Sunday, July 31, 2011

Post 131...In the blink of an eye

Our last obgyn appointment, I was at 40 weeks. The doctor, surprised that I was still pregnant, decided to do another sweep of my cervix, scraping the membranes in hopes that it would help move things along. But since everything was otherwise at a stand still, the doctor scheduled for us to be induced on the 22nd.

Once again the results of the sweep slowly came up over the course of a few days. First there was spotting, then an increase in discharge that ramped up more each day. I won't go into detail about the discharge. All I will say was there was a lot and it was gross.

But in spite of the promising results that came from the sweep, it still didn't seem like enough. I had little to no contractions (except for when I was walking) and there were no signs of my water breaking. In my desperation to get things moving, I continued to walk miles each day, and doing just about everything I could think of to get the baby to drop into position.

On July 18th at 3am, I got up to use the bathroom. It was funny really. I almost wasn't sure what happened at first. I had just finished going pee, wiped, and as I was about to stand up, I felt a small gush of water come out. I sat there for a second, my heart racing, trying to figure out what just happened. Did my water just break or did I just have more in my bladder than I thought?...It didn't feel like I was peeing, but everything is so squished down there with my big belly, who can really say?....

I tried to walk around to see if I would continue to leak fluid. There was a little tiny bit of runny fluid but honestly, it wasn't like the big Hollywood splash-down. I began to think it may have all been in my head. So I tried to go back to sleep. But of course, I couldn't. When 4am came rolling around, I still felt like I had a little more watery fluid leaking out, though still nothing of great significance, so I decided to wake my husband up. Maybe I was going to be the crazy woman who went to the hospital over a small trickle of pee, but I wanted to be absolutely sure. So, as planned, we went down the checklist on the back of the front door, gathered up our things, and headed out for the hospital.

At 4:30am we were checked in and waited anxiously as the nurse ran a test on my urine to determine if it contained traces of amniotic fluid or not. As I went back to the bathroom to give them a sample, I noticed a second gush of fluid, much like the first, but this time there were small bits of blood and what looked like small shreds of tissue paper in my sample. I had read about this before. The small bits of tissue is actually parts of the fluid sack. At that point, I was positive my water had broken. And sure enough, about 20 minutes later, the nurse returned with a smile on her face. "Guess what day it is?" she said with glee. "It's your son's birthday!"

With that, we were checked in to the labor and delivery room, calling up our family and friends, anxiously waiting for Andy to arrive. It was hard to believe. One second I had been power walking around the neighborhood trying to get things moving and the next, I was sitting in the hospital room watching the sun rise over the city, trying to wrap my head around the idea that, come nightfall, we would be holding our little boy in our arms.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Post 130...7 Eleven

Darn! I was hoping Andy would be born today. How fun would it be to have a birthday of 7-11-11? Come on! 7 Eleven?! He would've always had free Slurpees on his birthday every year! Oh well. I know the day isn't done yet, but I don't really feel like labor is on its way. I have had more discharge (sorry, TMI) and occasionally I have had a contraction or two, but otherwise I haven't had any other signs of on-coming labor. I keep hoping and praying that he'll come soon. I spent the whole morning talking to Andy, trying to convince him to come out soon but I guess he's just a little too cozy in there.

Yet another day goes by and we're still all waiting anxiously for Andy to come...

Dear Andy,
We are all so excited to meet you! We trust that you know when it will be the best time to come out into this world but, until that day, we are all driving ourselves crazy with anticipation! You still have so much energy, kicking and wiggling around in my tummy. It makes me smile every time! I'm glad you have so much strength! I just know you're going to handle labor wonderfully. And when you're ready to come out, you're going to see all the wonderful things our family and friends have gotten for you. Your room is ready, your toys are waiting, and your dad and I can't stop thinking about holding you in our arms! At the latest, I will see you next week!

Love always, Mom

P.S. Auntie Katie got you an awesome onesie that will make it look like you're wearing a tie! It's pretty sweet! I'm thinking you'll have to wear it to your Uncle Andy's wedding or wedding rehearsal so you can look snazzy for all the visiting relatives.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Post 129...Five days away

In spite of the progress I had yesterday with losing my mucus plug, it seems like everything went back to a screeching halt. Again I have no cramping or contractions going on, and the baby shows no signs of dropping, leaving me feeling like I am no closer to labor than I was before. I took one step forward and two steps back. When my friend lost her plug this last Wednesday, her baby dropped right away and she started having increasing contractions in the days to follow. I suppose I expected the same of myself. But here I am, waiting for some other sign of progress while my friend is holding her newborn that she gave birth to last night.

