38 Weeks

Yesterday I went to see Dr. Breen for my 38 week appointment.

I have to admit, as nostalgic as I’ve been about the end of this pregnancy, the side effects are finally getting to me.  I haven’t been in charge of my right arm in almost a month.  I don’t remember the last time I slept more than an hour at a stretch.  I’d love to eat dinner – and not have to burp it up for the next twelve hours.  I’m about ready to put in an eviction notice. 🙂

But – still no signs whatsoever of labor.  The baby is still floating freely (not engaged in the birth canal) and there is no dilation or effacement.  I had thought the plan was that if I wasn’t showing signs of labor by now, we were going to plan a c-section.  But I think we might be victims of Dr. Breen’s holiday plans.  He has decided to give me until Wednesday, Dec. 4th to see what happens.  It just so happens, he is out of town starting tomorrow until Sunday.  Coincidence…?  Hmm.

But that’s ok.  If there’s still any chance I can have him vaginally, I’ll take it!  Dr. Breen has discussed my case with all of his colleagues.  If I go into labor before next Wednesday, I’m to go to the hospital immediately and they will re-assess at that time if I can try vaginally or if they should go straight to c-section.  They have decided that they will not try any interventions – no vacuum, no forceps.  If he doesn’t slide out on his own, it’s back to c-section.

So, if I don’t go into labor today, I definitely don’t want to before next Sunday when Dr. Breen is back!  If I go in Wednesday the 4th and show no signs of labor, the c-section will probably be Friday the 6th or Monday the 9th.  The baby’s due date is Dec. 8th, so that’s just about right.  Once next Wednesday rolls around, it’s really like the clock is off.  Since there’s no chance of a vaginal delivery after that, we might as well let him cook ’til he’s ready.

So that’s where we’re at with the pregnancy!  I think we’ve got everything else ready.  The house has been scrubbed top to bottom.  the car seat is adjusted to newborn and the bases are installed in the cars.  Troy, the baby and I all have bags packed.  There’s a plan in place for Davie.  Last Saturday mom and I went to Target and bought enough groceries for a week’s worth of meals, Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family, and a big snack bag for Troy and I to take to the hospital when I’m in labor.  With coupons and deals, I saved $105! 🙂  I think I could’ve saved more if I had gone to Walmart and HEB and gotten some things there, but I knew I didn’t have the energy for it, so spending a little more to get everything in one place was worth it.  Plus, we got an extra turkey at $0.50/lb for Christmas.  So we’re ahead of the game!

Saturday evening Troy, Davie, mom, dad and I put up our tree and decorated the house for Christmas.  It finally got cold here in Austin – down to the 30’s at night! – and it felt so Christmasy! 🙂  We even lit a fire in the fireplace.  The house seems so warm and cozy!  I just love it!  I made potato soup one night and chicken & dumplings the next. 

Mom came back Sunday to help me finish.  We also wrapped all the presents I have bought so far and gathered up all the props I’d like to use for newborn pics of Isaiah and Christmas pics with Davie and Isaiah together.  It’s so good to have everything done!  I couldn’t have done it without my folks.

I don’t know why it’s still so hard to call the baby by his name.  I guess it’s the infertile in me, terrified that if I give him a name he won’t come to be.  Even now, on the verge of his birth, I know the risks, the chances that things may not turn out the way we plan or hope.  I’m trusting in my doctors, trusting in the Lord, but I still get scared.  Oh Lord, please help my faith grow strong.  Please bring my son, your creation, safely into this world.  Thank you for the time we have had together.  It is so precious.  Amen.

 

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37 Weeks

I turned 37 weeks at some point this week.  I used to think it was every Tuesday but now I think they’re changing it every Sunday.  Who knows, at this point?  ‘Almost to goal’ is how I like to look at it. 🙂

Honestly, despite a few side effects, I really wouldn’t mind being pregnant at this point if I could just stay home and enjoy it.  It’s the trying to work full-time while 37 weeks pregnant that is about to do me in. 

Insomnia and difficulty sleeping is probably the hardest part.  Not only is it hard to get comfortable, but when I finally drift off, I’ll have crazy dreams, or have to pee, or get too hot, or my hand and arm will start to hurt.  I sleep deepest and best from about 4am to 9am, but of course, I get up at 5:30 every day.  So not a lot of great deep sleep going on.

