Hello there, old friend

Yes, it’s showing its ugly face again. PCOS.

You hear of so many stories where people with PCOS, irregular periods, or some other problem have things settle down after the birth of a child. Well, not me.

After I started getting my periods again, I noticed the length of my cycles getting longer every month. First, it was just a few days and this month, my cycle was off by nearly two weeks. I knew what was coming.

I had my routine check-up with my endocrinologist on July 20th, six months after my 6-week post-partum visit in January. Since I had gestational diabetes, my endocrinologist checked my A1C levels in January and it was a 6. She wasn’t happy with that at all and she hoped it would get better. She had asked me to lose tons of weight before my appointment in July. I’m guilty of not losing any weight. My A1C this time was 6.2. She looked concerned and gave me the customary lecture for not having lost any weight. She said I’m now in the pre-diabetec range. Crap. When I told her that my cycles were also getting longer, she immediately said she’s putting me back on Metformin. She said that would help regulate my periods and also “keep the horse from getting out of the barn” (her exact words).

I knew diabetes was inevitable in my future, thanks to PCOS, my family history and gestational diabetes, but it sucks to see it come this close so soon. I know I need to get on with the weight loss goal to see any kind of improvement or curb the development of things. Now I need to find the energy to start my exercise again. It’s exhausting taking care of a baby on my own during the week since my husband travels all week long for work. I know it’s going to be tough to fit exercise in but it’s not impossible. I just need to work on taking baby steps into it.

On the other hand, the little munchkin is thriving. She’s growing by leaps and bounds every day, sometimes it’s scary. I already miss the newborn stage. There’s so much that’s happened that I don’t know where to start on writing about her. The longer I take, the more difficult it becomes since the things to write about just keep piling up. I will get to it, for sure. Till then, it’s time to take care of my munchkin and my health.

Things you can never be prepared for…

…the immense joy, pride and disbelief when you first hold your baby in your arms.

…the explosion of love in your heart when your baby first smiles knowingly at you and then does it again and again (not their equally adorable sleep smiles).

…the sleepless nights…even if you’re a certified night owl, sleep deprivation at night will affect you.

…the intense guilt and sadness when you can’t breastfeed for as long as you want and you feel let down by your own body.

…the gut-wrenching agony and helplessness when you see your child cry insufferably in pain, even if it’s from just his/her vaccination shots (I cried when my little one cried during her first round of vaccinations).

…the fierce desire to protect your child from any harm and strong maternal instincts that are always on high alert.

…the immeasurable, unconditional love you will feel for this tiny human you made. baby_hands It’s been two months since the owner of these tiny hands in mine arrived and changed our world forever. I’ve wanted to write about her arrival for so long, but then in true fashion of this blog, life got in the way. This time, though, it’s not an excuse because loving her and breathing in every moment with her has taken greater precedence. But, I’ve also wanted to write down everything that’s happened before they get lost in my head, since time seems to be flying and there’s so much I want to remember forever. It feels like I was just pregnant and then now I have a two month old sleeping soundly next to me. There are still times when I miss being pregnant; feeling her grow in my belly; reveling in her movements and kicks; enjoying the direct connection between just me and her.

I’m still getting used to the fact that I now have a daughter…reality seems to be taking just a teeny while to set in. It feels surreal to say I am a mother to a little girl. This is my hugest dream come true and I’m this close to pinching myself to see if it’s just a dream after all. Words, and even my feelings, cannot express how grateful I am to the Lord for this precious gift. After years of struggling and uncertainty, it’s taking a while to fully sink in.

The two months since her birth (the story of which I will write in a separate post), have been a roller coaster. The first month was the hardest because everything was so new and we felt like we had no clue how to take care of her. Every little sound that didn’t seem normal to us, every time she spit up milk, every little change in behavior had us fret and worry. I had to hold myself back so many times from unnecessarily calling the nurse’s line at her pediatrician’s clinic. We did have a couple of urgent runs to the pediatrician which turned out to be nothing. The first being her baby acne which erupted all over her tiny face, including along the water line of her eyes (which is why the nurse was concerned and called us in for a check). The next was when she was throwing up all her feeds one day. That, too, turned out to be Ok and we were just asked to reduce the amount at each feed and increase the frequency of feeds.

