Doctor Visit and GBS

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I had my weekly doctor's appointment today.  The first thing I asked the doctor was if he could take her out today.  He said no.  Jerk.

It was a bit of an emotional visit after that, however, because he told me I was positive for Group B Strep, the bacteria they tested me for last week.  I started sobbing, so it turned into a little therapy session.  

Group B Strep, which is not related to Strep like Strep throat, is a bacteria that 10-35% of the pregnant female population hosts in their vaginal and/or rectal regions.  It is completely harmless to adults, but there is a chance of it being transmitted to the baby during delivery.  If the baby were to transmit the Strep, she could develop serious infections or pneumonia soon after birth.

What it means for me is that I will be on IV antibiotics during labor and delivery to reduce the chance of passing it along.  However, since I am allergic to penicillin, they will have to do some testing on me to see which antibiotic I will be able to tolerate.  I did not ask whether we will be able to do that ahead of time or it will be done when I get to the hospital since I was too busy freaking out and crying, but when I am calm tomorrow I will call and ask more questions.

The doctors say the chance of the baby having any complications is VERY slim since we will be prepared with antibiotics, but I can't help but freak out and feel so guilty.  This THING I have inside me could seriously hurt my baby, and that is my fault.  Okay, so I had no control over being one of the population to have this bacteria (it is not contracted or developed due to something I did), but it is still in ME and I am now exposing my baby to another complication on a day that could be full of complications.

Plus, I don't know as much about this as the doctors, so it is hard to just think, Oh, okay, they will hook me up to an IV.  No problem.  I keep thinking of the what-ifs:  What if I am at work and it takes me a long time to get to the hospital?  What if she is exposed to the bacteria before they have a chance to get the IV up and running? What if my sensitivity to most drugs causes problems and the antibiotics are not delivered on time or efficiently?  I never claimed to be someone who doesn't overreact or over-think things.

After that whole big bombshell he dropped on me, he checked the heartbeat, and it was loud and strong, and then told me it was good that I was having a few sporadic contractions.  After that, I was all prepared for him to check and see if I was dilated, but he says they don't do that until the 39th week unless there is a very good reason. He said many doctors don't do that preemptively anymore because it is very painful, and contractions or water breaking is a much more accurate sign of progress.  He said I could request one at any time, but at their practice they will not ever induce me unless there is an excellent reason, so if I was dilated and not contracting, they would just tell me to hang in there.

So, I asked him if I could request him breaking my water.  He said no. Again.  Even after I offered to bake him a cake.  Jerk.

After calling Jeremy and my mom sobbing, I went to Joann Fabric and finally bought some fabric for sheets for the cradle (I am going to keep her in our room for a while in the cradle my dad made for me when I was a baby).  I also finally bought a canvas, paints, and brushes to get started on a painting I want to make to hang in her nursery above the crib.  I hope it turns out!!!

Then I moped around the rest of the night, because crying exhausts me!  I know this Group B Strep is not the hugest thing in the world, but I am so frustrated and feel so out of control.  I have been trying so hard to do everything right, and now there is nothing I can do to minimize this risk for her.  I guess this is just practice for the rest of her life, right? :)  

It was 36 Weeks ... a Few Days Ago

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yes, I missed posting on the real 36 weeks mark, which was Saturday.  All I have to offer are lame excuses.  The last week of my life has mostly been divided among three activities:  1) Frantically nesting while sweat pours down my face and my feet ache and I feel like passing out, but I MUST CLEAN AND ORGANIZE BECAUSE WORLD WILL END IF I DO NOT; 2) Taking a break at the end of a nesting period (which usually lasts about 6 hours) with my feet up on a pillow and crying uncontrollably; and 3) Sleeping (but still not at night -- this also ties in nicely to the crying times).

On Saturday I hosted a girls night at my house, and a few high school friends came over.  So Friday and Saturday were all about the cleaning and shopping and no time for the resting, crying, or sleeping, but it was well worth it, because it was a really fun night.  Like, no one left until 4:00 AM fun.  It's great to get to talk to them and eat for huge stretches like that.

ANYWAY, I was supposed to have the 36 week post already written and then have Jeremy take a picture of me on Saturday before the girls arrived, but I was running behind schedule and sweating profusely and did not want a picture of me sweating and without make-up, so I skipped it.  I thought I could get one on Sunday, but after my full day, my feet were once again looked like hams on toothpicks, so when I finally woke up on Sunday, I ignored all the other things that REALLY needed to be done and sat on the couch with my feet propped up all day (and as of right now, the right one is still pretty puffy.  gross.).  So when Jeremy got home, I shrieked "NO PICTURE!" and scared him out of the room.  And here we are on Monday.  I am feeling miserable and have NO intention of getting dressed or putting on make-up, and I have 30 papers to grade before tomorrow night at 4 PM, and here I am complaining about life, with no belly picture.

