Monday, April 10, 2017

35 Weeks

We have spent the past few days in total preparation mode. I feel like we should be relaxing a bit more, but I know that if I don't stay busy, my mind will start racing with worries... which I definitely don't want. I think I was on my feet for 6-7 hours yesterday and I was definitely feeling it ... my back was so stiff and sore by bed time. I will NOT miss all these aches and pains! Anyway, the nursery is almost there. We just need to hang up the prints we have ... hopefully, we can do that tomorrow. (We'll still need to buy a dresser at some point, but that is obviously not going to happen in time!). Overall, I'm trying to accept that the house will not be perfect and to be content with whatever we get done.
Mike made and painted the book ledges. Love them!
Changing table is from when Brad and I were babies.  I've been using it as a dresser, but now it's returned to its original purpose :)
Pack n' Play bassinet is ready to go!
We also had our final ultrasound today. They checked that the umbilical vein varix was still stable (it is!) and also did a growth assessment. Baby is measuring at 34 weeks 1 day (I'm 35 weeks 6 days) and his estimated weight is 4 lbs 15 oz. He was moving a lot during the ultrasound and the tech repeatedly pointed out all the practice breaths he was taking. So he's doing great! I asked the doctor if he could just be a small baby, and he said that based on what they are seeing, that appears to be the case. We got Blizzards on the way home to celebrate and to try to pack that extra ounce on baby and push him over 5 lbs ;)  AND I actually have a couple pictures to share (we hadn't gotten any for several weeks).
Sweet foot (by his face as usual)
A peek at his face!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

34 Weeks and a Date

Baby is doing great. The umbilical vein issue was stable again at our ultrasound on Monday. We had our weekly OB appointment today and the doctor confirmed that we will be admitted to the hospital next Wednesday evening. They will insert some medicine to help with cervical softening and dilation overnight and then start the pitocin at some point on Thursday. She also checked my cervix and I am 1 cm dilated. She said this was a good place to start since some women stay closed up tight even past their due dates. There is still some question about whether I will be able to have an epidural given the lower back surgery I had in 2008. She had me call an anesthesiologist last week and I guess it was just a general phone number to the anesthesiology department because the guy that answer seemed very confused as to why I was calling. I explained the surgery I had and without asking many questions he said that he didn't think it would be an issue. After I told them about the odd-ness of the call, someone from the doctor's office called and talked to a different anesthesiologist and she said basically that they will just have to try it and see. If it hurts me too much, they will stop. Well, that's not very reassuring ...

Next Monday, we will have our last ultrasound before baby comes. This one will be a growth scan which we haven't had in a few weeks. It will be good to have a sense of how big baby will actually be when he is born. I'm hoping for at least 5 lbs.

So this weekend is our final weekend as a family of two (+ Patches, of course!). I'm feeling a bit disconnected from everything ... is this really happening? It's supposed to be nice this weekend here, so we will try to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. And I'm sure I will take lots of naps because I have been SO TIRED. I'm a pretty tired person, in general, but this level of tired is new to me! We will also be scrambling to finish up last minute baby projects. We did manage to do some nursery prep finally last weekend because Mike's dad came over to help him move all the guest room furniture into the newly remodeled third bedroom. Here is the current state of the nursery:
What you don't see is all the boxes/mess that I shoved out of the picture :)
Hopefully, we'll have it a little more decorated before baby comes home, but I guess he won't really know the difference if we don't get it done!

Monday, March 27, 2017

33 Weeks

We covered lots of ground at our OB appointment last week. Apparently, the hospital doesn't like scheduling inductions more than a week out because they end up having to cancel a lot of them, so we won't know an exact date for another week or two. The doctor also shared that my bleeding throughout pregnancy puts me at risk for bleeding during birth. She said it would be like a "stress test" for my placenta. If I bleed during birth, we would have to do an emergency c-section. So this led me to ask about her recommendation around an epidural since if we have to do an emergency c-section, there would not be time to perform one if it isn't already in place. She agreed and said she would recommend one for me because, otherwise, if a c-section is needed, I would have to go under general anesthesia and Mike would not be able to be in the room. I told her that I am nervous about having an epidural and that I worry about having a panic attack. She said that there are plenty of good medicines they can give me for that. Besides all this, she thought that baby was laying across my belly which would obviously necessitate a c-section automatically if he didn't turn (did I mention that this one is already a troublemaker??).

