Weeks: 22 (officially now 23, but this photo was taken at 22 weeks)
Baby Size: spaghetti squash
Fibroid Size: 18cm x 14 cm x 8 cm (last measurement at 18 weeks)
Weight Gain: approximately 20 pounds, a little more than I’d like at this point but I’m not stressing over it
Cravings: peppermint everything! that’s pretty normal for me this time of year though
Sleeping: better than the first 3 months when I seemed to wake up every two hours to pee
Missing: an iced chai tea from press coffee roasters! I gave up caffeine when I found out I was pregnant. Many studies say it’s fine in moderation but I figured I already had a couple of things going against me (advanced maternal age and a large fibroid) and decided I could do without it for 9 months. It isn’t easy though!
Feeling: overall pretty good, but lots of achy back pain by the end of the day and itchy skin. I feel really big and still have 4 months to go. no one told me how uncomfortable pregnancy could be. :) On the plus side, I love feeling him kick. he’s getting more active and powerful each day!
Wearing: maternity pants pretty much full-time for the past several weeks, while mixing in some maternity tees and normal shirts up a size from my usual. basic tees from gap have been a lifesaver. they fit over my big belly and don’t break the bank (I picked up all of them at 40% off)
Preparing: taking turns reading The Baby Owner’s Manual out loud to little luv each night in the hopes he will recognize our voices. I might be tired at the end of the day, but it’s one of my favorite activities to do together.
In an earlier post I promised more information on fibroids. I’m not a medical professional and the below information is based on my individual experience. If you’re interested, read on…
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. They are more common in women during their childbearing years. There isn’t a consensus on what causes fibroids and how or why they grow. They can range in size from a mass so small you don’t even know you have it to larger ones that cause discomfort and heavy menstrual bleeding. Fibroids seem to grow based on hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Many fibroids disappear on their own after menopause due to decreased hormone production.
I became aware I had a fibroid two years ago during an ultrasound. I had no idea I had it until the doctor told me. Two years ago my fibroid was 6cm. I had it checked again last year and it had grown slightly to 8.5cm. At that size, my doctor recommended I have it removed. There are different ways to remove a fibroid, but mine would have required me to miss 3 weeks of work.
After some internet research, I got a second opinion. I had a great experience with this doctor as she carefully laid out the pros and cons of having the fibroid removed. If I were to get pregnant, fibroids can increase the rate of miscarriage and cause premature labor and low birth weight. All of these things can also happen if you don’t have fibroids. If I were to have it removed, I could develop scar tissue that would impact my ability to get pregnant. They would also recommend I wait a year until getting pregnant. And I would be out of work for a minimum of three weeks while I recovered.
I weighed the pros and cons and decided not to have it removed, mostly because it didn’t cause me discomfort. I have never regretted this decision. Who knows if I’d be pregnant right now if I had had it removed?
As soon as I became pregnant, the fibroid started growing rapidly from the additional hormones. I had a slight belly even at 5 weeks. When I went to the doctor at 6 weeks to confirm the pregnancy, she immediately ordered an ultrasound based on the size of my uterus. She was concerned about an incorrect due date, but I knew my cycle well enough to know I was right. The two hour wait for the ultrasound was stressful. She had warned us we may not be able to hear a heartbeat that early in the pregnancy. Luckily we did and the technician confirmed the due date. My fibroid already measured 14cm, almost double the size it had been less than 9 months before.
Since fibroids can increase the rate of miscarriage, we waited as long as possible to tell others outside our immediate family the news, which wasn’t easy with my big belly! I look like I’m carrying twins, but am positive it’s just one little human in there. My uterus has expanded more rapidly to fit both the fibroid and baby (my uterus measures 10 weeks further along than I really am). I am more uncomfortable due to the fibroid and have some extra worries about how my little guy is doing. As scary as it’s been at times, he’s growing really well and the fibroid isn’t affecting him at all so far.