Sunday, July 5, 2015

The End of an Era and The Beginning of a New One

As my third and final pregnancy comes to a close, it is with mixed emotions. I am so excited and happy to meet this little girl. I still in amazement and so incredibly grateful that I was able to get pregnant one last time. I truly never thought I would ever get pregnant again after all of the trouble we had to go through to get our first two. It was only through a great many changes made by Hubs and me, but especially Hubs, over the last couple of years that this miracle is even possible.

The miracle is not, and never will be, lost on me.

Of course, like any other pregnancy, the last month is so uncomfortable, fraught with aches and pains and all manner of complete and total uncomfortableness, which makes even the happiest pregnant woman ready to be done. Heaven knows I LOVE being pregnant. I love the idea of a new life growing inside of me. I don't care if it was my first pregnancy or my 100th, it is truly incredible. I am so glad to be a woman, and the bearer of new life.

Even though I love being pregnant, I am looking forward to not having indigestion so bad that I can't eat after 2:00 in the afternoon, and then have to throw up whatever didn't make it past my stomach by the time I go to bed at night. Yep, I've been having to throw up nightly for the last 8+ weeks. 8 x 7 = 56 straight nights of throne worshiping just to keep from having acid/food backup while I sleep.

I am definitely looking forward to the end of pregnancy discomfort, you know the kind where it feels like your hips are being pulled apart like they are on a taffy pull. Or the joys of round ligament pains, especially the ones that hurt so bad in the middle of the night you have to get out of bed to walk them off and then try to fall back asleep afterward.

One thing I am really looking forward to: getting my brain back! While pregnancy brain can be funny, it can also be frustrating. Mostly for me, its just funny, but that's only when it didn't affect anyone else in a negative way.

All of that aside, this journey has been a roller coaster, but in the end, God was watching out for us and baby Jackpot because we made it! We made it longer than we dared hope. We thought we would be lucky to make it to 36 weeks, and with my already being high risk for rupture, that was all we were counting on. With just a month to go, we decided with the high risk OB and my regular OB that things looked so good, we could make it another week. One more week to let baby Jackpot's lungs develop a little longer, to give her some more time to get ready for the outside world, and to give her her very best chance at being born healthy and avoiding NICU time.

At my 19 week anatomy scan with our high risk doctor, she noticed some scarring at the bottom of my uterus. When she asked if I knew what it was from, I told her I assumed it was from the D&C I had after Sweet Pea was born because of retained placenta. To err on the side of caution, my doctor did an internal sono for a cervix check. This was when we discovered that I had a funneling cervix, which means that instead of being nice and tightly closed, the top part of my cervix was opening up, leaving my functional cervix at a scarily short length.

I was immediately put on modified bed rest. The funny thing was before we found that out, I had asked if I could be released to my regular OB for the remainder of my pregnancy so we could follow the same protocol as we had with Sweet Pea, which was monthly sonos to check the weak spot of my uterus for signs of potential rupture. After seeing the funneling cervix, I became a higher high risk patient. I then had to go back every two weeks for growth and cervix checks. Some weeks were better than others. But at my 21-week checkup, things had gotten noticeably worse and I was put on strict bed rest for the duration.

Strict bed rest mean I was allotted 2 hours a day to take care of personal business like eating, going to the loo, showering, etc. Nothing fun like going to the store, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, day trips to anywhere or anything else.

For a couple of months we kept hoping that things would improve enough that we could still go on the vacation we had planned to Cancun. As the day got closer, things looked less and less likely. Four weeks before we were supposed to fly away for a sunny and much needed vacation, we had to cancel our plans.

Bed rest hasn't been easy on anyone. Hubs basically became a single father of three, having to do and be everything for everyone. Instead of having a spouse to help him, he got to go it alone: get the kids up and ready for school and out the door, feed everyone, clean the house, mow the lawn, do all of the grocery shopping, everything. He has handled it all with amazing grace. He barley complained over the last few months about how he had to step up and do everything. He hardly said anything even in the beginning when he had hurt his back really bad while putting down Sweet Pea a few days before I got put on bed rest.

