My butt ripped a hole in my maternity jeans… and a few other updates!

It was a sad day a couple of weeks ago. I was pulling on a pair of maternity jeans when I felt it, a long rip around the top of my butt. I knew they were tight, but my goodness! Oh the joys of the last trimester of pregnancy.

It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been through it. But even maternity clothes don’t fit quite right during that last trimester. My narrow body frame is desperately trying to accommodate my rapidly growing belly, but if I go up a size, I’ll just be swamped in extra fabric. And then there’s finding clothes that work for my job as a television meteorologist. Long story short, some people haven’t been happy with my appearance and have emailed and posted some inappropriate things.

I allowed some of those things to get to me, dealt with my emotions and then made a public post to address the general dislike of a growing baby belly. It went viral. It is not typical for me to respond so publicly, but I had had enough. I’ve gotten these types of comments for all 3 of my pregnancies. And I thought it was important for people to know that I wouldn’t have been able to respond the way I did had it not been for work I’ve done on my own mental health. I struggled with mental health issues just before I had my son and for years afterward. My doctor told me the therapist she thought I should go to, and that was life changing for me. I made my math-based social media post purely for me.

It helped me stand up for myself and take back my power. The next day, I explained the process I went through to make that post in hopes that it would inspire others (including my own children one day) to do the same.

You can find the links to the stories here.

The overwhelming support I have received since writing the post, appearing on the Today Show and even having it published on Yahoo and through iheart radio stations has been amazing. I’m so happy to see that good far outweighs the bad and I hope others who are struggling have the opportunity to see that, too.

In other news, (I think) I have one more month of pregnancy to go!! My son was delivered at 35 weeks, and I just reached that milestone the other day.

Technically I could give birth at any time. My left uterus, which has never been pregnant before, has been acting like a champ. This is counter-intuitive to what we thought when we found out I was pregnant on that side. That uterus started out just a bit smaller than the other one. However, unlike with the right uterus, the baby’s growth has not significantly slowed down for this pregnancy and it continues to measure a week ahead of schedule.

I’m only slightly frightened by what that means for delivery. My last two babies weighed 5 lbs. 10 oz. I know my mother’s stories of having a 9 lbs baby (me). To all the women who have had larger babies, I salute you and your amazing bodies. I’ve had it easy. This time, maybe not.

I failed, then passed the gestational diabetes test. 🤢

My family spent a fantastic vacation in Hawaii.

Discovered how thankful I am that we keep my dad’s snow pants at our house.

And then proceeded to work a blizzard, all while managing to stay pregnant during a rare Colorado bomb cyclone! #winning

More recently, my body HAS been giving me signs that it may go into labor sooner rather than later. Enough signals that I called my doctor and they brought me in to see how I was doing. I was having contractions, but they weren’t that strong and were coming every 12 minutes.

They also had me take a test to see if I would go into labor in the next two weeks. It’s called an FFN, or  fetal fibronectin test. It’s definitive if it comes back negative, you will not go into labor. Not so definitive if it comes back positive. Mine came back positive. So I’ve also been getting a couple of steroid shots to help my baby’s lung development along. So far, (knock on wood) so good. But I would really prefer not to have NICU in my labor and delivery room. And I would also prefer not to go into labor before my cerclage comes out. That happens in just a couple of weeks. Then, for real, it is game on.

Even though the baby has developed A TON, I still struggle with emotional stress from this pregnancy. Just the other night I had a nightmare that I delivered my child and then never saw it… for days. No one would tell me if it was alive or not. So while I don’t want this baby to come into the world just yet, I will be relieved when my healthy child is finally here.

My husband and I have most things organized and moved around so that we are ready for the baby! We’ve moved my son into his new room and have set up the nursery once again. Plus, I fully intend on working until I have to check-in to the hospital for delivery. We are so blessed and so excited to meet this new addition!

Breaking Point

We all have one, right? A breaking point?  Maybe you let something small bug you for too long. Maybe you’ve just been doing everything you can to get through your day, but all of a sudden too many days have piled up and just getting through isn’t good enough any more. Sometimes you know the breaking point it coming. Sometimes it sneaks up on you.

