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Still Uncertain

04/09/2013

Belle

The 28 week ultrasound was yesterday. Since we changed doctors and hospitals at 20 weeks our ultrasounds are now conducted at a different clinic and overseen by a different high-risk specialist. At this clinic you don’t get to sit down in person with the specialist. Instead they bring you to a room of computer monitors and you teleconference.

I Skype with friends and family regularly and I love the method of communication. I love being able to see faces and to show off my cats, etc. However, teleconferencing with a doctor when the life of your unborn child potentially hangs in the balance is about as cold as it comes.

The deal as of now is:

  • I have a bi-lobed placenta and both lobes are close to equal in size.
  • Both lobes are quite large.
  • I’m going to draw you a picture of my uterus to explain where they are. Behold my mad Illustrator Skills

My-Weird-Placenta

 

  • Good news is that the lobes are at the top of the uterus and that the chord does not have vessels wrapping around the baby and passing over his head and cervix. That would be Vasa Previa and that is a “grave danger” as doctor TeleMed explained. So for that I’m thankful. 
  • What is not good news is that the chord is inserted not in either chunky half of the placenta, but in the center where there is thin connective tissue. I had a hell of a hard time talking to Dr. TeleMed because there were slight delays and a lot of static, but from what I understand this could cause insufficient blood, oxygen and nutrients to reach my baby – resulting in slowed growth or death.
  • In the event of a natural birth, the two halves of the placenta might tear apart and cause maternal hemorrhage after I have delivered Chicken, too. Or, if they tear while Chicken is still in the womb, it would cause my baby to die.

Right now Dr. TeleMed wants to “plan” on a natural birth, but I need to be prepared for complications with the baby and c-section. He said that laboring can stress an already stressed fetus so we’ll just have to “wait and see.” Now tell me, what the hell does that mean? To me it sounds a lot like, “I’m going to tell this lady what she wants to hear, and then hack her open on delivery day. He also gave a much different run down of available monitoring choices at labor and delivery than my doctor and the hospital tour gave. Basically I walked away with the feeling that I’m going to be tied to a bed with a monitor and then cut open, but to keep me happy now we’ll “plan for natural birth.”

And then there is the more pressing issue: my baby could still be compromised. I could still lose my Chicken. My baby might not develop properly due to not getting enough oxygen or nutrients. My baby could, potentially, die in utero before we get a chance to rescue him/her. OR everything could be hunky dory and baby will be tall, smart and normal. I don’t like all these variations. This is NOT what someone who is finally in the third trimester after two years of infertility and a miscarriage wants to hear.

I go back in six weeks for another growth scan. Between now and then everything is completely out of my hands and there is nothing I can watch for other than heavy bleeding.

I’m just overwhelmed with emotions and stress right now. Despite my “tough girl” facade and my valiant attempts to avoid getting attached to this baby, I have. I was prepared to to dive in headfirst to preparing (as much as someone who is moving a few weeks after delivery can) for baby after this scan. I was ready for a warm, face-to-face discussion with Dr. TeleMed and some real reassurance that everything will be ok. I was not prepared to be given every possible scenario and to continue to wait and see. I was not prepared to talk to a computer screen.

I meet with my OB this afternoon to go over the report that Dr. TeleMed sent her. I have a few more questions for her, but otherwise just feel numb.

I had my first shower this weekend. It was amazing and perfect and filled with old friends and lots of love. Chicken was showered with wonderful gifts, all of which we needed – a car seat, snugglider, Ubbi diaper pail, books, onsies, bath supplies and hand made gifts. It was perfect. I came home all set to open the boxes and organize things. After the scan, though, it didn’t seem like such a good idea – what if they have to go back. They are all still in the center of my living room because I’m not really sure what you do with baby gifts when so much is still up in the air.

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34 Comments

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  1. April 9, 2013

    I am so sorry things are up in the air like they are now. It really is unfair that after such a struggle to become pregnant, that it would not be smooth sailing through the third trimester. I hope your OB is able to give you some reassurance later today.

  2. April 9, 2013

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with all this stress, and really hoping everything turns out perfect for the Chicken and you! Xox

  3. April 9, 2013

    Oh my god belle. That sounds like absolute shit with no comfort or warm fuzzies at all. Who does that??? 6 weeks is a long ass time to wait to check that your chicken is still healthy and growing. If it were me…..I’d be asking for regular ultrasounds to make sure chicken is growing properly and is not being threatened by low supplies. I am sure at the end of the day everyone will come away happy and healthy, but damn they did a shit job of offering any comfort.

