Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Closer - 25 Weeks

Tomorrow marks 25 weeks in this pregnancy, which feels really hard to believe. So close, and yet so far away!

A week ago, I had a teary meltdown worrying about the baby. 24 weeks is technically viability (although the odds are not great) and immediately my anxiety goes up. Viability means I need to pay attention, I need to know what's going on, I need to be intuitive and psychic and medically trained to figure out what could be happening and how to make sure the baby is going to be okay. No pressure.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that we found a doula to work with again this time. I had hoped to work with the amazing woman who somehow transformed Coco's birth into a wonderful experience for me, but she's retired from the doula work, so she recommended another doula in the area who also seems great.

One awesome thing about doulas is that they are more interested in pregnancies than in children--that's the medical history and physical/emotional experiences they want to know about, right? So every conversation with her includes Eliza, she says Eliza's name all the time, she constantly talks about my "fourth baby" (which OMG four babies). So that's all really validating.

As some of you may remember, part of the reason I work with a doula is because I want to avoid needles. I don't want an epidural because the idea of a needle in my spine is scarier to me than the idea of experiencing pain for a few hours. And I am not judging anyone who gets an epidural (seriously in my circle of friends, I don't even know if one other person has delivered a baby without an epidural). It's just a control issue for me, plus now I've done it three times so it's what I know.

But I also feel like I don't quite fit in to circles of crunchy moms who are all about non-medicated births and breastfeeding (even though I do those things) because I want all the monitoring--all the non-stress tests leading up to a scheduled induction. For Zuzu and Coco, I was induced with a Cervidil insert that softens the cervix. Both times, that was enough to get my body going into labor on its own so I was able to avoid pitocin and an IV--I'm hoping we can follow that pattern again this time. This is assuming I don't go into labor on my own earlier, because my anxiety will not allow me to go past my due date and I expect to be induced in week 39 as I was with Zuzu and Coco.

So I'm planning to be induced, but also not to have an epidural. Natural birth advocates recommend intermittent monitoring during labor to avoid interventions that may actually be unnecessary. But I want constant monitoring. One thing that keeps me calm during labor is being able to look at the monitor and see the baby's heartbeat. I need to know that the baby is alive.

So basically, I veer away from the totally crunchy approach AND I want to avoid needles, which puts me in a weird category. Fortunately, a doula is pretty much paid to support you and your birth plan, and to help be your advocate. My doctor is the same doctor I've had for all the girls. He knows my quirks and is supportive of my plans (hopes) for this birth, so I'm not too worried about pushback or anything like that. But I do need the support and reassurance of the doula to get me through labor! David does a good job, but he also appreciates the guidance of someone else who reassures us that everything is going well.

Anyway, we met with the doula and talked through everything. She encouraged me to write up a birth plan. I always put "Goal: LIVING BABY" at the top because really everything else is just details, but if I can have the best experience possible for me and the babe (which would basically be a reenactment of Coco's birth, where I felt so amazing immediately afterward), that would obviously be ideal.

If all goes more or less according to plan/history, I have fourteen weeks before the baby gets here. I'll start official kick counts a week from tomorrow. I see my doctor again in three weeks, and then I'll start seeing him every two weeks, and in late March (after spring break) I'll start biweekly non-stress tests.

In some ways, fourteen weeks sounds like no time at all. In other ways, fourteen weeks is an eternity. It's an entire semester! It's more than three months. It's so many days, so many kicks, so many opportunities for infection, cord accident, placental abruption, all the unpredictable things I fear based on the heartbreaking stories I've heard. And all things over which I have very little control.

Another baby is a logistical and financial complication, a big shift for our family, a huge change I can hardly predict, and one that makes me a nervous in some ways. But this baby also feels like an incredible gift--like maybe it's too good to be true. I worry that we are asking too much, getting too greedy. We've been given two perfect little girls--how can I expect to get another one? Is this too good too be true? Is there enough luck in the universe for this to work out for me?


  1. You 100% deserve The Closer to be here and healthy, but you and Eliza also 100% deserved to share this life together, so I know that may not be super comforting. I hope I hope I hope so very much for all the good things for The Closer.

    I also feel like every pregnancy should have as much monitoring as you do. I know it wouldn't catch every heartbreak, but it sure seems like it would prevent a good chunk of the devastation that happens .

    Sending ALL the love to you and your four precious girls!!

    1. Yes the monitoring in pregnancy is such a tricky thing. I logically and rationally understand that most of the time it's unnecessary... but if we could avoid these tragedies BEFORE they happen instead of just monitoring the pregnancies that come after... Sigh.

      If only we all got what we deserve (even most of the time)!

  2. I totally hear you 100% all the way loud and clear at the back about "I'd rather experience the pain of childbirth than let a needle near my spine." I'm not especially needle-phobic, but a needle IN MY SPINE? Thanks, I'll take labor pains any day of the week!

  3. You can do this. I’m glad you have good support lined up and as much planned as you feel comfortable with. This is so important for getting through the days. I had medical inductions with all three boys and all the monitoring! but only one epidural (with Bode) so I totally get the semi-natural birth experience, and it can work even with pitocin. Keep taking it one step at a time. xoxo

    1. I did NOT know that you didn't have epidurals with Bear & Koda! Even with pitocin--that's so good to hear. Semi-natural feels right for me!

  4. Sending lots of love and good vibes to get you through the next 14 weeks! I hear you on ALL of the above - wish I had some words of wisdom to help, but as you know, you've just got to keep chugging along until you get there. Hope it goes quickly and uneventfully. I'll be thinking of you and baby #4!

  5. (Hand raised!) No epidural! I'm all for it, not in a braggy way, just in an I completely understand the needle thing way. Ella was an emergency induction, and although I'm grateful it all ended up okay, I hated that process, mostly because I couldn't ever catch my breath - there wasn't any down time between contractions. So my fear of suffocation (that's what it felt like) sent me to the opposite extreme with Frances. I did have limited monitoring with her - just once an hour, and finally agreed after walking around at 4cm for like a week, and then 6cm for about 12 hours, to let them break my water. They said it was a bag of steel, and basically was cushioning all the work the contractions were doing and preventing further dilation. So that worked. I felt a zillion times better with no drugs / no needles, etc. the second time around. The disappointing thing was I thought maybe the different approach might stave off PPD the second time around, but no such luck.

    I realize how lucky I am to have two healthy girls. I also have next to no good memories of the first eight weeks of their lives, but luckily had a husband who did everything and yanked me off the bridge more than once.

    Your approach seems really sane to me. And 14 weeks seems really close to me too! You've got this.