We slowly started getting a hang of things by the time the second month rolled around, even as the little one herself started settling down to her new life outside my womb. She has been a very easy-going baby. She’s even developed a routine of sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night at the moment (I know this could all change at any time when she goes through sleep regression but, I’m savoring it for now). She inhales her milk like there’s no tomorrow, letting out little yelps and cries when her feed is over. She’s extremely strong – in will and physicality…she was propping herself on her hands and raising her head from day one and no one can make her do anything she doesn’t want to. The baby smiles…OH…her smiles and grins can make me sell my soul. When she wakes up from a nap or in the morning, she will reward you with the biggest, toothless smile when you say ‘Hi’. Oh, and she also talks, well, more like babbling, a million miles a minute sometimes. She makes the most adorable cooing and ‘Ahhh’ sounds when she’s in a talkative mood. And when she’s falling asleep on my shoulder, she could get away with murder by the way she tries to nuzzle and nestle deeper and deeper into my neck.

I can rave on and on…I am so in love. I am also humbled and awed by the outpouring of love from family and friends.

I think I will end this over here for now since I seem to be going all over the place. Hopefully, I’ll get down to writing posts separately on my delivery and post-partum recovery and also the details from the little one’s first few weeks with us, including my breastfeeding struggle.

Nearing the finish line

Today marks 38w5d. A million thoughts keep running through my mind. The main vein through all of them is I don’t think I’m ready for the baby to be here. I know this is a common feeling and a lot of mothers-to-be face this, but, struggling with infertility before this pregnancy has just amplified it all.

There’s just less than a week to go before the little one gets here. OMG! Just thinking about it sends me on a tail-spin. The plan by MFM is to induce me on Nov 24 (Mon – I would be 39w2d), if the baby stays put till then. The reason being, they would prefer to have me deliver before my due date and not go over because of my gestational diabetes and the high-risk nature of my pregnancy in general. Add to that the Thanksgiving holiday coming up on Nov 27 so, they decided inducing me a few days earlier is the best route. So, we’re potentially looking at being home by Thanksgiving with a little extra bundle of joy in our hands! This is extremely exciting and nerve-racking at the same time!

We have our final check-up tomorrow. At the last check-up, the doctor checked my cervix and said it was nice and soft. She said it was a good sign for the induction, though they would still need to do a bit of cervix ‘ripening’. I have no idea what to expect from this induction. As the day gets closer, I’m getting more nervous. I plan to ask the doctor tomorrow about what the whole process is going to be like from start to finish, the risk factors, what could go wrong etc.

I still feel so unprepared for the baby’s birth because I’ve read how much other pregnant women read and prep before the birth. The husband and I also chose not to go for any birthing or child-care classes, since we heard from a few people that it’s not really useful before the baby is born since every baby is so unique and you basically learn as you go. I also haven’t read any baby-care books. So, I feel like I’m going into this whole thing with a blind-fold on. I don’t know if this was a stupid move or not but, all I know right now is that I’m putting all my trust and faith in God. I also know that no matter how much I prepare before-hand, anything can happen and plans and preparations can all go to nothing since one can never anticipate curve-balls that labor and delivery are known to throw. So, I’m confident that as long as I know God is in control, I will be fine no matter what.

I think for me, the fear that infertility instills in you and the hopelessness it slowly lets overtake your life has all played a part in my unpreparedness. At every step, I’ve been scared to plan too much ahead because I don’t want to get my heart too vested in this in case something bad happens. I hate infertility for that. It always clouds your life with “in case something bad happens since it’s always too good to be true”. No matter how much you try to swim above that dark cloud, its nasty clutches drag you down. This is also the reason that has kept me from getting the baby’s room (which she will share with my husband’s study) ready much in advance. It is still only 95% done and the last few bits and pieces are slowly coming together. I even finished packing my hospital bag only this week.

Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve tried my best to cling to God and His promises and to lean on Him through all the ups and downs. But, there are just days and circumstances that completely overwhelm me and I let them rise above the peace that God’s Word has given me. Especially in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had this nagging thought that something is going to go wrong with labor and delivery and I will not have my precious bundle to love at the end of it all. I know these thoughts are from the evil one trying to steal the joy of God’s promise to me. The enemy has tried his best throughout this pregnancy to make me doubt every milestone I’ve crossed – his biggest weapon being my incompetent cervix.

BUT…

…the fact that my cervix has held up till this stage is proof that though the enemy may try his best, he can do nothing when God’s protection and plan is in place. And so I continue to cling to this promise in God’s Word that has held me through all the negative thoughts and feelings:

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

On a little side note…I don’t know if my little fur-baby can sense that something big is going to happen but, she’s been extremely clingy lately. She will constantly sit or sleep in her bed that’s next to our bed. She usually doesn’t follow me this closely, especially after my parents arrived and she’s grown really attached to them. She will leave the room only when I do, or if there’s someone at the door but, will almost always come running back to be next to my side. To end this update, here’s a picture of her sleeping next to my bed…she always melts my heart when she’s curled up in her bed…

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Seeing a diabetic nutritionist

After getting diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, my greatest fear was having to give up sweets and other goodies. On one hand I was happy that the doctor was confident I could manage this with just diet but, on the other, I was miffed that I had to deal with this. I knew Gestational Diabetes was a great possibility for me because of my PCOS that puts us at greater risk for diabetes in general. And it happened. This also means that I’m at now a much higher risk than earlier to develop Type 2 diabetes. Bleargh.

I had my orientation class with the diabetic nutritionist on Oct 9. There were 5 other women in the class. It was a very generic class giving us an overview of Gestational Diabetes and then a thorough explanation of how our diet plan would work. I nearly jumped for joy when they explained that we don’t have to give up carbs or sweets. In fact, for pregnant women it’s essential to maintain a healthy amount of carbs and blood glucose levels so that our bodies don’t produce Ketones (the chemical that’s released when we try to lose weight and cut carbs…because the body breaks down fat cells to make energy in the absence of glucose in the bloodstream). Ketones are bad for the growing baby and hence, our diet plan is to include carbs and sugar but maintain healthy levels. The class was extremely interesting and I learnt so much about eating a balanced diet. Even though I knew the general basics of maintaining a balanced diet before, actually learning the details of how the carb content of different foods affects our blood sugar opened me eyes tremendously. This is something that’ll be helpful even after my pregnancy.

So, at the end of the class, we were all given our individual diet plans and blood sugar testing kits. We have to basically measure our blood sugar levels 4 times a day – (a) fasting levels in the morning, (b) 2 hours after breakfast, (c) 2 hours after lunch and (d) 2 hours after dinner. We have also been given a chart to note down everything we eat and our blood sugar levels so that we can go over this during our individual assessments this week. We also have to test our ketone levels first thing every morning and note those levels too.

I have my individual assessment on Thursday, Oct 16. So far, I’ve gotten two high readings after lunch and normal readings during all other times. The nutritionist said that one or two abnormal levels won’t break the bank but, if it becomes a pattern then they’ll have to take other measures. I’m hoping that I can maintain normal levels from now onwards because the next step is to increase activity levels/exercise, which I can’t do thanks to my bed rest. So, for me the next step to control levels is only medication. Fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that.

Inching along on bed rest

Here comes another lengthy update. Today marks 32W3D. It is mind-boggling to think how far I’ve come and that we will be meeting our little one in a few short weeks. Gasp! For a while I didn’t think getting this far was even possible. Blame it on my incompetent cervix.

