Pregnant Life: A Pain in the Butt

Amy Keyishian
3

This was about as pregnant

as I got last time!

So here I am: I've got a 17-month-old toddler, I'm 19 weeks pregnant, and I'm 42. This isn't quite how I expected my life to go, but I've got to admit, it's interesting -- and a lot of fun.

My daughter Penelope is at an amazing age, full of pep, sprouting new words, and literally toddling around like a tiny little old lady. And the little girl inside me? Also full of pep, though probably not saying much (if she is, I can't hear her) and certainly not walking.

This isn't quite a normal pregnancy, though. Although with my first pregnancy, my doctor assured me that "advanced maternal age" doesn't automatically mean high-risk status, I was in terrible shape to start with, working an extremely high-stress job, and dealing with a difficult family situation. All of this together meant that Penelope was born 10 weeks early, a story I told here on CafeMom right after it happened.

When I got pregnant again, I was determined things would go my way. Actually, I had a miscarriage last September, and after a frustrating back-and-forth with the midwifery practice that, I felt, had ignored my symptoms when I was (unknowingly) in labor and nervous about my second pregnancy, I got aggressive about my care. When the stick showed two lines a third time, I looked up the doctor who had delivered Penelope -- a woman I had never met before that day, and never managed to thank afterwards, but whose piercing blue eyes I remember above her surgical mask, encouraging me to push even though I was terrified.

The good news: She specialized in high-risk pregnancies. The bad news: He had moved to Oregon, like scads of other Northern Californians. Lame! But I asked the front-desk nurse if anyone else in the practice was awesome in the same way, and she listed two doctors she was sure I'd like.

She was right. My current OB is bossy, cautious, and doesn't let me get away with anything. When I complained that my husband was dictatorial about my food intake, she gave me a sympathetic smile, but added, "You had gestational diabetes the first time. You do have to be careful about your carbs." When I asked her if I was likely to carry this baby to term, she didn't sugar-coat it. "I'm optimistic," she said. "But we're taking this trimester by trimester. Let's focus on the next set of tests."

The precautions I have to take are sometimes intense. I take supplements -- prenatal vitamins, of course, but also omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. I get biweekly ultrasounds to check my cervical length -- a short cervix means a pushy baby! I'm careful to keep my gums in order (more on that in a future post) and I'm very careful to drink lots of fluids and keep my bladder UTI-free.

But the biggest precaution -- and I do mean that literally -- are the weekly progesterone shots that have been proven to reduce preterm labor in high-risk patients. These shots are big. Very big. And I have to do them at home. I did weeny little pen-sized shots when I was doing follicle stimulation to get pregnant with Penelope, but these are the size of tablespoons. And they have to go into my fattest bits. The ones I can't reach. Which means it's up to my husband to stab me right in the Kardashian.

We did the first one in the doctor's office last week, under the watchful eye of Nurse Jenny. But now? Now it's date night, and not the kind featuring the hot beef injection I was hoping for. We're going to get all Sid and Nancy, only with hormones instead of heroin. And if last week is any indication, I'll follow that up with floods of tears, possibly some rage, and a very sore hiney. So yes, I've been procrastinating and making sure this blog post is letter-perfect while he waits anxiously in the living room. I'll give you the full update in the next post, coming Thursday.

But you know, anything I've gotta do is okay. If I think it's hard now, I just have to remember it's a lot easier than visiting Penelope in "preemie camp," otherwise known as the NICU. Just keep swimming, little one.

Read More