Here is the latest picture of my little thinker, Arabella… you just can’t beat the hand on the chin, am I right? This was taken on April 1, 2014 when they performed a biophysical profile. Baby passed with flying colors receiving an 8 out of 8. She was moving around like crazy, practicing breathing and her heart rate was strong, just like it always is. The doctors were incredibly impressed considering that I was only 24 weeks at the time and wasn’t even feeling her movements yet. The first kick I did feel came just a few days later and now the amazing feeling happens like clockwork.
Going along with her incredible development was another milestone, Arabella has reached the “viable fetus” stage, which means that if I was to go into labor and have to deliver her, most likely she would survive. When I told my father about this important stage of pregnancy he said “I don’t think that they had a viable fetus stage when your mother was pregnant”. In fact he is correct about this, it was not so long ago that a baby born earlier than 37 weeks (the earliest “full term”) was put into an ICU, given oxygen and fingers were crossed in hopes baby would survive. Thanks to scientific research and advancements we now have much more time than we did before…and even a baby earlier than 27 weeks has a fighting chance. Treatment is now so specific that premies are put into one of 3 categories: Late preterm (34-37 weeks), Very preterm (less than 32 weeks) or Extremely preterm (less than 25 weeks). The slew of tests that can be run on a premature baby to determine exactly what it is experiencing is overwhelming. From ultrasounds of the brain to pediatric respirators we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were before.
Another big moment we experienced was not quite so positive, but I can still thank science for helping put my mind at ease. I had to go to labor and delivery because I was experiencing incredibly painful contractions. It took about seven hours of being closely monitored and pumped with fluids before they went away, apparently Braxton Hicks contractions can be brought on by dehydration…and silly me, I didn’t even know I was dehydrated. The part of the experience that amazed me the most was the fetal fibronectin test which allowed them to determine if it was labor or not through a swab of my cervix. Even though I was petrified by the contractions this tiny test gave us a 99.9% negative on if it was true labor or not. Once I knew I was in the clear the relief was overwhelming. Sure I was still in pain, but I knew baby was not leaving the womb and that was all that mattered.
So now as I finish writing this baby girl is kicking away and it feels amazing. Thank you science for keeping me and baby safe.