I'll never forget the night I found out I was pregnant. It was Friday before Halloween right around midnight. I was up late prepping for my first "Moms With Cameras Workshop" the following morning and remembered that we were going to a Halloween party that next night. I had to take a test because I couldn't drink at the party knowing we were trying. Looking for a reason to procrastinate, I decided I would sneak upstairs and take a test. I'd taken several and Trip finally told me to stop taking them. This way he would never know because he was sound asleep. Of course, he walks into the bathroom so I threw the stick in the counter under my sink. Trip noticed the wrapper that had fallen on the floor in my haste and casually asked what I was up to. I admitted what I had done, but assured him it was going to be negative like all the others and I pulled the test out from under the counter. My heart stopped... "Pregnant" was clear as day on the screen. We did the math and started to get excited (and scared) about baby #2 coming in the summer. We didn't sleep a wink that night. I was also relieved that it wasn't the smoothies making me gain weight. :)
The rest of the first trimester was spent sick mostly. I had morning sickness this time around (something I never had with Landon) and then came down with a bad sinus infection coupled with a fever right in the thick of year-end family picture craziness. I was so happy to start feeling better around 15 weeks.
We decided to do genetic screening at 13 weeks. It was a two part test, part 1 being an ultrasound and part 2 being blood work. We went to the ultrasound excited to see our little peanut and were super excited when the tech switched over to 3D. We never did 3D with Landon so this was such a fun treat - it was an actual, tiny little person with their arms crossed in there! I noticed at one point the tech said "he is..." and then towards the end she asked us if we wanted to know the gender. She assured us that she was pretty positive (and I figured she had slipped earlier) and she showed us some little boy parts. We sat in the waiting room and I couldn't help but giggle - switching between "I can't believe we're having another boy" to "my whole life is going to be spent at the baseball field" to "I really thought it was a girl" since I had been so sick this time around.
About a week later, while Trip and I were at the Biltmore celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary, we got a horrible phone call from my doctor. While the ultrasound didn't show any genetic disorder markers, my blood work did. We learned that our baby was at increased risk for Trisomy 18, which is fatal, and I would need to come in for more blood work as soon as we got back. We briefly talked about what would happen if the second round of more intensive testing came back positive, but I mostly just sat on the phone trying to semi hold it together. We were offered an amniocentesis, but declined since we were keeping the baby either way. The blood work came back a few days later and it put Rhett back in the "normal risk" category for Trisomy 18 which was a huge relief. We weren't totally in the clear because my blood work still wasn't completely normal so we were told we would keep an eye on it.
We did another ultrasound at 20 weeks to check Rhett's growth, and also to see if any trisomy 18 markers appeared. The unfortunate thing about Trisomy 18 is that the deformities it causes are so bad they would easily be picked up on the ultrasound. One of the markers is that the baby will keep it's hands in fists. I will never forget the relief of seeing two tiny, open hands plastered on his face.
We were sent to the High Risk department at the hospital for an echo ultrasound to check Rhett's heart (a common problem with Trisomy 18 babies). This ultrasound was way longer and more detailed so it was neat to watch Rhett move around - and fold in half. The tech was so kind and talked us through everything she was looking for. Thankfully, the doctor didn't see anything alarming on the ultrasound so he sent us back to the "regular" doctor for the remainder of my pregnancy. However, he was still slightly concerned over my blood work and decided it could be IUGR (intra uterine growth restriction), which we would start checking a little later in my pregnancy. IUGR is a condition where a baby isn't growing at a normal rate. The most common cause is the placenta.
The next few months flew by. I was actually able to run way longer into my pregnancy than I did with Landon. I didn't really have any swelling and other than the southern heat, I felt great!
At 32 weeks, I went back for an ultrasound to check Rhett's growth. He measured 25th percentile overall, so he was small, but nothing too concerning. Because of the initial trisomy 18 scare, we were still going to proceed with caution for the remainder of the pregnancy.
At 35 weeks I started Non-Stress Tests.
At 36 weeks, we did another growth ultrasound and Rhett had dropped to 10.4 percentile - anything 10% or less is IUGR - so he was still "okay", but toeing that line. They estimated him around 5 pounds and about 2 weeks behind an "average" baby. I also had some more blood work done that once again came back "slightly abnormal". My platelet count was low with effects blood clotting, something pretty important after birth. The high risk doctor advised to start 2x per week testing and more blood work for me. Basically both Rhett and I were separately toeing the line of being high risk so they were watching us closely.
The following week (37 week appointments), I had an ultrasound to check my fluid levels and another NST test. Both came back fine.
On Monday, June 26, I went in for another growth ultrasound to decide if we were going to induce at 38 weeks or 39 weeks. I chatted with the ultrasound tech, who I've gotten to know really well since I'd seen her about 4 times, and she took all of her measurements. She finally told me that she had him about 3 weeks behind an "average" baby and around 5 pounds, 12 ounces. I went out to the waiting room and about 10 minutes later, the ultrasound tech called me back for a few more measurements to see if I was going to need to be induced right away. This is when I started to get worried. My doctor wanted her to check Rhett's umbilical cord to ensure that the blood flow wasn't restricted or back flowing. Luckily everything looked okay. I finally got to speak to my doctor who confirmed that we were going to induce Rhett the following morning because he was measuring in the 6th percentile and officially diagnosed with IUGR.
(I meant to publish this the night before my induction, but life happened. I'm going to leave this part present tense...)
That brings you up to speed. It's 10:00pm and I should be in bed, but I'M HAVING A BABY TOMORROW! They really should allow you to drink something to take the edge off the night before a scheduled induction. I'm hoping my brain will turn off and I can get some rest.
It's the night before I'll meet you, Rhett, and I am so excited, but also nervous. This pregnancy has been full of so many ups and downs that I am relieved that come tomorrow, you'll finally be safe in my arms.
See you soon, sweet boy!
You can read Rhett's birth story here.