What to Expect at Your First Maternal Fetal Medicine Appointment

I saw my primary care, Dr. L, after seeing those two pink lines show up. She brought up that we should go see Maternal Fetal Medicine, just to keep a better eye on Little Turtle’s growth.  Now, if you do some googling on why you should need to see this specialist, I recommend that you don’t, you come on the other side more afraid than relived.

When I first got the phone call about setting up my appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine, you expect to be setting up one appointment. However, it’s almost a whole day affair, or it at least feels like it.

We started with seeing the nurse, who took my vitals and asked if we had any questions about what was going to happen during the appointments or about the pregnancy. She explained about the three appointments what we had scheduled, genetic counselors, ultrasound and then meeting with the doctor.

The genetic counselors were very genuine and explained our testing options. We decided to go with the least invasive of the options because neither side of our families have any chromosomal disorders. This option is a blood test for me and during the ultrasound the tech measures the fluid in the spinal cord right behind the brain. Luckily, for us, everything came back with crazy low odds of Little Turtle having any chromosomal defects, not that it really mattered for us either way.

Then we had our ultrasound, Little Turtle just wanted to sleep though the whole thing. However, after some cold water and a little break, Little Turtle gave us some nice hand waves and profile photo.

Finally, we met with the nurse practitioner who works with Dr. VanEerden. We ended up changing my due date, pushing it back a week to 12/17 form 12/12. During this time I was able to bring up my concerns with going into labor naturally. I worry about this because we live an hours drive away from the hospital in Fargo I would like to deliver at. This is also concerning because of my Spinal Cord Stimulator, the doctor that puts in the epidural has to be even more careful with placement.

Having Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in my left hip brings up a whole host of other issues. The nurse practitioner, said she will bring those concerns up to Dr. VanEerden, that way he can talk with his colleagues around the country, to develop the best plan for how to move forward. I am hopeful we will have a pretty solid plan in place after I see them again in August.

 

 

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What does having a high risk pregnancy mean?

Well, everyone’s pregnancy is different, however mine just happens to be high risk. Everyone talks about it but what does it actually mean?  A lot of it has to deal with the mother’s medical history. Lucky, our first semester genetic screening came back with a 1/220,000 chance of a chromosomal disorder.

My medical history is complicated. As a teenager, I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, which means a life time of medications. Some of these can cause birth defects. Having bipolar disorder during pregnancy can add to the hormonal changes that happen which can increase the symptoms. Oliver and I had started trying to get pregnant in January and prior to that with the help of my doctors, we made some medication changes that are “safer.”

I also have a rare nerve condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This condition is basically an overreaction of the nerves following an injury. I fell and broke my right hand in December of 2015, the fractures healed but the pain never went away. In August of 2016, I had a Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) placed in order to help distract the pain signals that run from my right arm to the brain. However, in April of 2017, Oliver and I where in a car accident, which caused some damage in my left hip. In late November of 2017, a second SCS was placed to help with those pain signals. I have gotten great pain relief from my SCSs. I stopped using my SCS when I found out I was pregnant in April.

However, my pain has since returned in the last couple of weeks and I have made the decision to turn it back on. The decision was not made lightly and was made with the input of my primary care, pain management specialist and the maternal fetal medicine doctors. We decided that the stress of the pain on my body could cause more harm then the electricity that powers the SCS for Little Turtle.

These are the reasons why my pregnancy is labeled high risk. What changes does this make to my prenatal care? Honestly, this doesn’t change a lot right now. During my first trimester I had the typical 2 ultrasounds. My next scan is the anatomy scan at 20 weeks, which we are doing this one at 22 weeks, so my mom can make it. However that is when my prenatal care changes. I go in for a 4th scan at 27 weeks to check Little Turtle’s heart for defects due to my medications. We will also most likely be induced early. I won’t know more about that till the week 27 scan and appointments.

Five Ways to Make It to Week 13 in Pregnancy: Getting Through the First Trimester

Let me tell you, I did not have the easiest 1st trimester. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, and now thinking back on it, the 2 weeks before, I was absolutely miserable. I was throwing up anything and everything that I ate or drank. I missed work, Thank God for my amazing bosses!

I got pregnant in March and March and the start of April are the craziest 6 weeks of the year if you do anything with College Hockey.  This year, we where able to cover the West Regionals in Sioux Falls, and the Frozen Four in the Twin Cities. After Regionals in March, I was tireded and thought I had the flu that was going around campus. I felt horrible for 6 days and then I felt fine. I didn’t think twice about it.

The week of the Frozen Four came around and I was so tired and all I wanted to do was sleep. I just figured it was because I had started a new job and was was not used to working. We left for Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon and came home Sunday. Let me tell you, that that 4 hour drive home that Sunday was absolutely horrible. We had to make many stops for me to get sick.

I don’t know how familiar some of you are with Grand Forks ND, but when we pulled into town, we drove right past Simplot, the potato plant, and I almost threw up in the car. It was at that point that I knew I needed to take a test.

I am so lucky that I don’t have to do any of this alone. My husband Oliver is my rock and I don’t think I could do this without him at all. My mom, has been a shoulder to cry on and been so supportive though all my fears and worries. So, Thank you guys for just being so amazing!

  1. Deep breathing activities: This might seem silly at first. These activities are how I got thought morning sickness when I was out of the house.  I personally like this Guided breathing exercise from You Productions. It’s five minutes long. Find one that works for you.
  2. Having a support system: I don’t think I could do this without the support of my mom and husband.  My husband waits on me hand and foot. Most of the time I don’t even have to ask for things. My mom on the other hand, makes me feel less crazy by answering my random questions to bouncing baby names off of and of course being able to share all the cute baby things I have been falling in love with.
  3. Doctor: Having a doctor that you trust, I think is one of the most important things when it comes to bringing a new little life into this world. I love mine. She listens to me and understands all my concerns, as this is my first pregnancy.
  4. Distractions: I think the reason that the first five weeks of my pregnancy went as smoothly as they did was because I was so busy. I didn’t give myself a chance to be sick. From having hockey games every weekend, to editing photos and making sure my husband made it though his first semester of graduate school. I had more than enough on my plate.
  5. Let yourself be overwhelmed: This is something that I struggle with a lot. Whatever you are feeling is the right thing to feel. I can go from being excited to depressed about my pregnancy is 2 seconds flat, you know what that is okay.