You want some excitement? I’ll give you excitement. I won’t even delay it any further.
I’m 35 weeks pregnant…for now!
Okay…perhaps that is stretching the truth just a little. On Tuesday, I came home to swap cars with my husband (since apparently Mother Nature has decided this of all winters is when she’ll bury New England in 1,000ft of snow) to find that our shower doors were broken (long story, but it has to do with the shower light going off) and my husband was quite irritated. You see, he’s been shoveling nonstop for what seems like forever. In his free time. Instead of working in the nursery. Because, well, there are other things that demand his attention. All the snow, for example. So before he left for work, I asked him to give me a spackling lesson (turns out it’s pretty easy to do). And once he was off and away, and I’d had a furiously anxious texting conversation followed by a phone conversation with my mom, I got in the nursery and started spackling on my own. Yeehaw!
Only I soon developed cramping. Boo. So I transitioned to folding laundry on the couch. Cramping continued. Grr. I emptied and refilled the dishwasher, then took a break on the couch. Still cramping. Cooked dinner. Cramping. Lay down on my left side, with gallons of water beside me to drink. Cramping. Goddamnit! It wasn’t bad cramping. It was like CD1 cramping. Just constant, dull, with little sharp pains every now and again.
I debated back and forth about whether to call the 24/7 on-call line. I texted with a few Twitter friends, asking their opinion, and got the “trust your gut” responses, which made sense. I decided I would talk to my husband when he got home after midnight, and see what he thought. Of course, he got home, and I had the Boppy and the diaper bag full of maybe five things by the door just in case, and I had a complete and total meltdown complete with tears and hyperventilation. What was my problem? Scared? Nervous? Too soon? Not ready? Pick your poison.
He calmed me down and fed me some ice cream, and after some discussion, we had a plan. Go to bed. If it woke me in the middle of the night and felt worse, call the on-call line. If I woke in the morning for work and still felt crampy, even a little, call my OB’s office when they opened. If I woke for work and felt fine…wait until my regularly scheduled appointment on Friday and mention it to the CNM.
I woke up still crampy. Called the office, woke my hubby, got dressed, and off we went to be checked out!
In short, here’s the breakdown of the appointment: BP was mildly elevated, but not enough for concern. My feet and fingers, as the CNM noticed, are starting to swell a bit. My belly is continuing to measure two weeks ahead (was measuring 35w at 33w, now measuring 37w at 35w). My cervix is closed, and while baby boy is still head down (YES!), he is high (in other words, he won’t be a-bustin’ outta there any time in the too-near future). She thinks the cramping is my cervix starting to thin out in preparation for labor, which is a good thing. My urinalysis came back fine (DID YOU READ THAT?! I FINALLY HAD AN UNCONTAMINATED URINE SAMPLE! IT’S A MIRACLE!), so there are no signs of infection. She told me that even though I’m a week and change shy of full-term, it’s doubtful they would do anything to stop labor if it were to happen soon. Yikes!
The breakdown of my first-ever NST: baby boy had two good heart accelerations (not to mention he was moving around like crazy in there and everyone could see it) and they recorded only one small, short contraction in the time I was strapped to the monitors. So he’s not in distress, and there’s no sign of active labor for me (not that they expected it, what with my cervix closed, but they just wanted to check).
So, there you have it. My first ever impromptu visit to the OB to be “checked.” I’m sure this isn’t half as exciting or eventful as others’ trips to the OB or L&D, but as my first, it was a little exciting/terrifying.
Anxiety/Depression, PPD, Behavioral Health Intake Appointment
For those who have been following my journey over the last few years, it’s no surprise when I say this pregnancy has been filled to the brim with anxiety and fear. In fact, it’s actually quite common. I think just about everyone I’ve met in the Twitter community who’s become pregnant in the last year has felt exactly as I have felt, especially if they had miscarriages behind them. It’s hard for everyone else to understand, which is to be expected. But getting pregnant again after having miscarriages is scary. Passing the first trimester is still scary, even if all your losses were in that time period. Passing the second trimester is still scary. And the third trimester? Forget it. Enter all the thoughts about stillbirth and complicated labor and just the simple fact that something could still go wrong and you’re just as anxious and terrified as ever. Sure, to an extent, every pregnant woman feels this. But I honestly wonder if it’s worse for those of us who’ve lost our babies one, twice, or more before.
