Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Tests Continue

Lately, I've been having very mixed feelings about everything. On the one hand, I want Evie to be as healthy as possible. On the other hand, I'm very tired of being pregnant and want to just get it over with so I can finally see my precious little girl. I keep hoping my water will break this week and I'll go into labor; however, Todd is in the Orchestra on Temple Square and is rehearsing all week for the concerts this weekend. For him, it would be a very bad week to have the baby. Next week is relatively free and clear for both of us, but the recent health concerns raise another issue: induction. If we had to induce, when would be the best time? With all of these thoughts swirling round my mind, I've been feeling a little bit stir-crazy. A few nights ago, I just needed to get out of the house. I walked around our complex three times, enjoying the fresh air and trying to clear my head. I figured that would be as good a time as any to pray. I told Heavenly Father that I didn't know whether to pray for good health or not. Ultimately, I decided I just needed to pray for peace and to have faith that whatever happened was for the best and according to His will. Whether Evie came early or late, on her own or after being induced, I wanted to be okay with it. The answer didn't come immediately, but it did come.

A couple of months ago, I asked Todd to give me a priesthood blessing at the beginning of this month so I could have a little extra strength when the time came to have the baby. Yesterday morning, he gave me that blessing. We were rushing around all morning, trying to get ready for the busy day we had planned. Finally, just before we left, Todd sat me down and gave me a blessing. During that blessing, I felt the peace I had asked for. I felt an outpouring of love for both me and my baby and suddenly knew that everything was going to be fine.

We left the house at 8:40 so we could get to the Health Center by 9. I had to drop off my second 24 hour urine collection and get my blood drawn again (my levels were slightly elevated last time and they wanted me to do it again). My doctor's appointment was at 9:20, so I planned to just run in, drop off the container, get my blood drawn, and run out. Unfortunately, the lab people were confused by my doctor's order and didn't know which vials to fill with blood, so they had to call and figure it out. It was 9:35 before we finally got out, and we hustled over to our doctors' office. Once again, my blood pressure was higher than normal (145/90), but wasn't any higher than the time before. My doctor checked my cervix again, and I'm another half centimeter dilated! Then he stripped the membranes, which is about as much fun as it sounds. He said that, since the lab results obviously weren't back yet, they weren't going to induce me. Yet. True, my blood pressure is higher than it should be, but it's consistent. Yes, my urine protein is higher than normal, but if the second results come back similar to the first ones, they'll just keep an eye on me and hope I go into labor naturally. Stripping the membranes will help with that, apparently. If, however, my results come back significantly higher than last time, we may have to induce. When I explained the craziness of this week, and that I'd really prefer to not go into labor without my husband there, he said that would probably be fine. We won't find out the results until today anyway, and maybe even tomorrow. Then, they could just put me on bed rest or something until early next week or even Sunday. I've already started my maternity leave from work. Really, that only leaves 3 days that I might have to wait. Even then, he's only concerned if my protein levels are over 300. He told me we were going to do an NST and see how the baby's doing, and he would call me with the lab results by today. If I don't hear from the office by tomorrow, I'm supposed to call and check up.

We did our NST, which Evie passed with flying colors. First, the lady ultrasounded my uterus to see how much amniotic fluid the baby has. Evie has 14.5 centimeters of fluid bubbles; the doctors hope for at least 5. Then, I was hooked up to monitors so they could see her heartrate and any contractions I may be having. I was supposed to push a button every time I felt the baby move. She's a naturally curious little girl, and kicked the monitor every 5 seconds or so to see what it was and to get it to go away. Then, apparently bored, she fell asleep between one kick and the next. We watched (actually, I just listened to) her sleeping heartrate for a little while, until the lady buzzed my belly. Poor Evie was startled awake and seemed kind of confused as she flailed around for a few seconds before calming back down. Meanwhile, her heartrate did just what it was supposed to.

She is super healthy, and my slight unhealthiness doesn't seem to be affecting her at all. My doctor didn't even schedule me for an appointment later this week, although he did say I might have to come in for another NST on Friday if my levels aren't where they should be. I guess we'll find out today sometime, or early tomorrow. If not, we're just scheduled for our next appointment on Monday, when I'll do another NST and meet with our least favorite doctor in the practice (Todd hopes I have the baby before then. :D). From what I could gather, unless I go into labor naturally in the next couple of days, I'll be having my little girl next week sometime. That'll put her at 39 weeks, though, so she'll be fine even if we induce. Really, that's what I learned yesterday: everything will be fine. Things will work out the way they're supposed to, and at the end, I'll have an adorable warm little bundle to snuggle. Maybe a week isn't really all that long to wait--it'll give me time to finish getting the apartment ready and my school assignments done.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Zombie Puppet-master

