Pregnancy Kick Counts:  What I Just Learned About Fetal Movement

Pregnancy Kick Counts: What I Just Learned About Fetal Movement

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I was not feeling the baby move as much for the last two days. So I did what I knew I was supposed to do: I laid down for an hour and started doing “kick counts.” After 1 hour of counting less then 10 fetal movements I was not reassured.

My husband drove me to the labor and delivery unit at our hospital. I called them first to explain the situation and they told me to come in and get checked out.  I am only in my 33rd week of pregnancy.

As I have written about before, I had a placental abruption when I was pregnant with my daughter at 33 weeks pregnant. We were able to have an emergency c – section and get her out safely in time (thank God!).

That is one of the reasons I am such a stickler about doing daily kick counts. They are the only way to determine fetal health in between doctor’s appointments.

(I have also been using an at-home fetal dopplar since I was 13 weeks with both my pregnancies. It definitely helped minimize my stress levels!  However, doing daily fetal kick counts is still the number one way to assess if the baby is in distress.)

I admit, I am probably getting a little paranoid considering the circumstances that happened during my first pregnancy. But I figured it was better to be safe then sorry, even if the staff at the hospital thought I was totally overreacting (which they didn’t).

My trip to the labor and delivery unit was relatively fast and saved me from many days of worry.

Fortunately, everything looked great! The trip calmed my nerves so that I could get through until my next appointment in 2 weeks (they were so booked I had to wait 5 weeks in between appointments this time, which I think is way too long at this point anyway).

Of course once the baby was placed on a fetal monitor he started kicking, turning and jabbing. He was bouncing around and showing off like a good, healthy baby should.

The midwife even told me our baby “had the strongest heartbeat of all the babies on the unit.” I’m not sure if she was just trying to reassure me or she really had some difficult pregnancies to deal with at the time, but I was so glad I went in.

Doing “kick counts” after 28 weeks is so important.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about doing “kick counts” because I had done a lot of research on it. I even wrote a blog post about it.

To do kick counts you lay down on your left side and count the number of kicks or fetal movements you get in one hour. Most providers says that once you get to ten counts then you can stop counting. Then quit for that day and start again the next day.

You are looking for a significant decrease in movement from a previously normal pattern.

The Midwife taught me a few new things about doing “kick counts” that are SO important.

#1. Babies in utero have 40 minute sleep cycles.

Which means that if you don’t feel any kicks for the first hour then the fetal movements should pick up in the second hour.

#2. Eat something while you are laying down to do the kick counts.

Eating will wake the baby up some you can feel more fetal movement. Don’t eat and then wait an hour, because it will put the baby to sleep and you will feel less movement during that time.

#3. If you are ever concerned about the health and safety of your unborn child, it is always the right thing to get checked out.

There is no benefit in sitting at home worrying that there may be something wrong. I was reassured many times that if at any time I felt a decrease in fetal movement or had any other concerns about the health of the baby that I should not hesitate to come back in. The staff reiterated that to me several times.

Oh, the joys of pregnancy!

I am getting large and even though I am pretty wiped out most of the time, I actually am enjoying this (when I’m not scaring myself to death, that is).

Even though the extra “nesting” energy I had a few weeks ago has dissipated.

And I’m also still experiencing foggy pregnancy brain symptoms.

But aside from all that, I am so grateful to be in the midst of such a healthy pregnancy. There really is nothing better. It feels awesome to know that our baby is doing so well and that he growing normally.

Baby boy is still measuring 2 weeks ahead! I’m shooting for a potential 9 pounder!

Thanks for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Embracing The Nesting Phase of Pregnancy

Embracing The Nesting Phase of Pregnancy

I’m officially in the “nesting phase” of pregnancy.

The American Pregnancy Organization describes nesting as when pregnant women feel the “overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.”

That is exactly me in a nutshell right about now.

Bird making a nest

I am “nesting” just like this mama bird trying to get her home organized for her babies

I had my 30 week appointment a few days ago. Our little man is measuring at 32 weeks and is already weighing in at a hefty 4lbs 7oz. That’s already more then our daughter Zoe weighed at birth and she was 7 weeks early! So it already looks like I’m going to have a big baby boy.

