Thursday, December 1, 2011

33 Weeks...and Still Cookin'

33 Weeks!  I can’t believe I’ve been in the hospital 21 days already.  It’s not that time has flown by…not by any means.  But, if you had told me three weeks ago that our baby was still going to be safe and sound in my belly at 33 weeks, or that I would be able to survive 3 weeks of hospital bed rest, I would have said you were crazy.  And yet…here we are.

As with most things in life that initially seem insurmountable, this experience has been both stressful and empowering.  The range of emotions I’ve been through, the possibilities that The Prince and I have had to consider with regards to the health of our baby, and the physical demands of being in some state of labor for this long…it all seems like a weird dream in retrospect.  Or, maybe not a dream.  More like someone else has taken over my body and shown a strength of will that I’ve never possessed.  At every step of the way, I kept thinking “I can’t get through this.”  But I did.  And now, there is an “end” in sight…a more hopeful end.

The doctors have said that, if the baby looks good on next Monday’s ultrasound, and the baby and I exhibit no change in condition, we can go home at 34 weeks (one week from now!!!).  I will still be on bed rest and I will likely still be dealing with these stupid incessant contractions, but I will be doing it from the comfort of my own bed…with no roommates except my two little pugs (whose company I appreciate a lot more now) and The Prince (whose company I always appreciated). 

The Prince has said for the last two days that his gut is telling him that the baby is coming out any day now…that we aren’t going to make it to 34 weeks.  But my intuition is telling me the opposite.  I feel like the baby changed his mind about coming out and now he plans on staying in for the long haul…that we may be back to an induction on January 10th.  We’ll see who is right.  At this point, it is pretty clear that the baby is the boss in this matter…and he’s got a mind of his own.

In an attempt to make this 33 week milestone as “normal” as I can, here is my little update on all things baby/pregnancy this week.  First, the baby has hiccups all the time.  He gets about five bouts of hiccups each day.  I timed one bout…it lasted 37 minutes!!!  Poor little guy.  The nurses assure me that he doesn’t mind, but I know how much I hate hiccups and it is hard for me not to feel bad for him.  The baby also has a habit of moving away from the fetal heart rate monitor and he has gotten much better at it over the last three weeks.  It is taking about five minutes to find him now and sometimes, as if knowing what the nurses are looking for (movements), he goes to sleep as soon as they start the non-stress tests.  On those occasions, the nurses make me chug some juice and then the baby perks back up.  The Prince is worried we are creating a sugar addict, but I think the baby is just showing the beginning of his personality.  We’re in for fun times.

As for me, I was weighed again this morning and I’ve lost a total of 8 pounds since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago.  I have not adjusted to the hospital food (although I choke most of it down now), and my blood sugar still runs low if I don’t “cheat” and eat the snacks that The Prince and my friends bring to me.  This morning, as I put on my “civilian” clothes (I manage to get out of the hospital gown some days), I realized that I have a serious baby bump now.  I’m not sure when that happened.  Some time between last week and this week, I developed a ton of stretch marks and a protruding stomach.  It’s pretty weird that I’m so happy about that.   I also have another area of my body protruding more than normal…the “ladies” are HUGE!  I keep thinking that they can’t get any bigger and, as if to prove me wrong, they grow another inch.  I can’t fit into 4x sports bras…and there just isn’t really anywhere to go from there.  I am currently stuffed into a 4x sports bra and all I can say is that I am really glad I don’t have to go out in public like this.  My breasts are also super leaky.  When I get into the shower or bath things just flow now.  Oddly, I am happy about this too.  I think it is because we are now so far along in the pregnancy, our baby might be able to suck shortly after birth…meaning this new development in my body won’t be going to waste.  Three weeks ago, the leaking seemed like a cruel reminder of the difficulties our baby was going to face with eating, digestion and nutrition.  Now… I have hope.

With regards to the “labor” stuff…my contractions are measuring consistently between 2 to 5 minutes apart.  They seem to get closer together each day, but the intensity isn’t increasing at a regular interval.  Some days are better…some days are awful.  I’ve adjusted my mindset about pain medication.  I’ve really had to.  I still catch myself saying things like “I’ll break down and take the medicine,” but I now know that I shouldn’t feel guilty about taking something to take the edge off.  Whatever I have been doing, it has kept the baby inside and it has kept his heart rate steady and healthy.  I just have to trust that the doctors know what they are talking about when they tell me that being in constant pain is as bad for the baby as any side effects of the pain medication.  I know I “want” to believe that line of reasoning, and I am looking for evidence to support it, but I still think that it is telling that the only time the baby has shown any problems was on days that I had struggled through without any pain medication.  Hopefully, I won’t regret the decisions I’m making now.

I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I want to thank everyone again for your support.  I know it wasn’t my fortitude that got me through the last three weeks (or the pain medication)…it was the strength I was able to muster because people were standing behind me and beside me, urging me on and telling me they believe in me and my baby (cue “Wind Beneath My Wings”).  It was a Coldstone milkshake, gummy fruits, stinky feet popcorn, books, flowers and other deliveries.  It was friends’ humor, well-timed sarcasm, shared tears and words of comfort.  It was by blog readers’ shared stories of hope and constant encouragement…even when my posts got redundant and borderline incoherent.  I’m sitting here, at 33 weeks, because others gave me the strength to make it this far.  So…again…thank you.


Jade in Seattle said...

Yay! I'm so happy to read this update. You have put forth a near superhuman effort to keep your baby safe (might be called being a mom ;-) ) and he is doing well. I hope you are able to go home and keep your baby "cooking" for a few more weeks, but even if he comes now, things will be so much better than if it had happend 3 wks ago. Hang in there!

S said...

Such great news. I hope your little guy decides to stay put until his due date, as your intuition is telling you.

You are doing a fantastic job.

Endo_Life said...

Great to have yet another update. You have such strength to be coping with all you are and yet still updating us. I am glad to hear the positivity about the little man staying put. Heres to the next 7 days and getting you home.

Gurlee said...

Wow, I am so happy for you! I found your blog through S and I have been reading all of your posts, but not commenting, sorry.
You are doing an AMAZING job! You should be really proud of what a great, strong mama you are! Hang in there little one.

Ciccolata said...

I am soooo happy for you, baby, and the Prince! Every day I look at your site to "check" on you. I think I'm more up-to-date on you than I am with my own family members. lol. Reading your blog has been so therapeutic for me. I am just in the frustrating beginning stages of this DE process and your blog gives me the courage to continue. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing experience with us. Take care.

China Doll said...

Yay for keeping baby boy 'cookin', yay for your baby bump, yay for your strength and willpower!! xx

beccasfamilyof5 said...

I still really feel for you to be in this position but you've held on 3 weeks, Another 3 or 4 weeks will practically have you full term and risks will drop immensely. You have done wonderful this far and that little baby is going to be a strong fighter when they do arrive - just like momma!

I haven't said this in your blog before but I had complications at 30 weeks in my second pregnancy.
Though I was only in hospital 2 days I had a MAJOR bleed and 24 hours of contractions and that was scary enough. However with regular monitoring I got through to 39 weeks and 4 days before he was born and whilst I don't want you in labour that entire time, I wish you well in getting that baby as cooked as possible.

Keep positive and well done on this great landmark. Every milestone is a step closer and you are doing them. Well done you. x