My Pregnancy Week-by-Week

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Before reading on, it is important to know that the weeks calculated is by gestational age and not by fetal age.  Gestational age is used and preferred by physicians rather than the fetal age of development.  The best way to put it is that gestational age starts from the first day of your last period, and fetal age starts from the date of conception.  This confused me at first because when the obstetrician told me how many “weeks” pregnant I was, the calculation to me didn’t match up to when (and only) the week I had intercourse.  She proceeded to explain how the weeks are calculated and it made better sense to me.  I don’t know why they have to complicate things more and can’t just use the fetal age – I’m sure there is an answer to that that I just don’t want to dive into right now.  So, if your partner questions “how can I be the father” or “how can that be” that you’re pregnant, especially if you two didn’t have intercourse during the start of the gestational development, you may need to explain to him how it is calculated, and hopefully he doesn’t assume the worst and shutdown before you get a chance to explain.  Also, the Google search engine is a great tool to look up fetal age/conception if you know what day(s) you had intercourse.  Of course, like anything, calculations are not absolute, and from what I read, development can be off up to 14 days; that means the delivery date can have a two week difference than originally calculated.  That’s why sometimes you hear mothers say “I had my baby a couple weeks early/late” when talking about giving birth.

* Instead of using the word “fetus”, I thought it would be cuter and acceptable to say “belly baby”.

** Reader discretion is advised

 

WEEK 0 – 4 (280 – 247 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is about the size of a poppy seed (at week 4).

Click here and all subsequent weeks to know how the baby is growing.

Click here and all subsequent weeks to know what momma may be experiencing.

During week 2 or 3 is when I had intercourse.  After reading the above it sounds so off but I’m calculating from the time of my last menstrual cycle or what is called the gestational age of the fetus, in which medical professionals prefer to use.

WEEK 5 (247 – 241 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is about the size of a sesame seed.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

Intermittent vaginal bleeding occurred for three days.  One day appearing normal and the other two were very light pink in a more watery substance (I know, TMI, but that’s how it happened).  Nobody knows for certain what causes that, but it is possible it could be what is called implantation bleeding.  Implantation bleeding can occur anywhere typically from 6 – 12 days after intercourse (although I’ve read some scholars place it at 6 – 21 days) and the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall.  It is often mistaken for a period, especially if you normally bleed lightly or have an irregular cycle (which is what I thought) or just began an oral contraceptive, which also may bring on a period early or be irregular at first. So did I have a clue that I may have been pregnant at this point? Sort of but not really.  The way I was bleeding did seem different, but I did not concern myself.  I was actually quite thrilled and thankful that my flow wasn’t as heavy and it felt good not to have the typical menstrual symptoms.  Also, I was confident in the protection I used (as it has always worked in the past) and the type of day-after contraceptive pill I took.  That pill is also known to cause early bleeding and throw a menstrual cycle off.  So yes, in a situation like mine, it was easy to think I couldn’t possibly be pregnant with all the possibilities lined up against it telling me I couldn’t be pregnant.  I guess one thing is for certain condoms are only 97% effective against pregnancy and the day-after contraceptive pill if taken within 24 hours is 96% effective, but the effectiveness falls to 85% if taken after 24 hours but before 72 hours after intercourse.  The effectiveness is still pretty high, and I’d think even higher if you use two or more methods of protection.  I was like – in my mind – 193% extra protected, right?  Ha ha, wrong.

WEEK 6 – 8 (241 – 221 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is about the size of a kidney bean (at week 8).

How is the baby growing at week 6?

What is momma possibly experiencing at week 6?

How is the baby growing at week 7?

What is momma possibly experiencing at week 7?

How is the baby growing at week 8?

What is momma possibly experiencing at week 8?

At about 6 weeks into my pregnancy is when I started to become nauseous.  For the next couple of weeks it was few and far between and I only felt queasy – nothing I haven’t felt before or not use to when I overindulged in food.  At the end of week 8 is when I began to start feeling fatigued or sluggish.  My sluggish performance became noticeable to others at work.  They’d kindly ask me if something was wrong, but I told them there wasn’t and chalked it up to my sleeping pattern being off working overnight shifts and day shifts practically back to back and difficulty sleeping on top of that.

WEEK 9 – WEEK 11 (220 – 200 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a grape (week 9), the size of a kumquat (week 10), and the size of a fig (week 11).

How is the baby growing at 9 weeks?

What is momma possibly experiencing at 9 weeks?

How is the baby growing at 10 weeks?

What is momma possibly experiencing at 10 weeks?

How is the baby growing at 11 weeks?

What is momma possibly experiencing at 11 weeks?

To my growing baby: I know at this stage I wasn’t feeling quite well.  I still didn’t realize I was pregnant with you, and your father and I were talking and spending some time together.

WEEK 12 (199 – 193 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a lime.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

The exact day I turned 12 weeks pregnant was the day I found out I was pregnant (08/28/2017).  It was kind of in a funny way, really.  My friend wanted to play a joke on her husband because he plays jokes on her all the time.  She got a dollar pregnancy test from a local dollar store to mark it positive and “conveniently” leave it on the bathroom counter to scare him.  But she had a more clever idea; she told me it wouldn’t “hurt” to take the test because of the way I’ve been feeling.  I had contracted the stomach virus during that week, so I assured her there is no way I could be pregnant because of that and I wasn’t showing so the joke would be on her.  She was excited more than I was about me taking the pregnancy test, only because I honestly didn’t think I was and I didn’t want it to be like this . . . without the possible father.  But it is what it is; this time was as good as any.  And to be honest with myself, I couldn’t wait for the father because he’d likely excuse himself from participating.  So the test was taken and waited the 3 minutes away from it with my friend . . . ha, to build up that suspense.  As the 3 minutes were up and we were walking into the bathroom, I remember vividly saying to my friend, “the joke is on –”, pausing as I took a double-take of the two strong dark pink lines, “me!” Staring at it I softly said, “Well, I guess you don’t need to mark that extra line for your husband for that joke.”  Then 60 seconds later my flabbergast gaze and calm demeanor changed to shock and apprehension.  “This doesn’t make sense!  How is that possible?  There’s no way that dollar store test is accurate!”  That same week, I took four more (ranging from the expensive brands to the generic) and all but one came out positive.  My perspective changed at that point – accepting, protecting, eating as healthy as I can, and taking initiative to get in to see an obstetrician.  It was a week of lots of planning, understanding, and lots of reading.

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WEEK 13 (192 – 186 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a peapod.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

I just woke up one morning and my breasts were tender, swollen, and sore.  For about two weeks it was very painful.  Ever since I reached puberty I always got sore breast around my menses, but this was a little bit more painful and longer in duration.  It was even difficult to sleep on my stomach without waking up from the pain.

