When the act of medically induced labor isn’t only considered a “labor of love”, but also a necessary means to an unexpected end.
Okay, that opening statement may have been a little dramatic, but hear me out….
It all started a little over 4 weeks ago at a routine sono/check up appointment with my OB at 32 weeks gestation. Now please remember that I am indeed a bariatric weight loss patient going on 27 months post gastric bypass surgery. I had successfully lost right around 140 lbs and then became pregnant at 18 months post op.
Need any help with that math? That would make me a whopping 8 months pregnant when the concerns first appeared. Up to that point everything seemed to be right on schedule. Corbin, or Corby as I have started to call him, was growing right along the curve with his counterparts. All the sonos seemed to be successful, when he chose to cooperate, and we were getting awesome pictures of our sweet little boy! As I visibly continued to grow there was little concern about my lack of weight gain, only 7ish lbs my entire pregnancy, except from husband. He was always asking how I was feeling, what was my food situation like, did I need ANYTHING? All to which I answered with something along the lines of… Honey, I’m fine you know that I can’t eat like regular people but everything is okay and no I’m not hungry but I will take some gummy bears for later.
While at this 32 week appointment my OB told me that he thought I should go see a maternal fetal specialist for high risk pregnancy patients. Remember how I said I was a weight loss patient, well that automatically throws me into the high risk category and up to this point my OB had been strictly against completing my referral to go to the high risk doctor. Some blah blah blah about not getting his toes stepped on when everything was going so smoothly.
Anyway…. I was a little confused. I questioned why the sudden change of heart involving maternal fetal and he told me that it was only precautionary. That the sono measurements seemed a little off, but were most likely just the slightly outdated machine and/or position of the baby. It’s super hard to accurately gauge everything through fat/muscle/placenta/fluid, you know all that good jazz. He told me not to worry and proceeded to say that it was probably a 99.99% chance that they would tell us everything was going swimmingly and send us right back to my regular OB. However, that was not the case.
Just one short week later we found ourselves in the maternal fetal waiting room at the hospital. I wasn’t super nervous about the visit because I guess I had convinced myself that nothing was wrong. How could it be? I could feel Corbin moving, what seemed like non-stop. Apart from general pregnancy exhaustion I felt fine. Nothing indicated that we should be stressing, at least not to me.
Cue the “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” sentiment.
I get called to have my ht/wt/vitals taken before heading back for our in-depth sono. Issue number one for my husband was I lost 6 of the 7lbs that I had gained. Though I dreaded telling him I also reminded him that my pregnant body is very different from other woman and this is most likely normal considering. He wasn’t buying it. I brushed off his concern and we got set up for our testing.
The sono tech was super nice. She was entertaining us, pointing out things that we hadn’t been able to see on our regular OB sono (like hair or the fact that Corbin’s umbilical cord was super prominent floating in his face), she took many measurements and answered almost all of Zack’s borderline annoying questions about hospital lingo every time she said something. Notice I said “answered ALMOST all..” Well when Zack asked her things about the baby’s specific measurements or how certain appendages looked she just kept saying “I can’t tell you anything. That has to be reviewed by the APN/OB and they will be in to talk to you.” It felt much colder than the jovial way she had been acting at first.
After about 30-45 mins of looking at the baby she told us she had what she needed and to sit tight. That the doctor would be in shortly to talk about their findings. Still I didn’t feel super nervous, more of just ready for everything to be over so we could continue on with our appointments for the day. Plus, I was starting to get hangry and no one wants to be around a pregnant hangry woman, it’s totally unbearable just ask my husband.
After a brief wait the nurse and APN came in to let us know what they had seen from the pictures and measurements. First the good news, Corbin was alive and kicking around in there. Though he was sleepy he cooperated, for the most part, and she was happy with what they were able to get picture wise. Second the concern, Corbin’s little arms and legs were much smaller than they should be. While his head and stomach were measuring on schedule his limbs seemed to be about 3 weeks behind. She proceeded to ask us about genetics in our family and whether or not we had had the chromosomal testing for the down syndrome gene. We had not, simply because neither one of us has anything like that in our family history. She told us that she was recommending that we have that blood test completed to rule out some things.
Then we would come back in 3 weeks, at 36 weeks gestation, to measure him again and make sure that he was still trending upwards on the growth curve chart and hadn’t fallen off anywhere. Overall he was at the 34th percentile and she said that wasn’t a terrible thing, but they wanted to make sure that he continued growing. The nurse that drew my blood told me that the results would come from an outside lab and that it would take every single one of the 7-10 business days to get them back. She assured us that they would call and let us know the results as soon as they were in. For now we just needed to make our follow up appointment, relax, and try to wait things out.
I know it sounds crazy, but I still didn’t feel like anything was wrong. How could it be? I was a little upset about the lab testing, mainly because we hadn’t even considered Down Syndrome as a possibility and nothing at my previous visits pointed in that direction either.
Skip ahead to almost 3 weeks later when I FINALLY got a-hold of someone to give us our blood test results. Negative said the not so nice nurse(definitely not our initial one that drew my blood because she was way too nice to talk to a worried mother like this one did), no explanation no apology for the long wait. Nothing, just “Your results are negative and they will go over it with you at your visit on Thursday.”
Whew, to say I was relieved was an understatement. I immediately shared the news with the friends and family that we had told about the testing. Everyone was so happy. This just helped to cement the fact that everything was normal and that we would just find out at our Thursday appointment that he was messing with us, an early April Fool’s joke, if you will. That he had tricked everyone and was just cooking away in there. Right?
