Intrauterine Growth Restriction: My Sister’s Experience Part I

Hi and welcome to Part I of a series on my sister’s experience with intrauterine growth restriction. Intrauterine growth restriction, known as IUGR or fetal growth restriction is when a baby in the womb doesn’t grow as expected.

I thought having Hannah share her story might help someone else who is going through a similar situation. We decided to do this series interview style, where I asked Hannah questions and she answered them. This post will detail a bit about Hannah’s background, previous pregnancies, and IUGR diagnosis. Okay, let’s do this!

Baby boy born at four pounds

For readers who don’t know you, can you tell me about you, your family, and what your other two births were like?

Hi everyone! If you don’t know me, I’m Hannah, Allie’s younger sister. I am 24 years old and have been married to my amazing husband Josh for five years. He and I met whenever my family switched churches when I was around 9 years old, but we didn’t become close friends until the summer of 2014. We both have been attending our church since then and in October of 2015 we began officially dating. You could say the rest is a very quick history. By August of 2016 (the summer after I graduated high school) we were engaged and we got married on June 10th, 2017 at our church with an outdoor reception at my in-laws house. And yes you are doing your math right, I was 18 when we tied the knot and Josh was freshly 20 years old. 

Bride and groom with flowers

The fall after we got married I began nursing school to be a Registered Nurse in a two year program. It was definitely difficult, but rewarding. In September of my second year of school, we found out we were pregnant with our first child, just before little Sadie Mae entered into the world! I was set to graduate May 8th and my due date was… May 16th.

Caroline arrived late, they ended up inducing me at 41 weeks 1 day, which was May 24th, 2019. Overall her labor was just shy of 7 hours. Pitocin was started around 7:30am and she was born at 2:51pm at 7lbs 1oz and 19 inches long.

I had absolutely no complications with her pregnancy. I did receive an epidural shortly before she was delivered. The only slight issue was when I was told to deliver the placenta, it did not come out and it actually broke into pieces inside of me.

Thankfully I did have the epidural, because they were able to do a manual extraction. Afterwards I received a few days of IV antibiotics while we were still in the hospital with her and also a shot to thin my blood in case if a clot or piece of the placenta migrated.

Overall I healed fairly quickly, but definitely slower than my other two. I didn’t begin working until Caroline was about 4 months old. She is now 3 years and 3 months old!

Mom and three year old daughter

I worked as a home health nurse for an agency until November, but the job wasn’t a right fit for me. In December of 2020, I began working for another home-care and physical therapy company. I loved this job as well and the flexibility it allowed, but I was still required to be on call/working one to two weekends a month as well as a few holidays throughout the year (I was set to work Father’s Day and Christmas – no way!). I worked there until July of 2020 and decided that I no longer wished to practice nursing, at least for the time being.

I didn’t want to miss seeing Caroline grow up (or be working on her second Christmas!) and the little moments that I felt were fleeting away so quickly. Little did I know that when I made this decision, our second born was already conceived as well. Lawson, our first son and second kiddo was born on March 24th, 2021 (my mom’s birthday!).

His pregnancy was much easier and I kept myself in better shape (probably because I wasn’t sitting in nursing school classes and had begun to clean our church building as the custodian twice a week). At around 32 weeks they said that Lawson was measuring small for gestational age according to the measurement they did of my belly. I believe I had two different ultrasounds towards the end where they double checked his size, but according to the ultrasounds he was fine. When I went in for my 39 week checkup I was 3 centimeters dilated followed by my 40 week checkup, one day before my due date actually, and I was 5 centimeters.

They couldn’t believe I wasn’t “in labor” and I truly hadn’t felt anything off, besides a little bit more pressure than usual. The doctor said we could schedule my induction and then asked if we would mind being induced… that day. I was ready for him to be out because of the additional discomfort of all of that pressure and they weren’t too keen on sending me home at 5 centimeters. It’s a good thing they didn’t. They broke my water around 11am followed by a small amount of Pitocin and he was born at 2:14pm weighing 6lbs 12oz and 20 inches long.

I did not receive an epidural this time around, although I had requested one but I progressed very quickly at the end of his labor and went from 6 to 10 centimeters in about 15 minutes and there was no time. Thankfully this time, the placenta came out whole and Lawson was completely healthy as well! Lawson is now 17 months old.

17 month old boy

So that brings us to our third baby, the reason Allie is interviewing me for her blog! When Lawson was just over 9 months old (December 31st, 2021) we found out we were expecting baby #3! 

How did you know you wanted a third child?

I knew that we wanted a third child when I thought about how much we had been blessed by our other two children and how God had used each of them to teach us something, or multiple things, really. And I know that it is right in God’s eyes to be fruitful and multiply. 

Toddler sister and brother holding sign announcing new baby

When did you first get an IUGR diagnosis and how were you feeling?

At our 20 week anatomy scan ultrasound they made mention that Titus’s femur was measuring on the smaller side at the 3rd percentile and offered genetic testing, but said there wasn’t really any indications of anything being wrong and it wasn’t much to worry about. They asked me to come back between 30-32 weeks to recheck his growth, but mostly because there were a few views of him that they couldn’t get for the anatomy scan, which is totally common and happens to most people during an anatomy scan.

So I came back at 30 weeks 4 days and they did a biophysical profile. At this ultrasound, his femur was still measuring small, but now at .01% and the dopplers that measure the flow of the blood through the cord were elevated. While this sounds like a good thing, it actually means that there is probably some sort of resistance that is making the pressure within the cord higher. After the ultrasound, they had me talk on the phone with the maternal fetal medicine doctor and she gave me a whole bunch of information in about three minutes.

It was something along the lines of… “your baby has intrauterine growth restriction because of how small his femur is measuring and also because your dopplers were elevated (no explanation there lol). So yeah, you have to come back every week from now until delivery and get and NST and another biophysical profile (BPP) ultrasound and every third ultrasound will be a growth scan. Oh, and we probably won’t let you go past 37 weeks.” I walked out of there so confused, and also thinking, “holy cow, I could be having this baby in like 6 weeks.” That was the first thing on my mind. I felt interested in what they were saying, but not overall worried. It wasn’t really until the following day, when I googled (NEVER a good idea) a little bit about IUGR, that I started to feel nervous about the whole situation. There were a lot of “what if’s” floating through my mind. At this I began to pray for my little man more than I had been and I know God heard me. 


Stay tuned for Part II in this series on Hannah’s experience with IUGR! It’s going to detail the end of her pregnancy with Titus, his birth, and hospital stay.

8 comments

  1. Such a great post girls. Bawling my eyes out- but I’m so happy you’re putting this out there for others to read ♥️

  2. Loved learning more about your sis and her bravery for sharing this experience. I’m sure it will be so helpful for others going through the same thing.

  3. When Ava had hip dysplasia, blog posts like these – informational and real life stories and experiences from real people – were life giving and very helpful and encouraging. I’m sure this will be helpful to others experiencing IUGR.

    1. I still think about Ava’s hip dysplasia sometimes and just wonder at how you did it. The diagnosis… surgery.. recovery… life with a cast. Just so much for a first time parent. I loved hearing that posts and stories from real people were encouraging!!!

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