Pregnancy Rants

High Risk Pregnancy

It has been a loooong time since my last post. The reason for that is I have been in the hospital, strapped to a machine, and cut off from all contact to the outside world. It’s great to be back!

Let me start by sharing what happened. Several weeks ago, my husband and I went to my OB for my regular checkup. My OB was just as surprised as I was to see how huge my tummy had become. Considering how far along I was, it didn’t seem normal to her. She asked me to go to the ultrasound clinic to have a biophysical profile score (BPS) and non-stress test (NST) done.

We went off to the ultrasound clinic right after my OB appointment. The OB-Sonologist was with another patient when we arrived so her assistant had me do the NST first. During the NST, two devices are strapped to my tummy to monitor my baby’s heart rate and contractions. I was also given a button to press each time I felt my baby move.

After 20 minutes, the assistant printed out the NST results and asked me to transfer to the other room where the OB-Sonologist was waiting for me for my BPS. Basically she just uses her ultrasound machine to measure the different parts of my baby. She tells me later on that everything is fine with my baby as far as her measurements are concerned, it’s just that her head is a little bigger than the rest of the body. She said this was common in babies of moms with gestational diabetes.

The OB-Sonologist then asked her assistant for the NST printout so she can read it to me as well. That’s where things started to turn sour. She frowned as she looked at it and asked the assistant if she was given the correct printout. She then asked me to transfer back to the NST room. She wanted another NST done.

After another 20 minutes of monitoring, the OB-Sonologist checked the new printout and shook her head. She told me I needed to go back to my OB to show her the results. Based on the NST, I was having contractions that were 5-12 minutes apart. It was not a good thing.

At that point, I was getting a bit worried. I contacted my OB and sent her the results thru Viber. She called me within minutes and told me I need to go to the hospital and ask to be admitted for pre-term labor.

Extremely confused, my husband and I drove to the hospital ER and told them what my OB asked me to do. After checking my ultrasound results and discussing among themselves, the ER doctors told me I need to be admitted into the high risk pregnancy unit. I was in labor and my baby was only 32 weeks old.

I didn’t understand anything they said. I didn’t feel anything different. My tummy would feel stiff once in a while but it goes away and it doesn’t hurt. What pre-term labor? What’s 1cm dilated?

I was taken to the high risk pregnancy unit where they confiscated everything I had including all my clothes. I was not allowed to see my husband or even keep my phone so I can contact him. An intern was assigned to monitor my contractions throughout the night. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. The last time that I was in a hospital as a patient was when I was born.

The next morning, a doctor introduced herself to me and said she will be handling my case. She explained to me that they need to stop my contractions because my baby was too young to be born. They also had to inject steroids to help my baby survive if in case they couldn’t stop the contractions.

I was told that the cause of my early labor was because I had too much amniotic fluid in my tummy. This condition was called polyhydramnios. It is a common complication of gestational diabetes. Because my tummy was so full, my body thought it was time for me to give birth.

I was also told all the other possible side effects of polyhydramnios. These included umbilical prolapse, excessive bleeding after giving birth, and stillbirth. I couldn’t stop crying. It was all my fault. If I had been more disciplined in my diet, this wouldn’t be happening to my baby. I put her life in danger because of my gluttony.

Days went by and I was getting more depressed. I didn’t have anyone to talk to and I couldn’t even move around since I had the machine strapped to me. Not even my husband was allowed to visit me inside the high risk pregnancy unit.

One night, the nurse on duty woke me up and said he had a gift for me. He handed me a cordless phone and told me to say hello. I did and I heard my husband’s voice on the other line. He said he’s been waiting right outside from the first day I was admitted. He told me that the nurse felt so bad for him that he decided to sneak the phone in just so we can talk for a few minutes.

That nurse was an angel, and I will always be thankful for what he did. I know what he did was against the rules and he could have gotten into a lot of trouble if someone important was trying to call his station. But that phone call gave me strength and snapped me out of the pity party I was throwing for myself.

After some time, the contractions stopped and I was finally allowed to transfer to a regular hospital bed. They had to monitor my blood sugar before and after each meal to make sure my polyhydramnios won’t get any worse. A few weeks more and I was allowed to go home.

I’m not entirely out of the woods yet since I am still diabetic and there’s still excess fluid in my tummy but it has gone down considerably from when I was admitted. All I have to do now is wait for my baby to come. I’m at 37 weeks now and it’s only a matter of time.

Pregnancy Rants

Today was a bad day…

I’ve been cooped up for months and today was one of the few days I got to go out. In the last seven months I probably went out for a total of 30 times, OB appointments included.

