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!