Let’s talk tubals…

When we found out that we were unexpectedly expecting baby number three, we were shocked (happy, but shocked). We were certain that two was enough. So certain that we sold 98% of our baby gear and clothes (including my huge stash of maternity clothes). That’s neither here nor there now because we prepared for this baby as if she was our first, except everything was used and we didn’t care what color anything was. We decided that our current set of gear is going with us to the grave and we needed to beef up our future birth control efforts. You see, myself and hormonal birth control don’t get along. It’s a hot mess. So, we did the high school thing and invested in the wrappers. And, that’s how little Abby came to be. No wonder there are so many teen pregnancies.

We decided fairly quickly that Abby is definitely completing our family and we needed to look at a permanent solution. I have no business being pregnant again – it’s miserable and fairly dangerous to my health. Plus, you have to actually be able to afford your children, and it turns out that they are flipping expensive. So, three is enough for us.

The initial plan was for Alex to get snipped because it’s an easier procedure and that’s what people do. He’s talked to countless guys who have had it done. They traded their war stories like women talk about their labors and deliveries. One guy got it done on his lunch break. One guy went to a doctor who gave himself a vasectomy (if he’s good enough to do it to himself…). One guy went hunting the next day and ended up getting stuck in his tree stand. Alex was ready to join the ranks and was requesting it to be over March Madness so he could lay around for an entire weekend doing nothing but watching basketball.

While I was still pregnant, I asked my high risk OB what his thoughts were. Surprisingly, he told me that he recommends that the woman gets her tubes tied instead. His reasoning made sense. If something catastrophic were to happen down the road (obviously something you don’t expect such as a death or remarriage) and you have the need to add more children, you can get around a tubal using IVF. Reversals are an option, but are hardly guaranteed. And if your husband gets a vasectomy, you can no longer use his swimmers. My high risk also added that we were clearly extremely fertile people, so IVF would work if the situation arose.

So, we had a sit down in the subject. Obviously a tubal (if you don’t have it done during a c-section) is a harder procedure. It’s outpatient laproscopic  surgery under general anesthesia. There are risks involved, although I knew that I’ve handled anesthesia well with past surgeries. And as it turns out, I’m extremely healthy aside from being overweight. The other part of the equation is that my deductible had been met for the year, so the procedure was covered 100%. Alex’s has not, so we would be paying out of pocket if he had it done.

In the end, we decided that I would have the tubal. To us it felt like we were closing the door, but not throwing away the key. We don’t anticipate the need for more children, but the option is there if we need to go down that road in the future. Since I’m an open book, we started telling people our decision. It was amazing how many people felt so strongly that I shouldn’t be the one getting ‘fixed’. Alex was lectured that ‘it was the man’s responsibility’ and that ‘I had been through enough’. I was told that it was much easier for Alex to get it done and that he should be the one to do it. At first we defended our choice and cited the reasons above. Then, at some point, we decided that we were just going to start screwing with people. When someone started in on how we were making the wrong choice, Alex would proclaim ‘Lisa’s having her tubes tied because I’m the man and I told her to.’ Hilarious to us, because it couldn’t be farther from how our marriage actually operates.

Baby day came, Abby was born, and we still felt the same way. I told my OB while I was still in the hospital that I wanted to schedule it as soon as we could so that we could get it done before the end of the year and so we didn’t accidentally end up pregnant again. The date was set for 8 weeks later and all the arrangements (on their end and ours) were made. I had to jump through the nessecary steps prior to surgery – pre-surgery consult and testing, and we were good to go. I felt good about it.

Fast forward to the Monday before my surgery and I started getting a touch uneasy. I researched (read: I read mommy blogs) about if it’s better to have 3 or 4 kids. I read about middle child syndrome and was worried to think that I could be setting Luke up for emotional distraught. I even sent a friend a text message asking her if we should have one more to even things out. I talked to Alex about it because I couldn’t tell if I was getting cold feet or if I actually thought it was a good idea. He quickly reminded me of our reasons to stop at three, and they were still very real reasons to me. Plus, I started thinking about how freaking crazy it’s been with three up to now. Let’s just say it’s been a major adjustment for me and I barely feel like I’m keeping it all together. In my heart I knew that we were done and I was just having a bit of a freak out. So, crisis averted. I was feeling pretty good about things the rest of the week while I tried to get us as prepared as possible for me being down for the count for a bit. Hell, I was even looking forward to all the sleep I would be getting, even if it involved being sliced open. The day before my surgery, I noticed my stomach felt kind of off. I couldn’t decide if I was coming down with something or if it was nerves. I didn’t think I was nervous, but apparently my stomach didn’t get the memo. I had a few nervous poos and went on with the day.

