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Hedra's Pregnancy Journal

Thirty-Two Weeks, Six Days ~ October 8, 2004
   ~ The Name Game

It is getting close, now. I'm almost 33 weeks, which means I'm looking at 3-5 more weeks to be full term, and just about one week to be in the safe zone! WOO-HOO!

Shocking. How did this happen? I mean, wasn't I just suffering morning sickness not that long ago? Somehow, I made it to here. Time seems meaningless, in some ways. It folds and expands unexpectedly.

But we're also getting things done. This weekend, Will and his dad will be putting in the bed, a second queen next to our queen sized bed, enough room for two infants, a preschooler, and a first grader, plus us. Granted, most of the time it won't be all of us, but we know from experience that on those nights when it IS all of us, we need the space.

I just wish that I could help more. I can't do the painting (my usual task, which I don't absolutely adore, but which I enjoy way more than Will does), I can't do any heavy lifting - or even light lifting, really. I can't even dig a hole to put my new lilac (a birthday present now in season for planting) in the ground. I itch to be able to do stuff, rather than being relatively flattened by pregnancy. I'm not used to this, and I don't see myself getting used to it before they're here. It is frustrating, and I feel bad for Will, who far too often gets stuck with things that weren't on his job sheet before, and often enough weren't on his job sheet until that instant!

Realistically, I can't do much more than I am. Will, as much as he's burdened by my relatively disabled state, does seem to recognize this - I'm gestating as best I can, and that's the most critical part. Moving around, doing things that take physical effort... well, those will have to wait. I can still roll over at night - but it takes about four stages to do so, and isn't all that comfortable (I'm stunned I don't wake up the house with the groaning). I can walk, but not without getting winded most of the time. My heart pounds when I stand up - just standing UP puts pressure on my heart? Sigh. Well, yes, it is a twin pregnancy. And it is a healthy one. And it still means double pressures on my systems. Including on Will. Now, if I can just remember to do the tasks that take only mental effort and the slightest of physical effort... my brain isn't working so well, either. I'm not quite to the point of flipping the light switch to flush the toilet, or being unable to identify that the pretty music I'm hearing is my cell phone ringing... but some days, I'm pretty close... Twin pregnancy brain.

In other news (more fun), I finally got in to the Maternal-Fetal Medicine center. They had a cancellation, so I snagged the spot, very short notice, but since I'm working from home all the time now, it was doable. They also had to split the appointment into two time slots, but that was okay.

First, the genetic counseling. Ever since I found out that they required me to do that, I've been complaining that the genetic counseling was relatively pointless. I've done one run of it for family history things already - that was with Gabe, when we discovered that Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (a collagen disorder) ran in the family. Been there, done that. So the family risk profile was already run. But I'm of Advanced Maternal Age (voice of DOOOOOM there...), so my risk profile for genetic anomalies is higher than if I were younger. Balanced against the geneticist being able to provide me with any useful information on that point are a few rather important issues: 1) I'm already aware of the risk profile by age. 2) I've had two level-2 ultrasounds already, and nothing that can be seen has been seen. 3) I'm past 30 weeks, what am I going to be doing about it now? 4) I'm not someone who needs to be forewarned - I know that I am open to the child I bear at the moment of birth, and whatever that child is, is mine fully and completely. So if there IS something 'wrong', I can either fret about it before then, and possibly interfere with that open acceptance, or I can use that open acceptance to both (or rather, all three) of our advantage. Besides, they can't even tell for sure how 'bad' a particular issue will be until birth... the margin of error is huge. I'd just as happily skip it. Even knowing that the OB said it was more for covering their own legal issues than my medical ones, I still would rather skip it.

But they insist. No ultrasound, no perinatologist, until after genetic counseling. Sigh.