We packed everyone in the car on Thursday morning, my 36 week date, and hit the road. It was early and the girls were already wound for sound. The excitement of seeing their brother and getting to go to the hospital was A LOT. I didn’t mind though because they very rarely get to share in this stuff with us and I know how much they love their brother already. I checked in and they played in the waiting room. The earlier the appointment the better, apparently, because they got us in so much quicker this time.
The girls attention span didn’t last long and it made it difficult for Zack to pay attention while they did the comparative sono. We made it work, thank God he knows how to wrangle them like he does and the sono tech didn’t mind the non-stop balls of energy they are. Zack didn’t get to ask as many questions, but the sono tech and myself talked a lot about his little features, the growing hair, his so visible spine and heart…. It truly is amazing how technology can see all that stuff, it still blows my mind.
It seemed like the sono flew by this time and that could have had something to do with the rambunctious kids or the fact that I was so sure that our baby was just fine. Just fine…. Seeing those words kind of make me feel a little ill. The sono tech excused herself and said that the APN would be in shortly. What seemed like ages passed and then the nurse and APN finally came in. What they told us next was not what I expected to hear. Our sweet little boy is no longer growing in there. In fact, he is trending downward and they have labeled him as failure to thrive. Since our last visit, 3 weeks prior, he went from the 34th percentile to the 10th. He gained 4 oz, but his limbs have not grown in length.
While this could be normal, I mean I am pretty small at only 5′ 4″, the lack of growth at all shot up red flags. The high risk OB reviewed everything and it was decided that I would start my maternity leave, go for some additional testing, and be induced at 37 weeks at the end of the upcoming week. Yeah you read that right… In a week they expected me to have this baby? But my due date wasn’t even until April 25th, that would make him 20-21 days early.
My mind started to race. I could barely concentrate when they gave me the rundown of everything and explained the plan so far. I do remember them telling me not to worry because this happens. That they just want to be cautious and it’s so much easier to monitor him when he is on the outside. The APN told me that most likely everything will be fine. He probably won’t even need to be in the NICU, but that is a yet to be seen decision, and that an extended hospital stay for him was unlikely at this point.
I held it together pretty well while the staff was in the room. But, I shit you not, as soon as they stepped out to start setting things up, I broke down. I couldn’t help myself. What in the hell just happened? Did they honestly just tell us that the baby, “growing” inside my very body, was going to make an early entrance into this world because said body isn’t able to do what it needs to to keep him healthy? The short answer is yes.
While I can guess what you are thinking and the encouragement that you are mentally sending our way, I can also tell you that things are not always as simple as they should be. I had convinced myself of something and now it was being ripped out of my control. My heart was broken and I felt like such a failure. How could I be so naive about it all? To think that this body, that has let me down so many times in the past, would actually perform the way it was supposed to? Laughable, only I couldn’t laugh because I was crying so much.
I reached out to my support system and of course the girls and Zack took great care of me. The other errands were a blur. I did set things up with my boss and amazing co-workers to make sure that everything was taken care of on that end. I am so blessed to have them all in my corner. It was still super hard to wrap my head around everything and I just needed some time.
Though I slept little last night, this day has brought new insight into the whole situation. My good friend, Joanna, reminded me that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That I just get to love my baby sooner on the outside than we had expected. She continues to be a great point of strength for me and I know I wouldn’t be in the place I am mentally without her.
The girls started their long weekend with their mother today. We dropped them off at daycare this morning and it was rough for Fiona. I know they say little kids don’t always know what it going on but these girls are so smart. They can tell when we are hurting. They are excited for their brother to get here, but of course can feel the extra stress this has all caused.
Thankfully their Oma and Gross Oma, Zack’s mom and grandma, are going to be there to help us with the girls while this all transpires. Next week is our long week with them and the thought of all this happening at the same time is very nerve racking. I am grateful for all the people in our lives willing to help us and I will definitely have no shame in leaning on those shoulders when in need. It is pretty much out of our hands at this point and we are just along for the bumpy ride!
I got the call today that they didn’t want to wait to schedule the induction. That they are considering it as an emergent medical induction and want to do it as soon as my 37 weeks hits. That they will push back the scheduled c-sections to make this happen. So…. the plan is as follows: Non-stress test on Monday morning with follow-up appointment at my regular OB. Scheduled 1st beta shot for Corbin’s lungs on Tuesday and then exactly 24 hours later 2nd lung beta shot, both of which will happen at the hospital where we are being induced. Then I have to call the hospital at 2300 Wednesday night for further instructions. They will induce me at 0001 or close after on Thursday. The plan is to start as close to midnight as possible because the amount of time for a first labor varies so much from mother to mother.
So if you’ve made it this far I commend you. Thanks for sticking around an reading the ramblings of a pregnant mad woman. I’ve learned a few lessons about expecting the unexpected and doing my best to go with the flow; not to mention the daily reminders of all the amazing friends and loved ones we have in our lives that are willing to literally drop everything to take care of us.
In the end I pray that everything will be great. That Corbin will be born and prove them all wrong. I know how strong I am so I definitely know that I am capable of making someone even stronger. If you are one who prays, please say a quick prayer for my family. If not, please just send us positive vibes. Thursday will be here before we know it and the race to the end is on!