Tuesday, June 9, 2015

34 Weeks

I'm 34 weeks and am unraveling. Like my friend Jen said, at this point the baby would likely live if it were born but it's all on you to notice if something abnormal is going on in there. The truth is I'm not confident in my ability to detect if something is wrong in my own womb.

The anxiety and worry are ramping up. For example, Baby #3 has had the hiccups several nights each week for the last couple weeks. I lay there and wonder if I should act. Yes, hiccups are considered "good" because they're evidence of practice breathing in utero. But they can also be a sign of distress that there's intermittent cord compression and it's baby's body's natural reaction to try to get up off the cord. If I wait until the hiccups are over, then fall back to sleep and the baby is dead by morning how can I live myself? But can I really put myself and E through the fright of running to the ER three times a week in the middle of the night and having to call someone to come stay with Dragon while she's sleeping? 

Or how am I supposed to know if that burst of vigorous movement is a reassuring sign or a redflag that baby is in distress and trying desperately to reposition? 

I'm doing the best I can to walk the line of vigilance and hope. I cried through most of my checkup today. Not because the baby is in danger. Simply because there is so much pressure on me to be attuned to what's happening inside my body and I don't trust myself or my body to keep this baby safe. 

Presently I attend regular OB checkups and also weekly biophysical profiles with a perinatologist's office. This means a professional is checking in on the baby every 3-4 days. It's always nice to check in but I know how quickly things can change so the peace-of-mind is short-lived. 

Further, the weekly BPP's only take specific measurements and don't look for cord entanglement. We don't know what killed A, but two separate perinatologists have theorized it was an umbilical cord accident of some sort. He was born with a single cord loop around his neck; though they don't believe this is what killed him. Fifteen months later, when the specialist saw the cord wrapped around Dragon's neck twice on ultrasound, he recommended we induce that day at 37 1/2 weeks. I'm batting a thousand when it comes to nuchal cords. 

Yes, I realize the cord is floating everywhere and with a big ole third trimester baby it's hard to visualize the cord. Yes, I understand the majority of babies who are born with the cord around their necks are totally fine (85% is the statistic I've heard). But if something happens to this kid and it could have been prevented or I could have taken some sort of action...how the hell am I going to live with myself? These were the bullet points of the back-and-forth conversation I had with my OB provider today. Her point is, what are you going to do if there is some sort of entanglement? Implying that ignorance is bliss and looking for entanglement at each week's ultrasound will only cause me to worry more. I don't know what I'll do if they see something suspicious. It really depends on the circumstances. Is it a single nuchal cord? Is the cord around baby's neck and also looped around the ankle? Is there a true knot in the cord? 

I do feel that I'd be more levelheaded than I was when approached about Dragon. Instead of immediately pulling the trigger (without even discussing it with my husband), I'd ask the specialist what the alternatives are, get input from my OB provider and think it through a little before making a decision. Yet I know from experience, it's hard to keep any faith when you're so scared and so vulnerable and the stakes are so high.  

So after a tearful conversation (I think I've cried at 60% of my OB checkups this pregnancy), she agreed to send the order to the perinatologist asking them to look for entanglement while they're doing the BPP scan each week. My husband's response to this sums it up, "Thanks for being such a great advocate for our children both dead, alive and cookin'."

I am trying to take it day-by-day but damn these emotions are getting the best of me.  


  1. Oh, man. Hang in there, friend. It's so incredibly stressful. M had hiccups all the time, too, and it could be totally crazy making. (He had hiccups a lot after he was born, too.) I don't remember him doing any really crazy active movements, but if he had I know I would have FREAKED OUT. There is nothing rational about all of this. I remember E said, 'I wish that you could have a window in your tummy so we could look in and make sure baby brother is doing ok.' Truer words never were spoken. Sending huge, huge hugs and love to you and your family (dead, alive and cookin' - is it bad that I chuckled?) and as much support as can be sent through online messages: you are not crazy, you don't have to be levelheaded, you are doing your very best and that is all that can be done (which, of course, is what makes it so freaking hard). A few more weeks. A few more weeks.

    1. Thanks Friend. It's not bad that you chuckled; means you and E have a similar sense of humor.

      I love that quote by your little E. The world according to children - it's so logical sometimes. If there was a window into my womb I wouldn't be nearly as worried.

  2. You're so close! Hang in there. xoxo

    1. Thanks Mama Bear. I am embracing the busyness of daily life: attending to a toddler, balancing work and home, etc. This helps keep my mind off all the possible things that could be going wrong at any given second. It's the most effective coping tool I have right now.

  3. I'm thinking about you and baby. Sending love and HOPE xx