The second trimester of my first pregnancy went by fairly quickly. I didn’t feel very pregnant during this time…I had a ton of energy and just felt GOOD. My belly started showing around week 14 and I really popped at week 17. Fruit and milk continued to top the list of cravings.
At our 18 week ultrasound we found out we were having a baby BOY!
The end of the second and all of the third trimester came with some aches and pains, most notably hip and lower back pain that was aggravated by two main things – long days working on my feet and chores at home that involved frequent bending and standing (e.g. cleaning the bathrooms and floors). Reflux/ heartburn showed up at the start of the third trimester too. Fortunately it only reared its ugly head with obviously acidic or fatty foods like tomatoes, citrus, and chili. Since I could almost always anticipate it and manage it with Tums I couldn’t complain too much.
Due to my unicornuate uterus I had a few more growth scans scheduled that a standard pregnancy beginning in the third trimester. At my 30 week ultrasound (which actually happened at 29 weeks), they discovered that my cervix had started to shorten. Up until that point it had been between the normal 3-4 cm, but at 29 weeks it had already shortened to 2.3 cm. My doctor didn’t express any concern since I was in the third trimester, but scheduled a follow-up scan for 31 weeks. At that appointment, my cervix had gone down to 1.4 cm and was fluctuating as low as 0.9 cm. I was diagnosed with a “dynamic cervix” and put on modified bedrest. Modified bedrest is pretty loosy goosey, so without any definitive parameters I basically just stopped exercising and tried to take it easy (though, anyone who knows me would be able to tell you that me ‘taking it easy’ is not really a thing that happens.)
Baby boy’s head was also sitting LOW – low enough that they couldn’t even get a head circumference measurement with the ultrasound wand pressed directly against my pubic bone – so from that point forward I was told I’d have weekly scans to monitor my cervix and baby’s growth. At week 32, my cervix was now hovering at no more than 9 mm. I was told that this could mean I could go into labor as soon as the next day or go as far as full term but that it was a complete crapshoot. I needed to seriously honor bedrest at least until the 34 week mark, which is the magical number at which most OB’s won’t stop labor since outcomes are so good from that point forward.
Fortunately, my 32nd week of pregnancy coincided with Thanksgiving and I had already earmarked most of that week for vacation time as my parents and sister were coming into town from Virginia. I spent most of that week on the couch and my sweet Mama cooked up the Thanksgiving menu that I had planned. Mama and my sister threw me my baby shower the Saturday after Thanksgiving and my in-laws surprised us by flying out from Pennsylvania to be with us too. It was the best baby shower ever.
The Monday after all of the holiday festivities I had my 33 week appointment and was told my cervix had again shortened…to a mere 6 mm. Since my cervix was now nonexistent, I rearranged work plans to primarily work from home that week and crossed my fingers that I’d make it to 34 weeks. I hadn’t had any Braxton Hicks contractions or signs of labor at all though, so I was optimistic that I’d make it to at least 35…if not 36 or 37 weeks.
Well, lo and behold, the following Friday, at 33 weeks and 5 days gestation, I started leaking clear fluid and filled 3 Maxi pads back to back in the span of an hour. In the moment I was perfectly convinced that Baby Boy was just jumping up and down on my very full bladder. It wasn’t until the the following afternoon that I started worrying about whether I should have gotten swabbed to make sure the fluid I’d leaked wasn’t amniotic fluid. So on Saturday, December 3rd just after dinner, my sweet husband Kevin drove me to Labor & Delivery (since the OB’s office wasn’t open) to get tested. I’ll never forget that it was just as the Penn State vs. Wisconsin game was starting and I felt terrible that he was missing it – Kev’s Alma Mater is Penn State and hubs is a diehard football fan. Fortunately L&D wasn’t busy and I was promptly swabbed.
When the test came back ten minutes later, we were told that I was being admitted right away. My water had broken.