Sunday, 21 July 2013

What happened to my belly button? An update from 26 weeks

I would have liked to get another pregnancy update on here sooner.  I had one for 24 weeks all pre-written but didn't get around the posting it.  

A lot has happened since week 20.  The Sunny house has been abuzz with nervous excitement at the development of a few little hiccups along the road to growing a healthy little human.    Just as we become comfortable with the idea that this pregnancy was going smoothly, a few surprises start to pop up to shake us back to reality.  Let's face it, growing a person is hard work, and if you've never done it before it can be there are some things that can scare the life out of you on a daily basis.  Things I wish I had known more about so we wouldn't have a minor heart attack when they happen.

BUT, as prepared as we think we are, we never really know what's around the corner.  You could read all the "what to expect" books ever written and still something completely unusual will come and scare the bajeebers out of you.  Sunny Baby is proof of that!  And in all my nursey wisdom, with all my experience in the strange and fascinating happenings of the human body, I will still put pregnancy down as the most incredible, awe-inspiring, unpredictable thing a human person can do!  From the sperm and egg, to those tiny little blastocysts, to our now 26 week old baby.  I am completely mesmerised!  

Sunny Baby
Sunny Baby's growth has definitely picked up speed now.  Some days I can feel her kicking both my bladder and my ribs simultaneously.  I was trying to describe this sensation to a friend not long ago and the best analogy I could think of was that it felt like a ninja octopus had taken over my abdomen.  And she is so stinkin' strong now too.  Sunny Hubby can put his hands over my belly and feel as she runs her little feet down my skin, and seconds later boot his hand away.  Meal times seem to make her even more excited and active!  Certain foods, such as curries and thai food create a flurry of movements only minutes after I've eaten.  We're not convinced yet whether that means she enjoys it or hates it.  But it's certainly fun to watch and feel.

She's measuring in perfectly at her four-weekly check ups.  I think at 24 weeks they told us she was going to be long and lean.  We weren't surprised in the least to hear that.  It seems to be a bit of a Sunny Family tradition to have tall, thin babies.  Mind you, so far they've all weighed over 7.5pounds so they're not little at all.

It's definitely sunk in that she is in fact a girl.  And now that I think about her, I couldn't imagine her as anything else.  She's also officially got a name all picked out.  It's a name we had decided we loved years ago, but one day Hubby and I were casually chatting and I referred to her as the name and it's been stuck ever since.  So far, only our close family know what her full name will be.  For everyone else, you'll just have to wait til her big arrival day!

And as for how she's fared through all the drama (which I'll tell you about in a minute)... Well, to be perfectly honest, she hasn't even noticed.  She's just kept on swimming around in her little bubble, safe and sound.  And for that I have never been more grateful!

The Belly
You want a belly picture?  Well I've got a belly picture for you!  
Starting with 12 weeks at the top left, and in 4-week intervals finishing with 26 weeks at bottom left.
Depending on how high or low she sits I either look perfectly on track with 26 weeks, or ahead by a few.  I don't mind either way.  

My belly button has completely disappeared now.  For a few weeks it gave up a good fight, only popping on top and staying a nice little half concave on the bottom.  Now it's neither popped or concave, it's just flattened out totally, as if it never existed at all.

Still no major stretch marks on my belly.  My poor boobs have copped it though.  As they continue to expand and get heavier I've developed some dark purple marks around my nipples.  They're not too big at this stage and I'm hoping they don't continue to spread out.  I'm completely loving the crap out of Vitamin E oil to keep everything hydrated and less irritated. And my stash of wirefree bras is increasing.  I even got myself one of the 'Ah Bras' kind of as a joke to wear to bed, but it's AMAZING!  I got an extra one with padding so I don't have pointy nipple syndrome when I wear nice shirts.  Another brand that make awesome maternity/wireless bras is Berlei.  They're a little more expensive but are completely worth it. Plus they give you excellent cleavage before bub comes along!

Now this is where it all gets a little nerve-wracking.  

Around 24 weeks I had a very small bleed.  My OB was away at the time and so I took myself to my GP to be checked out.  If the bleed had of been more than a pantyliner's worth I would have gone straight to the hospital, but it wasn't, and in an attempt not to freak myself out, the GP was the best call.  He checked me out, did the usual observations and reassured me that my BP was perfect and Baby's heart rate was too.  He read through my morphology report, and based on a comment about how low down near my cervix the placenta was attached, concluded that I'd had a small blood vessel break.  This can be caused by a few things, but most-likely related to Baby's rate of growth and the strength of her kicking.    I was sent home to bed and monitor for further bleeding, which never happened.

