If I’m going to tell our story, and do it justice, I need to start where it all began. Jeff and I knew that we wanted to start a family as soon as possible after we got married in May 2016. After an amazing honeymoon in Jamaica, we came home and “pulled the goalie”.
Me, being goal-oriented, asked my doctor for the strategy to get pregnant fast… and followed it exactly. It wasn’t long before I peed on a stick and saw those two lines. I had taken the test a day early, so I was not expecting it to show up so soon. I yelled for Jeff… and he took his sweet-ass time coming downstairs, as he thought I was yelling for him because there was a spider. What? Who me? I would never do that. We were elated!
We left on a trip to South Padre Island soon after, keeping the whole pregnancy thing a secret for now. While in South Padre, we had a scare, so when we got home, we went into the doctor to see if everything was okay. I was 7 weeks pregnant, and thankfully, everything looked good on ultrasound. We breathed a sigh of relief!
Fast forward a bit… weeks 7 through 20 were pretty uneventful. The only symptom I had was some pretty nasty fatigue. I got a little frustrated with it, but I mean, I was growing a human, I should’ve be exhausted! I’d been seeing my OB/GYN routinely and Baby Roger’s heart rate was always nice and strong. We called our little one Roger for most of the pregnancy, because, you know, babies are a result of rogering…
We were so excited for our 20 week ultrasound. We’d get to see our little one for the first time in 13 weeks, and we’d probably even be able to find out the gender. I had ALWAYS wanted a boy, so I had my fingers crossed! The appointment came and Jeff took the morning off from work to come with. Everything seemed fine during the appointment, and we got exciting news, baby Roger was a boy! I had noticed a couple of the measurements were small (measuring around 18 weeks instead of 20 weeks), but didn’t know that would be a concern. I was a first time mom after all, so I just thought he was a small baby. At the end of the appointment, the ultrasound tech said she needed to talk to a doctor since the baby was small. She thought I’d need to come back later for another ultrasound to check on his growth. The doctor ended up recommending that I go to see a high-risk doctor right away and have another ultrasound there to see if we could figure out why our little man was so small. When looking at my chart online later, I saw the term “IUGR” for the first time. Intra-uterine growth restriction. I googled it. P.S., that’s never a good idea. Seriously, NEVER google a medical term. Nothing good can come from that!
We had that ultrasound a few days later, and the perinatologist (high-risk doctor) confirmed that Roger was about 2 weeks behind and growth-restricted (that’s the IUGR I mentioned earlier). At this point, it was unusual that he was already that far behind, and it would put me on a high-risk track with lots of monitoring for the remainder of my pregnancy. The real question we asked was “why?”. I was totally healthy, with no risk factors, so doctors assumed it must be something with the baby that was making him small. We heard lots of things: chromosomal issues, dwarfism, and infections, among others thrown out and then thrown aside. We did a few additional screenings but none revealed clues to his small size. Monitoring going forward would include growth ultrasounds every 3 weeks and non-stress tests starting at week 26. I would get so nervous before each appointment, but baby Roger always reassured me by kicking up a storm any time I was feeling uneasy.
Our 23 week growth ultrasound showed that our little man had fallen even further behind and was now about 2 1/2 weeks behind where he should have been. The perinatologist prepared us for the fact that he would most likely only grow 2 weeks every 3 weeks, so he would continue to fall further and further behind. She also prepared me for the fact that I would most likely be hospitalized at some point for in-patient monitoring. In many IUGR pregnancies, flow to the baby can be compromised. When that happens, hospitalization is required for monitoring. She assured me that none of this was imminent.
Our 26 week appointment started out with our first non-stress test. Baby Roger did amazing on the monitor. They joked that he was overachieving, doing more than a 26-weeker would typically do. Then came the growth ultrasound and doppler, to check his size and the flow to him through the umbilical cord. And that’s when the bad news hit. Our little man had fallen an additional week and a half behind, and the flow to him was showing intermittent absent-end diastolic flow. Basically, there was points where Roger wasn’t getting blood pumped to him. Remember that in-patient monitoring that so wasn’t imminent? Well, it was now. The doctor told me I needed to be hospitalized to which I replied, “Like, now?” (I don’t sound so smart when I’m caught off guard) You see, Jeff and I were closing on our new house the. next. day. How was I going to do that from the hospital? The perinatologist thought about it and decided it was urgent. I’d need to go in that day. He did tell me that I would most likely be able to go home after a couple of days (so I would see that new house soon!), but that I would probably end up coming back for more monitoring at some point in the pregnancy. At least he was nice enough to give me a of couple hours to get things set, so we left the doctor’s office, picked up the UHaul, packed my bag, and I drove myself in. Jeff stayed behind to pack up our old house.