Arlie’s Birth Story

It’s been almost two weeks since Arlie was born and our lives are completely changed.  All for the good.  She is perfect and precious and I have never felt this kind of love for another person.

On Monday the 13th, my standard weekly appointment was canceled and rescheduled for Tuesday the 14th.  I had a bit of a break down on Monday as I was tired of being pregnant and any small thing was setting me off pretty badly.  I went into the appointment on Tuesday thinking that it would be routine and they would check me and send me on my way.  I was told I was seeing a specific doctor, but when I got there they told me that I would be seeing a different midwife and that she wanted me to have a stress test.  The nurse started by taking my blood pressure, which was relatively high at the time because of anxiety.  After the blood pressure check, she hooked me up to the monitors and I sat alone for about a half hour while her little heart beat steadily.  The nurse came back to check my blood pressure again and it was still kind of high.  After the half hour, the midwife Katie came in and said that she had been on the phone with Dr. Balderston’s office (the specialist we were seeing for the cord issues) and he wanted to have her check the fluid levels as he was concerned I was past 39 weeks pregnant.  Apparently he had requested that I not go past 39 weeks, but I never got that information, so this was a huge shock to me.  Anyway, Katie checked the fluid levels and told me that they were quite low, so she recommended that I head over to Labor and Delivery to be induced.  Basically the combo of the high blood pressure and the low fluid levels were enough to concern everyone.  I immediately started crying because this was not at all what I expected to have happen at this appointment.

Luckily for me, I had packed all our bags in the car a few days prior to this.  M was at work about 20 minutes away, so I called him and told him he needed to come to the hospital to meet me.  In the meantime, my mom came down and met me to stay until M as able to get there.  I had a great nurse to start with, she just happened to be someone I knew growing up.  I was incredibly emotional at this point and terrified.  M finally showed up and they started my IV and took blood for some labs.  Because I was strep B positive, and because of the heightened risk due to the cord issues, they wanted to make sure that they got plenty of fluids into me.  My blood pressure started to level off and remained at normal levels for the rest of the hospital stay.

After being there for about 3 or 4 hours, Katie came in and checked my cervix, which was just under 3 cm dilated and they finally started a pitocin drip.  I was told that it could take anywhere from a few hours to two days to get labor started, which at the time was devastating to my morale. They started the drip at 2 and gradually increased it to 6 over the next hour to start contractions and to thin out my cervix.  Once the hour was up, Katie came back in and wanted to use a folley bulb to stretch my cervix out to a 5 to get the process going a little more.  I was not really comfortable with this as it was my intention to go natural and at that point I had already been on pitocin, which wasn’t in my plan at all.  I asked Katie and the two other people with her to give M and I a minute to discuss the option.  We finally agreed, based on the fact of not wanting to be there for two days.  Katie and the two other people came in and started the process of inserting the bulb, but it did not go as plan and they inadvertently broke my water.  This was kind of a big deal because they were specifically told by the specialist NOT to break my water as it was very risky with the cord issues.  The atmosphere in the room got a little scary at that point and they immediately stopped the pitocin drip to cut any more risk of stressing out the baby.

About 5 minutes after they broke my water, my contractions picked up immensely.  They went from being bearable to being very uncomfortable.  After laboring in the bed for about an hour, I decided to move to the tub.  My amazing nurse Ashley got everything ready to go and I got into the tub.  The water was crazy hot and it helped ease some of the intensity of the contractions.  I labored in the tub for about two more hours.  My contractions were coming in waves of three with less than a minute between each wave of three.  I was in more pain than I could have imagined and I was getting exhausted beyond belief.  I finally told M I needed to get an epidural.  He tried to talk to me but at that point I had already made up my mind that I needed to have it, or I would have no energy to push.  M helped me get out of the tub and we talked to Ashley about getting the epidural.  Actually, M talked while I writhed in pain on all fours on the floor by the bed.  Ashley offered to check me to see how far I had progressed to see if that would encourage me to not get the epidural, but because my contractions were so close together and there were so many in a row, she didn’t feel like she could get an accurate check.  She called the anesthesiologist and told me it would be a half hour until he could get there.  The next half hour was the longest of my life.  I was bare ass naked on the floor on all fours and each contraction was incredibly strong.  When the anesthesiologist finally came in they had me sit on the edge of the bed while he prepped everything.  I could hear him talking to nurse Ashley about how my contractions were right on top of each other and she informed him that I had been laboring this way for 4 hours straight.  He was an incredibly nice guy and did a great job of making me as comfortable as possible.  I had to sit still through about 10 contractions while he inserted the catheter and got the meds going.  It was incredibly hard for me to sit still and I was so glad when it was over.  After about 5 minutes, the meds finally kicked in and I started to feel some relief.  I could still feel the contractions, but the pain was about a 5 instead of a 10.  Katie came back in to check me once the epidural had been started and I had progressed to 9.5 cm dilated.  Basically I progressed from a 3 to almost a 10 in four hours.  This news was both encouraging and disappointing because there was part of me that wished I had been able to be checked, but that really wasn’t an option.

