Thursday, December 25, 2008

One year ago today

One year ago today, the very foundation of my world was shaken to the core. Christmas will never be the same again. It was the best and worst day of my life; the day I met my first born precious baby boy, Dashiell. I remember so vividly hearing that I would have to labor and deliver him. I was horrified and scared. I had not taken any classes. What did I know about delivering a baby, let alone delivering a baby who had died. Little did I know, it was such a gift. Those few hours I held him in my arms were unforgettable. I am so lucky to have been able to hold him, love him and study him. So many moms never have that chance.

As I sit here today looking at my new precious gift, I can't help but feel bittersweet. I am so very thankful for Kannon, but I miss Dashiell terribly. Kannon looks just like Dash. I know he is here, a part of Kannon, but I selfishly miss him. He would be 8 1/2 months. This would have been his first Christmas. Instead, I have a tiny peanut, who cries all of the time. We're not able to be with our family this year, but perhaps it's for the best.

Dashiell, my angel, I miss you with all of my heart. I pray that your grandma is holding you close to her heart until we meet again. I love you, my light.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008


I was very hesitant to post this here, but many people have asked me about our registry. We are registered at Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby. I've reluctantly posted the links underneath Kannon's picture. I hope this is not offensive to anyone!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The birth story

On Tuesday December 2 at 4:24pm, my second son, Kannon Dashiell entered the world. He is a tiny little guy, weighing only 4lbs 9oz & measuring 18 inches long. I never thought that this big body could produce such a little thing! I found his name in a baby book. According to the book, Kannon is a Buddhist deity, possessing both male & female qualities. He is the deity of childbirth, children and dead souls. We thought this was perfect. His middle name is his big angel brother’s name. If we had a girl, her name would have been Kinsey Dashiell. (Kinsey means King’s victory, which also seems perfect)


MONDAY, DECEMBER 1 – Monday morning I went to the hospital for an amniocentesis to test the baby’s lung function. A fellow performed the procedure, which was a little unnerving and took longer, as well. They had to move the needle around a lot. It didn’t hurt, but it wasn’t fun, either! I asked about coming in to start the cervix ripening that night. The attending told me that since I was only dilated 1cm as of 10 days prior and since I had been on bedrest to just come in. She figured that I most likely had not dilated any further. I was to come back to the hospital at 7pm and if the lungs were mature, they would start the cervix ripening. If not, I would get round 1 of the betamethasone shot, round 2 would happen on Tuesday night & induction would start Wednesday night.

I went in at 7pm to see if I needed the shot or to start the cervix ripening. The receptionist made a call and said, "nope, you're here for induction!" Glenn had a show, so he kissed me goodbye & I was escorted into my labor room. There were only 2 other women in labor when I arrived, so they gave me the nicest & largest room! It had the most beautiful view of the Hudson river & looked downtown toward the Manhattan skyline. The doc came in to check my cervix around 9pm & come to find out, I was 3cm, 70% effaced & head was at -1! I met with the anesthesiologist to discuss my back issues (my 2 herniated discs), which reassured me. I waited on the actual epidural, though. They didn't need to ripen my cervix & started the pitocin right away. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined. Glenn arrived around 11:30pm & we slept for a bit.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2 - around 4am, the doc came back to check me again. I was 5cm & 80%, head at -1. I finally asked for the epidural around 4:30. The resident performed it, which was not the greatest (he was arguing with the attending about how deep it should be and it was really painful), but once it was in, it was fine - until my blood pressure crashed. It dropped to 75/38! I couldn't keep my eyes open & all I could hear was the nurse telling me to keep my eyes open and the anesthesiology resident saying “I have to get to the OR right now.” They finally stabilized me and I had instant relief. I went back to sleep for a bit.

Around 5am, the pitocin was up to 15, but the baby's heart rate was decelerating with each contraction. At that point, they turned the pitocin off. They started it again around 9am at 1. By 12pm, I was still only 5-6cm dilated & 90% effaced. The baby's heart rate kept decelerating, so they turned the pitocin off again. They wanted to let me labor on my own for couple of hours & reassess then.

The doc came back to check me at 2pm & said, "I'm going to check you and once I see where you are, we'll discuss the options." Well, I was 10cm, fully effaced & head was at +2! I went from 5-6cm to 10 on my own without pitocin! She decided to try & let me push at 3pm & see how it went. If it didn't go well, it was going to be a c section.

I started pushing at 3pm and as soon as I did, the contractions (which had been on top of each other) slowed considerably. I would push & then sleep for 5-10 minutes until the next contraction. I only had to do 8 sets of pushing, but it took 1 hour, 24 minutes. The sun had begun to set and it was casting a beautiful light in the room. My nickname for Dash was "my light" and I could feel him with me. The doc said, "OK, you're going to have this baby before sunset, so push."

His head came out & the cord was tightly wrapped around his neck 3 times. It was so tight that the doc had trouble getting it off of him. She finally did. The next thing I heard was “it’s a boy!” We were shocked! We were so convinced that this was a girl. I’m so glad that we didn’t find out before. After a few minutes (which seemed like hours) I heard his beautiful cry. Glenn went over to the table & held his hand & took pics while I was being stitched.
I finally got to hold him after about 1/2 hour. They then took him to the nursery.

I was really hoping that Dr. G would be the one to deliver our baby, but he came on duty at 5pm. As I was being wheeled out, I saw his smiling face and felt such a sense of relief and accomplishment. I feel that we owe Dr. G so much for his cautious and excellent care.

Thankfully, I got a private room. After the epidural wore off, I realized that I had excruciating pain in my left leg. It was the horrible sciatica that I had with Dash, which had returned with a vengeance. I could barely walk. I was so happy that I had a healthy, living baby that I didn't care.

Kannon had to stay in the nursery to get his blood sugar up & temp regulated. They finally brought him to me around 10pm. I just stared at his beautiful eyes. Finally, at 11pm, I started falling asleep, so I sent him back to the nursery. At 2am, the neonatologist came in to let me know that he had been taken to the NICU. He wasn't feeding well and his blood sugar levels were low. Long story short, he was having trouble gagging while he was feeding & they ended up having to put a feeding tube & IV in. He remained in the NICU until Saturday. He worked with a feeding specialist & improved quickly. Meanwhile, I was not doing well at all. I had to be wheeled everywhere, couldn't sit up b/c of the pain etc. They had me see a physical therapist & a neurologist. I had another MRI which showed that my discs have further herniated & they've referred me to a surgeon. I can finally walk with the help of a walker, but I'm still in a lot of pain & on a lot of drugs (all of which I've been assured are safe for Kannon while I'm breast feeding). I can't really breast feed, because I can't sit to hold him, but I am pumping, so at least he's getting breast milk.

The hospital set us up with a visiting nurse to check in on both me & Kannon, as well as in home physical therapy for me. Thank God for good health insurance.

Our first night at home, although a tad sleepless, was wonderful. Glenn has been doing everything. I can't stand up to change him or dress him, so it has all been on Glenn. He has been a rock star.

Kannon is just over 1 week old and I still can’t believe that he’s here and he’s mine. It has been challenging, but even through the physical pain, I’m just so happy to be a mother to a living baby. I didn’t realize it until I saw him sleeping, but he looks exactly like Dashiell. I know that Dash is a big part of Kannon and I have no doubt that he is watching over his little brother. He also looks just like Glenn. I only hope that he continues to remain a happy, healthy baby.

I want to give a shout out to the wonderful staff at Columbia Presbyterian. Especially Danielle and Aydee in the NICU; Dean, the miracle physical therapist, post-partum nurses Barbara & Aretha; Karen, the social worker and Dr. C who delivered our little bundle. The care we received while in the hospital was terrific, and the follow up after has been just as thorough.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Full Term!

I am officially full term today! It’s a major milestone for me, yet I still feel like I have the monumental task of delivering a healthy, living baby in a few days. It has been a few weeks since I’ve written here and so much has happened.

We had another growth scan this past Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. Although the abdomen has grown, it’s still lagging far behind the head (in the 53%) and femur (in the 49%) at only 2%. The doctors are convinced that it’s due to my blood pressure. Since the baby is consistently scoring 8/8 on the biophysical profiles, they are ok with me waiting to deliver on Tuesday (if the lungs are mature) or on Wednesday (if the lungs are not mature).

I was also back in the hospital for a few hours of monitoring 2 weeks ago, due to 2 high bp readings in the doctor’s office. It was most likely not necessary, but I really appreciate the “better safe than sorry” attitude of our doctors. The baby was fine and my bp dropped right away. After being monitored for 2 hours, I was able to go home. I’ve really gotten to know quite a few of the staff there – so much so that one of the nurses came in to say hello! Hopefully, that will be an advantage when I actually deliver.

