Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Healthy Passenger, Engine Light On.

Ok, great news first. I have one, perfectly healthy baby girl cooking. She is definitely a girl with real lady bits and nothing dangling below. More importantly, she has a four-chamber heart beating away, two beautiful kidneys, one little bladder, a spectacular brain, ten fingers and ten toes. She is measuring exactly on schedule. This is the most important thing. I am baking a healthy little warrior.

Here's what's not so great. Probably ok, but not ideal and possibly kind of terrifying. I have complete placenta previa. This means that my placenta is growing directly over my cervix. 95% of cases of placenta previa at this stage move on their own (due to uterine expansion) and the issue resolves. This is not the terrifying part. It's not the best news but it's manageable news. In the event that my placenta stays put, I will have a scheduled baby extraction via c-section at 37 weeks.

This is the only condition that I for sure have right now. However, I am at risk for some related complications. There is some evidence of placenta accreta - not all the evidence they would need for a diagnosis - and so I am being carefully watched for this condition. Placenta accreta is where the placenta actually grows into the wall of the uterus and cannot detach following delivery. The "treatment" is c-section followed by immediate hysterectomy. Oh, and massive blood loss and transfusions.  Right now, my OB thinks I do not have this condition as A) it is excessively rare and B) I have only one of several indications needed for diagnosis. The Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist was concerned. She was kind of a freakshow and I would rather never see her again which, fortunately, I don't have to. So, placenta accreta. Let's just not. I am being carefully watched for this.

Finally, and fucking terrifyingly (not that placenta accreta isn't a total Halloween special), the location of the umbilical cord insertion puts me and baby girl at risk of vasa previa, a condition where the umbilical cord is draped over the opening of the cervix. In order for this to develop, my placenta would have to move the opposite direction of the cord insertion point which, for this pregnancy, is near the edge of the placenta instead of in the middle. If labor started spontaneously and my water broke, the cord would have no support and the baby would die a matter of 2-3 minutes. Hence, to avoid any risk of labor, standard practice for this is c-section at 34 weeks followed by what I assume to be gobs of NICU time.

To put it all in perspective, we live in a miraculous modern age where babies can be made in petri dishes. We can monitor the hell out of scary situations and intervene before there's any real danger. What's more, aside from the placenta previa, neither of these conditions may develop. Statistically, they probably won't. But the possibility is there, a little dark cloud hanging back in the recesses of my head. For now I need to learn to live with my cloud and not let it shadow the fact that this little girl is kickboxing me all the time, moving my stomach from the outside and generally letting me know that she's a little hell raiser. I can't wait for her to arrive, safe and sound, preferably with a minimum of drama.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

19 Weeks as told by Bullet Points

A post in bullet points. Because it's easier and I don't need to organize my thoughts. Also, not a ton is going on.
  • That last post was bananas because I am often bananas. I can work myself into an anxious wreck over pretty much anything. Out of peanut butter? Let's freak the fuck out. The gender reveal, instead of being this happy, marvelous milestone like it was last time was, for whatever reason, a total anxiety trigger. My horrible, worst case scenario of they say it's a girl and then at the next ultrasound I'm told it's a boy, is not actually a tragedy of any proportion. It's incredible. Both options are. Option A: Vagina stays a vagina. Fabulous! I've always wanted to have a daughter. Super duper yahtzee. Option B: Vagina becomes a penis. I'm completely obsessed with my boy. I'd get to be obsessed with another amazing little boy. Love-splosion. 
    • My ability to panic is epic. I come by it honestly. Thanks, Nana.
    • Speaking crazy Nana, I received her gender prediction this past weekend. My mom is from Puerto Rico and I am the proud owner of a certified Puerto Rican witch for a grandma. If you're Puerto Rican, being a witch is not scary, it's awesome. For my family, it just means a lot of spidey-sense feelings about things, signs, dreams, etc. One thing we trust my bruja-Nana on is gender prediction because she's basically always right. The senior ultrasound technician of San Juan has predicted "a little girl. It could be a little boy but I don't think it is. I think it's a little girl." Those nondescript odds work for me.
  • As of yesterday, I am 19 weeks pregnant. 
    • That is almost the halfway point. Almost time for Janet Jackson to perform and have a wardrobe malfunction. Yesssssssss. 
    • Babycenter.com says the baby is the size of an "heirloom tomato." That seems really subjective and has been rejected. It's like they've never been to a farmers' market.
    • Parents.com says the baby is the size of a mango. Assuming we're talking your garden variety, grocery store mango and not one of the little subpar yellow ones. I can get down with this.
  • I'm finally feeling movement! I've been feeling recognizable movement for about two weeks. At first, very tiny blips and pops. Had I not done this before, I definitely would have written it off as gas. Fortunately, I'm a complete veteran - Two kids, who am I? Michelle Duggar? - and recognized the mini-Morse code going on in my uterus. The movements are still little but gaining strength and are less easily confused with gastrointestinal distress. This development has done wonders for my psyche. (See bullet point #1 re: being a basket case.) 
  • My God, pregnancy is so long. Why is it so long? I'm tired and bored, would like sushi, a bottle of Cab, and a handful of cold cuts.
  • Henry. That kid is so cute, snuggly and loving it absolutely kills me. I've trained him to kiss my belly which helps me pretend that he is a fully-willing participant in the family growing exercise. He is really what wills this pregnancy to go faster because he keeps me very busy and very in love. Here's what's up with him:
    • He talks constantly. His favorite topics of conversation are his dogs, Elmo, birds, books, daycare classmates, cars, his jacket, night-night, Mama and Daddy, his cousin (Juice's daughter) and Abu (my mom). Also, "no." Conversation is a very loose term. There's a lot of talking going on but my comprehension hasn't quite caught up with him.
    • He needs a haircut. He has stick straight, white blond hair and he looks like Rod Stewart had a baby with Jeff Daniels from Dumb & Dumber when we go too long without a trim. 
    • If he could eat whatever he wanted, it would be some combination of avocado, crackers, cheese, milk and sugar. Gross. Also, nutritionally complete.
    • He's going to be an elephant for Halloween. Why an elephant? Because I found an elephant costume for sale in my neighborhood for $10. Also, he does an excellent elephant sound.
    • He excels at Eskimo kisses. Which are not called Eskimo kisses anymore. Maybe Native Alaskan kisses? Better yet, how about "touching noses."
  • Henry has had a really bad cough for the past several days which is making night time sleep somewhat craptastic. No other symptoms, just hacking. Your typical daycare plague. He wakes himself up coughing every few hours and then, if we're all lucky, coughs so hard that he pukes. This interrupted sleep is making for a crabby kid come early evening. Thus, screen-free granola parenting has sailed out the window in favor of Sesame Street so that something, anything, can be accomplished between 5 and 7:30. Desperate times, desperate measures, thank you, Elmo.