36 Weeks!

36 weeks!!!

I am amazed that ten weeks ago I was at the hospital being evaluated for preterm labor. If you had told me I was going to make it at least another ten weeks, I’m not sure I would have believed it. We are sooo thankful. In fact, last week I “graduated” from the preterm labor high risk program! I received my last Progesterone shot in the butt and went happily on my way.

These past few weeks have been anything but uneventful, though. During week 34 I was in and out of triage four times. A few days after I made it to 34 weeks (when Mariah was delivered), I started having crazy contractions. At first, I thought they were just Braxton Hicks, but they quickly grew more intense and frequent.  I was monitored several times and received hormone shots just to make sure our baby’s lungs and brain would be developed enough. At one point I was having contractions every four minutes for several hours and I thought FOR SURE I was going to deliver that day. Nope.

While I didn’t love the idea of going into labor at 34 weeks, it sure sounded better than labor at 26 weeks, so I was doing okay. The real concern came when I received a call from the hospital one night. The doctor called to tell me that they decided to send my urine sample out for a culture and that it came back positive for Group B Strep (GBS). I won’t lie, I had a minor breakdown. All those memories of Mariah in the NICU came flooding back instantaneously.

Group B Strep is actually fairly common. Many women are carriers and don’t even know it. Obviously I am a carrier and my doctors are very aware of that. In fact, I’ve already tested positive once (at 4 months) in this pregnancy and taken antibiotics for it. The reason it scared me so much last week was because of the contractions I was having. It was exactly like what happened with Mariah. Somehow Mariah contracted the bacteria in the womb and I went into preterm labor because my body wanted her out. Soon after being born, she started with the convulsions, 105F fever, organs shutting down, etc.

Obviously, my first concern was that this baby had already contracted the bacteria and my body was going into labor to get him out. I wanted to go in right then and there and have a c-section to get him out. The doctors weren’t so sure though. They said what happened to Mariah was so incredibly rare that the possibility of it happening again was almost impossible. Okay. Deep breaths. Get it together. Reread your own blog about overcoming high-risk pregnancy fears.

After an hour or so (and a good cry), I took it to the Lord and He gave me an overwhelming peace. He is in control and I trust Him- whatever His plan is. For now, I will be on oral antibiotics until I deliver and then I will be placed on IV antibiotics. When he is born, he will be monitored for infection and will receive antibiotics if necessary.

Pregnancy is such a thing for me. Such a test of faith. Such a constant reminder that I am not in control. The fact that I’ve made it past 36 weeks is bringing me some serious joy right now though. The fact that God has it all in His hands brings me even more joy. I’m still having contractions, so we’ll see what happens over the next couple of weeks. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for me and our sweet baby during these crazy times!

 

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Sweaty “Digital” Exams

I’m still pregnant :)!

We’re at 27 weeks and my body is holding tight, praise the Lord! I found out that I had two infections that were causing a lot of the cramping from last week, so clearing those up has helped me feel a lot more comfortable.

The high-risk doctors I see every week are not overly concerned about how I have effaced since for now it seems to have stopped and I’m not dilating. They haven’t put me on bed rest, since apparently that’s not a “thing” anymore. There seems to be a lot of controversy about it, but the specialists I go to say that current research suggests that bed rest doesn’t really help avoid preterm labor. They do want me to take it easy and not lift anything heavy…like Mariah (ha!). I’ve done pretty well with not over-doing it, especially since my mom (and pretty much everyone else in my life) doesn’t agree with “current research” and think it’s common sense to take the pressure off the ol’ girl down south.

I did break the rules once this week when I was home alone with Mariah. We’ve been trying to potty train and she has pooped in the potty several times now (score!). Anyway, I was making lunch and heard her in the bathroom, so I rushed in only to find her with her hands submerged in the toilet bowl. Awesome.  My obvious reaction was to pick her up and carry her to the sink to minimize the amount of toilet water  being dripped everywhere. Mom fail in more ways than one. Ew.

I did better after that, though, because it was nap time and I had to try and figure out a way to get her in her crib without lifting her over. We brought in a step stool and a bar stool, climbed up, and had her put her leg over the side of the crib. Once I had her halfway over, I gave her a little nudge and she kind of flopped into bed. She looked at me kind of surprised and then we both started cracking up laughing lol.

Besides not lifting my tank of a child, I’m receiving Progesterone shots in the butt every week and getting those “digital” cervical exams. Did anyone else think for a second that “digital” meant some sort of machine was involved? Yah, it’s not like that. They’re just using the good old-fashioned digits. In fact, this week’s test was pretty comical. You may already know I’m a pro at failing gynecological appointments– but here is another one for the books. It was unseasonably warm last week, but the hospital didn’t turn down the heat, so by the time the doctor came in the examination room, I was a hot mess. Having already taken off my pants, I had been sitting (and sweating) bare-ace on that thin slip of “hygienic” paper that protects the chair. The little sheet they gave me to cover myself was doing nothing but creating a greenhouse effect over my lower half and I was pouring sweat.

