The end is nigh. Ish.

I vote we change Squiggle’s name to “tenacious B(aby)”.

She has not flipped, as far as I can tell, and D-day is imminent.  I’ve tried massage, chiropractic, moxibustion, acupuncture, physical positions from spinningbabies, swimming, visualization, homeopathic remedies, and heat/cold/music.  We went for an OB consult a few days after Black Wednesday (the day we got the news of the breech positioning) and I was terrified it would be an automatic c-section.  Our phenomenal midwives referred us to Dr. F, and came with us for the consult with her.  As it turns out, the intention that day was to attempt an ECV on the spot.  As we were waiting for her to arrive, we got bonus news!  I tested positive for Group B Strep (GBS)… more on that later.  The OB breezed in and our midwife gave her the rundown.  Dr. F was unbelievably cool!  First, she fluffed off the GBS diagnosis with a little wave and a, “no worry for me.”  Next as she performed an ultrasound to confirm the breech-ness, she announced “this is no problem.”  Sadly, with an anterior (frontal) placenta and her head in my ribs, there was no good way to get a grip on the babe to turn her.  My head was spinning as I was SURE we’d be sentenced to a C-section.  Not so!  As it turns out, our OB is European-trained and unlike North American physicians, they’re taught that breech is a variation of normal – as well as how to safely deliver a baby who won’t turn!  She apparently enjoys the challenge and is happy to attempt with the right candidates, which we are!

On to the GBS.  This is the shittiest thing ever.  In short, a good percentage of adult women (15-40%) are carriers of the group b strep bacteria.  Of those women, a percentage are “colonized,” meaning their babies are at risk of becoming infected.  The risk to babies is relatively minor, but the side effect can be fatal.  I tested positive with the Bean and Negative with the Duck, so I’m a carrier, but wasn’t colonized when she showed up.  The course of action is to either treat with antibiotics in labour, regardless OR wait for certain risk factors (24+ hours after water breaks or a fever in labour) before dosing.  I personally prefer to treat based on risk alone.  Mostly because there are 2 main antibiotics used – penicillin and clyndamycin – and I am deathly allergic to penicillin. With the Bean, the strain of GBS I had was resistant to clyndamycin so an alternate antibiotic had to be used: vancomycin.  Vanco can only be administered via IV while admitted to a hospital and under extremely close observation, particularly for heart failure.  I was told that its strength is such that if it can’t kill what you’ve got, nothing can.  The joke was even made that if it can’t kill what you’ve got,what you’ve got will kill you. (hahaha right?  so hilarious) If you’re feeling frisky, take a look at the side effects,  this drug is truly heinous.. I would liken it to being NUKED.

My vote was to check sensitivities, and if the strain was susceptible to clindamycin, just treat.  It’s a compromise of what I’d want, but ok.  I said that vanco was my hardline, and I would NOT take it without risk factors presenting themselves.  I was not going to negotiate.  Then the sensitivities came back and vanco was the only option.  I told Schmoopy that no way would I raze my poor exhausted body before/during labour on a maybe. Then Mom called and was a total mess, worrying about the potential impacts to baby – 1/200 babies exposed COULD be infected and  of those babies (appx 1000/year in the US), one would risk permanent side effects.  This was not a good call, not even a bit.  While I know it wasn’t her intention, and that she was just being the great mom she’s going to be… and I feel awful admitting this… the pressure and guilt was pretty heavy.  My risk of *serious* side effects like heart failure and permanent hearing loss are fairly minimal, the risk of  all the other unpleasant ones is almost 100%.  No one really escapes this drug unscathed.  The conversation was brutal – to the point where I felt that the risk of side effects to me were irrelevant.  I understand and respect that as a mother, protecting and advocating for her baby above all else, but in truth, the call ended with me feeling extremely unimportant/disposable when our risks of serious side effects (mine from drugs and hers from GBS) were pretty close to equivalent.  In the end because I’m a people pleaser, I agreed to being nuked.  So they’re happy, because sweet baby is protected, but I’m terrified because it’s MY job to protect my kids too.  Any permanent side effects I potentially suffer will affect them and their lives too.  I’m still pretty broken about the whole thing, it’s truly the definition of a no-win scenario for me.

