Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Milica's Birth Story

As many of you know when I carry babies the pregnancies have been nothing if not complicated. Although I was prepared for another high-risk pregnancy I was hoping for the best. I'm happy to say that Milica was able to grow for nearly two weeks longer than her brother in my womb, we surpassed full-term, and we were able to room-in with her and take her home when I was discharged. This will be her birth story as best as I can remember. It's amazing because she's only 11 days old and some of the minute details have already escaped my sleep-deprived brain.


During our vacation at the end of July I began noticing signs of pre-eclampsia. My swelling was getting a little bit worse and I began having a pretty constant, nagging headache that was not eased by tylenol. I had experienced these both with Joseph and knew that if pre-e wasn't already overtaking my body it would probably be just around the corner.

With this in mind, I knew an induction would not be far off. It's extremely dangerous to keep a baby in the womb once pre-e sets in. So, my goal as soon as we returned from vacation was to begin the eviction process. I wanted to be able to go into labor naturally and stave of a bag full of pitocin. I did my best. I tried just about every myth out there for natural induction of labor, but unfortunately it just wasn't enough.

During the end of my 36th week the headache got completely out of control and I began having visual disturbances. My blood work still looked okay, but my platelets were beginning to drop which can signal another serious pregnancy situation called HELLP. Based on the symptoms I was having my OB wanted to get a 24 urine collection to compare with the one we did when the PIH began (at around 15 weeks). I turned that big jug 'o' pee in when I was 37w1d. The results showed much more protein in my urine than what had been there previously, but not enough to be termed completely pre-eclamptic yet. My doctor wanted the test repeated to see if it was remaining stable or if there was beginning to be even more protein in my urine. I turned the second big jug 'o' pee in when I was 37w5d. I was able to turn the specimen in that morning and I had an OB appointment that afternoon. Both the OB and my hope were to have the results by that afternoon.

I went in for my OB appointment later that day (remember, I am 37w5d at this point). My BP was high, 150/100. And she had the results from the urine. In a mere 4 days the protein had more than doubled and thrown me into severe pre-eclamptic territory (or at least that's what all the paperwork says). She said she wanted to induce that day, but gave me time to go home and gather my things before returning that night for the induction.

Even though I did experience mild pre-e with Joseph, it was never severe enough for me to have to endure the magnesium drip that I had read could be necessary. In my readings many women had stated magnesium was horrific. Unfortunately, baking my daughter longer than my son came at the cost of having to endure 6 hours of magnesium before induction, all through induction, and then for another 24 hours after the birth. I left the office excited that I would be meeting my daughter, scared about the magnesium, and terrified of another induction.

I called my husband and my sister as I walked my car. It was about 3pm and I had promised to return to the hospital by 7pm. Luckily my husband had taken the day off of work and was at home with Joseph, but my sister was working in Lansing. She made arrangements to leave and started the journey home during rush hour.

When I returned home we prepared Joseph for what was about to happen. We made arrangements for him to stay with my parents and we impatiently waited for Aunt Kimmy to arrive from Lansing. We decided to go out to dinner before passing Joseph off and heading into L&D. All the while I looked at the clock and grew more anxious about the induction.

We actually arrived to the hospital a little later than we had planned. By the time I registered and got up stairs it was a little before 8pm.

The OB resident came in with the ultrasound to be sure that Milica was still head down. She was of course. They checked my and I was 4cm, 60%, -3. I was pretty excited to be at a 4, because when I had been checked a few hours prior at my OB appointment I was only a 3. I was hoping so much that starting induction at a 4 would help things progress faster.

So, we began the process of prepping for magnesium and induction. An IV was started, monitors were attached to my abdomen, BP cuff wrapped way too tightly around my arm and we began the process of waiting. Magnesium would be started at 11pm. For those of you who don't know magnesium is not something you want to have during an ideal labor. Magnesium is given to women to stop contractions especially in pre-term labor. We were about to test my body's ability to cope by throwing chemicals at it to start labor all while plying it with chemicals to stop labor. Pretty counter intuitive if you ask me. But, those are the necessary evils when you're dealing with something as serious and potentially life threatening as pre-e.

