10 days

Between the last several weeks flying by, and my c-section getting moved up a week thanks to another patient delivering early, I am now only 10 days away from (hopefully) meeting my baby.

I was conflicted about whether to insert the “(hopefully)” there, but in these last few weeks, my confidence has waned as the fear mounts about everything that could go wrong. I never would have guessed I would be 38 weeks pregnant with still so much uncertainty over whether I will bring my baby home.

I don’t know why I feel so much anxiety – I have no reason to believe anything will go seriously wrong, other than the few hiccups I’ve had (kidney stones and now GBS positive). I guess I’ve just done too much Googling and reading about all the tragic things that can happen.

I am trying to live minute to minute, then day to day.  This is similar to how I felt when I was dealing with the subchorionic bleed in the second trimester and was desperately hoping to make it to viability. Every so often I think, “Ok great, I’m another hour closer.” I wake up in the morning and mentally tick another day off my countdown. The nights are the worst.  I wake up at least 5-7 times a night to use the restroom, and when I get back into bed, I can’t go back to sleep until I feel the baby move and kick a few times. Needless to say, between that anxiety, my kidney pain, and frequent bathroom trips, sleep is not something I am getting much of these days.

At this point I am actually seeing the upside of delivering via cesarean. Being GBS positive plus all the other things I worry about may have made a natural delivery too anxiety provoking for me to enjoy. (By the way, I know bieng GBS positive isn’t the end of the world – Just one of those additional wrenches in the plan that throws me all off balance, mentally).  If I can get to next Thursday without going into labor or having my water break, and can walk into the OR healthy and ready, I may finally be able to relax a little bit as they bring my baby into the world.

 

33 weeks

My anxiety has unfortunately not improved in the past few weeks.  While I feel like I am getting so much closer to the finish line, I also continue to panic that something could go wrong at any moment.  Baby’s movement continues to be a source of anxiety for me as well. I also made the mistake of spending too much time on Google reading up on breech babies (why are they breech, risks of remaining breech etc.), and let’s just say I shouldn’t have done that.

If/when hopefully baby arrives safely I am sure I will miss being pregnant, but at this point I just want to it to be over. The weight gain and being physically uncomfortable does suck, but it’s more the mental torment that is making me question whether I could handle another pregnancy in the future. I have not felt fully emotionally stable or healthy since before I was pregnant. That’s a long time to feel so much stress!

Last week I had my 32 week growth scan, at which time baby was still breech – Frank breech position to be exact. (Explains why I’ve been feeling big pokes on the right side, it’s baby’s foot).  My OB’s office started the paperwork for my c-section, which is scheduled for February 22. I will be 39 weeks + 6 days.  Of course, I have a whole other set of worries here. That’s pretty much 40 weeks – what if I go into labor before then? Again I’ve read way too many scary things about going into labor with a breech baby.I feel a little bit like a ticking time bomb, though maybe that’s just me being overreactive with my anxiety.

To a much much lesser extent, I am still a bit disappointed about not being able to labor naturally. People keep saying there is plenty of time for the baby to turn head-down, but I’m starting to feel skeptical. The further along I get with a baby that is still breech, the less likely I know it is that he/she will turn.  Ultimately all that matters is a baby that arrives healthy and safe, but in a perfect world I would have gotten to have a normal birth experience.

At this point I am trying to make preparations as I feel up to it. It’s hard some days to pick up a baby book or buy things for the baby when I lack the confidence that everything will turn out ok ,but I am doing the best I can.  When I first told my family I was pregnant, I asked them not to plan a baby shower as I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable having one, and at this point I’m very glad that I had that foresight.  Going to a big celebration centered around my pregnancy/baby would have been way too much for me at this point, mentally.

Spiraling

After feeling really optimistic and positive for a few weeks, I am finding myself back on a downward spiral of anxiety and fear. I think it is something about entering a new trimester that brings all the fear back as I experienced this around 14-15 weeks as well.  It’s like I suddenly realize all the new potential things that could go wrong in the weeks to come and start panicking.

Since hitting 28 weeks, frequency of movement has been a major source of anxiety for me. Most days I have an extremely active baby that pretty much never stops moving, but once or twice a week he/she will have a pretty quiet day that gets me worried. If I am being honest, even on the active days when baby stops moving for an hour or two to sleep I start to panic a bit.

