Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Week 30

Unfortunately, this week hasn’t been as boring as lasts…

Monday Ultrasound and NST

At the appointment with the specialist on Monday I had both an ultrasound and a nonstress test (NST). Baby is doing good! His stomach has caught up and is in the 40 something percentile (much better than 14th) and overall he’s in the 54th!!!!! That makes me feel so much better! It’s estimated that he weighs about 3 lbs 4 oz. Not bad!

Baby’s heart rate was also good with the NST. He’s a squirt and it’s always hard to get a read on it. We had to do it twice because the results the first time weren’t good enough (it dropped his heart rate a lot). I laid on my side to get it to work the second time.

Thursday NST and Appointment with Regular OB

Baby’s heart rate again looked great this day. Although we thought it dropped way low there for a bit. Turns out the machine was again having a hard time picking up little guys heart and it was picking up mine. Little squirt really makes it tricky.

The NST also picked up that I was having contractions pretty regularly (every 3-4 minutes). That surprised me. I could feel some tightening on some of them (felt like baby was stretching), but about half I didn’t feel at all.

The doctor wasn’t worried about them. They were probably Braxton Hicks (which I’ve never noticed with my other pregnancies), they weren’t painful and the baby’s heart rate was fine. It made me a little anxious to know contractions were actually happening, but I went home not feeling too worried at this point. Braxton Hicks happen.

I should mention that before my 3:00 appointment I had been working in the front flower beds all morning. Nothing terribly strenuous, but probably not taking it as easy as I should have.

Thursday Evening

That evening my back hurt on the right side in the middle and my stomach felt “weird.” I finally used a heating pad on my back and that helped it. I kept trying to figure out whether or not I was still having contractions, but I wasn’t sure.


All I wanted to do Friday was work in the yard again. Or clean out the garage. Or something productive and physical. But I knew that wasn’t a good idea because of the contractions from the previous day. So I was lazy most of the morning and then by the afternoon my messy house was driving me nuts. I had the kids help me clean the main floor of the house (which is just a kitchen and living room). I picked up stuff from the floor and I swept. Then I got ready for the day (showering, makeup, straightening hair). I did my makeup and hair in my bed, so not strenuous.

During that time I started to feel “weird” again. My lower back was hurting really bad and I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my stomach. It was uncomfortable and had tons of pressure at the bottom of it. I felt a little nauseous, too. I noticed some tightening, but thought it might just be baby stretching because it was never my full stomach.

Joel and I were dropping off our kids with his parents and going out to dinner with friends. I didn’t want to miss that, plus I wasn’t sure what was going on. It’s hard because pregnancy comes with a lot of aches and pains anyway. We still went to dinner and just discussed that we might need to leave in the middle. I pretty much decided I’d use the time out with them to evaluate what was going on and we could head to the hospital after if needed. I also thought maybe it was normal pregnancy back pain and maybe some gas or something.

We had dinner (it was delicious!) and then grabbed some ice cream after so we could talk with our friends more. It was a lot of fun, but by the end of it my back was really hurting and I was pretty sure I wasn’t having gas. There were weird pains and cramps and tightening going on. We called Joel’s parents to ask if the kids could stay there longer while we headed to the hospital just to be safe, but we then realized we’d forgotten my brother and his wife and child were supposed to be spending the night at our house (just a quick passing through on a long drive) and they were almost there. We changed plans and picked the kids up then headed home. We put the kids to bed there since we could leave them with my brother and we headed to the hospital.

Headed to the Hospital

On the way there we got pulled over for rolling through a stop sign in our neighborhood. This was the gist of the conversation after he told us why he pulled us over and asked for Joel’s license:

P: Are you headed somewhere fun tonight?
Me: The hospital (while patting my stomach).
P: It’s that time, is it?
Joel: We’re hoping not. It’s much too early.
Me: It’s a high risk pregnancy and they told us to be overly cautious, so we’re heading in.
P: Well, whether you’re making this up or not it’s a great story and I’m going to let you go. Good luck.

So that was nice of him. Then we drove two blocks and got stopped for 5 minutes by a train. Blah.


Once we finally made it to the hospital (around 11:00) I got checked in and monitored. I was definitely having contractions. I felt just like I did when I was in the early stages of labor with my other kids. The contractions were 3 minutes apart, so they gave me a shot of Terbutaline. Crazy stuff! The nurse told me it would feel like I had just had 3 cups of coffee. My heart was racing! Joel could see my clothes move from it in my throat and chest area. Glad they warned me or I would have thought I was about to die or something. I was super jittery, too.

