What comes next

In the next 2 weeks, we have several appointments. On Friday, we meet with the neonatologist that will coordinate James’ care. We’ve heard nothing but the highest praise regarding this man. He was in charge of the care of another T18 baby in our area, Bella Grace. She is 18 months old and doing well. He sees these babies as the loved little humans they are and will help us form a plan for James’ safe delivery and care.

Next Wednesday, we meet with the cardiologist to have a more thorough exam of James’ heart done (echocardiogram). So far, there have been no abnormalities noted on the ultrasound, so our specialist is hopeful that they won’t find much with regards to his heart. Somewhere around 90% of these children have cardiac defects.

The following Monday, we meet with Fullerton Genetics for counseling and discussion of all of the test results.

This is only the beginning of the long path to JJ’s birth.

We had our weekly appointment and growth scan ultrasound Tuesday and spent a long time with the specialist caring for us, Dr Coulson. James is growing but slowly. He is still very growth restricted, and his abdominal circumference really hasn’t changed. There are still no significant abnormalities noted on his ultrasound. His head is measuring fairly normally. My placenta seems to be doing its job.

We had a long talk about about a birth plan. To my surprise, Dr Coulson is recommending attempting vaginal birth. If JJ doesn’t tolerate it, then we will move to c-section. She suggested considering induction around 37-39 weeks.

I have mixed feelings about this. My previous 2 labors were wonderful – albeit very different (16h, unmedicated, at hospital with Evaline, 1.5h unmedicated at home on the couch delivered by paramedics with Hazel). I love birth – the naturalness of it. I never wanted nor had interventions.

This birth will be very, very different. I want to do what is best for James, and I have to put my trust in my healthcare provider, but I won’t lie – the thought of a medication heavy birth with an IV catheter, fluids, drugs in my spine, all likely culminating in c-section (50% of T18 babies wind up born by csection) isn’t an attractive option. Especially considering that I have no idea how a forced induction will go for me. I won’t lie. I’m scared and anxious.

Obviously, I will do what the doctor thinks is best, but we have agreed that unless otherwise indicated, we should leave him in as long as possible to allow him to fully develop before attempting to oust him.

The doctor also wants to avoid a c-section because it does carry some risk to me – even small – infection, hemorrhage, collateral damage to other organs. It may seem like a “routine” surgery but it is truly anything but. I know that even though she isn’t saying it – she is concerned that I might have a c-section, have to recover from it, and still have no baby to take home with me. Or worse yet, have a c-section, suffer some horrible complication, and leave my other 2 children motherless. I know she is considering MY best interest as her patient, while I am trying to consider mine AND James’.

So many things to think about, so many things that I am anxious about, and no easy answers in sight.



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