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.

Cautiously Optimistic and Other Mixed Emotions

This will be brief out of necessity but I wanted to update because I know some of you are likely worrying as I have been.

I was finally able to obtain a copy of last week Thursday’s follow-up anatomy scan to assess, in part, the risk of Azulito/a having an open neural tube defect (or anencephaly) due to my positive screen for elevated alpha-fetoprotein last month. It does not say much except “normal” for both the brain and spinal cord components.

Incidentally, the report also mentions that my currently low-lying placenta is “posterior” but appear to be entirely cover the internal cervical os, meaning we have a placenta previa diagnosis right now (as in the previous week’s ultrasound) but that could change in the coming weeks. In the context of everything else that we are facing and have been facing, I am not losing any sleep over this right now. So I may need a c-section. Or I may not. That would have been very upsetting to me 5 years ago. Now it’s no big deal. Truthfully, it is barely even on my radar. Funny how context can change perspectives.

Because my family doctor likes to kick me when I’m down, apparently, I should mention that she had her nurse tell me I was required to drive to the clinic (in lousy road conditions and during rush hour, I might add – there have been a large number of motor vehicle accidents in our city over the past 24 hours) to pay $10 before they would release my report to me. Really? It is not the ten bucks. It is that demanding I pay that first meant I could not get my result faxed to me and had to waste an hour of my day travelling there and back, paying the lousy $10 and proving I’d paid to get the copy. They could simply have told me the results over the phone – would that have been so difficult? Suffice to say I will be looking for a new doctor for me and the Miracle Toddler at some point in the foreseeable future.

In other news: another recent medical appointment and two upcoming ones.

1. Yesterday I saw the Immunologist to whom my family doctor had referred me. I liked her a fair bit. She read through the reports from Dr. Braverman and was very impressed at the scope and nature of testing and the care I’m receiving. She commented on not wanting to imagine how much that has cost me but noted that she felt I was getting very good care and was wise to continue to have my immune system function monitored given how things have unfolded. We had a good discussion about how she wishes to help me after this pregnancy is over, some helpful suggestions for allergy testing on the Miracle Toddler and managing his one known (suspected until proven through testing) allergy for now and she prescribed me a nasal steroid to help with the blocked nose that’s contributing to my lousy sleep experiences lately.

2. Tomorrow is our Level II Ultrasound at the hospital and meeting with the Perinatologist. I am still worried because I know that things can be missed on routine ultrasounds performed by technicians and not reviewed by perinatologists (maternal-fetal medicine specialists). But I am relieved to be heading into tomorrow’s appointment with less sheer terror and anxiety than the condition in which I’ve spent the past week and particularly the past 4 days since last Thursday’s ultrasound.

3. Next Tuesday I see my ObGyn for the first time since I was pregnant with the Miracle Toddler. I am both hopeful and deeply anxious. He is the head of high risk obstetrics at our chosen hospital and in the past I really liked him both as an expert in the field and a treating doctor. My family doctor’s constant second-guessing the legitimacy of my immunological issues and Dr. Braverman’s recommendations has tested my confidence in whether my ObGyn will take a similar approach. I really do not want to go shopping for a new Ob, though if that’s necessary I will do so. What choice would I have? The LP plans to come at my request. I need him there to keep my poop together should the doctor say anything particularly foolish or dismissive. At this point, my patience has worn gossamer-thin.

On that ambivalent note, I bid thee farewell until next update. Thank you – each and every one of you – for reading, hoping, praying, thinking of us and generally adding your pleas for positive outcomes to our own. I am so grateful, more than you may ever know.