Low Risk to More Risk

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Hi everyone!  I know, it’s been a while since my last post.  I think it’s obvious the baby is here, leaving me less time to write.  Lol.

Everything was going smoothly with all my appointments.  I was going every other week on Saturdays so I wouldn’t have to take time off from work.  That was my preference because I wanted to save my leave.  Well at 33 weeks, the nurse scheduled me for additional appointment the following week.  I thought it was weird because I previously scheduled all my appointments to the end – 40 weeks.  I agreed to come in for the appointment even though I was thinking they were mixed up on what week I was on.

Prior to that, my husband had been trying to get me to attend a co-worker’s new store open house.  I kept insisting that I didn’t think it was necessary to go to the open house.  I didn’t want to drive to town when I didn’t have an appointment.  So, when I got an additional appointment, which happened to be the day of the open house, I reluctantly agreed to go.  A few days before the open house, I began to question my husband about this “open house”.  I didn’t feel like he was telling me everything.  He told me to stop asking him about it, so I did.  But I kept thinking about it.  I thought his co-workers were going to have a baby shower at the “open house” but even I wasn’t convinced that was it.  I knew there was something going on but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

A few days before my appointment and the “open house” I thought about calling the doctor to verify that I was on week 34 and not 35.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I figured I’d just clarify with the doctor at that appointment and not worry about it.

The day of my appointment arrived.  At week 35, I was scheduled for an exam and ultrasound.  So, when I clarified it with the doctor, he agreed they made a mistake and I was 34 weeks.  But since I was there and undressed from the waist down, he decided to do an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound he noticed my amniotic fluid was high and was concerned about it.  He asked if we could go to Queen’s Labor and Delivery to complete a NST (Non Stress Test).  I looked at my husband because he wanted to go to the “open house”.  I was thinking we could skip the “open house” and do the NST.  My husband told the doctor we had something so we scheduled an appointment for the afternoon.

We left the doctor and headed toward the “open house”.  He told me it was at Manoa Marketplace.  As we were driving there I told him, “I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Manoa Marketplace but it’s it that way?”  I was pointing to the right as we were going left.  My husband shushed me and told me the “open house” was at Waioli Tea Room.  At this point I was super confused but I knew something was up.  We walked up to the front and were greeted by a woman who asked if we were here for a bridal shower or baby shower.  I looked at my husband and he had a big grin on his face.  We both laughed as he turned me to walk toward my group of friends.  SURPRISE!  It was definitely a surprise and a very enjoyable brunch.

After the brunch we headed to Queen’s Labor and Delivery for my first NST.  The NST was for the baby, not me.  If you’ve never had a NST, they do the same thing when you’re admitted.  Let me explain.  Due to the excess fluid, the doctor wanted to make sure my baby was doing well and he was not under stress.  Hence, the NST…Non Stress Test.  In Labor and Delivery, I sat up on the bed and lifted my shirt just to expose my belly.  The nurse placed 2 monitors on my stomach, 1 to monitor contractions and the other to monitor the baby’s heart beat & rate.  The nurse used wide elastic bands to obtain the right placement of the monitors.  It’s like a wrist watch.  The face of the contraction monitor is placed at the center of your belly and then they tighten the band.  The monitor for baby’s heart beat & rate is wherever baby is.  For me he was faced down so the monitor was below the contraction monitor.  Since my baby moved around A LOT, the nurse would often have to adjust the monitor.  My NST lasted about an hour and then I was free to go, not without scheduling my next one.

My first NST was quite painless.  One of the first things the nurse asked me is if I knew why I was there.  Lol.  I sure hope so.  I know there’s a technical name for excess amniotic fluid but I didn’t know it. (It’s call polyhydramnios.)  The nurse gave me water and the remote for the TV.  Ooh, I forgot!  Along with the 2 monitors the nurse gave me a button to press every time I felt the baby move.  The button reminds me of Wheel of Fortune where they are referred as “buzzers”.  It’s easy to grasp and great for pushing frequently.  Lol.

It was then that I realized my pregnancy was no longer “low risk”.  I had to do NSTs weekly until the doctor ordered otherwise.  Another thing to note about the NST, it varies in time.  For example, the first time I went it took an hour.  The next time I went it was longer.  The shortest time for me was half an hour.  The reason for the variation is because the nursing staff needed to contact my doctor to review the monitors and give the “ok” for me to leave.

Well, 34 weeks was just the start of what I call “pregnancy excitement” aka stress.  In upcoming weeks I experienced much more than I ever thought I would.  Twice a week appointments, twice a week NSTs, 2 more ultrasounds, and weekly vaginal exams.  The twice a week appointments, NSTs, and ultrasounds is how the doctor monitor my polyhydramnios.  I got quite use to it, although now that I think about it, it was pretty draining.  Having 2 more full fetal ultrasounds was nothing I expected but I was grateful for them.  Not only was I able to get more pictures, but I was able to see my baby more.  The ultrasounds looked at the fluid and the baby’s growth, including the heart.  One of the main concerns my doctor had about the excess fluid is the umbilical cord.  If my water broke the cord could come down before the baby which would result in an emergency c-section.  I was lucky to have the reviewing doctor present at each ultrasound.  He asked questions and watched the ultrasound technician take measurement.  Through discussion with us he determined that they did not know why there was excess fluid.  He noted that gestational diabetes was one common cause for excess fluid, which I did not have.  I never knew why I had so much fluid but I knew my fluid was about equal to the size of they baby.  I remember at 35 weeks the ultrasound gauged that the baby was 6 lbs 10 oz.  I thought, yikes!  Then at 37 weeks the ultrasound said 8 lbs 6 oz.  That created another concern for my doctor.  Of course the ultrasound has a range – room for error.

So, although my pregnancy began with little risk as time went on risk increased and the doctor induced labor.

Just as a side note….The only thing I will say about vaginal exams as a pregnant lady, is that’s they’re painful.  It’s nothing like a pap smear…at all.

Next post:  Inducing Labor


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