Baby A is A-OK, But His “Elderly” Mother is a Nauseated Mess

This morning I had another appointment with the Center for Maternal and Fetal Health, the high-risk group, at the local hospital.  Because last Friday’s visit veered off course when my ultrasound revealed that one of my twin sons, Baby B, had passed away a few days prior, today’s appointment included providing me with information about the practice, another ultrasound, a physical exam, blood and urine tests, and my first-ever DES (diethylstilbestrol) Daughter pap smear.

Baby A is now 3.34 cm and is “right on target” with his growth.  Once again, I was able to see his miniature body on screen, but today I could make out not only his head, but also his arms, legs and tiny “tush.”  Thankfully, his heart was beating away, looking like a flashing light, and the ultrasound technician let me hear it, determining it as “very strong.”  I can’t express the relief I felt, seeing for myself that he is still alive.

Baby B is located right next to Baby A, so I saw him again today too.  He looked so normal that I found myself looking for the visual of his heartbeat, expecting last week’s diagnosis of death to be a mistake. 

But his body was static, with no pulsing heart. 

I asked the technician if my body is absorbing Baby B properly, and she said, “Well, you can see the difference in the sizes of the [gestational] sacs, so this one stopped growing.”

That’s not what I had asked.  And, Baby B’s gestational sac was always smaller, but she wouldn’t have known that, because she’s never performed an ultrasound on me before.  But I stayed silent.

She then said, “In four or five weeks, you probably won’t see anything there.”

Each of the three ultrasound technicians has been so robotic.  Working in a high-risk practice, I assume they often have to deliver bad news, so perhaps staying emotionally distanced is how they cope.  But, it’s hard to be on the receiving end.

However, the nurse who worked with me today was very knowledgeable about my history and very sensitive about Baby B’s loss.  So was Dr. M, the head of the practice.  He told me to make a follow-up appointment for three weeks from now, then stopped and said, “But, if you get nervous, you come in whenever you want.”

Dr. M reiterated what I’d heard from Dr. H last week, that we will never know why Baby B died.  He said, even though he was deemed chromosomally normal via preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), he may have had another abnormality.  Perhaps his heart wasn’t developing properly.  Or maybe his placenta was bad. 

He said that my protocol is now changed from a twin one to just one for patients at risk for pre-term delivery.  I’m at risk because of my DES-induced uterine abnormality, which can result in incompetent cervix.  Incompetent cervix can also occur because I’ve had part of my cervix removed because of pre-cancerous cells, but he seemed less worried about that, based on the location of the tissue removed.

We discussed my nausea, all-day, every-day nausea that forces me to eat bland carbohydrates only because they’re all I can keep down.  I had only two days of virus-related nausea when I was pregnant with my 4 ½-year-old son, and I had no pregnancy-related nausea prior to learning last Friday that Baby B had died.  And, now for six days straight, I’m vomiting or gagging or simply unable to contemplate eating.

My sweet husband has been so worried about me because of the nausea.  Around 3 a.m. this morning, when we were both suffering from insomnia, he told me that I needed to discuss it at my appointment.  He said, “This isn’t normal,” and “You were never sick when you were pregnant before.”

I answered, “Well, supposedly every pregnant is different.”

Then I added, sarcastically, “And, this time I have your DNA inside of me.”  (I conceived my son as a single woman using donor sperm.)

He laughed—and laughed hard.

“Well, you asked for it.”

And, I did.

Dr. M said there is no link between Baby B’s loss and my nausea.  He said losing a twin makes it less likely that I’d suffer from morning sickness.  He believes my nausea is simply tied to where I am in my pregnancy, that it is very common for it to kick in at this point.  He’s not worried about it as long as I stay hydrated, which I’m doing, and as long as I’m not losing weight, which I’m not.  I’ve gained a pound since last Friday, probably because I’ve eaten only carbohydrates for a week.

Dr. M said that, if my nausea becomes more severe, he can “prescribe something,” but I said, “That’s how my mother took DES, for nausea.”  So, I’m paranoid.  I’d rather suffer through this, as long as it isn’t hurting Baby A, which he assured me it is not.

So, I’m a complete mess, traveling with a plastic bag in case I get sick on the go.  Afternoons and evenings are my worst times, when I walk in slow motion through our house, trying not to jolt my sensitive stomach.  I drink Ginger Ale.  I eat English muffins.  I eat plain bagels.  Lipton Noodle Soup.  Crackers.  Cheerios.   

This afternoon, as I lay in bed while my son was at school, I looked though all of the materials given to me by the nurse today.  On the Visit Summary printout, I saw that my diagnosis is “Elderly Multigravida with Antepartum Condition or Complication.”

Elderly?

Knowing that age 35 is the beginning of “advanced maternal age,” I wondered if being over 40 makes me elderly.  So, I looked it up.  Elderly is the term for pregnant women 35 and older, a “gravida” is a pregnant woman, and a “multigravida” is a woman who has been pregnant more than once.

So, that’s me, not only an elderly multigravida, but once with an antepartum condition or complication.

Humbling.

But, my Baby A is OK, which makes me happy—elderly, nauseated and all.

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