|My first NST at 34 weeks|
Anyhow, time for a real update. I met with my Rheumatologist back on September 11th to discuss my options for pain maintenance and possible flare-up after Bean arrives. Basically he left me with, "we just have to wait and see what happens." Not what I was expecting. He handed me a list a medications that are considered "safe" to take if you want to consider breastfeeding while maintaing JRA, but said he'd prefer that I take nothing at all if possible. Essentially, I have to have Bean, wait for my JRA symptoms to kick back in and if they get severe enough that I can no longer properly care for Bean, then I'll meet with my Rheumatologist again to discuss treatment. Our plan of action will simply be determined by the severity of my symptoms and how soon we want to try for baby #2. My doc wants to make sure my symptoms are under control and that I can function well enough to care for Bean, but doesn't want to start harsh medications that will significantly delay our choice to try for a second baby when we are ready. So it's essentially a waiting game, but I respect why my doctor doesn't want to set anything in stone until the time is right and provided me with the little information that's actually out there.
Since then I've also started my weekly Fetal Non-Stress Testing (NST). I go to the hospital every Monday and Thursday, sit in a recliner, have two monitors hooked to my belly (one to monitor Bean's heart rate and another to measure for contractions) and then I relax for 20-30 minutes while Bean wiggles and punches. After the nurse records the measurements she's looking for, we do a quick ultrasound to check if there's enough amniotic fluid surrounding the baby and sneak a peek at the little one. :) The testing is being done because I'm considered high risk because of my JRA and Bean was at risk for low birth weight, but fortunately all of the results have been positive. Bean's heart has been strong and healthy and according to another ultrasound performed last week measuring weight and growth, Bean is already a healthy 5.95lbs and growing as expected. I've even had a few contractions at each visit, but for now they seem to be "practice" contractions and haven't been a huge concern. All of this has been a great comfort, but also exhausting. My belly is growing, making everything stretch and pull and to top it off Bean doesn't seem to realize that Mama's belly can only stretch and pull so much. Every Monday Bean is head down and by my next NST ultrasound on Thursday Bean is breech again. :P The NST nurse has warned me that I have a lot of amniotic fluid for Bean to play in, so unfortunately Bean may never fully settle and may flip and wiggle up until the very end. Ugh!
So for the next four weeks, I will continue my NST testing and will start visiting my OB on a weekly basis to make sure everything is going as planned and that all is well with Bean and I. Oh, and rest, rest, rest as much as possible. :)