Since the last update, my cervix shortened even further and I got put on bed rest. The very next check-up with MFM on 26 Aug was a scary appointment. I went alone since it was a Tuesday and my husband travels during the week. I thought I could handle going by myself and so I didn’t ask the husband to take leave to come along with me. Big mistake. I was all positive-minded during my wait in the waiting room. I even bumped into a couple from Church who are expecting their baby a week before mine. They were there for another complication. It felt nice to see familiar faces around, though I hoped that their complication wasn’t serious. I was called in for my ultrasound and I got prepped. As soon as the nurse inserted the wand, I got the biggest shock of my life. My cervix looked ridiculously short and it was funneling like crazy. The nurse started taking measurements and all she got were readings of less than 1cm, the lowest being 0.6cm. Though I didn’t break out in tears, I was extremely scared. But, a funny thing happened. As she was recording measurements, my cervix would stop funneling and get a bit longer. She even got a max reading of 2.4. She made me stand up and get back on the bed to measure again. The same thing happened. When she started, my cervix would be extremely short and funneling, but as she took time to measure, it would lengthen again like the first time. She packed me off to the waiting room again, while she wrote up her report for my doctor’s consult. In the waiting room, I tried hard to hold my tears in. The friends from Church were still there and I didn’t want to break down in front of them. I texted the husband and told him I was sure I’m going to be put on bed rest. He tried to calm me down. My fears were confirmed when I saw the doctor. He put me on strict bed rest where I had to be lying down the whole time with only bathroom and meal time privileges to get out of bed. I wasn’t to do anything else! He warned me that the next step was hospital bed rest. He didn’t say much else because I gathered he wasn’t a very talkative doctor. He went over the scan images the nurse had taken and he said while he doesn’t believe my cervix is funneling and as short as the 0.6cm the nurse got, he changed the report to read shortened cervix of 1-2.4cm. He said he doesn’t know how she got those really short funneling images and dismissed them. From then on, I dreaded the nurse I got that day. I felt she didn’t perform the exam right because my OB showed me that if a technician is aggressive in inserting the wand, it can lead to a cervix that is shorter than it really is. He even showed me by inserting the wand deeper and shortening the cervix. And when the doctor also dismissed the funneling short images, it further confirmed that this nurse didn’t know much of what she was doing. I prayed that I would never ever get her again. I was then asked to come back in a week instead of two.

I took my bed rest very seriously because I didn’t want to risk any chance of my baby being born earlier than she was ready for. It was horrible because constantly lying on my side made my hips ache and heartburn and acidity returned with a vengeance. But, I put up with it all just to keep my munchkin safe inside. During this time, my OBGYN also told me that he preferred to transfer me completely under MFM’s care because he felt they would be the best to handle any issues that arise. He also said that if I needed hospital care, I would be better off under MFM since they are part of the hospital where I would be. Plus, he didn’t think I needed the extra stress of having to keep appointments with MFM and him. So, with great sadness I agreed and was transferred completely to MFM with all the formalities to be completed during my next MFM follow-up.

At the next follow-up on 5 September, I made sure my husband was with me because I couldn’t handle any more depressing news on my own. I had the regular BP, weight and urine tests to do as well this time because from this appointment onwards, I was under their care as my primary pregnancy care. During the ultrasound, my cervix measured between 1.8-2.1cm. I was secretly a little happy that they didn’t get readings as low as last time but, I knew it could mean anything. We waited for the doctor’s consult. When it was time, we met the most awesome doctor I have seen since my pregnancy began. He’s quite young, compared to the other doctors at MFM and my Ex-OBGYN. He explained things in detail and was very thorough in covering every bit of my history and pregnancy care. He also modified my bed rest and explained that it’s not compulsory to be lying down the whole time. He said I could sit up for a while and even move around the house a wee bit, but was still not to do any housework or carry anything. He was also happy to note that my cervix seemed to be behaving better this time and I could go back to two week check-ups instead of one. I even asked him about my OBGYN’s recommendation of a C-section and he immediately dismissed that. He said that a C-section was not something they would even consider unless medically necessary. I would still be scheduled for a natural delivery, barring any other circumstances that cropped up like the baby and/or I being in distress or if the baby was not positioned for a safe natural birth. I was very relieved with his opinion because the thought of going straight for a scheduled C-section was something that worried me. I still wanted to try a natural birth if the option was open to me.

