March for Babies

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

NICU Mother Venting

I am sure these are all very natural reactions and I in no way feel like I am the only one to ever go through these emotions but I do want to put them down in words.
I watched my baby cry yesterday.  With the tube in her throat she can't make any noise but her face got all squished up and red and she was angry.  It was a silent rage.  It broke my heart to watch my baby cry and there was nothing I could do about it.  I asked the nurse to suction out her mouth and throat because she sucks on the tubes and builds up so much spit she can't deal with it.  She was agitated and we just couldn't seem to make her happy.
I hurts to know that the nurses are better at comforting her than I am.  I want what is best for her so I will gladly step aside and let them do what they can to calm her down.  They can do better than I can but it hurts.
It sucks to pump every 2-3 hours when she can't even get the milk yet.  She will get it eventually but for now it is just a constant distraction.  If I am pumping I can't be with her.  I either have to pump at home which means I am not with her or I have to pump in the lactation room at the NICU which also means I am there but not with her.  Argh!  So frustrating!
We got our new insurance cards in the mail yesterday.  They added our daughter as a dependent only they don't have her name on them.  I swear they say ELEPHANT-TRUNKS, BABYGIRL.  How fucking assinine is that?  She has a name and the hospital knows her name but everything around her is tagged with the babygirl thing.  Her name is Azure Elephant Trunks.  They just don't get it.  I feel like they are not recognizing her as a person.  It is insulting.
People keep calling and emailing for updates or to ask how they can help.  It is SO sweet and I am very grateful.  I really am.  However, I do not have the patience for all the phone calls right now.  I understand people feel helpless to do anything right now and they want to offer their support.  The thing is, I feel helpless too.  There is nothing anyone can do. 
There are not enough hours in the day.  I get up in the morning, pump, do dishes and check email.  I get dressed and go to the hospital or run errands.  I then have to pump again, try to get something done for the day.  Pump again, have lunch, go to the hospital or run errands, pump again.  Meet T at home, pump, have dinner and then we go back to the hospital together in the evening.  Get home, pump, go to bed.  Get up in the morning and do it all over again.  Oh wait, tomorrow I am going back to work so it will be pump, hospital, pump, work, pump, work, pump, hospital, home for dinner, pump, hospital, home, pump, bed.  This sucks.
I do not feel like a mother.  I know that I brought her into this world and I went through birth and everything but the whole thing just seems like a dream.  I do not feel maternal. 
I wonder if I am visiting her enough.  I am there twice a day and if I can't get there in the morning then I call for updates but I feel like I should be doing more.  I feel selfish if I put off my visit to the hospital to eat lunch or take a quick nap or take a shower.  I know I shouldn't feel guilty but I do.  *sigh*
This all being said I need to do the dishes, take a shower and head down to the hospital.  Besides, I only have another hour and I will have to pump again.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Up, Really Down, Up Again

