Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stupid Stress Strikes Again

Today I had my 30 week check-up.  It didn't go as planned.  I thought I would listen to the heartbeat, get my belly measured, and be off to do some grocery shopping.  Instead, three hours after my appointment started, I was talking with my OB about how the non-stress test indicated some cause for concern.

As an initial matter, I should note that a couple of things came up in the last couple of days which were really stressful for me.  I don't want to get into what those things were, but they probably weren't as significant as my pregnancy hormones made them.  I didn't sleep at all on Monday night/Tuesday morning and neither did the baby.  My stress seems to make him spazzy.  On Tuesday, the initial stressor had resolved for the most part, but there was a new one that took its place.  I was too exhausted to be as upset on Tuesday as I had been on Monday, but still, it was a long two days. 

So, when the baby wasn't moving much Tuesday night or today, I wasn't horribly concerned.  I thought he was probably just tired out from all of the "excitement."  But, when the nurse listened to the heartbeat at my appointment today, she said "Is it always this fast?"  I asked how fast the heartbeat was and she told me the baby's heartrate was 174.  He hasn't been that high since he was a tiny bean.  He usually runs around 135 now.  The nurse asked if I had noticed any changes in his movements, and I told her about the stress and subsequent lull in his kicks.  The nurse went and got the doctor (one of Dr. C's colleagues), who felt around my belly for awhile and listened to the heartbeat herself.  She said "we need to put you on the monitor."  My heart sank a little, but I had felt the baby move in the waiting room before my appointment, and we had just heard the heartbeat, so I wasn't too frantic.

After 20 minutes on "the monitor," which is a machine that reminds me of a giant EKG...with the electrodes on the belly instead of the chest (actually...that's basically what it is), the doctor came in and said she wanted Dr. C to take a look at the "strips" (the printouts of the baby's heartbeat, measurements of movements, and measurements of my contractions).  Apparently, the strips showed that I was having contractions and the baby's heartrate was being affected by them.  I stayed strapped into the monitor for another 20 minutes (after a quick potty break) and then the machine started beeping...indicating no fetal heartbeat.  When no nurse immediately came into the room, I started yelling...without shame.  The nurse practitioner came in and explained that the baby is still small enough that he can move and that is all that happened...he moved so far away from the monitor that they couldn't hear his heartbeat.  The nurse practitioner found the heartbeat again and, upon confirming that it was steady, said there was no point in monitoring further because they knew what was going on.  I had to wait for Dr. C.

After what seemed like an eternity, Dr. C came into the room and looked at the strips.  He said that I was having contractions, but they weren't as strong or regular as what one would expect with active labor.  The baby's heartrate was showing inconsistencies, especially around the time of the contractions, but the baby did not appear to be in distress.  Dr. C said that I need not worry, as that was his job.  He wasn't "worried, per se," but he felt an abudance of caution would be prudent because women with insulin dependent gestational diabetes have a higher rate of stillbirth (no matter what the context, the phrase "stillbirth" feels like a knife through my heart).  He told me he wants to see me again on Friday evening for another session of monitoring, just to be sure that this is a matter of the baby and I having "an off day," which he assured me happens all the time.  I'm glad that he is being cautious and I believe him when he says he isn't worried.  I think if he was worried, I would be in the hospital tonight.

While I wait for Friday to arrive, I am supposed to take it "very easy."  I am supposed to avoid anything stressful or upsetting, even if it is just something on the news that bothers me.  I am supposed to lay on my left side as much as is comfortable and do kick counts for twenty minutes at a time, three times a day.  If the baby doesn't move in the first twenty minutes, I am supposed to get up and drink a cold sugary beverage, and lay back on my side for another twenty minutes.  If there is still no movement, I need to call Dr. C and go to the office immediately.  The baby should move three or four times in the twenty minutes following the sugary drink and change of position.  I'm really going to try to relax.  It is hard when there is so much to do.  Sometimes I will do something that I think is going to be relaxing, like starting to plan the furniture arrangement of the nursery, only to find myself panicking 30 minutes into it about something stupid (like how the furniture won't fit in the tiny room).  It is tough to avoid stress right now, but for the sake of having a great appointment on Friday, I'm going to try my hardest.  Maybe the baby just needs a spa day...via mommy having a spa day of course.  


Kristen said...

Sorry you are having to deal with this. I hope you are able to take it easy and everything looks great on Friday...

China Doll said...

I'm sure everything will be fine... just take it easy and think happy, relaxed thoughts :) Thinking of you xx

beccasfamilyof5 said...

As hard as it is, DO relax. I don't think there is such a thing as a perfect pregnancy, with each of mine I had at least one form of scare or worry with my kids. You have got this far and it's really not much longer to go, so take the advice of the professionals and try to have a good old bit of old fashioned rest and a Spa Day sounds excellent. That or just a nice day of pampering, haircut, massage whatever does it for you. These last weeks will fly by, stay positive.

Lindsey said...

I so wish I could bring you a stress-free day care package right now! It would have cheesey girly movies in it. Take care of that little guy and let us know ASAP how Friday goes because I will be on high stress alert until I hear!