Battle weary

I need to learn to keep my big mouth shut. Remember how in the last post I was so sure the doctor was having us continue the ultrasound monitoring mostly to work us for the insurance money? Well, never mind. Now it’s looking like the first doctor who was ready to send us on our way after two scans could stand to be more cautious.

I went in for an ultrasound yesterday, as scheduled. Parvovirus (Fifth disease. And no, not the same parvo dogs get. No vaccine for the human kind) can cause temporary suppression of the bone marrow in affected fetuses, leading to anemia, which can then lead to heart failure, which then leads to fetal death. The point of the ultrasounds is to watch for signs of anemia. They do this by measuring velocity of blood flow through the mid-cerebral artery, and the point is that you don’t want it to get too high (or, er…fast).

Yesterday the measurement was at the high end of the acceptable range. (It was a third doctor, who I hadn’t met before, reviewing the ultrasounds yesterday, by the way. I’m not pleased with the way this practice works, but they’re the best we have available. The doctors are good, but this seeing a different doctor every time crap?) Anyway, now we have four measurements done, and when plotted on a graph it shows that the velocity, which normally increases as the pregnancy progresses, is increasing at a sharper rate than the median.

Not cause for panic, yet, but a cause for closer monitoring. As in, I didn’t hear the usual “Everything looks normal” that I’d been hearing to this point. I’m now going back in one week to get checked again, instead of the usual two weeks. The doctor said it could be fine, or it could be an indication that the parvo is affecting the baby. The possibility of premature delivery came up again, something that was only a remote possibility when this all started. Before 32 weeks or so, the treatment for anemia would be a blood transfusion for the fetus. After that point, the risk of death from transfusion is higher than the risk of preterm delivery. She’ll be at 35 weeks when we get checked again next week. If things are deteriorating, we may be looking at a preemie. And NICU. And all kinds of things I DO NOT WANT. Of course, I want a healthy, live baby. That’s the goal. And we’ll do whatever we have to do to get there.

But I’m freaking out again. Kind of. Okay, more than kind of.

I’ve already knitted so many things for this baby to wear–many times more than what I made for Thumper before he was born. Last night I was able to finally put into words why that is: I never, for even a moment in my pregnancy with Thumper, doubted that I would get to hold him. With this pregnancy, there has been so much worry and doubt. And just this past week I finally got to the point where I was relaxed and sure everything was going to be fine. And now there’s a question about her health again… Which means she needs me to make her another sweater. And another hat. And more legwarmers… It’s the only thing I can think to do…the only way I have to deal with this. Because aside from going to the endless doctor appointments, there is nothing–absolutely nothing about this that’s within our control.

I hate that. I’m not at all good at that.

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55 comments on “Battle weary
  1. Maxly says:

    Hugs, Cari. I have you and your family in my thoughts for health and love.


  2. Natalie says:

    I don’t comment very often, but I have been reading your blog for ages. I will keep you in my thoughts and send wishes of health for you and your baby. *Hugs*

  3. Emma says:

    35 weeks isn’t so very premature. My obstetrician liked all mother’s over 35 to deliver at 35 weeks if there was the slightest indication of anything awry. The baby is fully formed at that age, and just puts on fat and weight, ready for delivery, from then on. Technically 37 weeks is not prem, just the lower end of the ‘normal’ range. Your baby won’t be tiny and frail, and probably wouldn’t need to stay in NICU for long, if at all.
    It isn’t what you had planned but, ultimately, a live, healthy baby is the main thing. I’m sure your little one will be fine and the fact that they’re keeping a close eye on everything is good. I had fortnightly scans and weekly midwife appointments and found them reassuring.
    Wishing you all the best and sending love and virtual support, for what it’s worth.

  4. Fiber Ninja says:

    I was going to say everything that Emma’s comment had in it. As a former nurse and Mom of three boys; now 8, 10, and 12, it sounds like they are being appropriately cautious. And almost all the time these situations turn out just fine in the long run. A couple of potholes maybe, but nothing that will mess up the car, so to speak.

    I’m not discouting your thoughts and feelings: they are yours and you are entitled to them, good, bad, or indifferent.

    When my husband was an anesthesia resident and I was pregnant with boys #1, he was doing a NICU rotation. He would go through the NICU and find babies that were born at the gestational age of ours that was still cooking. He had himself convinced that there was going to be something wrong, and he just hoped it was something “fixable”. I wouldn’t buy into his nonsense since there was no reason to. Talk about driving yourself nuts!! :-)

  5. LeAnne says:

    Thinking of you and your stress. Sorry you’re having to go through this.

