The actual delivery time is fast approaching and the frenzy of preparing to actually meet this tiny miracle is almost at hand. In these last few weeks, I’ve found myself dealing with a lot of conflicting emotions; fear, anxiety, excitement, worry, determination and most of all, happiness. I’m kind of a mess, I know. I’m all packed, everything is set with the insurance and the hospital stay, Lamaze is finished (I decided that I want the drugs) and I’m not sleeping well because I’m as big as a house, literally. I believe the pregnancy coaster is in its final scary loop and I couldn’t be more ready to jump off.
Weeks 28 through 42 (yes, you read that 42 correctly) are some of the most grueling, in my opinion. Trying to do everything to keep my body running is a full time job in itself; drinking enough water so I don’t get constant headaches, wearing the right bra so I’m supported and not hurting because they are REALLY big now, knowing where all the bathrooms are because I’m peeing constantly and keeping a close watch on that pesky swelling in my lower extremities. And I’m exhausted. So my daily routine now includes a two hour afternoon nap with my feet elevated. My body truly belongs to this baby.
The routine appointments should be happening less frequently now, but in my case, not so much. I get to go into the doctor’s office once a week to be monitored because: I’ve gained so much weight, I have decreased levels of amniotic fluid and I grew a whopper of a baby for my small frame. The low amniotic fluid levels are truly concerning due to the fact that this vital fluid is how he ‘breathes’ while he is still in-utero. He isn’t moving as much as he should be and my excess swelling is also concerning to my doctors. I’m a regular high-maintenance three-ring circus!
At one of these scheduled check ups the nurses strapped two monitors around my belly and I had to slam a whole can of Coke. The intention of the caffeine and the sugar was to attempt to get the lazy baby moving. He wasn’t having it. I soon found myself drinking a second Coke and jumping up and down to promote his movement. Sounds like lots of fun, right? My tiny human was moving but not enough to satisfy the OB team. My amniotic fluid levels were dangerously low as well and I was past my due date by about one week. It was at this appointment that things got real and the coaster again picked up speed and launched into yet another vortex of terror.
My situation was not considered an emergency, but it was definitely time to schedule a prompt induction. There was availability the next morning at Arnold Palmer Hospital at 4:30 AM. My oh my, that’s dark and early! I have to say I was relieved to not have too much time to stress out about any of it. Frankly, I was exhausted and wanted to rest up for the big event. I mean, who knows how long this process could take? I’m the queen of complications, both big and small, so I’ve just learned to roll with the punches of life. Those emotions I mentioned before are all at the surface now…it’s go time for this coaster and it’s passengers.
Kimberly Fisher, RN/BSN is Healthcare Program Manager for JourneyLabs. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Nursing she brings nearly a decade of experience with a background in adult (ICU/CCU) and neonatal critical care (NICU), patient advocate work in the managed care space and in pharmacy tech.