Elegy for Amy

27w6d March 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 2:53 pm

I’m going to jump the gun here and celebrate today, even though I should wait until tomorrow. We have reached real, actual, legitimate viability. 28 weeks tomorrow and suddenly I am starting to worry about delivering a full-sized baby and Dan is starting to worry about what we’re going to do with a tiny human when we get him home, because these are things we can think about now that he is legitimately viable. Not on technicality, not just barely, not “he’d probably make it but he’d probably have serious neurological deficits” – in all likelihood he would be just fine, from here on out.

My relief is like a palpable thing, visible in my mood and every choice I make, suddenly it doesn’t seem like the only thing between this baby and certain death is my extraordinarily incompetent cervix, and I am relaxing by the hour. I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel when we get to 32 weeks. 34. 36. When, because it’s starting to feel a lot more like when and a lot less like oh-god-i-hope-and-hope. We’ll see at our next check next week, really.

And I know that every day has stretched on like an eternity. I know that I have been miserable, and scared, and at times kind of desperate to just sleep through it all, but now I can’t believe we are already here. I’ve been on bed rest of some kind for a month but it seems like just yesterday when I hit the 2nd trimester and started freaking out on a semi-daily basis. It’s forever while it’s happening and then it’s over and it’s just a blip on the radar, and we’re not even done yet, but we’re at 28 weeks. The magic 28 weeks. Where things really start looking up.

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Hello 3rd Trimester! March 23, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 12:23 am

So guess what I did today.

I pre-registered at our hospital’s Labor & Delivery unit. And signed up for the three-part free class they offer about childbirth and infant care. Because that’s what people do, when they enter the third trimester. When they’re planning on having a full-term baby in the next couple of months.

Like a normal person. It’s exhilarating.

Dan got me a present last weekend, when it was 75 degrees and sunny and I was feeling isolated and trying not become rapidly more depressed – he went out and got me a fully-reclining patio swing. It can be a couch or a bed, but it’s outside, so every day it’s warm enough I can lay outside for a few glorious hours, and I felt instantly better than I had all week.

And then I was 26 weeks, and 26.5 weeks, and now I’m 27 weeks, and I know it all seems so small, but in my head every day is a huge accomplishment. Aside from the bed rest, I feel great, and we are doing so well. Nothing scary has happened. This baby is pronounced “perfect” at every ultrasound. I tried to start fetal “kick counts” – you’re supposed to count at least 10 movements in 2 hours – and once we got up to 150 in 18 minutes. The lowest we’ve managed is 40 over the course of 45 minutes. This baby is so very much alive and well, and every day I feel more positive, less afraid, more free. Except for the bed prison.

And speaking of bed prison, more good news today! My cervix is even longer now, just a shade under 3.6 cm, and the high-risk doctor said we can ease up on the restrictions some. I’m officially on modified bed rest instead of complete, and I can sit at up to a 45 degree angle for chunks of the day, and I’m allowed to leave the house twice a week for 2-3 hours at a time of “mostly sedentary” activities. Which again, sounds small, but it’s huge to me. That, I can totally live with.

And so can our son. We’re in the third trimester. We’re almost there. This might actually be happening!

 

26w1d March 16, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 8:48 pm

Day 23 of my confinement; I think the lack of social interaction with anyone but medical professionals and my husband is starting to take its toll. Because we are doing great, and I should be happy! Yay! And I sort of am, but I’m also sort of depressed. My hips hurt, my back hurts, it’s gorgeous outside, tomorrow will be the same as today and it starts to feel like no matter how well we do, I’m going to be stuck here until I have a baby, which all signs indicate will be kind of a while from now.

Which is what we want. Bed rest is just ironically exhausting.

We had two great appointments this past week – the first, my glucose screening, I do not have gestational diabetes. I got my steroid shots “just in case,” and then, because it’s only a week away, they gave me my third trimester educational session. Which filled me with glee, actually – she’d pull out a paper, “this is a list of pediatricians we recommend, here’s some tips about choosing one,” and I laughed and laughed in disbelief at each one because this is NORMAL stuff. Normal stuff that normal people having normal babies in normal pregnancies have to think about, and we’ve somehow gotten to the point where I might actually get to do some of the normal stuff, too. Pediatricians! Are for live babies! They think I’m going to have one! Can you believe it??

The second was beyond my wildest imaginings – Friday’s ultrasound. We’re at 26 weeks, which is amazing, and we were stable last time, so for once I went in thinking optimistically that it might still be stable, or maybe it only shortened a smidge, and since it’s not even technically too short yet, stable might mean less restrictive bed rest in a few weeks. And knowing that in the worst-case scenario, I do not have to see that damn DNR form anymore, I’m 26 weeks, this baby is getting saved one way or another.

Well, my cervix was not stable. It was better than stable. It’s gained back nearly 1 cm in length. Which is the most incredible relief. We have wiggle room, now. Cushion. A totally normal, un-bed-rest-able, unconcerning cervical length. At 26 weeks. For me. I can not actually count the number of loud relieved sighs that took place between leaving the exam room and returning home.

