I remember 28 weeks being a big appointment when I was pregnant with Jack. We had an ultrasound where we got to see him, and I had to do the gestational diabetes glucose test. This week was my big 28 week appointment with Gabriel. It was a long one, although not the longest we’ve had there. We’ve spent hours there before sitting in rooms talking and crying. So it was nice yesterday to feel kind of normal. We were like all the other women who come in for their 28 week appointments, except for the fact that we’re entirely different.
I was nervous about the fasting because I have had such a good streak going the past few weeks with the nausea and vomiting. If I go too long without eating, or don’t get something in me first thing in the morning I tend to get sick. Thankfully everything was fine yesterday, and around 12:30 I scarfed down 2 corn dogs, cheese fries, and a lemonade.
I got my blood drawn, 3 different times, had another growth ultrasound, and a doctor’s appointment. The ultrasound went really well. It’s always great to see Gabriel in action. The sonographer said he’s the fastest baby she’s ever seen. He moves around a lot and apparently pretty quickly at that. He is an incredibly active baby, and I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful that I get to feel him moving around. He is certainly alive, and he reminds me of that quite often.
The important information from the ultrasound… Gabriel is doing great! They did a test called a Biophysical Profile, and he got a perfect score! That did my heart good. While it doesn’t change our reality, it tells us that he is doing just fine right now and that brings us great joy. He still has the big issues. The choroid plexus cysts have not resolved. His brain has some issues. He still has a severe heart defect. But he is doing well in there right now, and we are thankful for that. The BPP evaluates several things including movement, muscle tone, heart beat, and breathing. He was good in all of those areas. His heart beat was nice and strong, and he was very active, as usual. They estimate his weight to be 1 pound, 14 ounces. Almost 2 pounds! We’re really excited about that. He’s still below the 5th percentile for babies his gestational age. The average baby at 28 weeks weighs 2 1/2 pounds. But we’re glad he’s still gaining weight, and we will continue to cheer him on and pray he gains more! The piece of bad news from the ultrasound is that I now have polyhydramnios, which means too much amniotic fluid. Right now it doesn’t really matter. We know it’s happening because of Gabriel’s genetic syndrome and we’ll just keep an eye on it, as with everything else. If there continues to be too much fluid, it could cause me to go into labor earlier, as my body would think I’m further along than I am. Tommy keeps reminding me that this is not unexpected; I was just hoping it wouldn’t happen. We were told when we first found out about Gabriel’s diagnosis, that this is a common thing to happen. Trisomy 18 babies often have trouble swallowing the amniotic fluid the way babies normally do. This can lead to a build up of excess fluid because the typical circulation of the fluid isn’t happening. Hopefully it won’t be an issue for us — maybe next time we have an ultrasound my fluid level will be normal.
Our visit with the nurse practitioner and doctor were good, as always. They’re so kind and always take their time with us. The nurse practitioner told me I’d lost a pound, so we talked for awhile about eating. I’ve not gained much weight in this pregnancy and am probably below a normal weight gain. She said that she doesn’t think it’s impacting Gabriel’s weight but that it couldn’t hurt for me to try to gain more weight. She said they had a patient who had a very small baby, and she started eating Magnum bars and her baby got bigger. Granted, that’s not science-based medicine, but it’s something. I could gain 50 pounds this pregnancy and Gabriel not get any bigger, but it’s certainly not going to hurt me to try to eat more and gain more weight in hopes of it helping him gain weight. So… I bought some Magnum bars. And they are delicious! There’s no doubt that I’ll be putting weight on now.
The doctor spoke very kind words to us. He told us that he doesn’t see patients our age going through this. That we’re unusual. And that we are both handling everything very appropriately. He said he’s very proud of us and how we’re handling it. And he hugged me and gave me a kiss on the forehead like he always does, and I cried right there in front of him… again.
Between not sleeping a whole lot the night before, fasting the whole morning, getting a bunch of blood drawn, seeing our baby moving around, and realizing again our reality, it was an exhausting morning. I’m thankful those appointments aren’t every day, or week. But at the same time I’m again, so very thankful for the care we’re getting at that office. It was a hard morning but a good one.
And that precious arm. Which is getting bigger!