Friday, October 28, 2016

10/27/16 - Ultrasound Re-Check

Good report at the doctor yesterday. I had an ultrasound which showed my cervix is still long and closed (3.6-4cm), and showed no signs of trying to thin or open currently. Baby is looking good and measuring a little over 4 lbs. Amniotic fluid level is looking good too.

After the ultrasound I saw Dr. Newman and he decided against the midwife's original idea of repeating the fetal fibronectin test. He said for practical purposes they'll just treat me like once positive always positive anyway. Bed rest is the only thing we have right now to be proactively on the side of caution so he said to continue the greatly reduced activity; whatever I've been doing, keep it up because it seems to be working.

The doctor also said that once I reach 35 weeks I can do pretty much whatever I want. He of course doesn't recommend trying to have the baby then, but they wouldn't intervene to stop things at that point if I went into labor. We will be 32 weeks complete tomorrow, so we have just 3 weeks to reach that next milestone (although I'm looking for longer).

Also, I've felt more pressure and discomfort in the lower belly but not in a downward way or contraction way. A little of that I attribute to the huge amount of water I've been drinking; sometimes my bladder feels uncomfortably full before I really feel the urge to pee. In addition to that though, Baby has gone from frank breech to footling breech since my last ultrasound. So I've been feeling knees and feet all down there. It's nice to see the explanation for what I've been feeling, but now we're praying that Baby will turn head down. Dr. Newman is not the slightest bit concerned about that still and said it's hardly worth even mentioning at this point. He said he fully expects Baby to get him/herself in the right position when it's time. Rodney, the ultrasound tech, also said that since it's still relatively early and there's plenty of amniotic fluid for Baby to move around in, there's plenty of time and good conditions for Baby to turn.

I trust that with all their experience they are truly not worried about a breech presentation at this stage, but I sure would feel better to know that Baby is in the optimal position, especially since we're still mindful of the possibility of things happening early. It's definitely something I'm praying about; that the Lord will ease my mind and that I will let go of the notion that it's something I can try to control.

Next appointment is 2 weeks out: November 10th.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

10/23/16 - Stethoscope

This is not earth-shattering news but I was messing around tonight and was able to find Baby's heart beat with a stethoscope for the first time! It was about 144 beats per minute and like music to my ears. :) 

Dad and Karen have been super helpful while they're here. They went with Richard and the kids to the commissary and got all the ingredients necessary to do some great meal prep to get us ahead to freeze for now or later, wherever the need arises. Hallelujah!

Also, since we have kept all this baby business off social media this time around, I have had to be rather strategic in my picture posts. Ava is often my go-to belly blocker. :)

This is the most recent picture of myself I posted on Facebook. Just shy of 32 weeks pregnant.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Belly Pic - 10/22/16

My friend, Cat, tagged me on a post on Facebook that said "Tag someone who should enter our spokesmodel contest and athlete search!" It was for Muscle Club Apparel, basically an athletic wear thing. Well, since we've been totally quiet about this pregnancy on Facebook she had no idea of course (she's in VA and we're in AZ). So I messaged her something along the lines of "Just saw what you tagged me in. Don't think I would make the best spokesmodel right now…" and added this pic:
10/22/16 - 31 weeks
She was surprised and congratulatory of course. It's going to be so fun to post the birth announcement one day and surprise a whole lot more people! :)

Friday, October 21, 2016

10/21/16 - Another appointment

I had an OB appt this morning… My midwife didn't do much in the way of a physical exam but she was happy with what I've been doing/not doing activity wise. She said I can increase my activity around the house a little and really listen to my body, but basically to keep up what I've been doing for another week and then I'll go in for another ultrasound check of cervical length and repeat of the fetal fibronectin test next Thursday. Apparently the results of the fFN don't mean much after 2 weeks and can change with a new swab. I definitely feel encouraged! Baby is still breech, though, so I'm praying for a flip. (The doctor and midwives are not concerned about the breech position at this stage, I just would feel better if that were one less thing to think about right now.)

Also, Dad and Karen are flying in tonight. Their trip has been scheduled for a couple months, but now I'm sure the timing of this visit is NOT a coincidence (thank you, Lord!). 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

10/20/16 - Bed Rest

Another day on at home "bed rest." I've been pretty darn good about keeping slow and calm and have spent the better part of the day literally lying down. Richard has been hugely helpful, especially in the mornings before he leaves for work. The kids are dressed, fed, and ready for the day before he leaves, so then we're able to focus on school and whatever else when he's gone. I pulled up Raina's little desk next to the love seat in our school room so I have been teaching school lying down and it's working out great. Ava and Raina have been making their lunches half the time anyway lately, as they are big time into anything in the kitchen, so that has just become their daily job now to include a plate for Cade.

I have another appointment with midwife tomorrow morning, so I'm anxious to see what she does and hear what she thinks.

