Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Pregnancy

I refuse to be one of those bloggers that apologizes for a lack of posts.  I've said all along, this blog is for me (and Bob) to remember our journey.  Now that she is here, I want to go back and write about the pregnancy, naming her, making the nursery, labor and delivery, and whatever else feels important to me.

I'm going to start with the pregnancy...

The pregnancy was really easy for me from the beginning.  I never once had morning sickness or any of the other nasty side effects that some women do when they are pregnant.  I am know I am lucky for that.  For 9 months, I was tired and hungry, but I don't think that's anything to complain about.  I did have some pretty intense heartburn at times, but nothing a Tums or Pepcid couldn't fix.  In fact, if I complained about anything, I think it was the fact that I had no symptoms (I know, I'm crazy!) because it made it hard for me to believe.

The first time I felt her move was September 26, 2012 around 12:30pm.  I was past 20 weeks at this point, and had been a bit frustrated and unsettled that I hadn't felt anything yet, but was assured by my doctor that everyone feels their baby at different times, and that sometimes first time moms don't realize that what they are feeling is the baby moving.  I was sitting in the basement of my work listening to my coworker give a presentation about consumer insights.  I leaned over to my coworker Jen and told her I thought I felt the baby move and we both teared up.  That night I went home and Bob sat with his hand on my belly for an hour waiting to feel her.  He finally did and it was amazing.  I can't really explain what it was like to feel her move - I finally believed that she was in there and growing and that this was really happening. 

As exciting as it was to feel her move, it quickly led to mixed emotions.  I remember Jen telling me at work that now that I felt her move once, I would feel her all the time.  Oh, how I wish that had been true.  I wish I had been one of those pregnant people that was kept up all night because their baby was having a belly dance party.  That was not the case for me.  I felt her off and on for the next few months, but whenever I compared experiences with my other pregnant friends, I didn't feel like it was nearly as often as they were feeling their babies. 

We had a regular check up on December 11 where Bob mentioned that I hadn't been feeling her.  Immediately they hooked me up to a monitor for a non stress test.  It took a few minutes to find her heart beat, but as soon as they did, it was strong.  I had to sit in a chair for 20 minutes, connected to one monitor for her heartbeat, one to measure any contractions I may be having, and also push a button any time I felt her move.  She passed the test just fine, and we learned that she moves a lot more often that I can feel her - we could constantly hear the movement through the monitor but I rarely felt it.  Knowing that everything was fine, she sent me home and told me to do kick counts twice a day - lay on my side for 30 minutes and count how many times she kicked.  The goal was at least 10, and if it was consistently much lower than that, I needed to call the doctor. 

On December 13, Bob was in Cleveland and I was doing my nightly kick count.  In half an hour, I only felt her kick 3 times.  That morning, I had also only felt 3 kicks and I didn't remember feeling any at all throughout the day.  I called Bob in a panic and he told me to call the doctor.  The doctor on call was not our usual doctor, but he told me to go to the hospital to get monitored, which is what I expected.  Since Bob was gone, Amy took me to the hospital.  I got hooked up to a monitor and they were able to quickly find her heartbeat.  Once again, we could hear her moving even though  I wasn't feeling anything.  They were getting ready to send me home when I started having some regular contractions.  At about this time, my mom arrived so Amy could go home.  They gave me IV fluids and continued to monitor me.  A little while later, Bob arrived so my mom could go home (it was about 3 in the morning at this point).  The contractions stopped and they concluded that it was caused by possible dehydration and my stress level and they monitored me for awhile before sending me home.  Once again, all was fine.

At my doctor appointment the following week, we told him what had happened and he explained that he wanted to be cautious and treat me as he would treat his wife or sister.  As a result, I would be getting weekly ultrasounds and non stress tests for the remainder of the pregnancy.  The ultrasound that day showed that I had an anterior placenta - meaning that the placenta was between the baby and the outside of my belly, meaning the baby had an extra barrier to kick through in order for me to feel it.  While this explained why I rarely felt movement, it didn't solve all the problems.  One of the only ways we can tell that the baby is safe between appointments is by feeling movement, and since I couldn't do that regularly, he wanted to continue to monitor me.  Even though it meant extra appointments and stress, I felt so at ease knowing that he wanted to do everything he could to keep me and the baby safe.

Appointments continued on just fine for about the next month or so.  We had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and the nursery and house were ready for the baby.  We were just waiting for her to finish growing.   Then on January 9, I went the whole day without feeling a kick.  After talked to Bob and calling the doctor, I was told to go to the hospital.  Bob was on his way back from Cincinnati, so my mom met me at the hospital.  They hooked me up to a monitor and it took the nurse 7 minutes to find her heartbeat.  I'm pretty sure my mom and I were holding our breath the entire time.  Once again, as soon as she registered on the monitor, her stats were fine.  Almost as soon as they found her, Bob got there.  Our doctor happened to be on call and she came in and explained that since I wasn't feeling her move, they couldn't release me until I had an ultrasound.  Since it was 7pm and it was non emergent, I couldn't get an ultrasound until the morning, which meant we were staying the night.  Again, this was all to be cautious, but I was content playing it super safe.  The ultrasound checked out just fine and we were released early in the morning.

Until these incidents, I had every intention of letting the baby come when she was good and ready - even if it was late.  However, the uncertainty got harder and harder for me, and for Bob, each day.  I was constantly worried and the days between weekly tests seemed never ending.  Because of all of this, we started talking to the doctor about induction options at 38 weeks... (more to come on the labor and delivery in a future post)

All in all, I would say I had an amazing pregnancy.  I truly enjoyed it.  I loved the anticipation and possibility of all she could be, I loved preparing her room, our house, and our lives for her.  I loved daydreaming about all the things we would do together and I loved talking to Bob about it.  I loved getting to see her beautiful face and growing body on the ultrasound screen each week, and I loved closing my eyes and listening to her perfect heartbeat.  It was truly an amazing experience.