SO ... if you made it through all of that, here is what is going on this week with my little baybay: Once again, I will not give you an estimates for length or weight, because she shot right past the book. We will still just assume "large."  The baby still has a soft skull, bones, and cartilidge so she can get out easier, but almost all of the rest of her systems are good to go.  The only system that is not fully developed is her digestive system, but that won't begin to mature until she is outside and breastfeeding, since she has only been practicing by swallowing amniotic fluid.

37 weeks is considered the "for-sure-full-term" week according to the books, but my doctors say this little biscuit is being considered full-term at 36 weeks (as of a few days ago), so if I were to go into labor now, they would not try to stop it until 37 weeks rolls around next Saturday.  This is exciting but also not ... I was hoping that would be the magic words baby needed to hear and she would make her debut, but she seems to like it in there -- even though she is really throwing her weight around in there a lot, as if to say "What happened to my spacious accomodations, woman?!?!"  Of course, she is on her own timeline, so we will just have to wait and see.

I have been having Braxton Hicks contractions all week, and while that could be a good sign, I also know that some people have them for months.  I sure hope that's not the case -- I am NOT enjoying them.  I am much more uncomfortable and in a lot more pain this week, but I know it will just continue to get worse and worse, AND it is almost over.  But all her clothes are washed and Jeremy and I went on big trips to Target and Babies R Us to get a bunch of stuff we still needed, so can't she come NOW??? :)

Doctor's Visit and Nesting

Friday, July 30, 2010

Today I went to the doctor at 3:15 like I had written down in both my planner and on my calendar ... and the receptionist was like, "Ummm, your appointment was at 2:45."  I replied, "Ummmmm, no?"  So that was not cool.  But they got me in, which was amazing, because that place is so popular you have to make appointments WAY in advance.

The doctor said my blood pressure and measurements and weight and urine and the baby's heartbeat all were great, and after she poked the baby for a while to feel how big she was, she told me any day after FRIDAY (as in TOMORROW), if I go into labor, they will let me labor and not try to stop it.  I could not be more ecstatic.  I have plans on Friday and Saturday, but she can come any time after then! :)  Except, I told my mom and she reminded me that her and my dad will be out of state for a week starting Saturday.  And they also have a huge event they are throwing on August 21st.  So could I just get her to come sometime in between those dates please?  We'll see ...

I wrote a big entry on my other blog about how I had probably jinxed myself into having a late baby because I have all my lesson plans and everything all set to go in case I go into labor early and need a sub for the night classes I am teaching.  BUT, my mom made me feel tons better today by reminding me that I had never bothered to sign up for that childbirth class since we have not had a free Saturday in three months, so that could be my "unprepared" element that will let her come early if she sees fit.  Lots of people have given birth without going to class first, right?

I also believe I am nesting.  BIG TIME.  Last night I slaved away for SIX hours, moving, sorting, cleaning, rearranging.  Then I continued this morning.  And then while my students were working on something in class tonight, I made a list of all the other things I want to get accomplished ASAP.  I am making some major progress, and it feels great.

Tomorrow Jeremy and I are doing a big shopping trip to get some of the millions of things we still need, and I know I will feel even better after that.  Sigh.  Bring on my baby!!  I want to meet her!!

35 Weeks

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I am not even going to bother pasting in a picture of what the books say the baby looks like now, because OBVIOUSLY my baby is not a normal 35-week baby.  The books says she should be anywhere from 5 1/4 pounds to 5 1/2 pounds ... but at the ultrasound earlier this week she was in the mid-to-upper 6-pound range.  So, from now on I think I'll just say length: long, weight: very heavy.

As for other baby-making developments, her kidneys should be fully developed this week and her liver can process some waste products. Her brain is also developing at an amazing rate and her body fat, which used to be about 2%, is 15% (or higher) at this point.

This week has been slightly rough for me, but mostly just the discomfort of being so big and not being able to move.  I have been sleeping a lot.  Just not at night.  Also, my gentle little lamb has her foot shoved up so far under my ribs that sometimes I just sit for hours trying to push it out and trying even harder not to cry.  And when I try to push her gently so she will move?  Yeah, she kicks and kicks until I give up and leave her alone.  

The official caption of the photo:  "The glow is gone, people!"