    • April 9, 2013

      Completely in agreement with millionbabysteps. They can’t just dump that kind of information on you and not offer you SOME sort of reassurance (eg. they’re going to be monitoring you closely every couple of weeks, not every SIX weeks).

      I’m so, so, so sorry that you’re facing so much stress and uncertainty when this should be the most joyous time of your life. Sending you and your little Chicken nothing but good thoughts. *hugs*

      • April 10, 2013

        Thank you ladies, it is shitty. Dr. TeleMed has zero computer screen-side manner. My OB, Dr. Shannon, was very reassuring yesterday and offered me biweekly checkups with her. I trust she and Dr. TeleMed have my best interest at heart and will do everything they can to protect baby. But man, what I would not give to have a normal, boring, complication-free third trimester!

  4. April 9, 2013

    Very sorry for the news, Belle. This is incredibly stressful and the unknowns are enough to drive anyone crazy.

    I’m interpreting what the TeleMed said to be this: the goal is for a natural birth, but you need to prepare yourself for the birth plan to go out the window. Basically between now and when you deliver a lot can change. They need to monitor both you and the Chicken to see how things are progressing and formulate a plan. This doesn’t mean that your plans for a natural birth are completely out the window, as I think they would prefer if you delivered vaginally with minimal intervention, but what it does mean is that you will need to develop a plan B & C over the next few weeks.

    On the emotional front, find an outlet. If that means seeing your therapist, do it. This stuff is very hard and scary and you need someone to help you process it all.

    Sending love, lady. And even more hugs.

    • April 10, 2013

      Therapist appointment set for Saturday! Thank you for the reminder. I am supposed to come off the Prozac soon (not breast-feeding safe) and need to address the issue of what the hell we’ll do to keep my brain at bay afterwards! Hopefully she will bring me some clarity.

  5. Maggie #
    April 9, 2013

    I am really sorry you are having to deal with this – I am in the UK and I know that here we would be monitoring growth weekly to check all is well (which it probably will be) but you can’t take any chances and 6 weeks seems too long to wait to check up what is going on.I wish you all the best and I am sure if you keep a close eye on your chicken he will be just fine.

  6. jak #
    April 9, 2013

    dr. telemed, bhahahahaha!!!!!!

    first of all… “so much” is not still up in the air. IT’S TIME TO ENJOY THIS:))))) bilobed placenta be damned. chicken is past the point of viability. even if the absolute worst had to happen right now – intervention and early c-section, chicken’s chances are great. put that in your back pocket and keep it there. you’ve got that. that part will be fine. and those long legs that you have stuck to your frig are going to chase you on a bicycle one day in the very near future:)

    dr. telemed is a specialist. just like the IT guys at work, specialists like to show off their skills and freak other people out, keeping themselves in demand because of their GREAT, VAST KNOWLEDGE. dont let dr. telemed freak you out. his or her job is to think of all crazy possibilities and be driven by fear and not pragmatism. this is how OB care works now days. if chicken’s growth is on target (you did not mention this, did they tell you anything about chicken’s growth during the scan?) then there is nothing to worry about at this point, and monitoring will be key.

    also, chicken is young enough, that he/she may flip several times before your due date. not trying to freak you out that chick will go breech, but just that position isnt necessarily set at this point.

    nothing is ruling out natural birth yet, but you will need to be very determined in the face of this not to let the medical community freak you out and fill your head with REMOTE possibilities that lead you to change your wishes to let them take control or your body and your birth. bring your doula (obvi), practice with your doula refusing meds and interventions, plan to demand intermittent monitoring (20 min out of every hour instead of continuous), have your doula checkin with the nurse’s station to see what kind of heartbeat they are getting on the baby, have the doula walk around with you and HOLD your monitor so that the nurses dont tell you you cant walk around anymore because youre compromising the monitoring, prepare prof husband to provide support (he should read susan mccuthceon’s bradley method book!!!!), and also prepare prof husband not to intervene and ask for pain meds for you, have him on the same page as doula and prepare him to be ready to see you in pain and help you through it without convincing you to cave, or caving himself. he needs to not just promise you he will help you through it, but he needs to practice relaxation techniques with you, way ahead of birth. in fact, now that you are going through the stress of having to navigate this placenta issue, it is a good time for him to learn to calm you down using techniques that will also be useful during labor.

    my guess is that the only actual threat in all of this is the slim, SLIM, possibility of hemorrhage AFTER chicken is born when you are birthing the placenta. you will be in the hospital, so they can take care of that IF, IF, IF it happens, which i bet it will not.

    finally, know your rights: http://trustingourbodies.com/ChildbirthRights.html

    chicken will be fine. count kicks (but dont obsess), use the doppler, go in for your scans, check growth, etc. just keep an eye on things and i bet everything will go fine. really.

    hugs.

