Fontaine à Chambéry

Fontaine à Chambéry

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pregnancy Story

In honor of our dear, sweet Z's first birthday, I decided to write about my pregnancy, her birth story, and our first year as parents.


I started feeling really weird a couple of weeks into November 2012. I knew something wasn’t right because all of a sudden I was exhausted all the time, to the point where I’d fall asleep almost anywhere. It was a huge feat to move from the couch to our bed in our tiny apartment. That’s just not normal for me. I was getting my hair cut a week before Thanksgiving when my hairdresser took one look at my hair and said “Are you pregnant?” Your hair looks different.” I had chalked my exhaustion and crankiness up to stress from work, applying to grad school, immigration stuff and our impending French wedding reception, but when she said that, everything immediately clicked. I fervently denied being pregnant and promised I’d start deep conditioning my hair on a regular basis. I looked at my calendar that night and decided that I’d take a pregnancy test the next week.

I woke up the morning of November 23, 2011, the day before Thanksgiving, and took the test. It was positive. We were surprised, scared and excited. I went to work and could hardly concentrate on anything. Just to make sure, I tested again every day, multiple times a day, for the next 3 days. All tests were positive. I looked over my planner, which I’m meticulous about keeping, and calculated my due date to be Wednesday, July 25.

At our first doctor’s appointment a week later, the doctor confirmed a very strong, healthy heartbeat. He set up my next appointment for after the New Year and said we’d do an ultrasound at 12 weeks because the risk of miscarriage was significantly decreased at that point. We decided to not tell anyone until after the first trimester in case anything happened. Man, that was tough. I had started having all-day sickness and throwing up in the morning and at nighttime. I was sure my family knew something was going on since I was no longer drinking and was throwing up anytime we ate chicken. R ended up caving and telling his parents before we went to France, because, as he pointed out, they would know as soon as I wasn’t drinking wine. I somehow managed the trip to France and back, being surrounded by my family and best friends, throwing up a lot, being worried about a miscarriage, without anyone catching on. Whew.

We went to the doctor for the 12 week appointment and saw Z for the first time. The doctor confirmed only a single baby (thank you!) who had a great heartbeat and a large head…it was measuring 3 weeks ahead of schedule because of her big bilingual genius brain (that's what we decided). We got photos of the ultrasound, which we immediately fawned over and printed duplicates at Walgreens. For my parents’ anniversary on January 11, we gave them an ultrasound photo. My mom thought it was a picture of the glacier we had visited in France. My dad immediately knew what it was. They were thrilled! Next came my sister H, who was really excited to become an aunt. We then told our grandparents, friends, and extended family members.

We were researching daycares and put our names on the waiting list on February 10. The waiting list is usually a year long, so it was smart we put our names on when we did. The following week, February 17, we had our 17 week ultrasound and learned we were having a Z! This date was monumental for two reasons: we found out we were having a daughter, and it was the last time I threw up (until delivery day that is. Stay tuned). Hooray. We went to Babies R Us and bought a bunch of baby girl things after our appointment.

The pregnancy progressed great. Z was growing well. I felt her earlier than is normal, about 18 weeks. She was a mover and shaker from Day 1 and was/is always on the go. I had a bout of bronchitis that required some medicine but besides that everything progressed smoothly. I started keeping a list of my cravings: pumpkin seeds, turkey bacon, Bread Co. everything bagels and cream cheese, lattes, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (I could eat a bag every day), Rich and Charlie’s salad, and fruit; and my aversions: anything involving chicken, especially creamy chicken. 

At the end of April we bought our first home, and we moved in on May 5. The following Saturday, May 12, I was feeling weird. Really tired and crampy. I was exhausted from the move and unpacking everything, and we had had a lot of really hot days. I went to the bathroom and noticed a little blood. I tried not to freak out—I still had 2 ½ months until my due date—and called Robin. He and my dad were setting up for a family barbeque because my uncle was in town, so my mom took me to the ER. I figured I had a UTI and would get some antibiotics and go home. Uh, nope. I ended up spending the night in the hospital. Luckily the placenta was intact and there weren’t any tears. The doctors didn’t know what had caused the bleeding, but Z was her usual moving self and seemed great. I had been having contractions but wasn’t feeling them, which was good. After spending the night in the hospital and being released on my very first Mother’s Day, I stayed home for a week to sleep and take it easy.

Our birth class started in late June. We were the farthest along because the other couples weren’t due until late August, September, and even October. I was glad we registered late so that everything we learned was fresh in our minds. The class was pretty uneventful. We learned about the process of childbirth, watched some terrible videos from the ‘80s, and learned relaxation techniques. Our classmates were really interesting…there was one couple in particular we felt sorry for, because we were certain the baby was going to have a tough life: the mom, who was in her early twenties, was addicted to meth. They only came to one class and then we never saw them again. There was another couple that made class really interesting too. The woman, again in her late teens/early twenties, seemed like she didn’t really even want a kid, and her husband said as much. He was gung ho about everything. During the birth video, his wife sobbed because she was so scared. Everyone just sat and looked at her. Her husband didn’t even try to comfort her. I wonder how their kid is doing?

The rest of the pregnancy went great. I started to really show in mid-May, but I was still tiny. At my 39-week checkup on July 16, my blood pressure was sky high. My doctor ordered me to go to the ER to make sure it wasn’t pregnancy-induced hypertension. We hung out at the hospital for a couple of hours and everything went back to normal, so we were able to go home. At this point, it was mid-July, over 110 degrees every day (the hottest summer on record in St. Louis, AWESOME when you’re pregnant.) and I was so tired of being pregnant. We had everything ready: the nursery, clothes were washed, diaper bag packed, car seat installed…all we needed was our Z to arrive. I had my 40-week checkup on Monday, July 23, and once again my blood pressure was high—it was 150/100, which is very high for a pregnant woman. I didn’t have any of the telltale signs of preeclampsia, which include protein in the urine and swollen hands, feet, and face, but my doctor was still worried. He decided to put me on blood pressure medicine and I’d have to come in twice a day for the rest of the pregnancy to get my blood pressure checked out. He then looked at my chart and said “Unless you’d rather get induced? Tomorrow works for me if you’re free.” I immediately agreed and went home to tell Robin that we’d be going to the hospital tomorrow to have our baby.

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