Everything I had heard about magnesium prepared me for the worst. Honestly, I was already feeling so yucky; the magnesium didn't impact me too much. It did make me a little worse for the wear, but I expected a lot worse, so when it didn't get too bad I had a sense of relief. Something they fail to mention about the magnesium is that you are no longer allowed out of bed. Any hope of moving around during labor or even getting up to use the bathroom is now completely gone. My labor has once again been hijacked from me. I'm not as devastated about it this time though. I just wanted to get it done and get her out and into my arms. It was right around 11pm that they placed the catheter. It was painful and I needed lidocaine cream applied to my urethra every couple of hours.

At 5am (I am now 37w6d at this point) the OB resident came in to break my water, insert internal monitors for my uterus and for Milica, and the pitocin was started. A lot of pitocin was needed to get contractions going since the magnesium was working hard to stop them. I started having my first truly painful contractions at a little before 9am.

They checked me every so often and every time they did this I had progressed somewhat. If you followed the updates on FB I was moving right along. The only concerning thing was Milica didn't seem to be engaging for whatever reason. She was still pretty high and no where near the birth canal.

Sometime in the late morning or early afternoon I decided I would give the epidural another try. With Joseph I had 3 that didn't work, so I had a 33 hour induction with basically no pain meds. I hadn't wanted the epidural with him and was pressured into it. So, the fact that it didn't work with him didn't bother me at all. I felt since my birth experience was no longer mine, I just needed to get through it as quickly and easily as I could.

For whatever reason when the nurse anesthetist came in I began to a get upset. It was a weird feeling, mainly because I wanted the epidural this time and wasn't been forced into it. I actually sobbed through a lot of it because I was so upset. The nurse anesthetist tried at least 3 different areas to place the epidural. He couldn't get it. He wanted to keep trying. All of a sudden I had this feeling come over me, 'maybe I'm not supposed to have it, maybe there's a reason.' We need to stop trying. I didn't understand at this time why I felt this way, but it would become clear later that night why I did. All I can say is trust your gut.

Since they couldn't get the epidural placed they offered me some IV pain meds. I held off on them for a while and then decided to give them a try. They offered some relief. I felt every contraction but they were less intense. All the while they were still cranking up the pitocin. When they got to 20 on the pitocin machine they had to have a doctor write a new order every time it was increased. They do not normally go above 20. By the time this ordeal was completely over I was getting 30 units of pitocin at a time.

A little before 3pm they checked me again. I was at 8cm, 70 or 80% (my mind gets fuzzy here) and -2 (if I remember correctly). Since I had been progressing fairly consistently I figured I would be done in a couple more hours. It was at about this point that the contractions became completely unbearable. Keep in mind I contracted on pitocin for nearly a day and a half with my son, so for me to feel like things changed to unbearable is a big statement.

It became impossible for me to breathe or use any of my natural labor techniques through the contractions at this point. Each contraction left me literally screaming until it ceased. The pain I felt with each contraction was like a lightening bolt shot straight through me. There was no coping anymore. All I could do between contractions was to beg for help. I needed help.

I begged for more IV pain meds. Unfortunately, being so close to complete and having IV pain meds can be harmful for the baby. So, they wouldn't give them to me. I was in such searing pain they checked me pretty often. And each time they checked me from then on there was no progress. I was an 8, still an 8, I actually began to hate the number 8. If I thought that I could reach my cervix I probably would have tried to reach in and pull that little girl out. I felt lost somewhere between a dream and reality. The pain was unimaginable. I knew that something was not right. I've done this before, what I was feeling was not normal labor pains. They tried getting me into different positions (hands and knees, squatting). I tried bearing down with each contraction, trying everything I could to push her down from inside. Nothing worked. I kept begging for help.

At 6pm they checked me again. I was still the same. Between screaming contractions I asked the resident how long they would let me go without progress before deciding to do a c-section. His reply was 4 hours. I was at 3 hours unchanged already. I begged them to do the section now. He went over the risks, asked me if I was sure. There was no doubt in my mind, something wasn't right, I needed her out now. I agreed and he left to start the process and page my OB.

They turned the pitocin off after the process for the c-section had been started. I still had contractions, but they became more bearable and further apart and I finally felt like I could breathe a little again. We waited. We waited for anesthesiology to be ready, for the OR to be prepped and for my OB to arrive. While we waited they prepped me. They shaved me where the incision would be, they removed the internal monitors, and they put a blue cap on my head and gave my husband scrubs to put on over his clothes.

My doctor finally arrived. She was dressed for surgery. She understood what was happening more than anyone else in that room. She too had developed pre-e and had to have a c-section. She sat on the edge of my bed for 10-15 minutes all the while massaging my back through contractions. My husband and sister had tried to massage me several times but I couldn't handle being touched. I don't know why at this point I could. Maybe it's because my body was so broken and exhausted, but I don't know for sure.

