36 Weeks: My Wake-Up Call

baby w

As you read this, I’m likely downing my fourth or fifth glass of water today. But that’s all because of yesterday’s OB visit. Let’s revisit that, shall we?

I’ve been skating in the boring lane for most of this pregnancy. Praise the Lawd. But it’s days like yesterday that I’m reminded that “spring chicken” and “young and knocked up” no longer describe me. At least not in OB/GYN world.

Usually when the ultrasound tech says things like, “Let me just double check those measurements,” I’m on guard. I tried to shake it but when I walked into the room to see my OB a few minutes later and she immediately went to the computer instead of the usual chit-chat, I knew something was brewing.

“Well, I see you decided to be interesting instead of boring, Kathryn,” she said. It appears my amniotic fluid levels have dropped from the 43rd-percentile to the 18th-percentile. Um, not good. I’m teetering around 5cm of fluid. I got the stern look and an order to drink at least 10 glasses of water a day. Hello, wake-up call. In hindsight, I’ve been extraordinarily thirsty the last few weeks. But, you know, I was busy doing things. Being a mom. Scrubbing tile grout. Cleaning dishwashers. You know, important things.

I forgot to be vigilant.

And as we discussed my plan for delivery, I realized that my dream of delivering VBAC could be flying out the window all because I got too comfortable. Bottom line is if my fluid levels don’t rise (read: double) then momma is headed to the OR for a c-section. And that just really freaks me out.

To really understand my fear, you have to rewind to 2009. Luke’s birth. It was traumatic and those scars I will carry with me for a lifetime. As I asked for prayers today on Facebook and via text with friends, a wonderful friend said this and it totally got my attention:

Stay grounded in the present and try to not let fear from the past overtake you.

Those words were exactly what my heart, this baby’s heart, needed to hear. You see, there are really only four people who intimately, and fully, understand the fear I have of repeating a c-section: me, my husband, God and Mary. My last pregnancy and delivery carried so much fear, so much doubt, so many unknowns. But that was 2009. This is 2014.

Fear is a funny thing. Sometimes I catch it as a glimmer in my rear view mirror, often doing a double take to see if it was really there and then quickly dismissing it. Other times, I can manage it, with prayer and amazing friends, I see fear for what it is and I conquer it. And then sometimes it starts to overwhelm me. It feels crippling.

I’m a woman of faith and I recognize that my God is almighty and powerful. But while I trust in His wisdom, I’m also human. I fear things that I shouldn’t, worry when there’s no need and go down the “what if” path when I should always avoid it. Today has brought back so many emotions, but it’s also reminded me that there’s only so much I can control and the rest I have to place in God’s hands.

And let me tell you, control freaks do not handle that transition of power well. At all.

Today at 1:30 I’ll repeat the ultrasound. The results of that test will tell us the next steps: more hydration and resting or packing and heading to the OR. I promise to post an update here when I have one. Until then…

St. Gerard Majella, pray for us!


  1. Catherine Boucher on April 2, 2014 at 6:39 am

    I am so sorry you are going through this scare right now. Your friend’s advice to stay grounded in the present and not to let fear overtake you is so beautiful. This fellow control freak can relate to your struggle to let go. May the Blessed Mother wrap you & Baby in her mantle to comfort you through the unknown. After reading your post, God presented me with an opportunity to stop being a Lenten failure with a specific mission: offer it all up for Kathryn and Baby Whitaker. I am spiritually adopting you and Baby. You two are in my prayers, and I am uniting any inconveniences or sufferings I may have for you two. Know that you have many prayer warriors in your corner, and we are with you in this! St. Gerard Majella, pray for us!

  2. Beth (A Mom's Life) on April 2, 2014 at 7:54 am

    If only I could share all of my extra fluid with you. I just got back from my 38 week OB visit and I am measuring 45 weeks thanks to all this fluid. I will be praying that your levels go up and that you get your VBAC!

    And letting the Lord take control can be so freeing if you are able to let yourself let go.

  3. Jennifer @ Little Silly Goose on April 2, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Kathryn, I’m so sorry to hear this news. Praying for you, your family, and this sweet baby. Know that God is with you today.

  4. Lisa Schmidt on April 2, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I was given the following advice about 5 months ago while also in that C-section/VBAC teeter totter:

    There are no more holy times in a woman’s life than when she conceives and when she delivers. Accordingly, these are the times when we are most subject to attack by evil. For so many of us, this takes the form of anxiety. Remember that God has a beautiful plan for you and your baby. Just stay faithful in prayer.


  5. Nicole on April 2, 2014 at 8:26 am

    Although I only know you virtually, I do know that you are a “take the bull by the horns” kind of gal. I am sure you are doing everything you can to make sure you are following doctor’s orders and praying like crazy that the good Lord can keep things on the up and up. I know you have many in your corner, and you can add me to the list. Prayers headed your and baby Whitaker’s way! Drink up, Mama! I love the words your friend provided about being in the present. So hard to do, but such amazing advice. Take care!

  6. Bonnie on April 2, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I have a pretty good idea of how you feel and I am so sorry you’re going through it. Prayers from the Heart of Illinois!

  7. Michelle F. on April 2, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I wish I could message you privately to give you some good tips in this situation, but I’ll offer what I can here. First, my family will be praying for all of you. Second, I was in exactly your situation several years ago. After two very traumatic C-sections, some serious allergies to anesthesia making maximum pain control impossible, and a healthy dose of PTSD, I was facing a third. I would enter panic attacks just contemplating it. While I could give you many practical tips, my most helpful two are these: Find a single prayer or phrase you can repeat to yourself over and over in that OR room if you have to go there. Mine was “I feel fine, the baby is fine.” Yours might be “God is good all the time…Come Holy Spirit, etc.” Say it aloud, say it in your head, ask Scott to say it to you, and say it repeatedly. Will those ugly other voices to go away by sheer force. You can do this!