Aside from feeling like a blimp I would say everything is pretty great. I am still able to work without restrictions (I do however have to wear compression stockings to get through 12 hour ER shifts).

So now I’m embracing my new nesting phase.

Just in the past week I have really gotten down to business:

My house has never been so clean and organized.

Our house never really gets super messy, but I have been feeling the urge to clean and organize much more then usual. For example, before 7:30am this morning I had already vacuumed the house, finished a load of laundry and organized the kitchen cupboards.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a clean house. But I am way more into cleaning and organizing this week then I have been in a really long time.

I organized all my to-do lists on Trello

I am 99% paperless and hate having lists floating around my house. If it isn’t able to be easily accessed on my phone then I might as well not even have it. Especially now that I am a mom. Paper lists just aren’t practical anymore.

Recently I discovered an amazing app called Trello and it has revolutionized my organization and planning skills. Trello basically allows me to organize and prioritizes my to-do lists and projects using boards, lists and cards. It’s all on my phone and easy to access.

I easily organized my personal boards by: grocery lists, random to-do lists, house projects, new baby to do-lists, and blog to do list. Each list can be broken down into separate cards and you can make notes on each one.

For example, my blog board is separated into 3 separate topics: mom, nurse and website to-do. I can further organize my mom board into additional topics : baby/kid, mom, pregnancy, health, environmental. Then each of those is broken down with individual “cards” that I can add specific tasks to.

It sounds confusing but it is seriously the best for people who like to be organized and efficient. It has really helped enhance my “nesting” abilities.

I am purging anything I dont’ use or need.

I am really trying to minimize the stuff in our house. If it is not serving a purpose of bringing me joy in some way, it is leaving the Jividen household.

This week’s priority was my closet. If I haven’t worn it in a year, it got tossed. In fact, I have never owned so few clothes in my life. And it actually feels really good. Everything I have now I actually wear (or will wear as soon as I’m not a pregnant mama anymore).

Next stop: the garage! That will be a much bigger task.

I organized my kid’s closet.

Our kids are going to share a room for the foreseeable future (wish me luck on this one). Fortunately, the room has a nice sized walk-in closet with plenty of room for both kid’s wardrobes and storage.

Each child now has there own very organized side of the closet, split right down the middle. I even organized all their clothing by size and season. Nesting win.

In preparation for baby #2 I boxed up all of our daughter’s outgrown baby clothes into large bins, and they are ready for delivery to my other soon-to-be mama friends. They surely must also be in nesting mode and organizing like crazy like I am.

I had a 2nd crib delivered tonight.

Thank god for Amazon Prime. What in the world did mom’s do before it existed?

I am only 2.5 weeks away for the time I gave birth to Zoe at 33 weeks and 7 weeks prematurely. So I really don’t see this as jumping the gun at all because babies really can show up at any time.

Zoe may be a little confused as to why she has 2 cribs in her room now, but that’s OK. It will give her time to get used to it before another small human comes in.

We are buying a new car this weekend.

A Subaru Outback to be exact. After about a year of research into what the safest automobile is for small children, the Subaru Outback keeps coming back as the clear winner. I had one once before when I lived in Denver and they really are dependable and safe cars.

We will be donating my husbands car this weekend too.

My Christmas decorations are ready to be put up.

Little Zoe smiling

My nesting list includes decorating for Christmas as soon as it is socially acceptable. How can I resist when this little face is so excited about decorations?

This one has been HUGE for me this week. In my nesting frenzy, I am so excited to get ready for the holidays. Especially now that our 2 year old daughter is so ecstatic about special events and decorations. It just makes it so much more fun for me.

Seriously, if it wasn’t considered inappropriate I would have starting putting up our tree tonight (3 weeks before Thanksgiving). I just ordered a new, much larger tree since we have the space for it now and it was just delivered this afternoon.

On my Trello app I have already listed which new tree decorations I will be purchasing this week. I am so excited to get them and decorate that I can barely wait.

