It was spring break... I had lots of plans on how productive I might be to get ready for the Starfish Baby while I was able to be home for extra time. One thing on our agenda was to go to my 37 week doctor's appointment. I had finally made it to a point where I was going to the doctor every week and it felt great. It's funny, I've had my doctors say to me more than once how great it must feel not to have to come as often as when I had twins and how wonderful it must be not to have to get all these ultrasounds as often to which my response is always something like, "Um yes, that's been quite an adjustment" or "I'd come here every day if you wanted me to." Or "Ultrasounds were actually very nice." "My Crazy" wants to roar much more loudly than that, but I am able to quiet her :)
Anyway, the appointment was going as normal: drop a urine sample, get asked questions by a nurse about how the pregnancy is going and if I have any concerns and then the quick visit from the doctor happens. He asked me if I knew where baby was positioned. I told him that last I knew, from two weeks ago, baby was head down (this was great because it was the first signal I needed that maybe a VBAC - Vaginal birth after caesarian - might be possible for me). He fished around on my stomach for a bit and said, "I'm not sure baby is head down anymore... would you guys have time to stay for an ultrasound if I could get you one just to double check?!" He had said my magic word: ULTRASOUND!!!!!!!!!!!! I hadn't seen this baby since I was 20 weeks and it was KILLING ME. Again, "My Crazy" wanted to roar, but I said politely and calmly, "yes, we can certainly stay."
When having the ultrasound, it did confirm that the Starfish Baby was positioned with his/her head in my upper right corner and his/her legs were down in my lower left corner. This baby had certainly flipped. A comment was made about my large studio apartment and how much room I had for baby to move all around still. We got to see all kinds of other things: baby practicing swallowing, moving around a ton, etc. They also checked the fluid level I had going on in there. We were then escorted into a different room to wait for the doctor to come back in, which was routine, but what came out of his mouth when he got there was definitely not...
"Your fluid level is low," he said, "we like it to be between 10cm and 20cm, but get concerned if it's under 5... yours is 5."
I answered him back, "what does that mean?"
He said something to the effect of, "we might be celebrating a birthday today."
It was CRYSTAL CLEAR on Josh and my face that we were both in SHOCK. My mind went freaky nuts! Today!? I'm only 37.5 weeks!!! I then realized very quickly that Josh and I had NOTHING ready: no nursery, no name, no hospital bags packed, and I had done NOTHING to get ready for my maternity leave at school. We were completely taken off guard, completely surprised, and completely screwed. Excuse me?! Come again?!
People who know me know I am a serious planner, but I don't plan stuff for babies nearly as well because of... you guessed it, "My Crazy."
As all of these things I still needed to do crowded my head, a conversation was taking place that I was catching most of. Basically the fluid level can be a predictor of how the placenta is working and can also be a predictor of whether baby is getting enough food or not. Fluid levels can go up and down and can, sometimes, be changed just by drinking more water. If I am dehydrated, then obviously baby is going to be dehydrated too. The doctor also said how important it was that the Starfish Baby was moving like crazy during the ultrasound; if he/she was not getting enough nutrients, you would typically see the baby slow down his/her movements because he/she would be conserving energy.
Next thing I knew, I was hooked up to a Non Stress Test (don't even get me started on how I feel about those... for another time) to monitor the Starfish Baby's heart rate and movements. He/she passed this with flying colors, which meant I was given more time before this baby was coming out. I was sent home with orders to drink up, to pay very close attention to how much baby was moving, and to come back in two days to check again. If my fluid levels were low again, this baby was coming out.
The rest of our week (Thursday and Friday) went something like this...
- Decide on names aka finish Name Bracket
- Get furniture moved OUT of spare bedroom, get baby stuff in!
- Pack hospital bag
- Josh spend a good chunk of extra time at work getting ready to be gone
- Kristin spend a good chunk of extra time at school getting ready to be gone
- sending out emails and texts to close friends/family letting them know baby might be here shortly
- getting everything ready for Nolan and Judah for when grandmas and grandpas are around helping out if/when baby comes
- Having small meltdowns
- Drinking so much water that I think I may have actually gotten sick of it (at least 120-150oz per day)
**As I sit here now, THREE days OVERDUE, I realize that my assumptions were actually correct, which just makes me laugh**
At our doctor's appointment that Friday (37 weeks, 5 days), my fluid had gone up from 5.0 to 5.8... baby was still transverse-ish and we were given more time to cook this baby!
I went back Monday (38 weeks, 1 day) fluid level had gone up from 5.8 to 8.3... now baby was head down again!
Went back the following Monday (39 weeks, 1 day), fluid had gone up again from 8.3-9.2... baby still head down
Back again the Monday after (40 weeks, 1 day... officially overdue), fluid was from 9.2 to 8.5... baby still head down.
It's been three weeks since we almost met our Starfish Baby in person. Since then, I've had the pleasure to see him/her on ultrasound 5 times and been given good news that baby is okay to stay in longer each time. I am lucky. Period. If baby had come at 37.5 weeks, we would've been overjoyed to welcome a full-term baby of course, but I am grateful for this extra time to get more prepared, to allow the baby to cook longer, and to be able to cherish and enjoy more time with just Nolan and Judah and some much needed time with just Josh too.
We learned a lot that day... babies sure do have their own clock and I will never make assumptions about what that clock is again :)
We will celebrate your birthday soon, Starfish Baby, and we can't wait <3