This past week has been very emotional for me. The 11 month anniversary of Dashiell’s death was Tuesday. As I watched the parade on Thanksgiving day, I couldn’t help but cry thinking that he should have been here. This would have been his first Thanksgiving with us. I remember last year thinking about it and planning for it. I’m so thankful for this little one inside me now, but it does not erase the pain & hole in my heart. I will never be able to spend a holiday with my first child. How does anyone truly heal from that?

It’s also surreal that I will be having my second child 11 months and 1 week after losing my first child. The holidays will certainly be bittersweet this year. I’m already having trouble listening to Christmas carols. I keep flashing back to last year. I remember December 14 very clearly. It was the family Christmas party at work. This is a huge event, attended by approximately 6,000 people. They had photo booths, Santa was there, the Rockettes performed, a Build a Bear workshop was set up, the cafeteria provided free lunch to all attendees, giant blow up slides, movies, etc. Glenn came and we walked around looking at all of the kids and talking about how we would have Dashiell with us at the party this year. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and my happiest memory of my entire pregnancy with Dashiell.

I know that there will be many happy memories that we’ll have with this baby. I’m so thankful for that. I’m also thankful for the happy memories that I have of my short time with Dash.

So, Monday, I’ll have an amniocentesis for lung function. If all goes well, I will come in Monday night to have my cervix ripened (GROSS!) and the induction will start on Monday. If the lungs are not mature, I will have one beamethosone shot on Monday, another on Tuesday & go in Tuesday night for the “ripening”. For the rest of this weekend, Glenn and I will be busy cleaning and trying to enjoy our last few days alone together.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

34 week visit, another trip to the hospital & going through Dashiell's things

This past Friday, we had another bpp and doctor’s appointment. Dr. G was actually out on paternity leave. He and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby boy on 11/3! I had the bpp and growth ultrasound first. The bpp was 8 out of 8 again, but the growth showed that the baby’s abdomen was much smaller than the rest of the body. This was not the case 4 weeks ago. Because of this, they started checking the blood flow through the cord and the arteries in the baby’s abdomen and brain. They were ok, but slightly high. The ultrasound doctor suspected that this is due to my high blood pressure.

I then went in to see Dr. M. I had not met him before, but he was quite funny and very nice. The nurse was a little cold (very Eastern European), but she was fine. My blood pressure was on the high side (133/90), so they had me lay down on my left side for several minutes. It went down slightly, but not much. We then met with Dr. M in his office. He said that, at this point, he’s not overly concerned, especially since the head & femur were measuring right on, but I would be “upgraded” to twice weekly bpps and to really take it easy. “If you don’t have to go to the store, then don’t. Have your groceries brought to you. You’re not housebound yet, but you really need to take it easy.”

Sunday morning, while doing my kick count, I only got 5 in an hour. You’re supposed to get 10 and normally I get my 10 within 20 minutes on a slow day. I checked my blood pressure and it was very elevated at 150/106. I called the doctor and was told to come in to labor & delivery. I was very nervous, but not completely panicked. I had seen the baby moving in the u/s on Friday, but I wasn’t feeling some of the movement.

When I got to the hospital, I got very dizzy. They took me in quickly and monitored me for several hours. They also did the preeclampsia blood work, which came back fine. While I was laying there, my blood pressure dropped very low (93/59), but they were not concerned. I was given the ok to go home and Taifa & Paul (who not only drove us up, but also waited in the hospital lobby for the several hours that we were there) drove us home and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Yesterday, I had another bpp. The baby received a perfect 8 out of 8 and the blood flow through the cord & abdominal artery looked better. My blood pressure was good, too! Poor Glenn had to carry 2 jugs of my urine to the office from my 24 hour urine collection. Hopefully those results will come back fine today. For now, I’m just trying to relax and focus on all things positive.

We went through the box of Dashiell’s clothes yesterday. I cried quite a bit, especially since most of them were given to us on Christmas day, the day we lost him. We decided to use one of the outfits as the coming home outfit. It will be like having a little piece of Dash with us. Since he has been a part of this from the beginning, it only seems appropriate. I miss my angel so much. It never seems to get any easier.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tears of Joy and Sadness

I was so excited to log on today and write about Obama's big win last night. I have been very emotional about it. I truly feel that, even with the challenges we will be facing, my child will be born into a better world. Last night was like New Year's Eve here. I so badly wanted to head up to Rockefeller Center to "Election Plaza" to celebrate, but alas - bed rest. Even still, we could hear people on the street screaming, cheering and honking their horns. I couldn't sleep last night because I was just so excited.

This morning, I woke up and checked Jenell's blog only to learn that she delivered both of her baby girls, Alexis and Ashlen, yesterday and they are now both in heaven with their big sister. I'm sick about this. On top of it all, her birth story was horrible and painful physically. To have to deal with physical pain on top of the emotional stress is just cruel. I will never understand how God can let drug addicts, teenagers, abusers etc. be blessed with children while taking children away from a good, loving couple wants nothing more than to love their children. It is senseless. I can't believe that Jenell and her husband, Rob, will have had to bury 3 children in less than 10 months.

Please keep her in your prayers. If you click on the link in my last post, you can leave a comment for her and Rob. I know they appreciate knowing that they are surrounded by support and love.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The final countdown

I saw Dr G again on Thursday. He was a little all over the place, but understandably so. His wife was to be induced today with his first baby!

Our little munchkin got a perfect 8 out of 8 again on the bpp. Afterwards, I saw Dr. G. I had no weight gain this week at all, so as of Friday, I'm up 20 pounds even, which I'm pretty happy about. I showed Dr. G my home blood pressure logs and even though they've been creeping up, he is not concerned yet and thinks that the modified bed rest is working. Part of the reason my bp has been elevated is that I've been trying to deal with getting everything set to qualify for disability. It's an incredibly stressful process whereby you receive different information from everyone you speak to. I've done all I can do and it's out of my control, so I'm trying not to think about it.

After that, we set an induction date! I will have an amnio to test the baby's lung function on Monday, December 1. Provided all goes well, I'll be induced on Tuesday, December 2 - 28 days from today!!!! I kind of can't believe that we're almost there and yet I'm terrified to let go and fully believe that this will happen. I have a good feeling, but I'm just a little too nervous still in spite of that.

Halloween was a little rough. It was hard to see little boys in their costumes. I kept imagining what Dash would have looked like in the duck costume we had purchased for him last year. At the same time, I was looking forward to next year and this munchkin. I just miss my baby Dash so much.

Saturday, I think I had some kind of 24 hour bug. I threw up (which is normal), but I also slept for about 8 hours during the day and then slept all night. I felt better Sunday, but was feeling off again yesterday. I'm hoping I can stay healthy for these last few weeks. There is so much to do and I try to do just a little each day. I can't do too much because I'm not supposed to. Glenn is getting very excited. I think now that we have a date, he's ready to start buying things. I'm not quite there yet, but I'll have to be soon!

Link to Jenell's Blog

I wanted to post a link to Jenell's (my fellow angel mom who I posted about earlier) blog. She updates daily. As of yesterday, she was holding steady, even though her water has broken. Please continue to keep her and her baby girls in your prayers.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Please say prayers for a fellow angel mom

After losing Dashiell, I was lucky enough to find a support group for women who had suffered second and third trimester losses on The women on that board quickly became my lifeline. I relied on those who were farther along in the grieving process to learn how to cope and get through those dark days. I relied on those who had lost babies around the same time I did to reassure me that what I was feeling was normal and that I was not going insane. (there were several occasions where I felt like I was losing everything, including myself). These women became like a “virtual family”. I have only met 3 of them in person, but I think of them and pray for them and their angel babies every single day.

In early March, many of our sad little group was ready to try again and we moved from a loss board to a trying to conceive after a 2nd & 3rd trimester loss board. We hadn’t planned on trying until May, but ended up trying in March, since I was so freaked out about turning 36. I was the first one to get pregnant. Two others followed 1-2 weeks later.

There is one woman on the board who I have not met, but feel particularly close to. Her name is Jenell. She lost her first baby, a girl named Makenna, at 23 weeks on 12/15/07. Makenna was due 2 days before Dashiell. Since our losses were so close, I always felt bond with her.

Jenell has polycystic ovarian syndrome, so her struggle to get pregnant again took some time. She received wonderful news in June after several months of trying. She is pregnant again – this time with twin girls.

This morning, at 7:52am, I was awakened by a phone call from one of the other group members. She informed me that Jenell is in the hospital, at 21 weeks. She is dilated and her bags of water are coming out. She is on strict bed rest, inverted backwards. My heart was crushed by this news. The thought of her losing those babies is too much to handle. She CAN NOT lose two more babies. That would be 3 girls stillborn in 10 ½ months. Please keep Jenell in your thoughts and prayers. I will post again when I have an update. I’ll also post a personal update later.

