I am entering my last couple weeks of pregnancy and it is so true what they say. These are the hardest for a multitude of reasons. Physically, you are exhausted. My baby is so low and the general discomfort in my pelvis is crazy. Emotionally, you are just so ready to meet your child. At this point, the baby could decide to come at any time and that makes every single day exciting. The nesting is real, you just want everything to be completely perfect. All of those things are feelings I knew would hit me at this point in my pregnancy, however, the baby books sure didn’t fill me in on a few other issues.
From one first time mom to another, here are a few things I had no idea could happen during your final weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Can Give You Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
At 36 weeks I woke up and my hand felt like it was asleep. I didn’t think much of it, only that I slept on it funny. After about an hour it was still all tingly and then this went on for the rest of the day. I was starting to get a little concerned when, for the next week, I still didn’t have any feeling in my fingertips. I mentioned it to my Doctor who told me very “matter-of-fact” that I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Apparently, this can happen from the build-up of fluid towards the end of your pregnancy. She said that I shouldn’t expect to have full feeling back in my hand until about 5-6 weeks post-partum.
Issues With Your Blood Can Mean No Epidural
At my 26 week appointment, they checked my blood and noticed that my platelet count (the stuff that helps with blood clotting) was a little low. For reference, you want your platelet count to be between 150 and 350. My platelet count was at a 144 so they told me they would re-test at 36 weeks to see if those levels had increased. Apparently, a drop in your platelets is a result of the pregnancy itself and typically (unless you are pre-eclamptic) return to normal after delivery. At my 36 week appointment, they tested and learned that my platelets had continued to drop and now I was sitting at 114. My Doctor then informed me that at my hospital, if your platelet count drops below 100 they will deny you an epidural due to the increased risk of bleeding into your spine.
The concern is that my platelets are not working hard enough to help with blood clotting during the procedure however, it all has to do with the Anesthesiologist and what they feel comfortable with. NOW! I am all about, “I am woman, hear me roar” when it comes to those that choose a natural childbirth but the idea that pain management would not even be an option for me absolutely terrifies me. This is my first pregnancy so I have no idea what to expect or how labor will affect me so this was a tough thing to really wrap my head around. However, my Doctor prescribed me medicine to help boost my count and I have been drinking tons of pomegranate juice and many green smoothies (something I had heard can also help).
Getting “Checked” For Dilation & Effacement Is Not A Fun Time
I did NOT take the warnings from my friends serious enough. They told me that getting “checked” is uncomfortable but I severely underestimated that description. My Doctor let me know that all she was using was her fingers to check me and then told me to relax. She is pretty great so she literally said to me, “this is not going to feel the best but it will be over soon”.
^ Actual footage of when she was checking my cervix.
Getting checked for dilation and effacement is literally like a hardcore-porno and at one point I thought to myself there is no way her arm is not completely inside of me. Nope, just her fingers! Warning to future moms: everything down there is so sore and that is the only reason it’s uncomfortable but needless to say it did not feel good. It was interesting though because although it was a touch painful I was so excited to find out how much I had progressed so that made it a little easier. The good news was that I was already 80% effaced, 2 cm dilated, and little Wyatt was already at Station 0! This meant that he was, as my Doctor put it, fully-engaged and basically just waiting for me to dilate the rest of the way. I am hoping this means I will have a quick labor and delivery! After I learned that Station 0 meant that the baby is completely in your pelvis, it explained a lot of the pain I had been feeling the last few days.
I’m interested to know if any of you moms out there experienced anything else that sort of took you by surprise! Comment and let me know!