Baby #3 36 Weeks 4 days

Baby B,

Last official post before I get to write your birth story!!!

Over the last several days, I’ve debated back and forth on whether or not to be induced. Throughout the day, I was in the ‘I’m totally fine and have no symptoms’ camp and this evening I’m in the ‘Holy crap I’m so itchy I can’t sleep camp’ and this internal debate has pretty much been going on inside my head nearly every moment for the last week and I’m kind of going insane.

Overall, I don’t feel the greatest. I’m having a really hard time sleeping, not only because I’m uncomfortable, and the itching but I also seem to have some insomnia and am WIDE-freaking awake until ungodly hours in the night. Two nights ago, I didn’t fall asleep until 4 or 5 in the morning.

I also have these hot spots (usually on my legs) about once a day. It only lasts for a second or two, and from what I can tell, it is just inside my leg (verses being hot to touch the skin) that makes me a little on edge. Auntie Sheila didn’t sound too alarmed by it and couldn’t recall that being a symptom of anything, which made me feel a little better, but I’m still anxious about having a blood clot given the shortness of breath of I have and the fact that I can’t lay on my back at all.

Additionally, I’m also very nauseous. Saturday evening we were out for dinner for your Daddy’s birthday and immediately after ordering our food, I started to feel pretty sick. I had to really focus to keep my mind off the scent of everyone else’s food and not get sick or run out of the restaurant. Finally, when our food came, I pushed it to the side as the thought of it (which it was delicious steak) was repulsive and I didn’t even touch one piece of it. It took me until 1:00 pm the following afternoon to not get nauseous at the thought of it. Last night, I tried to eat pasta salad–no good, jalapeno artichoke dip–no good, crackers–no good, raspberries–no good and essentially just gave up. I’ve also started to gag again when I brush my teeth. I’m full-on waddling and need to boost myself to get up off the couch or from any kind of sitting position. I’m also feeling a lot of pressure when I walk. Combine this with heartburn and difficulty breathing and I’m kind of a hot mess.

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Other thoughts roaming around my head include what is labor going to look like with you? Can I get the epidural right away and just have them crank the pitocin to meet you quickly? Will I need to walk around a bit to help jump kick labor before the epi? What happens if I don’t progress and the pitocin doesn’t work? At what point do they decide to do a C-section?

On a slightly my upbeat topic, I’ve received many questions about when you’re due, which is usually followed by, ‘is this your first’ (as long as I don’t have one of your big siblings with me). When I told one woman, it was my 3rd, she looked astounded and followed up with, ‘Wow, you just look so young.’ I’m not sure if the look was more ‘your crazy for having that many kids’ and she covered it up well or if I really look ‘that’ young.

We’ve also had a very relaxing couple of days prior to your arrival. The big kids were camping with Grammy and Papa so Daddy and I were able to get the house really clean, sleep in late, take naps and just relax.

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I’ve also spent a lot of time praying for you over the last several days. I’m praying that we are making the right decision to induce and you will be healthy. I’m praying that we need to spend as little time in the NICU as possible and hopefully we can all come home as a family on Thursday. I’m praying that I don’t need a c-section and that labor will go well and relatively quickly, but not so quickly that I can’t receive the epidural. But most of my prayers are dedicated towards you little girl. From what I’ve read, it seems like the biggest challenges for early ones like yourself are high bilirubin counts, which typically don’t show up until day 2 or so and then people end up back in the hospital. Lots of prayers that you are healthy and once we leave the hospital we don’t have to come back.

 

Love,

Mama

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Baby #3 36 Weeks

Little nugs,

You sure like to keep things interesting! Like I mentioned in the 35 Week post, my liver enzyme levels had come down from the 170s to a normal level again, and my bile acid levels came down from a 12 to a 7, which is really strange and unusual. As Dr. G was looking everything over, she was going back and forth on do we induce next week or wait it out. When I mentioned that the itching was getting worse and you were very quiet on Monday (enough that I did 3-4 kick counts and called the office to check–even though you had passed them all) she decided that it was best to induce and not risk anything happening to you.

We did the Group B strep test (and am negative!) and also told me I was dilated to a 1, but my cervix was still pretty unfavorable. Which means, I’ll go to the hospital on Monday evening to get some meds to help prepare me for labor the following day.

Although I’m going to have you a whole month earlier than I thought, it gives me peace of mind knowing that you will probably make it and a couple days in the NICU is way better than the alternative. It also takes the unknown of everything away. We have a plan and can work around that.

