Amanda R's Story: A Moderate Poly Journey with All the Feels
A Moderate Poly Journey with All the Feels
By the time Amanda miraculously got pregnant with her little girl, she had already journeyed down a 20-year road riddled with fertility struggles. Overjoyed to be having a little girl after so many years, she tried hard to focus on all of the positives, but her struggles weren’t over yet. Between being an older mom, having a rare complication that could affect her delivery, and Polyhydramnios, Amanda was just beginning down another long road and she does a beautiful job of bringing us along for the ride.
Amanda R's Story
My journey to motherhood was not easy. In college I was told by several doctors that I would never have children after I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. A few years later following a D&C, surgeries, and a medically induced six-month-long menopause much to the surprise of my doctors at the time, I was able to get pregnant. I gave birth to my oldest son when I was 27. My husband and I tried for several years to conceive again and I had another procedure for endometriosis. I became pregnant again when my oldest was about six years old but had a miscarriage early into the pregnancy. It was devastating for all of us.
My husband and I had all but given up hope for another child when a few years later we conceived again. I was 37 and since I was over 35 it was considered a geriatric pregnancy a term I truly despise. During the pregnancy, the doctors discovered an issue with the Big E antibody in my bloodwork. I also had to have heart monitoring for a short time and see a cardiologist due to some abnormal heart rhythms. In the second trimester, I developed melasma and had frequent nose bleeds. Other than those few issues the pregnancy and delivery were normal. Both my sons were born with jaundice and my youngest required light therapy before we left the hospital.
Three years later much to our surprise my husband and I conceived again. I had just turned 40 and we were overjoyed to learn we were expecting a girl, the first girl to be born to his father’s side of the family in more than 100 years. Early on in the pregnancy, I struggled with constant morning sickness much longer and more intense than I had experienced with my sons. I lost almost 15 pounds in the first trimester but my baby was growing well and seemingly healthy. I was significantly more tired as well but I caulked it up to being older and chasing a pre-teen and toddler while working full time.
Due to my age and the fact the doctors discovered the Big E antibody again in my bloodwork we were referred to maternal-fetal medicine doctors out of state to also monitor the pregnancy. At each check-up, my fundal measurement was about three to four weeks ahead which at the time the doctors were not too concerned with. They said sometimes babies just measure bigger and both my sons usually measured about two weeks ahead so I didn’t really worry too much about it. We were having regular ultrasounds and bloodwork to monitor the pregnancy and make sure there were not any complications due to rising titers caused by the antibody issue. The biggest concern at the time was watching the blood flow to my baby’s brain and to ensure there were no signs of anemia.
At 30 weeks during one of our ultrasound appointments, I was diagnosed with borderline severe polyhydramnios. Like so many other mothers the exact cause was never determined. Honestly, I was terrified. I didn’t know exactly what it meant and I frantically tried to find out as much information as I could. I didn’t know what to expect other than more doctor visits and more monitoring, bloodwork, and testing. I tried to look on the bright side and tried to enjoy all the extra ultrasounds during the biophysical profiles and being able to see my daughter grow and change each week. My little supermodel was getting tons of very special 3D baby pictures. As positive as I tried to be the night before each ultrasound I was a mess worrying about every possible scenario.
Because of the pandemic and our work schedules, it was tough for my husband to be with me for most of my appointments. We were having to drive almost three hours round trip out of town for weekly appointments which was tough juggling work and our sons. Our oldest had just started back to school in person for the first time after being virtual for a year and a half. The hospitals and doctors’ offices did not allow children at the appointments as part of the pandemic protocols and most of the time we did not have child care. We didn’t want to be a state away from our oldest while he was in school so the next best thing to being in the room with me during the appointments was packing everyone in the car and my husband and my sons would sit in the parking lot of the hospital. We were lucky to have my mother-in-law available for some of the appointments as well.
I tried to come prepared for each appointment with questions about every possibility and every new symptom or concern. I feel so lucky to have been able to have some amazing doctors, nurse practitioners, and sonographers who were always willing to take extra time to explain everything. At every appointment, my first questions were how is she and what is our fluid at? At times the total amount of fluid was about 33cm. The doctors said the amount would vary between ultrasounds based on whether or not she had swallowed any fluid. It was incredible to be able to see so many of my daughter’s movements during those ultrasounds.
I was in significant pain constantly and contractions started at about 32 weeks. I truly didn’t think my body could get any bigger and every day was a struggle battling fatigue and pain. It seemed like I could feel every cell and every muscle in my body struggling, straining, and pulling. And my beautiful daughter seemed to enjoy every second of being able to flip and kick and punch with all that extra fluid. I called her my little mermaid since she seemed like she was constantly swimming around doing flips and rolls and kicks. She rarely stopped moving.
At one point in the pregnancy, I thought my water broke and went to the hospital but luckily it was a false alarm because the ferning test came back negative. At that point, the doctors and nurses were concerned my daughter would be early because of the polyhydramnios and the goal was to hopefully make it to 34 weeks. The possibility of a preterm delivery became a real possibility and another constant worry. Every day that ticked by closer to her due date I felt a little bit better.
