I had hoped that the super-sicks would let up on me and give me a solid break before the super-aches kicked in. It hasn’t happened that way at all. As the nausea let up in the late teen and early twenty weeks, the serious acid reflux and various aches and pains took its place. I'm still battling nausea at times, but I think it’s been about twelve weeks since I actually lost anything out of my belly. For that I am thankful! A number of foods still sound pretty disgusting, but at least my sweet tooth is back. Because my body is in extreme famine recovery mode, I am having to watch everything I put in my mouth or the scale will win this battle. Thankfully I really, really like salad.
We can recap my weight fluctuations over the past months — I lost 8 pounds being sick between 6 and 18 weeks (a miracle really that I didn’t lose more). Then I have put those 8 back on plus 11 more over the course of the past 18 weeks (yes, that’s more than a pound a week…. yikes). I have a goal to not gain more than 4 more pounds over my remaining 4 weeks, which I think is doable with lots of discipline and determination. The most amazing part is that the Doctor says that SK is right on track or even a little big for her gestation. It’s a miracle she even survived the first half of this pregnancy, incredible that she seems to have grown just fine in spite of it all!
Five weeks ago I started having some minor contractions in the middle of the day. I have never had a bit of contraction pain with my other two pregnancies until the day or two before delivery, so I knew it wasn’t a good sign. I hung out in the bed for the whole afternoon, trying to determine if they would subside. They weren’t very rhythmic, actually more constant and directly connected to the insane number of Braxton Hicks contractions I was experiencing. By late afternoon it was obvious they weren’t letting up and we were trying to determine what to do. I was 30 weeks along and there was no real possibility of a good outcome had labor really started and I delivered here in Mokhotlong. As one might imagine, there is no NICU at the Mokhotlong clinic, and I do not believe they have any oxygen or warming equipment. I called my OB in South Africa to discuss what I was feeling. Of course his recommendation was to get checked by someone who could determine if I was actually trying to go into labor. He said that the window of time to stop labor is quite short and if I got past that window, it would be nearly impossible to do anything. The closest border closes at 6pm, which we were too late to catch, so we decided to head out a different border about 3.5 hours from here, plus another hour to the hospital. To say it was a stressful afternoon would be a huge understatement. There truly is no easy way out of here, especially late in the day. It was like a nightmare trying to rapidly throw things together to make it to the other border before it closed at 10pm, all while trying to not stress myself out and cause my body more difficulty. We got out of here by quarter to 6 and made it to the hospital by a little after 10. I made peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches in the car before the sun set completely, as there is positively no where to get any food between here and the hospital. And I did so thinking, “is this real life?"
A urine culture showed a bladder infection which they determined to be the cause of the contractions. An hour or so after the first dose of antibiotics the contractions subsided. They admitted me to monitor things overnight and so I could see an OB in the morning and make sure everything was okay on the inside. There isn’t any sleep quite like that of a night in the hospital…. as in, there isn’t any sleep on a night in the hospital. I think I’ll never understand why they need a person’s blood pressure at 5am. But anyway, everything checked out okay. I have had a few more minor episodes of contractions since then, which doesn’t make a ton of sense, but I was prescribed a uterine relaxer which I have taken twice since being back in Mok and it has stopped things. Before this episode, I was trying to walk regularly to rebuild some of the strength I lost during my sick months. Now I will just have to wait to try to rebuild strength after SK is out. We live at about 9,000ft elevation and even walking around here is hard on our bodies. So I’m stuck being super lazy for a few more weeks.
We spent the past week in Maseru (5.5 hours from Mokhotlong) awaiting extended visas for South Africa. It wasn’t exactly a simple process, but it worked out fine and we now have a visa which will allow us enough days to await the birth. We typically only receive a 7-day visa stamp when we cross the border, and now we have 45 days.
I am scheduled to see my OB again on Sept 30. So in one week, we’ll be headed out to await the birth! I’m so relieved after talking to the owner of the guest house we have booked, as she offered to be on-call to watch our other kids when labor hits. I will be indescribably happy to get down and know we are close to the hospital and won’t be coming back here until we have a baby in our care. We are tentatively booked from Sept 30-Nov 6th, understanding that if SK comes way early, we will leave early. It is a relief to know that we have a place to just stay and wait and not have to worry about being far from the hospital. That gives her 3 weeks to come early and 2 weeks to come late! Please don’t let it be the latter!
We are all so excited and eager to meet this girl. It's obvious already that she's feisty and has a mind of her own, I can't help but wonder who she'll be. I'm busy cleaning and nesting and packing for our month away from home. I keep asking myself, "when did I get three kids I have to pack for?" It doesn't really seem possible. But Jonathan and I are ready to be outnumbered! Bring it on!
8 months (35.5 weeks)