    • Jamie #
      April 9, 2013

      This is very good advice

      • April 10, 2013

        Jak is always full of good advice! Never has she provided Ass-Vice 🙂

        You are absolutely right, the chances are slim. There are also grave risks with me walking across the main drag on my way to work each day, you know? Actually, those risks are higher considering I’ve actually BEEN HIT WHILE WALKING ACROSS THE STREET BEFORE! Perspective, it’s good. 🙂

  7. April 9, 2013

    Crap. This sucks, Belle. I had placenta previa while pregnant with my daughter — a different issue from yours, and not as serious (I don’t think), but I was given all sorts of talks about hemorrhage and it was frightening. However, my doctor was upbeat and reassuring about it, just as yours should have been, and gave me monthly ultrasounds to check on the baby. I agree with the suggestions above — is there any way you can request an u/s for every 2-3 weeks? You deserve that much, at least!

  8. 35life #
    April 9, 2013

    “Wait and see” should be limited to virus-bugs and rashes, not something like this. I hate when doctors tell you “wait and see”. Hate it. I agree with the others that suggest asking for an ultrasound periodically while you wait. I really hope they can do something to ease your mind in the meantime. So sorry to hear about this awful experience.

  9. April 9, 2013

    I am so sorry for the stress of the uncertain. It is really odd to me that they didn’t offer more regular monitoring. Sending good thoughts that all will be well in the end. I’m glad you had your baby shower to celebrate chicken. Hugs.

  10. Ginny #
    April 9, 2013

    This really sucks! You at the very least should ABSOLUTELY have weekly monitoring to make sure growth & development stay on track! I am appalled that you now have another significant issue to worry about this late in your pregnancy……this should be the time when you can breathe a bit easier since reaching viability! I am so angry for you. But, I still believe your Chicken is healthy and will arrive safely in just a few weeks from now. I just can imagine that this is extremely upsetting and worrisome and I hate that for you.

  11. April 9, 2013

    So sorry to hear about this Belle, NOT what you need now coming into the final leg of pregnancy. Thoughts and prayers with you and the professor and your beautiful chicken.

  12. Melissa #
    April 9, 2013

    Why don’t they deliver in the next few weeks? That baby is going to be safest when he/she is out of you. It seems pretty straight forward to me…get the baby out sooner rather than later. Any struggles he/she has from being born early will pale in comparison to the potential that comes with a failing placenta. I would also asked to be monitored 100% of the time in a hospital between now and the delivery date. This is your baby’s life on the line and there was way too much uncertainty in your doctors prognosis for my liking. I hate that you are dealing with this. Life can be such a bitch!!

    • Melissa #
      April 9, 2013

      I hope that I didn’t upset you with my comment. That was not my intention at all and if I did I’m sorry. It’s just that your baby is so viable right now and would be just fine if he were to be born today (or a few weeks from now). I would be so uneasy about the placenta that has essentially become a ticking time bomb. Ugh, I’m sorry that youre going through this and I am sorry if I spoke out of turn.

  13. SM #
    April 9, 2013

    I’m so sorry, Belle! Wait and see is a horrible approach in this situation. My OB is giving me ultrasounds every two weeks starting at 32 weeks for my high BP which may or may not end up being a problem. But she wants to be certain that all is well. Every 6 weeks for a much more serious, confirmed problem is ridiculous. I would demand a growth scan every two weeks. Don’t give up on your dream of a natural birth yet! Get some second and third opinions about what might be possible. Sending hugs your way!

  14. mylifeisaboutthejourney #
    April 9, 2013

    Sorry you are dealing with this on top of all of the other stuff. 😦 Why is it that when it rains it has to pour? Thinking about you and baby and praying everything is just fine in there.

  15. April 9, 2013

    Oh, for the LOVE… as if you have to deal with a complication NOW. On the one hand, I do think there’s a solid chunk of good news to hang on to here, and in my heart of hearts I know the Chicken will be fine. But it is horrible to get such wishy-washy, maybe/maybe not advice from a doctor. I really hope you can do a lot of extra monitoring, especially closer to the due date, to make extra sure nothing goes wrong.