The frequency of movement didn’t concern me so much in the second trimester when I knew it wouldn’t be unusual to not feel movement all day, every day. However now I feel like I should be feeling it constantly and whenever I don’t, I really start to worry.  This morning I didn’t feel any kicks when I was lying in bed after waking up like I usually do. I got up and drank some juice and laid back down, and got some kicks but still not the normal activity level. I already had an OB visit scheduled for this morning so I mentioned the change in movement to my midwife. She had me do an NST and squeezed in an ultrasound. Fortunately all looked well in terms of baby’s health, but due to the level of my anxiety, that really only comforted me for a few hours.

I don’t know how I am going to make it through 9-10 more weeks with this level of anxiety. Compounding my overall feelings of stress is the fact that I was told today that baby is still breech and if he/she didn’t turn by my next growth scan in 2 weeks at 32 weeks, I would need to schedule a c-section.  I burst into tears instantly as the thought of missing out on labor and a vaginal birth makes me feel like in addition to everything infertility has taken from me, now I’ve been robbed of yet another part of the pregnancy experience. It is not the biggest deal in the world as what matters most is baby’s safe arrival, and I was told that they will continue to check baby up until the day of the section in case he/she does turn, but its still upsetting.

Grateful

For the past week I have been feeling more confidence and less anxiety about my pregnancy, and have even indulged in some of the normal activities, like perusing baby items online and starting the nursery.  I am a few hours shy of 25 weeks so there is still a long way to go and I know anything can happen.  But for the first time I feel like I have a real shot of bringing a baby home.  I never in a million years thought I would be sitting here 25 weeks pregnant.  No matter what happens, I am so grateful to have experienced seeing myself with a baby bump, and feeling my baby kick.

I want to start trying the best that I can to enjoy some of this, so I want to start documenting some of the lighter/fun parts, rather than solely my deep dark scary thoughts and anxiety.

How far along? 24 weeks + 6 days

How big is baby? According to my app, the size of a rutebega at 25 weeks. (What is a rutebega?) Either way, I think baby is around 1.5lbs right now.

Total weight gain/loss:  About 20 lbs as of last week. (I am so embarrassed about this!)

Maternity clothes?  Yes, will I ever fit into normal clothes again??

Sleep: Not great. Waking up several times a night from a combination of having to go to the bathroom, and anxiety.

Best moment this week: Seeing my stomach move as baby kicked like crazy in there!

Food cravings: Nothing crazy. My appetite has calmed down a bit, and I’m trying to eat healthier. I was on a sugar kick for a while but I’m finding my stomach is a bit more sensitive to what I eat these days.

Food Aversions: None

Pregnancy Symptoms:  Cranky! I’ve definitely bitten a few people’s heads off lately.  I’m also having some really bad acid reflux – very uncomfortable.

What I miss:  Still turkey sandwiches.

What I am looking forward to:  My next milestone – 28 weeks.

Upcoming appointments/events:  I have a growth scan on the 29th, I will be just shy of 28 weeks. I also have to get my glucose test done in the next couple of weeks.

Milestones: Ordering the nursery furniture and painting the room.

Viability!

Today I am 24 weeks pregnant which marks the official start of viability for my baby.  This is a day I have been waiting for, for a long time.  I am not naive enough to believe that I could give birth tomorrow and be guaranteed a perfect healthy baby.  Realistically I know the statistics of survival are about 50/50 at this point. However, I no longer feel like I am out in open water by myself.  If god forbid something happens from here out, doctors will now take measures to keep me pregnant and save my baby and that in itself gives me great comfort.

I am breaking down pregnancy into milestones, obviously the first was this big one at 24 weeks.  The next milestone I am counting down to is 28 weeks.  This will help me feel like getting towards the end really is achievable, and that I can get there. There are a million worries that are starting to set in but for this moment I am trying to enjoy this day.

My pregnancy is reaching the point where I feel like I need to start getting some things done to prepare.  I took a leap of faith last weekend and ordered the nursery furniture.  And since I am mentally feeling good today, we are going to start our registry.  I do not intend to have a baby shower, but I know our parents will appreciate having a registry to work off of as they are hoping to purchase a few gifts.

When I tell people I don’t want a shower, they act like I am crazy, and I have a hard time explaining to them why I don’t want one.  I guess there are a few reasons.  One, it feels like I am jinxing things in some way. The thought of celebrating a baby that still has to make it here safely gives me anxiety.  Two, through three years of infertility, baby showers caused me a great deal of pain.  I never know who else might be silently suffering and I would hate to inadvertently impart that pain on anyone else.

