It’s been interesting to be pregnant. Although, when is it not? And I, the Type A, competitive person that I am, have always mentally had a rank/seniority mentality on pregnancy. If you see another pregnant lady and she is farther along than you, she gets the “win” of respect. However, if she is less far along in her pregnancy, but onto a higher number of pregnancies than you (e.g. she is on her third and you are on your second), she pulls rank and thus gets props for being farther into parenting. It is really dumb and, up until this post, never been revealed. Needless to say, I am enjoying pulling rank lately. Is this your first? Nope, fourth. Apparently, I am easily amused. But after that part is over, I prefer to not get into more details than that. Pregnancy is a public thing and I am at a loss for knowing where we fit in as parents. Certainly, we are having our fourth child, but we never had much time with Reece, Britta, and Scarlett together. We both agree that we manage three kids and that many days, Reece requires the most energy. Still, we don’t know the management of three both physically and mentally. It feels a little strange–we don’t fit in anywhere other than the chiseled out, unique place we have landed.
Moving right along, if you read along with Like Olive Shoots or you know our family, then you know that we have a history with IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted) babies. We had our 19-week ultrasound a month ago and, while most measurements were spot on, the head-to-abdomen ratio was 1/100 of a point out of normal range. The head is smaller proportionally to the abdomen. It is the trademark of our babies! (And wow, has it been helpful come labor and delivery time!) However, it was enough to send us back in today to get a repeat measurement. This being our fourth time around, we knew to expect this and assumed we would be heavily monitored throughout the pregnancy anyway. I went in for the ultrasound today expecting things to be pretty normal. I was hoping that, for once, things would be straightforward. I guess they are normal for us, because in consistent fashion, the baby’s abdomen has now fallen to the <5%. Again, we are not overly worried, nor is our doctor, but it means that higher monitoring will occur. The good news is that the baby is proportional, meaning that the head, abdomen, and femur (leg) measurements are all consistent. Baby was measuring spot on the due date last month. Now, all three measurements are consistently nearly a week and a half behind. I had to remind Terry that Scarlett was already two to three weeks behind at this point. This is usually what happens. The 20 week ultrasound goes normally and then we start falling behind. Reece was the only one of our three to have real threats to his health with the many things that were happening. All of his complications have been considered random and neither of our girls experienced those same anomalies, despite their small sizes. Hence, most of the size issues have to do with genetics. (Ahem–I’ll give that credit to Terry who was also a tiny baby; I can not claim the same for myself!) Reece dropped way off the charts right before the last month of pregnancy (measuring five weeks behind!), weighing in at 4 lbs., 2 oz. Britta was never technically IUGR and remains our family “bruiser” at 6 lbs., 7 oz., although she tracked two weeks behind during the pregnancy. This is comical, because she is tiny now. She is our smallest of three small children. At over three years old, her 2T shorts fit her perfectly this summer! She weighs 26 lbs. with all her clothing on and if she hasn’t yet gone to the bathroom! Scarlett was our most consistently growth-restricted throughout the pregnancy and was born at 5 lbs., 13 oz. Post birth weight, she is our biggest baby, although still not even to the 50% on most measurements. In retrospect, while I ate well and did everything in a textbook, healthy manner with her (including exercise restrictions my last 8 weeks), I know the stress of last year probably didn’t help anything with her growth. In summary, we have small kids and this fourth baby is no exception.
We found out last month that we are having a boy! It’s exciting and complicated, but we are thrilled to meet him! As it was with both girls, I only know the children I have, so it is hard to imagine yet another version of Terry and me. With Britta, I could only picture Reece and with Scarlett, I could only imagine Britta as our girl. So now, it is hard to think of another boy being in our family and having it not be Reece. But he has a whole lot of cool cars, trucks, and trains waiting for him to play with! Actually, I spend very little time thinking of that. It feels vulnerable to start imagining him being with us, so I try to focus one day at a time. If something should happen, I don’t want to have to erase the things I have envisioned for him. It’s hard to do, but I guess that’s the way I’m coping with it. Regardless, we are excited to be having another baby and this, very likely, will be our last. I’m trying to savor this last pregnancy, but I sure could use a glass of wine these days.