Friday, July 5, 2013

Final update before D-Day!

In my last pregnancy post, I was talking in detail about the pain I've been having in my hands and arms. At the end of the post, I noted that I was given cortisone shots and that made the pain bearable.

Sadly, the pain-relieving effects of the shots only seemed to last about 12 days before a familiar tingling/burning/numbness returned. I was devastated, but somewhat hopeful because I thought I could get another round of shots. I was even more devastated when we returned to the doctor and he said I actually could NOT get another round of shots. The doctor wasn't concerned about Drew, but explained to me that all that cortisone in such a small area (the wrist) is actually not good for me.

Devastated as I was, at least at that point I knew there was nothing I could do. Sometimes just knowing the hard truth is enough. At the end of the appointment, he remarked that I could always just ask for an early c-section and that would assuredly put an end to all the pain (the pain is essentially caused by the swelling that happens during pregnancy). I remember forcing a fake smile and muttering some type of agreement with his comment. In my head I was thinking, "ya right! I'm so done with talking about potential c-sections!" After our previous "scare" with maybe needing to have a c-section, I definitely did not want to re-visit that idea.

The next day, I headed off to my OBGYN for my now-weekly check-ins. This appointment was the big 36 week appointment, and Kyle was there to discuss our birth plan with the doctor. After discussing our birth plan (or birth "preference" as I like to call it), we were all set to head out the door. My doctor had previously mentioned doing a quick ultrasound at the 36 week appointment, and that popped into my head right before we walked out the door. My doctor agreed we might as well just take a peek at Drew and see how he is doing, and just double-confirm that he was head down.

Good thing we checked. Drew was not head down; he was very, very breech. What we had thought was his little tushy poking out just at the top of my stomach was actually his head all along. The doctor had previously been confident in his positioning just by pushing around on my stomach, so needless to say you could see the shock and alarm on her face to find out that Drew was breech.

Babies usually turn themselves by week 37; less than 5% of babies remain breech after that point. If you are going to attempt to have them turned manually by your doctor, its recommended you do so by the end of your 37th week. That gave us six days to do a external cephalic version procedure (Warning: the link is to a video that is somewhat shocking if you've never seen a live version procedure before...or even just a bare naked pregnancy belly! Also, that is NOT me in the video.). We learned about the procedure, prayed about it, and decided to go ahead an attempt to have him turned.

I'll skip to the end: the procedure didn't work. It was incredibly painful, and each time we attempted to turn him his heart rate dropped. After three attempts, Kyle and my doctor decided to call it off. While I was completely awake for the procedure, I don't remember much as my only focus was on breathing through the pain. I was relieved to hear Kyle tell me that we were done. I was defeated to learn that this meant, without question, that Drew would have to be delivered via c-section.

Oh, the irony. There we were, back at the conversation. AGAIN. I let out a few good sobs, before I looked up at Kyle and my doctor, and just knew that it was going to be ok. Again, God showed up and lovingly comforted me through those around me.

The likelihood of Drew turning on his own at this point is very, very slim. The c-section is scheduled for July 13th, and we can't wait to meet Drew. We're curious to see if the doctor will be able to tell why he is breech (is it my uterus? the cord? a fluke?). I've reached out to some close friends who have had c-sections, as well as spoken at length to my doctor, and I feel very confident that despite this not being our ideal option for birth, it's still a pretty great option as we get to meet Drew at the end of it! Every time I start to fixate on major abdominal surgery, I force myself to think minutes past that moment to the part where we get to see our son for the first time. Works every time :-)

Alright, now that you're all up-to-date, here are the last 4 weeks bump pics!

For some reason, this last week has seemed incredibly long. I was grateful for the 4th of July to look forward to, because we had great plans for this year's holiday. It was Kyle's grandma's 90th birthday, and we joined her with EIGTHY of her friends and family to celebrate her love and legacy. Seriously, I don't even have eighty friends, what an amazing woman!
Hapyp Birthday Grandma Eva!
Drew got his own name tag :-)
To watch the fireworks, we headed down to Edmonds to get a good spot. We were joined by our friends Sam and Crystal and their lively kiddos, as well as Kyle's brother Zeke and his wife Bekah. A great group to watch the show with! The show was amazing, and I can't wait to take Drew next year!

Giving it grace: Between the pain in my hands returning, and the realization that I will be giving birth via c-section after all, the last few weeks had the potential to be really rough. Physically and emotionally. And to be clear, it has been a struggle to continue to work through the pain in my hands. And it was challenging to come to terms with the reality of knowing that Drew will be a c-section birth.

In my last pregnancy update post, I talked a lot about God's comforts. And God's comfort has continued to be constant, even in the face of physical and emotional pain. God's comfort comes in many forms (people, knowledge, experiences, etc), but the most important aspect of His comfort is He is at the end of it. Meaning, it's not about the comfort so much as it's about knowing and seeking after the God that provides it. Just being after His comfort is not enough - and can be dangerous. When someone is suffering and wildly chasing after relief (or comfort), they can be led astray by the enemy. Satan is certainly willing to give temporary comfort in exchange for eternal suffering in hell. In God's grace, He has kept me (and Kyle) focused on Him and what He provides. I know this to be true, because God hasn't provided the ultimate comfort we selfishly are after: alleviation of pain in my wrists, and for Drew to miraculously and safely turn over and no longer be breech. No, those things God has not provided at this time. Yet we are still comforted by Him and His mighty plan. And by His grace, our primary goal is not to achieve the comforts we so desire, but to point all the glory back to God in this experience. In this scenario, the glory goes to God for being the creator of life, period. Everything else just pails in comparison to that.

This will be my last update before Drew comes. With the pain I'm still having in my hands/wrists, typing takes foreverrrrr. I'm praying that the next time I post, I will be doing so pain free (at least in my hands!). We're also praying for a happy delivery, and a healthy baby boy!