I’m trying to remain calm. Oh so calm. But I’m teetering on the edge of freaking out.
I’ll start with the bad news.
At today’s anatomay scan, I had to have my first trans-vaginal exam since graduating from my RE. Long story short, not only do I have placenta previa — where the placenta totally covers my cervix — but I also have a succenturiate lobe.
In other words, yet another double whammy of fucking shitty tiny statistics to fall into.
Because, with my track record, why the hell not?
CAN I STOP FALLING INTO TINY STATISTICS PLEASE?? (Unless it’s the one where these two things resolve themselves in the next six weeks.)
Placenta Previa looks like this:
Obviously, with the placenta blocking the cervix, a vaginal delivery is not possible. In my case, I have enough time left in my pregnancy that the placenta could move and therefore resolve the issue.
But I said I also have a succenturiate lobe. Like other organs, the placenta is made up of multiple lobes. Sometimes one of these lobes can be spaced out from the placenta, like this:
In this cartoon image, the lobe is at a safe distance from the cervix. In my case, because the placenta is previa, it is a little too close to the cervix.
Which brings me on to a horrid thing called Vasa Previa — aka “Blood Vessel Crossing The Cervix Which Is A Very Dangerous Thing To Have.” Worst case scenario? Blood vessel pokes down into cervix and is crushed, causing baby to bleed to death. Another worst case scenario is preterm labour.
Steady on, Lauren. We’re not there yet. Let’s stick with @ivffervescent‘s better nickname Vasa Fuckface McNotGonnaHappen.
Long story short: I have to return for another ultrasound around 24 weeks (that’s July 24th) to see if the placenta and lobe have moved away from their current scary position. If they haven’t moved by then, they are unlikely to resolve on their own. That means I will likely be put on bed rest, and I will almost certainly need a c-section. Meanwhile, I am at much higher risk for bleeding during pregnancy. And if the placenta previa doesn’t correct itself, also placenta accreta, where the placenta is deeply attached to the uterus, which can require an emergency hysterectomy. That really fucking scares me.
I know that all that matters is that Tiny arrive safely. I’ll take bed rest and a c-section over the alternative any day of the week. And I’m trying not to freak out about those worst case scenarios.
But I have always been terrified of having a c-section. My mum had one with my sister, and she woke up from the general anaesthetic halfway through but couldn’t move. It also took her a very long time to physically recover. The thought of a caesarean has long horrified me.
Not to mention, it would mean giving up on the idea of the midwife-led natural birth that I wanted. When I have already given up so much on this journey, this feels like an extra cruel blow.
In the meantime, I have been told I can’t do any exercise or strenuous activity. Perfect timing, seeing as how I’m about to move house. I can’t even have sex — did I mention how I was looking forward to finally, after three years and three months, being able to enjoy spontaneous sex with my husband again?
I know there are other ways to be intimate. I’ve never been much of an exerciser. I know that bed rest would be temporary. And I guess I can get used to the possibility of a c-section and prepare accordingly. But I can’t stop tears pricking my eyes.
And the anxiety that I thought I was finally getting rid of is here to stay for a long while yet.
Unless by some miracle I fall into a small statistic whereby both the placenta previa and the succenturiate lobe resolve themselves in the next 5-6 weeks. I’d like my tiny statistical luck to change, for once.
The good news is that I live in a day and age where the technology was able to diagnose this, and that I am in excellent hands at UCSD.
The best news is that Tiny is anatomically perfect. She has a beautiful brain and heart with four chambers. All her organs are in place, she has long fingers and legs. Her abdominal circumference was a whopping 14cms (that’s like my wrist!), her femur measures 3cms, and these measurements, along with the head measurements, suggest she weighs around 10oz (283g)! Everything looks wonderful with her.
Yep, she’s a she. Little Miss Tiny was very happy to cooperate. Here are the three little white lines of her labial folds:
(And look at her little tushie, so sweet!)
I’ve been feeling Tiny move for about five weeks now, but it’s really been in the past fortnight that I feel her move regularly. I feel her move every night around 10pm, usually in the morning, and always a couple times in the afternoon. Sometimes it’s an unmistakeable jab of a heel or elbow; sometimes it’s a rolling sensation, like she’s somersaulting; and sometimes it feels like a firm but gentle prod, like she’s pushing with her hands. I feel her move a lot, considering I’m only 18w5d. I guess that’s because none of my uterine wall is padded with a placenta… But, as I said to DH the other day, I think she is a very active baby — and the ultrasound tech agreed. She’d be taking measurements and Tiny would flip 180°! In fact, at one point I felt a kick and was able to tell the tech that Tiny had flipped before she caught it on the ultrasound! It feels wonderful to already know my baby a little bit.
Sweetest of all was seeing my baby girl’s face in 3-D. The tech managed to get a few pictures, but here’s the one without her hands across her forehead:
It looks like she’s smiling, right? (Her nose is a little smooshed in this pic by an invisible hand.)
I see my husband’s jaw and Nellie’s mouth. I’ll be honest, it’s strange not seeing any of my own or my family’s features, but not uncomfortably so. It’s actually stranger to look at the little unfamiliar face of a person I haven’t met yet but already know intuitively.
That’s my girl. I can’t believe I get to say those words. That’s my girl.
We have a first name for her. We have the first of several boxes of lovely hand-me-downs from my SIL. We have a home to bring her to. We just need to ride the crest of this new six-week-long wave and hope the next five months go okay.
Tiny just kicked again. That’s my girl.