Monday, September 26, 2011

37 Weeks 5 Days: Just a Practice Run

I felt pretty good Sunday morning before heading off to church thanks to the oodles of rest I got on Saturday from staying at home and lying in bed most of the day. I did have to miss my brother's 50th birthday party to get that much needed rest, so here's a tribute to him:

Happy 50th birthday, Philip!

 After sitting through the church service and stopping by work for about 20 minutes, I felt like I had worked all day long. I didn't know how I could feel so bad after feeling so good just a few hours earlier, but I decided to take a shower and head to bed really early. The longer I lay there, however, the more uncomfortable I became. I told my husband that I feared my water could break at any moment. It felt like it was bulging, and I was so sore. Then, I reported that maybe I was having . . . CONTRACTIONS! (Emphasized for dramatic effect because I'm pretty sure that's how Daddy heard me say the word.) After consulting two experienced mommies and arguing back and forth about what we should do (Daddy wants to go to the hospital and Mommy wants to stay home because she sees a sleepless night ahead of her), we realized these (gulp!) contractions were suddenly coming very close together, like every three to five minutes. I tell Daddy I'm not leaving unless he showers and shaves (he doesn't argue with me remembering our close call on Gabriel's birthday). Then, I sneak in a quick load of dishes, sweep the kitchen floor, take out the trash, and clean off the dining room table (you can't give birth with a sink full of dirty dishes) while he's in the shower. Oh, and I give my toenails a quick coat of pink, then I'm ready to take off (well, after I spend about 30 minutes telling Daddy what to pack in my suitcase).

We arrived at the hospital at about 1:30AM.

 The contraction monitor quickly revealed that I was, indeed, having contractions every three to five minutes. You know, I wouldn't have known those were contractions if it had been my first pregnancy. I just wasn't in enough pain, only uncomfortable. I was only pretty sure they were because it was a pain that was continuously starting and stopping. They did not feel at all like my contractions with Gabriel, though. His was pressure bearing straight down. These were slight, quick piercing pains on my lower right--kinda weird. Of course, I got checked right away, and I was very surprised I had not changed from my previous one to two centimeters dilated. I couldn't believe it. An hour and a half later, I was still contracting, but my cervix remained the same. My doctor had me stay the night and wait to see how I was in the morning when she was able to come in. My contractions were completely subsided by then. She rechecked me, but I am still the same one to two centimeters. It was false labor. 
That's so weird, right? I never thought I'd be leaving the hospital pregnant after feeling those contractions coming so quickly and progressively stronger. Daddy, I know, was disappointed. He is ready for me to quit hogging his little girl. Mommy, on the other hand, is relieved. She needs to stay in there just a little longer. I don't want to pump because my baby is in the nursery getting help breathing; I want to nurse--skin to skin, chest to chest. I need her to heal me in that moment. Then, I'll spend the rest of my life repaying her for it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

37 Weeks 3 Days: Signs

Constantly feeling sore and swollen "down there," especially when I'm walking around all day at work.

Baby dropped even lower.

Lost mucus plug Thursday afternoon.

Light pink streaks on the toilet paper this morning.

Less movement from baby.

Can't stop cleaning, packing our bags, unpacking, repacking.

I really want her to stay in for 11 more days. I want a 39 week baby. I want the dream birth. But, the dream birth is really one that is followed up by coming home . . . with my living, breathing, real-life baby. I think what I really want is to be in control. I had no control with my other two. The pregnancies (and the babies) just disappeared suddenly, with no warning. Suddenly going into labor with Gabriel was very scary--and sad. Ever since I lost my plug on Thursday, I've been moping around like it's the end while everyone else is celebrating a new beginning for me. There's a part of me that doesn't really believe this is happening--a part of me that is still so afraid that something could make her disappear, too.

Okay, Mommies. Please tell me your experiences with mucus plugs and pink streaks. What does it mean? When does it mean?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

36 Weeks 4 Days: Just One of the Preggos

Okay. So there weren't near as many pregnant ladies at the FFF (Fall Fun Fest) this year. Last year, they were everywhere, and it was all people that I knew from high school. Last year, the FFF was only eight months after I had Gabriel and just one week after my miscarriage of Tater Tot. Last year I was a wreck--emotionally and physically. I was in so much pain in every way a person can hurt. But it didn't matter. I had a job to do. I had to be my husband's employee, which meant being bossed around in a high-pressure, high-stress situation instead of being comforted and consoled by the only person who had lost as much as I had. There wasn't time for all that. I had to be Mrs. Skinny and serve shake-ups and BBQ nachos with a smile.

