Monday, December 20, 2010

Speed Blogging

I'm going to type as fast as I can because I'm blogging on borrowed time. Jack, from the IV team, could show up at any minute and who knows if I'll have use of both of my hands/arms after that. A normal person would but my veins are "difficult." First of all, I have an IV thanks to a UTI caused by an unusual bacteria and the doctors chose to be very aggressive. There are three medications available in pill form that work on this particular bacteria: one is safe during pregnancy but only has a 50% chance of working since I was on the wrong kind of antibiotics for 2 days until the culture was complete, the other is not safe during pregnancy, and the third is not safe in the third trimester. The end result is IV antibiotics that have really helped me feel better (even though I had no idea I had a UTI until they found it in a routine urine test) but the IV has been a huge hassle. The first one lasted 5 doses (every 12 hours) but started looking bad last night and the replacement was painful all night long. I was willing to push through the pain (pain that prevented me from sleeping last night) in order to avoid another stick but it started bleeding where the needle went in my skin and my nurse wasn't impressed. The aforementioned Jack comes highly recommended so we shall see. This is not a new issue for me because my veins are small and IV needles are not so the choices are limited. I would never make it as an IV drug user.

So things are moving right along. I kind of hit a wall last week but I think I'm over that. I was really feeling sorry for myself and just wanted to go home. In retrospect, I think I was starting to feel icky from the UTI and, well, 6 weeks in the hospital will get to most people after a while. Our little one is doing great though! She always gets a perfect score on her biophysical profile ultrasounds and we'll get another weight estimate Wednesday. She's done a fair bit of online shopping; I'm very excited to get home and see what all she has!

I had a very special treat yesterday in the form of a long visit from an old friend. She's like a sister to me and it was so awesome to see her while she and her husband are visiting our fair city for a few days. Thanks for coming, Krista!

I know I have more to say but I can't remember it all right now. I'm going to listen to soothing music while I wait for Jack...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

29w2d

Sometimes I just lie (or is it lay? I can never remember and even when I look it up, it doesn't make sense to me) here in complete awe that I am still pregnant. After so many tears and prayers and praying through tears it looks like it's finally going to happen. Even in my darkest moments I had a peace deep down inside me but I would rarely acknowledge it for fear of ushering in a hope that wasn't going to stay. But here I am...29 weeks and 2 days pregnant. There is no doubt in my mind God's grace is the reason but I know that probably sounds ridiculous to those who have also prayed and still have empty arms. I know how you feel, I prayed for Sarah's healing--as did many, many others--for a week and even though she was perfectly healed, it certainly didn't happen the way I wanted it to happen. Not a day goes by that I don't cry for her; that I don't long to sit beside her incubator and read On the Night You Were Born one more time. I have been there and to be nearing life on "the other side" is completely surreal. It would have never been possible were it not for God's grace, faithfulness, unending love because without him, I simply would not have had the strength to go forward.

I had another weight measurement on Wednesday and the baby is growing which is fabulous news! She's still on the small side but as long as she shows two weeks' growth every two weeks, everyone is happy. Yesterday when I had my ultrasound I saw one of the high-risk fellows I met on one of my many visits to L&D. He said he's been following me through their weekly team meetings and is thrilled for us. He also mentioned that he never expected me to make it to 28 weeks. Last week another doctor told me the same thing only it was during an ultrasound and she said, "She looks great! I have to tell you, I was very worried about this baby." I'm so glad they didn't tell me that earlier!

Our next big goal is 32 weeks but I'll still be thrilled to make it into the 30's on Thursday but we have set our BIG goal at 36 weeks because that is magic age when babies are not required to go to the NICU. Anything after that is icing on the cake. Speaking of icing and sugary goodness, let's talk gestational diabetes.

GD and bed rest are not friends. I was controlling my sugar levels very well with diet but after I lost weight for the 3rd week in a row, someone had the bright idea to check for ketones in my urine. I had them. Long story short: I'm on insulin to control the glucose levels so I can eat more carbs. To tell you the truth, it's been incredibly liberating and I'm no longer hungry which, apparently, can be worse than having high glucose levels. All the GD ladies on the antepartum wing see endocrinologists from a nearby diabetes research and treatment center who specialize in GD. A few days ago I asked how it was possible that I was so borderline on my test and so clearly a GD (remember, were it not for the stricter standards they use here, I would have passed the test without issue). She told me they estimate nearly 50% of GD cases go undiagnosed! I also really appreciate that she takes all of my information into account (e.g., size of the baby) when ordering and adjusting my insulin dosage.

Sadly, not all is well in the hospital. They've had to cut the food service employees schedules and now there are only 4 people per shift as opposed to 6*. It's a lot more work for them. If you would like details, I can provide them. People talk. Unfortunately my least favorite food service lady is still here way too often. The other day she was picking up my tray and, as usual, didn't bother to knock so she walked in on my doctor performing a breast exam. I gave her an annoyed look and she said, "Oh, I've seen it all working here." That might be true, my friend, but I don't think the same is true for the husband of the patient across the hall who also happened to catch the peep show.

*All things considered, I'm glad they chose to cut employees in this area rather than, say, nurses.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Annoyed about being annoyed.

Today should be a wonderful day...I hit the 28 week mark! The baby looks great! TOIAW got the help he needs to learn how to write academic papers (rather than relying on my non-existent skills in that area)! Things are looking good...so why am I annoyed?


It all started Saturday when TOIAW brought the mail to me. I opened a letter from the housing office where we live that said we were eligible to move to a single-family home in the same area. It would likely be about the same size as our current house but I was looking forward to a) not having to store our trash can in the garage so that when you walk in there you are assaulted with a horrible stench, b) the opportunity to meet new neighbors since the ones we have are downright hostile, and c) have a bigger kitchen. There was also a very attractive financial incentive that didn't hurt either. It would be a very easy move since we really haven't unpacked that much and nothing has been hung on the walls. So we came up with a plan that TOIAW would spend the night at home Monday and check out the houses. This is already too long of a story for such a silly topic but basically he looked in the windows of the houses (they're all brand new and not occupied) and saw that half are everything we're looking for and the other half have the same odd layout as our house. I left a message for the manager Tuesday morning but after not hearing from her by yesterday afternoon, I called again and she was busy so I spoke with someone else. He first began to tell me about all the amenities my house has that the new houses do not have. An odd tactic to entice someone to move, no? Supposedly they really want us to move because certain houses are for certain ranks and we live in something way below TOIAW's rank. ANYWAY, the guy with whom I spoke asked me how I knew about the 2 different floor plans and I told him my husband had looked at the houses and he accused TOIAW of breaking in the houses. Seriously? Then, I called again today to see if someone could email me a copy of the floor plans and I was told, "I WON'T do that but I'll leave a message for someone else to do it or you can just go to the open house next week." I explained why I couldn't do that and she once again replied, "I WON'T do that for you." Okie dokie...guess we won't be moving. But I will call your district manager and the base commander. Huge mistake because I've got nothing but time on my hands!

Okay, I'm going to return to my regularly scheduled 28 weeks!!! celebration and thankfulness for my beautiful home and they many, many blessings I have!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who's in charge here anyway?

My scan on Wednesday exceeded my hopes and prayers! The baby is in the 28th percentile in growth and my fluid levels were in the normal range. Low normal but still normal! The nurse who did the scan was amazed at the difference she saw between Friday and Wednesday and she measured the baby several times because she really couldn't believe how much growth there was in 2 weeks. I was am so excited; I finally believe we're going to take a baby home with us. I'm in awe.


Unfortunately, as precious as this little girl is, she is beginning to present with some behavioral issues. Namely, she will not allow me to sleep on my side which, as a stomach sleeper, is already a compromise on my part. I can get by with it for about 5 minutes and then the kicking begins. It makes for a long night because I can get to sleep but I can't stay asleep since I'm not comfortable. If I weren't in a hospital bed that can be manipulated, I probably wouldn't sleep at all. And then there's her championship bladder kicking skills...I don't think I need to spell it out for you but let's just say I give in to those really quickly. Of course I'm thrilled she is an active baby who loves to move I just wish she would do that sans attitude, you know?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful

It's November 23 and I'm still pregnant! I'm not sure I've ever had more occasion for thanks than I do this year! If I get a slice of pumpkin pie, it's going to put me over the edge!!!

Sorry I haven't written much. If it makes you feel better, I have a long list of emails to write and phone calls to make so it's not just the blog. My days are actually a lot busier than you might think. Between monitoring, doctors' rounds, ultrasounds, and the antepartum "mix and mingle" group, there isn't a lot of idle time during the day. The nurses are also very sweet about coming by to chat and keep you company. When I'm home alone with the baby, I'm going to miss all this socialization!

