Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 Weeks!

I'm so glad to be halfway!  This has not been an easy pregnancy.  From 6-14 weeks, I had pretty bad morning sickness and lost about 5 pounds from throwing up and being unable to eat much of anything.  Then at 13.5 weeks I woke in the night with bleeding, and was diagnosed with placental abruption.  I proceeded to bleed until I was about 18 weeks.  Now I haven't bled for over two weeks and it's been such a relief!

My routine 20-week anatomy ultrasound went well.  The baby is super active and measuring just right (two days big, actually).  My placenta is low-laying, but there is no placenta previa visible, which is good news.  There were two slight abnormalities, though.

First, the ultrasound showed what the doctor described as a "shadow" on the baby's heart.  It's called an echogenic focus, and it's basically nothing.  My doctor said it's the most common abnormality he sees on ultrasounds.  From my research, it sounds like it's a slight calcification in the baby's heart, between the ventricles or by the valve.  It sounds like it doesn't affect the function of the heart at all, which is good news.  They'll do a follow-up ultrasound later on (the doctor said 32-34 weeks) and if it hasn't resolved then we'll just have to notify the pediatrician when he's born and they may or may not want to do an EKG later on.  Thanks to Dr. Google, I found out that an echogenic focus is a marker for chromosomal anomalies, such as Down Syndrome.  There are many markers for DS that can be seen on an ultrasound, so having one marker shouldn't be significant, especially since I'm not of "advanced maternal age."  But having a perfectly clear ultrasound in no way guarantees that your baby will have healthy chromosomes anyhow.  So it's probably nothing, but now chromosome problems are on my mind and I probably won't rest entirely easy until the baby is born.

The other problem seen on the ultrasound is my amniotic fluid.  The fluid levels are fine, but it's very...dirty.  It looks like bleeding for five weeks straight leaves lots of "particles" floating around in the fluid.  If you've ever seen an ultrasound, you know that the black spaces around the baby are anmiotic fluid.  My black spaces looked like they were filled with layers of glitter floating around.  You could literally see them bouncing off of the walls.  It was honestly a little alarming to me.  The ultrasound tech said that we'd need an ultrasound in a month to follow up, but the doctor wants me to have another ultrasound to measure my cervical length at 26 weeks (you know, to make sure I'm not at risk of dilating early again) so they'll just check the amniotic fluid at that time.  The tech did say that she has no reason to believe that the dirty appearance is due to infection, so she would guess it's because of the bleeding...and while I agree with her, just hearing the word "infection" freaks me out.  We have reason to believe that Caleb was born 13 weeks early because my placenta was infected with strep and staph.  It would have killed him had he not been born when he was.  So naturally it scares me to think that there's even a slight possibility of an infection.  When Caleb started getting sick from the infection he stopped kicking (which was my only indication that anything was wrong, even though I was dilated to 4cm by that time and hadn't had a single contraction), so you can bet that I'm going to be hyper aware of this baby's level of activity.  So far he moves around more often than not--he's so active!  So that's very comforting.  If that doesn't keep up, I'm going to be calling my OB right away!

Those were the only concerns arising from the ultrasound.

Otherwise, I've been feeling much better.  I still throw up from time to time, first thing in the morning (it's always taking a sip of water with my medicine that puts me over the edge and sends me to bend over the porcelain throne, even when I eat a few bites of bland cereal before getting up).  The difference between the nausea and vomiting between the first trimester and now is that now the urge to throw up comes on super suddenly, and once I throw up I feel better immediately.  In the first trimester, I would feel on the verge of vomiting for 12 hours before throwing up, and throwing up never provided relief.  It was pretty bad.  Now I honestly can't complain.  It's not so bad at all.  I still take zofran maybe four times a week to control the nausea, but even that is perfectly fine with me.

My cramps have also decreased drastically.  They were awful the week of Christmas, when I was out and about more than usual at family gatherings.  Time spent in the car brought on cramps so awful that I ended up downloading a contraction timing app.  There were a few scary moments there!  But once Christmas was over the cramps went away almost entirely.  I credit the weekly progesterone shots, honestly.  They're designed to prevent preterm labor, and I think that's just what they're doing!  I started them the week before Christmas, so it seems that it took about a week and a half to get in my system and now they're doing their job!  Yay!  I'm still having plenty of braxton hicks contractions, but those don't worry me like the cramps did.

I feel much more stable now that I'm not bleeding or cramping.  I've even allowed myself to be more active (I actually walked through a few stores in the past week) and I haven't had any problems!  I can tell spending over 5 weeks laying low has weakened my muscles a lot, so it'll take a while to build up my stamina, but I'm glad that I'll be able to be mostly back to normal before long, with the main exception of heavy lifting.

I've also seen a decrease in heartburn recently (weird) and instead of my hair getting thicker, it's falling out more and more (I don't mind, because I have way too much hair as it is, but it's not "normal" for pregnancy, and I'm a little concerned about my thyroid levels, which have yet to be checked this trimester).  I don't have any overpowering food cravings, but I have aversions to ham and mints.  Yuck...just the though of mints...just no.  Since I'm able to eat pretty much anything these days, I've finally put on about 5 pounds in addition to gaining back the weight that I had lost.  And the best part of this pregnancy?  My mood is perfectly normal.  With my first two, I had awful and unpredictable mood swings.  I got mad at the littlest things.  I hated the sound of crying babies and whining children...I seriously hated kids during my first two pregnancies.  Now I feel like I actually have control of my moods, which is the most incredible thing!  I'm a functioning person (unlike before), and it feels great.  :)

17 weeks

18 weeks 2 days

1 day shy of 19 weeks

My little boy at 20 weeks 1 day.  Is that a smile I see?  <3 p="">

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