We met with a doctor on Monday (up to this point, we've just been seeing midwives) to consult about doing a version to get the baby in the correct birthing position. She did an ultrasound to determine baby's exact location - which happens to be "footlong breech" - and at that time, she noticed that there did not seem to be very much amniotic fluid in there with him. So, she sent us down to radiology to do a full ultrasound and have the fluid measured. They also took measurements of the baby's head, torso, and leg to get an estimate for how big he is.
Back up in the doctor's office, we learned that the fluid level is low (the very lowest of the normal range, which I forget what that is exactly), but not quite "abnormally" low. We also discovered that the baby is on the larger size - as of Monday, they estimated him to be about 7 pounds, 6 ounces, which is the 85th percentile for this stage (36 weeks, at that time). That's actually the average size of most babies at birth! Evidently, his torso is the largest part, which is typical for babies of moms with gestational diabetes. (That little fact was extremely disappointing for me to hear because I have been diligent in managing my diet and my blood sugar levels, so I was really expecting to beat the odds of a "big" baby.) And the other thing we discovered, was that the umbilical cord seems to be looped around baby's legs/feet, which are down by my cervix.
That was a lot to take in! The doctor recommended doing a follow-up ultrasound in another week to check the fluid levels again (hopefully they won't continue to drop) and to drink lots of liquids in the meantime. However, she still recommended that we do the version procedure this week. She wanted us to schedule it for Wednesday (when she was on call), but because of a schedule conflict for Ryan, we chose to schedule it for Thursday (today) with another doctor.
So, that was the plan...up until late yesterday afternoon when I got a call from a nurse saying that Dr. Richardson (who was scheduled to perform the version) didn't recommend doing it because it would be too risky. I, of course, panicked at this news and demanded that the doctor call me directly to explain. She basically said that because of the baby's location, the low fluid level, and the umbilical cord around his legs, she couldn't recommend the procedure. Not only did she believe it probably wouldn't be successful, but she thought that there was a higher chance of putting the baby in distress. So, what do we do now?, you ask. Me, too. She recommended that we schedule a fetal non-stress test (NST) today, instead, to make sure the baby's heart rate is still good and to continue those twice a week until delivery.
I just came from the NST appointment, which was actually quite pleasant. I just sat in this nice recliner with my feet up and they had two monitors on my belly - one tracking baby's heart rate and one to measure any contractions I had. (I did have one during the 20 minute test, but if it weren't for the monitors going nuts, I never would have even known!) Apparently, everything looked fine, so that was a relief. And the new plan is this: I will have another NST next Tuesday, and then next Friday, I have the follow-up ultrasound (to check the fluid level), another NST, and an appointment with Dr. Richardson to consult about the almost certain c-section that we'll need to schedule. The nurse guessed that we'll probably schedule the c-section for Thursday, July 16 (two weeks from today) because I will be 39 weeks and 1 day and Dr. Richardson is on call that day. But I won't know that for sure until I meet with her next Friday.
I am still disappointed that I'm facing a c-section instead of a normal delivery, but I do feel a lot better now that we have a specific plan in place. I continue to remind myself that I have done everything I possibly (and safely) can to get this baby to turn, but at this point, it is truly out of my hands (and in God's). The realization that I won't get to experience that amazing moment when they pull the baby out and place him on my chest, in my arms for the first time, makes me tear up every time (even right now). But I know there will be all kinds of other special moments and I'm just so grateful that baby seems to be healthy and we'll both be in good hands. God is so good!
I'll try to post my regular weekend update with a photo in a few days, but I wanted to jot all this down for those of you who have been faithfully following along. Thanks for all your prayers and well-wishes. Keep 'em coming!