Eventually they got their ducks in a row and wheeled me down. They checked me one more time to be sure I hadn't become "complete" during the wait time. Still, no change.

The anesthesiologist came in. I was nervous about whether or not a spinal would work for me since they weren't able to place an epidural. Much to my relief it worked on the first try. I lost sensation to my feet, my legs, and eventually my abdomen. Before I lost all feeling I was moved onto the operating table. My husband was still not in the OR yet. I began to worry, my BP began to drop and my world sort of spun around. They poked and pinched my belly to be sure I had no feeling. All I could feel was pressure where they tried to rouse sensation. It was a bizarre feeling.

I heard them say, "Mark the time for incision." I knew my belly had been sliced open by this point. I'm not sure exactly when they brought my husband in, but there he was, right by my side. My BP continued to drop, or so I heard them say. I couldn't keep my eyes open and was completely out of it. I eventually began to get sick and started vomiting. I was just ready for this ordeal to be over. My OB and the resident assisting her told me to be prepared for lots of tugging and pressure. I knew we must be getting close to her finally emerging.

And then in an instant, her cry.

Her beautiful, loud, angry cry.

It was a magical thing to hear. Especially since Joseph was in such duress he never belted out his opening song to the world. I was flushed with relief. Then I felt like I was drowning. My BP must've still be terribly low, because I was in and out of it. Jeremiah would ask me if I was okay and I would open my eyes enough to look at him and give him a smile and then I was gone again. He asked me over and over and I did my best to come to each time for him, but I couldn't keep myself there for more than a second or two.

She was born at 8:26pm (5 1/2 hours after I had first been pronounced 8cm). She was 7lbs 13 oz. and 20 inches long. She was born with a full head of hair. And she looked like her Mommy.

The background filled with the noise of her vibrant screams. I heard the pediatrician call out her apgar, 9. Relief again washed over me. Joseph's first apgar was a 2 or 3. Nine was a good number.

I heard the operating doctors say things like, "Okay, we're going to put your uterus back in now, you're going to feel some pressure." and "Okay, we're stapling you closed now." It was surreal. My belly was ripped open and I was being put back together.

The pediatrician said they wanted to take her to the nursery to watch her breathing. She was currently breathing well but the magnesium can make the newborn's breaths shallow and they wanted to be sure she wasn't going to deteriorate. I was lucid enough to tell them no artificial nipples or pacifiers. The pediatrician gave a look of "great, one of THOSE types of Moms" but I didn't care. They may have stripped me of my planned birth experience, but they were NOT stripping me of my nursing experience. Jeremiah went to the nursery with her; I stay to be closed the rest of the way up.

We found out that the reason why she hadn't entered the birth canal. She was so entangled in her cord, there wasn't enough slack for her to tuck her head to her chest (the position needed to enter the canal). Had the epidural worked my body may have eventually forced her in there, probably the wrong way and we wouldn't have known until she was in a possible fatal situation. That's why I must've felt like I shouldn't be getting the epidural. I needed to be aware of my body's signals that something was wrong. Trust your gut.

A little while later I was completely sewn and bandaged up. I was being wheeled to recovery when another nurse appeared next to the bed as I was being rolled down the hall, she asked, "Do, you think you feel up to nursing? She won't stop screaming and they'd like to get her out of there." I had an inner chuckle and all I could think was, 'Good for her. She knows she needs to be with Mommy.' I told the nurse I absolutely felt up to it and I was greeted to her wailing just moments after getting into recovery.

My husband later told me they had tried to feed her with a syringe (which I had told him prior was acceptable) and she was not enjoying it at all. From the moment I got her in my arms and presented my breast she latched on like a champ, and has been doing it ever since.

I am on the mend. Recovering from a c-section is a completely different process than recovering from a vaginal birth. But, things are mending and I'm feeling a little bit better with each day. I'm still sore and tender and I'm sure I will be for a while. But, Milica Elizabeth was and is completely worth it.

Nursing is going well. I'm a little unsure of myself at times and worry whether or not she's getting all she should, but she seems to be thriving and I think we have gotten the hang of it. I look forward to a long, happy nursing relationship with her.