At this point in my (unknown and unsure) pregnancy I was nauseated most mornings if I woke up too fast from bed and in the evening when I would be bending over or moving around undressing and dressing to lay in bed.  I don’t know why my morning sickness associated with bedtime and wake-up time, that’s just how it worked.  I wasn’t vomiting at much as I was retching (dry heaving), but it still caused spasms in the stomach where it made it difficult to want to eat.  I wasn’t getting sick during the day as much but about 70% of the time I felt queasy.

I wanted to take my first baby bump photo.  Just in case I was absolutely pregnant, I didn’t want to miss out on these moments.  I’m not done up, and I had no one to take photos of me.  Completely unfiltered and natural.

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WEEK 14 (185 – 179 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a lemon.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

I just turned 14 weeks when Hurricane Irma hit my area in Florida on the weekend of September 9, 2017.  It was a bit stressful being pregnant preparing for it during the risky miscarriage weeks and not being allowed to lift more than 10 lbs.  That is kind of hard to do when you’re the only one around to help the office get set for it and to put away things and put up shutters (with a little help) at the house.  Plus for days it was a very strong Category 5 heading directly towards where I live.  Thankfully, it minimized to a Category 3 and didn’t hit my area directly but other areas were severely affected.  Power outage at my place as well as in most counties throughout the hurricanes path.

By the way, my breasts are still tender, swollen, and sore.

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WEEK 15 (178 – 172 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of an apple.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

Ha, what I remember most during this week? Randomly having bruises show up everywhere on my body.  I knew right here that my body was in for some changes, and that it might be a good indication that my iron is low.  I pumped myself up full of prenatal vitamins (just in case I was pregnant).

WEEK 16 (171 – 165 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of an avocado.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

The BIG week!  Finally after 4 weeks making my appointment and waiting (I can’t believe every place I called had that wait; I’d think it would be the most important time in someone’s pregnancy to be seen as early as possible, but okay!)  This is the week I officially know if I am pregnant by a medical professional.  Granted I had an obstetrician intake the week prior, but that was based on a urine screen test just like many I’ve done prior.  I already have medical conditions that may cause false positives, so I was still skeptical at this point.  The “flutters” I felt can be easily mistaken for gas or stomach upset, and I won’t lie, I was pretty gassy at this time to make me questions the reality of being pregnant.  My ultrasound was scheduled on September 21, 2017.  I was thankful that I had two good friends go with me in support, and that I can rely on during this pivotal, sensitive and vulnerable time.  And I’m glad I did because the father so “conveniently” couldn’t go at the very last minute.  I lay on the table as the ultrasound technician prepped the wand with the cold gel inducer.  At that same moment I accepted whatever God’s plan was for me.  As soon as the technician put the wand on my stomach an image of a jumping little person appears.  Then hearing the heartbeat at 166 bpm.  Precious!  And yet I had mixed emotions – tears of fear . . . tears of joy . . . wishing the father could be there but knew I couldn’t control that . . . and emotions from unexpected to expecting.  My friends cried with me.  It was unfathomable to see that little “peanut” on screen, yet don’t see or feel much of anything yet in my stomach at this time (I thought I would be by now before I started reading up on it).  My mind could not connect the two at that moment.  Like in the comic strip Peanuts, everything at that moment faded into the sounds of the teacher, “wha wha wha wha wha”, so afterwards I did ask to have some things repeated.  During the ultrasound the gender was not “officially” determined, although the technician did state “I can’t see a ‘turtle head’ yet.”  The baby had long legs and liked to put his/her feet above his/her head.  At one point he/she was tugging on the umbilical cord, which I found out quickly my sharp quick pains were because of that.  Also, I found out the reason I was having so much left lower abdominal pain; the baby was tucking him/herself in my pelvis.  He/She had room to move around but felt secure there, I guess.  I got a ton of ultrasound pictures, but that doesn’t do anything justice compared to watching the video on screen in real-time . . . something the father missed out on.

Below are some ultrasound pictures.  See the long bony legs in one photo, in another one reaching out or stretching (4D image), in another curling back up (4D image), and a front-facing one where the ultrasound technician was checking that the skull was fully formed and the little arms, belly, skull and eye sockets are easily visible.  One picture of me looking at the screen in bafflement, and the other is a snapshot of me in the middle of crying and smiling with mixed emotions.

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WEEK 17 – WEEK 18 (164 – 151 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a turnip (week 17) and the size of a bell pepper (week 18).

How is the baby growing at 17 weeks?

What is momma possibly experiencing at 17 weeks?

How is the baby growing at 18 weeks?

What is momma possibly experiencing at 18 weeks?

Baby girl (or I think) wasn’t being that active yet, and for first time pregnant mothers, like me, it is quite common.  Since I am so small framed in my mid-section I was, however, sensitive to the “flutters” that is often going on in the early stages of pregnancy, but most don’t feel it.  It usually represents the organogenesis between weeks six and eight, and by the end of the first trimester (week 12) most women in their second pregnancy and beyond feel these flutters early while very few first time mothers do as early, and some by week 18.  At week 12 the embryo officially becomes a fetus.  Personally, I started feeling the flutters by week 15, but it was difficult to distinguish, but by week 17 and 18, I’d like to call them more like “bubbles” or little “spasms” like a poking feeling.

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WEEK 19 (150 – 144 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of an heirloom tomato.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week my belly grew overnight . . . literally!  To the average person it may not appear that way when I have clothes on, but I remember it quite clearly.  I remember waking up around 5:00 AM needing to do my (now new normal) routine pee-pee run, but before I did I felt like I needed a good stretch – you know that feeling right?  I look down and I was like “that belly was not there yesterday.”  I’m not sure if my baby girl grew, but I definitely know my uterus did.

WEEK 20 (143 – 137 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a banana.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week was my ultrasound anatomy scan (10/24/2017).  One of the most exciting and anxious times leading up to that date because the scan assesses the entire functionality of my anatomy and of the baby’s and can determine if our overall health is in good standings or falls below normal.  I was nervous when I went in because I wasn’t feeling the normal “bubble” movements that I was feeling just days earlier so I thought something was wrong, but low and behold as they put the ultrasound wand on my belly, there she was – officially determined a girl – and she was doubled in size from my first ultrasound just a month prior!  She was rubbing her eyes with the back of her hand, and it was mind-blowing when she was caught sleeping she slept with her hands next to and under her face just like me!  At one point she pushed back on the ultrasound wand and the technician was able to snap a photo of that rare occurrence.  However, she was being stubborn and snuggling herself and curled up tightly against my uterine wall, so it was difficult to get a good photo of her in 4D.  But I was able to see her facial features; her fully formed lips, eyelids, and eyebrows.  Her heart and kidneys were functioning, her bones appeared to be all in the right places, and she has all her little fingers and toes.  My uterus fundal height was of proper proportion and she was of right size.  Her heart rate is at a normal 160 bpm.  The only thing is during the ultrasound she did not want her head in the amniotic fluid, and I’m unsure if it’s normal for me not to have more of it.  But it seemed that none of the doctors on staff were concerned about it so I’m thinking it is relatively normal not to be full of it.  The sad and somewhat disconcerting part of this, is that this is my last ultrasound before birth (another 5 months to go!) unless it is medically necessary.

