Fun with polyhydramnios

One of the side effects of carrying a trisomy 18 baby is excessive amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is swallowed by the baby, and when they are having difficulties in utero, they don’t swallow as much as they should. For the past week or so, sleeping has become progressively more difficult and uncomfortable. I’ve been having shortness of breath consistently. I’ve also been getting winded periodically when walking. Today, my amniotic fluid measured at 32. Normal is generally 8-18, up to 24. I’ve gained 4 pounds in 1 week, and my abdomen is stretched tight and hard. Sleeping is miserable. Well, actually sleeping just isn’t happening. I wake up about every 1-2 hours. Add to it a nice summer cold, and I am pretty much not sleeping consistently or well.

As one might imagine, keeping an upbeat outlook is hard when one is tired. Luckily, my husband is off on Monday and Tuesday, so I’ve been able to nap during the afternoon (still fitfully).  Tomorrow and Thursday however, he works all day, so I will be left to fend for my tired, stressed self.

Polyhydramnios isn’t just uncomfortable unfortunately. The increased fluid increases my risk for pre-term labor, as well as increases my risk for fun stuff like placenta abrupta – where my placenta tears off violently when my water breaks, leading to hemorrhage, and possible death for both me and our baby. A happy thought for the week.

There really isn’t any treatment for it. We just have to watch and wait. The MFM today said that she has seen levels of 50-60. I cannot imagine the discomfort if I worsen that dramatically.

After talking to the MFM today, it seems that 37 weeks may be when induction is recommended. This is going to be heavily based on my 35 week growth ultrasound next Tuesday. If he is growing and seems ok, we can wait. If he has stalled on growth however, or there are other indicators, then 37 week induction will be recommended. The good news is that he passed all of his tests today and seems to still be doing fine.

Jim and I are struggling with the decision of whether or not we would induce at that point. We have said that we are going to let James decide the course of his treatment and interventions based on his condition, his comfort level, and his overall health picture at birth. Initially, we meant after he was born. Now I wonder though if we shouldn’t let him decide from here on out – decide when he’s ready to be born even. It’s a very hard decision, because we could make the wrong one and lose our son to stillbirth. We could also choose to take him out early and lose him to complications of trisomy 18 combined with prematurity. Even though 37 weeks is technically term – he is not a healthy, normal baby, so I am not sure the 37 week rule really applies to him.

These are the first decisions that I think are looking imminent for us, and we will see how they go. I am grateful for the team of medical professionals that we have, and I have to believe that they are going to guide us to making the best decision possible.


One thought on “Fun with polyhydramnios

  1. I never know if sharing my story will help mothers or scare them, if it will help them make decisions or if they should just make their own stories without influence. But I feel I wish I had known when I was in your shoes 4 months ago. I also had this issue. I had a trisomy 18 baby but was not told that the excess fluid was directly related to it and my doctors did not seem concerned. My levels were at one point t up in the 50’s but lowered toward the end. When my water broke 2 days before our scheduled induction it was more like an explosion. I was asleep and it literally shot across the room. And as I ran to the bathroom it continually poured out for 45 minutes and it was if a baloon was deflated. I bately looked pregnant. We were at the hospital and hooked up to monitors with in 90 min and they could not find his heartbeat. My baby was moving just 3 hours before and now he was gone. After the most peaceful, loving delivery, my Gabriel emerged with his cord was wrapped around his neck. I did have more bleeding than usual but nothing concerning. They said I probably had a small placental tear. My Gabriel had no organ abnormalities, he grew to 6 pounds which is large for trisomy babies, he appeared completely normal, other than he had an extra chromosome in every cell of his body. I struggle to read posts of trisomy babies who survive with multiple organ problems when mine seems to have had such good potential to be bron alive. While at the hospital no one really said anything about the cord being an issue. But as I have read numerous books on grief and childloss, many of which had normal babies stillborn due to cord issues, I can’t help but wonder if it was the cord around Gabriel’s neck that took his life, not the trisomy. I wonder if he force of my water breaking may have caused his cord to be wrapped tighter. If I had been induced earlier, would my Gabriel been born alive. Could we have said hello, have seen what color his eyes were, if even just for a few minutes. I will never know. And I have never shared these thoughts with anyone before. I figured there was no use in asking what ifs. Despite my Gabriel being born an angel baby. It was the happiest, most peaceful da and even week of my life, of Gabriel’s big sisters lives, and his daddys life. Our entire hospice journey and the experience at he hospital was fabulous. If given the opportunity, I would do it all over again. I gained a lifetime of wisdom in just 9 short months. God bless you mommy. You will see you have strength and beauty beyond what you ever knew.


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