posted by Mel
We had an OB appointment yesterday, and the doctor had trouble finding Simone’s heartbeat. So she sent us down for an ultrasound. Good news: Simone is alive. Bad news: We watched her heartrate drop from 121 to 78 to 66 within a matter of a minute. At 121 I looked at the u/s tech and said, “That’s awfully low, isn’t it?” She looked a little panicky, but she said, “Yes, that’s low, but they do that and then bounce up. Let’s watch it.” Second later she was on her feet saying something like, “I’m just going to step out and get the fetal/maternal medicine specialist around the corner.” Shit.
They were gone a long time. I gripped Vanessa’s hand and tried not to cry. We heard scuffling in the hallway. They were out there talking about us in low excited tones. Finally the u/s tech returned with our OB b/c she had not been able to find the perinatologist. It’s not coming coherently. Just need to get out the facts here.
The upshot of the whole thing is that Simone has an arrhythmia. From the Google research conducted in our home last night, we have surmised that this is called fetal bradycardia. We had an appointment in two weeks at Riley Children’s Hospital for a fetal echocardiogram anyway because of the two-vessel umbilical cord, but that has now been moved up to next Tuesday. We are to continue using the doppler every night and call the OB if we can’t find the HB. So far we’ve been able to find it. I think Vanessa has the magic touch– have always thought so, since she is always able to find it almost immediately. I never can. We’re not measuring the BPM (didn’t rent a fancy enough doppler apparently), but it is much faster and more consistent at home. So maybe it’s stress-related? They took blood from me to test for a couple of autoimmune disorders that might be responsible. They briefly considered keeping me overnight for observation, but they decided against since there is really nothing they can do but watch and wait– at least until she’s viable, which will be a minimum of 4 more weeks. From now on we’ll have OB appointments at a minimum of every two weeks and ultrasounds probably just as often. We’re told that we can choose to move our OB care to the perinatologist at any time. We really like our OB and she works closely with the perinatologist, so the jury’s still out on that one.
In the space of a two hour appointment (they’re usually 30 min), we went from worrying about daycare to worrying about whether Simone’s going to make it long enough to deliver safely and whether or not she’ll require a pacemaker at birth. We hope we’ll know more after speaking to the fetal cardiologist on Tuesday.