Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little Bits of Happiness

A lot of this pregnancy has been plagued with worry, doubt, and frustration. For the past two months, each day has me thankful that she's still inside, yet fearful of each passing hour.minute.second. Could this trip to the bathroom/fifteen minute shower/walk down the stairs/etc. cause me to go into labor? Will I be one of those women who doesn't know she's in labor? Does that leaking mean my water broke? Every Wednesday marks a new week for Harper and I. And every Wednesday I look online at several different web sites to see what kind of development is taking place. I look up that week's premies. Information overload? Some days, yes. A little over the top? Perhaps. But I suppose that's just how I am. I like to be as informed as possible. I like to be prepared. I do understand that we will never be fully prepared because there's no way to know what would happen were she to come out. I just like to know what others have gone through and what possibly stage of development she might be in. TMI or not.

I've tried to remain as positive as I possibly can. While this isn't always easy and has, on more than one occasion, led to an emotional breakdown by one or both of us, there are some things about this pregnancy that I love and that keep me hopeful. Like seeing her move across my belly (like right now). Even though my ribs feel black and blue, my bladder feels like she's trying to push it out of me, and it doesn't matter how hard I try I will never be comfortable...then BUMP! there's (what I assume to be) a foot! an elbow! her whole backside! Some days it feels and looks like she's completely spread out. I LOVE when there's a little foot pushed up against me and I can rub it until she moves away. It's unbelievable to think that just a few inches separate my hand from her. And then I feel all emotional cause so very very soon I will get to nibble on those little pokey feet.
There's also her hiccups. Little tiny bubbles that POP POP POP for a few minutes at a time. And then Harper gets angry and squirms around cause she really doesn't like hiccuping. But I LOVE them. I know that she's practicing swallowing (YAY!) and it just pushes into my brain just how ridiculously real this all is. My little tiny baby gets hiccups just like other babies on the outside! Crazy I know. How could this not be real, right? Until I hold her for the first time, this all feels quite surreal.
Despite the fears, there is so much to look forward to and many positives to focus on.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So I'm Incompetent...well, at least my cervix is...

The past two months have been tumultuous to say the least. My last post was pretty much my last day at work. Since then I've been on bed rest. Lovely, mind numbing bed rest. While I love thinking about Harper all day long, it's the worrying that gets me. We found out back in December that my cervix was shortening and for no apparent reason. Usually this happens to a woman if she's had any kind of procedures done to her cervix. I have not. So, for a couple of weeks I was monitored, usually in Labor and Delivery. After my second trip there they decided it was best that I go on bed rest to keep as much pressure off my cervix as possible; especially since Harper was so low. For about a month I was going in every week to have my cervix measured and each week it got a little smaller. I also began funneling, which is when your cervix starts to open up. Not a good thing when your baby's lungs aren't fully developed (among other frightening things!) I was given steroid shots to help mature her lungs in case she decided to make her appearance into this world. My doctor stopped measure my cervix a couple of weeks ago. Now I'm effacing (meaning my cervix is thinning out in preparation for labor) (I'm about 80% effaced) and I'm dilated about 2 cm. I haven't been having real contractions, just the Braxton Hicks ones. I get a lot of tightening and pressure, along with menstrual like cramps (eek!) pretty much EVERY. DAY. It's just something I have to live with until I deliver. Our goal since we found out my cervix was shortening was to make it to 32 weeks. Thankfully we've made it to that goal. Now we're shooting for 34! I have honestly been pretty scared that she was going to come really early. The thought of her being in the NICU for weeks or months made my stomach turn. I've read so many heart-wrenching stories of parents who have had to endure that. Thankfully, somehow, Harper has managed to stay put. According to

"By week 32, your baby weighs nearly 4 pounds! The crown-to-rump length of your baby is approximately 11.7 inches and the total length is about 18.9 inches...This week your baby's movements will peak. You should continue to monitor the fetal movements daily and address any concerns with your caregiver. The wrinkles in your baby's face are disappearing and fat is still being deposited throughout the baby's body...As a preparation for breastfeeding, your baby has learned to root for the breast. The baby will turn its head if touched on the cheek and open its mouth if the bottom lip is tickled. By this time the baby can also suck and swallow in a coordinated way."

She's getting fatter and learning how to swallow, which is very important in case she comes early! I LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. this little baby SO MUCH already. I absolutely CANNOT wait to finally hold her. But these last few weeks are very critical, even if she can survive on the outside. Two more weeks til our next goal. Maybe she'll surprise us all and I'll go full-term!

Mommy and Daddy love you so very much baby girl!

My 31 week belly shot. Unfortunately, yes, those are stretch marks. It's okay if they gross you out. I don't like them either.