Not How I Wanted to Spend my Saturday

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Saturday started off well. Neal and I had gone to bed quite early on Friday - he had been sailing all week and hadn’t slept as much as he probably should, plus he seems to have a bit of a cold, and I’m… well, I’m pregnant, so ’nuff said. I think that we ended up getting something ridiculous like 10 hours sleep - something that I definitely appreciate since I know that this isn’t something that will be possible soon enough once Baby Guthrie arrives.

We got dressed, swung by McDonald’s to get some breakfast, and went to Hyundai for an oil change. We hung out in the waiting area there, eating our breakfast and reading, and then when the oil change was done, we headed over to Sears to pick up the baby dresser we had ordered. We also swung by Future Shop since we’re looking at laptops - we didn’t buy one, but we just wanted to get an idea of what they have. We’re hoping to buy one there because we have a gift card for the store.

We came home, and I decided that - while Neal started opening the box with the dresser - I would just take our small compost bin to be dumped into the large bin outside, and take out the garbage as well before cooking up some lunch. I headed out with the compost, dumped it in, turned around to come back in, and promptly slipped on the sheet of ice I wasn’t aware of and landed - hard - on my tailbone and possibly my lower back.

Now, under any circumstances, I’d be pissed and sore, but as I’m pregnant, I started to freak out. I screamed Neal’s name - luckily, I was lying right under the window of the baby’s room so despite the closed windows, he heard me. He came out, helped me up, and I told him we had to go to the IWK (Children’s and Maternity hospital in Halifax) right away. I peed before we left, and luckily, didn’t see any blood, but I was still scared and very upset.

One thing that seems to be very nice about being pregnant is that you generally don’t have to wait very long, if at all, to be seen. I was taken in right away at the IWK, and when I had a rash on my arm and wanted to make sure it wasn’t a sign of something bad that would affect my pregnancy, my doctor’s office was able to fit me in right away.

Anyway, they hooked me up to a monitor - there were two “paddle” type things they strapped onto my belly - one to measure the baby’s heart beat, and the other to measure any contractions I might have. The nurses told us we’d probably be there for 4-6 hours while they monitored me. We were there for many an hour or so when a nurse came in and said, “So you’re having contractions?” Huh! So that’s what that back pain and cramping is! Honestly, I just thought the back pain was because of the fall and the cramping was because I had been so upset*. Apparently not. It also leads me to believe that that back pain/cramping I had the other night when I was here at home by myself were actually contractions. At least now I know what contractions feel like!

What was most concerning was when my doctor (who just happened to be doing rounds at the IWK yesterday) came in and told me that I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes. It was concerning because I know that when the Big Day arrives, it’s recommended that you leave home and go in when they’re about 4-5 minutes apart. But of course, what really matters is whether those contractions are changing your cervix.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but after having 3 cervical exams, it was determined that although the outer lining is a little dilated, the inner lining isn’t. They also did a test - Fetal Fibronectin - that helps to determine if there’s a chance a woman will go into labour within the next two weeks. A positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you will, because you can get false positives, whereas a negative result is taken to mean that there is a 97% chance that you will NOT go into labour within the next two weeks. Happily, mine came back negative.

So, after having been at the IWK for over 6 hours, I was allowed to leave. I was told - by my doctor as well as two doctors from obstetrics - that I am to take it easy. If I feel worn out (more so that would be warranted for being in my third trimester, I guess), or if I’m having stronger or more frequent contractions, I am to stay home from work, but otherwise, since I have a desk job, I can go in. And of course, if I start noticing A LOT of contractions, or any fluid or bleeding, I am to go back into the IWK. We left somewhat hurriedly because Neal and I hadn’t eaten anything since our McDonald’s breakfast at 9 a.m. It’s policy in the birthing unit that patients aren’t allowed to eat in case they end up needing a C-section, which is why I have planned that when I’m in labour at home, I’m going to eat something, even if I end up throwing it up later. Once you get in there, you’re out of luck - except for popsicles, which a nurse did bring in to us yesterday. We just went down to the little eating area at the hospital and each got a sub from Subway and a donut from Tim Horton’s. While Neal started the order, I went into the washroom, and discovered there was a little bit of blood there.

