Thursday, March 31, 2011

32 Weeks

We hit 32 weeks on Tuesday. Given how long this pregnancy has seemed, that milestone felt remarkable to me. By no means does it mean we are out of the woods—and of course, I won’t really feel out of the woods until this baby is placed on my chest, every screaming, slimy inch of him—but somehow it feels big, important. I wish I could say it has decreased my anxiety level, but alas, that is just not to be. We had another follow-up ultrasound on Monday, and the kid is still measuring big, but now only his weight appears to be above the 97th percentile—he’s estimated to weigh 5lb 5oz, when most babies weigh about 4lbs at 32 weeks. Everything else seems to have dropped below the 90th percentile—still big, but not alarmingly so. A second gestational diabetes screen was negative, so I guess I am just growing a big baby.  As of Monday, he had also turned back into the vertex position, which was good news—I was sure with the hiccups I’d been feeling under my ribs, he was still head up. The amniotic fluid index dropped, too, so no danger of polyhydramnios anymore, although of course, I’m worried that it dropped rather far—from 21.6 cm to 16.5 cm in only 4 weeks. The perinatologist seemed unconcerned, but I’m not totally sure that she understood what I was saying when I mentioned that it had dropped—I don’t think she had the 28 week results in front of her. I asked her if we could start doing the weekly biophysical profiles (basically a series of noninvasive tests to help assess the health of the baby and his current abode) next week instead of at 36 weeks—she agreed to start at 35 weeks and I had no grounds to argue with her except for pure paranoia on my part.

As for the paranoia, it continues unabated, unfortunately. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve become obsessed with Jackson’s movements. This week, I started keep the most ridiculously detailed kick counts chart you have ever seen (I created it myself) where I do a kick count during every 2-hour block of the day and make notes where necessary (he had hiccups at this time, he was quiet for a while after this time, etc.). It’s certainly good for helping me recognize patterns, but of course, this morning when it took him 52 minutes to get to 10 kicks first thing in the morning when the last two days, it only took up to 20 minutes, I started to panic a bit, but I managed to keep it together and wait, and wouldn’t you know that he picked up the pace later in the morning. I guess even babies in utero have sleepier days sometimes. Maybe he was still tired from last night, when I was up for almost two hours in the middle of the night. I’ve been so paranoid about cord problems and of course have been reading things I shouldn’t be reading on the internet. (And if you’re pregnant right now, I might skip the rest of this paragraph if you are better about this habit than I am and don’t want to read any crazy internet research.) I woke up as usual, needing to get comfortable again, and noticed he had hiccups. I immediately looked at the clock so I could see how long they lasted—there is some research, although I can’t figure out how conclusive it is, that prolonged hiccups at night can be one indicator of cord compression or knotting problems. Then once they stopped, he had a fairly long period of really active movements, like he was running on a little treadmill in there. Hyperactivity, especially at night, is apparently another possible warning sign of cord problems. So an unusual decrease in movement is a problem, but an unusual increase can be, too? Great. That helps a lot. (And of course, hiccups are also totally normal, as is increased activity in the middle of the night at this gestational age. It’s enough to drive much saner people than I totally insane). As I laid there feeling him jostling around, I just couldn’t get the image out of my head of him in there struggling to breathe. I got up and went to lay down in the TV room to see if changing position and walking around helped at all. Not much changed, but he finally settled down again. When I got back in bed, Ed asked if I was OK, and I said yes, that I was just worried about Jackson. He asked if I wanted to go to labor and delivery, and I said no, and added that it wasn’t that he was moving too little, but that he was moving like crazy, which can also be a sign of a problem. Following our childbirth instructor’s suggestion to try and visualize success, he said, “You are good at delivering live babies.” (Bless him, as always). And I said, “I know, but we have to get there first” and then started to cry from the stress of the previous hour or so. I’m telling you, the weight of this responsibility is just more than I can bear at times.

Again, it drives me batty not having a hard and fast rule for knowing when to worry and when to call. My trigger finger is way too twitchy and I just don’t know which end is up most of the time. I have a regular OB appointment tomorrow, and hopefully this doc (a different doc in the practice whom I haven’t seen before) can give me some explicit instructions, like “If X happens or does not happen, come in right away, no matter what.” Relying on my instinct is just not going to cut it.

In the meantime, maybe some of you could share some good reassuring stories for me about your baby’s hiccups or crazy antics while in utero. Next time I start freaking out, maybe I can come here and read some of those rather than checking with evil Dr. Google.

