Sunday, December 9, 2012

Updates

Matthew is 6 weeks old now. He is really starting to fill out, my guess is 11ish pounds by now (he was 9lbs 7 oz two weeks ago and had gained like 6 ounces in 3 days.) I am also guessing that by his 2 month check up, he will have already nearly doubled his birth weight. He likes eating, a lot.

We had the stomach flu last week. It started with Luke on our anniversary. He had the mildest case, it only lasted half the day so we weren't quite sure if it was a virus or something he ate or a fluke. Saturday morning, we discovered it must have been a virus as both Joe and I ended up sick. It was especially bad for me since Matthew wanted to nurse and nurse and nurse and nurse and I couldn't even keep down water. It was MISERABLE. I contemplated going to the ER for IV fluids, but I didn't want to leave the house. Miraculously we survived. And my milk supply seems to be doing okay too.

This week, both boys have colds. Since Thanksgiving, we've had colds, the stomach flu, and now colds again. Luke went 6 months before getting sick at all and even then it was only a cold. I wasn't planning on doing the flu shot thing this year but now I'm seriously reconsidering. Our pediatrician's office said "only immediate family" for the first 2 months around Matthew, but I'd go insane with that. That being said, I really need to figure out how to use my new Maya wrap and I'm going to try to keep our social interactions restricted, which sucks, but I'm tired Matthew being sick and don't want to risk him getting something worse when he's still so young. Most of the sickness is coming in through Luke, and I'm pretty sure Luke is picking it up from the kid's gym. He loves that fricking place even if he doesn't do most of the class activities (still no luck with circle time). You better believe I scrubbed both our hands down with sanitizer before we left Saturday. Anyway, the germ thing has me on edge.

I am really behind on everything Christmas. Our tree isn't up yet, although that's mostly intentional because I figure the less time we have it up, the less I have to tell Luke to leave the ornaments alone, etc. etc. We went over to my parents tonight for dinner and he did better than I expected with their tree (though he totally picked up a ball ornament and threw it and said "ball"). I think if he was at OUR house, with a tree 24/7, I am going to spend a lot of time telling him to leave the ornaments alone, watching him carry them all over while I'm nursing Matthew, etc. It just won't be good. So no tree yet. I haven't done much shopping yet either, except for ourselves. (We just got a new king size memory foam bed, and my new stroller came in the mail late last week.) My cards are supposed to arrive tomorrow so I hope to have them in the mail by the end of the week.

So I attempted to take the math test on Friday. I had to get a certain score to not have to take College Algebra. I did well on the "pre-algebra" questions and the "algebra" but bombed the "college algebra" part except when they say "college algebra", it was really more like trig/pre-calc. So, this messes up everything. I can retake the test, and I'm going to try but not very optimistic about it (I have been studying.) Worst case scenario is that I don't pass again and have to take college algebra online from January through May. I kinda have my plate full already and don't really want to add a freaking class, nor do I want to pay to take a class I've already earned an A in (ten years ago.) But, I think one class...that I've already taken...should be do-able, albeit ANNOYING. The worst part of it is that I wanted to get on the waiting list this winter for the class starting next fall. (They don't let you get on the waiting list until you are done with all of the prereqs and requirements. This is the ONLY thing I have left.) The acceptance letters for the fall 2013 class start going out in May, when I won't be done with this class yet if I have to take it, so most likely I wouldn't get in. And none of the area community colleges offer an accelerated version of it to do it in fewer weeks than a regular length semester. So, it's annoying. I don't really want to wait until fall 2014 to start the ultrasound program, especially after I rushed to get everything done but this. It's mostly out of my control though, I guess. STUPID FREAKING MATH.

Alright, Matthew is sleeping finally, I better sleep while I can.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ten years

Ten years in pictures and "our songs". I put this together for Joe for our anniversary today.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How it's going.

Trying to find time to post these days is hard. This will probably have to be fast, Luke is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Matthew is in the Rock N Play "sleeping" but is kinda squawky about it so that may not last long.

Sleep is pretty crappy these days. Luke goes to bed right about the time Matthew wakes up to eat for a freaking hour. Then Matthew goes to sleep for a couple of hours while I try to run around and get important stuff done like laundry and dishes (forget about cleaning beyond that). Then Matthew is up and ready to eat again. If I'm lucky, he'll go back to sleep for a couple more hours so I can get a couple hours of sleep then too. And then he is up again for his marathon cluster feeding. Last night it was from about 12:30 till about 2:45 am. I'm not sure why I even look at the clock, to torture myself I guess. He eats a little, stops for awhile, eats a little more, stops for awhile, repeat repeat repeat. Seriously kid, why can't you just eat and go back to sleep?!? Last night he still wasn't really done when I pulled him off and gave him a pacifier instead because I was totally empty and totally DONE with it whether he was or not. He gave me a disgusted look when I tried to put the pacifier in his mouth, yawned, and went to sleep instead. And then Luke was up bright and early at 5 am sharp for the day. And that was a "good night" because I didn't have Luke up at 3 right after Matthew went back to sleep, like he does some nights. So, it's kinda rough. This too shall pass...someday...right? It's a nice problem to have, but exhausting.

And then Luke. He's not afraid of the baby anymore. He's quite comfortable poking his grubby little hands on the baby's face. "Bayee?" (baby) "Yep, that's the baby." (He has no interest in saying anything close to Matthew.) He also likes touching Matthew's nose and saying "no". He has managed to climb in the swing and in the rock n play about 50 times already (And he's good about waiting for a prime opportunity to do it, like when I'm changing a diaper.)-thankfully not with the baby in them-I don't think he would if the baby was there, while he doesn't mind touching him, he's not that comfortable around him, even so, I don't leave them in the same room together where Luke can reach Matthew. It will be a miracle if our swing survives beyond two kids at this rate.

I started taking Luke to My Gym this week. He is one of the biggest kids in his class and also the least cooperative. Circle time was a joke, I had to take him off to the side because he decided to throw a huge tantrum instead of doing the hand clapping things and songs and stuff. The problem was that they let the kids play for a few minutes before it started, and they had all kinds of beloved toddler stuff like mats and a ball pit and bouncy balls and a trampoline and climbers and slides. So Luke got a taste of that and then when I dragged him off the climber for "circle time" he was pretty pissed about it and really not impressed with the circle time activities. Luckily circle time only lasts for 5ish minutes or less and the rest of the "class" is a lot less structured...they have activities...but the kids can also just keep playing if they want...so Luke really didn't do much of the "class" and mostly just played. I am HOPING that after another week or two of this, he will get with the program and at least sit still if not comply with circle time. I think we would have been better off starting this a couple months ago, when he was a little more compliant, but it is too late for that now. The nice thing is that they have "free play" time every day at different times and you can go unlimited times a week for free (well, not really free because we are paying for classes, but it's free to go to free play as much as you want.) SO, we are going to be spending A LOT of time there this winter, I predict. My mom watched Matthew for us while we went though when we go for free play I will probably have to bring him most of the time and use a baby carrier.

Joe got the job he started interviewing for a couple months ago! It starts in a week or two and will be a lot better. Slightly shorter drive, better pay, much better benefits, much better training and job opportunities. They have training in Florida, actually, so I foresee a Florida vacation in our future. (Because Joe is out of his mind if he thinks he's going to Florida and leaving me here with a toddler and a baby on my own while he's in freaking Florida. We will all go, thank you very much.)

Time to feed the baby, then get dressed and take Luke outside to play for a bit (I dress the baby warmly, put him in the carseat with blankets and a carseat cover, and put it next to the door but inside the house, so I can see the baby from our porch and front yard, but he can still stay warm inside and I have my hands free to chase Luke around. It has worked pretty well so far but it's going to be harder when it gets cold.

Hopefully the planets will all align and we can take a long nap, all at the same time, today. Not holding my breath for that and I usually end up doing other stuff during the rare times both boys are asleep at the same time anyway.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Matthew is here!

Just a quick post while Matthew is in the nursery with the pediatrician and I'm waiting for my own doctor to discharge me (which she is not super thrilled tiabout but sighed and went with.)

Matthew was born at 7:50 am on Friday, Oct. 26th, weighing in at 6 lbs 5 oz, 19 inches long. He is long and tiny and perfect. Newborn diapers are still falling off him. (Also have gotten so many comments especially his first day, "Oh I love how round c-section babies' heads are!") C-section went perfectly, right as scheduled, no vaccums or extra drama, although evidently I am cursed with epidurals forever.

He is already really good at nursing and pretty opinionated on what he likes and doesn't like. (Doesn't like- being put down in his bed, diaper changes, not being able to move his arms.) He has a little jaundice but below the levels where they get concerned and it's leveling down. I initially didn't think he looked a lot like Luke but upon further review after looking at some of their pictures right after birth (especially with the same hats and everything), they are practically identical.

