At my Week 33 appointment, my fundal height was low. This is potentially indicative of a baby that is too small. Well, it turned out that our baby was at the 4th percentile of size. When a baby is this small, they check out several things. 1) genetic malformations–Blueberry was not expected to have any of these, 2) ill-formed vital organs–Blueberry appeared to have beautiful organs, 3) infection–I came back negative on all the usual suspects, 4) a placenta that potentially isn’t fully attached, or 5) the parents made a small baby. If 1-3 come back clean, they take up a “diagnosis of exclusion” and assume that the placenta didn’t properly connect and that the baby isn’t necessarily getting as many nutrients as a baby that has full placental connection. All of Blueberry’s organs looked good, heart rate was great, and there was good flow through the umbilical chord, so there wasn’t immediate concern.
However, the doctors were still concerned because if the placenta was not correctly attached, as the baby got bigger, the placenta could completely disconnect. If this happened, a still born would occur. So, I started doing kick counts every night, went to two non-stress tests a week, and I went for an ultrasound every week for the next three weeks. At that point, I would be considered full term. If the baby was still below the 10th percentile, they would induce labor or schedule me for a c-section of the baby was still breech. The idea was that there is higher risk for the baby outside of the womb until 37 weeks, but once we hit 37 weeks, there is higher risk for the baby inside of the womb. This occurs because of baby’s organ development. Prior to 37 weeks, there’s like a 50% chance of the baby going to NICU upon birth. Following 37 weeks, that percentage falls to like 10%, so that’s the “lower” risk.
We asked about the likelihood of going from the 4th percentile to the 10th percentile (“normal”) in three weeks. The specialist said she had only seen it happen 3 times in her career, but that it was doable. I was told to become a couch potato, conserve as many calories as possible, and eat lots of fats. Pretty much the only time a doctor is going to tell someone to eat fat and not exercise. Husband took it upon himself to make this happen if at all possible as evidenced in the fact that he gave me 4 hot dogs and himself 3 at our small group that night. This was after I had eaten several cubes of cheese and almonds–other fatty foods. I was tasked with always carrying food with me and eating as much as possible at all times.
Three weeks went by. We had no way of knowing how we were doing, but I kept eating. We also began doing a host of things to try and get Blueberry to turn so that I could at least avoid a c-section. The baby stayed at breech and we scheduled a c-section for September 2nd because we assumed the growth would not happen. Surprisingly, we found out at that last ultrasound that the baby had moved from the 4th percentile to the 16th percentile. The label of “high-risk pregnancy” was stripped from me, and I went back to being a regular old pregnant woman! We’re now in Week 37, but the baby is still breech. If we’re still breech at 39 weeks, we’ll schedule another c-section. 97% of babies are supposed to turn out of breech by the 37th week. Once the baby drops (usually in week 38 or so), there’s pretty much no moving the kiddo except out through a c-section incision.
I’m incredibly thankful that our baby is no longer considered at risk for placental abruption as well as all the love and support we received during this time. I’m definitely still concerned about the breech position as I would very much like to have a vaginal birth. I’m also terrified of hospitals and surgery, so many tears were shed during those days we felt sure the c-section was going to happen. In the coming weeks, please pray for a turned baby, a healthy and safe delivery, and a calm spirit for me regardless of how our baby comes into the world. Also, prayers for the husband as he works to support me as best he can. I’m quite a bit more emotional these days than he’s used to, but he’s been absolutely amazing through it all.
22 days until my due date. We’ll all be meeting Blueberry very soon.