Katie told me that they wanted me to rest for about an hour to let the baby slide further down into the birth canal on her own.  After about 20 minutes, the epidural started to wear off and they called the anesthesiologist back in to adjust the levels.  When he did adjust them, my blood pressure dropped so he gave me a shot of adrenalin.  This made my heart race and it kind of freaked me out, but it brought my blood pressure back up.  Katie and one other person, Julia, came in shortly after that to have me get into position to push.  I started pushing and after the first sets of pushes, the baby’s heart rate didn’t respond well, so they put a monitor on her head and called in the on call doctor.  From that point forward, I pushed on every contraction and I could slowly start to see Arlie’s head move closer and closer.  Her heart rate continued to accelerate and decelerate with each contraction, so as I got closer to actually pushing her out, they brought in a NICU team and another team of doctors to be on stand by as a precaution.  There were about 10 people in the room.  They brought out a mirror so I could see the progress I was making with each push.  After pushing for about 45 minutes, Arlie’s head started to emerge.  Nurse Ashley encouraged me to reach down and feel her head, which was an amazing experience.  I pushed on two more contractions, then on the next push, Arlie’s head came out.  She had the biggest cheeks I have ever seen.  One more small push and nurse Ashley told me to pull her the rest of the way out.  I literally pulled her out of me and onto my chest.  She immediately screamed and protested and was very active.  The rest of the nurses and doctors let me lay with her while they floated around and took care of various things.  I had lost a lot of blood so they were preparing to give me blood if needed.  In the meantime, Katie and the doctor were at the end of the bed waiting for the placenta to come out.  The cord had almost immediately detached on its own so my placenta was still in there.  After about a half hour, they had me start pushing to try to get the placenta to come out.  When this did not accomplish what they were looking for, the doctor ended up putting her hand up in there to try to manually extract the placenta.  This took her about another 10 minutes, and eventually I was able to push it out.  We took photos of it and Katie put one stitch in where I had torn.  The nurses cleaned me up and we got Arlie onto my chest again to get her to nurse.

Overall, it was an incredibly amazing experience and we feel incredibly lucky.  Being parents has been a dream of ours for a long time and it is so wonderful to have her here and safe and so perfect.

Advertisements

37 Weeks

I’ve finally reached “full term”.  37 weeks.  I seriously never thought this would happen.  I had an appointment on Monday and while the midwife was trying to figure out where Arlie was laying (still head down and engaged) she noted that I was having contractions.  I knew something was going on, but they weren’t particularly painful.  I had two more in the office and she asked us the basic “are you guys prepared” questions.  We went to run some errands afterwards and I had quite a few more contractions and they continued into the evening.  I went to bed that night thinking that they would continue, but nope.  They completely stopped.  I’ve had a few every day since then, but nothing consistent or painful at all.  I feel like I am willing this to happen.  To add to my impatience, nearly every other blogger I follow on here has given birth in the last week or so and a friend who I was two weeks behind had her baby last night.  I feel like I am behind and even though I know she could be in there for three or four more weeks and that seriously makes me want to cry.  I am so close to the end and I know I should just be excited, but the closer we get to her actual due date, the more I worry and fret about her health and safety.

People keep reminding me how much I will worry once she is here, but they have no idea what this has been like for me.  Being pregnant has brought on a level of anxiety I did not know could even exist.  I am constantly worried, every single day.  I want her here in my arms where I can see her and feel her and watch her breathe.  My anxiety now is higher than it has been in a long time and I just feel like I can’t do it much longer.  I know anxiety and fear are not good reasons to want her out now and honestly I get that my reasons are purely selfish, but it they are my true feelings and I don’t really want to apologize for that.

I have a hard time justifying posting my fears because I don’t want to come off as a whiner.  And I don’t really feel like I am whining.  I know being a parent is going to be incredibly hard but I welcome that challenge at this point.  I want to hold her and snuggle her and see what she looks like.  I am inherently an impatient person, this is something I fully recognize.  But I truly had no idea how hard the last few weeks would be.  Pity party for one!!!