Luke has been up to the hospital every day. He's been doing well being shuffled back and forth between my parents and Joe, for the most part. He wants nothing to do with the baby at all (including sitting on one of us while the baby is being held), but he doesn't seem "against" him either, just "eh...where is my car?"

Matthew Joseph 10-26-12

My boys

One thing I forgot about is that I have a 30 lb toddler and my husband is only off work for another week. Pretty sure I'm not going to be able to (er...or supposed to...I sorta lifted him yesterday already and it was fine) lift him for a couple weeks. That could make things difficult. Note to self: pregnancy with a toddler, not my greatest plan ever, (DO NOT ATTEMPT AGAIN) but oh so worth it, and we'll muddle our way through the next part.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Uh, I guess this is it.

I am starting to get a little nervous about the whole c-section thing. This will be the first time that I've had much time to think about it in advance. With Olivia, we were just still shell shocked and devastated and numb and hoping that maybe she'd beat the 1% chance of survival odds they gave us, I was a little nervous, but really, there was so much going on and it happened so quickly, there was no time to think about it. And with Luke, we weren't really positive we would be delivering the next day until our amnio results came back saying his lungs were mature. And then we scrambled to get ready for him. And then my water broke and we rushed to the hospital and I hadn't even gotten my entire list done yet, and I was worried about being in labor and still not entirely convinced that we were really going to get to bring home a baby. This time, I feel like I have a lot more time to think about it (even though we still have plenty to do, we know it's for sure happening Friday and rather unlikely for anything crazy to happen between then and now.) My OB has already warned me that it will probably take longer then the other two because of scar tissue and everything. I'm also a little more nervous about infection this time after the hand saga got out of control so quickly. Hopefully it will be uneventful, no water breaking, no infection, no drama.

I may not have the carseat installed yet or the Pack N Play or Rock N Play or swing or bouncer seat upstairs yet (mainly because I had to relocate a few of Luke's big toys to make room for all the baby stuff...our living room is going to be out of control ridiculous between the toddler toys and then baby stuff in another week. Now that he's in the bigger room, with us keeping all of the diapering stuff in his "old" room for both kids, at least there is room for toys.) Anyway, still have quite a few things to do, but I managed to find time today to go get a pedicure with my mom. I decided to have my toenails painted sparkle orange to go for Halloween and Thanksgiving and fall in general. It is probably going to be awhile, maybe never, before my regular shoes fit again. I would have MUCH RATHER had them painted red for the Cardinals, but let's not even talk about that. I'm still pretty bitter. Anyway, good thing I have my priorities straight. (Actually, not too worried about bringing the baby stuff up early, I'm in the process of re-washing the covers anyway, but I figure it's less stuff for Luke to try to climb on. And Joe will be going back and forth between home and the hospital a lot since he's going to come home to stay with Luke, so it's not like he won't have time to do whatever I don't get done.) I have lots of baby clothes clean and put away, lots of clean baby blankets and bibs and hats, so I think we'll be okay.

And now off to bed. Only one more day and night to go.

Monday, October 22, 2012

36+3

Well, today I am the most pregnant than I have ever been before, since Luke was born in the wee hours (4 am!) when I was 36 weeks and 2 days. 37 weeks is pretty close (FRIDAY! Like in 4 days...), I think we'll actually make it.  My appointments today were pretty uneventful except ...oh my gawd, the characters you see at a high risk doctor's office and perinatal center. Yeesh. Every time I go, I pretty much end up thinking that to myself, but today it was especially....interesting. Saturday Night Live has no idea what they are missing, it's like watching a skit in real life.

For once, nothing dramatic to report. Same old, same old. Very active baby, normal fluid levels, normal blood pressure, no protein, we have the okay to stay pregnant. 

Now we need to get serious about getting ready for this baby. I have already washed a lot of the baby clothes and put it away, washed the car seat cover, the rock n play cover, etc. I need to start bringing the actual baby stuff out, although I don't really want to give Luke the opportunity to start having new stuff to climb on just yet, so I may wait till Thursday night or even have Joe bring it out Sunday night.

It is going to be a busy few days.

Freaking Cardinals. They only had to win ONE GAME, just one, out of three, so we could call this baby our 'world series baby', since the world series starts Wednesday and the baby will be born in the middle of them. I mean, I guess he's a world series baby no matter which teams are in it, but I don't really care much about the world series if our home team isn't in it. I actually didn't have a great feeling about this year anyway, (not like last year), but still, since we made it into the playoffs and then kept winning, they got my hopes up. Also they have now ruined a lot of presents I planned to buy. Maybe next year. There are certainly much worse problems to have so I can't complain too much.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yeesh.

Today was rough.

It started last night as I was about to go to bed when the pitter patter of little feet running down the hallway got my attention. Luke had fallen asleep early and was awake just as I was about to go to bed. Ugh. And not only was he awake, he was WIDE AWAKE. I am not sure what time we FINALLY fell back to sleep, together in the recliner, I do know it was after an episode of Clifford the Big Red Dog and several episodes of Thomas the Train, and also well after 2 am. When Joe got up for work a couple hours later, I woke up from the recliner and laid Luke down so I could sleep without a kid on me for a little while. That was probably a big mistake because Luke woke up an hour or so later and was up for the day.It was still dark out.

I went online to make sure we had enough money in our bank account and to pay our bills when I noticed four purchases from Amazon that we did not make. I did buy a couple things in early October, just a small $26 order of 2 things I had already received. I have not been shopping much on Amazon lately because they keep quietly changing a lot of their policies-in a sneaky fashion that I don't like- to be less customer friendly. I knew I definitely did not make 4 more purchases there just this month...when I had Prime/free shipping, there have been months I probably did, but I don't anymore so I definitely don't routinely shop there online anymore.  The purchases were made on different days but near each other and were for different various amounts of under $200 total. If they had made them from a variety of places that we typically shop, I might not have even noticed. Joe never shops on Amazon and doesn't even have an account. I checked my Amazon account and the last order they had listed was the last thing I had bought early in the month, none of the 4 orders. I called Joe at work just to be sure he didn't order anything (Christmas presents, etc., which would be incredibly unlikely for him), he had not. So then I had the fun of calling our bank and Amazon.

The first person at our bank (USAA) was friendly and helpful, however, a little dumb. I asked if they should cancel my card and send me a new one, after the dispute stuff was filed, and she said, "Oh no. We have to wait for the dispute to process so they can refund your money back through your card." That sounded a little off to me but kinda made sense. She suggested I call Amazon as well. So I did that. They were also helpful although the first lady I talked to was a little annoying "Are you SURE you didn't have a large order that shipped separately so you are having separate charges?" Uh, yeah, I only ordered two things, for under $30 total, and they both arrived together and none of these things I supposedly ordered are anywhere in my order history. Then she asked if there was anyone else in our house who could have used my card on Amazon. Well, I'm pretty sure Luke is not quite THAT advanced yet, and Joe doesn't have an account on Amazon and if he did, wouldn't lie about it. I said, "theoretically my husband could have, but I asked him before calling and he hasn't. And he would have used his own card and/or my account because he doesn't even have an amazon account."  She transferred me to their fraud dept. and the guy was a lot more helpful. He asked if I knew someone named Randy, I said no, he said okay that they'll dispute the charges and I should call my bank to cancel my card as the info has been compromised and get a new card. I told him what the girl at the bank had said and he said that wasn't true at all. There shouldn't be any trouble getting our money back with a new card, the card is linked to our account, not the card number. Duh.

So in between that I'm taking care of Luke, feeding him lunch, he fell asleep in his high chair and I laid him down. I get back on the phone to USAA and the guy who answers is all, "well, if that's what the person from USAA told you, they know our banking system better than Amazon so I guess your card is okay. You won't be responsible for any fraudulant charges anyway, just keep an eye on your account." Dude, I'm having a baby in a week or less, I don't have time to babysit every transaction on our bank account when we KNOW someone else has the numbers and has been able to use it. But as I was about to just say okay and call back and talk to someone else, or let Joe deal with it, he asked why we are disputing the charges instead of going through the fraud department. The hell if I know! I told him I just told the first person there were charges on our account that we didn't make, then talked to Amazon, and that's what they did. So he decided to transfer me to the fraud department. As I am on hold with them, all of a sudden our house starts REEKING of gasoline and Luke wakes up completely spazzing out. He won't let me put him down, he is screaming and crying, he won't even let me sit down to hold him. He still hasn't calmed down when they answer the phone, I tried to talk to them for a second but then hung up because it was pointless, I couldn't hear them over Luke and couldn't calm down Luke and deal with it at the same time. And I was concerned about the gas smell and wondering if we needed to get out of there before our house exploded or something.

