Wednesday, May 21, 2014

First Non-Stressful Non-Stress Test

This week marks 28 weeks and the start of the third trimester with Rerun.

My belly is big. As can only be expected from three pregnancies in four years and my abdominal muscles being super lazy.

Today I had two people tell me I was carrying the baby very well, which is sweet but I think mostly has to do with the fact that I'm wearing a black t-shirt and it really is slimming. Tricking the eye!

I was genuinely appreciative of those comments today, mostly because I remember getting a similar compliment from a woman at Trader Joes when I was pregnant with Eliza. It's nice to finally be able to think about being pregnant with her and remember some of the sweetness without it being entirely clouded by the sadness that followed.

Anyway, I had a doctor appointment today. I arrived a bit late for my appointment due to circumstances beyond my control (a train STOPPED on the tracks at the railroad crossing) and when I got there, an old lady at the front of the line was holding things up. Evidently she'd arrived for her appointment but the ultrasound tech was gone for the day, so she had to reschedule. She was NOT happy about this and she wanted to know who the tech would be at the next appointment and how old she was (she didn't want someone in their 30s--she wanted someone older). She wanted to talk to her doctor, but her doctor had also gotten called out on a delivery. I took this opportunity to go to the bathroom and leave my pee sample. When I came back out, she was STILL standing at the window, complaining to the receptionist. She didn't know why someone couldn't have called her. Jessica at her other doctor's office is always really good about that. She doesn't know if she should schedule this other appointment. She hasn't seen the doctor since October. Can't they see her sooner? What if this appointment gets cancelled? How long has this ultrasound tech been out of school? Is she really any good? Blah blah blah. So this conversation goes on and on and on. Since I got out of line to pee, another lady is in front of me behind the Complainer. Pretty soon there are two more girls in line behind me.

As we stood in line waiting, a really old lady was sitting on the bench next to the check in window. She was quite feeble and had a walker and a health aid worker there with her (who was also in line behind me on behalf of the Feeble Lady). The Old Feeble Lady asked me about my due date and whether it was a boy or a girl and told me that her granddaughter is due in September and is also waiting to find out. She also said she thinks I'm having a boy based on the fact that I'm carrying all out in front. But then she guessed that the girl behind me in line was due in November (she's due June 17th) and that the girl behind her was having a girl (nope, a boy). So I don't think she's psychic...

Anyway, we have these conversations while the Complaining Lady continues to bitch rescheduling her appointment. It really was ridiculous, but what are you going to do, right?  Well,the feeble old lady realizes that we're all pregnant and waiting and says SUPER LOUDLY, "WOW, THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WAITING!"

She then turns and stares pointedly at the Complaining Lady, who totally ignores her.

So then the Loud Feeble Lady looks at me and says, "I THINK SHE MUST BE DEAF."

I started giggling and exchanged glances with the lady in front of me.

Loud Feeble Lady says again, even louder, "THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE."

Complaining Lady totally ignores her, and asks if Dr. W. is seeing a patient. I pipe up, "I'm here! I'm his patient!" but Complaining Lady ignores ME and the very nice receptionist fetches Dr. W. so he can talk this lady down (dealing with difficult patients is his speciality--trust me, I know!). Meanwhile, Loud Feeble Lady says again, "SHE MUST BE DEAF BUT SHE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WAITING!"

Complaining Lady finally turns around, totally ignoring Loud Feeble Lady, and addresses her daughter, who is sitting in the waiting room, asking if she should reschedule (LIKE THERE'S ANOTHER OPTION?). Her daughter says, "Yes, Mom, just take the next appointment. There are other people waiting."

Loud Feeble Lady joins in, "YES. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WAITING. MY GOD."

So now I'm cracking up but trying not to be obvious about it so I busy myself digging for chapstick in my purse and the whole waiting room feels tense and super awkward.

Finally, Dr. W. appears and tells Complaining Lady that he thinks it was a great idea for her to reschedule and there's nothing to worry about and they will make sure her June 11th appointment went smoothly.

Loud Feeble Lady threw one more, "MY GOD THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WAITING" out there, so finally her health aid worker was like, "Shhh." and she was like, "IT'S NOT RIGHT TO KEEP ALL THESE PEOPLE WAITING."

Basically the most entertainment I've seen in the OB waiting room ever.

Once I got in to see the doctor, it was my first non-stress test. 28 weeks is pretty early, but we lost Eliza at 34 weeks and 3 days so early monitoring seems like a very good idea to me.

