Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Damn. D Day Is Near.

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Well everyone... I'm still alive. For now, anyways.

The day is drawing near that the obstetrician plans to open me up like a walnut and get this baby out. His abdomen is huge. So large that for the gestational age estimate, they have only listed "n/a". We asked, and that is NOT a good thing.

And this is with MANAGED gestational diabetes. My midwife all but ignored my concerns until I got my own glucose meter after family and a family friend said it was pretty obvious that baby's abdomen measurement meant I had diabetes. I can only imagine what things would be like right now had I not started testing and drastically changing my eating. (Spoiler alert: They denied that I had it and said I was referred to the diabetes clinic because I was anxious about it. Are you fucking kidding me? I ate a banana and my sugars went through the roof, I was huge! They caused a lot of grief with this during labour. It's safe to say I hate my midwives for the treatment I received...)

At my last ultrasound last week, they could tell my fluid levels have gone up another 50%. My own belly is measuring at 42 weeks. That's insanity. I'm so uncomfortable and the pressure is so intense, I vomit every time I lay down. I wish I were exaggerating. Following my stomach check and measurement at the OB's office the other day, I promptly scanned the room for a garbage and when I couldn't find one I proceeded to puke a few times in his sink. Proud moment. I may have scarred his accompanying resident student.

This photo was taken the day I wrote this post, which also happened to be the day I ended up in the hospital! Spoiler alert: WE BOTH SURVIVED BUT IT WAS SCARY AS HELL!!

I love my little kiddo, Baby D. I hope that a new baby doesn't change things too much for her. I want her to know and feel how loved she is, no matter how needy the new baby is and how tired and totally depleted Mommy and Daddy are. It's going to be a tough transition, I have no doubts about that. And I am not looking forward to recovering from surgery... I'm such a wuss. I know we will get through it but man oh man, it's gonna be painful and bumpy.

Next post: We survived.


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Monday, April 9, 2018

My Scary Pregnancy Stuff - Part 3

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It just keeps getting sweeter. And by sweeter, I mean more stressful. And, technically, less sweet. Sugar free even.

I'll try not to be too bodily-fluid focused on this post, but some of the scary stuff IS related to fluids so my hands are a bit tied.

I had my 32 week ultrasound to see if my placenta previa has moved. (Quick recap: Placenta previa is when the placenta covers the opening of the cervix, where baby would be making their way out of mama at some point. If the placenta is blocking the exit, it becomes dangerous, there is a much higher likelihood of bleeding - sometimes severely - and mama needs to have a C-Section to get baby out).

Usually they have to do a "TV" ultrasound to see exactly where the placenta is sitting, but the tech happily told me that he could see it clearly through the standard abdominal ultrasound. I thought that meant I was in the clear! I was so excited that I didn't have to worry about bleeding out any more and that I wouldn't have to be the biggest suck on the planet recovering from surgery once baby arrived!

Dude just literally meant he could see it clearly because the baby was sideways and it was totally visible.

SO... yeah, still need a C-Section. Still risk hemorrhaging. Still can't relax.

The midwife also told me that I had a high amniotic fluid volume and that there was nothing I could do to help that, but that they would monitor it. She never even mentioned to me that the ultrasound also showed that the baby's abdomen is in the greater than 90th percentile for size. That's not good. It means little dude is probably drinking a ton and not even able to pee enough of it out.

High amniotic fluid is called polyhydramnios, and it occurs in about 1% of pregnancies. That's right. Super lucky up in diss bitsh. Often it is due to gestational diabetes. Reading about it is scary because it, too, carries a greater risk of placental abruption. Slap that on top of the previa and I picture myself kind of exploding like an epic, gooey water balloon.

Anyway... I only read that about the baby's abdomen when I requested a copy of the ultrasound. The midwife didn't even want to give it to me. HELLLLLLOOOO, it's my body and my baby, thanks. Turns out a family member who is a doctor, and her good friend who is an obstetrician, told The Hubs straight away that it sounds like I have diabetes.