I’m not sure where this burst of extra energy is coming from.

But I’m going with it until the baby tells me I’m tired again. It’s not like I have any extra time or anything. I’m still working almost 40 hours a week as an emergency room nurse and I have a very energetic toddler at home.

I have read that there is an evolutionary component to the nesting phase that women have during there pregnancies. Apparently there have been several studies done on this maternal phenomenon. I experienced the same thing during my first pregnancy with my daughter. Only I had way more time to do it!

Whatever it is that is giving my ever-growing body an extra kick, Ill take it. I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m too big to even want to do a lot of these things. Until then, I will continue nesting away!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

I Had A Placental Abruption At 33 Weeks: Our NICU Experience

I Had A Placental Abruption At 33 Weeks: Our NICU Experience

I had a spontaneous placental abruption when I was 33 weeks pregnant with my daughter.

A placental abruption occurs when the placenta (the lifeline delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to our baby) peels away from the uterus. It deprives the fetus of oxygen and causes the mother to hemorrhage internally.

Luckily for us, I was able to have an early emergency c-section and we had a very happy outcome. After spending some time in the NICU our 33 week preemie daughter came home with us as a healthy 4 lb, 3 oz baby.

Sarah pregnant with Zoe

At my baby shower, one week before I had our daughter via emergency c-section at 33 weeks.

But it almost didn’t end up that way. Unfortunately, most mothers who have a placental abruption are not so lucky, according to our neonatologist. The reason, he said, is that babies end up being deprived of oxygen, sometimes within seconds. Mothers also end up losing a lot of blood, although they usually do better then the babies.

We still don’t know why it happened because I had no risk factors. Thankfully, I was able to have an emergency C-section in time and it was life-saving for the both of us.

I got the flu about 5 days before the placental abruption occurred.

As a nurse I already knew that just being sick doesn’t hurt the baby and may even give her a few extra antibodies. I decided the best thing to do was rest and drink lots of fluids.

But to my surprise, two days later I was feeling so much worse.

I called the OB floor at our hospital and was directed to an advice nurse.

After a 30 minute phone interview I was told NOT to come to the hospital as there was nothing they could do for me. I just had the flu, they said. I was told to stay home, rest and drink lots of fluids.

Two days after that I felt even worse! So again, I called the OB unit at the hospital to see what I should do.

I spoke with both the on-call OBGYN on the unit and another advise nurse. Both told me again NOT to come in. I explained that I was extremely weak and short of breath when walking more then 20 feet. I had no fever but I had never felt more sick in my life. They told me I just had the flu and needed to “ride it out.”

I laid in my bed and cried for 30 minutes because every inch of my body was hurting so much that I could barely stand it anymore. I had a hard time catching my breath.

(Later we found out that the reason I felt so horrible was that my hemoglobin was extraordinarily low due to the placental abruption already having started. My hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying component of a blood cell) at that time was 6 grams per deciliter. The normal level is 12.0 to 15.5 grams.)

I laid down for an hour and started doing “kick counts.”

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you time how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes, or rolls. Ideally, you want to feel at least 10 movements within 2 hours. Usually a mom can feel 10 movements in less time than that.

But I only felt 4 or 5 movements in that hour period. My body was so sick and achy though that I wasn’t sure exactly what I was feeling, so I drank two large glasses of orange juice and ate a small bag of gummy Lifesavers. I was determined to sugar-shock my baby into giving me more fetal movements.

I began counting kicks for a second hour. But after about 40 minutes I still only counted about 3-4 pretty weak kicks. At that point I decided I wanted to see a doctor, even if they thought I was overreacting.

I called my husband and asked him to come home and drive me to the hospital.

When we arrived at the labor and delivery unit I was immediately given a mask and asked why I came to the hospital after I was specifically told not to. I was reminded that I was bringing my flu into the hospital.

I tried to explain again that I just didn’t feel right and that I thought the baby should be kicking more. They put me in a room and we waited for the on-call OBGYN.

When she arrived she did an ultrasound and was immediately concerned. She explained that:

A) I had almost no amniotic fluid.

