Tuesday, April 11

More Tests

I’m now at 37 weeks, which is considered full term by the medical community. A baby born at 37 weeks gestation should be within a normal size range and should be developed enough to not have complications outside of the womb due to immaturity. 40 weeks is considered a “normal” pregnancy, but after this point the placenta slowly readies the baby to enter the real world and becomes less and less effective at keeping the womb hospitable. Generally, doctors will allow a pregnancy to continue after the 40 week mark as long as mother and child are doing well, but if they still haven’t gone into labor by 42 weeks will induce them. Modern medicine makes exceptions to this rare.

I’ve had two more doctor’s appointments since I last updated you and they did mini ultrasounds both times. The point of these ultrasounds is for them to do a biophysical profile. It’s simply an examination of baby from which he’s given a score on five different areas: diaphragm movements (the baby prepares it’s muscles and it’s brain for regular breathing by “breathing” in amniotic fluid), minor fetal movements (thumb sucking, shifting), fetal tone (limb movement), amniotic fluid volume, and fetal heart rate. Generally, they do these evaluations when there is a concern about fetal health. Which due to my recent blood pressure problems and my previous unexplained lost there is. At our appointment on the 31st, we seem to have caught him while he was asleep so he needed a little extra time to satisfy the fetal tone score. However, on my last appointment he quickly met all the necessary criteria. He seemed to be making it a sport to kick the ultrasound monitor itself.

My evaluations also varied. At my appointment on the 31st the doctor was quite pleased with my numbers and my blood pressure was steady with what it had been the week before. When I told her that I had stopped working for the time being she was quite pleased. I really took it easy for the next week, but nonetheless on my next visit my numbers were not as good. My blood pressure did another small jump. My doctor ordered some additional blood work to be done on me to make sure that my liver and kidneys are functioning properly. All of those tests came back within a normal range. She also had me do a 24-hour urine collection. I thought the whole idea was yucky, but as Lisa and LostinTX, who joined us for dinner that night, pointed out, it’s better then having to collect a stool sample. They are checking my urine for protein, which is an indication of pre-eclampsia. I don’t expect those results back for a couple days. But again they gave me a list of symptoms to call immediately if I experience, but I haven’t had any of them. So things are still looking good, but being monitored very closely.

She also did a pelvic exam on me and discovered that my body is starting to get itself ready for labor. I was 1 cm dilated, which is pretty normal at this point. She also indicated that with she’d be hesitant to let me go much past my due date. I think she was testing my reaction to the idea of induction. I don’t like the idea of them induction. In fact the whole idea of it in the past would have really gotten my hackles up, but I think at some point in time my ideals of natural childbirth have succumbed to my anxieties. Frankly, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care what they do to me, as long as we both breathing at the end of it all. Never before have I felt so poked and prodded, but then I guess that’s just an indication of how blessed I have been to have had such good health.

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