Today’s been a bit of a cluster, and now here I sit catching my first breather, and I’m feeling a bit (or a lot) on edge. Mark was supposed to leave early today for a business meeting, so Mark’s mom was going to fly in right in time to help with Joel at my 9:00am doctor’s appointment.

Well, at like 7:00am we received a text from Mark’s mom like, “Hey guys I’m still sitting on the runway due to heavy fog here in Des Moines…” So Mark moved back his work commitment, because I’ve learned I can’t leave a toddler to his own devices in a doctor’s office while I’m strapped helplessly to a non-stress test (NST) machine (well, I guess I could if I wanted some equipment to suffer irreparable damage and everyone to hate me), and it was too late to find any sort of other outside help.

The morning was more than a bit chaotic. I fixed Joel cinnamon toast, and it might have given him a rash on his face, but he’s eaten it before, so I’m not sure… But he ate some oranges and pears too before flinging some applesauce around the kitchen. As he finished his breakfast I looked at the clock and realized I only had about 30 minutes before we needed to leave for our appointment, so I went to change Joel and get him dressed and ready.

I got him on his changing table, and he started screaming because he didn’t want to be there at all, and he also kept rolling and standing up, so I had to do my best to gently wrestle him down.

I finally got his pants and diaper off only to realize he’d shat the biggest shit he’d ever shat, and he started grabbing and kicking so hard that he was getting poop on his hands and feet, so I put his diaper on the floor, so there was some poop overflowing onto the floor too, and FINALLY Mark decided to come help me and was like, “What is going on? Why is there poop on the floor?” I don’t know Mark – because there was nowhere else to put it, okay?

So eventually we got Joel all cleaned up and loaded into our vehicle, and he cried all the way to the doctor’s office. And then I had to carry him a mile up a big hill because he was wanting mommy time and screaming and crying every time I tried to hand him to daddy.

Luckily by NST time he was all smiles though, so this part was good.

Overall, the NST went okay. Finch showed good beat-to-beat variability and there were no significant decelerations, however, I think Finch was in a sleep cycle, so he didn’t move a whole lot, and during the required 20 minutes that we were on the machine he lacked the ideal two 10×10 accelerations that they generally look for within this time frame for 31 weeks gestation. So I believe the test was deemed reassuring but not reactive… This of course made me slightly uneasy, as in each appointment prior since I started these last week, Finch’s NSTs have been perfectly textbook.

So then we went to complete our biophysical profile (BPP) via ultrasound. And Finch passed all of the BPP items with flying colors, so we quickly shifted our attention to the cord. However, this time instead of the report being, “Hey the cord is obviously free floating and looks awesome,” our sonographer zeroed in on this area in which the cord seemed to be sitting in the shape of a circle…

And although a circle could be, and probably is, completely benign, as we’re of course viewing a 2D image of a 3D (or 4D?) space, so more likely than not, the 2D circle image simply reflects a normal and healthy coiling of the cord, you know what else a circle could represent?

A cord that’s just a few tugs away from forming a knot.

So our sonographer spent some time on this circle, while Mark took some cell phone images of it. At one point, Finch moved, and our sonographer told us she couldn’t “reproduce the image of the circle,” which was such a relief, because if his cord were in a knot, in theory, said knot wouldn’t just disappear like this. But unfortunately, later she relocated the circle, though it still looked entirely loose and free floating and clearly had lots of space in the middle of it…

Also reassuring is that we started viewing the cord around 24 weeks, and to date, no issues with nuchals or knots have been noted. So, to some extent, we can rely on past information to reassure us that this is probably indeed an innocent circle. I’m thankful we’ve taken this approach, because, as we get farther along, the cord will become increasingly difficult to fully trace, so it’s good to have this past knowledge to help us determine whether pathology is innocent versus nefarious…

We discussed how, right now, at 31 weeks, it’s still difficult… Like I’m probably going to just keep attending my regular testing and hope for the best, but, if we can say, make it to 34 weeks, something like an ambiguous “circle” could really end up being the thing that admits me to the hospital indefinitely (though hopefully NOT)…

I’m sure this is why doctors, and maybe even some patients, maybe even some patients pregnant after loss, generally don’t want to look at the cord, because see? Here it is creating potentially unnecessary stress for me. I’d still personally rather know all of this though as opposed to not knowing. I think, mostly, knowledge is power here.

So on our way home from the doctor Joel fell asleep, and I was able to successfully transfer him to his room for naptime. Mark’s mom’s plane also finally took off, so she was in our house waiting to greet us as well. In her hour at our house, she’d already vacuumed the floors and picked up the entire kitchen and living room and planned like 80 meals. (She is a tornado of energy, has more energy than… Anyone on this planet, basically.)

Mark sent our NST strip and his photographed images to Dr. Collins and then called him on our way home (for the first time during this pregnancy), and his opinion is that the NST results were okay and that the cord is lying perfectly and isn’t on its way to forming a knot, so this is good news for sure.

But I’m still on edge… Because with any of these appointments, any hiccup, no matter how seemingly insignificant, has the potential to send me into a full blown panic attack, especially as I near 32+4 gestation, the age at which Matthew died.

Right after I put Joel down for nap I ran to the store to get Mark’s mom some items she requested for dinner, and once I arrived to the store I realized I’d forgotten my wallet but luckily had a new AMEX card, which I tried to activate only to discover that Mark had already activated it. Then I dropped a bag off at Goodwill, and went to get something to drink because I felt dehydrated, and, at this time, I realized that what I’d been thinking is a pulled groin muscle isn’t in fact healed like I’d hoped. So FINALLY I stumbled into this afternoon’s destination, and my day is starting to feel a bit calmer, so I think I’m going to focus extra hard on monitoring movement, so I can hopefully regain some confidence before my next appointment in a couple of days.

5 thoughts on “Circle

  1. My Amanda passed from sepsis. Fancy word for blood infection. You can get it from just about any kind of infection. I have bad anxiety when I get cuts or my dreaded sinus infection. Same when the wife gets a UTI or something. I think I’m going to get sepsis and die or someone else in the family is. I got a bad cut on my arm a few weeks ago and I was constantly cleaning it, spraying antibiotic stuff on it and a new bandage. The anxiety. I hate it, but what do you do. Reason just doesn’t work. I’m slowly getting better with it, but… Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very sorry for the terrifying circumstances surrounding Amanda’s passing, and I can only imagine the terror you must feel each and every time you or another loved one gets as much as a simple cut. And it’s especially shitty how frequently triggers like this must occur. Hugs to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m guessing Joel’s skin is dry from the weather/heaters and the dryness plus the acidity from the orange caused the rash. He might even get a little rashy on his tushie from the orange if he’s anything like my kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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