As the title suggests, I’m still pregnant! Four weeks ago, Ben and I were informed that I had a 50% chance of delivering our daughter by 28 weeks. We were exceedingly aware of the possibility of having an extremely premature daughter that required months of NICU time and could have severe disabilities or fatal complications. It was emotionally draining.
My previous posts describe my two hospitalizations. After the second hospitalization I was discharged home on bedrest. The first few weeks of bedrest were challenging. I initially felt pretty sick and fatigued from all of the medications I was given. But sleep did not come easy with my nightmares and night sweats. But as the days passed, those symptoms eventually subsided. Then came the intense anxiety. When my body decided to have frequent contractions, I’d wonder if they’d let up or worsen and progress. When I noticed watery discharge, I worried that I was leaking amniotic fluid. On top of the anxiety, I generally just felt unwell. Normal pregnancy symptoms like heartburn, bloating and headaches were coupled with side effects of bedrest, most notably aches and soreness of my back and hips that were so intense they would wake me from sleep in tears.
I still have this anxiety. And I still feel unwell. But I’m finding ways to manage both of these things, although I definitely have better days and worse days.
I’m grateful to still be pregnant, and I’m so relieved with each passing day. I’m grateful for my wonderful family and friends, who have been supportive throughout this. I’m grateful for my job, and my wonderfully understanding bosses and coworkers. And I’m grateful for you, the readers of this blog, who reach out and share stories and well wishes. Its means more to me than you know.
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!