In Labor?

It’s been an exciting day! Last night around midnight I discovered a lot of pinkish discharge in my underwear. For the next 12 hours I had bloody discharge every time I went to the bathroom. I called labor & delivery and since I wasn’t dripping blood or fluid, or soaking a pad, they said it was most likely just bloody show and nothing to worry about. Just before noon I lost a huge piece (nearly as big as my thumb) of bloody, mucusy discharge, which I think was my mucus plug. I also started having mild, irregular, period-like cramping. I googled bloody show and was excited to read that many women go into labor within 1-3 days of seeing it!

My husband and I had a leisurely day – we took a walk down to one of our favorite little cafes for lunch, then strolled around downtown. We came home with plans to go to the movies this evening, but I ended up napping until about 7pm when my doula called to check on me (I had been keeping her updated throughout the day). Around 7:30 I noticed my contractions were starting to feel stronger and more regular, so I started timing them using an app on my phone. To my surprise, they were coming regularly about every 4 minutes and lasting about 30 seconds each.

It’s now about 9:45 and I’ve been timing them continuously since then. They are, in fact, getting longer, stronger, and closer together, which is the hallmark of true labor. Currently they’re about 40 seconds long, about 3 minutes apart, and fairly intense. My doula encouraged me to wait until they’re closer to a minute long before going to the hospital. Over the last few hours my husband has been finishing up any last minute tasks and I’ve been eating, showering, and doing my evening nebulizers. We live about 5-10 minutes from the hospital and depending on how things go, we may head over there before too much longer so I can get checked. I’ll be back with updates!

Advertisements

38 Weeks: Final Pregnancy Update!

FullSizeRender.jpg
One of the last pictures of me pregnant!

How far along? 38 weeks and 2 days

Due Date: August 9th, 2016 (but I’m getting induced August 2nd!)

Total weight gain: 12.5 pounds

Maternity Clothes: Absolutely. And some of them are too small now!

Stretch Marks: Yep. Still quite a few on my underbump, below my belly button. But no new ones recently.

Sleep: So-so. I’ve been cutting out the afternoon naps, even when I’m tired, in order to get better sleep during the night. It’s been helping. I usually still wake up in the night to pee, get comfortable, stare at the ceiling, etc. but I’m able to get back to sleep more easily. I’m still sleeping 8-10 hours a night which is lovely.

Best Moment of the Week: On Tuesday night I went to a Mommy-to-Be meetup hosted by a local parents’ group. It was great to chat with some other pregnant ladies about our experiences and get recommendations for resources in our community. One of the other attendees was a woman I had met in one of our labor classes. She’s also 38 weeks along with her first baby, a girl. She’s a lot of fun and we’re going to try to stay in touch. It would be great to have a mom-friend with a baby the same age!

FullSizeRender (1).jpg
Another highlight this week: getting a huge box of secondhand baby clothes from my cousin in Texas! Her little girl is 9 months old and they’re not planning on having any more, so she sent me tons of stuff.

Miss Anything? I’ve been pregnant for so long now that I think I’m starting to forget what it’s like not to be pregnant. I do vaguely remember a time when I could get off the sofa without considerable effort, my back didn’t hurt, and I could eat whatever I wanted. I’m looking forward to getting back there!

Movement: Still lots! She’s been really active throughout the whole pregnancy, and even though her movements are more constricted these days, I still feel her a lot. It’s going to be strange not to feel that anymore once she’s born.

Food cravings: Fruit, red meat, sweets. This week I’ve been pretty bored since I’ve kept my calendar clear in case I go into labor, so I’ve been working on prepping freezer-to-crockpot meals for after the baby’s here. I’m not much of a cook and I hate chopping veggies so that part hasn’t been awesome, but I’m feeling pretty smug about all the food I’ve managed to squirrel away. The ones I’m most looking forward to trying are the Chicken Alfredo, Meatball & Veggie Soup, and Beef Stroganoff. And I can’t wait to have some pancakes! From what I’ve read, gestational diabetes usually goes away almost immediately after birth, so I hope they have pancakes on the hospital menu. 🙂

FullSizeRender (2).jpg
Frozen meals!

Anything make you sick or queasy: I’ve actually thrown up a few times in the last couple of days, which isn’t much fun. It’s always right after I wake up, before I get the chance to eat something. Yuck.

