Friday, February 20, 2015

Baby Update: 32 Weeks, What's It Like to Have Polyhydramnios

I have had some questions about how I am feeling so I thought I would share what it has been like for me to experience Polyhydramnios with this pregnancy. If you have missed my previous posts, I have too much amniotic fluid in my uterus which makes my belly really big and it also causes early contractions (and possibly labor) because my body thinks it is further along than it is. For me it meant a hospital stay at almost-30 weeks to stop contractions.

Yesterday I had my follow up with the high-risk OB. Their ultrasound measurements showed the fluid is currently 21cm (which is below the risk). The measurements are a bit of an art project with different people getting different numbers (last week I was still measuring 25cm). The doctor I saw said they will continue to measure and assess me on a weekly basis for now. According to him, once I make it to 34 weeks, they would not try to prevent birth if I went into labor. He also mentioned wanting to induce me at 38 weeks. We shall see... my regular OB thinks I can go to 40 weeks and doesn't seem to feel inclined to speed up the process. As with all of our previous ultrasounds, this baby is staying head down. 

 Baby #2, 32 Weeks 
So, how does it feel to have Polyhydramnios?
Big Belly.
At 32 weeks pregnant I look like I am much further along than I am (comparison photo of when I was pregnant with Jack at bottom of post). I get a lot of questions about my due date and then incredulous (or sympathetic) looks when I say that I'm not due until mid April. I have had a few joking comments about expecting twins, but mostly I get sympathy. Believe me, I know I'm getting big. At least (for me) you can't really tell I'm pregnant from behind...
Difficulty Breathing.
Starting around 20 weeks, I began experiencing a lot of instances of being light headed. For no reason, I will catch my breath and it feels like a giant weight is sitting on my chest. This feeling has progressed over the last 10+ weeks due to the excess fluid that is pushing on my lungs and organs. Thankfully I am not having actual problems breathing, but it can be really uncomfortable. This is also a major reason I continue to exercise. Aerobic activity improves the efficiency of the body's cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen, which is important when your lung capacity is diminished due to extra fluid taking up space.

Also around 20 weeks I noticed that I felt extra bloated. This continued to where eating even small amounts makes me feel generally miserable. I feel hungry all the time and eating just makes me feel crappy. The best way I can describe it would be how you feel at the end of your pregnancy, except I am only 32 weeks and have felt this way for the last couple of months. Worse, it gives me heartburn like I cannot describe. I take Nexium every morning and supplement with Tums. In the beginning Nexium really helped, now I am just managing as best I can. I can get extreme heartburn from something as basic as drinking water or even the smell of food.

 Baby #2, 32 Weeks Baby Profile
Braxton Hicks.
I had some Braxton Hicks with Jack, but not enough to really be of note. Around the time I started feeling this baby kick (18 weeks) I started having Braxton Hicks. They happen regularly throughout the day and do not hurt at all. They did land me in the hospital when I had them non-stop, every 2-minutes, for 12+hours straight (I was almost 30 weeks). They do not cause me any pain (I've had paper cuts that hurt worse) but they are uncomfortable. At this point we are praying they do not jump start real labor. A few of the things that cause my Braxton Hicks include: standing up, sitting down, laying down, working out, grocery shopping, driving my car, walking, not drinking enough water or having a full bladder... I think this is also considered having an irritable uterus.

Very Hard Belly.
I have experienced a very hard belly since the beginning of my second trimester. This makes it really hard to give myself my daily shots in my belly. It also makes it very uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) when Jack wants to be held or if he wants to cuddle by laying on my belly. He has learned to be very gentle, but it is very difficult for me to have him lay on or beside me. This makes me sad because I want to be able to cuddle and carry him.

Putting on Shoes.
With Jack I remember having difficulty putting on my shoes some time in the third trimester. With Polyhydramnios, this sensation came much earlier (25 weeks-ish). Any kind of bending over is very uncomfortable due to the hard belly, Braxton Hicks and heartburn. In addition to bending, it is very difficult to roll over or get up from laying down with any kind of grace. This is a normal thing for later in pregnancy, it has just been uncomfortable and hard from a much earlier point for me. Shaving my legs is not gonna happen until after this baby arrives.

Heavy Belly.
Also starting around 20 weeks, I noticed that my belly felt incredibly heavy when I would lay down. It required extra pillows for support. All of the extra fluid just makes everything hurt. I don't really recall this with my first pregnancy.

So, I guess the best way to describe having Polyhydramnios is experiencing typical end-of-pregnancy symptoms, just worse and much earlier. I still have 8 weeks to go with all of these lovely symptoms.

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