At least now, we have the plan, and it is fairly simple.  We gave Tenacious B some time to flip or get the hell out of my lungs/ribs so that she can be externally assisted in getting where she needs to be.  In 3 sleeps (!), we will return to see the OB, who is coming in on her day off just for us.  She’ll attempt an ECV and induce if we’re successful.  If unsuccessful, we’ll see if my body is favourable/ready for delivery.  If NOT, we’ll wait a couple more days.  If SO, we’ll induce and work towards a vaginal breech delivery.  I will have to agree to have an epidural, and deliver in an operating room that will be prepped for an emergency C-section.  Dr. F is quite confident that if this is the alternative we end up with, we’ll still have a successful delivery (without knives).  Hell, the epi may be a nice treat!  I wish I could express how totally incredible this doctor is.  We asked what would happen if I went into natural labour while she was off call or before the ECV attempt, and her response was, “day or night any day, page me and I’m here.”  As though it were nothing.  I could have cried, just knowing that no matter what, we have an OB willing to work with us, to TRY.  That’s all I need.

As we continue to play crotch watch and hope the baby formerly known as Squiggle decides to be nice and flip, I realize how utterly physically (thanks, flu) and emotionally exhausting the last two weeks or so have been… I’m completely burned out and ready to get to the joyful part where a couple becomes a family.  There are concessions to be made, and it isn’t picture perfect, but when is it ever?  Hell, it’s a full moon tonight…


Flip baby, flip!

Things aren’t always what we picture, are they?

At our 37 week appointment this week, we found ourselves a fun surprise – Squiggle seemed to have decided that breech positioning is where the party is.  Unfortunately, I had the flu, so our midwife couldn’t really tell where she was hiding without the potential of a catastrophe… So off we went for an ultrasound, which of course confirmed that this little booger is frank breech: bum down, feet up by her face.  Of all the breech positions, this is the most merciful of the bunch.  After the ultrasound, we popped into the fertility clinic (they share an office) to see if our doc was in, which she wasn’t.  We had a visit/chat with her lovely nurse, however, which was great until we mentioned the breech-ness.  “Oh, that’s a c-section,” she announced, without missing a beat.  We changed the subject, but she brought it up a couple more times.  At that point, all the stress, illness, not eating for 3 days all caught up and I found myself ugly crying sobbing in the hallway like a goon.  I tried to get to the washroom before the waterworks, but couldn’t do it.  It was mortifying.  I hate that everyone saw it.  ugh.

As a result of the news, there’s been a huge flurry of activity the last couple of days.  Schmoopy turned the hot tub down to 97 degrees and I’ve been floating as much as possible.  We’ve tried the positions to encourage her to flip.  3 visits to the chiropractor to perform the webster technique and for a massage.  Anything we can do, we’re doing.

Unfortunately, because we’re at “early term,” we now have to consult with an OB-GYN, which we’ll be doing tomorrow.  We’re seeing the best one locally, and our midwife has assured us that not only is she highly experienced with ECV (external cephalic version – turning baby from the outside), but also with delivering breech babies.  Apparently, she’s one of but a few OBs willing to help attempt a vaginal delivery!  Of all the options, I’m extremely pleased that she’s the one who has taken us on, and I keep reminding myself that there’s still time.  I picture it like this: We have our consult.  If baby hasn’t flipped, we book an ECV/induction.  If she still hasn’t flipped by that date, and the ECV fails, we’d then STILL have to book an induction/possible c-section so there’d be yet more time.  I hope.  My biggest fear is that we’ll go in and she’ll say that it’s more emergent than we imagine it to be.