BUT NO. I thought. I failed the first diabetes test, but passed the two hour glucose screen. I was in the clear. Just barely. But both docs insisted that reducing my sugar and carbs would help with the fluid situation.

I emailed the midwife asking if further investigation would be useful. I didn't want to be eating the wrong food or doing anything to harm the baby, obviously. I just barely passed the 2 hour diabetes test. Maybe it was worth doing the test again, or getting a glucose meter to test my levels?

She was pretty rude, said the test had a range for a reason and I passed it so that was that. If I happened to have a glucose meter lying around, I could knock myself out, but that it was a non issue. And if I was concerned, I should ask the obstetrician at my next appointment. (Hello, she is my primary care provider? And quick to pass the buck?)

So I went and spent $100 to get a meter, test strips, and lancets (technical name: stabby stabbers).


I googled a wee bit for glucose ranges, then ended up talking at length with another mama who had gestational diabetes. She was kind enough to send me a bunch of information and guidelines from the diabetes clinic and there was no doubt that anything with wheat or sugar was spiking the SHIT out of my blood levels.


This pregnancy I have survived almost entirely on wheat and sugar. And Gatorade.

So... yeah.

So now I get to stabby stab myself 6 times a day, I'm eating shit like all bran buds and PLAIN Greek yogurt, I still look motherfucking MASSIVE because I have extra fluid (and everyone and their brother is sure to let me know whenever I dare set a swollen foot out in public. Thanks y'all, I didn't realize how big I was. I just assumed ALL pregnant ladies resort to wearing tents and tarps in their 7th and 8th months...), may still bleed out, and have to have surgery.

I have a tentative date to remove this baby from my guts, but the operating room was apparently booked so it is pretty much just a pretend date right now. (Um, thanks?)

That date is also 2 weeks after when my daughter chose to show up (a month early). So I don't actually expect to make it to the C-Section date. I bawled my eyes out when the doc told me the timeline. I don't want to bleed out at home, especially in front of my daughter. He told me I wouldn't, and that it never happens (please see my last post, it does happen, and I watched my sister almost die from the same condition).

So, let's hope this baby gives me some kind of warning with a milder bleed, or something that gets me to the hospital before all hell breaks loose. I want to be alive for Baby D and to meet this kid, too.

I have one more ultrasound in a couple of weeks to see if things have moved. I really really really hope that the placenta takes a hike because I am dreading a C-Section. UGH.


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Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Scary Pregnancy Stuff - Part 2

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[EDIT: Be warned this post discusses a lot of blood.]

So, at 6 weeks I at least knew that I was cleared of an ectopic pregnancy. Thank goodness.

Then, as things progressed, I had all the awful physical side effects as listed in one of my previous posts. But the good ol' scary question marks have reared their ugly heads twice more now. instance number one is as follows:

When I went in for the anatomy scan at 21 weeks, they found I had a Grade 3 placenta previa. That means the placenta is being a dick and is sitting at the opening of the cervix. While your eyes just glazed over there, I can sum that up to mean that if blood vessels rip there and/or shit doesn't move out of the way on its own, I'm in big trouble. You can hemorrhage out and in extreme cases, Mom can die within 10 minutes from blood loss. Things get pretty grave for baby, too. Your body still keeps pumping blood to the placenta to help the baby, but it's essentially like a garden hose just spraying out of control with the tap turned to full blast.

If they know you have it, but you don't go into early labour, your doc will book a planned C-section so no one dies and bleeds out. If you go into early labour, or you have placental abruption, shit goes bad fast and an emergency C-section is necessary to save mom's life.

I discovered that there were risk factors that increased my chances of having placenta previa. They include: 
  • Being old as fuck while pregnant (that's me, so yep, check)
  • Having had a baby already (here's lookin' at you Baby D, check)
  • Previously having a D&C (had that 12 days after delivering Baby D, check)
  • Previous scarring in the uterus (likely from infection after Baby D, check)
  • Late implantation of the fertilized egg (seems that way based on dates, so check)
  • Cocaine use (wait. No. Goddamnit I never have any fun.)

