20 Weeks: Invasion of the Body Snatcher

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Amy has started practicing her “my sister did it” face.

For those of you who would really rather remain in the dark about the weird physical things that happen with pregnancy, don’t read beyond the jump and the numbered list below. But the basics are:

1. My hips hurt like murder.
2. My left arm is (was)  killing me.
3. Heartburn! Blah!
4. I’m on pelvic rest and certain physical restrictions until at least the end of March.
5. BABY IS FINE!

After the jump…

Last week was like the Invasion of the Body Snatcher. First a subcutaneous infection developed on the left side of my ribcage. We didn’t know what it was at the time, so we shuffled off to the doctor’s office to see why my left shoulder and chest were in extreme pain that seemed to radiate from the area around my left side. So the woman who avoided taking anything for headaches or allergies for the first 18 weeks wound up on a 4x-10 days antibiotic and regular extra strength Tylenols to control fever and pain. And then she slept the sleep of the dead.

Once we had that under control, the next night the round ligaments in my hips ached so badly, I felt like my legs had come unglued.

And then two days later we had our ultrasound, during which the Frog Princess had her head and her feet down at the bottom and her bottom up on the left side, her left arm by her head in a little salute and her right arm pillowed under her head — a position in which, freakishly, I tend to sleep too, and the way I was laying on the ultrasound berth, right arm under head. After my bathroom break she had some extra stretching out room, so the arms started to wave and the legs started to flex — like she was trying to sit “indian style.” (I realized last night that yet again, this is one of my sleeping positions: knees curled up, ankles crossed.) This is what gave us the look that confirmed what the tech and I were each independently, quietly thinking — all girl! Jim is in so much trouble. This house is about to become too cute for him to handle. Times three.

After the ultrasound, the tech asked us to wait in the front waiting room while she went to see if an OB was available to speak with us. I wasn’t expecting that, if everything were hunky-dory, so I tried to keep my anxiety down while we waited. We ended up waiting about an hour, with the usual rigamarole of peeing in a cup, except this time the bathroom door jammed shut and I was trapped on the inside! Of course I would be. I tried to call Jim to come rescue me (he was just a room and a hallway away), but because I was basically in a box, my cell phone dropped the call before I could get him. (I eventually escaped.)

Okay, and now for all the big words and the squeamish bits. But I’m happy to share it, in case someday someone is looking for someone else’s experience with the exact same thing — to not feel so alone. You’re not alone, Theoretical Reader!

So, I learned all the big medical words for what the heck is going on with her. The placenta that she is attached to is “marginal,” which means the edge is cozied up right next to, but is not touching, the cervical opening, and there is a “succenturiate placental lobe covering the internal os” of the cervix. Baby does not care one way or another about that succenturiate lobe and is happy lovely healthy. The OB was very firm about that! The umbilical cord is firmly attached to the marginal main placenta which is great news — sometimes it attaches at the join between the lobes, or it attaches to the wrong lobe. In the course of the next less-than-20 weeks, not only does the marginal placenta have to move an inch away from the internal os, but the succenturiate lobe has to move to a position an inch away too — so that is like three inches away for the marginal placenta to go, not JUST one. If it helps you get a mental picture, the succenturiate lobe is next to the main placenta the way a smaller soap bubble sometimes attaches on to the side of a bigger bubble.

Even though our ultrasound was late in the day, as soon as we grasped that there was something needing immediate attention from the doctor, Jim and I decided to sit and wait to be seen instead of going home and coming back the next day. The OB explained the situation to us this way: when you have a balloon with a printed picture of Mickey Mouse on it, and the balloon is deflated, the picture is close to the mouth of the balloon. When you blow the balloon up, the picture seems to move away from the mouth — except it doesn’t, the surface of the balloon is getting bigger. The placenta is stationary, but as the uterus grows it moves the placenta further from the cervical opening. So I just need to grow! That’s why the doctor thinks this could resolve itself some time between 26/28 and 34 weeks. But I know that with that bonus lobe, that’s even *more* growing than I would have to have with only the marginal placenta to worry about. So I’m on pelvic rest, no lifting over ten pounds, no strenuous exercise or jumbling around or drama. No yoga. That’s the worst.

The takeaway? Baby is getting on with herself and letting us worry about the succenturiate lobe blocking her exit. In 8 or 9 out of 10 cases, the OB sees everything move out of the way and the physical restrictions can be lifted, and everything’s fine. But sometimes it doesn’t, and in those very few cases, the WORST CASE scenario is a C-section. Which is not what I wanted, but if that’s how she gets here, that’s how she gets here. So now I take it easy, wait, grow, and just keep an eye out for signs that something is amiss. Which is probably not likely as long as I chill out.

Good luck with that.

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