Foxlet: Week 37 (Almost)

Okay, so technically Baby Foxlet and I are at 36 weeks and 6 days (or 7 days, depending on how you count) gestation today. But since by this time tomorrow I’ll be deep in the throes of actually, y’know, giving birth to this little girl (!), I figured I’d go ahead and take care of my FINAL (!!) weekly update a day early.

To update you on how I’ve been doing since last week’s update, things have been pretty okay. I had my final prenatal checkup at the OB yesterday and, unfortunately, the results of my 24-hour urine collection did show protein in my urine which means I’ve gone from having gestational hypertension to being officially diagnosed with preeclampsia.

Now, this is what my doctors were thinking could potentially happen ever since my blood pressure first starting registering high at my 34 week appointment, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise, per se. I’m also not super surprised since I have been getting more headaches and had a little bit more swelling lately (both of which are signs of preeclampsia, but haven’t progressed to being very severe.) That said, it’s still not exactly super awesome to have the official diagnosis under my belt. The “good news,” however, is that it really doesn’t change anything, since we had already scheduled my induction for 37 weeks on the dot. It really just confirms that this is indeed the correct plan of action to take.

So yeah! This ish is happening! Tonight I’ll go check into the hospital, they’ll start me on some medication that’ll help to dilate and efface my cervix, and then I’ll be induced tomorrow morning! Obviously both Baby Foxlet and I appreciate any positive thoughts and vibes you wanna send our way — my hope is that my body responds well to the various medications, that complications are held to a minimum, and most importantly, that she’s nice and healthy on the other side of this.

I still can’t really believe that by the next time I update you guys, I’ll be doing so having given birth to an ACTUAL HUMAN BABY. WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS.

Foxlet’s Size: At 37 weeks, baby is the size of a winter melon, half a medium pizza, or Zack Morris’s cell phone. The doctor said they can gain about half a pound per week at this point, so I’m hopeful she’ll be somewhere in the 6 1/2 – 7 pound range even though she’s coming early. Guess we’ll see very soon!

Weight: Looks like I’ll be going into the hospital at pretty much exactly the weight that I started my pregnancy at. So, I guess all things considered that’s a #plussizepregnancy win? In the grand scheme of everything that’s been happening, my pregnancy weight gain really has taken a backseat in my mind, which will hopefully carry over to the whole post-baby body stuff too since it’s admittedly been really nice to genuinely not fixate on the scale or be too concerned about my weight over the past 9 months!

Symptoms: Thankfully my sciatic pain has improved a lot over the past week as Baby Foxlet must have shifted into a more favorable position for my back pain. Thaaaaaank goodness! The main symptoms bugging me lately are shortness of breath and just this kind of racing heart feeling that I get occasionally. Suddenly I’ll just be able to feel my pulse in like, my ears and all over my body and feel kind of anxious and have heart palpitations. It’s not a great feeling, but my doctors said that and the shortness of breath thing are both very normal for pregnancy and not related to preeclampsia.

Emotions: I’m both so, so, so excited about finally getting to meet Baby Foxlet, and super anxious and nervous about the actual process of being induced and, y’know, giving birth. So my emotions definitely are being pulled in both directions, with a pretty heavy emphasis on the nervous side right now. But the closer we get, the more excited I get as well — I can’t wait to meet my tiny human!

Cravings/Aversions: Thanks to my awesome sister-in-law, Molly, I was able to satisfy my crab leg craving last week, so really all I’m missing now is raw sushi + oysters this week. Thankfully, this won’t be an issue for much longer… (Hallelujah!)

Sleep: I’ve actually managed to get a much better amount of solid sleep over the past few nights thanks to my back pain subsiding (and my SPD hasn’t been too terrible these past few nights either, which makes turning over and getting comfortable in bed soooo much easier.) However, I am a little bit concerned about how well I’ll be able to sleep in the hospital tonight. Everything I’ve read says that you should try to sleep as well as possible before an induction so you’ll be rested and strong and stuff, but I don’t do super well sleeping in new settings, let alone with all the stuff that’ll be going on around me at the hospital. Sean’ll be with me though, and in a far less comfortable sleeping situation (I imagine the sleeper sofas in the room are even less comfortable than the hospital beds, lol) so at least I’ll be in good company, hehe.