Friday, October 14, 2016

10/14/16 - Second shot

So I rose to find the tiniest bit of blood on the toilet paper after using the bathroom this morning. It was seriously barely visible but with this other stuff going on I made a note of it and emailed a picture to myself. I went in to L&D for the second steroid shot around 3:30pm. My bp was 109/60. Baby's heart rate was in the 140s. I had had a chance to read and process and come up with a bunch of questions between yesterday and today and was able to get some more solid guidelines for my "limited activity" from the labor and delivery nurse. She said if we had stairs (which we don't) she would limit using them to down in the morning, up at night. Complete "pelvic rest" -aka no sexual activity of any kind. Take a shower, rest. Make a sandwich, rest. Whip up a quick, easy dinner, rest. Leave the dishes, chores, etc to everyone else in the house. Lying down is better than even just sitting for the common sense idea that you want to keep pressure off the cervix. So basically 80% bed rest at home. 
Here's a picture of the monitor from when I was waiting a while to get the second steroid shot. Top number is Baby's heart rate. Very bottom line is contractions (not having any).

I will be 30 weeks complete tomorrow. The short term goal is to reach 32 weeks, at which time my go-to hospital is fully equipped to handle babies at that early gestation without the need to transfer out for a higher stage NICU. The longer term goal is to reach at least 36 weeks. The ideal goal is reach 37+weeks, which would be considered truly full term.

So, this weekend will entail preparing the kids, pantry, fridge, and furniture arrangement to accommodate me living and directing daily operations from the couch. Thankfully, though surely not coincidentally, Richard has a four-day weekend this weekend, so he is off work today and Monday. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

10/13/16 - Results of Test

Well I received a call from midwife Janelle Drogowski at 8:30am. My fFN test came back positive. That result plus the bleeding upon check of my cervix on Monday had her concerned and called for further action. She scheduled me for an ultrasound at 12:45pm to further examine the cervix, not just for dilation but also for length. 

So the kids and I headed out for our last Thursday morning Bible study of the semester. My awesome study group of ladies prayed over me and I know they will continue to. I was also able to arrange coverage for the kids so I would not have to take them with me for my afternoon appointments (thank you, Shanna!).

I went for the 12:45 ultrasound and thankfully, the cervix showed long and closed, amniotic fluid levels were good, and Baby was measuring great (about 7 days ahead, actually) at about 3lbs. Baby also showed us he or she is frank breech currently. I saw Dr. Newman (for the first time) after the ultrasound and he was both encouraging and unclear about what exactly is going on and what I need to do.  He said that while a negative test would have been reassuring that I will likely not be going into labor within the next two weeks, a positive test is really not a clear indication that I will. There's just an increased chance.  He said I needed to limit my activity but would not give me very specific guidelines as to what that means. He said that technically, on paper, he should tell me bedrest, but didn't think that was practical for my life and didn't know that it is really even necessary. He did say no exercise or rigorous activity and lifting, but otherwise was about as specific as "Whatever you have been doing or would like to do that you don't HAVE to do, don't do it." He also agreed with Janelle that I should go to labor and delivery triage and get a steroid shot (today and tomorrow) to help accelerate Baby's lung development in case he or she does end up coming early. So I went to the hospital and got the first shot at about 3:15pm. My bp was 109/61. Baby's heart rate 150s. I also registered at the hospital and got a brief labor and delivery tour while I was there, which was great as it's something I needed to do anyway. 

Here's a picture of the monitor for when I was hooked up for a while waiting to get the first steroid shot. Top number is Baby's heart rate, second number is my heart rate, very bottom line is contractions (not having any).

Monday, October 10, 2016

10/10/16 - Went in for extra appointment

I called and got an appointment to see my midwife this morning because I've been feeling low back ache, some mild cramping, and a slight change in vaginal discharge. Nothing that would read as textbook signs of preterm labor but enough to have me raising an eyebrow. Just feeling things that I would expect to feel at 35-36 weeks when coming down the home stretch, but not so much at 29 weeks. I was so thankful they were able to get me in right away. Midwife Janelle took a swab for a fetal fibronectin test, which I had never heard of before having never been down this possibly preterm road before. 

Basically, fetal fibronectin (also known as fFN) is a “glue-like” protein that bonds a developing baby to the uterus. Fetal fibronectin is detectable in vaginal secretions in the very beginning of pregnancy, when this bond is first forming, and then again at the end of pregnancy, when your body is getting ready to deliver your baby. fFN is a special protein that literally holds your baby in place in the womb. After the 35th week of pregnancy, it begins to break down naturally, and is detectable. If your body is getting ready to give birth prematurely, fFN may be detected before week 35. If your test result was negative, you can be 99.2% assured that you won't deliver in the next two weeks. A positive test result means your body is leaking fetal fibronectin, a sign that your body may be getting ready to deliver. There is an increased chance that your baby is going to arrive early — but not everyone with a positive test result delivers early. The test can be repeated as often as every two weeks to monitor your ongoing risk.

So, she took the swab to send off for the fFN, and she checked my cervix which she said is "dimpled" (probably from having previous babies) but closed. I had a good bit of bleeding in the couple hours following the cervical check but no cramping or discomfort. 

Baby's heart rate was 140bpm. My blood pressure and weight was good. So now to wait for the fFN test results...

(Info on fFN test taken from

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ava's Baptism

Ava accepted Christ last summer but it wasn't until more recently that she felt ready to follow through with baptism. Well today was the day. October 2, 2016 at The Church at Arrowhead.
So proud of and happy for her!