I'm officially 9 months pregnant today, going by the strange '10 total months of pregnancy' thing. Wow. Just wow.
At 36 weeks I'm not quite considered 'full term' but if I would go into labor on my own, my doctor would not do anything to stop it. Totally crazy, right? Even crazier: I'm pretty sure I've been having more frequent and definitely more intense contractions lately. I'm going to call them 'Braxton Hicks' because they aren't at regular intervals or anything so I doubt they are anything productive. But every now and then, especially when I'm laying down on a side or sometimes when I'm up walking around, I'll feel very crampy as if I'm about to start my period. I'll feel my belly and it is hard as a rock so I know my entire uterus is contracting a bit and it's not just baby boy poking his head on my ovaries or something. I've had that crampy feeling a lot more over the past few weeks but now it's getting to the point where it's a lot more painful and noticeable so we'll see what my doc thinks about that when I see her on Monday. Oh, and this is possibly too much information for you but last Wednesday night I had some very light brown spotting which my doctor is not concerned about but it could be a sign of changes in my cervix preparing for birth, or possibly the beginnings of my mucous plug. Whoo hoo! :)
My last appointment on Thursday was a long one, but luckily nothing has really changed with my status yet. My blood pressures are hanging right around the acceptable mark but even so my doctor ordered a whole battery of tests since it's been over a week with high pressures to make sure there aren't any other signs of pre-eclampsia. She ordered more blood tests, I had to pee in another giant jug for 24 hours (and this time I did it at work, which was incredibly fun and challenging to pour my pee into a jug and refrigerate it during a work day), they did a non-stress test on baby Carlos to make sure he's moving around okay, and ordered an ultrasound for Tuesday to check his growth and amniotic fluid levels. The stress test was fine, I think--he moved like crazy at first but once I got comfortable during the 20 minute test so did he and I think he fell asleep for awhile. So the nurse came in with a mini-tazer gun of sorts to zap my belly and he woke up for a few seconds before settling down again. Maybe that means we have a good sleeper in our future? :) His heart rate was fine throughout and the nurse didn't seem too concerned so I'll take that test off my worry list. The ultrasound on Tuesday is something I'm looking forward to because normally I wouldn't get any more after our 20 week session, so this is a chance to see our boy again! But of course, I'm hoping the fluid levels are okay and his growth is normal...I'm not getting too excited for their weight estimate on him since I always hear about techs over-estimating a HUGE baby and then they come out 2 pounds lighter than predicted. We shall see what they say but of course, I hope he is okay in there!
I also had my first internal exam after the Strep B test and it wasn't bad at all. I'm not dilated yet but to quote my doctor, the baby is 'locked and loaded with his head VERY low' so apparently he's in position to make his move. I really think this fact paired with my more frequent contractions and the light spotting means I might go into labor before I have to get induced but I'm trying not to get too attached to that idea just yet. My friend Laura, who is possibly one of the most intelligent people I know as the chief resident at her hospital, says there are studies out there that show women who work in physically demanding jobs and work on their feet have a greater chance of going into labor earlier than their 'desk job' friends. I'm starting to see why that is true.
I managed to work full 8 hour days on Wed, Thurs, and Friday last week with Friday being a whole day of patient care on my feet. I was totally exhausted afterward and took a 2 hour nap that evening but the good news is my pressure stayed under the red line the whole time. I know my doctor is trying to buy me more time at work, without using my maternity leave, by running these tests and making sure there isn't a reason to pull me out early. But in my heart I really believe she won't let me work until the very end because my pressures will go up or something will show in my tests and I'm willing to accept that when it comes. It's SO hard to be at work and feel like I'm not pulling my weight around there, especially when we are crazy busy and I can't go into overdrive like I usually do to see extra patients and take the load off my coworkers. It's a mental battle for sure, as I remind myself that right now my baby boy is most important and if that means I walk slower and sit more often while I work then so be it. I'm still doing my job and functioning at work but I have to take it easy or I won't be able to help at all on bedrest at home:) I'm lucky to have understanding and 'mother hen' coworkers who don't resent my new 'slow but sure' speed but it's more of a challenge for myself as I feel guilty for seeing less patients than my normal. Ultimately my doctor has the final say regarding my safety at work and when she says I'm done I won't fight it next time. But for now I'm taking it a day at a time and scheduled all week long....cross your fingers I can make it!
Other than hitting an awesome milestone of 36 weeks, Nate and I celebrated our 7th Valentines Day together on Sunday by going to one of our favorite brunch joints. It's amazing to think we've been together for almost 8 years and married for almost 3 and this will be our last V-day with just the two of us. I am one lucky lady to have such a hawt, thoughtful, and caring Valentine and through all of this end-of-pregnancy drama Nate has proven to be my voice of reason, as always. He loves me and I love him and we're going to be parents soon. That about sums it up:)
Pretty centerpiece at brunch
My stuffed french toast: complete with strawberry banana cream cheese filling. (((drool)))
Mostly decaff coffee with a few splashes of caffeine. I know, I got SO wild, didn't I?
So that's it for week 36. More of the same issues but nothing has worsened as of yet, so I'm still plugging away as I can. Just taking a heck of a lot more naps in the process...