Purchases: No more purchases from me, although I’ve been the recipient of some very kind surprise baby gifts from friends and family this week, not to mention a beautiful, sunny flower delivery from some of my colleagues at Yelp that I wasn’t expecting. I’m a lucky gal!

Looking forward to… meeting my baby, of course! Ahhhhh, it’s really happening… still so surreal… eep!

Not looking forward to… the actual induction process + just the continued lingering fear of THE UNKNOWN. But, of course, I do recognize that fear would exist regardless of me having preeclampsia or getting induced, because there’s just so much about childbirth (and motherhood!) that you simply cannot predict or even really prepare for. So I’m going in with as optimistic an outlook as I can muster, and as open a mindset as I can manage with regard to what’s to come.

Foxlet: Week 36

First off, I need to thank each and every one of you who has left the most thoughtful and wonderful comments on here, Facebook, and Instagram, and by messaging me directly. You really know how to make a girl (and her bebe!) feel loved and supported, and I’m so grateful for my amazing village. I actually feel a bit sheepish for making such a big deal out of all this when I know that my situation is far from worst-case.

But I mean, hey, I’m a first-time mom, and the fact that things escalated so quickly in such a short amount of time really threw me for a loop. So yes, admittedly I was a bit shaken by this most recent turn of events — finding out that my bp meds aren’t working as well anymore, being sent back to labor & delivery for more testing, and being officially scheduled for my induction (a week from today!). However, with a smidgen of time and, moreso, so many of you guys sharing your own experiences and stories with me, I am feeling a little more level-headed and optimistic.

While it’s still not fun to have the threat of preeclampsia looming over me and while, of course, I would prefer to have been able to carry out the entirety of my pregnancy without a high-risk designation, I know that the odds really are in my favor here. Provided things stay relatively stable between now and next Tuesday, Foxlet will be born at 37 weeks on the dot (give or take 24 hours, most likely), and I recognize that plenty of babies even come at 37 weeks all on their own!

And should we not quite make it to Tuesday… well, I’ve now received both of my betamethasone shots (steroids meant to aid respiratory development) and all signs continue to point to her being perfectly happy all up in my uterus. So even if I end up being sent straight to be induced after my follow-up appointment this afternoon, she should still be in pretty good shape. After all, we’ve made it this far!

Foxlet’s Size: At 36 weeks, the apps say she’s around 6 lbs and the size of a cake, papaya, or 2-liter bottle of soda. Since we have an estimate of her size from last week at 5 lbs, 13 oz, and my baby book says they put on about an ounce per day, we can guesstimate that she’s around 6 lbs 5 ounces now? With a potential 2-pound variant] in either direction, hahahahaha.

Weight: Not that I really care at this point (nothing like medical drama to finally have me stop caring about my weight!) but based on my various weighings at my various doctor’s appointments, I still seem to be fluctuating within 2 – 3 pounds of the same weight I’ve been seeing for the past few weeks. You know, up if I’m weighed after I’ve eaten, down if I’ve just gone to the bathroom, etc. I think overall I’m anywhere from 3 – 5 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight? ::shrug::

Symptoms: Oh god, the sciatica. It sent me back to the doctor’s office last week in tears, but luckily it has somewhat subsided over the past few days from the acute, knee-buckling sharpness to a general ache. I totally credit my mama for this, who had been out of town visiting my new nephew in Atlanta, but quickly put her amazing Chinese massaging hands to use once she came back and has really been helping me with my pain points.

Aside from the pain from that, my main symptoms are shortness of breath, lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, and my newest symptom are these really intense back and neck spasms that I’ve been getting. They are really intense — almost paralyzing — and hurt but not like, in a super-sharp-pain way, but rather in a kind of everything-tightens-up-and-you-can’t-move way. I confirmed at the hospital yesterday that the spasms aren’t contraction-related, so maybe Foxlet just shifted positions and is pressing on a nerve or something… which is maybe why my sciatica is suddenly somewhat relieved but I’ve got these new fun to experience, lol.

Emotions: Highs and lows, my friends. Hiiiiiiighs and lows.

