“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be….’-unknown

When  having a new baby, I believe every parent has wishes of a smooth and easy 9months. You don’t ever plan on hearing the words “abnormal” come out of the doctors’ mouth. If you’ve ever had a pregnancy go smoothly, then a pregnancy where the unexpected happens, you’re still not ready for “abnormal”. There’s absolutely nothing that can prepare you for the journey called Pregnancy, no matter how many you’ve had, every pregnancy is different. ❤

Since we have previously experienced HELLP Syndrome and Pre-E along with placental insufficiency leading to IUGR with a preemie at 34 weeks, the OB and midwives are being extra cautious with us.This is a double edge sword. I mean we are having numerous tests performed, but with testing come the waiting period and results. I will share our journey so far…

At 12 weeks we had testing done by MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) to look for chromosomal abnormalities. This is typically done between 11-13 weeks. They perform an ultrasound, taking measurements of every little part of the baby’s body, and took my blood. We never received a call, so no news is good news right?

At 16 weeks pregnant we had a consult with a new group of OB & midwives we were looking into switching to. Dr. Guy informed us our baby had a 1 in 52 chance of Downs Syndrome. WTF was he talking bout? Nobody from MFM or my old OB had called to talk to me about this. I think my heart stopped. He suggested further testing called the MaterniT21 test which would give us a definitive answer, yes or no, if our baby had DS. He also wanted to test me for Lupus, and run numerous clotting disorder panels. Clotting Disorders have been linked to HELLP Syndrome, although there still is no known cause. He also explained based on the ultrasound he didn’t believe it was DS, but there’s a protein called PAPP-A which typically they use as an indicator of DS, the lower the level the higher chance of DS. A normal value is 1.0, my value was 0.19, no where near where it needs to be. He also explained that this PAPP-A *can* be an indicator of placental insufficiency leading to IUGR. This has not been proven, but they do see a correlation.

I can’t put into words exactly how I felt at that appointment, other than my heart stopping. Randy was with me, and I could see the terror in his eyes. We spent the next 12 days anxiously awaiting the results. We had many conversations about having a child with DS. This isn’t something a parent plans, but it also isn’t the worst thing that can happen. I cried, and I cried a lot. I lost countless hours of sleep. I confided in my doula, looking for support, and she was wonderful. She checked on me everyday, and kept me in her daily prayers.

At 17 1/2 weeks pregnant, I finally received the call-NEGATIVE!! our baby was negative for chromosomal disorders!And all of my testing for Lupus and Clotting Disorders were also NEGATIVE! I cried tears of joy! What a relief. We saw the midwife a few days after we received our good news, and our routine appointment was wonderful! The testing we had performed also could tell the gender of the baby!! We had asked that they don’t tell us, but rather write it & put in an envelope for us to deliver to a baker to have a gender cake made. We wanted to reveal with friends and family the gender of this blessing!

At 18w pregnant, on July 13th we cut into our wonderful cake surrounded by many family and friends, revealing PINK! It’s a GIRL!! We couldn’t be happier! This will soon make 2 girls for us along with my 2 boys from my previous marriage. 2 of each gender, and it’s perfect! Randy said he knew all along it was a girl, he just had a feeling 🙂

At 20 weeks we saw MFM for the routine Anatomy Ultrasound. This is typically when women find out what they’re having, this is the “BIG” ultrasound, but for us we already knew it was a girl, and knew in our hearts she was perfect. Randy’s sister decided to come with me, Randy thinks Ultrasounds are just creepy, and his sister wanted to go. It is great having the support. The tech handed us wonderful pictures, told us she weighed 13oz and was in the 37th percentile. We never saw the MFM doctor, the tech said all looked good, so I was smiling ear to ear! We never received a phone call, so no news was good news, right?

At 22 weeks we had a routine appointment with the midwives. Each appointment we are trying to see a different provider, because we do not know who will be delivering, it all depends who is on call that day, as we are not planning an induction. This appointment started off with the usual peeing in a cup, weight and blood pressure. Randy came with me to this appointment, I think it’s important for him to meet all of the providers as well. The midwife comes in, introduces herself, pulls up some info on the screen and asks us if we have any questions regarding the “abnormalities” found on our 20 week Ultrasound. Randy and I just looked at each other… nobody had mentioned a single word regarding abnormalities or anything!?! Once again, we had no idea what she was talking about. So here we go again…She explained 2 abnormalities. 1 was with me and 1 was with the baby.