But God loves me more than I deserve. As I reread last year's post (linked above), I sat and cried, remembering the never-ending pain of 2010; it's so close and so fresh that I still feel the sting, but then Little Sister moves inside of me, and I feel the cool breath of my Father blowing on my wounds to take the hurt away. Reading last year's Fairfield Fall Fun Fest post and comparing it to my experience last night humbles me. He loves me, and He answers my prayers:

ASKING WHY - Friday September 17, 2010I have told many people that I learned from my experience with Gabriel not to ask why - not to ask why bad things happen to good people, not to ask, "Why me?" But tonight I'm really tired, and I don't have the strength or self-control to prevent myself from asking such a dangerous, self-destructive question. So, I'll take the bait that has been dangling in front of me all day.......WHY??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why can't I be one of the pregnant bellies?
One year later, I'm so pregnant I could just pop!

Why can't I be a part of the joyous conversations about due dates, gender, morning sickness, baby showers, and the excitement of an upcoming miracle?
One year later, all I talked about all night with admirers of my baby bump was the upcoming due date, how much fun it is to be expecting a girl, and what a miracle she is.

Why do I have to work my butt off selling barbeque nachos and standing on my feet all day long when I should be sitting up on a pedestal right now because I am way too busy with the most important job in the world?
Much to everyone's dismay, we did not have concessions this year. Instead, we strolled the festival at a leisurely pace, ate a few snacks, and my husband asked me every 15 minutes if I was feeling okay or needed to sit down and take a break.

Why can't people look at me and ache to have something that I have instead of just gazing at me with pity in their eyes.
I don't know that anyone aches to have something that I have, but there were plenty of people who saw me, ran to give me a big hug, rub my belly, and wish us their sincerest congratulations (not their deepest sympathy anymore).

Why?! Why?! Why?! Why?! Why can't I just have my baby back?!
You know the answer to this one: I can't have my babies back. As long as I'm on this Earth, they'll always be out of reach, but God is so faithful that He blessed us with someone just as good, just as sweet, just as near and dear to my heart so the waiting won't be so hard. 

AND . . . she'll be here in 17 days!!!

1 Samuel 1:27 (KJV)

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

36 Weeks 3 Days: Wrapping Things Up!

We are getting so close. Her birth is only 18 days away! This week marked two big woohoos in the countdown of this successful pregnancy. Tuesday I took my last baby aspirin, and Thursday was my last progesterone injection. Now the only drug I'm on is heparin injections twice a day (only 33 more as of this posting!).

Just to review, the purpose of the baby aspirin (81mg low dose) is that it is an anti-coagulant (the same as the heparin). It keeps my blood from clotting, which is what hurt sweet Tater Tot. Aspirin takes a little while to leave the system, so I need to go off it kind of early. Plus, it does reach the baby, so it needs to be out of my system before the birth so she doesn't have any problems with bleeding.

The progesterone injections, called 17-alphahydroxyprogesterone, were to prevent me from having another preterm birth. You can read my initial post about it here. You probably remember the concerns and reservations I had about taking it. It is known to cause life-threatening blood clots in some patients. After much thinking, worrying, debating, and praying, I decided to take the injections. God showed me in a dream that I would have a little girl and that she'd be preterm. I knew He was telling me to take the medicine. Nineteen weekly injections later, I'm still pregnant, four days from being officially full term, and I did not have one single side effect from the injections, not even bruising and soreness at the site, which is super common. We'll never know if I really needed the injections. If I ever get pregnant again, I'll have to take them again. But, who cares? It has all been well worth it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

36 Weeks: Ladies and Gentlemen, She has HAIR!!!

Superficial worry, I know, especially considering my past. But, ya know, does everything have to be linked to that? Better to spend my time worrying that she'll have a bald head than losing sleep over how many chromosomes she'll have (which I've done plenty of). Nothing to worry about now, only something to dream about. The sonographer showed us that Little Sister has lots of long hair!

 The two blotches of horizontal white lines above the word "hair" is her hair flowing off the back of her neck.

Our little girl measured 6lbs 2 oz. She's gettin' squished in there! Just as I suspected, she has not changed positions at all since our last ultrasound five weeks ago. Her head is still right behind my cervix, and she's still facing my right side. Her cute little tushy is on my top left, and her feet are over on my top right. She is in a great position. All she needs to do is turn face down during labor.

In even more news, I just happen to be one centimeter dilated. I really wasn't expecting her to say that. I didn't feel like anything was happening. Although, by the end of the work day, I'm sure my colleagues could attest to seeing me barely able to waddle myself down the hallway! The doctor says this one centimeter in no ways means I will not make it to our October 5th induction date. I could be one centimeter from here on out. Who knows? I can tell you that I really hate it when people automatically say I'm going to go early or that she could come any day. If you are someone who has said that (and lots of people have) don't feel bad. Just don't do it anymore. I'm very sensitive about that (as my hubby is quick to remind me) because I've had a preterm labor. Not that this is a preterm labor situation, but ya know. I just want everyone to pray for October 5th. It's very important to me. I don't have enough sick days at work to go any earlier without having to go back before Thanksgiving break. Also, I want a 39 week baby who has no trouble breathing and can go straight into my arms and never have to leave . . . and nurse. I want to nurse. No one else is going to hold her until I nurse. 