Birthing Class, Work and the 10 month anniversary

Quite a lot has happened since my last post. So far, I’ve had 2 more bpps and the munchkin has scored a perfect 8 out of 8 very quickly! We also attended a birthing class over the course of 2 Wednesdays. It was a decent class, even if most of it did not apply to us, since we’ll be induced. It did make me feel like I was having a more “normal” pregnancy experience, though. For once, that was nice!

I had been working from home, since 10/13. My doc was ok with that as long as I wasn’t traveling to & from the office. I received a call from my boss last Monday saying that she no longer wants me to work from home. I filed a claim for FMLA and salary continuation, but I’m having problems with the claim. Apparently, I was not supposed to be working from the time I was in the hospital and they’re confused as to how they should proceed with my claim. It’s all very stressful. I’m sure it will work out ultimately, but it sure doesn’t help my blood pressure to have to deal with all of this.

I saw Dr G again on Friday. It looks like we’ll try to set an induction date for the best case scenario this coming Friday. I’m anxious to have that date in my mind to aspire to. I brought in my chart of my blood pressures that I’ve been taking at home. I’m not surprised that it has been creeping up. There has just been so much stress from the work situation. I had to have him fill out the paperwork for my salary continuation claim and he told me that I’m no longer allowed to work as of now. In a way, I do think it’s for the best. I just hope everything gets approved quickly. I have yet to break the news to my boss, but I’m sure we’ll chat tomorrow.

I did take a leap of faith this week and told my dad & step mother to go ahead and buy the pack and play for us. (they generously offered) We want to get Lucy used to the baby’s area, so she knows that she is not allowed to go near there. I am still nervous about having it in the house, but I don’t want my fear to make my life more difficult after having this baby. We’d really have to scramble, otherwise!

Yesterday was the 10 month anniversary of Dashiell’s death. It also marked 32 weeks in this pregnancy. In a way, that comforts me, but it was also very bittersweet. I miss my baby boy so much. I love this munchkin so much, too. I really have the sense that Dashiell is with me and watching over this baby, but I wish I could at least have a dream about him. I’ve been having lots of crazy dreams, but none with Dash.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Biophysical Profile

I had my appointment with Dr. G on Friday, as well as the growth ultrasound and biophysical profile. The biophysical profile is an ultrasound that measures the baby practicing breathing, flexion, movement and fluid level and is scored on an 8 point basis. To see this munchkin practicing breathing was such a huge relief to me. I started crying when I saw that. It was over very quickly and the baby scored a perfect 8 out of 8.

The growth ultrasound went very well, also. They estimate that the baby weight 3lb 6oz and is in the 55.5% overall. I was very relieved to hear this. Last time, the baby was in the 44% overall. A friend who has had preeclampsia twice told me that one of the indicators that it’s interfering with the placenta is a slowdown in growth. At least as of Friday, that does not seem to be an issue for us.

I brought my new blood pressure monitor in to the office and Dr G’s nurse helped me test it out. It was reading about 10 above what her manual reading was, so Dr. G told me to just subtract 10. He wants me to take my blood pressure twice a day & to keep a chart. I’ll be getting another bpp next week, but will not see him again for 2 weeks. As of Friday, everything was looking really good and I’m feeling a little reassured. If I can just make it 2 more weeks, I’ll breathe a huge sigh of relief.

I will start working from home on Monday, so I really need to remind myself to keep the stress level low. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to do that and if not, I’ll just have to step away from the computer for a few minutes. I’m so thankful that my job has understood this situation. It makes such a big difference.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Home again

I am home again! We repeated the 24 hour urine test on Monday/Tuesday and my protein level had dropped from 280 to 190. That, combined with the lower blood pressures, gave the doctors the confidence to release me. I got home on Tuesday night around 9:30pm. My furbaby, Lucy, was so excited to see her mama.

I had mixed feelings about being released. As much as I wanted the comforts of home, I enjoyed the security of the hospital. I’ve been put on “modified bed rest”. Essentially, I’m not supposed to lie in bed all day, but I’m not supposed to do any strenuous activity, moderate to heavy lifting, or go into the office. Fortunately, I have wonderfully understanding bosses who will let me work from home. They won’t let me start until Monday, though, as they want me to rest & take it easy. The doctor actually thought work would be a good thing, as it would distract me from thinking about the pregnancy 24/7.

Before I left, I finally got my tour of the NICU. I feel so much better having seen it and all of the tiny babies who are thriving. I saw twins born at 26 weeks 2 weeks ago, a 33 week old baby and a baby born at 29 weeks 4 weeks ago. All of the babies were doing really well. The social worker walked me back to my room and we talked for about 45 minutes. I told her the story of how I lost Dashiell. She gave me her card & told me to call or email anytime with questions. I really can’t say enough about the hospital in general. With the exception of 1 nurse, they were fantastic.

Yesterday, I walked Lucy to the pet store and by the time I got home, I was exhausted. I waited for Glenn to come home & ventured out again to get my prescription filled, buy a blood pressure cuff and get some basic groceries. I was ready for bed when we got back from all of that! It was so nice to be in bed, watching tv with Lucy & Glenn last night. The baby was kicking away all the while. I can’t wait until this baby is in the bed with us, too!

Tomorrow, I see Dr. G and I’ll know more about how we’ll proceed. I’ll also have the bp cuff checked for accuracy. I’ll be 30 weeks on Saturday. If we can just make it to at least 32, I’ll be thrilled. Please keep the positive thoughts coming our way!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Still in the hospital

Well, it’s day #6 in the hospital today. I’m so thankful that I’m being watched as closely as possible. I’ve started to get to know the nurses and doctors, which has been comforting.
Yesterday, Glenn brought me a lamp, which makes such a big difference. The fluorescent lights were driving me crazy before. He also brought some groceries and more clothes from home.

The weekend was up and down. On Saturday, around 5:30, I threw up. After that, my headache intensified, as did the pain in my right side. At 10pm, they took me to get another abdominal ultra sound, which hurt like hell. I was really dizzy, feeling sick and in pain. My blood pressure started going back up again, too. The ultrasound took place in another building, so it was extra creepy being pushed through a deserted, dark hospital. Finally, I was able to fall asleep around 11:30 and I slept for almost 8 hours.

Yesterday, I felt much better. The headache and pain in my side lingered, but only very mildly. My blood pressures were fantastic yesterday and I felt very encouraged.

This morning, my blood pressure went back up again. Not anywhere near as high as it was, but still high for me – 138/84 and 139/88. It’s getting a little frustrating to be in wait and see mode, but as long as the baby is ok, I’m happy.

Today, I’ll be going to visit the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I just want to be mentally prepared, should the munchkin come early and have to spend time in there. At first, I really wanted to do the walk through with Glenn, but maybe it’s best that I do it on my own. I don’t want him to worry any more than he already is.

I’ll try to post more frequently, since all I have is time on my hands these days!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Telling Dad

As I have said, the main point of writing this blog was to include my family and friends (especially my dad) after the fact. After being admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, I figured that I had to tell my father. I had not planned to tell him until at least 32 weeks, maybe 33. This was not the way I had intended to break the news, but I thought it would be best to let him know, in case something was to happen to me or the baby.

I called him on Wednesday morning from my hospital bed & asked him if he was sitting down. It was a lot for him to take in:
1. I’m pregnant
2. I’m 7 months pregnant
3. I’m in the hospital

I wasn’t sure if he would be angry for not telling him. Even though that was his wish, I have questioned it on several occasions. He said, “Thank you for not telling me.” I was so thankful to hear those words. I knew I had done the right thing.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I feel that a weight has been lifted. Ironically, his step-daughter in law gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Saturday. My sister is due at the beginning of November and now, he’ll have a third grandchild – hopefully after my sister’s baby is born.

I’m very lucky to have the love & support of my father. I only wish I had been able to tell him on the original timeline and letting him know that everything has been so much easier physically this time. I guess we need as many prayers as we can get, though. Maybe this was the universe’s way of saying “tell your dad.” Message received, universe! Now, can I go back to having a 'normal' high risk pregnancy???

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trip #2 to the hospital

As I mentioned in my last post, the fear and anxiety have been creeping back in. Overall, I’m feeling very positive about this pregnancy, though.

On Tuesday evening, I was sitting at home watching TV. Around 5:30, my left field of vision got blurry. I wrote it of at first, since Glenn had turned on the hallway light to my left. About 20 minutes after it started, we got up to go to the drug store and I realized that it wasn’t the light, it was my eyes. We quickly went to the store and it got worse, to the point where it was so blurry in my left eye, that it was making it difficult to focus in my right eye. I said to Glenn, “You’re going to have to help me when we get upstairs. I want to check my book & see if I should call my OB, but I don’t think I’ll be able to read it.” Sure enough, we checked and it said to call immediately. I called (at this point, it was just after 6pm) and about 5 minutes after I hung up the phone, my vision cleared just as suddenly as it had blurred. Of course, then I felt like a jack ass for calling the doctor after office hours.