I had a good amount of time in the late second and early third trimesters when my anxiety was at an all-time low. But as the shower approached and I started having to do all of these things—things that I should have done earlier, like booking and attending a hospital tour, filling out hospital paperwork, packing my hospital bag, writing out a birth plan—the anxiety started to ramp up again. No matter how much I chant one of the IF/RPL community’s favorite sayings, “jinxes aren’t real,” I still feel terrified about everything. I thought about the shower and the tour and spent the week leading up to that weekend sleep-deprived and exhausted with anxiety.
I have a new habit that has surfaced. Now that I’m making very frequent trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I am almost every night hopping back into bed after a trip and poking around for my son’s foot or butt and poking and pushing at it incessantly until I get a half-hearted, irritated, and sleepy kick back. During the day, he’s bouncing off the walls, but at night he’s very quiet (which, I think, is probably a good thing, because I’ve heard of movement keeping some women up half the night). And now I’ve got this thing where I wake up and he’s so quiet that I am overcome with the fear that something’s gone wrong while I’ve been asleep and it’s over.
The week before the shower/tour, I also had a CNM appointment (that I didn’t get into in the last update because I got too far behind) that revealed my belly measuring two weeks ahead of where it should be. And as I mentioned earlier in this post, it has continued to measure ahead. I’m a 35w pregnant chick with a 37w belly. At my last ultrasound at 28w, his weight was in the 69th percentile and his belly measurement was in the 91st! All of this combined means I’ll probably get an ultrasound this or next week. Which means I could be induced early to prevent a higher risk of c-section associated with going to full-term with a big baby (though my CNM didn’t say this outright). This also gave me plenty to worry about…fear of a c-section, fear of the pain and medications associated with induction, and anxiety over the fact that our baby boy could be here a lot sooner than expected. And just thinking of how ready we are not.
So…yeah, anxiety. It’s back.
And then we have postpartum depression, and depression in general. My mom had PPD with me and my brother, so there’s a risk factor. I’ve dealt with serious depression in the past, so there’s another risk factor. And then the whole miscarriage thing, with constant anxiety and fear, is another good risk factor. Wham bam bam. Considering everything, I’m probably pretty high risk for PPD (and actually, my new therapist agrees). But the good thing is that I’m getting ahead of it now, as best I can, while I still have a clear head.
I brought it up to my OB at the last appointment and she put in a referral. I saw the therapist this morning just for an intake appointment. We glossed over everything: my past history with depression, family history, marital status and relationship history, the miscarriages, the anxiety, and so on. I felt good about it. I like her, and as anxious as I was to return to therapy, I’m glad I went. I forgot how freeing it can be to talk to someone about anything, and everything, judgement-free. Without having to worry about hurting the feelings of people I love. Without having to censor myself. Without having to worry it’ll get back to the wrong person, or that it’ll be misinterpreted.
All in all…I’m glad I went. Best case scenario, I don’t get PPD and all is well. Worse case scenario, I do, and I have family and doctors looking out for me and treating me the best way they can.
Back to Yoga
I started the newest cycle of prenatal yoga at my doctor’s office, which actually ends on my due date of March 11th! I didn’t go this week, understandably, because I was at the OB’s earlier that day being checked out. And then I didn’t go the week before because it was cancelled due to the blizzard. So…I’ve been once this cycle. Oops. But I felt amazing physically after that class, better than I had ever felt after any class in my second trimester. So I really hope to get back next week…especially since I’ll be 36w and ready to start doing what I can to induce labor on my own!
I also found out what my instructor uses for room spray and hand lotion (she does reiki adjustments at the end of every class) and was pleased to find out it was a Stress Relief scent from Bath and Body Works! And I had this idea…about smell-association. Every time we start class, I smell this scent and associate it with the class: relaxation, breathing, visualization, calm. At the end of class, the smell of her lotion lingers on my temple and neck even after I’m already home and I continue to feel relaxed. I thought it would be a good idea to purchase lotion, massage oil, and bath stuff to use in the weeks coming whenever I practice yoga at home or take a relaxing bath to ease my aches and pains. I even want to use some of this stuff during labor (bath stuff, not so much, as I’ve heard baths must be water-only after your water breaks) as I am truly determined to go medication-free through labor and delivery—but more on that next week.
Well that’s a wrap for this week…tomorrow, I see my CNM and hand in the paperwork I’ve filled out, ask about the constant localized back pain I’ve had for the last two weeks, discuss some other questions I have with her, get my Group-B strep test done and out of the way, and maybe an ultrasound?
Until next week, then! (And in the meantime, if you’re really bored, go check out my new About page that I finally got around to funkin’ with, per order of the Blogging 101 course!)