Friday, May 21, 2010

All Systems Go

Big sigh of relief. I finally had my first prenatal appointment, after holding my breath for the last week plus, and everything looks fine. Nice strong heartbeat, baby measuring more or less where it should. Based on my IUI, I had placed my due date at January 7; based on the ultrasound measurements, the due date is January 9. I'm actually amused by the two day difference, because the same thing happened at my first ultrasound with LL -- I insisted that the due date should be September 9, based on my IUI, but the measurements placed it at September 11. At the time, we went with my date, but then he was born 10 days late, on the 19th, so... maybe that early measurement was closer after all. This time around, we'll go with the measurements. January 9. Which means that I'm only 6w5d today (holy crap that's early!).

Mostly, I don't care what the date is, as long as the baby is growing well and the heartbeat is strong. Thank goodness. I know that I won't be truly relaxed about the pregnancy until after the first trimester, and even then I'm likely to be a bit jittery throughout, but at least this first hurdle has been passed.

I also had the first of what I'm sure will be many discussions with Dr. M about VBAC vs. scheduled cesarean. Dr. M's preference is to schedule a c-section at 39 weeks, but support me doing a VBAC if I go into labor naturally before that, if I want to. If I'm fully committed to try a VBAC, he'll support that, too. I have no idea what I want at this point, but it's good to know that I have options. Mostly, I asked him for reassurances that the recovery from a scheduled c-section is likely to be easier than it was last time. With LL, I had 23 hours of labor, including more than two hours of pushing, before diagnosing CPD and needing the c-section. My recovery took a long time (I wasn't feeling physically better for a full eight weeks) but I don't know how much of my recovery was slowed down by the long labor. I remember how uncomfortable and sore I was last time, unable to drive or lift things or bend down or even walk comfortably, and I can't imagine also taking care of LL in that condition.

As for me... I saw the orthopedist this week, who confirmed that I injured a vertebrae in my lower back. He has no way of knowing whether it's fractured or just bruised, since he couldn't do an x-ray, but given my overall condition, he said that he wouldn't recommend surgery even if it is fractured, and that this type of injury usually heals fairly well on its own, given time. I also have a lot of soft tissue damage all through my lumbar, which isn't helping. The idea of a fractured vertebrae has me a bit freaked out, but I guess it just is what it is.

At the orthopedist's suggestion, I started physical therapy today, to hopefully relieve some of the pain and strengthen my back before it gets stressed even further by the pregnancy. And the physical therapist was very good, and even thinks that my soft tissue damage was less severe than it otherwise could have been, because the relaxin (pregnancy hormone affecting muscle tissue) floating through my body actually makes it easier, in most cases, to recover. She walked me through a lot of good stretches, massaged my back, and talked about things that should help my back at the various stages of the pregnancy. Apparently, when it comes to back pain and muscle injuries and pregnancy, you want/need to do different things at 7 weeks vs. 14 weeks vs. 21 weeks, because relaxin peaks at 14 weeks, and the weight of the pregnancy starts becoming a factor around 21 weeks. Good to know. So, twice a week physical therapy for as long as I feel like I need it. The time commitment is a little daunting, but if it means that I have an easier time caring for LL and playing with LL and working on my thesis and contributing to the household and growing a child... hard to argue with the results.

All I really remember from my first pregnancy is that I had back pain for just a few days at a time, every 1-2 months, until it settled in for good around week 37. I was worried that it would be worse this time around, because of the car accident. But the physical therapist said that I'll actually likely feel less back pain this time around, because I can start purposely strengthening my back now, ahead of the real problem points.

She actually told me that a car accident at 6 weeks can be an awesome thing, because it gets insurance to start covering physical therapy at exactly the time in the pregnancy when you want a professional helping to whip your back into shape. How's that for a glass-half-full approach to life?


  1. Congrats on a healthy heartbeat! I went the c section route with #2, and I was pretty much back to normal (carrying Jillian around) by 2 weeks. Of course I didn't have a difficult recovery with #1 so I might not be a good comparison.

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  4. oh WOW....I followed your blog all through my pregnancy (Micah was born Dec 15, 2008 -- 1 week late)...and now I'm in my 8th week and turns out you're pregnant too! such fun ;) Morning/afternoon/evening sickness is bad this time for me too. Maybe I should go back to blogging...!


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