Pleasant Surprises: 29 Week Pregnancy Update

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Well, after the last update I wasn’t sure I would make it to this one! But, here we are, two weeks later and Baby is still staying put.

After the last ultrasound and prenatal appointment, Dan took over the household chores and I resigned myself to sitting around all day. By the end of the first week I was getting pretty bored. On Saturday, Dan let me ride along to the library and to Meijer and sit in the car while he picked up books and some groceries. These Saturday outings have since become a highlight in my week. Is that sad?

In fact, last week Dan wasn’t feeling particularly well so we stayed home from Bible study on Wednesday. By the time Saturday rolled around I realized that I hadn’t stepped foot outside the house since Sunday. Yes, I certainly have been taking it easy.

To fill my time I have been clearing out our old computer (it runs much faster now) and reading a lot. Some books I read by myself, some books I read out loud to the girls, and some books I read out loud while the girls play. I’m not sure they’re really listening to the stories but when I stop reading Lydia corrects me, “No, read louder!”. Dan and the girls have also been hearing the stories of all my reading during our meal times.

Every morning Lydia prays that God would “please help Baby not be born today”. Every morning and evening I pray the same. And every night Dan prays that Baby would not come during the night. Someday we’ll be happy to receive Baby, but not yet!

Last Wednesday I had another checkup and we were thrilled to find out that some of the “labor is approaching” signs have actually reversed themselves. We’re doing about 14 different things to try to keep baby in there and at least one of them seems to be working! Baby, for the second consecutive ultrasound, is measuring 2 weeks big.

Here are the pictures from our appointment. The top picture is Baby’s abdomen, which we measure to get a guess on Baby’s size. The bottom picture is Baby’s face (forehead on the right, chin on the left in the shadows) looking right at you. It’s a little hard to tell, but the most prominent part is Baby’s nose. (I’ve found that it’s much easier to decipher Baby’s face if you actually turn your head to the right).

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Friday was a huge milestone, the gestation when Abby was born. Yes, Baby made it successfully past the 28 week, 4 day mark and then yesterday to the 29 week mark. Lydia was born at 30 weeks and 6 days, which is in less than two weeks. If the ultrasounds are correct and Baby really is two weeks big for his/her age, this Baby could be the biggest one yet.

So there have been a lot of exciting developments. Our next appointment isn’t until February 16, when Baby will be 31 weeks. Our doctor will actually be on vacation February 8 – February 14, so we are earnestly hoping Baby does come until after he gets back.

Here are the latest numbers:

2 days until my oldest sister is due with her Baby!
6 days until Baby reaches 30 weeks.
9 days until my other sister is due with her Baby!
12 days until Baby reaches Lydia’s birth age, 30 weeks and 6 days.
13 days until our next appointment.
20 days until our goal, 32 weeks.

(Yes, all three of us sisters are pregnant at the same time and only time will tell what order our babies are born in!)

On one hand, each day is an adventure. My belly is stretching so much more than ever before that it hurts every night and often during the day. Baby hardly has room in there to move around, and when s/he does it’s not at all comfortable for Mommy. All of the aches and pains are good reminders that Baby is making it longer, but also good reminders that Baby could come any day or night.

On the other hand, life it pretty uneventful. We sit, we read, we lay down, we take naps, we go to bed early. And by “we” I really mean me and Baby. Dan is working like a madman trying to do everything he does, everything I used to do, and more. As crazy as things are for him and as exciting or boring as things get for me, we are thankful for each day that Baby is not in the NICU and we are trusting God to keep Baby safe and warm for as long as possible.

Treading Dangerous Waters: 25 Week Pregnancy Update

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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.

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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. 🙂

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Preparing for a NICU Baby

This Monday I reached 20 weeks in my pregnancy, halfway for most people. However, as we have a history of preemies, Dan and I wanted to be well-prepared for another long NICU stay, if that’s what ends up happening. By the time I reached 20 weeks, I was told I would need to limit my activity a little bit, so those preparations all had to be done by Monday, and I’m happy to say that they were. The last few weeks have been crazy with all the things we’ve been trying to get done, but now I get to rest and I’m sure in a few months, the preparations will pay off.

So what kind of preparations did we do? The first task was to unpack. What a relief it is to finally be unpacked and moved in. The closets may be messy, and I have piles and piles of the girls’ clothing to sort through (someday), but the bulk of the work is done and everything else can wait or be done when we have spare time. I’ll try to post pictures of our unpacked home soon.

The second major task was freezing meals. Life with a NICU baby is very busy, so cooking is always an issue. Sure, you can eat out, but that gets expensive and unhealthy. Since we’re expecting some amount of a NICU stay this time around, I made a meal plan that would last 12 weeks (that’s how long Abby was in the hospital). As things became overwhelming I cut back, cancelled meals, and recalculated. As of today we have three freezers full or half-full of food ready-to-eat when Baby comes. Once I reach 23 weeks, Dan will go on a mega shopping trip to stock up on all sorts of nonperishables to complement our meals along with some more items to freeze. For now we have 34 breakfasts, and 88 lunches/dinners frozen and waiting to be enjoyed.

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The final task was to get our Christmas decorations up. This was so fun. It really didn’t take very long, and the girls stayed up to help with the tree. Then they headed off to bed while we finished with the lights, ornaments, and a few other festive items. I am loving the decorations every night as I curl up by our fire place, work on Christmas presents, and sip some tea.

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As far as the pregnancy goes, things have continued on as expected, for the most part. Last Wednesday I had some concerning contractions, but we’ve sorted out the root of the problem and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. The “big” ultrasound screening is Friday morning and we’ll find out how Baby’s doing as well as how much I will be allowed to continue to do. Any signs that Baby is on the way and I’ll probably be stuck in bed. For now we’re just taking it easy, soaking up this season, and enjoying our cozy Christmas lights.