Cravings/Aversions: All the Chick-fil-A and an intense craving for crab legs that I have yet to satisfy because Sean won’t take me to Red Lobster. ::tear::

Sleep: Meh. I’ve been sleeping okay by my standards, but I seem to have lost my magical ability to instantaneously return to sleep after waking. Which isn’t super great when you’re getting up to pee every 3 hours and your husband’s alarm clock goes off at 5. But again, I just look at this as great practice for when Foxlet is actually here, so it’s cool. I think I’m gonna get reeeeeal good at napping.

Purchases: UHHH fracking Carter’s, man! They sent me a catalogue in the mail and since I’m somewhat bedridden of COURSE I flipped through it… whereupon I immediately laid eyes on THESE:

And I swear, I have never gone SO FAST from seeing to buying. So these shoes are now on their merry way to me, along with like four other absolutely unnecessary things. Y’know, ’cause even though her closet is literally overflowing with clothes thanks to the generosity of my sister’s hand-me-downs and gifts from all my awesome friends, and even though I SWORE I wasn’t gonna buy her any more clothes myself because I don’t even know how she’s gonna wear what I already have for her… I mean, c’mon. Can you really blame me?

Looking forward to… dropping off the giant jug of my own pee that I’ve had to literally squirrel away over the past 24 hours so it can be tested. And hey, you can call “TMI!” all you want, but I had absolutely noooooooo concept of what a 24-hour collection was before they handed me that bright orange jug and told me what to do so I figure if nothing else, mentioning it might at least help prepare someone in the future.

NOT looking forward to… I dunno, technically I’m not really looking forward to my induction, I guess. I mean, it’s still a little bit scary, y’know? Having to get all these meds to push me into labor, the looming threat of a C-section (which, of course, is not the worst thing in the world but again, as a concept surgery kinda freaks me out!), etc. But I also kind of am looking forward to it? Because even though it’s not what I planned on originally, once I go into the hospital, I won’t be leaving without my baby. Which is awesome. And terrifying. And wondrous. And ridiculous.


… I can’t believe they’re just gonna like, let me.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Doesn’t it always seem like for each step forward, you end up taking two steps back? No? Just me? Ah, well. Given the solar eclipse happening + the fact that I seem to attract drama where’re I go (see: blizzard wedding), I guess I can’t really be all that surprised.

Since my last missive, I’ve successfully managed to negate all the previous good news regarding my high blood pressure diagnosis. Woo-hooooooo. Despite my sonogram + checkups last week indicating that the blood pressure medication and modified bedrest was working, they seem to have hit a bit of a wall. My blood pressure is climbing again, and I’ve also had a few incidents of vomiting and upper righthand quadrant pain, both of which are potentially bad signs.

The good news? Baby Foxlet herself is still doing great. She certainly seems like a content little high-blood-pressure-inducing monster, happily bumpin’ and dancin’ around in my belly while mama over here gets to suffer continual needle-pricks, cold ultrasound jelly, and peeing into ALL OF THE CUPS.

The not-so-good news comes from the fact that my blood pressure was unfortunately reading high again this weekend (getting back into the 140/90+ range), so I called my OB Sunday night and they advised me to come in the following day (my next regular appointment was scheduled for this upcoming Thursday.) Alas, it also read high at the office, so my doctor sent me back over to the hospital for to get my labs checked again, as well as do some continuous monitoring. Though not before recommending we officially schedule my induction for next Wednesday — 37 weeks on the dot — as things are clearly getting worse and not better for me.

I was really hoping to make it closer to 38 weeks or beyond (I mean, really I was hoping to magically have my blood pressure issues resolve and not need to be induced at all! Ha!) but I trust my doctors and know that they ultimately just want to do what’s best for both me and this little nugget. And 37 weeks is “full term,” by many doctor’s standards, or at least “early term” by the rest, which means that her odds of being practically perfect and ready to go (aka hopefully needing no NICU time) are quite high. ::crosses fingers::

However, there is still the possibility that, should my blood pressure spike up too high (160/100 is now the danger line, she said) or should I develop any of the additional signs of preeclampsia (vision changes, protein in my urine, acute headaches, additional vomiting, etc) I might need to be induced even sooner than that.

