Becoming Mommy: The Pregnancy

Ever since I was little, I dreamed about being a mom. I had this idealized picture of what being a mom would be like. My husband and I had a plan. We wanted three kids, just like we'd both come from three child families. We'd enjoy two or three years of marriage just the two of us, then we'd start trying for a baby. The timing would allow us to get some things "in order," like buying a house, and finishing my teaching credential.

Fast forward to three years later when we were finally ready and things didn't go as planned. After about 9 months of trying, I saw my ObGyn for my routine yearly appointment. No biggie, right? Well, as is typical, he asked about our birth control plans and I mentioned we were trying to get pregnant. He immediately asked how long we'd been trying. I told him at about 9 months, which to me didn't seem like that long at all given that I'd been on the pill for a while and my periods were still kind of wonky. He was concerned, which in turn freaked me out. He immediately started talking about fertility treatments and testing. I was shell shocked. He said to come back in 3 months if nothing changed.

Well two months later I experienced the worst abdominal pain of my life. It woke me out of my sleep. Still I figured it was just something I ate, popped some ibuprofen and tums, and hoped for the best. The next day I started to experience tenderness on my left side, digestive pain, and some bleeding. I went in to the doctor, thinking it was digestive (given my history of digestive issues). She, however, was more concerned about a mass she felt near my left ovary. Great. I left her office with an ultrasound order, the directive to see a gastroenterologist and gynecologist ASAP, and a huge dose of anxiety.

Turns out I had two issues, one digestive (a bleeding fissure), and an ovarian cyst. The gynecologist dismissed the cyst, telling me it'd just go away on its own. And since I still wasn't pregnant, and we'd reached that 3 month mark, he went ahead and recommended I start fertility drugs while I waited for the results of fertility testing. I was adamant that the testing and results should come before I considered fertility drugs, so didn't fill the prescription. I gave blood samples and had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). An HSG is basically an x-ray of the uterus and tubes to check for structural deformities. The radiologist noted that I had some blockages that appeared to clear as the dye passed through the various structures. Everything else came back normal, so I had hope that we'd be pregnant soon.

But that was put on hold for another month as I underwent a colonoscopy and endoscopy to investigate the fissure. When I was cleared of colon cancer I was given strict orders to avoid NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen, and such) and to control my acid reflux with medication and diet to avoid cancer in the future. So I began a new course of acid reflux drugs, and we were cleared to keep trying for a baby.

A little over a month later, right before Halloween, I decided to take a pregnancy test as I had many times before. As bent down to grab the instructions I'd dropped to check the timing on the results, I was surprised to find it already positive. It had been maybe a minute and a half. I was shocked and relieved. I sobbed and thanked God. I was so excited to tell my husband when he got home from work less than an hour later. We were both overjoyed. 

Three days later on Halloween the morning sickness hit, and I nearly vomited in my classroom. The office sent me home thinking I had the flu. They were shocked to see me back the next day. "Must have been a 24-hour bug," I said. Haha. I struggled with morning sickness my whole first trimester. My only relief was SeaBands, ginger candies, and constantly eating or drinking. It was so very hard to hide my pregnancy from my students and coworkers. I tried to pass it off as my stomach issues. I even caught a nasty cold at 7 weeks. IT WAS THE WORST. You can't take anything to help your misery.

At 9 weeks, I finally got in to see a new doctor. Everything looked good, I even seemed to be measuring ahead of my due date. A week later, while my husband was traveling for work, I had my first official ultrasound. I was SHOCKED to find out I was having twins! I couldn't stop laughing, I really thought she was joking. But when I saw them both on the ultrasound screen I knew it was real. I immediately tried to call my husband, but the time difference wasn't working in my favor as it was already late and he was 3 hours ahead. I had made a coffee date with a girlfriend that night. I was already running late, so I headed over. It was so hard not to tell her, but I wanted my husband to be the first to know. Finally he called back while I was with her, but I waited until I was in the car headed home to call him back. To say that he was in disbelief was an understatement. He was sleepy and couldn't quite wrap his head around it. Eventually, we were both excited by the prospect of having a boy and a girl, and being "all done" in one pregnancy. HA!

A few weeks later I was referred to the teaching hospital 2 hours away for a better quality ultrasound. There they told me I was carrying identical twins, which made mine a high-risk pregnancy. Many people don't realize the risks associated with carrying identical twins (maybe I'll do a post someday). But from that point forward I was to be monitored biweekly at the teaching hospital for complications. My new ObGyn would also be monitoring me every 2 weeks.

My second trimester was great. My energy was back, my morning sickness was more tolerable. in fact everything was going as planned. So my doctor didn't force me into early maternity leave. She let me continue teaching until I felt I needed more rest. So at 31 weeks 4 days, I took leave with just 3 weeks left of the school year. I did my best to relax, until one morning I woke up feeling off. I went in for my routine (now twice weekly) checkup and found out I was in preterm labor at 33 weeks, 3 days. From there things got progressively worse...


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