A Short Update: Good News and New Worries

Yesterday’s appointments went well for the largest part. I got to push Baby Azulito’s head out of the way (is it creepy I felt accomplished having an actual role in an ultrasound if it involved shoving my kid’s head around?). I didn’t cry once. I felt lighter and more grounded by the time our anniversary dinner rolled around. 

Baby A is estimated to weigh 4 lbs 9 oz at 32w1d. That sounds huge to me this early. The Miracle Toddler was nowhere near that size by this point although he ended up a good size at birth thankfully (~6.5 lbs). Way to grow, Azulito/a! It is a relief not to be facing any sign of Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR) at this point since I’m at elevated risk for that with my autoimmune issues. 

The pediatric urologist was very lovely. She says that “architecturally” baby’s kidneys are perfect-looking and that there are no presently visible signs of a medical problem with their operation. Because of this she is hopeful that in time the determination will be made that this kid simply has large kidneys and nothing more serious than the need for monitoring through his/her early life. 
We will have an ultrasound at her office in the local Children’s Hospital at 6 weeks after baby’s birth.  If no red flags appear then, baby will likely be checked once a year for a few years unless something changes. If red flags do appear we may be sent to the kidney specialist at the teaching hospital for more testing.  Fingers crossed that this all works out fine in the end. 

In other promising news (this is where I got to push baby’s head out of the way so the Perinatologist could measure the space between the edge of my placenta and cervical opening (OS)): My placenta has moved! Not enough to no longer be classified as placenta previa but 1.4 cm. This means that if it moves at least another 0.6 cm I may be cleared to try for a vaginal delivery. I will get rechecked, as will Baby A, on May 27th at 35 weeks. Fingers crossed on this front too!

The energy healer was not really “out there” to me at all. She is so much more reserved and demure (introspective?) in person than in her web presence. I have really no idea what she did or how apart from the fact that she did Reiki first then Yuen method for energetic clearing but I felt much more grounded and relaxed afterward. That was fantastic. 

She said some things about what she cleared that threw me for a little loop. The biggest one was that in a past life I was persecuted and this was interesting to her being that now I practice law.  (I think it better explains my activist youth and younger adulthood actually but that’s because the law I do now is primarily about other people’s money and corporate divorces. Nothing noble, really, except my pro bono work.) 

I had a persistent sense of Azulito/a and my late Mom being present throughout the treatment.  Afterward, I definitely felt my feet more rooted to the earth and my emotional and spiritual energy vibrating lower and more peacefully. All good even if I have no clue why or what happened during most of the hour I spent there. 

As for the scary news: I asked the Perinatologist (MFM) about what my OB had said the day before regarding the risk of my needing an emergency hysterectomy.  The MFM said that this could be due to placenta accreta (where the placenta invades the uterine wall) for which I’m at risk or because the lower part of the uterus does not contract like the upper portion does and has much more vascularization generally (more blood vessels, less natural ability to stop bleeding in lay terms) and sometimes bleeding with low-lying placentas cannot be stopped due to these factors, resulting in an emergency hysterectomy. 

Upon reflection that left me with a new question I plan to ask my OB on May 20th. I spoke with the LP about this last night and we agreed that if vaginal delivery is discouraged even if my placenta moves enough I will accept the scheduled cesarean over running the risk of delivering vaginally and then being rushed to the OR for an emergency hysterectomy. One more thing to worry about. Darn it. 

The anniversary dinner date last night was awesome. I gorged on seafood (Lobster Bisque and Lobster and Giant Prawn Thermidor, taking an extra antihistamine and some tummy meds for the dairy allergy) and the LP had to-die-for mushroom soup and a veal chop.  (I cannot bear the thought of veal calves suffering so have never and will never eat veal and the LP does not eat it except at this restaurant which supports locally and responsibly raised livestock.). 

We know the restaurant owner and he was so happy to see us and brought us a special dessert with “Happy Anniversary” beautifully written in dark chocolate on the plate (which we sampled even though we were both stuffed beyond belief). Our server also recognized us and made me a fancy mocktail while the LP had a lovely Pinot Noir. It was wonderful and recalling the evening and our love for each other now brings tears to my eyes. I also got a beautiful new necklace that touched my heart – it’s made with a stone my Mom introduced me to with beautiful earrings late in her life. 

