Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Worry Train......Still Chugging Along

Sigh..... Rob and I and Scout went in for a routine doctor's appointment today and ended up at American Fork Hospital, hooked up to a fetal monitor. Our little bean (we are calling Scout "Bean" and the baby "little bean" for the time being) anyway, she was presenting an irregular heartbeat and signs of fetal distress. After a few scary hours, we were sent home with reassurances and 99% odds that everything will be alright in the end. With that in mind, I will explain the events of the day.

I go to a practice that employs 3 doctors, you routinely see all three so you know them all so when you go into labor, the doctor that happens to be on call that day, you are familiar with and he is familiar with you. The 3rd doctor only joined the practice a year or so ago, and this appointment happened to be my first with him. So anyway, he asked me the normal questions and blah blah blah, lays me down to check the baby's heart rate. Now, I learned a little something from my molar pregnancy-- be concerned when a doctor takes longer to do something you've seen done a million times and is silent. Silent = bad. My doctor was silent, and after a long time I was like, "what is wrong?" He tells me that the he detects an irregularity in the baby's heart rate. He said right there that at 28 weeks, that could be completely normal, but it's hard to tell with only listening for a few minutes and he wanted to monitor me for a longer amount of time hooked up to a machine. Keeping my panic at bay (who am I kidding? TRYING to keep my panic at bay), I follow him into a little room with lazy boys and monitors and a nurse hooks me up. She leaves and Rob and I are looking at each other like, "are you kidding me (kitten me?)" and we watch the heart monitor record our baby's beats. It seemed all over the place (we later learned that is a good thing), but after 20 minutes, the doctor reviewed it and saw some dips he didn't like. I guess the rate went down really low a few times and he then explained that it could be a pinched cord or the cord could be around the baby's neck. He gave me instructions to monitor the baby's movements a few times a day (10 movements in an hour = good), he reassured me that the baby measured perfectly and is growing right on target, which in this situation is a really good thing. He also wanted to see me again in a week to check the heart again, he said that at this point, a week of growth will be significant enough in umbilical cord growth and strength and baby growth to possibly leave all this behind us, assuming that the baby is still kicking around a lot. I was still hooked up as he was talking and I had told him that I had had a contraction or two during the monitoring and that seemed to concern him a little. But while he was talking he noticed the baby's rate drop again and he asked me if I was having a contraction and I was, so he said, "ok, I've changed my mind, I want to have an ultrasound done again to check the fluids and then I'd like to send you to the hospital and have them monitor you for a little while there." Rob piped up then with many questions, as this was getting fairly scary. He got out of him that it isn't the baby's development that has him concerned, it was stress associated with the umbilical cord. This was somewhat cheering, as thoughts of a baby with a bum heart were swimming through our brains and dying babies that need heart surgery at birth is not quite what we want in our near future. As I've said before-- WE LIKE HEALTHY BABIES!!!

So, we had our ultrasound and got to see little bean, and her fluid looked good. The doctor liked that news, as low levels of amniotic fluid can be a bad sign in this situation. So, we drive over to the hospital and get hooked up in a room and kind of go through the same thing. Scout found all of this quite interesting and fell in love with our nurse, who brought her vanilla "biscuits" and wafers and orange juice. She kept saying that she liked what she saw, and didn't see any of the drops the doc did in the office, this is explained by the baby possibly was hanging on to her cord, or pinching it with her shoulder or other such shenanigans. What she did see/hear was an arrhythmia though. So, I don't know if these two things are connected or what or really what is going on right now. I was armed with the knowledge that this is fairly common at my baby's age and also that in 99% of these cases, the arrhythmia resolves on it's own around birth. I tried to get out of her what happens to the other 1% of babies (as we all know, I now laugh at odds). She wasn't sure and told us that a pediatrician would know more then her about that, I said "surgery?" and she nodded in a non committal fashion.

So, after two hours in the same position, pressing on a monitor because the baby was squirmy and kept kicking it, and Rob having had skipped lunch, and Scout getting progressively more wired thanks to cookies and juice laced with monkey beans, we were very happily discharged and got hamburgers and went home (but not before the nurse gave her a few biscuts for the road).

Tonight, I think I am ok with this, I feel good about the baby showing no signs of distress while at the hospital. I am ok with the baby's "odds" that she will get over this, and be a normal happy healthy newborn, yet, inevitably, I know I will worry. I know I will be doing the fetal movement checks several times a day. I know I will rejoice with every kick she gives my rib cage from now on, knowing that she is alive and kicking. I know I will constantly be thinking about that tiny little heart in there, and hoping it is doing it's thing and being a good little heart for my little one. I suppose I'll know more next week (or not), my appointment is on Tues afternoon, and I will update you all with the latest.

I guess Rob and I are made to be kept on our toes for this one still. Why? Wish I knew. We talked tonight how we again long for the days of Scout's carefree pregnancy. Ah, those were the days......


***Update***
I did a little internet research today on the subject of irregular fetal heart rates and am feeling a lot better about the whole thing. It seems that it is a low level of these babies that do have any sort of problems, and these babies are associated with having a heart beat that goes very high (over 200) for a period of time and my baby's never went over 160. Even then, this seems to be fixed with medication in utero and after birth. No one said anything about surgery, so that is certainly good news to us. Here is one such example of the articles I read that seemed informative and from a reliable source if you're interested.

16 comments:

Amy said...

Wow! What a roller-coaster ride! I'm sorry you had a little scare today, but it sounds like everything should be just fine. We hope that this is the end of stressful moments with this little bean. Be sure to keep us informed.