Other updates for you, although we were scheduled for a growth ultrasound on Tuesday, they only did a BPP and wanted to wait until Thursday to do the growth, which kind of stinks as Daddy was here for the appointment. I don’t think I have any other major updates: appetite is small, heartburn is better but still there, sitting and standing are both uncomfortable, I get really out of breath doing daily chores– especially in the morning, movement (except for Monday) continues to be strong. I can regularly feel your feet or knees pushing around inside me. I continue to have lots of contractions both moving and just sitting. Yesterday, I took William on a walk and I was having regular contractions every 3 min or so, but fortunately they stopped as soon as I sat down. Also, your head seems to push on my bladder or some kind of nerve that is quite painful. I pee nearly every hour, with the exception of night time when I usually only have to get up and go once.

Today (Thursday), I went in for my final BPP and once again, you passed! You moved your hands away from your face for the first time and we got a glance at your big cheeks. They also did a growth ultrasound and you’re measuring at 7 lbs 1 oz. right now–which also makes me feel good about an early delivery.

IMG_8294  Grammy and Papa are taking the big kids camping for the weekend and then are going to keep them for an extra couple of days while we’re in the hospital. Hopefully Daddy and I can relax a bit and also get some minor projects wrapped up before you arrive.

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Please be easy on your mama during labor. We’ve already had enough crazy stuff happen, I’m praying for a quick and easy delivery.

Love,

Mama

Baby #3 35 Weeks

Little Nugs,

What a busy and eventful week this has been. It started of celebrating your Auntie Sheila’s wedding. It was perfect in every way. It was intimate and personal and relaxed/low key. The ceremony was in Grammy and Papa’s back yard and then we headed over to the new park pavilion to celebrate with friends and family. Lexi was the flower girl and she was so darn cute in her little white dress, head full of curls and walking out to Moana. I cried. It was around 90 degrees and my dress wasn’t the most breathable one out there and I was pretty darn hot and it exhausted me to no end. It took me until Wednesday to feel somewhat recouped.

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Then this Friday, Daddy had his last official day of work. He will contract throughout the summer before transitioning to staying home with your three nuggets full time. I also had my last day of work before leave and the big kids had their last day of day care. It was a little bit of an emotional day and I’ll have to write another post on my feelings for that.

Thursday morning, I went in for my weekly lab work and Friday I had my appointment. Ultrasound BPP went great and once again you passed your test. You also have flipped and are head down again. When meeting with the Dr. (Dr. G was on vaca) she game me the official diagnosis of cholestasis and a prescription to help manage the bile liver levels. Last week’s tests came back as a 12 and she said anything above a 10 is considered cholestasis. Fortunately, my liver enzyme levels had come back down from the 100’s to a normal level which she said was really really good. Although I have an official diagnosis, nothing will really change in my care as they said they have already been treating me as if I did have it. Next week, I go in on Tuesday for a growth ultrasound and BPP and my typical 36 week appointment. I’ll also go in on Thursday for another BPP and then the plan is to deliver on the following Tuesday (the 20th) So crazy that they expect you to be here in 10 days!

For the most part, I’m feeling OK. I know things could be worse, but still not feeling the greatest either. I ended up filling my prescription last week to help me sleep and control the itching.  It helped control the itching at night and sleep through the night–which really helped get me back on track after the excitement of Sheila’s wedding. However, this past night was awful. I’ve been up since 4 and itching and scratching every part of my body and it is pretty terrible and I’m very tired.

Other interesting notes: I’m only interested in eating healthy foods like fruits and salads. Anything greasy or fatty just isn’t appetizing. I think this has something to do with the fact my liver isn’t functioning properly, but maybe that is just in my head? Blood pressure continues to be nice and low, movement is active, and I’m still under the 20 lbs weight gain. Also, I’m so relieved to be done with work. It is just one less thing to think about and hopefully enjoy some good quality time with the big kids before you arrive. IMG_8236

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With Lexi, we were just finishing up the fireplace project, your nursery and prepping for my showers. I can’t believe how much more I was able to do at this point in her pregnancy than yours. There is no way I could do all that work–I can barely walk up the stairs with you. With William, I was feeling more similar to how I feel with you, just probably not as extensive. I was very worried about how life would change and all the hardships that come with a newborn. It’s interesting how the challenges just shift. There are many challenging things about these last few weeks of pregnancy and you’re so excited for them to all go away, but once the baby is born, they are replaced by other challenges like no sleep and the milk coming in and teaching the baby to nurse and still paying attention to the other two munchkins. Time will tell my munchkin. With you coming early I’m pretty nervous about your temperament and colic as I feel like every single baby that I know that has been early is much more difficult than a baby that ‘cooks’ a little longer. Please be good to your mama?!?!

