The Year My Baby Will Be Born

Christmas with The Cloughs

Wow! What a busy month! My family wrapped up our Holidays by celebrating both Christmas and New Years right here from the safety of our home.  No going out, no celebrating with family and friends.  It was simplistic, just like last year’s celebrations, but it was also still magical for the four of us to enjoy each other safely during these crazy times.  It is wild that we are officially in the 2022 new year! It feels exciting to officially be in the same calendar year that my baby will be born! Somebody pinch me!!  I have had this recurring fear (understandable considering my circumstances) that my baby will die on significant days.  I was terrified that my baby would die on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  What a horrible time to have a loved one die and talk about a way to tarnish a beloved Holiday forever.  Getting past Christmas and the month of December (for that matter) was a huge relief for me.  Hitting the New Year was also a milestone for me.  It is a huge achievement to know that no matter what happens, my baby’s birth will be in the year 2022.  The long list of hurdles to jump is slowly getting shorter and shorter, but also realize that the risks are also higher.

I feel like there is never a dull moment (not meant in a good way) when it comes to my pregnancies.  After checking off each of these milestones, I am reminded to cool my jets as I’m not just yet to the finish line.  Right now we are in the midst of yet another Covid surge.  The variant taking the stage this time is Omicron.  Guys, I am terrified! I know for many of you, it is easy to push all of the risks associated with this pandemic off to the side.  I know how easy it is to look at statistics and figure that the laws of nature are on your side.  I don’t have that courtesy.  I can longer live with that kind of naive mindset about the world.  I learned, in one of the most cruel and tragic ways, that the numbers game doesn’t always favor you even if statistics say they should.  I know how it feels to be that >0.1% of unfortunate people and I’m not willing to play Russian Roulette to see if my chances of a happy ending actually happen this time.  So yes, I’m going to panic a little bit over here while the rest of the world has zero concerns for those around them and pretend to live their lives like we aren’t all still in the middle of a dangerous worldwide pandemic. 

For the last several months I have taken several steps back from being fully integrated within my community.  Everything I do is for my unvaccinated 3 year old and for the baby boy I am currently pregnant with.  I can no longer just waltz into a store to purchase the items that I want or need.  I learned a while ago, before my community took away our mask mandate, that there were certain stores I had to avoid if I didn’t want to put my family and others at risk of developing Covid.  Target, Walmart, Hobby Lobby are all on my DO NOT shop list anymore as the companies do not take any precautions to keep their shoppers safe.  I quickly found that there were only two places I truly felt safe shopping at:  Costco and a locally owned grocery store.  Once the mask mandate went away, I began shopping at the crack of dawn to avoid non-maskers or shopping at immune compromised hours.  It amazes me how many people inconsiderately shop during immune compromised hours without wearing a mask.  I mean, seriously?…C’mon! The early hours are not meant for you to get a head start on your day.  It’s for those of us who are STILL taking the appropriate precautions that the medical community is begging ALL of us to continue to do.  I have to do everything in my power to keep myself from going off on these people when I see them out in public.

Around mid-December, when Omicron was just starting to make a noticeable wave here in the states, my husband and I both called out that things in the next several weeks were going to get really bad.  Between Omicron, the Holidays, no mask mandate, no pandemic mitigations allowed in schools anymore, flu season in general… we knew we had to prepare for hunkering down again.  I know some people’s eyes in my community are open to the obvious, but the far majority either are completely oblivious or just outright don’t care.  I’m no longer shopping at 6am at my locally owned store.  So many of the store workers would stock in the early hours unmasked and they are super friendly and would greet and want to chit chat with me.  I just no longer felt safe knowing how transmissible this new variant is and how it has mutated to infect the vaccinated as well.  I don’t feel comfortable going to the library to pickup and return books as these are all just unnecessary trips that aren’t worth the risk.  We will make do with online ebooks in the mean time.  We have multiple appointments (hair, dentists) within the next month that I am considering canceling each of them if need be in order to protect us and this little one right before he is born.