The numbness and shooting pains in my right arm have gotten worse (similar to carpal tunnel symptoms, I think).  It’s hard to type or write or put on my bra or do my hair in the mornings.  Even when everything is loosened up I still can’t clench it in a tight fist.  All that will go away after the birth, though. 

Last week at my 36 week appointment with the perinatologist they did the Estimation of Fetal Weight ultrasound.  Yesterday at my 37 week OB appointment, Dr. Breen went over the results with me.  He came into the exam room asking, “Are you eating Miracle Grow?  If so, it’s time to stop that!  I saw your estimation of fetal weight report and thought, Holy Toledo!  That’s one big baby!”  He did a cervical check and determined that there is nothing going on – my cervix is closed, and although the baby is in the right position, he’s still floating freely (not engaged in the pelvis).  So basically, no signs of labor at this point.

We began to discuss options.  Dr. Breen feels that if I go into labor in the next week to week and a half on my own, it’ll be safe to deliver vaginally.  He says that experience and research has shown that it’s not wise to induce before 39 weeks unless the body is already showing signs of labor progress or medical necessity.  I’ve read the same and appreciate that he started right out acknowledging that!  (With Davie, we induced at 38 weeks, but I was already effaced and had high blood pressue issues.) 

However, once we get to 39 weeks, if I have shown no signs of labor, he will schedule a c-section.  The risks to the baby are just too great.  We could assume the estimation of fetal weight is off by as much as 10%, but that’s only 5 oz either way.  And he’ll continue to grow over the next three weeks, and will stay in the 90th plus percentile for growth.  There’s the fear of shoulder distocia, broken collarbone, or of tearing the nerves that run from the head down the neck (causing life-long arm and upper body weakness).  Dr. Breen stated that the worst case scenario would be if I was able to deliver the baby’s head, but couldn’t get the shoulders out, so they would have to do an emergency c-section and force the head back up through the vaginal canal, compressing the bones of the skull.  Of course, I want to avoid any danger to the baby.

So for now, I’m praying that God’s timing will be for me to go into labor in the next week to week and a half.  With my first delivery, I was so scared, but it turned out to be such an amazing experience!  With all my heart, I am really looking forward to another vaginal delivery – one I can experience without being afraid!  This time I know I can do it, and I know what to expect, and I trust that the epidural will work, and I know what to expect from Dr. Breen.  I hate to be facing a c-section, which means being terrified again!  But of course, I will choose the safest option for the baby.  Say a prayer for us that this will be our week!

Over the years, I’ve read about so many benefits of vaginal delivery over c-section, both for the baby and for the mom.  The baby gets immunities, hormones and a good squee-geeing out as it passes through the tight canal.  The mom’s body prepares for the exit of the pregnancy, and makes the hormones to start milk production.  I worked so hard to breast feed Davie, and it would be such a blessing to get to try again with this baby.  I feel like a c-section will just delay getting a good start on that.

On a positive note, I finally got the nesting bug!  Troy and I worked our butts of on Sunday, and got 2/3rds of the house done.  We got back to it Wednesday afternoon, and now we’re all done!  We even got the baby seat and bases out of the garage.  Bathrooms are scrubbed spotless.  All floors are scrubbed, and the carpets shampooed.  We even did the baseboards and the windows!  It shocked us how nasty it was under the couch, ugh.  It feels so good to have it all done!

This Saturday I’m going to meet my mom at Target and we’re going to get all the Thanksgiving dinner shopping done.  I’m also going to get a bunch of snacks to take to the hospital for while I’m in labor.  After that, my dad will meet us at our house, and they’re going to help us get out the Christmas tree and decorate for Christmas.  Once that’s done, I think I’m ready to meet this baby!

35 Weeks

Tomorrow will be 35 weeks.  But tomorrow Davie Ann gets tubes in her ears, so I think that will trump any incubation news.

Not much new to report on that front, anyways.  His movements are smaller (must be getting crowded in there), but reassuringly regular.  Sleep has gotten more difficult – it’s almost exhausting trying to sleep.  I can only lie on my side, and my hips and lower back give me at most two hours before the pain wakes me up and I begin the arduous process of rolling over.  My bladder is the same – I get about two hours at a time before I have to go again – but it’s not necessarily synched up with the hip/back pain.  That would be way too convenient.  I’ve also picked up a symptom I had with Davie – my fingers, hands, wrists and sometimes my whole arm will go numb.  Usually the arm I’m lying on when I’m on my side.  That wakes me up pretty quickly.  It’s weird to wake up and not be able to use my fingers for a minute or two.