Here she is moments after she was born.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

35w0d & NST/ 36w0d & NST

I totally fell off the blogging band wagon while on vacation. So, this post will be comprised of last week's (35)  growth info, NST info, and pics - in addition this entry will also include this week's (36) pics, NST info, growth info and how I'm feeling.

Week 35

Your baby weighs about 6 lbs (2750g) and measures about 20.7 inches (46cm) in length. Crown to rump measurement is about 13.5 inches (34cm). Your baby now feels lower in your pelvis. Your baby continues to grow, kick, and move about. Your baby's face has filled out and the cheeks now look plump and full. Fat baby cheeks are caused by fat deposits, but also by powerful sucking muscles which your baby has been honing by sucking her thumb. Your baby's skull is firm, but it is not hard as it needs to give a little when it is passing through the birth canal. Your baby's head is probably down by now, but about three percent of babies present in a breech (bottom down) position.

The NST right before I left for vacation went good. My BP was a little up at 133/82, but it wasn't too bad. I had only 2 contractions or so while I was there. Her AFI was 11. She is doing awesome.

The pics were taken at 35w0d.



Week 36

Milica's growth info for this week:

She weighs approximately 6.5 lbs (2950g) and her total length is about 21 inches (47cm). Your baby's crown to rump measurement is about 14 inches (35cm). By now, your baby's head may have engaged into your pelvis. You may feel that your baby occasionally has hiccups from her "practice breathing". Though your baby is nearly considered full term, she is still growing and developing both her body and her brain. She is still laying down fat at a rate of more than half an ounce every day.

I am feeling worn out, stretched and sore. No doubt that the vacation has helped create a lot of the worn out feelings. It's getting extremely uncomfortable to walk. Sometimes it's painful to walk. I think this might signal Milica beginning to "engage" in my pelvis.

I'm having contractions every day, but nothing consistent or timeable.

My swelling is beginning to get a little worse. I'm definitely not as swollen as I was with Joseph, but I'm on my way. Speaking of Joseph, I was induced with him at 36w0d which is how far along I am today. That means that come tomorrow I will officially be in uncharted pregnancy territory.

I'm moody to say the least. I know my boys like this part of me least of all right now.

My NST went well today. Milica's AFI was 14. That's the highest one we've had so far. She is doing wonderful.

My BP was up a little more than last time 130/88. If that bottom number keeps creeping up we may not be able to go to the EDD. I'm hoping that after I rest some from our trip things will go back down into the normal range.

Since I was there in triage I mentioned to the nurse I'd been having some discharge and feared I may have developed another infection. So, the OB resident decided to do an exam. She did my GBS test since she was going to be swapping anyways (I should know the results at my next OB appt.) and then checked for an infection. I'm relieved to say that I do not have another infection. She believes that what I'm seeing as far as discharge is the loss of my mucus plug. I had wondered if that was the case, but since I didn't see first hand the loss of my plug with Joseph I wasn't truly sure what to look for. She also checked my cervix. My cervix is lower than at my last exam and I am dilated 1-2. I am still completely thick though (so 0% effacement). She did not tell me how engaged Milica was and I forgot to ask.

My next OB appt. is on Thursday and my next NST is on Friday. So, I will update on Friday with the info from both appointments.

Here are the pics for this week. They were taken today at 36w0d. Maybe I'm imagining it, but I think she looks lower.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

NST (34w2d) and OB Appt. (34w5d)

NST:

The NST went well. Milica is looking great on the monitoring. Her heart is doing everything it should be doing. She is looking perfect.

My BP was 115/72, which is fabulous!

My fluid was a 10.7. Remember, anything over a 5 is considered good. It is a little lower than last week but the OB attending said that could be from how she is positioned. Depending on how she positions herself the fluid gets dispersed a little differently each time.

I was having several contractions on the monitor. Over the course of about 2 hours I had about 8-10 contractions. Most of them were completely painless. I could feel my belly hardening and uterus tightening but other than very mild discomfort they were nothing. It's normal at this stage in the game for my body to be "practicing" and preparing itself for labor and delivery. So, the contractions are really nothing to be concerned about. In fact they make me excited. Hopefully my body will begin labor before an induction would be necessary. I would just like to get her to full-term so we don't have to do the NICU thing again and so she can come home with me. I also think Joseph's time in the NICU impeded our nursing relationship and I'm hoping she is prepared for the outside world when she's born so that we can establish a strong nursing relationship immediately after her birth.

I will have a NST before leaving for our vacation on Saturday. I will include that NST update in with my 35 week post.

