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State of the Belly – 32 Weeks!!

2014 September 10
by Becky

It’s here!! 32 Weeks!! OMG!

32 Weeks Belly Pic

I know, there’s still 8 LONG weeks to go (hopefully) but we seriously didn’t think we’d get here.

Last I left you, I’d been told to stay on “modified bed rest” to get myself all calmed down from our preterm labor scare last week. Well everything has been nice and quiet in the belly since Friday at around noon, so my doc said no bed rest (there’s apparently no evidence supporting this actually works in these situations anyway), just take it easy and don’t over exert myself.

And drink TONS of water. Apparently I become dehydrated easily. Or at least I’m assuming that’s the case because I’m good at keeping up with the fluids and still got my body in a total state of emergency after just 24 hours of a stomach bug.

EthanMagnetToyBedRest

It wasn’t so bad kicking back for a few days. Ethan enjoyed lots of snuggle time, magnet puzzles, books, and more episodes of Rescue Bots (his OBSESSION) than I’m really comfortable with. Stu kept him entertained with runs in the park, the hardware store, yard work, and playing outside. They even went to a friend’s party that included cupcakes and fishing. Stu is Super Dad.

I’d been cleared to do school drop off on Monday morning so I escaped the house for about 20 minutes, but then it was back on my back. I didn’t mind so much because there are a lot more feelings going on these days…cramps, pressure, a little lightheadedness…all normal symptoms but a little scary for me nonetheless. I pretty much seconded guess everything.

pancakes and bed rest

Thank goodness for leftover pancake batter and Netflix. And my laptop.

I can safely say I had no problem keeping myself fed. My full time job seemed to be eating, resting, and peeing.

By Tuesday morning I was very ready for my follow up appointment. Ethan enjoyed the journey as always, exploring the exam room and exclaiming “Mom, this table is like a Transformer!!”

OBGYNEthan

Yes buddy, exactly.

Doc gave me the (relative) all-clear so we immediately edited our morning plans. Instead of having visitors to the house, we met our friends at Rise Coffee House just in time for arts and crafts. This is one of our fav kid-and-mom-friendly hangs but we’d never joined a class before. Kudos to Terri from Craftibility for wrangling a bunch of under-five kids though a multi-step craft including no less than paint, glue, scissors, markers, AND tape.

Rise Coffee Craft Hour

I probably over did it and got a little overwhelmed in the hot crowded room, but we only stayed about an hour and then it was home for naps—all worth it to once again feel like a functioning member of society. I still feel like I’m going to miss so much, all the fall-weather activities I love will be pretty unattainable for me. Hoping I can at least make a trip to the pumpkin patch. And Halloween trick-or-treating. And a few farmers market visits.

Sadly, Vintage Market Days is probably not in the cards for me. (SOB!!!) But you can go!! Check out the details here.

I promise I’ll post something more interesting than the details of my gestation in the very near future. It’s just been a little all-encompassing lately. Thank you for all the phone calls, texts, coffee, food, and emails, I didn’t mean to scare everyone!

Hopefully it will be smooth (albeit uncomfortable) sailing from here to 40 weeks!

PS, did you see my feature on Apartment Therapy? Whoop! I always get a kick out of all the very opinionated commentors…hilarious. 

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Welcome to Week 31

2014 September 7
by Becky

31 weeks.

That’s how far I got in my last pregnancy before Ethan came flying into the world, 3.5 pounds of tiny preemie cuteness.

OneDayOldEthan, born at 31 weeks 4 days. 

So at 4:41pm today, I officially became the most pregnant I’ve ever been. Every moment from this point forward is a brand new experience. And we’ve been really excited to get to this point.

Too bad my body had a funny way of celebrating.

Wednesday morning, 31 weeks exactly, I was having “tummy troubles” (my non-graphic way of putting it) and after dropping Ethan off at school I started feeling strange, like something was wrong. For the first time all pregnancy, I called the doctor, just to check in.

And they told me to go to the Pregnancy Assessment Center…immediately.

BarnesParkingGarage

Déjà vu doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling of riding the elevator up to the bridge at Barnes Jewish Hospital. The same ride we took almost four years ago, the day Ethan was born.

This time, my packed suitcase was in the car. I had my phone charger, my Kindle, and was ready for the long haul.

The staff was waiting for me and got me all monitored up right away. Baby’s heartbeat was perfect. But I was having contractions. Like a lot of contractions. I started feeling them right after my arrival, realizing quickly that I’d been feeling some of this at home, mistaking them for rolls and stretches.

There was a moment of panic, but honestly my attitude was night and day different from last time. I stayed calm and relayed everything to Stu through text. Having him stay was work was good…two people sitting in a small room freaking out is WAY worse than one.

The OB checked and confirmed I was 1 cm dilated but, as I already knew, my water was completely intact. I actually cheered. They did an ultrasound to average baby’s size and make sure he was head down (he was). Though I stayed in the assessment center for a couple hours with no changes, no more dilation, cervix nice and long, my OBs stopped by and decided to keep me over night. They were not overly concerned, no grave faces like last time, but due to my history they wanted to take all the precautions.

