The Hospital Stay

I suppose most birth stories end at the baby’s delivery, but due to the circumstances surrounding Paul’s birth, the story just feels incomplete without including the next couple of days. So I guess this is Part 2 of Paul’s birth story: the hospital stay.

It was close to midnight before we were settled into our room on the mother-baby unit. Dan had run down to the hospital coffee shop and store to find us some dinner (finally!) and, after quickly feeding Paul, we scarfed down some food and got ready for bed.

 photo IMG_8813_zpsdsbsfmsq.jpg

The nurse gave us a brief explanation of what the next 24 hours would look like for Paul. Babies born at 35 weeks often have problems with their blood sugar. The problem is, the fat stores that get babies through those first milkless days just aren’t there on a 35 weeker. There’s nothing to keep the blood sugar up, and once that drops too low a lot of other problems can follow. So, every three hours Paul was going to have his blood sugar checked. As long as it stayed above 45, everything was fine. If it dropped below 45, he would get one more chance. If it dropped below 45 again, it was off to the NICU to be put on an IV. Paul had to make it 24 hours with good blood sugar levels and the last 12 hours had to be consecutive.

That night went great. Paul’s first blood sugar was 67. For several readings he hovered in the fifties. It wasn’t until his second to last reading that he dropped to 40. Our nurse gave us a bottle of formula and explained that, by taking in about 15 ml of formula with each feeding attempt, Paul’s blood sugar level should stay high enough. So we reluctantly gave him the formula and I started pumping to try to encourage my milk to come in faster.

The formula did the trick and the next 12 hours went smoothly. Well, it was a sleepless nights (aren’t all nights in the hospital?) but as far as blood sugar levels, everything went smoothly. By Wednesday morning our nurse took the last blood sugar level. It was high enough and she declared, “We’re done!”.

Rooming in with your baby is entirely different from having a baby in the NICU. No rushing back and forth to and from the NICU trying to make it for nurse reports and “hands on” times. No trying to squeeze in rest between meals, showers, visitors, and trips to see Baby. I hardly even had to get out of my bed! Every time I looked over to see that little Baby bed next to mine, my heart was just so happy. I kept reliving the whole birth experience over and over, hardly believing things turned out the way they did.

 photo IMG_8822_zpsekwa6jpi.jpg

We snuggled Paul almost all the time. Even in the middle of the night it was hard to put him down. After two NICU babies, we just couldn’t fathom leaving him all by himself in that little bed when he could be in our arms.

 photo IMG_8815_zps1bqlqjvn.jpg

Wednesday brought it’s own handful of trials. Because Paul was born early, and because he was born quickly with a lot of bruising, and because he had a high blood count at birth, he was bumped up several risk levels for jaundice. Whether or not a baby has to be treated for jaundice depends on their bilirubin levels. However, the level that requires treatment depends on a number of factors including the baby’s age, and the risk factors I just mentioned. In other words, Paul was very likely going to need to spend time under the bilirubin lights.

 photo IMG_8825_zpsypck7z3v.jpg

Sure enough, by Wednesday afternoon a light was brought in and Paul was put under it. Poor little guy was not happy being unswaddled and unheld. He spent the next several hours trying to tear off his face mask, all the time crying and squirming. His little cries were so small and squeaky (like a puppy, many have said), and it was so sad to watch him struggle under there. But he needed it and we were happy to do anything that might keep him healthy and bring him home.

 photo IMG_8824_zpsw0fpib43.jpg

At 6:30 on Wednesday night, Paul was taken to the NICU to have some blood drawn to check both his blood count and bilirubin level. Our nurse suspected we might be able to accompany him and was certain our girls would never be allowed in the NICU. She didn’t know our history. The next half hour or so was a happy reunion. The doctor, nurses, clerks, and techs all enjoyed seeing Lydia and Abby again. We visited and caught up while Paul had his blood taken and everyone rejoiced in Paul having made it so much further than the girls. We were reminded, yet again, of how wonderful the NICU staff is at our hospital and half wished we could have somehow stayed in the NICU instead of the Mother-Baby unit for those two days we had to be in the hospital anyway.

After our little reunion, I went with Paul back to the room and munched on my dinner while Dan took the girls for a walk. We were waiting for the verdict. Most likely, Paul would be transferred to the pediatric unit to stay under the bili light and I would room in with him there (I had already been discharged).

