I had my high risk OB appointment last Thursday at 28 weeks and to say it didn't go as planned would be an understatement.
It likely doesn't help that my regular OB is very laid back. Any concern I've ever had she dismisses, and to be honest, I liked that. Kept my anxiety nice and low. Maybe the fact that she sent me to a high risk OB should have turned on a light bulb in my head, but it didn't.
The doctor came in and had my heart imaging that I have had over the past 2 years with him. All this time, all the doctors I have seen have been focused on the ejection fraction percentage and nothing else, so that was what I focused on as well. My last two heart echos had normal ejection fractions. This doctor agreed that being that they were normal was a good thing, the fact that structurally my heart is abnormal is "disconcerting." My ventricles are dilated and the walls of my heart are enlarged, indicating that although the pumping strength of my heart has normalized (which is what the ejection fraction percentage represents), structurally my heart is indicating that it still has to work harder than normal to function and pump blood throughout my body.
Looking back, I should have been seeing a cardiologist all this time. Too late for that, though, but now that I know, I will be seeing one the rest of my life.
The scary part is, from the 28th week of pregnancy until 48 hours after delivery (his words, not mine), the heart is under the most pressure, as the demands of the baby are very high, and the amount of extra fluid the body has to deal with is also very high. A normal heart works harder at this point, and when you have a heart that works harder under regular conditions, pregnancy can be very, very taxing.
The doctor did not like this at all. He got me into a cardiologist for this coming Tuesday, and took me off work until I am evaluated, as any unnecessary stress can be very harmful to me. It's super scary. I know my baby is perfectly healthy (I had an ultrasound last week and everything looked great). But my health is on the line in a way I never realized. I am at a huge risk for going into congestive heart failure, and other scary things that I refuse to think about. Another scary thing is I am new to this health system and I do not qualify for FMLA leave until March 16. If I am taken off work after I see the cardiologist, which is a HUGE possibility, I lose my job and my benefits. This thought makes my feel physically ill, so I refuse to think about that right now, although Jay and I have run through every single scenario, and I do feel we are mostly prepared if something happens. I am going day by day. If I can make it to March 16 and start my leave, that still only buys me 12 weeks of protection, with a SMALL amount of income, but I'd still have benefits and my job would be held. But only for 12 weeks. In an ideal situation, I would carry this baby as close to term as possible, but at most, that would give me 4 weeks after the birth to still have job and insurance protection. I would not be able to return to work at 4 weeks post-partum no matter what, so I would still be put into the position of losing both my job and benefits. The only way this situation would be better, is it would give me 12 weeks to figure something out, instead of losing everything immediately. I also hold onto hope that the cardiologist will not be as alarmed by my situation, and allow me to work as long as I am able, but at the same time, I don't want to go into this appointment on Tuesday wearing my rose colored glasses and get knocked off my feet for the second time. Again, I'll just take things day to day and hope it all works out.
In other news, with every little kick, wiggle, and squirm I feel out of my sweet little growing boy, I tell myself it is his way of reminding me that everything will be okay. Because it will.