It’s Complicated

Yesterday, we went in for our now-weekly anti-K checkup. The process is fairly simple: toss the Monkey at some poor, unsuspecting friend to keep her out of our hair for the hour-or-so long appointment, truck over to the EFW in the TRW building at FMC (gotta love them acronyms, eh?), have a sonographer scan Alex’s belly, and talk to a doctor afterwards to get the run-down on the details.

Or rather, that’s how simple the process should be. But as we’re finding, things rarely seem to go the way we want them to. In fact, as of yesterday, we’re pretty much at the opposite end of the spectrum of “wants”. All of this is because of a “new” finding that almost displaces the anti-K issue as being an issue.

It all started when our newest sonographer, Jennifer (we hadn’t seen her before), happened to ask a question: Has anyone talked to us about a low-lying placenta? The answer, as always, is “no”. Now what exactly had Jennifer move to the next step, I have no real idea. Every other time we were asked, everyone just seemed to move on in life. Jennifer must’ve seen this as a bad thing, ‘cuz next thing we know, she goes for the internal probe to check from the inside.

That simple action may very well have saved Choo Choo’s life.

As we would find out talking with Dr. Pollard (the same doctor we’d seen last week), Jennifer had spotted something amiss. (Yes, folks, those technicians working the ultrasound, x-ray, and/or MRI aren’t just trained monkeys — they know what they’re doing very well, and do know the difference between “good” and “bad”.) It turned out that the internal probe had caught something that every other exam Alex had gone through — from Costa Rica right up to the first two exams in Canada — missed the fact that her placenta is lying overtop of her cervix.

There may be a few of you giving that statement the blank stare, so let me elaborate. The placenta normally grows somewhere away from the cervix, keeping the exit clear of obstruction. When the placenta grows overtop of the cervix, you have a problem: if the placenta comes out first during childbirth, there can be massive bleeding (‘cuz it’s not supposed to come out first), and then the baby’s supply of oxygen is cut off.

Yeah, not good.

The discovery of the placenta’s position comes with a significant amount of irony (if this is, in fact, the right term): if it hadn’t been for the seriousness of the anti-K problem, we’d never have known that the placenta was in the wrong place. It was a bit of a shock to Alex and I, and we are beside ourselves trying to comprehend the chain of discoveries and events that have led us to this point. (There’s a few other things we were told to avoid, which thankfully we’d never done — but could just have easily been doing had we’d followed the same pattern as with Monkey’s gestation.) Needless to say, we already hold Jennifer in the highest of opinions.

Okay, so what does all of this mean? It’s a Go To Surgery card — do not have labour, do not get to deliver at home. Our original plan was a natural home birth, with a midwife (whom we will continue to use until after Choo Choo is born, as she will handle the post-partum issues). Now we’re scheduled for a c-section in the hospital, probably with a who’s-who of medical titles in the room to make sure everything goes well.

We managed to get in to see an obstetrician almost right after the ultrasound appointment (though I had to retrieve Monkey from our friend’s place, and missed most of the obstetrician appointment), and booked the date and time for the c-section. Choo Choo will enter our world on the morning of 18 March, if all goes according to plan. Just over two weeks.

Hopefully, this is the last little shock we’ll face. (Alex commented that the only thing she could think of at this point was that all the sonographers got Choo Choo’s sex wrong.)

I’m running out of fingers to cross, and it’s making typing really, really hard.

4 Replies to “It’s Complicated”

  1. Oh Geoff, I am SOOOO glad they caught this!. My oldest sister (who’s a nurse) had this with baby #3, although with her they caught it quite early – like a 3 or 4 months gestation. But the important thing for you and Alex is that they caught it!

    In my sister’s case – baby #3 is now a big, strapping 20 something young man, and my sister is busy working on wedding plans for one of my nieces.

  2. YOU’RE glad? Boy, you should’ve seen the looks on our faces.

    Yeah, this is one of those really-happy-to-know-about-it-but-wish-we-had-known-earlier sort of things. Doesn’t affect Choo Choo’s current health, but does bring us closer to Defcon 1 in terms of need to head the hospital immediately if something’s even remotely questionable.

  3. Exactly! – Sis was told that if there were ANY symptoms or remotest thoughts of labour that she was to get herself to the hospital. She has always been one to talk about medical things in a great deal of detail – so we all knew what could have happened. I think I was 8 or 9 before I realized that not everyone discussed medical stuff (especially veterinary) at meal time 😉

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