If all that wasn’t enough to keep me awake, pregnancy-induced insomnia has made for some interesting late night moments.  It’s so strange to wake up at 2am and not be able to fall back asleep for an hour or two.  My mind is tired, but it’s busy.  My body is exhausted, but twitchy and achy.  Usually a hot bath helps a lot.

But all of this is temporary, passing, and insignificant.  Despite the symptoms and all appearances, it doesn’t seem real that I’m growing a human being.  You’d think since we have a daughter I’d be able to wrap my mind around it all.  But it still doesn’t seem like there will be another person in our home at the end of this.  How could we be that lucky, that blessed?  Who are we to have our prayers answered – not once, but twice? 

In these final weeks, I’m feeling more emotion, more nostalgia.  I’m not afraid like I was with Davie.  I feel the reassurance of his movements, I know what the aches and pains are, so I’m not scared every day that he’s gone.  Even with the discomforts I’m enjoying being pregnant.  Being capable of being pregnant.  I am lucky.

And there is the knowledge that this is the last time.  I’ll never be pregnant again.  I’ll never feel life move inside me.  I’ll never carry my baby around with me everywhere I go.  In less than two months, we’ll be two separate beings forever.  I’ll never be so completely enmeshed in another again.

There are so many reasons I’ll never be pregnant again.  This pregnancy was brutal for a long time.  The hyperemesis gravidarum is hard to explain … it consumed my entire being, physically and mentally.  It was hard on my family, my husband and my daughter.  To be pregnant again would mean leaving this baby behind, too.  It wreaked havoc on my work relationships and our finances.  Not to mention the obvious – I’m already 42.  If I get to breast feed, it’ll be at least a year before we can try again, and it took us 3 1/2 years to get Davie and another 2 years for this one.  I don’t know if this old body can handle a pregnancy at 44 or 45!  And even if we were lucky – how frickin’ old will I be when that last kid graduates?!? 

Not to mention, our fertility insurance coverage is all gone.  Only … suddenly, it’s back.  Troy’s insurance is making another global policy change, from United to a version of BCBS, so everyone starts over from scratch.  It’s not as great – it’s a lifetime maximum of $15,000.  Just one try for us.  With ICSI, a fresh cycle costs us about $12,000 a pop.  And with eggs like mine, it’s unlikely we would produce a viable fetus. 

But it does put embryo donation back on the table.  I like the idea of being to carry our adopted baby.  And we still feel a pull in our hearts toward adoption, although all of our focus was on foster-to-adopt.  But the truth is, it’s rare to be able to adopt an infant through the foster system.  Much more common is heartache and loss.  I understand, I really do, that the true purpose of fostering is to facilitate a reunion between child and parents.  I have to admit, my heart isn’t in that.  I want our child to stay with us forever.  And of course I worry that our extended families may not love and accept our adopted child(ren) as they do our biological ones.

Maybe it’s time to “resolve.”  Time to appreciate the two we are blessed with and not ask for more.  I feel a pull towards that peace.  To know our journey to grow our family is forever complete, to fully revel in what we have, to let go finally of the heartache of the journey (whether through IF treatments or adoption).  I think this is where Troy is, and I want to respect him. 

As this pregnancy draws near to the end, I am so excited to meet this new person who will change our lives.  I can’t imagine ever being as deeply immersed in and in love with another human being as we are with Davie Ann.  I know it all changes when they come, the love grows, it just doesn’t seem imaginable now.  I also find myself grieving the ones we lost along the way.  From our first miscarriage before we got pregnant with Davie ’til this very pregnancy where we lost a twin at 8 weeks – or even the other two embryos that didn’t take at all; whether it simply wasn’t God’s time, or my body failed them, or my eggs were too old … whatever the reason, they were wanted and loved.  I hope they know, I hope they know. 

This is long and rambling with no real resolution.  I think I’m just in a process, evolving.  To the next step, whatever it may be.  And whatever it is, may it bring peace.