This is a guest post by Jewel Eliese from Write Away Mommy.
You sit in the bathroom waiting for that magic line to appear. Or words. Much like a commercial seen on TV.
And you can’t wait.
But you have to. Maybe you’ve already waited those excruciating two weeks between trying for a baby, and even being able to take the test you just took. The first line appears.
And then a second line. You’re pregnant!
The joy you feel is unmatched; you’re going to be a mother. You’ll soon kiss little toes, smell that fuzzy, baby hair, and wipe that tiny butt. The doctor confirms it and the pregnant life begins.
You’re tested every time you see the doctor: blood pressure, urine, and more. And what if something would go wrong?
It does happen. And did for me.
I remember when my older sister was pregnant. It was a beautiful time and the first person I had seen from our family to bring new life into this world. As the time drew closer to meet my new little nephew, my sister’s belly grew large on her tiny body.
It was beautiful.
I think pregnant women with plump stomachs are stunning and remember hoping my own belly would be as large as my sister’s. And when the day came, I couldn’t wait to start showing. In the end, I was huge. Like a watermelon.
But honestly, maybe too big. It was because of the extra water I had in my uterus and the only symptom I had.
Extra Water and Going with the Flow
My pregnancy was different in the way that I was an American giving birth in a country where I couldn’t speak the language, and could only slightly understand people, as well as my doctors. In fact, when it came time to push my husband was the one telling me to push and breathe.
Most of the time, I just went with the flow — including with my first pregnancy.
I did the same as well when they told me about the extra water I had in my womb. For me, this meant that I would have to go into the doctor’s office and have an IV attached a couple times in one week for an hour or two. To this day, I don’t know what that was for.
So I read during that free time. And snacked on peanuts and maybe a chocolate or two.
Really, it wasn’t scary, not in my memory or now. The other difference I remember is that when they broke my water during labor, there were a couple gushes. Lots of water. As this was my first baby, I again didn’t think much of this other than the nurses’ poorly hidden reactions of surprise.
But now, for the sake of this article and informing you about it, I’ll tell you what this water actually was, and what you can do about it if you have the same.
What this is and where is actually high amniotic fluid in the uterus. And according to healthline.com, it only happens in about 1 to 2 percent of pregnancies.
I had no idea the number was so small.
While there are six main causes for the excess of amniotic fluid such as infection or genetic factors, gestational diabetes, multiple babies, a spinal cord or digestive blockage or anemia, I had the last one – no known cause.
And the treatment is basically just monitoring the mother and baby. More waiting.
I also didn’t know that there was a higher chance for preterm birth, a higher risk for bleeding after delivery, cord prolapse or rupture of membranes, as well. And while all of this sounds, and is scary, there is a lesson to be learned here for us.
First, trust. I trusted, and still very much do trust my husband. We found the best doctor available, one that had even been used in his family before. Had checkups often, and he translated everything necessary to me.
So when he wasn’t worried, I wasn’t. And I am a worrier.
At this time, smartphones were not something every person carried in their pocket or purse. The internet was not so accessible. In order for me to get online to research anything about polyhydramnios, I had to get on the one computer we had in an apartment where two families lived.
Not so easy.
That combined with trust, had me only researching today.
The big lesson in all this is to one, do your own research so that you are well-informed. Even if you’re not ready to know all the scary details during pregnancy, you can do it after. Like I just did.
And two, that sometimes it’s best not to worry yourself during pregnancy. So many aspects of pregnancy can be frightening, especially with all the tests being done on your body and baby.
It’s a scary time, but just as you waited for the blue line to appear on the pregnancy test stick in the bathroom, sometimes you just need to wait.
And trust that everything can be okay.
It’s scary but now I have a little boy who dreams of being an astronaut and little girl — who I also had some problems with her time in my womb — who wants to be a superhero or Elsa from Frozen.
Utterly worth it.
And they will be for you as well. Hang in there, mama.
Jewel is right, polyhydramnios affects 1-2% of pregnancies. It happens when extra amniotic fluid accumulates around the baby instead of being recycled and replaced. Since amniotic fluid is composed mainly of fetal urine, it can increase when baby’s kidneys are working overtime (as with diabetes, when more urine is produced) or when babies don’t swallow normally for some reason. Or there may be a blockage involving the esophagus or stomach, keeping the baby from processing fluid. But the most common reason for polyhydramnios is idiopathic, which means we have no idea why this is happening.
Polyhydramnios may be mild, or more severe. If there are large amounts of extra fluid in the amniotic sac, the uterus becomes more distended, so you may be more likely to have contractions. You may have an increased risk of preterm labor, having your water break, or having the placenta separate from the wall of the uterus. There may be a higher risk that your baby will not be head-down when you go into labor, and a higher risk that the umbilical cord could float out ahead of the baby.
When you have polyhydramnios, you will be offered screening for diabetes if you haven’t already had this. Your provider may want to see you more frequently as you get closer to your due date, to monitor for contractions and fetal well-being. If you have more severe polyhydramnios, you may need to deliver your baby in a larger medical center, where there are more resources to care for babies with possible abnormalities. Most of the time, outcomes are good.
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