Friday, April 27, 2012

{33 weeks}

33 weeks

Size of baby: pineapple (approx. 17" and 4.25 lbs.)

Total Weight Gain: +28 lbs
Continuing symptoms: slight nose congestion, back ache if I stand too long, acid reflux, aches, pains, and discomforts (especially while sleeping), infrequent but increasing Braxton hicks, charlie horse leg cramps at night, really tired, frequent urination, stretch marks
New symptoms this week: Snoring! I've had this off and on for a few weeks, but this week it seems to have gained a consistency. It's not loud, but I actually wake myself up with the sensation of it! Gah! And one night my husband woke me up to get me to reposition because it was keeping him awake. Ah, well. :) I also seem to be losing hair. I thought this wasn't supposed to happen until post-partum, but even my hair stylist noticed at my appointment a couple weeks ago. Lastly, I haven't had any swelling in my hands or feet, but I did need to stop wearing my wedding rings this week.
Maternity Clothes: Since I am home on bedrest I have been living in various sweats and pajamas - at least I am comfortable in that respect!

Sleep: Continuing to be just ok but not terrible. My snoring has caused both my husband and I to miss some sleep this week!
What I'm Eating: Nothing too special. Some days I have quite an appetite, and others I feel over-full really fast.
Cravings: None.
Movement: Lots and lots! One fun thing about bedrest is that I am literally just laying around so I feel like I am noticing every movement - more than when I am active and busy.

Special pregnancy moments: The "celebration" party last weekend was an amazing time of thanks, praise, and reflection over the miracle that is my son! I will cherish that morning always.

Also, I really think I have begun the countdown to the end, which feels surreal! 4 weeks until full-term, 7 weeks until my due date, and 9 weeks (at most) until he will be here one way or another!! I can't wait to meet our boy! :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A celebration

When I first shared with one of my close friends that I was pregnant early in the first trimester, she immediately wanted to host a small gathering to thank God and praise him for this miracle. And while I was so very, very thankful, the timing of this celebration felt a little off since I was still so early in my pregnancy and not ready to share the news with many more people. As my first trimester drew to a close, one of my closest friends suffered a miscarriage and the timing again simply did not feel right.

This past Saturday that sweet celebration occurred. We called it a "celebration" and not a "shower" because I had already had an amazing shower back in October, did not want people to have to buy more gifts, and did not want that to be the focus. So we kept it to a small group of women who had walked closely with me throughout my infertility journey - invited 9 and 7 were able to attend - and specified no gifts (although they did go against my wishes and contributed towards a mani/ pedi gift certificate...).

It was a sweet, sweet time. I know I was supposed to be on "bedrest," but I promise this was the ONLY thing I did for 3 days and I lounged while there. I just didn't want to miss this special time planned! We feasted on an amazing potluck brunch, and had a delightful time just being together. The hostesses then brought out cards with Psalm 139 printed on them, and we prayed together through each section - thanking God, praising God, and asking for his blessing in the life of my son. I cried as I prayed, and I don't really think there was a dry eye in the room. I cannot thank God enough. 

That was our morning - simple and sweet - and I loved it. I am blessed with wonderful friends. Here are some pictures of the event - my friends really know how to set a table, don't they?! :)

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.
 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you.
 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
   Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
   your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
   and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
   I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

Monday, April 23, 2012

OB appointment and bedrest

My 3 days of bedrest this weekend weren't too bad. However, laying down/ reclining in only a few positions when you are 32 weeks pregnant and achey is quite uncomfortable. My husband was amazing and not only fed me, refilled my water bottle, and kept me company but also did some major cleaning in our bedroom (he is way more thorough at cleaning than me although I do most of the day to day stuff)!

The Braxton Hicks seem to happen almost exclusively in the evening/ night time. Friday night I had some, but not more than 4 per hour and they were intermittent. Saturday night, however, they were around 10 minutes apart for most of the evening, but by the time we went to bed things had calmed down. At 4:00am I woke up and felt some really strong ones close together, so I took the medication prescribed (procardia) and went back to sleep. Sunday was another mellow day on the uterus front.