Yesterday I had a great ultrasound! The doctor who pretty much never says anything positive said that the fluid level looks better than she's ever seen it which was really encouraging. [On a side note, she and I are getting to be BFFs, I think.] Tomorrow she will repeat the growth scan and plug all the numbers into the formula to calculate the baby's weight. I'm a little anxious, but not too bad. Even if there is zero growth, they will not deliver me at this point unless the baby is in distress and she certainly doesn't seem to be. I will be very surprised if tomorrow's scan doesn't show at least some growth because those kicks and rolls feel a lot stronger to me! The bottom line is even if there are placental issues, the baby is still developing and the best place for her to develop--based on what we know now--is right where she is. Thursday is 27 weeks; can you believe it?!

Thank you for all the furniture ideas and tips. I check craigslist regularly but never seem to find anything good there; some cities are better about that than others. As you might remember, Botson's craigslist is more infamous than anything else. I'm still pretty sure we won't buy anything until I can go look for myself but I think we have what we need to be able to care for her when she comes home which, no matter when she is born, won't be until February. At some point, we're probably also going to need to decide on a car seat/stroller combo so we can actually take her home and a name might be helpful as well.

For now, however, I'm going to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Hungry

The title of the post has nothing to do with the content but I couldn't think of a title and I'm really hungry at the moment so there you go. I'm hoping my food arrives soon.

So the ultrasounds on Friday and today show that the fluid level is stable. I was praying for a dramatic and miraculous increase but I'll take steady. As long as things remain steady, no decisions will be made until the next time they "weigh" the baby which will be a week from Wednesday. She continues to look good during her monitoring and it's so fun to hear her heartbeat for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. Honestly, I think it's better than the ultrasounds.

The other big news of the day is that I ordered a Moses basket! Not terribly exciting for most people but it's a big step for me. I finally found an organic one I like and it was on sale so I bought it. I also want to have a dresser/changing table and some kind of rocker before she comes home but I don't know if that's going to happen. I struggle between the balance of quality and price. If I knew for certain that spending more would mean the pieces would last longer, I wouldn't hesitate but I'm just not so sure. Any thoughts?

My food just arrived so it's goodbye for now. I hope it tastes better than it looks. It doesn't really matter though because I'm going to eat it no matter what.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

But, Wait! There's More!

Yesterday I was super excited to have an ultrasound and find out how much Baby Girl weighs these days. I was warned they just work people in as they have time and I might wait all day so I was really excited when a nurse came shortly after 8 a.m. I was in such a good mood that I didn't even let it bother me when I realized the only doctor I don't really like would be the one doing the scan.

First she looked at my cervix and although she had a lot of difficulty finding the cerclage stitch, she did see it eventually and said she was "pretty sure" I wasn't funneling beyond the stitch. So far, so good. Then she moved on to the baby and began taking measurements. There was a tv monitor I could see but the resolution wasn't very clear so I couldn't clearly see the numbers/dates when she would take a measurement but after the third time I saw 22wXd, I asked her what was going on. She was polite but dismissed me with a, "Just let me finish, and we'll take a look." I remembered why we didn't hit it off last time we met. I was trying so hard not to cry and finally she finished and told me the baby is in the 21st percentile as compared to the last time when she was in the 37th percentile. Also, my amniotic fluid levels are low. She actually said they were in the low-normal range but that's not what the report said. Because she's a fellow, she left the room to consult with the attending and I began to bawl. It was great fun. After what seemed like an eternity, she returned and said she will do a repeat ultrasound on Friday and that a nurse would be there in a few minutes to take me back to my room. Thankfully, it was my nurse and she was armed with tissues and encouraging words. I love the nurses on this floor!

I was pretty upset but I managed to call TOIAW and tell him what happened. He helped me calm down and we agreed not to panic and just wait to speak with my OB who promised to stop by when she had a break (she was working in L&D all day yesterday). That break didn't happen until 9 p.m. but she called several times to tell the nurses to let me know she hadn't forgotten about me. It probably actually for the best because I was much more relaxed by the time I we saw her.

She explained that this is actually more concerning to her than my cervix and she intends to follow me very closely. The indications are that there is a problem with the placenta. TOIAW asked if there was a chance this could turn out the be nothing but she said that the combination the low growth/weight and low fluid levels lead her to believe, "something is brewing." She ordered twice-daily one-hour non-stress tests (basically a really long Doppler that monitors the baby's heartbeat to see if she's active and doesn't have obvious signs of distress) and ultrasounds 3 days a week. If at any time it appears that the baby is in distress, I will have a c-section. For now, it's all about observing the baby and taking cues from her. We are overwhelmingly thankful for every day she stays in my tummy!

We're celebrating 25 weeks today and praying to see more fluid tomorrow!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lock down!

I first planned on writing this post to ask for advice but, praise be to God, the issue seems to be resolved. It all began Saturday night when things got a little stuffy in my room and TOIAW and I decided to open the door. My neighbor across the hall saw us and came over to introduce herself. She's 32 weeks and pregnant with twins. She was feeling very overwhelmed last night and told us her life story which is actually quite sad. I won't go into details but she's in a bad relationship with a man who is much older than her and who has made it clear he does not want these babies (a fact he shares with her often). She also has a 9 year old daughter and a daughter who is 22 months.


Yesterday morning the boyfriend came, dropped off the younger daughter, and left for the day. As you might imagine, that's pretty much against the rules for patients on bed rest. I heard her running up and down the hall all morning. I know it was difficult on the mom and the nurses were getting frustrated as well. Eventually they came to my room and stayed and stayed...and stayed. The daughter wrote on everything with a dry erase marker (I'm serious, the table, the floor, the chairs but fortunately it's a hospital so they're all washable). She pulled latex gloves out of their boxes and had them all over the floor. My nurse came in and I could tell she was mortified. I feel bad for the mom and I know she needs/wants company and I can do that for short periods of time but I can't handle entertaining a toddler and offering free counseling for an hour at a time. I eventually texted TOIAW and told him to call me and if that didn't work, he was supposed to call the nurses and have them rescue me. They left while I was still on the phone and a little while later my nurse came in and asked if I wanted company. I told her the truth: I don't mind in small doses but I have so much going on myself and I'm not in a place to bear burdens for strangers. I know that sounds harsh but fortunately my nurse didn't think so. She was kind enough to brief the night nurse and they both said it would be handled further today with the nurse manager.

This morning my nurse didn't say anything and I didn't either. My nurse was in my room and/or in the hall all three times this morning when my neighbor stopped by (to ask for my iPad which I reluctantly let her borrow the third time she asked because she was very persistent and I did not want an awkward situation to become even more so). A little while later my nurse came in and asked about everything so I told her what had happened and she said they were instituting a new "rule" that there can be no borrowing of property and no visitation unless a patient's door is open. What a relief! I had been praying about how to handle the situation and it was totally resolved without me having to say anything to anyone! My heart really hurts for her and her situation and I told God if this is what I'm supposed to do here, I will but I truly believe He confirmed that this is not a season in which I'm meant to minister in that kind of way.

So, for now, the antepartum wing is on lock down! Hopefully this will conclude this episode of General Hospital and we can all get back to our regularly scheduled bed rest.

The Social Worker Said I'm Normal

First of all, let me just say how awesome you guys are for commenting on my last post which was actually a non-post thanks to iPad/blogger technical difficulties. I think I have figured that out--for the most part--but I'm writing from my laptop today just in case. Also, my neighbor across the hall borrowed my iPad so this is my only writing tool at the moment. And while I'm here I will just mention that I love, love, love my iPad!!!

I wrote a long post Friday but thanks to the funky hospital wi-fi, I lost it and didn't have the energy to rewrite it. I'll just catch you up on the highlights of the hospital thus far...

Check-in Wednesday took forever (like 5+ hours) and I had been sick all morning and was starving so by the time I got to my room I had a wicked headache that prevented me from sleeping very well. My room is at the end of the hallway and it's pretty quiet so I can't even blame hospital noise for that night. I began my glucose tolerance test at 5:00 a.m. and never really fell back asleep after that. Before the test, someone warned me that this hospital uses very strict guidelines when diagnosing gestational diabetes and the only test they use is a 2-hour test as opposed to the more popular 1- and 3-hour tests. Bottom line: I failed the test. I wouldn't have a year ago when they followed the old standards (or at most other facilities in the U.S.) so I guess I just got lucky. It actually hasn't been a big deal because there's a diabetic menu that makes it easy to track what I'm eating and I just call the nurse when it's time to test so there's really nothing special I have to do. I can't say exactly how I'm doing because the steroids I was given to help the baby's lung development interfere with glucose levels but so far mine are well within normal limits (given the circumstances) and both my OB and MFM think it will be a non-issue once they leave my system. Frankly, I think both of them have much bigger concerns when it comes to my treatment. That being said, they're both positive.

