Hi there! Thank you for stopping by my blog! I’ve been blogging for the past few years and I still have a hard time figuring out what to write on this page! I always start off with the basics: My name is Amber. I’m 29. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and I moved to Minnesota in 2013 for my internal medicine residency training. Residency was a busy, stressful and emotional time. And while I’m extremely satisfied with the training I got, I’m also extremely happy its over! I finally starting to get my life back. I’d be happy to answer questions about medical school or residency if you have any, don’t hesitate to ask anything!
Let’s see. Other things about me…
I’m currently pregnant with my first baby! Its a girl 🙂 Ben and I also have two cats and a dog.
I love working out… or at least I love what it does for my body and mind. I prioritize working out every day (or at least 5/7!).
Learning about Buddhism, yoga and mindfulness has been a passion of mine for years… and is a serious work in progress.
Money and finance is another one of my interests. Its so important, but not super exciting to learn about.
I’m obsessed with Indian food. And wine (miss it). And coffee.
I like traveling, but I also love to be at home! I miss home when I’m away.
Tidbits from childhood: I’m the middle child. I have an older brother and a younger sister. And a million pets of all varieties. Both my parents worked and I went to daycare. I played soccer (from age 6 to college) and dabbled with swimming, gymnastics and volleyball. I went to public school and was a bit of a slacker until my last year of high school.
Like I say often, thanks for stopping by this blog and spending some time here. It means a lot to me. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!
Like I’ve said in previous posts, life is unpredictable. I never would have expected to go from having a seemingly normal, complication-free pregnancy at 20 weeks to threatened pre-term labor from 23 weeks onward. Its no fun. What has happened since my last post?
I went to see my regular OB the day after we got back from California. The appointment was uneventful. She checked my cervix and felt it was unchanged from the previous exam’s report. She told me to follow up with a high risk OB (perinatologist), and this was scheduled for 5 days later. I felt fine in the days between appointments. My contractions were persistent, but not painful. I relaxed for a few days and eventually went back to work.
Unfortunately, the perinatologist appointment did not go as expected, to say the least. We knew my cervix was going to be measured again with a transvaginal ultrasound. That’s how the appointment started. Ben and I watched the monitor as the ultrasound tech took some measurements of my cervix. The measurements were around 0.5cm (previously 1.6cm and >2.5cm is considered “normal”). The tech didn’t speak with us during the exam. After she finished she looked a bit flustered and told me to wait there (on my back with my feet in stirrups like a pelvic exam). “The doctor will probably want to take a look.” She rushed from the room without any further explanation. Not comforting. About fifteen minutes later the perinatologist came in. He explained that my cervix was short and funneled, and he needed to do a cervical check to assess if it was dilated. So he did. And it was, but just a little, but with “bulging membranes.” He told us that we should go home to grab some essentials and drive over to the Mother & Baby Center for steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs mature in case I deliver early (50% chance of delivery before 28 weeks, he told us). The admission would be three days long due to the spacing of the steroid shots. After that I could go home.
We did as instructed. When we arrived at the hospital we were admitted fairly quickly. And then all sorts of things started to happen. I received the first steroid shot, yes. But then I was hooked up to numerous monitors, IV’s were placed, magnesium and IV fluids were started and I was given numerous oral medications. We had no idea what was happening. And I was panicking. Did they think I was in labor?
The coming days were no better. On top of the medications making me feel absolutely awful, I had continued anxiety about the entire situation. It remained difficult to put together what was happening. Some providers made me believe delivery was imminent, and others emphasized that there is just no way to predict delivery. I know now that I was given medications to minimize contractions to halt potential labor and “buy time” for steroid administration. They didn’t know at the time whether my contractions would lead to active labor. Thankfully, they didn’t.
After 4 days in the hospital I was finally discharged (with modified bedrest precautions). I’ve been home for almost a week now and will be 26 weeks pregnant tomorrow. I know that, although high risk for preterm delivery, its impossible to know whether I’ll go into labor today or at, say, 34 weeks. My next big milestone is 28 weeks, but each day that goes by is a small victory. This isn’t something I planned on blogging about, but I think its important to share.
We’re all aware of all the infinite number of awful things that life can hand us. Something will eventually happen to all of us (or lots of somethings…). Being in the medical field seems to make me hyper-aware of this. But knowing something bad can happen (or even assuming something bad will happen) can never prepare you for when an event actually does occur.
Fetal viability is 24 weeks. So contractions and bleeding before then? Not good. Very not good. Warning about some TMI and mildly graphic stuff in this post, as to be expected based on the topic. I thought about leaving certain events and descriptions out, but I didn’t really see the point. If you’re not comfortable reading this type of thing, you should probably stop reading now…
Ben and I were in California for his brother’s wedding. I was 23 weeks pregnant. No complications. Super healthy. Feeling great. It was supposed to be a great weekend with plenty of good conversation, amazing (Indian!!) food and fun activities (like Mehndi night where the women have henna done!).
Ben and I flew into California on a Friday. Traveling is no fun when pregnant, but it went fine. We went to dinner Friday night, got done fairly early, went back to the hotel, and had sex (see, the TMI is starting…). Since I got pregnant, I’ve consistently had mild contractions after sex. But this time, I had painful, regular contractions and low back pain. I didn’t know why they were so painful. It felt like what I assumed labor would feel like. But in my mind there was no way this could represent labor contractions. It was way too early. So I tried my best to ignore them. They eventually lessened and I went to sleep.
