By: John Jericiau
Twenty-four weeks pregnant and we’re back at the lab for another three-hour blood glucose test. I guess it’s to be expected that in a span of forty weeks, shit will happen. We had bleeding early on in the pregnancy, and then inexplicably a month or so later, but neither episode turned out to be anything worrisome. We had high blood sugar levels early on, which necessitated a glucose test, which turned out normal. Now we’re back again because this is the usual window of time where the blood glucose is tested.
Our most recent bleeding episode was just a few days ago, and we decided to be proactive and go in for a same day urgent care appointment. Why worry about nothing when we can get things checked out and relax? When we mentioned some unexplained back pain as well as the bleeding, the doctors and nurses immediately hooked us up to monitors for blood pressure, heart rate, and contractions, and performed an ultrasound, since 24 weeks is way too early to even think about surviving a birth. Luckily, there were no contractions, the cervix was fine, and the baby was beating along at just the right size. What we are facing is mild anemia as well as a marginal case of placenta previa, which in my understanding is a condition in which a very small part of the placenta (the margin) is near the cervix. More concerning would be complete or even partial placenta previa, where the placenta covers the cervix and could block any vaginal birth from occurring. In this case the placenta might be delivered first, at which point the baby would be left behind with a blood supply that’s compromised or completely cut off! This does not sound good at all.
The bleeding (which at this point is only spotting) is from exposed, leaking blood vessels on the margin of the placenta. Thankfully marginal placenta previa often resolves completely by the due date; our friend/surrogate needs to lay off any heavy lifting or other strenuous activities. Since our youngest son was 5 ½ weeks early, we really want to take it easy in the third trimester this time.
So now we begin to focus on getting to at least the 29-week mark, which is the point at which survival from birth is at least a possibility. The feeling is similar to the wait we had for the 12-week mark nearly three months ago, where the risk of miscarriage plummets. Sometimes it seems like life is one countdown after another. How many weeks until the birth? How many days until school starts? How many years until retirement?
With all this excitement the results of our detailed ultrasound, where each bone and body part was accounted for and sized up, could easily have been overlooked. Everything is completely normal – all parts are present, and the baby’s length and weight is spot on for its age – and the long awaited reveal of its gender is finally here. Our oldest son had his fingers crossed for a baby brother, while our youngest was wishing for a baby sister. Most friends and family were rooting for a girl to level out some of the testosterone in our house. Daddy and Papa could see the advantage in each sex. A third son would have lots and lots of hand-me-downs with all the boy clothes and toys we have waiting patiently in the garage. A daughter would obviously be the only real queen of our household. In the end, we are extremely excited to have our last child enter the world and join us on this incredible journey.
See you soon, Son.