    Also, you may want to envision a safe place where you are enjoying your baby during the surgery. Get really detailed with your visualization – REALLY DETAILED. Mine was a little cottage in the woods. I imagined the door, the entry hallway, the the floors, the carpeting, what books were on the shelf, each tree outside, yaddah, yaddah…You are such a visual person with your graphic design, etc., this may be easier for you than a talking prayer. You can envision yourself holding your baby in a chair by the fireplace, or, if the baby is a distraction, reading a good book, curling up under a blanket, being held in your special place by Jesus, etc. Maybe yours isn’t a cottage. Maybe it’s a beautiful mansion…no matter. It is what you choose. The point is to give your brain so much work it can’t “go there.” Use your self-proclaimed “control freak” personality to get your visualization just right. To help, you can tell your OR team what you’re doing and ask them to support you by talking as little as possible (or asking your anesthesiologist or Scott to have you describe the house to you). Using these techniques, and with much prayer/credit to God, my third C-section was a totally different and pleasant (yes, pleasant) experience. So know one bad C-section (or two) doesn’t equal another.

    In any case, no matter what you do, many “virtual” and “non-virtual” people are supporting you.
    All those prayers and goodwill will not go to waste.


  8. Ann-Marie on April 2, 2014 at 8:44 am

    “Drink, woman, drink!” (Followed by) “pee, woman, pee,”. Was a constant refrain from my husband. Prayers for you all. May the fluid be with you.

  9. Anne on April 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Kathryn, Even if you end up needing another c-section, YOU CAN DO IT! You can face your fears and come through fine. I have had six c-sections. Number two was not easy, and I was fearful about having another. But I put my faith in the Blessed Mother and she got me through the next four c-sections just fine, including my last one at age 43.

    Praying for you!

  10. Andrea on April 2, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Wow…did I ever need to read these words today. Even during your own times of struggle you are sharing just the right nuggets of wisdom. And Lisa’s comment, needed that one too. I will continue praying for an increase of fluids and decrease in anxiety. Xoxo

  11. Kimberly on April 2, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I delivered all 5 of my children vaginally, but the first was a traumatic birth because our son got stuck after he crowned…so he had to be vacuumed out…causing a massive tear for me, followed up by more complications for both of us. He became severely jaundiced, and my milk supply dried up overnight because my anxiety was sky-high…which turned into PPD for 3 months. But God knew I could handle 4 more births (thankfully all uneventful)…although I have asked God, “ARE YOU SURE???”

    Kathryn…telling you not to be afraid is like telling someone not to be human. But one thing is for sure, “GOD’S GOT THIS…100%”!

    Love and prayers!!!

  12. MamaH on April 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Hi Kathryn! I’m new here, but I just wanted to tell you that I’m on this fitness kick where I drink a gallon of water every day, and I HATE it. I’ll be offering it up for you now.

    Also, I know this is not anywhere near what you’ve experienced, but I, too, had a difficult delivery in 2009. I couldn’t even walk afterwards, and I had pelvic girdle pain for a few years afterwards. I had a ton of fear about how my next delivery would go, but I delivered my 5th baby in 2013 with no problems! I pray you have a similar experience!:)

  13. Alicea C on April 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Prayers and thoughts with all of you today.
    It is an emotional roller coaster and I remember it well with baby 4 and 5.
    Remember there is a plan…and it may not be your plan. Wishes for you and your healthy baby!

  14. Melody on April 2, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Praying for you Kathryn and the healthy and safety of your babe. 🙂

  15. Katie Guvernator on April 2, 2014 at 10:22 am

    SO many prayers for you and your family coming from College Station!

  16. Jen on April 2, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Prayers for you. Boy do i relate to the fear and letting go of control. God has you though. God bless you,

  17. Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventures on April 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Look at these layers and layers of prayers — wrapping ’round you like a blanket. Safe and secure, under Mary’s mantle.

    Invoking St Gerard on your behalf today — expecting a good report this afternoon.

    We love you!

  18. Dianne on April 2, 2014 at 10:52 am

    I am teaching at St. Theresa’s this week, and there’s no better place to pray than among these sweet and spirited children of God. I will lift you and that baby up in prayer at 1:30 pm today, knowing that God will keep you comforted and give you peace, no matter what the outcome. He is with you, right there in that room.

  19. Megan on April 2, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Praying! Mighty God, St. Gerard, St. Gianna, guardian angels, pray for this family and wrap them in your protection…

  20. Jenny on April 2, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Many prayers sent up to St Gerard for you and baby!

  21. Mamabearjd on April 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Praying right now.

  22. Renee on April 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Mike and I know Good St. Gerard, powerful intercessor before the thrown of God, oh so well. We prayed to him when we wanted to conceive and now look what we have today, 3 beautiful healthy children, ALL delivered by c-section! All God’s plan! First one’s head was measuring WAY to large for me to deliver naturally without major discomfort and tearing, so my doctor sent me home to pray with Mike. We informed the Dr. by 10pm of our decision to go ahead with the c-section and we reported in by 6am. Baby was completely out and delivery was over by 8:10am!

    I’m praying for you girl!

  23. […] for being so light on the quotes. The baby scare this week got me […]

  24. A Letter to My Unborn Baby - Team Whitaker on March 22, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    […] I asked Mary for strength and I relied on God for my peace and state of mind. There was the amniotic fluid scare at 36 weeks and I felt myself going back to the dark place, but it was […]

  25. […] pregnancy has been incredibly healing, both for me and our entire family. With the exception of last week’s cray-cray, it’s been boring all the way.{ Sidenote here: my amniotic fluid levels have almost tripled […]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.