OB Appt.:

The OB appt. went well.

My BP was 124/80. I am measuring at 35 weeks.

Milica is doing great. Her heart-rate was in the 150's.

I asked the OB about the excessive hiccups she's been having (sometime she gets them 8-10 times a day). She said it was nothing to worry about. I figured it probably wasn't, but I wanted to make sure.

I lost a pound since my last OB appt.

I do not have to see the OB again for two weeks. I will be further along gestationally than I ever got in my pregnancy with Joseph. That is very exciting for me. I've wanted so much to get her closer to full-term than I was with Joseph. After that next appt. we will start going to weekly visits.

Something showed up in the urine and I might have another UTI. They're sending it out for cultures. I sure hope that I don't have another infection.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

34w0d

Milica's growth info for this week:

Your baby now measures about 20.25 inches (45cm) in total length and weighs around 5.5 lbs (2550g). Crown to rump measurement is about 13.2 inches (33cm). She continues to grow and fatten up, especially in the shoulder area, and kicks regularly. The fine lanugo hair that covered your baby is shedding, though some may still be present when your baby is born. Your baby's eyes are blue, though this may change soon after birth or much later after birth. Your baby's fingernails are growing. They already reach the tips of her fingers and they may even look quite long and pointy by the time she is born. Your baby may even have some scratch marks from scratching her face with her fingernails. Your baby is probably feeling quite cramped right now and her movements are restricted by her growing size.

Here we are. More than 1/2 through the last trimester. If I deliver Milica at the same gestational age I delivered her brother she could be here in 14 days!! We are 20 days away from full-term and 41 days away from her EDD.

I'm still experiencing a lot of preggo insomnia. Most nights it hits pretty hard and I'm lucky to get a few hours of broken rest. Every once in a while (like last night) I sleep like a rock and wake up in the exact position I fell asleep in. I prefer those nights over the insomniac ones.

Today I also woke up with a lot of congestion and sinus discomfort. I remember something similar to this in the first trimester when my body was making excess amounts of mucous. I'm hoping it's something like that or maybe just allergies. I hope I'm not coming down with a cold. I'm going to try and take it easy today and maybe tomorrow and make sure this isn't developing into a cold. I really don't want to have to deal with a summer cold at this stage of the game.

Milica must be getting pretty heavy because I'm noticing a lot more pressure in my hips and low back. It's difficult to walk at times depending how she's settled in if I've been laying down or sitting for a while. I'm noticing a return of heartburn as well.

The hormones must be increasing again because my acne has gotten pretty bad. I've also noticed my BBs are extremely puffy and tender.

I feel okay other than feeling big and worn out. I'm trying my best to not exert myself physically and take it as easy as being home alone with a nearly 4 year old will allow.

I have an NST on Monday and then an OB appt. on Thursday. Unless something is significantly wrong at the NST I probably will just wait until after the OB appt. to do a blog update. Unless the doctor feels things are taking a turn we should be leaving for vacation soon. A vacation that I plan on doing nothing but laying by the pool, on the beach, or napping. I think it will be perfect relaxation before Milica's debut.

And speaking about her debut. I'm getting a little more nervous as the big D day approaches. As many of you know, I had a 33 hour induction with Joseph because of the PIH and pre-e. I really hope this labor goes smoother for both her and I. It would be nice to not need an induction. So far my body seems to be handling the PIH like a champ, so I'm hoping we can shoot for labor beginning naturally. But, I will of course do whatever is best for my little girl. I'm nervous about her size too. She's been pretty big on the growth side of things for the ultrasound. Joseph was only 6lb. 1oz. I think his sister will far surpass that. But regardless of how long or hard labor will be, I can't wait to meet this little girl, have her Daddy meet her, and introduce her to her big brother.

The pictures were taken today at 34w0d.



Monday, July 16, 2012

Doctor's Appt. (33w2d)

Today was my 33 week check up.

My BP was a little elevated. I had it taken on 3 different occasions and all 3 times it was a little high. The average was about 130/90. This could just be an off day for me or it could signal a worsening of the PIH or the beginning of pre-e.

I am measuring a little ahead at 34 weeks. Milica's heart-rate was in the 140's and she is still in the head down position.

I started weekly NSTs and AFIs today. So, although I do not need to see the OB again until nearly 35 weeks, I will be at L&D once a week having Milica's progress monitored. The NST went well and Milica showed great variability. The OB resident said she was a very cooperative baby and showed them everything they like to see during the monitoring. The fluid level was a 12. According to the resident they are pleased with anything over a 5.