I'm not sure what to do. A part of me wants to spend the day walking around in hopes to move things along. But I have a hard time believing that will actually work considering I was walking for miles every day last week and didn't so much as dilate or efface in the slightest bit. The only cramping it causes is the cramping in my legs. As much as I have been wanting to be woken up by strong contractions, I have been woken up by charlie horses in my calf muscles instead! The one thing that seemed to help me progress was when the doctor scraped the membranes in my last appointment. But considering that I don't have my next appointment until this coming Thursday, the day before our due date, I'm having a hard time believing that Andy will actually be here on time. Because unless the doctor does something else to help move things along, I don't really trust that my body will do it on its own. Hmmm...any guesses why I wouldn't trust my body?

So here I am, five days away from my due date and I am showing no signs of approaching labor. I am so ready to have my body back! I am done feeling so tight, fat, and achy! But each time I ask when I will be relieved of this discomfort and when I'll be able to see my son, I'm met with the illusive "soon" response that I hate so much. "Soon" is just another way of saying "I have no idea."

Everyone keeps throwing out guesses for when I will deliver Andy and so far I have disappointed many. My husband originally guessed that we would deliver on the 11th, which is tomorrow. I hate to brake it to him, but I don't think that's going to happen. He seems excited and anxious to meet Andy too, but each day I don't have any symptoms, each day we edge closer to delivering late, the more I see that excitement fade in his eyes. It seems like the more he realizes the likelihood of me needing to be induced, the more he reluctantly lets go of that dream of receiving an excited call from me saying that my water broke. I want so badly to give him that excited, classic experience. He has already had to put up with so many unfavorable circumstances by having a child with me (out of all the woman out there, he had to chose the one that would miscarry his first born son and then have another pregnancy full of fear and complications); I just wanted this one part to go right. I wanted him to feel the joy and nervousness of needing to rush to the hospital to have a healthy happy baby. But once again, I fear that my body is stopping our dreams from coming true and there is nothing I can do about it but watch the growing disappointment in the people around me. I know there is still time for me to go into labor on my own. But forgive me if I have little faith in things going right when it comes to my pregnancies.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Post 128...Mucus Plug

Last night, after a relaxing evening at our friends house where I got to enjoy alcohol free wine that they bought for me (yay for modern technology!), and a nice summer night walk around the neighborhood, I came home to some hard cramps. It wasn't anything too painful. I have had menstrual cramps that were way worse in the past. But they were the most painful I have had yet in the pregnancy. The achiness radiated from my back and into my front causing my whole stomach to feel as tight as a rock. So to help relax my muscles a little, I took a nice hot shower before bed. It helped a little, but luckily the cramping wasn't so bad that I couldn't fall asleep. I slept soundly through the night, only feel some mild cramping when I got up to use the bathroom.

This morning, the cramps were gone. Since it hasn't even been two days since my last Obgyn appointment, I shrugged it off. I wasn't any closer to labor two days ago, so I highly doubted that my cramping last night was any indication of approaching labor.

But then I took a shower....

As I was showering, I was thinking of the things I had read about with the process of scraping the membranes. Most woman who have had the procedure done will see results within 24-48 hours after. Other than my mild cramping and slight spotting I had the day of, I hadn't seen any indication of approaching labor. I laughed to myself. Of course things weren't moving along. When it comes to pregnancy, I am often the rare exception it seems. 48 hours. That would put me at noon today. Yeah right! Like I'm going to see any changes! Again I laughed. We are going to my husband's company picnic today and the thought of going into labor during it sounds like a joke. But as I finished washing up the shower, I went to rinse off down there and (here is where it gets really TMI) suddenly I felt an odd slimy discharge. Sure enough, my mucus plug had come out! One of the first obvious signs of approaching labor! It's a gross little thing since it's just a glob of concentrated mucus (its name does not fall short of its description) with just a little hint of blood in it. But as nasty as it is, I couldn't be more excited to see it come out! That just means I am on my way towards having little Andy! Of course, losing my mucus plug doesn't mean I'll go into labor today, although that is a possibility. It could still be a week or so out from here. But at any rate, it means that my body is at least getting ready for labor.

Who knew such a nasty little blob could bring so much excitement?