I came out and said to Neal, “It’s probably just from having had two cervical exams,” as I had only had two at this point, “and I’m eating first, but there was a little blood, so we may have to go back up to make sure it’s all okay.”

So we ate and then went back into admitting. The main obstetrics doctor came in and did that third cervical exam - he hadn’t done one at that point, and just wanted to know for himself that everything was okay - and determined that yes, it was just from the exams.

And at last, we checked out of the hospital, and came back home. Eight hours after we had left. Ugh.

I’m feeling pretty good now except for my tailbone, which is my biggest complaint at the moment. Sitting and getting up are very difficult, although it seems slightly, and only slightly, better this morning. I think I might have had a couple of contractions overnight and this morning, but nothing to be concerned about.

Unfortunately, Neal has to go back out on ship this week, until Friday. They’ll just be outside the harbour, doing exercises, so it’s not like it would be next to impossible for him to get off should anything happen with me and Baby Guthrie, but still. I know this will be a very, VERY long 5 days, but it should hopefully be his last sail until well after the baby is born. They are supposed to go out at the very end of February-beginning of March for another 5 days, but he’s going to tell his superiors that he doesn’t want to be on that and will explain the situation.

Today, I’m hoping, will be very uneventful. Once stores open, we’re probably going to go to Zellers to look at some area rugs that are on sale, but I think that’ll be it. Supper is pretty easy, and other than laundry, I plan to relax, read, do some writing, and pray that my tailbone feels a whole lot better by tomorrow morning so that it won’t be torture to go to work tomorrow (well, if it is really torturous, I probably wont’ go).

All in all, though, despite the imposed starvation, I have to say that the staff at the IWK were absolutely wonderful and made me feel as comfortable as one can be in that kind of situation. I am very happy with the knowledge that I will be delivering my baby girl in that environment!

* A couple of the nurses who did our prenatal classes told us that they often find that women will be 4 or 5 minutes apart in their contractions, and then when they arrive at the hospital, because they’re more nervous than they were at home, their labour will temporarily slow down. I think that, if anything, mine will speed up because I imagine that I’ll feel LESS nervous when I get to the hospital. At least there are doctors and nurses there who know what to do, with all kinds of equipment in case of any emergencies, etc. Yesterday, I was pretty much sobbing at home and in the car, but when I got into the hospital and they hooked me up, I calmed down pretty quickly. Granted, I got to hear the baby’s heart beat, which was nice, and by then she had gotten over what must have been quite the confused shock herself, and started bouncing around my belly (her high activity was commented on A LOT yesterday). But even when I was told that my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and part of my cervix was more dilated than they would expect at this stage of my pregnancy, I was pretty calm (though concerned). I think that was because I knew that they have medication that can make the contractions stop, as well as steroids that they can give to the baby while she’s still inside to make her lungs develop quickly, in case I do go into labour and have to deliver. That wouldn’t be optimal, but it’s certainly better than sitting at home, with nothing at hand.

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Ouch Times A Thousand

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So I was mentioning the growing frequency of back aches lately when I posted my entry yesterday. At the time, I had no idea what my evening was going to be like.

Pain. Lots of it. And, I’ll admit, a little bit of panic. Okay, fine - there were moments when there was a lot of panic.

After supper, I got a fire going in the wood stove, then started making a list of items to pack in what will become my “hospital bag”, getting today’s lunch ready and picking out my clothes for the morning. Once the fire seemed to be well-established, I decided to jump in the shower. It was a bit earlier than normal, but I figured that since my back had been pretty sore all day, the nice hot water would make me feel better.

In this, the shower failed. All of a sudden, while standing in the shower with the warm water aimed right at my back, the pain got a whole lot worse. It was the worst back pain I have ever experienced. It was only on my right side, and the pain was shooting down my leg and spreading around the front. Which led to some worrisome thoughts.

