The 26 week update

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” –Joseph Campbell

This week has been a whirlwind and it’s no where near being half way over. I imagine some of you are a little anxious for a bit of an update as I’ve been immersed in quite a few things the past month keeping myself busy. I’ve made it to 26 weeks in this pregnancy which I consider a huge accomplishment…that’s just 2 weeks shy of the third (and final) trimester!

Monday we stopped by Winnie Palmer Hospital to take our official “tour” of the NICU. As much as I hate the idea of the baby being sent to the NICU we know it’s a necessary transition in the baby’s care the first few days and possibly weeks due to the baby’s spina bifida. When babies are assigned to the NICU all families are assigned a social worker so Monday we met with two social workers who helped us better understand what to expect as well as some of the rules of the NICU. After doing photography with Now I lay me down to sleep this past year this meeting was definitely more like reuniting with a few people I’ve already worked with. We were reassured that our family, including the kids, will be able to visit the baby often during it’s time in the NICU. I’m sure nothing will totally prepare us for those moments we know we’ll encounter in the months ahead but it definitely helped us begin to prepare for what’s ahead.

Today we met with the pediatric neurosurgeon again. She reviewed the ultrasound from two weeks ago in more detail with us. It was definitely reassuring to have her open the images and share with us her medical opinions from what she observed in the images. She seems very pleased with the baby’s growth and development over the last month and said the baby was growing just as it should be. It’s common for baby’s with spina bifida to have an larger head than normal – I believe usually when this occurs it’s due to hydrocephalus (or fluid surrounding the brain). She reviewed the measurements of the head with us and during the 24 week ultrasound the baby’s head actually measured closer to 22 weeks which she said is perfectly fine and much better news than if it was measuring a few weeks larger. The ventricles of the brain are a high normal which isn’t a bad thing and is apparently very normal in babies with spina bifida. The numbers aren’t too high to cause concern in the baby’s brain development. She also reviewed images of the spine and where the opening was. The opening remains around the same size and location – she again referred to it as “tiny” which is reassuring. With the newest images she believes the opening in the spine is still open and not covered but she said it could be covered slightly. I don’t think we’ll know for sure until the baby is born. She also looked at the measurements of amniotic fluid which she said are great. Apparently if the numbers are lower it could cause concern with kidney function. Due to bladder & bowel issues being a common concern with spina bifida it can lead to kidney issues. I’m not sure how often this happens during pregnancy, but it is something they keep an eye on. It’s definitely a good thing that the baby doesn’t appear to be presenting any issues with it’s kidneys. We return at the end of December to meet with her again to discuss the next ultrasound scheduled in mid-December. We left feeling very reassured that we didn’t hear any additional bad news. We know we’ve got a lot of concerns to be worried about ahead so now we just keep praying that the barrage of additional bad news stays far away because we’ve had far more than we can handle the last few months.

I also had my 26 week appointment with my obstetrician. It definitely helps to have so many awesome people caring for me during this pregnancy…they all seem to light up when I arrive in the office during this pregnancy. I suppose after all I’ve went through the last year I’m quite thankful they’re not running the other direction when I arrive in their office.:)I had my glucose test today. Thankfully I only had to undergo the hour long sugary torture. I imagine I won’t know the results of the lab work until my next appointment in a month. My doctor checked for the baby’s heartbeat as always and he had a tough time finding it again today. I had just felt the baby move a few minutes prior so my heart didn’t totally stop when he was challenged finding the heartbeat. And his didn’t either as he felt the baby moving as he was trying to find the heartbeat. Yes, the baby was being difficult again today. As he continued to search he (and I) got kicked pretty hard just a second or two after finding the heartbeat. It was a pretty funny moment that left us both laughing and he jokingly agreed he didn’t want to mess with my baby who quickly and strongly kicked him as he finally heard the heartbeat. I return again in about a month and he said by then they should have their schedule set up for him to be able to hopefully give us a tentative date for when we’ll plan for me to undergo the c-section. Today that moment reminded me that there really isn’t much time remaining in this pregnancy. It’ll likely be 12 weeks or so from now that our little one will arrive. I suppose I’ve reached that point where half of me is quite anxious to have the baby but at the same time so nervous to encounter the moments ahead that will be filled with so much uncertainty. We’ve definitely come to accept all that we’ve been faced with but I don’t think it’ll all really truly hit us until once the baby is here.

So that’s the 26 week update. We have our next ultrasound in about two weeks so you can expect to see more baby photos before the holidays arrive!:)

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December 3, 2010 - 9:33 am

Nicole - Congrats on what sounds like a very positive 26 week visit! Prayers for you that all will continue to go smoothly and quickly so you can finally hold your precious child.

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