In other news: My left-side bruised rib is killing me… Last night it hurt so much I was whimpering as I tried to get comfortable at bed time. I hope this doesn’t take as long as an actually cracked rib to heal. It woke me up and resulted in me writing this post, however, so I suppose it’s not all bad!

Thank you all so much for your kind words and warm wishes yesterday. They mean so much to me, as you do. 

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As the Baby Turns – 32w1d and Counting

The fun continues!

Baby Azulito/a has officially turned into head-down position. That may be mostly pointless considering that unless this placenta previa and risk of placenta accreta situation resolves itself, I will be having surgery to deliver this baby but I understand that in Chinese Medicine having baby aligned vertically is important regardless of the delivery method so I’m counting this as a blessing. At least until the baby turns again (which could happen, the little one hasn’t been the most compliant with plans to date).

At yesterday’s OB appointment I was reminded that I’m at risk of having an emergency hysterectomy following the baby’s delivery if my imperfect placenta does not release from the wall of my uterus (or has invaded it, which can be difficult to determine on ultrasound with certainty, I’m told). I know that my OB has to make sure that I understand that this is a risk but I could have lived without the reminder. It is much easier not to worry about something when the last time it was mentioned is more than 3 months ago. The risk of this happening is not great – which is awesome – but the fact that it is a risk at all brings me to my knees every time I think about it. Plan: Do not think about it. And no visits to Dr. Google.

I have been coughing so hard from the respiratory flu I contracted (thank you, LP) a few weeks ago that I’ve pulled muscles and am now experiencing the equivalent of bruised ribs on both sides (worse on the left). This was confirmed by my OB yesterday as being just that and not something more serious, thankfully. Still, the coughing gets me up every night and has worn me out most days. My kingdom for some cough syrup or a good sedative.

I’m now 32 weeks which means about 5 weeks to go. Yesterday I discovered that the scheduled caesarean was mis-scheduled for almost 39 weeks. I felt and heard the panic in my voice as I challenged the date at my OB appointment. I barely contained myself from bursting into tears with my OB. He immediately acknowledged this was not in accordance with his instructions (his instructions were 37 or 37.5 weeks), said he’d have the surgery rescheduled and left a note on my chart instructing the staff to call me with the correct date. The risk of going to 39 weeks is stillbirth, of course, and my anxiety over that has been at an all-time high this past month so I really did not need that emotional kick in the cajones yesterday. I have yet to receive a phone call and I will be calling tomorrow if I have not heard by then. Call me distinctly unhappy about this hiccup.

In other news, I have our next follow-up and first biophysical profile (BPP) ultrasound with the Perinatology (Maternal Fetal Medicine) Clinic at our local women’s hospital later this morning (very soon, in fact). I am praying that baby Azulito/a passes that test with flying colours because more worries is something I can live without. I am also scheduled to speak with the Pediatric Urologist about those enlarged kidneys, what they could mean, how any medical issue with them might get diagnosed after delivery and what treatments could be required if they are not simply “large normal” or don’t resolve on their own as everyone hopes.

The LP is in trial today so I’m going it alone at these two medical appointments (same with yesterday’s little chat about placenta accreta, hysterectomy and messed up delivery dates). This is probably better for him in the sense that he is able to stress and worry less when he is not face-to-face with these realities but I do wish things were otherwise and he could be with me. My nerves feel jangled.

On that note and how to unjangle: Later today, I will be seeing an energy healer whom I’ve never met before. She’s trained in Reiki, Yuen Method and Trilotherapy. If any of you have experience with the latter two practices, I’d love to hear from you! My long-time TCMD and acupuncturist recommended I see this woman after I admitted to being at a breaking point last week emotionally from being sick with the flu, sick with morning sickness that has debilitated me despite the drugs lately, and being scared of this baby not making it out of me alive. She suggested it did not seem to be something physical in origin but energetic or spiritual. I’ve been warned that this healer is “a little out there”. We shall see. It cannot hurt. I hope.