Oh, for my life to be so different right now.


  1. Mandy--
    Although I have no stories to share re: antics in utero, I can say with certainty that I have learned that it is ALWAYS a good idea to stay away from Google (easier said than done, I know, as I am very neurotic, too). I am so pleased to hear you've reached 32 weeks. Please know just how many of us are rooting for you and Jackson!!

  2. John Harper, especially, felt like a hamster on a wheel. He was enormous, so imagine 11 lbs of baby poking and rolling around-- day and night. He liked to party around 3 am (still does, as a matter of fact.) I think part of is is that everthing is more elastic, you feel everything more, and part of it may just be temperment. He is a rolly, crazy child-- we call him The Tank. I also remember a lot of hiccups--try to focus on the fact that that is good lung practice for Jackson, and see if Ed can disable Google:) Not to in any way discount your fears-- I was very, very, very nervous during both pregnancies, without any real reason. You are doing great-- hang in there.

  3. I can't add anything on the in utero antics front but I say avoid the Google as much as possible. And I think the instruction of visualizing success is invaluable. Not only can you visualize success in terms of the labor and delivery but you can visualize success in the immediate (i.e. visualizing yourself as very calm and without anxiety). That's not much by way of helpful advice but know there are so many people sending good vibes your way.

  4. Okay:
    1. Jackson is a fat boy-my favorite kind :)
    2. Erin had near constant hiccups and very little other movement. She was a fat girl.
    3. You can find research to say anything you want it to, so look hard for something that speaks to how babies that have hiccups in utero at night are usually beautiful geniuses. Also, look at professional journals rather than medical subject boards. If you cannot determine how conclusive the information is, it is likely NOT a good source. If you need access to a database of journals, I can help.
    4. Amniotic fluid levels fluctuate. The baby starts drinking it and peeing too, so it varies and is expected to decrease. Remember that all this info is only current and is incomplete. When Erin was born the "new" advice was to lay babies on their stomach, NEVER on their backs..
    5. What will be, will be. Ed is suuuch a laid back guy, J is probably just like his Dad. Be sure to spend some time on those "every little thing is gonna be allright" vibes. Put on Bob Marley, dance with Ed and Jackson and tell little J we can't wait to see what all the fuss is about.
    6. I have GOT to see that chart! I love that you made it. I want one for my fridge.
    7. I love you


  5. It's funny. I was just thinking about Dylan and his hiccups minutes before reading your post! He turns three tomorrow. He was a 9 lb baby and had hiccups constantly! Once he was born, I think he's had the hiccups two or three times. Tyson was a 10 lb baby with excessive fluid. I only recall him having hiccups once in my belly, but after birth, he had hiccups at least once a day for months. He went through long bouts of little to no movement, which I tried not to worry about. Then it would seem that he was swimming around in all that fluid, doing flips and sumersaults. I was more concerned with my second than I was with my first. I went in weekly for somograms and fluid level checks. I told you before, but I was induced with Tyson three weeks after the due date. As soon as they put all the monitors on me to test him, he stopped moving. I was freaked out, then they took them off and he was back to his old tricks. So to make me feel better at the end they put an internal monitor on him. Being able to see this was conforting. What I didn't know was I could still get up, walk around and pee. If I had done any of those things, he would have come several hours before he did! Don't feel bad about calling with any question or concern. That's why they are there. But still try and have more faith in your judgment. It got you through the first time and it will get yo through again, you just have to let Jackson speak to you and you have to be willing to listen. You are always in my thoughts!

  6. Mandy, maybe this is totally irrelevant but I heard a mother on American Idol tonight say she put headphones (I think?) on her baby belly and said that was the first good night's sleep she had since she had been pregnant. :)

    I know when I put "Frosty the Snowman" by ???? (can't think tonight!) on my belly, Oliver actually started jostling in my belly!!! How funny.

    (Burle Ives???)

    Hugs, andrea

  7. Madelyn had hiccups all the time. It took me a long while to figure out what the "spasms" were. But then I found it to be pretty cute. She also had times of extreme activity, and I remember telling the OB - only half jokingly - that I was worried she would be a hyperactive child.

    I found the whole kick-count effort to be extremely stressful. I started taking them very seriously at 28 weeks when I had a bleeding episode in the middle of the night. I spent the next several days on a limited bedrest and writing down just about everything I could possibly feel at the precise minute (or number of minutes) that it was going on. uggg. :)

    32 weeks is a huge milestone. Your little man is doing great.
    love, Kate Z.