So in order to help combat any potential issues with her respiratory system that might come from prematurity, I also received a steroid shot that should help speed her lung development in the event she isn’t quiiiiite done cookin’ by the time she makes her way into this here world. And I actually have to go back to the hospital later today to get a second shot (it’s done as a series of two shots, 24 hours apart), and I’ll also get my BP, vitals, and her vitals monitored again for a bit. Le sigh.

And then it’s back to the doctor’s office on Wednesday or Thursday for another BP check and to drop off the 24-hour urine collection they’re having me do…. which is, yes, exactly what it sounds like. -_- Soooo yeah, I basically live at the doctor’s office / hospital now. It’s not so bad, really, I just wish they were schnauzer-friendly.

In the meantime, I’m still on bedrest which provides this not-super-awesome Catch-22 with the sciatic pain that I’ve been experiencing in my back. See, the sciatica definitely feels better when I’m able to move around and not sit or lie in one position for too long. But my blood pressure definitely goes down when I do lie around. Womp womppppp.

Anyway, not to end things on a down note — obviously I’m more than willing to do any and all the things I need to do to continue to ensure that both Foxlet and I make it to the end of this thing. It’s just kind of crazy to think that the end is officially like, uh, next week now. Unfggghghhghh just typing that makes it seem soooooooo real and sooooooo soon. WE NEED TO PICK A NAAAAAAAAME.

I’ll update you guys again once I have the latest and greatest updates from the rest of this week’s hospital/doctor’s visits, and just keep sending positive thoughts and unicorn dust our way! You know, so that we can hopefully make it these final 8-9 days without, I dunno, my blood vessels exploding or me having a stroke or whatever it is that happens when your blood pressure gets too high.

Foxlet: Week 35

What a week, eh?

Hospital trips, blood pressure monitoring, bed rest… oh my! To say this past week has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster is probably understating it. It wasn’t a ton of fun to go from a totally textbook, complication-free pregnancy to suddenly talking about high blood pressure, early delivery, and induction, but fortunately I do have some positive things to report!

I last left you with my diagnosis of pregnancy-induced hypertension (aka high blood pressure), with me being prescribed medications as well as being put on modified bedrest. My doctor talked me through what all that meant for my health (given that my high BP is actually more of a concern for me than for her), and the probability of wanting me to deliver Baby Foxlet at 37 weeks. And that’s with the understanding that it could be much sooner if my blood pressure doesn’t get under control.

Well, I’m happy to report that after spending the weekend laid up in bed and starting my blood pressure medication, I returned to the OB on Monday and registered some much better-lookin’ BP numbers! Huzzah!

My reading on Monday was 127/86, which is just the sliiiiightly outside of the desired range (“normal” BP is usually under 120/80) but was definitely a good change from my previous reading Friday — which was 140/85. I also went back to the doctor the following day (Tuesday/yesterday) for a sonogram to check on Baby Foxlet, where they took my blood pressure again, and it was even better at 122/82!

My ultrasound also went very well and Foxlet is, to quote my doctor, “growing perfectly,” which was a huge relief! She measured in at 5 lbs, 13 oz (yay!), is facing head-down (double yay!), has her feet up near my right rib (which explains why I only get that stabby rib pain thing on the right side!), and I have good fluid levels and all that jazz. The only somewhat unfortunate thing was that because she’s so big at this point, and her head is facing my pelvis, the technician couldn’t get any good photos of her face or profile! All I got was a shot of her feet, haha.

Of course, I’m not complaining since the whole point of this was just to check on how she’s doing, and it was kind of a bonus to get to see her at all in there. Plus, Sean and I did sorta get to see a glimpse of her li’l face on the screen, brief though it was, so that’ll do for now, hehe.

So anyway, it really has been positive news all around — thank goodness — though I’m still a bit hesitant to celebrate too wildly. You know me, anxious and alarmist as I am, I know I’m still gonna live in constant fear that my blood pressure will spike, or that I’ll develop additional symptoms/warning signs of preeclampsia and we’ll still be rushed off to the hospital early. But the good thing about all this extra monitoring and testing is that now that we know about how big she is, even if her size estimate isn’t totally accurate, and even if we ended up in the hospital tomorrow, she’d probably look pretty good. After all, there are even some full-term babies born at 5 lbs, 13 oz, right?