The OB is a little nervous about me traveling so late in my pregnancy. I've had a lot of complications thus far and she's worried about something happening and not being near home or beinf able to get adequate medical care for myself or Milica. We had planned our family vacation during my 35th week of pregnancy and although I cleared it with the OB months ago, a lot of pregnancy related issues have arisen since then. I did tell her that if during any of the monitoring before I leave if there is an indication that something is going wrong (or worse) or Milica isn't doing well that I would not be traveling. I see the OB two days before we leave. But, now I'm more nervous about traveling than I was before. I don't want to do anything to jeopardize my daughter's well being.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

33w0d

Milica's growth info for this week:

Your baby weighs almost 5 lbs (2250 g) and is 12.8 inches (32cm) from crown to rump and about 19.8 inches (44cm) long. If your baby were born now, she would be considered "pre-term" rather than premature. This distinction is based on fetal maturity, particularly the maturity of the fetal lungs. A pre-term baby, unlike a premature baby, is likely to have well-developed lungs and is less likely to need intensive care. Your baby is surrounded by a red glow when sunlight shines on your belly and may be aware of this as she is able to differentiate between light and dark. Your baby's hair is getting thicker, though it may be a different color when she is older. She is currently shedding her lanugo, the fine downy hair that previously covered her body. More vernix, the waxy coating that protects your baby's skin while submerged in amniotic fluid, is building up. Your baby's adrenal glands are producing more steroid hormone, the androgen-like hormone that indirectly aids your milk production. Your baby is currently producing ten times more of this hormone than a normal adult and the adrenal glands are currently the same size as those of an adolescent. They will shrink after birth. Your baby is laying down bone. To do this, she will draw calcium from you. Your baby has taste buds and it has been suggested that she can taste and develop tastes for flavors found in the amniotic fluid, particularly flavors that you eat on a regular basis.

Here's my alarming numbers for this week. It still astounds me that we are getting so close to meeting our daughter. Firstly, if we were to have Milica at the same gestational age as Joseph, she would be here in 3 weeks! Three weeks?!? We only have approximately 16% left to go. We are 48 days away from the EDD. And we are 27 days away from full-term.

My cramping is feeling much better since starting the antibiotics. I only have a couple days left (thankfully) of them.

I'm noticing a little more swelling in my ankles if I spend too much time in the heat. Other than that the swelling isn't too bad. I keep reminding myself that I went on bedrest with Joseph at 30 weeks. So, the fact that I'm not on bedrest must mean that I'm doing better. With Joseph I was very, very swollen. The swelling this pregnancy seems to come and go and is usually caused from me not drinking enough water, pushing myself too hard, or being in the heat for too long.

I'm tired. But, I'm not sleeping well. Falling asleep is becoming a huge chore. It's gotten so difficult to fall asleep lately that I actually start having some major anxiety before I lay down. I'm exhausted and I just want to sleep, but my body just won't cooperate.

I have to sometimes force myself to eat. I just have no appetite at times. But if I don't eat I start feeling sick and very cranky.

It's been days since I've felt any contractions. Which leads me to believe that I was contracting due to the double infection I had.

Our next OB appt. is on Monday. I should be starting weekly NSTs this week. I'm not looking forward to the extra appointments, but I am looking forward to the extra reassurance that she's still doing well.

The pics were taken today at 33w0d.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

32w4d

Milica's growth info for this week:

Your baby now weighs about 4.4 lbs (2000g) and measures about 12 inches (30cm) from crown to rump and about 19.4 inches (43cm) (I don't completely buy the length stats anymore. Joseph was born at 36 weeks and was only 18.75 inches) in total. Now that your baby is running out of room in your womb, you can probably see your belly moving as your baby kicks. (NOW?!? This has been happening since about 23 or 24 weeks!)Your baby may dream as she sleeps and when awake she may be alert, listening, feeling and even seeing dim shapes. Though your baby is still inside the womb, she is learning all the time as billions of neurons are making connections. Your baby is probably in her birth position by now (Yes, and Milica has been since 19 weeks). Your baby's lungs may be sufficiently developed by now, though if she were born now, she would probably still need an incubator to stay warm.