He picked and chose what was important and what wasn't, and I chose to let go of the things he didn't want to do or didn't do the way I do them. He decided that spending time with his family was more important than trying to keep up with cleaning the house and hired a maid service. This also served to keep me from going insane looking at a messy house and to keep me on my backside, because he knows if things drive me crazy enough, I WILL do them on my own. He has done all he can to make sure I staid off my feet and reclined as much as he possibly can.

You want to know what a serious Husband/Father of the Year Candidate looks like? That would be my husband. I don't feel like I can show my appreciation enough, and heaven knows I try!

Luckily I was able to continue working during my bed rest, to save my precious maternity leave for when I get to hold my baby in my arms. Bed rest could not have come at a better time as far as my workload was concerned. I had just wrapped up all of my projects and was in a low tide phase while new products were in the R&D phase. I am fortunate in my career choice, but also in my employer, or rather manager and coworkers. My managers have been amazing and accommodating. They were friends before they were managers, and as far as I'm concerned, our relationships are still friends before coworkers. They were all so supportive and caring.

When I found out I was pregnant back in November, one of the first things I told Hubs was that if this pregnancy was good, we were done. Then the pregnancy got scary and kept taking on new levels of high risk. When I got put on bed rest, we knew we were done. Done, done, done after the baby was born.

I have only ever wanted three kids, a decision I made and have stuck by since I was a teenager. I actually remember the moment when I was 17 and knew I only ever wanted three.

I kept meaning to tell my regular OB that I wanted to have my tubes tied when baby Jackpot was delivered, but kept forgetting. At my appointment a few weeks ago, she asked me if that was part of our plan. My reaction surprised me.

I started crying. Big fat crocodile tears.

Then I started laughing through my tears and nodded my head yes.

I told her I didn't know why I was crying, that this was always the plan, and that I had kept meaning to tell her at each appointment.

She asked how long this had been my plan, and I told her (through my tears) since I was in high school. But it was cemented once the pregnancy was good. Hubs and I had talked about this many times over the past few months, and every time we hit a new level of high risk, we knew this was the choice we had to make.

She told me if it was a choice I had made in the past few weeks due to being uncomfortable or emotional, she would not perform the procedure, but because it was something that was always the plan, she would do it for us. Then she told me they don't tie tubes anymore because they are link to a 70% higher chance of ovarian cancer. Instead, they perform a fimbriectomy where they cut the tubes off completely now.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to go through with the fibriectomy. It is so final and completely irreversible. I know we won't get pregnant again because we're done having babies, and because it just wouldn't be wise. But there is a part of me that is just struggling with the permanence of the procedure. However, we will have to prevent somehow and there are very few options that we are okay with. The ones we are okay with are not 100% foolproof. So I have a big decision to make before I head down to deliver baby Jackpot.

I cried a lot through our discussion. I stopped long enough to checkout and get to the car, and then I just sobbed and laughed at myself the whole way home.

Why was I so upset?

Because the past almost 10 years my life has been about building my family. Because for my whole life, my existence revolved around growing up and having babies, building a family, and now that chapter is coming to a close. There is so much more beyond that, but it would take me days to get into it and write it all out. The bottom line is the purpose of my life is changing from building my family to simply raising my family. My baby-making journey is over.

Its kind of a hard pill to swallow. No more babies after this. I love being pregnant, but I won't get to be pregnant again. This chapter of my life, of being young and fertile is closing. Now I need to focus solely on raising my kids, and not making more.

I can't believe how fast the past 8 months have gone. I can't believe we are actually here. It is so bittersweet. I finally have the three babies I always wanted. My family is complete. This chapter was almost 10 years in the making, and now it is closing so a new one can begin.

I get to live my dream. I am so blessed and so incredibly grateful.