My Pregnancy Journey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
From not planning to have kids to an overdue pregnancy. This was my journey.

Submitted: March 17, 2011

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Submitted: March 17, 2011

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My Pregnancy Journey
From conception to overdue delivery
I didn’t think I was going to have a child – ever, but things change quickly once you meet the right person.

I was 30, divorced and not really looking for anyone. I had a job, an apartment and cats – 3 of them. My life was good. Then I met Mimo; life got even better. We started dating and after almost 2 years, we moved in together. A year later we started talking about babies and family. We decided it was time to start trying to get pregnant, so I went to the doctor’s to make sure all was ok.

It was then when I found out my blood had factor II mutation – when the blood has an increased tendencyto clot – and I would need to take blood thinners throughout a pregnancy. The hematologist advised me to stop with birth-control pills immediately – that was in October 2003 – but we wanted to start trying only in April 2004, when my classes at University were over. What should we do? Well, since I had to stop taking the pill before trying to get pregnant anyway, I stopped it in October.

April came and that was it. On April 8th Hailey was conceived. At first we had no idea if I was pregnant or not; the first test I took was too soon and came out negative, but I knew I was pregnant! We had to wait… for a week! Not knowing was killing me! I couldn’t concentrate… I made an appointment with my OBGYN for the week of the 19th.

Meanwhile, we bought different brands of home pregnancy tests and on Saturday the 17th we tried again. We both went to the bathroom and watched the color on the test strip change. Yoo-Hoo! We were pregnant!

The day of the appointment arrived and my doctor confirmed: I was pregnant. The ultrasound showed 2 sacs; it could be twins. My doctor said he would not follow my pregnancy and I would have to find a different doctor. Great, when I most needed assistance my doctor deserted me… He referred me to a specialist to evaluate my situation – I was a high-risk patient (because of my factor II mutation) and probably carrying twins (which increases the risks).

I made an appointment for the following Wednesday – a week of waiting again. Until then, we were biting our nails. Thank goodness I had been 3 years without smoking and had no intention to start again… otherwise that would have been the perfect time to go back to the old bad habit.

The day of the appointment came and we both went to see the specialist. We got to the ultrasound room to check about the two sacs. After the technician checked here, measured this, measured that, the doctor came in. He examined the pictures and told us: “You are not carrying twins. The second sac is empty; only one is developing.” I tried to find out why the second sac could have been empty but the doctor did not give us many answers. In any case, I was happy with our one baby. My due date was set to January 3rd, 2005.

OK. Now what? I didn’t have a doctor. A very good friend of mine, Keren, found me an excellent doctor: Dr. James. A father & son practice here in Miami that really makes you feel like a person. They didn’t carry malpractice insurance – the excuse I got from other doctors who refused to take care of me during my pregnancy – but they took me as a patient.
That was a big relief. It was time to start reading the “What to Expect…” book and alike.

At that point my body was already doing its thing and I was getting bigger: hips, stomach and breasts. All that despite I had been walking on the treadmill, eating healthy (humm… I still remember my vegetable soup!) and drinking only water. Oh, well, I guess that’s the way a pregnancy goes.

On my 17th week, I started taking the blood thinner. Dr. James showed my husbandMimo how to do it – he had to inject it into my belly – and I had to take that every evening. Towards the end of the pregnancy, he would change the dose and I would need to take two injections a day. As the saying goes: “when it rains, it pours.”

When I was 17 weeks and 2 days – on July 28th, 2004 – we went for the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. We found out we were having a girl! We have it all on tape.

The pregnancy was progressing normally; the baby was fine, even though the doctors thought she was a bit small for the number of weeks she was. I was worried and, until then, I depended solely on the doctor’s monitor to know through her heartbeat that all was OK. I had no idea how things were going in my belly.

That changed when on the day I completed 20 weeks, I felt her move for the first time. It was like my stomach was growling without making any sound. Later in the pregnancy came the hiccups – loads of them. I was happy; I could feel her.

One night, during my 34th week, I couldn’t feel her move at all. That scared me and I started crying – I thought something had happened to our baby girl. We waited and nothing, I couldn’t feel her moving. I called the doctor and he told me that if it would make me feel more comfortable checking on the baby, to go to the hospital and get checked. That’s what we did.

After all the hospital forms, I was put on a monitor and there she was. I could breathe again; her heartbeat was normal. But, besides the heartbeats, they detected a regular contraction going on – probably because I was upset – but I didn’t feel any pain. Once I realized I was having contractions, I paid attention and felt just like a mild pressure on the bottom of my belly at each contraction. I was early – only 34 weeks – so they gave me an injection to stop the contractions. It worked and we were sent back home.

And we thought that by the 40th week I would be done. Our baby would be here and I would be enjoying life again – no more swollen hands or legs, no more heartburns, my skin would be coming back to normal, etc. All the good things a pregnant woman could hope for.

Nah! Too good to be true. I always read about women being over their due date, but I never thought that would happen to me. It did!

The worst part of being passed my 38 weeks – when most everybody expects you to be having your baby – was the pressure from the family. I was already worried about being over the “normal” time-line, and the comments and questions my family members were popping up all the time were not what we should consider helpful.

“Why is it taking so long? Do you still feel your baby moving? Have you spoken to your doctor about it? What is he going to do about it?” were some of the questions I had to answer. I was just trying to keep it cool and go to my appointments as usual, making sure our little baby girl was doing fine.

Every appointment was a disappointment – no dilation… until my 39th week. It was then when I was between 1 and 1 ½ centimeters dilated. The whole family celebrated and I felt some relief.

At 40 weeks I was between 2 and 3 centimeters dilated. It indicated some improvement but that was not enough; I was not ready yet. My doctor scheduled an induction for the day I completed 41 weeks – January 10th, 2005.

