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Hi everyone!  Thought it was time for a quick update!

 

Today is Friday, Jan 11.  As of today I am 6 days past my due date.  Not at all surprising – Justin was medically induced at 15 days late – he STILL wasn’t ready (though dates were a bit questionable anyway – but that’s a story for another day).  Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent much of it in tears.  Really, seriously, in tears.  Sobbing away about this and that… Oh dear precious, precious hormones!  Oh yes, good times.

Also yesterday was an appointment with the midwife.  It ended up being a bit stressful, but ultimately okay.  It was a fairly quick visit, but included an exam with membrane stripping and stats updates.  During the exam, as is typical at this stage, the midwife/doc will feel for fontanelles to get an idea of how baby is positioned for birth.  Well, as she was trying to feel, Georgia jumped back up away from her in such a way that made my extremely experienced midwife (ARNP, been practicing for 20+ years in and out of hospital) suddenly have a shadow of doubt about whether baby was actually head down at all (despite being able to feel fontanelle last week).  As a result, I was sent for an ultrasound.  Big sigh, and considering the state I was in already by the time I got there it should come as no shock that there were even more tears to come.

So this morning was the ultrasound.  As I expected, our baby is very much head down, facing my right hip, with her little ol’ butt sticking out at the top of my belly, just as she should be.  Fluid levels look good at the 25th percentile (interestingly, Justin at this point was enjoying his space swimming around in enough fluid for 90th percentile!).   Georgia has her head jammed into my pelvis far enough that we couldn’t really even get a good view of her face – not that her busyness chewing on her fist would’ve helped with that.  Silly girl!  I was a bit curious to see if we could see her hair on this ultrasound like we were able to with Justin’s post-dates ultrasound where we could see 1 inch+ hair swishing around in the fluid.  No dice this time!  Little girl is too “locked and loaded” into my pelvis to have room for that!

 

So, finally, the numbers:

As of 1/10/12, 40w5d:

 

Dilation: “A VERY stretchy 2, almost 3cm”

 

Effacement: 100%.  I was told that I’m as effaced as you can be without being in active labor.  Very stretchy, VERY ripe.

 

Station: Because Miss Georgia kept moving away, she couldn’t determine this time.  But for all practical purposes, she’s calling her to be stationed where she was before at -1.

So, basically, we’re ready.  And odds are, as soon as we finally get some regular contractions going things ought to move at a pretty reasonable clip.  COME ON CONTRACTIONS!  Let’s DO THIS!

 

As I mentioned in my last post, I am officially on maternity leave.  When I was pregnant with Justin, my last day before starting my leave was my due date, March 5, 2008, he wasn’t born until March 19.  That was one of the longest 2 weeks of my life.

This time around, I promised myself I wouldn’t subject myself to that kind of anxious boredom and committed myself to working until labor started (fully aware that I would very likely run late with Miss Georgia as I did with Mr. Justin.  It turns out there’s a difference between working part-time with no kiddo at home and working full-time with a sensitive and ill-sleeping 4-year-old Autistic boy at home.  (Who would believe it?!)

So far, maternity leave has not been the burden it was last time, for which I am thankful.  I’m working hard to keep busy, not thinking too hard about being past my due date – and I’ve been successful.  This morning I actually had to count on my fingers how many days past my due date I am (3).  My kitchen is clean enough to cook in.  All the bottles, pacifiers, nursing support gadgets (nipple shells/shields, etc) are sterilized.  Laundry is caught up.  Heck, even my bed is made!  My kitchen floor is disgusting (swept, but needs about an hour with a magic eraser and some elbow grease) and my tub could use a scouring – both projects I’m sort of saving for the bout of hormonally induced nesting that is sure to find me in the next week or so.

The crazy part?  I was in bed last night for nearly 11 hours (minus of course the few trips to the bathroom and my 45-minute, middle-of-the-night cuddle session on the couch with my sweet boy at 4am).

My anxiety is as low as it can be and I’m as tired as a woman in her 40th week of pregnancy should be – as opposed to simply being an exhausted puddle of irritable grossness.  Sure, I have moments where I think, “What if my body will never go into full labor on its own?!”  But all in all, I’m actually enjoying being home and able to focus on getting and keeping my house in order, spending time with my Little Turkey and getting my head around the whole idea of having another little person in our home.

I have been, and will continue to try all the usual methods of encouraging labor to get going.  Many of the things I’m doing I did with Justin (fruitlessly), but there’s no harm in them so I figure, why not?  I’m also trying some new things too.  Here’s my shortlist of things I’ve been doing so far:

– Evening Primrose Oil

– Blue and Black Cohosh Tinctures

– Rest

– Walking (particularly carrying something heavy – like a bag of groceries)

– Red Raspberry Leaf tea

– Greasy meals (on occasion)

– Rebozo Sifting (oh man, that felt so good!  like a belly massage!  I’m so thankful to my doula for offering this!)
And things I’ll be likely to do in the next few days:

– Hiking the stairs

– Having my membranes stripped

– Balloon Catheter induction (which I’m going to push to have done early next week at the latest)

– Taking the new breast pump for a spin

Then finally, the ultimate natural induction technique:  tempting Murphy’s Law!