Love,

Mama

Baby #3 34 Weeks

Little Babe,

You sure like to keep things interesting. This past Tuesday was a rough night. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning (really Wednesday) and couldn’t stop itching. As I mentioned before, I started having the itchiness appear on my feet and hands. While on my way into work on Wednesday morning, I called the Dr to see if they had my lab results back yet and my bile acids were a 6, which they said was within normal range. I mentioned that my symptoms had gotten worse and was now having the itchiness on my palms and soles. This immediately worried them and they started asking how long I’ve had these symptoms and requested I come into the office that morning to get more blood work done. I had an appointment the next day, but they said they didn’t want to wait that long so we turned around and went into the office to get more blood work drawn.

I was able to meet with a nurse practitioner and she confirmed that the Bile acid tests are the true indicator of Cholestasis and until that comes back positive, they wouldn’t do anything. She also informed me that this next round of blood work would be a better indicator of what is happening inside my body as some people just have elevated liver enzymes while pregnant but now they have something to compare, it will help them understand if things are getting worse or maybe i just have heightened levels. They also prescribed a pregnancy safe medication to help me get sleep at night and decrease the itching.

This morning, I went in for my Bio-physical test of the baby and a visit with the nurse practitioner. The bio-physical went great. You were sleeping so it took a little longer to get your breathing and movements. They even had to put a little buzzer against my belly to wake you up. Overall, you passed all your tests–the only downfall is you flipped and are breech again. That must have happened over night because when I was walking on Thursday, I swear I could feel your head pushing on my bladder.

Fortunately, Dr. G wanted to talk to me, even though she had a super busy schedule I am so grateful that I was able to talk to her. She confirmed that my liver enzyme levels had risen from when they were previously tested (now in the 100s) but still weren’t at a super dangerous level. We also talked about the her general treatment and delivery approach. She believes I have cholestasis, my blood work just isn’t showing it yet and, she is going to treat me as if I do have it, which means continuing to run weekly blood work and weekly bio-physical tests. If for some reason the Bile tests don’t come back positive by my 36 week appointment, she is going to call the hospital and request I be induced at 37 weeks as she doesn’t feel it is safe to go beyond that given my symptoms and past history.

At the end of today, I did get a call informing me my bile levels were at a 12 this time, so they doubled from the previous, but it was still considered ‘normal’. I’m not sure what is considered ab-normal, so I’ll call to find out, next week. But in general, I feel so much more comfortable knowing we have a tentative plan in place.

Other things happening at 34 weeks pregnant. Overall, I’m really starting to feel the discomfort of being 8 months pregnant. My belly is getting heavy and some of my underwear is getting tight. Breathing continues to be challenging and feel like I should carry an oxygen mask around with me. I just don’t feel like I can catch my breath whether I’m lying in bed, sitting or standing in a line somewhere. Everyday tasks are getting challenging–like getting in and out of van, going up stairs, bending over or standing up. Food is pretty unappealing right now–especially anything that is unhealthy or greasy. So I’m just listening to what my body needs and eating lots of salads and fruit.

We’ve got a big weekend coming up with Auntie Sheila getting married. It is supposed to be super hot, so hoping that I survive!!

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Love,

Mama

Memorial Weekend Updates

Little nugs,

I think this whole situation has me in a bit of a tailspin. Friday evening, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. I was wide awake. I tried to keep myself busy thinking I would get tired, but just never did. Finally, around 1 am, I forced myself to go to bed, but just laid there for 2 hours tossing, turning and itching (including my palms and soles). In fear of keeping Daddy up, I got up and cleaned our bathroom, ate a snack and then sat in the rocking chair and finally feel asleep around 5:30, only to be woke up at 6:15 by Lexi who wanted to play with her new Shopkins toy. (update: I learned the insomnia came from the steroid shot I had gotten earlier that day)

The rest of the day went pretty well. I got my hair done to prepare for Sheila’s wedding next weekend, figured out jewelry and shoes for myself, finalized each of the kids outfits and got my second steroid shot. By 10 pm, I was exhausted and feel asleep on the couch. Thankfully, the transition to our bed went well and I feel asleep right away. Unfortunately at 3: 15, I had to go to the bathroom and was never able to fall back asleep. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt you move, was having some pain in my lower abdomen and in general couldn’t turn off my anxiety for all the potential scary things that could come. What if you are in distress right now and that is why I can’t feel you and you don’t make it, what if something happens to me, am I in early labor now with the abdominal pain? All bad bad thoughts that I just couldn’t turn off. Around 5, I came downstairs had some OJ, a donut hole and started working on some blog posts to keep me busy while I counted kicks/movements, which is the first time I’ve ever sat down and done this with any of the kids. It took a good 30 minutes to feel anything, but then got 10 kicks or movements right away.

