Last-Trimester Pregnacy Woes, or, Poor Me, or, Won’t Someone Come Clean My House for Me?

I couldn’t decide which title most appropriately conveyed just how pathetic I really am. So I picked all three.

A few posts ago, Smoochagator, one of my favorite commenters with whom I’ve developed that weird “I feel like we’re friends even though I’ve never met you” rapport so unique to the blogosophere, asked when I was going to have this wee minion. I can now state definitively that Lincoln will be born on Monday, September 24, at the latest.

This is because my doctor is worried about my spiking amniotic fluid levels. Two weeks ago my amniotic fluid levels were normal; last week they were “moderately high”; this week they’re just plain high. And if this pattern keeps up, by next week they’ll be “severely high” and then we’ll probably have to induce even earlier.

Here’s the bright side: if my water breaks early, my doctor warned me that it would be like “a scene from a movie.” I’ve always kind of wanted that to happen, because I’m a weirdo, I guess. I just think it would be super dramatic and cool, especially if it happened somewhere where everyone would be totally horrified and disgusted, like Whole Foods. Seriously, can you imagine the looks on the faces of the shoppers crowded into those tiny little aisles, if my water broke and if I had all three of my other kids with me? I would have to stop and video it on my phone. And upload it. And then go to the hospital.

But pretty much every other side of this is not so bright. My doctor is concerned because she can’t find a reason for the sudden spike in fluid levels. My glucose tolerance test was normal, my blood pressure is still as low as it usually is in my third trimester (100/70, which is higher than my normal pressure of 90/60), I have what she calls “small amounts” of swelling in my feet and hands but, and I quote, “nothing abnormal”. (Personally I feel like I have swim fins instead of feet, and I miss the sight of my ankle bones, but apparently this is par for the course in this most humid of states.) So basically, I do not have gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. Good news. But then she moved on to the other possible causes, which include: congenital defects, and nothing.

The risk of congenital defects seems particularly worrisome to her, because she has ordered weekly biophysical profiles and non-stress tests to try and ascertain if Lincoln has a blocked intestine or a cardiac problem that is preventing him from swallowing the amniotic fluid normally. So far he’s fine, though. The sonographer showed me yesterday how his diaphragm moved during the high-res sonogram, which shows that he’s swallowing and breathing the amniotic fluid just like he should be. He’s also very active, his heart appears completely normal, and essentially they can’t find anything to indicate a problem. That should be comforting to me, but of course it’s not. I keep telling myself that if there’s something wrong, there’s nothing we can do about it. I’m just hoping that it’s not something that will equal death outside the womb.

The doctor said about half the cases of polyhydramnios, which is the clinical term for what I have, have no ascertainable cause. That’s what I’m hoping for. But even if there isn’t anything wrong with Lincoln, the high fluid levels increase the risk for complications. The doctor says that even though he’s head-down now, he has enough room to flip, which would be bad. There’s also an increased risk of pre-term labor, cord prolapse, and placental abruption with polyhydramnios. Pre-term labor isn’t such a big deal at this point, since I’ll be full-term on Monday, but we’re 45 minutes from a hospital so cord prolapse and placental abruption are serious worries. Either could easily mean death for Lincoln.

The doctor wants to induce at 39 weeks to control labor as much as possible. I’ll probably have to be continuously monitored because of the risk of placental abruption, which will make not getting an epidural that much harder. And obviously all these potential complications increase my risk of having to have a C-section, of which I am terrified.

Then there’s the fact that all this extra fluid means that I am not only enormous (and really, I am), but that I have much, much more pressure on my back and…ahem…nether-regions than I have in previous pregnancies. I am so dreadfully uncomfortable, and my back hurts like hell, and I’m having weird, alarming abdominal pain that the doctor said is to be expected with this condition but which is still freaking me out.

So. Naturally, I’m handling this with all the grace and peace befitting a mature, emotionally-stable mother of three, yes?