B) The little amount of amniotic fluid that was there was the wrong color and she couldn’t explain why.

C) Our baby’s fetal heart rate was “not reassuring” which is another way of saying that our baby is alive but in distress.

D) It was likely I would have an emergency C-section imminently.

She didn’t know at that time I was actually having a placental abruption. Apparently it is very hard to diagnose on ultrasound.

(We later found out that the amniotic fluid was showing as the wrong color because it was actually blood, not amniotic fluid. I had already been bleeding into my uterus and our daughter was swallowing blood the whole time. After the C-section they pumped 15 cc’s of blood out of our daughter’s stomach and she pooped blood for the next few days.)

A team of preemie doctors came in to prepare us.

Preemie Baby Zoe

After finding out that a c-section was imminent, a team of preemie doctors came in to prepare us for what to expect after Zoe was born.

The preemie MDs explained in detail what would most likely happen to our daughter since she was coming out 7 weeks early. They said it was likely that our daughter would not be able to breathe on her own and that she would need to be intubated (using a machine that breathes for her). It the case that my baby didn’t cry after delivery, they wanted to make sure I was prepared for that possibility.

We were also told to prepare for 30 days in the NICU, which was the average length of stay for a “33 weeker.”

Within a few hours things got much worse.

Soon, I started hemorrhaging and was having what felt like one long contraction that wouldn’t stop.

Our OB determined that I was not actually in labor as my cervix was completely closed. She thought it was best to take the baby out right then because something was very wrong, but she didn’t know exactly what yet. I was wheeled across the hall for the emergency C-section.

Our daughter, Zoe Grace, was born.

Zoe came out at 4 pounds, 3 ounces. After being suctioned, she let out a tiny little cry that I will never forget. It was the best and most beautiful sound I had ever heard in my life.

The doctor was able to confirm during the c-section that I had a placental abruption. My placenta was 30% detached from my uterus.

The next day our neonatologist told us that Zoe had no signs of brain damage and we had a “very healthy baby considering the circumstances.”

He then let me know bluntly, and in no censored way that “babies born after a placental abruption usually don’t survive and the mothers don’t do that well either, although they do better then the babies.”

It was hard to have our baby in the NICU, but we were so grateful for the excellent care she received.

Preemie Baby Zoe

It was hard to have my baby in the NICU but we were so grateful for the excellent care she received.

The first time we saw her we were shocked. She was in an incubator hooked up to so many IV’s and tubes, and so tiny.

I wasn’t allowed to hold her yet. That part was so hard! But I could put my hands in the incubator and place one hand on the top of her head and one her feet. I remember telling her how proud we were of her. She was a tough baby right from the start.

Zoe had an oral-gastric feeding tube for nutrition since she was unable to eat for the first 7 days on her own. I would pump breast milk and give it to the nurses so they could feed her through the OG tube.

She was also receiving TPN (IV nutrition) and lipids (fats) through 2 IV lines. That was probably the most difficult part to watch- preemies veins are so tiny that it would often take an hour of poking to get the IV in. And they didn’t last very long so she was constantly being stuck with needles.

She was on oxygen and a cpap machine for the first week to help her continue breathing on her own. Since she also was very jaundiced, she had to be under a bilirubin light for 5 days.

Zoe got a little stronger every day.

Mom and Zoe in the NICU

As a preemie Zoe earned the nickname “tiny but mighty” from her doctors.  This was taken during week two in the NICU.

Zoe started doing more on her own, like eating through a preemie nipple and no longer needing the IV nutrition.

We were shocked on our 9th day in the NICU when we were informed that Zoe would be discharged the next day. I knew she was doing well but we were told that due to her stage of prematurity that she would stay for at least a month. She was so tiny I couldn’t believe they were letting us take her home.

My experience taught me a few things…

A) Mothers need to trust their instincts. We know much more then we give ourselves credit for.
B) At 28 weeks gestation it is important to start doing fetal kick counts.
C) It is so important to be grateful for the miracle of having a child.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t gone into the hospital that evening, especially after being instructed not to. It is so important to trust your instincts!