We settled in and ate dinner. Just before 7, the on call doctor called me back. I told him what had happened and he asked if I had been having any other pain. I let him know that my upper right side, which had been bothering me on & off for a week or two had been consistently hurting with varying intensity since Sunday. He then asked if I’d been getting headaches, which I have on & off throughout the last maybe 2 months, but I hadn’t had one that day. He told me to head up to labor & delivery for monitoring. He thought it was probably fine, but given my history, wanted to be extra cautious.

We got to the hospital around 8:15pm and were in a triage room just before 9pm. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and couldn’t find the definitive heartbeat for about 5 minutes (although it seemed like hours today). She kept saying that she could hear fetal movement & the heartbeat in the background, but since the baby was moving, she couldn’t get a read. Nevertheless, my heart was in my throat until I heard that glorious clip clop for myself.

They also hooked me up to monitor my blood pressure & pulse and drew blood.
At first, my blood pressure was high for me, although still normal – about 121/82. However, as I lay there, it slowly started to creep up. At the highest reading, it was 158/109. The cut off for severe hypertension is 160/110, so they were concerned.

By this time it was around 1am and they had decided to admit me. They were concerned that I might have preeclampsia. The doctor said they wanted to start me on betamethasone, a steroid to help the baby’s lungs mature, in case they had to deliver me. I was in shock and nervous, but strangely calm at the same time. I just know I’m in good hands and, most importantly, the baby is alive and doing fine.

I sent Glenn home to get some rest. I told him to just go to work the next day. After all, what would he have done here, except sit at home & worry? They debated whether to keep me in the high risk section of labor & delivery or to send me to the antepartum unit. Since my blood pressure started to come down a little – more in the 140/90 range, I was sent to antepartum.

By the time I got to my room, it was 2:30am and I was given the betamethasone shot at 2:35am. I was also asked to start collecting my urine for 24 hours.

I tried to sleep, but my roommate was watching Spanish TV until about 3:30am. I finally fell asleep until 5:30am when I was awakened to have my vitals taken. Then, a seemingly endless parade of doctors came to see me, all asking the same questions. Finally at 8:30, I got to eat breakfast. I was starving by that point.

At 9:00am, they took my food away and I was told I could have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours, as they were going to do an abdominal ultrasound to rule out gallstones.

Around 11am, I started having a headache and the pain in my right side was getting worse. They moved me up to the high risk labor & delivery unit and put me on a magnesium drip to stave off the possibility of seizure. By the time the magnesium was started, it was around 2pm. From that point on, I was not allowed to get out of bed. I was given the option of a catheter or a bedpan for urine collection. God bless my nurse, she was fine with my choice of bedpan. I wouldn’t mind a catheter if I couldn’t feel it, but I knew it would really bother me.

I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and my blood pressure was being taken every 15 minutes. It was not as high as the peak the night before, but it was still clearly elevated.

Glenn came back that evening with 2 of our good friends. It was a nice distraction to be able to chat with them. I sent Glenn home at 9pm. He was exhausted from the night before and I wanted him to be able to get some sleep. Plus, someone needed to give our dog, Lucy, some attention.

I slept relatively well that night, except for the fact that I couldn’t lay on my side. Every time I did, the baby would disappear off of the monitor. I was very uncomfortable, but exhausted enough to sleep hard.

At 4:35am, they got the results of the 24 hour urine collection. It determined that, although I was close, I did not meet the criteria for preeclampsia. Brief sigh of relief…. At 5:30am, I was moved back to my antepartum room.

From 5:30 on, I couldn’t really sleep, since that’s when the doctor parade started. I finally gave up on sleep by 6:45 & just woke up.

Around 10am, Dr G’s colleague came in to see me & let me know that my protein level in my urine was 280. (The criteria for preeclampsia is 300) So, although I was ok for now, they were concerned that it could develop into it later. At the very least, I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension and I was informed that I would be here until at least Monday morning, so they could continue to monitor me. In a way, that was a relief to hear. As much as I’d like to go home, I feel very comfortable being here. I know I’m in the best place for me and my baby.

An opthamologist came in to examine my eyes. The day before, they had mentioned possibly doing a cat scan or an mri to see what may have been causing the disturbances. Thankfully, we just did the eye exam & everything looked fine. We decided to hold off on anything else unless the blurriness returned.

I asked about getting a private room and I was told that they were reserved for patients who had babies or who were here for 6 months or more. I completely understood & prepared to settle in for days of Spanish cartoons that my roommate was watching.

Around 1pm, I was told that I’d be moved to another room – a private room. What a difference! Just as I was moving, my friend Taifa showed up. She helped me move and God love her, she had brought me a sandwich from Subway – real food!!! She stayed & chatted until about 3:30pm. It was really wonderful to have the company.

I started having mild visual disturbances around 4:30 & let the nurse know. One of the doctors came in and said, “Are we going to have to kick you out of this room now & send you back to l & d?” They let me stay, since the symptoms were minor and went away on their own.
My friend Senta came by last night armed with a cookie and bread! Again – real food!!! Glenn arrived shortly thereafter with the supplies I had requested – my laptop, my robe, flip flops (so I could shower) and he went to the trouble of buying me some vanilla shampoo, conditioner, aromatherapy stick and pillow & sheet mist!

Around 8pm, Senta left and I took a shower. That did wonders for me. I was even able to wear my own pjs last night. Glenn stayed to watch a few minutes of the VP debate & went home. I was joking with my nurse asking her not to take my blood pressure during the debate!

I was asked to keep track of my intake and output of fluids all night. I slept well – for the 5 hours I slept. Once again, the doctor parade began at 5:30am. I’m actually enjoying getting to know them here and it’s nice to finally recognize some faces and names.

Dr. G’s colleague came back & let me know that, although my blood pressure went down overnight, my liver enzymes were creeping up, which was cause for concern. She also let me know that Dr G would be calling me to check in at some point.

They gave the baby a non stress test at 10:30 & once again, that heartbeat is there & strong with lots of kicks!

Now, I’m feeling really sleepy, but very relieved to be here. I have a really strong sense that everything is going to be fine. In fact, I told the doctors that if they want to keep me here for a year, it’s fine, as long as I bring a healthy baby home with me!

Now that I have my laptop, I’ll keep posting updates. Please keep your fingers crossed that this munchkin makes an appearance much closer to December 1 than now!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Happy Day

I was able to relax for a few days after passing the loss date, but then, slowly, the fear started to creep back in. I’m not sure why. Everything was looking good. It’s just difficult to not have part of me waiting for the other shoe to drop. I guess it’s mostly a self defense mechanism.

On Friday, at 26 weeks, 6 days, I had an appointment & growth ultrasound. The munchkin looks good & is measuring in the 44th percentile overall. “Perfect” in my doctors words! The ultrasound tech was so sweet. She gave me 2 3d pictures to take home. During the same appointment, I took (and passed) my gestational diabetes test – yeah!!!! One less thing to worry about. Being the paranoid being that I am, I’m continuing to test my urine at home everyday for glucose and protein. It can’t hurt and it makes me feel better!

When I got home, I told Glenn that I had a surprise for him & handed him the photos. His face lit up and he just stared and said, “Oh my God, we have a beautiful baby!” He then proceeded to talk to the baby and tell him or her how excited he was about the baby’s pending arrival and to “keep up the good work.” It’s the first time that I’ve seen Glenn get truly excited and the happiness overwhelm the fear. What a nice change!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Over the Hump

Yesterday was the 24w5d mark. It was surprisingly more peaceful than I had anticipated. Of course, it brought back vivid & painful memories of Christmas day. I know it affected Glenn, too. That night, in the middle of the night, he reached over and pulled me close. The next morning, I commented on how nice that was & he said, “I was trying to check on the baby. I was worried. I just had so many memories come back.”

I thought that passing that point would help me relax, but not so far. Perhaps with time, as we get closer, I’ll be able to breathe and trust that this pregnancy will really result in a healthy, living baby. I guess time will tell.

I had my “reassurance” ultrasound today. My cervix measured 3.5cm (which they said was good). The baby was head down with its back to my front again, so we didn’t get any pictures. They also didn’t measure, but everything looks good. My next ultrasound is on 9/19. I’ll also see Dr. G that day and have the Gestational Diabetes test that day.

Yesterday was difficult to be sure, but I’m so thankful that we are over the hump and that so far, things look good!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Deja Vu

This is it. I'm 24 weeks, 2 days today. Tick tock....

