June 12, 2014

Our Pregnancy Story

Last May, I graduated from ISU and we moved into our house (on the same day - craziness!) checking the last two boxes on our list of reasons to avoid getting pregnant. We decided that I would finish my prescription of birth control, which lasted through July, and then we would just see what happened. Not "trying", just no longer taking any precautions against it. I assumed that nothing would come of it for the rest of the year at least, but we were prepared either way. Imagine my surprise when only 2 months later I took a very clearly positive home test on October 11, 2014! Mike was still at work for another hour, so I wrote out a note and left the test on the table and waited with the camera. Unfortunately, he didn't look as surprised as he felt, so the pictures are pretty lame. While I was waiting for him to get home, I did lots of research (surprise) and looked up our due date based on my last period- June 16th, 2014.

We found out relatively early, during my 4th week (if you don't know, week 1 starts the same day as your last period), so we had over a month to wait until we would even have our first doctor's appointment, much less tell people. Luckily, I had very little nausea and no actual morning sickness, so it wasn't very difficult to hide for a few weeks. The biggest symptom I had was that I was extremely tired, which my boss did eventually pick up on. I got the flu (complete with fever, etc) the Sunday before I was 9 weeks pregnant. Mike went in to church to do my set up and lead our class for D6 without me. Sarah helped Mike set up tables and flat out asked him if I was pregnant - apparently his deer-in-the-headlights look was priceless! He then completely ignored the question, because he couldn't think of a way to not tell and not lie to her. That week we then began telling select groups of people (D6 staff, connection group, etc.) and preparing to tell our families.

I apparently didn't get a picture of the mugs. This was the inspiration. 

I made personalized mugs for our immediate family members and we gave them to my family before the ISU football game on 11/23 and Mike's family at Thanksgiving on 11/28. The Grunders were super excited, squealing at the opportunity to shop for adorable baby clothes. When we told Bob and Bev they were going to be grandparents again, Bob's response was "oh they told you?" Huh?? Turns out Jenny and Tyler were also pregnant, due in July. Bob and Bev were both very excited as well, once they understood that they were getting TWO new grand-babies the next summer. We then told the Halupnik side on the 30th at family Thanksgiving and called/emailed the rest of the extended families on the 30th and 1st. On December 2nd, we announced to the world that we were expecting via Facebook.

Because I had so few symptoms, the first half of my pregnancy really flew by. 
I had my first appointment with Dr. Malaki in mid-December, at 13 wweks. That was when we got to hear our little one's heartbeat for the first time. It was a great moment, because it is what made the whole thing "real" for me. Life continued as normal through January with no specific cravings, but Chinese food always sounded good and thinking about eating eggs made me nauseous. In the middle of January I finally got to the point where I was sure that the movement I was feeling was actually the baby and not just gas. That was a strange but wonderful feeling. It's a weird process to understand little by little that the thing growing inside you is a living person with a soul; not just knowing it conceptually. It also helped when I finally "popped" in early February and actually had a little bump. Or as Mike said, "I think you may actually be pregnant!"

 October to February (watch that tan disappear!)

Because I knew the date of my last period and was considered low risk, we did not have our first (and planned to be only) ultrasound until 20 weeks. On January 29th, Mike took the morning off work and we went in for our first chance to see Baby Traxel. We hadn't realized the things we were worried about until we started sighing in relief as the good news rolled in - complete spinal cord, full lips, normal brain, no club feet and a functioning four chamber heart! Not to mention, only one baby (we have friends who got that surprise this summer!) Based on head, torso and femur measurements, they estimated Baby to be about 9 oz, which was 9 days below average. They didn't change my due date because that wasn't TOO small, but we started mentally preparing for either a "late" or little baby.

We also discovered that we had a good listener coming - we asked for uncrossed legs and got them, a clear view to know that we were going to have a little girl! I was surprised, because my gut said boy, but Mike had always thought girl. The night before the ultrasound, I dreamed we were told baby was a boy and I was super disappointed, so when I woke up I was confused if I really wanted it to be a girl so badly or if it was just a dream! Mike reassured me that I would have been thrilled either way. However, a little girl meant much more work for us though, as we had a very short list of favorite boy names (like 3-5) and NONE we absolutely loved on the girl list.

In March and April we started doing more baby stuff, like putting together a registry and starting to get the nursery set up. We also started the name search by individually making name lists by copying names from an online name list and mass deleting the horrible ones. When we each had lists of about 30 names, we compared them, keeping the overlapping names. We whittled from there down to six names with one favorite, but decided to not decide officially until we met her. 
Over Mike's birthday we took a "babymoon" trip to Chicago, since we knew we wouldn't be able to do our usual anniversary weekend with an 8 week old baby! We had a great week with lots of walking; time at the zoo, the Field museum, Navy Pier, and Millenium Park; a spa afternoon and of course lots of great food.

