Norah is officially kicking it into high gear in terms of growing.
That means this mama is hungry all the time (with limited stomach capacity... a cruel joke of pregnancy) and I also nap like it's my job. So, if these summaries aren't quite as immediate, blame it on the babe.
Our appointments this week caused a lot of anxiety, but also brought us so much joy. We had two appointments – the first one involved an Anatomy Scan and meeting with a perinatologist, and the second was the standard NST & BPP.
Norah decided to cooperate during the Anatomy scan – rare, I know. Because the sonographer was able to quickly and easily get her measurements, she spent a little time doing 3D imaging. Essentially, this allowed us to see our daughter's face for the first time. The sound I make when I see a puppy has NOTHING on the squeal that came out when we saw Norah. She is PERFECT, you guys. Absolutely perfect.
The perinatologist we had this time was the same as the very first appointment we had at MPP, and what a blessing. He already knew our understanding of the situation, so there was no beating us over the head with minute and/or hypothetical information. He saw nothing new to be worried about, gave us a brief overview, and agreed that we won't know anything for sure until she's born.
Here's what we chatted about (a major shout-out to Lane here for remembering the details – my brain thought any details besides her face were irrelevant):
- Norah already has a TON of (potentially curly) hair.
- She weighed in at 4lbs 9 oz – still on the small side of the normal range, with her head being a bit outside that. That being said, she is growing proportionately and consistently. Evidently, she just wants to be on her own curve.
- Her eyes appear small and harder to see than normal. The doctor's approach – we'll see once she's here.
- The same approach applied to her hands; there is something abnormal with her pinkies, potentially an extra growth. (Well, Lane's pinkies won't straighten thanks to his brother, and his dad, Norah's grandpa, messed up one of his hands in a farming accident. Funny fingers? Welcome to the club, sweetheart.)
- Due to her growth restriction, they'll be closely monitoring the efficacy of the placenta after 37 weeks. As long as it's still functioning properly, she'll be left alone until she decides she's ready to meet us.
- They fully expect me to be able to go into labor naturally, and at this point there is no reason for a c-section unless Norah is in distress.
We so appreciated this doctor understanding and respecting our decision to leave it up to Norah and God at this point; they're busy writing a story we'll only be able to truly start understanding once she's here.
Ultrasounds and prenatal testing are all well and good, but show me my child, then let's chat.
After the anatomy scan came the standard NST. Both my blood pressure and heart rate were elevated. (thank you, subconscious). After double-checking the blood pressure, they proceeded with the NST.
Because high blood pressure during pregnancy is a sign of preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication that can be serious for mom and baby, but is manageable and treatable) they ordered some additional blood work this time. Yay.
Norah's NST results were great, and again, they didn't mention uterine irritation.
We finished with a tour of the NICU, which was SO GOOD. So good that it's going to get it's own post :)
Another good appointment.
Thank you, God.
My blood work from the first appointment came back normal. Not a surprise.
I fully believe my elevated blood pressure at these appointments is due to anxiety stemming from Norah's deceleration, as it wasn't until after that appointment that they started seeing the higher BP readings. The thorough assessment is nevertheless appreciated.
We started this appointment with a BPP.
As soon as the sonographer had the ultrasound monitor up and running, Norah showed us her best practice breathing yet with a textbook perfect 30 seconds of movement. Beautiful.
"The amniotic fluid looks good."
Excuse me, what? Good? Everyone has been raising concerns about the elevated fluid levels and what that could hypothetically tell us about Norah.
This time, the fluid was at 21cm. The normal range is 5-25cm. It's on the high end of normal, but is significantly better than the 34cm reading we had a few weeks ago.
I'M IN A NORMAL RANGE! Thank. You. God.
Norah cooperated very well for the rest of readings, but was a little sleepy. She wiggled a bit, but no big kicks. (She had been kicking the whole way to the appointment, little stinker.) No worries, she just needed to show movement on the NST.
Once in the NST room, they checked vitals and my blood pressure and heart rate were again elevated. I explained my anxiety theory to the nurse, and she agreed that it may be impacting my BP readings. We continued with the test, and she would recheck it afterwards.
Because Norah had been a little sleepy in the BPP, they gave me some apple juice to help wake her up. Her heart rate looked beautiful, it just took a little longer to get her moving. She finally gave in towards the end and cooperated, kicking and rolling all over the place.
I had brought with my notebook that I have been filling with bible verses and prayers from loved ones to try help calm myself. I read verses, prayed, breathed deeply, and tried to give it to God.
While sitting in that room, her heartbeat the soundtrack to my anxiety, I realized that every single one of those beats has been uniquely designed by God. Not only does he know her name, he has carefully orchestrated the function of every cell in her body.
While my blood pressure at the end of the test was still high (but not over the 140 marker for normal), my heart rate was a little better.