How far along? 37 weeks 3 days
Total weight gain: 43 lbs.  I’m not sure if I will gain any weight next week because I am so over eating in general.  Between the heartburn and acid reflux, eating has lost its appeal.
Maternity clothes? As I said before, I am down to bare bones for clothing.  I still have two dresses that fit and two pairs of leggings, plus one pair of jeans.  My hips keep getting wider so even the jeans look pretty bad now.  PJ pants are my best friend.  If only I could wear them to work….
Stretch marks? Thighs, calves, butt.  My stomach seems to be staying stretch mark free.  Crossing my fingers.
Best moment this week:  Reaching “full term”.  That is such a huge milestone and I am really glad to have made it this far.
Food cravings: I’ve been eating frozen fruit a lot lately.  I like the coldness of it, and I like that it is so refreshing.  Plus I feel less disgusting about eating fruit in large quantities than sweets.  I’m also really digging waffles.  Plain though.  Just frozen waffles with nothing on them.  M and I estimated this weekend that I have probably consumed somewhere around 70 gallons of milk during this pregnancy.  This works out to about 1.75 gallons of milk each week.  The average American drinks somewhere around 20 gallons of milk every year.  Go me.
Anything making you queasy or sick:  I am mostly just having a hard time with eating any moderate quantity of anything right now.  My stomach is so squished that I feel sick even if I only eat a little.  It is also making it really hard for me to get my liquids in.  I just don’t feel thirsty at all and when I do, I can only get down a few ounces before I feel crappy.
Have you started to show yet? God yes.  My bump is ridiculous.  And lopsided because she generally hangs out in the same position every day.
Gender:  GIRL!
Labor Signs: Contractions every day, but not productive.  I am also getting a lot of pressure in my lady parts.  This is making my bladder constantly feel full, which is not ideal.  The really weird part is that when I do pee, barely anything comes out.  So unsatisfying!
Symptoms:  Swollen everything still, although I took the last few days pretty easy, so my feet are less swollen than they have been in a week or so.  My boobs are leaking again, and my nose is done for.  I have pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I will not be able to breathe out of my nose for the next few weeks.
Belly Button in or out? It is still flat with a little protruding nub on top.  My piercing holes look very strange and stretched out now.
Wedding rings on or off?  Off completely.  I’ll be really glad to have them back on.
Happy or Moody most of the time:  With the exception of my pity party, I am relatively happy.  Definitely excited.  But also a little moody.  I’m just ready for the end to be here.
Looking forward to:  Another appointment on Monday.  I like being able to see a doctor or midwife consistently.  It helps with my fears.  I am also looking forward to being checked again.  I am really hoping that I have made some progress.  Even better would be to go into labor this weekend and not have to go in on Monday at all!

34 Weeks

The weather this week has completely wreaked havoc on my schedule and on this town.  I live in a relatively small town, and we rarely get weather like this.  It does snow every year, but the amount is usually minimal and is gone by a day or two afterwards.  But we ended up with 8-9 inches of snow, followed by seriously low temperatures for a week.  This resulted in nearly every street being covered by a few inches of ice and snow on top of the ice.  I was told not to drive by my doctors (apparently an accident at the juncture in pregnancy is a direct ticket to L&d) so I have been having to get rides from people and basically be carted around to various places.  My parents saved us over the weekend by bringing some groceries to our house because they have a truck with 4-wheel drive and chains and M and I have cars that are clearly not built for driving in the elements.  I am very lucky to have so many people around me that were willing to be my saviors…

The weather also meant that I missed a couple of appointments so this afternoon I have two lined up and one next week.  The hospital is actually located on the top of a pretty steel hill, so it would have been nearly impossible to reach it this week with all the ice.  I told M that if I were to go into labor, he would have to call a two truck or an ambulance to haul me to the top of that hill.

