I try and keep this blog G-rated but I would advise parents read first before letting younger children read this post.
Oh my, my last post was in March. I knew it had been a long time, but March?? I truly thought I would be giving monthly updates with this pregnancy, but as things progressed I guess the need to hold her close and safe outweighed my need to write.
This was not my easiest pregnancy. In fact it was my most difficult. It started off rather normal and uneventful, just morning sickness. We went for our 20 week ultrasound and delighted ourselves at the first real images of her. Yes they said her. The kids had all been hoping for a sister.
At about 22 weeks I got a call from a hospital that I had never been to saying that I was scheduled for a targeted ultrasound the following week. I explained that I had just been for an ultrasound, she double checked my name and doctors name and confirmed that yes my doctor had booked this follow-up ultrasound. My heart sank, why would they be sending me for another ultrasound so soon? My mind jumped to every awful story I had heard in the past. I finally got ahold of my doctor’s office, the nurse apologized saying they thought that the hospital would have called them with the appointment, she explained that they just could not see a nasal bone and wanted to do a more thorough ultrasound.
Oh just a nasal bone… Google lack of nasal bone… marker for Downs Syndrome… oh…
Downs Syndrome a disability… I do not like the term disability… I did not want that term attached to my little one… I do not want to diminish the challenge that raising a child with Downs Syndrome could be, but I don’t want someone labelling her and her ability. I already have a son who has been labelled Developmentally Disabled because of side effects of Brain Cancer when the truth is no one has a clue what his abilities are or will be. Not to mention nothing is confirmed with her yet.
We went for the ultrasound they could not find her nasal bone. They wanted us to go for genetic counselling. Dave and I agreed. We met with a counsellor who basically wanted to know if we wanted to continue the pregnancy if she did have Downs. OF COURSE!!! Then she did not recommend the amniocenteses test, as there was a 1 in 400 chance I would go into pre-term labour. However, there was another test that was done by drawing blood and as about 10% of my blood contains baby cells they can test for the presence of the extra chromosome. Again we agreed.
On the paper work for the blood work it also gave us the option to check for the baby’s sex. Hmm DNA proof… oh, why not?
A few weeks later… confirmation that yes indeed we were expecting a wee little girl, and no, they could not find any extra chromosome.
In the meantime somewhere in here I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, again.
Elijah was born with a hole in his heart and my doctor wanted me to go for yet another ultrasound to be sure her heart was fine. Something strange happened that day, that in hindsight, I guess, was the beginning of something. I really do not know what to even call it. When I went in for the ultrasound I felt my anxiety starting to rise, I felt ill, flushed, and broke out in a sweat. I stopped the ultrasound 3 times to go to the bathroom and try and calm myself down. I checked my blood sugar, it was a bit high but not enough to explain the way I was reacting. Finally, when she let me lie on my side I managed to get through the rest of the ultrasound.
Results… her heart is fine (not that we were worried).
With each trip to the hospital or the doctor’s office I noticed a knot in my stomach and my nerves were uneasy, the trip home I would begin to relax. At 32 weeks my GP transferred my care to the OB in the same clinic. I mentioned that in previous pregnancies I started with Braxton Hicks contractions around 36 weeks but this time they started around 30 weeks. He seemed concerned with the frequency of them and decided to check me, I was 1 1/2 centimetres and he said I needed to take it easy, and he wanted to see me weekly. At 33 weeks he said I was measuring full term. Time for another ultrasound, in his mind I was either carrying too much fluid or baby was too big. My age, number of pregnancies, my gestational diabetes, were all seen as risk factors and now he felt I had another with either too much fluid or too big of a baby.
As I headed off for this latest ultrasound I was so nervous they were going to say that the baby was huge and I was going to have to have her out immediately. Neither thing was said. Yes, I had a lot of fluid, but on the normal side, and as for baby size, she was measuring one week further along than she was.
For the next couple of weeks I would see other doctors in the office as my OB was on holidays. They all seemed much more relaxed about things, perhaps he was just an alarmist. By 35 weeks I was beginning to think that his advice to take it easy was not the greatest, after sitting for a few weeks my energy level had bottomed out. At 35 weeks another ultrasound for size, and everything was fine. By 36 weeks I said “As I am out of any really danger is it alright if I do a bit more housework, as things are starting to look a little undone around my place.” The doctor agreed so long as I listened to my body and took it easy when needed. Not really a problem as I had so little energy.