These precautions included IV antibiotics to prevent any infections, two steroid injections to help baby’s lungs mature more quickly, and magnesium to prevent cerebral palsy in the case of pre-term delivery. All the same stuff we did (or at least tried to do) when I had Ethan. But this time, nothing happened. I just spent the next 25 hours watching my contractions roll by on screen and listening to Peanut #2 kick and hiccup on the heartbeat monitor.

contractionmonitor

And I continued to have contractions—painless but obvious and sometimes very close together—all afternoon and night. With each tightening of the belly I waited and wished it would be the last. Of course I slept about 2 minutes all night because between peeing constantly and being hooked up to so many uncomfortable things (heartbeat and contraction monitors, ivs, blood pressure cuff, O2 monitor) sleep was impossible.

But finally, around 10am the contractions stopped. Words like “discharged” and “bed rest” started to be floated around and I honestly couldn’t believe it was really happening.

I DID NOT have this baby.

The doctors chalked my pre-term labor up to severe dehydration due to my stomach issues. I didn’t occur to me that a day and a half of a stomach bug mixed with super hot and humid summer temps would cause this. I was drinking water and eating, but when I arrived at the hospital on Wednesday the nurse could barely get an IV in my arm due to the severe dehydration—she had to use the vein in my arm instead of my hand and the smallest gage catheter just to get fluids started.

So after my second steroid shot, my weekly progesterone injection, and one last cervix check to confirm I was still exactly the same, I was sent home. Baby was sitting “super high” and all sealed up. I was still in shock as I walked in the back door. We took the suitcase out of the car, I headed up stairs to shower because OMG did I feel totally disgusting.

Ethan was ready to help me drink my weight in water to get all rehydrated. I was so happy to see him…Stu handled things at home like a champ but man it’s hard to be away.

DrinkingWater

And then, very shortly after my triumphant arrival, the contractions started up again. And I had the tiniest bit of bleeding. I called the assessment center and they said to hang tight, it was probably just from being checked three times in 24 hours. So I did. I went to bed and woke up every two hours to constant contractions—again painless—and contemplated going to the hospital every time. Our neighbors were on call to come help with Ethan if we had to run out the door.

At 5am, I got dressed and headed in.

Stu stayed home and I’m glad because after an hour or so of monitoring and a quick speculum check (aka, no touchy the cervix) I was released. Nothing had changed. I was fine. So I took my contracting self home and got back in bed. Contractions finally stopped around noon.

So it’s “modified bed rest” for me for a while. My nightmare. But hey, at least I’ll have a better chance of bringing my baby home this time instead of sitting in a NICU for 6.5 weeks. And at least I get to be home and not on the Antepartum wing of the hospital. Every week, every DAY, helps get us closer to a bigger, healthier baby.

I’ll be going back to the doc next week and until they give the go-ahead, I’ll be laying here. Missing out on what seems like a million things. Missing the beautiful cool weather that has surprised us.

I’ll also be freaking out feeling this little dude rolling around in my belly—something I was REALLY enjoying until it started seeming way too similar to a contraction.

I had a blog post all written for this day. It was happy and simple and talking about all the differences between this pregnancy and my last one. I may have jinxed myself. But here’s a fun little side-by-side:

30 Week Belly Comparison

After seeing that old pic I realized that in 2010, there WERE NO SELFIES. I had an iPhone, but never ever ever ever took my own picture with it (lack of back camera?).

It also became clear that I have more protrusion in the belly department this go-round. I weighed more last time at this point, but there’s a major belly circumference discrepancy. Just one more reason I think this guy is gonna be bigger…

OH, and this time I still have ankles! Four years ago at 30 weeks my whole body was a giant balloon of puff.

Fingers crossed this whole thing was what I’m calling a “cruel coincidence”. Dehydration being the culprit, not a baby wanting to say hello earlier than planned.

Nonetheless, This time we are READY. The room is done enough (though the list of to-do items is just floating around my bed-ridden head…torture), clothes and diapers are washed and put away, bottles clean and sorted, pump parts all found and washed, and the (completely unnecessary) hospital bag is packed. We’ve even got nurse favors put together.

OB Nurse Favor BagsThey include Starbucks gift certificates, mints, trail mix, and chocolate. 

Thank you for all the calls, texts, offers of help.
Thank you to Ethan’s school for flexing his schedule for pickup/drop off.
Thank you to my sweet friend Breezy for taking Ethan all morning on Friday.
Thank you to our neighbors, Lindsey and Gym, for agreeing to my crazy request of possibly coming over in case of a midnight hospital run.
Thank you to the incredible nurses and docs at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Just like last time, you were so comforting and caring. We always know we’re in the very best hands.
Thank you to my parents who will arrive Tuesday (a pre-planned trip) and have offered to stay as long as we need them.

It’s REALLY hard to plan for all these unknowns. Having Ethan adds a whole new element of difficulty—if things go fast he may just be there to witness his brother being born. But hopefully we will over-plan and under-utilize our back-ups. Every minute from here on out is a new experience and every day gets this little guy bigger and more equipped to enter the world.

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