We don’t have a full-length mirror at home so I was shocked to see myself in the mirror while shopping earlier.

I am HUGE.

Or at least my belly is. It’s not even like the pretty pregnancy photos I see on my newsfeed. I’m just oddly shaped and awkward. It was ugly.

We went home and I was going to cook rice. My belly bumped the rice container and everything just ended up on the floor.

Every part of my body now hurts or itches. I’m covered in hideous rashes, some of them have turned into a ghoulish dark purple color that’s just gross.

My husband refuses to touch me now and insists on sleeping with a pillow between us. He’s too afraid of accidentally hurting my belly.

I don’t know why I thought I can do this…

Pregnancy Rants

It’s ITCHY!

I am on my final lap towards becoming a mom. At 31 weeks, I thought I was in the clear and it’s only a matter of waiting for my baby to jump out into the world. I thought wrong.

About two weeks ago I started feeling an itch on my belly. People have warned me that this will eventually happen and that I should not scratch because it will lead to stretch marks. Thinking this was nothing more than the overstretching of my skin, I decided to ignore it.

One week later, I started noticing tiny red bumps on my tummy. I asked a friend if she had red bumps during her pregnancy and she said it was natural. The skin is stretching so there will be red marks at some point. Okay then. Everything’s fine, I guess.

A few days ago, I checked my tummy again and the red bumps have turned into full blown rashes and they looked very angry. The tiny red bumps turned into masses and became unbearably itchy. It wasn’t just itchy, though. There were times that the masses were so sensitive that I have to take off my dress because it stings.

I couldn’t sleep from all the itching and stinging. My sister suggested I use sunburn cream to soothe the itching. Her theory was that my gestational diabetes was causing the itch. I tried it and the cool cream relieved it a bit. But it would just come back with a vengeance after an hour or so.

It became so unbearable that I couldn’t believe it’s just normal stretching of my skin. I finally decided to go see my OB and get myself fixed before I scratch all the way through my uterus. As soon as my OB saw my tummy, she immediately said,

“This is PUPPP.”

What’s PUPPP, you say? It’s pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. This supposedly occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy. It happens to one in every 150 pregnant women and only happens during the first pregnancy. Lucky me, right?

My OB prescribed a topical cream that I can apply twice a day after showers. I will not post the name of the cream here because I don’t want anyone self-medicating without consulting their own doctors. I bought the cream and it gave me some relief.

Unfortunately, PUPPP does not get cured with creams or other medication. It can only be relieved. The only way for it to disappear completely is to give birth. In fact, despite using the cream, my rashes have gotten worse. They have now spread to my arms and legs.

Sleep is no longer possible. I will only fall asleep if I’m absolutely exhausted from scratching. And if while sleeping I happen to wake up because of my teeny bladder, there is no more going back to sleep.

Why am I posting this? One reason is because I’m so cranky due to lack of sleep that I need to vent or I will bite my husband’s head off. Another reason is to let others know that this is a thing and if you are experiencing this right now, I absolutely feel your pain.

All I can do right now is tell myself (and possibly other expectant moms) that there’s only a few more weeks left before this is over. I will get to meet my little bundle of joy and this will all be worth it…. unless her first word is “dada…”

Pregnancy Rants

Eating for Another

Happy New Year everyone!!!

So it took me a while to get my next post out because my husband and I went on vacation and there was no internet. None. At all. Not even a smidgen of mobile data. It was still the most fun I’ve had in a long time, though.

Before we left for our grand vacation, I got two bits of news regarding my pregnancy. The first one, of course, confirmed a lot of the gender prediction myths people have been telling me. Yep, you got it.

My baby is a GIRL!

My initial reaction was fear because I didn’t really do so well as a girl. I have very limited interest in “girl stuff” and spend most of my growing up years playing video games. I kind of doubted if I’d be the best person to raise a girl. Now that I’ve gotten used to the idea, though. I think it could be fun to play dress-up with my baby. ♥♥♥

The second bit of news that I got is, well, a bit serious considering the first one got me thinking about clothes shopping and play dates. My second glucose test confirmed that I have gestational diabetes.

My mommy friends did warn me beforehand to lay off the chocolates and cookies. I didn’t listen. Who the hell lays off chocolates during Christmas, right? If I only listened to them. I’ve seen other pregnant women eat everything in sight without having to worry about diabetes. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed I’d be as lucky. *sigh*

Well the up side is, my doctor says it usually goes away after giving birth. So there’s a good chance that I’ll be able to go back to my old eating habits in three months. The down side is, I need to follow a strict diet and monitor my blood sugar three times a day.