I am so blessed that I get to be a mom. Not everyone gets to have healthy baby, or a baby at all for that matter. Whenever I find myself getting frustrated with the difficulties that come with parenthood, I think about how close we were to not getting to have Zoe at all. That puts it all into perspective for me.

Zoe photo shoot

Zoe, 2 years old.  Spunky, hammy and giggling as usual.

Our daughter turned two today. And we are so grateful everyday for her presence in our lives.

Thank you for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

 

I’m 28 Weeks! How This Pregnancy Is Different From My First

I’m 28 Weeks! How This Pregnancy Is Different From My First

I had an appointment with my OB two weeks ago and everything appears to be progressing normally with my pregnancy (thank goodness!).

However, I did have one tiny little scare. When looking at the screen I noticed that our baby was measuring at about 26 weeks, which totally freaked me out since I was 28 weeks.

When I brought it up to my doctor she said “No, everything looks great and you are 26 weeks.” To which I responded: “but I’m 28 weeks!” She looked at my dates and said, “No hon you’re 26 weeks and right on target!”

Seriously? How is that even possible? That is one of the biggest differences between my first pregnancy and my second. I was an entire two weeks off on how far along I was. And I have been so busy with a toddler that I didn’t even know it.

First pregnancies are magical. Second pregnancy’s are cool too, just way busier.

Sarah and little Zoe

Caring for this little one is a lot of fun. But I’m so much busier with a toddler these days that I lose track of time.

In my first pregnancy, I could tell you to the day exactly how far along I was. Weekly belly selfies were taken every Sunday to mark my progress. I knew exactly how big my baby was in terms of vegetable size, weight and length.

I practically studied fetal development on a daily basis. Weekly emails were delivered to my inbox telling me each and every detail of our baby’s milestones. I knew the exact time when she could open her eyes, suck her thumb, hear noises from outside the womb and every other possible developmental detail.

During my first pregnancy I practiced yoga at a studio several times a week, alternating between Vinyasa and prenatal. Then I would watch Netflicks and chill, sometimes marathon style. After all, why not? I was pregnant and I had the time.

Also, I also read every single baby book ever published (fyi, Baby Knows Best and Bringing Up Bebe where my favorites!).

My husband and I even started taking weekly Bradley Method classes. Which didn’t help me at all during my emergency c-section at 33 weeks. But hey, I ultimately still got my healthy baby girl, so who cares?

My second pregnancy has been cool too, sans all the extra me time that I had with my first. Toddler care taking has replaced pretty much all of those activities this time around. That is how I ended of forgetting how far along I was by two entire weeks!

Busyness aside, I love being a mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Baby Boy has reached eggplant size. Yum!

Sarah and Zoe, 28 weeks pregnant with #2

I’m trying to enjoy the joys of pregnancy while they are here. Despite the weird symptoms, there is something so amazing about being pregnant.

I have joined the third and final trimester, yahoo!

Our amazing veggie is now 14 1/2 inches and weighs in at 2 1/2 pounds. Right on track! Nice job, little dude.

Even though I haven’t met my mini-man yet, he has definitely been making an impact in my life. Many of the symptoms of my first pregnancy have returned. I’m suddenly clumsy. I’m fatigued. I have heartburn at least once a day. And I have the worst pregnancy brain (so embarrassing).

In addition, I have even welcomed a brand new pregnancy symptom that I didn’t have last time: lovely varicose veins, on my left leg only. They are SO delightful, I tell you. Once the temperatures finally dip below 90 in Los Angeles I’m going to have to resort to daily compression stockings – toe to waist – for the remainder of the third trimester. Pregnancy sure knows how to make a women feel sexy!

Zoe is going to have big sister responsibilities soon.

Zoe is going to have big sister responsibilities soon!

I love watching how my little girl is reacting to my belly bump with amazement. She now looks at it and says “baby” in the cutest, innocent voice. I don’t think she fully grasps that there is an actual human is in there… yet. But we are trying to verbalize it to her and are reading her a few children’s books about becoming a big sister.

Tonight she was able to say “baby boy” which pretty much melted my heart. She is going to be an excellent big sister! I can’t wait.