Post 127...Nothing

On Thursday I went to the Obgyn thoroughly expecting to hear that I was further along in my dilation. After walking my butt off all week and doing everything possible to move things along, I was shocked to hear that nothing had changed since the previous week. I was still sitting at 1cm dilated and about 50-75% effaced. I was crushed. Here I had come bounding into the office expecting to hear good news and instead I was basically being told that all my efforts were for nothing! For several hours afterwards I moped around, swearing that I would give up in my efforts to move things along.

That evening I finally let out a good cry, confessing that I was worried he would be late. The last thing I want is a c-section. But each step that doesn't come naturally just brings us that much closer to needing one. Plus, I couldn't shake the feeling that Andy wasn't coming because he didn't want to be here. "He doesn't want to come out." I moped. "I want him here so badly and yet already he's fighting against me! He's going to hate me and rebel against me his whole life!"

I know. I was being ridiculous. Can I blame it on hormones?

I suppose the reason why I took it like a personal insult is because everyone keeps wording it in a way that makes it sound like it's Andy's choice. "He doesn't want to come yet." "It's up to him when he's ready." "Why doesn't he come out already?" All of it makes it sound like Andy is choosing not to come out. So to hear that I wasn't even a step closer to delivering him, it made me think: "He just doesn't want to be here!" Of course this is ridiculous. At the moment, he's just a wiggly little adorable baby who is acting on instincts alone. He's not consciously choosing to stay in me just to spite me. And as my husband so wonderfully put it: if he is choosing it, it means he needs me to carry him just a little bit longer so he can be ready. As his mother, how can I say no to helping my son if he needs it? So after my emotional freak out, and yet another wonderful change in perspective thanks to my husband, I finally came to my senses and decided to just relax and let Andy and my body do what they need to do.

When I was at the doctors, however, she decide to attempt to help things along by scraping the membranes. For those of you who aren't familiar with this procedure: scraping the membranes is when a doctor will take their finger during a vaginal exam and carefully "scrape" and wiggle it around in order to stimulate the labor process. "Essentially it is an aggressive pelvic exam in which the doctor will feel around just inside a woman's cervix where the membranes ("bag of water") are attached to its rim. By running an examining finger around the inside of your cervix, she can separate the amniotic sac from where it's stuck there. Theoretically, this will allow the bridging molecules that stick the membranes to the inside rim of the cervix to break--all at a molecular level, mind you--and so be released and then converted into prostaglandins, which are powerful stimulants of labor." It was pretty uncomfortable. It basically felt like she was swirling her fingers way up inside my whoowhoo which was a bit painful. Afterwards she warned me that there would be some bleeding, which there was. But it stopped shortly thereafter. I had some more mild cramps for the rest of the day but nothing more.

Reluctantly, in my need to hang on to hope, I still went for a long walk that night in order to help keep things moving along. Other than walks, the doctor recommended having lots of sex to help induce things since sperm has a chemical makeup that is really close to Pitocin, a labor inducing drug. Well, if it's doctor recommended!.....;-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Post 126...And the wait continues

It's 11:20am and already I have done the dishes, washed and put away all the laundry, vacuumed, swept, cleaned the refrigerator, wiped down the kitchen floor, straightened up the living room, gathered up all the trash and recyclables, filed away our mail, took care of the bills, dusted, organized the computer desk, made the bed, and straightened up the bathroom. The funny thing is, I still have energy after all that even though I hardly slept at all last night!

It was warm last night which made it hard to get comfortable. I could feel my hands swelling, making the joints feel creaky. It also didn't help that all night I kept tossing and turning with an upset stomach and mild cramps from time to time. It almost felt like I was coming down with something, I felt so queasy. But this morning, even though I'm still a little nauseous and have little appetite, I otherwise feel completely fine. I'm beginning to wonder if this nausea is a result of another hormone flux. It feels a lot like the nausea I had in the beginning of the pregnancy. The kind of nausea where it feels like I either ate too much or not enough. In addition to the nausea, I've certainly been more moody lately. I've been flipping between uber happy, crazy mad, and then sobbing for no reason whatsoever! It's got to be a hormonal thing...

I've still been going on long daily walks. I was surprised that I have so far walked down to the nearby Whole Foods and Fred Meyer pretty much daily for the last week. The walk just to Fred Meyer is about a 2 mile walk, so all together the walk is nearly 4 miles there and back. It hasn't been easy, but I've been handling it better than I expected. The fact that I can just do it is amazing to me. It has certainly made my legs pretty sore, but if it will help move things along with the pregnancy, than I'm all for it!

