Well, insofar as we ever had a plan anyway, and if you consider a ‘plan’ to be: having gotten pregnant, hope and pray to all the gods of fertility that baby grows and stays; deliver baby on or near due date.
For us, June 4th was meant to be the magic number. I had even fully convinced myself – in flagrant disregard of just how many unforeseen loops this whole journey has thrown us – that we had something like eight weeks still to plan and prepare and freak out a little at the massive, mind-bending, life altering change-in-the-form-of-tiny-human that is about to befall us.
We won’t be making it that far, it seems, or anywhere near, unless we’re very lucky.
But let me backtrack a bit.
This week has been a big one for us, full of important milestones passed and happy news in the world of little seedling’s development. First and foremost, her ventricles seem to have stabilised at their slightly reduced measurements, and after 30 weeks they tend to feel that those measurements are likely to hold steady. So we’ve kind of allowed ourselves to exhale on that one. Then, at our request (because our medical team is thoughtful and awesome and takes our concerns seriously), we were sent to another city and another clinic to undergo a fetal echocardiogram. Strictly as a precaution; 40% of Down syndrome babes experience some kind of heart abnormality, and this is by far the scariest and most sever complication that comes with a diagnosis. I can happily report that the cardiologist saw what looks like a normal heart and no cause for concern, though further tests will be carried out on little seedling’s arrival. Yay for happy news on scans!
But because this is life, and ours never seems to want to sail a straight course, opting instead for the adventure and uncertainty (and because, well, every baby comes when it damned well pleases and isn’t that just a part of the crazy euphoric, terrifying adventure?) that comes with really being alive, there are some new logistical issues to navigate.
My amniotic fluid levels are stable for the moment, but it’s something they want to keep a close eye on, given the risk of preterm labour. And on our u/s, we learned that the diastolic flow through the umbilicus is reducing. This is not entirely a surprise, as we know that with a Down syndrome pregnancy, the placenta carries the same trisomy, and therefore a likelihood of placental insufficiency at some point. We were kind of prepared. And yet, we were spectacularly unprepared, in the sense that I hadn’t thought, not seriously, about what it might mean. As in, like, delivery only weeks away.
We’re at 31w4d now, and the new goal is to make it to 36 weeks. June 4th will certainly not be our magic number, but as long as she gets here safe and grows healthy, everything else is frills, really. There will be an upsurge in the monitoring from here on in, probably every other day, just to keep a close eye on the flow within the umbilical cord and make sure she’s getting all the nutrients she needs. She’s always been a tiny one, measuring on the bottom end of normal range since about 22weeks, (while I’ve had trouble gaining weight myself) and I so want her to be in the best possible shape to face and overcome all the challenges she has in store. Our medical team don’t seem worried about the possible medical implications of a delivery in the coming weeks, since her progression in terms of weight gain has been steady, and I have a lot of trust in them, so I’m trying not to panic either.
Still, suddenly it feels there is a lot to do and arrange (the practicalities of which are also huge, and warrant a post of their own, soon to follow). I think we just lost approximately four weeks of processing time, and as anxious as we are to meet her, our heads are spinning as we try to take in yet more new twists and turns. A month from now...I can’t even finish that sentence, not yet. The possibilities are scary and exciting and unknowable. And I'm trying my best to trust in the process, to trust in our caregivers, trust in her, in my own body. Deep breathes.
|The technicolour, lighting speed future awaits|