I have a few goals to reach before childbirth.

We are only five weeks away from the time when I had Zoe via emergency C-section. Although I am planning on having a full term baby, truth is that you can’t always plan ahead. Therefore, I have a few goals I am presently working on in advance:

#1.  Have a healthy full term baby.

I will be relieved to finally pass the 33 week mark. My doctor says the chances of having another placental abruption are extremely low, which is reassuring.

#2.  Continue working as ER nurse until it makes sense to stop.

With the help of my nifty 30mm graduated compression stockings, I am going to continue working as an emergency room nurse until I am either:

a) too big, or

b) too exhausted, whichever comes first.

As a per diem registered nurse I am not granted disability or maternity leave benefits. I can take up to 6 months time without losing my position, but I receive zero compensation before or after childbirth. Once I’m out, I’m out for a while. So I’m trying to hang in until it makes sense for me to stay home.

#3.  Figure out how to have a 2 year old and newborn share a bedroom without constantly waking one another up.

This one has been a real zinger for me as I can’t figure out how I’m going to make this work. The newborn will stay in our room for several months but then what?

If anyone has any tips on goal #3, I am all ears. Any expertise in this area is appreciated.

At the end of the day I am so thankful for a healthy, happy family.

Life is busy and tiring, but it’s all good. Pregnancy is a gift. Having children really is a miracle. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for a wonderful life and good health for my family and friends. That is the only thing that matters.

Thanks for reading.

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

The Joys Of Pregnancy At 24 Weeks

The Joys Of Pregnancy At 24 Weeks

I am happy to announce that our pregnancy is entering its 24th week! Our little boy is growing faster by the day and weighs about 1.2 pounds. In a few more weeks I will be starting the 3rd and final trimester. Its all uphill from here!

Pedometer on Iphone

This is the app on my iphone. It reminds me to keep moving. Today at work I got 17,000 steps!

Sarcasm aside, I’m actually feeling pretty good these days, with the exception of a little fatigue and annoying pregnancy brain.  My bump is finally pretty obvious now so I so I can walk around proudly displaying a pregnant belly instead of just feeling full-figured and puffy.

I am still practicing yoga and working out when I can. My goal is to walk 10-15,000 steps a day, so I started using the activity app on my I-phone to track my progress. I admit, I am becoming so much dorkier as a second time mommy-to-be. I’m just a busy mom with a toddler trying to take good care of herself when she can.

Thankfully, this pregnancy has been pretty non-eventful. All of my prenatal testing has come back showing no signs of any health issues. Each appointment has gone smoothly without any big scares or hiccups (unlike my last pregnancy, which is a long story for another post!). I know nothing is 100% certain, but I feel optimistic that things will run relatively smoothly this time around (fingers crossed!).

The compression stockings are back (pregnancy is sexy!)

Last week I had to bring my lovely waist-high, graduated compression stockings back out of the drawer (they have been in hiding since the birth of our daughter in October of 2015).

As a nurse who works 12 hour shifts at a busy level 1 Trauma hospital, I have been a little concerned with the amount of time I spend in my feet everyday. I am specifically concerned about varicose veins which are a common side effect of pregnancy (and being a busy nurse). Pregnancy increases your blood volume by 50% and I’m also carrying an extra 12 pounds right now so its no wonder that my legs swell after 12 hours of being on my feet!

Woman wearing compressing stockings.

It just doesn’t get any sexier than maternity compression stockings (not my legs). The joys of pregnancy are many.

Alas! Compression stockings to my rescue! My legs are so much more energized at the end of a long shift after wearing compression stockings on then they are without them. They don’t feel swollen and they actually look visibly less swollen too.

I am sure you are profoundly intrigued and want details so I’ll tell you more about my compression stockings. I wear the Jobst 20-30 Waist High Closed Toe Compression Maternity Pantyhose. It just doesn’t get any sexier then that! Just a word of warning for ladies needing compression hosiery: this is not a place you want to be thrifty. I have tried the cheaper versions and quite frankly, they suck and are a waste of money. Mine are so well-made and will actually last through an entire pregnancy, unlike the cheaper ones.

