My Pregnancy: Week 38

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 9.09.08 AMI’m done. So done. It started with some minor itching, enough that I asked my doctor about it at my weekly visit at week 37. He suggested the itching was likely hormones and stretched, dry skin. Two days later arrived the weekend and a buzz to my doctor on-call. He ordered blood tests to check my liver without offering much detail. Thus began a very long, stressful week. In the end I learned to feel more empathy for the mamas that have odd symptoms, call the doctor’s office more than they’d like to admit, and get a little grumpy or inexplicably tearful amidst their pregnancy hormones and discomfort. I’ve now been there. I’ve so been there.

I’ll cut to the chase—the lab work came back normal, but based on symptoms my doctor said I developed cholestasis. The trouble rested on the timing of it all. Test results took over a week and there wasn’t really time to do more testing before baby was due to arrive, in 3 days. In my 38th week I called my doctor more than all the other days of my three pregnancies combined. Every day they said to try again tomorrow, surely tomorrow the labs will be in or—worse—I left a message and received no response. Dr. Google provided scary information. For example, the suggested treatment for cholestasis potentially includes having baby at the 37/38 week mark… which I was in the midst of.

Add to the unknowing and impatience my 38th week discomfort and hormones along with my previous work in hospitals, often spending time with families who were in the midst of tragedy. Worried and itchy to the point of breaking my skin was not how I wanted to spend my last full week pregnant. I felt crazy at my 38 week appointment when the doctor seemed nonchalant yet he also said we’d do the C-section the next day if the test results came back by then. They didn’t. Mixed signals left me feeling like a crazy ticking time bomb over the weekend.

I would say I wanted to spend this last, final week of pregnancy ever focusing on last minute details and relaxing, eating up our final times as a family of four. I mostly spent many late, sleepless nights bleary-eyed between bathroom breaks, glaring at the computer screen and inputting very odd questions to Google. I imagine the waiting seemed all the worse because my eyes were so directly focused on the prize, our soon-to-arrive babe and, hopefully, her healthy delivery. As I reflect on the situation, in a way I did focus on last minute details. I also focused on cherishing our family, but instead of the four we were already a family of five in my heart.

PS—She arrives just fine, just a couple of days from this post. She’s perfect.

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