Sunday and Monday were pretty uneventful. I spent a lot of time cleaning the house and getting ready for your arrival. I hung up clothes, moved the mattress up on the crib, figured out the outfit we’ll take you home in, got the monitor set up and my pump charged. The itchyness continued throughout the weekend, but it felt manageable.

Hope to know more early next week.

Love,

Mama

Changes in routine pregnancy care

Baby sister,

Today was another unpredictable and eventful day, but it also brought me some peace of mind. Last night I was pretty itchy and was convinced again that I have cholestasis, but I feel asleep pretty quickly and didn’t wake up from the itchiness, which was great, but also made me question my thoughts from the previous evening. Around 11, Dr. G called to chat about yesterday. The official test for cholestasis will take several days to come back as they have to send it off somewhere. However, they did some other tests around my liver and both of them came back slightly elevated. For one test a normal was considered 40 and my number was 45 and another test the normal number was 32 and I came back as 72–which really means nothing to me, but just documenting for the sake of documenting. Dr. G. says given my history, my symptoms and these elevated numbers , it would indicate I have cholesstais. As a result, she wanted me to come into the office to get a steroid shot to help your lungs develop incase we need to deliver at any point. She also had me do an bio-physical ultrasound to check on baby.

The ultrasound tech was so awesome and really helped me relax and be at peace with everything. She explained just how serious cholestasis is and how they’re going to watch me closely for the rest of the pregnancy, and most importantly, what types of things I could expect based on how the tests go. If the blood work comes back positive, you will for sure be delivered at 36 weeks no questions asked. I was curious if things seem to be going fine and my levels are low, would they wait a little longer and she said no. It is too risky to wait and they want you out of there as soon as possible. I feel like for most people, that would probably be a pretty scary idea, which it is, but it honestly gave me more peace of mind as it helps me set expectations, prepare and just takes a lot of the unknown out of everything. I forgot to ask, if the blood work comes back negative, would they be as likely to induce given the rest of the symptoms or would they just play it by ear?

From this point moving forward, I’ll go into the office on Thursday mornings to have blood work done and then go in on Fridays for an ultrasound and a checkin with Dr. G or a nurse practitioner. During the ultrasound, they look for three main things: you taking practice breaths, movement, and monitoring my fluid levels as these three things are indications that you’re not doing super great inside. The practice breaths are really the most important. If they aren’t able to see those during the ultrasound, they’ll have me do a stress test. If things still aren’t looking great there, they’ll send me to the hospital for more monitoring and based on how those go, they may or may not deliver you. So we’re really taking it week by week knowing that you may come at any point now. Understanding this also made me decide that we for sure aren’t moving Lexi’s tonsil and ear tube surgery and we’re just going to have to wait until after the baby is born to do it. Not ideal, but again, I feel good knowing a decision has been made around that.

So onto the actual appointment. Blood pressure looked good, I got the steroid shot in my butt and will head to the Maple Grove Hospital tomorrow to get the second round as it is pretty important it is administered exactly 24 hours apart. The beginning of the ultrasound was a little rough as I nearly passed out 2 different time–like to the point, I needed to sit up and put my head between my legs. I can’t lay down on my back and the angle I was reclined at prevented me from breathing. Eventually, I rolled onto my side and was able to get comfortable.

One of your hands was by your mouth for almost the entire ultrasound, but she was able to watch your breathing and you passed with flying colors there. My fluid levels were a little high, which she said was good because they are much more concerned if they are too low. You also had lots of movement so you got a 8 out of 8 on your very first test! Again this made me feel really good. She confirmed that you are head down (you got extra credit from mom on that one). We also looked at many of your measurements. According to the machine, you weigh just over 6 lbs., which is equivalent to a 35 week baby! Way to go! I don’t think you actually are that big as the machine can be off, but still it is reassuring to hear. You’re also measuring at the 89.9% for your gestational age, and 90% is considered a big baby, so in my eyes, your a big baby. Again, all good reassuring signs that if you do come early, things will be ‘oh-tay’ as your big brother likes to say.