Abnormality #1-with me. So I have an extra placental lobe sometimes referred to as an accessory placenta. She explained to me I need to tell every person at every doctors apt I have along with anyone I see at delivery about this. Basically I have the placenta the baby is currently growing in, AND another placenta with nothing in it. The cord that does from my placenta the baby is in to the baby inserts at the placenta where the other placenta starts, therefore it is feeding the empty placenta. They do not have one known cause for this, but there are some theories. I could have been pregnant with twins at one point and miscarried one early on. This is possible because i was a few months pregnant having what I thought were my periods before I found out. Those periods could have been a miscarriage, there’s no way to know. Another theory is when the placenta implants, it gradually moves, sometimes creating another placenta. No matter the cause, which we will never know, it is important the doctors know this when it comes to delivery because my body must deliver the other placenta, and if I do not deliver it naturally with the placenta, I will need surgery. I really didn’t want to hear this, I don’t want surgery. She gave me the option to have a scheduled c section so they know 100% it is coming out, but I chose not to. I believe in my body. The second issue with this extra placenta having blood flow to it is it *could* starve the baby from nutrition. This often happens with twins, making one twin larger than the other. So I will need followed by MFM for growth with routine Ultrasounds, which the typical woman doesn’t get.

Abnormality #2-the baby’s renal pelvises are dilated to 3mm, they should not be dilated, this means she is holding in urine and the kidneys are not functioning properly. This is a common abnormality found on ultrasound and could mean nothing. We asked what they do for this? what does this mean for her? The midwife explained, they simply watch it through the pregnancy, if it is still present right before birth the baby would need to see a kidney specialist prior to discharge. We left this appointment in disbelief, not one but TWO abnormalities. Just when we thought everything was good, we get more “abnormal” news. Randy said he’s never coming to another appointment with me because all they have is bad news. He said all he wants is to be handed the baby and told she’s perfect, all the other stuff in between is a roller coaster and he’s not enjoying the ride. I completely feel him, I mean this is my baby # 4 and I had never once been told of an abnormality or an increased risk of any kind in any pregnancy.

At 25 weeks pregnant, I had a follow up appointment with MFM, they repeated the Ultrasound looking at the baby’s growth and her kidneys. Randy didn’t want to come, so his sister came with me. This baby is GROWING!! She is up to 1lb 13oz and jumped up to the 49th percentile. I still have the accessory placenta, and it is still being provided nutrients by the vein, but it is not starving the baby, she’s growing wonderfully!! Jumping percentiles is so good! When they looked at her Renal Pelvises, they were unable to be measured,which is GOOD! This means her kidneys are functioning properly and she is not retaining urine in them! They said she’s doing great and we will come back in 6 weeks on October 3rd for another growth ultrasound! We got the sweetest pictures of her, one with her foot clear up to her nose (we actually got to see her suck her toes), and another of her fist in her eye. She is a very active baby girl! I have an appointment in the morning with the midwives before going to work. It is a routine appointment.

I have learned in the past almost 26 weeks that we need to stop holding on to things, and let go. We will never be given more than we can handle. I am not going to worry about tomorrows appointment, or what they “might” say, I’m simply going to  “Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be….”-unknown

 

 

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“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life.”-Akshay Dubey

I read that quote, and it immediately touched my heart. I believe it is important to acknowledge that this terrible thing called HELLP did indeed really exist, but I chose not to be a victim, I chose to heal and recover. I’m in a few HELLP Syndrome awareness and survivor groups and I love having ladies who can relate on a different level than the average mother or even person for that matter. I have posted about being pregnant again. Some women say they’re still deciding, some women say their doctors told them not to, but what I see the most is fear of becoming pregnant again. Far worse things have happened to women beyond what I’ve experienced, and I am in no way judging, but it will never get better until YOU decide it doesn’t control you.

Many women are afraid of becoming pregnant again, and so was I. Randy and I had a few conversations about maybe wanting another, or maybe not. We WERE taking precautions, and this current pregnancy post-HELLP was in no way planned.  I have received both negative and positive comments about being pregnant again after what we experienced. I can’t lie, I was absolutely TERRIFIED!! I always enjoyed being pregnant. It was wonderful to feel this little amazing thing growing inside me, knowing I was creating a life. Not this time.  I felt because of HELLP I would never enjoy pregnancy again.