But it worked! The contractions went away almost immediately. Unfortunately, my doctor was out of town just for the night for a meeting. Another doctor came into talk to me. He was nice, but I would have felt way more comfortable with my doctor, who knew everything that was going on. The doctor said I was free to go when I felt comfortable to since baby looked fine and my contractions were gone. It was 1:00 am by this point. He also said I was welcome to stay as long as I wanted because of my situation.

I did end up staying 2 more hours just to make myself feel comfortable that contractions wouldn’t start up again and that baby was safe. It was quite miserable. I had a few more contractions, but since they weren’t in a pattern, they weren’t concerned. Also, baby’s heart rate kept going up quite a bit (180’s, sometimes higher), so that concerned me (his baseline is usually in the 130’s and 140’s). They said it was okay because he was super active and that’s a good thing to have the spike then. And the medicine that made my heart race could make his race a bit, too.  We ended up leaving at 3:00 am with instructions for modified bed rest for the next two days and to go into see my doctor on Monday (I already have an appointment with the specialist for a NST, so I’ll see him).  I’m quite anxious for that appointment.


I have been quite exhausted today and have been taking it easy. So boring! I was achy this morning, I’m guessing from all of the contractions yesterday my uterus was just worn out. I took a bath and I felt better.

We went to a BBQ with friends for dinner. I wasn’t going to go, but decided I was bored out of my mind (plus I see this group only once or twice a year and wanted to see them) and went. It was an hour away and we stayed quite awhile. It was fun.

While there my upper leg and back started hurting. We were sitting in the kitchen around the table or counter most of the time, so it could be from that. I did feel a contraction or two on the drive home and my back really started to hurt. I took a bath when I got home and felt fine during it. About 10 minutes after the bath my back started hurting a ton!

I put a heating pad on it and that’s what I’m doing now while writing this. The pain is easing up quite a bit, so that’s good. My plan for now is to wait and see if the pain gets worse and/or if I feel anything in my stomach. At the hospital they told me that since the shot worked it meant I wasn’t in “true labor” and my cervix shouldn’t have changed. They couldn’t check it because of the “pelvic rest.” I would have needed a special ultrasound to check it and it was 1:00 in the morning, so I don’t think they really wanted to (or could… I don’t know). So hopefully it was all just false labor caused by over-exerting myself and it won’t happen so fully like that again.

It’s definitely made me anxious. I was planning on going into the hospital at 32 weeks and the thought of going in sooner is quite upsetting. I’ll obviously go in whenever I need to for my baby, but I hate having to leave my family for so long (and after being in the hospital for 4 hours, I really have no desire to go back).

So, that’s it! Hopefully things will go back to being boring because I am really not a fan of all this excitement.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Weeks 28 and 29

A lot has been going on, but nothing exciting (thankfully – that’s good in a vasa previa pregnancy). This is a pretty boring post as a result, but I want to document everything for myself (and for others with vasa previa who want lots of details).

28 week ultrasound

Tuesday (28 weeks) I went into see the specialist. Baby’s growth has gone up from the 38th percentile to the 42nd!  Wahoo! His stomach is still measuring a week behind (14th percentile), but I think it was 2 weeks behind before, so only one week is good. I guess they only worry about overall weight when they consider IUGR and the smaller stomach is okay. Neither doctor (specialist or regular OB) seemed concerned. In fact, I won’t have another big ultrasound till week 32 (4 weeks from the last one).  Fluid levels look good and the baby was bum down. Both good things!

Unfortunately, it looks like he’s now head down again. Not a huge deal, but it’s better to have a cushy bum near the exposed vessels than a hard head. I have started twice a week nonstress tests (NST), so if his head were to get too close to the vessels and push on them we should be able to catch it.

1-hour glucose test and Tdap

Right after that 28 week ultrasound Tuesday I had an appointment with my regular OB. I had to do the 1-hour glucose test. Yuck, but do-able. I also got a Tdap vaccine. That was unexpected. It’s for whooping cough and most kids have 5 rounds of the DTaP vaccine when they’re little and then adults should occasionally get the booster. I had one when I was pregnant with Emma and I thought I was good for at least 15 years, but apparently you should get one with each pregnancy for the baby. The vaccine crosses the placenta and helps protect the baby from whooping cough until they can start being vaccinated from it themselves (starting at 2 months). Up until the steroid shots, the Tdap vaccine with Emma was the worst shot I’ve had, so I was not happy to find out I’d need to get it again.