To celebrate that I have a strong healthy baby girl cooking inside and passed the weeks of high miscarriage, a couple of friends and I decided to take announcement photos at the pumpkin patch.  Although we took the photos, I did not make the announcement to the general public yet.

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WEEK 21 (136 – 130 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a carrot.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week went by fast!  It was probably the busiest I’ve been at work since I started a new project and was hyper-focused on it.  This week my little girl wasn’t moving around as much inside.  Of course being a new mother-to-be I have no idea what to expect, so if I didn’t feel movement in over two days I do wonder what’s going on.  I wouldn’t say I worried so much I rushed to the ER or called the doctor, but like any good parent, I definitely was keeping my awareness of it.  On the third day she started moving again, haha!  She must have been as tired as I was.  The pro of her not moving, I was able to sleep through the night with minimal bathroom trips.

WEEK 22 (131 – 125 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a spaghetti squash.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week a friend of mine took impromptu pictures of me.  As the saying goes “pregnant hair” and “pregnant wear” is exactly how I put myself together.  But who cares what I look like and who cares that I may not have been put together.  I’m glad I have the memories.  If I waited to be perfect, the moment would have passed me by.  If I didn’t do them, I would have regretted it as time went on.  So however they turned out is better than not turning out at all.

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WEEK 23 (124 – 118 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is about the size of a large mango.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week everything about my pregnancy seemed to kick into high gear.  It is hard to imagine baby girl being the size of a mango!  I’m just now starting to show through my clothes to the point where people that don’t know me question or wonder “are you / is she pregnant?”  I’m unbuttoning my regular pants or I opt to wear maternity bottoms now, which most I know are already doing that at 16 weeks.  It may have a lot to do with losing 10 lbs. in the beginning of my pregnancy from the combination of eating healthier and cutting back sweets when I didn’t know I was pregnant, and I was having morning sickness (or what I like to call anytime-of-day sickness) every day sometimes multiple times a day.  I also found out what people meant by bad heartburn . . . yikes!  Sometimes it feels like hell is rising up from within me, ha ha!

Although she is more tucked into my tummy, that does not mean I don’t have all the same normal pregnancy signs and symptoms during this week.  This week I began to feel her kicks, jabs, and pokes much stronger and more frequent than before.  She is a strong girl like her mother and a fighter like her dad.  So much so, there have been times her kicks have jolted me out of my seat more than once – like during a meeting.  I’ve also noticed there is a pattern of movement – like a schedule.  Not always by time, but always by what I do.  She seems to know when I’m getting settled into bed at night and wants to stay up and have a slumber party but usually in an hour she gets partied out.  She gets up before I do to tell me she’s hungry (sometimes very early).  And she definitely likes to jam out to music . . . or maybe she is telling me she doesn’t like it, I don’t know.

I was put on bed rest for two days due to sudden erratic blood pressure fluctuating from low to high and heart rate sustaining over 100 bpm at rest.  I was having difficulty seeing straight which prevented me from walking steadily or to be able to drive.  I was having “tunnel vision” along with lightheadedness, sweating, and confusion.  The symptoms can be from many different things, but it may be low in iron or low blood sugar.  My next office visit is next week and that will be up for discussion and diagnosis.

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Friend taking care of me. She put a doll that is about the size of my baby right now in my arms. I slept most of the day

WEEK 24 (119 – 113 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of an ear of corn.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

I’m definitely eating more and whatever I could get my hands on, haha! It could be mashed potatoes and a few minutes later a bowl of ice cream with the fixings, or potato salad along with a slice of pumpkin pie.  And mind you this was the week of Thanksgiving and had two plate fulls for two days straight!  I’m not so much having cravings; it’s more like “I need to eat what I can because I’m hungry” and sometimes the more I’m on the go, the more bizarre it is.  At this stage I’ve only gained 8 lbs.  A healthy weight gain for me instead should be 11 – 16 lbs.  I visited with the doctor this week and they don’t seem to be too concerned with the weight.  I don’t think I’ll have a problem gaining the weight I need the way I’ve been eating now, haha!  Per my request because of last week’s event and randomly having minor symptoms of the same, the doctor did draw a CBC blood panel on me.  I got a call on the results, and it does show my glucose and iron levels are extremely low.  I had that feeling that’s why I suggested a blood test, but I didn’t know my levels would be that low and it does cause for concern.  Now I know why I’ve been short of breath, fatigued, weak, frequent leg cramps, and lightheaded. This girl is sucking the life out of me, ha ha!  The doctor recommended me to eat something every 2 hours and up my iron intake.  I told them my daily nutritional intake with some variances through the week, that contains mostly high iron, protein, and natural and artificial sugars, and that I take a prenatal vitamin with iron daily.  So, the doctor concluded that I may not be absorbing nutrients like I should, which either may be an underlying condition or be only a gestational problem while pregnant.  Knowing that I haven’t had an anemia problem before, I’m hoping it’s only something during pregnancy and that I can fix.  Even if it is brief and caused by pregnancy, it can pose a risk to the unborn child and to the mother, especially during this stage of pregnancy, depending on how severe the glucose and iron levels are.  Find out how anemia effects pregnancy by clicking here. To play it safe, the doctor prescribed a high-dose iron supplement to go along with my prenatal vitamin, and asked that I take a 500mg Vitamin C supplement along with that to help the absorption, and to refrain from dairy products an hour before and an hour after since that can slow or prevent absorption.  Hopefully it works, and maybe I’ll start feeling more energetic and overall not be in a “blah” mood.

I’ve had a couple of people touch my stomach now.  I also understand now what all the fuss is about knowing what position the baby is in.  Although brief for me, since my girl likes to hide deeper inside my belly, she popped out in front yesterday during my exam and you can see the movement on my belly and when I placed my hand down, I could feel the curvature of her head.  I can’t lie, it was both astonishing and peculiar at the same time, and the feeling of life inside of me, can be somewhat alien-like, but all-in-all comforting to know when she moves that means she’s healthy.