Sooooo all this is to say that my doctor is happy that my current treatment plan is working, and while she unfortunately doesn’t want me to come off of bedrest, she’s happy to have me keep on keeping on until at least 37 weeks. Which is really the best kind of outcome I could be hoping for right now! My doctor’s appointments will be weekly starting from now on, and are to include a non-stress test (NST), which is basically just some extra fetal monitoring to make sure things continue to be hunky-dory for Foxlet in there. Whew.

Foxlet’s Size: At 35 weeks, Foxlet is about the length of a durian (but hopefully will smell better, heh.) As mentioned above, we now know that she’s sitting pretty at around 5 pounds, 13 ounces. Almost 6 glorious pounds!

Weight: Weeeell, with all the stress and craziness since last week, combined with the fact that my stomach is like, teeny tiny right now, means I’ve actually lost a couple of pounds again. Oops. My doctor is definitely not concerned at all, especially given that it’s not like Foxlet’s size seems to be suffering in any way, and I’m sure that now that I’m bed- and couch-bound it’ll be back with a vengeance.

Symptoms: Shortness of breath, insomnia, and this daggone pain in my tailbone area — which I’m now thinking is sciatic nerve pain (as one of you totally called a few weeks ago!) given that it seems focused only on the right side of my tailbone/butt area. It’s extremely painful, however, and lately seems to flare up anytime I shift my weight, sit down, or stand up. So basically, always. It sucks. On the bright side, it really makes my pelvic pain seem like a thing of the past?

Emotions: I mean…….. it’s been a rocky week. Heh. So, yes, more than my fair share of tears have likely been shed as of late. But it’s not like there hasn’t been a specific reason tied to almost every crying fit lately, so all things considered, I actually feel like I’ve been able to remain pretty level-headed.

Cravings/Aversions: Fried egg sandwiches with a slice of tomato and ketchup are my jimmity jam right now.

Sleep: I’ve basically just given up on sleep at this point. At least I’ll be well-seasoned for when Foxlet actually arrives, eh?

Purchases: I received a diaper credit on Amazon for doing my registry through them, so I redeemed for some diaper supplies. Since Foxlet is definitely going to be joining us at least slightly earlier than planned, I went ahead and got some newborn sized diapers, additional diaper inserts, and added to my stockpile of wipes.

Looking forward to… my final work event! I have quite a bit of work-related stuff going on in August (and even early September) that I’m unfortunately having to hand off to my amazing coworkers, but my doctor did give me permission to go to my Yelp event tomorrow. It’s at Pinot’s Palette, and I promised her that I’d just be sitting and painting the entire time so she gave me her blessing to attend.

NOT looking forward to… the fact that I can’t finish up most of the nesting-related things left on my to-do list, sigh. Of course, Sean can take care of everything, but it’s not like he has the same nesting urges as me, so that to-do list isn’t exactly too pressing for him. I mean, okay, none of it is really pressing in general, to be fair. But knowing that doesn’t keep me from wishing I could finish putting up decals in the downstairs bathroom, pre-wash all her baby towels, or get that dang bookshelf up!

Ah well. I, of course, am dealing. For now, anyway. And if the bedrest boredom eventually starts to affect my sanity, I’m sure you guys will be the first to figure it out. <3

The Saga Continues…

Previously, on Gretchen’s Life:

At my routine 34 week appointment last week, I had high blood pressure and was sent to the hospital to get checked out. Over the course of the time spent laying around there, my blood pressure went back to normal levels, and all of my other tests came back normal. I was discharged with instructions to follow back up with my OB on Friday (two days later) for another blood pressure check.

All caught up? Okay, good. So, as mentioned in my last post, this super unexpected turn of events (unexpected in that my blood pressure has been generally great all pregnancy and I’ve had no other issues until now) threw me into panic mode a bit. I suddenly wanted to—nay, HAD TO—check off every single item on my to-do list all at once.

Luckily, I’m surrounded by awesome people who quickly offered to help me out (huge thanks to Catrina for helping haul away my Goodwill donation pile!), and while I certainly didn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list, I did get to check off a few things that had been gnawing at me. I successfully got our stroller together (the Chicco Bravo travel system — gifted by my parents), put most of the finishing touches on my maternity leave plan for work, and packed up my hospital bag (which, okay, maybe wasn’t super necessary, but can you blame me for wanting to take care of it sooner rather than later?).

