i had a 3rd trimester ultrasound yesterday.

it's not something most pregnant mamas get...i think most only get the one around 19 or 20 weeks.

i had my first (and i thought only) ultrasound at 22 weeks.  but they found something...different.

my umbilical cord only had 2 vessels.  umbilical cords usually have 2 arteries and 1 vein.  the vein carries oxygenated blood and nutrients from the mother's blood supply by way of the placenta to the baby.  the 2 arteries carry nutrient-less, deoxygenated blood and the baby's waste from baby back to the placenta and into the mother's bloodstream where she can dispose of it through her system.  really, the umbilical cord's basic functions are to bring nourishment and oxygen to the baby.

the technical term for my condition is called single umbilical artery (SUA).  it means that instead of having the 2 arteries that carries out all the waste and deoxygenated blood i only have 1.  it's a rare condition and only happens to 1% of pregnant women.  yes, folks...1% of all pregnant mothers and it happens to me.  huh. kind of like having the e antibody.  rare an uncommon seem to be the theme for this pregnancy.

one obvious complication from having this type of condition is that there could be a higher risk of baby not getting enough oxygen through out the remainder of the pregnancy.  labor can also be a higher risk for baby since contractions limit the amount of oxygen the baby gets (pitocin probably  makes it worse since it intensifies contractions and speeds up labor).  sometimes, SUA is associated with other structural and chromosomal abnormalities in the baby and growth restriction.  if the ultrasound finds any abnormalities including heart, brain, and bone abnormalities then the risk for chromosomal abnormalities goes up by 50%.  chromosomal abnormalities include trisomy 13, trisomy 18 and VERTA association (vertebral defects, anal atresia, tracheosophageal fistula with esophageal atresia and radial dysplasia).  however if SUA is an isolated incident with no other abnormalities found in the ultrasound then the risk for any chromosomal abnormalities is very low (0-2.6%).

the 22 week ultrasound indicated that our sweet babe was healthy with no other abnormalities aside from the SUA detected.  a fetal echocardiogram was recommended in addition to a 3rd trimester ultrasound.  the fetal echocardiogram checks to make sure there are no heart issues with the fetus.  we decided to decline based on the 22 week ultrasound results and the fact that there is really nothing you can do for the baby until he/she is born.  terminating the pregnancy because of abnormalities, genetic disorders or the like is out of the question so it would be a "waste" of money and resources for us to do the fetal echocardiogram.  the reasoning behind the 3rd trimester ultrasound was to check baby's growth, since SUA has been associated with low birthweight and a higher chance of stillbirth.  however, based on feedback from my midwife and other sources i've read if you have an isolated condition of SUA then there really isn't a problem.

i would have been fine without the 3rd trimester ultrasound.  especially since at my last visit i was measuring big (no growth problem there).  baby's movements have also been regular so as of now there is no concern for stillbirth.  but i suppose it's a nice (and expensive) treat to be able to "see" my sweet baby again.  and of course on the off-chance that a stilbirth does happen, then...well, i don't really want to think about that but, you know...

praise God, everything was fine.  baby is 3 lbs and some change, and i'm measuring right where i'm supposed to be (maybe 2 days ahead).  i almost cried seeing that sweet baby face on the screen and watching his heart beat.  i love this little one already and have yet to meet her.  it really doesn't matter whether he will be born with abnormalities or not.  we will love you just the same, little one!

we put our trust in the one who created our sweet babe.  the one who created each and everyone of us.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.  
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,  
intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.
psalm 139: 13-16

there is no doubt in my mind that whatever happens with this pregnancy that the Lord has it under control. no amount of tests and monitoring will make any difference on the outcome of this pregnancy.

we put it all in God's hands and wait.  wait and see what he has planned for us.

for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
jeremiah 29:11

more on SUA (in case you happen to be among the 1% or are just interested in finding out more):


Fresh Mommy said...

SO incredibly excited for you!! I was in tears reading this post and in the good news from the ultrasound, you, your family and sweet little babe are in my prayers. :) I can't wait to see that sweet baby face in real pictures!! :)


Michelle V. said...

All I can say is: LOVE YOU BIG SISTER! I know this little one will be perfect just like your other kids! I can't wait to meet "it"!

jane walts said...

those pix are awesome, you could see how dramatically the size of your tummy have grown every 2 weeks..

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