  8. Mandy, I did the same thing, googling everything because Arianna had hiccups every day and seemed to be way too hyper in the womb. Now that she's on the outside and two weeks old, I can see that she's just a hiccupy baby (usually just after eating and burping). She also happens to be super mellow and content, unlike Jack who was mellow in the womb but quite the opposite outside. Anyway, we are thinking of you and sending positive vibes your way! -Barbara

  9. Mandy:

    Catherine had hiccups from as early in the pregnancy as I could even feel her through the end...and she almost never moved until the evening / middle of the night. She would keep me up all night long and then go to sleep as soon as I got up to go to work, and she would remain "asleep" until I got home from school. The only time during the day she'd move around is if I had a Coke. Your post, to a small extent, reminds me of the day I threw out "What to Expect When You're Expecting" because I was beginning to imagine all kinds of crazy things. I hope all of these stories and snipets bring you comfort that everything is ok with your little man....


  10. Wishing for some peace for you, always.

  11. As difficult as it is, I encourage you to try to absolve yourself of responsibility for everything. You are a phenomenal mother - the very best a little soul could have - but you can't control the forces of nature. Virulent bacteria and a baby's movement in the womb are no more under your control than a tsunami.

    You have lost faith in the universe, and while I know you must feel that you will never get that back, I know you have the courage to do just that.

  12. OK. Mandy - I think I am in love with your friend/poster, Diane. LOVE what she wrote above. The Evils of Google. Scene: [unrelated to pregnancy - after all, I am 63.75 years old!] 3 AM a few months ago; I had been having indigestion problems for the first time in my life. Lying there in bed, I became convinced that I was on death's door with either pancreatic or stomach cancer. Went straight to Google and happily found I did NOT fit the profile. Came up with a good life goal due to this unnecessary anxiety: clear out the clutter in my life by 2012.
    Back to Sir Jackson: he is going to be a very edible boy for sure. Perhaps you and Ed will do what Andrew and I did with our infant son, Christoph Eli: we divided up his body - right or left, upper or lower, and shared the devouring. Just think: in a 53 days, give or take, you are going to be cuddling Hudson's wonderful baby bro. She is giggling at the image/this thought from her place in all our hearts.
    Much love, Rebecca

  13. I have been pregnant twice and both experiences were extremely different. #1 had hiccups all the time and moved like crazy. #2 barely moved and only had hiccups once that I remember. Of course, because my first baby was so active I was afraid, daily, that #2 had died. I would feel movement and be reassured, but then an hour later I would be worried again. More than once my husband and I had the "should we go to L&D" conversation because my thought was a 32 weeker alive is better than a 40 weeker dead. I mean being pregnant just causes crazy anxiety. Also, the internet and books and doctors just never help because, unfortunately, just about everything is "normal". Lots of movement is normal, but then so is very little movement. And anything can be a sign of trouble. I was so frustrated while I was pregnant at all the conflicting information. I just don't think anyone is going to be able to share concrete information with you that helps you overcome this anxiety except for the knowledge that so many people have had such different experiences and ended up with healthy babies.

    If you really are anxious and worried about Jackson, why don't you just ask your doctor to come in more frequently or head to L&D when you get worried. What's the worst case scenario about going in too frequently? The doctors will think you are crazy. What's wrong with that? In the end the only thing that is important is bringing a healthy Jackson home so who cares what anyone thinks in the meantime.

    I was so relieved when they agreed to induce my second baby a week early. As soon as we were hooked up to the monitor I breathed a little sigh of relief because I knew if anything went wrong we would know about it and could quickly get her out. And she was born screaming and healthy just like her brother was. But it was a rough ride for me. I'm sorry you are on the same path and I'll just cross my fingers the next 8 weeks pass quickly and uneventfully for you.

  14. Mandy, Maya was a big baby and had the hiccups all the time. Maybe with big babies mommy can feel the hiccups more? I am not exaggerating--she had the hiccups every hour or so. Constant. She also had lots of periods of crazy activity--it felt like a little machine gun in there. I pictured her just cycling her little feet against my belly and working her arms like she was working out with a punching bag. And she is fine. She did have the hiccups A LOT the first few months. So be ready.

    I am sorry you are under so much stress. And I know there is nothing you can do about it (except, perhaps, trying to avoid google). You've only got 8 weeks left. Just try and take it week by week.

    You are almost there.


