Mabel joins the family: Part 2 – The Pregnancy
John came with me to this appointment as I didn’t want to be alone like I was the last time. I wanted his support in case anything happened and I was too emotionally distraught to think clearly. I remember sitting in the waiting room and feeling so sick to my stomach. I was surrounded by all these hugely pregnant women. I wanted to be them with all my heart, but I was bracing myself for the worst. When we finally got called back the nurse was super cheerful and congratulated us on the pregnancy. I immediately burst into tears. John had to explain to her that I had a miscarriage before and I was already spotting in this pregnancy. The OB noticed that I was a basket case and John filled him in as well. The doctor was so kind and immediately went to see if the larger more accurate ultrasound machine was available. He said he wanted to skip straight to the ultrasound to put my mind at ease. The larger ultrasound would be more accurate and would be easier to spot the embryo. They put me on that table usually reserved for women later in pregnancies and the tech start probing my stomach.
It was then that she paused, and zoomed in. I could see it. Very small and faint, but there it was! A teeny tiny little heartbeat. My own heart stopped. I was able to calm down a little. Our baby was alive, at least for now. I made it farther than the last time. John was so happy and didn’t understand why I wasn’t more relieved. I was, but the embryo was measuring one week behind what was expected. The OB assured us this was probably ok. That the heartbeat was measuring on target. But what about the spotting? They had no explanation about that. Sometimes women just bleed a little. I went home more relieved than before, but still a nervous wreck.
We had to wait 5 weeks until the next appointment since the baby was measuring a week late. They didn’t want to see me until I reached 12 weeks. Those 5 weeks were awful! I did continue to have nausea. I couldn’t eat or even smell certain foods. The worst thing was I developed a huge aversion to popcorn. I LOVE popcorn! John and I would eat some nearly every day. The best thing was that I also hated meat. That made John so happy. All I wanted was huge salads and lots of them.
The bad thing was that I spotted frequently. It was bright red blood on a regular basis until it stopped at around 11 weeks. At my 12 week appointment, with John at my side, the OB easily found a heartbeat on the doppler. Our little embryo was still there! At 14 weeks we had officially reached the second trimester. My nausea didn’t completely subside until about 16 weeks. It was around that time that I finally felt confident enough to tell my supervisor at work.
The second trimester went by relatively fast looking back on it. But I still felt scared all the time. When I was 14 years old, my mom had a second trimester loss at 20 weeks. I still felt like I could lose this baby at any moment. I was very careful not to do anything that I saw may increase that chance. Stupid things that don’t make sense. For example, I didn’t want to do any exercise aside from light walking or I wouldn’t drink any ginger ale. I had a strong ginger ale to drink the day I started spotting with my last pregnancy. My brain attributed that drink to losing the baby so I tried to avoid it.
I started feeling the baby move around 16 weeks. If I had to describe it, I’d say that at first it felt like my abdominal muscles were twitching. Like a small spasm. I think John felt the baby for the first time shortly after that. Feeling movement was great because it reassured me that the baby was alive. I still worried about the frequency of movements. This baby was fairly active, but any movement I felt was a huge relief.
At our 20 week ultrasound, we decided not to find out the sex of the baby. This was a choice we had talked about before we got pregnant. I really didn’t care if was a boy or girl. I just wanted a baby so I wasn’t worried about any sort of gender disappointment. John wanted a girl but mostly because he worried about raising a boy that would behave like he did as a teenager. I figured, whenever we found out, it would be a surprise and that it wouldn’t be hard just to wait 4 more months. We wanted gender neutral items anyway. Neither one of us like how babies are labeled so clearly as BOY (blue plz) or GIRL (team pink!) even before they are born. We were pretty certain that this baby would be a boy. John’s brothers have 10 children between them all and only one is a girl.
I hit the 3rd trimester around the time that my sister Amanda was getting married. It was around now that I started accepting the fact that I was going to stay pregnant. I was clearly pregnant at this point anyway. So I’d have to say that I enjoyed the 3rd trimester most because I felt the most at ease. Physically, I was mostly all right. I had started experiencing bad pelvic pain around 16 weeks. This would last until the end but it was livable. It mostly just made it hard to walk around too much.
At around 33 weeks I bled again. Right before I went to bed I went to the bathroom. When I wiped there was a lot of bright red blood. I yelled for John and we decided that I would call the OB’s on-call nurse. When I stood up, a lot more blood came trickling down my legs. The nurse told me to go to Labor and Delivery right away. We hoped in the car and away we went. I was actually not feeling too nervous about this. I felt that if the baby was born then it would still survive. The hospital hooked me up to all the monitors. Baby was fine, I was having mild contractions but probably because I was dehydrated. They couldn’t explain the bleeding but it looked like it was stopping. The next day I didn’t bleed anymore.
After that experience, I realized that the baby could come RIGHT NOW and we had nothing ready. We had no baby items. No car seat. Nowhere for the baby to sleep. No names picked out! That’s when it started to sink in for me. We were actually going to have this baby!
At my 36 week appointment I was approached by a nurse. She said she was part of a study that was researching labor induction. They wanted to see how it affected mother and baby. She wanted to know if I was willing to participate. They needed first time mothers only. There were two study groups: one that would be induced between 39 and 40 weeks and the other would be allowed to go into labor naturally (unless otherwise recommended by the doctor). I couldn’t decide if I wanted to participate in this study. Current convention does suggest that inductions do lead to more interventions, including a C-section. But as I did my research, I found that no study had actually measured this to be true. It took me two weeks to think about, but John and I finally agreed to participate. After my 38 week appointment I was called up and she told me I was put into the induction group. We decided to schedule my induction for August 21st, four days before my due date.