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9 Months Pregnant!!


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Hey everyone! I have been trying to visit the boards as much as possible, but our lives seem to be so busy these days and there aren't enough hours in a day. I am officially 9 months now, 36 weeks, and I cannot wait to get this baby OUT.

I am pretty miserable with the heat down here in FL, all I can do is stay inside, crank up the A/C, and drink my Emergen-C electrolyte drink!! The heat is zapping everything out of me but I can't figure out if it's POTS or pregnancy. I just want to sleep all the time. I am having some dizziness too but the electrolytes help.

I am on a beta blocker that keeps my heart rate normal (lately 80-90 BPM), and so far it has not affected the baby's heart rate, and I am still hoping for a natural childbirth experience at the birthing center. My blood pressure has gone up a little in the last few days, which is probably what would send me to the hospital if anything, so I am praying that it stays within the normal range for at least another week or so, then I will officially be at full term and can safely deliver the baby at the birthing center. I was wondering, I know some of the other moms here have had pre-eclampsia- do you remember how high your B/P was, and at what point in the pregnancy did it start to elevate? With my last pregnancy it began right at 36 weeks so I was worried the whole time that this would happen- and we have talked about whether or POTS could be a contributing factor in some way. I still wonder, and am just hoping for the best.

Also- has anyone else delivered at home or in a birthing center, and NOT been treated as high risk during their pregnancy? This is something I've been curious aboiut and haven't had time to ask. It seems that most people see high risk obstetricians throughout their term, but I have had midwives with both pregnancies who, in conjunction with my cardiologist, have felt comfortable working with POTS and have not had any complications arise as a result.

Just wanted to check in...hopefully within the next month I'll be posting pictures of the little guy, LOL!! Take care everyone!!!

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Hi Jessica,

I'm sorry, I can't help you with the pre-eclampsia thing, but I wanted you to know that I hope everything will go well for you and your babyson and that you'll have a great childbirth (can't think of the right word for it, I'm sorry). Hold on in these last few weeks, I know they're the hardest!!!! Can'wait to see the pictures of your new son!!!! Take care of yourself (and let others take care of you :) )

Corina

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Hey, Jess, great to hear from you! And congratulations--you've come a long way! I can't help w/your questions either ... it sounds like you're right on track though, thinking about things in a healthy way. Your youth--and your experience--will serve you well, I think. I'll bet you'll be OK at the birthing center ... Can IV fluids be part of natural childbirth? No? :) Oh, well. As long as you can be monitored during the process for bp, hr, and such ...

Send us (Katherine) a picture of yourself this month!!! Then pictures of your baby later on.

Best of luck for a stress-free and healthy final month--and a short labor and an easy delivery when the time is right!

merrill

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I know you're feeling pretty darned big, tired, full, etc.... BUT, don't lose focus of the fact that in a very short time, you will have a most wonderful present delivered straight from your belly! Darned amazing!!

Nina

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Hi,

Wow, you are really pregnant!!!!

It's nice to get your update. I was thinking about you yesterday.

My niece who has POTS delivered her baby in January and the doctors took care of which meds not to give her so everything went right. I don't remember if she had high BP but she was so exhausted during the last 2 weeks. She could barely walk 10 feet without grasping for air.

I am sure everything will go fine.

Ernie

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Jenn, problems can come on somewhat gradually, or fairly quickly. Other signs to watch for besides BP, are severe edema in the face, hands, and feet (swelling) a LARGE weight gain, say several pounds in a week. severe headache, or nausea and vomiting. There are pretty classic signs. Everyone's BP tends to go up a little near the end. So unless it's out of sight I wouldn't worry. I'm sure everything will go just fine. Keep your feet up as much as possible, yea, with a toddler too ;) , If your risk level is based on your POTS, just make sure this facility puts an IV in you. I always felt hospitals were a little better, but as I state frequently, I am very traditional. As long as the birthing center will give you an IV and are prepared for anything that can occur, everything should go just fine. Enjoy these last few weeks, ugh, and note how often baby moves. Should kick or something at least 12 times a day. Nowdays, it is perfectly okay to have the baby at 36 weeks. A little longer is preferable, but 99.9% of babes have no problems from 36 weeks on, so if you do need to deliver, don't worry about it. Hope this helps a little, and keep us informed. typically Bp's in pre eclampsia are extremely high. We used to have people come in at 140/90 and we would lay them on their left sides for ten minutes and retake it. It was usually normal. It was just the effort of getting to the doctor that raised it. So if you go and it's a little high, just ask them to let you lie on your left side in a quiet environment for 10 minutes and take it again. morgan

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Jessica

GREAT news that you are now at 36 weeks and doing so very well.