Well, turns out it’s a really good thing that I did have such a productive day-and-a-half between doctor’s visits, since on Friday I whisked myself off to see the OB for my follow up appointment…

…Where it was determined after several new readings that my blood pressure was still high. Womp womp. My BP wasn’t reading insanely high (140/85-ish, if I remember correctly), but high enough for my doctor to remain concerned. While I wasn’t sent back to the hospital or anything, I do have borderline gestational hypertension and I think my OB is worried that it could still develop into preeclampsia.

Just like before, it felt like things moved very quickly from there. I was prescribed blood pressure medication (Procardia) and put on modified bedrest (I’m still allowed to get up to use the bathroom, get water, eat, etc, but otherwise need to be laying down in bed or on the couch). Most importantly, my doctor’s recommendation is now to induce Baby Foxlet’s birth at 37 weeks… assuming my blood pressure is able to be kept relatively under control until then.

Needless to say (especially if you saw my Instagram Stories update from later that day, lol), this was certainly not the news I was hoping to hear. Even though 37 weeks is considered “full-term” by some professionals, I don’t think that having a medical reason to induce early at all is part of anyone’s ideal plan. I also worry that this increases my likelihood of being taken in for a C-section instead of being able to deliver vaginally, which I know wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I know plenty of women who have had them and been more than fine! But that said, I’ve never had any kind of surgery before — never even gotten my wisdom teeth taken out! — so the thought of a caesarean is still pretty scary to me.

Moreover, there’s the fear that I won’t even make it to 37 weeks if my blood pressure spikes up further, or if I develop any additional signs of preeclampsia (specifically I need to keep an eye out for bad headaches, sudden swelling, and/or vision changes.) At only 34 weeks and 5 days right now, Foxlet is still pretty itty bitty, and has quite a bit of lung development still to go… which would likely mean a stay in the NICU if she were to have to come now. In my head, I know that 34 weeks isn’t super-duper premature or anything, but you never really know what could happen. And just the thought of my little bean surrounded by all those tubes and wires, or even just being in an incubator instead of in my arms makes me so sad.

Even though I’ve had a textbook (albeit relatively miserable) pregnancy up until literally this week, I’m battling some pretty extreme emotions about this turn of events. It really feels like the alarm has gone from 0 – 100 SO quickly. I was totally fine… and then suddenly, I wasn’t. And it’s really hard not to feel like somehow this is my fault, that I could have done something different — waited until I was at a healthier weight to get pregnant, battled through my extreme nausea to stay more active, or just been, I don’t know, better at this whole growing-a-human thing.

And I know—I know—there are plenty of people who develop gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and a whole host of other pregnancy-related issues, regardless of whether they’re super fit and at a healthy weight, or if they’ve got a little more to love. But the guilt is still real.  Those of you who are already mothers have told me that feeling of guilt is probably never going to go away though (welcome to being a parent, I guess!) so perhaps this is just the universe’s way of getting some extra practice in for me.

Anyway, now that I’m a little bit further removed from the shock of receiving this news, I really am trying to maintain a positive outlook. After all, I don’t have any reason to think that this treatment plan won’t work as of right now. And I do acknowledge that I’m in a better position than many to deal with the pitfalls of being put on bedrest. The fact that I work from home means there’s still a ton I can get done from the confines of my bed or couch, after all! Makes for a pretty good distraction, too.

I go back for another follow up appointment on Monday to check on whether the medication is working, whether my blood pressure is remaining stable, and whether I’m going to need to stay on bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy (however long that’s going to end up being.) My doctor also scheduled me for an ultrasound on Tuesday to check on Baby Foxlet, see how she’s doing, and try to get an idea of how big she is (although I hear these sizing sonograms aren’t incredibly accurate). So I’m trying to look at it as kind of a bonus that at least I’ll get to see a glimpse of my little nugget again — my last ultrasound was back at 21 weeks!

Anyway, that brings us up to speed! I’ll likely have another update after my appointment tomorrow (and hopefully it will be good news — or at least no news!) but for now, I’ll happily welcome any positive thoughts and good juju you want to send to me and Baby Foxlet. I also will happily welcome any visitors bearing bubble tea. Just saying.