I meant to start my weekly bump dates around 12 weeks. I even started writing this first post at that time, but then it stayed in my draft box for 6 weeks. There’s a plethora of circumstances that I could blame it on: moving, the 4 cakes I did in 3 weeks while moving, my 3 children, or just being pregnant. But the truth is that I could have made time to blog through all of that if I had wanted to.
The truth behind my procrastinating in starting this series is this: I’ve been worried this whole time that I’m going to lose the baby. I’ve been having cramps since day one, which is obviously not normal. Of course, I’ve done my best to stay optimistic, but there was always this part of me that was waiting for the ax to fall. I didn’t want to jinx anything by starting to blog about my pregnancy just to lose my baby a week later. Not that we were keeping the pregnancy a secret; but there was a part of me that was afraid to be too happy, just in case the worst should happen.
But then last week I finally decided to not let fear rule me. I was coming home after another weekly OB check that showed a perfectly healthy baby and a perfectly healthy pregnancy, and finally allowed God’s peace to wash over me. My baby and I couldn’t be in better hands. My doctor is keeping a very watchful eye on both of us. Despite the desperate wish to be able to do something to control what my body’s doing…there is nothing I can do. Extra rest didn’t do anything to stop the cramps and living my life normally doesn’t make it any worse. I cannot will my uterus to calm down any more than I can will my 3 year old to calm down in the midst of a raging tantrum.
This is completely out of my control.
But, it’s not out of God’s control. He has a plan for this baby. He’s not going to forget about us or let something slip past His attention. So even though I would love to have some magic pill to take the contractions away, there is peace in knowing that there is nothing I can do because it means that if I do lose this baby, I will know without a shadow of a doubt that it was not my fault.
So I finally decided to be happy, because I decided that this baby is going to live. That’s the truth in any case: either I will carry to term and the baby will live an earthly life before his or her heavenly one like the rest of us, or he or she will go straight into their heavenly life. But either way, my baby will live. And I can celebrate that. I will celebrate every week that I get to hold this precious, unique, one of a kind life inside me.
This post will be long because I’m catching you up on 18 weeks of pregnancy. I will put this very obvious note in right here that each post will be a week behind, because I can’t write about a week until I’ve gone through it. So even though this is the 18 week post, I am actually 19 weeks today.
Let’s do this.
When my period was a week late, I wasn’t particularly alarmed. I had only had one period since my last baby because I breastfed, and my cycle was irregular in between babies 2 and 3. I took a pregnancy test just to be sure, and it was negative, just as I thought it would be. Then I went another week without starting. Again, I wasn’t alarmed…until I was unusually tired one afternoon. But Laurelyn still isn’t sleeping through the night; anyone would be tired, I thought to myself. I’ve seen too many episodes of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant to want to be that person though, and took another test, just to be safe. Color me shocked when 2 lines showed up this time. But I wasn’t pregnant last week!, I protested to the universe. I was having period-like cramps though, so I honestly didn’t know if it was a false positive, especially since I knew I couldn’t rely on my cycle, so I made an appointment with my OB-GYN to determine once and for all what the heck was or was not going on.
Yeah, I’m totally pregnant again.
She didn’t want to date the pregnancy by my one and only period because she agreed that we couldn’t trust it. So she took us over to ultrasound right there on the spot to get a sense of how far along I was. I’m glad we did, because it turned out to not fall in line with the date of my last period. According to the ultrasound, I was 5 weeks pregnant and my due date will be December 1st, unlike the November 20th due date my period would have given me. This was the earliest we have ever had an ultrasound and it was so special to be able to see.
See that little white circle by my nail? That’s the baby! The slightly larger circle next to it is the yolk sack. We couldn’t hear the heart beat yet, but when the doctor turned on the infrared, the whole white circle turned red, beating strong and fast. This kid is literally all heart. It’s such a blessing to have technology that allows us to see the delicate beginnings of life so early on.
To get an even better understanding of where my body was at, my doctor ordered a HCG blood test to check the levels of the pregnancy hormone. Normally in the early stages of pregnancy, it doubles every 2 days. So I had to get blood drawn that day and then again 2 days later. They called me the following Monday, telling me the results: my levels went from 30,000 to 48,000. Then the medical assistant followed that up by asking if we could come in for another ultrasound that afternoon. Not gonna lie, we freaked out. During the first ultrasound, my doctor had noticed something that could be a little off, but had also said to not worry because it was so early on. But then when (in my mind) my levels were off, they wanted us to come in right away, and I had been having mild period cramps on and off for 10 days–instant panic. I did my best to not let my mind wander to the unthinkable while we waited for the appointment, praying that God would give me the strength to trust Him no matter what.
Thankfully, everything looked fine with baby. My doctor said that once the body hits a HCG level of 30,000 that it’s normal for it to slow down a bit, so she wasn’t concerned after seeing a normal ultrasound. She was just being overly cautious with how early the pregnancy was and the cramping that I had been having, and I appreciate that. I would much rather have a doctor be overly cautious than not, and potentially miss something. And look how much the little peanut grew in a week!
I was still nursing my one year old at the time, so my doctor recommended that I wean her off since I was experiencing cramping. With both ultrasounds looking normal and my overall health being fine other than the cramps, my doctor figured that the nursing was the cause of the cramps. Laurelyn was not happy about being cut off, but I had her weaned after two weeks. Once I stopped nursing, the cramps went away, and my husband and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. There were only a handful of occasions when I felt minor cramping, but it never lasted long, so we didn’t worry at the time.