Close to 8:00 the nurse came in and said, “Well, I talked to Paul’s doctor and we got the lab work back. You can go home.”

 photo IMG_8828_zpspjcwrabb.jpg

Dan showed up in the room just a couple of minutes later and the nurse told him the good news. We couldn’t believe it. A take home baby! We packed up our things, and just like the story I thought I would never tell, we headed out to the car. The only differences between that story and this one were that Paul was in his car seat on the cart, Dan was pushing the cart, and the nurse was pushing me (in my other version I was holding the baby, Dan was pushing me, and the nurse was pushing the cart).

I share those details only to emphasize the goodness of God. While I can’t rightly call it a miracle that I made it to 35 weeks (others have done the same), I can declare with confidence that God heard our prayers and graciously, kindly answered them the way we hoped. He gave us a take-home baby, a safe and natural delivery, and let me hold Paul right after he was born. He gave us peace and joy through it all. Even in the days after coming home, He has filled our home with more joy and peace in spite of sleepless nights, fussy toddlers, and illness. God certainly has been kind to us and we will continue to acknowledge the good things He does for us.

 photo IMG_8826_zpsg3hwl7rh.jpg

False Alarms and Extra Days: 34 Week Pregnancy Update

 photo 34weeks_zps9cxratd9.jpg

After last week’s update I thought to myself, “What will I post next week?” I had no doctor appointments scheduled and nothing eventful seemed to be happening. Then Friday night hit and Baby has kept us on our toes ever since.

I’m going to go ahead and post this tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow just in case Baby does decide to come and everyone is left in the dark. I’ll try to keep posting updates on Facebook as things change.

Friday Night

Most of Friday passed pretty uneventfully. After the kids were in bed I started to have a lot of pain, not contractions, but achy and crampy pain. It reached an intensity that made me drop everything I was doing to just focus on getting through it. I finally found some relief by sitting on the floor on my knees and leaning on Dan’s exercise ball, rocking back and fourth. Once it had passed a little, I hurried to bed.


I had two consecutive dreams Saturday morning in which I was at the hospital and in labor. As I started to wake up I realized I really was having a contraction. My other girls came pretty quick once labor started, but labor always started when my water broke, so this was new for me. Still, the contraction felt like labor, so I told myself I should just go back to sleep and get rest for the big “Baby day”.

I only lay in bed for a few minutes before I knew there was no hope of falling asleep. I was too excited. I headed downstairs, whipped out my phone’s stop watch, and started timing the contractions as I read a book. They were about 15 minutes apart and continued for two hours. I got things ready to go to the hospital, made breakfast for Dan and myself, and waited for Dan to wake up. Suddenly I realized the contractions had stopped, so I headed back up to bed at 6:30.

At 7:30 I woke up with another contraction and gave Dan the update. I called our parents and waited but after only 2 contractions, they stopped again.

Now, back at 16 weeks we had a cerclage put in (stitches in the cervix to add support) and my big fear has been waiting too long to get to the hospital and having those stitches tear me apart as I dilate. My pervious labors have been relatively short and I have always been dilated to 1 or 2 cm by the time we get to the hospital (rushing, of course, because our babies were born so early). So I gave our doctor a call Saturday morning to find out if there was anything we should do. He told me not to worry about coming in until contractions were consistently 5 minutes apart and didn’t stop. In fact, the whole conversation left my feeling a little silly as if there was no reason for me to call in the first place.

During the girls’ naps the contractions started again. This time they were 10 minutes apart and soon they were only 5. Dan was washing dishes and I told him to go ahead and take a short nap. I figured we would get ready to go to the hospital as soon as he got up. Eventually I called the doctor again and he told me to wait another hour before coming in. And once again, the contractions lasted about 2 hours and stopped again. And the rest of the afternoon passed uneventfully.

Saturday night I had the same pains as Friday, but I managed to get to bed and fall asleep. At 3 AM I woke up, not with contractions, but that achy, crampy belly that hurt just about as much. I came downstairs again and resumed my favorite exercise ball position wondering how long this would all go on. After about an hour I made it back to bed and back to sleep.


Sunday we were in a dilemma. I had missed the last two weeks of church because we’ve been sick. But we were half expecting Baby to come at any moment. I reasoned that I could just sit in the back with my feet up and suffer through any contractions while I would have the sermon and visiting to distract me from the pain. Besides, our church meets down the road from the hospital and all of our babysitters would be at church anyway.