Mine snuck up on me yesterday. I hit 29 weeks of pregnancy. The baby still looks great. It’s measuring a week ahead of schedule and they estimate it weighs around 3 lbs. 3 oz. My high risk doctors don’t seem to be concerned. I’ve only gained around 14 pounds, which is less than they’d like, but from their perspective, everything else is going really well. And everyday, I like to pretend that’s exactly how I feel… gleeful, chirpy, tickled pink… the happiest girl on the planet. It’s an act I can successfully pull off, until I reach my breaking point. After all, I have enough distractions: work, kids, life to name a few. Who has time to even think about themselves and how they are coping when the rest of the world needs to be taken care of? Then yesterday happened.

I failed my initial gestational diabetes test, and I had an emotional break down. And if I’m really being honest, I’m still reeling from it today. For the last 12 hours or so, I’ve been trying to figure out why this triggered me. Maybe it’s because I barely failed? The threshold measurement at my doctor’s office is 135… I got a 139. Maybe it’s because I know what’s coming next? I failed the first test with my son, too… then nearly passed out at the doctor’s office for the longer version and proceeded to feel like crap for the rest of the day. Maybe it’s because I’ve just had enough? My entire pregnancy I am poked at, prodded and examined. I hate needles, but needles are necessary when you’re high risk. Why NOT add something else to worry about to the list… gestational diabetes!? I kept coming up with reason after reason, until finally I realized it’s not just one thing. It’s all of them.

When I sit down and allow myself think and feel, I realize how worried I’ve been about this baby for the last seven months, and how I’ve shoved all those feelings aside. I have two children, 4 and 6 who need a lot of attention. The 6-year-old is in kindergarten, has homework, dance and swimming classes, friends’ parties and girl scouts. Have I mentioned it’s cookie season? The 4-year-old needed to be signed up for spring soccer, registered for kindergarten next year, and also has swim lessons. They each have emotional needs at the beginning and end of each day. While I know I’m raising compassionate little beings, most days it feels like the compassion ends with mommy.

My husband is desperately trying to keep up with and tolerate what I can’t or don’t do around the house. But I feel his frustration. Eating cereal at the end of the day is never ideal. And sometimes you just need a brain break!

I’ve written a list of things that need to get done before the baby arrives. Lord only knows if we’ll finish it. I only have a certain amount of energy every day. Once that’s over I know I can’t do anything else. I try to plan wisely, but in the back of my mind I know there’s still a lot of items on that list.

In the middle of it all I got sick. Judging by my fever, cough, body aches and fatigue… it could have been the flu. I had to miss days of work that I didn’t want to. Those lists of mine didn’t get touched for a couple of weeks and kids still came to me with needs.

Then there’s the life that is growing inside of me. Everyday I’m focused on making it to the next day or the next week. I’m constantly worried about whether I can feel the baby move. Most of the time the baby is active, but movements are different now as the baby gets bigger. They are slower and less ninja-like. I wonder if I’m feeling a contraction or if the baby stretching. And when it IS a contraction… I’m constantly worried that my water is going to break. Just a few days ago I had a dream that my water WAS breaking. When I woke up, I was in the middle of some pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions. They stopped after I went to the bathroom and drank some water, but I was freaked out for the rest of the night. My joints hurt worse this time around than they ever did with my other two children. Sciatic pain is out of control on some days. I’m STILL throwing up in the morning.  The baby is sitting low so my lower abdominal muscles hurt and so does my back.

My hormones are raging. I’m tired.

I’m still high risk. Doctors still measure the baby regularly to make sure everything is ok. But this thought is always looming: When’s the other shoe gonna drop?

And then… I failed my gestational diabetes test. Barely. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s just one more thing. And when, on God’s great earth, am I supposed to emotionally deal with it?

The other day I joked to some of my coworkers that we should start a new segment called “Bitch with Ditch”. You know… offer people a chance to vent with me, then we’ll end it with a 2 minute meditation session so we can all just let go of that anger. Maybe I need to take my own advice. Find some quiet time. Settle down and sit with my feelings… then when I’m done, let them go. Because the reality is, most of these things are out of my control.

