This picture was taken with my cell phone at a Ben Harper concert Tuli and I went to last year.
We had another Dr. appointment yesterday with Dr. Katz. Our midwife, Colleen, came with us as well. Last time we visited Dr. Katz, Harper was measuring small, in the 35th percentile. Unfortunately, as of yesterday, he was measuring even smaller :( His head and arms are measuring right on track (and he's got a head full of hair), but his torso and his legs are measuring too small for how far along I am. This is due to my high blood pressure.
The high blood pressure I'm having is a result of a combination of things. First, I have some issues with anxiety, which is nothing new. All of the extra weight I'm carrying around makes me feel claustrophobic in my own body...like I'm trapped in a sense. Plus, with all this new information about Harper being small for his gestational age, I'm anxious thinking (or trying NOT to think) about that. There is also evidence from my medical charts that I suffered from hypertension long before I ever got pregnant.
The high blood pressure is what is causing Harper to have some growth restrictions. It's honestly difficult for me to NOT blame myself, even though everyone keeps telling me that it's not my fault, that it's just how my body is wired. I'm just not wired to handle stress like a normal pregnant woman. It is still a difficult thing for me to accept - I've never wanted anything more than to be a mother...and I feel like I'm failing yet again at something important in life. I feel broken.
So, here is the breakdown, according to Dr. Katz and Colleen:
I will most likely NOT make it to my due date (January 29th).
I will most likely develop preeclampsia, or toxemia.
There's a good chance I will be induced early (this doesn't have to mean induced with drugs...there are natural ways to induce as well, which I will try first obviously...).
If my blood pressure gets extremely high, or I develop other symptoms of preeclampsia, I could have a baby tomorrow...or the next day.
Anything extremely early would result in a hospital birth.
In the meantime....
I'm continuing to do EVERYTHING they tell me to: acupucture, massage, eating healthy foods that are supposed to help high blood pressure, taking a mixture of herbs and vitamins, staying off of work, and not doing ANYTHING that would cause me anxiety.
I have accepted that I might give birth in the hospital...I want whatever will keep Harper the healthiest. The thing I cannot bear to think about is him coming early enough, that he would have to spend days, or weeks, in the NICU. I do not want to spend Xmas visiting my baby at the hospital. I want to be able to hold him as soon as I birth him.
This being said...if I seem short/distant with anyone, it's simply because I don't want to re-hash all of the things I'm worried about to numerous people. It just doesn't help...What I DO need from people are encouraging words, understanding and patience (not horror stories...trust me, these are already swimming around in my head). I will keep everyone updated on this blog, but other than my family, I really need to focus on NOT talking about all of this negative stuff. Know that I love all of you, but I do have to set boundaries for my health...but more importantly, for Harper's health.
The good news is that if he was to be born now, he has a 99% chance of survival. He has 2 arms, and 2 legs. 10 fingers and 10 toes. He has his Daddy's lips and nose, and he's very active. He got an 8/8 on the movement/oxygen test. He only weighs 3.5 pounds right now due to the hypertension/growth restriction issue...but this is his/my only struggle right now. Every day and week that I can remain calm, and he can remain inside of my belly, is good for him. We want him to get chubby!!!
So, back to the Ben Harper thing...Colleen has suggested I hang up positive affirmations everywhere I can see them - to help me not focus on worrying. My mantra is going to be from a Ben Harper song:
Don't fear what you don't know
Just let that be
Your room to grow
Just let that be
Your room to grow
I can't spend the rest of my pregnancy worrying. I can only continue to take care of myself, and love that growing baby inside of my womb. Worrying will only make things worse...I can't fear the unknown...I need to embrace this experience for everything it has taught me, and for the beautiful baby boy I will be able to hold very soon.