Saturday was such a strange day!  We started out worried about her echo-cardiogram to tell us whether or not she needed the surgery to close the PDA.  The fabulous news is that she did not need the surgery which was a major victory for us.  We were so relieved she wouldn't have to move to another hospital and she wouldn't have to go through the trauma.
We went back that evening to visit her and the doctor was there and explained to us she was having trouble with her lungs.  It may or may not be an infection and she had a bit of bleeding in her lungs.  For some reason they couldn't explain she was getting enough oxygen but she wasn't getting rid of the carbon dioxide.  They did chest X-rays and were checking her blood gasses every two hours instead of every six like they had been before.
Talking to the doctor he made it sound very bleak.  He suggested we could try a different kind of ventilator (and oscillator) which vibrates the oxygen in and the carbon dioxide out instead of the normal in and out breathing.  We left feeling absolutely crushed and not sure how this would turn out.  I was terrified of the oscillator because the little girl in the next bed (the 23-weeker) that didn't make it had an oscillator.  I didn't want to share this fear with T however since that little girls death hit him really hard.  The funeral is today by the way, it was in the paper yesterday. 
They started Azure on steroids to beef up the lungs, adding more elasticity so they could inflate better.  She seems to be responding well to that.  She is also on a new antibiotic just in case it is an infection of some kind.  They gave her platelets which seems to have stopped the bleeding in her lungs and she is resting much more comfortably.  (Her blood may not have been clotting leading to blood in the lungs and a bit in her urine.  The platelets helped restore the clotting which stopped the bleeding.)  She didn't seem to be in distress before but she was agitated, couldn't sit still or didn't find her position comfortable.
Sunday it seemed like everything turned around.  She is sleeping well and her blood gasses have gotten a bit better and are now maintaining.  We also learned to talk to a nurse after talking to the doctor since he apparently likes to give the worst case scenario.  The nurses will tell us the same information but it doesn't come across as doom and gloom from them.  They are much more practical and reassuring.  (My personal opinion is that the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is NOT a place to be spouting off worst case scenarios.  We have enough on our minds without unnecessary worry.)
So, all in all, she is doing well.  Her skin has improved, she has not had insulin in a couple days, she is getting enough fluids and oxygen and her heart rate and blood pressure have been strong and steady.  Her eyes are open and peaking around when the lights are dimmed down.
It was a long weekend but it looks like things are improving.  We know there will be ups and downs on this journey.  I think this weekend was a bit of both, but we are coming out on the good side.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

No Surgery!!!

The PDA has almost closed with the third round of Indocin.  It is closed enough that the cardiologist believes it is not causing any problems to her heart or lungs.  They still hear a murmur but that is from the VSD which we will deal with later.  The recommendation of Dr. W is that we do nothing at this point.  No more Indocin so her kidneys can recover from that and no surgery which means not moving to the big hospital up the hill and she doesn't have to go through the trauma of surgery when she is so small.  She can sit back and relax and just work on her lung development.   YAY YAY YAY!!!!!
We are very excited and relieved. 
Thank you all for your continued thoughts and support. 

Friday, February 24, 2006

One Week Old

The strangest concept in the world to me is that I have a one week old daughter.  How is that possible?  I was just getting used to the idea of being pregnant, seriously.  I never had morning sickness. I didn't start showing until January then I got BIG really FAST. I couldn't feel her moving much even though she was always quite active, most likely because of the extra fluid.  Now I am no longer pregnant.  I have lost 15 pounds so far and am wearing my regular fat pants.  This whole experience has just been so surreal.  The only evidence that the IUI worked at all is in an isolette down at the hospital.
Azure is doing well.  Her eyes opened!!!!!  She will ony peak out when all the lights are off so I can't get a picture of it but she is still spending a lot of time with the eye shades on due to the phototherapy lights.
Our biggest issue at the moment is the PDA which stands for some words that I know but I am too lazy to get the correct spelling right now so we will just stick with PDA.  The D stands for Ductus which is something we all have in utero.  It is a bypass to direct blood around the lungs since there is no oxygen exchange at that time.  After birth the pressure in the lungs changes and this bypass is supposed to close so the oxygen exchange can happen and everything works normally.  Due to the ventilator and surfactant in her lungs she still has pressure in her lungs which in turn is keeping the PDA from closing.  She is on her third round of Indocin to close the PDA.  We will find out Saturday morning if it worked or not.  If it didn't she will have to have it surgically closed.  This surgery requires moving her to a different hospital and HEART SURGERY ON MY LITTLE GIRL!!!!!  So, of course we are all hoping this last round of medicine will do the trick.  We can't keep her on the Indocin because it can cause trouble for her kidneys.  The decision will be made tomorrow morning.  *fingers crossed it closes*  Once the PDA is closed they can work on getting her off the ventilator which will allow her to get the feeding tube to her belly so she can start to get my milk.  It is a big domino effect which all stems on the PDA closing.
Comments so far that have made me say, "What the FUCK?"
"She was so good to you in coming this early so you wouldn't ruin your figure!"
"You don't look like you were ever pregnant!"
"Now you won't have stretchmarks!"
"You are so lucky, most new mothers don't get the chance to sleep through the night!"
And my personal favorite, "It must seem weird to you to come home without a baby!"
Thoughts and Prayers for Someone Else
On Sunday morning while I was sitting with Azure the nurses started scurrying around preparing a new bed.  I heard one report that there was a woman up in L&D triage who was "23 and 2, complete with a bulging bag".  My heart dropped.  I knew what that woman was going through.  I was immediatly scared and sad for her and somehow felt so lucky that I was able to hold onto Azure for that extra week.  Her little girl was in the next bed over and had much more equipment hooked up to it.  I saw her father a few times and her grandparents came down.  Wednesday morning I saw a priest visiting her.  Yesterday the bed was empty again.  I can only assume she didn't make it and it just breaks my heart.  Please keep this little girl and her family in your thoughts.  I know I will never forget her even though I never actually saw her out of respect for the family's privacy.  She had a name and she was loved.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Hindsight Questions and Introducing... Azure

Were the back spasms I had on Monday the beginnings of the preterm labor? They checked me that day and I was not dilated at all. This of course can change very quickly. The severe spasms went away by Monday night, Tuesday I was a bit sore but it felt like a relief after what I had been through on Monday. Wednesday I had a massage and she really worked around my left hip which may have been the source of the pain. Thursday I felt nothing of those spasms. The low back pain I felt Thursday afternoon felt very much related to the cramping just like a “normal” period. You know, normal for someone with Endo.

My doctor came to see me in the delivery room about 10 minutes after the birth. She said she was in surgery that morning but was going to contact me about the polyhydramnios which she had decided was a problem and we would need to do something about that. Um, a bit late I think. T is sort of upset by this. Looking back at things, I went from not looking pregnant at all to looking quite pregnant in the span of about a week. I always heard of people “popping overnight” so this did not concern me at the time. At my January prenatal appointment the doctor really got on me about having gained 10 pounds since my last monthly appointment. I blamed it on indulging over the holidays. Besides, T gained 10 pounds too, why is this all my fault. I was still going to the gym and eating good foods. I buckled down and really watched what I ate. At my February check up, you know, last week Thursday, I had gained another 9 pounds and she again made mention that I was gaining too fast, like it was my fault that I figured I was pregnant so could eat like a horse. I pulled my socks off and showed her my puffed ankles and asked if that could have anything to do with it. She agreed I would weigh more that late in the afternoon and with the extra fluid. She told me to rest more, put my feet up, put a foot stool under my desk at work. I did all of these things. I cut down my salt and made sure I was drinking TONS of water a day.

My ankles started swelling around 20 weeks. The very same day as my big anatomy ultrasound actually. The day they told me she was going to be a she, and a “big baby” and that everything looked good. People seemed to question my swelling that early. I wasn’t really worried about it, I knew it was a common pregnancy thing and having no morning sickness or anything I felt it was finally something normal to experience with this pregnancy since I still wasn’t feeling her move much. Funny thing is, she squirms all over the place and always has, I just couldn’t feel it. Most likely the extra fluid cushioned her movements so I couldn't feel them.

I was measuring ahead. My fundal height was four weeks ahead of where it should have been for two appointments in a row. This caused her to double check the notes from my January ultrasound and see they had mentioned a large amount of amniotic fluid. This is when the discussion of polyhydramnios came up. She would send me for another scan to rule this out. I had the scan four days later and was told by the tech that I had 23.5cm of fluid around the baby. She said some doctors say that “excessive fluid” was marked at 20cm and others say 25cm. I did not know which way my doctor thought. I was waiting until the end of the week to call her about this but wasn’t too worried since I seemed to fall in between a set of parameters. Even when I Googled it I saw more people using 25 as a cut off and I was below that. No worries. They would probably just tell me to rest more and possibly give me some medication. I didn’t think it was even enough to warrant the removal of fluid (sort of like an amniocentesis).

The big question is…did I have an incompetent cervix? This will always be a question since no one had ever checked it. With the exception of being checked for dilation on Monday I hadn’t removed my pants at the doctor’s since October. The theory that T and I came up with is that I just had too much fluid and the cervix couldn’t hold the pressure and I just popped like an overfilled water balloon. I am hoping to get answers to some of these questions at my follow up appointment. She wants to see me in a couple weeks.

Light Blue:
We decided on a name two weeks ago. However, this experience has made T more paranoid about our privacy than he was before so I shall not be sharing her real name or her photos online. I am sorry, I know you are all thinking of her and sending her good wishes. The best I can do is give you the name Azure which is of course a shade of blue and relatively close to her real name. I can tell you she has fair features, very light blonde hair and eyebrows. She is long and lean and has long fingers. We can’t figure out where the long fingers came from since T and I both have stubby short fingers. She has a long torso and wide feet just like her mother. She continues to do well. She is in a covered isollette to control the environmental moisture since her skin cannot hold onto her fluids yet. Her blood sugar goes up and down so they give her insulin when she needs it. She is breathing above the ventilator and they have continued to turn it down and she is tolerating that well. We did find out last night that she does have a ventricular septal defect which will require heart surgery somewhere between 6 and 12 months of age but she should be well out of the NICU by then. They will patch the hole and that should solve the problem.

We will have a long road ahead of us. There will be ups and downs and she will not come home until a time much closer to her actual due date which will be the end of May or early June. At this time she is getting excellent care and she is better off in the hospital. I am pumping every three hours and taking the colostrum/milk into the NICU where they will keep it frozen until she is ready to be able to take it. They said the best thing I could do for her right now is to pump and keep up my supply so that is what I will do.

I never in a million years thought I would have a 24 weeker in the NICU but I find myself in this situation. I will say that should anything have gone differently on Friday, I do not think she would have made it. I almost didn’t call the doctor because we were short-staffed on Friday and I thought I shouldn’t leave the office. If I had been held up in traffic or by the weather I would not have made it to the hospital on time. If the elevator in the hospital we rode on had stalled for much longer than it did (I was thinking it was a bad thing because I would have to pee soon, I could have had the baby in the damn elevator with no one there but T to help). There are countless things that could have gone wrong and any one of them would have completely changed the way things went.

The stars aligned in our favor and we have a beautiful little girl.

So what did you do this weekend?

Where to begin?

On Thursday, mid-afternoon I noticed a warm low crampy feeling which seemed very much like menstrual cramps complete with low back pain. I took note of it thinking it was just typical pregnancy discomforts. My ankles swelled up that night so I took it easy and put my feet up. My stomach was a bit upset. I thought maybe I had eaten something funky. I made many trips to the bathroom feeling gassy and hoping to rid myself of whatever it was that was making me feel that way. The gas pains got worse overnight. I was up 3 times to pee and attempting to relieve myself of the extra pressure causing all the trouble. I finally broke down around 4am and took a couple of chewable Pepto tablets. I noticed I hadn’t felt the baby moving much but thought with all the gas she was probably pretty squished in there and the cramping might have lulled her or she was sleeping or something.
When I got up for good Friday morning I found some pink mucus. I thought it was pretty gross but it must just be caused by all the straining I had been doing overnight.
I was moving slow and really felt like crap. I listened to the baby’s heartbeat which reassured me that she was Ok. I ate breakfast and Googled “pink mucus during pregnancy”. Everything that popped up said mucus plug – right before labor starts, call your practitioner and other alarming things that I thought did not apply to me. (Please Note: I AM AN IDIOT!!!!) I really thought it was from the overnight strain on my gut. I went to work hoping the whole ride in that I wouldn’t lose control of my bladder at some point in the day. I was beginning to think of the “cramps” as bladder pain since my hourly trip to the bathroom had turned into every 30 minutes or so.
Things did not improve at the office. I had continued pain in my low abdomen which I was pretty sure was bladder related at that point. It felt like I couldn’t pee enough but when I went there was barely anything there. The pressure was just awful. I also noticed that each time after I peed the bladder pain would intensify into a very tight spasm which I would breathe through. I remember at one point standing there rocking back and forth thinking how ridiculous this all was, I had seen women do this on those birthing shows while they were in labor. I finally decided that I would wait for my doctor’s office to open at 9:30am and would call to find out what I could do. I was convinced that it was a UTI even though I had been tested for that on Monday when I was having the back spasms and it came back all clear. I thought maybe they just missed it. I still had not heard back from her office regarding the level of amniotic fluid. I still didn’t know where I stood on that front but they always let me know if something is a problem, with their office, no news is good news. Things got busy at work so it was probably ten to ten before I finally got a chance to call the doctor’s office. The receptionist explained that the doctor was actually at the hospital performing surgery and there were no nurses in the office, it was just her. She put me on hold and called one of the nurses at home. They decided to send me in to L & D just to be on the safe side. “Great!” I said, “Twice in one week! These people are going to love me!”
I explained to my coworkers that I had to go down. No one questioned me on it since I apparently looked like Hell. My friend had commented earlier that I looked like I was walking in pain. Then she wanted me to qualify whether I was in pain or sick and I simply said, “Yes”. I told them I would call when I knew what was happening. I called T when I got out to my car. He had felt so guilty about not coming down to L & D on Monday. I told him that I was headed down again, that I would call him if anything happened but I thought it would just be a long afternoon of waiting followed by them telling me to drink cranberry juice. He agreed to meet me down at the hospital.
We met in the parking lot at 10:25am. I was in pretty bad pain. We stopped just off the lobby so that I could go to the bathroom again since I figured it would be a few minutes while they got me a bed and I changed and they did all the signing in stuff. Our elevator ride up took forever; it sort of stalled for a minute but then let go. I had time to think I didn’t want to get stuck in an elevator away from a bathroom right then but at least I wasn’t in labor or anything. (Again, Complete Idiot) I was right about it taking a while before I could go to the bathroom again. By the time they asked for a clean catch sample I was in a lot of pain and wasn’t sure I would have the control to hold it long enough while I wiped with the three separate wipes then started the flow, filled the cup and then let the rest go. I managed it but was rewarded with the worst spasm yet once I got back to bed.
They sent my sample down to the lab while I was hooked up to the monitors which showed a good strong heartbeat and no contractions. T sat in a chair at the foot of my bed and held my foot for support since my hands were clenched around the bed rails each time one of these spasms occurred. I looked at my watch and noted they were happening about every 15 minutes or so. Huh. Still not appearing on the monitor or anything. At around 11:30am I said it was time to head to the bathroom again. I did and got back in bed feeling worse and worse. We sat there rolling our eyes at the long boring wait that we expected out of the afternoon which had pulled us both out of work. *sigh* All of a sudden I felt a BIG movement out of Light Blue. It felt like she rolled and pushed down all at once and there was a huge pressure. It literally felt like my bladder had been filled like a water balloon that was then floating inside another water balloon. Then it burst forth. I couldn’t stop it, it all just went whoosh and I was all of a sudden sitting in a puddle of fluids. I must have gotten a horrible look on my face because T stood up and asked what was wrong. We pulled the covers back and he immediately noticed that the color of the fluid in the bed was not at all the same color as the urine sample I had given them earlier. I rang the nurse and told her rather sheepishly that I didn’t know what happened but I might have wet the bed. I thought maybe I had had a blockage in my bladder that had all of a sudden let go allowing all that pee out which I just hadn’t been able to get out before.
The nurse came in and immediately said it looked more like my water had broken. They tested the fluid and confirmed it was amniotic fluid. There were also several bits of tissue in it. Then things started happening. They changed the bedding and the on call doctor came in to talk to us. As soon as she acknowledged my water had broken I looked right at her and said, “This is the point of no return isn’t it?” She agreed that it was. She said the NICU team would be up to talk to me about what might happen with the baby and they would get me the steroids to develop the baby’s lungs. They officially admitted me to the hospital and started preparing to move me to a labor/delivery/recovery room. While all of this was happening I remained quite calm. I was resigned to the fact that it was early, I was going to have the baby and there was really nothing we could do at that point without putting either me or the baby in further jeopardy. I also noticed that the “spasms in my bladder” were about 5 minutes apart. I guessed at this point they were contractions. Hey, guess what? They had been contractions all along! Though they still didn't show up on the monitors.
They gave me the steroid shot and started to wheel the bed to the new room. As we were leaving the door of the triage room I was hit with a different lower more painful pain. They wanted me to clarify pain vs. pressure. I said at that point it was pain and they said to let them know if I felt pressure. T was right beside me the whole time carrying my coat, clothes and shoes. We got into the new room and he was right there holding my hand as I was hit with more contractions. The NICU team was there already setting up the baby’s table. The doctors were discussing whether to check for dilation or if I should get some sort of digital scan. There was a room full of people running around doing things. T and I kept looking at each other and squeezing each other’s hands and telling each other how much we loved each other.
I was thinking that at this point it was a done deal so maybe they could hook me up with an epidural or something. T told me he had to go to the bathroom and he would be RIGHT back. I told him to go, I was fine, there were people setting things up I thought it would actually be a while before anything more happened anyway. Pretty much as soon as he left my sight I was hit with another big feeling of movement but this time I felt her head engage. I screamed. I think I tried to move, I remember wanting to roll up and to the left somehow. Not sure where the Hell I thought I was going. I realized that I was screaming and stopped myself thinking I didn’t want to be one of those women who screamed her way through labor and delivery. I could handle this damn it! I will admit I panicked for a short period of time, maybe 5-10 seconds then the doctor sitting on the bed next to my right foot said “LOOK.AT.ME.” in a very calm but firm voice. I did. T came running back in to find me clutching the bedrails again and chanting “OhFUCKOhFUCKOhFUCK” all the while in the back of my mind I was thinking that I was in a Catholic hospital and they probably wouldn’t appreciate that sort of language. T said he had never been so scared in his life as when he saw me yelling my string of obscenities and the head was coming out. I decided I needed to get my shit together. The doctor told me to pant so I tried, not really sure what she meant. Then she told me to take long slow deep breaths and I tried to remember my yoga breathing in through the nose, out through the mouth. I looked back at T to see how he was doing, thinking he must be scared out of his mind to see me that way. His eyes were WIDE and red and wet. Not tears exactly, I can still say I have never seen him cry, but this was the closest I have ever seen.
They asked us twice if we wanted extraordinary measures taken for the baby. I didn’t know what to say. Was she viable? Is it possible at this point? I just didn’t want her to suffer but I thought if they could at least give her an overall assessment first and then figure out what to do from there we would be better able to answer the question. If it looked hopeless we could at least request that she be made comfortable or something. T spoke up over my silence and said, “Do what you have to do”.
I felt another movement and it HURT! I was a bit distracted however by the two geysers of amniotic fluid that issued forth forming two giant arcing streams; one straight out and the other diagonally across the doctor’s chest, face and finally over her shoulder. Oh gross. Then she was out and I felt her on the bed between my legs wriggling a bit and I heard a vocal noise of some sort, it can not be called a cry exactly. I never pushed, it all just happened on its own. They intubated her immediately and got her over to the warmer and got her stabilized while they were setting up the incubator for the trip downstairs to the NICU. I could see an arm here and a leg there but couldn’t really see anything else. The doctor at my foot met my eyes and said, “I have amniotic fluid all over me.” She did too, across her face, her glasses, her scrubs. “Sorry.”
They came over and asked T if he wanted to come over and see her. He cringed and said, “Is she gross?” not as in deformed but as in covered in gook. They said she was all cleaned up but he said that was Ok, he stayed right there holding my hand.
I looked at T and we just sort of stared at each other. Our hearts were beating a mile a minute and our heads were spinning trying to figure out just what in the fuck just happened. They gave me a shot of pitocin in my right leg, I never did get an IV. They took the placenta down to be checked for signs of infection or some other reason for the preterm labor.
They wrapped her up and brought her over so that I could see her before they took her downstairs. All I saw was a very tiny pink face and neck sticking out of a white blanket with pink and blue stripes. That is the first moment I started to tear up but then either the doctor or T called my attention back to something on that side of the bed and I was back in the moment. I was in problem solving mode, not emotional mode.
So, my water broke at 11:30am, they officially admitted me to the hospital at 11:40am and she was born at 11:50am. I have never had such a crazy busy mind-blowing twenty minutes in my life!

