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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Non-Stress Testing

Since 34 weeks, the doctor's at Kaiser require me to come in twice a week for non-stress testing due to a low hormone level result from the genetic screening tests conducted in the first trimester.  This low level puts me at risk for preelampsia and can indicate that the placenta is not providing enough nutrition/oxygen to Avery which can lead to pre-term labor and low birth-weight.  She has been completely normal in every ultrasound and test that has been conducted thus far, but apparently the further along you are in your pregnancy, the risks I listed above can get even higher.  So, off to the doctor I go, twice a week (plus childbirth classes, and my regular check ups.  Feel like I should have a special parking spot at the doctor's office!)
Each appointment entails getting an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid levels, blood pressure check, and then they strap my belly up to two monitors: one that measures Avery's heart rate and one that measures my contractions (pic above).
What they are looking for is for her heart rate to increase 15 points over her average for 10 seconds, 2 separate times (usually her average hr is 140 bpm, so they want her to get to 155 bpm two times for 10 seconds each time). Also, I am given a clicker to track when I feel her moving.
So far, she hasn't been able to have these increases on her own, so the nurses and I have to be creative to "spook" her.  I eat ice chips, change positions, and drink juice. Sometimes, they use this buzz wand that makes a loud noise, and put it on my belly to freak her out. That thing rarely works for her, she is generally pretty calm in there!  Putting me on my right side and drinking juice seem to do the trick the best.
So far, everything has been great, my fluid and blood pressure are measuring exactly as they should.
I enjoy getting to see her on the ultrasound machine twice a week (she has been head-down for a few weeks now, and the nurses say she has lots of hair!!!) and it is generally relaxing laying there listening to the sounds of her heartbeat fill the room.
Tomorrow, I have a growth-scan ultrasound to see exactly how much she weighs! My guess? 5.5-6 lbs...What do you think??

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