As you can see by the picture, yes, I have outgrown almost ALL of my maternity clothes.  They have all become belly shirts.  Classy, let me tell you.  I actually wore this outfit around town today while we ran some errands.  We went and picked out stain and whatnot for the dresser (which Jeremy worked on today, and it is looking GREAT!), then I went into Barnes & Noble.  I was looking for a baby book ... and I ended up running out of the store crying.  Classic.  At first I was crying in the aisle while reading all the pages -- first smile, first bath, etc. -- and then after I had gone through all of the books they had, I was suddenly overwhelmed and couldn't remember which had which pages, and WHICH was the best??  I was too busy crying to remember.  I needed a piece of paper so I could make a list of pros and cons!!!  Then I ran out.  Good times.

Jeremy said it was okay because we had plenty of time, and I wailed, "What if she is EARLY?  We need the baby book at the hospital to get the FOOT PRINTS!"  He reasonably suggested we get the prints on a piece of paper and put them in the book later.  I cried.  He is in for so much more than he ever imagined.  But he hasn't run away yet! :)

Odds and Ends #5

Friday, July 23, 2010

1.  Since I didn't get a belly shot on Saturday or Sunday, I thought some of the pictures my cousin Kristina posted on Facebook from our shopping trip might do the trick.

Here is a lovely shot of "Mount Dimick":

And here is a front view:
Yes, I waddled all the way across Target just to show my mom and Aunt Julie the Twilight dolls.  Totally worth it.  They both said Jacob has better abs in real life.

2.  I also found THIS at Target for the baby:

I bought a 9-month size, because at this rate, she might come out big enough to fit into 9-month baby clothes!

3.  I also found a replacement fake wedding ring on our shopping trip to fill my empty ring finger.  I even got it a little loose on a day when my fingers were extra swollen, so I should have room to grow!

It's nice to have a ring on that finger again (for the low-low price of $7.95!), although it is nowhere near as beautiful as my real ring.  

It will be nice when I can wear it again.

4.  The other day I took our cat MoJo to the vet, and, as usual, many strangers had comments and questions about the baby.  HOWEVER, a MIRACLE happened, and it was not a horrible experience.  First, a vet tech asked me when I was due, and when I told her I had six weeks left, she said, "Oh!  You are that close?  I would have never guessed you were that far along!" and THEN a vet came up smiling and said, "Only a few months to go, huh?" and I said, "6 weeks."  He looked surprised, and said, "You don't look big enough!"  It was such a nice change of pace ... and I was so happy I almost cried. :)

5.  Pregnancy hormones are so much more strange than I could have predicted.  I have a nice new layer of fuzz on my stomach, but the hair on my legs has practically stopped growing altogether!  The hair on my legs used to start regrowing approximately 5 minutes after shaving and would be unacceptably prickly in like two hours, and now it is very fine and I shave once a week, but there is hardly anything there.  So strange.

6.  I got the sweetest handmade gift in the mail a little while ago.  My friend from high school, Hayley, who has a sweet little daughter of her own who is about 6 months old, sent me this adorable headband:

I LOVE it!!  And isn't she talented?  If you are in the market for something similar, let me know and I will contact her for you.

7.  Jeremy's co-worker also sent home a gift yesterday.  Get ready to squeal:

I cannot WAIT to dress her up in these!

8.  I used to show the film Super Size Me to my classes all the time when I started teaching, and I decided to use it again this quarter for a paper.  I have probably seen the movie about thirty times now, what with prep and showing it to all of my classes, and every single time it totally disgusts me and makes me never want to eat fast food again. However, watching it this time for prep and then showing it to two classes ... nothing.  I was actually thinking a nice big order of fries would really hit the spot.  There should be a warning on the box:  "Not effective on pregnant women."

9.  Jeremy has been working on fixing up a dresser I bought about five years ago (for ten bucks!!!) to use in the baby's room for a dresser/changing table.  

He has been working really hard on it; it is all sanded down, the drawers are almost completely fixed (he re-fitted and glued them then added a bunch of nails to make them nice and sturdy) and ready for staining.  The top looks beautiful -- the wood grain looks amazing after stripping and sanding it.  Then we just need some hardware and we are good to go!

Doctor's Visit: Follow-Up on all the Scariness

Well, we had the ultrasound today to see why I had a huge jump in fundal height, and, like most of you assured me, everything is fine. She is growing proportionately, I don't have too much amniotic fluid, and the placenta and umbilical cord are both fine.

However ... I have a massively large super-baby growing inside me.  I am a few days away from 35 weeks, and she is measuring well past 37 weeks.  In fact (give me a moment here) ... she is already almost SEVEN POUNDS.  It looks like Jeremy's Hercules genes are hard at work in there.  