Symptoms: I really don’t have much stamina these days. Yesterday all I did was go to my doctor’s appointments and spend about 4 hours prepping freezer meals, and I was exhausted! My back and feet hurt from standing and I was falling asleep on the couch. In general I’ve just been feeling big and awkward, and I’m still having some shooting pains in my cervix area. I’ve also noticed an increase in my Braxton-Hicks contractions, though they’re never painful. It’s just a tight feeling in my abdomen. More on this in a bit.

Belly button in or out: Way out!

Happy or Moody: I’ve been going back and forth. I’m generally in a pretty good mood, but I’ve had some intense cranky spells lately – especially with my husband. If I feel like he isn’t pulling his weight with household chores or being appropriately sympathetic to my aches and pains, I’m not shy about letting him know. In general he’s been wonderful, though.

Looking forward to: Having this baby… in less than a week!!!

I noted in an earlier post that I’m being induced at 39 weeks because of my gestational diabetes. My doctor told us that late in pregnancy my blood sugars would become more difficult to control and the resulting highs and lows could stress the fetus. Though we were initially skeptical about this since I had been able to control my glucose so well with diet alone, I can see now that the doctor was right. She opted not to put me on insulin (yay!) because I’m still able to keep my levels pretty normal by eating right, but my fasting glucose in the mornings has been creeping up to consistently above-normal levels. The cut-off is 95 and mine are usually 95-100. I’m also having to be much more careful about my carb intake. I can’t have any refined sugar at all at this point – just a little fruit if I want something sweet. All of this isn’t severe enough to warrant treatment, but I’m glad this baby won’t be in there too much longer.

At my appointment yesterday I asked my OB to check my cervix again. It’s still only about a fingertip dilated, but I’ve progressed to 75% effaced! I was really glad to see that since any progress will make the induction on Tuesday easier. I’m also having a lot of practice contractions. During my 20-minute non-stress-test the monitor picked up three! In fact, the doctor called me on my way home to double-check that I wasn’t feeling any pain with the contractions (I’m not) because if I was, I would need to go to labor and delivery. They said it’s possible I may go into labor before my induction, which would be great, but I kind of doubt it will happen for some reason.

It still feels really surreal that this time next week we should have a baby of our own. At this point I probably feel more anxious about the whole thing than excited, to be honest. Of course, I’m excited to meet the baby and start this new phase of our lives, but I find myself worrying a lot. Will the baby be ok? Will we be good parents? Will we be able to keep her safe, well-fed, and healthy? I actually don’t feel that worried about coping with the delivery – just about what we’re going to do with this brand new human entrusted to our care.

I’ll be sure to update if there’s any news. I’ll also probably update from the hospital if I can – and of course, I’ll be posting once she arrives! Thank you all so much for all of your support and encouragement throughout my infertility journey and pregnancy. I can’t believe it’s almost over!

37 Weeks

bumpie.png

How far along? 37 weeks and 4 days

Due Date: August 9th, 2016 (but I’m getting induced August 2nd!)

Total weight gain: Still right around 12 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: Yep! Although the dress in the picture above is just an XL maxi dress from Target I bought for a luau party my husband and I attended last night. 🙂

Stretch Marks: Yes (sigh). There are quite a few now, all in the area underneath my belly button. I can only see them in the mirror but they’re pretty noticeable. I’m hoping they fade after birth. Also – my belly is so itchy in that area. It’s so hard not to scratch it!

Sleep: Still feeling really sleepy. I usually take a two-hour nap around 5pm, then sleep from about 1 or 2am to 10am. I’ll often wake up around 5am and have trouble getting back to sleep. All in all I’m getting plenty of sleep, but it’s fragmented. I guess it’s good preparation for being up every two hours to feed a newborn!

Best Moment of the Week: I think we finally have everything ready for the baby! I decided to look into bassinets so the baby can sleep right next to our bed in the early days. Even though the crib is set up just a few steps from the bed, I really wanted something right next to me so I don’t have to get out of bed to check on the baby or breastfeed. Fortunately, we were gifted a pack ‘n play with a bassinet attachment, so we just ordered some sheets and we’re good to go! I’ve definitely been doing some nesting this week but at least for now, I feel happy with how everything is set up. Hopefully this ends the compulsion to move furniture around. Between my (large) size and the (tiny) size of our apartment it feels like furniture tetris.

I also had a good appointment with my OB this week. Everything is still looking good – baby is head-down, she seems to be a good size, and I have plenty of fluid. The non-stress tests have all been normal and at my fluid check ahead of the test I even got to see the baby practicing breathing movements on the ultrasound, which was really cool. It’s funny that she can’t possibly know why she’s practicing breathing and sucking, since they’re completely superfluous to her at this moment, but they’ll become crucial in just a week and a half!

