Thirty Two

Thirty-two weeks pregnant. Holy cow, I’m getting close to the finish line – four fifths done. And holy cow, I’m getting big. I can’t remember what my feet look like and putting shoes on is a massive struggle that adds several minutes to the time taken to leave the house.

This morning was a busy morning. I had the 32 week growth scan, followed by an antenatal clinic (ANC) appointment, and then my third trimester eye dilation and retinal photographs. It didn’t start out well when I found myself waiting first ten minutes, then twenty minutes past the time of my scan appointment. Then I reached the time I was due to be in antenatal clinic. Fortunately the two clinics are adjoining and do actually speak to one another, so I was assured they wouldn’t fail to see me in ANC. By the time I was called in to my scan though, I’d worked myself up in anticipation, and because I was worrying about getting away from the hospital to make my eye screening appointment.

The sonographer performing the scan was the same one who did my 28 week scan. She complimented me again on the fact that I must be taking good care of myself. But I could hardly bear to ask just how big my big baby had got.

When I looked at the print out of the scan measurements, I couldn’t suppress my tears. The abdominal circumference measurement is now above the 95th centile – even higher than it was before. And it’s the abdominal circumference that suggests a diabetes-induced big, fat baby. Fair enough, it’s not that far out of proportion of all the other measurements. (Except femur length – Flangelina obviously has short legs. Like their Mum.) And the estimated fetal weight is only at about the 65th percentile, but I feel like such a failure and there really is nothing more to say.

When I made it around to the antenatal clinic, I was stressed out enough that my blood pressure had climbed to a ridiculous 140/95. Which sent me in to a panic about pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia . My obstetrician firstly reassured me that it was only a blip because I was worked up and she wasn’t concerned, plus there was no protein in my urine. Then she tried to move straight past the numbers in the scan report. She reminded me that scans are not totally accurate, a problem that may be accentuated by having the same sonographer do two consecutive measurements, as their bias in reading the values may be higher. She trotted out the old line about how I am doing such much more, and so much better than all their other patients. How the effort I am putting in, and the results I am getting out, are second to none. How it’s “normal” and “common” to see these kind of increases in babies of diabetic mums, and how they still turn out healthy and OK. But I don’t care about anyone else, or their babies. I care about my own pregnancy concluding safely. I don’t want to have a “normal diabetic” pregnancy. I want a “normal normal” pregnancy. I felt frustrated and resentful and noting was going to get me out of that funk.

I was a hormonal, tearful mess. And like I do, I descended in to panic about everything. Suddenly I couldn’t cope with the whole diabetic pregnancy a moment longer and wanted to be the same as all the carefree women in the waiting room receiving happy news from their scans and appointments. Of course, there were bound to be women there receiving far worse news than me with my little fatty. And after a ten minute melt down, I realised it, and remembered to thankful that nobody was suggesting that Flangelina is not healthy. Just big. And big is not necessarily bad.

We managed to discuss, through more tears, my fear of spinal anaesthesia and hence of a c-section. I’ve been waiting for several weeks now for an appointment to see a consultant anaesthetist to really discuss these fears, and whether they are founded. I’m beginning to panic that it won’t come through and I’ll be in established labour before I get to talk about it. The reassurance here was more concrete, as they called through to the consultant’s secretary to confirm that I was in the system, and an appointment will apparently be with me shortly.

We also discussed a bit about antenatal collection of colostrum and fortunately the reaction was very positive. I was, however, advised that I needed to wait until 37 week because of the risk that nipple stimulation would cause labour. Having Googled the topic, I’m sceptical in the least about this statemet, and I’m sure my body would only go in to labour if it were ready to. But since I need sterile syringes from the hospital to collect the colostrum in, I’ll have to stick with them on this. The amount that is leaking out, I don’t think I’ll have a problem collecting enough in just a couple of days.

Despite the lateness, and all the tears, I made it to my eye screening on time. They never give anything away whilst your there, but everything has been fine up until this point. I have enough else going on, so I’m not going to dwell on the possibility of something cropping up in my eyes. I am just very glad that I’m now on maternity leave, as there is no way I could have gone back to work with my red-rimmed and hugely dilated, blurry eyes – a combination of crying and dilation for the retinal photographs.

So, what now? Keep working at it I guess. If the baby is already fat I can’t make it actually slim down in utero, but I guess I can try to stop it gaining too much more weight. I have no idea how, because I really feel like I’m doing all that I can. But I suppose I just have to do even more.


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