The majority of my pregnancy flew by with ease. I mean, between working full-time, having a two-year-old, & keeping up with my “wifely duties,” half of the time I forgot that I was even pregnant!
Now, when I say “with ease,” I’m just referencing how I felt on a day-to-day basis. Thankfully I never experienced any morning sickness, heartburn, or any other typical pregnancy symptoms (other than the fact that I fell asleep at my desk at least six times per day.)
The doctor’s appointments, on the other hand, were the complete opposite. They were definitely not like the incredible experience I had with Ayda back in San Francisco, 3 years prior. This time, I was fully expecting to have the same doctor throughout my pregnancy, one who I would feel comfortable with, who’d hug me when she saw me, and talk about how beautiful my baby would be (come to find out after complaining to my Facebook Mom-group, I just got extremely lucky the first time around *shout out to Dr. Chan*)
From day one, every appointment I had I was seen by a different doctor and a different nurse, all of which who had no idea anything about me or my pregnancy and relied on me to inform them of my history. Call me high-maintenance but isn’t there something called a chart?!
Because of the inconsistency with my doctors, they somehow “forgot” to schedule my 18 week anatomy scan, so instead (after I called and asked about it) they scheduled it at around 24 weeks, the same day as my regular 24 week appointment.
FYI: Anatomy Scans are basically a very in-depth ultrasound done by the Radiology department that checks for any birth defects, and is also when you can typically determine the sex of the baby. For more info on Anatomy scans, check out this article.
Although there were no previous indicators of anything being wrong with my baby, anatomy scans are always a very nerve-wracking time because there is so much unknown! I left with the direction that I could expect a call within a week if they found anything worth looking into further.
Weeks went by and I hadn’t heard anything back. Good news, right? That’s what I thought. I show up at my 30 week appointment with, you guessed it, a new doctor, and the first thing she said to me was “You are aware of the abnormalities that were found at your anatomy scan, right?” Mind you, this was about 6 weeks later. Apparently they were under the impression that I was given the results at my 24 week appointment, that happened the same day as the scan. But, if they had a brain larger than the size of a peanut, they would’ve realized that the results cannot come back that quickly!
Anyway, my heart just dropped as soon as I heard those words, and I prepared myself for the worst.
What they saw on the scans was a small, bright, white spot on her heart. She said that it is a common indicator for Down Syndrome. Believe it or not, it was actually a sigh of relief, given that if Down Syndrome was the worst possible outcome, at least it was nothing life-threatening. She eased my mind and let me know that it is typically only a huge red flag if it is accompanied by other abnormalities, such as a shorter femur, flat nasal bridge, and a few other indicators, all of which she did not have. She said she was going to send the scans to a specialist just to double check, and that they would be in touch with me either way.
Don’t get me wrong, I left the office with tears in my eyes and completely broke down in the car (and at work…and at home…) because of how much information I had just received, but after looking it up online (typically the worst possible thing to do) I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually really common, and everything generally ended up being fine.
A few more weeks went by and-- to absolutely no surprise at all-- I never got a call letting me know what the final decision was after the scans were sent to the specialist. Talk about annoying! I decided to give it a rest and stop worrying about it, and didn’t bring it up again until my 36 week appointment with, yes, a new doctor.
She routinely did an ultrasound to measure my fluid levels. She confirmed that the specialist didn’t find anything else in relation to the spot on her heart and it is likely just a calcium spot that will go away with time. What she did find, however, was that my fluid levels were “dangerously low” (her words). If it’s not one thing, it’s another, am I right?!
She measured about 6cm of fluid surrounding the baby, and the low-enough-to-induce-labor level was 5cm. She insisted that I take it easy and drink a boat load of water every day. I also had to go have Non-Stress Testing done three time a week until I gave birth.
I remember after this appointment, everything started to just get so hectic. I was still working, so I was having to leave in the middle of the day, three times a week, to go be monitored for about an hour, never knowing if “today would be the day” or not. I had no answers. No one had any answers. It was just a wait-and-see game.
I was thankfully able to get my fluid levels up a bit, I was measuring about 7.5cm each time I went in. But they were very adamant on if I thought that I was leaking any fluid at all, I was to go to Labor and Delivery immediately.
Fast forward a couple of weeks to the day before my baby shower, I believe it was July 10th. I was outside helping Adrian move around some tables, getting ready for the party. It was 113 degrees (I wish I was exaggerating) and I was wearing beige linen pants. We got done moving things around and I plopped down on the couch with my legs spread open to let things air out a bit. Adrian looked over at me and it was as if he saw a ghost. Everything was soaked down there.
I immediately started panicking. I didn’t feel anything leaking… Was it just sweat or did my water actually break? I called L&D and they said that given the circumstances of my pre-existing low fluid issue, that I needed to go in immediately so they can test it to see if it was, in fact, amniotic fluid.
We arrived and right away they (very uncomfortably) stuck a swap all the way up there and put it in some magic potion to see if it changed colors. Hallelujah! It was just sweat! Disgusting, I know. But finally I could catch a break, right? Wrong again.
The doctor who came in (do I even need to mention that it was a new doctor at this point?) took one look at me and my stomach, as I was laying there on the gurney, and said “When was the last time you had a growth check on your baby?” I told him they hadn’t measured my stomach or the baby since my anatomy scan. He told me that my stomach looked a little small for my gestational age, and he called for an ultrasound machine and started measuring all of her limbs, stomach, and head to get a better idea of exactly what her size was.
He wrote some numbers down on a piece of paper and left the room for what then seemed like the longest 15 minutes of my life. He came back and told us that, according to his numbers, she is only measuring at 32 weeks (I was a little over 36 weeks at the time) and we would be lucky if she was even 5lbs at birth, and diagnosed her with IUGR He scheduled me for induction at 39 weeks as well as a follow up with a high-risk specialist the following day.
Of course, in my mind, this is all I could think about non-stop. I ended up going on my maternity leave the next day, two weeks earlier than I was originally planning on, because the stress and anxiety about all of these things continuing to happen were too much to handle. I had my appointment with the high-risk specialist and he did another very in depth ultrasound to measure her size, once again.
His findings, however, were much different than the previous doctors. He measured her to be weighing approximately 6.9lbs and found that my fluid levels were not a cause for concern at all! He told me it was not necessary to be induced early and cancelled my induction. I know, WHAT THE HELL!
As irritated as I was about all of the unwarranted stress that took place over the previous 5-6 weeks, I was so relieved that everything was ok and that I could just enjoy the last few weeks with Ayda before D-Day.
Well, until I went into labor two days later...