Friday, February 14, 2014

23 Weeks: Viability and Visibility

I have to confess that the NICU nurse in me breathes a sigh of relief today. We've reached theoretical viability at last! I can actually picture holding this baby curled up in my cupped hands like so many tiny ones I've helped care for. While we are in no way ready to meet him just yet, it's nice to know he faces a bit of a fighting chance should he choose to come early.

This was a fun week, thanks in part to our awesome long weekend in San Diego, but thanks also to the ever-increasing movement I feel! I haven't been able to detect a sleep/wake pattern yet, and the only consistent times I notice movement are when I wake up in the morning and when I lay down at night. But I think I'm also starting to notice movement about 15 minutes after snacking on chocolate chip larabars when I'm hungry at work. He loves those things! (Although that seemed pretty evident as early as our 12 week ultrasound when I ate one on the way into the doctor's office and 15 minutes later we saw him literally bouncing off the walls in there.)

This past Saturday night, baby must've been in a particularly good mood. Either that, or we'd had such an active day that he was thrilled when I stopped moving so he could start! I was laying down after a delicious dinner and he was squirming so much. It's corny, but Ross and I just laid there feeling him move for a good 5-10 minutes. It started with a few big kicks on my right side, and then a flurry of activity with what must've been his hands on the left side. It felt like popcorn popping in my stomach, which was bizarre and hilarious. So thanks for putting on a show, little one. It was such a treat for us to feel so close to you that night!

This past Wednesday, I think it's safe to say I "popped"? I've been going to the same Body Pump class almost every single week for 2+ years. This week, though, my classmates and instructor were all suddenly like, "you're pregnant? We had no idea!" It was actually really fun and the first visual acknowledgement that there may be something in there besides a spare tire. I can lay down at night and poke around and feel bones and stuff. In my stomach! So weird.

On the pregnancy symptom front, things are getting marginally rougher. I thought that as long as I avoided gaining too much weight and didn't develop high blood pressure, I wouldn't have much swelling until the very end. Joke's on me. Turns out that my blood pressure has gotten so low during pregnancy (like 90s/60s) that blood is pooling in my lower body thanks to gravity and it can't adequately return to the heart the way it should... thus leading to swelling. I started noticing it around 15 weeks and since then I have developed some painful vericose veins. I got to go to an awesome pelvic rehab class at work and talked to the physical therapist there. (Did you know that there are physical therapist specializing in women's health?! I now know to recommend seeing one during pregnancy, not just afterwards!) She suggested some specific compression tights for me-- not just socks or shorts, but the whole shebang. Good thing it's winter! I finally bought them on Tuesday, and Wednesday was my first full day wearing them. They cost an arm and a leg, so I'm expecting miracles here. The PT said to give it a week of wearing them all day every day to see if they're helping.

That being said, this seems like as good a time as any to mention that in the last few weeks, I've been very grateful for the fact that I have access to good healthcare. Even as I struggle with the seemingly difficult decision of changing providers and deciding where I want to deliver, I can't help but realize that no option I'm considering is a bad one. I am so incredibly blessed to have the options I have. I live close to a good hospital should anything go wrong between now and June, and even little things, like a physical therapist suggesting support hose, are such a blessing. That I live in a place that offers good care providers who can help me deal with the little things as well as the big things, is something I don't ever want to take for granted.

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