How far along? 34 weeks 5 days
Total weight gain: 36 lbs.  Ugh.  I still have a ways to go, but my weight gain has seemed to slow down a little….
Maternity clothes? Only maternity.  I can’t fit in anything else.
Stretch marks? Thighs, lower legs, butt.  Its a mess below my waist.
Best moment this week:  Hearing Arlie’s heartbeat again.  And purchasing our final items we still needed for her.  I love making lists and then checking things off of them.
Miss Anything? Sleeping is pretty much the hardest thing I do now.  And my body just plain hurts.  I’m not used to not being able to move.
Movement: Arlie moves quite a bit for three or four days and then takes a day or day and a half off.  I wish she would just move all the time, but I know she needs time to sleep and time to grow.  I can’t wait for her to be here!
Food cravings: I’ve not really been craving anything lately.  Mostly I am just too tired and my stomach is too squished for me to eat too much.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Still chicken.
Have you started to show yet? Yes!
Gender:  GIRL!!
Labor Signs: Braxton hicks are happening more often.  She is also putting a lot of pressure on my pelvic area.  Its rather uncomfortable.
Symptoms: Swollen hands and feet.  Stuffy nose/ bloody nose.
Belly Button in or out? Completely flat now.  And stretched like crazy.  IT actually looks kind of bruised.
Wedding rings on or off?  Sadly, completely off now.  My fingers are so swollen.  Its kind of gross.
Happy or Moody most of the time:  Pretty happy.  I love this time of year and I am happy that I will get to see all of my family in a week, including one of my sisters that I haven’t seen since April.  I am also getting super excite to have some time off and take a mini break before Arlie gets here.  I am so exhausted and I need a break.
Looking forward to: Seeing my family.  I’m also kind of weird and I am super excited for my next appointment.  Its kind of going to suck a little because I have to do the strep B test, which I am not looking forward to, BUT I also am going to be checked at this appointment, which is super exciting.  I really want to know if I am dilating at all.  I have this very strange feeling that Arlie will be here early (I actually have a specific day and time, but I’ll keep that to myself for now…) and I am excited to see if I am going to be right.

Holidays

Here we are finally in December, which is so exciting because I am a bit of a Christmas freak.  For me it’s not really about the gifts and money and all that jazz, but way more about the spirit and the atmosphere and the decorating.  And the cookies!  My family has had a tradition since before I was born to make a series of cookies that are passed down from generation to generation.  I am Swiss/German on my dad’s side and most of the traditions that we follow now are from that side of the family. To be honest, I’m not even sure if my mom’s family really had any traditions.  Anywho, Christmas for me is about making my house cozy and festive and doing a hell of a lot of baking.  Because this year I may go into labor at any time, I am trying to get as much of the baking done now as I can.  I’m also making a bunch of freezer meals for me and M for now and after Arlie is born.  I am kind of scared to have the responsibility of cooking after she is born, at least for the first few weeks, so freezer meals that M can throw into the oven seemed like the best plan.  So far my list looks like this:

Quiche (3)
Pizza Casserole (2)
Bread Pudding (2)
Stuffed Manicotti with sauce (2)
Mexican Lasagna (2)
Eggs Benedict Casserole (2)
Cheeseburger soup (2)
Mashed Potatoes/ Mashed Sweet Potatoes (2)
Cream cheese cookies
Bourbon Balls
Matrimonial Bars
Bratzellis
Graham Cracker Dream Bars

The quantities are all estimates at this point.  Last night my intention was to make 4 quiches, but I ended up with 5.  Which is actually a good thing because I didn’t have to make any extra food for myself or M for the next two days.  I feel like nesting has totally kicked in because I have an overwhelming desire to get everything taken care of and ready to go, even though we are a little ways out.

We go to the specialist on Thursday morning.  I am both excited and so nervous.  Even though Arlie has been doing fine and all of the other ultrasounds showed that she is growing on track, I am still very nervous that we will go there on Thursday and get bad news.  I don’t have any reason to actually think that, but the possibility alone is enough to throw me off a bit.  I’m not scared at all about possibly having to deliver early or have a c-section, but I am scared of finding out that something else is wrong or that they missed something on a previous ultrasound.  I have to believe that everything is ok and hopefully it will be.  I also have a semi hilarious list of questions I want to ask the doctor (mostly about procedural things) and I made M promise to ask the really embarrassing ones.  At the last appointment, I was kind of overwhelmed at everything, so this will be a good opportunity for me to ask all my weird questions.  We are also going to pre-register and take a quick tour of this hospital as well if there is any indication that we would have to deliver there.  The best case scenario is that the doctor tells us that everything is good and that we should be prepared to deliver at our normal hospital.  I am also bringing a bag for us, just in case.  I figure if I don’t take a bag, we will have to stay there for some reason and if I over prepare and take a bag, we will be sent back home to wait to deliver.