If I need to find support, I’ll get it. I know first hand that depression is a real thing. I struggled while I was pregnant with my son and then after. For now, I think it’s time to focus, just a little bit, on me.

Partial contractions, stuffy nose and a very active baby!

22 weeks! About a week and a half and baby reaches viability!

I’m definitely bigger now than I was with my first. In fact this pregnancy has been very different from the others. Aren’t they all?!

When I was pregnant with my 6-year-old, it was the first pregnancy I had where I carried a baby past the first trimester. My daughter was in my right uterus, the bigger one. As it stretched, I don’t really remember it contracting in weird places throughout the second trimester… but to be honest, I was pretty overwhelmed by the entire thing. EVERYTHING was new. It could have happened, but I was so concerned about a bat colony that had made its way into our house, a hemorrhoid that needed surgery and my emergency cerclage that I easily could have missed it.

Those partial contractions, however, are happening with this pregnancy. I compare it to that “first” one because this baby is in my left uterus. That uterus has never been pregnant before, it’s never been stretched by a growing human. But this time I’m a veteran. The bat colony no longer exists, I’ve figured out how to keep the hemorrhoid situation under control, and this is my third go around with a cerclage. Perhaps now I’ve allowed myself to notice different things.

My high risk doctor says it’s TOTALLY NORMAL. And, to be honest, these contractions have been happening for a few weeks now. What I mean by “partial” is that it’s a small part of my uterus that gets tight. I promise you’re freaking out right now more than me.  Sometimes it’s on the left, sometimes it’s on the right, sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low. It does not hurt, but it’s a little uncomfortable and does cause me to pause for a moment, especially if it’s low. I manage it by rubbing my belly, giving it a little massage, and in a few seconds it goes away. My doctor says that it’s just that organ trying to “warm up” for the real thing. Most days I don’t notice much, but some days it happens a lot. Today was one of those days.

Unfortunately, today it took my breath away a bit and a couple of my coworkers and viewers noticed it on the air. I apologize! It doesn’t help that this pregnancy has also caused my nose to be constantly stuffy. Plus, this baby is measuring a full week ahead of schedule, so it’s growing quickly and taking up more space. All of those things are making it more difficult for me to manage my breath at times. I, sincerely, appreciate everyone’s patience.

For now, the cerclage is holding wonderfully. Baby looks healthy every time we peek at him or her. And the baby is kicking like CRAZY! I love it. 🙂 My four-year-old son likes to listen to the baby. He’ll put his ear on my belly while the baby kicks. He might get a swift kick to the face, but says he can hear it. LOL

My belly is getting high enough that acid reflux is a big issue this time around. Medicine is helping, but if I’m not careful it will make me sick… which by the way, is still happening every morning. YAAAAAAAAYYYYY.

Coming up next week, I get to see the baby again! My high risk doctors are doing growth scans once a month. They want to make sure that when growth does slow down, the baby is still getting enough nutrients. They believe that growth slows more significantly because the umbilical cord and placenta are not as efficient as they were earlier in the pregnancy when the baby wasn’t taking up so much space.  Both my daughter and son were fast growers at first, measuring well ahead of schedule, then quickly falling behind during the third trimester. While both were small, they were both very healthy so that’s good!

This baby looks to be following in big brother and sister’s steps. He or she is measuring a full week ahead of schedule! We’ll see how that growth has continued next week.

 

Week 19: pickles, string cheese and the baby’s kicks

Okay, it’s not the greatest picture! But this is what happens when there’s nothing but blue lights above your desk at work!

The week 19 bump is out in its full glory. I’ve gotten all the comments ranging from “Your bump doesn’t look like it’s growing too much.” to “When are you due again??” implying that the bump is huge. It is sometimes hard in the moment to process and emotionally deal with what people say to you, especially when you are pregnant. But I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last 5 years. My life has been a little bit of a roller coaster, and I’ve learned where I get my value. I’m okay with my body and how the baby is developing. My doctors are okay with those things too and they see me every 2 weeks. So people can have their opinions and that’s all that they are. Opinions that live in their space, not mine.