The morning of the surgery came. We dragged ourselves out of bed and made it to the hospital. I was definitely feeling nervous at that point, but it wasn’t because of the type of surgery I was having. I was nervous to be having surgery. There are risks involved and there’s no way in Hell that I want to miss out on watching my kids grow up. On the way to the hospital I told Alex that we have to make sure nothing happens to me because we are both fairly certain he wouldn’t be able to handle three kids on his own. We agreed that he should remarry (if he was able to find someone who would overlook his kid baggage). I blessed his hypothetical second marriage and told him to not let the kids forget me.

In the pre-op room, I got into my lovely surgical attire and peed in a cup. We managed to make it to the surgery without getting pregnant (a feat that I was told isn’t always easy – apparently a large number of women find out that they are expecting when they arrive for their tubal). I was sitting in the bed waiting for the action to start and let a nervous toot slip out. Apparently my tummy was still a bit nervous. It ended up being so rank, Alex’s eyes were watering. As I was trying to fan it away, the anesthesiologist walks into the room. Poor guy. We went about business and I answered all his questions. As he was leaving he instructed the nurse to give me a Pepcid to ‘settle my stomach’. It wasn’t my finest moment, that’s for sure. My OB made his way in to chat and fill out paperwork. After requesting that he tie my tubes like a beautiful gift wrap bow, we were off to the OR. I was extremely calm (most likely from my now calm belly and the ‘shit that killed Michael Jackson’ medicine the CRNA pushed through my IV), I was even joking with the people who were pushing me down the hall and high-fiving the CRNA who had given me my epidural during Abby’s delivery. I moved to the table, stared at the lights, breathed from the giant mask on my face, and then slipped into the best fucking sleep I’ve had in months.

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I’m assuming the ole tubes were taken care of in that time. The next thing I know I’m in recovery and the nurse is telling me that she’s going to keep letting me sleep because I’m really tired. I mumble that I have three babies at home and then dozed back off. I woke up a couple times to her telling someone else how sleepy I was. Eventually I kept my eyes open long enough to be moved to another recovery room. Alex was finally allowed back and he came bearing gifts. His reasoning – since no nuts were harmed in the seeking of birth control a nutcracker was the perfect gift to document the day. I happen to also collect them, so it was a total win-win. Alex helped me get dressed and I was discharged. It was four hours from the time we arrived to the time we were leaving.

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Recovery hasn’t been horrible. Trying to eat that first day proved comical. Apparently they give you medicine that turns off your ability to make saliva. Try eating a peanut butter cookie with no spit in your mouth. I’m pretty sure I have peanut butter cookie dust in my lungs now. The anesthesia made me feel pretty blah the first day. Nothing that a glorious nap and laying down couldn’t  control. The weekend was spent being waited on by my lovely husband – is this Heaven, no it’s Iowa. I decided that I was going to stay on top of taking the pain medicine through the weekend so that it didn’t get the best of me. Turns out that Percocet makes me extremely nauseous. I spent all day Sunday throwing up and feeling overall shitty. I stopped taking the pain medicine and eventually I started feeling better. On Monday, I was sore but was able to sit up without puking everywhere. By Tuesday, I was around 85% back and resumed my normal motherhood roles. No time for mom to be down, right?

I still feel good about our decision for permanent birth control. I know (as does Alex) that we made the right choice. Still, there’s an emotional side to my recovery. My irrational fear that something horrible is going to happen to my kids has grown. The fear is always there, but I’m a bit more paranoid these days. Rationally I know that this fear will settle back down to a normal level, but for now it’s a bit out of control. On top of that, Abby is my last baby and that reality is hitting home. It’s like I REALLY want to soak up all the squish and squeaks and cuddles because this is it. Each day passes and my last baby gets bigger. It’s all things I would have felt without the surgery, but the tubal made it really hang out there. This part of me is mourning the loss of my childbearing years. Again, I’m glad I had the surgery. It’s just a matter of sorting through all the feels that come with it. To console myself, maybe I’ll get drunk and take advantage of my husband. Afterall, I’m a safe date now, biotches.

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Welcome to the family, Abby!!

I woke up early on Thursday, October 23rd. I showered and decided to shave my legs that morning (I was unstoppable). I was 36 weeks 1 day pregnant – officially the longest I’ve ever made it in a pregnancy. The rest of the house wakes up. I do what I can to help get the kids ready for daycare and Alex gets ready for work. He goes to the bathroom and comes back telling me he doesn’t feel well. He decides that he’s still going to head into work, so he drops the kids at daycare and heads in.  At 7:45, I’m in my car heading to an ultrasound and appointment with my high risk OB. I get a call from Alex saying that he has a stomach bug and is coming home from work. I joke and tell him that I will probably go into labor today since he’s sick. He requests that I don’t. I even tell my mom the same thing when I call her. I get to the office and the ultrasound looks perfect. I have to wait a while to see the doctor. I notice I’m having some contractions in the waiting room, but they aren’t regular. I see my doctor and he decides that we should induce that weekend. We talk about a game plan for the induction and he checks my cervix. I’m at almost 3cm and 50% effaced. We talk some more and I notice that my cramps are getting worse. I head to my car to drive home. I needed to run through the bank and drop a letter at the post office. I notice contractions at 10am. Immediately I knew they were labor contractions because they wrapping around my back. I made some calls and texts to people that should be in the know if I was actually in labor. I picked up a Sprite for Alex and made it home.

I park myself on the couch to see what happens.  My contractions were coming about every 15 minutes and then every 8 minutes and then every 6 minutes. The contractions were kind of sporadic and not super regular. But, they kept coming so I kept timing and filling in my group of people. I kept texting Alex to keep him updated (and informed him that I was most likely in labor) because he was upstairs doing the sick thing and I refused to be around him at that point. He sent me a text asking if I would go get him another Sprite and a cup of soup. I informed him that I was in labor so I would not be leaving to fetch things for him and that he could come downstairs and make a can of soup for himself. He dramatically made his way downstairs and made his soup. He then proceeded to lay on the other side of the couch moaning. It was around 2pm and my contractions had moved to every 5 minutes. I had no sympathy for him at that point.

After an hour of every 5 minute contractions, we decided that I was going to have my mom pick me up and drive me to the hospital while Alex stayed at home, moaning. The plan was that he would come up to the hospital if we got the word that I was actually in labor and that we were going to be having a baby. I called my mom and she was out the door in a flash. She told me later that she was sitting with her purse by the phone. She made it to my house and we were off to the hospital. Apparently I was the first person in active labor that my mother has ever driven to the hospital. She drove 5 miles under the speed limit and cussed at anyone who passed us. Driving Miss Daisy responsibly delivered me to the labor and delivery floor around 3pm. I walked in looking like the after school special with my mom and no wedding ring (the ship sailed a while ago thanks to some serious swelling). I was taken to a triage room and hooked up. My contractions were coming every 2 minutes and increasing in intensity. My blood pressure was high (around 150/100) which wasn’t surprising, but it wasn’t decreasing when I was laying down (like it would normally do at my previous triage visits). The floor doctor came in pretty quickly and seemed concerned. Blood was drawn and they left me alone to monitor my contractions, BP, and baby’s heart rate. Around 4pm, the floor doctor came in and checked my cervix. I was a 3/4 and still 50% effaced. She had spoken with my OB and the decision was made that I would be moved to a labor room and would be having this baby.  Alex was called and he made his way to the hospital. Surgical masks were waiting for him. I asked if there was anything that could be given to help with the pain. My contractions were every 1.5 to 2 minutes and they were getting to the point that I needed to breath through them. I didn’t have any downtime and was getting really uncomfortable. The nurse replied that the only thing that was going to take the edge off was to get the epidural.

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I made it to my labor room, an IV was started and I got a first dose of antibiotics for group B strep. I ask the nurse to request an epidural. Alex arrives and complains that people were avoiding riding in the elevator with him because he had a surgical mask on as if he was an Ebola patient. He takes a seat in the recliner and continues his moaning. My contractions are making life pretty miserable. I tried to focus on breathing through them until the anesthesiologist arrived when Alex complains that his back hurts because he’s been laying around not feeling well all day. I either just stared at him or I told him to fuck off (my guess is that it was something closer to the latter). If I could have moved, I probably would have ripped his face off. If men were the ones to have babies, the human race would be extinct.

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Much too long later, a lovely man named Charlie arrived and told me that he was going to be giving me my epidural. I could have licked his face I was so excited to see him. I signed all the paperwork and assumed the position. My OB walked in and gave me a big hug. He told me that he was going to break my water after my epidural was placed and then he left to see another patient. My nurse held me in place while Charlie got started. He numbed one area, inserted the needle and started to thread the catheter. I had a shooting pain down my left side. I can only describe it as like a lighting bolt going through my hip and leg. I started moaning with my face in a pillow. Charlie removed the catheter and tried again. No luck, it actually got worse. My body was involuntarily jerking with the pain. At one point I screamed for him to stop. It was really intense and by far my worst epidural experience. Apparently my OB walked in during this part and immediately left because we were having such a hard time. Charlie ended up moving to another spot on my spine and redoing the whole process. He was able to get it placed and I immediately felt some relief. While Charlie was cleaning me up and taping everything off he apologized to me and told me that he didn’t mean to hurt me. I was apologizing to him for moving and carrying on when all of a sudden I started sobbing crying. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop. I was a mess. My nurse wiped away my tears. Around 6:45 my epidural was really taking effect and I was loving life. I started feeling a little loopy and my heart was pounding. My blood pressure went from 150/100 to 80/50. The nurses started panicking. They had me lay on my side and Charlie arrived back in the room. He ended up having to turn the dose down so my BP would increase a bit.

Around 7pm, my mother-in-law arrived with Anna and Luke. We lucked out because Alex’s stepsister had a planned c-section to deliver her baby (Abby’s cousin) that morning. So, Alex’s mom and stepdad were in town when I happened to go into labor. When we knew that I wasn’t leaving the hospital until I had a baby in my arms, she stepped in to stay with the kids at our house. Anna and Luke were so excited that the baby was coming (we’ve been talking about it for what seems like years) and were incredibly curious about everything that was going on. Anna was staring intently at the machines and wires and asking me what everything was. She asked me if she could touch me. When I told her she could, she patted my arm. I got teary eyed. Luke pooped. The nurse came in and said that she needed to place the catheter (PARRR-TAY). My mother-in-law leaves with the kids. Luke was extremely upset to leave and Anna was excited to come back to meet her sister the next day.

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Pee tub is placed and my doctor arrives around 7:45 to check me (till a 3/4) and break my water. It was the first time my water ever had to be broken for me – really odd experience. My contractions space out a bit, but I’m numb from the epidural so I can’t really tell. My cousin, Rita, arrives to visit. That we know of, she’s the 5th generation of Rita in my family with my mom being the 4th and Abby being the 6th. I just love my cousin. She’s been at the hospital for all three of my labors. Around 9pm, Cousin Rita leaves and Alex pauses his moaning to take a nap in the recliner. The poor guy was just beat…

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At 9:30, my nurse comes in to check me. I’m a 4.  The plan was to start pitocin, but I ask to wait a while so we can make it to midnight. I didn’t want Abby’s cousin blaming me for him having to share a birthday. Plus, my sister’s birthday was the next day and we thought it would be neat for Abby to share a birthday with her aunt. I was doing everything I could to make it to midnight. My doctor wasn’t thrilled that I’ve turned down the pitocin (probably because he didn’t want to get called back in the middle of the night), but he agrees to have the nurse check me at 11pm and then hang the pitocin. I’m feeling good about my chances of making it to midnight. Around 10:30, I call my sister (she was traveling for work). I start feeling pressure with each contraction. At 10:50 my nurse checks me again. I’ve jumped to a 6 and am 100% effaced. Take that, pitocin! She informs me that she’s going to run to the cafeteria to get something to eat. I tell her to take her time because, after all, we aren’t having this baby until after midnight. At 11:15 a different nurse (with 3 friends) come in because Abby’s heart rate isn’t showing up on the monitor. She decides to check me and place an internal monitor. I’m fully dilated and Abby’s heart rate is decelerating with each contraction.

Everyone was aware of my midnight goal, so they set the room up methodically but not in a rush. My stand in nurse informs me that there’s no way I’m making it. Poo on her. We start to wake Alex up. He’s not the easiest bear to rouse from hibernation. I’ve had several encounters in the middle of the night where he’s been half asleep and doesn’t recall our conversation the next day. As I yell at him, my mom starts kicking his foot. He opens his eyes and I explain what’s going on. He asks me if he has to get up right then. I yell at him to stand up so that he fully wakes up. Nothing would have sucked more than for him to be half asleep and miss the birth of his third child. Eventually he’s fully present and standing next to my bed.

My doctor is called and arrives in my room at 11:30. Myself, the room, and the bed are prepped. My doctor gowns up. The pressure is really painful. I ask why it hurts so much and they explain that my epidural cartridge is out and that there’s not enough time to replace it. This is not what I signed up for. I got that B for a reason. My doctor explained that he would have no issues sitting on the couch for 20 minutes until we could get to midnight but since Abby is having decels, he needs to get her out quickly. I agree. Obviously her safety is most important. The NICU team arrives (because she’s preterm, a NICU team has to be present for delivery) at 11:37 and my doctor tells me to push with the next contraction. The pressure is so intense right now I would have cut off my thumb if he told me it would help. A contraction comes and I start to push. The pain and pressure is horrible. I scream as I push, not because I want to but because my body just takes over and does whatever it can to get through it. They tell me her head is coming out as I experience the ring of fire. Johnny Cash can go to Hell. Next thing I know I can feel her shoulders trying to come out. It hurts like a son of a beach until her shoulders are out. The next thing I know the rest of her slides out like there’s Dawn dish soap on a slip and slide. Abby Rita Rose arrived after pushing through one contraction at 11:39pm (I missed midnight by 21 minutes) and instantly started to cry. It was instant relief for us. Alex is able to cut the umbilical cord before she is passed off to the NICU team for assessment.

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The pediatrician determines that her APGAR scores were an 8 and 9 and that she is healthy enough to stay with us. It was the best news we could have heard (besides being told that I didn’t poo all over the table while pushing)! Abby is measured (20 inches long) and weighed (6lbs 15ozs). The pediatrician is shocked when we tell him that she is our biggest baby to date. He makes a comment about how he can tell we’ve been down the preemie road before by the questions we were asking. I explain that the preemie road was the only one we knew. Meanwhile, back at the murder scene my doctor banks my cord blood for donation. I’ve been given pitocin to help deliver my placenta. My hamburger steak, I mean placenta, comes out and my doctor proudly shows it to us. I have a second degree tear (most likely from her coming out so quickly) that has to be stitched up. I explain that I could feel the delivery and that I definitely don’t want to feel someone repeatedly sticking a needle in my taint. After doing a test poke, my doctor numbs everything up with local anesthetic and fixes me up. He fills out all of his paperwork and (per my request) signs the frame we are going to hang in Abby’s room. Before leaving he gives me a giant hug (I just love my OB) and then heads home.

