I am just two days shy of 37 weeks pregnant which is really wonderful as my OBGYN initially expected to deliver my son at around 32 weeks if my lupus symptoms continued to get worse. I experienced an episode of slight inflammation and joint pain around 28 weeks but thankfully it subsided within a week before reappearing a solid six weeks later. Starting at 34 weeks, I noticed gradual swelling in my feet and ankles and eventually in my hands and abdomen as well. Although water retention is common to a certain extent during the last trimester of pregnancy especially after prolonged standing, severe edema can be problematic and a cause for concern especially in combination with an elevated blood pressure. Below is a picture of my swollen feet and legs while compressed with compression socks. Without the compression socks, my legs were almost double in size.
Luckily for me, my blood pressure has remained normal and even low at times during the entirety of the pregnancy but the severity of the swelling and the resulting immobility prompted my OBGYN to admit me to the hospital for five days and run some tests. For the duration of the hospital stay the baby was monitored twice a day and I had regular blood pressure checks, as well as blood and urine tests. The good news is that the baby seems unaffected by my condition and is very content and quite active which is all I can really ask for. Aside from not being able to do anything all day for five consecutive days, the most difficult part of having to stay at the hospital was having to be away from my two eldest children. My husband and I decided not to bring them in the hospital to visit in fear of causing them worry and stress and also because we didn’t want them catching anything while they were there visiting. However, I spoke to my kids multiple times per day and we exchanged pictures via text. With my husband and parents taking turns caring for the kids, I didn’t worry too much about them as I knew they were in good hands.
Prior to my unexpected hospital stay, I had prepared several freezer meals for the kids to make meal times easier for my parents while I was in the hospital for delivery. Between the freezer meals and my mom’s cooking, the kids had nutritious meals to look forward to even though I wasn’t there. However by the fourth day, the food had run out. My husband who has never cooked or even successfully made coffee in his life, took it upon himself to use my meatball recipe to make meatballs. I was a bit skeptic but quite proud of him for not taking the easy way out and buying a meal for our children instead. He even sent me a nicely plated meal of his meatballs, rice and steamed vegetables.
Unfortunately five days of complete bed rest and having my feet elevated did not help improve the edema, so I asked my OBGYN to send me home so that I could rest there comfortably until I am ready to be induced. Due to an increased risk of additional complications I will be induced at 37 weeks if all goes according to plan. Fortunately all hospital bags and all preparation for baby is complete — all there is left to do is rest and enjoy the time left with my two eldest. By the end of next week we will be a family of five rather than four and we all absolutely cannot wait to meet the newest addition to our family!