I asked my OB to tell me a bit more about the induction process. I’ll be going in at 7:30pm on August 2nd and they’ll check my cervix at that time. If I’m already a bit dilated they may just start the pitocin, but if not, they’ll likely start off with cervidil or another medication to get me to start dilating. If they use cervidil it will need to stay in for 12 hours, then they’ll start pitocin the following morning as long as I’m dilating normally. From there it’s really a crap shoot in terms of how long it will take for me to deliver. It just depends how I respond to the meds. My doctor said if I go in with a cervix that’s not favorable (not effaced or dilated) it could take “a few days.” Yikes. Luckily when she checked me on Wednesday I was already 50% effaced and about a fingertip dilated, which is something. I’m hoping I’ll have progressed a bit more when she checks me again this Wednesday.

Unfortunately she won’t be the doctor actually delivering my baby or working with me through the induction. The way the practice works is the doctors all take shifts in labor and delivery, so I’ll be delivered by whoever is on that day. She was able to tell me who will be on and was able to introduce me to two of the doctors I’ll probably see, which was nice, but it’s a bit nerve-wracking that she won’t be around.

Miss Anything? As always: sweets. My sugars have been more difficult to control these last few weeks, which is apparently normal in late pregnancy. I still haven’t needed to go on insulin (knock on wood!) but I’ve needed to be extra careful with my diet. I really wish I could have a great big plate of blueberry pancakes!

Movement: Lots! She’s almost always kicking on the right side these days. Usually they’re rolling/stretching movements but occasionally she’ll get a good kick in and really surprise me. She’s big enough now that it can hurt!

Food cravings: Sweet foods, fruit, cake, etc. I’m limiting myself to just berries and the occasional peach since they don’t seem to affect my blood sugar too much… although I did have a little pineapple upside down cake at a party last night. 😉 One of my favorite snacks right now is ants on a log (celery with peanut butter and raisins) since it’s just sweet enough to satisfy me, but it’s healthy.

Anything make you sick or queasy: Just coughing in the morning. I haven’t vomited in a while, though.

Symptoms: Sleepiness, thirst, back pain, some pelvic pain. I’ve been occasionally getting shooting pains in my cervix which my doctor said is normal – it’s probably just the baby’s head pressing on a nerve. It usually happens late in the day and it hurts! I’ve also had some problems with my hips feeling sore from lying on my side in bed all the time (and probably from the ligaments loosening). Basically, I just feel big and uncomfortable most of the time.

Belly button in or out: Still way out!

Happy or Moody: Mostly happy. I’m getting more and more excited to meet this baby. But I get grumpy in the evenings when I just can’t seem to get comfortable.

Looking forward to: Induction day! Just a week and a half left! Or, better yet, maybe she’ll decide to come sooner on her own. I kind of doubt that will happen, and it would really mess with our carefully made plans for pet care/apartment cleaning/family travel, but it would really be nice to not have to slog through an induction.

36 Weeks

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

How far along? 36 weeks and 4 days

Due Date: August 9th, 2016 (but we’re getting induced on August 2nd!)

Total weight gain: 12 pounds

Maternity Clothes: Yep! And even some of the maternity stuff is getting too small!

Stretch Marks: At long last, yes. 😦 They started appearing within the last week in the area under my belly button. The skin there has been super itchy, too. Booo.

Sleep: I’ve been very sleepy and very easy to tire lately. I take a late afternoon nap most days.

Best Moment of the Week: Probably today! My husband has been super busy at work this week (getting home anywhere from 9pm to 3am every night) which is kind of a bummer. But today he was able to take some time to hang out, so we walked down to a little street festival near our apartment. Even though it was hot and I’m a pretty slow, waddle-y mover at this point, it was great to just stroll around and take in the sights. Our only purchase (besides some street food!) was at a little booth selling hand-made baby girl clothes. They were so cute, and my husband really wanted to pick some things out! Here’s what we ended up with:

IMG_6852.JPG
My husband picked out the hat on the left with all the animals. I loved the mermaid dress, and I obviously have a thing for polka dots too. So cute!