This is where I give you some numbers that totally astound me. We are 51 days away from Milica's due date. We are 30 days away from full-term. And we are 24 days away from the gestational age that I delivered Joseph. I've felt like this pregnancy has taken forever. But then I see these numbers and I can't believe she will be here within weeks. WEEKS!

Before I get into how I've been feeling I want to take a moment and talk about how lucky, fortunate, and blessed I am. I am so happy that I have a husband that is as excited about welcoming our new child as I am. He loves her so much. I love that he takes the time to talk to her and put his hands on her. I love that he is proud of my growing bump and that he finds it beautiful and special. I know not all women are fortunate to have this, and I am so thankful that I do.

So, a week ago today I went into L&D. My OB was to be out of town and I had been experiencing a lot of cramping and what felt like a possible infection (down there). The L&D resident took some swabs and made some slides and found that I had a yeast infection. They prescribed a cream and sent me on my way. I wasn't getting any relief with the cream though and as of yesterday was still cramping a lot. The cramping was tolerable but I didn't want to take any chances of it signaling cervical changes at only 32 weeks, so I tried to get into the OB's office. Unfortunately, since she had been out of town she was completely booked solid. The nurse talked to her and she requested that I head into L&D just to be checked out and make sure everything was okay.

I was lucky enough to be able to see the same resident at L&D. Thankfully he remembered everything from the week prior. He did some more swabs and made another slide to see if anything had changed or if anything new was growing. He also checked my cervix this time since I'd been cramping for so long. My cervix is still high, thick, and closed. This was a relief for me because I was beginning to get concerned about early dilation with all the cramping. The doctor was able to find a bacterial infection once he checked this new slide. It explained the continuing cramping and discharge I was still experiencing. This is my 4th (if I'm remembering correctly) vaginal infection this pregnancy. It means a round of what I call "Zombie" pills.

So, this week has obviously brought a lot of cramping (but hopefully that will be relieved after a few days of the antibiotics). I'm starting to get my preggo insomnia back. I'm exhausted (but the insomnia and the infection could be contributing to this). I've been experiencing a lot of heartburn the last few days. And I've noticed some swelling and growth in the BB department.
These pictures were taken on 32w1d.

Monday, July 2, 2012

31w2d

Milica's growth info for this week:

Your baby's total length is 18.9 inches (42cm) and she is perfectly formed! She measures about 11.6 inches (29cm) from crown to rump. All she has to do is fill out more. Your baby weighs almost 4 pounds (1800g). If she were to be born now, she would still need to be incubated as she has insufficient fat stores to keep it warm. Your baby can distinguish between light and dark. Your baby can hear the outside world quite well now, and can also hear the sounds of your heartbeat, your digestion and the blood rushing in the umbilical cord. The pitch of women's voices are in the range babies are most able to hear over all the internal background noise. Your baby is already familiar with your voice and will be able to recognize it after birth.

I'm so excited to be in this final leg of the pregnancy journey. It's been a long scary journey and I'm so glad that each day we're inching just a little bit closer to meeting our daughter.

There's been a slight reoccurence of the 1st trimester symptoms. I'm experiencing fatigue, excess EWCM, sore BBs, fatigue (did I mention that?), and mild nausea (luckily it's not as severe as the morning sickness was though).

I'm having trouble sleeping. It's not insomnia this time. I am absolutely tired and ready for sleep but I just can't get in a comfortable position. Last night I was trying to read in bed and it was nearly impossible to find a comfortable reading position that still allowed me to breathe. Breathing is getting harder and harder. I feel short of breath often throughout the day. I know it's from the pressure of my uterus. But it's just one more piece of evidence that I'm carrying different that I did with Joseph, because I never had this problem with him.

The exhaustion is probably the hardest for my boys to understand. I just don't have even a fraction of the energy I once did and I'm always kind of out of it because of the fatigue. I keep reassuring Joseph that he'll have his normal Mommy back in a few more weeks.

I've not had too many cravings throughout this pregnancy. But lately I cannot get enough Burger King Whoppers. In fact, I wish I had one right now!

These pics were taken yesterday at 31w1d.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

OB Appt. (30w5d) and a Mini Pity Party

Today was my 30 week checkup.

Everything seems to be progressing much to the OB's happiness. My BP was 99/74. Milica's heart-rate was in the 140's. I am measuring at 30 weeks.

I've not put on any weight over the last 3 weeks, but the OB did not seem concerned over it. I expected a couple more weeks of gain, but maybe my body has packed on enough. I read that it's common to lose weight towards the end of the 3rd trimester. The only concern I have is that PIH or pre-e can cause IUGR. I hope that isn't why I've not put on weight. But, I'm probably just being a worry wart.

