We had a growth scan this morning so got to get a peek at baby–quite a few peeks, as it turns out. They were able to image the face just fine and baby was awake and performing, so we got pics of tongue sticking out, yawning, eyes open, foot in the eye…oh yes, digging into the eye with the big toe! Later the big toe was getting chewed on, then the forearm was getting a turn. Baby also had hiccups that we could see and feel while all of this was going on, so one theory is baby was mad about that and had to take it out on whatever was handy, his/her own foot and arm being the nearest objects. We both thought this baby looks a lot like Joseph, our oldest, given the limitations of ultrasound and only 32 weeks gestation.
Baby persists with a non-problematic variation to the umbilical vein (these resolve at birth when the umbilical connection closes off) and with a missing gall bladder. S/he will get his/her very own ultrasound after birth to look for it, but it’s not a major concern at this point. Other than that, growth and fluid levels looked good, with baby weighing about 3 lbs. 13 oz., right around the 45th percentile–an average-sized baby! I am not, in the general sense, thrilled about the near-certainty of an induction again, but fairly confident I can manage a smaller-than-the-others baby for a third birth even with (ugh) pitocin.
As for the timing of baby’s birth, the Triumvirate (oncology, cardiology, OB) are meeting the week after next to discuss the whole situation. How far into the pregnancy do we chance going, given that it would be ideal to give birth two weeks after a chemo treatment? Inducing earlier means an earlier baby, so every week we can wait is beneficial, but me going into labor when my resources are at their lowest has drawbacks too. Both boys went past their due dates so ordinarily I would feel pretty safe about that, but this time is its own ballgame.
I was able to talk about some of this yesterday at my “nadir visit” with my oncologist. At this point I am certainly going for treatment next week, but after that things are not clear; the third treatment Before delivery seems likely but is still under consideration. I did get blood work done and the results were pretty good–my white count was down a bit and my iron is holding steady for now; other metabolic functions are fine. My protein was low, so once again I have resolved to eat as high-protein, high-calorie as I can. Ice cream? Sour cream? Avocado? Eggy-cheesy-bacony goodness? Yes, please! Not, pregnancy notwithstanding, all at the same time, though.
After that visit (in which, incidentally, he made me cry by asking how I was doing and being sympathetic and supportive–aaaagh! LOL) I got my first look at the infusion center where I will be receiving chemo treatments from here on. I will also be there every Wednesday for blood work and PICC line dressing changes. The chair was comfy, there was a flat-screen TV that I didn’t use, and a nice man brought me ice water and some cookies. I might bring my own milkshake next time. The nurses were positive and competent, and I thank God for all of the dedicated people who do this job and who want to do this job. You make a huge difference to the person in the chair or in the bed!
It was a busy place full of people attached to bags of fluid on IV poles…all there for the same reason I will be next week: they have cancer and they are fighting it. I have cancer, and I am fighting it. So many people just in my little corner are facing this, and too many more in the rest of the world. I am praying these days for a family member and several friends who are fighting this battle too, and I ask you to add these intentions to your prayers for me.
One final note on this midway-day (and I just looked at the clock and realized it is exactly a week since my first treatment began…once again, the Hour of Divine Mercy!). I’ve had a lot of people (everyone, really) ask how I am doing, and a lot of people ask Chris the same thing. I have been muddling along with all of this, but facing the start of treatment gave me the final kick toward making an appointment with a counselor at the cancer center. Am I “okay”? Sure? No? Check back in five minutes? It’s hard to answer. The big-picture answer is that yes, I have hope and firmly believe we will make it through this. The right-now answer is a jumble of emotion and confusion mixed with that hope and the knowledge of being incredibly blessed in many ways through this. The one does not erase the other, though, so sometimes I am frankly a royal mess. I think it’s important to say that in the middle of all of the information and “excitement” about the start of treatment and the coming of baby.
And, I got my haircut. Shorter than I ever have. Another adjustment, but a good step. And Joseph thinks the idea of my hair falling out is “weird” in a funny way. Good enough.