I'm feeling very positive about this pregnancy, but even still, my positive thoughts are overwritten by my own fears of the looming loss point in my last pregnancy - 24 weeks, 5 days.

This past weekend, I had a cold/flu thing. It was eerily similar to the cold/flu thing that I got at the exact same point last time. Glenn asked me if I wanted to go to the movies on Sunday and I nearly bit his head off. I wasn't feeling well at all. I just wanted to rest. Last time, I pushed myself to go to a movie and look at what happened. Rationally, I know that going to a movie was not the reason that I lost Dashiell, but everything I'm trying to avoid doing everything now that I did then.

Today, we were walking out of Best Buy & Glenn wanted to go into Baby Depot across the street. The only other time I have been in the baby depot was at 24 weeks, 2 days. I decided to let rational thought take over and just walk into the store. Still, all I could focus on was the last time I was there.

I'm starting to resemble cousin it. My hair is growing like a weed, but I've been really nervous to get my hair cut. I had a hair appointment in December for 24 weeks, 3 days, but I cancelled it. Again, I know it's not rational, but I do wonder, what if I had gone and gotten my hair cut? Would Dashiell be alive? I've also not gone because I just don't want too many people to know that I'm pregnant again. Now, I'll have to go in the next couple of weeks. I do work in a professional setting and really need to keep up my appearance, but I'm waiting as long as I can.

As I sit here writing, this baby is kicking away, as if to say, "I'm not Dashiell! I will be ok!" I just wonder if after a loss you can ever truly believe in a happy outcome. I have so much to be thankful for and so many positives to focus on. This baby moves so much more than Dash ever did. Glenn has felt the baby move. This baby does not have NAIT or any genetic issues. I'm in better care. I appreciate every single kick and moment I share with this baby. Still, the fear lingers. I truly hope I'll be able to trust more once Friday comes and I see a baby moving and healthy in my ultrasound.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Missing Dashiell - 8 months later

I've been in a funk all day today - really since yesterday. 8 months ago today was the worst and best day of my life. 8 months ago today, for a few precious hours, I got to see and hold my precious Dashiell Tate. Unfortunately, that was the only time I got to hold him.

I can't describe the mixed emotions of giving birth to a dead child. To be in labor while discussing funeral arrangements and autopsies is horrific and surreal. Even so, the moment that I got to meet my son was happy, in a way. I got to see and hold the precious life that was living inside of me and it was miraculous. At the same time, it was the single most upsetting and sad thing that I have ever experienced.

Now, 8 months later and 23 weeks, 2 days pregnant with Dashiell's younger sibling, it's so hard to believe how much my life has changed. Truly, my love for this little one has really intensified my love for Dashiell, and therefore, intensified my grief, in a way.

I don't spend nearly as much time crying for Dash. I definitely have my moments, but they are not as prolonged as they were immediately following the loss. Nevertheless, I still have those moments. They seem to be increasing in frequency. Perhaps it's because I'm approaching the point in this pregnancy when I lost Dashiell, or maybe it's the 8 month anniversary.

I'm intensely bothered by people who refer to this baby I'm carrying now as my first child. My first child is Dashiell. He just happened to die before I gave birth to him. His life mattered. He changed me forever and he will always be my first born; my son.

I wish I would see him in my dreams more. I had one dream shortly after losing him where he opened his eyes. I saw these beautiful, peaceful, clear blue eyes staring back at me. I had been haunted by the fact that his eyes were fused shut when he was born. Had he lasted just 1 more week, his eyes would have been opened. I knew when I woke up that he was ok. Even still, I would give anything to hold him again in my dreams.

I miss you my little Dash, my sleepy man. Please come visit your mommy soon. I hope you're happy with Grandma and playing with all of the other angel babies. I know you're with me, but I miss you and love you more than words can say.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday's appointment

We had another appointment this past Friday. I came in with my blue folder and a barrage of questions as usual. Dr G is truly wonderful. Despite his very full schedule, he always takes plenty of time to answer my questions and calm my nerves.

I am apparently bordeline anemic, so I will be taking an additional iron supplement from here on out. I also had a very big weight gain - 10 lbs in one month, but Dr G was not concerned. He says I'm right on track, but it concerns me. I guess I'm just not used to that, since I lost weight with Dashiell. I also asked if I could come in for a quick heartbeat check at 24w5d, since that is the day I lost Dash. I think I'll need it to calm my nerves. He said, "would you just like to come in for a scan so you can actually see the baby?" I'm so lucky that he is so understanding and accommodating. I decided to go in at 24w 6d, the day after the loss, since I have therapy the day before. I think I'll really need the therapy that day.

After seeing Dr G, we went in for our ultasound. Things are looking great and this baby is measuring just over one week ahead. I guess it's good that I will be induced early! They said the baby weighs about 1lb & 5oz. That is one ounce less than Dashiell when he was born. Baby's head was so far down that they couldn't really get a good face shot, so no pictures this time. It's the best feeling in the world to see the baby moving and hear that beautiful heart beat. (it was 154). We had to turn our heads when they were looking at the sex. This was very exciting to me, since we're at the stage where it's probably very obvious. Less than 14 weeks left!

I'll go in for my "reassurance scan" and a cervical ultrasound on 9/5. My next appointment with Dr G is on 9/19 (also with an ultrasound). From here on out, it will be every 2 weeks. My biophysical profiles will start weekly at 30 weeks.

It seems like things are going well so far. Now, if I could only contain my thoughts from going to the dark places of worst cas scenarios. I just don't think that will happen. As much as I try to think positive thoughts, I will always be afraid of losing this baby, too. For now, I'm dwelling on the positives.

Friday, August 22, 2008

To tell or not to tell

I’ll be 23 weeks tomorrow and my dad & the rest of my family (except my 3 sisters) do not know that I’m pregnant. Nor do they know any of the ups and many downs we’ve been through with this pregnancy. After being in the hospital last week, it occurred to me that maybe I should ignore my dad’s wish of not knowing until 1 month before delivery and just tell him.

In a way, I’ve gotten so used to keeping this from him that it’s easy. At the same time, it’s becoming more and more difficult to decline invitations to visit him. I’m not allowed to travel at all during this pregnancy, so constantly using work as an excuse is getting very old. I’m also afraid that I may be hurting my father’s feelings. I know that he’ll be very happy for us when he finds out, but I am tempted at times to tell him.

Also, I'm clearly pregnant now. People at work know, so why shouldn't my close friends and family? The nice thing about people at work is that they're too afraid to ask me. Instead, they ask the girl who works for me is I am or not. I've told her not to lie about it, but to let people know that I do not feel comfortable talking about it. So far, that has worked really well.

I really do not want anyone else in my family to know until I am holding a healthy, living baby in my arms. As much as I appreciated the support after losing Dashiell, it was very difficult fielding calls for months checking in. Although it is well intentioned, there are many things that a mother who has lost a child doesn’t need to hear. Among them:

“Life goes on” – we know this is true, but my life stopped for a period of time after losing Dashiell. “It wasn’t meant to be.” - I believe this is the cruelest comment I have had to hear over and over. People just don’t know what to say and don’t think about what they’re saying.

“Everything happens for a reason.” – while I fundamentally believe this, in a way, I really struggled with this comment every time I got it. If that’s true, why are children born to crack addicted mothers or abusive homes? Sometimes I think shitty things happen, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or not. Bad things happen to good people every day. It’s still no consolation.

“There must have been something very wrong with the baby.” – NOT TRUE! There are thousands of perfectly healthy babies who die every year. It’s not always because of a genetic or anatomical abnormality.

“You’re young and you can try again.” This one was really a double edged sword. First off, 36 is not young in terms of childbearing years. Second, just because I can have another child doesn’t take the pain away from losing a child.

“You have to work.” I went back to work one week to the day after I was released after the hospital. Looking back, I would not do that again. I would take several weeks off and take as much time as possible to mourn and get myself to a better place instead of pushing myself to do something I wasn’t ready for.

“God has a plan” I don’t know that I truly believe that anymore and there is no arguing with someone who is very religious. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, but not particularly religious.

Like I said, I feel very lucky to have such a loving and supportive family, as well as wonderful friends, but if anything were to go wrong again I don’t think that I could handle hearing these things so much from people I love. I know it’s well intentioned, and because they live far away, it’s not as if they could just be with me & hug me, but I simply can’t endure hearing those things again.

I have been thinking lately that maybe I’ll tell my dad once I hit 30 weeks or so, but for now, I’m going to play it by ear. The most important thing I can do now is to be honest with how I’m feeling and to look after myself. Selfish? Maybe, but it’s what I have to do.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A bit of a scare

Well, it was a pretty exciting day. I woke up at 3:30am this morning with slight heart palpitations. I slept until 4:30, and finally got up because the palpitations were so strong & bothering me so much. I arrived at work just before 7am and started to feel really awful - sweating & just not right around 7:40. I proceeded to throw up a lot of water. My food & vitamins seemed to stay down.

