After much contemplation, I've decided to write an update about my pregnancy. Many of my readers follow me through Instagram and Facebook and may have recently felt that there have been some recent issues with my pregnancy. I've been very cautious in sharing, because everything is so up in the air, this pregnancy is going week by week currently. I've decided to share because I have found that through social media I have truly found some amazing friends and a fantastic support system. To have you all on my side, rooting me on and sending positive healing thoughts, helps me tremendously, as I wade through these unsure waters ahead of me. I am reaching the end of my thirtieth week. At about twenty weeks along we had an ultrasound, that showed a possible complication with my placenta. They had told me at the time that I had a circumvallate placenta. Doing research I found that a Circumvallate placenta is very rare, only occurring in approximately 2% of pregnancies. It is important to note (possibly more for my sake than yours,) that this rare condition is not the fault of anything I have done, or haven't done during this pregnancy. My placenta has basically, instead of growing along the uterine wall as it should, has turned and has grown onto itself. This causes the placenta to fold onto itself and create a ring. This condition can restrict the fetus of important nutrients during it's development. It also can increase the risk of placental abruption, or detachment from the wall. Both very serious circumstances as you can imagine.
Of course in the 2% of pregnancies that this rarity occurs in, an even smaller percentage of pregnancies have serious complications. Typically it is a condition that is monitored very closely, and a "don't worry, until you have to worry," kind of thing. So, after the first shock of hearing that I indeed was in that 2% of pregnancies, I decided I could not control what was going on with my placenta and went on with my pregnancy as best I could.
At 29 weeks I had another ultrasound to check the status of my fetus and placental growth. The ultrasound technician about fell off her chair. It appeared as though I had a very large, bulky placenta, that was now competing for space with my baby. Her concern alarmed me, as you can imagine. She told me that I had a very bulky placenta, and that I will now need to be monitored very closely to ensure baby was getting the nutrients it needs to properly develop. After the ultrasound my midwife explained to me some even more disheartening news. Not only was my placenta huge, bulky and indeed circumvallate, but also, it had started to cause intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Meaning, my baby, isn't getting what it needs to gain weight. I was told that my baby's head measurement and femur measurement were right on track with gestational age, but that the belly, was measuring significantly smaller than they would like. She explained to me that when you or I lose weight, we do not lose weight in our heads or the length of our bones, we lose weight in our abdomen. My baby, was only measuring in the 7th percentile for abdominal girth.
She continued by explaining the many "what if" moments I could possibly have to face in the upcoming weeks. I was told that, if baby does not have a growth spurt, that I would have to deliver my baby prematurely, as early as 33 weeks, in order for him or her to properly grow outside of my restricting uterine environment. She explained that if indeed I did need to deliver this early, I would have an amniocentesis to check lung maturity and be given steroids to speed up the baby's lung maturation processes. My baby would then grow in the NICU where they can control the surrounding environment.
I was also told, that the way that my placenta is developing and growing, I could potentially have a complication called placenta accreta. This is where the placenta implants into the muscle of the uterus. This would make it impossible to birth my placenta without bleeding to death. If I do indeed have placenta accreta, I will have to have a hysterectomy.
I left the office that day feeling like a huge failure as a mother. My body was not doing what it was meant to do. My uterus was made to create beautiful humans, I had proved that with the uncomplicated birth of my son two years ago. How could my placenta fail me and my baby now?
I returned to the office to have another ultrasound this past Thursday. The ultrasound technician again, stated that my placenta was huge, bulky and now encompassing my entire uterus. I could see the video screen of the ultrasound, every photo she took was that of a large white mass. It looks like a big clump of bread dough, folded in half. You see it everywhere. When she took measurements of my baby she explained that my baby's head had a beautiful profile, and that it was in the ninetieth percentile, just like my son's. She measured the femur bone, then the belly. The belly, was only in the ninth percentile. At thirty weeks my sweet baby is measuring approximately 3 lbs.
I was watching her scan me and could see the beautiful head, then a big white mass, and toes sticking out the other side of it. This placenta, is like... As if a ballon were inside of my uterus being blown up, and up, and up. Leaving less and less room for my baby to grow and develop like he or she should. I did not get to see my midwife that day as my appointments for ultrasounds are weekly and appointments with her are bi-weekly. I left Thursday, feeling heavy and deflated all at the same time. Why? Why was this happening? I wished I could do something to change it. What did I do to have all this happen?
After many, many tears...talks with my family and friends, I realized that this is all out of my hands. I have to stop beating myself up, and try to relax. Stressing myself and the baby are the last thing that I need right now. So breathing, is what I've been focusing on. Smiling. Going onward. Grinning with every kick to my ribs that I receive. I have another ultrasound next week, and the weeks remaining in this pregnancy. A January delivery is looking like a slim possibility, and a vaginal delivery has totally been wiped off my drawing board. The risk for bleeding, and complications out weighs any of my previous desires to have a natural birth like I did with my son. Now we are talking possible life and death.
This week ends with mixed emotions, and an unsure near future. I'm going to take it all in strides, day by day and week by week. What will be will be, and I'm happy to at least have a midwife who is keeping a close eye on me.
I appreciate any positive thoughts, well wishes and vibes sent my way. Thank you for reading, and I hope to update you all again after next week's ultrasound.
Peace & Love,