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.

  • Beth Turner

    Oh, I hate the end of pregnancy, and even more so when there’s something BESIDES labor pain to be freaked out about. Here’s hoping for a healthy mom and healthy baby on the other side of all this!

  • Louise

    Calah, it will all be fine. You and the baby and the whole family will be in my prayers. And just remember that it matters more that the baby comes into a loving home, which he will, than a tidy home. Some of the unhappiest children I teach come from tidy homes, but none of the children from loving homes turn out too bad.

  • Marla Morgan

    Oh dear Calah, if I didn’t live in CA, I’d be cleaning your house for you. That’s so hard, to have something so looming and knowing you can’t do something about it. I mentally feel better (if that makes sense) when I have a clean house, or at least a clean bathroom. It will be okay though–you’ll make it through this–my prayers and thoughts are with you!!

  • Ted Seeber

    Caleh- get the Orge into Knights of Columbus. Or join a Cathoic Daughters Court.

    Either way, you’ll get more support for times like this.

    • Ted Seeber

      er, Ogre. It’s friday and time to go home when I make spelling mistakes like that.

  • Mila

    I love,your writing and admire you for being able to put this together under the circumstances. Forget the kitchenfloor and the dingy bathrooms (as if that were possible!) and get lots of rest. May God hold you im His arms for the rest of thos pregnancy and always.

  • Hafsa

    I love you Calah and I’ve never even met you! You and I speak the same anxiety filled language and your posts make me wish out loud that I could be as honest as you.

  • Erica

    I love you, too, Calah! (Even though I don’t know you outside your blog either.) I know the anxiety over being told that there might be something wrong with a baby in utero. The only thing that gave me comfort while I was in that valley was knowing that God had a plan for our family and for the baby, and that He loved her even more than we did, so it would be ok even if the baby had genetic or health problems. I’ll pray for you!

  • Jen

    Well, I feel a little embarrassed that my brain stuck on the Castle/Nathan Fillion bit as much as all the important bits, so first and foremost, you and Lincoln and your family are in my prayers. Now, if we could just go back to Nathan Fillion… I figure your house has to be cleaner than the Serenity, and Castle probably pays a maid to keep everything clean, so if Nathan Fillion were there things could be better but they could get worse… And, didn’t he play some sort of evil person in “Buffy”?

  • Chasity Short

    Hi there! I am friends with your mom and have been trying to get over to read you blog for like, ever it seems. I’m not sure if she has told you about Dominic, the little baby with all sorts of stuff wrong (or mayabe she just told you how cute he was) but I’m his mom. Anyway, just want to tell you you are cracking me up. Sorry, I know that is NOT helpful in your stage of preganancy, but I have 4 kids too, and I so remmeber feeling exactly like you are. YOU WILL SURVIVE! Just hang in there my friend, and we’ll pray for a safe delivery and a perfectly healthy baby, but will praise God for whatever he gives you. Go check out my blog and see Dominic, then you’ll know what I mean.

    In Them,

  • Smoochagator

    Oh, you poor thing! I bet you are a ball of nerves right now. I will be praying for you and Lincoln and the whole family. Try to remember that the chances of having a healthy little minion are still VERY GOOD, in spite of all these complications.

    In other news, when my mom was 37.5 weeks pregnant with my younger brother (her fourth child) her water broke at the airport when we were picking up my grandma. I was almost six years old and accused my mom of peeing her pants. I’m sure she thought I was delightful at that moment.

    I feel like I know you, too! Or maybe I just feellike I’m looking into a mirror when I read your posts because I a) am way too attached to TV characters and 2. love wine like it’s going out of style. Except you are way smarter than me because you read literature and I read Oprah magazine.