  6. Anna says:

    Of course you are freaking out, that’s what moms do! But, I agree with the comments above, 35 weeks is almost term, and 99% of babies do just fine.

  7. Marisa says:

    I am thinking so many good thoughts of health and wellness for your little girl that my head is starting to hurt.

    Just one other thing to add, 35 weeks is not SO early. My step-daughter was born at 32 weeks and spent only 4 days in the hospital (not NICU, I forget what they call it) before she went home. Of course, she had steroid injections for lung development for 2 weeks prior to being delivered. Lungs should be fully developed at 35 weeks, so at least you won’t have the “normal” preemie stuff to worry about, if that’s the route this goes.

    But at any rate, I am going back to my good thoughts for the babe, and you, and your family, and sending you a huge virtual hug for lack of anything better.

  8. caroline says:

    sending you much love and light, Cari. Am visualizing the hell out of all is well, blood flows normally, bone marrow is lovely and perfect, Cari and Tiny Dancer are lovely and perfect (they ARE)…and you get a relaxing rest of this pregnancy. mmk? many (gentle) hugs.

  9. heather says:

    lots of love and hugs and all good things to you guys. i have to leave town again sunday for another work trip, but if you want any group knitting distraction time before or after then, let me know.

  10. valentina says:

    thinking of you, both, all four. don’t even know what else to say. another sweater and more legwarmers are definitely the right attitude.

  11. Tiny Tyrant says:

    Huge hugs.

    I had a merry-go-round ob practice when I was pg at 19 with the son I gave up. In the south. Unmarried. Get the picture?

    I’m glad yours are looking out for you. I’m still sending something your way. Just having trouble getting to the post office these days.

    All fingers are crossed for you honey. Have you all picked out a name?

  12. Andi says:

    Not much to say, except that I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this, and that I am adding my wishes for the good health of yourself and your baby to all of the other prayers and vibes coming your way.

  13. Saralyn says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the baby.

  14. Victoria says:

    I am thinking of you and your family. My daughter was delivered at 37 weeks when it seemed, following scans and monitoring, that she had stopped growing. She was tiny but absolutely fine, did not need to spend anytime in NICU and came home with me in a handknit cardigan. x

  15. Kathy says:

    I am so sorry to read this. Sending thoughts and prayers.

  16. Abigail says:

    Hi Cari,

    I have never commented before because, well honestly I don’t know why, but I’ve been reading your blog for years now and have always admired your spirit, your honesty (both on the blog and with yourself) and the depth you explore in your life. When I moved to OR last April, soon after your own move, I found myself feeling even more of a connection with you and have wanted you to know that I’m over here appreciating your process: the highs, the lows, the indescribable places in between.

    After reading this latest post I couldn’t not comment anymore. I feel your pain and your frustration and your “why isn’t this enough already” and I want you to know that it touches me and pains me. I wish I could make it all better somehow. I’m sure everything will be fine in the end, but the potency of where you are right now is very strong and so real. I’m down here in Corvallis wishing the very best for you and your family and appreciating the spirit you bring to all of this.

    Thank you for sharing — I hope you will continue to do so.


  17. regina says:

    What I wouldn’t give to be able to give you an actual hug right now. I love you all and am keeping my fingers tightly crossed, hoping and waiting for good news from you.

  18. Michelle says:

    I am also pregnant, and recently due to a broken rib I heard several people telling me that delivering at 35 weeks would be ok. No. Not optimum, BUT, compared to say, 10 weeks earlier? Good news, y’know? I hope everything is healthy with you & this baby, and I’m thinking of you!

  19. mia says:

    Ugh. I’m sorry everything is stressful, but I think you are right: caution is better than being cavalier. 35 weeks is an okay time for most babies, and most of them don’t need to be in a NICU at all. I’m hoping and praying for you guys. Hang in there.

  20. Kathy says:

    Things are going to be alright. The doctors obviously aren’t going to let things go too far. They are keeping a close eye on things. And the baby is going to be here very soon as it is. I think knitting another sweater and more legwarmers is a great idea. Gotta keep that girl warm when she gets here!

  21. Rebecca says:

    Keep on knitting, rubbing your belly, and hugging your boy. That you can do. Be well.