I cried and cried, and cried, then cried more. My OB reassured me I would get through this. I really wasn’t so sure. All I knew was fear and doubt. Then receiving negative comments about being pregnant again, I realized I was allowing my fear control me. As long as I feared it, I wasn’t going to love it.

After seeing my OB, Randy and I decided to start looking for another group to see. I had the same OB for 10years and this was quite difficult. But I was told since I had an emergency c section, I would be “SCHEDULED” for another this time. Ummm, excuse me, but last I checked it was MY body who was having this baby and I’ll be damned if it is going to be scheduled and cut out of me. I have given birth naturally twice, prior to my c section, and my body IS capable of doing it again!! I couldn’t believe the nerve…

I asked around in our area, asked friends, etc. Randy and I decided to see Dr. Guy and his midwives. We scheduled and apt to discuss our fears, concerns, expectations, and wants. Dr. Guy sat with us as long as we needed, answered every single question we had, and explained to us how he felt as an OB with this pregnancy. He is a High Risk OB, but he’s also one of the most hands off and natural friendly physicians in the area. There’s a local birthing center (we had planned a water birth with Laileigh there-didn’t happen, she had her own plans), but Dr. Guy is one of the founders of this. We explained what we wanted. We want the best care possible, but we also want options, we don’t want told what we HAVE to do. He fully agreed with us. We requested to also be followed via Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) for growth monitoring, since Laileigh had stopped growing, but we didn’t know until she was born. I was sold, I wanted this practice. I’m a candidate for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c section), and he supports this along with all the midwives in the practice. I can labor and deliver in the water, with continuous fetal monitoring. No other group in the area supports this, they want to simply schedule another c section. We agree if things turn bad (and we are aware this *could* happen) then that’s when a c section would be performed, when/if it is really needed.

I also decided I wanted a doula. I wanted a doula with Laileigh, but yeah she had her own plans. I wanted one with Laileigh because she was Randy’s first child and he had no idea what really happens during child birth. I felt we could both benefit from one. Since we didn’t get to the point of needing a doula, I decided to look early this time. I decided this time around a doula would be essential to making this natural birth happen. I need support because I’m terrified, and Randy still doesn’t know what really happens with birth because his experience was a traumatic emergency c section.  I had a mother of 6, who is a doula currently obtaining her certification,  out me me. My story and experienced had touched her. I had no idea she was a doula. We talked, and I fell in love. She shared something with me. She had experienced a c-section, she went on to have VBAC, and she also experienced complications with a  birth. When she fell pregnant following her complicated birth, she had the same feelings of fear I had. She UNDERSTOOD me, it’s almost like we were meant to cross each others path…She also switched OB’s to Dr. Guy, and she went from feeling the most fearful she had ever been pregnant to experiencing the BEST birth she had ever had. I asked her what she feels helped her, and she told me I can’t be afraid because the fear will rob me of what I need to embrace and love. I can’t love this experience if I’m afraid of it. She explained she simply let go, she turned to her faith, and learned to love more than anything. Fear no longer controlled her, she was in control…

She offered to be our doula, and I gladly accepted. This lady had taught me so much in our conversation. If she could teach me this in the matter of an hour of chatting, I decided I want her, I actually need her. I had let HELLP control my mind, and myself. I’m taking back the control, I am in control. I love this pregnancy and this WILL be the best pregnancy I have experienced yet.

I may cry, I may have my moments of doubt, and I may have moments of fear. I’m only human. I told her I may panic, become afraid again, and may blow up her phone, and I apologized. She said that’s what she is here for, and she will always be here, and she will support me when it is time to welcome this little girl into this world. I hugged her, and cried a little..well a lot.

I have since had my ups and down the past few months. We have had test results come back requiring more test to confirm or dismiss things, We have had scares, and by scares I mean appointments where I think Randy and I aged 10years while sitting there…I’ve cried, I’ve pretended I’m okay, but really I wasn’t, I was panicking inside, having doubts. I would then go to my doula and let it all out, and she has a way of bringing me out of my fears, bringing me back to having faith and believing in myself and my body.  Every little thing I was fearing disappeared. She was my rock during the difficult times. Waiting on results of tests, I obsess, I wonder what if, I doubt my ability to do this, and when I allow myself to think like this, I allow HELLP and the damage it has caused to control me. I refuse to be a victim.

I am healing, I am no longer afraid.

 

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