WEEK 25 (112 – 106 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a rutabaga.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

To my growing baby girl: the day I turned 25 weeks pregnant (on November 24, 2007 to be exact; the day after Thanksgiving) was the day someone else was able to feel and see you kick – my friend Janet to be exact.  That same week two other people tried but as soon as they put their hand to my belly you stopped.  It’s like you know if it’s not my touch.  I noticed this week that whenever a male figure spoke for some time, whether it was the pastor at my church giving his sermon, or male figures on television or movies (like when I was watching the movie “Thor”) you were jumping around like a jelly bean whenever they spoke.  I’d like to believe it’s because you’ve become so accustom to female voices since I work or socialize around so many, that you are excited to hear the lower bass-like tones of a man.  Too bad your daddy hasn’t been around to talk to you.  You also started to kick more frequently and stronger whenever I sat for too long, like when I had to work on a computer, sat down to eat or when relaxing and watching television.  So I experimented with music that may calm you down (never too early to start!) by placing a headset against my belly.  I would play calming meditation music, contemporary Christian music, and classical music.  You seemed to enjoy the smooth jazz and pop sounds from artists like Nat King Cole, specifically his song “Smile” (which is one of my favorites too, which I hope to sing to you some day), and “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra.  You seemed to be at your calmest when you listened to piano and strings or when listening to contemporary Christian music, which has much of that too.  The calming meditation sounds ironically came last.

This week my body has gone through some changes pretty quickly, and it’s the annoying little things.  Like acne and rashes from products I normally use that my skin is easily getting irritated over now.  My nice pink nipples I liked have turned a dark pink to almost purple now and are secreting colostrum, the first thick, and creamy high-protein milk before producing breast milk.  It hasn’t leaked badly where it’s gone through my bra, but it does catch me off-guard when it becomes dry and crusty.  The joys of motherhood, ha ha!

I must say my pregnancy has been quite easy up until this point.  I haven’t carried large, but don’t let that fool you – she is of average weight and my fundal height is where it should be.  So although I’m not imbalanced by my “pop belly” she is inside more causing some discomfort and everything else that comes with pregnancy that others who are “popped out” would feel.  The past couple of weeks I have been having a lot of problems because of my low iron and glucose – having trouble breathing is one of them, which leads to weakness and can be worrisome.  I finally was able to get my prescription liquid iron supplement from the pharmacy.  When I took it, it smelled and tasted just like blood.  Ha, I couldn’t help but think of myself as Bella in that movie Twilight: Breaking Dawn that is part of a series.  Bella was pregnant and she was so ill that she ended up trying human blood and it helped her and the unborn child quickly.  So I’m gritting and bearing it knowing it will be better for the both of us to be healthy.

WEEK 26 (105 – 98 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the length of a scallion.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week has been an interesting week.  The day after I turned 26 weeks I wound up in the hospital.  My little girl went from moving around a lot to nothing at all for over 60 hours.  In earlier weeks I wouldn’t have been as concerned, but since I’m later in my pregnancy and she went from 60 to 0 abruptly I was very worried.  My doctor told me to go to the hospital to make sure everything was fine.  When I got there they took me right into the labor and delivery floor and in a room – I was not ready to see that yet.  I got a good snapshot preview of what’s to come!  Per their routine, they made sure I wasn’t having contraction and then they put a monitor on my belly for fetal heartbeat and movement.  I was relieved to hear the heartbeat of my darling daughter.  The monitor even picked up her tossing around in my belly.  I usually feel it but I wasn’t and I wondered why now that I’m not.  But I’m just glad she is okay.  When I knew she was I teared up with the nurse comforting me by my side.  I was monitored for an hour to make sure there wasn’t any abrupt change in her heartbeat (which there wasn’t) and was able to go home right after that.  That evening I was able to enjoy a Christmas parade with peace of mind.  Right after that I purchased a fetal doppler if for any reason the movements slow down or stop again, which may save me a trip to the hospital.  And who am I kidding!  Just listening to her heartbeat and movements and seeing her movements at the same time is another bonding moment I can’t pass up!  Speaking of which, my sister got to witness the doppler in action (in week 27).

I think this is in fact the first week I truly getting closer to the realization of having a child and becoming a mother instantly when she is born.  I don’t know what to expect during childbirth and that sometimes gets to me, but I try to remember the One True King is in control and he wants me to remain positive to look forward to motherhood.

Mid-week I went to a 2-part Caring for Baby class.  There were things I got to know about recommendations in the past that have changed over the years; I got more details out of the class than expected!  Most of what I know are common sense, and other things I was like “wow, I had no idea,” and that scared me a bit.  I just hope I retain everything.  Most of the class is geared around partnerships or another caregiver.  But what I wanted to know is how you handle it all if you don’t have that support in the middle of the night and have to go back to work sooner and unable to sleep when baby is sleeping during the day.  Since most classes are not equipped to  teach like that, I couldn’t help but to get anxious while holding a life-like infant doll in my arms passing it to the next person next to me (that is to be my helpful partner) thinking about that in a roundabout way the classes teach that one parent is doomed to crack under pressure.  But at the same time I know I’ve been strong for a lot of things in my life and been through some disastrous scenarios that most have not or cannot fathom and I still came out on the other side, and I will someway somehow with this.  You know why?  Because although it may appear like a challenge the blessing of her in my arms, to share my love with her whom is so deserving of it and gets to truly know it fully, is what will sustain me heart, body and soul.

WEEK 27 (97 – 91 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a head of cauliflower.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

The day I turned 27 weeks pregnant my sister was the first to hear my daughter’s heartbeat on the fetal monitor that I purchased a few days earlier.  It was a very touching moment for me, and I believe it was for her too.  Her eyes teared up as soon as she heard the heart gallop; and the first to feel the baby’s kicks at the same time.  Not only could she feel the kicks, we both can see them happening from one end of my stomach to the other.

This week as my daughter-to-be has been tumbling in my tummy more and more, I also began to feel her first hiccups.  It was when I was lying in bed and after she slowed down her tumbling there was this rhythmic movement only in one place – just to the lower right of my naval.  She hiccups for a long time ha ha!

Watch a video of the tumbling and kicks by clicking here!

Baby shower invitations went out this week.  My sister and my friend took care of it to help me out and have “one less thing to stress about”, which was very appreciative.  From what I gather from those two, they may have a surprise up their sleeve or thought of something clever to do for a baby shower.  Whichever way it turns out, I’m sure I’ll be happy either way.  Even if people can’t afford gifts, I hope those invited will still come as I’d love to see my friends and family together.