Saturday night stressed me out a little, because I have been resting and drinking so much that I felt like I had no explanation for the return of the contractions/ Braxton Hicks.

I had an OB appointment today, and she really reassured me that she sees no signs of pre-term labor. She said the nurse was just being overly cautious in her cervical check at the hospital, but she thinks my cervix is still really high and closed. The baby is also really high. She thinks my uterus is just more irritable, but that a fair amount of Braxton Hicks are normal at this stage of pregnancy.

That said, she does want me to stay home and lay down until I hit 34 weeks on May 5. Honestly I am not very clear about why since she seemed really certain that she wasn't concerned about pre-term labor. She said she is treating the symptom (Braxton Hicks) but not treating pre-term labor. She also said she wants to be extra safe and not put pressure on my cervix until 34 weeks.

May 5 is only 12 days away, and we don't have too much planned that I'll have to miss out on. She did say we could go to our birth class (yay!), and I can work from home while lying down. Obviously I will do anything for this little guy and this is pretty minor.

Baby boy's heartbeat sounded good and he is head down - I hope that means he will stay there now! :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

{32 weeks}

32 weeks
Size of baby: large jicama (approx. 16.75" and 3.75 lbs.)

Total Weight Gain: +27 lbs
Continuing symptoms: slight nose congestion, back ache if I stand too long, acid reflux, aches, pains, and discomforts (especially while sleeping), infrequent but increasing Braxton hicks, charlie horse leg cramps at night, really tired, frequent urination
New symptoms this week: noticed my first stretch marks! I was expecting them on my belly proper but these first ones are more on my hip/ side.
Maternity Clothes: I'm feeling less cute these days, haha! I just want to be comfortable and I feel huge!

Sleep: Continuing to be just ok but not terrible. Some nights I feel less sore/ achey than others.
What I'm Eating: Trying not to feel over full by eating smaller meals with snacks in between, although I am not a great snacker.
Cravings: ice cream - doesn't give me acid reflux if I eat a bowl before bed!
Movement: I love when he is active! Last night when I was getting concerned about the number of Braxton Hicks I was having, I was at least relieved to feel my boy moving around like crazy. I told him he's a good boy for giving his mom the reassurance she needed right then. :)

Special pregnancy moments: We went to our church's annual retreat last weekend and had a wonderful time. While I did not enjoy the bed I slept on and having to leave the cabin and walk outside to go to the bathroom at night, it was still worth it. :) SO many people came up to me with such joy on their faces to see me pregnant, and I was so thankful for our church family and how it adds to my joy to get to celebrate this miracle with them. Also, the infertile part of me was in happy awe that I was there pregnant, after attending for so many years, seeing all of the pregnant women, and longing to be one of them myself.

Our trip to Labor and Delivery was certainly the most eventful part of the week! I'm a little nervous still about having him too soon, but knowing the negative FFN test gets us to 34 weeks is a huge relief. And then it's really only 3 more weeks until I'm full term (wow!).

Update: Home and all seems well!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and well wishes! I am feeling much better emotionally after talking to my doctor this morning, and it is also wonderful to be home lounging on our sofa.

My doctor said the contractions decreased over the night and were almost non-existent by the time she saw me. Now I am just having the normal, sporadic third trimester ones I think. She reiterated that the negative FFN test was great news, and when she did the cervical check she thought it was a little soft but that it was high and closed, so she wasn't concerned. She also pointed out that my cervix may be softer because of the cysts I had had on it in the first trimester (not sure if I still do?!). Overall I got the impression that she thought the nurse who checked me last night was overly cautious....which made for a scary night but I would rather err on the side of caution.