  22. Wiggle's Mom says:

    I have never commented before, but I have read your blog for many years.

    I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of support for you and yours.

    Doctors are generally cautious, and I think sometimes the technology available to us gives us as much concern as it does comfort.

    I still think you and your little girl will go the distance.

  23. K says:

    Like a few previous commenters, I’ve appreciated your blog for a long time, but I rarely comment. Just wanted to say that my prayers are with you.

  24. Caroline says:

    Oh sweetie. I am sending you lots of love. Doctors are always very very cautious to protect themselves, but I have a feeling you and this little girl will be fine.

  25. Dee says:

    Thinking all good thoughts…

  26. Lorraine says:

    Of course you are worried. You are a mom. At least you have the perfect hobby to deal with this… so knit… knit to calm yourself. And rest assured that you and your family are in MANY people’s prayers.

  27. mamie says:

    35 weeks is okay, cari. we had our twins at 36. great fine great. you can breathe and knit away and do what you have to do. sounds like you are in good hands, aware and watching and careful. a medicalised delivery is not the most fun, but it is good to have around when you need it. breathe, knit, rub, breathe. thinking of you.

  28. Cathy says:

    The merry-go-round of doctors thing–that’s how the practice worked when I had the short person. For the most part, it was fine, but there was one doctor…Well, if he’d been the one scheduled to deliver my son, he would have gotten kicked out, by me, and backed up by the hubby. Fortunately, I had the one I liked best–the one that actually listened to my questions and didn’t treat me like I didn’t have a brain in my head.

    I hope everything goes well for both you and the baby!

  29. Tanya says:

    My son was born spontaneously at 35 weeks, and was perfect. He spent a few days in the NICU to make sure he could gain weight, and I was able to nurse him (not often right away, so developed a love-hate relationship with pumping, but we did it, and he nursed a LOOOOOONG time). As they put it, 35 weeks is old and big for a NICU, and she may not even have to be there! I’m sending nothing but good thoughts your way.

  30. Nicole says:

    I am so sorry you have to go through this. Many, many people are sending good thoughts to you and your little girl. Keep knitting, soon she will be happy and healthy; wearing clothing made of your love.

  31. Julie says:

    Just another long time reader chiming in to say I understand the huge anxiety, but my youngest son (now almost 14) was born between 34 and 35 weeks and did very well. He only spent 4 days in the NICU to make sure he was regulating his blood glucose and bilirubin OK and I was recovering from a somewhat traumatic c-section, so we were both discharged at 4 days. I developed high blood pressure (but no pre-eclampsia, fortunately), so it was probably a matter of “better out than in.” I know about the monitoring stress too! We were having ultrasounds 3 x a week to look at placental blood flow, all the while I was being told to “relax,” HA! My doctor was planning to induce me at 35 weeks because by then she thought it was really safe for the baby, so I was not too scared by spontaneous labor at 34.5 weeks. My son weighed 4 lbs 1 oz. at birth, less at discharge, and our medical practice prescribed a visiting nurse to see us daily at home for the first week to make sure there were no problems. After 4 days of that our pediatrician agreed to discontinue the nurse, since it was NOT helpful to have her come every day and say she had never seen such a small baby at home before….(!).

    Lastly, there are differences in lung maturation rates for fetuses, and white female fetuses mature faster than any other category, so you have that going for you (medical school professor hat on….). I hope you get past the next few weeks without too much trauma, and then it is on to the amazing next phase in your lives!

  32. JudithinNYC says:

    I am sorry you have to go through this stress, but I am confident that everything will be alright and we will get to see your beautiful daughter all decked out in handknits soonish (but not too soon). Lots of love to you and your family.

  33. astoria says:

    I’m sorry. Thinking of you. Wishing you peace. Praying that that little girl baby stays safe.

  34. Marie says:

    I’m also thinking of you and hoping that all turns out well for everybody.

  35. MzTallulah says:

    It’s certainly a nervewracking situation, but I can tell you that, when a series of complications arose at the end of what seemed a very easy pregnancy, my daughter was born at 36 weeks. I had been in hospital for some days before that and received injections that would help her lungs develop, but she was big and strong and only spent 3 days in an incubator in NICU, and a week after she was born we were both home. I hope this helps to bring some relief and hope to you and your family, and trust that everything will go well.