So I should be happy! And I am. I really, really am. It’s just doubly frustrating to now be on bed rest for something that doesn’t even warrant bed rest, except that it might only be that long because I’ve been on bed rest. And I keep asking for some privileges, and they just say we’ll talk about it later. They want me on strict. 24/7 laying down except to pee and eat bed rest, with a perfectly long cervix! I’m not asking to run a mile, or go shopping, or even go to work, I’m asking if I can like, sit in a recliner for an hour a day. Or maybe on the weeks when I don’t have three doctors appointments, I could go out to eat at a restaurant one time instead, which logically is WAY LESS ACTIVITY. But everyone wants to be on the safe side. And so do I, I totally get it. But I’m the one stuck in this bed, in this body, and it’s really kind of hard.

But we’re 26 weeks and 1 day pregnant, and it’s looking more and more every day like we’ll actually get to bring this little guy home, and for that I really am so grateful, though it doesn’t sound that way right now I know.

 

25w1d March 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:44 pm

And yesterday’s appointment was everything we could have reasonably asked for. Maybe even a little better than that.

While we’d all love it if it would go back to being a little longer, my cervix is stable. It’s the same length, the same shape, the same everything as last week. Everything the same, at a time when they’d expect it to be least stable, is better than okay, it’s great. It’s another week, and really, it’s another many more weeks, because at 25 weeks this is still a normal length. Low-normal, but normal, and we’re not even to the cerclage yet. The doctors would be surprised if we don’t make it past 28 weeks at the very least and this gives us a very reasonable chance of making it to full-term (36+ weeks).

Bed rest has been hard, but a lot of what makes it hard is the not knowing it’s even worth it. Doing nothing but laying in bed all day, there are many moments to obsess over every twinge, every discomfort, every pang, and you wonder, is this it? I dread the ultrasounds, fear they will tell me I’m dilated, that we have to go to the hospital, that NewBaby is in danger.

Last night was the first night in probably a month that I haven’t spent terrified. We still don’t know what will happen, of course, but one way or another at this point ALL of the odds are in this kid’s favor. And this bed rest, this annoying, ache-inducing bed rest, it’s helping, and now we’re really getting somewhere, and that makes it all okay.

And then there is NewBaby himself. It’s ridiculous, how much you can love someone who isn’t even really here yet. He entertains us daily with his flailing, he interferes with ultrasound measurements, he’s adorable and he’s ours and he’s very much alive and getting more so. He’s measuring nearly 2 lbs as of yesterday. I am so excited to meet him.

 

24w3d March 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 7:25 pm

So I guess I should probably update this thing, lest my memories of this torturous part of this pregnancy ever fade and I started to think crazy thoughts like, “maybe we should do this again!”

First of all: We made it past the first two gestation milestones, Amy’s birth and technical viability. YAY. NewBaby is now technically, possibly viable. While I know that at 24 weeks, hope is still microscopic, the fact is that hope finally exists and it gets bigger every day. And that is a pretty great feeling. Which reminds me a little bit of that scene from Dumb and Dumber, when she says his chances are less like 1 in 100 and more like 1 in a million and he says “so, you’re telling me there’s a chance!!”

Less awesomely, my cervix is beginning to really act up. It’s hard to believe that at 22 weeks we saw a perfectly, closed, 4.5 cm cervix, went to a funneled 3.6 cm at 23, and then at our 24 week appointment on Friday the funnel was gone – but so was the cervix that was funneling. Depending on where they measured, my cervix was somewhere between 2.7-3.3 cm. Which is actually a perfectly fine cervical length for 24 weeks, if you don’t have a dead baby, an incompetent cervix, and an ultrasound for two weeks ago showing you at 4.5 cm. Since I have all three of those things, I’m now on complete bed rest, at home for now, until May 10th (34 weeks) or the baby comes, whichever comes first. And as much as I hate lying here, I do hope May 10th is what comes first.

So now I go in every week for my check, and it’s the only time I get to leave the house or even get out of bed other than to pee, and if it gets worse they’ll want me on bed rest, and if it gets better they’ll want me on bed rest because it’s working, but as long as I don’t dilate and don’t have contractions (none so far), everyone is still okay and safe and we are not in any imminent danger. A short cervix itself is not dangerous, it’s just a sign of things that could happen, so here I m on bed rest, trying to keep them from happening.

I am trying very hard to stay positive. I freak out many times per day. I thought that getting to 24 weeks would make me feel better, but it just makes me feel like we’re even closer to a world in which things could be “okay” without actually BEING in that world yet, so I eagerly mark off each day. Try to remember that between serious symptoms and giving birth I had 12 days, so even now, where we are, would get us past 26 weeks if something happened tomorrow (I hope). But I don’t want 26 weeks, or 28, or even 32 or 34. I don’t want anything that results in my leaving the hospital without our baby AGAIN. Even if that’s just because he’s in a hospital bed – I’ve taken that drive before, and I’d rather not repeat it.

I’ll take whatever I can get, though, of course. But that’s what I want – give birth, come home with a baby. Like normal people.

So now my days are filled with weirdly forced routines of leisure time activities, something to make the day seem more structured and less depressing. When you have to stay horizontal 24/7 there is suddenly a LOT of extra time to fill. The number of movies, books, and TV shows I have already gone through in just 1.5 weeks is kind of absurd and now there are hopefully 9.5 more weeks to go.