My doctor did say I had contracted a lot and she thinks I was dehydrated. However, when I got to the hospital I gave a urine sample and the nurse specifically said I wasn't dehydrated based on that. I try really, really hard to drink a lot of water (and my doctor is really into lots of fluids and stresses it every appointment), but yesterday probably wasn't my best day of fluid intake. But I also don't really think I was dehydrated, so who knows. Anyway, she prescribed something that I can take if I start having more than four contractions an hour again that calms the uterus for some women (one of you mentioned a drug but I haven't even looked at it yet to know it's the same one!). I am also on bedrest for the rest of the weekend until my already scheduled appointment on Monday, and my husband has become the water police monitoring how much I drink. :)

Thank you for sharing your own stories of having some pre-term labor signs but still making it a few more weeks and/ or full term. Last night at my low point I started hoping I could just make it two more weeks to 34 weeks, and counted toward full term in 2 week increments from there. This afternoon I feel like it is still a likely possibility that I could go full term, Lord willing, and even laughed about how ironic it would be to go past my due date.

My original birthday plan was to get a mani/ pedi, a free car wash, eat a donut, and go out to dinner with a small group of friends. After dinner my husband and I had reservations at a local hotel for a one night "staycation" thanks to a gift card we had gotten for Christmas. The hotel has a roof top pool and hot tub, so we had invited friends to join us up there to hang out. I was pretty excited for my day, but after some initial disappointment over canceling all of that I am feeling quite happy laying around on the couch and being thankful for our son. A couple friends are going to come by for dinner tonight and I think we'll get take-out, and my husband got me a beautiful cake stand and filled it with the cutest cupcakes as a gift. It's still a special - and certainly memorable - birthday.

My birthday: Labor & delivery edition

So you know that hospital bag I had hoped to pack last week just in case? I never did, but it sure would have been handy last night.

At around 8pm I noticed I was having some Braxton Hicks contraction. I got comfy and started drinking extra water expecting them to subside. I read one of my "how to care for a baby" books while resting, and after an hour realized I was still having the contractions. My doctor had said to come in if I ever had more than four an hour, and I was pretty sure I just had more than four. ironically, the last section I read was on late-term preemies (born between 34-37 weeks).

I told my husband and started getting nervous. I drank even more water and tracked each contraction on my phone to have an accurate measure. Were they really Braxton Hicks? Maybe I just don't know what they are? There was no pain, just the tightening of my belly. But as I tracked them, they seemed to be coming in a pattern at about every 8 minutes. That didn't sound good, so after about 45 minutes into the second hour, we left for Labor & Delivery.

Honestly, I still half expected the nurses to tell me whatever was happening was no big deal and to go home. Better to be safe than sorry, but I was a little nervous about feeling silly. But I was also worried enough to know this was the right thing to do.

A nurse brought me into a room right away, had me change into a gown, and hooked me up to monitors that tracked the contractions as well as hour boys heart beat. Thankfully he had been moving all night and his heart beat was strong, so I knew he was still doing ok even if my body wasn't quite getting it right.

The nurse left and we waited to see if I was indeed contracting. Sure enough, we saw the line rise and fall when I felt my stomach tightening. One contraction in particular felt particularly strong - almost to the point of pain - and peaked high on the chart. My husband was silently praying much of the time - and I was trying to - and after that one we squeezed each others hands and just knew this would be more than a "nothing's wrong" trip to L&D. I cried a little.

The nurse came in and confirmed that I was contracting. She then did the FFN swab, which somehow if it comes back negative is 99% accurate in confirming you will NOT go into labor within two weeks. A positive reading is less significant because it doesn't necessarily mean you will go into labor... It just means they don't know if you will or not. Needless to say we started praying for a negative result. (and, for the record, the metal speculum inserted for this test hurt!)

After the nurse got the swab for the FFN test, she did a cervical check. This was also slightly painful and very uncomfortable, but compared to the speculum it wasn't bad. Unfortunately, she said my cervix was about 40% effaced, softened, and funneling a little... but it was still closed. The effacement was disappointing to learn about and heightened my fears about pre-term labor.

