Saturday, February 23, 2013

34 Weeks

I feel like we've reached a big milestone! Weeks and weeks ago my doctor told me, "Just get to 34 weeks." If the babies were born at this point, they would most likely be fine to come home with me. So now I'm all like, "Okay, come out babies." Generally I'm 100% for waiting until your body and your baby (babies) decide to birth. I know that due dates are really just guess dates. I've been really encouraged lately by a couple of mamas who chose to go 41 and 42 weeks with their babies. Yep, that's my position on birth...just let it happen as it will!

It's hard to keep that in mind though when you get to this point, however. Days aren't so bad; nights are. Doesn't it always seem that way, though? Sickness, loneliness, whatever. It's always worse at night. All day I feel resolved; some nights I accidentally break down and cry. It's truly not THAT bad but there is a culmination of little things that wears me down. 

First of all, a couple of weeks ago I developed this little lump on the bottom on my stomach. At first I thought it was a baby part (bottom?) sticking out but it didn't move and it was tender. I searched and searched the internet for pictures of pregnant tummies that resembled mine but couldn't find any. At this week's doctor's appointment, I learned that I simply have pitting edema. On my stomach. Yes, my stomach is so heavy and my skin so stretched out that I have started to swell and a big fluid pocket has developed. And there's really nothing I can do about it. If your feet swell, you prop up awhile and feel better. Not so easy to prop your gigantic tummy up though! So, just in case there are other mamas out there searching for answers instead of calling their doctor (you know, like I always do) here are some really yucky pictures of my red, swollen belly. 

See the part that hangs down over my pants? That would be edema. Wanta see a closeup? Well, okay.

My stretch marks are red and itchy and kind of huge. Despite slathering myself in lotion twice a day, I'm still really itchy. Last night I took an oatmeal bath which seemed to help. The kids thought it was really something to see their mama in the bathtub! Jathan, Ryland, and Piper had to all come in and have a look at me and my "turkey" as Jackie so lovingly calls my stomach. I didn't care because he sat beside the tub and basted that big white turkey with my oatmeal water for about an hour, ha ha. I have some coconut oil that I think I'm going to try tonight. Anyone know any other itchy skin remedies?

So, problem challenge number 2 involves the sheer weight of my stomach. I've gained about 45 pounds so far, I think. Some of that is blood volume which can increase up to 50% than before you're pregnant (or more with multiples). My extra blood might weigh somewhere between 4 and 8 pounds. Some of that is chocolate consumption. Let's not think about how much that weights. But a whole heck of a lot of it seems to be just belly. Each baby weighs approximately 5 pounds. Each placenta weighs approximately 1-2 pounds. Each sack of amniotic fluid weighs about 2 pounds. And my uterus weighs around 2 pounds. So, not counting my edema, my stomach might weigh about 18 pounds more than usual. And guess what? That makes it VERY difficult to move in bed. I have been picking my stomach up to turn over for a while now but lately it's even getting hard to do that! It's crazy. I absolutely cannot imagine how moms of triples or more feel. 

Challenge number 3? Clothing. My doctor actually laughed when I mentioned to her that I have no idea what I'm going to wear over the next few weeks but I was totally serious! What exactly are you supposed to wear when maternity clothes get too small? I can't stand for pants to touch my stomach, so I've been in love with leggings lately but not many shirts cover my stomach! I've gotten out some of my flow-ier summer dresses and I'll guess I'll pair them with jackets when necessary. Around the house I'm just wearing Jackie's shirts. Yeah, just shirts. So if you knock on my door, give me a few minutes to answer because that means I'm scrambling to put on pants, lol!

Other than all that, I'm doing well! My doctor's appointment was last Wednesday when I was officially 34 weeks pregnant. There was no sign of pre-eclampsia which is a huge blessing! I was not dilated at all although my cervix is super soft and the doctor said she could make me 1 centimeter if she wanted. Both babies are now breech (well Baby A is sort of transverse but her bottom is curving downward toward my left hip). Baby B seems to be beginning to engage so I'm losing hope that they will turn allowing me a vaginal birth. I have a chiropractic appointment on Monday to ensure that I am properly aligned. I've been spending time allowing my belly to be a hammock. Who knows, it's definitely not too late! So if there are any praying people reading this, say a quick one for me that the babies (or at least the presenting twin) will turn head down before birthing time. 

Speaking of birthing time, my doctor advised me that at my next ultrasound, should the babies still be breech, the perinatologist will advise her to deliver between 37 and 38 weeks. She said I could choose a date to schedule a c-section the week of the 11th or the 18th. I'm very torn about what to do. As I've said before, homebirth is not an option for me right now. I also do not want to attempt to switch to a doctor who will attempt breech births at this point. Part of me really just wants to get this over with, be done with the discomfort! I'm confident that the babies would be fine and, really, a c-section isn't ideal but it isn't the end of the world. But another part of me knows scheduling a c-section at 37 weeks would be purely selfish. Some people would say justifiable. Not many people I know would blame me. Lots of people probably would think I would be crazier for waiting. Right now it just doesn't feel right though. I'm spending time in prayer. Wondering why. Searching for peace. Wishing someone or something would take the choice away from me, either way. Sigh. They say ignorance is bliss; I guess that's why I'm so miserable. I know too much. I think too much. I can't decide if my convictions are being tested or if I'm being asked to change them for a good reason. Ever been there? 

On a lighter note, I'm being treated to a baby shower today! This will be my first "real" baby shower. I had one with Jathan but I didn't get to have it until after he was born so I don't really count it. I'm excited to just get to have the experience especially given the fact that these are my 5th and 6th children! I'm so thankful for my sweet neighbor who volunteered to do this for me. = )

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