First I went and got my blood drawn for the glucose test, then I went in for the Tdap. I hardly felt it! Apparently, after having the steroid shots a few days before, the awful Tdap shot was nothing (besides the sore arm for days later).

3-hour glucose test

Unfortunately, I failed the 1-hour glucose test. Barely. But I still failed. There’s a good chance that it was from having the steroid shots so soon before. They can mess with the blood sugar. Darn.

So today (Monday) I did the 3-hour test. My wonderful mother-in-law watched Logan and Emma for me. They slept over last night since it’s a fasting test and I wanted to wake up first thing and go (Kaylee was at school and then she played at her friends house after). I got to the hospital for the lab work around 8:40. It’s called the 3-hour glucose test, but I was there for 4. First I had to get all checked-in and then they drew my blood to make sure I was ready for the test (from the fast). Once the results of that blood came back I drank the glucose, then waited an hour and they drew my blood at 10:35. Then again at 11:35 and 12:35.

Luckily, Ogden Regional has a private room with a bed for the pregnant women doing this test (and for babies who need their blood drawn… like when Emma had to get some blood tests done). It was lovely! I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was still miserable and I was quite nauseous and starving from it all, but I was able to lie down! I read blogs on my phone and napped off and on while eating ice chips they provided me with. I had to do the 3-hour test with Emma at a different hospital and had to be in the waiting room the whole time. I definitely preferred a bed Smile.

Nonstress Test (NST)

The crazy part of today is that I had an appointment for a nonstress test at 12:45. My last blood draw was at 12:35. Good thing they were both at the same hospital (my regular OB is at the other hospital). As soon as I was done with that I rushed to my van to drive around to the other side of the hospital. I ate a fruit/nut bar on the way.

The NST was pretty uneventful. I chatted with the nurse doing the test. She was nice. She works part-time there, part-time up in labor and delivery, so I asked different questions about the hospital and such.

Usually the NSTs are done while the mom is laying back, but I need to do them while sitting up or standing. Not easy for them. The nurse had to hold the monitor on the whole time because it wasn’t going to stay with the bands while I was sitting up. They monitor the baby’s heart for 20 minutes. Everything looked good! They also did a quick ultrasound to measure the amniotic fluid levels. That’s good, too. That’s when they saw that he’s head down.

I go back Thursday for another NST. I’ll go every Monday and Thursday just to make sure everything is good. I’m sure it will be.

I was finished at 2:30, which means I was at the hospital for almost 6 hours! And I hadn’t eaten anything besides the fruit/nut bar and tons of glucose since 9:30 the night before. Soooo not okay for a pregnant woman. Blah. But it’s over. And my OB called right after I left the hospital to let me know that the results of the 3-hour test were normal, so no gestational diabetes. Wahoo!


Still no name. This is hard! Let us know if you have any ideas.

I’m not feeling as nervous today. It comes and goes. Just wish I was holding my healthy baby boy in my arms right now. It’s hard to be patient.

I’m pretty sure the rest of the updates will be pretty boring, just like this one. At least I hope. I’ll continue to do the twice a week NSTs and then go into the hospital in 3+ weeks and deliver via c-section around 34 weeks. That’s when there will be big news (and cute pictures!).

(BTW, I’m 29 weeks on Wednesday.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: the steroid shots

This is such a small thing, but because I like reading exactly what people have been through with all of this I’m going to post it.

I had the second steroid shot today (I’m 27 weeks and 2 days) to help baby’s lungs develop and I just have to get on here and say, “ouch!!!” Yesterday’s was unpleasant, but today’s was even worse. Luckily, it passed quickly.

During it, and for about 2 or 3 minutes after, I felt quite nauseous (both days) and worried about passing out. They were intramuscular shots (big needles and they go deep) kind of in my hip/back. Yesterday’s was on the right, today’s on the left. I was told it would be in my bum, so just above it was a little better, I guess.

It stung a lot going in, but really, that pain was all done within 5 minutes. Except today it probably took an extra 5 minutes to walk it off. Not bad, though. Both sides feel a little bruised, but nothing terrible. I’ve been quite tired both days and EXTREMELY thirsty!!! That’s probably the most annoying thing. I can not quench my thirst (having a cold doesn’t help that)!

I’m so so happy to have them done! I’ve felt quite helpless throughout all of this and enduring the pain of the shots made me feel like I was actually doing something to help my baby, so that’s good.

Now here’s to hoping his little lungs are growing big and strong!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vasa Previa Update: Weeks 26 and 27

I’m breaking this into sections since this is so long. You can skip to what interests you.