I was not treated as high-risk b/c I was not diagnosed with anything, and my ob-gyn was convinced that I was just having a "normal" pregnancy for a 30-something year old, combined with severe anxiety and depression that I refused to accept. I was not given IV fluids while in labor, which may have been a mistake. I also chose not to have any painkillers (until the c-section).

Regarding high bp, mine did not come on until the last few days of my pregnancy when I was at nearly 40 weeks. I had what I would say was severe swelling, but I am not a doctor and don't know for sure how this would be defined--but my legs stayed swollen night and day after about week 37/38. Like Morgan said, my ob-gyn was not that concerned b/c when I lay down for awhile, my bp went down to below 140/90. However, as is typical with POTS, it was repeatedly spiking as high as +/- 160/90, lying or standing. Anyway, she told me to lie down a lot (like I wasn't already doing that!) and come back in a couple days. When I came in three days later, at that point, past 40 weeks, my bp was doing the same thing (spiking pretty high) plus I had a dizzy spell in her office, and she decided to send me to the hospital and induce.

I am glad you will be near a hospital if you need to go there. The only reason I had a problem was because of a large fibroid (according to my doctor, the bp had nothing to do with my need for a c-section). The placenta was attached partly to the fibroid and when I got into the 2nd stage of labor, the placenta pulled away prematurely. I suspect high bp and the fact that Giuliana was over 10 lbs and so my uterus was greatly enlarged, also played a role in this event, but, I guess I'll never know. But, you don't have these extra risk factors, so that is a plus.

Take care and let us know how things are going!

You are in my thoughts every day!

Katherine

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JESS!!!

it is always sooooo great to see your name pop up. i wanted so much to respond to your other posts about career and such, and just wasn't up to par enough to do it. but, i was checking in and reading and so glad to see you 'pop up on the screen'! yes, you must post pics of all of you...not just the baby, but you too!

i am sorry that this pregnancy has been a hard one for you. i hope that the delivery will go like it always works with dress rehearsals and performances...you know, bad dress rehearsal, great performance. you can look at the pregnancy part as the bad dress rehearsal and the birth as the great performance? what do you think? it's a shot at least.

thankfully, that although this time has been tough, you have been able to carry the baby to full-term (almost) which, in itself is a blessing. it sounds like you feel confident in your midwife and cardiologist. i guess that is what matters most, but i don't have any expertise in this area. you are very intuitive and perceptive and i think you can trust your gut on this one. if you do not feel comfortable with the midwife, then you could add in some more medical care. then, of course, there is always the deal that sometimes a person with 'more degrees and knowledge' doesn't have any better handle on things than the person with 'less'...am i making sense? it's just that so often the nurses or midwives or nurses practitioners are so muhc more in tune and are the angels who 'pay attention' (morgan, are you reading!?). although, i do have angel doctors too, so i cannot complain.

anyway, i must go nap now, but i am trying bit by bit to start catching up some more with folks. and, i couldn't not say hi to you as i miss you here so much and think about you often. we will all surely be worrying about you and wondering how the delivery and baby and you are doing...so let us know as soon as you can! ;) i'm such a nag!

i really hope for only the best for you and your family...

later alligator!

emily

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Jessica,

In terms of BP issues, mine went from my baseline of 100/60 to 150/100. It started creeping up slowly at 26 weeks and every week it would get just a little higher, finally breaking 140/90 at 35 weeks. It tends to happen later in the second pregnancy, according to preeclampsia experts, but not always of course.

I would personally not deliver in a birthing center. And I had a midwife first time around and totally understand how safe and helpful those settings can be. But when you have unusual health issues, pregnancy is an unknown. We don't know how our bodies are going to react when under this kind of cardiovascular and mental stress. At the very least, I hope the birthing center is less than five minutes from a major hospital. Again, my opinion and you do what you feel is best for you and your baby.

