So, we had our latest ultrasound yesterday, at 24w4d, about 2.5 weeks since the last one. I was really nervous leading up to it, though not as bad as last time. I stayed up playing Star Wars until 5am, when Christopher’s alarm went off and I realized I should probably try to get some sleep. But it worked, because for whatever reason the anxiety is way worse the day of than the day before, so by staying up so late, and sleeping until it was basically time to go to the appointment, I kept it much more manageable.
Anyway, the way these appointments work, I have the ultrasound first, and the tech doesn’t really say a ton, since she can’t compare to previous ultrasounds or anything, and then afterwards we meet with the high risk OB, Dr. Carroll, and she goes over the results with us. The ultrasound itself was pretty neat. They wanted us to be on the same machine, with the same tech, etc, to minimize the margin of error on the measurements, and I really like this tech. She’s really cheery and friendly, and takes the time to tell us what we’re looking at most of the time. It’s pretty hard to tell on a lot if you’re not trained to understand ultrasound images. She switched to 4D a few times to get some better images, so we were able to really see baby girl’s face. She had her hand up by her eye, and she was smiling!
It’s weird, because I had originally planned to have minimal ultrasounds, and at one point even considered having none, though I decided against that. I don’t think they’re dangerous or bad, but I do think they’re relatively under-studied, and I didn’t see the point in taking any risks by having extra just to see her more. I particularly had no intention of ever having a 4D, since I didn’t know of any medical reason why we’d need one, and I didn’t like the thought of having the sound waves just focused on her head for extended times, just to see her face. Now here I am getting ultrasounds no less than once a month, and they do 4D for at least part of the time (not long) on them all so far. Funny how plans change. Then again, I was planning a completely natural, med-free birth with midwives attending, and a doula, and using the Bradley Method, all of which is pretty much out of the window now, so I shouldn’t really be surprised at how much plans can change. (Yes, it is still possible that I could have at least a vaginal birth, and possibly a natural one, but it’s unlikely. She’ll probably need to come early, and it’ll probably be better for her if they skip the compression in the birth canal and trauma of birth. Even if they do decide to let us go for a vaginal birth, we’ll probably need an induction (it’s really unlikely that as first time mom I’ll go into labor on my own early enough), which means some meds, and inductions are typically much more painful and vastly increase the chances that I’ll want to go ahead with an epidural.)
Okay, got really off track there. So, ultrasound results. The main thing, of course, is her ventricle size. They have grown, a little, probably. Which is pretty vague, unfortunately. They measured, I think, 17mm and 19mm last time. This time it was about 18 and 21. However, that difference is within the margin of error for the machine, so theoretically they may not have grown at all. Realistically, I think they probably have, but definitely not much. This means, at the very least, if things continue as they’re going, we’ll have no real problems making the 34 week minimum we’re aiming for, and could probably go farther.
I’m not sure I was as clear as I should have been about the 34 weeks thing last time. I said that before that, the risks of prematurity are worse than the risks of allowing her hydrocephalus to continue to grow, which is true, but it’s a bit more than that. Prior to that point, the neurosurgeon said that even if she were born, they wouldn’t be able to operate. She wouldn’t be big or strong enough yet. So bringing her out before 34 weeks isn’t just risky, it’s essentially useless and just puts her in a situation where she has to fight through the dangers of prematurity and her condition.
Which is why I’m so freaking paranoid about preterm labor. We have made it to viability (!!) now that we’re at 24 weeks. However, at 24 weeks the odds are only something like 50/50, and with her condition they would likely be much lower. So it’s very important to keep her inside for as long as possible. I discussed it with the OB again, and she confirmed that my cervix still looks totally normal, with no warning signs for preterm labor, though it will start shortening naturally in the next few weeks, so that will stop being a good indicator soon. She also still thinks the Braxton Hicks I’m having are totally normal, and no cause for concern. And she went over again what signs and changes to look for that would warrant a call or visit. Unfortunately for my comfort and peace of mind, she says I’m basically just a “contractor” (emphasis on the second syllable, not the first), so I should just consider the current level of contracting my “normal”, and watch for any deviations from that baseline.
As for the rest of the ultrasound results- her cerebellum is still measuring behind, but it is growing. It’s not on the percentile charts, but it’s mirroring it perfectly, so that’s good. (Also, the chart for cerebellum growth is much more random looking than other types, more wiggly lines that have a general curve than the perfect smooth curve that you see normally. So seeing some variation in cerebellum growth is pretty normal, her’s is just a bit more extreme.) The rest of her growth is perfectly matching the charts, and she’s still sitting right around the 30-35th percentile.
She is still breech, which is why she’s kicking my bladder ALL. THE. TIME. But the doctor says that at this point only about 30% of babies are head down, so that’s normal and there’s a very good chance she’ll flip. Not that it matters terribly if we go the c-section route, but being breech would pretty much eliminate any chance of avoiding the c-section. They’re not going to want to take any additional risks, for obvious reasons.
Oh, and she is still a girl. 🙂 I had them check to be sure.
They drew some blood to screen for infections to see if that’s what’s causing her problems, since we still have really no idea. The good news is that she’s showing no other markers for it being an infection, and I’ve already screened clear for a couple of them, so it’ll probably all come back negative (infection can be very bad, so we definitely don’t want that to be the cause). The bad news is that all negatives will mean we still have no clue what’s going on to cause all this. I’m not sure what the next step will be for determining cause, since it’s still more important to deal with the problems than figure out why they’re happening.
In other news, I won’t be seeing the midwives anymore. They just aren’t equipped to deal with high risk situations, and they certainly don’t handle c-sections. I’ll see a regular OB for my care, which won’t be more than a few appointments, and continue seeing the doctors at the fetal center for monitoring baby’s condition, and they’ll be the ones who will handle the birth. I have my first appointment with the new OB on the 3rd, for my glucose screening. Hooray. >_<
Other than that, things are going well with us. The house is getting very close to finished, with only a few boxes left to unpack, and the kitchen left to paint. Our 5 year anniversary is tomorrow, so we’re planning to do some fun stuff for the weekend, starting with dinner out tonight. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what our plans are, because he keeps changing them, so I guess we’ll see! Pretty sure the Renaissance Festival and the new X-Men movie are on the agenda, and probably a trip to at least Huntsville to go to our favorite restaurant. May be heading to Atlanta for a Braves game as well, but pretty sure Christopher is really underestimating the number of times I’ll have to stop and pee on a trip that long. 🙂 No matter what, we’ll definitely have some fun!
And very last thing, isn’t she beautiful?!