We always hear that no two pregnancies are the same. This has totally been true for me. I have had 3 pregnancies and all were different in their own ways. My third and most recent pregnancy, however, was by far my most emotional, trying and difficult pregnancy. It always seemed as though once I started feeling good, I was hit with something to change that.
We found out we were expecting our third baby in September 2014. I began suspecting I was pregnant rather early on, around 4-5 weeks, because I was getting early symptoms similar to my second pregnancy. These were fatigue, sore breasts and random nausea. Sure enough, we bought some tests and they were positive right away. I have to say, it was somewhat unexpected. We knew we wanted to try and conceive our third child in 2014 but had planned to really try in the Fall. However, it happened much sooner than we expected. We have a history of having a harder time conceiving in the past so we honestly didn’t think it would be “so easy” this time. I had mixed emotions at first. A week prior to finding out, I had reached a milestone in my weight loss journey and reached 50 pounds lost and although, I knew I was healthier and felt good. It still hit me that I would now be gaining weight! But eventually, I got over it and we were super excited.
Once I reached the 8 week mark is when morning sickness hit. I was lucky enough to not vomit as much as I did with my first two pregnancies, but the nausea was unbearable. I was nauseas if I didn’t eat and if I did eat. I was nauseas from the moment I woke up in the morning until I went to bed at night. Sometimes I even woke up in the middle of the night running to the bathroom. It was not fun. I had no appetite for anything and literally felt like I had to force myself to eat just to fuel my body.
We had our first appointment at 11-12 weeks. We decided on yet a new practice that was an hour away but it consisted of one OB and 5 midwives. They were the best in the area and practiced evidence based care. Even though I had one successful VBAC under my belt, I will always be considered a VBAC and it is hard to find truly supportive practitioners. If you look back at my last birth, I still had to fight a bit to achieve my VBAC. I did not want to have to go through that again. Our meeting with the doctor went so well. He was so supportive and definitely didn’t give me any red flags. He gave us our due date of May 8 and then did an ultrasound. This was the first time we would see and hear our baby! The ultrasound measurements showed a estimated due date of May 13. So since this was more than 3 days off from the May 8 one, the doctor decided to change it to be May 13. He said, this will only give us more time to let baby come on its own! Not to mention, as long as myself and baby were fine, I could go to 42 weeks.
Baby looked and sounded great on ultrasound. It is always so exciting seeing this tiny human being bouncing and dancing around. We decided we would keep the due date a secret. With my first two pregnancies, we shared the due date and it really caused me more stress. For some reason other people think the due date is an expiration date and they don’t always think about how they say things or how a woman feels about reaching her due date and going past it. So this time around, we shared a due month. I found I really enjoyed going about it this way as even I forgot what week I was in most the time.
Once I hit about 18 weeks, the nausea was finally gone. I was still on monthly prenatal appointments and things were going very well. At 19 weeks, we had our second trimester ultrasound. This would potentially be when we could find out the gender of our baby. But of course, we like to wait and we chose not to find out again. The baby looked great. We even got a picture of baby giving us a thumbs up telling me “everything was just fine in here!”. 🙂 Baby measured on track with the May 13 estimated due date (EDD).
During my second trimester, baby was growing rapidly and often times this brings on those lovely round ligament pains and Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions. I felt BH with my second pregnancy but never really experienced round ligament pains. I would get some sensations of pulling here and there but NOTHING compared to this pregnancy! This pregnancy, they would stop me dead in my tracks. It felt like a jolt of electricity would run through my abdomen if I made a certain movement. Some were so surprising that I would be nervous to move for about ten minutes after feeling one.
Two months later was now time for the lovely Gestational Diabetes (GD) test. I know a lot of my naturally minded friends choose to opt out of this test. However, I personally choose to do it because of having a family history of diabetes. To me drinking one drink that I would not normally consume and getting a blood draw is worth it to make sure myself and my baby are fine. Luckily enough, I passed with flying colors and had no signs of GD, same as with my previous pregnancies. This test also marked the beginning of the last stretch, the third trimester!
FINALLY, I was actually feeling great. Although most women start losing energy and getting more and more uncomfortable at this point, I was the total opposite. The first two trimesters for me were difficult. I was tired and nauseas all the time. But the third trimester was awesome. I had tons of energy and I almost felt normal besides having a basketball for a belly. That was until I hit the 9 month mark. My kids and I were driving home after a day of running errands and we were in a minor car accident. Another driver rear ended us. Thankfully, no one was hurt. There was damage to our new van but that was fixable. Because I was so pregnant and I started having backpain and contractions immediately following, paramedics did check me out. But everything was fine. However, it did affect me more than I thought. I became very anxious in the car and I didn’t drive for a couple weeks. I have always been the one to drive, even if Kyle was with us but this whole incident changed that. Not only did that cause me a lot of stress, the stress of dealing with getting the van repaired, multiple phone calls from insurance companies and getting replacement car seats for the boys put a lot of unnecessary stress on me. I like to feel prepared and get things done. So having only a few weeks before baby could possibly arrive, made all this more stressful on me. It was definitely not how I wanted to spend my last weeks of pregnancy.