  16. Arbrefleur #
    April 9, 2013

    Ug! What terrible bedside manner these people have!!! (Or “screenside?” as the case may be??) Anyway, I hope you can get more frequent scanning to put your mind at ease and see all the regular growth that I’m sure is happening every few weeks. You absolutely deserve it! I’m so sorry that you have to add this worry to your list of worries. Just be FAIR, for ONCE, Universe!!!! Come on! And just to mention it, maybe it’s a good thing they only want to see you again in 6 weeks? If it was alarming to them, wouldn’t they want you in sooner? I don’t know, but it just sounds like this guy is a terrible communicator. I know you did your homework and are super smart, but I’m so mad at this doc for possibly worrying you without cause just because he’s a terrible commincator…I still think you should get much more regular monitoring just to put your mind at ease, but I had to mention that from his perspective, you’d think a truly dire circumstance would warrant a return visit sooner than 6 weeks?? Maybe he just communicated the direst possibilities for insurance reasons or some stupid disclaimer. Anyway, not fond of Dr. TeleSkype…

    • April 10, 2013

      You are right. Dr. TeleMed is the kinda doctor who loves finding bad things. If he thought there were a major problem he would be seeing me sooner than 6 weeks. The Telemed thing, though, sucks and if you ever have the option to conference with a doctor then or wait 30 minutes for them to come over, go with waiting for sure!

  17. Shelley #
    April 9, 2013

    I so feel your pain and am in the same shoes in so many ways. I know how much it sucks to have an issue with your baby that you can’t do anything about until he/she comes out. I know how hard it is to face the possibility of saying goodbye to your ideal birth, and how much anxiety it causes to go into your first labor and delivery with so many unknowns. That’s why I think it’s great that you already have a doula and why we are seriously looking toward hiring one!

    Did the good doctor give you any sense of what percentage of these come out just fine (I’m assuming a decent amount) and how your case looks compared to others? Sometimes you can find comfort in knowing that a large percentage of cases like yours come out just fine. ALSO, I learned yesterday that different doctors tell you different stories and you must trust the one with more direct experience with your specific condition. I was so upset after a comment our MFM OB made last week that was overridden by info from the Children’s surgeon yesterday.

    I found a meditation that helps me, which is just remembering that I am doing everything I can right now, my doctors are doing everything they can, and Turtle is doing everything he can. Everything that can possibly be done is being done, and all that’s left to do is wait, with as much love and hope as we can all muster. Sending good thoughts to you and to Chicken!

    • April 10, 2013

      You were the first person I thought of as he was rattling off all this crazy too me. I did not ask for percentages and probably won’t. I’ve seen so many doctors for other things, like my eye disease, and EVERY ONE OF THEM rattles off a different string of percentages. I don’t put a lot of stock in them at this point 🙂 I am trying to focus on the following:
      1. I’m delivering at a hospital that is working its butt off to reduce its c-section rate and gain baby-friendly status. It is the only hospital in the area doing this. I’m going to trust that if this hospital says I need a c-section, I truly do and will let things proceed as necessary to get my health baby out.
      2. Between Dr. Shannon and Dr. TeleMed I really have the best of both worlds working for me. We have the high risk doom and gloom guy looking for a potential disaster and we have Dr. Shannon making sure we stick with our guns about evidence-based birth.
      3. That this is all out of my hands. I need to eat well, try and stay relatively calm and keep moving so I’m healthy and can get Chicken out quickly to reduce risks.

      Also, I’m SO HAPPY you are considering a doula! Do keep me posted on your hunt and let me know if I can do anything, or if you have any questions for my midwife cousin – I know she’d be happy to chime in!

  18. Jamie #
    April 9, 2013

    I am truly sorry about all of the variables you’re dealing with. It’s got to be stressful. I hope you can still enjoy this as much as possible. For what it’s worth, I had a c-section with both my children (the first after 32 hours of induced labor, the second scheduled because my hospital doesn’t do VBACs). If you risk retained placenta or hemorrhage it might be worth just planning for a c-section? Just my 2 cents. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  19. April 9, 2013

    I’m still confused what exactly is going on in there, but you sound like you get it and that’s all that matters. I wish that Dr. Telemed had better news and a better bedside manner, but definitely remember that he has to tell you all of the risks and potential problems, even if there is only a .00005% of it happening.

    I know that you really, really want a natural birth (as did I), but all that matters in the end is for you AND Chicken to make it through delivery okay. If that means having a c-section, well, then that means having a c-section. Whether you give birth through a natural birth or a c-section, you will have a baby in your arms afterwards and that’s all that matters.