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It’s past midnight at this point. Everyone has taken turns holding Abby, so the nurse explains that it’s time to breastfeed. Latching is difficult, but she ends up nursing on both sides for 15 minutes. I call the nurse because we have to take blood sugars at every feeding for the next 24 hours (it’s a preemie thing). Her level is a 32 (it needs to be above a 40). We end up feeding a bottle to get her blood sugars up and she sucks down an entire ounce. Alex is back in the recliner and sound asleep. Abby passes out on my chest so I take the moment to sniff sweet baby head. At 1:45, the nurse takes Abby’s temperature, gives her a bath, does another blood sugar (her level went up to 63), and checked her respiratory rate (it was normal). Just after 2am, Abby is all cleaned up and resting under a warmer. The nurse grabs a wheelchair and cart in preparation for changing rooms. I wake Alex up so he can load the cart. My nurse draws blood for the cord blood donation kit. The adrenaline of the evening’s events started to wear off. I could barely keep my eyes open as I ate some graham crackers and took some pain medicine. Around 2:45, I could fully feel my legs and it was time to use the bathroom for the first time. She unhooked everything except the IV and helped me walk to the bathroom. I sat in a pathetic heap on the toilet while my brave nurse cleaned my back, hands, behind, and snap dragon. I had officially hit rock bottom. I used the peri bottle for the first time (which is a little slice of heaven for those that haven’t shot a watermelon out of your lady parts). She then whips out a pad the size of a Volkswagon van and a slinky pair of mesh panties. Get in line, fellas. My nurse walks me to the wheelchair, removes my IV, and changes my gown. Alex has fallen asleep yet again, so I yell at him to get his ass in gear. The nurse dressed Abby, swaddled her, and added a sweet hat with a bow. I held her as I was wheeled to my postpartum room. I was like the dad in Lion King when he held his baby up for the whole kingdom to see. I was a proud (albeit exhausted) mother.

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Shortly after 3am we were in the postpartum room and Alex had quickly tossed our bags on the floor. We had requested a cot for him (the standard couch bed doesn’t cut it when you are 6’6″), so Alex did some rearranging to make it fit. He set it up and was quickly asleep again while we waited for my new nurse to come in. Poor Alex, what a rough day he must have had… About 15 minutes later, my postpartum nurse enters and starts rattling off information. If this hadn’t been my third time going through it I would have completely missed it all from sheer exhaustion. She went over the alarms, bracelets, badges, and the tests and checks that would have to be done on Abby since she was a late term preemie. She took my vitals, pushed on my water bed (I mean, belly), got an ice pack for my undercarriage (those things are the shit), checked my stitches, and took Abby’s vitals. Abby’s blood sugar had dropped to 42, so I was a little concerned that we weren’t out of the NICU woods yet. The nurse kept glancing over at Alex, who was now snoring. She assured me that husbands fall asleep all the time even though the wives are the ones that have been through the ringer. It’s time for Abby to eat again, so I nurse on one side and she latches and goes to town. The other side – not so much. She completely refuses. I call the nurse in to let her know. Abby is sleeping soundly, so she wraps her and (by my request) takes her to the nursery for the night. I’m so tired that I’m seeing double, but also deliriously happy that my new baby is here and healthy. Just before 5am I fall deep asleep.

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I clocked a good hour and a half of sleep when I hear a knock on the door. Before I could say anything, Anna and Luke (with my mother-in-law) burst through the door demanding to see the baby. While we wait for the nursery to bring Abby to us, Anna asks to see my belly. The entire time I was pregnant, she thought that to have the baby my belly was going to explode and that the doctors were going to put my belly back together. We never corrected her because I’m not ready to have that conversation just yet. I show Anna my belly and she seems quite impressed with how well the doctors ‘put me back together’. Eventually Abby arrives in the room and the kids are completely and totally in love with her. It was seriously the sweetest thing to watch.

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We were surprised, to say the least, when we found out that we would be adding a third child to our family. It took some time to sink in and for us to fall in love with the idea. We prepared the house, bought a bigger car, prepped the kids to have another sibling, and mentally wrapped our heads around becoming a family of 5. We had endless conversations with the kids about the baby and I spent countless hours at doctors appointments and ultrasounds. All the medicine and injections and contractions and bedrest and pain from delivery – it was all gone in the instant I saw all three of my children together. I’m not saying that we are having another (we are done, done, DONE), but the overall experience doesn’t seem as bad now as I remember it being while I was going through it. It’s amazing how quickly you forget the unpleasant moments of a pregnancy and delivery once you are holding a baby in your arms. It was all completely and totally worth it.