Morgan is right on the signs of preeclampsia: swelling in the face or hands, sudden pain in the upper right quadrant (liver area), pain in the tip of the shoulder (also a sign of referred liver pain), severe itching, not feeling well, dizziness, bad headache that doesn't go away w/ Tylenol. If at any moment you just don't feel right, go get checked out at L&D. Preeclampsia can come on very quickly, like in a matter of hours. (Not trying to freak you out, but just be aware that having this condition in a previous pregnancy puts you at elevated risk of it repeating.)

Also make sure you are getting urine dips for protein. If you have a reading of +1 and your BP is even slightly elevated, ask for a 24-hour urine just in case. This is the best measure of protein in the urine and much more accurate than a dip.

Please feel free to e-mail or post to me if you have any questions. I am a member of the Preeclampsia Forum (www.preeclampsia.org, an excellent resource if you have questions as well) and know a lot about this condition. Best of luck to you in your final weeks of pregnancy!

Amy

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Amy--you made some very good points regarding the unknowns associated with our condition. And I have to say that I suspect that POTS/pregnancy-induced hypertension (I was never diagnosed with preeclampsia) did play a role in the emergency that occured during my labor--even though my ob-gyn repeatedly denied this. What happened to me was a serious medical emergency and I was very fortunate to be at a major hospital and able to go into surgery in short order. I am not saying this to scare Jessica or anyone, but I do think it is prudent to consider your risks when making a decision about childbirth.

Jessica, I am certain that you are aware of the risks and that your midwife is familiar with preeclampsia and that should she have any concern about the safety of delivering at the birthing center, she will advise you to use the hospital. one good thing is that many hospitals now have birthing settings that are comfortable and not too hospital-like. The room I was in labor in was softly lit and felt more like a hotel room than a hospital room.

Amy is right too, of course, that preeclampsia can come on slowly or quickly. If anything changes with bp or you get any of the symptoms, you should be evlauated at a hospital immediately, to be on the safe side--I know you know that as well as we do!

And through all of this you are supposed to RELAX and enjoy these last weeks of pregnancy!

Take care and let us know how you are.

Katherine

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Thanks for the replies everyone =) Luckily my blood pressure seems to be staying normal now, around 120/70-125/75 when I am sitting down relaxing. I had a reading of about 139/79 and that was the highest, but I had been running around all morning and it came down after I took a nap. I have an appointment on Wednesday with my midwife during which time we will dicuss all this and make a final decision. They are very cautious about any health issues that come up, so I have been nervous all along that something would happen to send me to the hospital- be it from POTS or any other pregnancy related problem. This birthing center is 3 minutes from a major hospital, but I chose it over the hospital for many reasons.

Mainly, our local hospitals in our county have a 53% c-section rate- which I could see to be a huge problem for someone with POTS. Major surgery is not what I have in mind (of course, life threatening situations are a different story, but I am not one to jump into something like that). If I chose to deliver at the hospital I would have a 1/2 chance of having the baby by c-section. I also think that it is important for someone with POTS to stay well hydrated and be able to eat and drink to their own comfort level during labor, so that we can maintain our strength. I have discussed with my midwife and she said they encourage high protein snacks as well as electroyte drinks during labor- 6-8 ounces per hour is what they make sure you are drinking. I am not too thrilled about being poked with needles and confined to a bed, I get nervous in situations like that and I really want to stay focused and relaxed during the delivery. Ethan's birth was a little haywire because it was so fast, but I had a great experience overall and no problems with POTS during delivery or afterwards. I am nervous about not being in a hospital only if an emergency occurs, but not knowing what to expect is making me a little jittery as I get closer to the end. I have been told not to expect the second delivery to be anything like the first! Let's hope for the same speedy labor this time- 3.5 hours! I will get some pics posted soon...thanks for caring and I will keep you updated on what happens :) Hope everyone is feeling well.

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Great to hear from you. I'm glad to hear your bp is doing fine. I would expect the birthing center would be pretty cautious and not want to admit anyone with a clear risk or significant pregnancy-induced problem.