26 weeks: possible small stomach

Last week I had an appointment with the perinatologist at 26 weeks (Dr. Spencer this time). It was mostly uneventful. Baby looks good, was bum down and still not by the cervix (wahoo!). The only thing noteworthy is that the baby went from the 50th percentile at 23 weeks to 38th percentile at 26 weeks. His abdominal measurement was low and brought down the overall percentile. This isn’t serious unless it keeps going down and/or gets below the 10th percentile. It would mean intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) which is where the baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. It could be from an incompetent or dying placenta or from the vessels between the placenta and baby not working correctly (which could be a problem with velamentous cord insertion, which I have).

I have my next appointment with the specialist in 5 days (Tuesday), so we’ll see how his stomach is then. It could very easily have been a mis-measurement, since the little guy would not cooperate very well. If it was IUGR they often deliver early (once it’s determined that baby will get more nutrients outside of the uterus than inside), but since I’m already delivering early, even if this is an issue it probably won’t change much (you know… besides my hope of a super big preemie…). It should be just fine though. 38th percentile isn’t bad.

27 weeks: appointment plans and steroid shots

Today I had an appointment with my regular OB. I am 27 weeks and 1 day. We took a look at the baby and he looks good. Head-down again, but floating happily away from the cervix.

Next Tuesday I’ll first go to the specialist and then go into my regular OB (their offices are at two different hospitals) and do the glucose test. Yuck.

Starting the following week I’ll go into the specialists (I’m switching off between two) on Mondays and then my OB on Thursdays so they can do non-stress tests on the baby. Make sure he’s not resting on the vessel (apparently it’s quite the large one)!

I can actually choose to go into the hospital starting 28 weeks, insurance and doctor-wise (that’s next Wednesday!) even if my body isn’t doing anything yet. If I needed to for peace of mind I could (after days like today with the kids it’s tempting Winking smile), but unless it’s needed sooner, I’m still planning to go in at 32 weeks with the c-section between 33 and 34 weeks.

I got the first dose of the steroid shot today at the appointment to help baby’s lungs develop. Ouch! I’ll get the second one 24 hours from that one. From everything I’ve read about these shots they make a HUGE difference! I’m so grateful for modern medicine for so many reasons these days!!!

How I’m Doing

Emotionally, I’m okay. I just want him out and safe. With Emma I was quite content to keep her in as long as she wanted (which was one day after he due date) because I knew she’d be safe in there. It’s so different to be anxious to get my baby out (and early!).

I get quite emotional after each appointment, but hey, I’m pregnant, right? It’s to be expected. I keep having nightmares and they certainly don’t help, either. I’m feeling super grateful that I don’t do Braxton Hicks because any pains that feel like they “might” be a contraction puts me on edge. I get why people choose to go into the hospital at 28 weeks, but with 3 kids I don’t feel like that’s an option, plus I think I’d go crazy.  (And again, my body is cooperating thus far, so I should be just fine waiting.)

Joel and I went to London to visit my parents a couple weeks ago and it was exactly what I needed. For the first time since finding out about the vasa previa, I was able to think about other things. Plus, it was just comforting to be around my parents. I still have plenty of moments of anxiety and worry, but that get-away helped a ton! 

Physically, I’m doing well. Round-ligament pain isn’t fun, but it’s eased up the past few days. I’m exhausted a lot, but also get spurts of energy for nesting, which is nice. Nausea isn’t bad at all. Some days it is, but mostly it’s gone now. Yay!

Baby Prep

I’ve got his clothes washed and mostly put away. Need to find a good car seat that goes low in weight. Good timing because the one we have just expired. I’m also going to look into some sort of co-sleeping thing. I have co-slept with all of my babies and felt safe with it, but with having a preemie I feel more comfortable having either a bedside co-sleeper or one of those that go in the middle of the bed. I’m going to get that after he’s born, because with the NICU he might be well sleep-trained and not need it anyway. 

Besides the car seat, the biggest thing we need to do is figure out a name!!!! Not easy! For now he is “Baby” or “Blarglesplat.” Weird, I know Smile. Joel came up with it as a funny knick-name to tease the kids and it’s stuck. Logan (age 4) keeps saying we have to come up with a different name before he’s born because if we name him “Gargelsplat” (how Logan says it”) then he’ll think the baby is ugly. I guess we really need to get on the name Winking smile.

I wish I could end this with cute baby pics again, but he was really not being cooperative. Just like the 20 week ultrasound he had his hands in front of his face. I wonder if that’s how he’ll sleep when he’s here Smile