I look like a whale trying to put them on in the morning. They are so tight on my legs it takes me about 6 minutes to get them all the way up (believe me, its a treat to watch!). Per recommendation, I put them on before I even get out of bed in the morning. Before the blood even has a chance to swim around my ankles.

I have a love/hate relationship with these darn things, but they work wonders I tell you. So I will continue to wear them until I stop working towards the end of this pregnancy.

More joys of pregnancy:  heart burn and nosebleeds

Due to daily, mild-to-severe bouts of heartburn, I have Tums strategically stashed in my work bag, the kitchen cupboard, the diaper bag, and at my bedside. Heartburn is just another great side effect of all those fantastic pregnancy hormones!

At about this time in my first pregnancy I started having frequent heartburn, which is something I never have had non-pregnant. Unfortunately, as I get bigger, it will only get worse.  Another one of the awesome joys of pregnancy that I get to deal with!

On another note, I luckily haven’t experienced any nosebleeds this yet. As mentioned earlier one of many fun physiologic changes during pregnancy is that your blood volume doubles. So nose bleeds can be unfortunate side effect. My last pregnancy I got a few nose bleeds right before laying down to sleep at night. Then I was up for over an hour each time trying to stop them!

VBAC or c-section?

At my 22 week appointment my OBGYN asked me of I wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) or another c-section. She really caught by surprise by this question.

I was under the impression that since my last pregnancy resulted in a c-section (due to a placental abruption at 33 weeks) that I had to have another c-section. In fact, I thought it was considered dangerous not to. Friends have told me that they had to have c-sections for their subsequent babies since they had one the first time.

My OB explained that I was still a good candidate for vaginal birth since I didn’t have a situation that prevented me from having a natural birth while laboring in my first pregnancy. Like, for example, if the baby wouldn’t descend down the birth canal, or I had gestational diabetes or severe preclampsia while I was trying to deliver naturally. She said that for women in my situation, most are still able to have a successful vaginal delivery. (I’ve since done a bit of research, and it does look like the statistics are in my favor).

I never even had an opportunity to go into labor with my first pregnancy. Instead, I had a freaky, rare and life-threatening situation called a placental abruption at 33 weeks. (Essentially, my placenta detached from my womb. Not good.  You can read about that here.)

By some existential miracle our daughter is OK. She is perfect, actually. She is smart, funny, precocious, brave, and absolutely amazing in 1000 different ways. On Halloween Day she will be two years old.

Anyways, back to my VBAC versus c-section decision. I have done a lot of thinking about it lately. Due to the fact that I will have a 2 year-old at home to take care of in addition to a newborn, I have decided to forgo my original c-section plan in lieu of a new VBAC plan.

My reasoning: a c-section requires major abdominal surgery that cuts through many abdominal muscles resulting in weeks of recovery. I want to be able to take care of my family the best I can when I get back home. Another c-section will make that even more difficult for me.

So my new plan is to have a regular, vaginal delivery. That is, if I can help it. If there is any concern whatsoever over the health of the baby, by all means, I’m 100% all for having another c-section. Priority #1 is to have another healthy baby.

There is no rest with a toddler in a second pregnancy

Zoe and Mom sleeping on couch

It just doesn’t get any better than a sleeping baby Zoe.

I don’t have the time to rest like I did in my first pregnancy. I do get tired and nap on my days off when my daughter naps. Working in the ER now is also much more tiring. It’s doable, just harder.

Fortunately, in some ways I also feel more resilient then before. I know what to expect this time around so there are fewer surprises. I’m not checking my baby apps every week to see what developmental stage our baby is in (I wouldn’t have the time to anyway). I just get to be pregnant and focus on what ever is going on that day.

That may be the biggest unexpected benefit of pregnancy the second time around. I’m forced to live in the present because I’m so busy and I have an extremely energetic toddler to take care of.

And I’m feeling the baby kick a lot! I love that part.

Weird side effects and all, I am glad to have the opportunity to go through pregnancy a second time. This will be the last time so I’m trying to enjoy it while I can.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love