So, obviously, I am hoping she will make her entrance into the world a little earlier than August 28th.  The question is, which trait will win out: Will she be early like her mom or stubborn liker her mom?  

We also got to see some great images at the ultrasound, so it was really great.  We saw her little face and her little profile.  We saw her wave her hands and open her mouth.  AND the ultrasound tech said it was unusual, but she has SO much hair that it was even visible on the ultrasound.  CRAZY!  She even took a picture for us.  All the little squiggly white lines around the outside of her skull are hairs:

Here is her little face straight on:

Of course it might not look like it to you, but to me it looks like a little doll and not like the little alien we saw in her 20 week ultrasound.  It was really great to see her, and it was awesome to see Jeremy recognize things on the ultrasound.  He recognized her face and feet and hands before the tech even pointed them out to us.  He is practically a professional!

So, all is well ... except now I will just have to mentally prepare for the possibility that I will pushing out a 12-pound baby.  Pray for me.

34 Weeks

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yesterday was 34 weeks, but I was busy on a shopping trip in Grand Rapids with some of my favorite ladies ever: my mom, my little sister Victoria, my Aunt Julie, and my cousins Kristina and Kayla.  I was WIPED when I got home, so I laid on the couch for an hour and just went to bed early.  We had tons of fun, and many strangers asked me if my due date was days away.  It never gets old ...

At 34 weeks, our little lady could be weighing in at five pounds now and could be as tall as 20 inches.  The vernix (the white coating protecting your baby’s skin) is getting thicker, and her central nervous system and lungs continue to mature. 

I also just read that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine.  They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.  VERY exciting news, since I am really nervous about preterm labor with all we have been going through with this little one lately.

No belly picture this week, because I forgot yesterday until I was exhausted and my make-up had worn off, and today I am not feeling top-notch, so I am in PJs with no make-up.  Don't worry, my belly is still huge and getting more massive by the day.  I'll get back on track next week.

As for this past week, I have been feeling about the same -- tired, hot, the usual.  Not a big deal. The only difference this week was that it felt VERY LONG with the weight of the upcoming ultrasound.  We only have three more days to wait after today, so we are getting there!

I will have an update after the ultrasound and regular appointment on Thursday.  Crossing my fingers!

Odds and Ends #4

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1.  Even though I am worried about the upcoming ultrasound, I am really excited to see my baby girl again!! 

2.  I had a dream Saturday night that the baby was kicking me so hard that I could actually see all five of her little toes sticking out through the skin of my belly, so I grabbed them and held them, and then ran around and made people feel them!  Later in the dream, I was able to see through my skin, and I saw her little face again.  I have seen her a few times in my dreams, and she always looks the same.  She has a heart-shaped face, tiny little cupids-bow lips, a tiny nose, dark brown eyes and light brown hair.  I know it's silly to think that she might look exactly what she looks like in my dreams, but ... I guess you never know!

3.  In the past month or so, I have been having a little trouble with food again, and nausea and heartburn and all that jazz.  To top it all off, every time I eat ANYTHING even remotely healthy from my fridge filled with fruits and vegetables and salad fixings, I get horrifically sick.  But, the other day when I stopped at the Burger King drive-thru and got a gross chicken sandwich and fries, I felt like I could conquer the world.  For the next four hours I felt totally amazing -- no nausea, not dizzy, nothing.  It's pretty disconcerting, but now all I want to do is eat fast food. :(

4.  Even though I found a deep love for fast food and my go-to food when the thought of anything else makes me puke is a peanut butter and chocolate syrup sandwich, I am still not gaining weight.  In fact, I currently weigh FIVE pounds more than I weighed before I got pregnant!  It is kind of mind-boggling, but I did lose a lot of weight in the first trimester, so TECHNICALLY I gained more than five pounds during my pregnancy.  It gives me hope, however, that after I have the baby I might be able to motivate myself to keep losing weight and get down to a lower weight than I was before I got pregnant.  I just need to keep this little factoid in mind after the baby so I can motivate myself to workout!!

33 Weeks

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The baby is still gaining about half a pound a week, and she could grow up to another full inch this week.  She is probably somewhere above four pounds.  Now that she has gotten so big, there is less amniotic fluid to cushion the blows, and her kicks and pokes feel a little harder. Antibodies are being passed from me to the baby as she continues to develop her own fetal immune system.  Her skeleton is also continuing to harden.  

