39 Weeks

It’s been a a while.  There’s a lot to update since my last entry.

I never thought I’d be here – 39 weeks pregnant.  I have an induction scheduled for next Wednesday (due to gestational diabetes – one of the many developments that has occurred over my several months of blog silence).

I still get scared every day, but I also know how lucky I am to have made it this far. Sometimes I still can’t believe that this is my life.

So About that Incompetent Cervix Thing…

Plot Twist: I had nothing to worry about.

Thanks to a second opinion from Maternal Fetal Medicine, we learned that my uterine septum was not a significant risk factor for incompetent cervix.  Apparently, the most recent studies have indicated that additional cervical screening makes no difference in clinical outcomes for patients with resected uterine septums. In other words: the extra ultrasound scans we had been doing from 16 weeks were pointless.  I was never at a heightened risk of preterm labor.

If only our OBGYN had taken time to address our concerns. At our first OB appointment, I spent all of 30 seconds asking a question about IC, somewhere along the lines of:  “I had a uterine septum. I read that it could be a risk factor for incompetent cervix. Is that a thing, or just misinformation on the internet?”

If only she had taken 5 minutes to set me straight.  I would have been spared months of needless anxiety.  (Or, more realistically, I would have found some other obscure risk to obsess over. I am me after all. But, I digress).

Instead, she ordered bi-monthly cervical scans. So, I assumed that I did, in fact, have a small risk factor for incompetent cervix. And that scared the shit out of me.

To this day, Alex and I have no idea what our OBGYN was thinking. Was she just trying to humor us, or shut us up?  Why not just EXPLAIN the actual risk (or lack thereof)?  The extra scans certainly weren’t harmful. But, then she suggested stopping them at 20 weeks. No explanation offered.  Of course I freaked out. She had lead me to believe that additional scans were necessary, and then randomly stopped them during the highest risk period for IC.  Then, the icing on the cake: the rogue ultrasound tech &  22 week preterm labor scare.

So, as chronicled in the previous post, we broke up with our OBGYN.  We sought a second opinion.  And, as silly as we felt for wasting Maternal Fetal Medicine’s time on our non-issue, it was ultimately worth it.  I can honestly say that February 15th was the last day I worried about incompetent cervix.

The New OBGYN

We also switched OB’s at 23 weeks.  It wasn’t a move we made lightly, that late in the game.  Luckily, it turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.

The new practice is pretty much the polar opposite of our original OB group.

Old Practice had 3 locations and included 3 doctors, 1 midwife and several nurses. The central location was actually located on the second floor of  the same large medical building that housed our Fertility Specialist.  The office was high tech and modern. All ultrasounds were offered in-house, including the NT scan & 20 week anatomy scan.  You could access all of your test results through an iPhone App, as well as email your doctor with questions. They even had late evening hours two days a week. We thought it was everything we wanted in a practice. But, in the end, it wasn’t the right fit for us.

New Practice is located a few blocks away, in a quaint house on a residential street. It’s a single doctor practice with a single office manager who runs reception.  Two people. That’s it.  No nurses or additional staff. No late evening hours. No patient portal. No fancy in-house ultrasound tech.   Never in a million years would I have thought this would be a good fit for us. But it has been.

The new OB greets you in the waiting room, walks you back to the exam room, and does the whole appointment himself. Usually, this just includes a quick weigh-in, blood pressure check & checking the heartbeat with a doppler. Afterwards, you meet in an outer office with a little table & some stools – this is your chance to ask additional questions or express concerns.  At the end of the day, it’s usually a pretty brief appointment. I may be too easily impressed by the old-timey, family doctor act. But, what can I say?  I’m a sucker for doctors who take the time to talk to me and address all of my crazy concerns.

Life in the 3rd Trimester

(I went back and finished writing this after I gave birth…So this gives a post-pregnancy, “everything worked out great!” perspective that I would have been uncomfortable giving even in the last weeks of third trimester.  Old habits die hard, and for me the “don’t tempt fate” superstition is hard one to let go of.)

I never thought I’d say this, but I have really loved  being pregnant – for the second half of my pregnancy, at least.  When we decided to try one last FET, I was extremely conflicted.  I wanted to have a baby, but I was terrified of being pregnant again. I actually told Alex that I had no desire to actually BE pregnant again- that it was too scary, too fraught with danger and difficult possibilities.  And when I did become pregnant, I thought I would never be able to relax and enjoy the experience.

Honestly, I never fully relaxed – Alex had to deal with me occasionally freaking out for a variety of reasons (bleeding in the first trimester, worries about my cervix in the second, and finally, paranoia about the baby moving enough in the third trimester).  The idea that this could all be taken away from me in an instant was never far from my mind.

But, it definitely got better. Despite all of my fears, I ended up having an extremely normal, uncomplicated pregnancy.  I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 3rd trimester, which did cause a bit of extra anxiety. But I was able to manage it with a strict diet and by checking my blood sugar 4 times a day.

Gestational Diabetes

In retrospect, having Gestational Diabetes ended up being a positive experience.  I may not have had a slice of cake, or ice cream, or even honey in my tea for the last 2+ months of my pregnancy, but I felt excellent physically.  I don’t think I’ve ever been that healthy in my life. Sure, I missed bread & carbs. (When you have gestational diabetes, you have to “count carbs” and EVERYTHING is a carb – bread, beans, fruit, milk, etc…).  But there is actually a lot you CAN eat on the gestational diabetes diet. Personally, I ate my weight in cheese and peanut butter.  Anything high in protein (meat, cheese, eggs, tofu, nuts) was fair game.

Initially, it was anxiety inducing for me. Every time I had a high blood sugar reading, I’d worry that it would hurt the baby (it didn’t).  Once I got the hang of the diet, I rarely had high readings. However, I still worried: about stillbirth, heightened risk of preeclampsia, the baby being born with low blood sugar, etc. etc. There are actual risks to gestational diabetes, so I don’t want to paint too rosy of a picture of the condition.  Personally, I had a relatively easy time of it. I never required insulin or other meds. And I gave birth to a healthy, 7 lb baby with normal blood sugar levels.

Enjoying the Tail End of Pregnancy

I never thought I’d be that woman in the waiting room at the doctor’s office: obviously pregnant, in her third trimester, ready to give birth in the next week or two.  I was always the infertile one,  studiously staring at my phone, trying to avoid thinking about why pregnancy and motherhood came so easily to some women, while it seemed so elusive for me.

When I finally was that woman, I thanked the universe every day for the opportunity to be pregnant. Fertility is one big odds game – there’s nothing I did to deserve or earn this pregnancy. I just lucked out, pure and simple. And I will never take that for granted.

For a long time, the experience of pregnancy was just about fear. That fear never fully went away, but eventually, it was shoved to the back corners of my mind and displaced with joy, wonder, and excitement.  I can now say that I will honestly miss being pregnant.  It was a long, hard road to get to the good part – but the good part was really, really good.  The ability to lie in bed, and feel my baby kick and elbow me, was one of the most magical experiences of my life.  I actually kind of miss it now that he’s on the outside

 

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