Fetal Echocardiogram (31w4d)

Today was a good appointment, if sightly underwhelming from what I was expecting.

I’m up three pounds over the last three weeks – continuing my steady single-pound-a-week trend. Dr. Schwartz is very happy with this.

Blood pressure was 131/83 when he nurse finally did as I said and took it on my bicep. She did it at first on my forearm (which I appreciate because it doesn’t hurt as much) and came up with 161/89. Nothing doing, says I. I know I can do better.

The fetal echocardiogram was basically a detailed ultrasound watched by the cardiologist and Dr. Schwartz, but mostly the cardiologist. The nurse worked hard to get weird angles – we didn’t recognize most of what was on the screen. Apparently they were getting a good look at various organs. Cool views of our little man’s heart, with all four chambers doing their thing. The cardiologist said that everything looks good at this point, no thickening of the muscle, and all the parts seem to be in the right place and hooked up correctly. They couldn’t get all the angles necessary to rule out a VSD (ventricular septal defect – the condition I was born with) but he said that’s very hard to do before birth anyway. The fact that our baby has had an echocardiogram now means that he’ll have one before we leave the hospital after he’s born: standard procedure.

After the echo, the nurse did a regular ultrasound, taking measurements of random stuff and trying to get measurements of the pockets of amniotic fluid. I wasn’t able to pay attention to the screen as much as I’d like because Dr. Schwartz was talking to me – but what I did see looked good. Our little guy is weighing in at 4 pounds exactly and is measuring 4-5 days ahead, which Dr. Schwartz says is just fine considering how tall Paul and I are. We didn’t get any pictures or anything, the nurse said he wasn’t cooperating at all and she never saw his face.

The pains I’ve been feeling along the bikini line are apparently my pelvic bones opening up and widening in preparation for labor. It’s the ligaments that hold those bones together stretching – which explains why things tighten up down there and then stretch out again. All normal parts of pregnancy. As are the pains I’ve been feeling at my waistline with hardly any exertion. I’m relieved to hear that it’s all normal – makes it easier to put up with for the next 4-6 weeks. And that’s how I look at all this – just stuff to get through for the next little while. And there’s really nothing I can’t put up with for that long.

It was funny how Dr. Schwartz asked about my swelling – he said “I can see by your new footwear that the swelling is continuing.” I’ve switched to Crocs sandals and flip flops, mostly because my hot feet are even hotter now. The swelling is as bad as it has been, but no worse. Again, Dr. Schwartz isn’t worried and neither am I.

Next week starts fetal monitoring and weekly visits. I’m hoping to keep the appointments at weekly, but I know they’ll go to twice-weekly fairly quickly. We’ll see how things go. We’re at the first of several milestones now: 32 weeks. It feels really good to have gotten this far. If the little guy came today, he’d have nearly the same chances as a 40-week baby. We’re hoping that things stay calm for the next four weeks – 36 weeks is our main goal. Anything past that is just gravy!

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