From now until I deliver, I'll be going into the doctor's office to have two non-stress tests per week. Basically, I get to sit in this huge comfy leather chair while they strap a fetal heart monitor and a contraction monitor onto my belly. There's a basket full of snacks and juice that I can pig out on, which makes the baby active so they can get a good view of his heartbeat. So far, I've been twice--one last week and one today. The next one is Thursday, and after that it's every Monday and Thursday in October. I actually enjoy going, because it's so calming listening to Julien's heart beat. It can take up to an hour depending on how active he is, but so far I've only had to sit for about 20 minutes because they have been able to get some great info very quickly on how he's doing. I don't enjoy driving downtown twice a week, but that's just because I'm a small town girl trying to make it in the city...haha that's a song, right?
So today I met a nurse who hasn't worked with me yet. She asked me about Jonas and when that happened. She told me how sorry she was, and that she also had a full-term stillbirth 31 years ago. She said she went on to have two healthy children after that. She said there's nothing worse than what we've gone through, and she understands everything I am going through right now in these last few weeks of my subsequent pregnancy. She said she just delivered a stillborn baby the other day at another hospital, and the girl just looked up at her and said, "I don't understand! I can't understand this..." Such a reminder of how I felt when I found out. I was the same way. Questions like, "Why me? Why so late in the game? This isn't happening...how did this happen...what did I do wrong?" I felt like I was in another world. This COULDN'T be my life! Oh that horrible disgusting pain that I only rarely take myself back to these days, because I literally feel it all over again. It's so easy for me to talk about my baby Jonas, but it is SO hard going back to that painful moment of finding out--even harder than the moment I gave birth to him.
She showed me the printout of his heart rate and explained what they look for. Each time he moves, the heart rate should go up just a little bit and then quickly come back down. Julien's heart rate was just like they want it, so that's definitely reassuring. She said that if they move and the heart rate stays the same or shoots down and that happens frequently, then the baby could be in trouble. There could be problems with the cord. She said that if our babies had been monitored like this, then perhaps something could have been done. The sad fact is, Jonas' heart rate WAS monitored for 30-45 min. once a week for about 8 weeks. It's standard practice in German hospitals even if you're not high-risk. It's so confusing to me--why didn't they catch anything? Did they just not know what to look for? That along with ultrasounds every week those last couple of months...what was the point? I know....frustrating questions that don't really mean anything right now. What happened, happened. I don't blame anyone. But who wouldn't think of these things?
Something else stuck out to me that the nurse said today. She said that her sub pregnancies just felt different. This pregnancy does feel different to me. When I was pregnant with Jonas, I really didn't buy much and like I said I didn't have a shower. We didn't take a tour of the hospital. It was an unplanned pregnancy, the result of Zac returning from his deployment. ;) I was terrified of having two boys who would be less than 2 years apart. Zac was scheduled to deploy again shortly after the birth, and I didn't know what I would do in Germany without my family there for support. Lots of worries, but I was still happy about it. Towards the end, I did have that very brief thought that something would go wrong. I remember where I was when I thought it. I was driving in a traffic circle on the base.
But with this pregnancy, even with all my fears, it has been so different. I have bought a lot of new stuff for Julien. The other day I was talking to Zac about it, and we both have a good feeling. We know that he is going to come home with us. I am constantly aware of his movements, but I wasn't with Jonas...I didn't believe that being "paranoid" about kicks would do me any good. This time, I KNOW the paranoia is a good thing. It's good to be concerned and to overreact if necessary. It's better to be safe than sorry. I've had a few instances where I couldn't remember when I felt him last. I poke at him and talk to him and drink water--eventually he starts moving. If I'm REALLY scared, I have that wonderful fetal doppler where I can actually hear his heartbeat myself. It's been great!
So other than the usual aches and pains of pregnancy (heartburn, knee pain, pelvic pain, back pain, insatiable thirst, always being hot, trouble getting comfortable at night and when I finally do having to pee 10 times a night, always being out of breath, stretch marks, weight gain, crazy emotions, big feet), I'm feeling pretty good! I'm trying to update this as often as possible since this week I'll be 36 weeks and I feel like this is a major event that is unfolding on my blog. I know lots of people are praying, and so I want to give regular updates. :)
Just for fun, a picture of me before life got TOO complicated. :) 2006, age 22
And Zac, around 2003
And this is us with Joss this summer. I was about 24 weeks pregnant.
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