The scary news began after I reminded my OB that she had meant to be monitoring my possibly "incompetent" cervix. She referred me for an ultrasound in my 30th week. As I mentioned in my last post, the images showed that I was already starting to dilate. (Sorry, Dad.) Consequently, my OB instructed me to avoid any type of exertion, including the Aquafit course I was about to begin. I tried to take it easy and I withdrew from the course, although I didn't believe that "Aquafit" and "exertion" belonged in the same sentence.
When I saw my OB at week 32 I again inquired about an ultrasound. She scheduled one for the following week. I did not have an appointment with my OB on the day of my ultrasound, and I knew something was wrong when the technologist sent me to see her immediately afterward. My OB walked into the examination room flanked by two medical students and bluntly stated that I was on bed rest effective immediately. Tears sprang to my eyes. I was not ready to leave work. I was not prepared to rely on others for things. I did not want to be sentenced to house arrest -- worse, even: couch arrest. The alternative, however, was bed rest in the hospital, and I definitely didn't want that.
I wasn't permitted to take public transit, so I took a taxi to my parents' house, which is far closer to the doctor's office than my own home. I lay down on the sofa feeling positively miserable. I was completely thrown off by the doctor's orders and could not believe that I would be unable to wrap things up at work prior to maternity leave, or to help prepare our house for the baby's arrival.
Originally I had cursed the fact that I would be gigantically pregnant during the heat of July and August, but it turned out to be fortuitous timing. My mother is off for the summer. Since my order of bed rest, she has faithfully been making the one-hour trip to my house by public transit almost every day to ensure that I stay off my feet while she cooks, cleans, keeps me company and minimizes the additional work that Scott is left with due to my condition. As well as working full time, Scott is also toiling away on weekends along with his dad, my dad and others to complete the nursery and bedroom renovations. When Scott's dad comes into the city to help, Scott's mom will usually accompany him, giving my mom a much-needed break from looking after me.
To some, the idea of bed rest may be appealing. The reality of bed rest, however, is truly frustrating. I feel terribly guilty that everyone else is having to work extra hard because I can't work at all. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for the generous efforts of my family and friends during this time, and I know that there is no way to thank them -- other than to obey the doctor's orders and to incubate my little one as long as possible.
I had my first hospital appointment last Friday, at which time the baby and I underwent a biophysical profile (BPP) and a nonstress test. The latter test showed mild cramping but was otherwise normal. I was relieved to learn that the baby is doing well, scoring eight out of eight on the BPP. That being said, at just short of 34 weeks it's still too early for him to emerge.
Another piece of good news is that the baby has been head-down for a while. Although his head pushing on my cervix is half of the problem, the vertex position beats breech any day. I am unable to attend prenatal classes, so I have desperately been reading and re-reading the labour and delivery section of a pregnancy manual to prepare myself for the big event. One chapter included diagrams of various birth presentations, including this one, the footling:
Horrifying. I can't imagine that being a pleasant birth for mother or child. As uncomfortable as it is having my son's feet sticking up between my ribs, I'd prefer that to having his feet sticking out. (You okay, Dad?)
Now that I'm at home 24 hours a day, one thing I have time for is reading the daily digests that I receive from various baby-related magazines. Two of the more recent articles were entitled Why You Really Do Need Childbirth Classes, and Staying Home: Are You Ready? My responses are Rub it in, jerseholes, and Am I ready? It's not like I have a choice. No, I may not have a choice, but I do have a great deal of support. And with only 1.3 cm between my baby and his exit route, I need it.