Stephen and I had about decided that we were perfectly content with our little family of five. We had been blessed with two boys and one girl and we thought it was probably time to ‘close down the factory.’ I was still undecided as to my role in the whole process. Something in me felt strange about ‘tying my tubes.’ I guess it was hard to think of myself moving beyond the stage of life that I like to call ‘the child-bearing’ years. Of course, I realize that plenty of women have made this decision at a younger age than my current 35 years. But it just felt so “old” to me.
It was mid-April when I ran out of the birth control pills that my doctor from Ecuador has prescribed for me. I had not yet found a new gynecologist since moving to Texas. So, I decided it would be easiest to use ‘natural birth control’ for a few months while I shopped around for a new doctor. I began taking my temperature every morning and felt like I was keeping a good track my reproductive cycle for that first month.
However, I started to get worried when that cycle did not end with its usual menstruation. I didn’t want to believe we were pregnant, because after all, I had been keeping Stephen on his side of the bed for several weeks, (except for the night of his birthday). I finally decided that I needed to take a pregnancy test on May 23. The pregnancy test proved that it really does only take one attempt to get pregnant.
I stared at the test in shock and fear. Fear flooded my mind in the form of physical and financial challenges. First of all, the sound of my doctor’s voice in Ecuador telling me, “If you want to have another baby, you’ll probably lose your uterus,” ran through my head. I had experienced placenta accreta with the delivery of both Luke and Grace, and the risk of it happening again would be greater with any future pregnancy.
Secondly, the school where Stephen is employed did not offer health insurance to its employees because so many of them are covered under their spouse’s plans who work for other companies. We had to purchase our own health insurance and were not allowed, under the private plan, to receive maternity coverage. We didn’t think it was a big deal at the time, because we weren’t planning on getting pregnant.
Now, there I was, staring a pregnancy test and wondering how in the world we were going to cover the costs of a pregnancy without help from our health insurance plan. I was also not very excited about having another baby while its older sister was still so young. When I calculated the due date, I realized that my oldest child wouldn’t be quite five and a half before I would give birth again. That’s four babies in less than six years! How in the world did I manage to do that?
I can’t say that I began my fourth pregnancy with the best attitude about this added blessing in our lives. My next shock came soon after when the surprise pregnancy almost became a surprise miscarriage. I had just visited a new doctor in Lake Jackson at 5 weeks of pregnancy. I came home that day and began experiencing heavy bleeding and sharp, cramping pains that felt like early labor. I rushed myself to the Lake Jackson hospital where they did an emergency ultrasound. It didn’t reveal very much, because it was too early to detect a heart beat on the monitor, but it did show us the small, peanut-looking object that assured us of the presence of a growing fetus. The blood work done that day to test my hormone levels also showed that my pregnancy hormones were increasing at the appropriate levels.
So, I was sent home with orders to stay off my feet and get as much bed rest as possible. Please, someone laugh with me, and try to picture a mother of three kids between the ages of four and one being able to get much bed rest all day. However, the Lord provided during that time. I was so grateful that this was all happening at the beginning of summer break. Stephen’s working hours were shorter and he didn’t have to work on Fridays at all. He was able to help me with the kids when he wasn’t working and we always had lots of three day weekends.
Another hidden blessing for me happened to be the European Soccer Cup of 2012 that took place in England. The games aired our time at 10 am and 1pm every day for several weeks in a row. I was able to find activities for the kids to do in the living room while I rested on the couch. I would watch the afternoon game while the kids took their nap. Usually, I fell asleep during those games and got lots of much needed naps. The soccer games were something that took my mind off of all the things that I thought I should be doing while I was supposed to be resting. I didn’t miss a single game of that tournament. By the time the final match was played and Spain came out victorious, the risk for miscarrying was gone.
During that time, I decided that I needed to find a new doctor. The doctor I started to see in Lake Jackson told me that she didn’t handle high risk pregnancies. Someone recommended a doctor in Houston, so I began seeing her.
So, my high risk pregnancy began with two major bleeding episodes, but has continued as normal, otherwise. By the time summer was over and another school year started, I was in my second trimester and regaining the energy I had lost during my first trimester.
We discovered at 15 weeks that we are going to have another male bundle of joy added to the family picture. Every time I try to tell someone that we are only going to have one girl in the family now, Jared insists on correcting me by saying, “But you’re a girl, too, Mommy!”
As the month of October comes to a close, so does my second trimester. Little Seth Adrian Meier was measured at his last ultrasound to be growing at a rate four days faster than his due date and was weighing a little over two pounds at 27 1/2 weeks. He’s already positioning himself head down and he is quite the mover and kicker.
Currently, the biggest concerns with this pregnancy are:
1) My placenta – The doctor has said that she plans to thoroughly check the position of my placenta around the 32nd week to decide whether she thinks it will be necessary to perform a C-section and a possible hysterectomy during delivery. We are praying that neither scenario will be necessary. I have given birth vaginally to my first three children and would prefer to keep my uterus even if I don’t want to fill it with future babies.
2) My varicose veins – As with my pregnancy with Grace, varicose veins have taken over my legs and feet. My OBGYN happens to be married to a vascular surgeon. I already made one visit with him. He looked at my veins and recommended that I use compression hose and take aspirin. So, my hope none of my veins will not develop blood clots that produce any type of thrombosis after I give birth.
My due date is January 23, 2013 and a dear friend of mine is organizing a baby shower for me to take place on Sunday afternoon, December 9. I have created a baby registry at Target (www.target.com) for those who are interested in seeing what our current needs are to prepare for our third son.