On Friday the social worker stopped by. She's straight out of central casting with flowy skirts and artisan jewelery with a distinctive Southwest flair. We chatted for a while during which time the student shadowing her took an alarming amount of notes. She, of course, asked me how I'm doing and I told her I was actually relieved to be here because it meant that 1) I made it to 24 weeks, 2) if I have any questions here, they're easily answered and I don't have to sit at home and wonder and 3) TOIAW has been able to relinquish his role as primary caretaker which is great for him as he nears the end of the semester. Guess what? She said a lot of people feel relief upon admittance to hospital bed rest and she thinks I'm normal! She also told me that 75% of the bed rest patients here are diagnosed with GD which was even more comforting because I'm almost never in the medical majority!

I have more to say but will have to save it for now because my lunch should be here any minute and I don't want to interrupt my schedule. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm bored and/or if I have enough to keep me occupied...the truth is I must just be easily entertained because I have my routine down and the days seem to go by surprisingly fast so far. Let's hope it stays that way!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Are you Serious?

I don't often feel well after my appointments due to the ultrasound, anxiousness, and activity but I know it's going to be this way and it no longer worries me if I have a few pains afterwards. Only last week it lasted for several days. I called the doctor on Saturday but all I could say is I have some discomfort down there blah, blah, blah...I don't even know why I called but I was hurting and my post-appointment discomfort doesn't usually last that long. Sunday morning was good but by afternoon I was in pain again. I knew I didn't want to go to the hospital but what could it be? I had TOIAW inspect for an infection of some kind but all he said was, "It looks blue-ish purple." I had no idea what that meant but I didn't have any signs of infection so I just rested (like I don't do enough of that already). Same thing Monday morning: fine when I woke-up but pain 1.5 hours after waking. And it wasn't just pain, it was a burning sensation. It had to be an infection, I thought, so I called my OB and she said she wanted me to see the MFM to have him check my cervix just in case.


TOIAW came home and we went to the doctor's office. My OB and MFM no longer share an office so I went to see him first and then, if need be (like if the pain wasn't caused by my cervix), they were going to send me to see my OB. Good plan only I had to wait for quite a while. The good news is, I met a lovely woman who was also waiting and we had a great discussion about affordable housing. She is a property manager at an affordable housing complex so she had a lot of insight. I was inordinately excited to talk about an interesting topic with someone. I hope she didn't notice. Also, it was nice to be distracted because I was really scared. It seemed the symptoms got worse every time I got up or went to the bathroom which concerned me that it actually was my cervix and I was just feeling it on the outside since there aren't a lot of nerve endings around the cervix. Finally it was my turn and the ultrasound showed the the usual less-than-stellar cervical length but, once again, it appears to be stable. So why do I feel like I used sand paper rather than toilet paper? The MFM didn't even examine me, he just said to try an over-the-counter yeast infection cream. Fine. We stopped at a pharmacy on the way home and got the necessary supplies. I followed the directions and felt some relief for about 5-10 minutes...until I got tears in my eyes and told TOIAW I was pretty sure someone tampered with the package and replaced the regular cream with acid. I was in so much pain!

I eventually fell asleep but the next morning I called my OB. She suggested "airing out the area" and made me an appointment for her next office day (Thursday). Guess what she found? You'll never guess unless you've had this issue before (and I so hope you haven't). This is what I have. It's not the best link, but you get the idea. Surprisingly, a combination of cortisone cream and trying not to irritate the area have helped a lot.

The good news is my cervix was closed when she looked at it and "there's some thickness to it" whatever that means. It would seem that if it were normal she would have said that outright but I know I'm not normal. What is normal anyway?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Steady-ish?

Yesterday's appointments went pretty well. First I had a cervical check, which showed maybe a slight shortening from last week but I'm not open beyond the stitch (praise the Lord!). It's difficult to get an accurate measurement when it's always a different person performing the ultrasound and you would think that in a small office that wouldn't happen but different nurses work different days and sometimes the doctor does it himself so there is some margin for error. So last week my cervix was 1.6 cm and this week it was 1 cm which seems like a big difference to me--especially for just one week--but no one said anything (except my OB but I'll get there in a minute). TOIAW says it's been at 1 cm before and we already know it changes so I'm trying my best to hang in there and not freak out and think about thinning and softening and the like...

We briefly spoke to the MFM before he went down to confer with my OB. I will see him on Wednesday next week and the following Wednesday I will see him and then go to the hospital for admission because that's the day my OB is on call. We had a pretty short appointment with her but she was the only one who pointed out that the difference between last week and this week. Maybe no one else said anything because there isn't much point? I don't know.

Of course last night I had quite a bit of discomfort/pain that bothered me but I'm kind of getting used to it. It goes away when I sleep and it's here and there today but nothing like yesterday. I'm not sure if it's all the activity or the exam or both but it often happens on appointment days. I only have to hold out for 11 more days and then I get 2 ultrasounds a week and they'll travel to me...how awesome is that?

I've enjoyed having my brother's family here this week for their yummy food and even better company/entertainment so I'll be sad for them to leave tomorrow. It's going to be so quiet! We then have about a week on our own before my aunt and cousins arrive and they will stay until I'm admitted...or should I say committed?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Holding Steady

Let me just say that I fully intended to write this update Thursday morning, however, I have a horrible case of tendinitis in my right arm and typing is rather painful. Thankfully, it is better today but I don't want to push it so this will be short.

I did not feel well Wednesday at all. I hadn't slept the night before and then I began cramping (right after I wrote my last post) and it would not go away. I called to see if there were any openings and even though there weren't, they did "work me in" which meant I was seen after all the other patients. It looks like things are still holding steady at 1.7 cm although I have no idea what that means other than there is no change from the previous week. It's altogether possible that I open and close daily which makes the cerclage my first line of defense. In other exciting news, my doctor suggested we go out to dinner on our way home. We did, it was great, and I remembered how to behave in public. I wonder if the same will hold true when I attempt to apply make-up again?

My brother, sister-in-law, niece, and nephew will be arriving in a few hours. They'll be here for a week. If nothing else, they will provide plenty of entertainment and it is doubtful I will be bored or lonely with them around.

I'm off to nurse my tendinitis some more. I use my computer once every 2-3 days which makes me think this injury is more likely from playing games on my phone. So incredibly pathetic...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Feelings

Yesterday afternoon/evening and today have been really rough and I'm not even sure why. The most obvious reason would probably be that I had some sharp round ligament-like pains yesterday which, when combined with the [nearly] omnipresent cerclage pulls, tugs, and twinges, are never good for my psyche. Then there's the issue of my frail psyche who was feeling lonely and sorry for itself. Even though TOIAW works from home as much as he can, he's nearly always studying and while it's awesome to have him here "just in case," he's not much of a companion. So when he came down last night for a study break and I told him what I was feeling (physically) and he kind of laughed and said something like, "It's always something!" I dissolved in tears. He wasn't being a jerk; he was trying to make light of the situation. But it's NOT FUNNY when all you do ALL DAY LONG is lie (or is it lay? I never remember) around and FEEL everything.

I've done some very unscientific experiments to prove that the vast majority of the things I feel are innocuous (I mean sure, bad things could be going on in there but the likelihood of me feeling them like I think I'm feeling them is not very high). For instance, if I'm having cramps and I get up to go to the bathroom, I rarely notice them and they usually disappear by the time I get back to the couch/bed. The same is true with most of the twinges I feel. If I get up or change positions, it usually alleviates the problem which would lead me to believe it's not so much of a problem but that never stops me from worrying. The same is true for when I think I feel pressure and, even though I'm not an expert in physics, I'm pretty sure that pressure would be magnified when standing up as opposed to reclining. Granted, I could go into my appointment tomorrow and have my worst fears confirmed but the truth is I've had nearly all these "feelings" for 5.5 weeks now and there has yet to be a correlation between them and what's happening inside.

Speaking of my appointment, I both dread it and look forward to it. It's so twisted. And I don't know which version of my doctor is going to show up on any given day. The somewhat optimistic one or the compassionate, give-me-a-hug-and-a-you're-a-nice-couple-who-doesn't-deserve-this-speech-and-I'm-so-sorry one.

