How far along: 34 weeks!! And, it seems we may only have two, possibly three, of these updates left!! More on that further down.
Survival chances: Another step up as we hit 34 weeks: between 34 weeks and 36 weeks, 6 days survival chances are greater than 99%. Chances of severe or moderate disabilities among survivors is now down to 4%; minor disability is still the same as last week at 15%. (Gunter, The Preemie Primer, 2010) As for percent chance of delivering for women who have had a rescue cerclage, based on singleton pregnancies, about 34% of them delivered between 34 weeks and 36 weeks, 6 days.** This is the peak of those stats.
Weight gain: Looks like I've gained about 44 lbs. I almost fell off the scale Monday when I saw the number. Haha!! At least this is temporary!
Cravings: No particular cravings, but I am trying to focus my diet more on things that will help keep the restlessness in my legs away. Namely things containing magnesium and/or potassium. Not really a craving, but I'll do anything to settle down the restlessness.
Aversions: Still nothing! Yay!!
Belly button: Still the same. Wonder if it will return to it's normal state after being so flat and out for so long!
Movement: They are really moving a lot! They must be running out of room because I see so much of their movements now. It's so wild to see my belly move in big huge waves suddenly. There are times when I think they are about to jump right out!! Hubby keeps missing it, poor guy.
Pregnancy symptoms: I might possibly be getting the leg restlessness under control. I'm now eating a banana once a day and we got some magnesium supplements this week that I've started taking. The supplement provides 25% of a typical person's daily allowance of magnesium. I'm also drinking a protein shake once a day that provides 30% of my daily magnesium. Between those two things, the banana, and just whatever I get from the rest of my diet, things seem to be a bit better. I probably need a few more days for everything to completely take effect.
A second symptom just started up in the last two days, some numbness in my hand. Of course it would be my right hand, the one on the one side of my body that I'm comfortable sleeping on. I'm right-handed, so it starts falling asleep when I'm eating, typing, writing, and even just doing nothing. Sounds fun, huh? Although it did just occur to me that this is the same side where I developed tendinitis in grad school and have been dealing with ever since. It hasn't flared up in over a year (it's been two years since I played my clarinet at all and I am very careful to be ergonomically correct at the office), but maybe I should pull my arm brace out again and sleep with it on to see if that helps. Otherwise, I guess I should just hope that this will go away after delivery (tendinitis is a pregnancy symptom, and I'm more prone to it since I'm already pre-disposed).
I may also be possibly having a bit of swelling for the first time. Just noticed it this morning in my hands, but I'm not sure if it is really swelling or just a bit of joint stiffness or maybe related to the tendinitis. At least there are only a few weeks left.
Sleeping: I've given up sleeping on my left side. I know that would be preferable, but my back can't take it. I do sleep on my left side for a short period of the night, but mostly I stay on my right side. Also, we did get a recliner!! It is now finally vacuumed and cleaned and I tried sleeping in it some last night. I slept a little, but I don't think I could do it all night. But it does give me another option besides the one position I can comfortably sleep in while in bed.
Ultrasound: Like I said above, I had an ultrasound on Monday. This time it was the growth ultrasound. The babies were very cooperative, thus the tech went through everything pretty quickly. It was probably the fastest growth ultrasound I've had. I think the dopplar ultrasound two weeks ago was longer. So Baby A had a heartbeat of 133, was head down, and weighed 5 lbs, 9 oz putting him/her in the 61st percentile. Baby B had a heartbeat of 130, was mostly breech (a bit transverse), and weighed 4 lbs, 13 oz putting him/her in the 42nd percentile. The discrepancy is 13%, which is still in the safe zone. It's a big change since previous discrepancy calculations, but since both are growing fine, fluid levels were good, and we're so far along now, there seemed to be no concern about TTTS. The doctors seemed pleased with how everything looked and I got two cute pictures of the babies' faces. B's pic was a little blurry, but A's was really good, you can see cheeks and a little chin! Very cute!
Appointment: Before the ultrasound, I had my appointment. The doctor is recommending that we remove the cerclage at 36 weeks, in the office, and then see what happens. She felt that I would probably dilate at least 2, maybe 3, cm shortly after it is removed. So it's possible things may go fast after that, or it could still be another week. But they won't let me go past 37 weeks, so either way we have at most 3 weeks left. Also, she explained more about why the ideal position for Baby B is breech. As long as B is the same size as or smaller than A and A delivers vaginally, they can grab B's legs and pull him right down safely. For this reason, it has been highly encouraged that I get an epidural, but she did say I can put it off until I'm roughly 5 cm or so if I want. I'll be taking that option. As long as A is head down, I'll be opting for a vaginal delivery. I know this also means that I could end up with a c-section for B if he/she moves once A is out. But I'm willing to take that risk. Even with a planned vaginal delivery, c-sections happen. So it will be what it will be. Luckily, delivery will be in the operating room no matter what.
Non-Stress Tests: Have had two more of these since my last update. Both went well and have lasted no longer than about 40 minutes or so. I will continue having these every Monday and Thursday.
Fetal Echo: Last Thursday was the last one of these. It went well and whatever minor problems they saw the first time were no longer there this time. So I don't need to go back for another. The babies' hearts will be listened to after they are born and if they hear anything unusual they will follow up then.
Notable this week: We finally got a dresser!! It was delivered today from a local furniture store!! Finally I have a place to put many of the things we have acquired for the the babies. Let the laundry begin! Hubby also installed a ceiling fan in their room and new shades. We purchased car seats (very important) and will be installing those in the car soon. Things are coming together! Oh, and I got such an unexpected call on Tuesday. My regular doctor's nurse called me just to check on how I was doing. She had received the ultrasound results and wanted to call and see how I was. She also told me when the doctor would be back from her maternity leave, which will be right when I'm 36 weeks. But really, I was just so touched that she wanted to check on me. Not only have all the medical staff been great and definitely world-class, it's obvious that they a care too. You can't ask for better than that!
**Ventolini, G., et al, "Pregnancy outcome after placement of 'rescue' Shirodkar cerclage." Journal of Perinatology. 9(4):276-279, April 2009.