Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pregnancy Update

Today, we went back to the specialist for the first time since the end of January, 10 weeks ago. Going even just seven days between appointments used to seem like an eternity, and as the week wore on, I would be more and more anxious. We are so very thankful that after all the complications we have endured with this pregnancy, things have now turned so incredibly normal that ten weeks went by in little more than the blink of an eye. 

He was clearly smiling during the ultrasound - can't blame that on gas! He's a happy little boy :)

Our little baby boy once again appeared perfectly healthy today. At 35 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy based on my LMP, he measured exactly the same, 35w5d as per ultrasound, too. His weight right now is estimated at 5 lbs 13 oz, which puts him at about 50% percentile. In other words, he is perfectly average - and what a blessing that is! He passed the biophysical profile with flying colors, performing the prescribed number of movements, and showing lots of "practice breathing." Baby is head down (vertex), and has been for about 8 weeks now, which is good.

See those white stringy things in the middle of the screen? Evidently, that's the baby's hair - and the u/s tech said he has lots of it! Looks like a mullet to me.

As far as things on my end, everything was perfect, too. The placenta is healthy, fluid levels are great, and my cervix is holding like a fort - very long, and completely closed. There are no indications at all that anything is amiss, or that baby will even come soon. The doctor assured me there was no danger in letting baby continue to "bake", something I wanted to make sure of because some moms in similar situations to ours choose to deliver baby as early as possible after losing one twin. The doctor said that was more indicated in cases where it is unknown what caused the passing of one baby, in case it could affect the survivor as well. We know our twin's death was caused by issues that do not affect our survivor, so going full term until labor starts naturally is not a problem. My biggest complaint at this point is the fact that my internal "thermostat" does not work when I am pregnant, meaning I do not regulate heat and cold well. I am either freezing cold, or burning up. Well, the temperatures this week have just pushed into the 90's, and just like that, I feel like I am roasting alive - even though thanks to air conditioning, the temperature in our house has gone up by no more than a degree or two.

The doctor also said there were no contraindications for a home birth, which I always find particularly reassuring seeing as he is used to dealing with high-risk, highly-managed pregnancies. We are thankful for his care and perspective through all this. This Saturday marks the 36-week threshold for being eligible to have a home birth, and it doesn't look like we have to worry about baby coming before then. 

At this point, I am seeing my midwife for weekly prenatal appointments. I am seeing my chiropractor as often as the midwife. I have used the same chiropractor for my last four pregnancies, and she truly is gifted at what she does. The regular adjustments help position the baby perfectly for birth, and also alleviate my various aches and pains at this stage. The OB I was seeing no longer wanted to also care for me when she found out last month that I had not ruled out home birth, granted everything continued to look perfect, and the specialist did not have any contraindications for a home delivery. I was a bit disappointed by such a "turf war" mentality, but it did not surprise me. She could not point to any one specific issue that she thought would put me at additional risk, she just doesn't think home birth is safe in general. Obviously, or she wouldn't be an OB. She said it's like performing on the high wire without a safety net. I have to wonder, though, if 1 in 3 acrobats performing the stunt of "birth" at the hospital winds up in the "net", how well they have their act down, or if the safety net is really more of a trap that tangles them. If I were at a circus and that happened, I'd want my money back.
I asked her if she had ever been to a home birth, and she said she had not, nor would she ever want to because she could not imagine just sitting back and watching without doing anything. She said the surgeon in her would come out, and she would want to do something, especially since she said she would be the most experienced person there. That in spite of the fact that by her own account, both of her births (one of which was "natural") were bad experiences. She also said that the reason I would not be able to deliver in the birthing tub is because for sanitary reasons, she couldn't get into the tub with me. I agree, but then again, I don't want or need anyone in the tub with me when I deliver - not like the baby needs to be pulled out. Besides, my midwife has always been able to access my belly as necessary from the side of the pool - and that in spite of how "short" she is.
Anyhow - I didn't feel the need to try and change her mind or part on unfriendly terms - I am thankful for doctors who can provide high-level hospital care - when necessary. It may not sound like it, but she is actually considered one of the more naturally minded OBs in the area. She said if I did end up going to the hospital, she would still be willing to take the call and do the birth unless it was some catastrophic home birth transfer, so it's really a win-win for me. At least this way I don't have to do double the prenatal appointments. With the OB, it was always: wait in the waiting room for 45 minutes, pee in a cup, be seen for 1 minute, repeat next time. More of a technicality and a waste of time, than a necessity. 