My body is being run by a miniature tyrant. Who decides when I go to the bathroom? Evie. Who decides when I eat or drink? Evie. Who decides when I get up? Evie. In fact, she accomplishes the last two pretty much simultaneously. When I first started feeling her little flutters of movement, I thought it was so cute. Then one day, I was awakened by a strong kick followed immediately by my stomach growling. Todd and I thought it was hilarious. Now, though, after another 5 months of practice, Evie has elevated this little maneuver into a high art. She has also perfected the art of punching my bladder and sending me running for the bathroom. I think she has a slightly warped sense of humor, which I can only blame on myself. Of course now she thinks it's funny to also punch my bladder at the same time as my stomach, sending my poor sleepy body into a fog of confusion: what does she want first?! Just this morning at 8:00, we were at the doctor's office (again) and she was still asleep. Then, halfway through the appointment, she woke up and stretched, effectively kicking my ribs in the process, and then elbowed my stomach to make it growl. From what I gathered from Todd, my whole belly gave a huge jerk to one side, which was funny to watch. I think she tried to punch my bladder too, but the joke was on her because I'd already emptied my bladder, so that particular move had no effect. Haha, Baby! We got home at 9:30 and I was tired, because I usually don't get up until 10:30, so I went back to bed. My little puppet-master was not amused. She kept kicking up under my ribs, saying very clearly, "Mommy, I'm awake now, so you can't go back to sleep! Mommy, I'm hungry and you still haven't fed me! Mommy, why aren't you listening to me?!" After it was clear that I was determined to sleep, though, she subsided and just sulked instead. I was able to get another 45 minutes of rest, which did me a world of good (the slight headache went away) and then I woke up to the delicious smell of waffles.

Speaking of food, though, it has become increasingly apparent lately that my daughter is not only a tyrant, but she is also a zombie. After all, zombies are the only creatures I know of that eat the brains of other creatures. I'm pretty sure that a scan of my brain would show it looking like Swiss cheese. She eats whole chunks of information at a time! For example, she ate part of my optic nerve once. We were in the grocery store and I was looking for half-gallons of 2% milk. I could not find them anywhere! I looked closely at each shelf as I walked down the aisle. Then, I turned around, and there they suddenly were! Right where I had been looking! I keep telling Todd that it is clearly not doing me any good whatsoever to still be attending college; it's not like I'm retaining anything I learn! Everything gets passed directly to the munchkin. The man has no sympathy, though. He just shrugs and says, "Well then, just think how smart our baby is getting." No amount of grumbling about how she can go to college for herself works either. I'm starting to think my little tyrant-baby comes by it honestly. ;) In all seriousness, though, Todd has been great. He rubs my back and gets me water. He makes me waffles and only laughs a little bit when I have a blonde (read: brain-being-eaten) moment. He's such a fantastic husband, and is going to be a fabulous daddy. He's getting so excited. Although, he wants it known that he's been excited the whole time; it's just registering on the "Jess Scale" now. So I guess it's more accurate to say that he's getting so much more excited now that the time is getting closer. He and Evie are even getting private father-daughter time now. One morning, I woke up to little flutters on both sides of my skin as Todd and Evie played together. It was so cute that I just lay there with my eyes closed and pretended to still be asleep so that I wouldn't interrupt. Finally, Todd kissed me "awake" so we could have breakfast, and there was a joy shining in his eyes. I packed my bags last night and made sure to grab both cameras so I can get a picture of Todd holding his daughter for the first time. It is going to be beautiful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Health Concerns

We went to our doctor for a routine checkup yesterday. Our appointment was for 11:oo am, but it took 45 minutes before we were taken back to the doctor's office. When we finally got back there, they immediately took my blood pressure. For the first time in my entire life, my blood pressure was high, so the doctor is afraid I may be developing preeclampsia. Hello!? Of course my blood pressure was high; I was irritated at waiting 45 minutes to see my doctor for a scheduled appointment! However, they took a urine sample anyway and found traces of protein. So I had to take home a huge orange plastic container and collect all of my urine for 24 hours. Plus, I had to keep it refrigerated. Eww. Today, I turned it into the Health Center and had my blood drawn. Apparently 9 months of pregnancy will turn your veins soft, because I have a big bruise on my arm where he stuck me. I have to go back to the doctor's office on Thursday to see if everything is fine. If not, he said they might put me on bed rest, and he said we might also have to get the baby here sooner than expected. Oh darn. ;)

I don't think she's going to come late anyway, though. While we were there, the doctor checked my cervix (Ouch, by the way) to see if I've been progressing at all. I am dilated 2 centimeters and am 80% effaced with the baby at -1 station! I guess those contractions have been doing something after all. And even if I don't go into labor for a while yet, that's 2 less centimeters that I have to worry about dilating before the baby can get here. :D Another good bit of news: Evie is still head down and the doctor says that the pregnancy is at a point where Todd should be able to hear her heartbeat if he puts his ear to my belly. We gave it a try last night, and Todd says he thinks he heard it! That was fun, and I'm really not worried about having preeclampsia either. I've been super healthy this entire pregnancy, and I kind of doubt that everything is suddenly going to go to crap just 3 weeks before my due date. But, I'll keep this blog posted! :D

