Six months have passed with our little surprise and that means we are in the FINAL trimester of the FINAL M pregnancy. It’s no doubt this has been my quickest pregnancy yet (based on feelings), and though one would think with your fourth pregnancy, especially one of the same gender, one would know what exactly what to expect. Unfortunately, this hasn’t exactly rung true. But for now, let’s take a look back on this month.
I am 27 weeks and baby is the size of a head of lettuce (or something like that). I do know that three weeks ago, she measured a pound and a half (average, so they said), as I had a followup ultrasound to check on the PAC I mentioned last time.
It was my first and only time at an MFM (maternal fetal medicine) and for that I am so grateful. Those places are a little bleak, with rarely good news coming from them, and I was reminded of an author, one in particular that I have closely followed her story, who received dire news about her baby at that very building a few years ago. Thankfully, my visit was mostly precautionary, though there was always the chance they could discover something unexpected as they looked at things a little more in depth than my initial anatomy ultrasound.
The tech spent about thirty minutes on me, measuring the normal things again, studying baby’s heartbeat, and then the majority of her time was spent thoroughly looking at her heart. And I mean THOROUGHLY. She looked at it from every angle, having me position myself in different ways at times, zooming in on certain spots, and sometimes displaying colors on the screen to show blood flow. The tone of the exam was a positive one, though she warned me she could not tell me results directly, it seemed to be going well.
Afterward, I met with the doctor on staff (i.e. not my normal OBGYN) who explained that everything came back healthy, from the look and function of her heart to her heartbeat. There was nothing abnormal discovered in her heartbeat this time! He said that it’s not uncommon for that to happen either. So I was merrily dismissed and breathed a sigh of relief that we could check this box off on the list of pregnancy anxieties.
The next big surprise this month came in the form of a little clear, 10oz drink. On the morning of November 17, just a week or so before Thanksgiving, I went in to take my glucose tolerance test. Once again, this being my fourth time, I knew the drill. I protein loaded in the morning and swallowed my drink quickly, met with my doctor in the interim time it took for the hour blood test to be drawn. I felt fine, all things considered, as I have most of the pregnancy (well especially so in comparison to my previous ones). I felt a little ill that afternoon (hours after the test), but chalked that up to the combination of the sugary drink and a high carb lunch. It resolved when I ate a healthy dinner.
So it came as a big surprise when the nurse called me on Monday morning to tell me that I had FAILED! I wasn’t sure if I should take it as a greater loss that I had failed by 3 points (so close!), or a sign of encouragement (I was so close to the line that I’ll more than likely pass the next test?).
Nevertheless, I was dazed for a few hours from the news. The three hour test scares me a little (12 hours of fasting, drinking the glucose, then three more hours of blood draws and fasting). The diagnosis of gestational diabetes scares me even more (greater risks for so many things, including a induction, which I have been DESPERATELY hoping and praying against). That test comes this week, and since I’ve had some time to process the news, I’ve been able to come to more of a peace about it. A few personal friends and acquaintances have had GD and while it is a serious diagnosis, thankfully can be mostly managed by a clean diet (and that has a few more benefits to oneself as well). In the mean time, I have cut way back on carbs and sugar, hoping that baby can remain happy no matter what, and am resolved to my fate, whatever that may be.
I’ve also been preoccupied this month with baby’s position. The ultrasound revealed she was breech, and though this isn’t anything serious yet as she is still small enough to change frequently, it made me consider what I can do to get and hold her in a good position until birth. In the past, birth positioning has been a struggle with all three of mine. For some reason, my body likes to hold them high, fluid level also high, so they do not drop down and become engaged, signaling for labor to begin. Bea was the only one that I went into labor on my own, and that was with my water breaking first, so who knows if she even intended to come at that point.
Even so, I had my easiest labor with her as she came out correctly and with no back pain on my end. With the other two, I was induced (by water breaking), and had horrible back pain, specifically in my sacrum (a bone or two above the tailbone, from my understanding). All three have wanted to come out sunny side up, but only MG succeeded.
Anyway, this had me researching spinning babies (i.e. everyday exercises you can do to help position your baby more ideally for birth) and the Webster technique (i.e. a technique done by a certified chiropractor that aligns your sacrum). I found a chiropractor who specializes in it and I went to see her today. It was a good experience, not too unlike my other prenatal chiropractor experiences, but I’m seeing her a bit more preemptively this time. I’m hoping she can help me avoid this dreadful pain again, and the price will be worth it, if not for peace of mine alone.
One thing she asked me to work on is not crossing my legs. I am a habitual offender of this (I’m struggling right now as I type not to cross at the knee. My legs always feel so much happier elevated). Every time I cross my legs, my hips go out of alignment a bit and with my already loose ligaments, they don’t naturally go back in place right away. This creates a less than ideal opening for baby to comfortably sink into, and instead could be a reason why my babies stay high, avoiding sharp bones poking them as they attempt descent. So add this to the list of ways a pregnant woman must make herself uncomfortable, including not sleeping back nor belly, trying to stay on left side as much as possible, never reclining (to keep baby from going spine to spine), and now no crossed legs. It feels like a lot, but I am determined to do everything, in my power at least, to make this my best labor and delivery yet.
Finally, we were able to tour the hospital where we will (Lord willing), be delivering this baby in roughly 3 months. The facilities are nice and very accommodating for the natural birth I hope to have again this time. This being a new hospital for us (4 babies, 3 different hospitals!), there are some things I miss about my last experiences, but also some things this hospital has to offer that my previous ones didn’t. It’s hard for me to let go of past experiences sometimes, and not let them shape how I think the future will be. But that’s what I’m working through right now and I love this verse that came up in my Bible app this morning, “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'” (Isaiah 41:13)
Between all of that, Thanksgiving, MG’s birthday, deal shopping, company, and the like, this has been an eventful month. I anticipate next month to be similar, if not even more busy. That’s part of what makes the time pass so quickly, but also so thankful for so many good things to celebrate.
As I order another embroidered PBK stocking and sign our names to another annual Christmas card, I think about what Christmas will look like this time next year. Four girls (!) to trim the tree, curl up and read Christmas books together, open the Advent calendar, circle every last thing in the Target toy catalogue, cut and decorate sugar cookies, and talk about Jesus’s birth. There is something about the feeling of our family’s circle coming to a close. It makes the traditions feel more alive and the memories more noteworthy. No more waiting for things to change and no more years of progress with anticipation of regression. This is the time of our lives.