We were blessed with lots of baby showers at the end of April and early May. I had a shower with Mike's family and the Halupniks in Johnston, one with the Grunders at a pottery shop in Bettendorf and one with our Connection Group ladies in Ames. Mike's co-workers also surprised him with a shower at work. One of the gals got him a "Daddy Survival Kit" so that he would be prepared for diaper changes. We also took our birthing class at the hospital in May, which included both birth education and our hospital tour.

Up through my 30 week appointment, everything was looking and measuring exactly as expected. My labs, weight gain, BP, and fundal height (bump size) were all right on track. At my 32 week appointment, my fundal height started measuring small, which continued at my 34 week appt. My OB, Dr. Malaki, called for an extra appointment in week 35 with an ultrasound for growth measurement and amniotic fluid level, just in case. During the ultrasound, Baby Girl was estimated at 5 lb, 6 oz which put her in the 30th percentile for size (4 days behind - closer than at 20 weeks and just considered low, not abnormal). My amniotic fluid was an 8.0 when they hope for about 14. Normal ranges from 5-20, with less than 5 considered dangerous. Again, not an immediate problem, but something to keep an eye on, so Dr. Malaki ordered AFI tracking (by ultrasound) at my next two appointments along with AFI and growth measurements in 3 weeks, to be sure the fluid didn't drop too low and to track her growth. The next week (36) nothing had changed with my AFI despite being super hydrated and we had to start thinking about the potential for inducing early if it got much lower, because it could be a sign of placental problems and be dangerous for her during delivery. The only real positive in this was getting to see her every week, and learn that she already had a little mullet worth of hair on the back of her head!

Too big to get her whole face in one picture now!

Tuesday of week 37 I had another ultrasound and my AFI was up to a 10.5! That meant that after the follow up growth ultrasound during week 38, if the AFI stayed around a 10 we wouldn't need any more extra ultrasounds. That fluid level meant that there was less "bumper" for her movement, so her little elbows and knees were extra pokey and my insides felt quite bruised, but otherwise there was no problem with being on the low end of the spectrum so long as it stayed where it was. Because of the sore/bruised feeling (and unfortunate hemorrhoids), I first started to get uncomfortable in my body during week 36, but not to the point of being "over" or upset to still be pregnant. I knew I would still rather be pregnant and uncomfortable than have her come any earlier than she needed to! Plus I was still sleeping through most nights, which is crazy considering the lack of bladder space and the amount of water I was drinking to help my fluid levels!

Of course, life went on in between those nerve-racking weekly appointments. In those weeks in May we finished up the nursery. It is African safari themed, based around the bedding that we found at Target. I had a couple of DIY projects in the origami elephant mobile and the wall art. I'm planning one more project for after she's born (her name on her first initial to hang by the crib) but since we're not setting her name in stone until after she's born, I'm keeping the materials hidden and returnable for the time being. On Memorial Day, we got to spend a fun day with Jenny and Tyler taking 37 week maternity pictures at Saylorville Lake.

During week 38, Mike had to go to Missouri on a business trip. It was a strange thing to make an emergency "I'm in labor, get home asap" plan for week 38 when we knew she could still not come for 3-4 more weeks! Mike got back on Friday, so that's when we scheduled the follow up growth ultrasound - I wanted him close, just in case anything came up! I went in alone (as was usual) for the ultrasound and found out that while fluid was still normal (9.9 plus a full baby bladder), Baby Girl was only weighing in at an estimated 6 lb 5 oz, or the 16th percentile (down from 30% at week 35) and her head was significantly farther along than her torso or legs. After only a short moment of panic followed by picking up Mike early from work, we met with Dr. Downard, as Dr. Malaki was on vacation until the 15th. He said (and we agreed) that while the weight alone wasn't so low as to be problematic, the diagnosis of asymmetrical intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) based on the dramatic drop in size percentile was definitely worrying. There was no clear reason why she wasn't growing properly anymore (like genetic history, smoking, gestational diabetes or high BP/preeclampsia), leaving only placental/nutritional problems as the likely cause. Because of this, and the fact that she was technically full term and above low birth weight, he concluded that she was probably safer out where they can monitor her more closely than continuing in-utero. We did a non-stress test, which she passed with flying colors, during which I had signs of early labor (I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced before the test and started having light contractions during the test), so no immediate emergency induction was needed and the hope was that she would come on her own over the weekend. If not, we were scheduled for induction on Monday, June 9th at 6:30am, when I would be 39 weeks along and the doctor would technically not even need to show medical necessity to allow induction.

Click here for Lily's birth story