I know I promised a birth story and it’s still coming (albeit a month+ later than promised). But first – some details about my complicated pregnancy I wasn’t comfortable sharing until she got here safe and sound...
Because, sometimes, even when everything seems to go wrong, it turns out alright.
It all started when I found out I was pregnant Nov. 2, two days after my favorite day of the year. We’d been trying for awhile and never meant to wait so long between children, but finally, after many negatives, the test turned positive. And then another. And another.
Baby’s due date was July 12.
As with our first pregnancy, we decided to keep the news to ourselves until we were in safer territory, terrified of a miscarriage. I was just about to turn 35 after all – “of advanced maternal age.”
We got a little more comfortable over the next week or so and decided we would tell our families a little earlier than planned, on Thanksgiving. Turned out my body had other plans, though.
I started spotting that day, Nov. 22, and feared the worst. It was the longest weekend (to that point) of our lives. I took our 4-year-old to a Christmas festival and tried to have fun and not think about it. The secret was killing me. Monday, I got an appointment to see my OB later that month. I had a few more incidents of light spotting after that, but we held on to whatever hope we could find.
Early labs showed that my progesterone was low, so my OB started me on supplements to try and support a healthy pregnancy. I also got the RhoGam shot since there was bleeding and I’m RH-. We were scheduled for an early ultrasound to determine if my pregnancy was viable.
We had the scan at a different hospital because they could get us in sooner. Time was of the utmost importance. The experience was foreign and scary, but the techs were nice and showed us the heartbeat, just as I feared there wouldn’t be one. We left with our first picture of the new baby.
Our relief was short lived. A day or so later, my OB’s office called and said the radiologist who reviewed my ultrasound recommended a follow up scan right away to rule out a possible cornual ectopic pregnancy.
I knew ectopic was bad and not all that uncommon, but this one was new to me so I Googled. Mistake. It’s a rare form of ectopic pregnancy in which the embryo implants in the uterus, but too close to the Fallopian tube to be viable. With a cornual ectopic, a rupture can be even deadlier for mom, occurring near a major artery in the uterus.
Suddenly we feared that we might not have a baby after all, and worse, that our older daughter could end up without a mommy. Reluctantly, we told our families (or let our daughter tell them) and asked for prayers. We tried to celebrate any time we had with a new baby.
Thankfully, the nightmare only lasted a week. On Dec. 14 we had an ultrasound at my OB’s office and the tech, who’d seen only one cornual ectopic before, gave us reassurance that this likely was not one. I did have an ovarian cyst and a uterine fibroid, but nothing to worry about. Baby looked fine. At Christmas, we made it FB official, although I still wouldn’t give myself permission to get too excited.
At my January appointment, I had low Vitamin D and was started on more supplements. I also tested positive for Anti-D antibodies. I hoped they were from my earlier RhoGam shot, but the lab was unable to confirm that, so I feared for our baby once again – this time bc of RH disease.
At the end of February, we had made it to the 20-week anatomy screen. Baby looked good, and we found out she was a girl, but they were unable to see her cardiac outflow tracts and I was diagnosed with placenta previa. More scans needed.
By 28 weeks in April, my placenta had moved away from my cervix, but at 1.5cm away, it was not clear of danger. We were told it might still move, but that we might want to get used to the idea of a C-section. As much as I didn’t want surgery, I didn’t hate the idea. A planned birth would give me back some of the control I had lost throughout this pregnancy.
Only a few days later, I found out I failed the one-hour glucose screen massively with a 214. Since anything over 140 is a fail, I was told to take the three hour screen – but upon researching gestational diabetes, I learned it was unlikely I would pass the three hour (like I did in my first pregnancy, but I barely failed the one).
I was immediately diagnosed with GD and told to start following the 2,000 calorie American Diabetes Association diet until I could see the diabetic counselor. I was to test my fasting in the morning and once after all three meals.
I found some solace in two GD support groups on Facebook and learned some tricks to manage my diabetes. Eventually I couldn’t do it with diet alone and was prescribed Merformin in the morning at breakfast. Before my pregnancy was over I’d be taking it at dinner too. Depression hit me hard, dealing with the new diet. I learned to vent in the groups and on this blog and found a support system in my mom. Over time I got healthier and actually lost weight, so there actually was an upside. In total, I gained 5 pounds versus 35 with DD#1. I never did get all my numbers under control, but my average was good and my doctor was happy. Baby was estimated to be fairly big, but not overly so to cause any concern. Still, I learned I would be induced at 39 weeks if she didn’t come on her own before then.
In May, at another ultrasound, my placenta previa had resolved itself but my fluid appeared low, at an 8, so I was diagnosed with borderline oligohydraminos. It meant another ultrasound. Over the next week, I chugged water, hoping I was only slightly dehydrated, and it worked! That diagnosis was resolved only 5 days later, with my level at a 10.2.
In June, my blood pressure began to creep. I had read that GD puts you more at risk for preeclampsia (or at least gestational hypertension) and my sister in law had delivered early bc of it, so I worried, although my doc wasn’t concerned quite yet. I borrowed my dad’s BP cuff and monitored at home, where it seemed fine.
It wasn’t until June 28 that I was admitted to the hospital for testing. My BP at that point was 164/82. Thankfully, baby looked good on the NST and my blood pressure fell as I laid in observation, and I was sent home. It wasn’t baby time yet.
My BP would give us a scare twice more before finalizing an induction date, but it was never bad enough to push that date sooner than 39 weeks. I was put on leave July 1, and my induction was set for July 5.
One of my last pregnancy pics ever
To be continued…