Yesterday I joined the Eastside Mommys for some coffee at a local cafe. I was surprised and excited to hear that the other mom who is about as far along as I am (she's 4 days ahead of me) is now about 1-2cm dilated and 100% effaced. The doctor told her that if she keeps up with walking this week, she could very well have the baby by the weekend! And just now she texted me saying she lost her mucus plug! I'm so jealous! I want so badly to see some progress towards labor! Tomorrow is my Obgyn appointment so I'm hoping I too hear good news too. Otherwise, I'm still waiting to see any other signs of approaching labor. I have yet to lose my mucus plug or have my water break (obviously), I haven't had any bloody show, and my contractions have been pretty mild. When I walk the contractions have certainly gotten stronger and longer. But as soon as I stop walking, the contractions completely go away. If it weren't for my aching feet and legs, I'd keep walking until true labor kicked in if that's what it took! But I guess I'm stuck waiting, watching, and hoping. It's exciting to see the other mom getting so close to labor. It gives me a great preview of what's around the corner. I just hope I don't have to wait too much longer to be in her shoes. We keep joking around about going into labor on the same day, but at this point, I'm pretty sure she's gonna beat me to it.

So I'm anxiously waiting for my appointment tomorrow. I hope there is good news. At this point we are 9 days away from our due date. We'll see if we have an early bird or a late bloomer.

Maybe I should go walk up and down the stairs again. Even if it doesn't bring on labor, it'll at least tone up my booty! ;-)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Post 125...Pointless

Well, I can't really say there is anything new to report. Each day goes by and I don't even have so much as a hint of labor coming my way. I keep doing what I can to help encourage things along, trying to make sure the baby drops into position, but nothing seems to work. I have done lots of research and found several suggestions for helping to move things along including: walking, sitting backwards in a chair (to open the hips), doing squats, doing lunges, walking up stairs, bouncing on a birthing ball, eating spicy foods, and more. For the past week I have been doing squats and sitting backwards in my chair. I have eaten spicy foods and I've done lunges. And for the past couple of days, I have been going on several long walks day in hopes that, as the websites say, "gravity will take effect." I've even gone so far as to try acupressure! But what do I get for all my efforts? Exhaustion, puffy hands and feet, and a broken spirit. I'm starting to realize that there really isn't anything I can do to get things moving. As much as I try, it still doesn't feel like the baby has dropped. In fact, if feels like he's just resting his head on my left hip bone, which isn't very comfortable. There have been no signs of spotting, no loss of the mucus plug, nothing! When I walk, I feel some contractions which, on occasion, are a little stronger than before. But otherwise, throughout the day, I hardly feel a thing! For the past few nights, I thought I was having stronger contractions that felt a lot like menstrual cramps. The mild cramping lasted for a few hours each night, but quickly went away without a trace come morning. Much to my disappointment, it turned out to be gas cramps.

At this point, I see no point in trying anymore. There is nothing I can do to bring labor on any sooner. The more I try, the more disappointed and uncomfortable I get. All of these so-called tricks for bringing on labor seem to be nothing more than a sad attempt to make a pregnant mother feel productive while she waits for true labor to come. But really, it is all out of my hands. For all I know, it will come down to what I dread the most: an induced late labor that leads to a c-section. Perhaps I should spend more of my time coming to terms with that possibility than focusing on how to speed up the process. I can't speed up the process, but I can mentally prepare myself for the "worst case scenario." I know before I have said that I don't mind the wait, but that's with the stipulation that I see some progress. Without their being any signs of forward movement, the wait suddenly seems all the more pointless and frustrating. I know that in about three weeks at the most, he will be here regardless. But I don't want it to come down to a late induced labor. I want the joy and excitement of going into labor on my own. But the more I read about the cerclage, the more I find that the scar tissue it leaves behind can often result in needing to be induced. With the cervix being scarred up from the cerclage, it's possible that it will have difficulty dilating without assistance.

So I guess there is nothing I can do at this point except wait and come to terms with the possibility that I won't get the labor experience I was hoping for. In the mean time, I get to deal with all the frustrating hormonal fluctuations. Last night, for no real reason at all, I started bawling my eyes out for several minutes. And about 20 minutes later when my husband and I took a quick break in between shows to get a snack, I felt the sudden need to clean the house before sitting back down. So I did. Today, I keep bouncing between being extremely tired to feeling wide awake, never mind the fact that I got plenty of sleep last night. I think at this point, I'm about ready to be done with being pregnant. As much as I have enjoyed the experience, I am ready to have my body back and be done with this never ending wait. We have been waiting for nearly two years now to have a baby, and we worked so hard to make sure he wouldn't come too early. Now it's okay for him to come, and nothing is happening.