Weight: 65.4kg – aiming to increase this now… staying stagnant at this weight doesn’t sound good anymore..
Feeling: apprehensive and worried and a little bit shaken..
Week 26: the belly scrutiny is going to start getting serious, really quickly…
So as you all know.. we had a doctor’s visit last Saturday. Today’s post will be a bit of a recap on what the doc said about baby..
That being said, I haven’t really been trying to delay writing today’s post, because we also kinda took the time on Sunday to set up the baby’s room and shift things around to get ready for the changes come January, but we didn’t get very fantastic news at the last scan and I haven’t been in the best of spirits since we came back from the Obgyn’s office..
*additional note – this post took longer to write because I had to take breaks to wipe away tears and compose myself.
I don’t even feel like looking for gifs today – that’s how depressed I’m feeling. And all the better to convey the somber and seriousness of the news that we got. But here’s one for the road…
Mind that when I disclose what the doctor told us, it really might not seem like a big deal, just that somehow, for me the impact is magnified tenfold. SO please be gentle in your criticism.
Basically after I told the doc about the cough and the cramps and tingling, he was quick to reassure me that yeah coughs and colds are more hardy and difficult to get rid of during pregnancy – here are some $40 antibiotics and some other medication that will bring your medicine cost for the day up to a whopping $90… If it persists then go see an ENT for your sinuses, here’s a number to call in case it comes to that.
And also, yeah you’re just retaining liquid, you’re not going to be able to do anything about your hand swelling and tingling – no amount of supplements are really going to help, you’re just going to have to ride it out. That was pretty much whatever I’ve read about online and also it mirrored the advice that I got from other mummies that I talked to online so not much of a surprise with that either.
But what was truly disconcerting was when he took the ultrasound scan – what with me propped up in the high lounge with pants and undies folded down and gel slathered all over my belly…. Bad enough to be in such a vulnerable position to be told relatively bad news while you’re at it…
Anyway, apparently baby’s growth is a bit slow. Apparently his head and his length look ok, but his abdomen is 15th percentile, as opposed to 40th percentile at the 20th week scan.
And what that means is that because the abdomen is where all the organs and stuff are, that baby might not be growing very well. Like development of all the internal stuff might be stunted, or in the Doctor’s words, there might be some inherent problems with the fetus.
Now who likes what they’ve heard so far?
Moving on, he says that the possible implications include moving us to a public or government hospital scenario because there might be a chance that baby will have a tough time surviving on his own once he’s born, breathing or heart issues or the like. That in turn means that baby might have to be placed into neonatal Intensive Care upon birth. Given that he explained why he needed to push us off to somewhere else, it’s not exactly something you want to be hearing from the doctor that you finally thought you could have a baby delivered with.
But that being said, apparently private hospital NICUs cost about $1.5k per day. The government hospital route would be much more economical, especially when you don’t know how long baby might have to stay in there until the hospital staff can make sure he can function in the outside world.
Okay, now time for the disclaimers: Apparently baby was lying laterally in my tummy, so that could also mean he’s kinda stretched out which could have led to a smaller circumference or an inaccurate reading. that was pretty much the only shred of hope that we had to cling to about the whole thing. Yeap.
To be honest, while typing this, I’m feeling more anger than anything else. While I was able to keep myself well-composed throughout the exposition of the potential complications and issues that baby might face, when we got back to the car and got ready to head off to our ext destination for the weekend, I had a good 10-20 minute cry in the car. The husband was also appropriately shaken and worse still that he saw me breaking down in despair and doom and gloom.
Now that I’ve done my research and blasted messages to good friends and the mummy’s Facebook channel thing, it was really reassuring to get responses from some of the mummies there about how they were in worser situations – 2nd percentil, 10-20th percentil for the entire pregnancy. and some of the most reassuring ones here:
“Each time I had a scan the measurements and percentiles varied wildly. When I asked about this I was told that sometimes the baby is just lying a bit squinty! And because they are so small those differences can make a big difference! My doc told me not to worry about it at all. Maybe the percentile will rise next time…but if not don’t worry – a small baby does not mean an unhealthy baby. Good luck x”
“You still have the third trimester to go and that’s when baby puts on a fair bit. Try including food items high in omega in your diet such as avocado, salmon and cod. Two eggs a day, steak and even durian although that isn’t in season now help too. While we all should be aiming for 50 percentile, you also need to remember that someone had to be one and someone else 100 and everyone else in between for the scale to exist in the first place so don’t be too worried.”