So I called my Mommy and told her as soon as she answered that our house was reeking of gas and I had no idea where it was coming from or if we should leave, Luke was being crazy clingy and screaming his head off, and someone stole my card info and was using it and my bank was being stupid. She was off today because they had long days on Wed and Thurs, and said she'd come over. This is why I love living 5 minutes away from them.

 She came over and fixed almost everything in like 10 minutes. Luke was still super clingy but eventually let her hold him without screaming his head off. We figured out that the gasoline smell
was coming from our dogs spilling a gas can that Joe left by the fence (long story, there's a good reason it was there- when we keep it in the garage, the smell reeks into the house, and Luke doesn't play in the backyard) and walking around in it and possibly rolling in it. Actually, when I say dogs, I really think it was just Koda our husky since the smell followed him especially. We opened windows, turned on fans, and made the dogs go outside in the drizzling rain and left them there. I called the bank back with Luke calm and this time managed to get someone who immediately said, "so we need to cancel your card and get you a new one" as soon as I explained what happened. Then we decided that since Luke was still REALLY tired (he had napped less than a half hour after being up most of the night), we would drive to get fast food for ourselves and let him fall asleep. It ended up taking a half hour of driving around to get the kid to fall asleep but FINALLY he did. We came back and I brought the dogs in the garage on leashes while Luke slept in the car, I have this waterless bath stuff for dogs so we wiped them down well with that and when they both passed the smell test let them back in the house. I went to get Luke out of the car just in time for him to wake up (he'd only been asleep for about 10-20 minutes.) Ugh. He was up for the rest of the afternoon. But the false charges will be fixed, I'm getting a new card (in forever! this is going to put a serious damper on my spending, not having a card, since we don't use other credit cards), our house no longer smells, our dogs are clean, and Luke is finally asleep. Mom's fix everything. I hate my dogs today. And I'm pretty sure this next c-section and hospital stay, even with a newborn, is going to seem like a vacation compared to days like this.

Joe worked late today and didn't get home till almost 6:30. When he did, I stuffed my face as quickly as possible with dinner and then went to sleep while he took care of Luke. I woke up feeling a lot better at 8 pm, only to find Joe and Luke together fast asleep on the couch. They went to Luke's bed soon after that and are all cuddled up together asleep now. Hopefully Luke will be so tired he'll sleep through the night tonight. My burst of energy is spent and I'm about to go crash in my bed which will be glorious. No snoring, clingy husband invading my sleep bubble (I seriously don't like to be touched while I'm sleeping, not even his arm around me, it feels suffocating...I need my space! Joe is cuddly and so is Luke so they pair up nicely.) No toddler flopping around all over me, trying to put his hands in my mouth because he thinks that's funny while I'm trying to sleep, knees and elbows poking into my gigantic belly, etc. Hopefully this will be a much better night.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Almost 18 months (picture heavy)

It still catches me off guard a little bit in some moments, that my little boy is more of a little boy than a baby these days. He'll still snuggle up and crawl on my lap like always, but even the days of that seem numbered. And obviously, the days of just the two of us together all day are REALLY numbered. That's a good thing, but it's also very bittersweet.

Anyway, about a month ago, we did some "18 month" pictures with a friend, though he wasn't really quite 17 months yet. I was worried with all my pregnancy drama that we might not get them done in all the madness so we did a few and a few maternity/family pictures with my friend Jen who is starting a photography business.




And then last week we went and got pumpkins at a pumpkin patch where you pick them yourself. We went on a hayless "hay ride" that Luke really liked, and picked our pumpkins. Luke struggled to walk through the pumpkin patch around all of the vines and fell down over and over again and then decided to sit down and play in the dirt.





And then, last but not least, my baby loss mom friend Kim and I went to lunch and then took our boys to a different pumpkin patch last week , mostly to play in the forts and see the animals and stuff. Kim brought her big girl camera and took a ton of great pictures of Luke and her son Brennan.(Considering that I have gone through 3 laptops in less than a year and my current laptop is also broken--I spilled cereal on my keyboard and it shorted out so I'm used a desktop keyboard plugged into the laptop usb because I don't want to trade it in for a nonbroken one just yet...we've only had it a couple months. Thank you Best Buy accident protection plans. Anyway, there will be no big girl camera for me anytime soon.) Luke ADORES Kim's little boy Brennan and most of his smiles are because Brennan was talking to him or doing something silly.








Ducks! Actually, hens with one duck mixed in. Ducks are Luke's favorite second only to dogs these days and lots of birds fall into the "duck" category.







We made them hug. Luke is just a tiny bit shorter. :)
This was HILARIOUS when Brennan did it. Not funny at all when we did it.

*Sigh* But yeah, he's totally a laughing, climbing, running, tantrum throwing, opinionated, stomping his feet and throwing his body on the ground little boy toddler.

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Status: tentative

Still pregnant. Still very tentative on how long I'm staying pregnant. Over the weekend, my swelling got pretty bad. In my face, hands, feet. It was bad enough that Joe stopped at my sister's work and asked her to "check in on me" when she got off. (She is a manager working overnights at QT and is on Joe's way to work.) This freaked my parents out and when they saw me they were a little on the alarmed side. I managed to put them off making me call my doctor (because she already knew I was swollen on Thursday, and even though it was worse, nothing else was any worse.) and they helped with Luke a lot which was really nice.

Monday I saw my high risk doctor. She took one look at me and said, "Your face is really swollen." And then I showed her my feet which were really bad. (They do get better overnight, which is good, but get very swollen again quickly the next day, and each day it seems like they get a little worse than the day before, and a little faster.) But everything else is the same. My blood pressure is not fantastic but not bad (130/90, 130/67). He is still easily passing NST's and my fluid levels are great...around 15....not even almost borderline. He's active throughout the day. No upper right quadrant pain, no headaches, even the heartburn is mostly better. Last night I even ate lasagna and didn't have heartburn which would have never happened earlier. (Granted, I was smart and took a Pepcid a little bit before we ate.)+

So this makes things really tricky.

My MFM actually asked me what I wanted to do. That totally threw me off. I mean, I'm used to telling her what I want (no wonder she is ready for this baby to come out and be done with me!), I'm just not used to her asking.  She offered me an amnio Thursday and deliver Friday if the baby's lungs are ready. I made a face. She sighed back.

To me, the baby's lung maturity is really one of the least of my concerns. Luke's lungs were fine. More than likely, by now, this baby's will be fine too, considering I had steroid shots several weeks ago. But that's not a guarantee he wouldn't end up in the NICU anyway for trouble regulating temp, or jaundice, or feeding issues. Even if the amnio came back with his lungs mature, I would not be enthusiastic about delivering him this week at around 36 weeks exactly (Friday.) And I don't think the amnio is worth the risks this time, knowing what happened last time. Trust me, you only need to hear one story of a uterine rupture to realize how freaking lucky we got with Luke when my water broke and I went into labor the night of our amnio. It could have so easily ended tragically. If my uterus would rupture as a result of going into labor from the amnio, the baby would likely die. I could die or at the least need a hysterectomy. All to deliver him a week early? No thank you. Plus, if the amnio comes back with his lungs not mature yet, but my water breaks, we'd have to deliver him with immature lungs anyway. I've seen how the odds play out. I am in the under 1% of pregnant women who had HELLP (and an atypical case of it at that...even more rare.) I've also been told that it's pretty rare, like 1 in 100, to have your water break after an amnio. So anyway, after giving it a lot of thought, I am totally opposed to the amnio this time, in my case. Either things are bad enough to deliver regardless of if an amnio says his lungs are mature, or they aren't. Because even an amnio saying he has mature lungs is no guarantee he won't need the NICU, anyway.

Unfortunately, I keep riding this fine line of limbo, where things aren't really bad, but they aren't smooth sailing either. If I didn't have my history with Olivia, there is no question that they would not even consider delivering someone for swelling and slightly elevated blood pressures at only 36 weeks. (Some studies have found it to be the best outcome for baby and mom to deliver at 37 weeks, with a preeclampsia diagnosis or elevated blood pressure.) I don't think there's much doubt that this is headed towards trouble, I was never swollen like this with Luke, BUT we aren't there yet and there is no indication when we will get there. The baby is active and easily passing everything, I'm feeling pretty good except the swelling makes walking and everything uncomfortable, my blood pressure is still okay. No pressing reason to deliver this week except I'm swollen and we think trouble is coming, sometime, maybe. Blah blah blah, same old story.

So my MFM is going to go see me when I have monitoring Thursday early morning. If I look the same, we do this again for another week (I'll have monitoring again Monday and see her again Monday, then if we make it that far, monitoring again Thursday, deliver early Friday morning.) If I look worse, she's going to call my OB and tell her that this is it, we need to call it quits before things get bad. I see my OB a couple hours after my monitoring appointments and my MFM was really happy she "gets me" first. She had me make an appointment to see her on Monday but implied she doesn't expect that it's going to happen.

I am hoping that things stay the same, or get better (because who knows...my headaches got better, my heartburn has gotten better...), by Thursday and we can limp along a few more days at least. Even if I only make it to next Monday or Tuesday instead of Friday. (My babies really do not like to come on schedule. Just ask Luke.) I just want to get a little bit further than 36 weeks exactly or maybe not even really 36 weeks if my dates are off a day or two. But then that makes me nervous too. Because we can't really discount my history. (Although with Olivia, I had pain. And heartburn. And she had low fluid. No pain, no heartburn, great fluid levels as of now.)  And because I worry that maybe I'm being greedy, trying to push it too far, and I really do not want to lose another baby. I would also rather not spend a day or two on magnesium sulfate (ugh, awful stuff), either. I know if either doctor was truly worried or my health was currently at risk, (even spilling protein does not generally do longterm damage, even a lot of it, the kidneys typically go back to normal. And I may not be spilling protein at all..) they'd have had me in the OR already, no question about it. I have them uneasy and on edge, but not at "you NEED to deliver".  I have been in that place before, they wouldn't be shy about it, and they wouldn't be asking what I wanted to do. I want to keep this baby in as long as possible for his health, as long as we aren't putting his health or my health at risk by doing so. And it just sucks that this makes me feel guilty for being "greedy" by wanting an extra few days or a week if we're lucky. If I were an outsider on this, I would probably be screaming, "just get the baby OUT already before something horrible happens", yet here I am trying to push it a few more days.

(Joe is pretty much conflicted the same.)

On another note, we talked about future babies. Well, A future baby. My MFM said we could do this again, even with all of this latest lame drama. But this will be c-section number 3 and I think 4 c-sections will probably be as far as they want to push it. (Plus I think 3 living kids would definitely be our limit anyway.)  Instead of asking this time how long we HAD to wait, like I did after Luke was born and after Olivia died, I asked how long we could wait. Ideally 2 or 3 years, and before I'm 35. (I'm 28 till December... so we have awhile...though I will be careful not to wait too much longer beyond 30.) I don't know that we WILL have one more, even.  If we do, we want to keep our kids relatively close in age, ideally, but I do not want to be pregnant with a "pre-toddler" again if we can help it. (Pre-toddler is what we called the 12-23ish month olds when I worked in daycare, babies were under 1, toddlers were 2-3.) Luke is still so babyish and it is so hard right now to pick him up to change his diaper, wrestle him in his carseat, etc. He weighs 32 lbs and I have to carry him at least a few times a day, to say nothing of the chasing him around and trying to keep him entertained. It wasn't too bad when I got pregnant and he was only 9-10ish months old...not walking yet, not climbing yet, not running yet, not throwing his body on the floor for a tantrum, sleeping through the night, under 30 lbs. But now? Yeesh. So anyway, I guess we'll see. But I officially have the green light unless something happens.

I feel like I need to try to "enjoy" these last few days of this pregnancy just in case this is the last time we end up doing this. But it's hard because we still have so much to do, Luke is still SO.BUSY., and not knowing if I'm delivering this week or next week is really throwing me off too. More than I am enjoying being pregnant, I'm looking forward to holding a little newborn in my arms again.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15, 2012

 I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it.” -E.E. Cummings

Those of us who have lost a child do not really "need" a special day to remember them, in my humble opinion. We remember them every day. We remember them as their birthdays/ "angelversaries" come and go each year. We remember them as our due dates come and go. We remember them as our rainbow babies reach milestone after milestone that we never got to see with them. We remember them as we wonder when and how to tell their younger living siblings about them, or as their older siblings ask questions that don't have any good answers. We remember them every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, every holiday. We remember when we see a little boy or little girl or twins about their same ages when we are out somewhere. We remember the positive pregnancy test. We remember the ultrasounds. We remember holding them. We remember saying goodbye. We remember, we remember, we remember. Always.

But still. It's nice to have a day where we can share. Not only am I remembering our baby today and always, I remember my friends' babies as well. This is a pretty sucky club that no one in their right mind would ever want to join. But it is nice to know that we aren't alone. And it means so much when others take a little time to remember with us.








Friday, October 12, 2012

Crazy week.

Oy, what a week this has been.

Somewhere during the week, Luke either had a growth spurt or figured out standing on his toes and stretching to reach stuff, because areas that used to be toddler-proof by the virtue of their height suddenly aren't (like the door handles, the top edge and middle of our tall dresser/chest, etc.) I also watched Luke go in his room, or soon to be ex-room, and shut the door and then turn the handle and open it. A few times, actually, as he was pleased with this new skill and did it over and over again. I hate those handle covers so I'm going to hold off using them for a bit longer b/c he didn't open any other doors yet, I don't think he's figured out they are all the same, but that's probably coming soon.

On Monday I had a growth ultrasound, monitoring, and an impromptu MFM appointment. The growth ultrasound was fine, he's estimated at 5 lbs 9 oz at 34 weeks. I expected that he should have been a bit bigger than that by now seeing as he was 4 lb 9 oz a month ago and I thought they are generally supposed to grow half a pound a week. In any case, he's measuring about a week ahead for pretty much everything, and they aren't worried about it. I went on to do monitoring and while the baby passed easily and my fluid levels were good, my blood pressure was on the high for me side, and I mentioned the headache I had had most of the weekend and more swelling. The nurse mentioned it to the doctor who wanted the nurse to call my doctor and see if they wanted any labwork or tests ordered before they let me go. The nurse tried for an hour to get in touch with my OB, who was apparently on a plane, and her partner, who was in surgery (said my OB's office today.) Finally they just called my high risk doctor instead, who was right upstairs and told them to send me up to see her.

It was really weird going into the MFM office at a time when they had no other patients yet. (She only was seeing patients that afternoon, technically.) At monitoring, my top number was a little high but the bottom number was normal. Upstairs, the top number was normal while by bottom number was high. Still, not alarmingly high. (Like 131/70's, 122/91...though normal for me is like 110/60 and so that was why the 131 had the nurse a bit concerned since that was a little high for me.) No protein in my urine and my weight wasn't great but I'm swollen, same old, same old. My high risk doctor ordered labs but no 24 hour urine since my diptest was clear and my blood pressure is okay and they aren't going to deliver me for protein anyway.

But she talked a lot about pushing up my scheduled c-section from Oct.26th to the week before (37 weeks to 36 weeks), and with no amnio. (She actually asked when it was scheduled and how many weeks that would be and then laughed and said "god, she's such a hardass." But she acknowledged that without an amnio (to confirm lung maturity, not for anything that would actually help the baby), there was a risk of NICU time. She told me to see my OB and she would call her about it after my monitoring today. (My OB and MFM know each other well, my MFM was my OB's doctor for her two pregnancies.)

Oh yeah, and she talked about me "resting" again. When I asked her exactly how far I was suppposed to take that, she said lay down and "REALLY rest' for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No one gave Luke that memo. That sounds GLORIOUS. It hasn't happened yet. Though I did take a 2 hour afternoon nap with Luke one day. I can usually at least get some afternoon downtime while he naps.

We also had the "so are you going to do this again?" discussion, for probably the 20th time this pregnancy. I laughed and asked her if she's going to keep asking me because she wants to see at what point I change my mind or if I will. (I went from saying pretty emphatically yes, one more, in awhile... at the beginning... to just making a face and shrugging on Monday.) She grinned at me and said yep, then shook her head at my answer and said, "man, you have nerves of steel." (I guess because I didn't say emphatically "no! please tie my tubes!")

So then there was yesterday. After my bad headaches and swelling, it seemed like things had settled down a lot. Only for my OB to walk into my appointment and make a face and say I looked puffy and she wasn't thrilled that my weight is up 6 lbs in 2 weeks. (Swelling. Or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Blaming it on swelling over and over is starting to seem kinda lame, but seriously, I can't wear shoes or socks because they don't fit on my feet. Flipflops till November it is.)  Then she went on to say how she was glad I was still pregnant at least, because the last time she saw me, she wasn't so sure I'd make it two more weeks. (HUH? What the hell? After I left frustrated because she said she thought I'd sail to 37 weeks with no problems? Evidently she really was taking the "not stress her out" approach but that just made it more frustrating. Then again, she was pretty nonchalant when things were getting ugly with Olivia too as far as her growth and then my pain, while talking about maybe having to deliver at 24 weeks. So obviously she thought it was bad...I don't know. I don't get it.)

Anyway, she didn't mention if there was protein and I didn't ask. I'm really not in the mood to pee in a jug for 24 hours right now for the heck of it anyway. I told my OB about how my high risk doctor wanted to move the date up a week and skip an amnio and OB went on to tell me that if it was 36 weeks they HAD to do an amnio. I shrugged and said MFM was saying she was going to call her today. So my OB told me to have MFM call her after my monitoring. Monitoring went well although the baby nearly failed the NST for being too active to get a baseline. Finally they got it though he was CRAZY the whole time. The test strip was just a giant back and forth zig zag that the nurse had to get my MFM to okay. I told my nurse about the whole delivery date confusion and that my OB wanted MFM to call her. She went to talk to my MFM while I was on the monitors and came back and said, "She said you are delivering at 36 weeks. She's going to call and talk to OB after you are done with monitoring."  So all of that happened and then they had me wait until the doctors had talked. (In the same "naughty chair" I sat on Monday while they tried to call my OB.)  Luckily this took only 20 minutes and then I heard my MFM's loud voice looking for me. She was bemused. "So, do you want to know what [OB's first name] said to me?" ..."She said she will not deliver you at 36 without an amnio. And I do not want you to have an amnio." We talked about it a little and are going to try to make it to 37 weeks, again, the original plan. But my MFM wasn't completely thrilled about it and she said, "One more little thing. Just one more little thing comes up and that baby is out."  So I am on a short leash.

For the record, I actually don't really want to deliver at 36 weeks anyway right now. For one, I'm pretty sure my due date is actually off a little bit...I fudged the dates a little in the beginning because I wanted an ultrasound a couple days early. (The ultrasounds have always matched up to it pretty well though.) I definitely don't want to deliver at what they think is 36 weeks but is really 35+5. Secondly, Luke was born at 36+2 (we know for sure due to the fertility treatments I did), and had jaundice and issues eating. Neither was a huge deal, and both can happen even to babies that go post due date, but still, I'm hoping that delivering close to 37 weeks will help.

I also have a few more trivial reasons that obviously don't carry any weight if there is a real medical reason to deliver. (My ob is just arguing that swelling and even spilling protein in reasonable amounts is not a good enough reason to deliver if the baby is doing well and everything else is okay.) Anyway, my trivial reasons are...
#1- Next Saturday is the SHARE walk in remembrance for babies. And that's not really "trivial" but obviously I would not put this baby's health at risk for a walk if it came down to that. (I probably won't actually walk, even though it is a short and slow walk, one of my friends walked last year a few days after recovering from gallbladder surgery, so it's not like I'm running a 5k here. My dad is outraged that I'm even thinking about going, so if I walk, I'm going to have to hide from him.) It's a really nice ceremony and balloon release and I am hoping to go, if I'm not in the hospital.

#2- We are making progress, but our house is still nowhere near ready for the new baby. I need to wash the carseat cover and a bunch of stuff and drag out all the baby stuff I've packed away (and make room for it around all the toddler crap we have everywhere.)  I finally got Luke's room 98% cleaned out and he and I tried out sleeping on his twin bed (on the floor, we decided to skip the toddler bed thing- and we have a bedframe and box springs for the bed but he's rolled off the couch a few times sleeping so he's not ready to be off the floor yet) last night. It went pretty well, for the most part.But still, there's way too much to be done and I need more than a week.

#3- This is the most trivial reason of all. Olivia was born on the 28th (Sept.), Luke was born on the 27th (April), (so was I but Dec.), and my scheduled c-section for this baby just works out to be the 26th. So 28, 27, 26. If I have this baby before the 26th then it ruins that "connection". And I guess while that is trivial, it also gives me some inner peace that it will be okay, like it's some sort of sign, considering it's not like we planned to give them back to back numbers when we were trying to get pregnant. (With this baby, my insurance plan renews Nov.1st, so we were hoping to have an Oct. delivery date so we didn't have to pay the deductible twice for the same pregnancy. No worries with that! But we definitely in no way  planned for the 26th and it was my OB who scheduled it for that day.)

Also, my OB asked yesterday if I want to do anything "permanent" for birth control. Like she wants to sterilize me! (She hadn't talked to my MFM yet so it wasn't like they are conspiring about it.) I was surprised, because both baby factory and I'm pretty sure my first choice hospital are both Catholic hospitals and I thought they don't allow it, even during c-sections according to our grief support person who is a nurse there. (Although maybe with all of my medical history my OB has a good enough case for it. And maybe that has changed with the new healthcare laws.) And also because I'm only 28. I mean, I know I'm getting up there on c-sections, this will be my third, but before all of this drama, even my conservative high risk doctor was okay with me having one more. And while the drama is annoying and time consuming, I'm not so sure that it's so bad that I should consider NEVER having another baby. I mean, DEFINITELY, I don't want to get pregnant or do this again anytime soon. (I do not recommend having kids 18 months apart, at least so far from what I have experienced of being pregnant with a toddler.) And I'm well aware that the risks of preeclampsia increase with age and time between pregnancies, so it's not like we can wait indefinitely either. But I'm definitely not yet willing to consider shutting that door permanently at this point. I know my pregnancies are annoying and melodramatic, but sheesh, I didn't think it was that bad. Anyway, I just told her no. We may decide that we really are done as time passes and stop here. But it's nothing I'm ready to decide permanently.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Can this week be over now?

To put it mildly, we are not off to a great start this week.

-Last night my brother (15/sophomore) was playing in his JV football game (he usually plays 95% of the game- offense, defense, special teams, etc.) when he came off the field, said something to the coach, and the trainer came over and started talking to him and pulled him off to the side. He was up against a kid who was a senior, 100 lbs more, and well over 6 feet tall. My brother is not a small 15 year old, but this kid was way, way bigger. Anyway, I guess he got hit hard and his head started hurting and he was dizzy. The trainer was mildly concerned but his eyes were fine. Today she redid some kind of test that they do for concussions. (They do it at the beginning of the year for a "baseline" and then again if there is any question of a head injury.) Anyway, it was significantly worse than his baseline at the beginning of the year so they suspect he did indeed have a concussion. The latest stuff on head injuries and football players in particular is terrifying, to me. My brother is now whining because they only have 3 games left this season and if his (our current) pediatrician even THINKS about letting him go back on the field this season, I definitely will be switching. (Actually, I'm already planning to switch anyway, but this would just tell me that he is even more laidback than I thought.) I don't see how they can let him risk having two concussions in a month as a 15 year old. (My brother has a kid on his team who in 8th grade had 3 concussions in less than a year, all from playing football. What that kid's parents were thinking, what his doctor was thinking, I don't get it.)

That is the sucky part of having boys. Luke already starts clapping whenever he gets a glimpse of football on tv. I think that's just from going to my brother's games. But he will sit on my dad's lap and watch at least a full quarter of the game, perfectly content, which is a huge thing for a 17 month old. I do not plan to let Luke play football, at all, ever.

-My appointments yesterday were okay at first. (Baby needed 20 extra minutes to pass the NST but did, fluid levels were up to 10.) Then I went to see my high risk doctor and she was out. Her seriously dumb nurse practitioner saw me instead...not the one I saw last time. She smiled at me brightly and the first thing out of her mouth was, "So, are you planning a VBAC this time?" (Somehow she glanced at my chart enough to see I had c-sections but missed that it was a classical.) I had heard about this particular nurse practitioner before, it wasn't until she started talking that I realized it was HER though. She said several more dumb things and it was pretty much a waste of time. I don't think she had any idea why I was there, why my doctor is seeing me weekly, she was inappropriately unconcerned about everything, it was a joke.

-This morning Joe found out that their company has now officially lost their government contract (and the appeal.) Lockheed Martin is the main company taking over, but there is a different major company taking over the part that mainly does Joe's job. There are rumors that they *have* to re-hire 85% of the people currently working there as part of the contract, but nothing I've actually seen has convinced me. Also it sounds like they plan to cut staff and cut salaries. The company that is taking over Joe's part of things is pretty notorious for frequent layoffs. It's also pretty up in the air when the takeover will happen, he has a couple more months there at least, most likely. But still, I really hate all the uncertainty. I'm sure it will be fine, he's already had a couple of interviews and he gets calls and emails from recruiters pretty regularly, but ugh, not really what we wanted to be thinking about right now.

- This afternoon while we were at lunch with a friend, Luke ran off. I got him and had him by the hand walking towards the door when he got mad about leaving and tried to throw himself down, while I was still holding his hand. He started crying but at first I thought he was just mad but then he started crying harder and was holding his hand awkwardly. We tried to get him to move it and he wouldn't really, even to grab things he likes, like car keys. Thankfully Kim who is a nurse was the friend that was with me or I would have probably totally panicked because the first thought that came to my mind was taking him to the ER since we were only a few minutes away from the hospital. I think she suggested I call our pediatrician instead and they fit us in pretty quickly. Of course today would be the day when someone decided to have a major car fire on the highway and shut down two of the three lanes at a time when there normally is no traffic, ended up being over a half hour of traffic.(Which gave me much too long to stress about him being in pain- having to deal with him getting an xray, or his arm fixed, or in a sling or cast, and also having child protective services called on us for injuring my child...it was a super fun drive.) Luke fell asleep in the car so at least I knew he wasn't totally miserable.

He cried when I had to maneuver him out of the carseat and he was still awkwardly holding his arm by his side in the waiting room as he pointed at the fish in the fish tank and played with the germy toys. When the nurse called us back she even glanced at him and asked, "his left arm?" Yep. Then she had me put him on the baby scale and he freaked out and cried and cried. Even as we were back in the exam room, he was still sobbing. I picked up a book and started reading to him and as he calmed down, he started turning the pages with his left hand all of a sudden. (Before he wouldn't even reach out and grab anything with his hand.)  Then he reached up and grabbed a different book from the counter beside us, with his left hand. It wasn't much longer that the doctor came in. Decided he must have had "nursemaid's elbow", or a dislocated elbow, and that he must have fixed it himself. I took off his shirt and he didn't so much as flinch. The doctor pressed on his shoulder and elbow and wrist and moved them around and he didn't flinch at all either. He said he would order an x-ray if I wanted it, but didn't think it was necessary or would show anything. He was clearly fine by this point so I opted out of an x-ray.  We have wasted a lot of money on unnecessary pediatrician visits (two colds that were just colds) and an unnecessary ER visit (crying), but this was BY FAR, the best "wasted" copay money because at least if nothing else, we went in with his arm hurt, we came out with it 100% better, even if the doctor didn't have to do anything...it was a huge relief that we didn't have to deal with xrays or the doctor fixing it or anything. He played normally all evening using both hands and arms, dancing around, etc. So I am completely reassured that it's fine. And I am really glad I didn't spend 200 extra dollars taking him to the ER.

Toddlers are so fun. 

Luckily, I'm out of bad things, but it's only Tuesday, and considering it's only been two days into this week, it's been bad enough. I'm a little afraid to leave the house tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

9-28-12

It's hard to believe it's been three years. That we should have a three year old.

Happy birthday Olivia. We love you and miss you so very much.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day to day.

Yesterday I had 3 appointments.

My OB was annoyingly calm about everything. She still thinks we can make it to 37 weeks (and even started lecturing me about some difficulties 36 weekers can have, like I'm just tired of being pregnant or something...) And then she mentioned she saw my protein level test results and called it "good" and nonchalantly mentioned I was spilling protein again on their diptest and didn't raise an eyebrow that I'd gained 4 lbs in a week and 10+ lbs in 2 weeks (that day when I gained 7 lbs between the two appointments? I really did gain 7 lbs between the two appointments. Yesterday my weight was exactly the same at my OB and MFM, so the difference was probably not their scales.)

She is so frustratingly calm that it makes me question why I'm even wasting the time and money to see her. And so calm it makes me again think back to three years ago and wonder if things would have been different at all if I had been seeing a different doctor, if I had asked to see a high risk doctor, etc. I mean, the Friday before I got sick, I called begging them to take me out of work and put me on bedrest. The nurse was going to call me back on Monday after talking to the doctor who was out of the office. Monday I went into the hospital at 3 am and came out almost a week later with a dead baby. The week before, I saw my OB for the extreme upper right quadrant pain I was having. She suggested I try prenatal yoga. Then we did the ultrasound and saw Olivia was extremely far behind in growth, so she saw me again, and said that I was probably developing preeclampsia. I was only 22 weeks with a severely growth restricted baby, in severe pain, and she sent me home because my blood pressure was normal and my urine was clear. She even mentioned that slow growing babies are at risk for being stillborn and that we may have to deliver as early as 24 weeks because even that early, some babies are better off outside where they can grow rather than in utero where something major is wrong. She didn't order bloodwork or a 24 hour urine. She didn't send me to a high risk doctor. She let me keep working. (In fact, I specifically asked about bedrest. She mentioned it wasn't proven to help...which is true...but it would have been better than doing nothing.) I was supposed to follow up in 4 weeks, and I was 22 weeks, so I was relieved because I thought that that at least meant we should make it to 24 weeks. I know she had no idea how bad it was or would get, and I do really ultimately think that *most* ob's would have done the same thing...my blood pressure was good and my urine was clear. And I don't think it ultimately would have made much of a difference, even if I had been put on bedrest then, we were in such bad shape, bedrest probably wouldn't have made a difference, or maybe just bought us a week, but even a week longer likely wouldn't have saved Olivia. But still...she disregarded some pretty serious stuff...stuff that could have ended up killing me before we ever even made it into the hospital. So it's not only frustrating that she seems to be on another planet at this point in this pregnancy, it's triggering some feelings I thought I had resolved a long time ago.

My high risk doctor is not nearly as relaxed. I asked if she thought we were still okay to deliver at 37 weeks and she stared at me like I was crazy and said, "I'm a realist. Let's just see how your monitoring goes downstairs."  I pressed her about it a little more and she elaborated that while she would LOVE for me to make it all the way to 37 weeks, she has no intention of walking on egg shells for an extra week unnecessarily and the best case we are probably looking at...if everything stays status quo and we can limp along a few more weeks...is delivering at 36 weeks with no amnio. Because at this point, I have steroids, and the baby's lung development is secondary to the risks of preeclampsia and/or HELLP...seizure, stroke, placental abruptions, etc., so if she decides it's time to deliver because of my symptoms getting worse or signs that the baby is starting to have issues, whether his lungs are completely ready just yet is irrelevant (they likely will be fine anyway) and we don't need the added risk of the amnio putting me in labor (again). She is also really nervous about my weight gain, which she said is definitely swelling, and was not happy to hear that I had protein again in my urine that morning. (Though I had a clear test there.) Luckily she decided not to do another 24 hour urine just yet, I think she doesn't really want to know if that's much worse yet, since there is no recommendation or guideline on delivering for protein levels alone and the baby is doing well and my blood pressure has been good and I haven't had any symptoms of HELLP, yet. And probably, if I'm able to have some clear tests at least, it isn't that much worse yet.  But still, she had pretty much the opposite attitude of my OB, which was actually kind of reassuring that I'm not crazy.

The baby keeps doing really well on his nonstress tests, except for the pesky fact that my amniotic fluid levels have gone from 18 to 15 to 13 to 11 over the last 4 times they were checked. A lot of things can affect measuring fluid levels, (especially the baby's position and the person who is doing the measuring) but they should stay relatively constant, generally speaking... (With Luke they were around 15-16, sometimes up a little from that, sometimes down a little from that, but right there in the middle with no pattern up or down, just some minor variation.) They want them a 10 or higher, so if this trend continues, on Thursday my high risk doctor is not going to be happy. I don't think they'll deliver at this point for fluid levels unless they get really bad, but I wouldn't be surprised if it earned me bedrest officially or even getting admitted with iv fluids to see if that might help. I distinctly remember one person on the Preeclampsia Foundation forums who was in the hospital because of low fluids and they were trying to get them up with IV's and drinking, when she had a placental abruption that her doctor happened to be right there in the room watching the baby's monitors and they managed to get the baby out just in time via emergency c-section and probably saved his life. In some cases, low fluid levels can proceed other things going haywire, so while this trend is still within a perfectly normal range, I'm not incredibly optimistic that I'm going to be leaving the hospital Thursday after my monitoring in lieu of everything else going on too.

On the bright side, we are really close to October, I'm really close to 33 weeks (Friday), and I'm still feeling pretty good, overall. Fingers crossed we can make it a few weeks more. Or at least till October.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lots of updates.

Today I was at the perinatal center for monitoring. I happened to glance up at the time the nurse stepped in the door to call someone back when I realized it was my favorite nurse from my pregnancy with Luke. She is mostly working at the perinatal near my house now (and I haven't done anything there except my second ultrasound), so I haven't seen her yet this pregnancy. She didn't even call my name, she smiled and motioned for me and I went back, and she told me she grabbed my file on purpose because she remembered my name. (I think Luke and his eventful monitoring sessions may have stressed her out as much as it stressed me out.) She was as awesome as ever. It's too bad they don't have doctors at the perinatal center by our house, because I'd love to get to see her for all my NST's again. (And not drive 30 to 45 minutes for them.) These days, though, I'm at the hospital for appointments weekly anyway so it actually is easier to have an appointment then monitoring right there in one chunk of time, it's just the second time of the week that it's a pain to drive out there only for that. Though with all of the drama and uncertainty, I feel better being by the hospital and with doctors there.

Baby boy looked good. And showed us he is a boy multiple times during my fluid checks, it was impossible to miss. I still don't understand how people with surprises can have monitoring and not see boy parts if they are having a boy unless they aren't watching a lot of the fluid check. Or maybe my boys are just super proud of their parts and like showing them off in ultrasounds. Anyway, while they were doing fluid checks, he was moving well, practicing breathing, fluid levels were normal, and he flipped back to head down again. He kept moving off the monitor for the NST so that was a little tricky, but eventually when I held it down where he was, he easily passed.

The only thing that has me wondering a little about how he's doing specifically, is that his/my amniotic fluid levels have gone from 18 to 15 to 13 in the last week and a half. They want it over 10, so at this trend, it could be at or below that next week. But there are a lot of explanations for the variance...like the fact that the measurements were done by 3 different people, or the fact that he was head down, then breech, then head down again. So it's not something I am super concerned with, knowing it could be right back up to 15 or more on Monday, but it's something I am "watching". Low fluid levels can be a sign of fetal distress--I had that with Olivia when things were bad--and that's why they check it with the NST every time.

I saw my high risk doctor briefly who was happy with how things looked, told me to start trying some stronger meds for the heartburn to see if that helps, and said she'll see me next week. So we are a couple hours away from 32 weeks and it is looking encouraging we may even make it to Oct. That's as much as I can dare to hope for just yet.

I am really looking forward to just vegging out around our house (hopefully getting some cleaning done...or SOMETHING constructive done...like laundry) tomorrow. Four appointments a week was time consuming enough when I was pregnant with Luke, now it's just a joke, it seems like there is no time for anything else. Next week I have 5 appointments between my OB, high risk doctor, 2x monitoring, and a dentist appointment...that's assuming I don't have to do any bloodwork or labs or a 24 hour urine, which I'm guessing is very likely in my future. Then Friday is Olivia's birthday (which I have hardly had time to think about while at the same time am thinking about it way too much.)

I half-heartedly packed a few things in a bag and threw it in the van today just in case I didn't get to leave the hospital. Important stuff like comfortable clothes, my Nook and charger, cell phone charger, toiletries, the camera, and an extra book. I think it's a pretty good prevention from getting admitted, because usually my hospital admissions have caught me unprepared...with Olivia I had my purse and a book and that was all. With my hand, nothing except my purse and my dad. (And Joe did a really bad job of packing clothes for me, thank goodness for my mom! He did get my Nook and chargers and laptop, but still, comfortable clothes are VERY important when you are stuck in the hospital.) Even with Luke, I had a bag mostly packed, but I was busy cleaning and planning to put a few more important things in it at the last minute when my water broke and that went out the window. (Important stuff like his baby book!) So still, we ended up calling my parents at some ungodly hour in the morning, I think like 2 or 3. And at first we just told them what happened but that they weren't planning on surgery till 7 so they could take their time. But then my contractions picked up and 7am turned into 4 am and suddenly we were calling them and asking them to go to our house ASAP to get the baby book so they could get his footprints/handprints done in it...they were literally wheeling me into surgery when someone in the room said, "Oh, here's the baby book!" So yeah, I'm thinking that as long as I keep a bag in the car on days I have appointments, maybe we can even make it to Oct.26th. I'll just have to try not to unpack it when I get low on laundry and stuff.

Our house is not so much a fun place to be at the moment. Luke is being very much a 1.5 year old, which at the moment is exhausting. Joe is stressed out about his work situation (contracts are still in limbo, he's had a few interviews, pretty certain he will have *a* job, not so sure it will be the same pay, etc.). And then there's me and this pregnancy and trying to keep up with Luke and also worrying about Joe's job and blech, blech, blech.

Luke is a little pistol, to put it mildly. I think his favorite thing in the universe is dogs, although he also really likes his cars and ride on toys and saying "beep beep" over and over. This morning my mom came over and watched him for a little bit while I had a new pediatrician "meet and greet", and when I got home, I managed to accidentally let our husky out. Luke got into the spirit of trying to catch him (holding my hand) by patting his legs and yelling "dog! dog!"  like he always tries to do to get the dogs-any dogs, anywhere- to come to him (which has never ever worked, but the poor kid sees it works for Joe and I, so he keeps trying and trying.) Luckily, Koda stopped at a fenced yard a few houses away that had a couple of dogs out, tried his best to get in a fight with a pit bull in the yard but luckily the fence between them prevented it (I was actually more worried about him hurting another dog vs. getting hurt, he's such a pain in the butt.)  My mom was still there and managed to grab our dog and drag him back to our house (and probably only bothered to try to catch him because she knew I would if she didn't). Ugh, dogs. But watching Luke hitting his leg and yelling "dog! dog!" so intently like it might just work, almost made "the chase" worth it. I could have done without having to carry him home kicking and screaming and trying to squirm out of my arms because he wanted to walk around the neighbors' yards (not people we know or have ever even seen before). So I'm not sure who actually had it worse, my mom dragging our 40+ lb husky by the collar while he tried to stop/pull away over and over (and FYI, huskies are pretty strong), or me carrying the 30 lb toddler trying to kick me in the face and jump out of my arms. Fun walk home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

HELLP

I almost made the title of this "the second worst outcome", and I wanted to, but given my current pregnancy drama, didn't want to stress anyone out unnecessarily. So you are welcome! :) As far as I know, I'm fine, baby is fine.Both rounds of steroids are in, 24 hours until they should be fully kicked in, so hopefully the baby's lungs should be good to go, whenever he is born. (Hopefully not until October!) Nothing really new to report except last night my heartburn was so bad it woke me up at 3 am and took a couple hours before I could go back to sleep, and dinner was nothing spicy, so that's erm, sucky, but could be normal. (It is NOT "upper right quadrant" pain, thankfully.)

Anyway. I remember someone, I think probably Brooke , talking with her doctor or someone medical not long after her daughter Eliza was born still, and them saying that losing the baby was the "second worst outcome". And when she questioned that, they either said that the worst outcome was losing the mom and the baby, or possibly just the mom. (Sorry to be vague, my brain isn't working so great at the moment.)

 Obviously, I think losing the baby AND the mom would definitely have to be the worst outcome, losing two lives with one pregnancy. Nobody goes into pregnancy expecting to die, or even thinking that women still die in pregnancy in this day and age, especially not in countries with medical care like we have in the United States. I can see how a doctor might think that losing a mom is the "worst outcome", but from a mom perspective, I'd say losing a baby is the "worst outcome".  I would have gladly traded places if we could. But then Luke wouldn't be here, so in that respect, I'm glad I didn't die.

But I still vividly recall a medical professional trying to comfort me in the hospital after they told me we had to deliver and Olivia was most likely not going to survive," You are young. You have family. You can go on and have other babies". Really, not that comforting or helpful in that particular moment, though I know they meant well and were trying to save my life at the time. But all I wanted in that moment was THAT baby, our baby girl, the one who was still inside me at that moment, moving around, but so small I couldn't yet even feel her, even if her survival meant I had to trade my life for hers. I knew even then that they couldn't promise I would ever get pregnant again, or that we would ever have a healthy living child, or that having a living child would just make up for the one that we lost. (It doesn't "make up for it", but I am glad, now, to still be alive so that he can be here.)

Anyway, apologies for rambling. What I am getting at that even as recently as this month, women in the United States are dying from HELLP syndrome and preeclampsia, sometimes their babies survive (usually, in these cases, it seems like the baby does survive), sometimes they are both lost. As sad as that idea is, for a baby to be motherless and a father widowed in what should be the happiest time of their lives, it's worse when you see the faces...the young, healthy women glowing with pregnancy and glowing holding their new baby, only to die soon after.

Even though we lost so, so much because of HELLP, it could have been even worse, which was impossible to think at the time, almost 3 years ago. But now, I know I am lucky to be here. These stories of women dying could have easily been me. If we hadn't gone to the hospital when we did. If they had sent me home when they initially found almost nothing wrong. (My initial labs showed my liver enzymes just "slightly elevated" with everything else totally normal. They thought my liver enzymes may have been elevated from gallstones...They kept me anyway. Six hours later, my liver enzymes more than doubled, and my platelets dropped by 100,000. I continued getting worse over the next two days before things finally started getting better. My platelets went from 250,000 upon admission (normal) to 40,000 at the worst (the worst category of HELLP, "class I", which is 50,000 and lower), in a matter of a couple days. Even as my labs got worse, I didn't feel any worse. These stories most certainly could have been me.