Now, although these great things are happening, unfortunately it didn’t come without some uninvited events or news during the week.  The day after I turned 27 weeks pregnant, I was again back in the hospital; not to mention it was on my birthday.  I was at work and for the second time I couldn’t get my lightheadedness and presyncope under control.  My blood pressure again was extremely low, my heart rate was over 110 bpm and I profusely sweated in less than a couple of minutes.  The uneasiness of it is it seems to happen when I put my arms above shoulder length and it doesn’t have to be for any length of time (i.e. like brushing or washing hair, putting up files, or decorating for the holidays), and it doesn’t matter if I ate a good meal. It eventually passed, but regardless if it is a normal pregnancy phase or not, it makes me so weak for the rest of the day to do much of anything, and that can’t keep happening.  When I called the doctor she told me to go to the ER because I didn’t last time when it happened and it would just be good to rule out anything.  This time I go to the hospital I’m supposed to deliver at.  I was a bit disappointed in the service.  They kept me in ER and did not bring me to the labor and delivery floor.  Where they kept me was right by the entrance to the ER in the hallway in a bed.  Normally I wouldn’t care, but being pregnant your immune system is lower and I’d think they’d know that, so by being by where everyone and whatever they are coming in for is not a smart move.  I was glad for the fact that they put a heart monitor on for me and my baby.  I did not have a call button to use to be assisted to the restroom and they didn’t want me going by myself because of my unsteadiness.  Plus, they put the rails up on the bed and I was hooked to a monitor on the wall.  I tried to get anyone’s attention, because let’s face it, when you are pregnant and have to urinate, you have to go . . . and nobody was remotely paying attention to me, and I was in front of the nurses station!  One lady got there an hour after me and left before me, and she got more done than me and had like everyone cater to her for a minor blister to be popped to get her ring off.  Finally, by chance, I happened to accidentally spill my drink right where everyone walks and I had the opportunity to ask to use the restroom.  I had my blood taken, with a small butterfly needle no less, and the girl ruptured my vein somehow with that.  Blood everywhere and a knot on the inner part of my arm about the size of a cherry tomato.  The nurse I had was nice but she was all over the place.  The doctor came to talk to me telling me it’s normal to be lightheaded and not to get up too fast from one position to another.  I know this!!  That’s not how this happened.  Nobody seemed to address why I’d get the way I do (and still do from time to time) when raising my arms, and how my heart rate jumps.  They just seem to stick me in a particular category to have some answer to discharge me.  The doctor said I was also dehydrated.  From my urine it doesn’t appear that way and I had a blood test just two weeks prior that said I was fine with hydration.  He didn’t say anything about my iron or glucose level that was showing low then too.  But at least I went, right?

After I left there, I ended up breaking out with needle-pin raised red itchy dots down my forearm from the blood draw site.  So going to the hospital to get better I wind up perhaps contracting something.  My OB didn’t know what it was and I had to miss work at the schools in case it was infectious.  They believe it to be a reaction of some sort, which I’m not ruling out but I reminded them it isn’t latex because I work with it all the time and it isn’t because of any adhesive because I requested not to have adhesive on my skin when at the hospital.  (28-week update: It’s been over a week and I don’t have the red dots anymore, or at least only a hand full, but the raised skin is still there.  I am seeing the doctor this week).

When my OB called me to tell me they got the results from the hospital and the cardiologists, it wasn’t the best news.  It shows that I have a heart arrhythmia (an irregular and fast heart rate), which I knew four years ago when I had it checked, but now I got new information that I also have mitral valve regurgitation.  By itself it isn’t always problematic, but it does cause labored breathing, which I’ve been getting and top that with the being extremely anemic that can cause the same thing, has been a big problem for me.  I couldn’t help but be upset thinking back four years ago at my first checkup that the cardiologist then basically turned me away saying “You’re alright.  You’re too young to have any problems.”  That may be true in some people’s cases, but a professional should never lump everyone into one category before evaluating each person individually. I’m supposed to confide in their professionalism and now look what has happened?  This has nothing to do with my pregnancy, but can impact the health of me and my daughter during delivery, which now I’m fearing more since it’s been almost impossible to be physically active with high heart rate and breathing difficulties.  I don’t want these problems to overshadow the abundant joys of pregnancy, but it is difficult when unwanted and possibly unwarranted stress has presented itself.  This is the time when a shoulder and an ear to lean on are essential during these times.  My OB called to tell me now I have to see a Perinatologist or what is better known as a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist as well as reporting to the regular OB two to four times a month.  Almost impossible with trying to work and save money just to miss hours.  This would be a good time to win the lottery ha ha!

To my baby girl: we can get through this.  I’ve been hurt in my life in the last few years and it looks like it took its toll on my heart.  I’ve had troubled times that have come and gone.  The thing is we both know the day will come that I must give birth. I pray that you and I remain healthy during and after the process, and that we have goodhearted people around us to understand and help where it is needed.  I am determined to have the strength to bond with you as much as possible, and for you to thrive in this beautiful and sometimes unpredictable world.  I love you already!!  Momma is strong-willed and has the unwavering desire to beat the odds that are thrown her way.

Would you like to donate in care of the health of me and my child? You may do so by clicking here!

 

WEEK 28 (90 – 84 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a large eggplant.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

I can’t believe I only have about 12 weeks till my delivery.  I remember at 12 weeks pregnant is when I found out that I was.  It goes by fast!

Watch the fetal doppler in action, hear the baby’s heart beat and watch her strong punches at the end of the video: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1OM07ookNqS7w6xOvCzMXFD11Tiec9I5C

This is absolutely the first week I actually felt my baby’s appendages when touching my stomach (fast forward a few weeks and it becomes predominately so).  I am not exactly sure what it was, but I felt these little bumpy nubs about an inch in length and about as wide.  You’d think I know, and instinctively I probably do, so I’m just going to assume it was either knuckles of a hand or foot and toes.

So, this week I started feeling the pregnancy hot flashes.  Thankfully I didn’t have them much earlier because now I’m sweating through everything!  When I do presentations at the schools for my job in front of hundreds of students, I have to think about what I can wear, and even though warm, I may layer on a cardigan or a jacket just to hide the proof of my sweat-dripping underarms ha ha!  One embarrassing (but needed last moment), I took panty liners and lined my underarms for two short presentations just to get through it when it first began – yes, it’s okay to laugh at that.  Along with the wildly active sweat glands, this week was the beginning of red, tight, hot hands and feet.  It’s different for me because I tend to usually have cold extremities (and I still sometimes do).  Likely this is happening because of the larger blood volume I’m producing (hello!  I’m producing for two!) and blood tends to pull to a mother’s extremities most.  This is the reason why most doctors suggest at this point (if not throughout a pregnancy) that a pregnant woman lowers her sodium intake.

