Unfortunately not getting any answers is a very dangerous thing. I start googling my diagnosis, trying to look at only legit medical sites. What I find on the web MD and later the medical encyclopedia doesn’t only scare me it shakes me to my core. All I did was type in my diagnosis and all these scary facts on what can happen to the fetus come up. I refuse to internalize what I read but the more I read, the more freaked out I get. I find the diagnosis stated on my ultrasound (I actually get the first report printed by signing a bunch of paperwork and being annoying enough). I read about the normal AFI levels of 8-18 with the typical level being around 14 and I come to terms with that, I also realize that it is not good for the baby to not have enough fluid surrounding him or her. I feel better though that my fluid level went up from a 3 to a 7 because that typically means that the baby is able to urinate and that she has functioning kidneys and bladder. The kidney function is the main concern in these cases. I read some truly horrific information about how with my diagnosis, the baby can get something call Potter’s syndrome, where most babies actually die at birth, they are severely deformed and they don’t have functioning kidneys. I read way too much into my 30 week ultrasound report where it says that they can’t see some organs clearly and that no hands and feet are visible. Hands are deformed and feet are “clubbed” in this syndrome. I know that the high risk doctor did say that it’s hard to see everything because of the low fluid level and most likely everything is perfectly fine. It is just so nerve-racking not knowing for sure. She has to be fine, she has to. I don’t know what to do if she is not but I am trying not to go there, I really am. Even though I don’t want to worry my mom, I have to call her. We talk about everything and I am hoping that she will be able to calm me down and tell me everything will be okay. The more I read though the more worried we both get and by the end of our phone call we are both beside ourselves with worry and we both cry. The idea to start researching about the diagnosis in the third trimester suddenly changes everything though. Nothing pops up under this diagnosis and “in the third trimester”. I call my mom back and together we figure out that this syndrome only seems to happen during the first and second trimester of pregnancy and that if the fluid was low in the second trimester, the 20 week ultrasound should have caught that right away. We both instantly feel better but there is still that lingering worry: “what if they missed something during the 20 week ultrasound” and “what if I started leaking earlier without realizing it?” And “how come they can’t see her hands and feet?”. I am up all night, researching on my phone in the dark, worrying, crying and worrying some more. What if the worst really happens?
A very nervous social worker comes by, it turns out she found out that I’m a licensed marital and family therapist and wanted to know if she was asking the right questions and in the right way, I guess that was fairly flattering. I also get a visit from the cutest little therapy dog.
I am now 33 weeks and everyone seem to suddenly think I can make it another week and the attitude seems more relaxed. Medical staff, nurses and doctors still tell me that I actually am a rare “case” and that most women go in to labor way sooner, not making it a week let alone 3 or more. One of the doctors actually tells me it’s been years since he had a patient making it four weeks. I feel thankful and positive; I got all the necessary shots, steroids and medicine for my baby to thrive and there is a great possibility that she will be fine if she is born at week 34. I’m still measuring small and the baby is as well but I try to think positive thoughts for her and for myself and our family. I do get some strong contractions in the beginning of the week and more medication to stop labor which has me panicking again but nothing happens and the week continues. My doctor actually call me back the next day and promises that she will stop by to see me at the hospital the next day and have a real talk. I can’t wait to see her, I have to ask about this syndrome that has me so tense and depressed. She does calm me down by saying that it is highly unlikely my baby has it, confirming that this happens in the first two trimesters. I ask if they could have missed it during my very first ultrasound before Christmas and she answers that it is possible but highly unlikely and since I haven’t felt any leaking until a couple of weeks ago and since they got me to the hospital right away we should be safe. I don’t like that she can’t make any promises but I know that it is in God’s hands. We simply cannot know the outcome, nobody can. The nurse for today is the forgetful one. She tells me a frightening story about a patient in my situation having the umbilical cord fall out while in the bathroom (for real) and that I really have to be aware of this. She also comes rushing into my room yelling that she can’t find me any knifes right now (???), trust me I have not asked for any knifes, so I don’t know if I should even listen to this one. My doctor does not come the next day even if she promised but she does tell me that she is coming on Thursday morning around 5 am which is ideal for a morning person like myself (not). I carefully write all my questions down and hope that I won’t be too groggy to ask them all. I feel like I am finally able to get some honest answers, my doctor is back from vacation and she does make me feel like she will be there for me. I request that she tells me everything she knows from beginning to end and she really does, starting with the office visit. I learn that my fluid level was only 2 in the office (scary) and that I should not question the diagnosis. We go over the ultrasound and she does make me feel better about the hands and feet and reassures me that the kidneys can be seen. We then go over the plan of delivery, well at least we go over that we do not have one. She is on call on Monday and that night I will be 34 weeks. She will perform an exam and complete an ultrasound to make sure baby girl is still head down and see where the placenta is (it was in the front making a C-section difficult during the latest ultrasound). We agree on trying a natural delivery first while knowing that it will still most likely be an emergency C-section. The rest of the week goes by slowly but my mom, husband and son come by Friday, Saturday and Sunday and suddenly it’s Sunday night…the night before.