I am at higher risk than most to develop HELLP again. We can't say for certain that this is where it's going, yet, but a lot of the symptoms I am having are all too familiar. This is why I got the steroids now, in case we need to deliver soon.  And this is why I'm on a pretty short leash as far as how long this pregnancy will go. Since my blood pressure barely acted up last time, it may not act up again this time. (I suspect if I look at my records closely, it was only high when we were in conversations about Olivia dying, etc.) , there were one or two barely elevated readings over the entire week+ that I was hospitalized. I don't really like how my symptoms...the swelling, the heartburn, just feeling off, are seeming to be progressing and constant. It is impossible to predict though, how much longer we have left. On Friday, I will be 32 weeks. Just one day, one week, at a time, at this point.

I came across this video today from a friend on Facebook, it is not to ask for donations, but simply to put a face behind one of the stories and spread more information and awareness about HELLP syndrome. September seems like it is a bad month for HELLP especially, though maybe I'm biased because that's when I got sick and diagnosed with Olivia. At the beginning of the month, on the PreEclampsia Foundation, a bereaved mother wrote about her daughter who died from HELLP 4 days after delivering her baby boy a month early. (The video below is not the same story, it has been on YouTube for 3 years, but both women who died were young and healthy and in the hospital when they died.) Like preeclampsia, there is no "cure" for HELLP besides delivery, and often it gets worse after delivery before it gets better (it got worse in my case as well). Sometimes (usually) HELLP presents first as preeclampsia, with protein in the urine and elevated blood pressure, and as preeclampsia gets worse, it can develop into HELLP, with red blood cells breaking down (Hemolysis), elevated liver enzymes (EL), and lowered platelet count. (LP). It basically attacks the organs and blood of the woman.  Sometimes women are like me, and don't show they typical preeclampsia symptoms while going directly to HELLP. (In my case, swelling and severe upper right quadrant pain...around my rib cage/bra strap/back on my right side especially...pain that came and went for WEEKS...were my telltale symptoms.) It typically doesn't happen until the third trimester, but can happen (rarely) as early as 18+ weeks. It most commonly occurs in first pregnancies, when women are the most vulnerable because they don't know what is "normal" discomfort in pregnancy and what is not. (I even posted on internet pregnancy message boards about my rib cage pain, and was reassured it was normal by everyone.)

Here is someone else's HELLP story, with some good medical information in there as well.




Monday, September 17, 2012

31 weeks= drama

Some of you may remember back when I was pregnant with Luke, when I got admitted twice in the same week, back to back days, for different reasons. On that Friday, we went for monitoring, where Luke did HORRIBLY with some ugly decelerations (more than once) that were so bad that the nurse wanted to fax the test strip to my high risk doctor directly, followed up with a failing biophysical profile--he was too lazy to practice breathing and his movements were more sluggish than usual--my MFM had us head to the hospital, where they quickly hooked me up to monitors and watched him for a couple hours. He did perfectly, then they followed up with a biophysical profile again, where he passed easily in 5 minutes. All that drama for nothing.

The next day, I was laying on the couch watching tv when I started having contractions. I was told to call if I have more than 5 in an hour. I had more than that, called, they told me to go in. Same place, the very next day, more monitoring for both contractions and his heart rate. (He did perfectly.) I had an irritable uterus from a UTI, they sent me home with antibiotics after a few hours.

Silly me, thinking this pregnancy has been so mellow and drama free with the exception of the hand saga, I often almost forget I'm pregnant. Last week I was mildly alarmed when I was spilling a little protein at my OB, but then I wasn't spilling any at my high risk doctor, so it didn't seem too terribly alarming. Then I started feeling like I was getting swollen, especially in my face around my sinuses/the bridge of my nose, it felt like I was getting a sinus infection, but didn't. Which is kinda a big deal, because swelling in the feet during pregnancy is normal...the face, not so much. But swelling is tricky, I didn't think I looked more swollen, and maybe it was all in my head.And my blood pressure was really good.

My first appointment today went well, unlike his big brother, the little boy in utero is super cooperative and easily passed the nonstress test and my fluid levels were good. No drama there, at all, except he flipped from head down to breech which is a whole lot more comfortable for me, although it's surprising an almost 5 lb baby still has that much room in there. But no big deal, having a c-section, he can stay breech (and just might).

My second appointment...eh. My blood pressure was good. My 24 hour urine results, not so much.

The diagnostic criteria for preeclampsia is two blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher, and 300 mg of protein in a 24 hour urine test. (The in office dip tests are supposed to give them a general idea. Last week my test was +1, which is supposed to be an estimate of 100 mg. +2 is a guess of 200, etc., and they only go up to +3. But they are notoriously inaccurate. One of my friends had a 24 hour urine test of 250 mg when her office test was completely clear. One sample at one random time doesn't mean that the kidneys aren't spilling protein, even with a completely clear test. Or someone can get a +3 test if they are dehydrated, but not actually be spilling 300 mg over 24 hours, so they can be inaccurate both ways, but a whole lot more convenient than saving your pee in an orange jug for 24 hours.)

 Anyway, last Monday, I had a +1 test in my OB's office, but a clear test in the afternoon at high risk. Wednesday through Thursday I did my 24 hour urine test and blood work. It came back at 700 mg of protein and my uric acid was "a little high" (something to do with the kidneys, not sure what, it's not super important in terms of preeclampsia). I am pretty sure my high risk doctor accidently muttered the 700 mg and could tell immediately I knew what that meant by the look on my face (BAD!) because we have spent a lot of time together and freaking out about it isn't going to help anything. She quickly said, "That's not bad enough to pull the trigger.  If you get to x000's then we probably will." (Can't remember if she said 2000 or 5000, either way, I'm going to be reluctant to deliver if I'm "only" spilling protein, though I'd rather not have kidney damage along the way so we'll have to weigh the options carefully if it comes to that. Spilling protein isn't good for *me*, but my understanding is that it isn't really putting the baby at risk, as long as my blood pressure and everything else stays normal.)

So, this changes things. It seems like she's now preparing for *when* trouble comes vs. *if* it is coming. Because there is not really a good reason to be spilling that much protein, when I never have spilled that much in pregnancy before. (With Olivia, we never had time for a 24 hour urine, my office dip tests were always completely clear, so who knows how bad my kidneys were doing or for how long.) I did "baseline" 24 hour urines before I got pregnant with Luke, and a baseline 24 hour urine early in my pregnancy with Luke, we didn't do one this time, but last time there wasn't any/much.

I'm now getting steroid shots to help develop the baby's lungs, tomorrow and Wednesday. (It is ideally 2 doses, 24 hours apart, as close to delivery as possible) She made a comment that she wanted them done by the time I go back for monitoring Thursday, which should probably have us all a little alarmed, because the unspoken meaning is, I want them done by Thursday so we can deliver then if we need to. I am only going back Thursday for an NST and fluid check, though they'll also check my blood pressure and she specifically said she'll "see me then", so we'll see how that goes. Then I go back again Monday, so I guess I am on weekly appointments now, plus she is sending the results "and a note" to my OB, so who knows what my next few weeks will look like. I don't think she is inclined to put me in the hospital or on full bedrest, if it gets that bad, they'll likely just deliver because of my extreme history and the fact that we are in the 30's weeks-wise with a nice sized baby.

Mostly, we are still in good shape. The baby is doing well. I'm only a few days away from 32 weeks and will have steroids for his lungs soon. They are watching everything closely. I don't think they'll let me go to 37 weeks anymore unless things take a drastic turn for the better. (Like if my next 24 hour urine test comes back under 300 and my swelling goes away, which is not very likely.) With the protein as high it is, most likely they will call it quits if we can make it to 36 weeks. I would love to make it 37, but I just don't know that it's very realistic anymore with the direction things have turned. Right now, I just want to make it to October with the baby still in utero and doing well. Bonus if we can make it to 35 weeks or more. (At 35 weeks, NICU time is 50/50 odds. Luke was born at 36 weeks and didn't need it but it happens sometimes.Before 35 weeks, he'd most likely need some NICU time to learn to eat and regulate his temp and stuff. So 35 weeks is a good "first" goal, but that's a month away and we may not get that lucky this time.) If I make it to 35 weeks, I'll probably still deliver at the non-baby factory hospital, but before then, baby factory it is because I don't want to risk the baby needed transferred to a higher NICU and us being in two different hospitals.

So blech. I'm not on bedrest but on "seriously, take it easy! No running around like crazy!"-rest. Which I think might mean that any trips to the zoo in the next few weeks are out of the question. (Not like we would have time for that anyway with all my appointments.)

Fingers crossed we can keep this baby baking for awhile longer, we have way too much still to do.