That what it feels like when she kicks. Little tickles inside my tummy. She's doing it right now, in fact. She seems to like late morning and late afternoon. She loves ultrasounds. She was practically dancing during it yesterday. They had some trouble getting her measurements because she didn't want to stay still. I think she may have been showing off for the camera. Yep, that's a Speas girl. Shameless.
I've been putting off writing about these past few weeks because I really don't know what to say about them. They've been scary, tense, and utterly uneventful (but extraordinarily busy, of course). I realized the other day that I feel like I've been holding my breath for the past three weeks. Someone asked me the other day where I hold my stress - as in my shoulders, my neck, my stomach, etc. I think I actually hold my stress in my lungs. I literally don't breathe deeply when I'm stressed. This tendency, along with the general physical exhaustion and, the um, lung squeezing nature of having a person in your abdominal cavity, probably explains why I run out of breath in normal conversation these days. And that's a pretty good metaphor for how I'm feeling these days. I'm just out of breath. And I'm kind of in the middle of a marathon. But when she kicks (or elbows or knees or headbutts) me, it tickles, and I smile.
The day after we got back from the beach (after spending a fabulous weekend in Atlanta catching up with more seminary friends), we went back to the doctor for the first time after receiving the amnio results. She explained that even though the amnio results were incredibly positive, itty bitty is not out of the woods. She's still inexplicably small and will like remain that way. The doctors expect that - because of the malformed placenta - she will stop developing at some point. Now that we're well into the second trimester and most of her body parts and organs are pretty much formed (structurally), baby's task is putting on weight and filling out, which puts increasing demands on the placenta. Since her placenta's pretty much bum (that's the technical term), it likely won't be able to keep up, and she'll actually have a better chance of growing in an incubator in the NICU (neo-natal ICU) than in the womb. So that's our focus now - putting on weight and growing, because when she stops growing, she needs to be at least 500 grams (about 17 or 18 ounces) in order to be viable.
On that first visit back she weighted 8 ounces. At the next visit (two weeks later), she weighed 11 ounces. Yesterday (one week later), she came in at 10 ounces.
No, that's not a typo. According to the machines, she weighed an ounce lessthis week. The doctor (Dr. Tabb, who just joined the maternal-fetal practice and is very thorough and wonderful, with tons of experience) told us not to worry about it, that when you're measuring as frequently as we are, you're bound to see some ebb and flow, especially since the machines aren't as advanced as we would like to think they are. Of course, I acted like I was listening to him while I preceeded to worry.
Like I said, Dr. Tabb is very thorough, and after he and the sonographer had both been in with us, he ran some more numbers and came back to check a couple of other things. Overall, itty bitty is sizing in the first percentile (meaning, of course, that 99% of babies her age are bigger than her). Her head measurement is in the 18th percentile (clearly because she's a genius), but her extremities, abdomen, and chest (I think) are all in the first percentile. She's really an itty bitty girl.
We're doing all we can to help her grow, which is to say, we're doing nothing in particular. It's so frustrating not to be able to help her. I'm trying to eat as much as I can, but that doesn't really seem to help (though it seems like it should, shouldn't it?). I'm taking it easy (just ask John and Jen and the folks at work) and trying to sleep as much as I can (which isn't much) because people keep saying that babies grow when you're sleeping. (Sounds like an old wives' tale, but what's some extra sleep going to hurt?) I'm giving myself the silly shots every day and choking down the horse-sized prenatal vitamin. I'm downing Tums like they are candy, and between them and all the milk I'm drinking, her bones may be small, but they've got to be as hard as rocks. But the doctors say that medically there is nothing we can do but watch and wait.
But the docs are still keeping me busy. I'll have my glucose tolerance test later this week (to screen for gestational diabetes), I'll go through some more screening for preeclampsia (assuming the doctors all communicate and get together on it), and I'll start getting steroid shots sometime in the next week. The steroid shots speed up the development of her lungs so that when she comes they are a baby step ahead of where they would be otherwise - and that baby step can be a lifesaver. (The lungs tend to be the most critical part of development that preemies have to overcome.) Her lack of growth and the doctor's insistence on beginning the course of the steroid treatments tell me that she really could be coming any week now. (We go in for weekly appointments to check on her, and it's out of these appointments that the docs will make a decision about when to take her.)
Of course, we're moving, too.
I've finally gotten all the insurance mess worked out so that we'll be covered in-network in Tennessee throughout the transition. We're hoping to move at the end of next week so that we can get established with the doctors at Vandy before Tennessee's Annual Conference starts - and just so we can get established with the doctors ASAP, because she's going to have to be born at Vanderbilt regardless of where we live at that point (because her long-term stay will require her being at Vandy, particularly as we move to Tennessee). We're just waiting to hear from the Methodists in Tennessee when we're clear to move into the parsonage (which is vacant right now). All of these logistics are starting to feel really, really urgent to us, as our being in the right place at the right time really may quite possibly be a matter of life and death for our little girl. So in the midst of all of this medical drama, we're hoping to move in nine days, but still don't know if we'll be able to do so. And because we don't have a date yet, we don't have a moving company. And because we don't have a moving company, we may not be able to move in nine days. And so it goes. Even if we can't move next week, we have to be in Tennessee for Annual Conference the following week, so we'd have to come back up here at the end of that week to finish packing and move. So that puts is off essentially another week (at the bare minimum), and, really, neither I nor this tiny baby has a week to spare for church systems to take their own sweet time. Let me be clear: it's nothing about our new church or district in particular; it's just the nature of life in the church that every decision (like when to let the new pastors in the parsonage) has to go through several people, committees, etc., and that takes time. And I'm not even thinking about the decisions with financial ramifications that we're still working on, too. Ugh.
Wow, I'm getting really frustrated just writing this. We have way too much going on in our lives, and everything seems urgent to us. Of course I'm probably overreacting because I'm pregnant (and thus hormonal), terrified about my baby's health, stressed out because we're moving to a new place, house, job, church, conference, state in the middle of all of it, but that's exactly why I feel like I need some cooperation from the logistical fates right now. So please, everyone with an outstanding call to me or my husband, call us back. People coming to look at our house tomorrow, please buy it. Moving companies that are probably already booked for next week, work us in. Doctors offices here and in Nashville, for the love of God, please communicate with each other and so that I don't have to speak for each of you to the others. Patients, console yourself. Stuff in the house, pack yourself. Lawn, mow yourself. And, itty bitty, please, please, please, please grow!