A little foot

In other news, I am busy winding up the final preparations for the baby's arrival. My birthing room is ready, the tub has been test run and the liner for it ordered, I am collecting the necessary birth supplies, filling the freezer with lots of meals, and pushing hard to finish the last of the big kids' school work (you should hear their groans - but I doubt there will be any complaints from them about a 3 or 4-month summer break). 

Thank you for your prayers, cards, packages, words of encouragement, and all the other outpourings of love and support. We are excited to almost be to the finish line!! I am shooting for giving birth on Mother's Day, which is only one day past my due date. We'll just have to wait and see :)


  1. What a dear wee face, those 3d scans absolutely amaze me! A far cry from my first pregnancy 13 years ago - even the technology between my pregnancy last year, and the one before in 2011 seems to have improved dramatically. How lucky you are to get such a close look at his face! He looks like a darling little boy - rather like one of your other babies, although I can't quite put my finger on who. I can't wait to 'see' him in person! (Well, photos on your blog of course!)

    Blessings for a peaceful and healthy birth in its proper time.

  2. Your baby looks really so sweet.

    I'm sure you'll be fine without the OB; you have adequate resources at hand. I will say though that she was honest about her knee-jerk interventionist mentality!

    Happy to hear an update, always praying for you.

  3. Thank you for the update! I am 31 weeks and 5 days pregnant with my first and I'm scared to do a natural birth. So I've opted for the classic hospital birth with epidural. Would you recommend a traditional lamaze class or is it really necessary?

  4. What wonderful news! My husband and I were praying for much for you a few months back, and it has been amazing to see things turn so "normal" for you.

  5. That would be a sweet Mother's Day present. I hope everything goes well for you and the baby.

  6. Oh, what a wonderful update. Thank you for taking the time to do so. Continued prayers for all. Tiffany F

  7. Have you considered giving birth at a birthing center? My friend had one of her children there because the OB considered the birth to be medium risk. The center had licensed medical professionals (nurse midwifes) to assist in the case of an emergency. The center had the equipment to start emergency care if the life of the baby or mother was in danger. The center did not intervene with the natural birthing process. The center did not look like a hospital. She gave birth in a nice cozy room with a hot tub. The center allowed all of her family and friends to be there including her children. They had child care available for the times when her son was board. She said it was almost as nice as a home birth. I asked her why it was ALMOST as nice. She said that she would have preferred to be in her own bed.

    1. Yes, I have considered it a couple of times. The first time was with Isaac, our first home birth. Like most people, I thought of a birth center as a half-way house between the hospital and a home birth. In reality, a birth center is every bit like a home birth, in someone else's home. There is no equipment or medication available at the birth center that a standard midwife would not also bring to a home birth, no emergency that they can handle at a birth center that they can't handle at my own house.

      The advantages of a birth center are that it's always perfectly quiet, comfortable, tidy, and has wonderful amenities like a built-in birth tub, and various tools to help make labor more comfortable (birth stools, balls, hammocks, etc.). The downside is that you have to leave home and birth in someone else's territory, plus having a "spa experience" typically costs an extra couple of thousand dollars.

      The second time we considered a birth center was when our family was getting larger, and it seemed like it would afford me more peace and privacy to not birth at our own home. However, I do feel so much more comfortable in my own house, and my mother-in-law is great about taking the kids out of the house during the day while I am in labor.