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Another Update from Preggy Peggy

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.)

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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).

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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.
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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.

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Baking Baby Abby – Updates

Baby Abby and I are hanging in there.  I’m still feeling pretty blah.  I’m better than the first few months, but still struggling a bit.  I’m over half way done (especially if she comes early, which is what we are all expecting), so I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I just keep telling myself, ‘it’s going to be worth it’ and ‘it’s almost over’.  More importantly, Abby is looking wonderful! That’s really all that matters. Just a few updates about what’s going on:

– We had the anatomy scan and Abby is looking perfect!  She’s measuring perfectly and everything is where it should be and looks how it should look.  We are so, so thankful for that report!

– The heat is killing me! By the end of the day, my feet and ankles are so swollen.  It’s gross. Have I mentioned how much I hate the women who float through pregnancy??? 

– My ass continues to be a pin cushion with my weekly shots. They are miserable, but seem to help with contractions.  So, I’ll take the pain, itchiness, mood swings (sorry, Alex), and exhaustion.  I found out that one vial of this medicine (which is 5 weeks worth of doses) costs $3000.  Can you believe that?  There’s only one company in the US that manufactures it and the price is ridiculously high.  I smell a conspiracy.  Really, I can smell just about anything right now thanks to good ol’ preggo nose.  Luckily we have insurance that covers it.  But, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if we didn’t.

– I have been totally scatterbrained with this baby.  I’ve always said that pregnancy makes you flighty, but it’s been so much worse this time.  Maybe it’s because I have two other kiddos to chase around or maybe you never recover those brain cells that a baby takes from you.  I might just be a pile of mush by the end of it.  Anyway, I was getting ready to have a cervical length ultrasound (which is done transvaginaly) and I realized that I forgot to use soap in the shower that morning.  There’s nothing quite as humbling as trying to do a quick hoe bath in the doctor’s office bathroom while you are suppose to be leaving a urine sample.  Two days later, I was in the middle of a photo shoot and realized that I didn’t put on deodorant.  If I make it through this, it’s going to be a miracle.

– I saw my high risk OB last week and had my 11th ultrasound for this pregnancy.  He was concerned because my cervix has shortened a bit.  It’s still long, but it’s shorter than what it was before.  He said it makes him feel uneasy.  I was suppose to go back 4 weeks later for a recheck, but he wasn’t comfortable waiting that long.  I’ll go again in 2 weeks for ultrasound #12.  He’s mentioned possibly doing a cerclage and he’s talked about early bedrest.  I know that I will be on bedrest, but my doctors are thinking it shouldn’t be until mid-September.  So, send some long cervix vibes my way!!

– Alex was told that he is attending this leadership conference for work in Arkansas.  The group does rope courses and trust falls in the woods.  It all sounds a little ‘Deliverance’ for me, but Alex seems excited.  I worry because he’s a really big guy.  You never want to be the biggest guy in a trust fall exercise.  Back to the point of this – the conference is November 17-21.  My due date is November 19.  I had a bit of freak out when he told me about it.  However, we’ve talked to my doctors about it.  My regular OB thinks there’s a slim chance that I’ll actually make it to my due date.  My high risk told me there’s 0% chance.  He said that I should be more concerned about lining up help for me that week instead of Alex missing the birth of our child.  I guess that makes me feel better?!?!

– My high risk is starting to get paranoid about my pregnancy.  Read: shit is starting to get real.  He’s concerned about my cervix (see above). He’s also worried about the contractions I’ve been having.  At my appointment, he told me that around 30 weeks is when we will have to really work at keeping me pregnant – meaning medicine, bedrest, and monitoring.  He’s just anxiously waiting for us to arrive at that cliff.  Our goal is to make it to 37 weeks.  Now, if someone could inform my uterus of that…

– In non-uterus news, we’ve started the nursery!! I want to have everything ready by the middle-to-end of August so that I’m not trying to get things done when I’ve been told to take it easy.  I honestly can’t wait to share pictures of the finished nursery! Be on the edge of your seats in the meantime, okay? 

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Abby is clearly stressed out at 21 weeks…