intermezzo

Thanks for all your kind and thoughtful comments on the anniversaries of having and losing A & C. I didn’t manage to post on Wednesday, but I did think of all your babies lost far too soon. And of my own, of course. It is strange to have their actual anniversary, and this “public” anniversary, so close together. Last year I was still in a complete haze. I’ve been out at night again (in part simply because it gets dark earlier), looking at their stars, remembering those nights one year ago.

Strawberry Baby is still tucked inside and enjoys kicking my ribs. We had a growth ultrasound last week, which I thought would be reassuring around all these anniversaries, but ended up freaking me out because one of the head measurements was in the 2nd percentile or so. The MFM in charge of the ultrasound clinic that day didn’t think this was anything to worry about (“these numbers and percentiles make it look way more scientific than it really is”), but I guess it’s too easy to concern a mother who has lost a child (or more). So I read some papers and learned that (a) girls tend to have significantly smaller heads, and (b) nobody gets really concerned unless the head is 2 standard deviations smaller than the mean, or even 3, depending on how conservative one is (because, y’know, we can’t all be in the 50th percentile). And we’re not even at 2 stddevs. So I was mostly reassured, but still brought it up with my doctor. Who hadn’t even noticed, but went back to look at the numbers and said that, as long as it’s not 2 stddevs below the mean, he’s not concerned. He also explained that (counter-intuitively for me) with increased gestational age ultrasound becomes less accurate. Mainly because it is difficult to measure larger 3-dimensional objects correctly when you’re looking at a “slice” through them – chances are that your slice isn’t quite in the right place.

What he remains concerned about is my blood pressure – I suppose it doesn’t help that it was 140/90 in the office, even though at home it hovers around 120/80 and it’s usually pretty good at my non-stress-test appointments, too. My liver enzymes and platelets and urine remain fine, fortunately. It’s not so much what he says, but I can see in his face that he worries. For a while I thought, well, he’s an MFM, being worried is his job. But it’s not that. I finally remembered the first, and really only, time I’d seen him worried – at the anatomy ultrasound with the twins, when my cervix was already so very short. The situation is different now in that we actually have options for what to do. I will be full term in 2 days (incredible), so I’ll be followed closely with twice-weekly NSTs in addition to the usual weekly appointments, and he’s thinking about induction at 38w or so, depending on how things develop. (There seems to be a difference in recommendations at that point between gestational hypertension and preeclampsia, but I didn’t quite get it.) Which is rather soon – but of course I’m happy to do anything that helps keep Strawberry Baby safe.

(This was supposed to be a short post. So much for that.)

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Days

I gave this magnet to my husband recently. Mainly because he’s been depressed about his career prospects, but it seems applicable for this part of our journey, too. (Also, I showed it to him first as I wasn’t sure whether he’d find it amusing or annoying.)

 

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Over the last days I have done so many thing I’d been looking forward to, yet sometimes feared would never happen for me. 
Granted, some days we were preoccupied with concerns about whether or not I might be developing preeclampsia, but as my blood pressure has stabilized at around-120/low-80s and my 24h protein came back at 200 (neither really great, but still below any official thresholds) while my liver enzymes are at the lower range of normal (which is good!), I’m hoping we can at least delay, if not fully avoid that part.
But. I folded tiny laundry. Onesies that we actually bought for Strawberry Baby. We have stacks of gDiaper* inserts at home. We decided on and ordered a crib, and even some other nursery furniture. When I brought up the nursery issue two months ago, H didn’t want to set up one – his official point was that she’d sleep in our room anyway and wouldn’t need that much other stuff. And that he wanted to keep this room set up for watching movies with his projector. How much he really believes in the latter and how much of this was self-protection I don’t know, but somehow (without poking from my side) he picked out some dressers and asked if we wanted to get these. 
Lastly, we even bought a stroller and a car seat! In a real store, not “just” online. All this makes the thought of bringing home a baby very real. For the last step we managed to find the sweet spot between my renewed drivers license finally arriving** and, well, getting the car seat before the baby arrives. Because while I’m happy to keep her inside for another 6 weeks, my MFM (who is very sweet and very thorough and might be more worried about preeclampsia than I am, though he probably has the better perspective) said that, if my labs were to start looking bad, they’d recommend delivery at any point after 34 weeks. Which is tomorrow. Whew. Strawberry and I get to do weekly testing, which I first thought would be a nice reassurance, but really, they should call it stress-test for the parents instead of nonstress-test for the baby. I don’t like nurses coming in to “wake up” my baby or bug her with a weird “baby alarm clock” so that she starts moving and her heart rate goes up. But of course the main goal is to keep her safe, inside or out. 


* They seem like the most realistic approach for me right now, with a husband that’s highly skeptical of any non-disposable options and no washing machine of our own (there’s a couple in the building we can use, but it’s not free). Plus, they’re cute :)

** If you’re here on a visa it expires with the visa. Which for me is every year. So then you get to send in all your paperwork on the visa extension and get a renewed license. I just wasn’t counting on that taking 2 months.