  36. CambriaW says:

    I know that we’ve never met, but I remember that our boys were born 14 days apart, and I’ve watched Thumper grow, so I feel like I’m a friend who doesn’t make it over very often :) I wanted to tell you to do what ever you need to do, to make yourself feel better. It will be alright in the end. And we (in the blog-isphere) are praying for you.

  37. susan says:

    Oh, so scary. Last summer, I had preeclampsia (so we were leaning towards an earlier delivery) then came down with shingles at 37 weeks so then we were hoping the baby would STAY PUT so as not to accidentally give him chicken pox. Very stressful — they’re such little, fragile, wanted creatures, and I felt utterly powerless to do anything but furiously hope. (In our case, it worked out — the antivirals kicked in and he was born 4 days after his due date, healthy as could be.) I hope that you can find a workable mix of optimism and denial — you and the little one are definitely in my thoughts.

  38. Alyssa says:

    Best health wishes for you and the little girl. I hope the next scan is absolutely fabulously boringly normal and the girl was just tired of being watched!

  39. Kristy says:

    Hey Cari,
    I am sending you so many good mama vibes right now. Our little one is due on April 9th & we’ve run into more problems this time than we did with our first. I have gestational diabetes and I’m being monitored very regularly to ensure that baby doesn’t grow too big or that on the other hand, the placenta stops working effectively & the baby stops receiving enough nutrition. Keep knitting lady – wrap that baby up in your love. And if she comes early, she’ll be fine. 35 weeks is a good age.

  40. Lizbon says:

    Oh damn. Damnity damn. I’m so sorry to hear it. I feel like knitting her all those things makes some kind of sense, though. In that in-the-body rather than in-the-mind way that making sense sometimes has. Good luck, sweetie.

  41. Jess H says:

    Holding you in the light. There is no time a woman feels more vulnerable and protective than when pregnant. You feel like it’s up to you, the baby is inside you, she is so very intensely yours right now. It’s hard not to feel 100% responsible for everything, even when it’s obviously so out of our control.

    You sound more calm and directed than most would be. Hang tight… and whisper (or knit) herself and yourself both reassurances. You are forwarned and under good care; with every week that passes she is stronger and stronger; you have Billy and Thumper to keep you strong. This will someday be the story you tell, not the nerve-wracking unknown it is now. You deserve this baby so much! I know it will be ok.

  42. Sarah R says:

    All fingers crossed here for you. And best wishes flowing your way.

  43. Anna says:

    Hold steady, Cari. We’re all pulling for you and your little girl. Stay strong

  44. Cath in Ottawa says:

    my wee ones were induced at 34 and 35 weeks respectively. i was panic-stricken both times but in retrospect, i think it was way more stressful for us than for the wee ones – a week in NICU for one, 2 days for the other – and then they basically slept for 4-5 weeks. i thought j would never open his eyes … and now i think he’ll never *close* them! wishing you all good things.

  45. Heather says:

    I hope it turns out for the best. Sounds like you are getting excellent care from your doctors and nurses.

  46. Erika says:

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping things turn out for the best!

  47. Amy says:

    You are in my thoughts as always.

  48. ToniC says:

    My prayers for a safe delivery (whenever it happens) of a healthy baby girl.

  49. Christiane says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for so many years, but rarely comment.
    I just wanted to let you know that hearts, hugs, and prayers are with you and I know that we’ll be hearing about a healthy delivery of a beautiful baby in a short time.

  50. Lee says:

    My 37-weeker is 26 now. I totally understand the anxiety. Hang in there. I will be holding all four of you in the light.

  51. Knittripps says:

    Wishing you and your baby girl well. Hugs.

  52. LisaM says:

    That post just broke my effing heart.

    I read your blog often, never comment, but really enoy your writing.

    Now as I sit here now, with my two wee ones, remembering that helpless pregnant anxiety that only furious knitting can ease, I’m in tears.

    Keep knitting for that baby girl, she’s coming, and I can’t wait to see pictures of her in all her knitted goodies.

  53. abbey says:

    be well, and hang in there. It’s never as bad as it sounds at first.

  54. Natalie says:

    I’m late on catching up on my blog reading. My thoughts are with you & the wee one. And I second the positive thoughts and comments of all those ahead of me. Best of luck with this week’s ultrasound.

  55. Jane in London says:

    Keep knitting, keep hoping, and I hope she comes out fine to be snuggled in all that wool not too soon, but when she is ready.

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