  15. Oh Mandy, I so feel your pain. Was right where you are during those last weeks of my pregnancy with Ryan. I was convinced he would not survive delivery or would sustain profound neurologic damage. I just didn't believe I was entitled to have a healthy baby; after all, I couldn't save Veronica. What right did I have? I was literally insane.

    Just repeat this mantra -- most babies arrive alive. If they didn't, the human race would have ceased long ago! Evolution is on your side, momma.

    You're in the home stretch. Hang on!
    xo, Olivia

  16. I was never able to detect a regular pattern of movement with either child except that both would have random days of being very active then invariably the next day their movements would be significantly decreased. Then the next they would be back to an average level. The only thing I ever figured out was that they must have been tired from all the activity and were just relaxing.

    Once when I was about 33-34 weeks pregnant with my son, he made what I can only describe as a very violent movement. I am pretty sure he completely rolled over in one very fast movement then stopped moving completely - not even a twitch. I spent the next 20-30 minutes poking him and got a drink of something sweet before he started moving again. His movements were normal after that. I asked the Dr. about it at my next appt. She said that he probably just rolled over and went to sleep.

    I know that you don't trust your instincts but I really believe that you will know if something is not right particularly since you are paying close attention. This happened to me when I was pregnant and a couple of my friends. When I was 37 weeks pregnant with my son, I woke up one morning with a seemingly random and fairly minor symptom but something about it just felt wrong. It continued over the next couple of days until my ob appointment. I told the dr. about it and I found out that my symptom can be an indicator of a potentially serious condition and to let her know if it got worse. That night it did get worse (I concede that there may have been a google-induced psychosomatic effect on my symptoms that evening). I called the dr. the next day and went in for the blood tests used to diagnose the condition. The next day early results indicated that it was likely that I had the condition and I was induced that day since I was already full-term.

    One of my friends woke up one morning when she was 34 weeks pregnant and just felt terrible and had a fever. For some reason, she decided that she should call her ob to have it checked out rather than assuming she had a cold. She went in and they monitored the baby and found that her son was in distress. She was sent to be induced right away. It turned out that the cord was wrapped around his neck several times. He is now a perfectly healthy 7 year old. With both of these instances somehow we knew that our seemingly minor not pregnancy-related symptoms actually were related to our pregnancies. I don't have any idea why. I believe absolutely that you will too if you have something that is a problem.

    My last example is a little different. I have a friend who has an anxiety disorder and worries about every little thing when she is not pregnant. Her first pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage so when she got pregnant again, she was admittedly nuts. She constantly called her OB about every little twinge or unusual thing. Throughout her pregnancy, she kept asking my how I knew something wasn't right when I was pregnant with my son. All I could say was that I just knew that something was different and not right and tried to reassure her that she would too if there was something wrong. I hoped that she wouldn't have any issues to find out but in the end she did. At 36 weeks, she developed pre-eclampsia and ended up delivering a healthy boy the next morning. She told me later that when she developed the severe headache that is a symptom of pre-eclampsia, she knew that it was different from all of the things she had been worried about.

    If something happens, which I hope won't and most likely won't, I really think you will know and be able to do something about it. However, I also say pull the trigger as often as you need to to feel better. Call your ob, go to labor and delivery when you need to, it won't hurt anything and might make you feel better.

    I am sorry this is so long and I hope that it has been helpful and not given you more to worry about.

  17. Mandy,

    This is more of a reassuring story about extra monitoring at the end of pregnancy. I think I've mentioned that I had weekly NSTs from 35 weeks on when I was pregnant with Isabel because she had a 2-vessel umbilical cord (don't Google it!). The NSTs were very reassuring but also somewhat stressful -- b/c while I was taking the NSTs, I didn't know whether what she was doing was "good" or not. (And I think you can relate to wanting to "do well" on a test. :-)) All in all, though, it was very comforting to have that weekly monitoring and know that the doctors would not mess around if anything looked at all off. That actually did lead to me being induced for low amniotic fluid at 39 weeks (dr. was suspicious about low fluid based on the NST results, and ultrasound confirmed it). My doula insisted I *could* have asked for a second ultrasound reading at the hospital to confirm the low fluid, or had one several hours later, but by then I felt ready to be induced. I was still able to have a natural birth (w/ no Pitocin even), so I know Isabel was ready.

    Every day, I say a prayer for sweet Jackson's safe gestation and birth and for your completely natural and understandable nerves. Hang in there - he'll be here soon!