During the next two week wait for my follow-up, I had to go for my 3 hour glucose tolerance test because I failed my 1 hour glucose screening. When I went to the lab for my 3 hour GTT, I got set up with the first blood draw and the nasty drink I had to down. When I went for the second blood draw, an hour after I had my drink, the technician said that there was just one more blood draw after an hour and I would be done. I was a little puzzled because I thought there would be three blood draws after the drink. But, I didn’t bother checking because I thought maybe this lab did things a little differently. So, I happily waited another hour, gave blood and skipped on home. When my OBGYN called with the results (the results went to him because he was the one that ordered the 3 hour GTT before I was moved completely over to MFM), he said he was stumped why the lab only did a 2 hour test and not 3. I told him I was as surprised as he was. He then told me that he wouldn’t worry about it because my results all came back normal and for gestational diabetes, as long as 3 test results came back normal, one is safe. So even if I were to have had an abnormal reading for the final blood draw after 3 hours, I would still be considered normal. I was extremely happy with this and felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulder. At least I didn’t have to worry about gestational diabetes over and above the worries of an incompetent cervix.

The next follow-up rolled around on 19 September. The ultrasound went very well and my cervix was staying stable at 2.1cm. The doctor was very happy. But, he questioned my 2 hour glucose test and told me that I’d unfortunately have to take it again. Sigh! He explained that the 2 hour test only tests with 75gms of liquid and the 3 hour test does so with 100gms of liquid. So the most accurate diagnosis for gestational diabetes can only be done with the 3 hour GTT.

I took the glucose tolerance test again, making sure the lab got the test right. And I failed it. I was so disappointed. After I got great results with my 2 hour test, I was hoping I would pass the 3 hour test. No such luck. Two out of four readings came back a little high so the doctor has to diagnose me with gestational diabetes. He said it wasn’t very high and that I should be able to manage this with just diet. So, I have my first appointment with a diabetes nutritionist on Thursday, where I will get a sugar-monitoring device and my meal plan. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I can keep things in control with just my diet.

The good news is my cervix has been doing very well at staying put. The latest check-up on 3 October showed that it has increased a minuscule bit, now measuring between 2.2-2.4cm. I’ll take anything I get! Bed rest is not the easiest thing to follow when the house is upside down and the nursery still a junkyard of all our crap. My parents have flown in earlier to stay with us and they’ve been a great help. Mum is pampering me with all my favorite home cooked meals. I’ve been cheating a little here and there and tidying up bits and pieces in between, with the help of my parents. The house is nowhere near ready but, I’m learning to live with the fact that things may not even be ready by the time the baby comes home and it’s perfectly fine to have it like that. My main goal should be to keep the little one in as long as I can and bring her home healthy and safe. That’s all…the house is not important at all in the large scheme of things.

I’m now looking forward to my baby shower, that some ladies from Church are organizing. That should be fun! I don’t have anymore cervix checks since after 32 weeks, it’s normal for the cervix to start shortening and dilating any time. I will just have the regular check-ups from now onwards.

Time on bed rest seems to be crawling but, somehow I’m getting so much closer to term. I’m so grateful to God for all his mercies and grace. He has been looking out for me and the baby since day 1. Though I still have a lot of fears and worries, I know that the Lord will see me through everything. When I was diagnosed with a shortened cervix at 23 weeks, I never imagined making it till 32 weeks. But, here I am and it’s all because of God’s protection and health.

 

Minor heartbreak + Renewed faith

So, I saw Maternal Fetal Medicine on Tuesday for a second opinion on my cervix length. I went in really confident with the measurement my OB-GYN got but, my heart sank lower when the nurse at the testing center measured only between 2.6-2.8 at the most. Before she sent the results to the doctor I had to see, she also checked the baby out. Baby girl is doing well in there. She was still in the same position as she was during my Level 2 Ultrasound so, we didn’t get any good pictures of her profile or face. She is basically sitting like a V, with her legs stretched out near her head and bum down. I got to hear the heartbeat for the second time so far, since all the other times, my OB or lab technician only measured without sound. It was a galloping 148. The nurse spent about 5 minutes showing us the baby’s little foot because she got an awesome view of it and was excited to count all 5 toes and point them out with little finger-pointing icons on the ultrasound screen. Just for fun, she also measured the length of her foot, which is 4.5 cm now. The hubby spent the rest of the day giggling at the thought of those tiny feet.

