A lot happened in weeks 37 and 38 weeks! I had non-stress tests (NST Test) at 37 and 38 weeks. Read below to learn the results!
Welp. I wasn’t planning on writing another pregnancy update this soon, but so much happened in the last week and a half that I didn’t want to wait to document the craziness that was this past week. Thankfully, even though there were some really stressful, confusing times during the past week, the end conclusion is that our baby girl is happy, healthy and growing!
This update will be a little different than my previous updates as I’m just wanting to focus on a few incidents that took place recently. I still feel great and am going about my days normally. Today is more of a story time to update you all on what’s been happening.
Oh, and I also had my due date entered into my pregnancy app incorrectly, so I’m actually a few days farther along that I thought! When this post goes live I’ll be 38 weeks and 2 days along.
But let’s back up a bit and I’ll share what’s been going on:
36 Week Prenatal Appointment
About three weeks ago I had my 36th week prenatal appointment. It seemed to be a fairly uneventful appointment at first, but after some routine feeling around of my stomach and measurements, we ended up leaving thinking that our baby was breeched and that she may be measuring small. At my 33 week appointment 3 weeks prior, they had told me our baby girl’s head was down, so we were surprised to find that they were feeling a hard, round object in the upper right hand corner of my stomach. I was a little disappointed to hear that she had possibly flipped, but the midwives told me that she had plenty of time to flip again into a head down position and that I shouldn’t worry.
They did however want me to have another ultrasound to measure the size of our girl as they were concerned both I and her were measuring small. Since coming to America 2 months ago I had only gained 1 pound and my uterus was measuring small as well. They thought an ultrasound would be good to both confirm the breeched position and re-measure our girl to see how she was progressing. We scheduled the ultrasound for the next morning and prayed all evening that the midwives were either mistaken or that our girl would flip overnight!
The next day we had our ultrasound and the first thing the technician told us was that our girl was head down…way down in fact! We’re not sure if the midwives were mistaking her butt for her head the day before, or if she flipped overnight, but either way we were so happy to know she was in the correct position! In addition to us being able to see our girl again and all her organs and features, they also were able to get all the measurements they needed for the midwives to assess her growth. We just had to wait to hear back from them.
37 Weeks Pregnant
It took a while for us to hear back from the midwives on our baby girl’s measurements because we had had our ultrasound right before New Years. A few days later they called with the results and confirmed that our girl was indeed measuring small. She was just in the 10th percentile. The midwife was so affirming and kept telling me that I hadn’t done anything wrong, but that her small frame could have something to do with a poor plecenta, etc. She did however want to see me 2x a week from then on out; once to do a NST (non-stress test) to see how the baby’s heart rate was doing and secondly to have an ultrasound to measure my amniotic fluid levels and to see if her lungs were developing well. She said I should just go about life normally, but just make sure I was getting in plenty of calories.
The First Non-Stress Test (NST) At 37 Weeks
A few days after our ultrasound results we went in for our first NST. They placed two devices on my stomach, one to measure contractions and one to measure her heart beat, and I laid on the bed for about 20 minutes total while they monitored how the baby would respond to mild, braxton hicks contractions. They kept popping into the room to check the data and said that overall everything was looking good. At the end however, they did feel some concern over little dips in her heart rate at different times during the testing when I would have mild contractions. After some more consulting with the other midwives and a doctor from the hospital, we were told that they highly recommended getting an induction…that day.
We were stunned and confused as to why such a drastic recommendation was being made for something that at first didn’t seem too concerning. While still in a daze we tried to pay attention to all that the midwife was telling us. She basically said that our daughter was very small and was in a stressful environment inside my womb. They didn’t think she was getting everything she needed from my placenta so they felt like she would do better outside of the womb. She also mentioned a higher risk of a stillbirth with our situation.
All this information was so much to take in at once, but I’m so thankful that I had done my research (you can see the books I recommend for pregnancy here) and actually had some logical, educated questions to ask before freaking out.
