Photo courtesy of Rochaun Meadows-Fernandez

My Baby Is Measuring Small, & These Are Not Little Worries

Romper's Trying project follows five women with very different stories through a year of trying to conceive. Where discussions about fertility often focus on the end goal, they'll document what it's like emotionally, physically, and spiritually before you get there — the anxiety, the hope, the ovulation kits, the tests. How do you function when getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term isn't a given? Read on for one woman's answer to that question.

Ambreia has a 2-year-old son and has been trying for a second child for a year and a half. This is the eighth installment of her Trying diary. You can read the previous entry here.

Though I spent a good part of the month worrying about body image stuff, according to my prenatal care team, my heart rate, urine, and gestational diabetes test all looked good this month, which means that, overall, I'm healthy. At the same time, some health things made me a little bit anxious. We had a growth scan for baby girl, and it turns out she is measuring somewhat small at 33 weeks. We won't find out the full details of what is going on or if anything is wrong for a whole four weeks.

And I have no earthly idea how I can possibly stay calm for that long. Right now, she is in the 13th percentile for size. If she drops down to the 10th percentile, they are going to be more concerned, and we're going to discuss the necessary steps.

In full transparency, it is stressing me the fuck out. I kept asking the doctor if there was anything that I could do to give her an increased chance of growth — there isn't.

The possibility of an induction freaked me out a little. It also made me wonder if I should try to have a doula at this birth.

The doctor I saw for that appointment seems to have pretty good bedside manner. I never saw myself having a male doctor, but the practice I go to has a rotation of physicians and you have to meet them all. It does help that he remains calm even when I'm in panic mode. His main takeaway from that appointment was that I shouldn't stress until I officially have something to stress about. Easier said than done, but the way he explained it was comforting so let's see if I can take his advice.

I spent a lot of time wondering what it would mean for her developmentally if she ends up being diagnosed with a growth restriction. Of course, my searches on Google brought up almost exclusively worst-case scenarios. But I did see for a handful of accounts where the children turned out perfectly fine other than being small and requiring an induction. The possibility of an induction freaked me out a little. It also made me wonder if I should try to have a doula at this birth.

Living in a rural area makes that a little harder, so I'm not sure where I could find someone who understands my risks as a Black woman or even has the skills. But considering how my first birth went — I had extreme post-birth pain due to a retained placenta and its emergency removal — and given my anxiety around this second birth, I think it might be a solid investment. I remember reading that the World Health Organization suggested a doula can improve outcomes during and post labor, and I need all the help I can get.

It's crazy to think that at the beginning of this pregnancy I was depressed and panicked and now all I want is for my baby girl to be fine. It is going to be a long month while I wait to see what happens next.

But I know it’s best for her and myself if I keep calm and wait to see the outcome.