And while it often CAN self-correct, and you assume that description is a worst case scenario that likely never happens, I can tell you that I sat with my sister's legs elevated on my shoulders as she bled out on her bedroom floor in this exact scenario while pregnant with her second child. It was utterly fucking terrifying. And there was nothing we could do for her but hope the ambulance would arrive soon and somehow fix things. 

I remember chatting with my 2 year old niece at the time, pretending EVERYTHING WAS NORMAL and okey dokey so she wouldn't feel scared, while her Dad was on the phone with 911 running all over the house trying to find my sister's health card. It was surreal as my sister went in and out of consciousness. It felt like everything was moving in slow motion. I felt terrible that I was acting so nonchalant with my sister essentially dying on the floor behind me. I was just so determined not to let my niece see how dire the situation was. 

I eventually took her out to the backyard to play on the swings before the EMT technicians came in, until her Mommy was in the ambulance. We stayed out until it was dark. I vividly remember the ambulance lights flashing in the night sky from the driveway out front. I had to wait until they pulled away to go back into the house. And my God, all the blood. It was everywhere. The bedroom, the hallway and all down the stairs. And they would have taken her out by stretcher... so, WTF.

I don't remember putting my niece to bed, but I did, then I began sopping up the blood in a kind of numb state. We didn't all have cell phones then. I couldn't text or call anywhere for an update. I remember her neighbour came over and asked what was going on, as she proceeded to tell me it was God's will, blah blah blah as I wiped up pool after pool of blood. My sister was only 34 weeks pregnant so it was not a good situation.

They survived. She needed a blood transfusion. Her baby had to go to a specialized hospital. They were both so very close to dying. We later met up with the EMT to attended to her that night and heard even more horrifying details of what happened and just how close we were to losing her.

So as soon as I heard that I had previa, I have been on edge and afraid. In BC, where I live, they don't even consider it an issue until a scan confirms it is still present at 32 weeks - OR - you have bleeding (or a "sentinel" bleed which is like a warning that shit isn't quite right) at some point before that. Relatives (who are doctors) in another province were aghast that I wasn't being followed before that with regular ultrasounds with an obstetrician and that I wasn't put on pelvic rest, either. (No exercise, heavy lifting, sexy time, etc).

Apparently, as the uterus stretches and grows as you get farther along, the placenta can eventually move up and not be in the way. It's clinically insignificant what it's doing before 32 weeks, because the body won't have enough room for it to self-correct before then. So extra ultrasounds may show things improving a bit, or may not, but it doesn't really matter until further down the line. Makes sense, but it definitely not comforting to say the least.

I can tell you that it is a loooooong wait between 21 and 32 weeks. I still have almost three weeks until this scan. Until then, I can't fly, can't be too far from the hospital, can't do road trips, all that, in case I start to bleed. I continued doing spin classes, being careful not to slam my junk down hard on the seat or anything (since my midwives said to keep exercising as normal).

My body totally gave up on exercise just after 24 weeks. The anemia, sciatica and hip/butt pain have made it totally impossible. In the last four days just walking 20 feet I have almost passed out three times. No joke.

That can be attributed to my anemia. My levels are brutal. I am supposed to be getting an IV iron infusion very soon. It also carries risks, and can result in anaphylactic shock or severe allergic reaction. It's scary, I'm scared, but my levels are dropping too fast and my body is not tolerating the oral pills or liquids. Further that, if I DO get a sentinel bleed, or have previa that doesn't resolve, the already low blood and iron levels can mean an even more dangerous situation for me. So, fingers crossed that my body accepts the iron IV with little to no side effects, and I can carry on with this pregnancy hopefully better off and not scared to move, walk or drive.

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