On Facebook today I tossed out requests for activity recommendations so that I can build a schedule for the next week or so.  I’m thinking that if I can build a full calendar of activities, then our little princess will have to interrupt with her arrival, right?  The trick is coming up with activities that don’t wear me out, cost a fortune, require childcare, or aren’t schedule-able.

So far I’m thinking I’m going to schedule a day to finally take Justin to the FIG at the Whatcom Museum (Friday), and go on a morning coffee date with Matt (Thursday while Justin is at school).  If we can arrange childcare for Justin, I’d really like to go see The Hobbit at the new theater in town, and go have my Red Robin Birthday burger (which might happen on the same day as seeing The Hobbit).  I’m thinking tomorrow would be a good day to give Matt the haircut he needs and finish the detail on the hat I knitted for Georgia.

I have a few things in my freezer for postpartum time, but I hesitate to trash my clean kitchen only to wear myself out midway through.  And there are a few other things that I could prep, but I wouldn’t want to just make waste by prepping too soon.  Plus, a lot of the deep-cleaning sorts of things won’t work with Justin around.  Hmmm…

Any other ideas for fun day-time things to do around Bellingham with a hyperactive kiddo?

I’m officially 39 weeks today.

Physically I’m having more moments of being sore – like someones taken a rubber mallet to my pubic bone, or really just grabbing either side of my pelvis and twisting and stretching it in two. Then there’s the heartburn bad enough that I nearly vomit every time I burp (and I’m burping a lot). Then there’s the sinus trouble and the puffies (no clinical puffies, but suffice it to say that I feel like I have man-hands).  Then there’s the return of the morning-sickness-like nausea which gets worse every day…

I alternate between having a lot of energy and feeling completely exhausted.  Emotionally, I’m a total wreck.  I’m kind of amazed my husband still volunteers to live in the same home as me.

When I was pregnant with Justin, I worked only 25 hours per week.  This time I’m working 40+ and doing everything in my power to keep working in normal capacity (not just camping out with book-work)  for as long as possible.  I do not want to be the “whiny pregnant lady”, but at the same time I’m starting to worry that my propensity to irritability may come out on some of my coworkers.  It’s getting a little too easy to say what I’m really thinking, rather than taking the moment to find a way to be gentle.  I’m beginning to think it’ll be the emotional part that locks me in a room doing paperwork before the physical stuff does.

For now, I’m crossing my fingers (while trying not to get my hopes up) that little Miss Georgia decides to join us sooner rather than later.  I’m really looking forward to my appointment on Monday (New Year’s Eve) with the midwife – to check to see what, if any, progress I’ve made (I’d love to see dilation jumped to 2.5cm or 3, and effacement up closer to 70-80%).  Also kicking around the notion of having her sweep/strip my membranes while she’s at it and planning our series of natural induction/encouragement techniques for the next few weeks.  I’m also looking forward to learning more about what testing Group B Strep positive will mean for natural childbirth (I was negative with Justin, positive with Georgia) .  So far I know we’ll be adding an IV of antibiotics to our labor dance that I hadn’t planned on previously!

For anyone playing the pre-labor home game here are today’s stats (37 weeks + 6 days):

Dilation: 1.5 cm

Effacement: 50%

That’s slightly further along than I was with Justin at this point. Here’s hoping this also means that little Miss Georgia decides to make her debut a bit less overdue than Mr. Justin did!

It’s been a strange couple of months at our home.

In January we found out we were pregnant again. Then that ended on March 6th after being what some call a “walking tomb” for a day shy of 6 weeks with an emergency d&c for hemorraging.

On April 23rd we discovered we were pregnant once again, and with a mix of joy and fear Matt and I looked to what our lives might hold in the next year. We saw a beautiful little heartbeat last Tuesday. I have some video of it and watch it a couple of times every day – especially when I’m sick or otherwise wondering if all the drama is worth it. Things are going swimmingly with my pregnancy – and I am so very thankful.

In all this timult – the joy falling to grief, turning to coping, then hope, then joy again – someone has been missing something from his Momma. Or maybe he’s just scared of all the change he’s seeing in me. Either way, my dear, sweet Justin has changed in his behavior to me and it has broken my heart.

I have been a mom for 4 years, 2 months (not counting gestation). 2.5 of those years have been with the knowledge that my son is Autistic.  My relationship with my son and I has had ups and downs – it’s normal.   In the end, I have always been his rock.  The one he goes to when he’s sick, or has an owie, or wants to cuddle with before bed.  Until now.

I have just encountered the hardest part of my parenting journey so far:

In the last few months my son’s behavior has changed so drastically toward me that I barely recognize him.  He now actively ignores me and tells me to “go bye-bye” at every opportunity, denies me all physical touch, and refuses all of my attempts to feed him, change him or dress him.  I work outside the home, a full 40 hours – and wonky unreliable ones at that.  But then it has always been that way.