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After the ultrasound, I cleaned up and was sent to the waiting room again to wait for the doctor to see me with the results and her thoughts. When we finally saw the doctor, she confirmed that they could only get a measurement of 2.6cm on my cervix. I felt like the ground under my feet was giving way. How could my OB have gotten such a normal reading, while the Radiology Lab and the MFM were getting such a low reading?! I asked the doctor about that and she said it could perhaps be because I have a dynamic cervix, where the cervix shortens and lengthens on its own based on activity and rest. She said that she didn’t see any reason for alarm because the cervix was at least staying at 2.6 and had not gotten any lower. She was also happy that I had just hit my 24 week mark two days before my appointment. She explained that at this stage, I was too late for any other procedures (like a cervical stitch) besides going on Progesterone and taking it easy while they continued monitoring me. She gave me the option of Progesterone because if my cervix was below 2.5, they would automatically put me on it but since it was at 2.6, I had the option to take it or not. She said the Progesterone basically acts as a support to the uterus and there aren’t any negative effects even if I started taking it now out of precaution. I told her I’d like to get on to it, since I’ve already been on it before and be on the safer side. I still had my vaginal Progesterone pills left over from when I stopped them at 13 weeks, so the doctor asked me to take it just once a day now instead of twice like earlier.

The doctor also said that they’ll monitor me again in two weeks and four weeks to see how my cervix was holding up. Her goal is to get me to at least 30 weeks with my current cervix length, after which they’ll rest a little more easy and take it as it comes. If in the meantime it gets any lower, they’ll put me on official bed-rest and also start me on steroids. She told me to continue taking it easy, like my OB had already recommended.

I left the hospital totally bummed, questioning God why he would take the wind out of my sails like this after I had just thought I had witnessed a miracle. Both the husband and I updated each set of parents and then went out for lunch. The hubbs tried to console me saying that he still feels what my OB saw was right and there has to be a reason why the OB got a longer measurement. Nothing sounded comforting at that point. We got home and I took a really long nap.

After I woke up, the husband was getting ready to leave again, since he works out of town during the week and had come back just to be with me during the MFM visit. We had some leftovers for dinner and my husband left. I tried to distract myself with some TV but, I just couldn’t help feeling so down. Then, later that night when I had trouble falling asleep at 2am, I broke down and sobbed like a baby. I felt all alone and scared. I didn’t want my baby girl to come out anytime soon. I want her to stay in as long as she can. I cried because I was scared she would come out too early and not survive. I cried because I’ve come this far and suddenly things weren’t looking all that good. I cried because after falling in love with this little girl kicking in my womb, I could never survive saying goodbye to her. I cried because I couldn’t see God’s arm taking care of me. I cried out to Him, begging Him to keep this baby inside till she was closer to term. I prayed that even though I couldn’t feel Him looking after me and this baby, that He would never let us go. And I fell asleep like that.

I felt much better after I woke up the next morning. I felt more at peace and started feeling a little more confident that even though my miracle didn’t pan out the way I had thought, God is still going to see me and this miracle baby through. The Lord has His own plan and even though I can’t see it now, He’s got everything in control just the way it needs to be. He will give me the strength to weather what ever else may come my way and He’ll be by our side through it all. One thing I am grateful about through this whole roller coaster of a journey is that I’ve never heard my husband talk about trusting God as much as he is now. My husband has never been the kind to openly talk about his faith but, through every challenge we’ve faced with this pregnancy, the first thing he talks about is trusting in God. So, right now I’m guessing that is probably what God is planning to do through this scary ride – bring both my husband and I closer to Him as a family.

I spoke to my OB this morning about what his thoughts are on this whole cervix drama. He said that though he personally believed my cervix was longer when he checked it, he wants to be on the safer side and take all the precautions of a shorter cervix. He says we will go with the shorter cervix length and see how things pan out during the next couple of check-ups (I will continue seeing him and the MFM for now). He also said that whatever the MFM doctor said and prescribed was the best course for now – he said the Progesterone will also help in preventing any contractions if they were to come now, so it’s good that I chose to go with it. He told me to continue being careful, resting more, abstaining from exercise, sex and other high stress activities, no lifting anything heavy etc.

