At 31 weeks and 1 day, I woke up feeling strange. When I went to the bathroom there was a little pink discharge and while I was in the shower I began to feel what felt like contractions. After a quick call to the nursing line and labor and delivery at UW, I was instructed to come in to get checked out. After getting checked out, getting hooked up to monitors for myself and the baby I was told that my contractions were probably just false labor, but they were going to keep an eye on me. Later in the day it was decided that they would do an amnio reduction to relieve some of the weight and hopefully reduce the possibility that I would go into labor even more prematurely than necessary. Not to go into too many details, but they took off 2 liters of fluid…2 liters. As I watched containers be filled with my amniotic fluid I couldn’t believe that I was carrying around that much extra fluid. After watching me overnight to make sure that I didn’t go into labor and that the contractions didn’t cause me to dilate and that they stopped, I got to go home. I felt better than I had in a couple of weeks and hoped that this would delay the possibility of going into labor early and make the next few weeks a lot more comfortable.
During the next couple of weeks, we had a fetal echocardiogram to make sure Baby Bean’s heart was strong and perfect. And fortunately, it was. I also had an echocardiogram to make sure my heart was strong and healthy as well. Everything was checking out, but the hydrops was still a big concern and a c-section was scheduled for December 6th. I called my mom to tell her to plan to be there for the c-section and we also told Kevin’s mom, sister and brother so everyone would be prepared.
The week of November 8th I spoke with my doctor and we agreed that we could do one more amnio reduction and hopefully that would hold me out for a few more weeks. It was scheduled for Sunday, November 11th.
November 10th was Kevin’s niece’s 1st birthday party. It was amazing to see her turning one, and I loved watching her trying to open her presents, and everyone showering her with love on her big day. I was pretty uncomfortable and found a place on the couch where I was comfortable as long as I didn’t move too much. The next day we went in for my amnio reduction and another 1 1/2 liters was taken off of my large belly. By the end of the day, I was exhausted, yet hopeful that I would be ok and I could hang onto our Belly Bean for just a little bit longer. I was at 33 weeks and 3 days.
On Tuesday, November 13th, I went in for my regular ultrasound-which showed that the amniotic fluid that had been reduced had re-accumulated, and then some- a doctor’s visit and Non Stress Test (Monitoring of the baby’s movements, my blood pressure and heart rate of both of us. My blood pressure, which is never high, was high, and the doctor was concerned about preeclampsia, so they admitted me to the hospital. Damn. This is not how this was supposed to go. Kevin went home to get some sleep and to get my somewhat packed “go bag” so I would have some of my own things. I woke up Wednesday morning to contractions again. This time I was scared. It was too soon. Kevin wasn’t there and I wasn’t ready. Thankfully as the day worn on, my contractions stopped and I didn’t start to dilate. I was in the hospital for observation until Friday, until my blood pressure remained normal for a couple of days and the contractions didn’t start up again. They gave me the second round of steroids to help Belly Bean’s lungs develop more quickly as it was still possible that I would go into labor soon-ish. They also had me meet with an anesthesiologist to talk about the epidural as well as sign all the content paperwork for a c-section, so that when the day came, we would be ready. I went home, anxious to take a shower, sleep in my own bed and hopefully take care of myself and Belly Bean long enough to keep her in for a few more weeks. At this point, we had reached the 34 week, 1 day mark. Making it to our goal felt like a great accomplishment, but I knew that staying pregnant past this point was going to be a challenge, but one I was up to if it meant keeping my baby safe and warm and growing for a little while longer.
Saturday morning I needed to run out for a few things at the drug store down the street. I wanted to put my “go bag” back together over the weekend and be ready for the big day. On my way back to the apartment, it became very clear that my short legs/large belly combo was no longer conducive to driving! I came to the quick conclusion that if I was going to continue to work either Kevin was going to have to drive me to and from work – or – Uber and Lyft were going to get one of their best customers of the year.
Taking a shower proved to be an exhausting chore. I looked at myself in the steamy bathroom mirror and barely recognized the woman standing there. My belly was HUGE. My face and shoulders and arms looked like the sheer weight of my belly was pulling down all the muscle and skin and what little fat I had. My cheekbones were very prominent and not in the “contour” “I’ve got amazing cheek bones” way – more the “I haven’t eaten in a month and maybe had a drug problem” way. I hadn’t seen my feet for at least 2 months and only fit into one pair of Converse low-tops. My legs were swollen and numb and in pain all at the same time from the 20 minutes I stood in the shower. And my eyes were tired. The kind of tired I had never been able to achieve over all my 40 years of insomnia.
“I don’t know how much longer I can do this. It’s November 17th and my c-section isn’t scheduled until December 6th. Can my body keep this up? There is no way I can go back to work. How am I supposed to do this?” I asked all of these questions to the woman in the mirror and she had no answers. I told myself that I could and would do whatever it took to keep my girl safe. She would come when she came and as of today, I was 34 weeks and 2 days along. It was going to be ok. I talked to my baby and the woman in the mirror and hoped that somehow I could conjure up all the love and positivity to keep her safe and keep my pregnancy going in a way that wouldn’t kill me or at least wouldn’t make me wish I could be in a coma for the rest of it.
To get my mind off everything, Kevin and I went over to his mom’s to visit her and his sister, Meghan, niece Quinn (who had just celebrated her first birthday) and his brother Keegan. We talked and laughed and I watched Kevin play with Quinn. Several times Quinn tried to sit on my lap, as she would usually do, but tonight I had no lap left. I had knees. That was all that was visible while I sat. The distraction was just what I needed and I felt better than I had all day. At 8pm, I stood up to go to the bathroom and felt a strange sensation. I went into the bathroom, pulled down my pants and made the discovery that my water had begun to break. So I guess I had the answers to all my questions to the woman in the steamy bathroom mirror; I wouldn’t have to do this much longer, I didn’t have to figure out how to get my body to keep this going and I wouldn’t have to be put in a coma to finish this out. I wouldn’t have to do any of that, because I was having a baby…tonight! We had made it to 34 weeks and 2 days.