Oh ladies, it's been a little roller-coaster-y for the past two weeks. Things are still good but I'm facing my first hiccup of pregnancy. Ok, more than a hiccup potentially. I'll explain.
For those of you who are still in the trenches or haven't reached 20+ weeks, during the second half of your pregnancy your OB or midwife starts a highly technical measurement procedure where she takes a cloth measuring tape and, starting at the top of your pubic bone, stretches it over your bump to the top of your uterus. Supposedly, your measurement in centimeters should be approximately equivalent to your gestational week. As in, when you're 25 weeks, the measurement is 25 cm; 30 weeks, 30 cm. Give or take a couple of centimeters on either side. This is not hard science. I mean, it's done with sewing equipment for chrissakes. It does sorta-kinda-accurately give an idea of your rate of growth. In my case, it raised a flag.
At around 28+ weeks, I went from spot on measurements to lagging behind. My doc kept an eye on it for another appointment or two and then requested a fetal growth scan. Last week at the scan we found out that our kiddo is measuring at a measly 17th percentile. This was the second round of ultrasound measurements, this time by a supervisor. Our first round of measurements put him at 11th percentile, only 2 notches away from a diagnosis of IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). We're taking 17th percentile and running with it. His abdomen measured particularly small which translates to him not getting all the nutrients he needs in utero. Fetuses, geniuses that they are, will funnel all of the nutrients to the brain and heart at the expense of building fat reserves if they need to. Why is this happening? They don't really know. Typically it's because the placenta stops working as efficiently as it should for this stage of pregnancy. The placenta slows its roll toward the end of the third trimester. Sometimes it doesn't make it quite so far. That could be happening with me. Not sure. Here's the plan: 3 weeks after the initial scan, I'll go in for another ultrasound. If baby boy has grown leaps and bounds, well then, aces. Let him keep cooking. If he hasn't grown sufficiently and there's more evidence that he's not getting enough nutrition from my placenta, then they may decide to induce with the thought that he'll be better off outside than in. At the point of that scan, I'll be close to 37 weeks. Almost full term, not quite. I hope that I'm able to cook him to term. If not, it will be because we're doing the best thing for him. Upside being I'll get to see that sweet face just a little sooner. However it needs to happen so that he comes into this world healthy is fine by me. The evening of the ultrasound I was a sad mess. I felt like I was failing my boy way too early. Now, bolstered by my incredible doula, a particularly therapeutic trip to the acupuncturist (approaching this from all side - western meds and eastern crunch), and the kind words of friends and family, I'm feeling very confident. No matter what happens, things are going to be ok. I have an awesome team taking care of me from OB, to doula, to a stellar NICU if, god forbid, it's necessary. Also on my side, I feel him moving all the time. He feels enormous. I know he's just a little guy but my god I feel like I'm going to explode. I've gone from ribs that, as of this Saturday evening, felt as though they were going to snap into crumbled bits. I think that wonder boy is starting to settle in lower as the rib pain, while not gone, is subsiding and has been replaced by near constant bladder pressure. For now, I prefer the latter.
That's the Six Flags part of the post. In utterly lovely news, I had my baby shower. It was so, so nice. Everything I wanted. No games, fabulous food, lots of friends and family. I woke up the morning of my shower and, on cue, baby boy was squirming around. "They're throwing a party for us today!" I told him, because I am a nerd and was overwhelmed. It occurred to me that morning how long I've waited, even within this pregnancy, to just celebrate the fact that our son is well on his way. It was so joyous. I loved it. I got some good loot too, I cannot lie. Baby gear is expensive. I am grateful for every scrap gifted to us. With the influx of stuff, J and I were forced to make some serious headway on the nursery. As of yesterday evening, we are nearly done with the exception of getting the artwork on the walls (on its way from Etsy) and getting a little bookshelf. We have a crib with clean sheets, a dresser filled with clean clothes, a changing table and a bassinet that, while still in its box, can be erected at absolutely any time. My mom herded me around Target and pointed out what I might need immediately to help him survive/stay clean/save upholstery. I'm stocked up newborn size diapers, wipes, gentle baby shampoo and wash, and am the proud owner of a breast pump. Everything is ready, you know, whenever.
The follow-up growth scan takes place a week from tomorrow and then we'll know a lot more. We'll either get an induction date or the thumbs up to keep cooking. Or, something in between. Shit is getting very real and I am getting impatient. I don't want to under-cook my baby boy but I am so anxious to meet him. The time span of when that meeting may occur is preposterously large right now: between 1 week+ and 7 weeks. So much for a cozy 4 week span of possibility.