All was continuing on stress-free until about five days ago.  As I was shifting myself in bed to get comfortable I noticed a wet patch on my pajama pants, and then realised that my undies also felt quite damp.  I eased myself out of bed and straight into the bathroom to check what was going on.  On my way to the loo I had another trickle of fluid run down my leg.  I honestly had no idea what was going on.  Was this normal discharge, was this supposed to happen??  I called out for Hubby to come upstairs and survey what was happening, and we immediately decided it was time to call the midwives for advice.  

I spoke with a lovely older lady who instructed us to come into the hospital as soon as we could.  She was concerned that my membranes had ruptured, and after my heart stopped for what felt like a whole minute, I quietly explained to her that we were only just 26 weeks along.  She did her best to calm me over the phone, while Hubby got changed and collected all our important paperwork.  We got to the hospital within 20minutes and were taken straight into antenatal assessment.  I had a midwife feel and sniff (??) my sanitary pad and then take mine and Baby's observations.  Again, my BP was normal and Baby's heart rate was perfect, though it did take the midwife a very nerve-wracking three minutes to find.  The midwife calmly suggested that I may have just peed myself a little and hadn't realised.  I was mortified and couldn't imagine how I'd get that mixed up with having PV loss.  I explained again how it'd happened not five minutes after I'd been to the bathroom to pee anyway. 

By this time it was close to 11.30pm, so the  midwife called our doctor and we were instructed that I was to be admitted overnight for observation.  Of course, we were not prepared for an admission.  I had literally thrown on the oldest pair of trackpants I could find lying on our bedroom floor and an oversized jumper.  Hubby was allowed to stay long enough to help fill in the admissions paperwork and then we had to say goodnight.

I can not put into words how scared we were saying goodbye to each other that night.  Hubby kept asking if I was ok to be alone and checking with the midwives that they promised to call him if ANYTHING happened overnight.  He kissed my forehead and my belly, and then he left.  

Thankfully we had an uneventful night.  I was woken every two hours or so for pad checks, which were all dry, and to check my BP.  The midwife came in again around 5am and checked Baby's heart rate and was swiftly kicked off my belly by a very strong little foot.  Our OB dropped by later that morning and explained that I had a possible high placental leak, which was causing a slow, intermittent release of amniotic fluid from somewhere under my ribs.  He said that if it kept happening on a regular basis that I would need admitting for antibiotics and steroids to speed up Baby's growth.  He would be happy to reach 28 to 32 weeks before delivery, but would preferably like to get me to 34 weeks.  I disagreed and told him 36 weeks was my goal, to which he just giggled and told us to be prepared either way.  

Later that day I was allowed home on bed rest.  I could return to work after four days, unless any more major loss occurred.  And so far so good!  Our altered timeline has really jump-started our preparations for Baby's arrival.  We came home from the hospital and realised how unprepared we still are, and that despite all the lists in baby books about what you need for birth and afterwards, we would be happy if we had the bare essentials ready to go. 

I am still praying that she remains safe and warm in my uterus until she's full term.  But am realistic about the idea of her early arrival.  From now on I'll be delegating a lot more, and starting to wind down at work in preparation for a possible early exit.  But we'll just see what each day brings.  

I really wish I'd taken photos of the steps it's taken to get our second room transformed from music/guest room into a nursery.  It's still not 100% complete, but it sure has come a long way in the last month.  All of Hubby's music equipment is now in storage or set up in a nice compact spot in our living room.  The wardrobe has been stripped and restocked so that it's only half storage and half baby stuff.  The bookshelf has been cleared out and the books boxed up, and in their place are cute little baskets for all of the baby clothes and wraps.  She even has a toy shelf, which gets fuller by the day.

Our gorgeous friends dropped off their incredible Boori cot a few weeks ago and it sits warmly against the wall with all the sunshine.  Hubby has even picked out the cot and single bed linen all ready to put on when it's all washed and smelling fresh.  Our brand new Steelcraft pram and car capsule remain packed in their boxes, ready to assemble at a moments notice.  

We've got more amazing friends coming next weekend to help us sort and pack up our garage, which has mostly been a dumping ground and storage unit for the last three years.  Once this is done, the double bed can come out of the second bedroom and all the assembly can begin on the cot and single/day bed.  And once that's done, we're pretty much finished!

I'll be sure to attach a photo of the finished nursery once it's all done and dusted.  And I'm sure the longer Sunny Baby holds off from gracing us with her presence, the more we'll be able to decorate her room.  But until then, I'm so grateful for the basics.  

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