Pregnancy Journal - Twenty-nine Weeks

Update: At my appointment on Friday I was able to go back to seeing the midwife. And I felt really grateful to have selected the prenatal care that I have. I'm glad there are OBs on staff. I'm glad that I get to consult with a midwife and *hopefully* have her attend the birth of our son. Due to the nature of their practice, there's a chance that she won't be able to, but I'd be lucky to have any one of the OBs assist. They are all supportive and caring. And it was nice to have an ultra conservative MD with pre-term labor expertise in my court this last week. I'm still having contractions, random in both frequency and duration, which has them concerned and me on modified bed rest.

How far along: 29 weeks

Weight gain, body changes: I don't know how, but I'm down 2 lbs from last week making my total weight gain 16 lbs. I'm measuring the same around the waist, but I feel bigger! Maybe I feel bigger because the baby is growing but I have not...yet. I know that growth will come. My midwife estimated the baby to be 2-3 lbs right now (my fundal height is 29cm--right on target).

Stretch marks: Still nothing new. I'm feeling really lucky, but I know this kid has a long way to grow yet (see above).

Movement: Frequently now his movement feels more deliberate. Not that he's thinking, "If I put my bum here and my elbows here..." but that there's a method to the madness. He still moves almost all the time and we've even captured some big bumps and kicks on video. Maybe if I'm feeling brave I'll post it (not sure how I feel about my bare belly on the www).

Sleep: This changes nightly. Lately if I wake up to use the facilities between 1-2am I'll be up until 4-5am and then go back to sleep for another couple hours. Last night I slept solidly from about 10:30pm to 6am. That was nice.

Best thing about this week: (I changed this up a bit) Having the Captain home so much. He's really stepped up and is taking really great care of me. He even cut my toenails for me.

What made you cry: I just bawled like a baby watching a Tinkerbell movie on Netflix. My heart was breaking for Tinkerbell and her broken wing. It was just too much for my pregnant self to handle!

Food cravings: Food. I feel hungry all the time. Fruit. Right now I could go for some watermelon or mango or strawberries. Yum!

Something you miss: Now I miss sleeping on my back. I really miss it, but it's only comfortable for like five minutes.

Anything making you queasy or sick: I don't feel great today, but that could be the cabin fever setting in. And work was really stressful yesterday which probably doesn't help a ton.

Appointments: The Captain came with me to my appointment this week, which was so nice. He's come with me to all the big ultrasounds, but this was the first time he's been able to come with me to a regular appointment since he usually works in the Bronx on Fridays and that's the day that I had arranged to work from home making it the best day to go in. It was a good thing he was there. He acted as my brain and asked all the questions that I would have forgotten. He asked her opinion about vaccines and pediatricians. We got all the details on my treatment plan, which is to be super careful as we traverse the next few milestones and keep this kid inside a little longer. Once we hit 34-36 weeks, I'll be able to do a little bit more. For now, I'm on modified bed rest: working from home at least 3 out of 5 days a week, watching my contractions closely (if I have more than four in an hour or any less than 15 minutes apart I'm supposed to call and potentially go to the hospital), staying overly hydrated, and keeping my activity to a minimum. I really really really want to avoid any of those anti-contraction meds. I feel like taking something like that would be a sure way to require some other intervention like labor inducing meds later.

How's your mood:

Any surprises? They didn't check how dilated I am now. I was surprised to know that they aren't concerned about the state of my cervix, just the contractions. Which, I guess is good because as my sister said, I'll be grateful for every cm when I go into labor. If it's becoming soft and even dilating more, that's okay as long as I can keep the contractions under control. 

I can't even tell you how grateful I am that I switched jobs at work, if only for the fact that I am able to work from home. Otherwise I'd have to go on disability which would shorten the amount of time I could take for maternity leave later. The closer I get to term with this baby and can still work, the longer I'll get paid to be a stay-at-home mommy. Which, let's be honest, is pretty great! 

Pregnancy Journal - Twenty-eight Weeks

This week has been an interesting one. One that merits its own format. Plus I don't really have enough info to use that handy questionnaire. Tuesday was our second anniversary. The Captain met me in the city for dinner and we had a really nice time trying out a new-to-us place.

This week we also started packing for our Winter Beach Retreat 2013. We've made it a tradition to go someplace warm and beachy every winter. We both love and live for this tradition and start planning as we're on the plane home the year before. This year was Aruba. Beautiful warm weather, beautiful beaches, and a continuing education course to make it a tax deduction.