I work at a major financial/travel/credit card company and they have a health services office where we can go. I decided to head up at 8:30, as soon as they opened to have my blood pressure checked, just in case. I figured I'd do that & call Dr. "G" at 9 when his office opened. Well, they did take my BP which was a little low (104/60) and they decided to do an EKG just to check.

Apparently, my heart was doing little skips and I was diagnosed with a PVC (premature ventricular complex). They made me stay laying down and called my doc's office. My doctor wasn't in, but his colleague there told them to send me to their hospital (which is probably the farthest hospital from where I work!) IN AN AMBULANCE!

They told me I had to go to labor & delivery. I lost it. Of course, I just started panicking and worrying, even though they were clear it was just a precaution. So, they called my boss in London to let her know, called my colleague downstairs & got my husband on the phone, too. I called him back & asked him to bring the camera just in case, and he got really upset.
At 9:35, the EMTs got there & took my info. I asked if I could go to the bathroom and they said "Yes, just don't lock the door." They were really were scaring me. I was wheeled out of work on a stretcher through the service entrance, but ended up on the ground floor of the World Financial Center where soooo many people were coming into start their work day!

I arrived at the hospital around 10:10, or so. Thank goodness for no traffic. They asked a few questions & immediately checked the baby's heartbeat. The heart beat was nice & strong. I had felt the baby move around 8am, so I knew the problem was likely with me and not the baby. They also did an ultrasounds, which showed everything was ok with the munchkin.

They monitored me for contractions, my bp, my blood sugar, & did a full blood workup. All of that came back normal. They did a second EKG, which showed the same abnormality. The attending doc from my doc's practice said this condition, on it's own, is fairly benign and that many pg women feel this. Who knew?

The attending said she'd call Dr. G & fill him in. They may want to see me sooner than my next appointment, which is scheduled for 8/22. Also, I may have to wear a heart halter for a full day to get a reading. I kind of hope they do that just to ease my mind. I'm still a little dizzy & feeling mild palpitations, but they released me around 4:30 today.

I may stay out of work tomorrow for my own peace of mind. I have an appointment with the GI doctor at 10 for an unrelated issue. I may just come home & take the day after that. I'll play it by ear.

Anyway, it was my (and baby's) first and hopefully last trip in an ambulance!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Finally, some normal screening results - now, KICK ME!

Yesterday, I called the doctor to get the results of my latest screening test. The only minor thing was that there was a bit of bacteria in my urine culture, so they told me to drink cranberry juice. It's not even enough to take medicine for and I had the same amount back in May apparently.

On the bright side, we got our first ever normal screening results back. My quad screen, which tests the level of Alphafeto protein in my blood came back normal! I am really not a fan of these screening tests. I've now had 1 with Dashiell and 1 with this one come back with a false positive. The older you are, the more age can skew the results. I've also learned that when you have extremely high or extremely low levels that it can indicate a higher risk for pregnancy loss. Unfortunately, the doctors can't specifically identify what the cause would be, just that there is a higher risk for that. Now, how is that useful information for a patient? Really, it just throws you into panic and worry. What mom to be needs that?

This past Saturday, this baby was moving so much, it felt like I had a little rockette (or male rockette - whatever that's called) in there. I went to see Glenn's show and the baby only moved when he spoke. I'm sure it was coincidence, but it was very cool. I was so happy to feel that much movement. It's just so reassuring. Well, not for long. Sunday, Monday & Tuesday, I barely felt anything. Even though I know that this is normal for this point, (after all, I'll only be 20 weeks tomorrow) it takes me back to this past Christmas and throws me into a panic. One of the lovely effects of post traumatic stress disorder. I was feeling the baby, just not like Saturday. Since I was still feeling movement in a different place I'm sure it was because the placenta was in the way. Even though I rationally know that, it does not help with panic.

I had a serious talk with the munchkin on Wednesday. "Listen, you. I'm your mommy here and I need you to move and let me know you're ok in there. I need you to keep mommy sane. You can drive me crazy all you want when you're a teenager, but don't play those games with me now!" Since then, baby has been more active and I am feeling relieved!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A leap of faith

Shopping for maternity clothes should be a lot of fun. I remember last time how happy I was when I finally had to break them out. This time, I've been avoiding it altogether. I had ordered some clothes online that arrived the day we found out about the elevated risk of Trisomy 13 & 18. Afraid, to jinx anything, I left them in the box until after the amnio results. Most of them have to go back, anyway, but I didn't want to do anything until I knew what was going on.

Finally, on Sunday, my friend Taifa and I went shopping for maternity clothes. I'm so glad she was with me, because I actually enjoyed the experience instead of panicking the whole time. She also found some great stuff for me!

We finally went to check out and the woman tells me how they'll send me free samples of this, free subscription to parent's magazine. NOOOOOOO!!! Please don't send me anything. I can't bear the thought of having to cancel anything again. It's too much. Thankfully, with Taifa's encouragement, I was able to relax a bit and say yes. I just wonder if I'll ever feel comfortable with this pregnancy.

I'm afraid that the minute I start to relax, I'll get knocked down with some big blow. The magical thinking ("if I don't buy maternity clothes, then everything will be fine. " "if I don't subscribe to any magazines, then everything will be ok.") has to stop sometime, right? My therapist tells me to just ask myself, "what's your proof" Even though I know the answer is "there is none", my mind says, "because that's what happened last time". I can only hope that after I get past that 24 week 5 day point, that things will start looking up and maybe I will be able to trust a little more.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

So thankful

Thursday afternoon, I was sitting listening to a town hall at work with my hands on my stomach. For the first time, I felt this little munchkin kick on the outside. I was so excited! I never was able to feel Dashiell move with my hand. I really didn't even feel Dash move at all until about 20 weeks. Here I was at 18w 5d really feeling this baby move with my hand! I couldn't wait to tell Glenn. When I did, he just got the biggest smile and said, "Wow! I'm excited now. I want to feel it!"

Yesterday, we had our level 2 ultrasound (aka the "big" ultrasound). This is where they check to make sure that the baby is ok anatomically. I was very nervous about yesterday, especially given that we've been so lucky so far. I was also nervous about the possible of a single umbilical artery.

When we went in, we could see the baby right away, moving as usual! S/he would either kick or punch the u/s machine when the tech would depress the probe on my belly. The cord is a dual artery cord, the heart has 4 chambers, 5 fingers on each hand, 5 toes on each foot, just perfect!

This may sound strange, but I feel like this baby looks a little more like me than Dash did. Dashiell was the spitting image of Glenn, and I could tell from the ultrasounds. This baby definitely has a little more "Mayne" in him or her.

After the ultrasound, we saw Dr. G. He is pleased with everything so far. I have gained a total of 10 pounds (using my weight prior to being pregnant as the starting point), which he was happy with. He said that so far, everything looks good!

My next appointment will be in 4 weeks and I will have a follow up level 2 ultrasound. I'll start seeing Dr. G every 2 weeks starting at 28 weeks, with a once weekly bio-physical profile. Depending on how everything goes, he may up the profiles to 2x per week.

I'm still feeling a little trepidation with the approach of the 24 week 5 day mark is looming. That said, I do feel like we've finally gotten over some major hurdles. I'm just so thankful that things look good.

On a separate note, I'm thrilled that 2 of my online friends who lost their first babies in their second trimester just found out that they are pregnant again! It really brightens my day and gives me hope for the future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Three for Three!

Much to my surprise, on Friday, we found out that the rest of the amnio results came back and this is a genetically normal baby! What a relief. I'm so thankful.

Today, we found out that this baby does not have alloimmune thrombocytopenia. We are so relieved. A huge weight has been lifted. If all goes well, I won't need the c-section that I would have if the baby had NAIT. I won't need the blood treatments and maybe, just maybe, I can actually start to enjoy this pregnancy.

I wish I could relax and trust that everything will be ok, but I still feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. That said, I'm feeling more hopeful today than I have for this pregnancy.

I'm praying that our "big" ultrasound on Friday goes well, and that the umbilical cord is not a single artery cord. We'll see, but for now, I'm just so happy and thankful!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Still Waiting...

Here we are, 1 week and 2 days after the amnio. It feels like a lifetime. We're still waiting for results, but I did get a little information yesterday. Megan, Dr. JB's assistant called the Blood Center of Wisconsin. They told her that my results should be ready by Tuesday. These are the results that will tell us whether or not this baby has NAIT. I'm praying that the baby does not, but if s/he does, I want to start treatment immediately.

I can't believe how much my life has changed over the course of one year. One year ago today, I wasn't even thinking about having a baby. Little did I know that I would conceive a child, lose a child and conceive another by one year later. I found out that I was pregnant with Dashiell on August 4, 2007. One week from today will mark 7 months since I lost him.

