The rest of pregnancy.

The last few months of my pregnancy were a whirlwind. A few things happened that I would like to document before I get to her birth story.

So the last time I posted I was 26 weeks. 

This is bump at 27 weeks.

We had another 3D ultrasound at the 29 week mark. We didn't get very good images because her face was so close to the uterine wall, but it was still so fun to see! 

It's hard to see her face at first. This is a side profile of her. She is looking to the right, and in front of her face is umbilical cord so that makes it difficult to interpret. Mostly everyone we showed had such a hard time seeing her face, so no worries if you can't. You aren't alone. Ignore the big black blob on the upper left. Its just a shadow, not a creepy eyeball monster.

If you are confused or unsure, you probably can't see her. It's like those optical illusion pictures. Suddenly you are like OHH I SEE IT. If you still can't, maybe just give up. :)

Things were going better since my sickness had settled and I was settling into a routine at work and at home. When I was 29 weeks, which was mid April, I was up all night with cramping and constant Braxton Hicks. I had experienced a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions over the previous weeks but everything seemed normal and I just carried on. But during this particular Saturday evening, the pain was starting in my lower back and I knew something was different. I had taken all the Tylenol I was allowed and the only way I could sleep was with a hot pack directly on my lower back, and even then I was waking up every half hour in pain. Early that Sunday morning I had a hot bath and everything seemed to settle. We had talked a couple times about maybe going into the hospital to get checked, but since she was still kicking away and things had settled, I opted to see my doctor on Monday. I took the day off work as I wasn't feeling great and a little concerned about what was happening. My doctors appointment was later that evening.

At my appointment that evening, they checked her heart rate and it was quite elevated compared to usual. Every visit her heart rate had been about 135-140, and it was up around 170. My uterus was extremely tense and the doctor was a little concerned just because there were a combination of a few things going on so she sent me to the hospital. At the hospital they did an ultrasound to check that my placenta hadn't detached and also confirm my baby was happy and healthy, and to check my cervix. Everything seemed quite normal, except my cervix had shortened a little bit to 2.4, which isn't horrible but still a little bit on the short side. We discussed the options of giving her steroids in case I was going into labour to help develop her lungs. I reeeeally didn't want this little lady to come at 29 weeks! I was stressed, but I noticed that the more stressed I got, the more contracting my uterus was doing. The doctor said she felt confident at that point not to give me the steroids quite yet because she didn't believe I was in labour but to continue monitoring things closely and I would have a follow up ultrasound in a couple days with strict instructions to come back if I noticed any changes, bleeding, cramping, decreased movement, etc etc.

At my ultrasound later that week, we had good news! My cervix was miraculously measuring at 3.2! They also told me at this point that my little girl was footling breech, but not to worry because I was only 29 weeks and she would very likely move into the correct position by the time she was ready to come. (ha.) Everything seemed good, except I was still having this tightening in my uterus. Now I had experienced many Braxton Hicks, but these tightenings were lasting up to an hour, sometimes and hour and a half. They weren't painful, but a bit uncomfortable. When they were accompanied by lower back cramping, that wasn't a good sign. But I hadn't experienced the lower back cramping like I had earlier that week for a few days. Since they were confident that there were no serious problems, they sent me home, but I wasn't allowed to be at work. Her cord was also down in my pelvis and I was at risk for cord prolapse so if my water happened to break she could suffocate from the pressure on the cord cutting off her oxygen supply. I was so stressed about all the possible things that could happen, but all at once, I had an overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be okay. I was told I needed to stay off work until at least 34 weeks, just because putting extra stress on my back and uterus would cause it to contract more and we needed to let it relax as much as possible as we didn't want my cervix to start shortening again. 

30 weeks.

31 weeks.

 I had a follow up ultrasound at 32 weeks, and things continued to improve. My doctor didn't see any reason why I couldn't be back at work. My cramping had subsided. My uterus was still acting out, and they only explanation they could give me was that it was possibly what they call an "irritable uterus", and wasn't causing any problems unless it was shortening my cervix or starting labour. Basically they were just going to watch me closely with routine ultrasounds. It was such a relief to even have made it to 32 weeks at that point. I knew even if I went into labour, she would be so much better off than she would have been at 29 weeks. Obviously we wanted her to cook a little bit longer though.
At this point, their biggest concern was the fact that she was still footling breech. Her head was jammed under my ribs and her feet were tap dancing on my bladder and cervix all day and night. They had me scheduled for another ultrasound at 36 weeks and if she was still in the same position, they were going to refer me to a high risk ob-gyn and I would have a consult about how to proceed. 

