This has been a great week! Zion passed his non-stress test and had more than enough fluid when they did the ultrasound, so they didn't make us deliver early! When the doctor checked me, my cervix had only changed slightly (closer to a 2 than 1.5) which means all of the precautions we've had to take have worked. My belly grew a little bit... I'm still measuring 3 weeks small, but they just figure Zion is going to be a smaller baby. Tomorrow I am 36 weeks so the doctor gave me permission to start being a little bit active again and to stop taking the medicine that slows my contractions. He even gave me permission to go back to work Monday... until we reminded him that I'm a personal trainer, and then he quickly changed his mind. Even though we've made it to our goal of 36 weeks, and we're out of the danger zone, he still thinks it's best to keep Zion cooking for a while. He said if we make it to 37 weeks the odds of Zion having to spend anytime in the NICU are pretty much 0! I can't tell you how relieved I am that this little guy has stayed put and that I don't have to stress about having a premature baby and a possible NICU bill without health insurance. I told the doctor that my main concern, now, is that all of the preventative measures we've had to take are going to make it so my body won't go into labor on its own and that I'm going to end up being pregnant as long as an elephant. He reassured me that I definitely won't be pregnant as long as an elephant and that if I haven't gone into labor yet, they will induce me 1 week before my due date. Apparently the hospital is really picky about women being induced with a first pregnancy before their due date, and has a certain criteria as far as "ripeness" that has to be met, and I'm already so close to their requirements that he has no doubt I will be able to be induced a week early. What a relief! Now I feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. I can pretty much go into labor any time, and we don't really have to worry about Zion having any health problems, and if I don't go into labor, I only have to be pregnant for 3 more weeks max! I am so grateful that everything has worked out so well, and I can't wait to meet our sweet little boy whenever he wants to come! Here's my belly at 36 weeks.
Hooray! We've officially made it a week since our last appointment, and on Friday we will officially be 35 weeks! Today we went in and got some encouraging and some not so encouraging news. It looks like the precautions we have been taking for pre-term labor are helping. They sort of "checked" me today. Not to invasive because they are worried about aggravating my cervix and uterus even more, but they were able to get a general idea. I'm now 100% effaced, but without really poking around, they think my dilation has stayed about the same, which is encouraging. The not so encouraging part is that my stomach is measuring 3 weeks to small (a little less than 32 cm and it should be at 35 cm) Last week I was measuring a little small, and that's part of the reason they did the ultrasound to check for fluids. My fluids were fine and Zion was measuring right on his due date, but this week I'm measuring even smaller. Basically, I kind of shrunk this last week which makes them think I am losing fluid and that Zion might not have grown this past week... both caused by all of the stress on the little guy from the pre-term labor. Tuesday we are scheduled at the hospital to have a non-stress test done on Zion and another ultrasound to see where my fluid is at now. If either number isn't up to par, they will deliver little Zion right away, because the risks associated with both of those things are even greater than the risks that come with a premature baby. If everything checks out the way it's supposed to, I have a regular appointment scheduled for Wednesday and they will decide what to do with me then. So, it looks like we are just playing a fun little game of waiting. Waiting to see if I go into full blown labor, and waiting to see if I don't but they have to deliver him early anyway. Or.... it might turn out that in another 5 weeks I'm totally frustrated out of my mind because they've been treating me for pre-term labor for such a long time that I end up not going into labor on my own and I have to be induced. Once again, I guess we will just have to wait and see! Did I mention I might pull every single one of my hairs out... one by one... in the mean time? All of the anticipation, anxiety and stress is driving me nuts!
My contractions have been getting worse. They still aren't painful, annoying yes, but not really painful, but they are getting closer together and lasting a lot longer. Yesterday we decided to take a trip to Labor & Delivery at UVRMC because my doctor's office was closed. We don't have health insurance on the little guy... I have coverage, but he doesn't and won't until after he is 2 weeks old and is approved by my insurance company (the joy of being self employed). So we are trying to be extra cautious and keep him out of the NICU. They hooked my up to the monitors to check Zion's heart rate and my contractions and the doctor immediately ordered a shot of something that made me feel really funny, to stop the contractions. They checked me and my dilation hadn't changed from Wednesday to Saturday, but I'm now 90% effaced. They did a few routine tests, and everything is still looking perfect with me and Zion. There is not one thing to indicate any type of a problem... my blood pressure is perfect, weight gain is exactly where it should be, ultrasounds have shown proper fluid and placenta development, all of my lab results have been good, no infections, no swelling, no water retention... nothing! And Zion is measuring exactly where he should be, and in all 3 of the ultrasounds we've had, his organs have been developing right on schedule. They have no idea why my body is progressing so early. It's not totally rare, but it's early for a first pregnancy. Zac and my dad have decided that we "just cook 'em fast", because my mom had all of us a month early, too. They sent me home from the hospital with medication I'm supposed to take every 3-4 hours to help slow the contractions, along with a big list of things I'm not supposed to do. The goal is still to make it to 36 weeks at least, and hopefully that will keep little Z out of the NICU. We go back to the doctor on Wednesday, so I guess we will have an update then.
Today I went in for my 34 week appointment. They decided to "check" me because I've been having contractions about every 5 mins or so, and they are becoming stronger and a little bit painful and I'm cramping a bit. They wanted to know if they were just braxton hicks, or if they were actually doing something. Turns out I'm already 50% effaced and dilated to 1.5 cm. They did an ultrasound to check my fluid level and Zion, and both are looking excellent. He is still measuring right on date... exactly 33 weeks and 5 days. They want to keep a close eye on me, so I'm scheduled every week from here on out. The doc said it's really hard to predict how early Zion will come, but they want to keep him cooking at least 2 more weeks. If I go into full blown labor, though, they will let me have him. He will just have to have some extra care in the NICU. I'm hoping that he doesn't make his debut for at least 4 more weeks, but I think he might take after his dad and lack patience. I have the weirdest mixed emotions right now. On one hand I'm totally excited that we might get to meet our little buddy soon, but on the other hand I'm scared of all the health problems that come with premature babies. I guess we will just have to wait and see.