Our First Specialist Appointment

As I drove home after that OB appointment, I was extremely upset. Anthony had left work and was home shortly after me. Again, I explained to him what the doctor had told me. My OB told me that if my husband wanted to call her and talk to her, to please do so. He spoke to her and she explained everything to him the way she explained it to me. We then told our families what had happened, asked for prayers, and told them they could tell whoever they wanted so they could also pray. Our baby girl needed all the prayers she could get. We had a long weekend ahead of us before we were to see the specialist. We prayed together that evening and continued to believe our little girl was going to be okay, and that she would start growing again.

Tuesday came around and Anthony, my mom and I finally pulled up at the office of Maternal Fetal Medicine. We were confident everything was going to go well. We were all taken to the back, I was weighed, had my blood pressure taken and was asked a few questions. This was the first time we had heard the term “intrauterine growth restriction.” It was also the first time that we were told something might be wrong with Gabriella’s intestines, and they would just have to see what the ultrasound looked like. We went in the room and I laid down in the chair. The technician began the ultrasound and started plugging in Gabriella’s measurements. The specialist walked in shortly after. He started asking us questions about our family history as he was looking at the ultrasound. It didn’t seem like he looked at it for very long at all. Finally, he said something along the line of my amniotic fluid being very low and our baby being very small. He continued by telling us that she was measuring two weeks behind, that this was very serious and our baby was at risk for stillbirth. He wanted us to go straight to my OB’s office to get some blood work drawn to test for anything genetic or viral. He also said our baby needed to be checked twice a week, and that in three weeks they would take her measurements again to see if she had grown at all. He told me to rest as much as possible, drink more water, and then just like that, he was gone.

The room was silent as I wiped off the ultrasound gel. It’s hard for me to explain my feelings in this moment. That appointment had not gone as we had hoped. Our hearts were crushed as our worst fears were confirmed. I was scared and worried for our baby girl, and angry at how nonchalant the specialist seemed to act. Certainly, he was right and we needed to hear how serious this was, but the way he communicated this information just didn’t sit well with us. On the other hand, I know I’m a very sensitive person and we were in a very vulnerable situation. I’m sure there are women out there that would love this doctor and that could handle his frankness, but he was not our cup of tea. Some doctor-patient relationships just don’t mesh, and we now believe that’s all this was.

Anthony, my mom and I went straight to my OB’s office, and she explained to us further what the specialist had said. I’m so glad they were with me because it was extremely hard for me to focus and ask questions at this appointment and the appointments to come. I honestly don’t even know what my thoughts were, it was almost like I was in another world. I’m sure I was in shock. My OB explained any questions we had and told me to rest as much as possible, to drink high-calorie protein shakes at every meal, and to drink a lot more water. She also had the results to my glucose test and those results were normal. I had my blood drawn for the other tests and we left her office. On the ride home, we talked about how we still believed she was going to grow in these next three weeks, and how everything was going to be fine. We re-centered our faith and trust in God, and knew that no matter what the upcoming weeks would hold, God would protect her.

When Reality Hits Home

My belly is small? I thought.  Couldn’t we just have a small baby?  I mean, neither my husband nor I are big people.  Sure, a lot of friends and family had commented on how small my belly was, but I didn’t think too much about it.  To be honest, I thought it was normal.

As my OB took the monitor out to hear the baby’s heartbeat, like she did at every appointment before, my thoughts were going haywire.  What on earth could she mean by that?  The monitor picked up the baby’s heartbeat, and then, I guess the baby moved because the heartbeat had been lost.  The finding and losing of the heartbeat would happen a couple more times after that.  As my doctor struggled to keep the monitor on the heartbeat so she could get an accurate reading, she told me she was going to fit me in for an ultrasound today.  Now my thoughts were really going crazy!

This must be something serious for her to fit me in today, I thought.  Shortly after, I was led into another room as I waited for an opening to have my ultrasound.  I kept taking deep breaths so I wouldn’t start crying.  I knew if I started to cry I wouldn’t stop.  I text messaged my husband, Anthony, and my mom what was going on, hoping I wouldn’t freak them out.  I was trying not to freak out myself.  I’ll admit, I started to tear up thinking of all the possibilities of why this could be happening.  I tried to shut my brain off, I tried to tell myself to remain calm and just wait and see, but I just couldn’t kick the terrifying thoughts that plagued me.

I waited about an hour until I was finally brought back to the ultrasound technician. That hour was so excruciating, it seemed like forever.  The technician, my OB, and another medical personnel were in the room when I entered.  I got up on the table and the technician started the ultrasound.  As they all looked at the screen, pointing and talking in some sort of code and saying things like, “do you see that,” I began to lose it.  I started to cry hysterically for a reason I didn’t even know yet.  They asked me to take some deep breaths to calm down because they couldn’t see the ultrasound clearly.  You know that uncontrollable cry where you have to take multiple breaths in between sobs? Yeah, that was me, and it was making my stomach shake, and thus, the picture hard for them to make out.  I tried to gain my composure, but it was so hard to stop myself from crying.  After all, I was a hormonal pregnant woman and I was terrified.

Finally, they were done with the ultrasound and they took me in another room until my OB would come in to talk to me.  When my doctor came in the room, she explained that our baby girl was 2 weeks behind in growth, and there could be one of three things causing this: something genetic; something viral; or something going on with me, for example, preeclampsia or diabetes among other things.  I couldn’t hold back my tears, and she knew I was probably in shock because she explained it to me a couple more times.  I couldn’t think of any questions in the moment.  I was so stunned, I didn’t really know what to think.  Upon leaving my doctor’s office, she scheduled me for a Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment the following week.  I got in my car, called Anthony, and even though I could barely utter a complete word, I tried to explain to him what had just happened.

Back to the Start

It’s hard to know where to start on this journey of Gabriella’s birth.  I guess I should tell you all that I was pregnant before Gabriella.  It was very brief, but I had a chemical pregnancy.  I took five pregnancy tests and got one slight positive.  Yes, it could have been a false positive, but I’m sure there are many moms out there that just know when they are pregnant, and I just knew.  A couple days after the slight positive, I woke up in horrible pain and I knew what was happening.  I sat in the bathtub as the tears ran down my face uncontrollably.  Even though it was not a fetus yet, that pain was still there. The feeling of loss, of what could have been.  Little did I know that that feeling of loss would also follow me during my pregnancy with Gabriella.

We were beyond excited when we found out I was pregnant again.  Not only did I have that feeling that I was pregnant, I got three very dark positives.  All I could think of after finding out I was pregnant was making it passed the first trimester.  Many people said to relax and try not to worry, but that is so hard to do.  Thankfully, the first trimester was over and we could breathe.  We could finally tell EVERYONE.  The following weeks were incredible.  I loved being pregnant and couldn’t wait to see my belly grow.  The best experience was finally feeling our baby kick.  The first kick I felt was the same evening of our gender reveal party.  That was pretty amazing to me.  I am pretty sure she was telling me to stop calling her “he”!  I was convinced our baby was a boy because I had a dream that it was.  I won’t even get into those crazy pregnancy dreams!  You moms know what I’m talking about.

Gabriella was really active in the womb and I loved it!  At our 19-week anatomy scan she looked great.  This was the ultrasound that revealed our baby’s gender, and most importantly, let us know that she was looking healthy and on target.  A few weeks went by and I went in for my 25th-week appointment and a glucose test.  Upon seeing my doctor,  she told me that my belly looked rather small.  That’s when our journey began.