After we heard from the doctor that my measurement had jumped so quickly this week, Jeremy pointed out that it made sense, since this past week has been particularly difficult for me in terms of painful stretched skin and muscles that seem ready to give out at any moment.  The quick jump was probably what made it seem pretty bad this week.  The muscles really low on my pelvis (which I never really thought about even existing before) hurt SO BADLY ... when I try to roll over, get out of bed, or do something crazy like WALK.  I feel so stupid, because I see pregnant ladies all the time who are walking along as if they were not in agonizing pain.  Why am I so weak that I can't even do basic things?  So sad.

I read that the baby was supposed to be running out of room and would be moving around less ... not this one.  She is still as active as ever, rolling around, stretching out, poking, and kicking.  One of her favorite new positions is with her head shoved up really high on my far right, under my ribs, while her feet are WAY down at the very bottom on my left side.  And then sometimes she kicks her feet and flails her arms at the same time while in that position.  

She also continues to hiccup a lot.  In fact, she is hiccuping as I type! It is strange how different the hiccups feel when she is in different positions.  Depending on whether she is head-up or head-down, the crazy percussion of the hiccups vibrate in very different places!  My mom said she never felt any of us hiccup, and I feel this one hiccup about three times a day on average.  My friend Jess hiccuped a lot in the womb too, so maybe our little girl will turn out like her! :)

Doctor Appointment

Friday, July 9, 2010

I had a doctor appointment yesterday morning, and I needed a little time to think about it before I wrote anything, but I have found this blog to be very cathartic, so I am going full-steam ahead with discussing some news that has me freaked out.

So, yesterday's appointment started with my weight, which has not changed in a month!!  WOOT! (no worries, though; "plus-sized" mothers do not usually need to gain as much weight.  The doctors are happy with my weight progression) and a urine sample which was "fantastic" according to my doctor (I like that he likes my urine so much).  My blood pressure was 118/68, even though I was very worked up (since I have still been spotting since my last visit two weeks ago when they ran the EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAR test to make sure there were no signs of premature labor and my cervix was in good shape).  The baby's heartbeat was great, even though she moved away from the doppler THREE times while the doctor was trying to get her heart rate! :)  I told him she was a mover!

So, everything was fine until he did my fundal measurement (*The height of my uterus.  Picture below if interested) and saw that I was measuring 3 centimeters ahead of 33 weeks, even though I was only at 32-and-a-half weeks, which puts me just over the "not normal zone." My doctor told me there was slight concern because I have been absolutely on with my measurements the entire time, never wavering one bit, and then there was a rather large jump into the abnormal range so suddenly, so he scheduled an ultrasound ... in TWO WEEKS.  I have to wait TWO WHOLE WEEKS to see if something is wrong or everything is fine and she is just in a very strange position, causing the measurements to be skewed.

He tried to calm me down and tell me not to worry (nice try, doc), but explained very rationally that combined with my spotting, the fact that I had not gained any weight but my uterus got so big so fast, AND my sugar was fine (so it is obviously not gestational diabetes making the baby big), it was necessary to take a quick look to check the size of the baby and check to make sure everything is still okay with the placenta, amniotic fluid, and umbilical cord.

So, there are many options here:  

  • It could just be a very large, but still very healthy baby -- however, the doctor said big babies tend to grow at a steady rate
  • The baby could just be messing with us and be in a strange position (I am crossing my fingers for this one)
  • There could be too much amniotic fluid, which could be a symptom of many, many things (Which I will not go into detail here.  I am trying to hope for the best)
  • The placenta could have slipped from its posterior position to covering or partially covering the cervix (This would also not be great)
  • I could be at risk of the umbilical cord prolapsing (Also not awesome)
Jeremy will probably think that I am sharing too much here, but I really feel better after writing everything down and taking a critical look at it. Plus, there is always the chance that some of you reading might have had a similar experience and could give me some comfort! :)

It was just so disheartening to hear that everything looks amazing ... ooops, except this one thing that could be nothing or could be a huge deal.  And then my doctor tells me not to worry about it while I wait two weeks for the ultrasound.  GUH!!!

I also feel tremendously guilty, because I have been saying I am SO ready for her to be here.  I mean, I am having a tough pregnancy and I am DYING to have a baby instead of a belly, but I obviously never meant I wanted her to be premature and in danger.  I wanted a baby NOW who was healthy, fully grown, and a nice healthy weight.  Maybe I should have specified that.  

However, I had Jeremy give the baby a stern talking-to when he got home from work.  He told her to "grow normally!" and "stay in there until you're cooked!" and told me if I ever needed to, I could just tell her, "wait until your father hears about this!!"  He's a big help! <3

*Fundal measurements, if interested: