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For this child, I have prayed. (Samuel 1:27)

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Week 15-16, the most challenging so far…

So I am 16 weeks pregnant as of today.  I had a prenatal appointment and learned that a birth method or plan has been chosen for me. I also *finally* met THE OB doctor who I hope will be there to deliver me. All of them are wonderful in the practice, however, only one OB can sign ASL and is VERY Deaf-friendly.  It was so refreshing to have totally clear communication between my doctor and I.  She understands deafness because both her niece and daughter are both Deaf.  She even tapped out the heartbeat on my arm so that I could follow the heartbeat on the doppler!

Aside from finding out how fabulous my new OB is, she revealed the birth plan to me. After meeting with the high-risk OB, talking with surgeons, pain specialist, and all of her colleagues, they decided on what they feel will be the best option for me. Basically they will be giving my body a chance to go into labor and birth naturally.  The reason is because the risks associated with a c-section is greater for me than with a vaginal/natural birth. However, the only thing worse than a planned  c-section is if they have to do one in a hurry due to an emergency.

So…their plan is to monitor my labor very closely. If my labor fails to progress or the baby starts showing any form of distress, they will call it quits on my body and do a c-section while they still have a chance to take their time in surgery.  I am actually very happy about this and feel like this is the best option for me.  I still have some extra homework to do and also must meet ahead of time to discuss pain relief options with the anesthesiologist.   I will probably drag C along with me to some birthing classes so that we can both be as prepared as possible.

This past week has been the hardest for me for two reasons. The first reason is that my GI system decided to act up and thus made me feel very weak and POTSy. My OB increased my IV fluids to one and a half bags per day to help compensate for my body putting oral fluids on the express train out. My home health nurse also hooked me up with a portable IV pump so that I can carry my fluids around in a little purse/bag. The pump is a HUGE help with a busy toddler.  It was so nerve-wracking trying to make sure he didn’t pull on the IV tubing hanging from a tall metal IV pole. I am really loving the portability of this new pump!

Nathan is doing very well. He has been going through this “mommy’s boy” phase and insists on being right next to me at all times.  I know that this phase in life is incredibly short and precious, so I have been trying to make the most of it and spending lots of quality time with him.  We play with his cars and trucks, Rocket Launch pad/blast-off, catch with a soft toy ball, and he asks me to draw various shapes or objects for him.  We laugh and giggle and have a grand ole time together.

The second reason this week has been so hard is because a friend from my childhood home in Ga just lost her precious 3-month old little boy, baby E, to SIDS.  He went to sleep and woke up as an angel. I went through something very similar with Nathan when he was the same age, so it hit me especially close to home. I know the terror and absolute heart-wrenching fear that grips a mother’s heart when you find your baby looking greyish-blue and unresponsive. So although I know what she went through when she found him, I simply cannot imagine what she is going since he passed away.  She is an AMAZING Mommy to her children, so I hope that guilt will never be one of the emotions she experiences as she grieves and heals from his loss over time.

My heart goes out to her and all those who love baby E.  I wish so much that I could do more for them and my friends during this time. All of them have been so amazing and rallying around her to help celebrate baby E’s short time here on Earth.  One of my friends is an awesome photographer and took Baby E’s 3-month portraits a few days before he passed.  If you don’t mind, please take a moment to look at this sweet little angel boy and say a prayer for his family and loved ones as they go through this. If you are a mom of an infant, take care of infants, or soon to be a mommy, please take the time to research about SIDS.  In honor of Baby E, please spread the word about SIDS and SIDS prevention facts.  Thanks in advanced for prayers for this Angel’s family.

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My body, the Cactus

I finally have a PICC line and I now do one bag of IV fluids a day to help me combat dehydration.  After just one bag of fluids late the other night, I was able to stand up without my body seriously threatening to faint.  I could also breathe SO much better when sitting and standing due to my blood pressure being raised by the fluids.  The next day, the home health had to come and change my PICC line dressing before work.  My body was already dehydrated again and so my heart rate was resting between 150-160s, and spiking to the 180s upon standing.

I was very short of breath again, so the nurse recommended that I not wait to do my IV therapy until I got home from work. I decided that it would be risky to wait too long for the fluids, so I packed my IV fluids, tubing, and other supplies and brought them to work with me. I popped into the nursing lab there at work and borrowed an IV pole. I did not have any appointments in the lab that day, so I hooked up the IV and waited to feel better.  After the 4-hour infusion, I noticed that my lower legs were feeling tight and swollen. I texted my nurse about it, and she said that when the body gets too dehydrated and finally gets fluids in it, it will try to store extra fluid inside of the tissue to store for when it needs it again.  It’s sort of like a survival mechanism. It reminds me a bit of how dessert cacti store water to have during droughts.

Today, Saturday, I woke up feeling stronger in the morning. I could stand up without almost blacking out and get around fine. I also haven’t had any contractions since starting the fluids at home. After lunch, I could feel my heart rate spiking and my shortness of breath starting to happen again.  So I hurried up and finished the chores I needed to get done, fixed myself and Nathan some lunch, took a bath and got set up for more fluids. I am doing the bag of fluids as I type.

I am SO grateful for having the resources to treat my chronic dehydration here at home. Nathan charms the nurses when they come. He makes sure that they all know that I am ‘his mommy.’ I explained the IV therapy in a way that I thought his little 2-year old brain could grasp. I explain to him that the bag of fluids is “special water” to keep the baby happy in mommy’s belly. He then did the cutest thing ever! He asked me if the baby was swimming in the special water, and since it kind-of is swimming in the amniotic fluid, I told him yes. He then looked really hard into the IV bag and I realized that he is thinking that the baby is in there swimming!

I had to rethink my approach and ended up explaining to him that the baby stays in mommy belly and it is the “special water” that goes the baby, not the other way around. He seemed satisfied with that, and now calls my IV fluids “special baby water.”  He also now says that is baby brother is, “a fish in mommy belly. It grow big and swimming like fish in special baby water.” Close enough. 😉

Contractions

 

It looks like this pregnancy will be filled with irritable uterus contractions again.  Last Thursday and Friday I was plagued with tons of contractions. I know that being dehydrated makes the contractions act up more than normal, so I have been trying to drink my weight in water each day. The problem is that sometimes my colonless body simply doesn’t absorb the water I am drinking, and I end up even more dehydrated despite my best efforts. It is not that the pregnancy itself is making me dehydrated, I’m always one step away from dehydration without being pregnant, but it is just that being in this state is simply not good for pregnancy.

I made an appointment with my OB this past Monday to discuss the possibility of a PICC line and home IV fluids. The OB decided to try and get a PICC line in me and home health care so that I can rehydrate at home as needed.  I had the same thing with Nathan, and it was an absolute lifesaver. I usually hook it up at bedtime and unhook it in the morning.  I probably should have kept the PICC line in with him for the whole pregnancy to help with the irritable uterus contractions, but at the time that it was removed I was not having any contractions and there was no way to predict the complications I would have later.  At least this time I know better and so I am taking the initiative to do whatever I need to do in order to stay healthy and keep baby happy. It beats the heck out of going to the ER, and it is mighty convenient to be able to treat myself as needed from home.

Tonight, I ended up with a few more bouts of contractions again. It feels like someone is pulling on my insides and can feel a little sore after awhile. Hopefully I will have my PICC line in by the end of the week and start feeling better sooner than later. 🙂

Anyhow, other than that, things are going really well. This pregnancy has been 1,000% easier than Nathan’s pregnancy.  I have honestly loved and am loving every minute of it! The other day, I thought I may have felt a few tiny little popcorn-like kicks from the baby in the middle just above the pubic bone. It only happened about three or four times over the course of a few minutes while I was laying on my side. My OB was surprised that I haven’t already been feeling kicks at my appointment Monday. It is very early, but he said with this being my second and my body type that I will probably feel tiny kicks very soon. With Nathan, I noticed around week 15. I am 14w4d now. I can’t wait!!! 🙂

 

Smart Shopping Fun

A few days ago I passed a milestone birthday. To celebrate starting my third second decade of life, C treated me to a pancake breakfast, a crab dinner, ice-cream cake, and also took me to our local Gap Clearance so that I could shop for some inexpensive maternity clothes. While there, I found 3 Gap maternity tops, pair of Banana republic ear rings, and a pair of super cute dark skinny Gap maternity jeans for the fall. I also found Nathan 2 cute PJ sets, 3 t-shirts, and ankle socks.  Had I bought these things in the store, I would have paid around $190, which is simply ridiculous. Instead, I got all of the above for a little less than $45! HaPpY DaNcE! 🙂

Something that surprised me is that some of the major children’s clothing stores are already starting their end-of-season clearance sales for their summer things. Ever since Nathan was born, I have always bought almost all of his clothes a season ahead. People ask me how do I know which size to buy. Since I am familiar with how the brand washes/wears and how the sizes fit, it is easy to buy a size or two up. Plus, if they do not fit, the stores are very good about accepting refunds. I can count on one hand how many items I have had to return things. So for next summer, I went ahead and shopped Crazy 8’s awesome sale. I bought him 6 t-shirts, a polo shirt, 2 coordinating shorts, and a pair of cute swim trunks on clearance. Each top normally costs $14.95, and the shorts either $14.95 or $16.95.  I paid between $2.99 and $3.99 for each!

I am going to wait until more stores put their summer things on clearance to buy the rest of his wardrobe. I have all the t-shirts that I think he will need, and I already have his basic shorts bought from Walmart for $1 each. Meijers and Walmart should put their “crocs” shoes and keen-like sandals for a few dollars sometime next month. I’ll probably buy him a couple of Ralph Lauren polo shirts for church from Ebay or for $12 at TJ Max and he’ll be all set!

I still have the vast majority of his clothes and shoes saved in case baby #2 is a boy. I am dreading having to sort through and resale his baby clothes if this one is a girl.  I figured that I will keep a few heirloom outfits for him to keep, and all the very basic items just in case we have a third and it’s a boy. I am not sure if we’ll be able to have a third, but you never know. 😉

Preparing for Baby

One thing I *really* want to do is get my house back under control.  A friend and I were talking about how I can make the house more manageable for when I am a busy mom of two.  So we sat down and came up with a plan of sorts to simplify things. This week, my goal is to fill one or two garbage bags of stuff to get out of my house. Some of it will just be thrown away, the rest will likely be donated to charity.  I have also picked out a few large toys that Nathan never uses to sell. I will use part of the money from that toward buying him a tricycle bike that he really wants, and the rest will be put away for when the baby comes.

For pregnancy news, I am in my second trimester but I still do not have my energy back. The nausea does seem a little better, so that is a great start. Nathan still randomly comes up to me with a goofy smile and reminds me that his, “baby brover” is in “mommy belly.”  It’s so sweet. He is genuinely excited about being a big brother. He is such a social little guy and loves having a side-kick to play with.

Nathan is becoming quite the chatterbox. He is rarely quiet and narrates every little thing that he does. Lately he has even been making up stories or telling me what he sees and hears. For example, he’ll say and sign, “Mommy! What’s that? I hear big, red firetrucks! It goes WOO WOO WOO! Bye-bye firetrucks! It went that way!”

When the fireworks were going off for the week of July Fourth, he would narrate what he hears. “Mommy! What’s that I hear? I hear fireworks! High in the sky goes BOOM! Red lights! Big “geem” lights! Lots of lights stars go BOOM! One, two, three, four fireworks BOOM far, far away!”

He still speaks and signs at the same time. I can ‘turn off my voice’ and only sign to him and he understands pretty much everything I say, which is super important to me so that he can be a part of both the Deaf and hearing cultures.  He can be a little stubborn though about signing. One time he and I got into a debate about the letter W versus the number 6, which are both signed the same way. If I am counting signs to him, he’ll yell “W!” when I get to the number 6, and vice versa when I am signing the alphabet to him. He also does the same thing with the letter L and the Number 21. I think he is just being silly. I don’t mind at all that he is having fun with his numbers and letters.

 

 

 

13 week Sonogram Picture

Baby Natalie or Garrison at 13 weeks. It is a cross-section so you can see one leg on the left, the belly in the middle, then his/her head on the right. She has her hand over her eyes so you can see that as well.

I actually have a similar picture of Nathan at 13 weeks….

 

Baby is BIGGER! Now how will he be born?

Today I had an appointment with a high-risk OB-GYN (parinatologist).  I also had a rockin’ full ultrasound and got to watch my baby for what seemed like an eternity on the ultrasound screen. 🙂

At first, baby was asleep with one hand in a fist by her temple, and the other on her belly by her chin.  The technician poked and prodded with the probe and the poor little thing woke up. She didn’t seem too happy to be bothered. At first, she actually rolled away from the probe and covered her eyes with her hand in a fist.  After a few more pokes, she seemed to give up on sleeping and completely flipped around to the other side.  It is SO amazing to see a fully formed little human so early in pregnancy!

The baby is measuring perfectly. In fact, she measured a bigger than what she has been so they moved my due date up by almost a week.  I am due on January 12th, but the doctor will not stop labor after week 37. This means that the baby can be born anytime between December 22nd and January 12th. I am guessing that the baby will be born at or before the first of the new year.  🙂

We also sat down and discussed at length my birth options. With Nathan, I was told that I would have a c-section and so I never questioned it. After a horrible c-section experience with him, I started researching and found out that many j-pouchers had vaginal births and did fine.  So with this one, I knew immediately that I wanted to explore my options a little better. There are still a few more aspects to consider, but basically there are not any long-term risks associated with either form of delivery.  My doctor, at this point, said that it just depends on which risks I feel better about accepting.

They did say that they will try doing some things different this time around (should I have a c-section) so that hopefully my experience will not be as bad as with Nathan. Still, I know that each surgery is harder and harder for me to recover from, and I certainly do not need any more scar tissue in my abdomen than I already have. However, even if I choose to go with vaginal delivery, there is still a 2 out of 10 chance that I will end up with a c-section anyways.

It seems (to me) that the smartest thing to do at this point is to start doing my research and preparing myself for either delivery method.  For the vaginal birth, I need to find out how I can reduce my c-section risk. I have read in the past that early epidural can interfere with labor, and that getting up an walking can help labor progress. I have also read that artificial breaking of the water too soon can lead to fetal distress because the umbilical cord can become trapped between the baby and the outside world in the birth canal.

For a c-section, I need to make sure there is a plan in place to prevent my famous hematoma formations, and also adequate pain control to keep my heart from freaking out. I need to find out if I can avoid an epidural due to always having bad results from it (seizures, only working on one side, and always shutting my bowels down and causing a partial blockage with vomiting). I am almost considering seeking some sort of counseling to help me reduce my fear of abdominal surgeries.

The OB tried to reassure me that “this time” will be different, that “this time” will not be as bad as the previous surgeries. The thing is, I have yet to meet a single doctor who has accurately predicted the misery and set-backs that I have after each surgery. They all say that “this time” will be better and it never has been. Needless to say, I am a bit jaded by it all. The past few surgeries, Nathan’s c-section included, have ALWAYS had at least two major set-backs or side-effects and each one is progressively harder and more painful for me to recover from.

For me to trust the doctor, they will need to be totally honest with me and tell me that yes, “this time” will likely be just as miserable as every single surgery I’ve had. It’s surgery, and surgeries hurt. My body already has tons of scar tissue to cause extra pain, and this surgery will make more scar tissue, and that will hurt. My heart will probably act funky until they get everything under control, and I’ll be tired and weak for a month or two following surgery. One or two strange things will probably crop up after surgery as always, and they’ll scratch their heads and thumb my heavy medical history but they’ll “do their best to keep me healthy and well. Let us prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”

Now if a doctor would just be totally up front and tell me that, then I would trust them. I find it mighty wishful and borderline arrogant for them to tell me otherwise. Anyone who has seen me through surgeries knows I never have an uneventful, normal recovery. Ever.

Regardless of my very strong feelings, the overall news was good. The parinatologist is actually great friends with my preferred OB and says that I will be in very good hands. He also assured me that he has worked with all of the anesthesia teams in the area and that the team where I plan to deliver is top-notch. I definitely feel a little better about the birth after the meeting than before I went in. 🙂

Anyhow, I still can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that there is a whole new human being growing in there! I am super-excited because at some point in the near future, I should start to feel the little bean’s first discernible kicks. Stay tuned! Shall post some of the ultrasound pictures shortly…

Minor Setbacks

This past Friday, while at work, I started experiencing some cramping and light spotting.  I kept panic at bay as I called my OB office to find out what I could do to help stop the cramping.  The OB told me to go straight to the emergency room and get checked out immediately. I hated to leave work half way through, but this child I am carrying needs me to look after him/her, so I closed the lab and headed to the ER.

At the ER, they diagnosed me with mild hyperemesis gravardium (HG) and a threatened abortion, which is where the body seems to be trying to abort (reject) a viable pregnancy.  I was really surprised with the HG diagnosis.  I told them that I had bad nausea but was able to control it (prevent actual vomiting) by taking the medication and monitoring my diet and fluids.  They said that my symptoms and body fits the diagnosis, so that is why they diagnosed me with HG. To help with that, they gave me IV fluids.

The did a pelvic exam, then an ultrasound which showed the baby jumping and wriggling around everywhere. Seeing the baby doing so well was a HUGE relief. They then did blood work and said that my rare blood types means that I must get a RhoGam shot to help prevent my body from rejecting the baby. I was finally released around midnight and was sent home and told to lay down and rest for the weekend.

Saturday morning I woke up and took care of Nathan until C got home from his golf lesson, then I made sure to lay down and rest. I did have some cramping off and on, but by Sunday it pretty much stopped. I knew that they baby was fine, so I tried not to worry too much. It was challenging for me to stay positive while waiting to find out if I was losing the baby or not at the ER.  I consider myself to be a very strong person except for when it comes to my babies possibly being in danger. The extra hormones and fatigue pretty much led to a good old-fashioned cry after all was said and done.  A few hugs from C and Nathan made it all better. 🙂

A dear friend of mine, J, and her little boy, Jr, came to stay with us a few days while her hubby was out of town.  Nathan and Jr played their little hearts out every moment that they could and had a blast together. J was a HUGE help! She helped me around the house and flooded the house with her positive energy and attitude. She let me rest when I needed to and is just a encouraging, positive, loving person to be around.  She is also a devout Christian and so we got to share some heartfelt conversations about our roles as Mothers and wives in our lives.  She is incredibly genuine and knowledgable about living a Christ-centered life, so she has become almost like a mentor of sorts to me. Anytime I find myself struggling with something, she always has the wisdom and love to help guide me through it.  I am probably embarrassing her (sorry, J!) but I am incredibly grateful and blessed to know her.

One thing we talked about is how much we wish things could be like the good old days where ladies would get together and cook and offer each other companionship in the process.  Being able to tackle chores, cooking, and rearing our children in each other’s presence is such a huge source of comfort and positive energy.  Our children seem to benefit as well from each other’s company.  We help lessen each other’s load and lift each other’s spirit.

On Tuesday night, I cooked up a Southern fare of country fried steak with white gravy in the iron skillet, green beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy.  Wednesday, July 4th, I smoked some ribs, steamed some corn in the husk, made potato salad, and a fresh watermelon lemonade smoothie for us.  C whipped up his famous BBQ chicken on the grill, and we had ourselves a feast. We ended the night watching fireworks off of the back porch of our house. Since we live on the top of a hill, we can see all the fireworks from about a mile radius or so around us.  A perfect day! 🙂

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