Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wading back into the pool of worry

After the uneventful NST and AFI this morning at the hospital, the weekly visit to the OB seemed like a formality. No contractions, no pain, no bleeding; weight gain on track; BP normal; no protein in urine; cervix soft but undilated, strep B culture negative; head down. Things couldn't be going more steadily, or more like a normal pregnancy, I thought, even feeling a little proud of my body and the big, flopping trout inside.

So then the OB measured the fundal height. Then measured it again. And again. And once more, moving the bottom end of the tape farther down than ever before--all the way to the other side of the bone, in fact.

Last Tuesday, at 34 weeks 6 days, I measured 34 weeks: close enough. The height had gone up a week for each previous week between visits; the OB said it was "perfect growth." But today, one day shy of 36 weeks, and even with starting the tape distinctly farther down, I measured just 33 weeks. She smiled and said it was nothing to worry about, since the twice-weekly testing was going so well. And she seemed so confident that I just waltzed on out of the office without thinking or questioning.

By the time I got to the car, though, it had started to niggle at me just a bit. By the time I got home, I was feeling quite ill at ease. Now, moments after my first Googling of "fundal height behind," I am downright freaked out.

How could she have shrunk?

I would really like to know.

Her amniotic fluid is fine. Her movement, acceleration and baseline heart rate are fine. How is it that she is smaller today than she was a week ago? How, exactly, is that possible?

27 Comments:

Blogger Cricket said...

Did they mention station? (Doesn't seem like they would as early as 33 wks, tho.) If her head is engaged downward, perhaps you'll measure smaller?

Also, it was the same person measuring each time?

Just throwing it out there...

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

I was thinking the same thing as Cricket. If you still are freaked, can you ask for an ultrasound to check growth? Can they check growth that far along?

6:09 PM  
Anonymous lala said...

Cricket has the right idea. Usually the head drops in to the pelvis a little later on but still you do lose fundal height when the engagement occurs. Sounds like she may just come out a little earlier or stay in the pelvis longer. Has your heatburn gone away, if you had any? Are you peeing more often than you were last week?
I thought you were further ahead than me.......

6:17 PM  
Blogger Cat, Galloping said...

i freaked once, earlier along than you, somewhere in the 20s, that my belly had gotten smaller, went in for ultrasound and all, and they said that just the baby shifting positions can make things different. also, like cricket said, i think it matters if it's the same person measuring. (incidentally, my dr. did not measure. note once. he said something about "gestalt" and i was all, whatever...)

6:28 PM  
Blogger Lindy said...

If your amniotic fluid is fine, I think you're going to be fine. I was told that up to two inches off one way or the other can be completely normal due to shifting position, etc. A breech position can also make fundal height lower than it was before. If it's not progressing at the next appointment, you could ask for a u/s to check on growth. But they're watching you so closely, I'm sure everything's fine.

6:32 PM  
Anonymous Z said...

maybe she's deeper down in the birth canal and that's what's causing the smaller measurement? maybe last time she was a little off measuring?

6:47 PM  
Blogger Anna H. said...

Oh, Bugs. I know nothing of these things, but I'm sending so much love to you and Jeff.

We're here. Please let us know if you need anything.

xxoo

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Patricia said...

Different measurers sound like a good theory. But Good Lord, like you need this right now.

I say, through a tantrum and make them double and triple check. Blame it on hormones.

Good luck!

8:51 PM  
Blogger Millie said...

I don't know anything at all about this but just wanted to say I was thinking of you and your little one.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Ova Girl said...

God that sounds so stressful. Some very wise comments above however. And maybe asking for an ultrasound is a good idea.


I'm sorry Bugs it's so unfair that you should have to worry about this now.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous sox said...

your dropping! woo-hoo! you don't want to go past your due date and push out a whopper like i did. she could have also pulled her legs up- nothing to worry about.

4:48 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I agree... Knowing that your AFI is good and that you had a good NST, I think it means that the baby moved.