We made it to church and through the service with just a couple contractions. By the time we left I was having that unpleasant crampy, achy business going on again so as soon as we got home I lay down under a soft blanket on the couch. Dan got lunch ready but by that time the warmth of the blanket felt so good I decided to just doze off while everyone else ate. To my surprise, I woke up a few minutes later feeling pretty good. That was the beginning of almost 24 hours of welcome relief. I took a longer nap and we enjoyed our time at home with no contractions. I even slept ok that night.


Monday I thought things were surely coming to a lull. I had no major pains all morning and no contractions. After lunch the aches and pains started coming back. The girls went down for their naps late and I woke up around 3:00 with an intense contraction. After a few more, I went back to timing them. They started at 7 minutes apart, then 5, then 2. After about an hour they suddenly stopped again. Ten minutes later they started back up, more consistently every 5 minutes. Dan suggested I call the doctor (again!), but this time a nurse answered. She passed my message along to the doctor, who told me to head in to the hospital and he would meet me there. We called the baby sitters, grabbed our hospital bag and were sitting in the car when we decided to call again because my contractions had stopped. He told us we could just stay home and that we should schedule an appointment first thing tomorrow morning so I could stop worrying about that silly cerclage.

Now I’m sitting at home while the girls go for a walk with Dan (to visit our babysitters, because Lydia was devastated when she found out she wouldn’t be going over to their house after all). Part of me wishes my water would just break so I would know it was time to go in. Part of me is grateful for any extra days we can get Baby to stay in there. 35 weeks would be a “take home baby”! That’s only a week away! And part of me also realizes I’ve had more hours of contractions with this Baby then I did with Abigail or Lydia’s labors, and I’m not even in labor yet!

So continues our adventure. I will try to keep the updates coming. Maybe Baby will come tonight. Maybe Baby will wait to 37 weeks. We’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

Illness: 33 Week Pregnancy Update

 photo 33weeks_zpsb6xqodvx.jpg

Last Sunday Abby was sick with a cold. Dan bundled up Lydia and took her off to church while I stayed home and comforted our stuffy little one. Sure enough, she passed it along to me. Tuesday I came down with the cold. Wednesday Lydia started showing symptoms. Friday Dan caught it too. It lasts about a week, so even though it feels like we’ve been stuck and home for a long time, Dan is only halfway through his bout.

I was so concerned that I was going to have Baby while we were all sick, tired, and grumpy. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, since Abby and I are recovered by now. Now if we can just make it until Dan is fully well…

Friday we had another prenatal appointment. Every time we have an appointment and schedule the next one for two weeks out, Dan and I walk away shaking our heads thinking, “We’re never going to make it to the next appointment”. But, so far, we have every time.

Things looked great. Now Baby is measuring exactly average for his/her due date. In the ultrasound we heard a happy heartbeat and saw more of Baby’s spiky hair. Once again, there are no signs of impending labor, I haven’t been having any contractions, and everything looks slow and steady, just the way it should be.

Now that we are just past the 33 week mark, it looks like this may be the first time I won’t have to be on magnesium and antibiotics during labor! Because things have been looking so good, Dan and I have been talking more and more about making it all the way to 37 weeks. Wouldn’t that be crazy? It’s so fun to wait and see how and when Baby will come, now that we are past the scary weeks. March 30 would be 37 weeks, full term, so that is an exciting goal. April 2 is my birthday, so, for all we know, Baby could come on Mommy’s birthday. That would be fun too.

Here are my never ending countdowns:

6 days to 34 weeks (because every week is a milestone)
13 days to 35 weeks, a “take home baby”
27 days to 37 weeks, full term
and just for fun…
30 days until my birthday!

New Goals: 32 Week Pregnancy Update

 photo 32weeks_zpscc21506a.jpg

Several months ago Dan and I began praying that our baby would not be born until after our church’s annual Fur Rondy (more on that later) and after we reached 32 weeks. So, I could hardly believe it on Friday when we sat through Fur Rondy and Baby stayed put. I was even more excited to wake up yesterday morning realizing that we made it to our 32 week goal!

Lessons from the Couch

We have the “ok” from our doctor for me to start doing a little more, but it’s hard to decide just how much to do when we’ve made it so far already. We haven’t changed much, and during my long days laying on the couch, I’ve started learning some lessons.

The biggest lesson is on complaining. In Philippians, Paul instructs Christians to “do all things without grumbling or disputing…”. I’ve realized lately what a temptation it can be to “grumble” to get some attention and sympathy. It’s not just true for pregnant mommies on bed rest, but for everyone going through anything challenging (which is everyone). I’ve also realized that there is often no glory in not complaining. No one fully understands the trials you’re going through so no one gives you the sympathy you long for. It’s easy to talk about the discomforts of pregnancy, stress of having a NICU baby, inconvenience of getting sick at just the wrong time, weariness of caring for toddlers…or a host of other grumble inducers. So lately, I’ve been seeing that I need to keep my mouth shut and not expect praise for doing it. My reward comes from God alone.

I haven’t really succeeded at this lesson yet. I’m just starting to learn and hopefully in time I’ll be able to apply it.

New Goals

So, now that we’ve made it past 32 weeks…now what? Well, I like to have short term goals and long term goals, and Dan is just hoping for a full-term baby. So here’s what we have:

3 days until the next doctor’s appointment
20 days until 35 weeks and the possibility of not spending time in the NICU (my new big goal)
34 days until 37 weeks, and the possibility of a “normal” delivery and a full-term baby

I can’t believe we’ve made it this far and we’re actually talking about NOT spending time in the NICU. I can’t believe I could actually get to hold my baby the day s/he is born. And I can’t believe I might have to actually pack an outfit for Baby in our hospital bag (which has been packed for over 8 weeks!).

On the other hand, we’re just taking things one day at a time, knowing that Baby could surprise us any day. When you’re ready Baby, we’re ready, but as long as you want to stay put, we’re even happier with that!

New Territory: 31 Week Pregnancy Update

 photo IMG_8737_zpsea26c4cc.jpg

This week we are entering brand new territory. Sunday marked the milestone I have long been waiting for, the age at which Lydia was born. But, no baby yet. Now we’re only six days away from our original goal of 32 weeks, but already our doctor is talking about going beyond that.

Last week our doctor was on vacation and I was anxiously hoping Baby wouldn’t come while he was gone. S/he didn’t. Yesterday we had our appointment to check on Baby and everything looks good.

First we had an ultrasound that shows Baby is growing some hair on the back of his/her head. Then we measured the belly to find that Baby was measuring 5 days big (down from 2 weeks big at the last appointment). It sure seems like this baby is growing in large spurts here and there and then taking it easy for a while. Two weeks ago I felt miserable, struggling to breath and with aches and pains from a growing baby and the past few days I’ve felt perfectly well.

Everything else looked good. There are no signs of impending labor. The occasional pressure I’ve been feeling is likely just because of the positions Baby and I are in, not anything to be concerned about. There is plenty of amniotic fluid, and Baby isn’t even sitting too low in my belly.

Our doctor was talking about what happens in the weeks ahead and mentioned the 37 week mark. 37 weeks. I’m not counting down the days yet, but it sure was nice to hear talk about 37 weeks, which I had never previously considered even possible. I’m trying to just take things one day at a time (still taking it easy and our doctor thinks that’s making a big difference) at least until the next milestone: 32 weeks. If we make it to 32, then we may reevaluate and set new goals. 🙂

Changes: 27 Week Pregnancy Update

 photo 27weeks_zpsaba6ab19.jpg

Anyone like me enjoys seeing the numbers, so here are the latest countdowns.

6 days until I reach the 28 week milestone.
10 days until I reach the gestation when Abby was born.
26 days until I reach the gestation when Lydia was born.
34 days until I reach my 32 week goal.

Every day counts.

Friday I had another prenatal appointment, and it was the one we have been expecting and sort of dreading.

First of all, the resident who started my appointment measured my belly at 32 centimeters, which would put me at 32 weeks. As much as I would love to be at 32 weeks, I was only 26 and 4, so she decided to let our doctor remeasure me and she went on with the ultrasound.

