Before getting pregnant I had researched around and found a specialist that I wanted use when and if we did end up expecting a baby in the near future. Unfortunately, just before I got pregnant we switched insurance and were unable to go to the specialist I had chosen. I had never met him though, so I wasn't too heartbroken.
So a week after the big POSITIVE, the hunt was on. I hunted and hunted and found three places I wanted to check out and interview.
#1 About a 20 minute drive from us but had really great online reviews about how the doctor handles high risk pregnancy. It said it was a one doctor facility with his supporting nurse practitioners, midwives, etc.
#2 About 5 minutes from home, the second place was a health crazy, low c-section rate, high rated women's care facility. The doctor bios (all women --which I liked) were impressive and I liked that they had a mindset that being pregnant itself is not a medical condition but a natural one. They didn't like medical interventions when not necessary and told you about natural ways to help symptoms or to progress through childbirth. My kind of place.
#3 The perinatology department at a primarily high risk hospital that is right next door to option number one. I would go to the hospital for everything, they have the best equipment, the most specialists, and they make you apply to be a patient to see if you are high risk enough to not need a regular OB. Also the cost would be astronomical and it was unclear if our insurance would cover it.
So I set up an appointment with the first place for a meet-and-greet. It was a small office and I think I was the only person there who didn't work there. When I got there they greeted me by name and knew why I was there. They gave me some information on the facility. Then they immediately took me back to a room and I waited for the doctor to come in.
When he came in he was older than I had expected and had a pretty intense eye twitch. In an attempt to hide it he would blink a lot. I wish that my first thought was not, yikes, do I want him operating on me and maybe my baby? That twitch is pretty bad... BUT- I was there to see how I felt and where I wanted to go and I was going to weigh every bit of information I had. He introduced himself and shook my hand so hard it shook my....chest. My thought was Okay he is unaware of his strength. Maybe I'm just looking for flaws. Maybe I wont trust anybody.
So I decided to stop thinking mean things about the Doctor and trust that he had been doing this for a long time, talk to him about my situation, ask him questions, and see what direction he would go for a situation like ours. That matters more than anything. He was really nice, but kind of abrasive. He didn't butter up his answers or take time to pretend to think about something when he already knew what his opinion was. At first that bothered me, but now I appreciate it.
Basically his plan was this:
- I would come in for an ultrasound at 7 weeks or sooner. Then I would get an ultrasound at every appointment after that.
-Anytime I wanted an ultrasound he wanted me to just come in and they would check for me to easy our minds and anxiety.
- I would have more appointments than a low or non risk pregnancy.
- He would work with the perinatology department at the hospital and counsel with them about our situation as he felt he needed it.
- He would look at Molly and Kellen's medical reports with a fine toothed comb to find us answers.
- He recommended that because it seemed that we aren't completely positive what caused us to lose our babies, he would want to deliver this baby at 36 weeks. A week before we lost Molly.
-He would not allow me to deliver vaginally with two previous emergency c-sections, especially since we would probably deliver a month early. Inducing that early can greatly increase the risk of uteran rupture and his goal would be to get the baby here and keep me alive.
I left feeling unsure and nervous. I liked his plan, he gave me good and logical answers, but I was really worried about picking the wrong person. So I called to set up an appointment with the second place.
I waited on hold for like 15 minutes before anyone answered. Then I was told that the doctors and nurses will not do meet and greets. You had to just set up an appointment and become a patient because they were too busy. I decided that is a bad and a good thing. So Lucas and I decided to drive down there to see if anyone could talk to us or give us answers and to see how it felt there.
We drove over and went in to the office. It was packed with patients of all ages since it's not just an OB office. We talked to the receptionists but they assured us that nobody would be able to talk to us. SO we asked them questions and they would run back and ask the doctors and run back out and tell us things. They were REALLY helpful and had new newest ultrasound machines. Unfortunately, the receptionists could only get us so far. So we decided that we would just set up an appointment and see how it felt. So we set up a 45 minute first appointment. It took her about 20 minutes to even find a time in the next month when we could talk to anyone. They also said that if we wanted to ask the doctors a question that we should send an email and they would get back to us in 24 hours. They set the appointment and we left. Lucas said, "I dont like it." and I agreed.
I'm sure they are great and smart and have nice machines, but we needed a doctor who would answer the phone whenever we need them. Who would take us with no notice to listen to a heartbeat. We needed them to care about our situation and not just care about trying to fit us in to their overly busy practice. So that was out. (We forgot to cancel our appointment though and it cost us $50. Boo.)
The third option was the perinatology department at Swedish Hospital. I called and talked to the doctor on the phone. She heard our situation and said she would consult with the other doctors to see if they would accept me as a patient of the hospital due to our high risk. She was very friendly. She said she would call us in 24 hours, but we didnt hear anything for a week.
In the meantime, I got really impatient about wanting to know if this was a viable pregnancy. I had a couple nights when I was sure it was ectopic. A couple nights when I thought for sure I as going to miscarry. I was just a nervous wreck.
So, we decided to set up a first ultrasound at the first place and see if I would like the doctor better and if Lucas would like him. They would work with the third option anyway on the high risk stuff, so going there was like getting both option one and option three. So we set up that appointment.