I was concerned now about the induction process itself – on top ofeverything else…more pain, higher risk for a cesarean section, just to name a few. I reviewed the information on induction in the “What to Expect…” book so I would know what to realistically expect from the induction process. The anxiety was killing me!

But 2 days before the date the induction was scheduled for I started feeling mild contractions. I was not very alarmed because – oh well – I had had those before and nothing happened. However, I lost my mucus plug in the afternoon and it had a bit of blood on it. That told me something was really in progress.

Since I was over my 40 weeks, that could definitely be it. I was referring back to the book to make sure those symptoms were expected and what else I should expect to happen and what I should do. Yes, I did go to the Lamaz class but at the eleventh hour I could not remember anything.

I had a little diarrhea – another sign your body is getting ready for delivery – and I was feeling tired. I went to bed around 8:00pm, which is very unusual to me. The contractions were definitely there. I fell asleep and then at 10:30pm a contraction woke me up. I got out of bed and could not walk very well; that was painful! It was like I had a very strong menstrual cramp going.

That was it. I called my husband who was working in the other room and told him: “Get ready. We need to go to the hospital. The time has come.” He asked: “Shouldn’t we time the contractions? We should go to the hospital only when they are 5 minutes apart…” I looked at him and said: “Forget about timing. Let’s go.”

We left home around 11:30pm. The trip to the hospital felt like the longest ever… but we got there. My husband went first to get the door. We went to the second floor and started the process we so much have anticipated: checking into the hospital.

After giving some information at the front desk, I was taken to the triage room. I changed into the gown they gave me and lay in bed. The nurse checked me – I was 4 cm dilated – and started asking a ton of questions that my husband helped answering. It was around 1:00am when I felt the water breaking – all that water coming down on the bed. The nurse checked and it was true – I was not peeing; it was the bag of waters breaking.

She finished asking all the questions (that I had already answered when I pre-registered in the hospital and again when I came on my 34th week, but that is a different story), they put me in a wheel chair and took me to the labor and delivery room.

I had blood drawn to check if I could get an epidural at that point (because of the blood thinner, they needed to be extra-cautious so I didn’t suffer any bleeding) – yes, I did want one! – and more forms came my way. Signing the consents between contractions was kind of fun; my husband and I could not believe that that was happening.

I was 6 cm dilated when the results from the blood test came back and the anesthesiologist came to the room – bringing more forms with him. He asked basically the same questions we had answered to the triage nurse, but in the end I got the epidural. Finally, relief. I told my husband: “You can call my sister now.”

I slept for some time. When I woke up, my sister was already there with us. Suddenly another nurse came in and said I was ready to push. “Really?” I asked. I had no idea how to push but… I had to do it. My husband was holding my left leg, my sister was holding my right leg and the nurse was giving me instructions. It was around 7:45am when we started.

The epidural wore off and they did not give me a booster. I had to feel what I was doing in order to push properly. It scared me at first, but then I realized it didn’t matter; I was not really feeling any pain. After a couple of hours I was tired. My doctor was helping me push by pressing his two hands against my stomach. I was afraid it was taking too long and I would end up needing a Cesarean section – recovery takes so much longer; I didn’t want that.

They could see her head and the little bit of hair but she was not coming out. She had her hand under her chin and that was preventing her to come through the birth canal. At some point I had the strength to joke: “Dr. James, just pull her by the hair!” I kept on pushing. I tore and got an episiotomy. I didn’t feel any of that.

At 10:07am Haileywas finally born. She was 8lbs 2oz and 20.75’. What a great feeling! I was so tired that I could not even hold her. I just kissed her on the forehead and they took her away. The first night she stayed with the nurses for I didn’t have any strength left, but early in the morning she was back with us.

We went back home 3 days after delivery. I still remember thinking how great my recovery was: in four days I was walking as if nothing happened and I was successfully breastfeeding – I took the class they offered at the hospital and my friend Keren, again, shared some very useful tips.

I spent the following 4 months in Hailey’s bedroom; she slept on my chest all that time. After that, I was back in our bedroom walking back and forth during the night to feed our little princess. I breastfed her until she was 14 months. I cannot really tell how we stopped, but it was a mutual thing: my milk supply was getting lower and she was not looking for the breast as much. So one day we just stopped.

Hailey is now 18 months old. For the past 18 months, we have been very busy being parents. This task is not so easy, but we are enjoying every minute of it!

From the whole experience, I learned a lot. I learned that you should take good care of yourself – the healthier you are, the better your pregnancy (and your baby) will be. I learned that if you feel uneasy when your baby is not moving much, you should go to the hospital – if there is a problem, there is a chance it will be detected and corrected in time. I learned that taking an epidural makes a huge difference when labor starts – it allows you to rest before your energy is really needed at “push time!”

I also learned that being over 38 weeks does not necessarily mean we – or our baby – have a problem; we don’t need to panic if we are overdue. Somebody estimated a date but our bodies are the ones that really know when we are ready. When that day comes, our bodies will also know what to do.

For all new parents reading my story, enjoy your little one, take loads of pictures and notes – they grow up very quickly and your memory cannot store all the details of the new things they learn and do.

And to the families: keep in mind that the mother-to-be is already anxious and she does not need an extra dose of stress. Spare her from asking too many questions or making too many comments. We know that you, too, worry and want to see her best, so be supportive but share your concerns with the father-to-be instead.



Resources:

1. Prothrombin 20210 Mutation (Factor II Mutation) – by Elizabeth A. Varga, MS; Stephan Moll, MD

http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/110/3/e15

2. What to Expect when you are Expecting
Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff, Sandee E. Hathaway


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