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Some Final Preparations

Today is March 1st, which means (cue the drumroll and fanfare) I have reached the 9th and final month of my pregnancy. Woo-hoo!! In honor of this special occasion, I'm posting a picture of me taken just a few minutes ago. Does it look like I'm about to pop? Yeah, it feels like that too. My skin feels like it cannot stretch anymore (although I still have no stretch marks!) and it itches all the time. I rub nice-smelling lotion on my belly, though, and it makes me feel happy. :D

So yay! Our baby is due at the end of this month. In fact, I was still awake at 1:00 this morning and I told Todd, "Honey, our baby's going to be born this month!" Do you know what he said to me? Without missing a beat, he answered, "Or next." NOT the right thing to say to an 8-month-pregnant woman who is struggling to remain patient for the last month as it is. The first 6 months flew by, but the last couple feel like they have dragged on for an eternity.

Todd has been forgiven, though, because he spent yesterday evening putting together our new travel system for me! I've been lusting after this specific one for months now, and I finally dragged Todd to Baby Depot clutching my precious 15% off coupons. As it turns out, the travel system we wanted was on blowout sale and we snagged the last box. We were really excited, thinking that we were going to save even more money, but we were only allowed a single discount. Actually, using the coupon saved us more money than the blowout did, so we used that instead. We were a little irritated that we weren't allowed to use the coupon on the sale price, but at least we ended up paying what we were planning all along, so no harm, no foul. And we were able to get the cutest travel system of all time! I was super proud of myself for not ripping the box apart as soon as we got home. In fact, (Todd was proud of me too) I waited two whole days!
Todd spent all of 15 minutes putting the stroller together, so I had to hustle to get pictures of the process. Since the instructions were so simple, we had a fun time laughing and making fun of them. The first picture is Todd being "proud" of his handiwork: clicking the wheels on. In the second picture, he's attaching the rear wheel axle, but when he saw the picture, he laughed and said that it looks like he's birthing the baby. :D It kind of does.
This is me, the very proud expectant mommy with the finished product. And look at the super cuteness of that finished product!

In other news, I have started packing my suitcase for the hospital trip. I figured that the false labor I've been having means that the real thing may happen anytime, so I should be prepared. I have a cute coming-home outfit picked out for both me and the baby, but I still need to find one for Todd that will make our new-family photos look really adorable.

I am so excited to have our baby! So far, the third trimester has been the most difficult. Evie is getting so heavy that it sometimes hurts to walk. In fact, it hurts to move my legs at all. In order to get up every morning, I literally have to roll out of bed and wait for gravity to kick in. I don't have room in my stomach for very much food anymore, but I'm still hungry all the time, mostly for munchies. That reminds me: my sweetheart got me several boxes of brownie mix, so I have been able to sate my craving for hot fudgy brownies! Hooray for me! I'm so excited to bring our baby into a world that has such a wonderful thing as chocolate. I'm looking forward to having her and pushing her around in her cute new stroller. I'm going to have such fun being a mommy!

Baby Tragedy

We found out some really sad news at church yesterday: a couple in our ward lost their little boy on Friday. Every time I think about it, I start crying. In fact, I'm crying as I type this post. When we moved into our apartment, this couple was the first one we met. We chatted for a while and found out that we had quite a bit in common. They got married very close to when we did, and their first baby was due only a couple of weeks before ours is. In fact, the last time I saw them was on the 13th. The bishop had just asked again when we were due, and then walked to her and asked her how much longer she had. She laughed and said she had a week more, and was looking forward to being done. Then last week, we got to church a little bit late and had apparently missed an announcement because everyone mentioned praying for their family, but we didn't know why. I told Todd when we got home that I hoped their baby hadn't been stillborn because that would be just heartbreaking. Yesterday, we found out that their little boy had been born the week before with a very serious genetic disease and had finally returned to God's presence Friday morning. I started crying because, even though we aren't super close, I still feel like these people are our friends and their tragedy hurts me. Besides, now that I'm a mother myself, I can't stand the thought of having my precious little one taken away from me after excitedly anticipating her arrival for the past nine months. That thought absolutely breaks my heart.

When the bishop mentioned their baby's death, I shook my belly to get Evie to kick, just so I could feel her move. I woke her up, so she wasn't super responsive, but she did kick a little to make her mommy feel better. But I also felt a little guilty about that relief and about having my healthy little girl when another mother had just lost her little boy. If the situation was reversed, I would have a hard time looking at other people's babies without crying. I do know that this mother will get to have her little boy again, but I also know that this time will be hard for her and her husband. I want to help this couple, but I know that everything that everyone says just makes the pain that much worse. So I don't know what to say or what to do. Maybe all I can do is pray for them and be that much more careful to never take my own sweet baby for granted. She is already such a blessing in my life and I am so glad that she is healthy and safe. I pray that she stays that way.