On a completely different note, if you need any information on Massachusetts or New Hampshire political races, please let me know. Most of my knowledge is based on commercials and debates although I have done the odd web search just to satisfy my own curiosity. And, because I clearly have way too much time on my hands, I've even reached out to the campaigns of 2 different candidates from own party to tell them I think their ads are arrogant and hostile and I cannot possibly see how they could be beneficial (on any level). All that did was get me on their email distribution lists. I've never run a political campaign but it would seem to me that the most effective strategy would be to promote yourself rather than trashing your opponent. If retailers did that we would be outraged. Can you imagine a Target commercial where all they did was trash Wal-Mart for 30 seconds? Would that entice you to shop there? Yet we allow it in politics because that's "just the way it is." I hope the elections in your area are more civil.

Okay, enough procrastination on my editing work. It's very interesting to edit papers on topics about which I know nothing. Who really needs to read 7-8 pages on the assimilation of mountain cultures as it pertains to the frontier expansion of Russia and China? Not me.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Roller Coasters and [extremely tentative] Plans

When last we left off, I couldn't go 5 minutes without breaking down in tears. That was most of last Friday and early Saturday morning. I doubt I slept more than an hour that night. I then woke-up to increased vaginal discharge. I had mentioned it to the doctor at my appointment and he said normally he would attribute it to the cerclage, but in light of the funneling beyond the stitch, he was inclined to take it as a more ominous sign. So of course I called once I realized it was not going away. I managed to make it through the call to the answering service but as soon as the doctor called me back I was in tears and handed the phone to TOIAW. The on-call doctor felt I needed a manual exam--something my doctor had not done the day before--so off we went. A part of me truly felt it was over.

I was seen quickly by the high risk OB and the sweetest resident who we met earlier in the week. Her family immigrated to the U.S. when she was a teenager and they live very close to TOIAW's parents. First, they did the speculum exam which showed a closed cervix with no pressure on the stitch followed by a manual exam that confirmed no dilation. Then they performed an ultrasound that showed me open to the stitch but not beyond it. The doctor explained that a manual exam is far more telling at this point and she proclaimed me "stable."

Then we waited for an hour or two for my discharge paperwork during which time I slept and TOIAW did homework. We made it home and I slept some more while he did homework. Our neighbors hosted a party that began around 4:00. TOIAW went to get my mom at the airport and we all went to sleep to the sounds of the drunk revelers next door. It was so much better than the day I thought I was going to have!

The remainder of the week was uneventful with me getting plenty of time in bed and my mom taking care of everything. My main project has been following up on a home health care aide. Our insurance has approved it but the woman who handles the referrals has not been able to find a company willing to do the work (light housekeeping, cooking, shopping, laundry, etc.) so that's still not settled.

The big event of the week was my appointment yesterday. I absolutely dreaded it! By the time we arrive I was sick, as per usual. I was dry heaving as I signed in and of course I had to pee but you can't ever "just" pee at the OB's office so I had to complete the 14 steps necessary to give my sample and somehow with the nerves, nausea, and smells it didn't turn out so good but, whatever, I'm used to it. Thankfully I had a short wait and the cervical check showed I'm still funneled to the stitch but not beyond. I was hoping for a miracle, but I'll take it. The nurse had just started to look at the baby when the doctor came in. He proclaimed the baby to be in a bad position to see her heart and brain so we left it at that and began to chat.

The first thing we discussed was the results of the manual exam. He dismissed the findings of the manual exam saying they were skewed because of the cerclage. I'm going to chalk that up to a difference in medical opinion. He was open about the fact that he can trend towards the negative but I get that because I know he's trying to be realistic with us. On the other hand, he admits that we know a lot more about this than some people and he feels we are realistic as well so he said he also wanted to talk to us about his plan should I make it another 4 weeks. At that point, he will admit me to the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy (or until I make it a lot further along) and the decision we have to make is do we want to resuscitate before 25 weeks (after which it is the hospital's policy to do it no matter what). This decision will be the determining factor in then deciding when I will receive steroids to aid in lung development and hopefully help prevent brain hemorrhaging as well. If you will remember, Sarah had a massive brain bleed that likely would have greatly influenced her quality of life. It's a lot to consider but at least this week I wasn't the patient who left the office in tears.

Today I'm going to email one of Sarah's neonatologists because TOIAW and I both feel like we need to talk to someone with his perspective. He's awesome and we really respect his opinion.

And just to touch on a few things that have been raised in the comments (and, by the way, I am thankful for every single kind word, prayer, and piece of advice), the reason we are not opting for hospital bed rest at this time is we don't really feel it would make a difference this early. Also, so far, I haven't experienced any [noticeable] contractions so as long as my uterus stays relaxed, my cervix--with the help of the cerclage--stays closed. The medications you are typically given in the hospital are to stop contractions but, again, I'm not there yet. Additionally, many doctors now feel that these medications should be used sparingly as the body develops a resistance to them over time and they are most useful when trying to stave off labor until steroids have had a chance to become effective. So that's where we are on that. Expect my attitude to change dramatically if I start to contract.

Thanks again for all your love and support. It really helps keep me going!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Not Well At All

Just a little background before I copy and paste an email update I sent my friends...things haven't been great but they haven't been horrible either. At my appointment last Friday I was once again open to the stitch but my doctor didn't seem too concerned because he had seen it like that before. My cervix measured 1.89 cm. On Sunday and Monday I had some cramping and when it didn't go away I called and was sent to L&D triage. The same doctor I had seen the week before did an ultrasound and speculum exam and he said everything looked the same (not open beyond the stitch, no pressure on the stitch) as it had so he didn't think there was cause for concern regarding the cramping and he measured my cervix at 2.2 cm. The following is what happened today...and my emotional ramblings to along with it:


Just kidding, Blogger won't let me copy and paste or I'm doing something wrong and I don't feel like messing with it so the short version is at my appointment today I am opening beyond the stitch and am likely 1 cm dilated. This has been a quick progression and things don't look good. Also, I'm beginning to have increased discharge which is likely a sign of labor. I'm 19w1d today and nothing can be done now in terms of medication or other interventions. I called my previous MFM in Oklahoma and he said he would follow the same course in terms of home bed rest and progesterone shots and he also said the situation is not without hope.

My MFM here was very sweet today which helped a little, I guess. I know he and his staff care a great deal and I do still feel like we're all doing everything we can at this juncture. We're just praying for a lot more time or God's grace and mercy...or both.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Not A Proper Update

I'm still here. Still on bed rest. Still terrified but making it. Since I last wrote, I've had 1 appointment with my MFM, 1 OB appointment, and 2 trips to labor and delivery...and the cervix is holding steady as best we can tell. Thank you, Lord! And thank you for the great insurance! (Not having it wouldn't change anything but it would be a lot more expensive.) My last trip to L&D was this morning due to relentless cramping. It lasted for several hours but, naturally, it had pretty much ended by the time I got there but I did freak everyone out a bit with my vomiting (on an empty stomach--so. not. fun.). The rest of the day I was sick and had a headache--oh how I wish those were always my worst symptoms!

My mom came last week after I had a mini-breakdown about how I was starving and we had all our stuff everywhere with no one to put it away. It might have been a hormone-fueled exaggeration but she came and it was wonderful to have her here.

I would write more but my laptop is heavy and large and it's just not comfortable for typing nor do I think it's a good idea for me to lift it very often. I'm trying to convince TOIAW I need an iPad.

This concludes my horrible "update" but I do promise more very soon.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding Our Stride

Initially I was going to title this Hitting Our Stride but we're not quite there yet.

I last went to the grocery store a week ago today. I've pretty much eaten all the food we have (had). Ummmm...I'm hungry. When TOIAW brought home falafel last night it was like manna from heaven. But he doesn't get home until late so we clearly need a different plan. Enter the Crock Pot. I am currently compiling a list of recipes that even my cooking-challenged husband can throw together. Also, I will dictate the menus. Remember when he thought pasta was a vegetable because it's made from wheat?

The tricky part to all of this is making sure the majority of the meals are healthy because, let's face it, I'm not burning a lot of calories and I want to make sure that what I do eat counts and isn't just empty calories. And there is one other somewhat tricky part: TOIAW grocery shopping. He's not bad at it, per se, but he buys a lot of junk and spends a lot more money than I do. Oh well.

