17 September 2007

IJsselland checkup with Jim and Gaby

Today's ultrasound, measurements, and checkup were made extra special by the presence of Jim and Gaby. :) They're the first grandparents to "see" their newest grandson, and the experience was wonderful for all involved.

Arden continues to grow at a rather remarkable rate, but his growth is consistent with the biweekly measurements we've been taking, so the doctor isn't worried (but is keeping an eye on it). The manual exam, where the baby is palpated and measured externally, places Arden at 27 weeks. The ultrasound measurements place him at 26 weeks. He is currently 24 weeks and 3 days. My protein levels are fine and I'm not showing any signs of gestational diabetes, so at this point Dr. Schmitz says it would appear that we simply have a big, healthy baby. ;) However, I'll go back in for the glucose test in 4 weeks, just to be safe.

Jim and Gaby were totally amazed by the clarity of the ultrasound. Arden obligingly showed them all his tricks, even waving at us. It was a fabulous experience, and we all felt a little breathless and awed when we came out.

Later this afternoon, I also went to the physical therapist and she was surprised at how much progress has already been made in my pelvic (re)alignment. I'll go back next week, and then we'll probably cut back to biweekly visits. Yay!

10 September 2007

creak, groan, crack

Today was my first appointment with the physical therapist to begin treating my pelvic instability and back pain - which do indeed turn out to be two manifestations of the same problem. We'll skip the coughing fit I had when I choked on my chewing gum - I was a little nervous about finding the place in the rain in an unfamiliar town. Turns out the therapist is the same woman I had for pregnancy gym when I was pregnant with Nicky and Rowen, and that she had a strange twin experience herself during her last pregnancy. She kept insisting that she felt like she was carrying twins, but the midwife said there was only one baby ... then when her son was born, she delivered two placentas, indicating there had been a twin who didn't survive the first trimester. Her experience made her a lot easier to talk to, and for the first time in ages, I didn't feel the need to be on my guard with someone.

The first thing she had to check was how limited my mobility has become. I'm not immobilized, but I'm in a moderate amount of pain all the time and my range of motion is pretty confined. So she started with a massage which I thought was going to have me in tears it hurt so badly. After that, we tried the mobility thing again, and there was definate improvement. She showed me three very simple exercises I need to work on this week and lent me a pelvic band to wear during my 'busy hours' each day, when I put myself out more. I'll wear it today during the late afternoon while I chase around after Nicky and Rowen. ;) She was glad I came in now, rather than waiting, and said there's a good likelihood we'll get it under control before the birth and that I'll be able to rely on simple maintenance exercises after the birth rather than requiring long-term therapy. It was interesting to get into and out of the car after the appointment without wincing ... ;)

Thank you all very much for your support after my last post. I'm still really freaked out about encountering people (I couldn't even pick Rowen up from daycare on Friday for fear of the people), and unfortunately I take out my frustration/fear on the wrong people (like my poor Mom who called on Saturday, when I was still feeling very rattled). It's largely the language - I am made practically mute in Dutch when I get upset; when I'm speaking English I can let it all 'hang out' which is not always fair to the person on the receiving end. Niek and I tried to work out a stock reply (in Dutch) to use if the situation recurs, but I know my mind will just go blank again. So I'm hiding out a bit more than normal these days.

07 September 2007

things not to say

I almost escaped the first week of school without incident. Then today happened. First, the douala we'd originally contacted called - she had not received my email and was full of questions. When I managed to tell her that we'd lost one of the twins, she persisted (both on the phone and in an email) in asking questions about the deceased twin and how that was being handled. I decided to ignore her. Then at school, Nicky's teacher asked me if I were pregnant and if it was twins, which she'd heard a 'rumor' about. I quietly explained that it was twins but one had died unexpectedly. Morbidly, she persisted in questioning me about the one we'd lost, making faces when I verified that the baby was still in my womb and going on about how 'gross' that was. I finally told her that for me it was simply very, very sad and I walked away while she was still talking. After this, I feel like crawling off into a hole somewhere. The quiet day alone, which I'd been looking forward to as a chance to rest and relax, turned into a nightmare. It is unpleasant to think of the twin we lost remaining in my womb - when we first found out about the loss, the thought drove me to distraction, in all honesty. But it's far & away the safest solution for Arden - and we are not going to do anything at all to jeopardize his chances. What on earth would make people who only know me in passing think it's (a) okay to ask about something so intensely personal, and (b) make negative, even derogatory, remarks about it? I feel like every unthinking comment I've ever made (and trust me, I've never made any that even approach this) is coming back to torture me.

04 September 2007

4 September - measurements & more at IJsselland

Last week, while we were in Belgium, Arden's movements began becoming much stronger and we were able to clearly feel him every day. That was the high point of the holiday for me! He actually wakes me up in the early hours, somewhere between 4 and 6 am, nearly every day for awhile. Never thought I'd be so happy to be awoken before dawn! LOL!

So when we went in for today's appointment, we were reasonably certain things would go well. Still, there's always that element of fear ... and the ultrasound machine in the doctor's office wasn't working properly, so when she first put the sensor on my belly, we couldn't see a heartbeat. I could feel him moving, and just concentrated on that, trying to ignore the monitor. Dr. Schmitz quickly arranged for us to go to the special ultrasound room, where they have a very state-of-the-art new machine, for the measurements, and concentrated on getting my information down on the chart. No weight gain at all for me - hooray! After the last two appointments, it looked like I'd soon need my own zip code. The glucose levels were as close to perfect as possible, so no worries about gestational diabetes at this time. Phew! My blood pressure was nice & low, as it should be. Basically, a green light for health.

After a remarkably short wait for the ultrasound room, we were treated to a nice long, leisurely look at Arden while he showed us his new tricks. :D The technician was also eager to show off all that the new machine could do, so after all the measurements had been taken (and he measures out about a week ahead of time, i.e. 23 1/2 weeks instead of 22 1/2 - Yay!), we were treated to a 3D scan. WOW! Not only 3D still shots, which we'd seen before, but real-time 3D movements. It was incredible! I'm still sort of goosebump-y from it. It's like a God's-eye-view of life, seeing a baby in the womb like that. It appear that, at least in shape, Arden is going to take after his big brother Nicky quite a lot. Of course we have no idea if he'll inherit the lovely Dutch coloring from his father or my darker hair & eyes, but he certainly has Nicky's overall shape so far. Handsome baby!! :D