I think of my precious Dashiell every day. I picture him in heaven, being spoiled rotten by my mom and playing with all of the other angel babies. I know he is a part of this baby and it's comforting to know that this baby has such a wonderful guardian angel.

Since finding out last August that I would be a mother, it's hard for me to remember a time not so long ago that motherhood was the farthest thing from my mind. Over the past year, I've become very attached to my new role and it has changed me profoundly. I may not have a living child in my arms, but I am a mother. When people ask me if I have children, I answer, "Yes, I have a child, but he died." I want people to know. I now understand depths of love that a mother feels for her child.

Now, no matter what happens, I have two children. I pray that this one will be my earth baby that I can hold and watch grow. I'm still very scared of losing this baby and I probably will be even after this one is born. I'll feel much better once we have the amnio results back, but even then, I know all to well how many women lose their babies at term.

I really envy anyone who can have a carefree pregnancy. It's something that I have never had and never will. I wonder what it would be like to have my biggest worry be what stroller to buy, or what color to paint the nursery. On the flip side, I do realize how precious each and every day is with this baby. I thank God every day for the time I have already had.

This baby started to make itself known to me last week. This past Monday I got an actual jab! Of course, it is still too early to feel any kind of regular movement, but it's nice that to be reassured. It's as if s/he is telling me, "Hey, mom, I'm in here and I'm fine so stop worrying!" I'm so thankful for each day and each flutter. This baby is loved so much already. As much as I love this baby, I still miss my baby Dashiell. Although I am thankful, this baby will never be a replacement for him. He will always be my first child, my Christmas angel, my precious Dash.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good news - for now

Yesterday, I waited by the phone all day for the preliminary amnio results. They were supposed to tell us is the baby has trisomy 21, 18 or 13. The wait was awful. I finally broke down around 2:30 and called Anna, the genetic counsellor, to see if she could call the lab.

She finally called back around 3:30 saying that the lab would not have results back Friday. She spoke with the director of the lab, put my number in her cell phone and said that she'd call today either way with an update.

I waited around all day today with the phone by my side. I wasn't holding my breath, though. I assumed that we would probably hear on Monday. At 4:28pm, the phone rang and it was Anna. She said, "I have good news. So far, everything is normal." I cried from relief and thanked her. She really went above and beyond for us, calling the lab on her day off and calling to let us know results. I'm so thankful that we had her again.

Now, we just need to hear about the NAIT results and the rest of the amnio results. We're used to waiting, but at least we have one hurdle behind us! I'll take that for now and just be thankful and revel in the moment.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Waiting Game

We finally had the amniocentesis yesterday. Luckily, I had my sister and niece in town Tuesday night and yesterday morning to distract me. We got to the doctor's office around 10:45am for our 11am appointment. We waited for what seemed like forever, but what was really only one hour.

We finally got into the procedure room and I was looking forward to having a full scan with measurements and all, but since they were done last week, the ultrasound tech did not do any. The munchkin's heartbeat was 148. As soon as she put the ultrasound on my belly, we could see the little one in there moving all over the place, as if to reassure us.

I asked the tech if she could see if the cord had 1 or 2 vessels. At first, she said she thought 2, but later she said it could possibly be a single artery cord. This can be a marker for Trisomy 13 or 18, other physiological defects, or not a problem at all. She couldn't be sure one way or the other, though. DAMN!!!!! One more detail to worry about.

About 1/2 hour later, Dr. RB came in to perform the procedure. He let me know that my uterus had moved enough to give him a spot to go in without going through the placenta. I was extremely nervous. The amnio that I had last year for Dashiell was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. Glenn held both of my hands. The needle went in. I felt it go through my uterus, but barely felt anything at all! I didn't even feel the pressure of the fluid coming out. It was over quickly and I felt fine afterwards.

The little munchkin had curled up after and the heartbeat was 158. All was well. We got home around 1:30 and I immediately went to lie down in bed. My sister and Pat brought my niece over last night. It was a welcome distraction, but I was told to take it easy. My friends Taifa and Paul came over to help me with her, which allowed me to spend time with her, without having to get on the floor and play.

I did not sleep well last night. I woke up around 4:30 and never quite got back to sleep. It's only 3:45 pm right now. This waiting is killing me. I need to get a phone call tomorrow saying that the baby does not have trisomy 13, 18 or 21. I can't lose this child. It's just not an option. Please God, please, let this baby be born healthy, alive and normal.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jerk Pat!

My sister called me on Friday to let me know that she would be coming to NYC with my 4 year old niece this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Not great timing with the amnio coming up again, but I was still very excited to see them. They were planning on staying with us.

Last night, I got a call that they were going to stay in a hotel and that our close family friend, Pat (affectionately known as "jerk Pat") is coming, too. Now, I'm excited to see Pat, but I do not want her to know that I am pregnant. I don't really want anyone else to know until we're very close to delivery, or at least until we know what we're dealing with.

I guess I'm going to have to dress in a giant trash bag, or something similar with no form, because I'm bigger than I've ever been! On the bright side, my precious niece will be having a sleepover at my place on Wednesday night while her mom goes to a Broadway show with Jerk Pat. It will be a good way to take my mind off of the amnio, plus, I love her so much!!!

The anxiety is starting to build again about the amnio, the results for any Trisomy and the possibility of NAIT. I feel like we've been in a holding pattern for so long. I'm just ready to move & do something. It's horrible, helpless feeling; especially for a control freak, like me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

No Go for the Amnio

So, I got to the Dr office yesterday morning and went through the genetic counselling. (ironically, the genetic counsellor was the same on I had back in November at a different hospital. She just moved to this office 1 month ago and she's fantastic).

After that, I was brought into the procedure room. The u/s tech wanted to do a "mini" anatomy scan. Since it's still so early, there is only so much to be seen. She really reassured me that everything looks really good. The nasal bone was very visible (an absent nasal bone can . She said that usually with Trisomy 13 &18, there are things that are very abnormal. Baby was moving around like crazy, weighs 5oz, measured at 16w5d (over 1 week ahead!) and had a heartbeat of 154.

After the scan was over (about 1/2 hour later) we got ready for the amnio. Dr RB came in to take a look. Since my placenta is anterior, there was no way for him to go in without going through the placenta. Normally this would not be a problem, but because we may be dealing with Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia, he was nervous about the baby's blood getting into my blood stream, causing my body to vigorously attack the baby. He wants to wait a week and see if my uterus moves into a different position where he can go in and avoid the placenta. If next week, he is not able to, but it looks like things are moving, it may be delayed until the following week. If it hasn't moved and doesn't look like it's going to, he will do it next week.

At least I got a little reassurance regarding the trisomy 13/18 situation. I think I'll be ok waiting until next week. Plus, the genetic counsellor is going to call the lab personally for an early pick up so that we can hopefully have results for trisomy 21, 18 & 13 the next day.

This is all very frustrating, but as long as the end result is a healthy, normal, living baby, I don't care what I have to go through.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peace & Bad Dreams

I've been plagued by bad dreams lately. This past Sunday night, I had a very vivid and intense dream that I was bleeding and blod clots were coming out. I went to the hospital and my mother was there. At that point I woke up. It was 1am. I went to the bathroom to make sure it was just a dream & went back to sleep.

The dream started back up again. I was waiting in the hospital with my mom; waiting to see if something was wrong. We finally got in an elevator with 2 pregnant women who were happy. I remember crying and praying when I woke up again. It was 4:30am and I could not go back to sleep.

It's ironic, because on Sunday afternoon, for the first time since the NT screen results, I had a feeling of peace and a strong sense that everything was ok.

Needless to say, the dream threw me for a loop. These results can't come fast enough. I'm not looking forward to the actual amnio. I know how painful it will be. It will all be worth it, though, if everything is ok.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yet another thing to worry about

So, I've been even worse about writing. We have gotten so much information in the last month, it's staggering. On May 20, we met with the 2 doctors who will be treating me if this baby is affected with neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (NAIT). The first Dr., Dr. RB is a perinatologist / MFM, who would be doing the PUBS procedure (the precutaneous umbilical blood sample). He had a look at my records, the autopsy and said he couldn't be sure if NAIT was the cause of Dashiell's death. Worse, he said that it could have been one of three things:
1 - a clot in the placenta
2- a cord accident
We also learned that about 90-95% of cases have an incompatibility with the #1 platelet. Ours is with the #5. On top of that, I may have a clotting issue, so he wasn't quite sure what to do with me. He recommended an amnio at 15 weeks to definitively determine if the baby is affected. If so, he wants to start the IVIg treatments at 20 weeks. He referred me to a doctor in the same practice to act as my OB. He is Dr. G. Dr G is a protege of Dr. RB and has a broad knowledge and lots of experience with NAIT. I do feel that I'm in the best possible hands.

Our next stop was with Dr. JB. He is a pediatric hematologist and works out of a sister hospital. After we got there, I had a lot of blood drawn. (about 28 vials). We met with Dr. JB and he essentially said the same thing that Dr. RB said. However, he said that if he felt that NAIT had been the cause of Dash's death that he would start IVIg at 12 weeks and do 2 treatments per week! Quite a difference. He also thought that Dash's death may have been cause by something else. He asked me to have the autopsy slides sent to him so that he could discuss with their placental pathologist on site. He gave me his card and told me to email him to remind him that I would be calling for results the following week.

We left feeling overwhelmed and almost with more questions than answers. The HPA 5a/5b incompatibility is supposedly milder than the other forms of NAIT. I did some research and found a girl who had lost her child at 32 weeks. She had the HPA 5a/5b incompatibility, as well as the HPA 3a/3b one, but for some unknown reason, her body did not form antibodies for the #3 incompatibility.

I emailed Dr. JB the following week to let him know that I would be calling for results and that I wanted to start treatment regardless. I also mentioned Erika, the girl who lost her baby at 32 weeks due to NAIT. Since it wouldn't hurt the baby and could potentially help, I saw no reason to delay starting. He emailed me back that day saying that he found the loss at 32 weeks "suspicious" and to see if she would send her medical records to him. Luckily, she did. The kindness of strangers is quite amazing.

He did not call the first night he said he would, so I called back the second day and was promised a phone call. He still did not call back. Finally, I emailed again and asked for a response. His assistant call and said that the dr wanted to see the autopsy slides first, which were on their way. He was then out of the office from Friday-Tuesday. I called & emailed Tuesday, but never received a phone call back. I called again Wednesday and said I really needed to speak with him and asked for a phone call that night. By 7:30pm, we still hadn't heard. Finally at 9pm I went to sleep. The phone rang at 10:45pm and it was Dr. JB calling. I woke up out of a dead sleep to talk to him, and didn't quite have all my bearings. He said that he did not think that NAIT had caused Dash's death, but still had not shown the slides to the pathologist. He said that he didn't fully believe Erika's medical records. Unbelievable! He also said that he understood where I was coming from and that I could begin the IVIg treatments if I really wanted to, "it's your choice". I was relieved and feeling much better.

The next day, I called his research assistant to set up the insurance claim and home care for treatments. The ball was rolling. She told me to call on Monday to set up the appointment for the first treatment. I called Monday, June 9, again, no call back. I called Tuesday and got him in person. He was extremely terse, bordering on rude. He told me that I was not to start treatments and he thought that there was something to the clot in the placenta, having spoken with the pathologist. I asked why I couldn't just start treatments. There was no answer. I was told to make an appointment on 6/23 for some blood work on me and my husband. I was devastated and very scared by the implications of not starting treatments, but clearly got the message that it was no longer "my choice".

We had our first intake appointment at the new OB's office with the nurse/midwife on June 3. It was very long, with an extensive history taking that day, but I appreciate how thorough they are. We had an ultrasound, as well, and tried to do the Nuchal Translucency screen. I have learned to hate ultrasounds. I get so nervous that I shake, get short of breath and even throw up at times from nerves. I don't think that ever will change. Well, our little munchkin was moving around like crazy, as if to reassure us that everything is ok. We couldn't get the baby into the right position for the NT screen and were told to come back on 6/12 to try again.

I went back on 6/12 and the baby was not cooperating again! It took about 45 minutes, but the tech was finally able to get the measurement. 2.01mm (anything under 3 is considered normal). I also had my blood drawn and went on my merry way.

On 6/18, the day before I was to meet with my new OB for the first time, I came home to a message, "Allison, this is Ana, a genetic counsellor from Dr. G's office. Can you please give me a call?" My heart sank. I knew they would not call unless there was something wrong. My results came back. The normal risk for Trisomy 21 (down's syndrome) for my age group is 1:475, mine came back 1:4,685. I thought, great news! Then she told me that the average risk for Trisomy 13 & Trisomy 18 for my age group is 1:436. Mine came back 1:42. More than 10 times more risk than normal. This does not mean the baby has this, just that I'm at higher risk. She asked me if I wanted to come in for a CVS and I let her know that my amnio was already scheduled for 7/2. Plus, I've been told I can't have the CVS, due to the risk of NAIT. Since the procedure involves blood, my body could potentially have a bad reaction and produce more antibodies to fight the baby's ability to make platelets. I thanked her, hung up the phone and got unbelievably angry. Don't we have enough to worry about? Why is it that some people, people who shouldn't even have children, just sail through pregnancy and now we're handed 2 more very major things to worry about? It's just not fair. There is no rhyme or reason in this life.

I met with my new OB, Dr. G, the following day. He was able to reassure me somewhat and said that if the baby did have one of the trisomy's that the tech would likely have seen something. During the NT screen, the tech kept telling me how great everything looked, so I'm hanging onto that for now. Dr. G is wonderful and I'm so happy that I will be working with him. I asked to have the heartbeat checked while I was there. The nurse came in to check and couldn't find one. My heart sank. She left the room and sent the head nurse midwife in. She found it right away. Nice and strong at 155!
This past Monday, 6/23, Glenn and I went in for our blood work and appointment with Dr JB. I was not looking forward to it at all, since our last conversation was a bit contentious. Our appointment was at 8:30am. We arrived just after 8am. The nurse came back to take my vitals and asked why we were there. Dr. JB had not put in the order for the blood work. She said they would page him. No problem. We went back to the waiting room and waited. At 9:30, one hour after we were supposed to be seen, I asked the front desk how much longer it would be. "He's not even here yet. He usually doesn't come in until 10-10:30." WHAT?????? Are you kidding me? Why were we given an 8:30 appointment time if he's not here until 10:30. I just broke down and started crying. I was missing work and all of the pressure of everything we are faced with right now came crashing in on me. His research assistant came out to let me know that he was on his way. I was hoping he had some emergency. At least that would have been a valid excuse. However, I heard one of the nurses say, "Dr JB is leaving his house soon."

We finally got to see him around 11:15, nearly 3 hours after our appointment time. He was also being observed by 2 fellows. He apologized for the delay saying that there was a "paperwork emergency". I don't work in a hospital, nor have I ever, but it seemed like BS to me. So far, my blood work looked good. I was taking notes diligently, as I have been to try to keep everything straight. He made a comment about that, I think trying to be funny, but it was not funny to me at all. I explained that I had to write things down to keep them straight. I later asked him, "If the baby is affected by NAIT, how soon after the amnio can I start IVIg?" He said, "You can really start right away, but there is only one of us in the room that thinks it's urgent." (meaning me) At that point I was over him. I said nicely, but firmly, "Dr JB, I lost my first child. I can NOT lose another child. If that means that I get 2 extra weeks of blood treatments, then that is what it means. I assure you that the pain and inconvenience of the treatments pales in comparison to mourning a baby." He then backed down a bit.

After our meeting, we had to wait longer for our blood work order to be put in. Finally, around 12:15, we went back to get our blood drawn. It was only about 6 vials, so no big deal. I went first. Glenn went after me. Just as they finished Glenn, he said, "I don't feel too well" and turned sheet white. The nurses helped him onto a bed. As soon as they sat him down, his eyes went blank and he started convulsing for about 5-10 seconds. It scared me to death! They quickly tilted the bed backwards to get the blood going to his head. One of the nurses fed him a juice to get his blood sugar back up. I believe he passed out because we sat in the damned waiting room way too long. He ate breakfast before we left the apartment, but by that time it was lunch time. Needless to say, I'm really hoping that this baby is ok and we don't have to deal with him for much longer.

Yesterday, I called Dr G. I had been having a weird pain in my right calf. It went away last week. I wrote that off since I had a cold/flu all week last week. It came back on Monday and moved up my leg. With my clotting history, I figured I'd better call. My doc told me to come in right away. He measured my legs & found that my right leg was 1/2" bigger than the left. He said it wasn't enough to be concerned about, but to come back if it gets worse. I asked if he would check the hb while I was there. Once again, he couldn't find the hb with the doppler. He grabbed the u/s machine and there was the munchkin. The hb was 130-140. He didn't get an exact read, but it's a high risk practice and he fit me in with no notice, which I really appreciated. The frustrating thing was he said at first, "Take a baby aspirin - no don't . You really can't if you have NAIT" It's so frustrating to have conflicting conditions!!!

So, only 5 days until the amnio. The answers can't come soon enough. I can't lose another child. I can't. I don't know how I would survive that. I pray that everything is ok with this baby or, if the baby has to be affected by something, please let it be NAIT, which is treatable. I'm terrified and incredibly anxious for some good news.