Now we figure out where to go from here.  For now though, I’m getting kinda raw.  I miss my son.  The one who, even if he never said “I love you, Momma” (Clarification: he has uttered some form of those words only twice: once at his pediatrician’s office, and once in our home – both were echolalic.) showed affection in other ways.

Matt is working on scheduling Momma/Justin date time into their schedule each day – but it’s tough to work in when Justin has school in the morning, and I work the rest of the day until just before bedtime.

Any ideas?

After months upon months of devouring books, charting basal body temperatures, and natural herbs under the guidance of my Naturopath, I got some news.  On January 10th (my 31st birthday), my doctor confirmed that I was pregnant.  Matt and I were thrilled.   The first few weeks passed painfully slowly.  I was SO excited I could burst and not being able to tell anyone but closest family was about all I could bear.  By week 4 I was starting to get nauseous, boobs hurting, the works.  At 5 weeks I had to let a couple of people at work know so I wouldn’t just look like the biggest slacker ever taking potty breaks every 40 minutes.   At home Matt and I started bonding with our new little one.  I found a new desire to follow through with my prayer rule: caring for my soul in order to care for my unborn child.  I found myself compelled to pray daily and throughout the day, to sip Holy Water, and reported for Confession the first Saturday after I discovered my pregnancy.

What made this pregnancy different was this: with Justin, I was vomiting at least a couple times a week by 6-7 weeks along.  I was actually waking in the night to head to the restroom.  With this one, I had a little constant nausea during the day, came close to puking a few times but didn’t.  Morning sickness has pretty much manifest itself as a general aversion to food of any sort throughout the day.  It was difficult to discern whether something wasn’t right, or whether I was simply being blessed with an easy pregnancy.  As any pregnant woman does, I had dreams.  With Justin, my dreams were about him and his adventures.  With this one, I have dreamed of other women discovering their own pregnancies with joy.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant with Justin, I knew in my core that not only was he a boy, but that he was destined to be a little fireball (which he is).  This pregnancy was not the same.  This pregnancy brought a sense of joy and peace, and I could feel in my heart that growing within my womb was a little spirit of gentleness and sweetness.  My heart called her Sophia by about week 5, not sure why other than simple divine suggestion.  St. Sophia, the mother of 3 daughters: Faith, Hope, and Love; the Saint who I discovered only writing this post is celebrated each year on September 17th, just 2 days before my due date.

Early on, I requested an early ultrasound to see a heartbeat and confirm that everything was growing well.  At 6 weeks 2 days, we got that ultrasound.  We saw no heartbeat (they said it was just too soon and that it’s not super common to see one that early anyway) but a healthy gestational sac, yolk sac, and the starts of a baby.  According to the measurements, my baby was 5weeks 6 days.  Which I tried to not let concern me, I was assured it was within the okay range for my known ovulation date.

The week before ultrasound #2 was rough.  That Monday I woke up having slept on my stomach for the first time in a few weeks, as I had been previously unable to due to chest tenderness that was now nearly gone.  Nausea was less too.  I tried to remind myself that fluctuations are normal early in pregnancy.  When it continued for more than 2 days I called the midwife who scheduled a blood test.  The blood test revealed that my HCG  (the pregnancy hormone) levels were at the very low end of normal for someone closing on 8 weeks pregnant.  Needless to say, I didn’t sleep much the next few days – rather spending a lot of nighttime staring at the ceiling, praying, talking to myself and my little baby.

Exactly 2 weeks after the first one, now at 8 weeks 2 days, I returned for another ultrasound.  I watched and waited, but could see clearly what had happened – nothing.  No growth, no heartbeat, no change really.  Gestational sac was slightly larger, but the area that could be called “baby” was actually smaller this second time – reduced to what they simply called “a thickening”.  The Jesus prayer circled endlessly through my mind while I was on that table watching the screen, waiting for an answer.  Less than an hour after the appointment, my wonderful midwife called and confirmed what I saw on the screen: my baby was gone and that I should expect a miscarriage sometime in the next few weeks.

I felt prepared for this, but sad.  I had hoped, despite what I thought were just the irrational fears of a pregnant woman that the 2nd ultrasound would show a robust heartbeat, maybe even little arm and leg buds – a little gummy bear with a beating heart.  Wisely, I took the day off from work to get myself together – sort things through and report for the requested bloodwork.  Now I wait.  I wait for my body to figure out that my baby isn’t growing.  I wait for my body to decide that it is time to let her go.  I grieve, for sure, but I cannot ignore the feeling that there is much more to come – that somehow “Sophia” has made possible.

Of the many things that can be said when someone loses a pregnancy early on, I’ve heard “it just wasn’t meant to be” many times.  I don’t believe that for a minute.  Why?  Because this pregnancy, this baby, has a soul.  This baby has a purpose.  This baby has driven me into the arms of my God.  Given me hope that I can become pregnant again.  She has shown me the wisdom in introspection, to trust my instincts and my body, and that great life will be borne of this loss.  She has reminded me to rely on the support and prayers of my friends.

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