Miss Anything? I’ve gotta be honest, this week has been rough for food cravings. My blood sugars, which have behaved so nicely for the whole pregnancy, are now starting to creep up despite my low-carb diet. If I have pretty much anything with refined sugar or potatoes they just shoot right up, even if it’s just one bite. My doctor says that since the baby is looking so good on ultrasound that it’s not necessary for me to start insulin, but we’re keeping a close eye on things. In the mean time I’m eating mostly eggs, cheese, and meat with some low-glycemic-index veggies and fruits. I really can’t wait until after the birth when I can really satisfy my sweet tooth! It’s summertime and I would love to have a lemonade or a slushie or a big ice cream cone…

Movement: Lots! We’re still doing our kick counts every evening and we usually get to 10 movements within 15-20 minutes. She’s an active little thing.

Food cravings: Sweets! Alas, I cannot have them. See above…

Anything make you sick or queasy: Just coughing on an empty stomach in the morning. I’ve had a little uptick in nausea in the past week or two, but I haven’t thrown up too much since I’ve been good about eating something as soon as I get out of bed.

Symptoms: Back pain, some pelvic pressure, Braxton-Hicks, leg cramps at night, fatigue.

Belly button in or out: Way out. In fact, one of the baby’s favorite new tricks is sticking a fist or a foot into my belly button and pushing it as far out as it can go. It really freaks me out! When she starts doing that I try to hold my belly button in with my hand as best I can until she changes position.

Happy or Moody: Pretty happy these days. 🙂

Looking forward to: Having this baby! Only 17 days until induction… fewer if she decides to come sooner! Crazy!

FullSizeRender (1).jpg
So big! This was taken a few days ago and you can see the beginnings of some stretch marks down below. They’re darker now.

Stretch Marks Have Arrived

Guys… my stretch marks are here. I had gotten so far unscathed that I hoped I might make it all the way to the end without any, but no such luck. 😦

On Sunday (35 weeks and 5 days) I noticed the first one. The next day (today) I found a few more. In the span of two days! What am I in for? Will I be covered in stretch marks by the end of the week?

They’re all on the lower part of my belly, below my belly button. My suspicion is that as the baby dropped she put a lot of strain on that part of my belly. The skin is definitely tight, and I guess it just couldn’t hold out any longer.

FullSizeRender.jpg

They’re kind of hard to see, but you can see a few dark pink marks – that’s them. The darkest one at the very bottom by my waistband was the first one to appear. The mark right above my inside-out belly button is just a little freckle that’s gotten reaaaally stretched lately!

I know it’s not much (yet) but I was bummed! Here’s hoping that there won’t be too many more, and that the ones I’ve got will fade significantly after this baby’s out.

This week I have my 36-week OB appointment, another non-stress test, and a baby shower my husband’s coworkers are throwing us at his office. I’ll be back to update on all of that in a few days!

Final Ultrasound Before Baby

FullSizeRender.jpg
Baby Gap shopping spree 🙂

I’m just over 35 weeks today and just had what is expected to be my final ultrasound. Holy moley.

Fortunately, everything looks fabulous. Baby is head-down and facing the right way, and her head is so far down in my pelvis that they couldn’t even get any pictures of her face. Which sucked a bit because pictures are awesome, but it’s even more awesome that she’s locked and loaded for delivery!

Just like last time, both the tech and the doctor kept commenting on how much hair she has. I can’t wait until we get to see it for ourselves! She’s also looking to be a good size – about 6 pounds – and is measuring a bit ahead length-wise. In fact, her legs were measuring about two weeks ahead! The tech said she’s probably going to be a tall girl (like her mom!).

Fluid levels are still good and the non-stress test was uneventful. Today I ate a granola bar right before the test to give her a little sugar boost, and it seemed to do the trick – she was kicking like crazy!

I got more good news in the afternoon at my checkup with my Cystic Fibrosis team. A few weeks ago my lung function had dropped to 77% of normal, which was a bummer. My baseline is around 85% and the doctor told me the drop was due to my belly compressing my lungs. However, today I was back up to 82%! I haven’t really been doing anything differently so my best guess is that the baby has started to drop, which is taking pressure off my lungs. Whatever the cause I was pretty psyched.

To be honest, I’m actually feeling pretty good these days. I still haven’t had any swelling in my hands or feet, I still don’t have any stretch marks, and though I’m slower than usual I can still waddle around to my heart’s content. I’m not even really having any heartburn or acid reflux, and I only feel short of breath occasionally. The only things that are new and bothersome are:

  • A slight increase in nausea over the last week or two – in fact, yesterday I threw up my whole breakfast. That said, I’m probably only throwing up 2-3x week.
  • A bit more back pain.
  • Increased fatigue, which usually means an afternoon nap of ~2 hours daily.