My doctor ordered a bag of IV fluids while we waited for the lab results for the FFN test. Midnight struck, and my 31st birthday began with me lying in a hospital bed praying that God would keep our boy safe and let me go full term.

Happy news came when my FFN test came back negative! However, I was still contracting and the nurse did another cervical check and thought it may have shortened a little more, although she wasn't too sure. Based on this, my doctor decided to have me stay the night to continue monitoring contractions and have her check me in the morning.

At 2:00am we moved into a "real" room (with even a bed for my husband!) and tried to get some sleep. I haven't been sleeping well at home most nights, and I certainly didn't sleep much here.

I'm awake now and just waiting for my doctor to come. The test was negative, but why am I still contracting? Why is my cervix effacing? Is it still possible to go full term??

Praying for this little one to stay in 5 more weeks (at least), but I will also be extra thankful for each day that passes. This may not be the birthday celebration I had planned, but I am so thankful for this miracle baby and pregnancy that I would skip birthdays for the rest of my life if that's what it took.

Any prayers would be much appreciated, and I'll keep you posted about what my doctor says and when I am (hopefully) discharged from the hospital.

Friday, April 13, 2012

{31 weeks}

31 weeks
Size of baby: 3 navel oranges (approx. 16.25" and 3.3 lbs.)

Total Weight Gain: +25 lbs - not sure if this can be weight gain this week?! Maybe that will help me stay within my goal to gain 35 lbs. or less. I'm not obsessing over it but 25-35 lbs. is my recommended total gain. :)
Continuing symptoms: slight nose congestion, back ache if I stand too long, acid reflux, aches, pains, and discomforts (especially while sleeping), infrequent but increasing Braxton hicks, charlie horse leg cramps at night, really tired
New symptoms this week: Peeing more frequently. I remember that this was a common first trimester pregnancy symptom that I never really thought I had, although looking back I did get up to pee once per night most nights then. It just wasn't the 4 times per night I kept reading about. But then during the second trimester, most nights I went the whole night without getting up to pee! However, once the third trimester hit, I have been back to once per night, but it didn't become totally obvious until this week when I had a couple nights where I got up twice per night. I don't think I have ever done that before in my life! I also peed myself a little last night (more on that below...).
Maternity Clothes: I hate wearing a bra!!! Don't worry, I am still wearing one when I am out of the house, but I look forward to mellow evenings at home wear I can put my pajamas on and hang free. At first I thought it was a particular underwire bra, so I switched to a less structured type one but felt equally uncomfortable. I think my belly is just so high that any bra feels too tight and like it is digging into the upper part of my belly. Also, I love my pajamas. I have a large, super soft v-neck Am.erican Ap.parel t-shirt that I got for free at a random event a couple years ago but rarely wore, and a pair of jersey type pajama bottoms that I feel like I can't live without now. I actually just ordered two more pairs of the pajama bottoms because the thought of wearing any other pajamas these last few weeks makes me unhappy, and I want to have a pair or two to bring to the hospital. I also stole my husband's matching t-shirt that he got at the same event, although his is a bigger size....which I might need soon.

Sleep: Ok. Lots of tossing and turning. Occasional insomnia but not even remotely as bad as it was a few weeks ago. I have taken a couple naps during the afternoon and was shocked and how quickly and deeply I fell asleep. I must be tired.
What I'm Eating: I think I am eating less these days because getting full is uncomfortable. Still enjoying cereal and greek yogurt as snacks.
Cravings: Sweets
Movement: Two interesting things in the movement department. One is that I felt a discernible body part for the first time! I have no idea what body part it was, but as I placed my hand on my belly while he was moving I felt a hard spot. When I pressed on it it moved, and I realized it may have been his little foot or something! I may have been able to feel this earlier, but I never thought to try. Secondly, he has done some huge rolling type movements that almost hurt. One night I was sitting in bed and it felt like he rolled from about the half-way point of my belly moving down and landed hard on my bladder... which made me yelp! :)

Special pregnancy moments: I had another OB appointment this week, and she used the word "perfect" to describe how my pregnancy is progressing. I am so very thankful! I passed my gestational diabetes test and all is on track.