Gah, a lot pours out if I let it…  Looking forward to Thursday and getting the answers we’ve been waiting for. 🙂

32 Weeks

I decided to do my post a little earlier this week than I normally do because of the holiday and the shower and everything else.  I figured I would take some time on Saturday evening to do another post about the shower too.  This week is going pretty well.  On Monday I had a routine appointment where the nurse practitioner told me (after a rather awkward external examination of my pelvis) that Arlie is definitely head down and ready to go.  It was actually kind of a funny moment because up until that point it was all casual and fine and then when she saw how low Arlie is, she started asking me all kinds of questions about how prepared I was.  I guess I satisfied her questioning because she seemed to ease up a bit after that.  I feel like I may be having Arlie early even if we don’t have a scheduled c-section.  She seems almost ready to be out of there and I would love to have her here.  I just need her to stay in there for a few more weeks. 5 would be nice.  Perhaps someone can pass her that memo….

We also met with the maternity care specialist at the hospital yesterday.  That was the highlight of all my appointments so far.  This lady was awesome and funny and had SO much information.  It was nice to have someone who actually seemed on top of her shit for once.  She helped us create a birth plan which was really nice because I have been struggling with that.  We also signed all the releases for Arlie, got her birth certificate applications, got a run-down of visiting hours, chose out support team (just M and my best friend K) and went over pretty much everything else.  We also got pre-registered, which was scary and so exciting.  Basically shit got real this week and we only have a few weeks to get everything done.  The good news is that her room is completely done (with the exception of washing the cloth diapers and any new clothes we get this weekend), the bags are packed, carseat will be installed by the weekend and house is almost in order.  Now we play the waiting game.  I hope we don’t have to wait too long.

How far along? 32 weeks 2 days
Total weight gain: 31 lbs.  No one seems concerned about it, except for me.  Plus, all my vitals are better than they were before I was pregnant, so I guess it’s no big deal.  I am dangerously close to 200 lbs now and that is terrifying.
Maternity clothes? All the time.  My favorite maternity jeans are starting to get a little uncomfortable.  I live in pj pants and athletic shorts at home.  I have also started breaking my own personal rule of wearing sweats or pj pants in public.  The shame!
Stretch marks? Still none on the stomach, but plenty on my thighs, butt and lower legs.
Best moment this week: Finding out Arlie is head down and getting ready to come out.  And setting up the birth plan and all that jazz.  It’s real now.  No going back.
Miss Anything? Sleep.  I would give anything for one good night of sleep.
Movement: She has been moving a lot more, which is so reassuring.  I feel her a lot in the evenings and in the early morning.  I love feeling her move.  I also love when she shoves a foot or her butt out of the top of the bump.
Food cravings: Last night I had my first legitimate craving.  I actually make M go to the store to get me the crunchiest potato chips he could find.  And they were delicious.
Anything making you queasy or sick: I hate chicken so much.
Have you started to show yet? Yes, it is even bigger than last week.
Gender:  Baby GIRL!
Labor Signs: Having a few Braxton Hicks.  They aren’t hurting at all so thats good at least.
Symptoms:  Stupid stuffy nose.  I am so tired of this.  And now I am experiencing swollen feet and hands.  And no sleep at all.
Belly Button in or out? Almost completely flat.  I’m not sure if the last little bit is going to pop out or not.
Wedding rings on or off?  On but soooo tight.  It leaves a mark when I wear it.
Happy or Moody most of the time:  Fairly happy.  The relief of not working in a job I hate is so nice.  Plus I am just so excited for the next few weeks!
Looking forward to: Thanksgiving tomorrow, seeing my sister and my nephew tomorrow, my shower on Saturday and then the appointment with the specialist next week.  We are moving forward so fast  now!  So much to look forward to!

24 Weeks

Again, I am shocked that I’m already this far along.  Sometimes when I think about what is to come, I get a little panicky.  But it also blows my mind when I think back to earlier in the pregnancy and how long ago that seems like.  A friend pointed out to me today that if miss Arlie comes early as the doctors are expecting now, I only have about 90 days left.  I gotta get a move on with her room and getting our house in order!

It is my absolute favorite time of year.  I love pretty much everything about the fall.  The smell and the colors and the cool air.  My older dog goes crazy for the cold air.  Last year, the fall was rough.  We went through so much and it is scary to roll into this time of year again with those awful memories lingering around.  I try to ignore them as best as possible, but they are there and I truly can’t completely ignore them.  But for me, this pregnancy and Arlie being so real now has helped heal some of the wounds from last year.  Every time she moves and wiggles around in there, I can smile and be happy about the future, rather than dwelling on the past.  Arlie makes fall amazing again and I love her for that.