 My arm is in front of my face. Always being bashful.

 My profile

 My beautiful face. I'm chillin' resting my cheek in my hand.

My mouth looks a little blurry because the placenta is in front of it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

35 Weeks 4 Days: More Blessings

Wednesday my awesome coworkers at East Heights Elementary blessed me with a baby shower after school. They gave me exactly what I needed (besides yummy cake!) which was a big fat gift card to Babies-R-Us that I plan to use to buy our little girl's stroller and car seat.

Today my awesome church, Henderson First Assembly of God, threw us a baby shower. We got loads of great stuff. It was a good mix of adorable and practical. And, of course, she got lots more hair accessories.

 The beautiful cake made with love by Jolene Buley.

 Pretty decorations and presents!

 Diaper rash ointment

 Having fun!

 My little helper Jaymason and me checking out a gift card.

 A bumbo. She's gonna think she's such a big girl in that!

 Snowman PJs. She's going to be too cute!

 Katie and Maddie Mitchell's bonnet. So generous.

 More fun!

 Cute clothes

 I just love this one, and it has a matching UK hat.

 Charlene Welch made this. It's a baby sack!

 Pretty ladies

 Rachel and Danielle making everything great for us.

 You gotta love this one. Kim Duncan made this, and the hat has a little butterfly!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

35 Weeks 3 Days: Happy Birthday, Tater Tot

Today, September 10, 2011, is Tater Tot's birthday--the day I birthed her to Heaven. It does not feel like a year. It's very hard to believe. One year ago was a very sad, hopeless day, but look at us now.

I think that all women react differently to having a miscarriage. And that's okay. You do what you have to do to go on. Some women view it as something that just happens because something isn't right. Some women are very sad in the beginning, but are able to move on quickly from it knowing that they can try again--have another baby. I was devastated, and I stayed sad for a very long time. I stayed angry for a very long time. Even though I am pregnant with another little girl, I still find myself crying for Tater Tot. I still find myself feeling angry that she had to die when something so simple could have saved her.

In my mind, I hesitate to mention that it's her birthday. I think that most people would not view it as a birthday. I think that most people would not view Tater Tot as one of my children. I think that most people would not even view her as a real person. I have to view her that way, though. I have never been able to, in good conscience, say that I only have two children (Gabriel and our newest little sweetheart). I think it's because of Gabriel. I don't think his life was more significant or that he was more my child just because he happened to be 19 weeks older when he was born--just because his heart was still beating when he was born.

I am still heartbroken over losing Tater Tot. I still miss her. I still want her. I still wonder about her beauty. I thank her, though, for her great sacrifice. Because of her, I can start this blog post with "35 Weeks 3 Days." Little Sister is almost here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

34 Weeks 1 Day: Just Makin' Sure

All the mommies tell me that the way I'm feeling right now is normal. In this stage of the game, I'm going to feel heaviness as the baby drops down. Still, when I'm walking around work all day, sitting down, standing up, sitting down, standing up . . . and I can actually feel my pelvis widening, it makes me a little nervous. I'm afraid to let it go just thinking Oh, I'm probably okay and then wake up the next morning and find myself in full fledged labor. Lest we not forget, that has happened to me before.

So, I made an unscheduled visit to my doctor after school this afternoon. When the nurses and clerks saw me walk into the office . . . unscheduled . . . their eyebrows raised and their eyes showed just a hint of alarm. They all remember the last time I showed up to be checked . . . unscheduled.

Baby Girl's heart rate was in the 140s, which is really good. She's been very active lately, so I wasn't really worried about her. I just wanted to be checked so I could relax and have a good weekend. When the doctor inserted her two fingers, the first thing she said was, "Well, I can tell you're constipated." Are you kidding me? I did not drive all the way over here to be told I need to poop!

She dug around in there a few seconds longer and announced, to my relief, that my cervix is completely closed, but she can feel the baby's head right behind the cervix. Then she followed that up with, "But you'll probably feel better if you have a bowel movement. Use some suppositories."

The poop was just unfortunate timing. Really. I'm not constipated. Well, not too bad anyway. You'll be glad to know that I sat down and had a big poop as soon as I got home. I did feel better, but that does not change the fact that walking around day in and day out with someone's head stuck in your pelvis is just down right uncomfortable.