At my next appointment following the accident, it was brought to my attention that my blood pressure had sky rocketed. I have always had a healthy blood pressure, in fact, it has always been a bit low if anything, even during pregnancy. But they were getting readings of 160/100+. I felt fine and it was actually surprising to me. However, with it being my last weeks of pregnancy, there is always a possibility of pre-eclampsia. I figured it was probably the stress I was under as I showed no other signs or symptoms of pre-e. There was also the possibility of it just being pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH). Either way, both can cause issues with the baby, the placenta and myself so they began monitoring me twice a week instead of once a week. I also was to begin taking a natural supplement (another reason why I love this practice, they are more naturally minded) called Natural Calm. It is a magnesium supplement that can help with stress, anxiety, headaches and blood pressure. I was asked to monitor my blood pressure at home and get lab work done that included a full panel and 24 hour urine test (not fun!). The labwork was to check to see if pre-e was a possibility with checking certain levels, especially protein and creatinine. My first round of lab work came back beautifully. My urine did come back with some protein but my level was still low enough to not cause a need for concern. I continued with twice weekly visits and another 2 weeks of the bloodwork/ 24 hour urine testing to monitor the protein levels. Every week, my blood pressure was still high at the office and I was getting elevated readings at home but not nearly as high as in the office. Also my labwork only got better each week. So I was hopeful that things would be fine.
By my 39 week appointment, I still felt my anxiety of being in the car played a role in my blood pressure readings at my appointments. On a good day, not during rush hour, we have about an hour drive to the office that is mostly on the high way. I honestly could feel my blood pressure increase during the drive. I would feel a little off and my ears would get warm. And sure enough, my blood pressure would always be high. They would always take a second reading after I had been there a while and it would go down to the 130/90 range. So it would get better but still not perfect. However, I decided to diffuse lavender essential oil in the car on the way to my appointment. I used lavender when I was in early labor with Braydon and I remember how calm and relaxed I was. I figured there was no hurt in trying. When I got to my appointment, the midwife told me my urine protein levels were in normal range and my blood pressure was back to being my normal reading, which was low! I also had an NST scheduled that day just to be safe and baby looked beautiful on it! All great news. I couldn’t help but wonder if the essential oil actually helped me relax in the car. The whole week when I would check my blood pressure at home, it was also back to normal as well.
I went in for my 40 week appointment, the day before my EDD. Once again, I diffused lavender in the car and my blood pressure was great. I am finally told I no longer have to do anymore of the labwork and 24 hour urine tests! THANK GOODNESS!!!!! I finally felt like I can stop worrying and enjoy the end of my pregnancy. I am thankful that the doctor and midwives were proactive in monitoring myself and my baby. And even more thankful that they didn’t jump the gun. I know so many mothers who found themselves in similar situations only to be sent to the hospital after a couple high blood pressure readings and some protein in urine who end up being induced or with a csection. I know every situation is different and that sometimes these things NEED to be done. But in most cases, like mine, just having these two symptoms shouldn’t be cause for concern unless they get worse after monitoring. I am glad that I trusted my instincts and knew things were fine. I stayed positive and took care of myself.
For the 4 days prior to my 40 week appointment, I experienced what I believe to be prodromal labor. Every evening at the same time, I would begin to get contractions. They would come anywhere from every 2-11 minutes lasting around 50-60 seconds. Eventually, they would stop and I would be able to fall asleep for the night, only waking in the morning feeling nothing! I will admit it has been a little discouraging, especially because some of them are pretty painful and intense. It is also both emotionally and physically exhausting. However, I am staying positive and telling myself that my body is preparing. My body is getting ready to birth my baby and I am happy to feel the progress.
Now, I sit here at 40 weeks and 1 day (or 1 day past my EDD). I am feeling really good. I am excited to meet our new family member very soon. I do believe in letting baby decide when to come and that baby will come when s/he is truly ready. Fortunately, my midwives and OB feel the same and have not mentioned the words csection or induction. My last couple appointments end with “well, now we wait!”. It really helps having supportive care providers. Our due dates are really an estimate but I would be lying if I didn’t wish our baby would have arrived by now. I technically went past my EDD with my first, however, I was induced and ended up in a csection due to not having a supportive and patient doctor. Our second child arrived nice and early ON HIS EDD. I keep reminding myself even subsequent pregnancies can go past the 40 week mark just as first time mothers can deliver their babies a week “early”. I know baby is doing well and I am still feeling great. I still have tons of energy. Our house is extremely clean, I have been able to prepare and freeze some snacks and meals for after baby arrives, laundry is caught up, everyone’s bedding is washed and fresh, baby’s cosleeper is set up, I have a drawer in my room and the kid’s room ready and stocked for the baby, boys have had their yearly check ups, hospital bag packed and double checked. The only thing not ready is the infant seat in the car. Maybe I need to get Kyle on that!