Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pure Stress

It has not been a good week.  It's been moving rather quickly considering there hasn't been a ton going on, but my stress level rose considerably this week and it's made things quite challenging overall.  This morning's doctor's appointment took one weight off my shoulders but added another...so while I'm a little calmer now than I was the past few days, I am still facing down quite a crazy reality. 

It all started late last week, or perhaps over the weekend.  I noticed a change in (TMI alert!) in the type and amount of discharge I was experiencing.  It's not uncommon to have some during pregnancy, as there's a lot going on down there and hormones are raging.  But suddenly I was experiencing more, in small spurts (literally).  It wasn't a constant thing, but it happened maybe a couple times a day, often as I changed position or exerted an effort--like blowing my nose or turning over in bed.  It was thin and wet, but I was pretty sure I wasn't just peeing myself.  Given the amount of pressure on my bladder these days, I wouldn't have been surprised if that's all it was, but the consistency was different.  At first I chalked it up to a normal increase, as can happen later in pregnancy.  But as the days went on and it seemed to get a little worse, I worried that it might be more.

About 27 hours before Jacob was born, I started leaking amniotic fluid.  It came as a little spurt after I used the bathroom, which led me to think the baby had shifted and more pee came out.  But when it happened again a few minutes later, I knew something was up.  It continued to happen frequently from then on, and the next morning I was at the doctor's office to confirm that's what was happening.  Twelve hours later I was in the throes of labor.

What had been going on this week was reminiscent of that, but it was happening way less frequently.  I did a lot of weird internet searches and eventually decided it was possible that it was a pinhole-sized leak.  The baby was still moving normally and I knew I had an appointment scheduled for this morning.  I didn't want to have to go through the craziness of scheduling an emergency appointment, paying another co-pay, and sounding like someone who had spent way too much time doing internet searches, so as long as things seemed normal, I figured I'd stick it out.

By last night, however, I was really starting to get concerned.  I was worried about whether it could have an impact on the baby.  I worried that there was a chance I could be in the hospital within 24 hours, delivering a five-week-early baby, with a very unfinished baby room and nothing ready to put in it.  I was still washing the car seat cover and the first round of stuff I had pulled out of the crawl space, and I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I still had to go through.  And to top it off, when I pulled out all of the littlest baby clothes, the vast majority of them were stained with yellow stains.  It's a common yet mysterious scenario, based on what I'm seeing online, where clothes that went into storage looking clean come out stained a few years later.  I'm going to try the most common suggestion--getting OxyClean and letting them soak--but even that was an overwhelming task considering that this baby could be here very quickly (although if he arrives anytime soon, those clothes will all be too big for a while--but that's another issue altogether). 

I was simply overwhelmed and worried.  The fear practically paralyzed me.  I literally didn't know what to say or do.  Craig was asking me what he could do to help, and I couldn't even answer him.  I was extra uncomfortable on top of it, and I was honestly concerned that all of the waiting I'd done all week was about to come back to haunt me.  I thought maybe my water would break or contractions would start, or that something would happen with the baby.  I felt like I could do nothing else but go to bed, so I did just that shortly before 11pm.  I could barely sleep, though.  I dozed a bit and woke up to pee at least half a dozen times.  I tossed and turned.  And at one point the wind started blowing, and it was extra loud.  I was anxious about everything and decided that I needed to at least take one element out of the mix, so I put in earplugs, blocked out the wind, and tried to cram in whatever sleep I could.  I didn't get much, though.  I got up right when my alarm went off (none of my normal snoozing), and immediately went to the basement and reassembled the car seat. 

I was full of nervous energy prior to my doctor's appointment, and I was so relieved to get there.  When the nurse midwife came in and asked how I was, I launched into the story.  Much to my relief, she said it was an easy test to check if it was amniotic fluid, and I got to start my internal exams one week early.  I forgot how miserable those exams can be--it's scary when something so simple like that hurts, considering a baby will be coming out of that area soon--but she took a swab that would have been taken next week and ran a couple tests on the fluid.  She thought it might have been a high leak, but it turns out that it wasn't fluid.  It's most likely just my (TMI alert) mucus plug thinning out and the fluid associated with that coming out from time to time.  She basically said to just wear a pad, take it easy, and it's not a big deal.  Oh, and I'm two centimeters dilated.  Yep.  TWO.  Last time at 36 weeks I was one, and now, at 35 weeks, I'm two.  UGH.  She said that it's not particularly surprising since I've already had one baby, and it doesn't mean that anything is imminent because some women walk around for weeks dilated even more.  Of course, I got that same spiel last time and I kept dilating right up until I went two weeks early. 

So...the good news is that it's not fluid and that means that we're not at risk for infection or having to deliver immediately.  The bad news is that there's a lot of evidence that things are happening, so now I feel like more of a ticking time bomb than ever.  I've been trying to speed through a lot of training and processes at work, and I'm doing what I can to prepare at home.  Hopefully I have a couple weeks left, but if nothing else I could use a week or so--enough to get the baby's room back up and running after Monday's paint job.  We need to install at least one car seat base.  I need to pack a hospital bag (my list is saved on my computer).  I did manage to waterproof our bed a bit and I've pulled out towels for my evening resting place and my car seat.  But most of the rest of everything can wait until we're home with the baby, no matter how much more I'd like to have done. 

Reality is setting in that this is coming sooner rather than later, and there are moments of pure panic.  Today's revelations took off the weight of the scary unknown and left in its place just a nervous unknown.  I'm feeling a lot of pressure around my belly, so I'm still operating under the assumption that it won't be long...but considering yesterday I was thinking I could be in the hospital at this point, I'll take any bonus time I can get.  This is just pure craziness, but I know it will be worth it.

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