Thursday, March 16, 2017

T -10 weeks

It's been awhile since I've written publicly about our pregnancy with Katherine.  Each week in my planner, I journal a little pregnancy update.  I write about how I'm feeling, my fears, and any doctors concerns or notes.  But I realized today, that I should blog again.  The great thing about the blog is it gives me a place to save her pictures and the pictures of me pregnant all together.

3-7, The bubble by her mouth is her umbilical cord.
 After getting past the approximate point where Abigail died and the gestational age of her stillbirth.  I slowly started to feel a little better, and less anxious.  Gary and I sat down together and went through the baby stuff from the other kids, and made a registry so that we'd have a list of what needs to be purchased this time around.  We even went online and price hunted for the best price for a new infant carseat.  After 3 kids and 8 years, something just wear out.  Or in the case of the cradle mattress, almost 32 years and 8 kids.  As I began to feel more regular movement, I also felt alot better.
1-29, Me at 23 weeks
Unfortunately that feeling doesn't seem to stay around permanently. We've had two other scares. The first was at 26 weeks, when they called to give me the results of my 1 hour gestational diabetes test. I failed it pretty badly, for the first time in 5 pregnancies. They proceeded to call me back every day for the next three days. One to tell me when my 3 hour test was scheduled for. One to tell me they were so sure I'd fail the three hour there was no point in taking it, unless I really wanted to. And one to tell me they wanted to check for keytones that I had to drive into town the next day. Of course, during all this, I did the one thing you shouldn't do - I googled GD and started reading. Apparently the condition isn't really well understood. It responds differently throughout pregnancy depending on certain hormone levels in different weeks of pregnancy. Also, doctors don't even agree on what the numbers should be. On top of this, the diet isn't a regular diabetes type of diet, because baby needs carbs to properly grow, especially toward the end of pregnancy. So you end up eating more meat and more often. Also, they recommend eating more fats to help delay the release of sugar - for example ice cream. All I could see was a total revamp of the way we eat and my budgeting for meals, along with the headache of daily counting carbs, and detailed meal journaling.
Taking the 3 hour Gestational Diabetes test.
Gary wanted me to go ahead with the 3 hour test, so I did.  The lab tech (I nice lady who has gotten to know us real well in the last year, as often as I am in there) told me that I could expect results probably noon the next day.  So, I called the OB at 1 pm that Friday.  They called me back and I only failed one number, but I had several that were close.  They cleared me for the gestational diabetes.  I cannot tell you what a relief it was.  Along with all the uncertainty about GD, studies show an increase in poor labor conditions and in stillbirths.  The numbers are even higher for those who have previously had a stillbirth.  There's also some speculation whether the current recommendations even do any good, because of how little is understood about the interplay of hormones and GD.  I thanked God profusely and I was able to go and enjoy the Strawberry Festival on Monday.  And while that's a subject for another post, it was about the best night me and Gary have had together in a long while.

1-30, She was rubbing her feet together, which is funny
because that's something I do when I'm falling asleep.
 Then last Tuesday at 28 weeks, after Britt asked for them to double check that it wasn't a boy, I talked with the doctor with MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) and asked him about my kick counts that I'm suppose to keep.  I told him that Kate is far less active that my first three were.  That it takes me a good 40 minutes on average to get 10 kicks, not the normal 10 to 25.  I also told him that she moves almost none during the day, that movement starts to pick up around 4 pm and she's fairly active till bedtime.  He told me that some babies weren't as active, but if she dropped to less than 10 in an hour, to drink and eat something, then try again.  If they still didn't come up to head up to the ER.