Week 37… heat wave…ugh.
Thursday appointment at the hospital with blood sugar doctor. Elijah wanted to come along as there was a store he wanted to stop at. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, I had 2 bites of my salad when I was hit with terrible nausea, dizziness, weird sense of uneasiness and thought I might pass out. This was almost immediately met with fear. I had to drive, I was an hour from home and was feeling very unwell. We went right to the hospital. My doctor had me check my blood sugar, it was fine. I explained that I did not feel well at all , but he was sure I would be fine and sent me on my way. It was NOT an easy drive home but I made it. We had supper, I couldn’t really eat it, Dave went of to work.
By about 7 o’clock my nausea, shakiness, fear and anxiety were out of control. I could not calm myself. I called his work and said I was not sure if I was in labour but that I needed Dave to take me to the hospital. We got there and they checked my vitals, all good, baby’s heart rate excellent. They gave me some Gravol, checked me and I was 3 centimetres. They decided to just observe me for a few hours. I had regular contractions for 2 hours at 4 minutes apart, but once I started to walk they went away. As I seemed calmer and labour was not happening they sent us home around 6 in the morning.
We grabbed some breakfast, and about half way through my breakfast sandwich the nausea and shakiness returned, and with it the fear and anxiety. Suffered Friday and most of Saturday. By the evening I could not take it anymore. I felt like something was terribly wrong, we went back to the hospital. This time they tried giving me an IV of saline incase I was dehydrated. Again, I seemed to calm a bit. The doctor came in and said that with my gestational diabetes and being that I was almost 38 weeks they could put me on an induction list for the following day, however, it goes case by case so it could actually be a few days before I would get a call. As much as I really did not want to be induced I could not take how I was feeling, so we agreed, and went home to wait.
Sunday… I was checking my blood sugar every hour, it kept dropping, I could not get it to come up. I could not eat much because of the nausea and my fear and anxiety were high. We headed back into the hospital, they said because my sugar kept dropping I was not leaving. They did not have a room ready so we just had to hang out and wait. I wish I could say that my fears subsided with this news but I think they shifted from the nausea and shakiness to the pending labour. AT THIS POINT IF LABOUR STORIES ARE NOT YOUR THING SKIP THE NEXT 2 PARAGRAPHS!
At 6:30 pm we headed back to our labour room. It was close to shift change so things moved slowly. By 7:30 they were starting to get me hooked up to stuff. I needed to be on a glucose drip because of the diabetes and then a separate line needed to be put in for the oxytocin. A wee bit of trouble hooking me up, I don’t have great veins. I think it was about 8:30 when the doctor broke my water. I asked for an epidural, I know, not very brave but after barely sleeping or eating from Thursday on there wasn’t much of me left on Sunday night. They did the epidural and then around 9:30 they turned the oxytocin on. Things moved along slowly. They kept putting an ice bag on me and asking if I could feel it. Around 11 o’clock it was quite evident the epidural was not working. They decided not to turn up the oxytocin until they could get my pain under control. The anaesthetist came back and injected something else that made my lips go numb… that wasn’t supposed to happen. She had to go back to the ER but said she would be back to redo the epidural. By now my contractions felt more than I could take. They decided to turn off the oxytocin.
I forgot to mention that my wee little one had passed some meconium in the fluid, which meant they needed to keep a heart monitor on her at all times. The tummy monitor was not working so they needed to attach something to her head to keep a constant monitor on her heart rate. I moved too much during a contraction and it came off. The nurse told us it was time to check me anyway so she would also try and re-attach the heart monitor. To her frustration baby’s head was too high up still for her to re-attach it, to my frustration she said 5 maybe 6 centimetres. The last 2 contractions had been more than I could bear, I was telling Dave I can’t do this and crying out to God for help. I had another enormous contraction followed by pressure, I told the nurse there was pressure, as she had just checked me she smiled and acknowledged me with a, “Good.” I blurted, “I’m pushing!” The bed was still all in place and by the time she got to the bed her head was out. We went from her too far up the birth canal to re-attach the monitor and 5-6cm to her breathing air in less than 5 minutes, PRAISE GOD!