Even though I have it pretty easy in terms of 3rd trimester symptoms I’m still feeling really ready to have this baby. I just feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. We’re nearly done with our baby classes, we’ve set up all our gear, and the hospital bag is (mostly) packed. Luckily, having an induction scheduled means that we can say with certainty that she’ll definitely be here in just under a month! I can’t wait!

Planned Induction Date

Yesterday I had my 34-week OB appointment. Everything went well, the non-stress test looked good, and we talked about the upcoming Group B Strep test. Then she said, “So we’re thinking we’ll plan your induction for Tuesday, August 2nd, when you’re 39 weeks. Is that a good day for you?”

Woah. We’d had some conversations about when I might deliver, but we had never discussed a planned induction!

She went on to explain that she was recommending induction at 39 weeks due to my gestational diabetes. Though I hadn’t really planned for that, it seemed reasonable. Frankly, I felt relieved to have a firm expiration date for this pregnancy on my calendar, and excited to know we’ll get to meet our little girl a little earlier than her due date. Obviously I didn’t have anything major on my calendar for my 39th week of pregnancy so I gave her the go-ahead to get it scheduled.

My husband couldn’t make it to the appointment yesterday, so I called him from the parking lot on my way out to give him the update. I was excited; he was hesitant. I’ve mentioned before that he’s the kind of guy who doesn’t take things at face value – he wants to do his own research before he’s convinced. So as soon as he got home from work he jumped on PubMed.

From everything I had read, a planned induction is typically only problematic for the baby prior to 39 weeks. Of course, if an induction is needed for medical reasons, then it’s because it’s safer for the baby to be delivered than it would be for he or she to stay put until labor starts naturally. Regardless of the reason, though, induction at 39+ weeks seemed to be pretty safe, albeit with more discomfort for mom (yay epidural!) and a slightly increased risk of cesarean birth. I don’t love that, but I can live with it.

However, my husband found some studies on PubMed that showed that babies born later (at 40 and 41 weeks) tended to have slightly better cognitive functioning – an effect that lasted well past birth and at least into grade school. The differences were greatest for babies born prior to 39 weeks, but there were still small benefits to an additional week or two in the womb beyond that. It’s not huge, but it’s something. Furthermore, the more we talked about it, the more unsure we felt that my GD was really negatively affecting the baby. My sugars have been very well controlled, even without insulin, and her growth scans have consistently shown her in the 50th percentile, so size isn’t an issue. Is an induction really necessary?

We ended up deciding to send an email to our doctor asking what she thought about waiting until 40 weeks to induce, with the caveat that we could move things up if the baby started showing distress.

This morning she gave us a call to discuss. I really love how responsive she is. She explained a bit more of her reasoning for a 39-week induction, which was really helpful. Basically, it’s not just about the baby’s size. Studies done on women who wear continuous glucose monitors show that even women with well-controlled GD have frequent highs and lows that aren’t always caught by the 4x daily finger sticks. This increases later in pregnancy as the placenta grows and releases more HPL. These fluctuations stress the baby and make it a safer bet to deliver at 39 weeks (when she’ll be fully developed anyway) rather than subjecting the baby to an additional week with these stressors. Basically, the OB wasn’t saying no – we could still push the induction date back to later that week or all the way to 40 weeks if we felt strongly about it – but her strong recommendation was to start the process at 39 weeks.

I trust her on this. She’s been in practice for decades and I have no reason to believe she’s not doing what’s best for the baby. So we told her to go ahead and schedule for 39 weeks. Though compromising by pushing the date back by a few days seemed appealing, I’ve found through personal experience (backed up by actual studies) that inpatient care over the weekends tends to be worse than during the week, so I’d rather not risk delivering on a Saturday or Sunday if I don’t have to.

Do I feel a little sad about this (potentially) really changing the birth experience we planned for? Sure. If the induction happens as planned we won’t have the excitement of realizing I’m going into labor, the time spent with our doula laboring at home, then the drive to the hospital when the time is right. My labor on pitocin will be more painful, so I’ll probably get an epidural sooner than I had planned. Hopefully I won’t need a c-section. But honestly, I’ve never been big on the “birth experience” part of becoming a parent. I think of it as a nice bonus if it happens, but our priority is doing the safest thing for our baby. We’re pretty risk-averse and given the complex medical issues we’re dealing with (CF in addition to GD) we’re trusting the experts on this one.

So – that’s the plan! Of course, if I go into labor naturally before then, it’s a moot point. But it’s exciting to know that we are truly only about a month away from having this baby, one way or another.