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Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Pregnancy Story

I was one of the lucky ones. My pregnancy was fairly easy, no complications or neonatal issues. I did not have morning sickness, just a feeling of motion sickness or lightheaded ness once in a while when I was washing my hair.  I didn't have gestational diabetes, which I was worried I would because diabetes is all over my family medical history.  I was very relieved when I got that test result back.  I didn't have preeclampsia, which sounds scary and often ends up with the pregnant lady on bed rest. Almost the entire time was really easy.  My hair looked great, my nails got nice and long and hard (usually I end up biting them because they're so brittle when they get long), my skin looked awesome, and I carried all in the front.  Some people say it's because I had a boy, I'm not sure if that's the reason, but I'll take it. The only complaint I had really was my lack of energy. I was SO tired. Like all the time. There were times when I would be texting my husband and fall asleep mid text to wake up a few hours later to nonsense on my screen.

"How's your day goin todssssssfssfsfsffsfssfsfssfffff"

The first trimester was interesting.  I had no idea what to expect, and I said everything I was feeling out loud to my husband. Mostly because it was new and it was weird, but also to keep him in the loop of how this whole pregnancy thing was going. They say you don't feel your baby move until you're about 16 weeks, mothers who have been pregnant before can feel them move earlier because they know the feeling and can recognize it. One night while laying in bed at 14 weeks pregnant, I felt something weird.  It wasn't gas, it wasn't painful.  It almost felt like a fish bumping into the side of its fishbowl.  "Could this be the baby?!" I got so excited I felt like I almost couldn't fall back asleep, but I was pregnant so I fell back asleep in about three seconds. "It's the baby moving!!  Was it?  I think it was! Yay! I'm pregnant and I can feel the baby moving! ...I think. Oh man how exciting, I can't wait to tell Dan in the morning!  Oh man I never gonna be able to fall back asleep, I'm too excited! Yay baby!  Baby moving insi- Zzzzzzz" 

At 18 weeks I definitely felt the baby move, and it was the same feeling I had at 14 weeks.  

At 20 weeks the doctors order a special sonogram called the Anatomy Scan.  I've read that they could take up to an hour to do, so I was prepared for a long day.  It's also the same scan where they could tell you if you're carrying a boy or a girl, if you want to know.  Surprises are nice, but I am way too excited and impatient to wait that long to find out if it's a boy or a girl. I could barely wait to 20 weeks! I scheduled the scan on a day when Dan would have off from work so we could both find out together who was checked in at Hotel Becca.  Gender Reveal parties are all the rage on Pinterest, and while I don't want to be "one of those" Pinterest people, I kinda liked the idea of telling everybody at once instead of making a ton of phone calls repeating myself a bunch of times. So we had planned a family dinner at our house that night and invited both sides of the family. I thought about doing the cake reveal: a white frosted cake on the outside, but when you cut into it it has either pick or blue icing for whatever kind of baby you're having.  But I didn't want to go out and purchase this cake, and I didn't really want to make everyone wait until dessert to find out what it was, especially since Dan and I would already know. So I purchased both "it's a boy" and "it's a girl" decorations from the dollar store along with a few gender specific colored balloons. I would decorate the house with the correct decorations once we knew, and return the incorrect decorations later. I figured this way, people would know as they came in the house, and I wouldn't have to repeat myself! 😜

The scan itself did take a while. In addition to telling you what gender the baby is, they look at everything, and I mean EVERYTHING and take measurements, pictures, video, all sorts of stuff. Our sonographer was very nice and pointed everything out to us.  It's really hard to tell exactly what it is, but if you squiiiiiint... It's still hard to tell. You just kinda gotta take their word for it.  "There are the kidneys, and the baby's belly..."   "Oh okay, if you say so!" After she was done going all over the body, taking video of the heart, taking video of the umbilical cord, measurements of everything, counting all the bones, finally it was the moment of truth!  "Do you want to know what the baby is?"  YES! YEEEEEES! Yes please! Ive only been waiting since I found out I was pregnant!!!  "Uhh... Yeah, sure" I answered all calm and collected. I have three nephews, the last girl to be born in the family was me. A girl would be a welcomed blessing, but teenage girls scare the crap out of me. I know boys, but a young boy who gets messy all the time scared me too.  I scare easily apparently.  I didn't know what I wanted, I just wanted to know! "There's the baby's legs, and the baby's bottom.  And - are you sure you want to know?"  "Yes please!" Dan and I were both locked on this teeny black and white screen that showed the person who would change our lives forever. Finally it wouldn't be an "it"!  "Okay, there's the baby's right and left leg and in between are..... Boy parts!" I don't know if it was the use of the phrase 'boy parts' or the fact that I finally knew what 'it' was, or if it was because this would be the 85th boy born in our families but I laughed. I laughed hard. 

