Non-Stress Tests

Somewhere around my 33rd week of pregnancy, when I went in for my routine appointment, my fundal height was suddenly measuring two weeks ahead of schedule. This represented a change from my usual “right on track” measurements that I’d been receiving from the time they started measuring my fundal height. Because of this I was sent back to the MFM to have a growth scan done and see what was going on inside my uterus and check to make sure there was nothing alarming for the baby.

As it turns out, the baby was measuring 36-37 weeks. Which meant at that point she was big. Everything else looked just fine, she was just measuing larger than expected. Given her size, the fact that I was “advanced maternal age” and my autoimmune problems, it was recommended that I start weekly monitoring at 35 weeks. This included a Non-Stress Test and a Biometric Profile.

What are these tests? Well, they are just fancy terms for having an extended doppler reading and a weekly ultrasound.

The Non-Stress Test

This test was exceedingly simple. Basically we went into the office, sat in a comfy chair and my belly was hooked up to sensors that would monitor the baby’s heartbeat, movement and my contractions. I was also given a clicker so that I could click anytime I felt a movement. You sat in the chair, hooked up to the machine, for about 20 minutes. I usually read or surfed the internet on my phone. It wasn’t bad at all! And I rather enjoyed listening to the baby’s heart chug away every week.

The Biometric Profile

This test was also fairly simple, at least my part of it. It was an ultrasoud where the tech worked through a checklist of things each week to make sure that there were no red flags. She would look at the four chambers of the heart, watch the baby breathe, look for fetal movement, look at the brain activity and measure my amniotic fluid. I’m sure there was more on the checklist, but I believe those were the big things. The ultrasound took roughly 20 minutes, and it was fun getting to see Kerrigan each week.

While I know some may have considered it a pain to have to have two seperate doctor’s appointments every week – the one with the MFM and the one with my OB – I really didn’t mind. I was so anxious throughout my pregnancy that I welcomed the extra care. I was more than happy to make the time for the  weekly tests, and it actually gave me a sense of calm to know that I had the weekly checks on the baby.

In the end, we did a final growth scan on Kerrigan, and she measured very large at an estimated 9 pounds 15 ounces. The MFM did tell us that the larger the baby, the less accurate the readings are from the ultrasound and she would guess the baby would be somewhere between 9 and 9.5 pounds. She told us we were right on the cusp of where she’d recommend a c-section, but I had a large frame and might be fine with a vaginal birth.

If you’ve read my birth story, you know that we opted for a scheduled c-section after Kerrigan didn’t arrive on her due date. She ended up being 9 pounds, 13 ounces and my OB indicated after seeing her that I wouldn’t have been able to birth her shoulders because of how broad they were. When all was said and done, I was happy that I was sent for that first growth scan. I was happy to have the extra weekly monitoring and I was happy that we did that final growth scan at 39 weeks. And, really, who doesn’t want to listen to their baby and watch them grow for an hour a week?

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