While I lay on my back for the ultrasound I started to feel sick, really sick and really fast. I tried to just wait it out, but the resident was having trouble finding what she needed and I eventually had to ask to sit up for fear that I might faint if I waited any longer. (This is a normal part of pregnancy and occurs in about 20% of pregnant women. This is also why pregnant women are told to sleep on their sides, not their backs)

A few minutes later our doctor came in and remeasured the belly, but still measured me at 31 cm. It must have been the way Baby was positioned so he decided to double check with the ultrasound machine and measure Baby’s belly. This time he propped me up on a pillow on my side, which helped a little. He worked quickly and took a rough measurement of Baby’s belly measuring at a whopping 28 weeks. So it looks like Baby is bigger than Lydia and Abigail were (they were both very average). Some more ultrasound images showed that my body is indeed preparing for labor. We observed the same changes with Abigail and she was born five days later. This time, we’ve taken extra precautions, so we just have to wait and see if Baby 3 follows in Abby’s footsteps or gives us a little more time.

Since the appointment, I have been trying to stay off my feet as much as possible. No one really knows if this will make any difference, but it’s all we can do at this point. Dan has taken over washing dishes, putting away laundry, giving baths, cleaning, getting the girls up in the morning and ready for bed at night, and cooking on weekends. He’s considering asking to work from home more so he can help when it’s time to carry Abby upstairs or cook dinner. In fact, we’ve optimized our routine to such an extent that I’m only walking up the stairs once or twice a day.

Every night I go to bed half expecting to wake up at midnight in labor. Every little ache and pain puts us on the alert, paying careful attention to decide, could this be it? Baby could come today. Baby could come in a month. All we can do is wait and pray.

A lot of people have been asking the question: Is it safe yet? My honest answer to that question is this: 37 weeks is considered full term. Even a term baby is born with risks, but anything earlier than 37 weeks is indeed preterm and that’s just not great. Of course, we aren’t expecting to get that far, so maybe these numbers are more helpful: about 90% of babies born at 27 weeks survive the first year. Twenty eight weeks is a significant milestone when babies do remarkably better, spend less time in the NICU, and have a decreased risk for preemie-related problems. About every two weeks mark another similar milestone.

We’d love to make it another week. We’d love to make it past Abigail’s gestation or Lydia’s. And I would be thrilled to make it to 32 weeks. Right now we are just doing the best we can with the knowledge we have, hoping, praying, and trusting that God’s plan and timing are best.

My 10 Favorite Things About Being Pregnant

 photo 282_zps6d976fd5.jpg

I realize not everyone gets to experience the miracle of pregnancy. And for those of us that do, it’s far too easy to list all of the hardships that come along with these months of waiting. Since I don’t know how long I’ll get to enjoy having Baby safe inside of me, I wanted to list a few of my favorite things about being pregnant.

1. Baby is safe.

I know bad things can still happen before or after Baby is born, but I am enjoying this time when Baby is where s/he should be. Every morning I wake up and thank God for another day before Baby is born. Every time I have trouble sleeping because Baby is kicking, my joints hurt, or I just can’t catch my breath, I remember how much better this is than watching Baby hooked up to all sorts of tubes and wires in the hospital. Stay in there Baby!

2. Snacks. All the time.

Right now I eat sort of like a cow and no one really gives me a hard time about it. Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, snack before naps, snack after naps, dinner, bedtime snack. And, if I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep, sometimes I get a snack then too.

3. Sleeping through the night.

My kids have a pretty bad track record as far as sleeping through the night. Although, God really answered my desperate prayers when we found out we were pregnant, and Abby was still getting up twice a night. She was weaned and sleeping through the night by the time I hit 17 weeks. Lydia, on the other hand, didn’t sleep through the night until she was almost two, so I am savoring these sleep-filled nights before Baby comes.

4. Quiet.

Our kids aren’t really quiet, but there are certainly moments of quiet throughout the day and during the night. I’m fully aware that our babies usually come with a nice long fussy time in the evenings, something we don’t have to deal with right now. Our girls enjoy eating dinner and playing before bedtime, then go down pretty easy so Dan and I get some time to ourselves. As much as I’m looking forward to having Baby here and even hearing that little cry, I’m enjoying the quiet for now.

5. High hopes.

As long as Baby is in my belly I can imagine anything I want for his/her birth. Maybe I’ll make it to 32…34…36 weeks. Maybe I’ll get to have an all-natural delivery where we don’t have to rush to the hospital in a state of emergency because my water broke at 28 weeks. Maybe we will, but for now I get to hope for the best.

