Wednesday, April 25, 2007

33 week update

I've had a hard time posting because typing is so damn uncomfortable and the baby kicks like hell at the computer resting on her turf. I managed to write this email for family and friends; I haven't sent them an update since 28 weeks. It's a pretty good update so I've pasted it below.

Hi folks,

Okay I admit it. When I was first pondering what bedrest would be like, I thought, "Not only does that sound pretty good to me but I think I am well-suited for it." I mean, I can lay around with the best of 'em. I would be happy to lay on my couch and knit, watch movies, answer a few emails, chat on the phone. Once I discovered that sudoku requires no adding or subtracting, I was hooked. Filling up the time is no problem. Piece of cake.

It's the couch time that is a drag. For the last SEVEN weeks, I've been under doctor's order to get up for no longer than 20 minutes at a time and leave the house for doctor's appointments only. Before that it was a month or so of limited outings and half the day on the couch.

After a while I stopped wondering, "Hey what are we doin' today? Oh yeah, nothing." Sure I get out of all the mundane tasks, of which there are many but the catch is that I don't get to do anything fun either. I don't get to be out in the world, pregnant in a cute outfit. Eating for two is no fun when you are lying on the couch feeling like a beached sea lion. Pregnant burping is VILE, for HOURS, when you can't sit upright after a meal. I'm constantly uncomfortable. My back and hips hurt from laying down all the time. The kids go fun places like the zoo and the beach without me. The kids come in (thank god they GO OUT) like tornadoes, wreaking havoc on my tiny couch world, spilling my drinks, mangling my glasses, inspecting my tray to see if they've missed out on a tasty snack, eating anything that is left, pressing buttons on my laptop, climbing on me, giving the baby the occasional sonic elbow, absconding constantly with my knitting scissors, unraveling my yarn, swiping my carefully placed pillows. (Actually that's my nutty daughter that does pretty much all of those things.) I could go on, but I won't.

I just recently got a pass to do one thing each week that I want to do. WOO-HOO!! I've used my pass to go with my dad and the kids to drop my son off at school and then take my daughter to her mommy-and-me class. It's crazy how exciting it is to go on this outing! Spring has sprung, there are lots of people around, the sun is shining. Feels like I have emerged from a cave.

This week I have an extra pass to go out to dinner. Sitting upright in a chair is wicked uncomfortable and I'll burp up my dinner for seven hours afterwards but I am optimistic that it will be worth it. Hey was that optimism?! Go figure.

There was a real low-point back in March when I had to miss the opening day parade of my son's Little League. He was in the parade. My little guy riding in the back of a pickup truck with his tball team. In his ADORABLE uniform. And there were firetrucks in the parade. When he told me about the firetrucks, I fully burst into tears and could not stop crying. I'd never missed anything in his whole life and I missed him riding in a parade. After all, I learned quickly that tball is ALL ABOUT the parade. And the uniform of course. That was a real low point.

I did defy my doctor's orders later that day and went to the opening day game. I reclined on my lawn chair and watched him play his first tball game. I didn't even mind that people walked by and said things like, "Well don't you look comfortable" and "Hey, you brought your living room." I am happy to look like a fool to see my kid play tball.

I'm 33 weeks tomorrow!! On their first birthdays, babies born at 32 or 33 weeks look the same as full-term babies. Generally there are no lasting effects of the early arrival. WHEW. We are out of the woods.

Recently I have started to think that we are most likely going to have a baby. A live, kicking and screaming baby. Up until now, there was no convincing me of this but lately I am starting to believe it. After being pregnant basically since July 2005, it's hard to really believe that a baby is coming. Fortunately she has proven to be quite a robust fetus and regularly thrashes around like a wildcat trapped in a burlap sack. Not super comfortable but at least I know she is alive!

My thoughts have turned from questions of the baby's survival to "Maybe I should pack a bag for the hospital (so the baby has just the right outfit for her homecoming, of course) and then jumping ahead to "How the hell am I going to pick up two kids from two different schools at virtually the same time with a baby in tow?"

