I'll keep this brief because, well, I have to. Today I went to my 36-week check up. Anticipation buzzed through me as I was excited, yet not too hopeful, to find out if any progression toward the big day had begun. As I checked in, the receptionist said, "She's running 30 minutes to 1 hour behind, so you'll probably see the nurse if that's okay." "Sure." I said. After all, it was a standard appointment, and I understand that my doctor does have to deliver babies.
I peed in my cup and sat quietly in my room. My doctor's nurse came in and weighed me. Three more pounds, bringing the grand total to 26. Then I hopped up on the table and laid back so she could check the heart beat. And that's when it happened. "Does he have the hiccups?"
"No," I said, "And he's not moving. That doesn't sound fast enough and what's that noise? Something isn't right." I knew it not just because I could hear it, but I could feel inside me. In my bones and in my heart, I knew something wasn't right.
"Hmm. It sounds like an arrhythmia. Let me call the doctor. Go ahead and get undressed. The nurse will do your group strep B. Don't worry, we'll get it figured out." She smiles as she leaves. My job now is to stay calm. Everything is fine. The nurse comes in and says they'll do a non-stress test to see what's going on. Probably nothing to worry about. She makes light conversation as she does the group B thing. Then she checks me and I know I've made progress. When I went in a few weeks ago to triage, it felt like the woman was trying to pull my tonsils out through my vagina! Not so this time.
"Very soft cervix. About 1 finger (1 cm). Your cervix isn't all the way up, but it's right around the middle. Exactly where you should be for now. And your cervix is ready for labor." I smile. This is what I was so excited to hear about on my way in, but now all I can think about is the sound of my baby's heart. We move on to the non-stress, and as she hooks me up, I hear the "slower" heart beat with the skips. I say, "That's it. Did you hear it?"
"Yes. It's definitely an arrhythmia. It's okay. 95% of the time, they go away all on their own when the baby is born."
"But I just had an ultrasound 2 weeks ago. Everything was fine." I lose it. I wanted to keep it together, but I couldn't. Something was wrong with my baby, And I could hear it.
"These things just appear. They're fairly common. I'll go call your doctor to see when she might be back to talk to you," she says. "Do you want to call your husband?" And I do, only when he answers, I can't talk. All I can do is cry. I hand the phone to the nurse, who explains the situation and tells him it's not an emergency, so he shouldn't break his neck to get there, but that he should come. We carpool. He had to find a way to come.
My doctor requests an ultrasound and then wants me to head over to labor and delivery to be monitored. And here's where I'll make it short.
He has a premature arrhythmic contraction (PAC). Outcomes are very good. It could go away by next visit or disappear shortly after birth. 95% of the time, this is what happens. However, I will have a non-stress test with the possibility of an ultrasound at the rest of my appointments. I will not be allowed to go to my 42 weeks that I had intended before induction. At most, and begrudgingly, I can go to 41, but we'll see.
I am emotionally all over the board right now. I want to scream and say "no. I won't be induced!" But I also want my baby to be healthy and okay. And I will do whatever it takes and whatever is required of me to make that happen. She has assured that if it comes to that, we will try natural induction methods first. And hopefully, I will have progressed enough that something like breaking my water will be sufficient.
In the mean time, I am monitoring every movement. I am hearing the sounds of his heartbeat over and over in my head. I am worried. I am praying to GOD that he will keep him safe AND let me go early on my own. I am researching things I can do to speed this along, knowing full well I have absolutely no control over when I go into labor.
I am worried. I am scared. My heart is aching.