You guys know me better than that. I spent three solid hours googling “polyhydramnios” yesterday, after which I had to ban myself from google for the remainder of this pregnancy. Then I posted a hysterical facebook status update coated with a thin veneer of calm that everyone immediately saw through. Then I had a total emotional breakdown when the Ogre had to go back to work (he’s having to work most nights from 6-10 this semester) and blubbered mascara all over his tie. Then I yelled at the kids. Then they started crying, and I started crying, and I cried all the way through putting them to bed. Then I called my mom, who told me to calm down, and then I put on Castle and started crying again because I felt like if only Nathan Fillion were here, he would fix this whole mess and everything would be okay. Then I realized once again that I’m way too attached to television characters, and went to bed. Crying, naturally.

I’m a little tired today from all that unnecessary emotional upheaval. And in the harsh light of day I realize that the only thing I need to do for the next two weeks is RELAX, not stress out, and try and keep my cortisol levels as low as possible to prevent early or untimely labor. That includes not doing all the cleaning and laundry and clothes-re-organizing that I was planning on doing this week to prepare for Lincoln’s arrival, or at least doing it much more slowly, because moving for more than ten minutes at a time is incredibly painful. But my dirty kitchen floor and dingy bathrooms are stressing me out, which is makes me want to clean, and then I get stressed because I can’t clean, and I wonder how filthy the house will be by the time the baby is born, which stresses me out, and I start crying, and…yeah. See? Totally emotionally stable.

Luckily, the good people of the world indulged me yesterday with four massively inappropriate comments, so I’ll be back tomorrow with the inappropriate comments of the day, a feature that I really feel the need to revive with a vengeance. Until then, could you all please fill up my combox with well-wishes and sympathy? It will make me feel better, and will significantly cut down on the Ogre’s daily “expected sympathy” quota, which he never even pretends to try and meet. And if you know any fairy godmothers who love scrubbing kitchen floors and cleaning out closets full of outgrown toddler clothes, send them my way. I promise to only whine for half the time they’re here.

  • Jennifer

    Just wanted to say a quick hello and give internet sympathy hugs. I work with pregnant women and understand the need for sympathy, especially toward the end of the third trimester. All the best, I’ll be praying for you and since I wish I could clean your house for you but can’t, I’ll pray someone does come to clean for you!!

  • jen

    i hate to clean yet i would totally come and do your laundry and dishes if i was anywhere close by.

  • Lena

    I think you need to spend less time at the doctor’s and more time on your couch. The doctor is NOT helping. The baby won’t care about dirty bathrooms. Can’t your children operate those cleaning wipes? It’ll partially get the job done. Maybe splotches of clean surfaces are better than no clean surfaces.

    I’m glad I am not the only grown-up who wishes someone would come along and make it all better.

  • Sarah

    I had this during my last pregnancy and baby boy came out fine! Docs couldn’t figure out why I was getting SO big SO quickly – well when they broke my water during labor we all found out! I had at least 3 times the amount of fluid than in my other four pregnancies. So REST easy! I will add you to my prayers. I am currently on the couch with migraine day 2 – first trimester joys (just got SURPRISE pregnancy news Monday, and the headaches have already started- it’s going to be a LONG 9 mo)!

  • Elizabeth Scalia

    Calah, I don’t know how you’re doing it, I really don’t…but you and Lincoln get the rosary of the day.

  • Mamie

    Best wishes. If you have to be moving around and can’t sit down to watch TV, try the Nikki Heat by Richard Castle books. They are a little weird at first because your mind keeps overlaying the TV show with the books, but after the third one, I am hooked. I am looking forward to the 4th one. I’m even getting to think I like the books better than the series. Nikki Heat is not Beckett. Oh, yeah, the important part–the books are available in MP3 format and can be purchased from Amazon, or if you are really lucky, you can download them free via your public library. Hang in there, you can do it.

  • Kristen inDallas

    one minor gripe… there is no such thing as “too attached” to Nathan Fillion. :))

  • Brigitte

    Hang in there. We don’t mind hearing the complaints. We understand and just wish we could actually help. My parents were in africa for my first two pregnancies, and in-laws were too old, then deceased. You are stronger than you think! And I do agree that the oldest kid might be able to do more than you expect. It won’t hurt her.

  • virgilio
  • Susan

    If you do have to get a c-section, it’s really not bad! I had to have one after two vaginal births and I actually felt much more human more quickly after the c-section than I did with the “regular” births. And my middle child has pretty complicated heart problems. Believe me, because they were looking, they would’ve seen major defects if there were any. It’s going to be okay, you’re almost there!