Yes we really are! Check out the bigness!
I am 36 weeks, and 1 day in these pics. Granted, I'm now 36 weeks, 3 days - but I'm glad I waited to give an update, because of my fabulous and wonderful doctor's appointment yesterday... But before I go into that, let me post this belly out picture to give you a true impression of my vastness at this stage (amazingly, some people still say "oh, but you are SOOooooo tiny!" which is clearly their attempt at a joke...
...because I am in no way "tiny." I'm just not. Come on people, there's no way you can tell me there's a little, itty-bitty 5lb'er in there. Do you have any idea where my internal organs are Because I know where they are, and they aren't occupying a single iota of that big belly up there...
Anyhow on to that lovely doc's appointment.
I went in at 8.30am yesterday morning for my first non-stress test (NST). For those among you who are not aware of what this is, let me explain: an NST is where they take you, pop two sensors on your belly (one for uterine irritability/contractions etc and movement; one for fetal heart rate) and sit (or lay) you down for about 20 minutes or so, so monitor the babe.
Point of the whole exercise is to get a good reading of what said babe is up to in there: and, if babe's heart rate is consistent with movement. If babe falls asleep, they buzz him/her with a buzzer (or poke, or make you drink something sugary) to get him or her to wake up and move about a bit, and see what that does to the heart rate. This is all to figure out how healthy the baby is. Basically, you want to see nice heart accelerations and decelerations, corresponding with a good amount of movement. Etcetera.
Well, Bella hated that doppler for her heart - as soon as it got put to the belly, she launched an almighty body movement against the other movement/contraction sensor and tried to fling the damn thing off my belly altogether. She really did not like that thing at all! It probably really annoyed her little ears...
So, we remained on there for about 40 minutes in total. Of course, the entire time I was there I thought, from moment to moment: "just don't stop beating, little heart" - so the whole "non-stress" part of the test was a complete joke: I was stressed out, alright! Not loony-stressed, no - but not calm and relaxed in Hawaii-beach-sipping-coconut-margarita-style calm, either. Since, when you've had a doppler placed on your pregnant belly and heard...nothing; you can't ever be completely sure that won't happen all over again. Oh, for the innocence of that first pregnancy again...
After that, my wonderful doc (who I truly do adore - he is a gem) told me we would take a quick look at the placenta on the ultrasound. He is (naturally) getting to a rather nervous point now: probably more nervous than me, actually. He really doesn't relish the prospect of history repeating; neither, of course, do I - but I can understand his worry. So, we went into an ultrasound room and a tech came to start the ultrasound.
We looked at her head, one of her "orbital sockets" and then the heart, which, as usual, was loud. It sounded about 135 beats a minute or so. She was chilled now, being off that annoying doppler! However, that's where everything went a little haywire, because her heart rate kept measuring out at 268 bpm visually. It didn't make a darn bit of sense, so my doc came in to have a go. Sure enough, he could only get an ultra-high reading too. It sounded slow; it measured fast.
So then all of a sudden (in manner of a movie theater fire, when a good film is cut in half; the lights go on and everyone is told to exit in a "calm and orderly fashion") plans changed. I was told not to freak out, but that they were going to admit me to labor and delivery for monitoring because of a possible tachycardia issue with Isobella. I promised not to freak out, but then of course, my heart started pumping and by the time I got to L&D, my blood pressure was up to 130 over 90, and then 130 over 101. Not so great.
So there I am in a hospital gown, in bed, once again with those two little sensors on my belly (Isobella must have been livid), wondering if I am going to be made to go on bed rest because of high blood pressure or - even worse - be told that, because of this heart irregularity and the high blood pressure, I was going to have to deliver that day by induction or - horrendously - cesarean again!
I thought to myself "well, I'm 36 weeks, 2 days. She may well not even have to go to the NICU. But then she might if she has something screwed up in her heart... Oh gosh, I really don't want her to have to go through this..."
But instead of visibly panicking, I asked for toast, fruit juice and water, and the remote. I sat there watching true crime programs and looking completely under control. Naturally though, I kept glancing up at the monitor - I had a couple of nice contractions - or pressure/birthing waves as we call them in the Hypnobabies world - and that was exciting! I continued living, watching the minutes tick by and Frasier (who incidentally, had no furniture in his apartment that episode) - then a couple more true crime shows.
In the end, they had me hooked up for about 2.5 hours. I got to eat lunch in the hospital and peruse the menu for things I might like to eat when I come in to give birth... My doc came in then, after a while, and said everything looked nice and calm - nothing wrong at all. So who knows what happened in the first place... He made me promise to call if anything "weird" happened, which I promised - but then he made me promise again! I promised, promised, promised! After that, my friend (and midwife; and doula), R came to meet me at the hospital - I had been planning to go to hers, and was going to call after my 8.30am appointment: but, since I never called, and had apparently disappeared off the face of the planet, she'd called my cell, which I'd had a nurse retrieve.
I think I'd call for a pin-prick sized amount of blood, at this stage, I really do.
Then I got to get out... As we stood in the car park, R got a call from a client, who'd just finally gone into real labor: so, off she went to attend the birth, which went off beautifully and without a hitch, later that evening (congratulations!).
This whole episode though, got me thinking about just how close this birth really is. It made me realize that the car seat was not installed: I installed it today. It made me realize I didn't have mini travel-sized containers of soap and shampoo and conditioner: I went and bought them immediately afterward. It made me realize I needed to clean my house in readiness for this child: I did...
...I shouldn't have done so much cleaning, because afterward I hurt like hell: and felt dreadful this morning after a crappy night's sleep spent laying on my right hip, which now wants to spontaneously dislocate in public places, without warning. Fun.
But ah, at least now I am prepared. The bags are packed; the car seat installed (properly!); the tiny, last minute things bought; the house cleaned and vacuumed rather well. All is now done.
And it's about eleven days, give or take, until my week 38 milestone... That's not long. I go back in to see my doc next Wednesday, upon which I will be checked for "readiness." I have embarked upon an EPO consumption mission to attempt to ready my body for delivery...
It's all go time now, boys and girls... We're reaching the end of this rugged road. We really are.