Sunday, May 15, 2011

20 Weeks - Half-way there

My 20 week mark was a bit of an adventure.

The night before I hit 20 weeks, I listened to Katelyn's heartbeat with my home doppler for the first time in about a week. I noticed it sounded like her heart was periodically skipping a beat. I thought it was because she was moving around so much and maybe I was hearing it wrong.

The next morning, I listened again, and she was definitely skipping beats. Other times it seemed the beats were too close together or her heart rate got a little bit faster then slower.

I read online that heart arrhythmias happen to a small percentage of babies, and rarely indicates a serious problem, but I still felt a bit nervous. I did what Dr. M always told me to do if there were any changes or I felt concerned, I called his office.

A couple hours later, his assistant returned my call. Dr. M was out of the office that day. She tried to tell me I’m not really hearing a missing heartbeat, that my machine is just malfunctioning. (Well, I’m sorry, but I have the exact same machine you use.) She said that maybe I am just hearing my own heartbeat, or that I’m just not hearing it right. (I’m not an idiot. I’ve been listening to my baby’s heartbeat for almost 3 months now. I know when it’s different. It’s one thing to tell me an irregular heartbeat is not a problem; I was expecting to hear that. But don’t try to dismiss what I know I am hearing.)

Then she says they can’t see me until next Friday. So I ask her, “Just *assume* my baby’s heartbeat is irregular, is that something to be concerned about?” and she says it is, because it can indicate a problem. So why not believe me then and check it out sooner??? Honestly, I expected them to call and say don’t worry about it. I did not expect them to not believe me. Ryan is the last person in the world to overreact about something or make a big deal and the minute he heard Katelyn's heartbeat he said, “That’s not right”. He still wasn’t super concerned, but even he knew right away it was different.

She said she'd try to find an earlier appointment for me and would call me back. I cried for about an hour. It's an awful feeling to believe something might be wrong, but have no one believe you.

Luckily, Dr. M called me back instead of his assistant. I didn't hear the call, so he left me a voicemail. He said that abnormal heartbeats usually appear around mid-20 weeks of your pregnancy, and since I’m only 20 weeks, that’s why they were thinking it might be the machine. But he said he trusts what I hear, so if I am feeling really worried about it, he wanted me to go to Labor and Delivery and have them check it out since he was out of the office on family business. Otherwise, I should call Monday morning and they’ll get me in Monday or Tuesday. It was just nice to hear someone validate what I *knew* I was hearing (and Ryan heard, and my mom heard - via a phone call…).

I did not go to L&D. Instead, I did some research. I saw a few explanations regarding why Katelyn's heartbeat would be irregular. One was dehydration and another was caffeine. I drank a caffeinated soda the day before because I was having one of my migraines. Although I had done that before without any ill effects, I still I wondered about it. Just in case, I began drinking a ton of water.

I also found an interesting study... it linked cocoa butter to fetal heart arrhythmias. While there was some debate on the topic, there were conclusive findings that the use of this product caused some babies to have an irregular heartbeat, most likely due to the absorption of caffeine through the skin. Another group of doctors found that simply having the cocoa butter product on your skin can cause false doppler readings, making the heartbeat appear to be irregular. All very interesting.

After my ultrasound the previous Thursday (where Katelyn's heartbeat was regular and normal), I began using cocoa butter all over my mid-section. I had been using it for a week when I listened to her heartbeat again and found it irregular. I am very sensitive to caffeine. Could it be that my little girl is the same way?

I immediately washed the cocoa butter off my skin and continued flushing my system with water. Within 12 hours, her heartbeat sounded a bit better. 24 hours later, there were no more skipped heartbeats, but it still wasn't quite normal. As of tonight, she seems to be back on schedule.

I know that this incident could have been caused by anything. It could have been a fluke or maybe the nurse was right and my machine was acting up. As much as I hate to think something I was doing was causing the arrhythmia, I still can't help wondering if the caffeine had something to do with it. Regardless, I am relieved that she seems to be doing better. And the cocoa butter is put away for good.

Somewhere in the midst of all this chaos, Ryan snapped a 20 week pic. I know I fought the idea of doing regular 'belly pics' at first, but I have to admit, I am loving watching this belly grow each month.

And a few new things about pregnancy... My body feels like an old woman's if I get up after sitting too long, it's hard to stand on my right leg because of a weird tendon that is constantly feels 'pulled', Katelyn is doing less popcorn movements and more kicks, my feet swelled up for the first time, I am tired but have a feeling I will never sleep through the night again, and I am loving it all.


Mrs. Lydon said...

You look absolutely magnificent! And Im glad katelyn is getting her beats back to normal. hugs

Savannah said...

Sorry it was an emotional few days for you, I'm glad her heartbeat is sounding better again. Its so tough to wait SOO LONG to get pregnant so I think every little thing is ok to be concerned about. Congrats on being half way there.

No Baby Ruth said...

Wow, that's amazing. I had no idea that caffeine could have such an effect. And I REALLY had no idea that cocoa butter could be absorbed like that. It definitely sounds, though, like the caffeine could be the culprit... regardless I am glad that it seems that everything is back on track!! And you are looking great!!

FirstTimeMom said...

I'm glad you figured out what was wrong with her heart. Good mommy :) And I'm glad your doctor did call you back. What a great doc! YOu look great in your picture! I too loved tracking my belly growth week to week and I still love looking back on my pics now that my little buy is 5 months old.

Sarah said...

So sorry you had that scare :( But glad SHE is "beating" back to normal now :) SHE???! Ok, I must have pissed a post somewhere in all my BFN drama. Last I knew you had a poll for Katelyn or Jack. I picked a Katelyn :) CONGRATS!!!

Gina said...

Check out coconut oil as an all natural alternative moisturizer. (Avail at health food stores or in the food prep aisle at whole foods)I used it daily on my tummy and chest and am stretch mark free! :) I was told that when you are pregnant, you shouldn't put anything on your skin that you can't put in your mouth. Bing! Coconut oil! Has healthy fatty acids for cooking as well. ;)
I also Highly recommend these open-toe, knee-high compressive stockings from Rite Aid. My legs were aching and swelling early on from standing all day at work. After I started wearing these every day, my legs felt great, even when I worked the day before I gave birth!
One last thing, you look so beautiful! Bryce, Natalie n I are hoping to come to your neck of the woods at the end of May, hope to see you!