 

WEEK 29 (83 – 77 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a butternut squash.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week was an emotional week.  A serious week. One of the reasons why I didn’t update my weekly pregnancy page until three weeks later (at 31 weeks pregnant).  I know I don’t share everything about my personal life, as I want this page to mostly be about the pregnancy and remember it that way.  Just know, even if you think you know from what I told you, you don’t really know the whole story or how I feel, and it is totally different managing problems, struggles and obstacles internally.  I understand life happens (hence why I named my blog that), and usually, if I haven’t already perfected it yet, I’m great at juggling stress and hassles that I sometimes don’t deserve.  It’s hard to swallow knowing things that should come easily haven’t lately and every little thing has become a big obstacle.  Not exactly an obstacle in itself, but the hardship intensifies when all I want to do is focus on the most important things in my life now, to which is obviously my growing baby girl, and sometimes I’m taken away from that.  And even focusing on her took a “not so great” turn this week and the only word I could describe how I’ve felt is the feeling of being . . . lost.

As previously mentioned in week 27, I was scheduled to see a Perinatal Specialist (part of a branch of medicine called Maternal Fetal Medicine that focuses on managing health concerns of the mother and the fetus). I had to travel about 45 miles south to Palm Beach, FL to see this doctor who’d take my insurance and works directly with my OB.  Everything went smoothly with the check-in and check-out process, but it did take quite a long time for staff to get medical records from my cardiologist (and they still didn’t get all of it that day).  Overall I was there for a good long while, about three and half hours, but that is accounting for the normal vitals, weight check and urine screen, along with a Level 2 ultrasound and consulting with the Perinatal Specialist.

The news I received: My baby girl’s abdomen has not progressed in growth with the rest of her body; it is smaller in circumference.  What the specialist at least hopes for is some sort of growth each week moving forward.  It doesn’t seem like much to be concerned with, but her smaller stomach (a significant difference from when she was 20 weeks compared to 29 weeks) can be from so many things, or can mean nothing.  She has been diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) in the 9th percentile of a normal fetus growth at my gestational age. IUGR can have many causes, and carries some risks.  Most causes are because of down syndrome or a chromosomal abnormality.  Although I took a blood test for this early on, the data collected is only about 76% accurate.  Please read more of other causes and the post-partum risk factors by clicking here. Our thoughts (the doctor and I) think it may have something to do with the onset of me getting anemia around week 23, which causes low exchange of oxygen rich blood and the nutrient to the baby.  The hard part to believe is that I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins with iron since day one when I had a feeling I was pregnant, and for the past month I’ve also been taking daily a large liquid dose of iron with vitamin C to help the iron absorb in the body better. But maybe, just maybe the iron supplement takes some time to elevate my levels to provide exceptional nutrient rich blood to my baby girl.

The doctor consulted with me to be “prepared” for a possible induction as early as 34 week (exactly the week of my baby shower) if my baby girl doesn’t improve in weight and growth.  I know having a child early can introduce more problems, so I urged the doctor unless it is absolutely medically necessary to at least wait until 37 weeks if by that time it needs to be done.  I also asked the important question I didn’t know because I didn’t understand: “if the baby is small, why would we try to get her out early knowing she’ll be even smaller?”  The Perinatal Specialist, and other professionals agreed that my baby may not be getting the nutrients she needs through the umbilical cord and if medically necessary, she will benefit better outside the womb getting nutrition that way.  Hopefully things will look better each time I go in so we don’t have to induce.  For one, I want to extend her growth naturally as much as possible so that her brain and lungs develop properly.  The other reason, is because I have nothing ready!  I am relying on the baby shower to get much needed items to “nest” and if I don’t, at least I’ll know then to go out and get what I need.  That will be difficult to do if my induction is the same week as I’m supposed to have the baby shower.  But I was lucky enough to borrow a car seat for now just in case I am induced early, and a goodhearted person gave away her used crib for free to me that is quite new.  The doctor requested I count my calories and try to eat a higher protein diet and show her my daily log (including water intake) when I return in four weeks.  Until then, I will be getting an ultrasound and a fetal doppler weekly.

Now as for my health and the doctor’s recommendation, she does not want me exercising at all right now – she wants all my calorie intake to go straight to the baby minimally burning them off.  I think that can be a double edge sword; I believe that I need to be strong and healthy for delivery to deliver a healthy baby.  I just continue to pray with the minimal exercise I’ve done during this pregnancy I can withstand labor – because I’ve been told it’s the hardest I’ll ever work in my lifetime, and I want it to be a beautiful experience, not a stressful one all because I’m out of breath or something.  I was also told with all the symptoms I’ve been having that came full force late in my second trimester and into my third, but has been around prior to pregnancy at a minimum that I may have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I can’t be tested for it until after I give birth to see if I’m diagnosed with it.  Reading up on it, it does sound like something I probably have; which thankfully isn’t a severe condition but requires lifelong treatment.

So, yes it was an emotional day. I sat in my car and cried before my travel back home.  It was that lost feeling that her growth is likely out of my control, but any person carrying and caring for a child will somehow think there is something they could have done to prevent that, and that was exactly what I was thinking.  I am alone in this without a supportive partner.  I can handle it, and accepted it for some time, but really, who doesn’t want in some way that kind of support you just can’t get with a family member or a friend?  That closeness of helping with things that someone else just can’t do (or that I won’t let get that close ha ha).  While I sat in that car I knew I also heard some not-such-bad news; like her growth overall everywhere else is proportionate, the amniotic fluid is good, and the blood flow in the placenta is perfect.  It took me a few days to get out of my funk but as mothers do well, keep positive and be that superhero for her child.

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Profile view – notice her tummy is not round like most babies 😦

WEEK 30 (76 – 70 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a large cabbage.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

Only 10 more weeks until my due date.  What a milestone!

I began counting kicks!  And like I mentioned earlier counting calories.  Most people count calories to lose weight, ha ha, I’m counting to make sure I gain or at least have an intake of 2300 – 2400 calories daily.  I will confess something though.  I did not follow the doctor’s order exactly when it came to exercising.  I didn’t go all out, but I did dance a little.  I think it is good for the soul and I hear it’s good just like yoga as long as it is a fluid gentle motion, which is what I did.  I couldn’t help it!  I was working through my agency at a dance studio for the week.  Kind of hard for me to not sway my hips a little listening to music and reminiscing the times when I use to dance growing up.

 

WEEK 31 (69 – 63 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a coconut.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

My stomach has stretched stretched stretched!  I’ve been stretching so much that my stomach constantly has red blotches on it and when I walk or lift my legs up, the ligament pulls can be painful.  It has now officially become a chore to put on pants or undergarments while standing and going in and out of the tub/shower.  My balance is off so I have to take extra precautions when doing these things.  I can literally say now my glow is starting to fade, and my body underneath my clothes, like it or not, is not as pretty as it once was.  Maybe it will go back, or maybe I’ll grow to love it, and maybe as a bonus someone else will love it too.  The good news is, my darling daughter won’t care either way what I look like as long as I love up on her!