Finally, tonight the LP and I are going on a date (!?!) to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. When we got married, I wanted to go to Italy and be married with two witnesses and nothing else. The LP wanted a big wedding. We did the latter and the deal was that by our 5th anniversary we’d make that trip to Italy that I wanted (I really wanted to get married on the Amalfi coast. Cliché perhaps, I know, but call me romantic and in need of an exotic honeymoon). Well, that’s not going to happen. This is our fifth and we are so in debt as a result of the past two and a half years of trying to have a second living child that a trip to Europe is out of the question. Maybe for our tenth?

It’s weird to think about the fact that we’ve been together for over 8 years… almost 9 years though officially only eight and a half… we have been through so much, suffered so many heartaches and heartbreaks. We each wear many scars from our prior lives and from the wounds that came with forging a life and trying to build a family together. I started trying to get pregnant before we were even married… wow. It has been a rather lengthy and complicated journey. Ten pregnancies later, here I am… praying that baby Azulito/a comes home in our arms, safe and sound, in another 5-ish weeks and celebrating five years of marriage to my soul mate.

Excuse me whilst I wipe away the tears.

It will be a busy day. Wish us luck. Please.

My Transformative Introduction to the Brennan School Approach to Energy Healing

Last evening I had an amazing experience with a practitioner trained in the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. Brennan, a former NASA physicist and now healer, speaker and as best as I can tell a successful and effective entrepreneur. Her website describes “Brennan Healing Science” as “dedicated to the evolution of the human spirit.” The system “combines hands-on healing techniques with spiritual and psychological processes touching every aspect of your life” and is founded on a mind-body consciousness that speaks clearly to me at a personal, spiritual and intellectual level.

As of last night, I can say it also speaks to me at a visceral, physical level. After my initial session with a seasoned Brennan-trained healer yesterday, I can say I would recommend this to anyone needing to re-ground, re-balance, re-energize and – above all – heal on so many levels. In my personal experience, a connection to my healers is critical and I am so grateful for a local friend’s recommendation to see the healer I did last night. I also owe warm thanks to Just Another Infertility Blog for first telling me about Brennan energy healing work and opening my heart and mind to this new modality.

For more information on Brennan Healing Science or should you wish to look for a practitioner in the U.S. or internationally (you can also do distance healing via Skype or telephone), please check out Brennan’s website.

I am not emotionally in a place to dive into what my session was all about as it touches on some of the most vulnerable places in my life at the moment. Those vulnerabilities need my tending and time before I can share them or some of them. What I can tell you is that I feel so much better than I have been for weeks. I feel whole again – not super-hero strong, but whole – and both enlightened and lighter. I believe in me and in my abilities to do “this” – all of it, the pregnancy, the immune therapy, the endless medical appointments and risk calculations, the sense of shortcomings and personal failure at work and at home – again.

That is huge, friends. Huge.

I also felt this incredible connection to the spirits of those who I have felt with me on this journey, especially in the months preceding and during this pregnancy, namely my Mom and Azulito/a, this little spirit baby who has stuck around and made comeback after comeback when medicine, my immune system and who-knows-what-all-else failed me time and time again. Finally, I felt and continue to feel a profound bond in my heart and being with the LP. I see now that I needed this affirmation – that despite the strain that our journey to create and now grow our family has had on each of us and on the LP and I as a unit, we have a bond that does have super-hero strength, that is unspeakably beautiful and enduring – as much as any other.

This healing session could not have come at a better time. This afternoon we have our follow-up anatomy ultrasound to assess whether there are any abnormalities that could be attributable to the elevated alpha-fetoprotein test result I received early last week. I am nervous but I am not falling apart. I credit the energy work in which I engaged last night as making a tremendous difference to my state-of-mind this morning and hopefully my mind-body wellness going forward during the next week of medical appointments, medically-necessary travel and testing.

Today, I am in love with you, Azulito. And you, LP. And you, Miracle Toddler, despite your penchant for way-too-late bedtimes and your almost-unhealthy current obsession with all things super-hero. And I am feeling an abundance of love and compassion for me today – a feeling not easy to come by lately but one I realized that has been sorely missing and much needed. Welcome home, everyone. There is room in my heart for all of us. I am so grateful to carry you there with me.