I woke up on December 6th, exhaled and smiled. I had made it through the first trimester. I continued to meet with Dr. OB, and she recommended that I see Dr. Real Deal.
Dr. Real Deal is regarded as one of the premier maternal-fetal medicine specialists in the region. She performed the CVS test on me back in November. (Yes, she was the doctor who tried to show me a sample of my placenta up close and personal!)
In our first office visit together, Dr. Real Deal reviewed my medical history with me. She had a lot of concerns about the potential complications caused by one of my health conditions and my advanced maternal age. (Each factor individually is linked to premature births and low birth weight. The combination of the two increases the risks.)
“So, you’ll be giving birth at Georgetown?” Dr. Real Deal asked.
“Well, I’d prefer to give birth at Sibley Hospital since I’ve been going there for 13 years,” I replied.
“If you go into labor before 32 weeks, you’ll have to give birth here [at Georgetown],” she explains.
“I realize that, but I’m really hoping for a C-section at Sibley the last few days in May.”
“I don’t think you should get a C-section,” the doctor informed me as my eyes opened wide like saucers. She continued, “Your Ehlers Danlos puts you at a greater risk of bleeding during surgery. The risks would be significantly lower with a vaginal birth.”
“One of my other doctors actually recommended a C-section because of the Ehlers Danlos. And, honestly, I prefer I wasn't even awake when I give birth! I wish it was like when my mom had me. They knocked her out, and I was handed to her when she came out of recovery.”
“Well, you have to be awake medically,” Dr. Real Deal commented as I nodded. “And, with Ehlers Danlos, there’s a greater chance that you’ll need a blood transfusion. That’s another reason I’d prefer you at Georgetown. We have a better blood bank than Sibley.”
She paused before confirming that I had never received a blood transfusion before. “Hmm…you’ve had a lot a surgeries, and you never had any bleeding problems?”
She continued, “Maybe you have an atypical case of Ehlers Danlos? [Pause.] Given your health history, you do seem to be atypical."
I laughed out loud and agreed with her.
“It sounds like you’re approaching this pregnancy from a place of health, rather than a place of sickness. That’s a healthier approach.” From her expression, it seemed as though my attitude surprised her.
I explained, “That’s the only way I know how to be. I’ve worked very hard at not getting emotional or stressed out over that which I can’t control. If there’s a problem, I’ll deal with it. If there’s a medical necessity for me to deliver at Georgetown or have a vaginal birth, I will. But, I’m going to continue to plan for a C-section in late May at Sibley unless something changes.”
Dr. Real Deal recommended that I get sonograms every two weeks from the beginning of January through the end of my pregnancy. She would like to make sure that the fetus is growing normally and that my cervix doesn’t grow until the proper time. From my perspective, I'll appreciate seeing that all (hopefully) continues to be going well with my pregnancy. And, if a problem arises, we'll be able to deal with it sooner, rather than later.
To some, looking at a situation realistically can be disconcerting. For me, it’s pragmatic. The "Real Deal" approach can be a good thing!
What did my January sonograms show? How am I progressing in my second trimester?
To be continued…