The extra amniotic fluid made movement, sleep, and just about everything uncomfortable. When I was driving any time I would hit even the smallest bump I felt like my entire body was going to split open. And having a very active toddler who spends most of his time in your arms or in your lap and at your side, he would sometimes poke and elbow me which would be absolutely excruciating. I knew he didn’t mean to hurt me and that he was just being his wild and active self. The funniest part was when I could feel my daughter kick back any time my son would push a little too hard.
Having a baby during a pandemic added another level of stress and concern at every appointment. I did decide to get the COVID-19 vaccine during my pregnancy. I spoke extensively to my doctors and nurses about it and had each shot administered at my general practitioner’s office in case of any complications. Luckily other than a sore arm I had no issues. I was more tired and struggled more with my TDAP shot. At every BPP and non-stress test my daughter was constantly moving again enjoying all the extra space she had. Typically a non-stress test lasts about 20 minutes. During one non-stress test I was hooked up to the monitors for more than an hour. The nurses kept having to readjust the equipment because my daughter would either kick so hard it would move out of position or she would move in a way the monitors couldn’t pick up her heart rate. At each NST they could see the constant contractions. I also had regular blood work to make sure the titer levels did not go too high because of the big E antibody issue.
At about 38 weeks during one of my doctor’s appointments, I was measured at 4cm dilated. Later that day my contractions picked up significantly and they were about four minutes apart for several hours. My husband and I went to the hospital bags in hand nervous and excited, expecting to go into labor but after about an hour and a half the contractions slowed and we were told to go home and that I was in the early stages of labor and most likely that would last a day or two. I was disappointed, so tired, and just felt somewhat defeated. I felt guilty for not enjoying being pregnant and felt so much pain all the time. Over the course of the next few days, early labor continued with constant contractions that would last for seven or eight hours then simply end. I documented every contraction and tried to pay attention to any possible sign of labor. I was in early labor for seven very long days. I did squats, ate all the spicy foods, and did everything I could in hopes of speeding up the process but nothing worked.
We were scheduled for an induction at 39 weeks and when the day finally came we arrived at the hospital excited and ready for our daughter’s birth. Again we showed up at the hospital bags in hand. We did the usual COVID protocol check-in at the entrance and chatted with the staff about our daughter’s expected arrival. I was breathing so hard from walking from the car to the entrance one of the staff members made a joke about needing to get up to the delivery room quickly. I didn’t want to explain that due to the polyhydramnios and my enlarged uterus pushing against all my organs including my lungs and that I had been breathing that heavily for weeks now doing anything including just sitting and looking at my phone not because of any extra exertion. Instead, I just smiled and laughed as we walked away because I was just ready to have this baby. When we got to Labor and Delivery they turned us away because of a staffing shortage after several other women arrived in labor and told us since we were being induced we could wait a few hours and we should call to make sure they had the space for us. I tried to choke back the tears. I didn’t even know being turned away was a possibility. I was so tired because walking, breathing, everything was so difficult at that point. I felt like my body was going to rip apart and the contractions were constant but not painful or close enough to start full-on labor. I was so worried about all the potential complications. I just wanted to be in labor and I was tired of being in limbo.
As we walked away from the Labor and Delivery department we called my doctor and set up an appointment as soon as possible that morning. Everyone in the office was so sweet and kind. Just about an hour later that morning, my doctor conducted a membrane sweep to help move the process along and as my husband drove us home my water started to break slowly. By the time we made it back to the hospital the contractions picked up significantly and we were admitted. Over the course of the next hour or two as the amniotic fluid continued to drain the pain of the contractions worsened significantly. I was honestly shocked by the amount of fluid that kept draining with each contraction. I was so grateful when it came time to be able to have an epidural. When it was time for my daughter to arrive she decided to make her way out between pushes before the doctor could finish putting her gloves on. She was just shy of 8 pounds and 20 inches long. While she was on my chest during the skin-to-skin time and I was able to cut her umbilical cord which was a truly special experience.
After an amazing hour of bonding and breastfeeding it was time for me to get out of bed and stand up. As the nurse said to be careful and to let her know if I felt dizzy or had ringing in my ears and as she was saying each symptom they began to happen and I felt my body go numb and my vision blurred and my hearing was muffled. I tried to say I needed to sit down and was only able to make it about halfway across the room before I had to flop down in a chair. It took me about another half an hour of trying before I could stand up and walk on my own. My daughter was born jaundice and had to have phototherapy in the hospital which we had to continue with a blue light blanket her first week at home. I had severe pain the first few days postpartum but otherwise healed quickly.
We are so grateful for such a positive outcome for our polyhydramnios experience. And I am so grateful to each of the medical professionals we worked with along our journey. I am so very thankful for this organization and its ability to provide so much important information and resources. Thank you to all the women who shared their experiences your words and stories gave me solace after many sleepless nights.
Check the updates tab above to read more...
Amanda's story is brand new!
We’ll check in with her in a few months to see if she has any updates she would like to share.