Our birth class continues to be a fun date night! We are both learning, especially my husband, and I do feel like the information alone is great preparation for the big day. Last week we went through the stages of labor, and practiced some different laboring positions (which again made my husband and I giggle as we did them together...). After we got home I started happy-crying because I am so thankful that we are attending birth classes. I never thought I would.

Last night, I took a shower and put my beloved pajamas on. I felt the urge to pee, so I went to the bathroom but really didn't have much pee. Afterwards, I squatted down to pull a bin out from under the bed, got something out, and pushed it back. As I walked out of the bedroom, I felt wetness and looked down to see a sizable wet spot on my pajamas. Did I just pee myself? But I just went to the bathroom! And I didn't feel anything - it was like it just appeared! I called my husband in to show him, and I think we both freaked out a little at the thought of what if that is some amniotic fluid leaking. I changed, and remembered that our instructor told us it will continue to happen if it is amniotic fluid. The night continued on without any more wet spots, so we were left to conclude that I somehow did pee myself...and were thankful to not be heading over to labor and delivery!

The incident did make me want to rush around and pack a hospital bag, though! That will be on next week's to-do list now. :)

Friday, April 6, 2012

{30 weeks}

30 weeks

Size of baby: cabbage (approx. 15.7" and 2.75 lbs. - although I think our boy is longer and/or weighs more)

Total Weight Gain: +25 lbs
Continuing symptoms: slight nose congestion, back ache if I stand too long, acid reflux, aches, pains, and discomforts (especially while sleeping), infrequent but increasing Braxton hicks
New symptoms this week: Charlie horse leg cramps at night. Tired.
Maternity Clothes: I outgrew a maternity dress this week. I think it my belly were wider/ sticking out less I could still wear it, but the way my belly pulls out the dress makes it really tight in the back and too short in the front. Otherwise everything still fits but I have decided I hate tight clothes and will not even attempt a non-maternity shirt now (even if it is cut more like a maternity shirt).

Sleep: Not bad except for one night where the acid reflux was terrible and I had to sit up and take tums (I think I ate "too much" for dinner). Lots of flipping from side to side, but I got some decent (albeit interrupted) sleep. Feeling pretty tired, though.
What I'm Eating: I feel like I am getting full faster and my appetite has decreased (although I still like to eat!)
Cravings: Sweets
Movement: I had one day this week in which he seemed less active all day. The next day I felt a little under the weather, so maybe that was why? I did get a little nervous, but he passed the "kick count" and would move periodically. Within a couple days he seemed back to his normal active self.

Special pregnancy moments: We started our birth class this week! It was extra fun because my husband was almost as excited for it as I was. The first class was simply introducing ourselves to the others in the class, an overview of the birth process, watching a video of a birth, and doing some simple relaxation/ breathing exerciser. I have to admit my husband and I had a hard time taking the relaxing time very seriously and got a little giggly with each other...but I think we were discreet enough to not disturb others or be rude to the instructor. We are really looking forward to the weeks ahead, and this is another one of those, "I can't believe I am actually pregnant moments" that I am loving.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Palm Sunday

This past Sunday at church was Palm Sunday, and our church did a special children's portion of the service. The children entered from the back and walked down the aisles to take their seat for a special Bible story at the front.

When they entered the sanctuary, the first few children were carrying large palm branches. As soon as I saw this, my eyes welled up with huge tears. There's just something about children worshipping Jesus that melts my heart.

I looked over at my husband, half embarrassed, as he saw me wipe away a tear, but I saw it in his eyes, too. "It gets me, too," he whispered to me. And then we both laughed at how the kids are probably just excited to carry a palm branch without understanding much of the significance. But in God's amazing and mysterious way it is still worship and it is beautiful.

"One of those excited kids could be our son in a few years," I whispered back as I wiped away another tear.