Haley said...

Man, I'm sorry Ems. That is scary. Hopefully it will just go away on its own and it was just a fluke thing. Be sure to let us know what happens next week. Man, I don't think the 4th of July is your guys' holiday!!

Emily said...

Rob and I were commenting yesterday (before the doc ordeal) how our robbery anniversary was coming up. We will always think of that when the 4th rolls around.

Cat said...

Yikes! I'm sure the little bean will be just fine, though. Don't sress.

Emily said...

I updated this post tonight sighting some research I did today on the internet about the subject and feel quite a bit better and hopefully made some good progress on ridding myself of the little black cloud that creeped up again that I thought I was rid of after my ultra sound.

ps, baby may know I needed this today, and has been break dancing for a large chunk of the day, and passed my 10 moves an hour test both times in under ten minutes. Good girl. Mommy appreciates you.

Pops said...

Wow, Ems & Rob. You have mom's and my prayers for you and the little bean. Maybe they have too much monitors and equipment these days. In the old days you just wouldn't know of any of this and the baby would be born just fine. Glad she is active for you peace of mind. love

Emily said...

I'm thinking along the same lines dad, it's helpful and I'm glad we have it all around, but I think the monitor caught us at the wrong moment and the baby playing innocently with it's cord possibly caused us a lot of worry and concern and expense for nothing. Unless that was all about the baby's heart beat irregularity. I am just confused about how they are linked or separated, and you just can't get much of a straight answer from a doctor.

Haley said...

I'm glad that some research put your mind at ease a little. I'm sure it was just bad timing and she will be just fine. I can't believe that you are already 30 weeks along! Isn't it funny how other people's pregnancies go by so much quicker than your own?!

B said...

I giggled out loud when I read about little George break dancing. That must have been very relieving. Matt and I are so happy for the good news.

Neaners said...

Hey Em, working in pre term labor units I can understand your worries. I am glad things are better. I am sure she will be fine. A little fighter and she has waited to come down to you guys. Lots of love and look forward to hearing updates. You can always ask your cousin nursie Jeanine:) I am here for you.

Emily said...

Egad! Em, I'm so sorry to hear about this whole ordeal! It sounds like things are going to work out just fine, but man, the little scares are not fun. It makes you realize the miracle a healthy baby is. What a good girl to move around in there so much for you!
Unrelated, I have been snacking on the leftover birthday cake for a few days. Delish! Everyone was so impressed.

Emily said...

We just got back from the doctors again. The babe dutifully grew exactly one inch this week (good girl), I lost a pound (not upset about that). Her heartbeat however continued to sound a little off. The Doctor decided that he is going to send us to some maternal fetal specialist at Utah Valley Hospital later in the week. The specialists there will be doing a special ultrasound that focuses on the baby's heart, takes a real good look at it and watches it pump it's little irregular rhythm to see exactly what is up.

Basically, the doctor told me kind of what I had read, most of these cases clear up before birth, a few of them clear up after the baby starts pumping her blood by herself, that could take as long as a month but is nothing of concern. (I guess with this scenario, they will take a look at little bean's heart and say, "bah, she's fine, go home and have a happy healthy pregnancy and worry not"). He said once every year or two when they see this, the specialists will see something that will cause them to want to monitor my pregnancy and baby's development a little more closely for the rest of the time. Then he said once every 4 or 5 years they will see something alarming enough that they would monitor me very closely and send me up to Primary Children's and most likely have to deliver the baby early, like 6 weeks from now and he didn't go on from there as I suppose the odds are we don't need to worry about that (ironically, he gave me the odds of about 1 in 1500 which are listed as the exact odds of having a molar pregnancy). I told him that my last pregnancy, Dr. Parker (winky) told me that they hadn't seen what I had in this office for over ten years. I chuckled and told him that I have already defied crazy odds last time, so perhaps I have used up my crazy stats around the office already? One woman can't defy crazy odds twice can they? The answer is yes, but we aren't going to think about that. He also said that there are things that would most likely have been happening if we are looking at worse case scenario here such as: The baby not growing properly, signs of a problem with the heart in my 20 week ultrasound (he had reviewed that today and everything looked great), low amniotic fluid (which was looked at last week and it was at a good level). SO here's hoping I am on the normal side of the odds this time around and I get the "bah! Go home and have a great pregnancy" speech and I can move on and not worry (not worrying completely--- not going to happen, but you know, I'll definitely be more at ease.)

I'll update again (perhaps with it's own blog after the hospital appointment), keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Haley said...

Good luck! We will be thinking and praying for you guys, hope it goes well. Let us know what you find out.

Pops said...

Thanks for the update and all the details. You and the second bean will be fine. Mom and I are thinking and praying about you.

Emily said...

I got the call that my appointment has been scheduled at the hospital and instead of later in the week, it isn't until the 21st. The nurse also alarmed me telling me that they scheduled it at Utah Valley instead of American Fork hospital (the doctor said it would happen at one or the other) because Utah Valley is the only one that has a genetic counselor there and they wanted to be sure one was there in case we needed them. I just didn't like the sound of that. I have since mellowed a bit about it and have reasoned that they are just being safe. It's good they are taking it serious I guess, I just wish there wasn't anything they feel they need to take seriously.

Amy said...

Thanks for the updates, Em. I'm sure everything will be fine. I'm glad they're taking it seriously, though. The more they know and see, hopefully, the better you will feel about it.

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