I felt normal by the morning, so I didn’t even think twice before having sex again. Sounds like a bad idea in retrospect, huh? But sex was normal, not painful or different in any way. And I didn’t have any painful contractions afterwards (just my normal ones). But what I did find I had was bleeding. Lots of bleeding. The-bathroom-looks-like-a-murder-scene type of bleeding. I showered and cleaned up (because, why not?). We gave the bleeding a good 1-2 hours to slow before calling my OB, who recommended to get seen soon if the bleeding didn’t stop.
The bleeding didn’t stop. Nor did the mild contractions, which caused even more bleeding. We looked up hospitals with OB in the area (making sure it was at least partially covered by insurance), and we went in. We were roomed super fast and I got hooked up to all the monitors. Then the workup started. Vitals were good. The ultrasound showed baby was wiggling all over the place, there was a lot of amniotic fluid and the placenta was in a good spot. All good. The pelvic exam showed a good amount of blood in the vagina, but no signs of active bleeding. Not super helpful. She then checked my cervix, which was soft and just a touch open. Not great, seeing as it should be hard and closed. Because of this they decided to monitor me.
Shortly after they left the room my contractions got worse. They quickly placed and IV and hooked me up to IV fluids and gave me a shot of terbutaline with hopes this would stop the contractions. While it didn’t totally stop them, it did help. At least for awhile. They kept coming, but with decreased frequency. They were pretty similar to the painless contractions I’d had for weeks. The OB rechecked my cervix about 4-5 hours later and there was no change, which meant labor was not progressing. Good news. I got a formal ultrasound done to measure my cervical length. We hoped that it’d be normal and therefore reassuring, but it wasn’t. I did have significant cervical shortening, which means I’m at increased risk for preterm labor. After discussing with the OB, we decided to go home. I was discharged with vaginal progesterone to decrease my chances of preterm labor, and instructions to “take it easy.” I am still planning on working as long as my body can handle it. But no more intense exercise. No more sex. And essentially nothing else that could cause significant stress on my body.
We’re back home now. Things are going ok. I have a lot of anxiety, especially when my contractions get more frequent/ stronger. I know worrying doesn’t help, and I’m working on finding ways to deal with it. Its a process. And we’ll be taking it one day at a time over here!
Weight Gain: No idea. Haven’t weighed myself (and have no urge to do so).
Diet & Exercise: This is going fairly well. I’m still tracking what I eat on myfitnesspal. I’ve found my body is pretty good at telling me when and how much I need to eat. As long as I don’t allow myself to have a high calorie dessert I’m usually ok. I do crave dessert, but instead of eating ice cream or something, most days I do mini desserts like sugar free jello with a crushed Oreo, grapes with whipped cream or baked banana with frozen yogurt. As far as exercise goes, I’m still working out for one hour, most days of the week. I can still handle my regular workouts (yoga or “power yoga”) with minor modifications. Although they’re getting harder, I think I’ll be able to continue them for at least another month or two.
Maternity Clothes: Workout clothes have been my big issue recently. My pre-pregnancy ones are so tight they leave deep red, painful marks… on top of looking ridiculous. Especially bras. I’ve bought one new sports bra thus far (just a size up from what I usually wear), and it feels amazing every time I wear it. But its sold out now, of course. I have two more gorgeous bras on the way. I’m a little nervous my boobs will fall out of the first one (its expensive so I’d be happy to return it), but I have high hopes for the second. Tights are a little trickier. I don’t really like my belly fully covered, but low rise tights are way too tight around my hips/ low stomach. The only pair of tights that’s been working out so far is this Lululemon pair. I actually bought them before pregnancy and loved them then, too. Kinda a bummer that they’ll get all stretched out. Oh well. For regular, non-workout clothes I’ve just been browsing eBay. I have a few things on the way, nothing spectacular.
Raves: Overall I feel great! I’m excited to have a mini bump. Its just big enough to look like baby belly instead of chunky belly, but not so big that it really gets in the way or is hard to deal with. I can see why the second trimester is the best one! I also love feeling her move around. And her movement isn’t too disruptive thanks to that anterior placenta!
Rants: There will be some TMI in this section from now on. Fair warning. Lets start with the easy things. Back pain. Its still there, and it can get really bad. It made sleeping impossible until I got my amazing pregnancy pillow. I still have to pee all night (and day), but that’s not going to change. Heartburn and reflux are new. Its like mini vomiting. Disgusting. And then there’s the constipation. Its bad. If I don’t get it under control I’m gonna end up with hemorrhoids. Water + fiber + miralax better work. And lastly for today, linea nigra. You know, that dark line down the belly that some pregnant women get. Its starting.
Happy or Moody: Happy!
Preparation: Ben and I have not bought anything. We haven’t even started to look for baby stuff, unless looking for a new house counts?
Looking forward to: A family wedding this weekend! It’ll be busy, but I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun, even without alcohol. I’m pretty excited to have found dresses that actually fit, too (that took a lot of searching!). Also still looking forward to finding our first house. We looked at 7 or 8 so far and they were all no’s. Other than that, just kind of enjoying each day!