I will admit that I was pretty emotional after this appointment. So much choice has been stripped away. So many worst-case scenarios running through my head. But I have to focus on baby and he is doing well and that's all that matters. Luckily my gloomy mood only lasted the day and I'm feeling more upbeat (though still stressed about getting everything done!).

Today, we had our weekly ultrasound and everything was still looking great with baby. The umbilical vein hasn't dilated further and blood flow looks good. And he was head down! Hurray! Now he needs to stay put :) As usual, he was moving like crazy and hiding his little face, so unfortunately no pictures. Maybe he is planning to surprise us all with his insane good looks and flowing locks of hair!

Also, today is Mike's birthday! He has been such a rock to me through this not-so-fun pregnancy and I can't wait to see him as daddy. I love you, Mike! <3

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

31-32 Weeks

This baby is a handful and he's not even out of the womb yet! Last Tuesday, we had a growth ultrasound. Overall, he was in the 30th percentile, estimated weight of 3 lbs 11 oz, and aced his BPP.  However, baby's belly was measuring small (~7th percentile). He also had a small dilation in his umbilical vein called a varix. It is just over the threshold for being considered a dilation: 9 mm is the cutoff and his was 9.7 mm. The doctor didn't seem too concerned but did mention the possibility of an early induction and wanted us to follow-up with the high-risk doctor.

Yesterday we had our follow-up. The results were pretty much the same, but they were able to check a few other things. In particular, they were able to look at the blood flow through the umbilical vein. The concern with a varix is that the blood flow could become turbulent or a blood clot could form, but the scan yesterday showed that that is currently not an issue. We were glad to hear that! The dilation has also not grown since last week. The high-risk doctor wants to do weekly ultrasounds to monitor and recommended induction at 36-37 weeks. At that point, she said the risk of him staying in longer outweighs the benefits.

So here we are. Two doctor appointments every week (one high-risk, one regular OB) and baby will be coming in 3-4 weeks assuming that the varix remains stable. I'm surprised by how upset I am at the idea of induction. Or maybe I'm upset that we are dealing with yet another issue. Or the fact that I have even less time to get everything ready. Or maybe it's everything rolled into one. Hopefully, I'll feel more positive in a few days, but right now I just feel like curling up into a ball and sleeping for a while.

Enough Debbie Downer. Here are some pictures!
Picture on right taken on Sunday.  Feeling huge! 
Framed prints for baby's room made from a calendar.
Halfway done with baby's crochet mobile (I'm actually done now, but need to put it together!)

Monday, March 6, 2017

28 - 30 Weeks

Another three weeks have flown by and baby is still cozy in my belly. Hurray! Unfortunately, while he is snug as a bug, I'm getting more and more uncomfortable. I never realized how difficult it would be to carry this much weight! And he is still going to double in size! Just trying to keep my eye on the prize at this point.
Week 28 photo
Here's a run-down of the past three weeks.

Week 28:
I passed my glucose test! I was worried I wouldn't because before I left the hospital, the doctor told me that the magnesium sulfate could mess with my blood sugar level for up to a week. Glad to have that out of the way.

We also had an ultrasound and a BPP. Baby was yawning like crazy! He must have been worn out from all the excitement of the previous week too. And the ultrasound tech said it looks like he has some hair ... that would explain the heartburn! Here's a pic of his sweet profile.
Our day-long birth class was on Saturday and it was pretty intense. I left feeling more anxious than before, but knowledge is power, right? Mike learned some massage techniques (which he will hopefully remember!) and there were several videos which he found surprisingly graphic. "What do you think is going to happen, dear?" Ha!

And the bathroom is done (except for the window ... don't judge!).

Week 29:
We had our Infants 101 class on Thursday. This class wasn't quite as useful to me since I babysat quite a bit growing up, but it was certainly fun to watch Mike change a doll's diaper :) and there were other helpful tidbits here and there, too.

We started remodeling the third bedroom (finally!). This will be the guest room once completed so we can turn the current guest room into the nursery. It just needs a bit of framing, drywall, paint and carpet. There's already been good progress on the drywall, so hoping this project wraps up quickly!

We also ordered new windows for baby's room and the two bathrooms. We'll be cutting it close with those, but it will be ok even if baby comes before they're installed since he will be in our room for a while.

Week 30:
I had a regular doctor visit last week ... no pokes or blood draws this time ... nice to have a break! I did apparently gain five lbs in two weeks. My doctor had told me that she expected me to have a "growth spurt" so I guess this is it ... doesn't make it any easier to see the numbers creep up on the scale :-P

Work was pretty stressful last week with lots of political BS which is my favorite thing ever. I was really glad to make it to the weekend! Thankfully, things seemed to have calmed down now (based on a sample size of one day out of this week ;) ).

Hoping for a productive and otherwise uneventful week 31!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Third Trimester!

I know I just posted, but felt that today should be commemorated considering all that happened last week. We have officially made it to 28 weeks and the third trimester! Whew!

I had a doctor appointment today for my glucose test, Tdap vaccine, and just regular prenatal checkup. It was nice to talk to the doctor since I hadn't seen her since they transferred me to the second hospital (she doesn't practice there). I told her how anxious I have been and she understood exactly saying that I probably have PTSD about it. It's so true! Every night I worry I will wake up to blood and every bathroom visit I worry it will be there. The fear seems to get better every day, but it is still very much there for now. The hardest thing for me is the total lack of control I have in all this. It's out of my hands. She did say that 28 weeks is a big milestone and 32 weeks is even better. I asked about such young babies having lasting disabilities and while there is a higher risk, she said that medical science is amazing these days and she worries more about people who deliver at 24, 25, 26 weeks. This made me feel better although I still want baby to stay in there ... partially because I feel like we aren't ready yet! The house isn't ready, we haven't taken the birth classes, I don't have my maternity leave paperwork filled out yet ... AHHH! But again, it's out of my hands, and I can only pray for the best.

I also have a growth ultrasound scheduled for Friday and the doctor said that I will have a growth ultrasound every three weeks after that along with a BPP assessment every week. She felt bad about all the appointments, but I think for me it will be reassuring, so I'm not worried about it.

One thing I didn't mention last post was that on Wednesday when this all happened, I was actually supposed to be flying home to Louisville for my baby shower. Such a bummer that I had to miss it, but I was able to FaceTime through my mom's iPad, so it sort of felt like I was there! My aunt and cousin planned lots of yummy foods and fun games and I hope people had a good time (can you tell I feel guilty for not being there even though I know it wasn't my fault?). I daily feel humbled by how blessed we are with such wonderful family and friends!

So now it's onward and upward into the 28th week ... one day at a time.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

23-27 Weeks

Life and this pregnancy had been pretty uneventful recently (work, house renovations, signing up for baby classes) ... until last week. On Wednesday morning, I awoke to a gush of blood. This is the third time (!!!) that this has happened to me and it never gets any less scary. I called the answering service for my OB and the on-call doctor told us to go to the maternal assessment area at the hospital where we were planning to deliver. Longest ride of my life, but baby gave some reassuring kicks on the way.

After normal vitals, etc, my doctor (who happened to be at the hospital that day) stopped by and explained they would be doing a variety of tests (blood work, ultrasound, contraction and heart rate monitoring) and that I would be given steroid shots to help baby's lungs develop (just in case he needed to be delivered) and also magnesium sulfate to help prevent neurological issues (again, just in case). It was a bit of a whirlwind in the room and I felt suddenly that things were more serious than I had initially thought. I'm only 27 weeks ... there should be no discussion of delivering. But it was clearly on their minds since I was not allowed to eat anything in case I needed an emergency c-section. She also mentioned that with the meds, they like to continue monitoring for several days, so I knew there was no going home that day.

