Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Big Scare

Wow. I never thought I'd reach this point in the pregnancy. This weekend I will be 30 weeks. 30 WEEKS!!! In other words, 40 - 30 = 10. If Baby goes to term.....that means we have 10 more weeks left before his arrival! HOLY COW!! Ten is such a small number. I'm going to really freak out when we're in single digits. I keep doing the math in my head...just as I've been doing this entire pregnancy. But until now, the number has always seemed large in degree and Baby still felt so far away. Now all I can think about the labor and delivery. I haven't reached the "fear" of it yet. I'm more preoccupied with the "when" will it happen part. We might not even have 10 weeks at all. What if Baby comes early? I was an early baby...

Well, I really started thinking about Baby's arrival when we had our appointment with the perinatologist. You see, we had a bit of a scare recently. I wasn't going to write about it, but I figured...I talked about everything else. Why leave out the one thing that made this pregnancy really REAL to us. So, it all started at our second trimester fetal anatomy ultrasound. Everything was going well. We saw Baby and watched as the sonographer measured his body. He was a good size...a little big in the head and abdomen, but no big deal according to our OB. We left with the feeling that we were having a big, healthy baby. We were on cloud nine...proud mama and papa.

That same day, it came to my attention that being a big baby is not a good thing at all. That it's NEVER good! And to make it worse...that it might be my fault!! You gotta be kidding me! I barely eat to begin with, and somehow I made the baby big?! That night, I had my first pregnancy nightmares. All of them had the same running theme....that I'm a bad mother. To say that I was upset would be a huge understatement. I was scared, ashamed and very angry. Scared and ashamed that I might be responsible for Baby's unusual measurements. Angry that the bliss of our ultrasound was so short-lived. I literally felt like I had been slapped in the face. I mean, if something was wrong...wouldn't our doctor have told us? She's the expert, so her opinion is the only one that matters, right? If I had done something wrong...wouldn't she have corrected me?

Well, moving forward. The next few weeks were awful. I took on a few shifts and spent any chance I could to scan Baby myself. I measured over and over again. And here's where it gets crazy. At the doctor's office, he wasn't measuring all that fact, he was within range. But every week that went by since, his head would grow significantly faster than the rest of his body. It's hard to explain if you don't scan, but basically when you're measuring, if you move your cursor even a couple of millimeters, you're adding on another week to the measurement. So, I was really careful when measuring...but to no avail. Even when other techs scanned me, they came to the same conclusion. The only mercy I had was that I was the only one freaking out. Everyone who scanned me kept saying his head was fine..that the brain looked good and that this was normal. So that kept my insanity at bay until our next appointment.

My concern was growing at the same rate as Baby's head. So, I asked the doctor for a second anatomy survey. Baby was looked at that same day. Only this time, I think the tech was thinking the same thing I was. Why is this baby's head so big?? So she started searching for a reason. And I can honestly say that from that moment, I was like a zombie. Numb and in a daze. I watched as she measured the baby's ventricles, which really got me spinning. And our OB admitted that she herself was not an ultrasound expert and that she would feel better referring us to a specialist for a more thorough exam of the baby. SAY WHAT?!?! I can tell you that I after that statement, pretty much everything else she said sounded like Charlie Brown's mom. P and I were absolutely devastated. Everything that I had learned in school about fetal anomalies came rushing back to me. I can't believe I didn't pass out because I'm certain I stopped breathing at some point. Ventriculomegaly, hydrocephalus, Dandy-Walker....all these awful, AWFUL things I knew about but never thought I would ever experience on a personal level!!! If you thought I was feeling guilty before, you have no idea the abyss I sunk into after that second ultrasound.

The two weeks of waiting for insurance authorizations and finally getting an appointment with a perinatologist FELT LIKE FOREVER!! The few times I worked during that time, I took advantage and really scrutinized Baby's brain. Again, I had other techs do the same. Our final conclusion was that Baby's brain was fine. His ventricles were fine. Everything looked fine. But still....I wanted to hear it from the perinatologist. Only then can I breathe again.

Well, I call this long story "The Big Scare" because that's all that it ended up being. The appointment was not only reassuring, but very enlightening. It turns out...our baby is Korean. That's right. According to our perinatologist, Korean babies tend to run big quite often, especially the head. I believe his exact words were that "the baby has a Korean head." He even said that these babies are often very intelligent as well. Well, I'm not holding my breath on that because I know a lot of dumb, big-headed people. So, there goes that theory. But obviously, P and I were very relieved. I was so relieved, in fact, I could've had a bowel movement right then and there. TMI? Sorry.

I kept wondering to all the OB scans I've done...why hadn't I come across this phenomenon? Why did I have to freak out like that, when it's supposedly very common. Then it dawned on me. I never scan Korean babies! Perhaps if I had had more experience with that...The Big Scare would never have happened. Regardless, I'm back to enjoying this pregnancy. I use the word "enjoying" very lightly because I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life. Sitting, standing, walking, laying down....there is no position I can find that is a relief to what is now a constant hum of aches and extreme fatigue. Most nights, I spend tossing and turning, taking trips to the restroom and clutching my pillow every time Baby decides to score the winning goal in my belly. He's quietest in the morning, and that is the only time I get any real sleep. Oh, and it's hot now. Like HOT HOT!! I guess summer finally decided to show its ugly face. I will, however, thank Mother Nature for the unprecedented cool weather we were experiencing up until now.

With the clock ticking, P and I are working hard to get Baby's room ready. We're almost done. Just a bit of spackle and some new paint will do. After that...we can buy a crib!!! Don't get me wrong. We have a ton of other things to do before this baby gets here. All those books I've been avoiding...gotta read those. Gotta start making a hospital bag. Gotta wash all those baby clothes. Gotta have a baby shower. Gotta find a pediatrician. The list never ends. I'm super excited for what's to come. Though I will admit, there are days where I still can't believe I'm pregnant. I have gone through the longest emotional roller coaster known to woman during this pregnancy. I don't know what I would've done without P's tireless support and love. Even now, though I'm no longer feeling sick, P has continued to take care of me and Baby. Though I may sit here planning, nesting and thinking about all that needs to be done, P is the one who has to actually physically do them. I'm sure he's exhausted. I wonder when we're both going to be able to sleep a full night's rest again. 2012?? 2014? You know what...don't answer.