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Fortunately, the geneticist was from my planet. She said she wasn't going to quote me a bunch of numbers, I clearly knew what my risks were, it was too late to 'do' anything about them anyway (terminate, that is), and with two level-2 ultrasounds already done and with no negative findings, chances of there being something hugely wrong were much lower - even though of course they can't see everything on ultrasound. We ran my family history again, as well, which was entertaining, given my rather complex family (multiple re-marriages and half siblings all over the place). It was more fun than I anticipated, andf there wasn't a hint of the voice of DOOOOOM I'd half-expected (though I know others who got different geneticists who proceeded to bully the parents into bi-weekly ultrasounds 'just in case'... sigh.).

Then it was back home, back to work, and then back to the MFM center again for the ultrasound. I invited my mother, who has never seen an ultrasound in progress before (only the take-home photos). That was rather cool, all in all. The technician was speedy, faster than the other center, definitely. Instead of 45 minutes per baby, it was under 30. She showed us the hands, and feet, and legs, and spine, and stomach, and bladder, and diaphragm, and brain, and umbilical cord, and upper lip (no cleft lip, a higher risk when on steroids for asthma), and best of all, face. For each.

I love seeing the faces, in utero. Both babies were asleep, with their mouths half-open. I recognized the expression immediately - it is the same as when my older two were in 'milk comas' (the knocked out sleep after nursing), eyes mostly closed, mouths half open, lips relaxed and gums showing. They looked pretty much exactly like Gabe (and therefore pretty much exactly like Brendan, too). So far, my kids look so much alike that telling baby and toddler pictures apart is a matter of squinting at the eyebrow shape to see which is which! They're cute, too. Of course, since Gabe and Brendan were cute, and they look just like their big brothers... stands to reason. No bias here!

The only bad-ish news was position. Baby A is now behind-down, deep in my pelvis. Breech. If he/she doesn't move, that's a c-section birth. We've got time, still - half of all babies are breech before 36 weeks, after which point their heads get heavy enough to tip them down. Now, one more reason to make it to 36 weeks... TURN, baby, TURN! The other baby is still in pike position (toes by nose), but is now diagonally transverse across the top, head out my side, behind in my ribs. No wonder my belly is lopsided!

After that spin-through version of ultrasound, there was a long wait (my mom left to go pick up the boys from school), and then the perinatologist came in. His apparent aim was to reassure. He told me right away that they looked good. He also told me that they were big... but not TOO big, mind, within normal ranges. For singletons. I guess most women would be as scared by large babies as by small ones, but for me, that's not an issue. I have had two large babies, and know what to expect - and honestly prefer larger to smaller. My body is made for it, I won't complain! I smiled to myself when he reassured me again that they weren't TOO big. No, indeed. Just big. Big is good.

He also said that some things just cannot be seen on ultrasound, so there is no guarantee that the 'perfect' they see on the screen will translate to 'perfect' at birth. But there was no indication of a hint of a maybe-there-might-be-an-issue-somewhere, so he didn't put me on 2-weekly level-2 ultrasounds. Instead, I'm going in again at 37 1/2 weeks, presuming I make it to then. And in the meantime, I'll be in every week for a biophysical profile.

Sigh, on that point, too. There's no solid evidence that biophysical profiles make a difference in outcomes, either! They're just 'standard' in twin pregnancies. I am not all that happy with 'standard' procedures. I want procedures that apply to me, as an individual, with this pregnancy. I don't think the BPPs are necessary. I called the OB's office, and they gave me the 'standard' line - I'll talk to the OB when I see him next week. Maybe he knows something I don't. (Hey, he's the professional, it might happen!)

Until then, I'll enjoy the 'knowledge' (with a huge margin of error) that my babies are between one and two weeks bigger than typical singletons at this gestation (abouty 4 1/4 and 4 1/2 lbs, respectively), that they are growing well, and that they are still in there. Not that much longer to go! I can see the due date range approaching, and it is coming fast. Amazing that they can put on up to another 4 lbs each between now and then... though fortunately that doesn't mean doubling MY girth to do so!

We're getting close. REALLY close. How did this happen, again? Where did the time go? I barely had time to get used to them being in there, and now they're almost ready to come out?

With the bed in, though, I'll be ready. Thank heavens for a handy husband... now, how to reward him for all this work?

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