1-30, Her face, they look so skeletal in the ultrasound.  I'm hoping
maybe next appointment they will try another 3D shot.
The MFS (Maternal Fetal Specialist) also sat down with me after my ultrasound, and wanted to go over alot of things in depth that we need to be aware of, so that our pediatrician can watch for after Kate is born.  He told us that there wasn't sufficient testing done after we lost Abigail, and that somethings that should have been done as a mater of routine weren't done.  That made me mad with the doctors in PA all over again.  According to him there just isn't enough to conclusively say that it was my thyroid issues that caused her death.  He said that it would be preferable to pinpoint an exact cause, because that would almost put us out of the danger zone for a repeat loss, at least it would make our odds of another loss no greater than 1 in 100, just like everyone else.

He told me because of my prior loss, and our suspicions of thyroid being related that we would do a detailed fetal echo-cardiogram at my next appointment.  As they have told me before, the most common problem with babies who have hypothyroid moms, is heart problems.  He also said, as we progress we will want to watch her heart rate and see that it doesn't get too low, that can be another problem in hypothyroid pregnancies.  Last Monday her heart rate was 123, and they want it anywhere between 120 and 170.  He told us that after pregnancy we will need to watch out for a few things.  First off all, my TPO numbers (that indicate my thyroid antibodies) are always incredibly high.  There is no real way to treat this.  Those antibodies can cross over the placenta so Katherine will need to be monitored over the first 6 to 8 weeks to insure that her thyroid numbers go back to normal.  They had told me that much before.  However, the specialist also told me that my numbers are probably an indicator that I am a carrier for Congenital Hypothyroidism.  It is a condition that is one of many tested for at birth with the heel prick blood test they do, however, he said it can often give a false negative in cases such as me where the mother is already on levothyroxine.  He said that it must be caught within the first 2 weeks, to have the best outcome.  But that babies often don't show signs until week 3 or 4.  He said that it is the result of a child with little to no thyroid or one that doesn't work properly.  So, they aren't able to produce all the hormones a growing child needs.  He said, if it isn't caught until they are close to 2 (which apparently use to be the norm), among other problems they will have significant irreversible mental damage because of the lack of hormones.  He also reminded me to pay close attention to her hearing, as the second most common complication for children of hypothyroid moms, is deafness.

He did say though since we had an unexplained loss, he was going to note in the file a recommendation that we be allowed to induce at 38 weeks if we wanted.  That would be on my birthday, which I'm not interested in sharing.  I already share it with Mother's Day quite often.  (Of course as I joked with Sis. Lydia the other day, maybe if I was sharing a birthday with her, Gary would have to remember to do something for my birthday too, hahaha.)  Due to Gary's work schedule the last week of May at 39 weeks would be better, if we get to chose an induction date.  Either way, sooner is better now in my mind.  Though, I also know there are more risk to inducing early than a baby that comes on their own.
3-7, She pulled her arm up by her face.
3-7, Then she moved her umbilical cord with her hand from by her mouth.

I came home, and Gary talked with our family doctor, who will be seeing Kate just like the rest of us.  They said, that they can go over the results with us and help us watch things.  But after talking together, I told Gary that I feel like even after she gets here I won't be able to completely relax.  All this time, I've just been telling myself to manage the anxiety for 40 weeks, and we are done.  I feel like she'll be so much safer after she gets here than she is in there cooking.  But now I'm not so sure.  Of course, while every pregnancy brings really weird dreams, lately I've been having nightmares about labor.  Which of course, doesn't make my state of mind any better during the day.

3-7, I love seeing little baby feet.
The good news though is that the idea of bringing her home is becoming more and more real to me.  I have washed up all the newborn and 0-3 clothes.  I have plans to sort through some more clothes in the next week to determine what we might still need.  Staying busy this week, particularly with Ruth's beautiful faerie garden (pictures to come soon, I promise) has helped keep my mind off things.  I of course, take the matter to God over and over in prayer, it's just an ever continuing process.  However, despite all my reservations, I'm feeling like we can really celebrate this pregnancy.  I feel like we are far enough along that we can think about life after birth, that we can enjoy her little life, that we could even have a shower and it not feel presumptuous and weird.  She'll be here in 10 weeks or less at this point, and that is exciting.

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