus 1 lb.  i had to do a double take.  kind of concerning.  my doctor didn’t seem too worried as long as it doesn’t become a trend.  surely i still have normal “water weight” fluctuations right?  i just find it hard to believe that over a two week period i lost a pound while growing a baby.  if i gain a pound a week until full term, then i will gain a total of approximately 20 lbs.  seems easier for the post-baby weight loss aspect, but still doesn’t seem right.
  • food aversions: i should stop putting this category here.  there are certain things i don’t love, but that was the case before i was pregnant.
  • food cravings: starbucks’ strawberry banana smoothie {they tried to slip one past me and not put a banana in it this week.  you really think a pregnant girl won’t notice that?}.  walnut chocolate chip cookies {from just fresh}.  fun fruit like kiwis and strawberries.
  • symptoms: here are some new ones: wetting myself ever so slightly while sneezing, waking up several times a night/not sleeping well {takes being sleepy to a whole new level}, real bad pregnancy brain {we almost stood some friends up for brunch today – oops}.  ones i haven’t mentioned in a while: charlie horses in my calf muscles {yikes}, tight belly skin.  otherwise the same ones: indigestion/reflux {although i don’t think it’s caused by dairy – maybe it’s just caused by pregnancy}, constipation, pregnancy gingivitis, rib pain, occasional pressure/tightening, shortness of breath.
  • emotions: anxious, excited, afraid.
  • baby bump: according to the universe, too small for 34 weeks.  my OB also skipped the measurement this week.  please keep growing, little boy.
  • movement: presses {that seem to be getting stronger}, lots of stirring, lots of baby hiccups.
  • stretch marks: still the left breast.

i have an ultrasound with the high risk doctor on tuesday to check in on the baby’s growth.  he is now just monitoring to make sure low papp-a doesn’t cause growth restriction.  since my belly seems to be a bit on the tiny side, i’m a little anxious for this appointment.  but really, what am i not anxious about?  also, if bitty is still breech/transverse, my OB will likely go ahead and schedule a c-section for 39 weeks.

for now, i’m grateful for how far we’ve come.  i keep praying Jeremiah 32:17.  God is mighty, so i’m going to focus on not worrying this week.

3rd trimester – week 33

week 33 flew by, but it was fun!  we had snow twice last week, just enough to look pretty and not mess up the roads {my kind of snow}.  i got my hair trimmed up on thursday, and then got a mani/pedi {totally awesome and long overdue} on friday morning in preparation for my baby shower on saturday!  hubby and i took friday off work, so we spent time in bitty’s nursery setting up his bookshelf and hanging ledges, pictures, a painting, and a mobile.  i haven’t taken a picture yet, but will do that and post it soon!

moving to saturday, the baby shower was such a special event.  i really enjoyed the time to celebrate with friends and family, and i feel so incredibly blessed.  bitty is a lucky and loved little boy, he certainly racked up on gifts.  it’s still so surreal to me – that i finally had a baby shower for me.  i’m so thankful to our Lord for our little boy and that we’ve made it this far.  only 6 weeks to go!  here are a few pictures from the shower.

me with the hostesses:

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group photo:

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the lovely {and tasty cake}:

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opening gifts:

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this one is pretty special.  the bath bucket was given to one of my sweet aunts at her baby shower for her first baby boy {16 years ago}:

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a beautiful hand knitted blanket from my mother-in-law:

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sweet personalized gifts.  i guess i should mention that we finally decided on a name.  first name is brian {hubby’s middle name} and his middle name is my maiden name, so he has our middle names:

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saturday afternoon/today, hubby and i {mostly i} have spent time writing thank you notes and inventorying what we have/still need for baby  we were able to go buy bitty’s car seat today.  we still have a few more things to get, so we’ll work on that over the next few weeks.  i also need to pack my hospital bag so it’s ready to go {kind of hard since i only have a few things that fit and since i use most of the things i would pack on a daily basis}.  i guess i can pack the baby’s portion.  i also need to go buy nursing bras, but the bra specialist at nordstrom said it’s best to wait until 2 weeks before your due date {yikes, that’s cutting it kind of close}.  having a baby is kind of like planning a wedding – there is only so much you can do until towards the end.

here’s my update for week 33:

  • weight gain: don’t know, but it has to be at least a couple of lbs after lots of cake the past couple of weeks {hubby’s birthday and baby shower}.  i’ll get the official count at my doctor appointment tomorrow.
  • food aversions: nothing noteworthy.
  • food cravings: also, nothing noteworthy.
  • symptoms: indigestion/reflux is back – doesn’t seem to matter what i eat, but maybe cheese and dairy make it a bit worse.  otherwise the same… pregnancy gingivitis, not sleeping well, rib pain, occasional pressure/tightening, shortness of breath, constipation.
  • emotions: a little more relaxed, which is hard for me.  i feel like i’m not me if i’m not worrying.
  • baby bump: my favorite phrase from the past week or so is “you look like you swallowed a basketball.”  i’ll get measured at the OB tomorrow.
  • movement: presses, wiggles, kicks, and lots of baby hiccups.
  • stretch marks: still the left breast.

tomorrow is the beginning of week 34.  i have a regular OB appointment and my first NST.  i’m praying everything goes well!

3rd trimester – week 32

the end of week 31/beginning of week 32 was fun!  hubby and i had a little getaway to savannah, GA to celebrate valentine’s day, his birthday, and our “baby moon.”  i love savannah, even in the winter.  our timing actually worked out well as we skipped town just in time to miss a little freezing rain and mini snow storm at home.  savannah was mid 50s during the day and got as low as 30ish at night.  if you live in the south and ever make a trip to savannah, here are my recommendations of were to stay, places to go, food to eat:

  • lodging: the president’s quarters inn.
  • shopping: the Christmas shop on bull {they have their own line of smocked baby clothes, which are super cute, check them out online}.  one fish two fish {great store for all things lady.  picked up hostess gifts for my upcoming shower here}.
  • dinner: the olde pink house.
  • dessert: wicked cakes.  lulu’s chocolate bar.

 

here’s my update for week 32 so far:

  • weight gain: another 2 lbs for a total of 6 so far this trimester and 14 in total.  the other day, i had an appointment to get my eyebrows waxed, and my esthetician asked me if i’ve lost weight.  ha.  try i’ve gained 15 lbs, lady.  this is kind of bad of me, but i have yet to tell her i’m expecting, only because she hasn’t noticed {fleece jacket still hides baby well/clearly i don’t go that often} and she’s kind of nosy.  during the height of my {in}fertility drama, she used to ask me when we would have a baby {goodness lady, i wish i knew}, so i didn’t really want to hash out the details with her.
  • food aversions: nothing noteworthy.
  • food cravings: also, nothing noteworthy.
  • symptoms: pregnancy gingivitis, sleepy, rib pain, occasional pressure, shortness of breath, constipation.  also, i forgot to mention this a couple of weeks ago, but brown spots {almost like freckles} around my areolas.
  • emotions: still some worry and anxiety.  also, when i get frustrated, i get mad.  like real mad.  i used to cry, and would feel much better afterward, but crying is hard to come by these days.
  • baby bump: measuring between 31-32 weeks according to my OB.
  • movement: presses, wiggles, kicks, and lots of baby hiccups.  i’ve also felt a weird sensation the past couple of weeks, almost like bitty is shaking.  it kind of freaks me out {like is my baby having a seizure?}, so i asked my OB about it today.  he said he hears this from time to time and thinks it’s a muscular reaction during hiccups and that fetal seizures are unlikely.  i’ll just keep praying little boy is healthy.
  • stretch marks: yes, but not on my belly.  i discovered a few tiny ones on my left breast.  this happened in puberty as well, but mederma did the trick, so i’ll probably get some of that soon if it’s safe to use during pregnancy.

my first NST is scheduled for week 34, next ultrasound is scheduled for week 35.  can’t believe i’m already talking mid-thirties.

3rd trimester – week 31

well, i’m kind of a mess after our ultrasound yesterday. emotions are all over the place. getting right down to it, baby boy measured about a week behind at 30 weeks, 3 days {even though i am 31 weeks, 2 days as of yesterday}. however, he’s still in the 50th percentile {not sure how that math works}, so the doctor is not concerned. i brought up that the last 2 months he’s been in the 67th percentile, but the doctor said all babies grow at different rates. my biggest fear is that the low papp-a level is becoming an issue and causing growth to slow down, as i was previously notified would occur between 28 and 34 weeks if it were to be a problem. i’m prime time at 31 weeks, and all of the sudden we’re a week behind. still, the doctor assured me that he’s not concerned about growth restriction until baby measures below the 10th percentile. so no further monitoring for another month.

i struggle between trusting the doctor {who sees this every day} and advocating for me and my child {aka being a first-time, worry wart mommy}. i’m just praying that God keeps His mighty hands over our little boy, and allows events to unfold appropriately if baby needs to be born early to get him here safely. nothing is too hard for God, nothing.

i may also email the doctor today to see if he can explain the 50th percentile, but 1 week behind measurements. this seems contradictory to me as measuring a week behind doesn’t seem like it is “average.” this doctor is super nice, so i hope he will be receptive to my question and able to provide clarification. my regular OB mentioned that non-stress tests are also sometimes used to monitor low papp-a babies, so i’d like to get the high risk doctor’s thoughts on that.