I switched my typical work from home day from Friday to Wednesday so I could be home to accept a UPS delivery and so I could be in the office on Friday to wrap up any loose ends before our trip. I was still fighting that cold, so getting to sleep through what would have been a subway ride was an added bonus. I had a little bout of nausea Wednesday and Thursday was even worse. After six weeks puke free it returned with a vengeance mid morning Thursday. Concerned that I might have picked up the super stomach flu, I requested to go home and finish the day on the laptop quarantined to my apartment. I barely made it off the train when another of my harvested air sick bags came in handy. Don't worry, it's not the Norah virus though I didn't sleep well the next night, opted to take the morning easy and let my boss know I was running late.

The Captain left for work and right before I walked out the door I made my final trip to the restroom. An empty pregnant bladder us much more comfortable on the subway. I'm sure this is TMI, but a little spotting caused me to rethink my plans for the day. I wasn't too surprised because apparently I have a "sensitive cervix", but better safe than sorry especially when we were scheduled to fly out of the country the next morning. I called my midwife's office to find out she was out sick and I made an appointment with one of the OBs. What was surprising was a bit of emotional anxiety I felt when making the appointment (aka: I cried on the phone to the receptionist). They put me down for 11:45 that morning and I notified work of my "pregnancy related" issue and "I'll be working from home again". So grateful that is an option right now.

I had a productive morning and set out for my check up fully prepared to be relieved of all concern. Dr. Pete got my story (aka, minimal bleeding and some achy-ness I attributed to round ligament pain) and he set to work first with an internal ultrasound. If you haven't had the joy of an internal ultrasound, it's quite the experience. The first thing he pointed out was that the baby's head was right up close and personal with my cervix. "Not to give you anything else to stress about" he joked. It seemed like it was not a real concern. Everything looked good, cervical length was 3.3 cm which he said was good. Then he did a culture swab to test for an infection and manually checked my cervix. Well, at 28 weeks I was dilated about 1cm and he said my cervix is soft. Is this a concern? He seems to think so. We talked about my vacation plans. His ideal was that we would cancel so he could put me on bed rest and check again next week. Also, he wanted me to go to the hospital for a 2-round shot of steroids to advance the baby's lung development. At minimum, his recommendation was to go to the hospital for the shot and push our trip back a day so I could get the second shot the next day and get re-checked. Without being able to get a hold of the Captain, who was probably elbow deep in a root canal, I decided to go straight to the hospital and try to contact him before they actually took me back for any treatment. Here's a little plug for private health insurance and employer-supplemented fantastic policy. I would otherwise be racking up the baby bills.

I talked to both of my parents, my mom for her experience with six births and my dad for his medical expertise. Both for emotional support. I finally got through to the Captain and we talked scenarios. We decided to get the shot, do the stuff at the hospital that day and then make a decision about the trip that evening. I told him a weighty factor would be if I was having contractions, which I thought extremely unlikely.

They called me back to triage and hooked me up to the monitors, one for me and one for the baby. My friends, I now know what a contraction feels like and I have been having them for a couple weeks. Braxton-Hicks or preterm?? That I don't know, but I could feel the stronger ones when comparing how I felt with the spikes on the monitor, and the ones I couldn't really feel were short and steadily coming in about every 15 mins. At the end of my 4 hour stay I was still dilated at about 1cm. Awesome. Actually, it kind of amazing what our bodies can do. They gave me IV fluids and sent me home. Oh, my nurse also told me she was dilated to a 1 from 24 weeks on and still worked the rest of her pregnancy delivering at 39 weeks. I left the hospital either very hopeful or in deep denial.

At home that night, Google Scholar became our best friend as we read abstracts for anything we could find on air travel and preterm labor. We pushed all of our travel reservations to Sunday to buy ourselves another day of having to make any decisions. I tried to stay off my feet on Saturday, timed my contractions (about 2/hour and 45-60 secs long) and then went for lunch in Cobble Hill before I was due back at the hospital for the second shot. It was much less boring to have my hubs with me and the monitor didn't pick up any contractions this time. They took a swab for the protein test that can detect preterm labor and checked my cervix for the third time in two days, by three different doctors. Of course there is a risk for "operator error" as my dad called it. Ideally the same person would have checked me every time. Oh well. The last Dr estimated 1-1.5cm.

After much deliberation, all because of me (the Captain was ready to call the trip off right away) we decided to do the responsible parent thing and cancel our vacation. As a happy  side note, Yogurtland just opened in Park Slope a couple blocks from the hospital, so we had to make a stop there on the way home. Saturday night we were on the phone with Delta and Marriott, both were amazing and canceled no questions asked, waived all the fees and wished us a safe pregnancy and delivery. Then we watched Pitch Perfect. It was a pretty great date night :).

So here we are, well I am, homebound for now. Which is so ironic because I feel the best I have felt energy and nausea-wise pretty much this whole pregnancy (could be due to all the extra rest!).