That evening everybody had a wonderful time and they were all so excited to finally know too.  My sister Ingrid was especially relieved to know it's a boy, her son Archer would be closest in age to my baby boy and they live so close, they'll be fast friends.  Now we just had to come up with a boy name... 

All of the excitement and euphoria was a little short lived for me unfortunately.  The doctors had me go back for the same type of scan numerous times. And they all took a while so the sonographer could get clear pictures of what they needed to see.  They had my lay on my side, on my other side, they had me drink juice to get the baby to move into a convenient position for them.  I offered to do some jumping jacks if that would help get the baby in the right place but they said that wasn't necessary. Then I got a call from the doctor. I was driving at the time so I missed the call. On my voicemail was my actual doctor, not a nurse, not a representative. Doctors don't usually do that. I called back immediately as soon as I was parked, but the way my doctors office is set up is you call a call center and they have the doctor call you back.  A bit annoying when you're trying to find out something.   When she called back she stated that I needed to come back for yet another scan because they couldn't find something in the brain.  What?! That sounds seriously serious!  "We need you to come in for a high risk - I mean - high resolution scan at our special office in Middletown." I almost feel like I wasn't even on the phone, I was watching a puppet of myself on the phone just responding with one or two word replies.  "Wait - am I high risk?" I managed to blurt out.  "No, no I just misspoke". That's a hell of a thing to misspeak, lady. 
I  freaked myself out.  I thought of every possible brain disorder there was and convinced myself that my baby had it.  Could I handle a child with cerebral palsy or autism or even worse... what if my baby is brain dead and wont have a life?  I scared myself so much, I sobbed on my way home. I just found out I'm having a son, and now..... 
I remember being so upset, sitting in my living room looking at the boxes of baby furniture my dad purchased for us that we didn't set up yet and thinking I'd have to return it.  I remember thinking my sisters would need to cancel the shower they were probably planning me. I remember thinking my baby was already gone. Pregnancy hormones and over worrying are a bitch. 
But thankfully at the high resolution scan, everything was fine. The sonographer could tell I was panicking and asked me what they were looking for, I explained the situation to her, and after about five minutes she said to me "Your baby's brain is totally fine." I was so relieved, the doctor came in afterwards and confirmed that everything was okay and they had the images they needed. I didn't have to come back for more scans. I could go home and relax. It was the first time I felt like a mother. I made myself sick with worry, I just wanted my baby to be healthy. And he was. 
The following  weeks and months, my bump grew. And grew and grew and grew.  I didn't have anymore sonograms so I didn't get to see the little guy in there, but all of my prenatal appointments were all going very well.  Every doctor in the practice agreed that I was progressing well and everything was on track. The last major test (one I was not looking forward to) was the Glucose Test. This was to test if you have gestational diabetes. I have a family history of diabetes and I'm over weight, so I was almost convinced I'd test positive for it.  And it's a long test. And they prick you three times for blood.  And you can't leave. But after drinking the juice that tasted like flat Sunkist, and three hours and three needle pokes later... I was done. I managed to complete the blanket I was crocheting for my baby while I was there too.  And I didn't test positive. Yay! I can eat ICECREAM during my pregnancy!!! 
The summer went on and got hotter and hotter, and my pregnancy became more and more uncomfortable. I had awful pain in my right hip that made me waddle more than the average bear. Be an, it sucked. My ankles and feet started to swell so bad that I had to buy shoes that slip on without laces.