*update: i did email the high risk doctor, and he already replied. instead of paraphrasing, i’ll paste his response below. i feel a bit better with the info he provided.

I remain pleased that everything is going great.

That is a very astute observation regarding percentile and weeks gestation. As it turns out, completely different formulas from different studies are used to calculate fetal weight percentile and gestational age. (The calculations came from different studies that used different populations of patients, so things don’t always end up exactly lined up.) Nevertheless, we really don’t worry (even if growth velocity slows down in the 3rd trimester) until fetal weight percentile is less than the 10th percentile. Even at that point there is a very low probability of problems, but in someone who does not have additional risk factor (such as a low PAPP-A or perhaps a medical complicatin) we start monitoring with NSTs when the weight is <10th percentile.

With low PAPP-A we simply recommend beginning NSTs at 34 weeks gestation. So, yes, we are planning that.

Hope this is helpful and not too confusing.

otherwise, bitty is still breech, but oh so cute. he was sucking his thumb and kicking my belly during the ultrasound. the ultrasound tech pointed out his “baby mohawk” {how they can see hair in those fuzzy pictures, i have no idea}. the whole pregnancy, i’ve been telling hubby that i hope our baby gets his genes and has beautiful, dark hair. i was born with peach fuzz {at best} and bald until about the age of 2, so maybe bitty is taking after his {hairy} daddy. last but not least, cervix was still nice and long so no more cervix checks for me! shortening and funneling is normal after 32 weeks as the body prepares for delivery.

in other news, here is my 31.5 week update:

  • weight gain: won’t know until my next OB appointment next week.
  • food aversions: nothing noteworthy.
  • food cravings: also, nothing noteworthy. i feel like my eating habits are almost back to those of my pre-pregnancy days {slowly adding too much sugar}.
  • symptoms: bleeding gums when brushing teeth/flossing {officially called pregnancy gingivitis}, sleepy, rib pain, occasional pressure, shortness of breath, constipation is back, but indigestion may be improving. i noticed a direct correlation between morning grape nuts and increased indigestion throughout the day, so i had to cut those out {hence the return of constipation}.
  • emotions: anxiety, see above.
  • baby bump: everyone keeps telling me it’s small, which gives me a complex {especially now that bitty is measuring a week behind}.
  • movement: presses, wiggles, and kicks {mostly on the left side still. confirmed: his head is still on the right, legs on the left}. baby hiccups.
  • stretch marks: not yet.

3rd trimester – week 30

week 30 has been a bit rough, physically.  but every time i start to complain, i remind myself how thankful i am for bitty boy and that we’ve made it this far.

  • weight gain: 3 lbs from week 28, that’s a total of 4 so far this trimester {i knew i couldn’t sneak by}.
  • food aversions: nothing noteworthy.
  • food cravings: also, nothing noteworthy {ok, maybe salt still.  i did inhale some kettle chips on saturday}.
  • symptoms: bleeding gums when brushing teeth/flossing, so sleepy, rib pain, acne, tummy skin tightness/pain, i get short of breath easily, so much indigestion/reflux.
  • emotions: still get quite angry over little things.  still don’t like that.  i’m striving for improvement this week.
  • baby bump: according to the OB, measuring right at 30 weeks.
  • movement: lots of presses and wiggles, particularly on the left side.  my OB thinks his head is on the left, but feels like his legs are too.  it will be interesting to see what position he’s in at our next ultrasound {this coming wednesday}.  so many hiccups.
  • stretch marks: not yet.

my belly skin was so tight/my tummy was so sore on friday that i decided to call the OB.  i knew it couldn’t be contractions because the pain didn’t come and go.  instead, it was constant.  all day long.  i’ve also experienced tightening after exercising, but that pain is always much lower and eventually stops with rest.  they brought me in and did the full work up just in case {external exam, internal exam, fetal fibronectin test, movement/contraction monitoring}, but thankfully everything looked normal.  i love how my OB’s office never makes me feel crazy for stuff like this.  they really are awesome.

i’m looking forward to our ultrasound this wednesday.  hopefully bitty boy is still on track!