See, the nurse at our prenatal class explained to all of us first-time mothers-to-be that one of the differences between real labour and false labour is that real labour pains often start in the back and spread to the front, into the contraction. Which is pretty much what I was feeling, albeit only on one side. The pain was also quite intense, and I found that, once I was out of the shower, if I was walking around the house (to get, say, a glass of water), I would have to stop in my tracks as soon as that pain started in my back.

And, given my paranoia over going into labour before 37 weeks, I’m sure it’s pretty understandable that I started to worry that that was precisely what was happening. After all, it’s not like I’ve ever gone through this before, so I have no idea what it feels like.

I got the “Prevent premature labour” pamphlet off the fridge and sat back down on the couch. One thing it mentioned was drinking water as dehydration can cause contractions, and also to empty your bladder. I hadn’t really thought much about my bladder since I had just peed before my shower, but I decided to give it a shot. Sure enough, not long after that, everything calmed down. I guess I still have to get used to this idea of peeing every 10 minutes!

I also brought one of our couch cushions (the decorative type) from the rec room because they’re more flat than the living room ones, and in addition to my peanut cushion that I’ve been putting between my knees, I stuck this one under my belly a little bit. It seemed to feel better, so I’ll probably keep doing that.

I have my next doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, so I’ll mention the back pain (and my paranoia) to her and ask if she recommends one of those maternity belts that are supposed to support your growing belly. I am, after all, pretty “popped out” for 30 weeks, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if I need a little extra support.

My back feels a bit better today, although certainly not perfect. I was planning on going to the gym do my usual 30-minute walk on the treadmill at the very least, if not also doing some free weights and some leg lifts and squats, but I think I might forego that tonight as well and give my back a bit more of a break.

Something tells me that I am now going to pay for the very easy time I had with pregnancy during the first two trimesters!

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Ouch

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So! Week 30 of my pregnancy started today! Funny enough, it makes a huge difference in my mind to go from 29 weeks - which felt SO far away from 40 weeks - to 30. It might also be helped by the possibility that I could go into labour before 40 weeks; I know, I know, it’s pretty unlikely since this is my first, but I just have a feeling that I’m going to go early. Which is one reason why I’ve been pushing myself to at least get a training manual for my job finished - just in case I don’t get to do proper training.

In the same way that I was really looking forward to getting to Week 12 of my pregnancy so that I could emerge from that high-risk period, I am super-anxious to get to Week 37. If you go into labour before 37 weeks, your baby is considered to be pre-term, so I figure that if Baby Guthrie waits until 37 weeks and decides then and there that she’s had enough of this swimming around business and wants to make an appearance, I will be totally fine with that.

And so, this anxious waiting around bit makes for some tense moments at times, when I feel discomfort that could be interpreted as being a real contraction, or a Braxton-Hicks contraction, or really nothing in particular. It is not totally uncommon - when I’m alone generally - to look at my belly and say aloud, “Yes, I’m really looking forward to meeting you, but you’re not ready yet! You have to stay INSIDE!” But I am working on not getting too worried. It’s just easier some days than others.

One thing that has developed, and which I am NOT enjoying one single bit, is the back-ache that makes an appearance at least every second day. There are some days, like today, when I go through moments where the discomfort is almost unbearable, and since I’m at work, there isn’t really a whole lot I can do about it. And of course, Neal is away until Friday, so I won’t even be able to get a massage tonight! I guess I’ll be having a nice warm shower tonight!

Most days I don’t feel super-exhausted… yet. But I do get tired much more easily. This is, perhaps, the first time in my life when I tend to go to bed early when I’m feeling that tired, rather than splinting my eyelids open with toothpicks to stay awake.

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The Last Leg

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Howdy! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Considering that the last time I posted it was still 2010, I suppose I should, on January 14th, wish you all a happy new year!

It’s hard to believe, but on Monday I started my third trimester. Yup, as in the final one (or, second to last, depending on how “overdue” I go). Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago that I peed on a stick and saw a “+” sign? It’s amazing - and frightening - how fast time goes these days. I remember being in elementary school and feeling like the school year just draaaaagggged on and on and on.

