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!

Limited Engagement (28w6d)

Great appointment today, and apparently Dr. Scarypants was only available for a limited engagement – cuz he was nowhere to be seen today.

Today was (once again) a short, boring, good appointment. Highlights:

  • Blood Pressure was 138/85 on the first attempt (granted, the machine pumped up twice) which was VERY happy-making for Dr. Schwartz. Usually we have to take it again at the end of my appointment to get it that low. So Dr. Schwartz was very happy to see that.
  • I lost a half a pound. I was expecting to show a gain of at least a pound. So that was surprising. None of it makes any sense to me, cuz I’m totally eating. A lot. My belly is getting bigger. But whatever, I’ll take it!
  • Holy Cats! My kid is getting big! Misty (my favorite nurse) took a minute to have a look around and I was SHOCKED at how big my little boy is getting! I was convinced that Misty had the ultrasound zoomed in, because he looked SO BIG, and I couldn’t see all of him on the screen. His spine looked huge, with easily visible vertebrae! And OMG, he has HAIR!! Misty got a picture for me – but there’s no doubt he’s got quite a bit of hair already! And honestly, I don’t want to think about how big his head is already.

A little bump in my insulin, but that’s the only change. It’s expected, really – just part of the insulin resistance that comes with pregnancy. Dr. Schwartz cautioned me that if I’m starving when I’m up in the middle of the night to pee, that I should probably be eating something. He asked me to take my blood sugar if I think about it – just to make sure that the middle-of-the-night cortisol boost isn’t making me dip too low. He’s OK with my current blood sugar readings – even though I think they’re trending too high still.

My next appointment was set for two weeks, but had to be bumped to three weeks because of a scheduling conflict. The next appointment will be for a fetal echocardiogram, with Dr. Schwartz and a cardiologist watching the ultrasound as they check out every little part of our little man’s heart. Should be a great appointment to get new measurements of our (not so) little guy.

I’ll be 31+ weeks by the next appointment, which means that the non-stress tests will probably start the next week. Twice a week, at an hour or so each. Here’s hoping I can get them scheduled first thing in the morning so I won’t miss much work.

All in all, it was a great appointment. Dr. Schwartz said he hoped he didn’t scare me too much at my last appointment, and that the way things are looking right now, maybe his dire predictions wouldn’t come true. I told him that I’d christened him Dr. Scarypants, and he requested I give him another name now that he wasn’t preaching fire and brimstone. I explained that Paul and I are aiming to have everything ready at home and at work by the 36 week mark (June 19th) so that whatever happens, we’re ready. Dr. Schwartz was very happy to hear that.

Hooray for short, mostly boring appointments. And seriously, I do love Dr. Schwartz. I totally trust him and his judgment as to what’s best for me and the baby. He gets that life goes on, and that as great as being pregnant is, life doesn’t revolve *entirely* around the pregnancy. I have every confidence that no matter how things shake out over the next several weeks that the little man and I are in the best possible hands.

Appointment Update (23w6d)

Boring appointment with my little jerk. :)

He refuses to cooperate with the nurses to give a decent ultrasound. They wanted to take more measurements today, but he wasn’t having any of it. They were finally able to check out his heart, but not as thoroughly as they’d like to. He just will.not.move into a position that gives them what they need. He likes to hide directly under *my* belly button. But our little guy is looking good, and is measuring only like 2 days ahead at this point – so that’s fantastic. He’s weighing in at 1lb 4oz. (Dr. Schwartz says his growth probably slowed down a touch because we have an even tighter grip on my blood sugars now.)

But my BP was good (for me) especially considering that I was in so much pain in my boobs this morning I was near tears. So a 138/84 was cause for celebration. (Dunno what the crazy breast pain is… but it’s tear-inducing. I was literally in tears on the drive over this morning. Heat seems to make it better, after a while. Dr. Schwartz says it’s basically normal, nothing can be done.)

I gained 6 pounds. So that’s two pounds a week since my last appointment where I was positive I’d gained 5 pounds and had only gained a half-pound; for 11 total in 24 weeks. I don’t know how I feel about that. Except that I’m saying at least one pound is in my swollen feet & ankles, and another pound in each of my boobs. Dr. Schwartz said not to be concerned about it when I emailed him this afternoon.