After you're around 34 weeks pregnant the doctors ask to see you once a week. It wouldn't have been so bad if my doctors office were more organized. Each time I went I waited in the waiting room for at least an hour and then waited in the exam room for another half hour. I unfortunately couldn't crochet anymore because my hands would cramp up very easily. Thank god for smart phones. The exam rooms were so stuffy that sometimes while waiting in there with my clothes from the waist down removed my ass would stick to the paper on the exam table. Talk about embarrassing. The doctor would come in and say, "okay, slide forward to the end of the table" and I'd say, "Uhh.. I can't, I'm stuck to the paper."  One time the doctor had me stand up and helped me peel the stupid paper from my bare ass. How wonderfully embarrassing.  The doctor checked me out and told me she couldn't tell if the baby was head down or not. She mentioned doing a sonogram at the next visit. I asked to be examined first before the sonogram to see if it was even necessary (I really didn't want to have to get that gloopy lube on my big ass belly. They never give me enough paper towels to clean myself off.)  She agreed and mentioned that if the baby is head up that they'll have to do a C-Section.  I was only 35 weeks at this point, why the fuck would they mention a C-Section to me NOW?!  The baby could flip the day I go into labor.  I'm skeptical of doctors in the first place, and this had me thinking that they were C-Section happy at that office.  That same appointment I got the tDap vaccine. I originally didn't want to get it, I hate shots and how common is Whopping Cough anyway? But I caved in due to the pressure from my doctor, the nurses, and the women on my August 2015 Bump group online.  I was fine until I walked out. I sat down on a bench outside and called my husband to complain about the long wait, the paper on my ass, and the mention of a C-Section. Oh, and the shot. I was complaining a lot these days so he knew how to quickly calm me down.  Thank goodness for my wonderful husband, he's more supportive than the best bra.  After the phone call, I had to limp to the car. My hip was seriously bothering me, ohhh man did it hurt.  When I got home I limped up the stairs even slower than I had before.   It took me seven minutes to get to my front door, by the time I got inside my house I couldn't move my right leg. It was just... there. It was dead weight. I moved my left leg and dragged the right leg behind me. Five hours of dealing with one leg, I deceided to call the doctor and find out what was going on, but as I got up to get the phone the pain magically went away. I decided it was from the tDap shot and never thought about it again. Luckily the pain in my leg/hip never got that bad again for the rest of the pregnancy.
9 weeks left, 6 weeks left, 3 weeks left
The next appointment I saw a different doctor (there are three in the practice and they want you to see all three during your pregnancy because there's no saying who will be on call when you deliver).  I waited two hours for that appointment.  So already I was in a wonderful mood when I got the exam room.  He examined me first and couldn't tell if the baby was head down or not.  He wanted to do a sonogram but had to have me come back the next day because it was after 5 pm and the sonographer already went home (my appointment was 2:45 mind you).  He also mentioned that if the baby is breech they'll have to do a C-Section. When I walked out of there I was pissed. Damn C-Section happy doctors making me wait so fucking long I have to come back tomorrow. Bastards.
At the sonogram the baby was head down.  Not breech. A natural vaginal birth was still possible.  

At this point everyone was anxious. Every day I'd get facebook messages from people with suggestions on how to go into labor, I'd get asked if I had the baby yet, I'd get the whole "Oh you must be miserable..."   Yes. I must.

Even the apps I used to track my pregnancy were basically asking me "Baby yet??"

My due date came and went and everybody was getting impatient. And I was getting bitchier. It was hot, I was huge, and everybody's "helpful suggestions" were no longer welcome. Everything was a nuisance.  

I never thought I would ever want to ask for an induction, but at the next doctor's appointment I expressed my uncomforts to the doc and basically asked for an induction. It was August 20th and I was due on August 18th. I wasn't too far overdue, but man oh man was I uncomfortable.  In fact, the word uncomfortable wasn't cutting it anymore, I needed a stronger word. But I couldn't think of one.  Thanks, pregnancy brain.  The doctor had done some tests and said they could induce me on Tuesday.  I was so excited! Finally an end in sight! I could see my baby in a few days!  I could've done backflips if my feet weren't so swollen! 
But... wait.

The doctor came back in the room not even two minutes later and says "I've looked at your chart, and your due date is wrong"   I stared blankly back at him.  I went for anatomy scans four times, and at one I asked if my due date was accurate because I was given a window when I first got pregnant.  The doctor there (the SPECIAL doctor there) told me it was too late to change the due date and that the 18th was accurate.  She told me this at 21 weeks.  Now he's telling me at 40 weeks that my due date was incorrect this whole time.  My new due date was August 21st.  So not only was I not overdue, I wasn't even due.  And he can't/won't induce me that Tuesday.   I was equal parts disappointed and livid. Three doctors (four if you count the specialist I saw for that special scan) have been looking at my chart all this time and they only caught this incorrect date now.  A MAJOR oversight.  I left there with no induction, no progress, nothing new.  Just bullshit. In fact, it was kind of a step backwards. 

My next appointment was scheduled for August 27th. It seemed so far away.  The night before my appointment, on one of my many during-the-night-bathroom-runs, my musuc plug fell out.  From what I've read online it could mean labor is a few hours away or a few days away. I woke up my husband while I looked at the bedsheets to see if there was anything on the bed.  Nope, clean bed. False alarm.  Go back to sleep, I thought, If you're going to have contractions they'll wake you up. You should sleep, you'll need energy to push this baby out if you are going into labor.

But the next morning I was woken up by my husband and his alarm clock. No contractions. The sunrise was beautiful, so I took a picture. Little did I know it was the sunrise of my sons birthday. 

Stay tuned for A Birth Story....