Baby's heart rate was perfect and he didn't appear to be in any distress which was a relief, but I was having contractions every 3-4 minutes. They felt like more intense versions of Braxton-Hicks ... uncomfortable tightening in my uterus.  From what I had read, these didn't seem like the real thing to me, and to be honest, I hadn't even really noticed them or their frequency until they hooked the monitor up.

The magnesium sulfate was brutal. It literally made me feel like my body was on fire. They do an initial quick infusion and then slow it down for the remainder of the day. After they slowed it down, the burning feeling faded a bit, but I was still excessively warm and felt increasingly weak for the remainder of the day.  By the time they turned it off, I felt so puny that I was having a hard time getting my eyes to focus.

So all the tests were done and my doctor came back in to tell me they were going to transfer me to a different hospital where they have a NICU which can handle babies born at 27 weeks. The hospital I was in typically only handles cases after 32 weeks. Again, the helpless feeling of "what is happening?!" and also additional fear because I would have to be separated from Mike for the trip. I cried. To be honest, I'm crying now too because in the moment it's difficult to process your emotions.

We signed the paperwork and I made the 20 minute ride via ambulance to a hospital downtown. I was so glad that Mike beat the ambulance to the hospital ... it was comforting to have him there waiting for me.

I got set up in bed with the IV and all the monitors and waited for the doctors. At some point I also made a trip to the restroom where I noticed that the bleeding appeared to have stopped! I took this as an optimistic sign.

A whole hoard of doctors finally came in (teaching hospital, I guess). The tests that had come back from the other hospital were all good. They were just waiting on one last test which shows the level of baby's blood in my blood. My uterus was still contracting very regularly, but my cervix was hard and closed, so a good sign. Baby continued doing great ... totally oblivious to everything going on in the outside world. In fact, I felt he was being more active than usual ... or perhaps I could just feel it more because they had the monitors strapped on with very tight belts!

At some point after that, the high-risk doctor came in to talk to me. She said they were thinking that I had a placental abruption which is where the placenta tears away from the wall of the uterus. The test from the other hospital had come back and showed a higher level of baby's blood in my blood than is normal. This caused them to be more concerned and she said I would probably need to be monitored for several more days.

They did finally give me the ok to eat!! Hunger combined with the IV were making me feel even more miserable so this was a welcome development. I was also having a hard time internalizing things they were saying to me, so was hoping food would help. Of course, all these other pop-ins by doctors after the first hoard occurred when Mike had run home to get some things for me and take care of some work stuff, so I didn't have an additional listener to help and ask questions ... I did my best!

The rest of Wednesday was spent on the IV and with the monitors strapped on. It was a long, long day, but the bright red bleeding had stopped and baby continually reassured me with lots of flips and kicks. After the magnesium sulfate was finished, I was feeling noticeably better within 30-45 minutes. Well enough, even, to log in to work to let my manager know how things were going and the plan for the next few days. She was very understanding which put me at ease ... I didn't need to worry about work at least. Before bed, the nurse also advocated on my behalf to stop my fluid drip and remove the monitors for the night so I could get some better rest. She also offered some medicine to help a bit with sleep and anxiety which I resisted at first, but eventually took around midnight or 1 am because my mind was racing and analyzing the events of the day. After that, I got about 5 hours of restless sleep which was better than nothing.

Around 6:30 am, the nurse came back in to hook me up to the monitors (I would be monitored for 1 hour, 3 times a day) and to give me the second steroid shot. Shortly after, an ultrasound tech from the high-risk doctor's office came in to give me another longer ultrasound. In addition to a growth report, the doctor had also requested a biophysical profile which looks at baby's movements in the womb to assess their well-being. The technician cautioned that it could be hard to get a BPP on a baby so young, but I'm proud to say our baby got an 8/8 for being a little acrobat on camera :) My amniotic fluids were a little on the low side, but had increased a bit by the end of the ultrasound because baby had peed (ha!). All the other growth measurements looked good too. His estimated weight is 2 lbs 4 oz and his overall growth is in the 47th percentile for his due date. His head was actually measuring at 30 weeks and a few days, so I'm just going to assume that he has a really big brain. Of course, he had his hand over his face. The tech gave me a pic of his foot instead.