How far along? 24 weeks 4 days
Total weight gain: I have no idea.  Probably somewhere between 12-14 pounds.
Maternity clothes? Yes.  I wish I had more to choose from now.
Stretch marks? All over my thighs.  And two on one of my lower legs.  None anywhere else.
Sleep: Awful.  I fall asleep just fine, but I wake up at 3 am every night.  And I’m up for at least an hour.  I just want to sleep through the night!
Best moment this week: We got so many things in the mail this week.  The stroller/car seat combo and a ton of clothes from people.  I love getting home and seeing the packages on my porch.  M and I put together the stroller when it arrived and it was another “holy crap this is real” moments.
Miss Anything? Sleeping.  And I kind of miss coffee.  I love a nice hot drink in the fall and hot chocolate doesn’t quite do it.
Movement: She is a mover!  I hate the days when she is a little quieter because it is so reassuring to feel her moving around.  She hangs out quite low most of the time, and her kicks and punches are usually about two inches below my belly button.
Food cravings: Meat and cheese.  And heath bars.  And vegetables.  Lovin’ vegetables right now.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Water.  Not much else.  I am still avoiding chicken, but I’ll eat it if it comes to me cooked and I don’t have to see or smell the raw product.
Have you started to show yet? Yes.  There was an explosion of growth this week.
Gender: GIRL!
Symptoms: Stuffy nose.  I’m getting linea nigra slowly, which is pretty weird.  And leaky boobs.  Fun!
Belly Button in or out? It is still in.  My thoughts before that it will eventually pop out are no longer as certain.  I think I may end up with a very shallow, but still an innie.  Who knows!
Wedding rings on or off? On, but snugger than usual.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Moody.  I’m happy about Arlie and with most things, but man I get annoyed easily.  I sincerely consider telling most people to bugger off, but I still have some small portion of my internal censor intact.
Looking forward to: Growth ultrasound on Monday!  Can’t wait to see our girl again!

21 Weeks

I’m writing this relatively early in the morning because I can’t sleep.  Again.  Partly because I am so uncomfortable, partly because I have an enormous event tomorrow and I’m stressing about it, and partly because all I can do is think about Arlie.  This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life.  My brain refuses to shut down completely, so I am now exhausted and this event tomorrow is going to require a lot of my energy and time.  If I were totally honest with everyone around me, I would explain to them how incredibly mentally done I am and how I don’t think I can make it through the next two days, but I can’t ever let people see that.  In fact, most people around me right now have no idea what is going on or how stressed I have been.

If you’ve been reading, Arlie has a weird cord issue (two actually) and we are now going to have to be monitored closely until she gets here.  My overall feeling is hopeful and even a little confident, thanks to the amazing doctor we have now.  I am very lucky to have access to someone like him and hopefully this will be my last of the super debbie downer posts.  Hopefully.

How far along? 21 weeks 4 days
Total weight gain: Right around 10 pounds.  I lost a pound this week, I am sure it was due to stress.
Maternity clothes? Yes please!
Stretch marks? On my thighs and a couple very small ones on the sides of my stomach.
Sleep: Terrible.  Extenuating circumstances, plus being uncomfortable equals very little sleep.
Best moment this week: Finding out that Arlie is going to be ok.
Miss Anything? Not being stressed out or worried.  And good deep sleep.
Movement: Arlie is a very active little one.  She moves a lot and seems to enjoy flipping around and kicking me quite hard.  Every kick or swish or punch is a perfect reminder of her being in there and being ok.
Food cravings: Cereal.  I know I probably shouldn’t be eating it, but it is so delicious.
Anything making you queasy or sick: I hate chicken so much.  It is so disgusting.  And french fries.  They used to be one of my favorite things in the world, but I can’t stand them anymore.
Have you started to show yet? I can see the bump growing higher, which is kind of fun.  Plus I am finally starting to fill out maternity shirts and my regular shirts are starting to be very short in the front.  I love the bump!
Gender: GIRL!
Symptoms: I am still dealing with some queasiness and  a stuffy nose.  My newest symptom and the weirdest so far:  My boobs are leaking.  It is so strange and it caught me off guard.  I am now stuffing my bra with pads.  Kind of bordering on the line between gross and awesome.
Belly Button in or out? Still in…  I can see it shifting.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Combo.  It has been a week of ups and downs.  I am definitely happy right now, but earlier this week too many tears were shed.
Looking forward to: December.  Or just Sunday, when I can finally take a rest and relax a little.

