Well that was scary….

We had our regular 34-week check up yesterday. I joked with Craig on the way there that hopefully we would get right in and right out… I had things to do at work, he wanted to get in some pool time and I was hungry and was planning on a milkshake after the appointment. The getting right in part worked out… we got called back pretty quickly and then we waited… and waited. Finally we heard Dr. Sterlin’s voice in the hallway and knew that we’d be back to our regularly scheduled days in a matter of minutes.

…Or not… When listening to the heartbeat she got a bit of a concerned look on her face and listened and listened and listened – longer than she normally does. When she put the Doppler down she told us that she was getting an irregularity in the heartbeat and she wanted me to go for an echocardiogram. That it was probably nothing and would heal itself but to go get it checked out. The receptionist tried to make us an appointment for sometime in the next week, but the ultrasound folks didn’t have any openings so they told us just to go right away.

Craig, practicing his night of labor driving skills, gets us to the doctor’s office in record time where we sit in the ultrasound office and wait… and wait… (Really, we could have stopped to get something that milkshake and still had time to spare.) For the record, I’m doing pretty good at this point… A little bit excited that we get to see the baby again, joking that maybe he or she would reveal his or her gender to us after all, playing with my phone – looking at Facebook and returning emails. All in an effort to stay distracted. Finally we go back and the ultrasound tech measures Munchkin’s head, shows us the face – the baby’s mouth was moving like he or she was talking to us, and then starts looking at the heart. At which point I think the fear kicked in. To just be laying there knowing that there could be a problem, not knowing what it was, what she was looking at, whether she saw something… Wanting so desperately for everything to be OK. Wanting to take back every time I complained about my back hurting or getting up four times a night to pee. Wondering if the chocolate I ate, the sugar in the lemonade or the beers I had before I knew I was pregnant was causing this. Thinking about our family histories of heart disease and missing Pap. Wondering how it was possible to love someone that I never met so much and feeling helpless to protect her. Turned out that while everything isn’t “OK”, it’s not terrible either. The baby has an irregular heartbeat caused by premature atrial contraction – a fancy way of saying that one side of the heart ‘fires’ before the other side is ready which causes an irregular beat every now and then. Apparently it’s pretty common and usually clears itself up on its own before birth or within the first few months. I have to be careful not to drink caffeine (not a problem) or eat chocolate (slightly more challenging, but totally worth it), make sure to count kicks and movements and the doctor will monitor the heartbeat a little more closely.

All in all, it’s the best news we could have gotten after discovering the irregular beat. Craig is convinced that the baby’s OK and I’m choosing to believe him. His or her kicks not only get my attention they give me a bigger feeling of security, we have new pictures of our little one now and we did still make it out of the room without discovering the gender. That’s good too… I suppose! 😉

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