Counting the Weeks

I counted the weeks I have left before my due date. They fit on one hand! Four weeks till week 40. I honestly doubt I’ll make it that far; I also doubt they’ll let me get that far. I know they won’t let me go late.

Yesterday, I was wondering if I was going to go into labor this week. Merely turned out to be late-stage pregnancy discomfort en masse: Swollen ankles, gastric issues paired with normal contractions, baby squashing my bladder and various other sensitive nerves, raging heartburn, sinus pressure, headache, and poor sleep. I left church after Bible class to go home, lay down, and drink water for a couple hours. Except for being really tired, which comes with the territory, I feel much better today. Unfortunately, I’ve also eaten pretty badly this afternoon (how come I can’t stay away from the dairy and carbs?), so the heartburn will byvaet (that is, “visit”, in Russian) again soon.

I’m ready for this pregnancy to be over, though I have to say it’s still hard to believe I’ll have a wriggly little newborn outside of me in a few weeks. Weeks! 🙂

I hope and pray he’ll come out fine, with no complications, perfectly cute and healthy and squalling. So far, on the inside, he’s monitoring just fine and growing like a little parasite weed.

He has what’s called a “single-artery cord”, a.k.a. “two-vessel cord”. A normal umbilical cord has three vessels: Two arteries bringing blood and oxygen to the baby, and a vein carrying away the waste. Isn’t the human body amazing? 🙂 Anyway, he only has one artery. Sometimes, it just means that his umbilical has one artery and that’s it. Sometimes, it means minimal to more serious birth defects. I opted out of the quad test at the beginning of my pregnancy, because often that test results in false positives, which can lead to more painful and risky testing, only to show that nothing was wrong in the first place. While it would be nice to know some of those things (like whether he has Downs Syndrome), that’s not something that’s going to affect my pregnancy or my love for him after he’s born.

By the time the 20-week ultrasound rolls around, it’s too late for the quad test, but many defects or symptoms of defects can be found at that time. I don’t know that a two-vessel cord can be detected in a quad test, but some of the defects of which it is a symptom might be discovered. Still not worth it to me, though, to justify the worry caused by false positives and the pain and risk of extraneous, invasive testing to disprove them.

In our case, so far, the two-vessel cord has been nothing more than an anomaly. His heart looks and sounds great, his brain is present, it appears all limbs are present and accounted for. They’re worried about weight restriction (not growing well) and constriction of the cord in the late weeks. So I have to go in for “non-stress tests” twice a week, where I’m strapped to a contraction monitor and a fetal heart monitor, to make sure that the baby’s heartbeat remains strong, even through contractions and movement. It has to naturally accelerate when he moves or when I contract. Deceleration means he’s not getting enough blood or oxygen. Then, once a week (during one of these tests), I get an ultrasound for fluid levels. If my fluid drops, the possibility of the cord becoming constricted goes up. Then, periodically, I get a weight check in the “big” ultrasound department to see if he’s growing at the right pace. The tech told me before that he’s just fine, if a bit short–but it appeared to her it might run in the family (she’s shorter than me, so we both had to laugh at that).

So far, all testing has shown him to be normal and healthy. He will probably be monitored a bit after he comes out to make sure everything works properly apart from the womb. Fortunately, I got them all (that would be the obstetricians, midwives, and Comp[licated] OB nurses) to agree that someone messed up my due date after my first ultrasound, so they aren’t expecting me to be overdue when/if I make it to my real due date of October 21st.

I now say I’m due anytime between the 15th and the 21st, because my original due date, determined by the first date of my last period, was October 15th. The date they adjusted to was the 9th. I told them that was impossible, because my periods are long, not short. The baby measured at 9.5 weeks, and the first day of my last period was January 9th. I can see where the mistake was made. An obscure note was appended to my file to say that it was Oct 21st, but the 9th was written in all the pertinent places. When the Comp OB was talking to me about induction at 39 weeks, he was STILL under the impression that I was due on the 9th, but didn’t really give me a straight answer when I asked him whether he knew it was really the 21st. I had to see the report after that visit to find out they still assumed my due date was the 9th.

Don’t listen to the pregnant woman. Paperwork can’t lie. *eyeroll*

I managed to convince my midwife that the 9th was wrong, and to review my file to find the right date. She did, and now everyone is on the right page. However, because it took so long and all the people who did the original measurements had transferred to new duty stations, they had to go by the 15th, but would allow for the 21st. I was fine with that. At least they weren’t going to assume that the last week of September was the 39th week. If I can avoid induction, I will, but at least I understand the reason for it: As the cord ages, the coating around it can lessen, and as the baby grows, there is less room. The possibility of the cord becoming crimped grows as the baby does, so the original plan was to get him out before he could get too big. Of course, they didn’t tell me that when reviewing the “original plan”; I had to ask my midwife at my next appointment.

I did ask at the Comp OB appointment to see if I could go to full term, and they said it would be okay. The midwife is convinced (as am I) that he will come before the 40th week, anyway. He might make a liar out of both of us, but that’s when I’ll allow talk of induction.

I should probably pack my own go-bag for the hospital sooner, rather than later, and pick up the infant car seat. Last time I gave birth, I’d packed my bag and washed all the baby clothes the day before I went into labor. Talk about a close call! 🙂 I didn’t even know what contractions were supposed to feel like before that day. Now that I do, I’m very aware that I have them more often now, especially when I’m walking around or engaging in much activity. I’m not really a bed-rest case, but I’m not nearly as mobile as I was a few weeks ago.

Aha, there’s the heartburn. Just in time for dinner! Oh well. Comes with the territory. 🙂

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