Pregnancy: 30 week update

One year ago, I wrote a blog post to my future-August-2019-self. Today, at 30 weeks pregnant, I respond to last year’s post, filling in August-2018-Kristen on pregnancy with a unicornuate uterus, incompetent cervix, cerclage, bleeding scares, and panic attacks. Plus lots of pictures from the last six weeks (babymoon in Breckenridge, baby showers)!

A Reflection on Time: Part 2

Cory lounges on the couch in the shadow-soaked living room. Feet propped up on the coffee table, head leaned against his hand. He is as relaxed as the setting sun after a long summer day’s work. Dim light from the TV washes over his thick-bearded face.

I sit in the dining room to his left. My laptop is opened in front of me to the blog post I wrote exactly one year ago to my future August 2019 self. I let myself read and re-read this blog post from August 21, 2018 several times as voices of pre-season football announcers fill the space with foreshadows of autumn’s crisp crunch. In this blog post, I reflected on time’s befuddling nature, especially as we prepared for IVF. “Time,” I write, “I am blown away by how simultaneously slow and fast time is passing right now.” I equate time’s passage to “a cheetah riding on the back of a turtle.” On one hand, it felt like all we did was wait for the start of our IVF cycle. On the other hand, it felt like a blink since we had received my infertility diagnoses, propelling us into the land of injections and foreign acronyms and (so many) vaginal ultrasounds.

At the end last August’s post, I thank my future pregnant self for reading and then give myself a task: “After you’re done reading this, go write a new blog post about your day and what’s been going on. Reflect on how quickly your pregnancy has gone but also how slow some days have felt. Sit in the dining room, open your laptop, and take a deep breath as your fingers hit the keys and you enter into another seemingly timeless moment.

I sit here in the same spot in the dining room one year later, on August 22, 2019, and reflect on the past year. I allow myself to sink into another “seemingly timeless moment.” You know, those precious, mindful moments when time, the incessant pursuer, stops leading you in never-ending circles around the dance floor. You regain your equilibrium, soften your gaze, and observe the intricate designs on the ballroom wall - designs that were merely a shimmery blur just seconds before.

It takes me awhile to enter into this special space of mindfulness. For time to release me from the dance. First, I pay attention the many sensations in my body, to baby boy’s breech head as it (lovingly?) jabs me in the ribs. (Have I mentioned that sometimes it feels like baby boy is kicking me in the anus? Pregnancy is glamorous business. Ha!) I hear the Les Mis soundtrack play through my headphones. I notice the bubbles from my soda as they tickle my tongue.

Sweet little baby boy last week. This is the fat baby head that pokes into my ribs. (I wouldn't want it any other way!)

Sweet little baby boy last week. This is the fat baby head that pokes into my ribs. (I wouldn't want it any other way!)

I’ve regained my equilibrium and enter into a timeless moment. Without time’s gripping influence, I can now reflect on its very existence. Has my pregnancy gone quickly, with some occasional days feeling slow? Does time still feel like a cheetah riding on the back of a turtle? The easy answer: No.

Now, time feels like an unborn, helpless baby riding on the back of an elderly turtle. Time has felt so slow, so fragile. I wonder why.

“Cory,” I ask, “It’s been almost one year since we did our first egg retrieval. How has the last year felt for you? Fast or slow?”

He looks up from his fantasy football league app on his phone and pauses to think. “Slow. So slow.”

“Like three years in one, right? I wonder why.”

We sit and wonder together. Days have felt like weeks. Weeks have felt like months. Months have felt like years. We talk about how the scares (e.g., bleeding, cerclage) during this pregnancy and resulting anxiety have made each day feel so long. We have celebrated every passing 24 hours like a marathon running crossing the finish line. I am acutely aware of how far along I am, to the day, without a thought. Each day a single penny slowly filling our coin jar. And now we have enough pennies to equal 30 weeks (the math works out, I promise).

Today I am 30 weeks (+ 18 hours) pregnant.

I never thought I’d see 30 weeks.

Last week’s progress pic at 29 weeks!

Last week’s progress pic at 29 weeks!

In last year’s blog post, I imagined that by now I’d be eight months pregnant after a successful frozen embryo transfer (FET) in December 2018. I imagined I was pregnant with a little girl. My vision of my future self wasn’t that far off. Instead of a transfer in December 2018, our transfer ended up being in February 2019. Instead of being eight months pregnant with a little girl, I’m seven months pregnant with a little boy.

I let that sink in.

I’m seven months pregnant with a little boy.

I have a son. My unicornuate uterus, my half-sized studio apartment uterus, has held up far beyond I could have ever imagined. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Future Kristen in August 2020, let me take a second to remind you what has been happening recently:

Hospital visit.JPG
  1. You had your first ever panic attack a couple of days ago in the middle of the night. You woke up startled at 1 AM, unable to take a full breath, mind wide awake. You were hot. The air in your bedroom felt thick, too thick to inhale. You raced downstairs and went out to the patio. The air wasn’t any easier to breathe outside. You started walking in pressured circles around the house. Living room, dining room, kitchen. Living room, dining room, kitchen. Living room, dining room, kitchen. You called your mom, and she talked you down from your panic-attack-ledge for 30 minutes. During this time, you walked 3/4 of a mile…inside your house. Finally, after tears and venting about anxiety, you finally calmed down. Your breathing slowed. You were able to get back to sleep by 4 AM.

  2. Then next night, you woke up at 11 PM with the same difficulty with breathing. You turned on Netflix and tried to let the quiet hum of voices soothe your to sleep. Every so often, you’d start to nod off but then wake up suddenly gasping for air. You felt hot again. And light-headed. A little dizzy. You couldn’t breathe. This lead to another panic attack Tuesday at 1 AM. You called your doctor, and they urged you to go into the Labor & Delivery unit at your hospital. You and Cory (God bless him) got to the hospital around 1:45 AM. You and baby were monitored for 3 hours. All was ultimately okay. Verdict: asthma + allergies + GERD + decreasing lung space = difficulty breathing.

  3. You had your 30 week growth check today. Baby is in the 42nd percentile and weighs 3 pounds 2 ounces! He’s right on track. Your uterus still has plenty of fluid. He is currently breach, but your doc thinks he could flip up until 34 weeks in your uterus. You have a feeling that he won’t flip and you’ll have a c-section. You’re okay with this.

  4. You feel immense pressure on the right side of your pelvic bone. It’s super tender down there.

  5. Your hospital bag is packed. Ready to rock!

  6. You and Cory went on a babymoon in Breckenridge two weeks ago! You ate lots of good food, got a prenatal massage, soaked your feet with mountain views, saw a string trio play while seated up in the trees, and watched a scary movie in the rented theater room at the hotel!

  7. You have been spoiled by family and friends at three baby showers! People love you.

In the midst of this pregnancy, time has felt slow. I’ve never lived through a longer seven months. I wonder what it will be like in August 2020 as I reflect back on my pregnancy. One year from now, as I hold my sleeping 10-month-old boy in my arms, I wonder how time during this pregnancy will feel in retrospect.

Dear future mama-Kristen of August 2020: do me a favor and write a quick blog post, between breast feedings and diaper changes, about how time has felt this past year. Looking back on your pregnancy, how do those 9 months feel now? How has this past year felt? What does it feel like to be a mom? Who is the beautiful soul growing inside your belly?

I can’t wait to hear from you next year…

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