But the striking thing is how BIG I am now compared to where I was at this point (and much later) with Hudson. I told Ed I wanted a do-over when I have not just eaten a big meal. Compare the picture above with the two below and you will see what I mean.
With Hudson at 26 weeks!
With Hudson at 30 weeks!Speaking of big, I had my follow-up ultrasound on Monday to check in Jackson’s growth. He is still measuring above the 97th percentile overall, but apparently that is largely due to the size of his head. His abdomen (88%) and leg (75%) measurements are now in a much more reasonable range (but still big), but his head is measuring so big that it’s apparently jacking up the rest of the measurements. Hmmm… The perinatologist then asked if either of us wear big hat sizes. I said that I do. She went and found a measuring tape and actually measured my head, saying, “Yeah, that’s pretty big.” I told her that while no one ever commented about it when Hudson was in my belly, she was always above the 90% for head circumference after she was born, even as her body weight dropped into the 25% range. So maybe our kids just have big heads (although I fear it getting to the point that people start talking c-section—I’ve got big hips and did it just fine the first time on my own, so hopefully it will never get that far). His heart rate was a good 150 bpm. The echogenic focus is still there on his heart, but the perinatologist told us that she’d just gotten back from a conference about fetal imaging where there was a big argument about this and wanted to reassure us that most every doctor in the country agrees that without other markers, it has no clinical significance.
Of course, we couldn’t get through an appointment with just good news, could we? My amniotic fluid index (AFI) is just a smidge high. There’s apparently a debate about what is considered normal. Some say 22cm, some say 20. Mine is 21.3cm. At 25 and over, one is diagnosed with polyhydramnios, or excessive amniotic fluid. Most of the time they have no idea what causes this condition (so it’s idiopathic, as in no known cause, as in “we’re such idiots, we can’t even figure it out”), but it can be associated with some birth defects that would cause the baby not to swallow the fluid like he’s supposed to (although the perinatologist said other indicators on the ultrasound appear to rule that out), or with gestational diabetes (there goes that one again), or with other things that are rare. It can also just be the result of a big baby that makes a lot of amniotic fluid, which is obviously what we will hope for in this case. Unfortunately, it can also be associated with some very nasty complications, including pre-term labor (because your uterus gets so big, it thinks it’s time to deliver even though the baby isn’t cooked all the way yet), as well as cord prolapse and placental abruption (because when the sac actually breaks, there is so much fluid in there that it gushes out and can push the cord through first, which is VERY bad for the baby, or it can tear the placenta away from the uterine wall before it is time, also pretty bad since it causes hemorrhaging). So… I’m scheduled for another follow-up ultrasound in 4 more weeks to check on the AFI. Not that I’m not happy to get a look at the Penguin as often as possible, but I’m not happy at all about the reason why. We didn’t have any issues of any kind with Hudson—I guess I didn’t realize how lucky I was.
I then saw the regular OB on Wednesday for my monthly prenatal appointment. This time, I saw the same doctor who was with us through most of our pregnancy with Hudson, and who would have delivered her if she’d gotten there in time. Instead, she just did some of the follow-up stuff—she missed the big event altogether. But she is a great doctor, and sat there patiently as I went through the entire litany of things that are worrying me right now (I had them written down)—whether I should worry about the AFI thing, a rash on my thigh (which is just eczema), feeling like I have to pee all the time and nothing comes out (hmm… pregnant much?), a pain in my upper back, which I’d become convinced was probably a symptom of lung cancer (yes, I am that insane right now—I have had back pain of all kinds for more than half my life, mostly associated with a disc problem, but this time it is lung cancer), worrying that I might be having Braxton Hicks contractions and just couldn’t tell (this one is probably a legitimate concern). She was just as kind and patient as she could be, answered all my questions, said she totally understood my paranoia, and when I asked about when we’d start doing appointments every two weeks, she said usually we start at 28 weeks, but that if I’d prefer it, we could go ahead and start now. I’m sure you can imagine how grateful I was. I also drank the disgusting orange syrup for my glucose challenge test—I am very hopeful that I pass. The doctor seemed to think that was likely since my sugars were so good when I tested them myself a month ago. Hopefully I can get those results tomorrow. Everyone cross your fingers for no gestational diabetes. This baby’s head does not need to get any bigger than it will get on its own.
I keep wishing I could allow myself to just let go of all this anxiety, enjoy being pregnant (although I can’t say that I was one of those happy, glowing pregnant women the first go-round either), and really start focusing on emotional preparations for being Jackson’s mom and still being Hudson’s mom all at the same time. But I’m grateful to have compassionate caregivers and perhaps some new creative outlets that can help distract me for the next three and a half months. I’ve also committed myself to getting back into therapy—I’m in the process of trying to find a good behavioral therapist around here who can help me manage the anxiety of all of these transitions hitting at once.
Big. It’s all so big. My belly. Jackson’s head. The anxiety. The grief. Hudson’s memory. The enormous challenges ahead of us. Very, very big.