Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Looking back – the beginning of the end

Looking back – the beginning of the end

This is what I looked like about a year ago (actually this was taken 11/30/07 so it’s a little over a year, if you want to get technical):
HOLY CRAP, I was HUGE. Bigger than this picture even shows. And I still had almost two more weeks to go! And I felt like a steaming pile of crap. I remember right before Thanksgiving is when I turned another corner and things got much, MUCH more difficult. Physically and emotionally. I wasn’t yet delirious (that would soon follow) but I was in horrible shape. MISERABLE. Using all of my strength to stay as positive as possible so I wouldn’t lose it. I was SO on the verge of losing it, as those of you who were following along at the time may remember.

I had just been admitted (actually admitted on November 26) for the long haul and was taking things one day at a time. I had finally found out the sex of baby A (ALEXIS!!!) and was thrilled to have a mixed bag. I was going to get my baby girl. I called her my “secret” baby since I was the only one who could feel her kick, she was so wedged into my pelvis. My poor pelvis and her poor little cramped body! She was holding the weight of those big brothers of hers.
Baby B (who ended up shifting and becoming baby C – Jackson) wasn’t moving much but was wedging his way so far up into my lungs that I couldn’t take big breaths anymore, no matter how I moved or what position I was in. His butt was clearly visible on my belly. As if he was showing everyone his butt that early on to say, “Hey, here’s what I think.” I should have known then what kind of attitude he would have now!
Baby C (who eventually shifted to become Baby B, Zachary) was kicking the crap out of my entire left side and I really felt so tender and bruised from the inside. He would kick the monitors (UGH, those monitoring sessions) and would cause the nurses to have to ‘search’ for him again. He never stopped kicking me. My ribs hurt to touch! He is still my kicking boy to this day! Sweet Zachary!

A few days later, on December 1, I took a huge nosedive. I think Brian and I were just stretched to our capacity. We had such a stressful year. Brian’s Mom was getting sicker and he felt like he couldn’t do enough. He would work all day, and maybe try to spend some time with his Mom and come to the hospital every night until SO LATE so he could be with me and support me and help me go to the bathroom and shower and all that fun stuff. He was DONE. He had spent MONTHS taking care of me and trying to give his best at a new job, all while his Mom was getting sicker. I felt so bad for needing him so much. He was stretched to his limit. His heart bas breaking and still trying to stay strong for me. My heart ached for him. We were both losing it. He went home that night and I ended up crying for hours. I couldn’t stop.
Looking back, that was the beginning of ‘the end’. Actually, being admitted was the beginning of the end as I think I really went downhill once I started hospital bedrest. They say that some people do better in the hospital – I am NOT one of these people. In retrospect, I had a much easier time at home. Of course, it wasn’t an option as my cervix had shortened so much and my contractions were not letting up. Lantry was not going to give me Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions at this point since she said I was too at risk of developing clots and something about pulmonary thrombosis. I don’t even remember. I just remember that I did take some terbutaline shots in the arm to stop contractions and WOW did that make me feel strange. I remember I could not stop shaking.
I remember those contractions SO clearly. I had just gotten used to contracting all the time since I had been doing it (mostly irregularly) for so long. It had just become a part of pregnancy for me. I remember watching the contractions on the TOCO (short for tocodynamometer) since I was hooked up to it 24 hours a day. I could see the hills and valleys and would count how long and how close. I would just lay there on my side watching that dang machine. I remember my skin burning SO BADLY and having red dots of blood on my tank top from the skin stretching so much and breaking skin. The alcohol based ultrasound gel that was constantly on my skin just intensified the feeling. It was no longer irritation. It was pain. It had actually been pain for quite a while.

I also remember how connected my contractions were to my emotional well-being. It was this pregnancy that REALLY showed me how connected our body is to our state of mind. If I cried, I contracted. If I couldn’t stop crying, the contractions got stronger and closer together. It took all of my energy and LOTS of prayer for me to keep it together. I BEGGED God to change the way I felt as I lay there alone in my silent hospital room that night, with only the lights of the contraction monitor. I am in tears now just typing that because I can remember the intensity of how I felt. I was no longer able to keep it together. I remember then being humbled as I thought of the last night for Christ in The Garden of Gethsemane. I thought of how afraid he must have felt and how he was in such agony. I think that thought was placed into my head right at the perfect moment. It gave me perspective. A kick in the pants. My misery, although seemingly unbearable at the time, was temporary. Like Lantry would say, “You’re not dying. Suck it up.” She was right. BTW, I am by NO MEANS comparing myself with Jesus. I hope I made that clear. If anything, I became even more in awe of and humbled by his sacrifice.

I had finally reached the big 30 week mark and I was determined to keep it together. Instead of day by day, I was just taking one moment at a time. Little did I know that it would get a bit better AND worse and then eventually more difficult than I had imagined.

Re-hashing this is actually EXHAUSTING and I just started a new round of Progesterone (a whole other post is in order, I know) and I haven’t taken progesterone since before I was pregnant – with the exception of the progesterone suppositories in the first trimester of this pregnancy. I now remember why I used to take it at night. I makes me SO TIRED. My body feels like it is filled with lead. Of course, I took today’s dose with lunch so by 6pm I wanted to pass out. Tomorrow’s dose is at bedtime, for sure!
And quickly since some of you may be wondering PCOS-wise, “Aren’t you on Metformin? What’s going on?” Lantry took me off the Metformin for now b/c she was concerned that I had not had a period in months. She’s got me doing the Progesterone thing (actually Medroxyprogesterone – generic for Provera) to give me a couple of periods. Its been so long since I’ve done this PCOS/hormone/medication dance that I had forgotten how exhausting it is. There’s so much more I want to share on the PCOS front, but that’s for another day.

In the meantime, I’ll continue the re-cap of the last days before birth. Stay tuned.