The monitoring is a bit expensive but is bearable. What’s hard is the diet. Have you ever been on a Christmas vacation where you can’t eat anything that tastes good? It’s not just sweets that I have to avoid while on my diabetic diet. I can’t have anything oily, I can’t have too much carbs, I can’t have too much red meat. It’s pure torture.

I am soldiering on, however. Following my diet is hard but I can’t even begin to imagine how my baby feels inside me after I drowned her in sugar these past few months. She has grown bigger that she should be. She also had to put up with all the contractions cause by my gestational diabetes. If she ends up hypoglycemic after birth, it will be on me as well. I’d rather not have my cake that affect my baby’s health any more that I already have.

When you’re pregnant, people say you are eating for two. Most of the time this is misinterpreted and women end up eating double of what they usually eat. What eating for two really means is that it’s not just your health and nutrition that you need to worry about.

Gestational diabetes is only one of the possible complications of poor diet choices during pregnancy. While the temptation to give in to every food craving is nearly impossible to resist, it’s best to think about what it will do to the baby.

Pregnancy Rants

Myth Busting

Whew. After a very gloomy post about infidelity last week, I thought something a little fun would be nice. I just hit my sixth month (woohoo!) and we’re scheduled for an ultrasound next week to find out our baby’s gender.

This had me thinking about all the things I’ve heard from family and friends about my pregnancy. Most of them were trying to predict my baby’s gender but there were a couple of interesting ideas as well. I’ll get right to it so you can see for yourself.

1. Hanging a towel over your shoulder will result in the baby’s umbilical cord wrapping around his neck.

My aunt was pretty adamant about this when she saw my towel over my shoulder as I was brushing my teeth. It’s a convenient place to put a towel if you’re gonna dry yourself immediately after doing something. Somehow the baby will emulate this and wrap his umbilical cord around his neck. I won’t know yet if this is true until I give birth but I can’t see how it can be.

2. Stepping over your husband while he’s sleeping will transfer morning sickness to him.

I’m pretty sure this was made up by vengeful housewives who wanted to punish their husbands for knocking them up. However, I was having such a hard time during my first trimester that I did actually try this. It did not work. My husband kept sleeping like a log and I kept hurling like a geyser.

3. Scratching your itchy belly will cause stretchmarks.

I believe they’re called stretchmarks because they’re the mark of stretching. Nevertheless, I don’t have stretchmarks *yet* so I will sacrifice myself in the name of science. I am scratching only the right side of my belly and resisting to scratch on the left. This should mean I will only have stretchmarks on the right side, right?

4. Eating a pregnant woman’s food will make you sleepy

While sleeping has never been a bad thing in my opinion, it seems the sleepiness caused by a pregnant woman’s food is similar to a coma. So many of my relatives were deathly afraid of this. If there was food on the table or anywhere near me, they would interrogate me first, “Did you eat from this? DID YOU EAT FROM THIS?!”

Whoa… chill..

5. A protruding belly button means your baby is a boy.

My belly button has gotten a bit squished but it’s still very much in. This means my baby is a girl, I guess? I’ll find out next week but that’s one vote for girl based on the signs. Why baby boys push out navels is something I wouldn’t understand.

6. Morning sickness during pregnancy means your baby is a girl.

Well if that’s a true indicator then my baby is a girl and she will come out in a frilly pink dress, a tiara, and lots of pink fairy sparkles. My morning sickness was so bad I sincerely thought I would not survive my first trimester. I googled this a bit and experts supposedly say that there is no real link but I’ll find out for sure next week. Vote two for my baby girl.

7. A round belly means your baby is a girl, pointed belly is a boy.

What exactly does a pointed belly look like? I have seen hundreds of pregnant women and their bellies all look round to me. Nevertheless, I declare my belly round. Vote three for my baby girl.

8. Darkening of your neck means your baby is a boy.

The baby’s added testosterone supposedly darkens the mommy’s neck. I did a quick search on this but could not find any conclusive answer. People tell me my neck hasn’t darkened at all so my baby will most likely be a girl. Vote four for my baby girl!

9. A cheating husband will have a female firstborn.

Okay, so I just HAD to put this in because even before I got pregnant, people have been telling me this. It’s supposedly a way for karma to punish the husband for his misdeeds. The baby girl will grow up and her dad will watch her break her heart. If it’s true, though, karma please leave my baby alone. My husband is very sorry. 😦

(Vote five for girl.)

