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

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

Baby #3 32 Weeks

Two months to go until we meet sweet sister! It feels so far away but yet so close at the same time. This past week has been a tough one for me.  A lot of my 1st Trimester symptoms returned, nausea (although I haven’t thrown up!!) sensitivity to smells, food aversions, peeing twice in the middle of the night and exhaustion. Plus I continue to have shortness of breath, heartburn and just a hard time moving around. I’ve also started to experience restless leg syndrome in my feet.  My feet feel like they need to be rubbed constantly while falling asleep. I’ve been putting lotion on them and giving them a little message and then putting some heavy socks at night. I also stopped drinking anything with caffeine and am going to try a magnesium supplement to manage. So all in all, fun times!

When I think about your arrival, it feels so far away but yet so close at the same time. When I’m tossing and turning for 3 hours at night before I fall asleep, I can’t help but think, how am I going to get through the next 8 weeks. But then, I think about all the plans we have between now and your due date and think, you’ll be here in no time.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned I had no patience and would snap on people, but I feel like my patience has returned to the level of a normal person. I don’t get quite as frustrated with the kids and am just a little more even tempered.

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In general, I feel like the bump is huge. William hates that he can’t sit on my lap to read books and I feel like I have a sign on my back that says ‘wide load, make way’. It is challenging to get up from sitting, bend over, get close to the mirror while getting ready, get in or out of the car, go up stairs, be comfortable sitting in a chair or laying down. However, while at the Dr. this week, I’m barely measuring over what I should be and am still under the 20 lb weight gain and know the bump is going to get a lot bigger. Your heart rate was at 140 and my blood pressure continues to be low or ‘really good’. I think you are officially my most active baby. You are constantly moving around, stretching out your legs or arms, and tap dancing those little toes almost to the point where it is painful.

Life updates:

We finished the bunk beds (and by we, I mean daddy). They look great and your big siblings LOVE them! Your auntie Sheila had her bachelorette party over the weekend and had an amazing time. Then, Lexi has her first dance recital this weekend which should be really fun! I’m eager to continue to make progress on house projects (finishing the mirror in the entry way, building a frame for the mirror in the bathroom, finishing the mudding and tiling in the basement and getting daddy’s office set up downstairs) and just getting rid of stuff we don’t need. Your daddy tends to be a bit of a pack rat and I tend to want to throw/give away anything that doesn’t have an immediate or known future purpose.

But the weather has been amazing this past week (temps in the high 70s and 80s) and I love it so much. Love wearing shorts and sandals or just bare feet and not having to deal with jacks and hats and mittens is so great. The big kids LOVE playing outside and it is so wonderful to send them into the backyard when we get home from school and have them play while I make dinner.

With Lexi at this point, things were going pretty well. I still had some minor kidney pain, but it was manageable and was also experiencing some hip pain. I was pretty confident she was a boy. With William, so many similarities to you. I had restless leg syndrome in my feet and was anxious about all the house projects I wanted done. We had just moved Lexi into her new bedroom and had gotten the nursery ready. I was also feeling the shortness of breath that I’m experiencing now and the frequent trips to the bathroom.

Love you sweet girl,

Mama

Baby #3 24 Weeks

Size of baby: You are approximately the size of an ear of corn (8.5 inches long and 1.5lbs) Your brain activity is close to that of a newborn and your face is fully formed with eyelashes, eyebrows and hair.

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The Bump: Steady growth! It is definitely firm now and am curious if I’ll get any stretch marks this time around. Shaving and bending over is getting a little more tricky. Also, my jacket is getting harder to zip up-hopefully, I can put it away for the season in a couple of weeks!
Cravings/Aversions: Sweets! However, I’ve cut them out of my diet for the past several days knowing I have my glucose test this week. I’ve been chewing gum and eating craisins, nuts and chewing gum as a substitute. It hasn’t been terrible, but I can’t wait for the test to be over and (hopefully!) go back to eating them again–especially since I bought some Girl Scout Cookies!
What I’m loving: Getting stuff done! We bought Lexi’s new bike this week, I ordered new curtains for the big kid’s room, ordered some fabric to make some valences for the kitchen and dinning room and daddy continues to make progress with the bunk beds!
What I’m anticipating:  Warm Sunshine, whats new? Getting this glucose test over with and getting my hair done tonight!
Miss anything? Sweets!
Worries? Honestly, my biggest worry right now is work. With my boss, my co-worker and I all being pregnant/due within a couple months of each other, I’m worried about what they are going to do for coverage as we don’t have anyone else on our team. There is a lot to learn and a pretty busy time to cover and each passing week is less time to on-board someone.
Differences between pregnancies? With Lexi, we were in Vail photographing a wedding and I ended up in the hospital and cutting the trip short with some kidney issues. With William, it feels pretty similar to this pregnancy. Apparently I was still sleeping on my stomach (although I had reported earlier that I wasn’t). The strength of your kicks and punches also grew with William, which I’m experiencing right now as well.
How I’m feeling: Breathing is a little more challenging. I often find myself sitting at my desk short of breath.
Sleep: This is up and down. I’ll have good nights and bad nights. I’ve transitioning to putting a pillow between my legs now to make sleep a little more comfortable, but this always causes challenges when rolling over in the middle of the night. Most of the time, I can fall back asleep right away, but I’m back to waking up around 5:30 in the morning and being wide awake.
Movement: So much. It is crazy how active you get after I eat. It feels like you’re riding a roller-coaster inside my belly.
Boy or Girl: Sweet little girl!
Milestones: 6 months down, 4 to go!
Best Moment of the Week: Watching Lexi ride her new big girl bike. She jumped right on and we’re working on peddling with the balls of her feet (verses the arches), turning and using the brakes. Hopefully, we’ll take the training wheels off in a week or two!
Sibling Talk: Lexi talks about you daily. She is growing out of some of her clothes and tells me ‘I’ve got a great idea, we can save these clothes for the new baby’. She is also very curious where you are going to sleep. This morning, she was talking about fireworks and was asking, who is going to watch the new baby while we watch fireworks, because fireworks are too loud for the new baby. I told her, I would probably stay with the new baby, in which she responded ‘oh right, you can watch them from the window’.
Love,
Mama