Today I am counting my blessings. I'm grateful that a little minor bleeding caused me to stop and get checked, otherwise we'd have flown to Aruba for a week (ahh to be sunning on the beach) having risked all that comes with air travel (altitude and changes in barometric pressure can apparently be a big deal), best case, absolutely nothing but an awesome vacation...worst case delivering a preterm baby in a third-world country. I would much rather have this little boy cook a little longer and get a lot closer to our due date, and be in the US.

At this point I have no idea what it will mean for the rest of my pregnancy, but I'll keep these updates coming. And let's be honest, I may have a little more time on my hands to be a better blogger again.

Pregnancy Journal: Twenty-seven Weeks

It was just brought to my attention that I have been delinquent.  22 weeks?? I thought maybe I had posted at 24 or 25. I'm so sorry baby boy that I am not chronicling your development better.

How far along: 27 weeks

Weight gain, body changes: After losing and not gaining, I finally have started to catch up. I am now 18 lbs. over my pre-pregnancy weight and have gained a whopping 8 inches around my middle. At our last ultrasound (we're going every 4 weeks because his kidneys were mildly dilated at our 20 week ultrasound--more on that later) the tech estimate his weight at 1 lb. 1 oz. I think he may have doubled in size in the last couple weeks.

26 weeks

Maternity clothes: I have moved into third trimester maternity clothes. Some of the maternity clothes I was wearing earlier no longer fit. None of my non-maternity clothes fit anymore. Not true, I have some extra long, blousey tops that will continue to work. Shoes are getting harder to put on, which makes deciding what to wear to and from work a little challenging. I keep a supply of flats in one of my desk drawers at work, but as it's getting colder, my commuter footwear is tricky.
27 weeks

Stretch marks: Still nothing new! Keeping my fingers crossed (my sister said she didn't get any until the last few weeks).

Movement: OH man. Acrobatics, Kung Fu, Karate, whatever he is practicing in there it is getting more intense and even painful on occasion. I hear I will miss the sensations of him moving in my belly after he is born. Don't get me wrong, it still amazes me every time I feel him, but I don't know that I'll miss it. We'll see about that. I can definitely see him moving under my clothes now... at work, on the subway, at home, in bed in the middle of the night :). The Captain really likes it when I wake him up in the middle of the night by rolling my belly over against his back. It's just an experience that I don't want to hog all to myself! (he actually does like it.)

Sleep: Hmmm, how to answer this one. I think I'm sleeping better than I was, but it is getting more inconsistent.

Best moment this week: Hearing the Captain tell me about the benefits of a medication-free birth. It's so nice to hear it from him and feel his support as an unmedicated birth has always been my plan.

What made you cry: I don't remember crying this week. Christmas Eve had a rough patch, but the Captain came through and we had a really nice Christmas.

Food cravings: I'm still hungry a lot of the time, though I don't really crave anything abnormal.

Something you miss: I miss sleeping on my stomach. Luckily, if I have a pillow under my knees I can still sleep on my back for short periods.

Anything making you queasy or sick: The nausea has finally subsided... as long as I get enough sleep at night. So, that means I either take the unisom at night or zofran during the day. It's still far from ideal, but as my dad said recently, "New York City has got to be a nausea producing powerhouse with subways, taxi rides and skyscrapers that tower over you and look like they are swaying as you walk by." The days that I stay home and don't have to ride the subway, I feel a lot better. I have gotten sick a couple times this winter. The Captain and I are currently passing a cold back and forth--that is not fun.

Appointments: (I just added this one) My glucose tolerance test came back negative. I also have no issues with my hemoglobin or hematocrin (?) which the dr said means I am one of the few who have no issues with iron deficiency.

How's your mood: Ha! As I get bigger and more uncomfortable I am finding myself to be a little less patient. But I'm still doing okay.

Any surprises? How much the baby is moving. I really thought that I would feel kicks a couple times a day, maybe some hiccups. But, this kid is constantly on the move with short periods of sleep between.    

Okay, so now for the down and dirty. The baby's kidneys. When we first found out that they saw hydronephrosis in both kidneys I had a pretty hard time. My first real experience with mommy guilt. We looked up the causes for prenatal kidney dilation and first we found out that 40% of the time the problem does not persist after birth. That was comforting. We also learned that the #1 cause is a UPJ obstruction. That's exactly what I have, congenital UPJ obstruction which means the tube that connects my (right) kidney to my bladder has an area that is constricted, making it difficult for my right kidney to drain and if I am not careful can cause swelling and infection. Not fun. But of course, even though I know I have no control over it, I think "I am passing this problem down to my baby. He's inheriting it from me." Luckily, the dilation is mild and likely will not turn into anything after he's born. That's what we're praying for at least.

Speaking of, my urologist is planning to do a procedure while I'm still in the hospital for the birth that will prep for a surgery to fix my UPJ obstruction.