      In the future, if I ever found myself living in a place that did not have a hospital within reasonable distance, or no midwife were available in my area to assist in a birth, I would travel to a birth center to deliver in such a situation.

  8. For some reason I thought your due date was in March so I was wondering when you'd be posting something. What happens as far as home birth with the twin who is deceased? I hope everything works out safely for you and the babies. Your midwife sounds like one who wouldn't hesitate to send you to the hospital if she felt it was needed. Hope the coming weeks are uneventful.

    1. Good question regarding the deceased twin. I was debating on whether or not to include more info on that in this update, and decided against it, but don't mind doing so here in the comments.

      At this appointment, I specifically asked the technician to scan for the baby, and give us an update on his condition so I'd know more what to expect. This particular technician is the one we have seen most often, and she was the one who had the sad task of breaking the news to us when she could not detect a heart beat on Baby A. I felt comfortable and safe with her giving us the details on the situation.

      At the last u/s in late January, about a month after his passing, he had not changed much at all, other than being a bit more curled up.

      This time, however, she said she had not been able to see him at all, though she had not made a point to do so until I asked her to. So she switched the machine back on, and looked more thoroughly. Either our surviving twin was at an angle where he was covering the deceased twin with his body, or little Baby A has mostly dissolved at this point. The technician did find something that may the what is left at this stage, and if that's what it was, there was not much - it was only about 6 cm at its longest point.

      Our plan was to bury whatever remains we had of Baby A. The arrangements with the mortuary and cemetery have been made. The mortuary was going to pick up the remains from the home or hospital, day or night, whenever we called them (i.e. shortly after the birth). They were then going to hold the remains until the cemetery was ready, and take them there.

      However, if there is nothing left, obviously these plans would become obsolete. We will just have to wait and see until the birth which way things will turn out.

      Yes, my midwife is not shy about seeking out high-level care when necessary, though it's extremely rare. She is the one who right from the start of all this pushed for me to see the MFM specialist.

  9. Congrats on Baby =) Can't wait to hear your birth story I had 4 natural births at military hospitals and 1 home birth. We are planning another home birth for baby #6 in September Lord willing =).

  10. This little one is not born yet, and already has the coolest hair. That hair picture is so cute/funny ! I am so happy you are feeling well, and everything is going good. Praying for all of you.

  11. blessings to you. thank you for sharing with all of us out here in internet land. it is wonderful to see the sweet results of answered prayers. my oldest is turning 20 this week, so your ultrasound pics brought back some memories. thanks for again for sharing.

  12. Thank you all for the kind words and well wishes :)

  13. YAY!!! :) Love the ultrasound pics. Soon, you will be squeezing, smelling, kissing and snuggling this sweet boy. We love you and are excited for another Anderson to make his debut! Praying.

    Jessica Argon

  14. This was a great update. That ultrasound picture of the hair was neat, I have never seen that before! My babies were all pretty bald though. Still praying for you all!

  15. I'm so happy for you that things are now going well. Love the ultrasound pics, that little foot is so adorable! Continuing to pray that this delivery will be easy.


  16. Dear Zsuzsanna,
    You do realize that the littlest Anderson boy already looks like the spitting image of all of his siblings that take after pastor Steven? I'm sorry, no malice here; I just remember you wondering how much most of your children look like mr Anderson, it always made me laugh. He does have dominant genes though. Baby has that bright Anderson-ish forehead that crowns all the good facial features on the children in your family, and looks so great under that thick, strong, perfect hairline of theirs above their perfectly sculpted faces. Your oldest sons are already complete hearth-throbs! Be strong, you are in the finishing line already, and many people keep you in their thoughts all the time. One more beautiful child to enter this world soon. Many out there are rooting for you.

  17. I disagree I think the one that looks like dad is miriam

  18. Hi Zsuzsanna these pictures of ur scan are awesome. Hope you are exited and getting ready to welcome your eigth little angel. Congrats and Good Luck


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