It’s been a little bit since my last update. My business has been insane this past month with people trying to get shoots squeezed in before I’m told to stop and I had a large influx of newborns (it must have been a cold, cold December). I’ve been shooting and editing like a madwoman in hopes to stay somewhat on track. On top of that, I’m responsible for my kids who have been home more because of the summer. They finally started back to school and both go a couple days a week. Thank you, Jesus. It’s impossible (and borderline neglectful) to try and edit while the kids are home. It’s just not pretty. It always ends in tears…
When I was pregnant with Luke, my high risk OB asked me during an appointment if I could touch my thumb to my forearm. I answered that I could and quickly showed him. What I didn’t realize was that it’s apparently not a normal thing to be able to do that. I’ve always been able to move my wrists that much, so I just thought everyone could do it. I was wrong. (I’ll wait while you try to touch your thumb to your forearm. Are you done? Okay, cool.)
My doc informed me that people aren’t suppose to be able to do that and that he was fairly sure I had a mild case of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS is a connective tissue disorder which causes the body’s connective tissue to be too flexible and possibly weakened. The issue is that when you are pregnant, your bag of waters is a connective tissue and can rupture prematurely. When my water broke so early with Anna’s pregnancy, it was confusing because I wasn’t dilated (usually your water breaks when your cervix starts to open and pressure is applied to the bag) when it happened and I didn’t have any signs of an infection. I haven’t been formally diagnosed with EDS, but my high risk has no doubt that is what’s going on.
The other piece of the puzzle is that apparently I have an irritable uterus. Maybe irritable uterus is the wrong term. That bitch is angry. Seriously though, irritable uterus is a real thing. Google it. The internet doesn’t lie. So, my uterus is angry and doesn’t like a whole lot of movement. Anytime I stand up, lay back, roll over, have a full bladder, walk around, sneeze, cough, blink – you get the idea – I have a contraction. This started around 15 weeks and has progressively gotten worse as I’ve progressed in my pregnancy. This isn’t something new. I had an irritable uterus with both Anna and Luke. It’s clear that my uterus doesn’t enjoy growing babies.
Anyway, a little over a month ago I had an appointment at my high risk OB’s office. They did an ultrasound to measure the length of my cervix and found that it had shortened some. My doctor was worried because my cervix had been consistently getting shorter and my contractions were picking up. I get a weekly progesterone injection to help with contractions. I also take oral progesterone along with a slew of other pills each day. My doc decided that he was also going to have me take a daily dose of ibuprofen to help with contractions. He decided that he was going to check my cervix three weeks later and if it had shortened more, he was reducing my activity level to modified bed rest. I left that appointment knowing that we had 3 weeks until I was possibly being taken out of commission. So, we got busy. I squeezed in as many shoots as my calendar would allow. We got the nursery to a point where we can bring the baby home. It’s not completely finished, but it’s fine for now. The hospital bag is packed and ready to go. I registered the kids for daycare so they have somewhere to go on the days they don’t already have school so that I’m able to relax when I get the word. We made sure we had everything we need for the baby. In general, we had to get everything done by the time I turned 28 weeks that normal pregnant ladies have to have ready by 37ish weeks. We knew this would happen at some point, so it was nice to have a little heads up. We were prepared going into that next appointment with my high risk. We even did a siblings class for the kids so they felt ‘prepared’ (or as prepared as you can be as a sibling).
To everyone’s surprise, at the next ultrasound, my cervix had actually gotten longer. My high risk asked if I sprinkled Miracle Grow in there. To my knowledge, I hadn’t. There could an error in the measurement, I could have been having a contraction at the time, the baby could have moved a bit – there are reasons that your cervix can appear longer. Because my cervix hadn’t shortened further, he allowed my activity level to stay the same as long as I kept up with my ibuprofen. I was going to see my regular OB the following week (he’s already started bi-weekly visits) so my high risk set my next visit and ultrasound for two weeks away. I will be seeing him bi-weekly as well so that I visit one of my doctors every week until I deliver.
A week later, I went to my appointment with my regular OB. I had both kids with me because I thought it would be really quick. Turns out, he was going to do an internal exam (super awkward when two kids are in the room). I was sitting on the table, naked from the waist down, waiting for the doc to come in when Anna informs me that she needs to poop. Kids have the best timing, right? Eventually the doctor came in (and Anna managed to not poop her pants). He asked me how many contractions I was having as I laid back so he could listen to the baby. I was explaining that I have contractions constantly with movement (see above) but that they die down when I sit or lay down to about 2-3 an hour. I had 50-60 contractions the day before. Sure enough, once I laid back I had a contraction. I told my doctor and he could feel how hard my uterus was. He listened to sweet Abby and then quickly (while the kids were distracted) checked my cervix. My cervix was long enough and high, but getting soft. So, he decided that I needed to be reducing activity and staying off my feet more. The medicine I’m taking for contractions isn’t enough at this point. The issue is that with the contractions I’m having, some cervical change is also happening. They are also concerned that the constant contractions can put too much pressure on my bag of waters. Since they are pretty sure I have a mild form of EDS and my connective tissue is weaker, the pressure on my bag of waters could cause it to rupture without my cervix being dilated. That would be a bad deal this early in the game. Everyone still following along? Clear as mud, right? Right.
The good doc explained that I’m allowed to get the kids ready in the morning. If they have school, I can take them. But if they are at home I need to be watching them from the couch and only getting up a few times. I laughed in his face and told him that he clearly doesn’t have that much experience dealing with small children. He agreed. So, in order for me to rest, we have started the kids in daycare on the days that they didn’t already have school. Basically, they are out of the house during the day which gives me an actual chance to sit or lay down and them some stimulation besides me sitting around all the time. I think it’s a win-win for everyone. The kids have been handling it so-so. Anna knows that my activity is limited, so she’s been using that to her advantage and acting out and not listening. Both of the kids have been at one another’s throats lately. They fight constantly. I feel like I’m yelling too much and I hate it. Luke has become extremely clingy lately. He only wants me and always wants to sit or lay with me. The other night, Alex was putting Luke to bed and Luke asked where I was. Before Alex could answer, Luke asked ‘Did Mom have the baby?’ I was shocked when Alex told me. I know that he knows there’s a baby in my belly, but I didn’t think he actually got what’s going on. It’s also worrisome because I’m afraid he’s already starting to feel left out. I’m now getting worried about how he’s going to deal with the new baby. I know we will figure it all out, but it’s really on my mind right now.