3rd Trimester!

At 27 weeks + 5 days today, I am, for all intents and purposes, in the 3rd trimester. I can’t believe it.  For 3 years I dreamed of what it would be like to enjoy the holiday season, my favorite time of year, full of hope with a big round belly.  It is surreal that this is actually happening.  Just one year ago, I sat home with my husband on Christmas Eve and watched movies because family celebrations were too painful.  Two years ago, I ran out of church crying because I was overwhelmed with fear, loss and emotion.

I was overcome with hope and happiness in the waiting room of my OB this morning, as I looked around at the Christmas decorations and heard the holiday music playing, and realized that I am living what I have dreamed of for years – Being happy, healthy and pregnant during this special time of year.

I am not without any fears or cares – Typing this still gives me anxiety, as the thought creeps into my mind – Christmas is still 4 weeks away, anything can happen between now and then.  But today I am trying to focus on the positive and keep the worries at bay as much as I can. I had my first growth scan today and all looked perfect. Baby is estimated at 2lb 10 oz today and in the 50th percentile.  Right on track! I was shocked and disappointed to face the fact that I have gained 35 pounds so far, but knowing my baby is healthy makes it worth it.  Plus I found out that I passed my 1 hour glucose test, so I know to some degree my health is not in danger.

I did learn that the baby is breech as of right now, but the midwife said there is plenty of time for that to change.  I am going to try not to worry about it right now and see what happens at my next scan. I found out today that I’ll be getting ultrasounds every 4 weeks due to my mild hypothyroidism.  Now that I am in my last trimester, I am being seen every 2 weeks total, which is great.

I felt good enough after today’s appointment to start ordering some things for the baby. I chose and ordered a diaper bag, along with a few other items.   I am sure my anxiety will ramp back up in the next few days but for today I am enjoying feeling hopeful and happy.

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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.

 

The past 24 hours…

Have been terrifying.

Yesterday I was working from home and got up to get something to eat. I felt a warm heavy drip and thought for a second I might have lost control of my bladder.  Then my heart dropped, and I knew before I even looked that it was blood.

I ran to the bathroom and cleaned myself up while I called the OB.  They acted quickly and told me to come in immediately for an ultrasound.  Somehow I made the drive downtown and rushed in, my husband met me there.  Over the next hour or two I had two different types of ultrasound and an exam by the midwife.  There was more blood after they used the more invasive ultrasound wand and after the midwife did an exam.

They found that the baby looked perfect, my cervix was long and closed and no signs of any placental problems. They attempted to test for amniotic fluid but it must have been contaminated by the blood as they weren’t able to get a result.  The doctor came in and said it could be nothing or it could be the start of a miscarriage.  They sent me home promising to get me in with the MFM department for a better scan this morning.

I went home terrified and praying that bleeding and cramping wouldn’t pick up and turn into a full miscarriage.  Oddly enough the bleeding stopped completely overnight, like a faucet that had quickly been turned on then off.

I was able to get in to see the MFM doctor first thing this morning and they did a long, thorough scan of every square inch of the baby and placenta.  The baby looked absolutely perfect and again they found no evidence of a low-lying placenta or fluid issues. The doctor was much more encouraging than the OB last night and said the bleeding is very common and many times they find no cause at all. In the absence of placenta previa or a large pocket of blood behind the placenta, they are not too concerned.  He did mention seeing some pools of blood near the edge of my placenta which he expected could cause more bleeding.

For now I am resting at home and feeling hopeful but very, very scared.  This pregnancy was already riddled with anxiety, and that was when it was going perfectly.  Now I feel like a ticking time bomb.  I am still experiencing some bleeding though far less, and not the scary bright red it was before.  I am praying it will stop, as every time I see blood will send me into a new panic.

Is unexplained bleeding that is totally benign in the second trimester a real thing?  I don’t understand how you can bleed and no one can tell you where it is coming from. I am finding it difficult to relax as my mind keeps going to all the worst case scenarios.

New trimester, new fears

I’ve made it into the second trimester! Today I am 15 weeks 2 days.  However, I have noticed as I have transitioned from 1st to second trimester, I have also taken on a whole new list of fears and worries.

Through the first trimester, I was worried about early miscarriage, or abnormal results from the first tri screening tests. Now that I have solidly heard my baby’s heartbeat every week, I have put that fear aside and moved on to fears about pre-term labor, amniotic fluid issues, incompetent cervix.. The list goes on.

Last Sunday I was convinced I was leaking fluid. Commence 48 hours of obsessive googling.  Then when I realized things all seemed normal, I moved on to obsessing over whether my cervix will hold up for 25 more weeks.  I had an ultrasound a few days ago and asked the tech to measure my cervix. It measured somewhere in the 3’s and she looked at me like I was crazy for even asking if that was normal.  Fast forward 2 days, I decide to no longer take her word for it that my measurement was fine, and start more obsessive googling.  Finding that most people have longer cervixes at this time, I begin panicking that mine will give out.

This is just a small taste of the mounting fear and anxiety I have been experiencing lately.  My mother and husband staged an intervention of sorts and insisted I commit to minimizing my worry and trying to enjoy my pregnancy.  (If it were as easy as just deciding to enjoy and not worry, I would have done that 3 months ago).  I keep hearing people say that they were finally able to breathe once the 1st tri was over, but I have found myself only increasingly petrified.  And I’m sure the terror of my anatomy scan will set in as that gets closer.

I have not been to see my therapist in several weeks, and have decided its time to start attending therapy regularly again. I am hoping she can help me figure out some better coping methods for my anxiety. I am starting to feel like I am the only person in the world who can’t just relax and enjoy this. It has emotionally been so difficult, as not only do I struggle with the anxiety, but also the overwhelming sadness of realizing that I can’t just enjoy and feel happy about this goal I have worked so hard to achieve.