I am doing well enough that I won't be seeing the OB again until mid-July where I will then be 33 weeks. We should be setting up weekly NSTs at that appointment.

Now, a small pity party from the very pregnant, very uncomfortable, Kathryn.

It's been no secret that pregnancy is not easy for my body. My body seems to rebel more and more with each passing day. I mean just look at the bleeding I sustained for weeks, the passing out, or the fact that this pregnancy has enlarged a ventricle in my heart. My body is not happy.

I've done my best to deal, remain as even keeled a pregnant woman can, and just "truck" along. But I must admit, I'm nearing the end of my very frayed rope.

This baby girl is more loved than any baby girl in the world, I can assure you of that. She was more planned for, tried for, hoped for, and wanted than any other pregnancy has ever been (with the exception of Joseph). With that said, I'm exhausted. I mean it. And I mean I'm exhausted by every definition and stretch of the word.

I know I'm reaching a point where most pregnant women are beginning to feel "done" and ready to get the show on the road. I understand. My feelings are compounded by this stupid BP medicine. I keep telling myself that there's only X amount of days until full-term, but then something crossed my mind today. If my BP keeps as stable as it was today the OB might let me get to my EDD before considering inducement. This is something I've hoped for and wished for, but thought would be totally out of the question. Now I feel guilty for wanting her to come sooner (at term) rather than later (at EDD).

The OB has me on an extended release pill for the BP. This means that I can't just cut a pill in half and play around until I find a dosage that works best for me. The dosage seems to come in 30mg increments. The 30mg was not enough for my body. My BP was still through the roof with that nice low dosage. So we doubled it to the next available dosage which is 60mg.

I noticed issues with the double dosage right away. My mood changed in many ways. I experience mood-swings that are not pregnancy related. The mood swings I have would make a lunatic look sane. On top of the mood changes I'm in a drug-induced exhaustion. The medicine is doing its job, lowering my BP. I feel like it's lowering it too much. Today's reading at the OB was 99/74. It's not been uncommon for the last week or so to see numbers on my machine of 90/50, 100/60, etc. My body is having a really difficult time dealing with the forced lowered blood pressure.

But as I'm reassured, it's better to be on the low side than the high side. I know that the really low numbers are what's making me feeling extra crap-tacular. When I start to feel really moody or really terrible I take my BP and it's really low.

I just wish we could find a happy medium. One that would allow my BP to be a little higher and still allow it to be in a safe range for Milica. No matter how much I complain my number one concern is now and will always be her thoughout this pregnancy.

I just feel like having a pity party. I think it's only fair given what's been going on.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

30w1d


Milica's growth info for this week:


Weighing in at three-plus pounds and measuring 18 inches long, your baby is quickly approaching her birth length — though she's got to pack on another three to five pounds before D-day. Also developing at an impressive clip: your baby's brain connections (she's got to make trillions of them!). She's now processing information, tracking light, and perceiving signals from all five senses. She's also putting in longer stretches of sleep, which is why you're probably noticing more defined patterns of wakefulness (and movement) and rest (when she’s pretty still).

First of all, I've passed a milestone. At this point in my pregnancy with Joseph I was already on bedrest. I am so thankful that I'm doing well enough that that is not a necessity. I hope we can keep it that way.

That being said. I'm tired. Absolutely drained and exhausted would be a proper description. I don't know how much is third trimester related, how much is hypertension related, or how much is BP med related. All I know is I have no stamina for anything anymore. Doing something simple like getting dressed or taking a shower zaps any energy I may have.

Eating is also getting to be a little frustrating. My stomach has lost it's capacity due to my expanding uterus and I can't eat as much as I'd like to be eating at meals. This means I'm having to eat much more frequently. I never got this issue with Joseph. I would always read about women talking about how they couldn't fit anything in their belly, but I never experienced it with him.

I'm having Braxton Hicks contractions on a daily basis now. I occasionally have what I would consider a "real" contraction thrown in there too.

We're planning a family vacation to the western part of the state from my 35th to 36th week. I'm a little nervous about how well I'll be feeling. I think I might be spending a lot of time in the hotel room.

I'm so excited to finally be in the 30 week range! According to my pregnancy tracker I am also now in the 8th month of this pregnancy.

Here are the pictures. They were taken today at 30w1d.