6. Our routine.

We’ve settled into such a lovely routine around here. I look forward to starting each new day, the moments with the girls, moments to myself, everything running more or less like clockwork. I know once baby comes that routine is going to be out the window, NICU or not, and my main focus will be keeping everyone alive and getting enough sleep.

7. Always having something to talk about.

I don’t get out much. Sundays are church and Wednesdays are Hope Group. Since I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” I try to stay off my feet in the minutes or hours following the service/study, and during that time different people usually stop by to chat. Small talk isn’t always easy for me but with Baby on the way I always have plenty to talk about. 🙂

8. Taking it easy.

Lately I’ve been taking a long nap almost every day. In the afternoons I sometimes take a moment to decide what to do next. Then I remind myself that I’m supposed to be “taking it easy” so I’ll curl up and read to the girls or listen to Adventures in Odyssey with them. No guilt. I’m taking care of baby. And I’m fully aware that when Baby comes, especially if s/he comes early, I won’t be nearly as able to take it easy.

9. Time with our girls

When Abby was born, Dan and I were suddenly torn away from Lydia for long periods every day. Even when we were with her we were busy with NICU things, necessary chores, and napping. Mentally we were distracted and stressed and it affected her too. So I am enjoying this season to enjoy my girls, snuggle them, love on them, and give them my time while I have time to spare.

10. The anticipation.

It hit me just the other week that we’re going to have another little person in our family! It may seem strange, but with all the focus on prenatal visits, extra ultrasounds, steroid shots, and preparing for a potential NICU stay, there hasn’t been a lot of time left to think about actually having another baby. So the other day I pulled out the Newborn clothes and separated everything that was gender neutral. Soon we’ll have a little one to snuggle, feed, and play with. Soon the girls will get to enjoy another little baby in the house and Abby will get to be a big sister for the very first time. And soon we’ll have to actually decide on a name! (We’re pretty much down to four names, two girl and two boy.) We’re enjoying these moments of quiet and routine, lying low and hoping for the best, but we’re also excited to meet our new little family member, whenever the time comes for him/her to arrive.

Abby Update: 16 Months Old

 photo IMG_8603_zpsf4ad0f9f.jpg

Abby is 16 months old now and she’s learning new moves! During the past month Abby started pulling herself up on things and now she loves to stand every moment she gets. The race is on to see if Abby will beat Lydia in learning to walk. Lydia didn’t walk until 21 months, but Abby looks like she might just beat her. Only time will tell.

 photo IMG_8609_zps698592fb.jpg

Abby still army crawls using her one armed, one legged method of getting around, I guess because she knows it works. However, she can now push herself up on all fours back into a sitting up position. I’ve also caught her trying out crawling on all fours, but that hasn’t taken off just yet.

 photo IMG_8607_zps18b77582.jpg

Abby has also located the nose. If we ask her, “Abby, where’s my nose?”, she’ll happily point it out for us. She has yet to find her own nose though.

She still love to eat. It’s probably her favorite activity. She likes to eat as soon as she wakes up in the morning or after any naps, and if you put her in her high chair with food on the table, she will not tolerate waiting any length of time for her meal.

Abby still keeps us smiling and laughing. She is far less cautious than her older sister and may even be more independent than Lydia, if that’s possible. She’s happy to play by herself for any length of time as long as she isn’t hungry or tired. She’s as smiley as ever and is always adding joy to our days.

 photo IMG_8612_zps50090000.jpg

Treading Dangerous Waters: 25 Week Pregnancy Update

 photo Baby322weeks_zps7e2d0d2a.jpg

I am now in the phase of this pregnancy my doctor recently referred to as “dangerous waters”: 20-28 weeks. As far as preemies go, 28 weeks is a huge milestone we really want to reach (and pass). So far, so good. Baby is staying put and there have been no signs of coming labor. Good job, Baby!

Three main things have happened since the last update.

First of all, Baby has been breech in every ultrasound from 10 weeks up to my last update, at 22 weeks. Happily for me, Baby flipped shortly after the last update and has been head-down during both of our most recent prenatal visits.

Abigail had to be delivered via c-section because she was breech. While it’s sometimes possible to deliver term babies in a breech presentation, this would be especially dangerous for a preemie. According to my doctor, I have a 50% chance of having a breech baby, so this was a concern of mine over the past several weeks. Somewhere between some baby-flipping exercises, Baby’s own desire to be upside-down, and (most importantly) lots of prayer, our Baby has flipped and will hopefully stay that way. (And for a nice long time too!)