I had to get a Level 2 ultrasound today all the way in Palm Beach again.  My daughter did gain some weight from 2 lbs 13 oz two weeks ago to now at 3 lbs and 6 oz., which is within normal range, but they were hoping for more since she is technically already smaller.  At this point they do not expect her to grow to full size at delivery (which is an average of 7 to 8 lbs.) and her stomach is still small but has grown as well in circumference.  That is certainly news I needed to hear.  And that is what the doctor is looking for too; as long as there is growth and weight gain there is less of a chance of needing to induce me early.  Everything else about the ultrasound looked good too.  The doctor said baby girl is already face down, which is early and doesn’t think she’ll move much from that position.  She is in the “getting ready” stage for labor.  Her head is down, but her body is facing to my sides.  During the ultrasound her body favored my left side, with her arms and legs on the right side, with her buttocks just above my naval.  The last several days I thought that was her head I was caressing ha ha!

My Braxton-Hicks contractions have been more frequent.  At one point I wasn’t sure if it was true pre-term labor because it lasted for about 25 – 30 minutes with back pain.  Thankfully it wasn’t.  When this happened I was on my way to the hospital to do a tour of where I’m supposed to deliver.  I definitely was at the right place if they continued when I got there, but they ceased about 10 minutes before.  I got a little anxiety seeing the delivery rooms as it became more real and how in just a few short weeks I will (God willing) have a healthy baby girl in my arms and a healthy me to care for her.

 

WEEK 32 (62 – 56 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a jicama.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week was all about getting things seriously together.  I got re-certified in adult, infant and child Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) specialty trained as a health care provider.  Consulted with a lawyer regarding a Will (and other personal things) since my health is a concern during delivery, but regardless, it’s a good idea to have set for a child in a parent’s untimely death – hopefully for me that isn’t the case!  Perusing sedan vehicles that are more “child friendly” compared to my mustang (noooo!), and weighing my options on another place to live for her to grow up in. Also, a family friend came over with a crib to help set it up for me.  Obviously I inspected over and over again for quality since it is used (and experts ideally say not to get a used crib or car seat).  All of this takes money, which isn’t as easy to come by without the obligation (as it should be) by the father and not having any income while on maternity leaves makes it that much harder.

Check out the video of my 30-week home fetal doppler by clicking the link below

30-Week Pregnant at Home Fetal Doppler

 

 

WEEK 33 (55 – 49 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a pineapple.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week I definitely feel heavier – but who doesn’t when they are pregnant?  I hopped on the scale and certain enough I gained about 6 pounds in one week – ONE WEEK!  No wonder I’m off kilter, feel heavier, bogged down, and out of breath – that makes a lot of sense!  Gaining weight that quickly isn’t ideal but the doctor didn’t seem too concerned.  I am now 28 lbs more than my pre-pregnancy weight; for the average person gaining 25 – 30 lbs is ideal.  It is not all baby though – it’s my bigger breasts getting ready for nursing, and honestly, probably all the sweets I’ve been craving lately.  But I do think my darling daughter just knew she had to catch up to be at a much healthier weight.

My coworkers threw a surprise baby shower mid-week for me.  What I thought was a meeting I was coming to (which technically part of it was), was actually a very nice baby shower.  I never had a group of coworkers that came together like that in celebration before and it was humbling to say the least!  They decorated the conference room walls with colorful paper cut-out onesies, and the baby’s name; they all came and all got me many useful baby gadgets and clothing.  There was food like wings, homemade dip and keesh, jello, cookies, and more.  Definitely beyond anything I could imagine coworkers and supervisors to put together for me.

 

WEEK 34 (48 – 42 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a cantaloupe.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

My tummy is getting tight and my belly baby girl is not having as much room to move in.  The strangest thing happened for the first time.  She stretched out and her feet and knees were literally protruding out the side of my abdomen.  I can’t even describe the physical feeling on the inside and how queasy I became while rubbing that area and she refused to move.  She did it twice this week.  I just know she has bruised me from the inside ha ha!  She must be getting cramped in there; she has been trying to stretch more.  I got so use to her being in the middle of my stomach stretching up and down but not side to side.

This week I had my important appointment with the perinatal specialist regarding the last conversation if induction is needed early due to her growth not progressing.  Baby love’s little tummy is still smaller than the rest of her but she and her stomach has grown and continued growing for the past month.  At the appointment her estimated weight was 4.9 lbs, up from 3.6 from 3 weeks prior.  Doctor has lifted the need for induction unless something changes by then and because of baby’s growth rate, she believes she will weigh less than the average 7 to 8 lbs, but at least likely a good healthy 6.5 lbs or so.  From here on out I am still being watched closely so I’m having to go back twice a week to the perinatal specialist (two counties away) for a Biophysical Profile (BPP) ultrasounds and fetal non-stress tests (NSTs), not to mention starting at 36 weeks seeing my obstetrician weekly too.  It’s a little much when I’m continuing to try and work a full-time job as a single mother and get most of the baby stuff organized by myself with some help every few days or so.

I had my officially planned baby shower take place Saturday, January 27, 2018 that my friend Nicole and my sister put together.  It was kept a bit of a mystery though who all was coming.  I was certainly taken aback when almost everyone on the list showed.  It came out beautifully and very creative!  There was an umbrella and clouds with raindrops and pacifiers to signify “baby shower” and cupcake rattlers and the good old fashion diaper cake.  We played a game guessing the melted kind of chocolates in diapers, which was hilarious seeing people’s reaction to the game or getting close to the diaper to smell what looks like other than chocolate.  I had an unexpected professional photoshoot as a gift from my friend Trisha, and many other gifts such as baby’s name printed and framed, dresses, stroller, playpen, car seat, and more.  It definitely took some time to figure out where to put everything when I got home (but I finally got most of it done by week 36).

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WEEK 35 (41 – 35 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a honeydew melon.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

This week I’ve been having more “practice contractions” or better known as Braxton-Hicks contractions.  Having so much more difficulty breathing, and sleeping has been minimal because of it.  I’m either congested due to the hormone levels causing vessel dilation in the face (and other parts of the body I don’t want to mention), or I can’t breathe because of something I haven’t yet been able to pin-point but have told different doctors from the practice many times.  It almost feels like someone choking me and I’m not getting oxygen to the brain within seconds of trying to lay down and it also slows down my heart rhythm.  So I’m constantly sitting up while sleeping and then my bum hurts or my rib cages hurt daily if I sleep on the side.  I’m just not comfortable EVER anymore and I’m exhausted.