  18. Mandy,
    Hang in there! These weeks must be passing so slowly for you! I hope this makes you feel a little better: my baby weighed in at over 5 lbs at my 32 week checkup and I, too, came close to having too much amniotic fluid although this had decreased around the same time yours did. (I also took a second test for gestational diabetes and it was negative.) And the baby ended up being just fine, so try and remind yourself that. He's just a big boy!
    My baby was also extremely active at night and not so much during the day, but she didn't have any cord problems--she just ended up being colicky at night for the first few months after she was born. I don't remember if she had hiccups before the 40+ kicks an hour at night, but she had them often and she barely kicked during the day.
    Did your doctor's office give you a sheet of paper with a list of signs/symptoms that you should call the doctor or go to the hospital? If not, I would definitely ask for one next time you are there since those guidelines (min. kicks per hour, signs of labor, etc.) are easy references and you don't have to feel silly calling the doctor if you have a symptom that's on their list. The list didn't stop me from worrying about other things but it did help me stay away from Google (most of the time) and finding even more things to worry over.
    Hang in there!
    Much love,

  19. Mandy,
    I totally believe every pregnancy brings more anxiety because you know (or Google) more each time!
    When I was pregnant with Rachel (my first), I RARELY felt her move. I finally called L&D around 34 weeks because I was terrified...they told me to eat a snickers and drink a Mt. Dew...sure enough, I knew in 15 minutes that she was fine in there!!
    With Ford (#2), he kicked and moved and hiccuped all day and all night.
    With Ruby (#3), I gained WAY too much weight because I ate Snickers every time I got worried!!!
    I honestly think a lot of it is personality...Rachel and Ruby are both laid back, Ford will probably make a very good NFL player one day!!
    It is going to be a long 8 weeks, but do whatever you've got to do to reassure yourself...these are the days of better safe than sorry!!!
    I'm thinking about you every day!!!!

  20. I didn't read the other comments, but thought I'd add mine: L didn't really move a whole lot. He did move plenty, but there were times when I just sat there, waiting, willing even, for him to move. Rob could tell at the end of the day when we were both home how active L had been that day based on my mood. He also had hiccups almost every afternoon, among other times. So, 2 1/2 years later, pregnant w/ A: now I am worried that she moves too much! "How can one baby be so active, for like 2-3 hours at night?! Maybe there are 2 in there?" (I knew there weren't, but we didn't do ultrasounds,and as you know, she was born at home. I had to really work at listening to my intuition and not just the thoughts and worries that would pop up. That was hard- I totally get when you say that you can't rely on your intuition.) Also thought,"Maybe she's so big that I am feeling every part of her in there. Maybe she's so small that she has room to just roll around in there?!" She also had hiccups a lot, from very early on. So...
    We are thinking of you and Ed often, and can't wait to meet Jackson this summer!!

  21. Gosh, I worried a lot during both my pregnancies, so I can't imagine what you must be feeling. I will say that I had two extreme hiccupers, though. John Fletcher even continued hiccuping a lot through the first few months of his life. So maybe Jackson is just a big hiccuper, too. And with both boys, I also had times when it felt like my tummy was a boxing ring and they were just going crazy in there. I think boys are more active during gestation than girls, as well, so perhaps those hyperactivity moments are heightened because they are different than your experience with Hudson.

    I think you kick count charts are a great idea. It's not like you're going to be able to sit back and relax, so you might as well channel that energy into an activity that can give you some reassurance at times and help you know your baby better. Then, if you notice something really off, you'll be able to explain it to the doctor.

    Praying for you, Jackson, and Ed today...

  22. You know, it's really something but Amaris hardly ever moved. I remember going in for check-up's and the doctor would ask about her movements, I would just say something almost nonchalantly...she moves but she's very laid back. I laugh at this because I so don't have a laid back child. I only received updates on the baby sites, so it didn't even occur to me to google anything. Of course I knew that movements were important, but given my journey to have a child, I had absolute faith that she would come to me. The thought of my dream of not becoming a mother was far scarier to me, so I had to believe until she took. I hope that makes sense. Going back to research, I'm the other type. When I want to know something, I have to have expert information so I go to the library and check out several book that's been highly recommended or I contact someone who has made knowledge of the subject their life. I appreciate web based info, but I don't trust it. It could be my profession, but I am very particular about the source of information. The other thing that did happen in utero was the hiccups. Amaris was big on hiccups. It brings back warm memories when she gets them today. Hang in there Mandy...Jackson is coming to you as a live and healthy child who will have a long life well into old age. Love to you...Renee P.