When we went to the ultrasound I was a nervous wreck. We met with the Nurse Practitioner instead of the Doctor and she was WONDERFUL. She was so caring and understanding. When we got there they all knew our situation and names. They were prepared for us and we had such a good feeling that a small practice that worked with the specialists at the hospital was what we would need. And that was that. It felt so right during that appointment that we decided that we would go to them unless anything changed or we didn't like how they handled things moving forward.
The ultrasound was wonderful. The baby was two weeks smaller than we thought it would be, making our first ultrasound at 5 weeks instead of 7. It was just a tiny little blob with a beautiful flashing heartbeat. It was a viable pregnancy, but I was bleeding and everyone was worried I was headed for a miscarriage. They didn't have me fill out any insurance stuff or anything, but they set up a second ultrasound for a week and half later.
Well, a week and half went by and we went in and there was our baby and it's perfect little heart! This time they had us fill out all the paperwork, gave us their doctor goody bag, and Lucas briefly met the doctor. (he was more likable this day). Things looked good for me and baby.
After this ultrasound they had me and Lucas sit and go over our medical history with the Nurse Practitioner, she's seriously great. She answered all our questions, wrote down every detail of Molly and Kellen's history. After looking at our history that office had the opinion that we were "struck by lightening twice". They assured us that the chances of losing this baby the way we lost the others was so slim. They also said, "However, I'm sure that is what you were told with your second baby, and..well..so we are still going to take every precaution. We will still deliver at 36 weeks just in case. More important than anything is not taking chances and getting you a baby." We agreed. We dont care about the statistics anymore. We dont fit into them. Something took our babies, and this time we need someone who cares about that. These people did.
So we feel great about the office. We set up an appointment for four weeks later.
At about eleven weeks I was nervous as usual. They checked for the heartbeat with a doppler. When they couldn't find it, they gave me a third ultrasound. I saw the baby but I couldn't see a heartbeat. After some adjusting Lucas and the Doc saw it but I had to be SURE. So he repositioned that thing like crazy until there it was, clear as day, a hearbeat flashing in our perfect little bean.
They set up an appointment for four weeks later but told us that if I felt I needed to to come in any time and they would show me the baby.
Well, a week and a half later, at 12ish weeks, I was having nightmares that we lost the baby. I was crazy nervous. I hadn't lost the baby, but I had horrible cramps. I also had this feeling deep down that I should prepare for the worst. I hate to admit it, but I started planning how I was going to handle losing this baby too. I decided who I would call first. What I would say. What I would post on facebook since we had already announced the pregnancy. I decided that I would let myself cry when they told us if I needed to cry. I prepared for them to give me an ultrasound and tell me that they were so sorry. I expected to hear, "There is no heartbeat".
Lucas was of a completely opposite mindset. Ever since his moment of happiness in the car when he knew that we would get pregnant the month we did, he has been so calm. He just feels confident that this baby is going to come home with us. He was still very sympathetic to my fears and agreed that if I was so nervous, he would come with me for an ultrasound anytime.
So we went in the next day. I was so nervous that I was sweating and chatting like crazy with Lucas. He held my hand. They gave me an ultrasound and when the put the want up to my abdomen I braced myself for the worst. And then, there was our baby. And it was moving. It was wiggling and waving. It no longer looked like a little blob, but it was a teeny tiny person. Two arms and two legs and we could see its jawbones, ears, and nose.
I started to cry as Lucas said, "It's waving at us! Look, hun, it's waving" I was so relieved that it wasn't over, because I was sure sure it would be. I covered my face and cried and cried. The Nurse gave me a long ultrasound and just let us watch the baby. I was so happy. And the rush of relief came with the greatest feeling ever....hope.
We kept our initial appointment which is on April 7th. And the appointment after that would be the big scan at the hospital with the perinatologists. (They eventually did call us back and we WERE accepted as hospital OB patients, but we decided to go through Dr. Gore and get the best of both worlds) At that appointment, between 19 and 20 weeks, and on Mother's Day Weekend!) we will be getting the gender scan, anatomy scan, and most importantly, checking the umbilical cord attachment. They will check the flow of blood through the umbilical cord, where it attaches to the placenta, and seeing if this baby have a velamentous insertion like Molly and Kellen. That will be a big day.
When we left, I was imagining buying baby clothes, talking baby names, and visualizing Lucas holding our sweet baby. I felt the calmness that Lucas has had the entire time. I was so happy. Lucas took me back to work and I showed everyone our little baby's picture and hung the ultrasound picture up next to my computer. I want to remember the feeling of peace and hope I had when that little baby waved at us.
That night Lucas gave me a blessing. Having a Priesthood Holder in the home, one who practices listening to
the spirit and lives worthy of it has blessed us many times. The anxiety got pretty intense before, and we hadn't prepared for it spiritually. If I was going to keep this feeling, I really wanted a priesthood blessing and I needed one. The rest is really personal, but I will share one thing he said,
"I bless you that you will remember this peace and recall it in times of fear. That the hope you felt today will carry with you through the remainder of this pregnancy. I bless you that you will know that that baby is safe and welcome in your body."
And I wept with joy.