Well yesterday was an interesting day. I went in for my weekly non stress test (NST). The reason I receive weekly ultrasounds and non stress tests is to monitor the baby and make sure he’s not under any distress in the womb. For whatever reason, it is believed that babies with Down syndrome are at a higher risk for late term loss or even stillbirth. That is one of the major benefits of getting a prenatal diagnosis – extra monitoring. Prior to yesterday’s appointment we had undergone two ultrasounds and one NST. In all of those Eli was a rock star. Yesterday, he was more like a rock star with a bad hangover.
For an NST they put two bands around your belly – one to measure the heartbeat and one to measure movement. His heartbeat was steady but he just wasn’t moving. They give you a little button to push every time you feel the baby move – I didn’t push it for at least a half hour. As I watched the monitor readout printing out I was becoming increasingly worried. There were no peaks and valleys, only valleys. (Picture a lie detector graph – the peaks represent movement, the valleys represent rest). They want to see periods of movement and periods of rest. These peaks and valleys show that his activity level is “normal”. The nurse came in and checked the monitor and decided it was time for baby Eli to have some sugar to see if that gets him active. If that didn’t work I’d have to go for an ultrasound immediately. Thankfully, the cookies and apple juice did the trick. After a few minutes he was rocking and rolling again. I pushed the button six times in one minute! The nurse and nurse practitioner (my OB is on vacation in the holy land celebrating his anniversary with his wife) were happy with his activity level but noted that I was having a lot of contractions (which I wasn’t feeling). She pointed out when I had one and my reply was, “Oh, I thought that was the baby moving – I’ve felt that for a couple of days.” Since I never went into labor with my first baby I had no idea what a contraction felt like. Oops. She decided it’d be a good idea to check my cervix and make sure it hadn’t started dilating. Luckily it was not. Her instructions to me where to go home, put up my feet, and relax. She must’ve not heard me earlier when I mentioned my very active 2 year old! As “luck” would have it though, Cody came down with a cold the night before and was not feeling well at all. He had a 101 degree temperature so he just wanted to snuggle and watch movies. My wonderful husband was home to take care of both of us.
Later in the evening I started cramping pretty bad. The nurse practitioner had said that if I experienced cramping that could not be relieved by laying on my side and drinking water, that I should call the dr. on call or go into the hospital for another NST. So I called the
OB on call. He said I had two options. Try to rest more and see if they subsided overnight, or come into the hospital. He did say that if I was to go into the hospital and was truly having contractions, he “would not take any heroic measures to stop them”. I explained to him that my baby has Down syndrome and a heart defect and his reply was “a 35 weeker is a 35 weeker” and that he would be strong enough to be delivered this early. I hung up the phone and told Chuck we would be staying put as I did not agree with that OB’s philosophy. Our baby needs to grow and gain strength as long as he can. He already faces challenges being born with DS and a heart defect. He does not need to add prematurity to the list! Chuck rubbed my back and eventually I fell asleep. I woke up cramp free and relieved (during one of my many trips to the restroom!).
Today I have felt a few contractions and a little cramping but nothing too alarming and it all eventually subsides. Eli has been active, in fact he’s kicking like a soccer pro as I type this! My OB does not return until October 12. He has been by our side throughout this entire journey. I need him there to welcome our very special son into this world. Prayers and good thoughts for Eli are requested! We are very excited and anxious to meet him but not until October 25th!