My high risk doctors want to see me every two weeks to monitor my cervix length and the stitch. The stitch doesn’t hurt as much as it did the first couple of weeks after I got it done. THANK GOD. As of two weeks ago, my cervix looked great, too! I still have my moments. I still get tired and every once in a while a part of my uterus will get uncomfortable, almost like a small part of it is contracting, but I’m told that is ALL normal. It was also nice to hear “There’s no such thing as crying wolf. We’d rather you call every time, us check it out and it be nothing, than you not call and it be something.” So I’m taking it one day at a time.

Something cool happened this week, too. I’ve been feeling the baby kick since about week 16. This week the baby kicked hard enough that my daughter was able to feel it. She was laying next to me watching tv when the kicks came on. They felt stronger than usual, so I put my hand where I thought they were and, sure enough, I felt them! So without alerting her I just took her hand and placed it on my belly. She jumped off the bed as soon as she felt the kicks and ran to the other room to tell her brother and her daddy. It was exciting for both of us. She was only 21 months old when her brother was born, so this is a brand new experience for her. She’s been asking when she’ll be able to feel the baby kick for a while. Unfortunately the kicks stopped when her brother came to check it out… but he’ll experience it soon enough!

I am also excited to say that my appetite has gotten a little better! Anti nausea drugs and Tums are mostly to thank for that! My favorite foods at the moment are pickles and string cheese. I’m not a big pickle fan in “real life” either, so devouring an entire jar of pickles in one sitting is a new one for me. They’re delicious and don’t make me sick. #winning.

On a final note, I cannot believe I’m almost half way through this pregnancy. Parents of 3 keep telling me that having 3 is “a lot”. A lot of challenges, but also a lot of fun. I’m sure it will mean a lot of changes for our family. I’m trying to predict how the kids will handle it. I’m worried about how the kids will handle it, so I’m doing my best to get ready. No matter what, this little bean will add so much more love to all of us in 2019.

 

An acute awareness of time

Last week, as a preventative measure, my doctors stitched my cervix shut. The surgery was quick, successful and we are hopeful this pregnancy will hold longer than the last. My son was born at 35 weeks.

For my last two pregnancies, my cerclage was put in at 19 and 22 weeks respectively. They were each considered an emergency cerclage. The surgeons did not have much cervix to work with, and it was late enough in my pregnancy that they also needed to give me an extra drug to keep my uterus from contracting.

The hope is that by having the stitch done earlier, doctors would have more cervix to tie shut and the pregnancy last longer. I guess only time will tell! I’m still not moving around all that quickly, but I am off all my pain meds and am starting to feel the baby kick!

I’ve been back at work since Monday and am steadily feeling better every day. I get exhausted pretty quickly as my body continues to heal, but I’m hopeful that will continue to improve!

Honestly, it needs to. About a week before the surgery I had finally had enough of the disorganization of my daughter’s room and decided to start clearing it out. Mainly, of clothes.

So here I present you with clothes I found in my daughter’s room. She’s six. These sizes range from 18 months to 4T. Clearly, a #mommyfail.

We don’t want to get rid of the clothes (which is also driving me nuts) because we have decided NOT to find out the sex of the baby. This baby will be a surprise on the day he or she arrives! I’m kind of excited about that. It was my husband’s idea. We found out for both our daughter and our son. Since we have one of each we figured, why not wait! We are clearly over-prepared with clothing. I haven’t cleaned my son’s room out in a looooooooong time either. And my daughter has the rest of her stash in bins in the basement. I just have to get over my urge to purge until the baby arrives.

When I told my younger brother about this he said, “Uh oh. Are you sure you’re not nesting already? I’m not sure that’s a good thing.” I thought about it… and my answer is still no. It’s more an acute awareness of time. I’ve been on this train a couple of times before. I know my energy level.(It’s not great) I can get one project done a day. We just finished a house remodel. We’re unpacking from that, have my daughter’s room to organize, my son’s room has to move down the hall and get decorated and furnished, the baby’s room needs to be redecorated and rebuilt, and we all still have to live our normal lives! I’m 16 weeks along in my pregnancy. I realize that’s not that far. But I’m pretty sure I won’t make it to 40, and there are only so many weekends left before this baby gets here.

