38 weeks 6 days: The End is Near

I stopped writing for a while.  I had made a wonderful friend on my online colon cancer support forum who was diagnosed at the same time as my mom.   You can see her comment here from a few months ago.  She turned out to have a particularly aggressive case of Stage IV, and recently passed away.  I know she used to enjoy reading my blog, and it was hard to come back here.  I miss her.  I can’t believe she’s gone.  I was in an awful funk for days after she passed.  I never thought she wouldn’t be around to see baby photos.  It’s frightening and disturbing that she was diagnosed at the same time as my mom, and that she has already passed away.  That could have been my mom–she could have died before seeing her grandbaby.

As far as pregnancy, I am so tired, physically and emotionally.  My mom has her next blood work (check for cancer markers) only a few days after I’m scheduled to deliver.  My husband is interviewing for jobs all over the country.  I am absolutely terrified of labor and childbirth.  Not sure what to do.

One of the hardest things to deal with during pregnancy was actually nasal congestion.  Congestion on my left side has always been a problem for me that flares up if I sleep on my left side, or if I get a cold, or if I use a hair dryer (weird, I know).  I always have suspected there was some structural problem inside my nose, so that a slight amount of inflammation causes it to get blocked off.

The thing was, with the above issues, the congestion would always subside in a few days/weeks–and I could use Afrin or Sudafed without worrying about anyone but myself in the meantime.  One of the worst parts of pregnancy was that somewhere in the third trimester I became very congested and the congestion would not go away, as it was hormonal–and I didn’t feel laid back about using decongestants.  I wasn’t able to sleep for weeks.  Since I was still going to work every day, not being able to breathe or sleep was an incredible ordeal.   I tried sleeping in a recliner, steam, tons of saline nose washes, Neti pots, and nasal sprays, and when none of those helped and I couldn’t stand it any more I finally used Afrin or Sudafed.  My OB told me Sudafed was OK at a normal dose.  But I was scared:  I mean, it’s an oral medication so it’s systemic; how could it *not* affect the baby?  I’ve had side effects with Sudafed before, including what felt like my heart fluttering.  And also the side effects included anxiety and insomnia.  It’s one thing to use Sudafed for a day or two, but if I needed it every day for months–well, I was starting to get scared.

My husband encouraged me to go and see an ENT–something I’d have been really scared to do on my own.  We went to four doctors that day–ENT, ultrasound, OBGYN, and eye doctor for him; it was a new record for me.  I was worried that the ENT doctor would do endoscopy or something but she just looked up my nose with some small instrument and told me I had a deviated septum.  She told me that long-term I should get surgery when pregnancy was over, but in the meantime prescribed a steroidal nasal spray called Rhinocort Aqua (budesonide) which is Pregnancy Category B, rather than Category C like Sudafed, and does not have the awful side effects of Sudafed.  She told me it would take two weeks to be effective, but I think it worked the first night.  That was a huge relief.  Seriously I think if not for that spray I would have not made it to the end of pregnancy and possibly would have delivered early or something.

Although most women at my workplace have worked down to the beginning of contractions, I ended up taking leave at 38 weeks.  This means two fewer weeks to spend with the baby, but I was exhausted and I have a 22 mile commute.

Anyway, here I am at 38 weeks and 6 days (at midnight).  I think it is funny that as soon as I hit 37 weeks, which was previously called “full term,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists redefined full term to 39 weeks.  Talk about a moving target!  Anyway, in another day or two I will really be full term.  As a baby, I arrived at 39w0d, so let us see what my baby does.


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