I guess the point to all my rambling is be careful, socially distance, and wear a mask.  If not for you, then do it for those closest around you and for your community.  Now is not the time to pretend like you know more than all our Scientists, Epidemiologists, and Doctors.  If your role in the pandemic is motivated by politics or “religious beliefs”, ask yourself “Why would politicians push anti-mitigation tactics that are contrary to what the medical community is urging us to do?” “Why would they cancel state of emergencies, fight local mask mandates, and actively sue schools who try to mitigate while in the midst of our worst surge yet?” Ask yourself “Would God and Jesus put politics and “freedom” over our neighbors’ health and well being?” “Am I being a responsible member within my community, or are my actions selfish and rooted out of hate, malice, or fear?”

On a more brighter note… last Friday I had another routine OB appointment.  Everything went well, it was a pretty short and sweet visit.  Baby boy’s heartbeat was 140 and my uterus was measuring right on track.  I went over some concerns with my Doctor from earlier that week.  I was cooking pasta and went to drain the boiling water, when it missed the inside of the sink and poured over and down onto my big pregnant belly.  Ouch!! 😖 Talk about an instant world of pain! Right away I started to freak out.  As difficult as pregnancy is on me, it also puts a huge strain on my husband.  He of course has his anxiety surrounding this pregnancy, but he also has to deal with me and the paranoia the comes with Pregnancy After Loss.  He had to coach me, repetitively, that our baby was just fine… safely cocooned inside me.  Obviously I knew that my baby was going to suffer any burns, I was the lucky recipient of that.  But my mind does wander.  If my daughter Emilia could die for no real reason at all, then why couldn’t boiling water hurt this baby? My Doc echoed my husband and ensured that baby was just fine.

I also met with my high risk Doctor yesterday.  From here on out, I will have weekly ultrasounds to check in on baby and make sure both him and I are right on track.  It was SOOOO nice getting to see baby! He looked perfect! My ultrasound was midday, so all he wanted to do was nap 😴.  We had to coax him into moving in order to hit our movement count, but we finally got there! All of my kiddos have been born with quite a bit of hair (red hair) and baby boy will be no exception! We could already see his hair on the ultrasound!

Aren’t 3D sonograms the best?! We even got some 4D!

One thing that I was looking forward to this ultrasound was being able to reconfirm that he is still a boy.  At my 20-week anatomy scan, we didn’t find out the gender at the ultrasound.  We had the tech write down the gender and we found out the very next day.  I needed to see with my own eyes his boy parts in order to be fully convinced that we are having a boy.  There is definitely no denying it, Baby Clough is definitely a boy! We are so excited and I feel like I can now start planning the very last things for his arrival.

I also received some frustrating news, but nothing that warrants too much concern and nothing that took me by complete surprise.  Lately I have been experiencing hardcore back pain, especially at night.  I have trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep, because of the pain.  Dan broke down and bought me a pregnancy pillow, as my lack of sleep is also affecting his. 😂 The pregnancy pillow has help tremendously, but the back pain is still persistent.  In the last week, I have wondered if i’ve been carrying extra amniotic fluid.  It is a condition called Polyhydramnios that I had when I was pregnancy with both Adelaide and Roselyn.  Sure enough, at the ultrasound, the tech and doctor confirmed that I have Polyhydramnios and that they would be closely monitoring it to make sure it doesn’t become severe.  For now my levels are 28 cm.  Normal range of amniotic fluid levels is 5-25 cm.  So right now, my levels are mild. 

There are some risks associated with Polyhdramnios.  Your risk for premature labor, prolapsed umbilical cord, stillbirth, and heavy bleeding at birth all go up.  10% of cases are caused my gestational diabetes (which I do not have), another 10% to birth defects in the fetus (which baby boy shows no signs of) and 80% is unrelated to anything (which is most likely the category I fall under).  The next couple of weeks will be me taking it somewhat easy and just keeping an eye on my amniotic fluid volumes and making sure they don’t go up to a severe level.  I always appreciate prayers! I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to a fear that my water won’t break and baby boy will be born prematurely or even worse that I will experience prolapsed umbilical cord.  Praying that I make it to my scheduled csection with no eventful episodes between now and then.

Stay safe my friends and peace and joy to each of you in the upcoming weeks!

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