It seems like that despite my more than enough weight gain, my little girl is not growing as much. The perinatologist started to get concerned around 24 weeks and they ordered an additional ultrasound.
I’m sorry, I can’t forget the name of the ultrasound technician. Really. Because her name was “Elizabeth Taylor”!
She was effective and compassionate. She told me that my baby is small, but other than that she was so confident that there is no abnormality. I wasn’t so sure about that.
Anyway, since my baby was small at 10th percentile in size, she was labeled, “Intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR)”. The R-word didn’t feel offensive to me at that time, because this was such a technical diagnosis. Still, she is so tiny so I need to visit the doctor more often than usual and have in-office ultrasound.
Other than being small, she was great. I was sometimes emotional during that time because K was not performing well in preschool. After his 3rd birthday, he was out of early intervention and started to go to a small preschool for children with special needs. The teacher herself had a daughter with Down syndrome and staff were all awesome. Among them, K looked the “normalest”. After all, autism is hard to show unlike other disabilities. Despite that appearance, K was the most delayed. I was still swinging back and forth between denial and acceptance. After one performance at the end of school year, I was so devastated because he was the only one who didn’t understand instruction (sing and dance thingy) at all.
In terms of attachment, K was really good. He was happy to be piggybacked on me at all time and even if I was pregnant, I didn’t have any issue with that. My husband got a job at a university and we bought our first house (well, I have one experience during this period I need to let out, but I’ll write it later). Moving was postponed for one quarter because our baby was due mid July. Everything was good.
Nothing dramatic really. But at 37th week checkup, I was told that the baby is really really small, so she would thrive better out my womb. I felt like an insult to my motherhood, but I had no choice. She suggested to come the next day because she would be in the day-shift at the hospital. I talked to my mentor/supervisor and K’s wonderful daycare provider, then the next morning, my husband and I headed to the hospital for induction. Well, I seemed to have no chance for natural birth experience, but of course safe and artificial birth was way better than natural and devastated.
This time, the room was much smaller, but still LDR (labor, delivery and recovery) type room. The nurse hooked me to I.V. and the resident physician checked my baby.
She was in breech! The day before at the perinatologist’s office, she was in normal position. In hindsight, I remembered a big movement in my womb in the evening but I had no idea she was doing a flip. She was a gymnast before being born. It was as though she didn’t want to get out.
Now induction must be on hold until perinatologist comes back to maneuver my baby to the normal position. I checked in the hospital at around 9 a.m. and waited and waited. The perinatologist wasn’t available until almost 6 p.m. Before that, I was asked to have an epidural because manueuvering baby can be painful and epidural can make it more likely to succeed. I followed.
“Today was not your day.” The doctor told me. “One emergency after another.” Then she told me that she would attempt three times to turn my baby and then if that doesn’t work, we hook off from epidural and wait until tomorrow or have a C-section. Of course my baby didn’t turn. Although at the end of 12 hour shift with many emergency C-sections, the doctor seemed energized. “Do you want to have the baby today? I’m ready.” So the C-sections begun. I remembered that my arms were so cold.
My husband was grossed out. But as the doctor cut through my layers of tissues and placed the hands into my womb (You feel it), she called him to watch the birth. He was scared but went anyway. My little girl, already named S, was born from her buttocks.
After that everything went really quick. She was suctioned, weighed, and Apgar score was checked (it was 8. One point less than K) in less than a minute. The nurse pressed her to my chest so I can see her for a few seconds and she was whisked away to a nursery for observation. She was indeed small. She was 4 lbs 13 oz. So she was considered “low-birth weight”. I was later told that the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times. I remembered thinking, if it were 100 years ago, both S and I would be dead.
I was taken to a two-person hospital room and I rested there. My husband went home to pick up K (it was way past 7. I can’t thank enough for the daycare provider!). I needed to wait for 4 hours to see my girl.