Archive | July 2012

IUGR

So Dave and I had an answer: IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction). This condition refers to the poor growth of a baby during gestation. Vivian came to us representing the 3rd percentile for weight and height. Along with that symptom (fetal weight below 10th percentile), she had low blood sugar and couldn’t hold her body temperature. My placenta was also smaller than normal (I believe they sent it for testing – I can’t recall). From hearing other IUGR baby’s stories I realized that we were fortunate with a high birth weight and long gestational period, although I probably should have been induced a few weeks prior. Vivian was relatively healthy after she came home. By one year she weighed 15 pounds (3rd percentile) and was 29.75 inches tall (50th percentile). From what I read online, most babies “grow out of it”. OK – that won’t be so bad – she’ll just be a little underweight. Feeding problems often accompany IUGR babies, and we had our share. Vivian never really cried when she was hungry, which forced us to create a consistent feeding schedule to ensure she was getting complete nutrition. Once she started solid foods, she would often hoard them in her mouth like a little chipmunk. She always ate less than typical babies, but kept her weight consistent on her own curve. We had regular doctor visits and they would give us a sheet of paper with our baby’s milestones for age. We started noticing that she wasn’t hitting them. Around 9 months old Vivian started receiving visits from a physical therapist and teacher with the early intervention (Birth to 5) program. When she still wasn’t sitting on her own at 1 year, her doctor recommended we see a doctor of genetics.

The decision regarding which hospital to go to was a little tough. The pediatrician recommended Hershey Medical Center, but we were more comfortable with Johns Hopkins. The proximity was closer and we weren’t sure what other types of doctors she would need to see in the future. Our appointment was scheduled for March 14, 2011.

We met with a genetics counselor first. She took our family’s and Vivian’s history, then reviewed with the Geneticist. He then came in and performed a physical exam of Vivian. Immediately I was amazed at his knowledge. And in tears. Within about 10 minutes he had a suspicion as to what may be wrong with her.

A Rough Start

Vivian was born at 6:29pm. Everyone was immediately in love, of course. They took her to the special needs nursery shortly after she was born to make sure she was ok, due to the stress of labor and her small size (5lbs, 6oz). Her body temperature was low, so they kept her under a warmer in my room after they brought her back. She also wasn’t eating much. They kept checking on her and around midnight they decided she needed IV fluids and antibiotics. Down to the special needs nursery she went. Numerous attempts to wake up my exhausted husband – failed (he had done so much work that day!). I followed the nurses down the hall, and then was instructed to leave while they started her IV. I paced the halls, waiting to hear what was going on. They informed me that she didn’t cry when they ran the line, which was a sign of a sick baby. It would be a while until the doctor could see her, so I went back to my room and tried to get some rest. The next morning we walked down to the nursery, where our baby girl was in an incubator, hooked up to an IV and numerous monitors.

I broke down. I had so many questions. I suppose I was a little upset that I didn’t have time to prepare for this. With as many advancements in medicine as there is today, why weren’t they able to tell me something was wrong months before, or even what was wrong now? Staring at Vivian, I wanted to make her safe. I wanted to take any pain away and solve all the problems. I wanted to take her home.

It was surreal when I got discharged from the hospital. I came in with two and was leaving with one. I didn’t go far or stay gone long. A hot shower in my own house was what I was craving. I got cleaned up, played with the animals, and back to the hospital I went. I paid for a boarding room, so I could stay as close to Vivian as possible. I didn’t want other people taking care of my baby – that was my job. Don’t get me wrong, I did sleep through some feedings and ventured out once or twice. The nurses were all great, especially one that we bonded with and I will treasure forever. She showed us how to bathe her, gave us lots of helpful advice and worked with me to try and get Vivian to breastfeed, with not much success.

She was out of the incubator after two days. Now we could hold and feed her all we wanted – in the privacy of a room filled with nurses and about 9 other screaming babies. Two more days passed and she was finally regulating her temperature and eating enough CC’s (not ounces) to go home. Finally, we will have our family in the comfort of our home. We left that day with vague answers from the doctor – turns out Vivian had a little something called IUGR.

The Beginning

February 8, 2009. That’s when my life changed. I call Vivian our “hole-in-one” baby. We were going to start “trying” in March. The last week in February, I took a test on Monday and I thought it was positive and we were ecstatic! Two more tests showed negative, so I resumed life as normal. I went on a painting spree that week and was somewhat depressed that I had gotten hopeful, then let down. Friday I still hadn’t gotten my period and decided to call my boss, as she had recently had a baby. I explained the “almost positive” test and two negatives and she advised me to get a digital test. I asked Dave to go to the drug store and get one – pronto!! Of course he said we could wait another hour or so until we left for dinner, but I couldn’t wait. I took matters into my own hands and drove myself to the store, back home, peed on the stick, waited. A few minutes later, “Oh #@$&!!” and tears of joy were shared. We were meeting my mom, sister and niece for dinner about an hour after, so I showed up with a carton of cigarettes my sister had just gotten for me and a box of wine I had just bought. I then respectfully gave them to my confused mom and sister and informed them I wouldn’t need them anymore. I quit everything bad for me the minute I found out I was pregnant.

I thought I had done everything right. Baby was only technically a week old when I found out. I had routine doctors appointments, took prenatal vitamins, ate the healthiest I ever had. Looking back in my pregnancy journal, under a message to our baby I wrote “We hope you’re ok!”. What an understatement. Over 2 ½ years later, I’m still hoping the same thing.

I had a pretty normal pregnancy for the most part. A few minor bleeding scares. My last sonogram was at 24 weeks and I was told that my baby girl was a little small, but only a week behind normal growth rates. The doctor said I wouldn’t be pushing out a 9 or 10 pound baby, which was fine with me! I had an OB appointment on my due date. My fundal height had been stagnant for a few weeks and now it had shrunk. My doctor was concerned, so she informed us that I was going to be induced. It was go time! They gave me some medicine that evening, then started Pitocin the morning.

I have to admit that I was always afraid of being pregnant. Remember the movie “My Girl”? My license plate at one point was “IM VEDA”. Enough said? I was feeling pretty good until I got the epidural. It was of course painful to get, but I wanted the contraction pain to go away, so I figured it would be worth it. The epidural did ease the pain, but it changed the contraction sensation. Enter – PANIC ATTACK. I had suffered from panic attacks for 9 years at the point. I had been with my husband for 8 years and I think this is the first time he realized that my panic attacks were real. My heart rate was through the roof, blood pressure sky high, and baby girl was going into distress. A team of doctors and anesthesiologists came in to assess me. Conclusion – emergency C-section. I had never had surgery before or even broken a bone, I certainly didn’t think I was going to survive a surgery in my state. I asked them to give me some time, then prayed and breathed and prayed and breathed. I got everything under control and before I knew it, it was push time. I loved pushing. I laughed and joked with my husband, mom, nurses and midwife. About a half hour later, baby girl was here! A few hours later, something was wrong.