We talked about my swollen feet, ankles, and wrists. Dr. Schwartz checked the swelling (so glad I remembered to shave this morning) and pronounced that “Yes, you’re just one of those lucky ones who swells!” which isn’t great news, but sure beats “OMFG, you’re swelling to a crazy, worrisome extent!” He assures me that the carpal tunnel will go away once I pop this kid out.

We talked about my crazy dreams & nightmares. I have a really strong family history of depression, so I’m on the alert for PPD and am concerned that if my brainmeats are responding to pregnancy hormones in this way now, does that mean I’m more susceptible to PPD later? He doesn’t think this is a indicator, but he wants to keep a close eye on me and wants me to tell him if the timbre of my dreams changes to any darker than it is now. (For example, the corpses that I’m trying to hide of the people I’ve killed… I didn’t *see* myself kill them, I just know I did. If I start to actually see myself kill someone or want to kill someone…. Dr. Schwartz wants to know.) So I find it really reassuring that he’s taking this as seriously as I am. I’m willing to go on meds if he thinks it’s necessary, but for right now I just want my husband and OB on alert to help me be watching for changes.

Other than that, nothing to report. We got pics on a CD from the ultrasound, but I haven’t had a chance to look at them. Our little man looked at us several times, so I think we have a face shot or two.

Next appointment is in three weeks on April 14th, and then I’ll prolly go back to every 2 weeks. Non-stress tests will start between 32 and 34 weeks.

We’re having a BOY!! (21w2d)

So this week has been kinda a rough week, with Paul’s job going bust and all. (It was a hellish 2 weeks, actually.) Combined with our slight annoyance/disappointment that we didn’t get confirmation of the baby’s sex at this week’s appointment; and well…. we were looking for a happy.

I was looking into 3D ultrasound places here in Las Vegas and found one with great rates AND a coupon! They were able to get us in this morning at 10:30 for a basic package of 2D and 3D images and a guaranteed gender confirmation. (Seriously, if they can’t tell 100% for sure you get to come back for free and if they’re wrong you get your money back or another free 4D session. We were pretty stoked about our chances of finding out with policies like that!)

So this morning our friends Sibyana and Cheri met us at Miracle in Progress (it was like 5 minutes from their house – on the other side of the valley for us) and we had ourselves a little viewing party! The tech was really great – more gentle than the nurses at Dr. Schwartz’s office to tell the truth. She ended up working with us for 30 minutes instead of the 15 minutes our session was supposed to be. She wasn’t able to really do any of the 3D or 4D stuff because of the placement of the baby in relation to the placenta. The baby was laying *on* the placenta, using it for a pillow. But she kept trying and trying to get the baby to turn and “look” at her so she could get some 3D images.

So even though we only got one 3D image, we’re still stoked because we got the one thing we came for:

It's a BOY

It’s a boy for sure. I commented on the ‘tiny wang’ and the tech replied that it wasn’t small at all. Paul, ever the proud Papa, was beaming as we all collapsed into giggles.

We got a great view of our son as he waved his arms, yawned, gulped amniotic fluid, kicked, and wiggled. It was the first time that I’ve watched him moving around and was able to feel some of it. SO COOL.

3D image of baby's profile

So we have a DVD of the whole 28 minute session, and a CD with some pictures. I’ve culled the best of the pictures and put them in a gallery. I label one picture and then place the original behind it in the gallery so you can flip back and forth to see what’s what. For most of the session, the baby kept his back to us, so that’s why some of the best shots don’t have his face in them. (We’re gonna see about editing down the DVD of the ultrasound and posting some of that. A lot of it is kinda boring, but some of it is amazing – like watching him yawn right at us.)

Afterwards, we had brunch with Sibyana and Cheri, and then Paul let me hit the nearby Target to add blue things to the registry. :)

But yep. We’re having a Boy. And no, we have no idea for names yet at all.

Good appointment (20w6d)

Great appointment today. Confirmed something important about our baby: it’s a little punk. Misty (Dr. Schwartz’s nurse) spent a good 15 minutes trying to coerce the little critter to show us the goods. We were looking up at it’s bum, like we were under the invisible little chair it was sitting on. But the baby just wasn’t about to open it’s legs and confirm what we thought we saw. The baby was flip flopping and bouncing around (maybe because of the two sips of OJ I had right before the ultrasound) but not about to show us what we wanted to see. DANGIT. Next time… (Misty and I both thought we saw something, but she wasn’t confident enough to call it.) It continues to seem odd to me to see the baby doing crazy acrobatics and I still can’t feel ANYTHING. Hopefully soon.

Dr. Schwartz was great about answering questions today, having been prepped by my e-mail last week. We covered a lot of things today:

  • I only gained half a pound!! Holy cats! I was totally shocked. I was honestly expecting a gain of 4-6 pounds because my clothes are totally fitting different (way tighter) and well…. I’ve been eating more than I ever have cuz I’m starving all the time!! Dr. Schwartz was happy to see the small gain, but cautioned me that I need to make sure that I actually am eating enough since the baby does need a fair amount of nutrition for all the growth it’s doing these days. He totally gets that my brainmeats are making it hard for me to eat as much as I apparently need to. At my next appointment he’ll be checking to make sure that the baby is growing and gaining weight as expected. But he was supportive (as always) that I must be doing things pretty well as far as nutrition and calories because my blood sugars are consistently improving, and my a1c results (like a 3-month diabetes report card) were down to 6.0 (from 6.5 and 6.3 the last two times it was checked.)
  • Speaking of proper nutrition, my Muscle Milks are TOTALLY FINE. Contrary to what the morons at GNC and Vitamin World yelled at me last week, there’s NOTHING of concern whatsoever for pregnant women to have protein shakes. The L-Arginine in the shakes (as a form of protein) is also found in most nuts. L-Arginine has been found to help with placental growth retardation, as well as preeclampsia: both of which I’m at risk for! (The lady at GNC was yelling at me that I was going to have a GIGANTIC, over-grown baby because of drinking protein shakes, and that my doctor was stupid for allowing them. Dr. Schwartz asked which GNC it was cuz he wants to have a word with them.) So I can happily keep drinking my yummy High-protein, Low-carb, vitamin-rich shakes. Hooray!!
  • The swelling in my ankles/feet is nothing to worry about yet. Dr. Schwartz thinks I’m just prone to swelling. (I’m getting a fair amount of swelling in my wrists too.) He encouraged me to continue to keep my feet up as often as possible. He agreed that striving for good hydration is a good idea, but that it won’t help this kind of swelling as much as it does for regular hot-weather swelling. He cautioned that it’s not gonna be fun towards the end of my pregnancy when it’s hot, cuz then I’ll have both types of swelling working together. Oy. (Oh, and apparently a restless legs / ants under the skin feeling in the evenings is normal too. Wheeeee.)
  • He also commented that towards the end of my pregnancy, he expects to see me twice a week for nonstress tests and whatnot. So I’m gonna have to work something out with him for scheduling, and work something out at work so that I burn as little of my paid leave as possible. (Maybe I can just not take a lunch EVER AGAIN.) I’m really concerned about my maternity leave. I’m taking as little leave as possible for my appointments, but any leave I take comes directly out of what I’ll be able to take when the baby is born. I have to take 8 weeks off because the daycare won’t take infants under 8 weeks – but there’s no way I’ll have that much paid leave saved up – especially if my appointments move to once a week or more. Unfortunately, we need both our salaries – so I’m not sure what we’re gonna do for several weeks that I’m gonna have to take off unpaid. I guess that’s what credit cards are for, right?
  • So, because I’m doing so well (blood pressure was lowest it’s ever been, blood sugars are consistently lower, weight gain is very small) I’m cleared for another 3 week appointment. No changes to my insulin or blood pressure meds for the 2nd appointment in a row! So I’m set for Wednesday March 24th at 3:00pm. (Dr. Schwartz is taking me as his last appt from now on so I can burn as little paid leave as possible – he just has to leave by 4:00 to catch his flight home.) Edit: I changed my appointment to the first of the day at 8:00am, because I actually lose less work time by going in the morning. Those first-thing appointments go fast tho, so I can’t always get them. There will be a full ultrasound at the next appointment to check growth and (hopefully) confirm sex for us.