When it doesn't go your way: the sacrifices of pregnancy
My first two pregnancies progressed without incident. And, when considering another child, I would often think: it's not the pregnancy that's the hard part, it's the 18 years afterwards. In my previous experiences, pregnancy was "easy".
Famous last words. In January of this year, I started feeling odd, sensing symptoms of pregnancy. Despite our best efforts to choose the best birth control method for us, we were pregnant with the Paraguard (copper) IUD. The fact that we were pregnant was not something to cry home about, for we were open to a family expansion one day. We just never knew it would be while the IUD was still inserted. (And, by the way, the Paraguard IUD is over 99% effective.) We couldn't take the thing out and ultrasounds showed the damn T floating pretty high up in the uterus. We considered removing the IUD with ultrasound guidance, but that seemed not too possible, easy, or safe. We agreed we should proceed with the pregnancy and just leave the IUD in. We went through several weeks of research, visits, and consultations with experienced OBs, midwives, and high-risk fetal specialists. There were fears of pre-term labor and uterine infection due to the foreign body that would gestate along with our fetus. Because of our history of two full-term pregnancies, we were at a very low risk for pre-term labor, but we would be monitoring it closely.
At 20 weeks, our ultrasound technician stated noncholantly: "Oh, you have previa. Yup, complete previa." The OB - not our normal OB, but one of his associates - said: "We recomment complete pelvic rest and no physical activity." My heart sank. Up until this point, I was still running and biking to work, and I intended to continue as long as my body felt up for it. I felt great, especially with the running, so I felt so disheartened by the command: "No physical activity." Not to mention, my husband and I had just planned a babymoon to Miami for 4 kid-free days! And, complete pelvic rest definitely interfered with our plans of frequent bouts of intimacy, not to mention it was incongruous with my raging second trimester lustful hormones.
In a follow-up conversation with my regular OB, he tld me he was comfortable with me continuing my physical activity so long as I was painfree, comfortable, and asymptomatic (no bleeding or cramping). I felt relieved. Even though we still had to follow the no-[penetrative]-sex rule, I was glad I could still get my running in. He also mentioned that he believed the previa would shift. He wasn't worried.
At 24 weeks, we checked the previa again. Still there. More pelvic rest. He still thought it would shift. At 30 weeks, we checked the previa again. Still there. He looked me in the eyes and said: "I don't think it will move anymore." He recommended one final check at 34 weeks to confirm previa, then to schedule an amnio at 36 weeks to check lung development and schedule a c-section once we confirm the lungs are ready.
This is really when I lost it. An early delivery? An amnio? At 36 weeks instead of 40? While I know there are more horrific birth and pregnancy stories, I was still disappointed. My two previous worry-free pregnancies were trumped by this one, for sure. This pregnancy never afforded too many moments of feeling carefree. People always ask, "How are you feeling?" I always respond: "I feel GREAT," even though I'm pregnant with a non-shifting placenta previa and IUD. My husband tries to assure me: "Don't worry. It could be so much worse. It will all be fine." In the end, of course I know he's right. Then again, I wish it had gone smoother.
Have you had easy-breezy pregnancies like I did the first two times? Feeling wonderful, glowy and enthusiastic? Have you had harder sacrificial pregnancies - maybe put on bedrest or even under constant medical monitoring? How have you dealt with and accepted your more difficult pregnancies? How do you ease those worries and convince yourself that everything will indeed be "OK"?