Before quickly agreeing to having in induction we asked if there were other options. From what I’ve read, inductions create stronger and longer contractions which are more stressful for babies in the womb. So why would inducing our little girl be a good idea? Wouldn’t that just lead to her being under even more stress? Couldn’t that lead to an emergency C-section? I also asked lots of questions about what would happen once she was out of the womb. Would she go straight to the NICU? Would I still have the possibility of having skin-to-skin time or her rooming-in with me?
The midwife obviously didn’t have any solid answers as anything could happen during the birth process. At this point I didn’t care how our baby girl was born, I just cared that she was healthy and alive when she arrived. But Brett and I did want to make the best decision with what we knew.
We also asked if the last ultrasound could give us the estimated weight of our girl. We were shocked and happy to hear that she was already 5 lbs. 7 oz., because the midwives had made us feel like she was only a few pounds.
After more questions we decided to do more testing before jumping right into an early induction. They said we would have to go to the hospital for a longer, 2-hour stress test and that from there we could make a decision with those results. We may have to go straight into an induction after the test, or if things looked okay, we could cautiously decide to wait a while longer to induce.
We left the appointment in shock and scared that our baby girl was in a lot of danger. They said we could eat some lunch before the next test incase we went straight into an induction and didn’t have time to eat. While our meal was delicious, we didn’t care. We tried to process everything we had just heard. We cried in fear that our baby girl might be in danger. We made phone calls asking people to pray as we may be getting induced in the next hour or two. We asked God for wisdom as to whether or not we should induce or wait…if that was even an option.
The Second Non-Stress Test (NST) At 38 Weeks
With full bellies we made our way to the hospital and I was asked to change into a gown and was again hooked up to a monitor. The nurses at the hospital were so amazing and calm and exactly what we needed after a stressful appointment with our midwives. As the results started streaming in, they quickly told us that our baby girl was doing great so far. They continued to monitor me and check the results occasionally and the test lasted maybe an hour to and hour and a half. After a while of monitoring they told us that our baby girl was doing amazing. She wasn’t under stress when I had braxton-hicks contractions and her heart rate was perfect.
We were so happy that she was fine and healthy, but still a little confused that everything was so great when we had been so strongly encouraged to induce. The nurses said they had no problems with us going home and told us we could either go home or continue with the midwives’ suggestion to induce. To us the decision was easy. Go home! We didn’t want to induce when there was nothing wrong and our girl still needed more time in the womb to grow. We didn’t want to put her or I under more stressful contractions that could potentially be harmful for us both. So I got dressed and, with stunned expressions on our faces as to the whirlwind we had just gone through, we drove home.
I’m not going to lie. The next 2 days were stressful for me. Even though we had seen our girl’s heart beat and knew she was healthy and fine, I couldn’t get the word stillborn out of my head. I was overly aware of every move she made and was constantly making sure she didn’t go too long without some kind of movement. I barely slept the first night and just prayed that we had made the right decision.
Two days after that whirlwind, we had another ultrasound as previously scheduled. At that appointment we again saw how healthy and happy our baby girl was. Her heart was pumping, she was exercising her diaphragm (which shows she is not under stress) and there was plenty of amniotic fluid.
Yes, she’s measuring small, but she’s super healthy. We are so grateful that we didn’t jump straight into an induction and that she has more time to mature inside the womb and choose the right time for her own arrival. While we love our midwives, we are still a little confused and disappointed in how extreme they made the situation out to be. We’ve done lots of research and have found that NST often make normal, minor things seem more intense, which then often leads to more unnecessary interventions. We’re not saying that we know everything, and we’re thankful that our midwives shared all their concerns with us, but we are wondering if weekly Non-Stress Tests and Ultrasounds are needed from this point on. Our girl is happy and healthy and is probably just on the smaller side.
We’ll see what happens this week. We’ve never been through pregnancy and parenting before and are just constantly asking for wisdom as we made each decision along the way.
I’m hoping that I’ll be sharing her birth story in the next few weeks! I’d also love to know if any of you have had similar experiences that you can share.
Thanks for following along on this journey!
You can read more pregnancy updates here: