Dear mom who just got an IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) diagnosis. I’m so sorry. I can just see you there, laying down, pre-diagnosis, excited to hear another heartbeat, see another ultrasound image, and maybe even find out the sex. I can see the tears building when your Doctor says your baby isn’t growing normally. I can feel your heart sink when you research what IUGR is and read about its more extreme effects.
I’ve been there before and I wish I could be with you now. I’d tell you it’s ok, and that these babies are tiny but mighty. I’d tell you not to get lost in the land of Google. To research the facts from reputable sites, and then get off and find support: friends, family, and an IUGR support group (Facebook has two great ones) full of moms who have been in your shoes. These women can be a great resource now and after your baby is born. And let’s be honest, there’s only so much advice you can take from someone who hasn’t been in your shoes. No one story will be the same. Some battles are harder than others, but lots of them are filled with hope. I’d also tell you that you’re not alone. There are quite a few of us who have fallen below that dreaded 10th percentile line.
An IUGR journey can be full of highs and lows. I’ve battled the anxiety at every ultrasound in fear that if my fluid was too low, my baby had stopped growing, or he was showing signs of distress that they would schedule an emergency c-section and then we’d spend an unknown amount of time visiting our sweet baby in the NICU. I’ve stood in Carters begrudgingly shuffling through rows and rows to find that one preemie outfit and praying that it would fit. I’ve packed a hospital bag months ahead of time and felt relieved every day that I didn’t have to use it.
I’d tell you of a birth story filled with hope and no NICU stay. I’d tell you how happy and perfect my little guy is (minus a few tantrums) now at almost two years old. He’s still below the 10th percentile, and frankly, I’m learning to be ok with that. I’d tell you that our journey is still intermingled with Doctors and specialists, but again, I’m ok with that. I’d tell you to get used to comments like “do you feed him” and “he’s so tiny” and to try not to lose it on anyone. Most of those comments come from people who just have no idea of what you’ve been through and how far you both have come.
I’d tell you to hold out hope and take each day as it comes. Pray for strength that you may not have and choose to love in spite of fear. Wake up in the morning and choose to fight alongside your baby. An IUGR diagnosis may not be what you expected or wanted, but you can make it through, and you are never alone.