Monday, February 08, 2010

It Was The Perfect Pregnancy Until...

I scheduled my first OB appointment right after finding out that I was pregnant At the appointment they did confirm that I was pregnant and my due date was calculated to be on Dec 18 and my hunch was that this time I am pregnant with a girl.

A lot has changed in procedures for OB patient care since my last pregnancy. This time they had this test called an AFP/Nuchal Translucency. This is an optional test to see if the fetus has any birth defects or syndromes. I opted to take the test... being a special education teacher, my biggest fear is to raise a child with special needs (teaching and raising one are 2 entirely different things and the idea that work and home would almost feel the same didn't really appeal to me). These tests involves blood being drawn at certain specific time frames in the course of pregnancy. It also involves an ultrasound where they would measure the baby's proportions and something at the brain stem of the fetus. When I had these procedures done, I passed with flying colors. Of course I would.. what are the odds?

When I was pregnant with my son, I gained 56 lbs... that is huge for a frame of 5'2" and I never got my pre pregnancy weight back. So, for this pregnancy I promised myself to eat healthy. Instead of reaching for a Snickers bar or a Kit-kat after each meal (which I did when i was pregnant with my son) I opted for healthier options. I watched what I ate and had several small meals througout the day as I found that this helped keep my food down. I snacked on fruit and vegetables and yogurt and granola and had a special affinity with Tilapia and Fuji apples. I had the usual experience with this pregnancy... smelling odd odors, cravings, morning sickness (that does not happen only in the mornings), and mood swings. The only difference at that time was that I didn't balloon right away. I was able to manage a healthy weight gain.

I remember that on my 11th week of pregnancy the OB couldn't hear my baby's heartbeat, so I was scheduled to see him again a week after to check and listen for the heart beat again. A week after we still couldn't hear your heart beat so the doctor scheduled me for an emergency ultrasound at the local hospital. I was not scared, I was certain that nothing was wrong and it is possible that they could have just miscalculated the dates. That ultrasound was the first time that i got to see her. She was swimming inside my belly shaped like a little tiny peanut and your heart was beating at 170bpm. However,based on measurements, I was due to have my baby on Dec 28 (my birthday)

I had another ultrasound the following week for the Nuchal Translucency procedure. Nuchal Translucency is a prenatal test to assess your baby's risk of having Down syndrome (DS) and some other chromosomal abnormalities as well as major congenital heart problems. However, it cannot detect all chromosomal disorders... the rare kinds. At that ultrasound measurements indicate that I was due Christmas day. So, given all these different due dates, I just told people that my baby will be coming anytime around the 18th to the 28th of December (Although I hoped that you would come a week before Christmas day so that I can maximize my maternity leave). The screening yielded a negative result, which is what we knew for certain would hear. After all, what are the odds right?

In the succeeding weeks my belly kept growing although I didn't actually show until my fifth month of pregnancy and even then I still managed to wear some of my pre pregnancy clothes (I didn't get to wear maternity pants until my eighth month). Friends and family and even strangers started giving me their two cents on the baby's sex. In my heart I really felt that you will be a girl.

In August I had another ultrasound, the reason being "small for dates". I was "small for dates" when I was pregnant with my son (yes in spite of the 56 lbs that I gained) so this didn't really alarm me nor did it alarm my OB, but he wanted to order an ultrasound just to make sure. During that ultrasound the baby's size was indeed small... smaller than average, but it was not a big issue because her size was still in the "growth curve". It was during that ultrasound that we found out that we are having a girl. The name we chose for her is Isabella... meaning "God's promise".

In the succeeding months the baby and I grew and grew. People kept saying that I was "small" and indeed I was smaller.. relative to when I was pregnant with my son. I felt a bit proud of myself for being able to manage a steady and healthy weight gain for this pregnancy. I also noticed that with this pregnancy there was less movement. My belly didn't contort as much into odd shapes. There was less kicking on my ribs and the baby felt lighter sitting on my bladder. I figured that it might be because I was carrying a girl this time.. and girls are , you know, graceful and less active.

In November my OB scheduled another ultrasound to see how things are going inside my belly. The reason on the lab request still indicated "small for dates", but my OB was not really majorly concerned seeing that I and my husband are both on the small and short side. During the ultrasound the technician did confirm that I was having a girl and that based on measurements the baby only weighed about 3 1/2 lbs. This became a concern for me because at this point (seeing that I only have about a month left), you should already be weighing at least 5lbs. I communicated my concerns to friends and they reassured me that ultrasound weight approximations are usually wrong and that in the next few weeks all that's going to happen in utero is the baby getting bigger and fatter. Which is a fact... really, I checked it on the internet too.

Days after that ultrasound (it was Friday the 13th... an ominous day) I received a phone call from my OB. When I picked up the phone it didn't register right away that it was my OB personally calling me (what a privilege!) . He said that he was calling because the ultrasound indicated some issues with my baby's heart... the ultrasound showed that my baby might have an Atrial Septum Defect (ASD).

It was news that I found too much to digest on a Friday morning and that was the first time I cried and felt worried. Little did I know that the roller coaster ride has already begun.

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