As for the road ahead – I have a growth scan in 4 weeks, then I will have appointments every 2-4 weeks after that.  I can’t believe I am a few weeks away from the 3rd trimester.  In many ways this pregnancy has crawled by, but at the same time it feels like it has flown too.

Countdown to Viability

I am currently 21 weeks + 1 day and 20 days away from 24 weeks, or, viability.  Am I the only one desperately counting down to this milestone?  I know that as of 24 weeks its not like I could birth a fully developed baby guaranteed to survive. But it is comforting to know that in 3 weeks, if something goes wrong, something could at least be done to try and save the baby.

I know this is a morbid thing to focus on.  But the past several weeks have been scary as I have felt like once you’re in the late teens/early twenties weeks of your pregnancy, you’re somewhat in open water.  You’re far enough along where something tragic could happen, but not far enough along for anyone to be able to do anyting to stop it.

Had I not experienced bleeding last month (and way too much googling over what SCH’s can lead to), I probably wouldn’t be so focused on this.  But, at the moment it’s the only thing keeping me sane as I’ve continued to dream up new fears every week.

On Monday of this week I had an appointment with the MFM doctor.  This was an appointment requested by me to check in on my SCH.  The MFM said he did not see it, only a marginal sinus (I believe this is a placental lake?) which was not a threat, and not the same thing as an SCH. In addition, I have had no fresh blood in 5 weeks and no old blood in 3 weeks. The fear has not left entirely but I did feel marginally comforted after the appointment.  They also did my fetal echo (required for all IVF patients), and fortunately it was perfect!

Something that has been bothering me a bit is the onset of Braxton Hicks.  I seem to have started them earlier and with more frequency than other first time mom’s.  Mine started around 19w and I can have up to 10-12 per day, though not every day.  Of course it didn’t take long for that to instill the fear of PTL in me.  Plus, they are just plain uncomfortable.  I’m trying to rest as much as possible and drink a lot of water.

I have also started to feel the baby move, which is amazing but also kind of weird!  It feels like a little snake swimming around in there. But I love knowing that it’s an experience that only baby and I will share. My bump has popped and there is no mistaking now that I am pregnant.  I still haven’t purchased a single thing as I don’t feel ready to do so, though I am starting to get pressure from my family and husband to begin preparing.  With (hopefully) a full 19 weeks to go, I feel I have plenty of time left.

18 weeks: living in fear

It has been exactly 2 weeks since my bleeding episode and my fear and anxiety since then has only escalated, despite all signs pointing towards resolution of the bleed.

I had a follow up scan a week ago which showed what was determined to be two small subchorionic bleeds, each estimated at about 2cm. The OB and midwife told me these were no big deal and they were reassured to have such a benign explanation for the bleeding I’d had.  I ignored their reassurances and ran home to spend the next 48 hours googling. What I found was… scary.  Many sources say these types of bleeds in the 2nd trimester are more dangerous than in the first tri and elevate your risk for all sorts of scary complications and tragedies.

Two days after that scan as the old blood started to taper off, I became paranoid that I was leaking amniotic fluid, so back to the OB I went.  Despite the midwife’s reassurance that everything looked normal, including my fluid levels on ultrasound and the negative litmus paper test, I remained unconvinced.  I have spent the past 5 days petrified every time I get up that my water is going to break. Or that I am going to find out at my next scan that I have been leaking after all and have no fluid left.  This is beyond just an average worry. It’s a compulsive, obessive fear that I cannot stop fixating on.

I feel that my pregnancy has been totally ruined. I had exactly 7 days of pure happiness and confidence in the week leading up to this whole ordeal and now I am worse off than ever. I cringe when my family discusses plans for the baby’s arrival in February because I no longer believe there will be a live healthy baby brought home in February.  I cringe again when I write those words because I wonder if, in the off chance there was going to be a baby born in February, did I just tempt fate by questioning it?

I am going insane.  Completely insane.  I feel an emotional misery and pain that I can’t adequately put into words.  This is absolute torture.  And I feel like such an ingrate and wimp for complaining this way as I know I am so lucky to be pregnant.  But I am struggling big time with the anxiety, as well as mourning the loss of any hope of a normal happy pregnancy.