I was scheduled to have a doctor appointment the day after Eliza was born, having previously seen my doctor at 30 weeks. Everything had been fine at that appointment, and at the two ultrasounds I'd had at 20 and 24 weeks (I had a second ultrasound only because she wouldn't let us get a good look at her heart at 20 weeks, but it appeared perfect at 24 weeks). In the meantime, I'd had no unusual symptoms or felt anything out of the ordinary until I went into labor.

Eliza weighed 3 lbs 9 ounces when she was born, which is a bit teeny for 34 weeks--babies are expected to gain about half a pound a week the last six weeks of pregnancy, which would have put her at around 6 and a half pounds if she'd continued to grow on schedule to 40 weeks, which is well within a normal range, but considering Zuzu was 8 pounds at 39 weeks 6 days, I just feel strongly that Eliza was smaller than she should have been at 34 weeks.

Based on that information, it's pretty clear that whatever went wrong occurred between 30 and 34 weeks, but because of her size, I think that something may have happened between my 30 and 32 weeks (I have no idea WHAT may have happened--I just think she was the size of a 32-weeker). I know that doesn't mean that we could have saved her--her autopsy results found no apparent cause of death, which is fairly common for stillborn babies--but I also know that there are babies born earlier than 32 weeks (some even before 30 weeks) who turn out to be just fine.

Anyway, all this means is that the first half of the third trimester is the scariest time for me, so I am all about the early monitoring so we can track how things are going for the entire last trimester and see if anything gets wonky. Of course, hopefully this will be as uneventful as it was with Zuzu. (Or, even better, LESS EVENTFUL).

(Side note: One weird thing about not finding out the gender ahead of time is that there is a bit of a disconnect for me between my pregnancy with The Deuce and Zuzu the Actual Baby. It's almost surreal to think back on the stress and anxiety I felt and realize that the baby I was carrying in my belly turned out to be our healthy, strong-willed, hilarious little girl.)

The plan this time around is to do weekly non-stress tests (last time I did them twice weekly, mostly to keep my anxiety at bay). If I need to move to twice weekly as my due date approaches, we'll do that. So I arrived at my appointment today a few minutes late, having gotten caught by a train that actually came to a FULL and COMPLETE stop on the railroad crossing. I called ahead to let them know, and the office was very nice and accommodating.

It was actually a surprise to me that I was able to do the non-stress test in my OB's office. They got a new machine to allow for this, which was a really pleasant surprise. Last time I had to have my monitoring done in the perinatal center at the hospital, which is huge and impersonal and full of techs who never looked at my file and just said, "Why are you here?" forcing me to say at the start of each visit, "My first baby was stillborn," which inevitably made me cry. JUST READ MY EFFING FILE ALREADY.

Then there was the issue with the less-than-stellar bedside manner of a certain doctor...

This way, I hang out by myself in my doctor's office. This means I do not have to listen to high-risk pregnant women COMPLAIN about having to be monitored (I understand that it's not easy to work a weekly appointment into one's schedule. I also understand that a minor scheduling inconvenience is preferable to having your baby DIE so SHUT THE F*CK UP.)

And my own OB is the person who is always reading the results. Last time (after the incident with the condescending butthead doctor), my OB hooked me up so I always had a follow up appointment with him immediately after my non-stress tests so he could see my results on the computer and go over them in detail with me. This way we have the same set-up, except I don't ever have to leave his office.

So I hung out for 30 minutes, checking my e-mail, eating a sucker, and listening to the sweet sound of baby heartbeat, my doctor said everything looked good, and I trust his opinion because he was there with Eliza and he knows what we've been through. It was such a relief.

And that's where we are. Third trimester. First non-stress test behind us. Nothing to do but wait and worry.


  1. Third trimester - wow! I hope the rest of the pregnancy is completely uneventful. I hope every non-stress test is as non-stressful. I can't wait to for you guys to find out who's in there.

  2. Wow that wait in line was crazy! I can't believe some glad things are going well!!! Continued prayers for your peace of mind!

  3. I'm so glad you're starting them early and that you only have ONE TRIMESTER left! Woot!

  4. Other people's pregnancies go by so much faster than my own!

    I am so grateful that you are receiving such good care. You and Rerun should be getting as much attention as you want. I remember the days of listening to her heartbeat, snacking on sugar. Happy pregnant memories of which I have few. Come'on August!

  5. What a hilarious lady.

    Hooray for monitoring and being in the 3rd trimester!