I have no qualms about my age. I’ll say it loud & proud: I am 35 years old! Granted, it helps that I don’t necessarily look 35. However, 35 is the magical cut-off age for pregnancy. If you are 35 or older and pregnant, the doctors will stamp all your paperwork with the following phrase: Advanced Maternal Age. The nurses did warn me about it when we went in for our first pre-natal appointment. They also told me that it wasn’t that big a deal – especially since I am just at the cutoff - and most likely the only way it would affect this pregnancy is that we would have to go to a genetic counseling session.
We did the genetic counseling, which was actually rather informative. They went over the variety of potential risks of being “older” and pregnant and offered us various tests that we could do in order to determine the likelihood of any major issues (i.e. down syndrome, etc.). The only extra test we did this time around that we didn’t do with G was a blood test where they tested for any chromosomal abnormalities. The bonus to that test is that they are able to also determine gender out of it, so we’ve known the gender of this kid since 13 weeks!
Now I am 38 weeks and apparently another “fun” extra is that towards the end of pregnancy, the doctors want you to go in for regular monitoring (at least Kaiser does, couldn’t tell you about other doctors). They called me last week and said that I needed to start coming in for NSTs. I had no idea what that even meant, so I looked it up. NST = non-stress test. Basically, they give you a button to push every time the baby moves and hook you up to some machines to monitor fetal movement and any contractions. Once a week they also do an ultrasound to measure the amniotic fluid. Of course, I ended up stressing out about the “non-stress” test because it’s essentially the same test that made them decide I needed to be induced for Guinevere. Fortunately, the first test went well and they didn’t send me to labor & delivery! Unfortunately, I now have to go in twice a week for regular NSTs. Good thing I’m off work now and have time for all these doctor appointments!
Turns out I’m having some contractions; nothing regular or painful or anything to send me to l&d. They said to wait until the contractions were regularly 3-5 minutes apart and painful enough that I can’t walk/talk through them before going to the hospital to deliver. I suppose the advantage of having to go in regularly for monitoring is that now I know exactly what the difference between a contraction and just the baby moving. These pre-contractions, really just feel like it could be the baby stretching out in my belly. But now I know different.
Want to see my “fun” take home gift from the NST? (you know you do!)
My very own straps! I have to bring these with me each time I go in for the test. I guess it saves them money from having to use new ones each time and I get a “fabulous” souvenir to stick in the baby book.