18 Weeks

Ugh, this week has been dragging on like crazy.  I am so ready for it to be next week so I can spend all of my time being excited about FRIDAY and our anatomy scan.  I seriously can’t wait and I am one of the most impatient people on the planet, so this has been excruciating.  I have been trying to distract myself with other things, but I’m just not good at that.

To add to my week seeming to drag on, I managed to get sick this week.  I have been an IBS sufferer for the last 15 years and I was prepared for it to be worse during pregnancy, but up until this point, it hadn’t been terrible.  I was having a relatively easy time with the IBS, only a few flare ups and not much pain associated with them.  However, on Wednesday I started feeling really weird and I knew something was up.  I ended up going home early and that night had one of the worst attacks I have ever experienced.  It was so scary and uncomfortable.  It turns out, I likely got food poisoning and that combined with my IBS was a recipe for disaster.  I spent all of Thursday on the couch trying to drink as much water as possible to combat the dehydration.  I feel ok today, but man, that sucked big time.  The other crappy part now is that I was planning on going to a wedding tomorrow, but I just don’t think I can make it now.  I’m too tired to drive two hours both ways and to be social for that long.  A weekend on the couch sounds awesome to me though, so it’s not all bad.

How far along? 18 weeks 4 days
Total weight gain: I believe between last week and my illness this week, I am down 3 pounds.
Maternity clothes? Heck yes.  I am really only comfortable in my maternity jeans or athletic shorts and my bump is starting to make my normal clothes look pretty stretched out.
Stretch marks? Gah!!  Yes.  Only a few on my actual stomach, but SO many on my upper thighs.  I was definitely not expecting this, and it is very unpleasant.
Sleep: Some nights good, some nights not so good.  I find myself sleeping on my back a lot which I know is probably not the best move.  I am relatively comfortable still on my sides, but I just prefer my back.  It might be time for a pillow.
Best moment this week: I felt the baby kick and have been every day since.  I have a strangely long torso so I can feel exactly where the baby is laying most of the time and M could kind of feel some of the kicks this week.  It is the best thing in the world to get the reassurance from the little bubs.
Miss Anything? Right now I miss eating food of any kind.  Food in general is making me sick, so I would love to have a break from that.
Movement: Yes!!  Real kicks this week.
Food cravings: Despite my stomach issues, I am still craving ice cream and sweets.  This is really the first time during this pregnancy that I have really been wanting sweets.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Everything.  Water.  All things that have a strong smell.
Have you started to show yet? Yes definitely.
Gender: I’ve thought the whole time so far that this is a boy.  Now that we are only a week away, I am losing my confidence.  We will see.
Symptoms: Headaches, nosebleeds, nausea.
Belly Button in or out? Getting shallower by the day.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty happy despite feeling like crap.
Looking forward to: Finding out the gender and seeing our little bubs again.  The last time we saw him/her, it was at 9.5 weeks and it honestly just looked like a blob on the screen.  I’m excited to see recognizable body parts.  I’m so excited!

 

13 Weeks

Yesterday we had our “12” week appointment.  I was expecting another ultrasound, but it turned out to be just the doppler, which was fine with me.  If I had wanted an ultrasound, I would have had to specifically ask for the NT scan (which I thought I had early on, but apparently not).  The midwife we met with yesterday was one we had previously had an appointment with and I was a bit hesitant because I didn’t get the greatest vibe from her the last time.  But she was really great yesterday and I’m glad that we had that appointment with her or I probably would have avoided her for the rest of the pregnancy.

She talked to us about the next few weeks and what to expect and went over my blood work.  Everything was normal, but my glucose levels were slightly higher than expected so she has me on a low carb and high protein diet.  I’m kind of at a loss as to what I should be eating, but I’ll figure it out.  Once she was done going over my blood work, she got out the doppler and we got to her the little bubs again.  S/he didn’t like the noise and kept moving away from the sound, which made me smile.  I already love this little one so much and I am so excited go forward.  The midwife said I can expect to feel movement in the next couple of months so that my new thing to look forward to.  We also scheduled our 20 week anatomy scan.  Very excited for that.