Those c-section rates do sound high--I thought the national average was around 25%? But, could that be due to certain factors that might not apply to you? Isn't part of the reason c-section rates are high is b/c of the routine use of epidurals--that can slow down labor, or make it impossible to move into a necessary position for delivery, etc.? I don't think most women would choose a c-section if they had a choice--and I think most POTS patients will not recover normally/quickly from a c-section. But, if it happens that you have to have one, you have done everything you possibly could have done to avoid it, and that is all you can do.

I agree with you regarding food and fluids. After labor started at the hospital I wasn't allowed to eat anything and was only allowed to drink water, as is typical in that setting.

One thing you might want to do if you can is ask to tour the hospital birthing facility, if you haven't seen it already. It might give you peace of mind, just b/c you know what to expect if you did end up having to go there. And you might be surprised that the setting is not so cold and confining as you might think. Nationwide, there is a trend to make maternity wards more home-like and comfortable, and to keep interventions at bay to the extent possible. Unless you have excessively high bp or an epidural, from what I know, it is highly unlikely they would confine you to a bed during labor at a hospital.

Take care and try not to worry about all the things that you really don't have control over!

Thinking of you...

Katherine

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Hi, Jess. Ditto what Katherine said! Every word! Not that I have personal experience, but I live vicariously through friends ... one of whom thank goodness delivered in a hospital, but she's 44 ... After 30 hours labor, she ended up w/c-section. I think the food thing is so that you don't have problems in surgery if you do end up having to go that route ... but my friend kept drinking (and throwing up) throughout her labor. She wasn't confined to bed -- she had a doula who coached her throughout -- and moved around, showered, walked the halls ... whatever position worked.

As Katherine said, try not to worry about what you can't control ... remember, your body hasn't been yours exactly for the last 9 months, and this last bit doesn't belong to you either. What will be will be, and it sounds like you're surrounded by clear thinking experienced people with only your best interests (and those of your baby) in mind! You'll do great--I just know it!!!!

Be well, Jess.

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The 53% c-section rate I had referred to is just for the county I live in- the nationwide average is indeed in the 25% range. For some reason our local hospitals are very against natural childbirth, they really push the epidurals, surgerical procedures, forceps deliveries, etc...which is why I was so turned off because with POTS I really feel an intense need to be in control of my body. Does that make sense, LOL?!

Anyhow at my appointment yesterday everything still looked great, I am almost 1cm dilated now and the cervix is thinning and my midwife said baby's head is VERY low- much lower than normal at this point- indicating possibility of another super quick delivery. WHEW! I am getting nervous with only about 3.5 weeks left until my due date. But she spoke with my cardiologist and with their high risk perinatologist regarding the POTS and my being on a beta blocker, etc...Both doctors felt that since I haven't really had any complications with the pregnancy that everything is a go-ahead at this point to deliver at the birthing center. Another WHEW!! I know my cardio wasn't absolutely thrilled or anything, but he did agree at my last appointment that he didn't have any specific concerns at this point with my decision- just to watch baby's hear rate and make sure it stays normal even with the meds. So that's how it's going right now!! I just hope I can pull this off again- it's very encouraging to know that in the midst of our bodies being out of whack all the time, that they can do something as normal as have a baby :)

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Hi jessica

thanks for checking in and letting us know how your latest appointment went. Glad that all is still well and that you are beginning to show signs of the end of pregnancy.

Regarding control--yes, I do understand--but, I think it is also helpful sometimes to accept that we can't control all of our circumstances. You're doing the best you can to have the outcome you want. If it happens that you don't--you did ALL you could--that's all. It sounds like you have a good team and good plan. Being 10 minutes from the hospital in case it is needed is good.

Like Merrill, I know that you will be just fine! Keep us informed!

Katherine

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Guest tearose

Wanted to say hello Jessica and wish you a smooth delivery!

I am excited for you and also feel you will do just fine!

We have already started the streams of light and strength and love your way!

