Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Drew Update

Well, today was a fairly depressing day at the perinatologist office. I am 31 weeks, 5 days along.

First, my issues. My blood pressure has been pretty high (for me) at my last 2 or 3 appointments. Today it was the highest yet—140 over 80. Nothing to freak out about yet but like I said, that’s very high for me, even while pregnant. Since mid-December, I’ve been having very bad middle and upper back pain that radiates around to my chest. It’s gotten progressively worse and it’s now to the point that I can barely get out of bed in the morning, sit in a vehicle, hold Elizabeth, etc. The only thing I can take is Tylenol, and not even Tylenol with codeine as I’m allergic to codeine. I also have a hard time breathing, more than what is seen in a normal pregnancy. I just cannot get my breath. The back pain and lack of breath are directly related to the polyhydramnios (excess amniotic fluid). So physically, I’m not that great.

Onto Drew. He still looks ok but his head is measuring about a month ahead. Still not too concerning at this point. His weight was estimated at 4 lbs. 6 oz. at today’s appointment—he’s not going to be a small boy (thank goodness).

Unfortunately, the polyhydramnios is getting worse, not better. I’m at a pretty high risk of pre-term labor; my AFI (amniotic fluid index) was 33 today. Anything over 25 is way too high. I go in every Monday and Friday for non-stress tests now. If you don’t know, the NST measures the baby’s movement and uterine contractions. I had a bad night the other night. I was up the entire night with Braxton Hicks contractions. They would go away if I got up and walked but they were fairly strong and lasted for hours. There is also a lot of pressure being put on my cervix; Drew grinds his head down and causes sharp pain.

Because of the pre-term labor risk being high, they won’t even schedule an induction date for me right now. I was flat out told that it would be surprising if I make it to 38 weeks (the goal date for induction). If Drew were a “normal” baby, this wouldn’t be as concerning but as he is going to be born with lung issues, being premature is just very bad. Let me remind you that his odds of survival if born full term are still at 50à Being born earlier reduces that percentage. The perinatologist kept using the term “concerning situation.” That’s not a good thing to hear from your specialist.

I was given the option of receiving steroid shots for Drew’s lungs. The way it was explained to me was that this would be pretty mandatory/standard for a “normal” child. However, with Drew having less lung tissue, steroids might not help anything. But they won’t hurt either. I opted to have the shots. If there’s a chance, no matter how small, that it will help mature his lung tissue and won’t hurt anything, why would I not choose to do it? I had the first shot in my right hip today and will get the second one in my left hip tomorrow. I’d take 500 of these shots (and they don’t feel good at all) if there’s a chance they can help.

The next steps depend on the results of the non-stress tests. All in all, not a good day at all. This roller coaster ride is getting very difficult. I purchased an adorable coming home outfit and some little hats last week only now to have my optimism knocked down.

I forgot to add that the prevailing theory for the cause of the polyhydramnios has to do with Drew's esophagus. As is common for babies with CDH, the stomach and other organs that have migrated into the chest cavity move, push and squish organs around. It's likely that Drew's esophagus is kinked, squished, or something and he has problems "inhaling" the amniotic fluid. He is getting some, that can be seen via U/S, but not like a "normal" baby. It's kind of like he can't breathe, the same way I can't. That's something that will have to be surgically corrected along with his other issues. That doesn't bother me too much as we've known all along that he will likely have digestive issues. I just hope that's the cause, not something more serious (although that IS serious) and that it can be easily corrected, as easy as possible, anyway.

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