How far along? 13 weeks 2 days
Total weight gain: 5 lbs.  Still pretty proud of myself.  The midwife seemed to be pleased as well, so that’s always reassuring.
Maternity clothes? I just got a HUGE bag of maternity clothes from my sister this morning.  I am super excited to have new stuff to wear as I have been living in dresses and athletic shorts.
Stretch marks? None yet.
Sleep: Not so good.  I’m exhausted when I lay down at night but I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep  Plus I am so stinking hot all the time.
Best moment this week: Hearing the heartbeat again and having the little bubs move away from the doppler.  It just made him/her seem so real.
Miss Anything? Bread and Cereal.  And beer and margaritas.  We used to hit happy hour quite a bit during the summers, but thats not as fun anymore . 🙂
Movement: Not yet, but I am so excited to have it happen.
Food cravings: I could literally eat beef all day.  I want steak all the time and I day dream about ground beef and hamburgers.  I also am in love with cheese.  Pretty much any kind that is allowed.  And spinach!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Chicken.  And water is still a bit of an enemy.  I force myself to drink water, but it just isn’t what I really want.
Have you started to show yet? Yep, I have a cute little bump and I can see my uterus creeping up my lower abdomen.  Its crazy.
Gender: Still thinking boy…. I have to remind myself to type her/him or he/she instead of just typing him.
Labor Signs: None thank goodness….  I’m seriously considering removing this until I get to about 35 weeks.
Symptoms: I have more energy this week and I don’t feel so sluggish.  I have been having more round ligament pain and if I sneeze or move too quickly, I pay for it.  I also still have the weird pain in my back, but its definitely better than it has been.
Belly Button in or out? Still in, but it is changing.  I am a super nerd and I am so excited to be able to thoroughly clean my belly button as it has always been a battle for me.
Wedding rings on or off? On
Happy or Moody most of the time: I’d say happy.  I’m more excited now.  I wish I could fast forward but also have it go at the normal pace.
Looking forward to: The next appointment in a month and the anatomy scan at the end of August.  I think movement and the anatomy scan will make it seem so much more real.

Until next time…

It’s Back

I think I’ll do my 12 week post tomorrow, or later today, but for now I want to talk a little bit about my day yesterday.  I am a member of a pregnancy loss and infant loss support group.  I have benefited greatly from this group in many ways and I am forever grateful for finding a group that I could be totally honest and raw with.  I’ve spent hours with ladies that supported me and told me their stories and it felt right.  Last night we had a meeting and something has changed for me.  In no way am I saying that the members of the group had anything to do with my change, but rather, I have changed and I no longer feel as comfortable.  I love these ladies and I respect their grief and their path, but my path is going in a seriously different direction right now and I feel uncomfortable participating in a group where so much of the conversation in around infant death.  I am 12 weeks 2 days pregnant and I just plain can not handle the talk about stillbirths, infant death and pregnancy loss.  I thought I would appreciate the atmosphere and I would be able to release some of my fear to the group and have them respond to me in a way that was helpful.  What actually occurred was an overwhelming feeling that I was no loner a fit with this group.  I am trying to stay positive with this pregnancy, as much as possible behind the fear.  I know what can happen and in fact, I am hyper aware of the reality of the preciousness of pregnancy.  But I think putting myself in a situation where people are talking so much about death is not really what I need to hear right now.

Beyond the death talk, I also feel a little left out or like my feeling are less valid because I suffered an early loss rather than an infant loss or stillbirth.  And that is a hard feeling to deal with.  I cried on my drive home because I hadn’t let myself consider the possibility that despite me making it to the 12 week mark and my risk dropping significantly, there is still the possibility of something happening to this baby.  I also honestly hadn’t thought as much about the loss recently as my focus has primarily been on the health and well being of this baby.  As it should be.  I sometimes tell myself, you’ve suffered and that was your hardship, but it won’t happen again.  I know that this is not the truth and something could happen again, but I think it is better for me to stay in my bubble of more positive thinking instead of willingly immersing myself in talk that ultimately makes me panic.  I want to look forward now.  I want to buy things for this baby and let myself dream about what our life is going to be like when he/she gets here.  The last thing I want right now is to worry incessantly about what can happen now.  For one, I want to enjoy as much of this pregnancy as I can.  I want to have the experience that will never forget and look back on and be happy with.  And for two, I don’t want to put that kind of mojo on this baby.  I don’t want him or her to feel any negativity from me anymore.  I want the baby to feel my hope and my excitement and most of all, I want this baby to feel like I know I will meet him or her in January.

My life has changed immensely in the last year.  I can no longer pretend that I haven’t met death.  I can no longer pretend that pregnancy is a blissful experience with no problems.  Fear is a constant enemy of mine.  And no matter how much I want something and how much I hope and dream for it, it can only happen in the time it was meant to happen.  I feel so strongly that this baby is meant to be the one I get to meet and watch them grow up.  I know how I felt about the loss and how I feel about it now.  I know that I will feel grief for the rest of my life.  But at some point, I’ve let hope and happiness take a step around that grief and I feel better for it.