Hugs and sweet dreams!

tearose

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Hi Jessica,

I know nothing about pregnancy...but I just wanted to congratulate you on your soon-to-be-delivered baby!!! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. I hope everything goes smoothly. :unsure:

Luv,

Kristin

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Hi Jessica I've been out of the loop lately but I just wanted to wish you luck your last few weeks of pregnancy. The last few weeks are hard but it's sooo worth it. If I knew my last son Mason (15mo.) was probally going to be my last I would have tried to keep him in there forever. I love the feeling of kicking and hick-ups. Or when there had moves across your belly real slow. That's awesome. I'm sure Etan will be excited to be a big brother. I have a 3yr old Ethan.

Good Luck and let us know how everythings going

Dayna

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Hey Jessica! Great to hear from you! Wow time flew by...I havent been around much either. A four month old can keep you pretty busy. I was not treated as high risk, but I did deliver in a hospital (my own choice). I was on IV fluids and that is it. No epidural or pain meds. My BP was normal throughout my pregnancy. It got a little high during delivery but the dr felt that it was because of the stress of labor. I am glad to hear that you are doing well! Hang in there, you dont have much longer to go :D

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Thanks everyone :) I am still huge and hanging in there. I have gained 80 lbs. already- same with my last pregnancy but this time it feels much bigger! My belly is definitely bigger than before, I can no longer shave legs or paint toenails!!

I've been spending a lot of time sitting out in the backyard in the baby pool while Ethan swims, it helps with the heat but the sun wipes me out for the day once I come inside. I have never been so exhausted in all my life, but everything else is fine. My heart rate is normal (80-90 BPM, normal for pregnancy) and blood pressure is staying in a good range- it only goes up a bit when I am really active which my midwife says is also normal this late in pregnancy. I am feeling more confident about everything, I just want to get it done now! I am a little nervous about POTS & postpartum, especially since it's summer and so hot here, but am trying not to worry too much and let everything take it's course. Anyone want to send GO INTO LABOR vibes, LOL?!!!! I am 38 weeks so we are "safe"!!

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hey jess!

i want a picture of you! :)

i cannot imagine how you feel! you are doing a good job though staying focused, calm and wating for this little one to decide to pop out! he's just not quite ready yet, for some reason! :rolleyes:

keep hanging out in the pool and savor your time with ethan before you have another little one!

i kinda like it when you are 'biding your time' for this little one to arrive...b/c you are one PPlace more! :rolleyes: and i love seeing your name pop up!

hugs, emily

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Hey Jessica I was wondering how you were doing. My belly got bigger with each presgnancy (I miss that). Well I'm glad to hear your relaxing and trying not to worry. Enjoy this time with Ethan. It's the last time he get 100% of you attention. I have three small ones and they all get my attention but it's not the same as it was when I had one. I could sit and listen to her for hours and now she tells her story and than it's her brothers turn. Siblings are awesome. I get so much joy watching the love my kids have for eachother. Even my 1 yr old is always kissing and hugging his brother and sister. He always says "yoves" (loves). Sorry for all the rambling but I'm just so in love with my children and was having a bad pots time but thinking of them makes it all okay.

Good luck through your delivery. I'm sure you'll do great. For me labor got easier each time. I also think it's cool despite illness your going yo have a beautiful family.

Well next time you get in the toddler pool send a splash my way (milwaukee, Wi) I've been sitting in ours for the last 3 days. My kids keep saying "mommy if your going to keep swimming with us we have to get a bigger pool, maybe a gigantic one so daddy can come in to" ---so sweet

Take care

Dayna

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Dayna,

I just wanted to tell you that I wholeheartedly agree with you about the kids :rolleyes: I can't wait to see my boys together. I know it will be hard given all the challenges that I've been presented with, but wow is it worth all the hardships!!!!! When I was sick before I had kids, I felt so alone. Now I feel like I have little partners for life who keep me going every day and make life worth living. I've still been able to give Ethan a very normal life so far, and in turn ihe has made me such a stronger and better person. Being a mom changes everything and with respect to POTS is really makes all the difference for me.

Well...we are off to the baby pool again before it gets too terribly hot!! Here's a splash for you!!

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Jessica,

That's a very good sign that your BP is still hanging in there. It usually occurs a little earlier than 38 weeks. I hope you continue you survive the heat and I am sending you go-into-labor vibes! You might consider an acupressure session or have someone work the stimulation points on the sides of your heel (located below the knobby ankle bones. I have known a few to have success with these methods.

Amy

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