Monday, July 5, 2010

Changing Course

I have learned by now in life that sometimes things don't always go exactly like you have planned.

After carrying the boys to 34 weeks and 2 days and spending 11 of those weeks on bed rest, I had such a strong desire to experience a "normal" pregnancy carrying a singleton to full term.

I had no reason to think that carrying one baby would pose any type of risk or problem for me. I fully assumed that my preterm labor with the boys was caused by the fact that there were two of them in there, not just one.

And so this past December, as you know, we found out we were pregnant again...with one baby. We were ecstatic, elated, and full of anticipation for this new child to join our family!

The past 30 weeks of this pregnancy have been pretty normal too. I have been gaining weight at a normal speed (not 30 pounds in the first 20 weeks like with the boys!), feeling one little baby squirm and kick vs. little hands and feet everywhere! It has been such a treat.

This past Wednesday I went to the Dr. for baby check up. The most important news is that our daughter looks great. The amount of fluid around her is perfect, she was moving and squirming like crazy, and her heart rate looked steady.

Then they checked my cervix.

It was like reliving it all over again with the boys. As soon as I saw that ultrasound screen I knew.

My cervix was shortening again.

I was measuring at 35 mm a few weeks ago, and this time I was measuring at 27. I could also see that my cervix was beginning to funnel, which was the exact problem I had carrying the boys.

I was devastated.

The technician remained so positive and so optimistic. She told me that she saw a slight change, and that she wouldn't say that my cervix was "funneling" per se, but "indenting a little bit."

When the Dr. came in after the ultrasound we talked some more. She did call it funneling, and she said that my cervix had certainly changed from a few weeks prior. Due to the changes I was to go on modified bed rest immediately.

She told me I could read stories and cuddle with my sons, but everything else; cooking, cleaning, diaper changing, lifting, etc. had to be left to someone else. In addition, my trip to Minnesota that we had planned for the middle of July needed to be cancelled.

It was all just so much.

Then came my tears.

I was completely overwhelmed and completely caught off guard.

What kind of mother can't care for her own sons?
Why can't my body carry a baby to full term?
Why are there so many women around me who can do it without any problems, and yet I struggle and put my unborn babies at risk?
How would we schedule and manage our home the next 9 weeks until her due date?
How long would I make it this time?

I sucked it up long enough to get to the car and then I became completely unglued. I couldn't get a hold of Chris, so I called my other best mother. She answered. I was so thankful.

I couldn't even get the words out as I tried to tell her the latest news. I had her pretty worried I think!

She helped me to put it all back in perspective and to see that this really wasn't the worst possible scenario.

My daughter was okay. She looked perfect and healthy.

My Mom then said that she would be there in a heart beat if I needed her. And I did.

I got a hold of Chris and we met at a nearby park so I could just be near him and have a hug from my husband. He was so strong. So kind. He just told me that we would get through this. That the news wasn't that bad. That we would take it one day at a time. He helped me to feel so at peace.

We went out for dinner that night as planned to celebrate our nine year anniversary (what a difference nine years can make!) and also to make a plan for the next couple of months as far as taking care of the boys, our home, etc.

It was no coincidence that last Thursday night Chris finished up his MBA. He no longer has evening classes, tests to study for on weekends, projects to complete late at night. It was also no coincidence that my Mom went to part time hours last fall and has a much looser schedule in terms of her commitments to her job.

She is going to be taking a month off and come and live with us to help. She will be arriving this next Thursday. What an amazing gift! She is so thrilled about having this time with her grandsons, daughter, and soon to be granddaughter, and I can't wait to have my Mom with me for a full month! What a blessing!

She will leave the first week of August and then at that time we will only have about 4 more weeks to go. Chris's Mom will take over at that point and help us care for things around here. She is such an incredible blessing too and has really helped out a lot these past few days since we got the news.

We are also surrounded by neighbors, friends, sisters, nieces, and nephews who have willingly sacrificed their time once again to help us out. Thank you all!

It is hard to humble myself enough to ask for help. I feel like all of the things in this home: my sons, laundry, meals, cleaning, etc. are my responsibility. It is hard to ask someone else to do all those things for me while I lay and watch.

But every time I feel a kick, hiccups, look in the mirror at this beautiful belly, or look at my two healthy sons, I know that laying on the couch or in this bed is exactly what I need to be doing for the next two months. How incredibly worth it every moment, every day, every hour is until our little girl comes in to our family!

I also ask for your prayers blog readers. Prayers that our daughter would remain safe and sound for many, many, more weeks to come. Our prayer and hope is that she is born healthy and able to come home from the hospital with us without having to experience any NICU time.

I will be 31 weeks on Thursday, and her big arrival date is planned for September 2nd at 39 we have 8 weeks to go! It doesn't seem quite as daunting as starting bed rest at 23 weeks like I did with the boys. Bed rest this time around is also quite a bit more entertaining with two 18 month olds running circles around me!

The boys seem to be doing extremely well adjusting to the fact that their Mommy can't pick them up or change them anymore. I can still read a pretty mean story and cuddle like crazy, so we are getting plenty of that in!

I will keep updates coming as there are any.


  1. Oh Beth! I am so sorry that things couldn't have gone the way that you had hoped. But, you said it yourself, the most important thing is that she is healthy. You have two healthy strong boys and one beautiful healthy girl on the way. The rest is just a story you will tell with a smile at a (much) later date. I wish I could be there to help. When I get home, you will not be able to keep me away. I will leave my munchkins at home, your mother will chase yours, and I will bring something delightfully bad for you to share. We will introduce your daughter to the joy that can come with eating something that you know you shouldn't. Until then, feel free to call if need be!

    Love ya!

  2. My thoughts are with you, Beth, as you endure your bed rest. I was angry with my body during both pregnancies when it became apparent that I wasn't able to give birth in the "normal" way. My mother's body was like yours, she was on bed rest with all three pregnancies. Justin tells me my cervix is "incompetent" too, just like my mom's, except instead of letting babies out too early, it won't let them out at all. We work with what we are given, and my children are a blessing to me no matter how (or when) they came into this world. I hope these two months go quickly for you, and I am so happy your mom is able to come be with you!

    -Christy (Mills) Heckman

  3. I am so glad that you can honestly express your thoughts and feelings in your blog. You are such a conscientious mommy, wife, and homemaker, that anything less than meeting your own expectations is frustrating to you. When I watched you hug those little boys the other evening, read them their book, cuddle with them, and kiss those little precious boys goodnight, their world was perfect:) All in God's time, one day at a time, with faith for the future and all in God's hands. We love you!

  4. I'm so sorry to hear of this change! I have never experienced exactly what you are going through. I'm 33 weeks and have cried my share of tears wishing for a "normal" pregnancy, but I live one day at a time, getting through the complications of gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy related annoyances that follow me. I am trying to remember that God is sovereign and knows what I need to shape and mold me into his image. Why I need so many trials (other chronic health problems besides the pregnancy-related stuff) in my life, I don't know, but I must have faith in God that he knows best. My faith grows thin sometimes. Please hang in there, trust God, and I'll pray for you.

  5. Oh Bethy! You're such a fantastic Mama! You'll get through this and soon it will be a distant memory! What a blessing it is that your mom can come for a whole month!!! I'll be thinking and praying for you! I so wish I could be there to help! I love you!

  6. I love you, Beth! You're sure an amazing mother. Your 3 kids are so blessed to have you! I'm glad mom's almost there with you!


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