Relief, something I had not felt since Thursday, Moriah Margaret was born at 12:01 early Monday morning the 24th of August. Weighing 8 pounds and 4 ounces. Moriah means, The Lord is my teacher, and Margaret is a family name, she is named after her Great Grandmother and 2 Great Aunts! She was just perfect. All fear and anxiety gone, shakiness gone, nausea gone. Hunger, yes very. Praise God! Blood sugar normal.
I had 24-36 hours of peace, very tired awake with baby peace. As I had not really slept well since Thursday, when my family came to pick me up on Tuesday I was really tired but happy to be heading home. Okay you might need to skip to the next paragraph as here comes TMI. As we walked down the hall to leave the hospital I passed a clot. Went into the bathroom and it was, umm, sorry folks, it was huge, the sight of it made me light-headed and I had a wave of nausea sweep over me and that dreaded familiar feeling of anxiety filled me. I sent Dave back for a nurse. She assured us it was the okay kind of clot and sent us on our way. The way home I fought the fear as the waves of shakiness and nausea swept over me.
We got home, and desperate for peace, I prayed. I sent out a few prayer requests. A few hours later dear friends of ours pulled in the driveway. Henri and Henriette had spent the last hour praying for me and felt strongly they needed to come and pray personally for me. They came armed with a list of scriptures for me to declare out loud. It was a comfort to pray with them. Henriette felt very strongly that this was my body adjusting to all the change and that it would pass and that my joy was being robbed, but that this would all pass soon. My mother, too, had prayed and felt between all the weeks of synthetic insulin, followed by glucose, saline, oxytocin, epidural meds etc. mixed with hormonal changes, and lack of sleep it was my body trying to readjust.
That night I hesitantly asked Dave to take me to the hospital, they had mentioned I might need a blood transfusion during labour as my hemoglobin was low. As blood sugar was no longer an issue I could not figure out why I had such shakiness, nausea and uneasiness so I had phoned the maternity triage and inquired if it was possible I could need a blood transfusion. She agreed it was a possibility, but that at this point I would need to go to an ER and any ER would do. So off we went to our wee country hospital where I totally scared the two guys on staff that night being one day postpartum. They had no way of doing a blood transfusion but could at least run a CBC where they would check my hemoglobin. In the end, yes it was low, but not transfusion levels, so back home we went, and while I had no answers I did not need to be concerned that I needed a transfusion.
Wednesday we headed to my doctor as I had a prenatal appointment that I kept, and Moriah and I headed in together. While she looked great for a baby who was 2 weeks and 2 days early, she had lost more weight than they would like. I was advised to feed her every two hours and not to let her go more than 3 hours at night without a feed. As for me, my doctor ordered a very thorough round of blood work. Knowing from the CBC I had the day before that my Iron and Hemoglobin was low she stated that those 2 things would account for most of my symptoms with the exception of the nausea.
I continued to pray the scripture and just dived into the Psalms, such encouragement, and I would have breaks from the fear and anxiety. The nausea would be worse with my Iron pill. Still dealing with a lot of shakiness. It was really hard to let Dave go back to work. My Mom came to stay the night and while she was a huge help sleep did not want to come. After the second night with my Mom here I asked Dave if he could take a night off. I was also now getting tingling in my face, arms, and legs, but my nausea seemed a bit less. He was able to take an emergency leave. Slowly, each day, the fear and anxiety has become less; the nausea and shakiness is getting better. Sleep has started to return. Honestly I do not understand why all this has happened. I do believe that my body has had to adjust, and perhaps that is where so much of the nausea and shakiness and tingly feelings have come from. As far as the anxiety, fearful feelings, I can’t say for certain. It is unlike any thing I have dealt with before. What I do know is God’s Word has been a huge comfort, there is power in it. There is power in prayer and I am so thankful for all those who have lifted me in prayer. I know I am not 100% yet, but I am well on my way. I continue to speak truth, pray, read God’s word, nurse and snuggle this amazing wee little gift God has blessed our family with.
I have no idea if this long somewhat odd pregnancy/birth story could possibly encourage anyone, but I want to encourage you that ‘no weapon formed against you can prosper,’ because ‘greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world!’ If you do not know the peace of God please send me a message so I can tell you more. God Bless you all.