Friday, December 12, 2008

Portrait of a Pregnancy After a Micropreemie, pt 1

When I found out that I was pregnant with our third child, I was thrilled. My husband and I had always hoped to be blessed with another baby. Not for one moment was I anything but excited. Well, that's not completely true. I'm scared too...

For those of you who may not have caught my post on the topic, my daughter was born four months early due to preterm labor of unknown causes. This is a blessing and a curse because, realistically, the odds are good that it won't happen again but, at the same time, there aren't too many "pro-active" things I can do to prevent it either.

Here are some ways that my current pregnancy is very different from my previous two...

On Monday, I go in for a trans-vaginal ultrasound to get a very specific, clear picture to date the pregnancy as accurately as possible. This is critical because I will have to have another c-section (my first was a classic-- VBAC is not an option) and they want it done not before 36 weeks but not after 37 weeks. We want the baby to be as mature and developed as possible, but they can't risk hard contractions because the odds are too good that I would face internal uterine rupture. This is far different from having my water break at home when I was 41 weeks along with my son...

This ultrasound will also be used to determine whether or not I still need to have the surgery I was originally supposed to have on November 14th. If so, I will face surgery while pregnant, sometime after my 16th week. It's a scary thought to me...

I'm ten weeks today and, so far, I have very few restrictions. I'm only allowed to walk for exercise and, of course, I face the limitations that any tired and nauseous pregnant woman faces. There's only so much I even want to do. But, at 20 weeks, I've already been told the following restrictions will have to be in place:
  • No extraneous walking or exercise.
  • No intercourse.
  • No lifting anything over 20 lb (this will include both of my children).
  • At least a couple of hours of bedrest per day.
  • Careful attention to any and all pressure and twinges (with C, what I thought were painless Braxton Hicks contractions turned out to be the real deal...).
  • Likely consultation with a perinatologist on top of regular (frequent) OB visits.
What does all this mean? Well, basically we have to do some planning now. My 3-year old son who will be 4 by then should do fine through the day with no lifting. My little girl who's almost 3? Different story. She's still in a crib, still in high chair, and she seems so tiny! But we'll have to make some adjustments. Bedrest? The thought makes me laugh. But, if I really think about it, my children are happy to color in coloring books, flip through books, or sing songs with Mama even if I'm horizontal. And, well, watching Little Einsteins or Veggietales isn't going to kill them.

I feel humbled by my last pregnancy. I take nothing for granted now. I am trying to enjoy each and every day of this journey and to find comfort in faith. I will do everything in my power to ensure that this little bean stays where he or she belongs for as long as possible... and I will trust the powers greater than my own to handle the rest.

1 comment:

Becky said...

I have been reading your blog with interest . . . My 1st child was a completely normal full-term pregnancy (12/25/06). With my 2nd child, contractions began during week 27. With bedrest, meds, and hospitalization, his delivery was held off until week 32. Overall he did fabulous, spending just 23 days in the NICU and 4 months on the apnea monitor due to continued heart rate drifts and breathing irregularities. (Nothing like what a micro-preemie faces! We have so much to be thankful for!)
I guess I'm a little apprehensive at the thought of another pregnancy.(We always wanted 4 children.) I'm concerned about the possibilities of a baby coming even earlier; concerned about bedrest with 2 toddlers . . . all the things you've addressed.
And it's so encouraging to see that you have carried this one full-term after having a micro-preemie!