So, here’s to resting easy and trusting God to finish the beautiful work He started in me.

IT’S A GIRL + A tiny miracle

The most exciting news of the past couple of weeks for us has been that we’re having a GIRL! My husband and I both were hoping for a girl and we couldn’t be more thrilled. It goes without saying that most importantly, we want a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy. But, having a little baby girl is like the icing on the cake. Now, the husband and I are battling it out with names since we both have favorites that we’re not willing to let go of/compromise on yet.

The pregnancy has been progressing quite well except for a little issue that came up during our recent Level 2 Ultrasound (the anatomy scan) that I had at 22w5d. I will talk about that a little later and that is where the miracle comes in as well. There is so much I want to write about because I’ve been so lazy to write more frequently on this blog. I’m going to try and cover the highlights the best I can remember. Today, I’m 23w6d.

This second trimester has been awesome. As soon as the nausea started wearing off around the 14 week mark, my appetite has come back! I can now eat everything that I used to pre-pregnancy and that feels so great. The nausea was a bit of a pain because there was so much that would trigger it. I don’t have any particular food cravings that have made me run out at the middle of the night to fulfill, but, there is this one restaurant where I can’t get enough of their beef kebabs. Every time we wonder about where to eat, I jump up with delight when the husband agrees to go to this restaurant. I still can’t wear too much of polyester or non-cotton clothing on top because that still makes me feel funny – something that started during my morning sickness in the first trimester. So, it’s mostly just cotton tops or dresses. My favorite perfume (Pretty by Elizabeth Arden) is still off limits so I’ve gone back to an old favorite (Woman by Hugo Boss), which seems to be the only perfume I can stand on me.

I’ve started feeling the little girl kick and move more vigorously lately. I had started feeling little pops, like tiny gas bubbles popping, around my 19-20 week mark. But, it was hard to tell because they were so light. All of a sudden, during week 22, I started feeling stronger thumps. I could also feel these weird sensations like huge pressure slowly moving around, which I’m guessing is the baby either rolling or changing positions from breech to head down and vice versa. Towards the end of week 22, I could see the baby’s kicks from the outside! That is still so surreal to see the stomach move where the baby is kicking. It’s unbelievable and with every kick, I fall in love with this little girl even more than before. She seems to be most active when I’m about to fall asleep at night and I told the husband that this could be a sign of things to come – a baby that’s up all night! 😉

Vacation time! – The husband and I went on a vacation at the end of July because I wanted to have one before I got too big in the third trimester and I started getting uncomfortable. We went to Newport, Rhode Island, with a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard via a ferry ride. It was STUNNING. Newport and Martha’s Vineyard are both absolutely beautiful places. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting some of the mansions at Newport and just walking down the street-shops along the wharf. Food was amazing! There was this place called Castle Hill Inn, where they have a huge lawn with adirondack chairs, to sit and watch the sunset while munching on appetizers and drinks. It was one of the most beautiful and relaxing evenings of our vacation. Martha’s Vineyard was gorgeous too…with beautiful beaches and cliffs. There was a really quaint and interesting part of Martha’s Vineyard where they had little Gingerbread-like houses…painted and decorated in various bright colors and themes…very cute. It was like in a world of its own. Here are some picture highlights of our vacation:

MV NT

Ultrasounds and Check-ups – I still have regular check-ups with my OB-GYN and my endocrinologist. It’s once a month with my OB-GYN and once in 6 weeks with my endocrinologist ever since I started my second trimester. My thyroid levels are doing well so far with the current dose of Levothyroxin. I stopped my Metformin and Prometrium at the 13 week mark. So, it’s just my thyroid medicine and prenatals for now. I have a blood test with my OB-GYN at 26 weeks where he’s going to check for Iron levels and other stuff, along with my 1 hour glucose screening. My glucose screening seems to be a little different from all the others I’ve been reading out there. I don’t have to fast/be on an empty stomach. At my last check-up, my OB gave me the liquid I need to take an hour before I come in to see him during my 26 week check-up. So, as soon as I walk in, they’ll test my blood for the sugar levels and that’s it. Sounds strange but, hey I trust my OB. Another interesting little point for me is that ever since I crossed 20 weeks, during all my ultrasounds, the doc/technicians have to glide all over stomach to see the little munchkin. Before that, all the ultrasound wands would just stay below my belly button but, now, they travel all the way up! Just a happy little fun fact for me. 😀