Second, I have packed a hospital bag. I don’t know if this is a big step for most people or not, but for us it is. I’ve never made it far enough along in a pregnancy to do any nesting or preparing for birth. With both of our girls, my water broke and Dan had to scramble around gathering some items before we rushed to the hospital. This time, I planned far ahead and put together as much of my hospital bag as possible, along with a list of some last-minute items for Dan to throw in if we have another surprise labor.

 photo 275_zps7fa8d49a.jpg

Along with the hospital bag, we’ve also lined up babysitters for the girls for whenever I do go into labor. This is a huge burden off my back; I feel like I can really just relax and be ready for Baby to come whenever s/he is ready.

Finally, we got our betamethasone shots! For those who are unfamiliar, this is a shot that comes in two doses, given 24 hours apart, that helps prepare Baby’s lungs in case Baby does come early. Baby’s lungs are one of the last things to develop in utero, so breathing is the first and biggest obstacle most preemies have to face. Getting this set of steroid shots gives Baby an easier time learning to breath early. I got the first dose of the shot with both Lydia and Abigail while I was in labor, but it was too late to do any good. This Baby has his/her full dose and will be set for the next 6 weeks.

Baby is moving around a lot, more than I remember with Lydia or Abby. Baby also feels big. I was concerned about this over Christmas and kept telling Dan, “I just feel like Baby is running out of room.” After a couple nights of this, Dan pointed out to me that all pregnant women probably feel like they’re running out of room. That doesn’t mean Baby is coming tonight, this week, or even this month. We certainly hope not.

In our ultrasounds, Baby is measuring about 4 days big for his/her age, and everything looks normal. No signs of labor. No signs of complications. And there is plenty of amniotic fluid.

Here’s Baby’s latest picture. It’s a little hard to see, but Baby’s head is sideways and the left side is in shadow. You can see Baby’s chin (on the left), nose, and his/her right eye (near the top of the picture), which looks shut. Baby just might have been sleeping when this picture was taken. 🙂

 photo Baby24weeks_zps76167d1b.jpg

Pregnancy Update: 22 Weeks

 photo 249_zps2f7daea8.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, Dan and I took the girls with us to see Baby’s 20-week ultrasound screening. Because we’re not trying to find out if this is a boy or girl, we had to miss a lot of the screening while the ultrasound tech did her job with the screen turned away from us. Nevertheless, we did get some peeks at Baby and some cute pictures to share.

Here’s a shot of Baby’s face.

 photo IMG_8454_zpscbc950cf.jpg

The head is on the right side of the screen, looking right at you.

Our ultrasound tech said this was the most beautiful baby she had seen in a long time. By that she meant that Baby cooperated and allowed her to see everything she was supposed to see.

Here’s a picture of Baby’s hand and foot.

 photo IMG_8453_zps2a68db75.jpg

At one point during the ultrasound, our tech showed us that Baby was resting his/her head on my artery. Every time my heart pumped Baby’s head would move up and down with my heartbeat. It looked like s/he was having a little dance party in there.

Here’s the foot again.

 photo 245_zps0e784c0a.jpg

Toward the end of the ultrasound we got to see Baby’s profile. S/he was pressed right up against the placenta. It looked like s/he was giving it kisses.

 photo IMG_8456_zps9f1c6d28.jpg

Everything from the ultrasound looked good and everything in the pregnancy is progressing normally. The next couple weeks are exciting for us as Baby is approaching the age where s/he will be big enough to survive if and when I do go into labor (early). Until then I’m trying to take it easy and keep life as uneventful as possible.

Just for fun I took a picture of me with Baby at 21 weeks to compare with my 21 week shot of Abigail. Abby’s on the left, Baby 3 on the right, and I even wore the same shirt for easy comparison. What do you think? Can you tell a difference or do Abby and Baby 3 look the same this far along?

 photo compare_zps08db3ffd.jpg

Our next appointment is scheduled for tomorrow. We’ll do another ultrasound, and talk about our plans for the weeks ahead as we enter the time when Baby will be getting old enough to survive if s/he comes that early. We’re hoping, though, for another 10 weeks.