If you’re currently pregnant or feel like you might be upset by reading something about very serious pregnancy complications, please don’t read any further.
The morning after we had been admitted to the hospital for fetal monitoring, we had our next regularly scheduled prenatal appointment (which are now taking place at the specialty perinatal facility). The appointment started with an ultrasound where the technician went through the usual formalities of telling us what position baby is in, showing us baby’s arms, legs, etc. I was happy to get to see our baby again, but at the same time, it was a little sad. And when she got to the chest area, I knew what she was looking at and measuring, and even my untrained eye could tell that the mass had grown in the past two weeks.
The technician left and one of the maternal fetal specialists we’ve been seeing came in and let us know that things indeed did seem to be worsening. We talked about the fact that I had gone to the hospital the previous day and that I hadn’t been feeling as much movement in the past week or so. He asked if we had any questions and although I was already choking up just thinking about my words, I managed to ask if he had any idea about how much time our baby has left. He replied that the rarity of the condition makes it hard to predict, but that I should plan to be seen on a weekly basis now to check for “viability” — I could feel the pit in my stomach worsen just reading his body language. The original plan was to be seen every four weeks as you would at this stage in a typical pregnancy. He also mentioned before he left the room, that I need to be on the lookout for any symptoms of preeclampsia, since what’s going on with baby can sometimes have an effect on the mama’s health.
Since part of the purpose of that day’s appointment was to officially transfer our care from the family practice doctor I was previously seeing, the appointment wasn’t over. We moved to a traditional-looking exam room where I was weighed, peed in yet another cup and answered a million health background screening questions. And based on the nurse’s cheery disposition, she either didn’t know our situation (and the news we were just given) or she was trying her best to take our minds off of things. Once that part of the appointment was done, our care coordinator (AKA the most wonderful woman in the world) came in with another nurse care coordinator who went over a birth plan template with us. And that’s when things really started to get real/extra awful. While I always knew I wanted a birth plan written before going into labor (knowing that things typically change), I never imagined the kinds of things we’d need to make decisions about to include in a birth plan unique to our situation. And while I can’t imagine going into labor and not being prepared for your child be to stillborn, it’s still extremely difficult to be making decisions about funeral/burial/cremation and while your baby is still alive and kicking inside of you. A few
boxes of tissues later, and after meeting with a social worker from our health care system’s perinatal hospice program, we headed home with our heads spinning. We hadn’t expected such a long appointment and certainly hadn’t expected the news we received, so J and I both took the rest of the day off and started to prepare to give our friends and family an update.
In the whirlwind 24 hours that followed our appointment and as we started to process everything, I’ve been doing a ton of research (topics include: “what to do when my milk comes in after a stillbirth” and “complications surrounding delivering the placenta after an early induction”). I also started a new list of what to pack in my hospital bag, tearfully crossing out the items I had originally included on it for baby. We also met with our wonderful doulas last night who walked through the birth plan template from their perspective and helped us think of more questions to ask our doctor and care coordinators.
So that’s where things currently stand. I’m probably going to take a break from posting here for the near future. If you’d like to stay updated on our journey, I’m working on setting up a Caring Bridge page for updates instead and will post the link or share with anyone who would like to stay updated.
Thank you again for all of the support ❤