I’m hopeful we can finish it all, but I can’t guarantee that will happen. We’ll be okay if it doesn’t, we’ve managed before.

Surgery scheduled for tomorrow

I had to look back to see when I got my cerclage with my other two babies. Hannah’s came at 19 weeks, and Colin’s at 22. This baby, I get it at 15.

I’ll back up a little bit in case there’s some folks out there who are confused. For those who are unfamiliar, I have a uterine malformation called Uterus Didelphys. Instead of one uterus and one cervix, I have two of each. Here’s what it looks like…

Because of this, I’m at risk for miscarrying during the 2nd trimester. People with my anomaly are at greater risk of having something called an “incompetent cervix”. My cervix, essentially, starts to shorten and give out before I actually go into labor. My high risk doctors watched me very closely during my pregnancies with my son and daughter. Both times my cervix started to shorten dramatically, so the stitch was put in.

This time, since it’s happened twice before, they are just going to put the stitch in early. Tomorrow, doctors will be sewing my left cervix shut in order to reinforce it.  This will not, however, keep labor from happening. As I learned with my son, your stitch can be in and your water can still break. He came at 35 weeks.

I’m nervous, because I’m going to a different hospital and different doctors than I’ve ever seen before. It’s not that my other doctors weren’t great… but my previous OBGYN doesn’t practice Obstetrics anymore. 😦 That means she doesn’t monitor pregnancies or deliver babies. I can’t blame her. She’s got 3 awesome kids of her own and being on call is hard on the family. But it was sad for me because I was faced with a choice. Ultimately I chose to go to a small practice closer to home. I know I made the right decision for me, but change is always scary.

After a bleeding episode and loads of questions I am sure I’ve made the right decision. My regular OBGYN is having me see a high risk doctor (perinatologist) to get me through this part of my pregnancy. Tomorrow, I go in for my surgery. It’s out patient. I’ll be numbed through my spine. They’ll also give me something to relax my uterus so it doesn’t start contracting. And hopefully they’ll give me some meds to relax my mind!

I’m expecting minor spotting after and a good deal of relaxing and staying off my feet while I heal. For the next several weeks to come they will keep a close eye on my cervix and the size of my baby. So say a prayer, keep me in your thoughts, keep your fingers crossed… whatever you feel compelled to do. I’m gonna need all the good vibes I can get!

A Special Announcement!

img_2699It’s been quite a while since I last posted on here, and our family has changed quite a bit! My daughter is now in Kindergarten, while my son… who I was pregnant with when I started this blog… goes to Kindergarten next year! Oh yeah, and we have another baby on the way! Due Spring of 2019.

This will be another wild ride, as I have no idea what to expect this time around. I’m pregnant in a uterus that has never been pregnant before. Both of my other children were on the right side, this one is on the left.

I’m nervous because this uterus started out smaller than the other one. My doctors, high risk and regular, assure me that that doesn’t automatically mean this baby will come sooner. Maybe this uterus stretches better than the other one, maybe not.

So far so good, though! I have surgery for my cerclage scheduled for next week… I’ll put up another post on that later.

My right uterus lining is pretty thick, and lucky me… I’m starting to spot. It made me panic when it first happened, because I wasn’t expecting to see a quarter size of brown blood when I went to the restroom. A quick call to my doctor and an ultrasound showed the baby still looked great, and there was evidence that the blood was coming from the other uterus. We’re not sure how long it will last, but I feel a little better knowing what it is.

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Much like my other two pregnancies, my symptoms have not been fun…

Nausea/vomiting…. still! 🤢

Sciatic pain

Lactose intolerant

Nose bleeds

Fatigue

And crazy pregnancy dislikes to sugar and basically all of my favorite things. Oh well, it’s worth it in the end, right?!

My goal is to keep this blog updates throughout this pregnancy and beyond! Hopefully it provides more insight to people going they the same thing!

Check out this 2 minute video of how we told the kids!