Baby Novak and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Around ManilaForeign Service Life
February 26, 2011

There’s nothing like a little end-of-the-week baby scare to get a soon-to-be-parent’s heart beating faster…

Earlier in the week on Tuesday morning I had a bit of dark spotting (for those not as familiar with pregnancy, blood = bad). I texted the doctor (how cool is that, by the way??) and she told me to lay off the exercise. So I continued with my plans at a lower tempo, hoping to resolve the problem before my 10 hour Photoshop class on Friday and Saturday & my 8 hour Photography Class on Sunday came around.

Everything was looking good until 30 minutes before my Photoshop class started when I noticed more spotting, this time light red in color (an even worse sign than dark blood). I knew this was not good, so off I went to the Medical Unit straight away, forgoing my Photoshop class. They ran a urinalysis, Beta HCG Blood Test and a Progesterone Blood Test to check my levels and then I had to wait 6 hours before the results came back and I could see my OBGYN. Talk about a high-stress day. Both Nick and I were panicked thinking that we could be at the start of a miscarriage.

We arrived at the OBGYN around 4:30 PM, anxiously awaiting our turn to see the Doctor. All the test results had arrived by then and they were as follows: Urinalysis was normal. Beta HCG was off the charts at 45,000 (this is the measurement of the hormone your body secretes when you become pregnant that causes all the changes in your body. My number is apparently very high for week 6, which means I’m VERY pregnant). My progesterone was low though at 15, she likes to see a 20. I still wasn’t really sure what all this meant, but was ecstatic when she suggested we do a premature ultrasound!

Usually you can’t see much on an ultrasound before 8 weeks, but because my Beta HCG was so high, she thought there was a good chance we’d see something. And see something we did! The uterine lining looked great – no gaps/holes that would prevent the baby from attaching to the wall. Also, the gestational sac was clearly visible with the baby in it. Most surprising of all though was that we were able to see a flickering heartbeat as well (it’s a rarity that you would see it this early). Words can’t even begin to express how AWE-some it is to see your child on that screen – talk about the realness of it all hitting you!

There are some definite perks to getting pregnant overseas. The first is that ultrasounds are unlimited here, versus the one you are allotted for the entire pregnancy in the States. And here an ultrasound costs approximately $40. And we get another one in 2 weeks. And 1 or 2 more after that (prior to me leaving for Minnesota at 5 months along). Hey, I’m not complaining. The more chances I have to peek at that miracle on the screen, the more real this thing will feel for me! Cool perk #2 is that a visit to the top OBGYN in Manila (whom Nick affectionately calls “The OBGYN to the Stars”) is a mere $20 a visit. She literally does every expat delivery here plus the majority of upper-class Filipinos. Cool perk #3 is that the medicine I need to take to get my Progesterone up was special ordered and will be delivered directly to our door ON A SATURDAY. How’s that for service? :)

So the good news is that it looks like our little guy or girl is going to be okay. Baby Novak is having trouble attaching to my uterine wall, so I’ve been put on “couch rest” for the next 5 days in the hopes that the gluing process will go better. The added progesterone should also help this process along. Norma and Rudy are beyond excited for the new addition (even though they won’t get to meet him or her). You’ll love this: On the way home from the Ultrasound we told Rudy that we had pictures of the baby from the doctor’s visit. He literally pulled over right there (on the side of a major street), parked the car and asked to see the pictures immediately. So cute! Those are the perks of having a big-hearted Grandpa as your driver…

And don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted on how everything progresses! No need to lose any sleep over us.

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  1. Becky says:

    I am so glad your little one is okay.

  2. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thank you Becky! We are too!!

  3. Patti says:

    Yeah, your beta numbers look great! I was on progesterone supplements for the first 12 weeks with both pregnancies. I started at 11 with Ava and I think progesterone made all the difference so I’m so glad you were able to get your bloodwork done early!

  4. Chris says:

    Sarah – so happy that all is well. Follow the doctor’s orders and stay on that couch!!!! Fortunately you have lots of help, so you needn’t feel guilty about staying in your reclining state for a while. XOXO

  5. Jill says:

    Oh NO … how AWFUL! So glad to hear that everything is OK!!!! I was very nervous when I read your title … I held my breath for a long time!

  6. sarahlynn60 says:

    Oh fascinating… what do you mean, both pregnancies??? Are you pregnant again or did you miscarry? Thanks for the encouragement, it makes me more willing to tolerate the vaginal suppository.

  7. sarahlynn60 says:

    That is true – thank goodness for Norma! Nick is being quite the stickler so I’m afraid I’m not going anywhere for quite some time… :)

  8. sarahlynn60 says:

    Oh Jill – you’re such a dear! I’m so glad to have you in my online life!

  9. Patti says:

    Only two pregnancies, no miscarriages. I was pregnant when I saw you in September, silly. 31 weeks now, which has gone incredibly quickly and been a bit of a blur with the international move.

  10. naomi says:

    Shweew! Thanks for sharing this journey with us! The scary, the exciting and the breath-holding moments!

  11. sarahlynn60 says:

    That’s right – I am officially losing it. Pregnancy brain is the real deal… where did you end up finding a house? Can’t wait to meet up when I get there!

  12. sarahlynn60 says:

    Yeah, even being a parent-to-be is stressful! Thanks for all the love and support Naomi!

  13. bfiles says:

    so glad baby is ok. try to take it easy!

  14. Sintea says:

    So glad to know that you and your little one are doing okay. Just take things easy if you must. Put your feet up on the couch and let yourself be pampered. And let me give you a standard Pinoy (unsolicited) advise to expecting women: Don’t look at anything ugly.;-)

  15. sarahlynn60 says:

    I’m doing my best, although I’m not very good at resting. My husband threatens me whenever I try to be too active around the house though…

  16. sarahlynn60 says:

    That’s hilarious. I get such a kick out of all the advise/superstitions that Pinoys abide by!

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