  20. karaleen #
    April 9, 2013

    Oh Belle….I’m so sorry for this stress. And I agree with Million…6 weeks is too freaking long to wait in between checks. Ther has been some great advise here and chicken seems to be growing well so far so I think that is a really great sign. I will pray like mad that all is fine….but I do encourage you to push for more frequent monitoring ultrasounds. I would feel better if I had a weekly check knowing growth was still on track and blood flow still looked good.
    Hugs.
    Karaleen

  21. April 9, 2013

    I am so sorry you are going through this on top of everything else. I do want to say that although there are some things I am sad about with my c-section, in the end it really wasn’t so bad. I am sad that I missed the hormone rush and the bonding, which is very important I think. But I didn’t feel hacked up and shoved back together. I may have had good surgeons and nurses, but I don’t know, it was a cheerful experience in the operating room. Then again, I knew I was going to have a c-section, so it wasn’t a surprise or a disappointment in the moment. I don’t know if this is helpful at all, but know that the alternative experience (of having a c-section) isn’t as bad as it seems like it will be after reading a lot about natural birth, especially if you know that you are doing it for your health or the baby’s health. It doesn’t make the potential loss of a natural birth any less painful, I know.

  22. April 10, 2013

    Oh baby, I’d say you’ve met dr north korea’s brother!!!! Belle, I had this talk soooooo many times. Soooo late in the piece. If i had a dollar for every time i head the phrase “then the placenta will detach and your baby will die” or “and youre facing intrauterine growth restriction”, I’d be a millionaire. …. Bah bloody humbug. its all doctors covering asses. its all one in a million bollocks. you ARE having a baby. You WILL bring this baby home. the chicken WILL be fine. you WILL NOT be returning gifts. My doctor was a dickhead. I believe yours is too.

    1. Get a second opinion
    2. Demand more regular scans
    3. Can I email you my birth meditation? Calm birth. Totally totally totally responsible for my 3.5 hour natural labour, I tell you. Can send you the mp3.
    4. Get someone professional to talk to.

    Baby, I’ve been there. And all this CRAP makes it so hard to get your head in the game when you ARE a parent, because in you’re head you’re still waiting for a death, not a living wailing crapping smiling miracle. I seriously went into shock when there was an actual live person in my arms. Let go of it. Do not try to overplan things re th birth, acknowledge your lack of control and just let go. The decisions you need to make become more clear as you get closer. You can’t know what they’ll b yet. Just sit with this. Acknowledge it, and sit with it. I used to say there was a shadow sitting next to me ( or on me), a shadow of bad possibilities, and as time went on it moved over by the front door, then out in the street, then down the road. Acknowledge your shadow and let it sit there. Don’t fight it. But don’t let it ruin these days, either.

    Get ready to be a mummy. Read parenting stuff, not birth stuff ( you won’t have time later!). Try “brain rules for baby” for starters :-).

    And just breathe.

    • April 10, 2013

      He WAS like Dr. North Korea! And my OB is his complete opposite. Hopefully with the two of them on my team we’ll all come out happy and healthy 🙂 I would love a copy of your mediation, too!

    • jak #
      April 10, 2013

      love the shadow analogy:)

  23. Shinara #
    April 10, 2013

    Belle,
    I have placenta previa and pretty much have to think about that in the back of my mind everyday, too. BUT! I am not allowing that to rule my feelings over the little one growing inside me. You are attached to your chicken because you love your chicken. LOVE hurts! AND makes you walk through life with a silly grin on your face. I choose to walk through life with a silly grin on my face until death do us part. …whenever that may happen. (And it will happen whether at 2, 57, or 90.) My mother died when I was younger and I am glad I had the chance to love her as much as I did. I now miss her everyday, still. Do I regret the Love? NO. So, love that little chicken fiercely. Make sure your Docs have all possible scenarios planned for, whether you like them or not. The telemed wasn’t there to make you feel better, he was there to tell you what he saw on your ultrasound. Your OB will be the one planning on all contingencies, emergencies, etc. The main goal is to be prepared.

    Personally, I have a bag in my van ready to go if I have to go to the emergency room. My doc really wants me to have a natural birth because I have had too many surgeries in my abdomen. It’s a mess down there. So, her and my hope is that the placenta moves away from my cervix. If it doesn’t enough, then she’s prepared to cut into me. We also have a plan for a premature birth and where the babe will go to if that happens (and I really, really hope that doesn’t happen). All I or all of us can do is hope for the best and love, love, love.

    I wish you and your little family the best, Belle.

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