I was also told that fundal measurements aren't very reliable by the mid 30's because the baby's position can cause so much variablity.

But if you're worried... Ask for more monitoring and bring up the subject of early-ish induction. Also... consider doing daily kick counts if you aren't already.

It really does sound like everything is ok though!!

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Jen said...

I think I remember reading in one of my books that yes, when the baby drops in your pelvis, your stomach measurements can change.

I know, though, that it's really freaky and scary, and I hope you get some reassurance from your doctors. It seems to me that the belly measurement is the least sophisticated of the tests, and if your more thorough tests show growth and amniotic levels okay, then I would trust their accuracy a little more.

Thinking of you, sweetie.

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Carla Hinkle said...

The exact same thing happened to me at about the same time. My OB sent me for an ultrasound just to double check that everything was OK, which it was (just baby moving down a bit). Though I didn't end up going early! 1 week late. But still. More than likely nothing to worry about, but maybe an ultrasound would be in order (just for peace of mind).

8:04 AM  
Blogger Ana said...

I lost fundal height when the baby's head engaged on both pregnancies. That's most likely what happened.

8:38 AM  
Blogger penelope said...

please don't worry!

my midwives were completely blasé about the measurements changing - it seems to depend on who's doing it, the weather, etc. frankly, the heart rate seems much more important during those visits - hang in there!

10:12 AM  
Blogger Cass said...

What everyone else said. Not that I know anything about this, but it seems entirely reasonable that a change in position, or a drop into the pelvis, would totally change the measurements. My only hrumph of the day is to the doctor for not offering an explanation of some sort as reassurance - just on general principles.

Thinking of you, hon.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Wavery said...

I'm glad some of your other commenters seem to know something of this, how odd.

Hope you're doing well.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Becca said...

I'm a lurker. Your post made me laugh. I just wanted to say I shrunk at the end too and I think it was due to the babe slipping further down into your hips. It is all going to be okay! Many happy thoughts...

1:51 PM  
Blogger DeadBug said...

I can't tell you how big a relief it is to read all of your comments. I haven't had the courage to do any more Googling on the subject but your theories all sound very promising--especially the notion that she is engaging downward as I've felt a lot more pressure recently. I will try not to have any more (well, at least not any FREQUENT) shrinking baby thoughts. I have an AFI ultrasound scheduled for Friday and will ask if it looks like she's moved down; perhaps they'll be able to give me that final piece of reassurance.

Thank you, dear people!

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

As the others have said, it's a matter of position. Babys don't shrink. ;-) But depending on how the lil one is twisting inside you, the measurements will be a little different. Take three deep breaths. It's all fine.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Menita said...

My doc doesn't measure precisely for the reasons other people have mentioned (baby shifting, engagement, etc.). If you want reassurance, ask for an ultrasound, but the NST looks nice.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

This happened to Emilin too. The baby drops and you lose height. Apparently a lot of practices stop measuring fundal height at some point.

Also, don't freak out if the AFI is different from before. It is a very, very subjective measurement. Just make sure you are well hydrated before it. Don't go nuts with water or anything, just don't let yourself be dehydrated when you go in. We (well, Em, I wasn't pregnant) had a whole long saga one night because of different people taking the AFI and her being dehydrated.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Ornery said...

Thinking of you, Jeff, and the little trout!

1:34 PM  
Blogger instamom said...

my doctor measured me, and said "wow. your measurements are quite different from last time." he didn't seem concerned, because he said that different persons measure different ways. were your measurements taken by different people?

10:37 AM  
Anonymous amber said...

You already got some great comments but I just wanted to add if it were anything to worry about I'm sure they would not have let you leave. You are almost there. Breath, my dear. You're going to be a mommy very soon. I'm just so thilled for you.

5:05 PM  
Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

What everyone said!

Let me whip out my experience through four babies: *whip*

She's just moved, the squirmy little trout!

It may be something as profound as her having started to engage or something as trivial as her having squnched her legs up. 'S ok.

Thinking of you!

-Blue

8:12 PM  

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