29 October 2007

strange measurements

Today was our biweekly checkup at the hospital. It's actually been 3 weeks since I last "saw" Arden, so the ultrasound was very welcome. Betsy, the ultrasound tech, got the most amazing picture of him that I'll try to do a decent job of scanning. It looks just like a picture of a sleeping baby. He has chubby little cheeks and Nicky's nose. :D

Until now, Arden has measured out almost exactly 2 weeks larger than normal. We haven't worried because his growth has been incredibly consistent. And then, three weeks ago, it turned out that I have an excess of amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios)but it didn't seem to be affecting Arden in any adverse ways and my blood tests had all gone the right way ... so it was decided to just monitor it. This week the fluid levels are still too high, but consistent with the last measurements.

However, Arden's measurements have gone wonky. In particular, his head now measures at 36 weeks and a couple of days even though he's only 30 weeks and 3 days. His abdomen is large, but still consistent with his growth (i.e. about 2 weeks larger than normal). The lab tech looked and couldn't see any brain abnormalities or cranial fluid build-up, but Dr. Schmitz has referred me to the much larger medical facility in Rotterdam for an extensive ultrasound/prenatal diagnostic. I'll go in on Thursday morning.

Trying not to worry, as everything else seems okay ....

21 October 2007

doctors and therapists and pills, oh my!

I haven't been updating quite as regularly because I don't want to come across sounding like I'm complaining. Still and all, I suppose an update is warranted, simply to avoid forgetting stuff later. (Something I am very good at!)

My last checkup with the GYN was the 15th. Dr. Schmitz was back from her holiday and I had my mental list of questions and concerns for her. The glucose screening was, as I knew, fine. The other bloodwork was also satisfactory (iron was low, but always is). The urine testing turned up an intestinal bacterial infection that required treatment by antibiotics (amoclan, 125 mg 3xdaily). I'd lost the kilo that I'd gained at the last appointment. The ultrasound tech was out, so no measurements this week, but we did check him with the scan to ensure his heartrate seemed fine. As for the excess of amniotic fluid, she stressed that it is an excess of measurements, not a clinical excess. In her opinion, it's not likely to trigger a premature labor, which was my great concern. Of course, her opinion ... well, her opinion doesn't exactly reassure me, but I can't second guess everything all the time. Blood pressure was somewhere right around normal (120/80) which is slightly higher than it has been, but the assistant took it while Dr. Schmitz was talking to me, and it seems like that causes my BP to increase. Go figure. LOL!

The antibiotics really caused me some concern, because I was taking antiobiotics when we lost the baby last year. Dr. Schmitz reassured me repeatedly that these were safe to take during pregnancy, and the pharmacist said the same when I grilled her on any possible side effects. The killing off of all those nasty bacteria, however, did spark a most unpleasant yeast infection. Yay. Do you think I could find "live" yogurt anywhere? Naturally not. Did some online reading for other at-home treatments, as I know from past experience that the Monostat-variety medications do not agree with my system. I will spare you the details other than to say I've discovered yet another use for garlic. ;)

I've also been to an amazing haptonoom who put me through some extraordinary breathing exercises that benefitted my asthma problems as well. Unfortunately, I have to be laying down to do them. But he also showed me a way to sit that really takes the strain off that muscle - what a lifesaver! It's obvious, though, that I will have to continue to cut back on what I can reasonably tackle as the pregnancy continues. There's just no way around it. Thankfully, I have wonderful kids who are capable of cutting me some slack and I have an incredible husband who is supportive at every turn.

The upcoming week is not only a school vacation for the kids, but also filled with various appointments. I'll see my regular PT for the pelvic issues. That's well under control, thankfully, but the bi-weekly pain massage (LOL!) really helps keep it under control and I don't want to give that up. I'll also be seeing my "regular" haptonoom, who saw us through Nicky and Rowen's pregnancies. She's a remarkable person and I am really looking forward to seeing her. I'll also be going in for a half-day of work at the office and putting in about a half-day from home. Yay for paychecks!

I've also had my first meeting with a grief counsellor, who actually seems to know what's what. I've ordered a REBT workbook from Amazon.com that will hopefully arrive by the end of the week, giving me about 2 weeks to "study" for our next appointment. Niek and I have talked about the need to make the final arrangements for the twin we lost, a talk we've both been avoiding.

And so things continue slowly heading in the right direction.

05 October 2007

2nd round of glucose screening

Today marks the amazing 27 week milestone. Okay, it's not really a milestone, but in 'just' 10 weeks, Arden could be born and not be premature. Yes, I'm grasping for milestones wherever I can and it is a little pathetic. I was telling Niek last night that I feel guilty that I can't just relax and enjoy this pregnancy - that maybe I'm not a good enough mom - but I keep worrying about the spectre of premature birth ... and of the worse things that yet could happen. I do grab my bits of joy when they come along, though! Today's glucose testing went great and I show no signs of diabetes. My values were 5.4 at 9 am, 5.1 at noon (hadn't eaten yet), and 5.8 at 2 pm (had a vegetable & boiled egg sandwich at 1 pm).

To deal with the torn abdominal muscle, I've been wearing these very snug 'body bag' undergarments that my mom sent me. Arden hates them because he doesn't have all the room in the world to bounce around in, but they really do a wonder for supporting that muscle. (The soonest I've been able to get an appointment with a PT is October 18th. Anyone with a teenager who isn't sure of a future career - physical therapy!!!) I give Arden a break about every 3rd day by wearing normal underwear (if you can call the tents that are maternity undergarments 'normal'!). He reacts like a VERY large Mexican jumping bean on these days. LOL. It hurts, but it's well worth it when I imagine his joy at having unrestricted movement.

Yesterday, my belly 'dropped' - I suddenly have nearly a full hand's width of room between my belly and breasts. He's not dropped into my pelvic girdle yet, but I would rather he wasn't riding so low. Not only am I forced to walk like an overweight duck, but it makes me worry about him coming prematurely. I know, I worry too much....

On the bright side, he remains active and is obviously growing very well and my health also remains good. So, quiet happy cheers from here in Gouda. :)

01 October 2007

26 weeks and 3 days - wow!

Today was our biweekly ultrasound and checkup for Arden, and I'm relieved to share that everything went well. The ultrasound measurements continue to be between 2 wks/2dys and 2 wks/4 dys "bigger" than normal for his age, but this seems to be his normal growth pattern - he's not deviated it from it since we started doing the measurements. Our big little boy. :)

My BP and protein levels were fine, but the doctor I had today (my regular GYN has a week off) wanted to test my urine because it's been cloudy - frankly, I was relieved - and also wrote up the paperwork for my iron levels and a few other things to be tested. It's also time to have the glucose tests run again. For the test here, I don't drink anything special but simply go in every 3 hours for a finger prick to see if my levels are too high/too low/fluctuating. And that horrible pain I've had under my ribcage is not a figment of my imagination or the woes of being an older mom - it's a torn abdominal muscle which may or may not be infected. Sadly, there's not much that can be done about it till post-pregnancy, and the poor stretched out thing is going to have to stretch a bit more .... I'm trying to reach one of the PTs who is very good with this sort of thing, but she's been unavailable. I'll keep trying. Till then, 'easy does it' will have to be my motto.

It was wonderful to see Arden again, and to be reassured that he's doing as well as he is. By the time the two weeks are nearing an end, I always begin to get nervous about something going wrong. When I was talking to my mom today, I realized with a shock that we'll only have around 6 more appointments before the Grand Arrival!