My main doctors came in around 8:30. They thought the ultrasound results were good. They could not see the placental tear on the ultrasound which I took to mean that it wasn't super large. They continued to be concerned because of that blood test result and because my uterus still seemed to be pretty irritated: I was still contracting every 15 minutes or so. They said this was normal with bleeding but they wanted to be cautious, so I would be moved to a different room (I was still currently in labor and delivery which by the way, has the most uncomfortable beds!) and monitored for another day.

So I was moved to the antepartum area which is where, as the nurse put it, "they keep people pregnant". The room was much bigger and the bed was much more comfortable. I was able to take a little nap before social work came in and wanted to chat about support and emotions ... she was nice, but I was out of it and wanted to sleep more. The rest of Thursday was thankfully uneventful ... just more monitoring and resting. I took the same sleep med Thursday night and slept like a rock for 5 hrs.

Friday morning I was up at 5 am or so. The nurse had told me she would come in to hook me up to the monitors and do vitals around 5:30, so I just stayed up. I was anxious to see the doctors that morning to see if they would let me go home. Still no more bleeding, baby was doing great, and my contractions had slowed down a lot. Usually the doctors round early, but on this day, they didn't get to my room until 10:30. The high-risk doctor told me that they had called the lab to discuss the results of the fetal blood level test because upon further review, they felt that the results from the lab were worded ambiguously. It turns out that the level of fetal blood in my blood was within normal range! I asked if this meant I didn't have an abruption, and she said that they still thought that was the cause of the bleeding, but that the normal blood test indicated that it wasn't as bad as they had initially thought. What a relief! So I would get to go home! No bed rest (because bed rest isn't proven to work ... glad to have doctors who believe in fact-based medicine), but I should take it easy. And she recommended another growth ultrasound in 2-3 weeks.

We made it home around 1 and I took a long nap. This week I already had a doctor appointment scheduled for my gestational diabetes test and Tdap vaccine, but now I have an additional appointment for an ultrasound on Friday, and my regular doctor wants to do ultrasounds every 3-4 weeks from here on out. I'm still super paranoid but trying to stay positive. Baby has proven he is a champ and it's his mama's body that apparently doesn't like pregnancy. But I'm going to do my best to keep him baking for as long as I can!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

19-22 Weeks

I can't believe how quickly the last month has flown by! That's the holidays for you, I suppose. We had a wonderful Christmas with my family and New Years with Mike's family (of course, I took zero pictures). And we were both off from work for the majority of those two weeks. Such a nice break from work!! And in the midst of all that, I hit 20 weeks ... we're more than halfway there!
Some of baby's Christmas haul
Last week we had a fetal echocardiogram which is standard for IVF patients. Basically, it was a 30 minute ultrasound focused only on the heart. Everything looked great. They didn't see anything abnormal. Love to hear that! And love to see the baby, of course :) I'm thinking this could be our last ultrasound which makes me slightly sad. I will ask the doctor at my next appointment. The nurse only gave us two images ... both in 3D and one is technically a video. Baby had his feet up by his head ... so flexible!

I'm finally starting to get more of a belly. And I'm feeling baby kick lots these days which is fun. Mike especially enjoys when the baby kicks me :-P I also think I might be having Braxton Hicks contractions (another question for the doctor!). Since around 18 weeks, from time to time I will feel a lot of pressure in my uterus and if I put my hand on my stomach, it feels like there is a hard rock in my abdomen. It usually relaxes after 15 or 20 seconds. At first I thought it was just baby moving around, but now that I've been reading about Braxton Hicks, I'm thinking that's what I'm feeling. Crazy! 
Don't make fun of my selfie skills!
We are also in the midst of a remodel on our main floor bathroom. I'm so done with dust and contractors! But it will be worth it in the end ... I hope! Here are some before (goodbye, pink monster!) and during photos.

This weekend I started my baby registries and can I just say that it is way more stressful than fun?! I am having to research every little thing. SO MANY CHOICES! Ugh. So here are my questions for all the moms who read this: what is the one baby item you couldn't live without and what did you hardly (or never!) use?