Parker's profile at 21 weeks.
We returned to the perinatologist today. Given that this was our first return visit since The Bad News Day, we were a bit apprehensive. We've been riding a wave of good news for a month, and while I know at some point it is going to come to an end, I was very much hoping today was not that day.
Sure enough, baby Parker performed just as he was supposed to (and yes, got a donut on the way home. It's working so far!). It was really a rather easy visit-- measurements taken and a general Q&A session about what comes next. The happy news is that Parker is measuring exactly on track, with a slightly enlarged head (have you met my husband? Have you seen my first child? This is not surprising news). For now, his liver has not herniated-- just his stomach and some intestine. This is the best case scenario, but it can change in an instant. His heart continues to be his best feature. Both the ultrasound tech and the doctor made reference to how lovely the four chambers are. You know what-- we'll take it! Parker has settled bottom down directly on top of my cervix, which results in some not-my-favorite nerve pain when he shakes his moneymaker. This happens quite often... so thus far we know Parker is a dancing fool with a giant head and a beautiful heart. I love him so.
The rest of the visit was spent with Dr. Feng (Dr. Eller was unavailable today) giving us a chance to ask some questions. I mentioned that we had about 1000, and he said, "Bring it. We can stay 'til midnight. Whatcha got?" I heart doctors who don't shove you out the door.
What followed was a preliminary estimate of what the next 5 months will be. Here's a rundown:
1. *and I quote* "We are going to ultrasound the bajeezus out of this baby." It's not often that you find yourself faced with a little Asian man in a lab coat dropping such terms in a distinctly Southern accent. Still, he wasn't lying. My entire last trimester, I will be going in for TWICE WEEKLY ULTRASOUNDS (and stress tests). That's 24, plus the 8 I've already had at my regular OB, any more Dr. Sermons wants to do, plus the cardiologist visits. For serious, y'all. "Bajeezus."
Essentially, the goal is to make sure Parker is continuing to grow on track and that nothing is aggravating him.
2. My one and only job between now and May is to stay pregnant. Check. So long as Parker stays in there, he is perfectly safe and happy. If we can make it to 39 weeks (May 19th), we are in great shape.
3. At some point in my marathon of perinatologist visits, they will call in our neonatologist. His job will be to oversee Parker's care post-delivery. Also at some point towards the end, we will meet with the pediatric surgeon. It's likely we will go on a tour of the NICU. (Here's the part where I miss my mom so much it hurts. She was a NICU nurse, and I would be toting her along to each and every one of these meetings for her input. I'm grateful, now, for those times she took Sister and I to work with her-- I've been in NICUs and I know how scary they look, but also what miracles they are capable of performing.)
4. Despite my 5000 doctor's appointments between now and May, the most important thing to remember is that, at the end of the day, it's all guesswork. Until he makes his grand debut, there is no telling how his first few hours will go. He could look great on all the prenatal diagnostics and then bottom out. He could look awful on the diagnostics and come through with flying colors. He could fall somewhere in between. We just don't know.
Why, then, must we go through this rigmarole before he's born? A logical question. The doctors want the best idea of what they will be dealing with, even if it turns out wrong. They want to be prepared for any and all contingencies, and Lord knows I want that as well. On our side of things, it gives me a feeling that I am actually doing something. There are zero medicines I could be taking, no acupuncture rituals, no yoga antics that will change this. The benefits of in utero surgery have not yet been proven to outweigh the risks. So, we haul ourselves down to Building 980 and shell out the $4 parking fee every time with a feeling that we are at least doing SOMETHING. Plus, getting to see Parker's sweet self makes it worth it.
1. Completely unprompted by any questions by us, two separate medical folks told us today that Dr. Videlefsky is the right man to be seeing. I had, quite sadly, allowed some doubt to creep into my mind after last week and allowed some of my positive thoughts get sidetracked by what I am sure were kind intentions of others. I never mentioned these doubts at the doctor's office today, yet on two separate occasions different people said, "Oh, you saw Dr. V? Then you're in good hands." I feel quite certain that these were tiny little answers to big old prayers-- all I can say when I go before God is, "Please, bring us comfort and guide us to the right people who will help us."
Done and done.
2. I almost went to jail today. Sure did. There was a bit of a backup in the waiting room today. In any sort of obstetrical establishment, IT HAPPENS. Babies do all sorts of unexpected things that require doctors to veer off schedule.
Enter Angry Pregnant Woman.
She arrived, sat down with her husband, and started to fidget. She engaged the couple next door in conversation and asked, "Well, how long have you been here?" They answered an hour.
Within minutes, APW had pulled out her phone and called her midwife. She then proceeded to shout, HONESTLY SHOUT, into her phone so that all of us in the waiting room were party to her rage. Some highlights:
"Do I need to have this ultrasound today? I am here, and the wait is an hour. I am 38 weeks pregnant and will have this THING in 2 weeks anyway, so I don't see the point of waiting. *pause* Is it going to be retarded? Is that why I am here? Then what's the point? This is ridiculous. Blah blah rage rage."
Her husband, understandably mortified, attempted to shush her but she wanted none of it. She simply could not be bothered to wait a while longer to be sure that her baby was healthy and ready to be born. I. Was. FUMING.
It took everything I had not to tell her to shut the devil up because I, not even a month ago, was the cause of a big old backup at that office. What was supposed to be a 30 minute scan turned into a 2 hour nightmare that completely upheaved any idea I had of a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby. Looking back, none of that would have mattered in the slightest to her. My hope is that she was just having an exceptionally hormonal grouchy day and that she does not intend to refer to her child as a retarded THING. Thankfully we were called back not too long after that, and I was unable to shove her cell phone down her throat. Or to smack the "bajeezus" out of her. It's a technical term. :-)