It's a welcome change that's for sure. I've pretty much been terrified this entire pregnancy. I would've been petrified anyway because of my three disasters. But add to that the rollercoaster of the plummeting progesterone, a suspicious cyst on my ovary, a gut-wrenching episode of spotting and cramping, the cerclage surgery, fears of infection, Christmas and the anniversary of losing LC, a funky genetic test result that compelled an amnio, a godawful wait for results, a third "no-longer-due-date," contractions starting at 16 weeks, a funneling cervix at 26 weeks, bedrest, fear, fear and more fear.

Now here I am, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Only I am stuck on the couch so I have to look at the light from here. Don't get me wrong, I do go outside to lay on a lawn chair people. I'm no fool. And of course it will all be completely worth it when the little darling makes her grand entrance.

Regarding when that entrance will be, the plan is this: At around 36 or 37 weeks, I will have an amnio (fluid drawn out of the placenta with a big long needle) to see if the baby's lungs are mature. If there are mature or mature enough (97% chance of maturity) AND my cervix is showing ANY signs of readiness, then my doctor will deliver the baby by scheduled C-section just before 38 weeks. That's May 30 or so.

The reason to do the C-section at just before 38 weeks is that my doctor is leaving town from 38 weeks to 39 ½ weeks. I only very recently got up the courage to inquire about the delivery. Didn't want to jinx it. Turns out he'll be away during a crucial point.

I DO NOT want to go to 39 ½ weeks. I have ZERO interest in going into labor with this bootlace holding things together downtown. Normally a cerclage is removed at 36 weeks but mine is a more complicated type of stitch and requires serious anesthesia for removal so we are leaving it in until the C-section. My doctor is most capable at removing this type of stitch so I want him to do it before he goes. I also want this baby out of here before there's a chance for anything else to go wrong. I also want my happy ending to come with this doctor who saw us through two heartbreaks. So we'll see.

So for now I will remain on the couch, occasionally timing the contractions that are getting stronger and stronger (somehow they haven't escalated into labor). If things look good at 34 weeks, I'll be up and around a little more so I can regain a little strength. It's scary how quickly I get winded when I am up. It won't be easy recovering from my fourth major abdominal surgery (1st one was to remove a fibroid which is the reason I must have C-sections to being with) and months of bedrest.

It'll all be worth it when I hear this baby cry. Speaking of the tiny tot, I've attached a really cool photo of her at 30 weeks. I could fill an album with her ultrasound photos but this one should go in a frame.

I've also attached a photo of my daughter and me, taken a few weeks ago. I was determined to have lovely professional photos taken and I am so glad I did. The pictures will leave me with memories of the joy of growing a baby with a big brother and sister reveling in the process. The kids' infectious and unbridled enthusiasm has buoyed me up through these trying times.

Now that I have written the great American novel, I'll sign off. If all goes as planned (do I dare put that in print?), I'll update again when a delivery date is set. If not, we'll email whenever we can.

Holy crap, we're havin' a baby.

Next email could be from the hospital!

Thanks again for all of your support and well-wishes, not to mention your willingness to hang in there with us and to read this whole damn email. Having such a great support system has helped us get through this.

Big shout out to my dad who has been with us for 3 1/2 MONTHS, working night and day, putting up with my grumpiness, to help ensure that his granddaughter arrives safely and that the kids are well-cared-for in the process. We are fortunate indeed.




Blogger Ruby said...

Bravo! Is that optimism?

Though I usually just lurk, I'm so glad to read your update and see your positive outlook and how well your doing.

Soon. She'll be here soon.

9:53 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

I'm so glad things are trucking along nicely. It's almost time to hold that beautiful girl!

4:47 AM  
Blogger niobe said...

What a wonderful update -- despite the many discomforts of bed (couch?) rest.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

As I read your email to the family, I was sitting with my hands pressed together under my chin prayer-style, a la Mr. Burns, thinking, "Eeeexcellent!" :-D

12:41 PM  
Blogger Michell said...

Glad that things are moving right along. Yah for 33 weeks. That was a very nice update and I hope that things continue to look optimistic.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Woohoo, you got fancy doc to agree to a pre-vacation section!

I've been reading your blog for months now, but I've never commented and am feeling like an ass for not coming out and showing my support sooner. Like, a loooong time ago. Please forgive me, but know I have been cheering for you and will continue to do so.

Ahh, I think you're going to have a live baby!!!

5:06 AM  

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