Handle It

A few snapshots from our ultrasound at MUSC.
A few snapshots from our ultrasound at MUSC.

Yesterday, my alarm was set for 5:45.  I don’t know why I even bothered setting it because I wasn’t going to be able to rest fully through the night. I began waking at 4:00 am and finally got up at 5:30 as my husband continued sleeping peacefully for another 15 minutes.  Once we were both up and moving, we quickly got ready, and we hit the road headed to Charleston for our 8:30 appointment.

I thought I may be a basket of nerves, but honestly, I was at a peace.  I was trusting God to heal this baby, and there was nothing more I could do. We signed in and were called back within a few minutes.  The ultrasound technician came in-a cute, little blonde with a massive smile. She looked like she had just come out of technical school, but there was something about her that was very comforting.  She began the ultrasound, and we were able to see this little guy up close and personal.

The first priority was to check out this heart.  The arrhythmia was still there, but his heart valves, fluid, development, etc all looked perfectly healthy. We learned this baby of ours was in the 75th percentile for weight, growing 2.5 weeks ahead of scheduled and weighing in at 3.10 oz. I’m growing a linebacker!

We then shifted to a 4D ultrasound. Something that I had not experienced before since the average pregnancy usually doesn’t get this added step.  It was pretty awe-inspiring, and we even saw him yawn. I guess he takes after his daddy, getting bored when he’s by himself.  An hour later, the ultrasound ended, and she gave us a printout of a handful of the better pictures. She left the room to deliver the test results to the doctor, and we waited.

Jesse and I chatted and snapped pictures to pass the time, and about 20 minutes later, the doctor and a young, medical student came in to give us our results.  They both put on hand sanitize, and the doctor sat down, while the young student stood right behind him. He clearly took the part of shadowing literally.  The doctor looked at me and stated,  “It is a fetal arrhythmia.” We knew that. Give me more.  He went on to say, for the most part, doctors consider it a “benign” symptom and most likely to go away on its own, possibly 1-2 days after birth.  The biggest concern is to monitor his heart rate with my own doctor and make sure that the heart rate doesn’t drop too low or go too high.  If that happens, I would have to head back over to MUSC for further care and medication.

I did, however, have to do my due diligence. I had to cut caffeine completely out.  Since my last doctor’s appointment, Jesse had already done some research and noticed that caffeine could be linked to arrhythmias, so I hadn’t consumed coffee or tea for almost a week. I told the doctor this information with confidence, and then he countered me, “What about chocolate?”

Yep! Got me. I eat chocolate. Everyday. Every.Single.Day.  Not only did I need to cut it out, but I especially needed to stay away from dark chocolate-my favorite!  Ok, I can do this.  No coffee, tea, or chocolate. Check!

“Do you use cocoa butter lotion for prevention of stretch marks?”

I paused for a minute, hoping I was dreaming. “Yes, everyday since the moment I found out I was pregnant.”

“Toss it out. Find an alternative.”

It would have never crossed my mind that my cocoa butter lotion, with an image of a pregnant woman on the label, would have caffeine.  Here I am rubbing it all over myself. “Ok,” was my only response.

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Maddox Vann experiencing his first 4D ultrasound.

In addition to cutting out these vices of mine that I loved so, I would need to continue seeing my doctor every week until the arrhythmia was either gone, or until it was time to deliver.  Although, not a perfectly ideal situation, I can handle it. We’ve been very blessed so far with a smooth pregnancy, and if I’m being honest with myself, cutting out coffee, tea, and chocolate is probably a good thing. Hey, my teeth should even get whiter!

As I sit here typing this, Maddox is moving all over the place, and I can see my stomach bulging out in various locations. I know that I’m not doing this for me. It’s not a diet, a cleanse, or vanity related. I am doing this to benefit the health of my unborn son, and for him, I can handle it!

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