“Hi Mama, both my kids were born at the 2nd percentile at around 2.4 – 2.5 kg. I was also super worried with my first as he was falling behind at every scan. There isn’t a lot you can do while he’s inside except eat….”
“Ultrasounds are not all that reliable in estimating baby’s size. You still have a long way to go and baby still has lots of growing to do. All you can do right now is take good care of yourself. And like others have said, smaller babies aren’t necessarily unhealthy.”
And in the context of why we do so many scans in Singapore. My doula actually mentioned this point about prenatal scans and doctor’s visits – that you really only need the week 20 scan and another at week 36 so that you can determine how the baby is sitting and so be prepared for how baby chooses to enter the world. the general consensus from the mummies in the forum is that the doctors are all greedy, money-hungry a**holes..
the hubs and I actually only wanted to do just that – a week 20 scan and then maybe one at week 36, but we already had the initial scan and the second one when we found our second doctor.. And we got a bit psychoed into going for more scans because the doctor said that closer to the birth date, that it becomes more and more important to make sure that things are stable in the womb.
We ended up agreeing on 6 week intervals from week 20. Then week 26, 32, then a 4 week interval to week 36, then every 2 weeks in week 38 and 40.
Still MUCH less than the normal – 1 scan every month until week 30 then every 2 weeks until week 36 then every week from there. MAD. No wonder it’s so expensive to have kids in Singapore…
But in any case:
“At the time I would have welcomed more scans. Now I’m not so sure! Perhaps it’s the doctors bedside manner that has to change and more empathy towards expecting mums. Not scaring the pants off us at time we are most vulnerable!”
So folks, this is also why I’m feeling like raging and fuming today about that.. I mean, the way the doctor put it forth to me really made it sound as if there were things going wrong with the pregnancy.. And I can tell you that the news really played havoc on my emotions.
Doctor DID say that if the baby is not absorbing well that it wasn’t anything that I could do about it – no amount of eating fatty foods or starving myself can really make a difference to the baby’s weight/length and I suppose that I felt a bit better hearing that, but it doesn’t detract from the fact that I am holding the baby in my tummy and anything I did could have been the factor that affected things..
I don’t really quite know how to explain it, but there is just this nagging feeling that I will always feel responsible for my baby – especially when it comes to his health and growth…
The hubs found it difficult to understand because he felt responsible to in a different way too. He felt sad that he didn’t feed me enough or that he could’ve taken better care of me and I told him he was being silly. At the end of the day it would have been me who decided whether or not to eat or to do this and do that, and it’s my body and my decisions that ultimately affect the baby..
*pause to catch breath and compose myself*
That being said, I also have to add that I’m feeling even more flustered about a whole bunch of other things thanks to this episode that is really not doing wonders for my confidence – like how I should bathe and clean my baby, the whole entire breast-feeding schedule and the like.. SOOO many things that I have to think about that nobody in the world can help me with except perhaps the internet and baby books.
And even then, so much contradictory advice from different sources..
I know that I cannot really place blame or that kind of pressure on myself to be perfect and honestly, most pregnancy websites and advice sites have said that I cannot worry about things too much. Unless it’s a legitimate CONDITION, but that’s a whole other matter that I really don’t want to have to be thinking about now.
Doctor wants us back in his office for a follow-up for the sinus thing and of course to check up on the baby’s growth. He says that if baby is consistently 15th percentile then perhaps baby is just small. So chin up and don’t worry. (Hah! Like it’ll be that easy)
So after all the discussions about how many scans we were really going to take for ourselves and the baby… plans are out of the window in the interest of baby’s health and on-going monitoring. We signed up for the package for doctor’s visits which cost us a whopping $850++ after GST but it’ll include all prescribed doctor’s appointments moving forward.
It’s still going to place a big strain on our finances moving forward because we really weren’t prepared to shell out this much money for doctor’s visits alone. Mind that the package doesn’t even include delivery fees…
Well, moving forward I guess I have to think about things objectively and place my faith in God that He has a plan for my baby in my belly and to be honest, all that I’ve read and heard about in terms of advice IS pretty similar across the board, even from what the rest of the mummies group mummies say and advise too. So I suppose I’ll just have to gorge myself on yummy foods and fatty stuff for the next 2 weeks just to ensure that I’m doing my part to get baby’s weight and growth up (and not worry about how much that rib-eye or slab of fatty fish is going to cost us on top of the additional doctors’ visits that we have to go for in order to get this settled..)
On another note, I suppose I’ll enjoy the food in the meantime too, though I can tell you straight that I really won’t be focused on that when I’m eating it all..
Avocado, salmon and cod, oh my!