Regardless of the how, this beautiful little baby will be born.  She will be healthy and strong, and we will figure it out.  That’s what matters. We’re going to be ok.

The wall has been HIT.

Be forewarned, I’m about to have a pity party.

I’ll admit it.  I’m tired.  I’m burned out.  I’ve hit the wall.

The hard part is that I don’t 100% feel like there’s anyone to whine to.  I know that Mom would give anything to be in my position, AND she and Dad feel awful any time I’m feeling less than perfect.  I don’t want to make them feel guilty – they have enough to worry/stress about. Schmoopy has pretty much been a saint, picking up my slack, dealing with all the assorted glamours of pregnancy and only occasionally bitching about it.  I don’t want to tell any of them how bad this week has been.  So, internet, you get my complaining:

  • I’m exhausted and barely sleeping more than a couple hours at a time.  If I do get any sleep, Schmoop coming in from work at 3am wakes me up and then my brain kicks in and it’s all over.  I just want one night to sleep from when I’m tired until I’m done sleeping.
  • I’m not eating all that great. We are running out of stomach space, and in a cruel twist of irony, my appetite (which has been effectively non-existent since March) is raging but nothing sounds appealing.  I’m subsisting on apples/peanut butter, yogurt, smoothies and…yeah that’s about it. Oh, and the kids’ halloween candy, but even that is just “meh.”  Even if it were McDonald’s, I wish I wanted SOMEthing. Anything.
  • I’m starting to get slow and sore.  If this were our own baby, I wouldn’t feel bad about that, but the fact is that my kids aren’t about to have a sibling, so I owe it to them to be as close to normal as I can.  Besides sleep deprivation causing a shorter than usual fuse, I’m doing ok at it but I feel terrible for not being as tolerant as usual.  The cost of being this active is also far from insignificant.
  • WORST of all?  I’m jealous.  Insanely jealous.  While I know this is totally inaccurate, it feels like everyone else involved gets to enjoy their day to day lives.  If they want to sleep, eyes closed, sleep.  If they want to go away for a weekend, or even out with friends, no problem.  If they want to lift something, easy.  Eating? Sure.  Meanwhile, I get to be fat on the bed.  Then I get to be fat in the kitchen.  Then I get to be fat on the couch.  Combined with it being literally the busiest time of year at work, and Schmoop’s work schedule, I haven’t had a couple hours “off” in weeks, it’s just constant running and it’s very isolating.

I know this is what I signed up for, we all knew that being pregnant isn’t always easy… It should come as no surprise.  If I didn’t want this, I shouldn’t have been a surrogate, blah blah blah. I don’t regret this all – FAR from it – and I’m not one to admit weakness, but I just need a damn break.  Just an afternoon to not have to deal with anything.  Then again, I”ll probably feel like I’m ditching my littles.  It’s a no-win scenario.

Whining aside, little miss is doing great.  We’ve arranged with our midwives to have a homebirth kit in our home since the Duck’s labour and delivery was so quick.  We went from 4cm and “early labour” to delivered in 1 hr 1 min.  If anyone told me at any point during that hour that it was time to get in the car, my answer would have been…less than favourable.  I refuse to have a side of the highway baby, so the plan is for us to go to the hospital as soon as it’s a maybe, but also to be prepped at home on the off chance that we have another quickie!

36 weeks in, she’s head down, measuring right on track and working on her karate moves!  Even with an anterior (forward) placenta, she makes herself felt.  She’s so strong, almost…aggressive, and it’s amazing.  We’re all getting used to the idea that as of next week, we’ll be considered “term” and she can come any time!  I’d love it if she sticks it out until my maternity leave starts since I don’t really want to have to do more paperwork (burned out, remember?), but whatever she decides, I’m good with.  It’s all about this amazing little person, and her amazing parents, so what’s a few more weeks of (fun?) to change someone’s life, right?  We’re so close.  So, so close.  Baby steps.