I had my weekly ultrasound this week and my first fetal non-stress test (NST).  During the ultrasound the technician measured everything, but this time checked to see if baby was doing “practice breathing” by compressing her lungs and swallowing.  Of course she was stubborn to do this when the technician was looking for it.  Matter-of-fact, baby was sleeping and nudging her wasn’t even waking her up.  That always causes for concern, but I did tell the technician she was quite active during the NST and she must have pooped herself out.  We paused the ultrasound for a moment so I can move around, drink cold water and use the restroom before coming back to the table to see if that stimulated any movement.  Sure enough, as soon as she checks, I see baby girl on the screen practicing her breathing – and what looked like quite well!  The only thing I’d say during this ultrasound is that I did not get any growth results verbalized to me and I wasn’t seeing the perinatal specialist until next week at 36 weeks pregnant.

This week I was also scheduled for my second echocardiogram (ECG) during my 37th week of pregnancy.  Because I’m considered high risk and now I’m producing 50% more blood volume to accommodate me and my baby girl, they want to check me again, especially that I’ve been having signs of possible circulation issues as mentioned before about my breathing.  I just hope it’s nothing serious that will make it difficult for me to deliver and it is something that will easily go away postpartum.  The great news is, is that I don’t have many of the other high risk problems like preeclampsia, hypertension, or diabetes.

 

WEEK 36 (34 – 28 DAYS TO GO!)

My belly baby is the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

How is the baby growing?

What is momma possibly experiencing?

So I’ve been in good spirits (despite drained energy) about the growth of my baby, and getting everything organized and ready and getting most of it done.  But then four days into week 36 I wound up at the hospital.  I was having such lower right abdominal pain and tenderness with nausea, cold chills and sweats.  I tried to wait it out thinking it would pass but after 6 hours and on the verge of crying because of no relief, I was referred by my doctor to head to the hospital to rule out any serious conditions and conditions that may be harmful to my girl.  I was literally on the labor and delivery floor for most of the day with a NST strapped to me to monitor baby’s heart and contractions.  I had an ultrasound of my appendix to make sure it wasn’t appendicitis.  When that was ruled out a good guess was that I was either having ovarian cysts rupturing or severe constipation.  So then, doctors gave me a suppository (my first time ever taking that!) and milk of magnesia along with warm tea and didn’t want me to be discharged until I made a bowel movement to see if that helped the pain.  Although my pain subsided on its own, three hours later I still could not “go” and they decided to discharge me.  The nurse and the doctor mentioned “everything looks great with the baby’s heart rate otherwise.”  I also at one point was having contractions about two minutes apart and a couple strong ones too.  They monitored me for a while on that and the doctor told me “if you are having true contractions, I would not stop it at this point when you are 36 weeks.”  I knew I was only having Braxton-Hicks contractions because when you read up on how it happens compared to the real deal, you can easily identify what is what (although harder if your bowels are backed up!).  The doctors checked me to see if my cervix was dilated at all and it was completely closed.  It can be a good thing so a bacterium isn’t as easily capable of entering the womb, but it may indicate I won’t have a quick labor.  Most people start dilating at 36 weeks but it’s also normal not to.  By the way, I’ve taken milk of magnesia again two days later and still no bowel movement.  Quite concerned knowing my intestines are not liking the baby cramping their style – literally!

The next day I had my appointment with the perinatal specialist along with an ultrasound and NST.  NST was reactive (good thing!), and the baby wasn’t shy moving around this time during the ultrasound.  She was easily seen practicing her breathing.  My sister came with me for the first time and it was her first time seeing an ultrasound.  Although the baby is much bigger and in the head down position and facing my back where the technician couldn’t get a clear head shot – just like it was the last time, I’m still glad my sister was able to experience it in one way or another.  Then I met with the doctor and her news once again wasn’t great and it shattered all my happy thoughts – maybe even worse this time – because of the seriousness of my baby girl’s growth.   She basically discussed that she is measuring like a fetus would at 33 weeks of age and her growth has not changed in two weeks.  She is still 4.9 lbs when the average fetus should weigh about 6 ½ lbs at 36 weeks.  She said when I see her next Monday (6 days away) that if there is no change I will be induced that same week.  I can see the concern, but I also would like to take alternative measures first before leaping.  Like having another ultrasound technician measure her to see if they get the same results.  Also, baby seems to be thriving in the womb with no distress that it may be okay to try and let her “cook” a little longer. The doctor was a bit insensitive by telling me I need to eat acting like she knows when I never told her I do or I don’t.  She said “you’re going to go home and eat riiiight?”  How dare you!  I finally just told her, “Just because I didn’t eat well this week because of bowel issues – and to be expected – doesn’t mean I haven’t been eating well and eating like I should with the calorie counter app that you recommended me!”   I didn’t know until I spoke with my obstetrician at 37 weeks that the report from the perinatal specialist says my baby girl’s growth is in the one percentile, which basically means she is smaller than 99% of all babies at 36 weeks.  Any fetus under five has a higher risk of morbidity and mortality. That was scary to know.   Just all of it emotionally drained me because I also know I take added steps to secure my baby’s future by taking high-dollar prenatal vitamins with iron, plus an extra iron supplement with vitamin C to help it absorb.  I’ve been eating protein (eggs have been my best friend) A LOT and I drink tons of water – so much so I get full from it.  One minute I’m told I can move around as normal, the next I’m told not to.  Experts say to exercise while pregnant, but the perinatal specialist told me I shouldn’t in my condition.  Sometimes I think a doctor’s advice can directly contribute to the problems – whether it’s not exercising when it probably would have helped, or just creating unnecessary mental and emotional stress by what they say and being at the doctors two plus times a week, including a drive.  This week I was at the hospital on Monday, perinatal specialist Tuesday, obstetrician on Wednesday and Friday.

The upside of things that keep me positive: baby’s movements are strong and noticeable to the naked eye. You can see her shift from one side of the belly to the next; you can see her little bottom mostly just above my naval and her feet and knees are to each side sometimes kicking out to the sides, but now since she is positioned correctly for delivery (face down with her back to the outside), her feet tend to moving along my ribs – really bizarre!  Heard people say that before and now I know what they mean.

To my Darling Daughter Savannah Rayne: Doctors are unsure of your condition and why your growth slowed down.  It worries me too!  Everyone says that you will be fine, but despite thinking the same, I’m also a very logical person under that positive façade.  There is that chance things won’t go right because of both of our complications.  Let’s not make that an option, okay baby girl?  We need each other!  We need to work on this together!  I know you are strong.  You may feel weak just like your mom does sometimes when life throws you a curve ball and don’t know what to do with it.  But I know you already!  You’ve put a scare in all of us before.  You are not like a hill that slowly continues to go up – you have peaks and ridged crevices like a mountain and plain out sometimes and then collect your strength like a hiker and keep going.  Your mom takes that breather, and maybe that’s a necessary thing for you too.  I can’t lose you after everything!  I won’t allow it!  You got me, babe.

 

1 thought on “My Pregnancy Week-by-Week

  1. Pingback: My Pregnancy Journey | L!fe Happens

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