This is, usually, the long part of the year, when we finish up Christmas holidays and have the interminable stretch between New Year’s Day and Easter; and this year, Easter is bloody late, only coming around on April 22nd. But luckily for me, that long-ass period of time probably (hopefully?) won’t feel as long because there are still many things to be done between now and our daughter’s arrival.

We got the crib over the holidays during a Boxing Day special (half-price!) and Neal and his dad put it together. We bought a mattress, fitted sheet and blanket for it. I think one of the cutest moments lately was when Neal and I were at Sears and he saw a decorative plush flower with pink petals that says “It’s a Girl!” in the center and asked if we could get it, and then he carried it to the cash.

(Another moment that made my heart swell with overwhelming love was after the crib was put together and he said, “I can’t wait until we have a baby to put in there.”)

We’ve ordered the dresser, change table and a glider chair, all of which should hopefully arrive by the end of January. I’ve been putting the baby’s clothes in my pajama drawer (since I only have two pairs of pjs that still fit me), and she’s already taking up half the drawer! And I haven’t even had my baby shower yet!

Speaking of the baby shower, my neighbour and friend Nina* is throwing one for me on February 6th, and I am insanely excited about that. I’ve always enjoyed baby showers, and the fact that this one is for my baby makes it even better!

Then February is a short month, and then we’re into March. Although there is a week in February when I’ll be doing some training with the girl who’s going to fill my maternity leave, the real training will start in March as that’s when the other maternity position, which she is filling, will end. That’ll be a mad dash because my last day is going to be March 25th, as long as all continues to go smoothly. Then it’ll be only a little over a week before the baby is due! Or, she may be born early - my father-in-law dreamed that she was born on March 29th, so I’m very anxious to see if that happens!

So yes, given all that is going to happen between now and then, and given how quickly the first 6 months have flown by, I’m thinking that the day I’m going to go into labour is going to feel like it’s just around the corner. I’m very excited to be in the third trimester - despite the fact that I know that my discomfort level is going to go up exponentially, and despite the fact that for the past week or so, my back has started to kill me about halfway through the day (like today where I find myself squirming in my chair and staring at the clock wondering how much longer I have to go until I can ask Neal to give me a back rub). I’m excited because it means that the day we get to meet our darling baby girl is getting so much closer.

* I just wanted to point out that I have the BEST neighbours ever. Neal has to do a bit of sailing over the next couple of months - not a whole lot, just a week here, a week there. Unfortunately, it’s January. In Canada. That means the very real possibility of snowstorms, and since we live in a house, that means shoveling. The other day, I emailed Nina to see if she or her husband happen to know someone who does snow removal since that would be much easier than pouring through the Yellow Pages and dialing numbers. Nina wrote back this morning and told me to stop being silly, and that she and Brad would shovel the driveway when Neal is away. Despite the fact that they have two kids (one who’s 6, the other who’s 2) and jobs and their own driveway to shovel.

Having great neighbours when your husband is in the military and your family is far away is really indispensable.

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Best Day of 2010

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While traveling into work this morning, the morning crew on The Bounce were asking for your best day of 2010. Although 2010 has been a busy year, it only took me a second to know what my best day was.

It was at the end of June when I woke up a little after 5 a.m. and went into the bathroom to pee on a stick, and saw that it immediately gave me a “+” sign! From that day forward, my life completely changed, as did my focus (and I’m sure that anyone who knows me can attest to that!).

As I alluded to above, though, 2010 has been a wonderful, busy year:

* We went to Cuba in January

* We bought a new car, a Hyundai Elantra Touring, which we love

* We went to Alberta, saw Caroline and Gord, saw the West Edmonton Mall, and saw the amazing Rockies

* Neal and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary

* We tore up our carpet and Neal laid down hardwood

* We saw our baby in two ultrasounds, one of which told us that we’re having a beautiful little girl!

And those are only the “big” things. 2010 has been witness to other days filled with smaller moments that were nevertheless wonderful, and 2011 is promising to be another exciting, amazing year!

What’s your best day of 2010?

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