What I really wish I had were recipes for meals that can be assembled ahead of time. When we lived in D.C. and I was in the midst of debilitating grief, I would go to one of those meal assembly places and stock my freezer with meals that just needed to be thawed and shoved in the oven. If only I could remember any of those recipes. I know casseroles are good for that but TOIAW is not a casserole kind of guy and while he might eat it if it's his only option, it's doubtful he will assemble one. I suppose I will at least get some marinade recipes together and have him freeze some meat in a bag with the marinade so all we have to do is thaw and grill. And really we only need to survive another week or so and then my mom is coming and she can help with some of this also. That is, when she's not unpacking, cleaning, doing laundry, walking the dogs, or grocery shopping (shhh...don't tell her this is my plan for her or she might change her mind).

Speaking of cleaning, I've contacted several cleaning services and have heard back from zero. My house is not that dirty. Oh, and it would be so nice if the dogs could go somewhere at least twice a week to play but Bootsy, the mild-mannered party puppy who gets along with ALL dogs, FAILED the interview at the doggie day care with the best location. They both passed somewhere else but the hours and location just don't work with our current situation.

This has all happened so suddenly and we have ZERO support system here. So far I've met my next door neighbor who is, um, odd and two little boys who come over daily to play with PP. That's it. And I don't think I'll be meeting many people from my perch on the sofa or bed. Since TOIAW doesn't work here on base, he doesn't know anyone here either. I wanted to go to Bible study but it didn't begin until this week so that's not going to happen. Part of the reason I wanted to live here was so I could meet people and be part of a community again. Enough of my pity party, I don't even know why I started on that anyway.

I suppose I'll get back to finding our stride in all of this craziness. The important thing is to stay focused on the main thing: Keeping my cervix happy and our sweet baby nice and snug in there.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A 4.5 Hour Tour

Huge praise: My cervix is responding to bed rest! Hallelujah! I'm unclear on the numbers because we were told 3.3-3.5cm on Friday but yesterday he said 2.8 which he claimed was longer than Friday. He also said I was funnelled almost to my cerclage stitch Friday which no one mentioned (thankfully; if he had said that I would have been on bed rest because I would have been in bed crying all weekend). In any event, the doctor said he was encouraged and the most important thing is not the numbers but that the cervix relaxes and lengthens.

Another huge thing is that we liked the doctor so much better yesterday! He spent more time with us and fully answered our questions. I also met the OB with whom he shares his office because she will be the one who does my delivery. They met with us at the same time which is something we will do for several more weeks until we reach viability and then I will see her more. So I guess I just needed more mollycoddling!

Seriously though, we discussed a trans-abdominal cerclage and P17 shots and rather than quickly saying, "No and no," he explained his answers (to be fair, that's not what he said Friday but he didn't elaborate much on his answers either). As far as the TAC goes, he acknowledges the possible risk and heartache but he does not feel a TAC at this point is worth the risk in someone who has not had a failed trans-vaginal cerclage. I get that and, frankly, I was leaning in that direction anyway but I did email the uber-doctor in Chicago who is the expert TAC guy to ask him his opinion. In regards to the P17, he doesn't think I need it because my uterus--so far--is not irritated. Also, he's very conservative when it comes to medication during pregnancy. Again, I get that and I tend to agree. He did, however, tell us it's up to us and if I want it, he'll give it to me. I thought that was very reasonable and I appreciated his approach. It looks like we're all going to get along.

One possible area of concern yesterday was my blood pressure. After sitting in the waiting room for over an hour, and then the exam room for 15 minutes, my anxiety was sky-high. When the doctors mentioned it after the ultrasound, I asked them to take it one more time. Fortunately, it was just fine then! My next appointment is Tuesday. Until then it's rest, rest, rest!

Thank you so much for all the sweet comments, thoughtful suggestions, advice, encouragement, and prayers. It means so much to me!

And I should explain the title refers to how long we were gone thanks to traffic and an insane waiting room time. It was pretty ridiculous actually. I just sat there thinking, "I can't shower every day but I can sit in the car and the waiting room for hours?" Oh well...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Incompetent

It's official: I have an incompetent cervix. This was diagnosed yesterday during an ultrasound that showed the inside of my cervix is opening. It's obviously not good news. TOIAW and I were pretty much shell-shocked and didn't really have the presence of mind to ask many questions. I am on complete bed rest with instructions to get up and be up as little as possible. The doctor went as far as to mention there have been no studies comparing bed rest patients who have showered daily and those who don't but he recommended I don't.

One of my first thoughts was, "How is this going to help? I'm practically on bed rest now since I'm still so sick. I don't do anything." Of course, after one evening of doing nothing I realized how much I was doing and, granted, it wasn't a staggering amount but I was up more than I thought I was. But she only weighs 4 ounces...how could she be putting pressure on my cervix? I'm so scared. Terrified, actually.

I go back Tuesday afternoon which is soon but he didn't have anything later in the week. I plan on asking a lot of questions then. Questions such as, my cervix is still long (3.3-3.5cm), does that mean anything? Can you do another cerclage stitch higher? Are the low pains and twinges I'm having likely cervical in nature? When do I panic? What are the things that would send me directly to the hospital?

The doctor told us bed rest is a theory and it certainly not proven but nothing is and once the cervix begins to open that's it, it's not going to close but hopefully we can prevent it from opening further. He said he wants to try to get me 4-5 weeks past where I was when I delivered Sarah. So far I've resisted Googling 'babies born at 28-29 weeks;' I just can't go there yet. And, to be honest, right now I'm wondering if we'll make it that far. I'm trying to stay calm but I'm so, so scared.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Ugh.

I really wish my appointment had been today. Chances are everything is fine but I just keep having the who-ha pain and it really scares me. I just want to have a normal cervical length and see our beloved Little One. Well, that and I want this pain to GO AWAY. Is that too much to ask?

My appointment is at 2 p.m. EST. Feel free to pray. I'll update afterwards. By the way, I'm 15 weeks today. That's something to celebrate, right?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Moving On Up

My doctor's appointment, that it. I wasn't scheduled to meet my new doctors until next Friday. I had tried to get an appointment earlier in the week but with Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah, it was a crazy week for them. I figured I could just deal with it even though I was used to weekly appointments and they expected me to go nearly 3 weeks before seeing my baby/being reassured that things are still growing nicely in there. I didn't make it, though. Last night I had dull cramping all night and now I feel some pressure/pain way down there which isn't new but it won't seem to go away so I thought I would call and see if I could move up my appointment. Now I'm going on Friday afternoon right about the time the hurricane will be visiting the area. Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend combined with hurricane rain and winds should make for awesome driving conditions. A normal person would wait until next week. I am not normal.

What do you think my doctor will say when I ask him why it feels like someone wearing pointy steel-toed boots kicked me in the crotch and even when I "lay down" as the Internets suggest, it still takes quite some time for the pain to subside? And why is it that when I get up to do go to the bathroom or let the dogs in/out, it begins to feel better but if I am in the sitting position for more than 5 minutes, I'm searching the house for a ghost wearing those darn boots? How long do you think it will take him to find a red marker and write "CRAZY" on my file?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Harsh Realities

It seems my house is not going to unpack itself. Bummer. Also, we did not get a self-cleaning house. Double bummer. And if all that wasn't enough, TOIAW and I are shopping for furniture which is so frustrating I'm considering hiring a mediator to go with us on our next fact finding mission. Because looking is all we seem to do--well, that and bickering about budget and style--and it seems we're light years away from purchasing anything. It's been loads of fun.

I've been here one week today. I saw my doctor last Monday and he cleared me for travel so I bought a ticket for the next day and got here as fast as I could. Our house is nice, the area where we live is gorgeous, and I've lined up highly rated doctors so it stands to reason that there would be something to bring me back to reality. That something is Nausea. I have been so freaking sick since I've been here. Yesterday I was in the left lane on a 4-lane interstate and managed to pull over just in time to use the tissue box TOIAW shoved in my direction. We littered because he is a weak, weak man and didn't want it in the car with us. I had a nightmare I was arrested for littering bodily fluids which, in my dream at least, carries a very stiff penalty in Massachusetts.

I desperately want to cook but that hasn't happened yet unless you count the rotisserie chicken, potato wedges (frozen), and salad I served once last week. I desperately want to get the things we have put away before we receive the last shipment but the execution of that plan isn't going so well. I probably could have done some stuff today but we went furniture shopping again and now I've reached the witching hour of nausea.

One day I'll be a good (or at least adequate) wife again...right?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Uterus Had a Vote

So...I'm still in Oklahoma and TOIAW is at our new house in MA. "What happened?" you ask.