10. Great skin means your baby is a girl.

My skin has always been good. I can’t say it’s absolutely great but I don’t get pimples and my pores do not exist. That hasn’t changed in the last six months so does that mean my baby is a girl? If that’s the case, this is vote six.

That’s my list. So far all signs point to me having a girl. I’ll find out next week! In the mean time, is my list the same as yours? I’m sure you guys have heard more. Let’s compare notes and tell me which ones you’ve proven or debunked.

Pregnancy Rants

Three Things Pregnant Women Can’t Say

If you are anything like me, and you are pregnant for the first time, you might be surprised to find that there are a few things you are not allowed to say as a pregnant woman. The frustrating part about it is that people would sometimes lure you into the trap by asking you a seemingly innocent question. Here are three of the questions you need to watch out for:

1. Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?

The correct answer to this is, of course, “as long as the baby is healthy.” The thing is, if you make the mistake of saying you are hoping for one or the other, you will quickly learn the correct answer. Most likely the person who asked the question will tell you. It doesn’t matter what your reason is for wanting either, any mom-to-be who expresses gender preference means she will love one gender more.

2. How many kids do you want to have?

Don’t say anything that’s less than two. You’re free to say a dozen but even doctors will frown if you say you just want one baby. What kind of mom wants just one baby? You’re supposed to want hundreds of babies bouncing around in your house regardless of your financial capacity or tolerance for pain.

3. Is your pregnancy difficult?

This question has a lot of variations. The most important thing to remember is to never express any unhappiness with your pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you have been in and out of the hospital due to pregnancy complications. It doesn’t matter if you are constantly in a lot of pain. You are supposed to be a hundred percent happy about every detail of your pregnancy. Complaining about it means you are ungrateful for the blessing that a lot of women can only pray for.

If you manage to survive your pregnancy without saying any of these taboo things, you are on your way to becoming a good mother. And for those of you who are not currently pregnant, please consider that pregnancy is not all sunshine and roses. It can be scary and even dangerous. Please consider that sometimes someone who is going through it needs to express her feelings about it without fear of being judged. But that’s just a suggestion, feel free to chastise any time you want.

Pregnancy Rants

Don’t Be a Tough Momma

I get it.

You’re an independent woman who happens to be pregnant right now. It’s awesome and you want to have the best of both worlds. Yes, it can happen. One thing I learned in the first four months of my pregnancy, though, is that you can’t act tough.

 

Since this is my first pregnancy, I had no idea what I’m supposed to do. I’ve seen plenty of women who continued working while pregnant and everything turned out fine for them. As a 30-year-old career woman, I assumed I could do the same.

After researching for a bit which aches and pains were normal for pregnant women, I decided I was strong enough to juggle both work and pregnancy. A little over two months into my pregnancy, I started getting cramps which I assumed was perfectly normal. My uterus is expanding, right? Or something like that.

After a week of of cramps, spots of brown blood appeared. Dr. Google told me it was probably implantation bleeding which was supposedly as normal as morning sickness. I braved through it without consulting my doctor. I didn’t want to be the panicky greenhorn who constantly texts her doctor about every little thing.

A week of my self-diagnosed implantation bleeding went by and it seemed to get worse. This was when I decided to text my doctor to ask how long I can expect the bleeding to last. To my surprise, she was unhappy with the fact that I did not text her for two weeks of having weird symptoms. She ordered me to go straight to her clinic.

It was a threatened miscarriage.

Over the next two months I spent thousands upon thousands on medication and medical bills just trying to keep my baby. I spent a lot of time away from work because everything I did made me bleed even more. Not only was I burning through my savings, I also lost two months worth of wages. Thankfully though, the bleeding and other symptoms stopped.

Of course, my stupidity didn’t stop there. (That’s why I have time to write this now)

People kept telling me that problems only usually arise during the first trimester. Since I was in my second trimester, I assumed that meant everything will go back to normal. I went back to work and tried to make up for lost time by trying to be extra enthusiastic.

Just two weeks after going back to work, I woke up with massive cramps. It was so bad I could barely stand. My doctor told me to stay in bed and take a day off. A day’s rest did the trick and the cramps were gone the following day. Instead of cramps, I was greeted by a pool of fresh red blood that had soaked through my shorts while I was sleeping.

Another threatened miscarriage.

This time around, my doctor was not taking anymore chances and ordered a month of complete bed rest for me. That means no chores, no shopping, no working, no nothing. She said that if my cervix opens up even just a little I will lose my baby.

I was in tears.

I take pride in my work and in my independence. I used to be so busy I would completely forget about meals and I loved it. But my baby is telling me to slow down and I need to listen. This isn’t just about me anymore.