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“Hygienic” Chair Protector

When the doctor, nurse, and student all came in for the special “digit” test, I tried to scoot to the end of the chair but the stupid paper was all sweaty and plastered to my butt. I tried to fix it with minimal exposure under the tiny sheet, but I’m too round to accomplish anything past my hips so I just flailed and thrashed until the paper was all torn and stuck to everything. The medical student tried to help, but it was no use. By the time the doctor snapped on her rubber glove, I had that useless tissue paper glued to my upper butt and even though I tried to arch my back to avoid it, the rest of my womanhood uncomfortably rested directly on the exposed vinyl chair that the rest of the world sits on.  Gag.

A little piece of my dignity died that day. But let’s be honest, dignity went out the door with “morning” sickness when I was puking my guts and peed myself at the same time.

Remember what I said about magical pregnancy unicorns last week? Yah, this is further proof that I am more like an awkward pregnancy hippo that isn’t very magical at all. At least it’s semi-comical.

Here’s to another week of pregnancy!

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming High-Risk Pregnancy Fears

Pregnancy is scary.

I always thought I would be one of those unicorn women that handled maternity like a boss. Those women whose bodies were just made for baby-making and who a few hours after sneezing out their newborn babes are jumping out of their birthing pools and whipping up a meal for supper. Kind of like Brooklyn Decker pregnant with twins in What to Expect When You’re Expecting when she’s wearing 4 inch heels while talking about how she’s full of energy and always super horny.

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I know that’s Hollywood, but we all know some magical unicorns like that, right?

To be honest, I’ve had to work through a lot of uncertainty and fear. I’m impressed by my friends that have had their babies at home or in a plastic pool, but after what happened with Mariah, you couldn’t pay me enough to have my baby in any place that doesn’t have a state of the art NICU down the hall.  Given, my track record isn’t exactly stellar. I had a miscarriage at the beginning of our marriage and then another miscarriage between Mariah and the baby I’m carrying now. I went into labor with Mariah at 33 weeks and she eventually came at 34 weeks and we almost lost her to a horrible Strep B infection.

When I found out I was pregnant with this baby, I was terrified. God and I had to have a serious conversation because I was literally crippled with fear about having another miscarriage (maybe someday I’ll post about that convo). I am 26 weeks now and I’ve wrestled hard with fear. Fear of miscarrying, fear of preterm labor, fear of babies hooked up to monitors and filled with tubes in the NICU.

Then, this past Tuesday, I had to face my fear again. I am in the high-risk pregnancy program and each week I receive a Progesterone shot and either see a specialist or have a cervical length ultrasound. So far, I’ve been measuring great with no issues. This week, however, my cervical measurement had decreased by 50% and then I started having some cramping and discomfort.

I was so very discouraged. When the ultrasound tech left the room and said she needed to talk to the doctor, I barely kept it together. I mean, this baby is supposed to stay in there for three more months!

It was just scary. I was sent up to be fit into the high-risk doctor’s schedule and he checked to make sure I wasn’t dilating. Then he sent me home to wait two days to see if things progressed. Those were some long days.

Finally, one morning as I was praying, this thought came to mind: If you really trust God, why are you so afraid? 

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I know that God is perfect love and that perfect love casts out fear. If God loves me perfectly, there is no room for fear. I know that He is always in every detail, whether something goes the way I want it to or not. I became incredibly aware of the fact that our every breath is in God’s hands when He decided to inflate Mariah’s lungs that night despite what the doctors were saying. I also became incredibly aware that He could have chosen not to inflate her lungs and that I had no control over that.

The same goes with this pregnancy. I can do everything in my power to have a healthy pregnancy and the doctors will do as much as they can, but ultimately, it’s out of our hands. If God wants this baby to come at 26 weeks, then he’ll come at 26 weeks. I may not be in love with that idea, but God loves me perfectly, so I can trust that He will see us through and that His plan is far better than ours.

That is freedom from fear.

Knowing that something is scary, but acknowledging that the One who loves us perfectly has it in His hands.

Friday I went back to the hospital and had a bunch of tests done. I was extremely relieved to find out that as of right now, everything is holding tight. My cervix hasn’t thinned anymore and the cramping is due to the baby’s head being right on the cervix and surrounding nerves. So we wait and try to keep that baby cooking for as many weeks as possible.

Obviously, we are overjoyed that all is well for now. But I’m also resting in the fact that even if I do have this baby tomorrow, it’s not a scary surprise for my heavenly Father. Every time fear starts creeping in, I try to focus on His perfect love and that He cares far more about my babies than I ever could.  I can remain steadfast because I trust in Him and His perfect love for me and my family. I’ve found that true freedom is being able to say “I trust you Lord, do it your way.”

Job 12: 10 In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Psalm 31:14-15 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My life is in your hands…