Thursday was full of last-minute packing, errands, and a final doctor's appointment before we were departed. And a nice plan it was. Before TOIAW began his military diplomat career, he spent most of his army time as a planner. Among these planning types there is a saying that the enemy gets a vote meaning you can plan all you want but the other side might not allow you to execute your plan exactly how you, well, planned. On Thursday, my uterus had a vote as to how we carried out our plans.

I had been a little on edge all morning which may or may not have had anything to do with me finding a few more items to take after TOIAW had packed the car to his crazy OCD packing standards. This caused us to be late leaving the house and there was a train and a woman who ran a red light and by the time I arrived, I was a little on edge. TOIAW dropped me off at the door and went to park the car. I first felt what I assumed was gas pain as I was walking into the office and I had to stop it was so intense. I made it in and sat down and just as TOIAW walked in, it happened again. I walked back to the bathroom and I must have looked bad because the nurse asked me if I was okay. Then I heard myself say, "I'm either having bad gas pain or contractions." What? I was quickly ushered into a room and TOIAW was retrieved. As Murphy's Law would have it, I had the worst ultrasound tech I've ever had in this practice. She first measured my cervix and said it was fine but when I asked her what it was last time she said she didn't know. Then look it up! It was in your office! And then she did look it up and quickly closed my chart. Uhhh, did you see what it was last week? Yes. And? It was 4 cm then and it's 3 cm now. Oh. But 3 cm is still good. Ouch! Is that a contraction? I don't know; there's no way to tell. Can you please show me the baby's heartbeat? I want to see the baby!

She then switched to the abdominal ultrasound which showed the baby who had a great heartbeat and measured right on schedule. I so wanted to find solace in that but with the pain I was experiencing, I couldn't. And the ultrasound hurt because my abdomen was really tender. I was super scared. The tech left and after a few minutes she stuck her head in and said I could get dressed because the doctor had seen the pictures. I knew then he was going to send me over to the hospital for anti-contraction meds which is exactly what he did. He came in and examined me and was puzzled by the abdominal tenderness but wanted to give me the meds as well as more anti-inflammatory in case it was somehow related to the cerclage. TOIAW and I walked over to the hospital and after I walked I felt a little better. I never had any more of the intense pains after that even though it took quite awhile before the meds were administered. This certainly lends credence to the gas pains theory but there's no way to know. After a couple of hours I was sent back to the doctor's office where he gave me a script for the terbutaline and the anti-inflammatory med and told me to call him the next day.

I came home and rested (and cried because I really didn't want TOIAW to do the drive alone and, probably, because it had been such an emotional day). My abdomen slowly felt better and I rested well but when I woke-up in the morning I had moderate period-like cramping. It lasted most of the day and even though I know it's normal I really wanted it to go away. Finally, sometime in the late afternoon, it did. Hallelujah! I was off all medications and feeling normal!

I planned (there's that word again) on waking up Saturday and going to the farmer's market with my mom and returning emails. HA! I was so nauseous yesterday I kept nothing down. Nothing. Fortunately, I didn't have any more cramping but the pressure from vomiting did cause a few twinges. All in all, however, it was actually a relief as compared to the previous two days.

I have another appointment Monday morning and after that I'll decide what I'm going to do. I refuse to make advance plans!

TOIAW made it to MA safely and this morning he received the first of 3 shipments of our stuff. Both he and the dogs fared well despite driving 1,000+ miles yesterday. I cannot even imagine how miserable it would have been to drive with him yesterday so it was probably all for the best (except the freaking out parts). I can't wait to join him and get settled in!

In the meantime, I'm just going to relax. I cannot help but think that that the stress of the day led to what happened and it was a huge wake-up call for me. I must do my best to stay calm. Only 26 days, 4 weeks left.

P.S. The next person who tells me I'm now in my second trimester and should be over my nausea might get kicked in the teeth.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Change O' Plans

Don't freak out but we've had a change of plans that now includes me driving to Boston with TOIAW. I hope I don't regret this...

I've just never been comfortable with him driving 28 hours alone (except the dogs which is just added stops and responsibility) and my doctor doesn't have a problem with it so I'm going to go for it. We're going to take it slowly and if I need to stop, we'll stop whether it be for an hour for me to lay down in the back or for the night so I can sleep in a bed. I'm mainly worried about the nausea but I know flying would have been miserable because I often get sick on planes (although I got used to it when I was a flight attendant; weird, I know). Also, I was very concerned about lifting my luggage and making a tight connection.

I guess I'm ready to move but I wish I was going to arrive at a house already unpacked and fully set-up...and I wish I could take my family and doctor with me! I'm just praying I find the right doctor for me. Tomorrow I have my last appointment in Oklahoma. I'm so sad to be leaving my doctor here!

Sorry, I planned on writing more but all of the sudden I'm really tired. I've been going to bed very early. I hope TOIAW will be okay driving tomorrow night with a sleeping wife and puppies in the car!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baby Gates, Injuries, and Moving

I'm 2 days post-cerclage and feeling great! The IV and the numbing medication for the spinal were the worst parts with the former being far worse than the latter and I have 5 bruises to prove it. TOIAW refers to the cerclage as a baby gate. I hope it keeps the little one in there for another 35ish weeks ;)

I did NOT like the spinal anesthesia AT ALL--hated the lack of feeling, hated how long it took for my lower body to "wake-up," and I especially hated the shivering that came along with it. The actual cerclage, however, went very well (from what they tell me) and that's the most important thing now, isn't it? I had some cramping the rest of the day Saturday but the spotting was minimal to say the least. All in all, it was FAR better than I anticipated and I am so grateful for that!

Unfortunately, TOIAW is not faring so well with health issues. He arrived in Oklahoma with a stiff neck that pretty much stayed the same all week until it begain migrating down his back the past couple of days. He's in pain which is impeding his sleep so you can imagine how less than thrilled I am about him leaving today to drive to Boston. With my dogs. Three of the most important people in my life will be in that car...with a driver who can barely turn his head. I'm trying to talk him into going to staying another day, seeing a doctor, and admitting that he's no longer the younger version of himself who could carry a 100+ pound ruck sack for miles and miles up and down the hills of Georgia. I would settle for the first two, though. I even promised him that if he stays another day I will go to Best Buy with him and stay as long as he wants without complaint.

It looks like I'm going to get my way (and then some, maybe) because he just found out that our household goods are not going to be delivered until the end of next week*. Living in an empty house sans proper doggy fencing would be rather interesting but probably not a positive experience. Not that I would want to sit in an empty house alone for a week either. The good news is I will be there next Tuesday and we can sit in the empty house together. Oh, the joys of moving! Oh, the joys of having TOIAW and my puppies here with me for at least another day!

*At this point, I'll take a delay any way it comes. Well, not any way but you know what I mean.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

NT Scan

On Monday I had a little spotting so I called my doctor's office and was able to move my appointment from Thursday to Tuesday. The spotting turned out--thankfully--to be just a tiny bit but I was happy to have an earlier appointment.

Baby looked great on the ultrasound...just moving and grooving and doing his/her thing! Actually, the ultrasound tech gave us her best gender guess but the doctor said it was too early for him to tell so I won't be making any announcements just yet. Anyway, the nuchal fold measurement is within the normal range and we saw two arms and two legs and although she mentioned a few other things I cannot remember them (although two brain hemispheres and bladder do come to mind now that I think about it). We have the ultrasound on DVD so if you're in our neck of the woods and want to stop by, we'll throw it on. Ultrasound DVDs are the new vacation photo slide shows.

So the cerclage is scheduled for Saturday morning at 8:00. I have to be there at 6:00--yikes! For those of you who know what this means, my doctor does a McDonald cerclage with spinal anesthesia. I hadn't really thought much about it until last night when I began Googling it right before bed and then I got a little freaked out. [Angie, I will be emailing you with some questions!] But I do feel better that I'm having a preventative cerclage rather than an emergent one and the risk of infection is much lower now than if I had one earlier.

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned that TOIAW is here! He got in Sunday much to my and the dogs' delight! I've been sick every day since he's been here but--with the exception of yesterday--I've been able to get out and do some things. I don't think he's developed a complete understanding of how I'm feeling but he seems to be a bit more sympathetic. Tonight he's planned a romantic (ha!) evening at the hotel where we got married.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Still Here. Still Sick.

I can tell I'm beginning to feel better some times of the day but afternoons continue to be very rough. I've all but given up on the medication because it doesn't seem to make a difference (I've done comparison days). No matter what I do, I still vomit 1-2 times a day. Some days more...much more. Again, not complaining (right now, at least), just letting you know why I'm so uncharacteristically quiet. I try my best not to feel sorry for myself. If I do, it usually ends in a I-miss-Sarah-and-my-dad meltdown.

There is a family friend who has been sick since right after my dad died. He was in the hospital for 6+ weeks due to colon issues and ended up having surgery which resulted in complications including pneumonia and an infection that was diagnosed as MRSA a couple of weeks ago. He's lost over 60lbs. In short, he's been through hell. I often think of him when I'm feeling bad and that often leads me to think of people who face pain/illness every day for years. It reminds me of one of my favorite Psalms:

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills--
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip--
He who watches over you will not slumber;

Indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm--
He will watch over your life;

The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tired.

Between PP and the baby, I spent nearly 3.5 hours with doctors yesterday. Good news: Both are doing well. [Actually, PP is doing okay but she does have a nasty skin infection on her ear, bless her heart.] The baby continues to look good despite tiny amounts of continued spotting. We even got to see some wiggling yesterday which was fun!

I go back in 2 weeks for the nuchal tranlucency screening and then I'll get the cerclage a few days later. Thankfully, TOIAW will be here with me then.

But I am so tired. I want to go back to sleep right now but I have to get ready for a dentist appointment. Maybe I can sleep while I'm getting my teeth cleaned?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Current Events with Rachel

Alternate title: Rachel's Rants

SPC Bradley Manning, 22, is a person of interest in the case of approximately 1 billion pages of leaked classified material. It has been reported that he was "disgruntled." Oh my gravy, disgruntled at 22?! Dude has a long life ahead of him.

Arizona's immigration law will go into effect tomorrow. I'm not going to step into the thick of it but I will say this: Think what you want about undocumented immigrants but there's no reason to be hateful about it. You never know, all that hate may be why Arizona's governor has the skin of a prune. Then again she could have just spent too much time in the sun but are you willing to risk it? DON'T HATE!!!

In November, Oklahoma will elect it's first female governor. I'm so proud! I believe both candidates would do a good job, but I must betray my political affiliation and pledge my vote to the other party's candidate. I really like her. And from what I can tell she obviously uses appropriate amounts of sunscreen.

I heard this today on Fresh Air. I greatly admire this man for being courageous enough to share his beliefs despite the consequences.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nesting

I'm really excited about our new house. We had some drama deciding which house to choose but in the end we went with an older house even though it's smaller. The benefits are it has hardwood floors, a nice yard, and it's $950 a month cheaper than the new homes. This was worth foregoing a bigger kitchen, fiber optic cable and internet, a laundry room on the main floor, an attached garage, and hours of carpet cleaning. I might be crazy...but $950? Since I won't have to do any entertaining (I can if I want, but it's not necessary for TOIAW's job) I decided to take the money and run. I've known several people with more than one child who have lived in similar military housing and haven't gotten any money back so I think we're doing pretty well. Besides, basement laundry builds character. And muscles. And while I'm pregnant TOIAW will do all the carrying anyway.

The house is quite charming and I'm so excited to decorate it. We took very few things to the MC and even though we had beautiful furnishings, it never felt very homey. I'm ready to have my stuff -- and hopefully some new stuff to go with it -- and settle in for 17 months. This is where I once again point out that this will be the longest we have ever lived in one house. I might even make some casseroles.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Perfect

That's what the MFM said about the baby. He's not concerned about the bleeding. He explained why and what he thinks it is but all I remember is it has something to do with the placenta. I had the same ultrasound tech today as I did Monday and she said the sac looked better today because the fluid she saw around it on Monday is no longer there.

Sorry to sound indifferent because I'm not but I am super sick. I've hardly kept anything down yesterday and today. I got a script for Zofran today and it might be helping a little. Also, I'm tired. I wish I had more energy to write this post but I'm so thankful I'm relaxed enough to sleep again.

More good news of the day: I was graduated to the abdominal ultrasound. No more undressing from the waist down!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More

The spotting had nearly stopped and then, two hours ago, BAM! it was back again. Bright red and not a small amount (and although it hasn't really gotten on the pad I'm wearing, I'm checking it obsessively so it might not have a chance) with a small clot. All this is making me weary...I'm not sure how much longer I can continue to believe everything is going to be okay because I KNOW this is not normal and bleeding during pregnancy is never a good thing.

When I made it through the night and morning with no more red blood I assumed it was because I didn't take my Lovenox (blood thinner) shot last night. I thought we were onto something and was starting to think we were done with it. Au contraire. Now I'm wondering if I should try to see the doctor again tomorrow or wait until Thursday or if any of this will even be an issue because what if I start bleeding heavier and begin a full miscarriage?

I've been so very tired today and all I want to go is go to bed and wake-up tomorrow and not have to deal with anything but a normal pregnancy.

Monday, July 19, 2010

You Had Me At 'Hello'

I think I'm in love with my MFM's practice. They don't think I'm crazy. In fact, the doctor told me I am smart. I don't know what that has to do with anything but I liked it.

Thankfully, everything still looks good as far as the baby is concerned and an exam showed my cervix is long and closed. We had a long discussion about the cost benefit of Lovenox now that I'm spotting. If there is any more red blood, I will discontinue it at least until my appointment Thursday. I really appreciated his holistic approach rather than just looking at the baby and pronouncing everything to be fine (not that I don't like the RE's office because they're wonderful also; they're just not high-risk OBs).

One of the things I appreciated most was that both the ultrasound technician and the doctor actually READ my file before seeing me. This probably sounds insignificant but there have been so many times in the past 4 years where I have spent not a short amount of time filling out medical history questionnaire only to have the doctor ask me my history. For one thing, why did I have to fill that out and, for another, have you thought that maybe it's difficult for me to discuss without getting emotional?

I know I'm rambling but I'm tired, hot, and nauseous. I just wanted to write a quick update so no one gets nervous. I'm the only one around here who's allowed to be panicky.

They Would Have Figured it Out Eventually

This morning I called the MFM (perinatologist/high risk OB for those of you who don't understand my lingo) to see if I could move up my Thursday appointment to Wednesday...or Tuesday afternoon. No appointments were available but I was transferred to the nurse (without being asked; I promise I wasn't being pushy). I explained to her that I was spotting but I had a completely normal ultrasound yesterday so I was mainly looking for more (quicker?) reassurance. She put me on hold and said that my doctor's partner is at their new office today (in a different city but only about 30-40 minutes drive) and has some appointments available so I could see him if I'd like. I hesitated...I mean how many ultrasounds can I have in the span of four days? But as she correctly pointed out I'm not going to feel better until the spotting stops and maybe a better ultrasound machine and/or a pregnancy specialist, as opposed to a fertility specialist, can shed a little more light on the situation. Granted, there is little chance I will know any more afterwards than I do now but hopefully I'll get to see that cute little heart fluttering away again.

I was hoping this office wouldn't know what a paranoid crazy I am but I suppose it was only a matter of time before they figured it out.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I Guess That's Why I'm Not an Oddsmaker

Despite my 20% chance that all was well with the Little One, all is well with the Little One. I saw my doctor's partner and he did a thorough ultrasound where all looked normal but there still does not appear to be a source of the bleeding. He was not concerned about the amount he saw on the ultrasound wand and it has diminished in quantity so that's good.

As soon as I saw the flicker of the heartbeat--even before the doctor mentioned it--I closed my eyes and said a prayer of thanksgiving. Many more have been said since then!

So that's all I know for now. I have an appointment with the MFM on Thursday and I really hope there are no incidents before then. I'm going to go rest now because I had a rough evening and night due to extreme nausea (it's back with a vengence and I was too nervous to take my medicine) and, if I'm honest, equally extreme paranoia.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Not Positive

I'm still spotting. Initially this morning I was positive because the blood was mostly brown but by mid-morning there was more and it was bright red. I also had some pelvic pain/pressure that concerned me. I decided to go to the ER but I called the doctor first and she offered to have her partner see me tomorrow morning so I'm going with that option. We talked for about 15 minutes and went over several possibilities of the pain but she said she's not concerned about me being in medical danger which is why I opted for the appointment tomorrow.

Since this morning the spotting as lessened but it's still there every time I go to the bathroom. It never has been heavy enough to be on a pad but that's really of little comfort to me. The pain has also diminished but it's still there and I remember have similar pains with my second miscarriage.

As you might be able to tell, I don't have a lot of hope. I'm giving myself a 20% chance of a positive outcome so I'm preparing myself for the worst...how I will tell TOIAW, wondering if the RE does D&Cs, what kind of job I might get in Boston, how/if/when/where we might try again.

So, yeah, if positive thinking is what's going to get me through this, I'm screwed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Still Really Scared

I'm still having red/pink spotting and light/moderate cramping. Yesterday at this time I was so sick I could barely take a shower; today I'm a only slightly nauseous. I'm really scared. It's so odd because even this morning as I was driving to the clinic and chatting with my sister-in-law, I had a bad feeling that I kept trying to push away but it wouldn't go away. As we sat in the waiting room chatting with my mom, it was still there and then when I saw that I was spotting my heart just sank and I thought, "I'm not going to have a baby in Boston." The doctor's information helped to allay my fears for a little while (like while I was in the room with her) but as the cramping gets worse I'm just scared.

When Can I Relax?

This morning I had my last appointment with the RE. I had already written a cute post [in my head] and was going to post it as soon as I got home. Instead, I'm freaking out.

When I visited the bathroom before the ultrasound, I discovered I was spotting. There was blood on the ultrasound wand. It has continued since I've been home and has even been bright red at times. I'm completely freaked out. I took little comfort in seeing the baby today even though our little one is measuring right on target and has a great heartbeat. I'm really scared. The doctor and nurse were encouraging saying this is normal for 8-9 weeks when the placenta is taking over and the best barometer is the baby who looks great but still I fret.

Also? After three days of some of the worst nausea I have had, today is nothing. All I can think of is the ol' "sudden loss of symptoms" every recurrent miscarriage gal hears about. I SO wanted to enjoy today but I don't think I'll relax until my appointment with the MFM on Thursday...and I'm really hoping the bleeding stops and I don't have to go in before that.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Huh?

From the What to Expect website:

"Your uterus, usually the size of a fist, has grown to the size of an orange."

Ummm...either this person has really small hands or eats freakishly large oranges. I mean I can wear children's gloves and an average orange is about the size of my fist.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Getting Attached

I saw and heard the baby's heartbeat again today! Woo-hoo!!! My only regret is that I was feeling so icky all I could think about was getting out of there without vomiting. But I've now had time to stare at the picture they printed for me and let it all soak in. I'm getting attached :)

And speaking of attachment, the placenta is gearing up to do it's thing which means this nausea is going to end soon (eventually).

I have my last RE appointment next week and then I will go back to the MFM the following week. If the nausea isn't better by then he will likely pull out the big guns so I don't put pressure on my cervix when I get sick.

Oh, and for the record, I would like to point out that I made it ONE WHOLE WEEK between appointments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sipping Gatorade

This morning I broke down and called the RE for something to help with the vomiting. I wasn't going to do it but yesterday it was nearly impossible for me to do anything but lay on the couch and sleep/watch tv which, emotionally, is not very healthy. My mom did everything for me yesterday and while it was nice I would like to be able to do a load of laundry or walk to the back of the house to my room without retching.

Of course, right after I called I feel better...go figure. Part of the problem is I'm hungry but afraid to eat (and nothing sounds good) and that just makes me more nauseous. It's a vicious circle!

Also, I forgot to mention the spotting when I spoke with the nurse but unless it comes back--and I REALLY hope it doesn't!--I won't mess with changing Friday's appointment. So if you need me you can be sure to find me on the couch, sipping Gatorade.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It IS Always Something!

**UPDATE** Well, it looks like neither my RE or the dogs' vet are working today so I guess we're all going to just suck it up and drive on. The good news is all of us seem to be doing better which is good because I have no desire to visit the people ER (it's a teaching hospital and even though I've never been there, I've heard stories) or the pet ER that is over an hour away. I'm still planning on getting all of us to our respective doctors sooner rather than later but hopefully today will be more chill and no one will need Valium...and I'm not just talking about Bootsy.


This morning I had very slight brown mucousy discharge. I rested and about 4 hours later I had the same thing but it was pink and I think it happened again a few hours later but really every time I've had to really be paying attention to see it. I haven't totally freaked out but it's not a warm feeling either.

Also, I was really sick today vomiting several times. At my appointment Friday the doctor said she used to never give anything for nausea but after speaking to some of her OB/GYN colleagues she does give low dose something. She said it wouldn't help with the nausea but would prevent vomiting. I declined and for the most part I haven't regretted it because you know, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Tonight we went to some friends' house for dinner. It was a lot of fun. What wasn't fun was returning home to a dog (or dogs, I'm not sure) with stomach problems. Ugh. Thankfully, my mom cleaned up the mess (double thanks it was in a room without carpet). I don't know if it was just PP or if it was Bootsy too because as soon as she stepped outside she heard fireworks and refused to go back out. So Bootsy got some Valium and now I have to figure out how to get her outside. It looks like tomorrow we will be making a trip to the vet--if we can get it--because this has been going on for a couple of days.

I REALLY pray I don't have more spotting (if you can call it that) tomorrow and that we can figure out what's wrong with PP. Are things ever going to calm down and allow me to relax?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Beautiful

We (my mom, sister-in-law, me, the RE, the visiting RE from China, and the nurse--quite a crowd!) saw one teeny tiny little flicker of a heartbeat! It was so small I had to hold my breath while the doctor tried to get an accurate heart rate and/or listen but it was so small she only managed to get an estimated heart rate of 160bpm. That's good enough for me!

I go back again next Friday for a repeat appointment and then I can make appointments with the MFM for the cerclage. I'm starting to believe it's really going to happen...

I'm really tired and sick right now and I plan on hanging out on the couch and enjoying every minute of it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Explaining NOT Complaining

I've been sick--nauseous--since 11:00 am Monday. I offer that not as a complaint, rather as an explanation of my silence.

It's very odd to me that I went from very sporadic nausea to constant nausea. With Sarah it began as being sick for a few hours every day and slowly progressed from there although I don't quite remember being sick all day every day. This time I was sick at random times on random days...until Monday. But, again, I'm not complaining--I would do this every day for forever to have a baby--I just want you to know I'm fine and will update you tomorrow after my appointment.*

*Although I will say that I do not have high hopes of seeing the heartbeat tomorrow based on the size we saw on Tuesday. I suppose it could happen but I'm preparing myself to have to wait another week. Also, I don't think the ultrasound machine they usually use is the most sophisticated. Remind me of all this tomorrow when I inevitably freak out if I don't see a heartbeat...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick Update

I had my appointment this morning and everything looks good: No signs of an ectopic and we saw the yolk sac. Honestly, I was so relieved nothing was wrong that I didn't focus too much on the little one but the doctor said everything was measuring on target (even though they have have my dates as 6w1d and I have them as 5w6d).

The doctor said that by 6 weeks the uterus has already doubled in size and she reminded me it's a muscle so it's normal to feel it. I'm so glad I went and I am so thankful I got good news! I have more to say but I am exhausted thanks to very little sleep last night. Maybe I'll be back after a nap!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Dark Morning

I made it through the night with only slight and occasional pain. I slept really well, actually. But this morning I have constant dull pain on my left side in the prime ectopic region. I called to make an appointment with my doctor but she doesn't work today and I could only see her partner if I got there within 15 minutes which wasn't possible. The receptionist said to call this afternoon if the pain is still there or worse and, of course, if I have sharp pains at night I should go to the ER.

So I'm not having a very good morning as you might imagine. I just can't think this is normal. Also, my boobs are not sore at all this morning. I don't want to think the worst but it's hard not to--especially with my track record. I was just beginning to have hope but today? Not so much.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cue Hysterics

Early this morning I felt a pain/cramp on my left side not quite far enough over to be ovarian pain. It startled me and I felt it a few more times here and there but it seemed to be shooting down my pelvis/bikini line and all the way down. It was sporadic throughout the day but I noticed the more I did, the more I felt it. I tried to relax as much as possible which seemed to help but tonight it's gotten worse. I called the on-call RE and he said I should get another ultrasound on Tuesday because the one I had Thursday might have been too early to detect an ectopic and Friday is too late to wait.

So right now I can feel it--and it's pretty constant--but it feels more dull and lower, like in my vagina (I know that sounds odd but it's the best way I can describe it) and even when I press on my sides it doesn't hurt. Both my ectopics were strong, sharp pain that was unmistakable and nothing like this but every one is bound to be different. I've had no bleeding or spotting (knock on wood!) so that's good I guess.

I know that ectopic pregnancies are a risk in IVF and certainly a risk for me but I thought that when she "cleared" me of that on Thursday we were good. But if that's the case--and it very well could be--what the heck is this pain?

It's always going to be something, isn't it?