Friday, December 23, 2011

32 Week Doctor Appointment Update

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!  I cannot believe that Christmas is only 2 days away...it really snuck up on me this year.  And WHY is it 70 degrees outside?! 

So as I mentioned in yesterday's post, my 32-week doctor's appointment did not quite go as planned.  My appointment was at 1:40 - Dan was meeting me there, and we were anticipating being done by 2:00.  Typically these appointments are really quick - we were meeting a new doctor and I had a lot of questions, but normally it is the same drill: pee in a cup, weigh in (ugh), have blood pressure taken, let the doctor listen to baby's heart and measure your belly, ask any questions we have, and we're done.  I arrived probably 5 minutes early, which I will admit is highly unusual for me, and of course because we were slightly early they were running slightly behind.  I had just texted Stephanie to tell her that I was going to hate it for whoever I had to cuss out because yesterday was NOT the day for them to make me late, I had a baby to meet!

So, I went back and peed in the cup and weighed in (+24 lbs...I don't want to talk about it), and then went to have my blood pressure taken.  I figured they'd probably have to take it twice, because I was so excited and anxious about Steph being in labor.  She took it twice, and then asked me to take off my sweater so that she could hear it better.  I felt a little uneasy, because they've never taken it more than twice and it's always been normal, but then she took me on to the exam room.  The doctor's office was right next to my exam room, and I heard the nurse talking to the doctor.  I couldn't hear everything that was being said, but I heard my name and then "32 weeks," and then I heard the doctor say, "Okay, well let's just let her know what we're doing so she won't worry."  Has she met me?  So the doctor pokes her head in and says, don't be alarmed, your blood pressure is higher than we'd like for it to be, so we're going to let you relax for a few minutes and then the nurse is going to take it again.  They told me to lie on my left side and try to calm down, and she'd be back soon.  I need to preface the next 1.5 hours with: thank the Lord for my husband.  I am so glad that he has been so involved in this pregnancy and has wanted to come to every single appointment that he could (he's only missed 2 and it was because he was out of town), because right about now was the time I started freaking out.  I laid on my left side for probably around 10 minutes, and Dan read me jokes out of the Highlights magazine and acted his normal foolish self, which I was grateful for because it kept me calmer than I otherwise would have been.  The nurse came back in and took my blood pressure, which was still high. She said not to worry, she was sure it was fine, and the doctor would be in shortly.  Begin panic mode now.

Side note: you know how when you are at the doctor, you immediately can tell that something may be wrong because they're working so hard to act like it's totally normal?  That's exactly how I felt.  I know there is something wrong, you have never taken my blood pressure more than once or twice and it's always been normal, so tell me.  Also, several people have asked me what my blood pressure actually was - I really honestly can't remember.  I think they told us at one point, but I was not very clear-headed and I can't remember.  I just know that the bottom number was normal, and the top one was consistently too high.

Enter the doctor.  She comes in, measures me (measuring perfectly), listens to the baby (heartbeat sounds great, strong and steady), and then says she'd like to try taking my blood pressure herself, just in case.  Takes it, makes a frowny face.  I panic.  She asks if I've had any swelling (tons lately), any headaches or blurry vision (none), examines my hands, and asks to see my feet which up until this point have been hidden in my gorgeous birthday boots so I didn't realize I had cankles.  Again.  Sigh (Another side note: this made me realize how desperately I need a pedicure.  That is now on the list for next week for sure, as I was slightly mortified at the sight of my feet, which I typically cannot see these days.).  She then says, "I hope you weren't planning to travel anywhere for the weekend," which of course we were, and then tells me that we're going to have to reconsider, and that I have to go on modified bed rest.  She said, and this is a direct quote, "No errands, no housework, no strenuous activity.  You are not confined to the bed but you're basically confined to the couch.  Take it easy, relax, let you husband help you if you have things that you have to do."  Dan then looks at me and says, "That means no gym." 
    Doctor (Gives me the "Mom" look): That absolutely means no gym whatsoever.
    Me: But my weight gain!
    Doctor: Your weight gain is fine so far, and you'll just have to eat really healthy.
    Me (In agony): BUT ALL I WANT IS CAKE! 
Probably the cause of the +24 lbs which we are not talking about.  Sigh.  The doctor then tells me that the reason they're so concerned about my blood pressure is because not only is it bad for baby and I (high blood pressure may cause the placenta not to be able to deliver oxygen and nutrition to Geronimina), but they are looking for signs of preeclampsia.

Through the massive amount of googling I did as soon as I could, I discovered that preeclampsia can result in various outcomes, such as: baby being born weighing less than normal, baby being born with health problems or baby needing to be delivered early via c section.  For me, it could mean my kidneys have more trouble functioning, anemia, decreased platelets which could lead to increased (and uncontrollable) bleeding during delivery (or on its own), and seizures.  5-8% of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, and anyone can get it, but first pregnancies are at an increased risk.  Oy. 

So, doctor gives me the cliffs notes version of what's going on and says she doesn't like my blood pressure.  She is going to have blood drawn and sent off for testing, and then she's going to hook me up to the fetal heart monitor to make sure baby is ok.  I later admitted to Dan that when she said "monitor the baby" I was secretly hoping it would be via ultrasound so that we could see her again, but no such luck.  They took about  a million vials of blood - I didn't quite catch what they were testing for, but she said it would take 24 hours before they'd know anything. 

They then took me into another room and hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor.  It is basically this belt that you wear, and it monitors the baby's heart rate (hence the name).  They gave me a button to push when the baby moves - the doctor told us that what they want to see is her heart rate increasing when she moves - and they were hoping for 3-4 movements.  Anyway, it spits out this little report so they can read the results.  Here's what the machine looks like, minus the sweet 80s hair:

And then the printout looks something like this:

They definitely got their money's worth movement-wise - baby girl was very cooperative and moved the entire time.  Dan was watching the machine and told me that her heart was doing what it was supposed to, which made me feel relieved.  I was monitored for probably around 30 minutes, and then the nurse took the printout to the doctor.

When the doctor came back in she told us that the baby "did a great job and is absolutely beautiful" and that we have nothing to worry about.  She approved our travel to my in-laws this weekend, but said that she still wanted me on modified bed rest and that I needed to come back in on Tuesday (the first day the office is open after Christmas) so that they can check on my blood pressure again.

I know this was a long post, but it was a long appointment!  I cannot say enough how amazing Dan is and how glad I am that he was there with me - I know that it would have gone a lot differently had he not been there, due to my tendency to freak out (which I still did, just to a much lesser extent).  It is hard not to worry about what's going on - my sister-in-law had preeclampsia and had to deliver my nephew really early (although I will say that he is 5 now and perfect as can be!).  She has been telling me to make sure I listen to the doctor, and Dan has been lecturing me and forcing me to follow orders.  Our Christmas plans had to be cut a little short due to the appointment on Tuesday afternoon, but I'd rather them be cautious than not catch something. 

So, today I am camped out on the couch.  I've done a little work this morning but am signing off shortly.  I do have just a few errands that I need to run, but Dan's going to go with me to supervise, and we won't be out long.  He is currently changing the oil in his car and is planning to paint the nursery after, so that is extra exciting.

Hope you're all having a happy Friday!  T minus two days until present opening...yay!

Sarah

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