After my appointment, I swung into target to return some stuff and also picked up some essentials so I’m ready if you do come. I didn’t have any newborn clothes because your siblings were too big for them, so i picked up a couple of onesies, wipes, nursing materials like pumping bags, nursing pads, some nursing tanks and lounge/athletic shorts to wear after you are born.

To top the day off, Lexi learned how to ride a two-wheel bike this evening. She has been able to for awhile but was lacking the confidence to actually do it. A little bribery helped and she rocked it. She’s a little wobbly steering but can start and stop by herself–now we need to work on turning while riding!

As we head into memorial day weekend, I’m hoping for a relatively quiet and uneventful weekend. Don’t pull any funny stuff on your mom little one! I need a mental break!

Love,

Mama

Baby #3 33 Weeks

Dear Sweet Pea,

Today started out with an unexpected visit to the Dr’s office. I woke up around 5 am this morning and was pretty itchy. I have been itchy in periodic spots for the past couple days but chalked it up to dry skin and didn’t think it could be cholestasis because the itchiness wasn’t concentrated to the soles of my feet or the palms of my hand and until last night, it didn’t seem worse at night. Given that I woke up from being itchy made me want to do a little bit of research on cholestasis to make sure I understood all of the symptoms. Sure enough, itchy hands and feet are the most common symptoms but you can also have itchiness all over. Part of this information went straight to my head and I think I started to think I was more itchy than prior to this information. Regardless, I decided I would call the Dr. to get their thoughts on it. The nurse on the phone said my symptoms sounded like cholestasis and that they would want to do some blood work and check on me. After getting my blood drawn, I chatted with the nurse to get a better understanding of this condition. I was curious, ‘Are there varying levels of it and you have more intense symptoms if you have higher levels? ‘Can it go away?’ ‘If the medicine is working, would they still induce or can you go to full term?’ Unfortunately, this is a pretty rare condition so she didn’t know a ton about it and just had to google it, annoying because I had already done that. So basically, I need to wait until the blood work comes back to get more information and figure out a plan with Dr. G.

What I do know is that I had this same condition with Lexi, but it showed up closer to 37 weeks and I had the intense itching on my palms and soles. When the blood work came back positive, I was 39 weeks and was induced within 2 hours. Essentially, cholestasis is a condition that prevents bile from flowing out of your liver. As a result, it builds up in your liver and the acids from the bile enter your bloodstream and cause your skin to itch. These acids are harmful to you and since we’re sharing bloodflow, it can cause babies to be stillborn. I’ve read there are medicines you can take to help ‘fix’ this if you aren’t full term yet.

I may be jumping the gun as it hasn’t even been confirmed that I have this yet, but emotionally I’m kind of all over the board. For the past 8 months, I’ve been mentally preparing to have a baby in mid-July and be on leave until October. We’ve made plans around this including Daddy’s transition plan, Lexi’s tonsil surgery, work transition plans, vacations, how I’ll use my PTO and I’m having a hard time realizing how none of what we had planned may work. I should know better than to make plans and anticipate because you little ones like to do everything to disrupt those plans but it is really hard not to. Overall, all of those things are trivial and what really matters is making sure you arrive as a healthy baby and I’m willing to do anything to make sure that happens. It would just be more convenient if we didn’t have to. Additionally, the thought of you arriving before 37 weeks is a pretty terrifying thought for me. Adding a 3rd munchkin to the mix will be challenging enough the way it is, BUT if you’re a premie and I have to figure out how to split my time between your big siblings and you at a hospital, I am really, really going to struggle. Your daddy and I are both praying for your safe arrival and any strength we’ll need to help us get through this unpredictable transition, whatever that may look like.

Aside from those major updates, many of my symptoms remain as they were last week. Lots of bathroom breaks, shortness of breath continues to get worse, heartburn, restless feet syndrome, difficulty sleeping at night and lots of braxton hicks contractions. Either they are getting stronger or are shifting to some real contractions as several of them have been somewhat painful. You continue to be very active and I can often feel a little foot or hand moving across my belly.

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I continue to get lots of questions at work, ‘when are you due again?’ ‘July’ ‘It’s coming up’ and have recently had several people tell me I look great for being so far along. They’re probably lying, but I’ll take a compliment when I can get one!

This past weekend was Lexi’s first dance recital and she rocked it! I was a little nervous as the dress rehearsal didn’t go great, but we practiced that evening and the next morning and she did so great! It was so fun to watch her and I was so proud to see her out there on the stage with the lights and all these people watching her, especially as she has been a pretty shy little girl.

More updates to come about my test results!

Love,

Mama