My little miracle – Baby girl has been measuring well at all my OB-GYN visits and he seemed happy with the way things were moving along, till my Level 2 Ultrasound on 28 July. I was already 22w5d by then because my OB *forgot* to schedule my Level 2 Ultrasound during my 17 week visit and only remembered when we asked him about the sex of the baby during my 22 week check with him. I did wonder why he never mentioned anything during my 17 week check about it but, I thought perhaps he didn’t believe in scheduling those. I was a bit bewildered about how it could slip his mind but, I was willing to forgive since it wasn’t too late. Sigh. Anyway, at the level 2 Ultrasound, everything measured and checked out well except my cervix. They were extremely concerned because it was measuring on the lowest end of normal at 2.6-2.7cm in length. At my stage, they would like to see it above 3 and anything below 2.5 or around that is cause for some immediate action. So, they told me they’d inform my OB about it and that I should talk to him when I can. This freaked the living daylight out of me because I obviously turned to Google and read a ton of freaky stuff (it was already Friday evening by the time my scan was over and I had to wait till Monday till I could speak to my OB). I started worrying and fretting about the fact that I hadn’t even reached viability and there was a chance my baby would be born anytime my cervix decided to fully open! I spent the whole weekend huddled in bed as an anxious bundle of nerves. I tried praying and clinging to any inch of faith left in me after this blow, that since God had made this pregnancy, He would see me through till the end. It was so tough to believe that at that moment but, it did provide some comfort.

I called my OB on Monday morning and he immediately scheduled a visit for Tuesday morning. I spent the rest of Monday continuing to freak out and pray like crazy! By Tuesday morning, I was nearly a mess. I got to my OB’s office and finally was called in by the nurse to take my blood pressure etc. After she was done, she told me to wait till the doc came in. I sat there still praying hard and suddenly the number 3.5 flashed in my head. I wondered what the significance of that particular number was and thought it was just wishful thinking because that would be an awesome number to have. I hoped and prayed that by some miracle my cervix would’ve lengthened and that 3.5 would be an awesome number to lengthen to.

The doc then walks in and has me propped up on stirrups to check my cervix. He first did a manual cervix check, first with the speculum to look inside and then with his fingers. He hmmmm-ed in surprise and said that my cervix looked long and closed! My heart started racing. He then proceeded on to the vaginal ultrasound to take measurements and Lo and Behold, my cervix was measuring 3.5!!! I nearly passed out! My OB was stumped as well and he said that everything looked great and he had no idea why the lab on Friday got such a low reading. He then asked me to push down and my cervix went down to only 3.1-3.2. I was in shock. I immediately knew that this was nothing short of a miracle and that the 3.5 that flashed in my head while praying and waiting was in fact, proof that this definitely is something that the Lord has done. My little miracle! The OB said he’d call the lab to discuss this matter and also have me see Maternal Fetal Medicine at the hospital for a second opinion. He just wanted to be extra careful and make sure things were in fact normal, regardless of the huge discrepancy in the two ultrasounds. He also told me to be very careful – no lifting anything remotely heavy, no standing or walking for long periods of time, he told me to sit and lie down as much as I can, no exercise, no sex or orgasms – basically, a very low level of bed-rest. I have my visit with the MFM scheduled for 12 Aug and I’m praying that the Lord continues to keep things going as per normal with my pregnancy.

All through this pregnancy, I’ve seen God really taking care of me through every step, right from conception. He has gone above and beyond all my fears and doubts to ensure things are going well. And I know there is still a long road ahead and my faith will waiver when more fears set in, but, I know that despite all that, God is in control and He will see me through the end! Even in our faithlessness, He is still faithful!