Friday, March 3, 2017

Warning: do not leave the pregnant lady home alone

So, here's the relevant background information:

Casey has been gone literally all of my third trimester.


In his wonderful, heroic, provider-man way, he rationalized it like this: Well, I typically work all of January and February, come home for most of March and go back to work in April.  This year, I need to be home in April, so I'll just swap months and work January through March.  No problem!

As I was putting together our calendar in the new year, I suddenly had a panic attack when I realized: he has literally three days at home in March.  I have a daughter turning 7, and I don't have a weekend when her daddy is home to have a birthday party.  I will be 34+ weeks pregnant.  My husband will be gone for 10 weeks straight with just a few days at home. I have four fricking children to tend to and I homeschool. And my husband won't make a lasting appearance until I'm 38 weeks pregnant.  

Naturally, I did what every crazy pregnant lady would do: I had a crazy pregnancy dream in which I had the baby in a chair at a restaurant while Casey was on one of his trips.  Then I woke up at five a.m. in a hot sweat and called my husband in a slightly rage-induced panic.  NO, dear, this schedule will NOT work for me.

It turns out, when you have four children and a very pregnant wife, you have to come home once in a while.

When you don't... things get bad.  Quickly.

Which is why I spent last Friday night in the hospital.  Baby boy had moved down and was creating so much pressure that I actually had pain.  Contracting every 8-12 minutes.  Something that actually felt like burning in my low abdomen.  It was nothing too concerning; these symptoms are all a normal part of my pregnancies - but I have previously only experienced them sometime after thirty seven weeks.  I was only 33, which is why I felt compelled to get checked out.

It turns out, every person has a limit to what they can do.  It's nice to have finally found out exactly where mine is.

I don't quite know how to describe the way the next few days went.  All I can tell you is that I have not felt so absolutely awful since after Logan's birth - and my body was completely, utterly wrecked after that experience. Worse by far than anything that happened during my pregnancy with Olivia; worse, even, than anything I felt during her labor.

Lots of stress, many physical demands and late pregnancy do not make good bed fellows.  It has been a very rough week.  Every part of me hurt to the point that I couldn't sleep because each movement caused me pain so acute that it actually made me cry.  I literally could hardly walk for two days.  We're talking crazy stuff.

Luckily, my mom came up to run my household for five days while I was on almost total bed rest.  Thank goodness... we'd never have made it without her.

And, although Casey still has to work until the 14th, I think we've convinced him that it's time to come home and stay home.  So that's the good news.  Ten more days (and, for the record, my mom is going to continue to stay with me until my husband gets home. Juuuuusst to be safe).  

The most amazing part, though, is how my body simply cannot keep up with the demands that are on me.  I don't know why I never truly understood we would reach this point.  I suppose because it has never legitimately happened before.  I mean, sure, it has always been the case that if it falls on the floor during the third trimester, it no longer exists.  Shoes are my nemesis.  Getting up off the floor after putting on a small child's whatever is a comical, beached-whale-esque sight.  But the end-of-pregnancy struggles have always had something of a comedic, satirical tone in my world.  It's exhausting - no doubt.  It's uncomfortable.  Maybe bordering sometimes on unpleasant.

But nothing like this.

This experience has taught me that I actually have a limit, and that limit must be respected, or my body will take revenge and force my respect.  It's not a question of trying harder or being tougher or scheduling more effectively; I just have to do less.  Waaaaaaay less.

The doctor has told me several times that fourth pregnancies are just harder.  Your body has been stretched enough times that the ligaments are struggling to hold everything together.  In fact, she mentioned that, though your risk factors are roughly the same for pregnancies 1-4, fifth pregnancies have a 15-20% higher risk of significant medical event.  She says that - though clearly there are exceptions - most women are truly not meant to have more than about 4 or 5 pregnancies; our bodies begin to actually break down.  I can totally see it... not that we were planning on any more, but I'm convinced my body is genuinely not capable of carrying another baby.  Four pregnancies and an adoption is enough!  

So, my body doesn't feel like my body.  Doesn't respond in the ways that I am accustomed to.  I was measuring two weeks ahead at my last appointment, and I feel like I could have this baby any second. We did "bed school" all week instead of homeschool. But the good news is that I only have another week and a half before serious reinforcements are in.

And then?

Well, all bets are off.

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