The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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My pregnancy started out normal. Then at 22 weeks, an ultrasound showed that my amniotic fluid level was low and that I could have oliohydramnios, a condition in which there’s not enough amniotic fluid. Two weeks later, my doctor checked the level again and it had dropped further. She told me to drink a lot of water and come back in two days. When I was tested again, the fluid level was the same and I was put on temporary bed rest. (I was allowed to shower and use the bathroom.) One week later, an ultrasound showed that my fluid level was still low and I was put on permanent bed rest. The hardest part was that I didn’t know if I was losing fluid on a daily basis. It is very difficult to replace lost amniotic fluid so it becomes a matter of sustaining what you have left.
When I was on bed rest, I felt as if I was robbed of the joys of pregnancy. I even canceled my baby shower. But, after about four weeks, I embraced my situation. I decided it was my job to make sure this child survived. Since my fluid level was so low, I rarely felt my daughter move. I put on 40 pounds because I would constantly eat things to try to incite movement. I was also drinking 10 8-ounce glasses of water every day. I was able to maintain my fluid level for six weeks, but then at week 32, an ultrasound showed that my fluid level had dropped dramatically. I was hospitalized and put on an IV for a week. My fluid level went up slightly so I was discharged, but a visit to my OB-GYN four days later showed another decrease in fluid. At this point, I checked into the hospital and was there until I gave birth. At 35 weeks, an ultrasound showed that I had zero amniotic fluid and I was immediately prepped for a C-section. The surgery went really fast and my daughter was perfectly healthy, weighing in at 5 pounds, 9 ounces. Today, she is in the 95th percentile for height and weight.
Jennifer and her daughter.