Our two oldest girls, who are 5 and 3, were ecstatic at the news of having another baby in the family. Our 5 year old declared that it was the best day of her life, and then proceeded to run around the house chanting, “Mama’s having a baby! Mama’s having a baby!” with her 3 year old sister copying her. It completely melted my heart and was hands down the best reaction.
Despite being told to not say anything so that we could tell them the news, our 3 year old declared the literal moment that my in-laws walked through the door one day, “MAMA HAS A BABY COMING OUT OF HER HOO-HOO!” Not gonna lie, it was the funniest thing and I almost died laughing. After that, we let the kids tell all the other grandparents and my sister, just to continue in the theme. It was so funny to listen to the silence on the other end of the phone broken by the confused, “What did you say?” After they recovered from the initial shock however, everyone was happy to hear the news.
Morning sickness consisted of constant nausea for about 3 weeks straight. We were still in our old neighborhood at the time, and the people there are just amazing. One of the neighbors sent out an email to the whole neighborhood asking if any of them would be willing to bring us some meals to help get us through my morning sickness period, because the smell of raw meat and raw onions/garlic made me gag. We ended up receiving 3 meals a week for 3 weeks straight. I was just amazed at the generosity and kindness of people that, for the most part, I had never even met. It was such a blessing to be able to just be sick without the stress of also trying to wrestle up dinner every night when the sight of it just made me even sicker.
My husband had to take over all errand running during that period, including grocery shopping. After one such errand run, he came home with the sweetest surprise: a family bouquet.
Each flower represents a member of our family, based on our favorite colors. The red rose is for me; the white one is for my husband, because they didn’t have any blue flowers; the purple one for our oldest, Eowyn; the green for our Hulk fanatic, Arya; the yellow one for Laurelyn; and the baby’s breath for the new baby. It was so thoughtful; I absolutely loved it!
I personally feel like I was showing right away, but my belly “popped” at 9 weeks.
Yay for muscle memory…
Our next ultrasound was at 10 weeks. I have never seen a baby that young move around so much. It looked like the baby was dancing! My hubby got a video of it, if anyone’s interested in marveling in the miracle of life with us.
I’ll never get tired of watching this video.
After my early cramping and morning sickness eased up, my pregnancy was perfectly normal.
Here’s my 11 week bump picture:
And my 14 week the Tardis is bigger on the inside bump picture, because I’m a huge nerd:
(Awesome Tardis apron purchased from ThinkGeek.com in case any one reading this is also a baking Whovian)
Like I mentioned earlier, we just moved last month. We did some minor construction in the lower level of the new house that involved pouring a small amount of fresh concrete. The hubby had the awesome idea of putting our hand prints in the fresh cement, as we are planning on this being the last move until the kids are all grown. Of course, we included new baby. So this picture ended up being our official Facebook announcement, which was perfect because it symbolizes this new chapter in our lives; the fresh start that we so desperately needed. Above each of the kid’s initials, we put their currant ages, and put the due date above new baby’s question mark initial.
Here is my 15 week bump picture on the front porch of our new house!
(To the Moon motherhood tank by LMYK apparel)
And finally, here is the latest bump picture at 18 weeks. The amaze-ball Doctor Who shirt that I’m wearing was a Mother’s Day gift from my amaze-ball husband, who knows me all too well.
On Monday, June 20th, at 7:30 pm I started having contractions. I know you’re probably confused; but you said ‘cramping’ before, why are you calling them contractions now? Because that’s what they are. They aren’t active labor contractions, but they are contractions none-the-less. It may make me feel slightly more comfortable to call them ‘cramps’, but a rose by any other name still has thorns. Better to name the beast for what it is: I am having minor contractions in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy, which is approximately 4 months too early. Since June 20th, I have had contractions every single day. I tried bed rest the first week, but I still had contractions. I would wake up in the middle of the night to pee contracting, despite having not only been on the couch all day long but also having had taken a 2 hour nap and having gone to bed 3 hours earlier than normal. The only thing bed rest was doing was stressing me out, because I had nothing to do but think. My thoughts were fraught with worry. I couldn’t even find peace in sleep, as my dreams were full of death and grief and pain.
So this is the plan: I will go in to see my doctor once a week so long as I continue experiencing contractions on a daily basis. She will do an ultrasound to check cervical length and make sure that the cervix is not con-caving and obviously, check on baby. So long as these contractions continue to not cause any dilation or other signs of early labor, I go about my life as normal. If I feel I need to rest, I will sit down and put my feet up. But otherwise, I need to live life as normal as possible so that I don’t drive myself completely mad. I have a wonderful doctor who is smart enough to know to trust my instincts because I am the only one who knows my own limits and am the only one who is going through all of this. My husband is obviously walking with me through this, but I am the one carrying this baby and I am the one who is feeling the daily discomfort. It has to be my decision on what actions to take to help me get this baby to full term.
This baby is obviously just a drama queen and doesn’t want me to forget about her; can’t let the older sisters steal all the limelight.
This baby is going to be just fine. Because if there’s anything that I’m sure of, it’s this: being a mom is my super power.