Four Weeks, Three Days

Four weeks and three days. That is how long I have left until my expected delivery date. EDD January 9, 2015. We had our Christmas already. The kids came for Thanksgiving. That’s when I started my leave of absence from work. I was having about six contractions an hour the last couple days at work, with nothing to look forward to in the coming days and weeks except a heavier workload and more stress. Between the stress and physical demands of work, my newly discovered gestational diabetes, and the preexisting problems with my thyroid and, more recently, the fibromyalgia, I was having way too much excitement. When we took the kids back to their dad after the holiday, spending a day in the car, with several stops to use the restroom, all that climbing in and out of the car did a number on my poor, old, abused back.

So here I sit, at home, out of work, having an average of two contractions an hour, still sore from the most recent chiropractor visit, with not an ounce of energy, trying to manage my sugar while being too stiff and sore to exercise, and in total nesting mode with no capacity to bend or stand for very long. Essentially, feeling old and useless while my mother and husband take care of me and all of the new baby prep.

I told my husband in the very beginning that I would have a hard time being pregnant. I didn’t handle it well at age twenty-one, so I knew that halfway into my thirties I would struggle even more. I had no idea that the “arthritis” that set in six years ago would turn out to be fibromyalgia and that there isn’t really anything that I can take, nothing that works at any rate, while I am pregnant. And while I have taken antidepressants off and on since my thyroid issues began at age eighteen, and while they seem to be one of the few treatments for fibro, I am not too keen on taking them while I’m pregnant. So when I first became pregnant back in November of last year (the pregnancy that ended at eleven weeks), I discontinued those drugs and take only my thyroid medicine and my vitamins.

A month ago, I learned about the gestational diabetes. To be honest, I suspected I had it with my son when they told me I was one point short of having to take the three-hour glucose test, and when my son was born at 9 lbs 10 oz. This time, my three-hour test came back one point high, meaning I’m still on the border, in my estimation. But now that I have the tools and information that I need to monitor and control my glucose levels, I am at least relieved that I can probably avoid having another nine-pound baby. That being said, this one is a girl, so she was probably destined to be a little smaller than that anyway. My main concern right now, however, is that with the pain I’m having in my back and the aches from the fibro, I won’t be able to get enough exercise to counteract the increased sugars.

The fibromyalgia is proving to be a bit of a challenge as well. Fibro can usually be eased by staying somewhat active and can flare up with changes in the weather. Isn’t it grand, then, that I am already too sore to exercise and that it has rained three days in the last week. Even if I was able to exercise pain-free, the amount of contractions I was having when I became active was troubling, and the midwife at labor and delivery said I should lay down when I had that many contractions. So exercise is proving difficult. My distaste for activity at this point in my pregnancy could be the reason I had to be induced with my first two. I sincerely hope that the trips to the chiropractor and some rest get my back back into working order. Even though my due date is a full month away now, I’m ready to start jogging up and down the neighborhood to induce labor. At the rate things are going, however, I’m sure this kid will be in grade school before my back feels that good–if it ever does again.

Simply rolling over in bed has become a challenge. Every time I wake up during the night, whichever hip I’m lying on is killing me–the fibro. So I start to roll over, which is painful because my belly is enormous and my back is killing me. So once I get about halfway over, I realize I need to use the bathroom. So I get out of bed, struggle to stand fully upright due to my stiff lower back, get about two-thirds of the way up and begin having a contraction. I waddle-limp into the bathroom to do what I need to do, and then schlump my way back to bed where I have to heave my leg up onto the bed (which seems much higher these days) and crawl into it. I settle onto the side opposite the one I woke up on and readjust all my pillows, and try not to disturb my husband any more than I already have at this point. Usually, one side of my nose is completely stopped up, and I try to blow my nose before returning to bed. I have a box of tissues next to the bathroom sink and one next to the bed. There is a moment after I lie back down when all the stuffiness shifts from one side to the other and in that brief moment, I can breathe through my nose. Once settled in, I almost instantly fall back to sleep, since I’m exhausted from going through this every night and can’t seem to sleep past sunrise. And that’s rolling over in bed.

Did I mention that sleep loss is a trigger of fibro? Well, it is. So is stress. In the last three months we sold a house, bought a house, moved, went to court for custody of my kids (and lost), and spent a ton of money furnishing the new house and the nursery. With the holiday season approaching, I was doing more at work in my job as training coordinator with the hiring of tons of extra seasonal help. Now that I’m on leave, we have the added stress of me not making as much money. I have sick time until my short-term disability will kick in, assuming I am approved. If I am approved, it only covers a percentage of my income, so now we have to watch our spending, which is tough with a baby coming.

My mom came to live with us about a month ago. She isn’t in the best of health, but she helps with the housework, which is such a blessing. With my time off from work, I am trying to get her disability approved so that I can get her taken care of. It has been a slow process. I printed out her application over a week ago and I’m not sure she has touched it. I can’t be angry, because she spends her pain-free time taking care of me and cooking us dinner. When she has pain, she takes meds that make her so fuddle-minded that she couldn’t do paperwork if she tried. I really need to get her taken care of. She needs to see a dentist before another tooth breaks and she needs to see a doctor before her meds run out, but she has no insurance. I have so many appointments this week, I don’t know if we will be able to get her any help before the new year.

On top of all of this, my five-year-old golden retriever is sick and I spent $400 in the last two days on tests and we still don’t know what is wrong with her. Her heart rate is way too low and she is so pathetic and mopey that she just lays on the couch and sleeps all day. A lot like me, if my back didn’t hurt too much to lay on the couch.

So the next four weeks will consist of me trying to figure out how to induce labor while being too sore, stiff and tired to actually implement any of the ideas I come up with. I’ll probably be induced a week after my due date, which is probably for the best, when you consider how far we live from the hospital. In the event of an interstate delivery, I’ll be sure to make a post about it on here for your reading pleasure.

In the meantime, I’ll be in my recliner watching TV, or at the vet with the dog, or in bed trying to get a few more moments of rest (ha ha) before getting up for the day. I’ll be timing contractions, which I’ve been doing for the last month, and I’ll be trying to watch my sugar intake and avoiding things like potatoes and white bread. On a good day, you might catch me walking the dogs in an attempt to trigger more productive contractions. Or maybe I’ll just go up and down the stairs a few times, until I’m too short of breath to continue. Don’t tell my husband that I might try to get him to help me induce with sex. And don’t tell my mom any of this, because she’ll worry (though I’m sure she’s the only one who reads this blog). Hi Mom!