34 weeks.
35 weeks

Also 35 weeks.

This was after a walk with Cody. I felt ginormous! I was obsessed with watermelon for basically all of May, and ate watermelon three meals a day. So I thought I was being funny with that caption. Walks were so frustrating because I would have to pee about 10 minutes in. Then my uterus would contract.. and then I would have to pee even more. So annoying.
 I can honestly say that besides the back pain, having to pee so often was the most frustrating part of my pregnancy. I had to plan my entire life around a bathroom. 
Drive to superstore.
Get all the groceries as fast as I could.
I'm not even lying.

Okay. Back to my story.

The morning of my 36 week ultrasound (Friday June 10) I already knew she hadn't budged. I could feel her head in the same spot and I knew her feet were still kicking away on my poor bladder. I went to the ultrasound and wasn't at all surprised when they told me she was in fact still footling breech. I had an appointment with my doctor that afternoon, where basically I was just referred to a high risk obstetrician. I would have that appointment the following Monday, June 13.

Here is little munchkins squishy breech face at my 36 week ultrasound. 

That appointment was so stressful. The obstetrician was super nice and informative but I have never felt so overwhelmed in my life. She laid out my options. Basically, I could have an ECV, which is an external cephalic version. In this procedure, they manipulate the baby on the outside by pressing on my abdomen/uterus and try to get her to move into the right position. There were a few risks, mostly that there was a chance that I could go into labour, the baby could get stressed, my water could break, etc. Also, the procedure was quite uncomfortable, and there was the chance that it wouldn't even work. Because it was my first pregnancy, I only had a 25% chance that it would be successful.

My next option was to attempt a vaginal breech delivery. My doctor said it was actually very unlikely that my baby was footling breech as it is very rare. If she was in fact footling, this option wouldn't be possible. My doctor actually bet me her house that she wasn't footling.. (ha. should have got that in writing..) again she explained the risks associated with this option, and I would possibly end up needing a c-section anyway. It seemed that there were so many risks for the baby with this option. When she started talking about the risk of my little baby coming out with bone fractures, I lost it. I pictured my innocent girl starting her life with a broken arm and it was so upsetting. There were other risks for the baby that she was listing, but by that point, I was hardly even taking anything in. It was just so much information and I was having such a hard time processing.

The last option she reviewed was a planned c-section. Again, she listed all the risks, which seemed to mostly apply to me. Longer recovery, significant blood loss, damage to other organs, etc. Anyway, the doctor was great and explained everything very thoroughly, but I just needed time to process and think. I went home feeling quite emotionally drained. Cody and I prayed about our options and both felt strongly against attempting the vaginal breech delivery. I know that for some people, this would have been the right option, but it just wasn't for us. We wanted to give our baby the best shot at making it here with minimal trauma, and there were just too many risks associated with the vaginal breech delivery. We decided we did want to give the ECV a shot, although the chances of it working were minimal. I did want to try my best shot at having a normal labour and delivery. I booked the ECV for Monday June 20. We decided that if it was unsuccessful, we would go ahead and book a c-section.

We felt confident in our decision, and although it wasn't exactly how I pictured my labour and delivery, I knew that everything was going to work out.

Here I am, feeling large at 36 weeks!  You can also see that the nursery is still not ready.. that among other things..
Pack your hospital bag early people.
You just never know when little ones will make their appearance!

3rd Trimester Symptoms:

back pain. no matter what size bra I would put on, it hurt my back/ribs.
rib pain on my right side. a constant dull ache. likely because there was a head jammed under them.
frequent need to pee
ridiculously thirsty
swelling. not severe, but enough that I didn't recognize my ankles and could no longer wear my wedding rings.
hot. we had a heat wave in June for about a week and basically I didn't think I was going to survive.
Spoiler: I survived.