Stay tuned for The Hindsight Questions.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I am home from the hospital.  I feel pretty good considering. Actually, I have had periods that have been worse but then again, she wasn't that big. 
Let me get a good night's sleep and I will tell the whole bloody tale from the beginning, complete with editorials and 20/20 annotations.
Light Blue is doing great.  They lowered the ventilator today and she is breathing over it.  Her color is coming around to "normal" and she is maintaining all of her levels.  At this point we could not ask for more.
Thank you all so much.  I knew once the Internets heard there would be a huge wave of support and prayers and good vibes for her and that is exactly what she needs right now.  Keep 'em comin'!
More soon, promise.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


So I go back to L and D expecting a UTI and I end up
giving birth! Light Blue is a champ weighing in at 1lb
15oz and 12 3/4 inches. Mom and baby both doing better
than expected. More later.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

True Love

So being that Tuesday was Valentine's Day people have been talking a bit about non-traditional ways to show love and be romantic.  I did not think that I had much to add to the conversations since T had a dozen roses, two heart shaped balloons and a heart shaped box of chocolates delivered to my office.  He is not expected to do this, I would not be mad if he did not do this, he does it because he knows it makes me happy, it makes me smile.  It would make me smile any day of the year, he just always does it for Valentine's Day, the day we got engaged.  I have had the same Valentine since 1989 and I wouldn't trade him for the world. 
This all sounds sappy and ridiculous and I am sure you are all rolling your eyes in disgust, but bear with me.  I was just now cleaning out the "Sent" folder in my email and found this from February of 2004 when I was battling bronchitis.  I wrote to my friend:
True Love is when you're coughing (again...still) in the middle of the night and you can't stop and you feel like you're going to choke if you can't draw in a breath and you're about to get up so as not to disturb the guy sleeping next to you when he scooches over and puts his arm around you because he knows how awful you feel and doesn't want you to leave.
Awwww!  *Sniffle*  I love that man!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Long Story

In chronological order...
We went to Traverse City this past weekend as sort of a Valentine's Getaway/Babymoon trip.  We had a most fabulous time.  We loved the hotel, we loved the pool, we worked out in their exercise room Saturday morning and were the only two people in there.  We went to the casino and walked out with $25 more than when we walked in.  We loved the in room whirlpool spa and the view of the bay.  Our room was on the beach (snow covered though it was) and T even fed the ducks some of our crackers.  I have pictures to prove it!  It was just a really really good time, just the two of us, no worries about work or what we needed to do to the house, or finances or anything.  Just vacation away.  It was GREAT!!!!
Monday we were back to business as usual.  Around 10:30am or so I started getting spasms in my back.  On the lower left side, really bad ones.  They felt like charlie horses cramping up and then easing a bit (but still there) and then cramping up again.  I fled to the ladies room at one point because the pain was so bad I thought I might get sick.  When three of those gripping shooting pains made their way around to the front and ended in what felt like uterine contractions I called my doc.  She said it was probably nothing (you know except crippling muscle spasms) but for me to go down to L&D to get checked out anyway.  I called T and told him I was headed down.  I told him not to worry about leaving work at that point, I expected to have them give me the once over and then send me on my way and I would call if anything else came up.  I waited an hour in my triage bed gripping the bedrail with both hands trying to get through the pain all the while listening to the woman in the next bed over making arrangements for her epidural.  I could have used one of those yesterday, let me tell you! 
They hooked me up to the monitors which showed I was not contracting and Light Blue was doing just fine. At one point she karate chopped directly on the monitor and BOY was that loud!  Kabooom!  That was the biggest kick she's let out yet, I think she doesn't like us spying on her.  :0)  They checked me for a UTI which came back clear and checked my cervix which remains high and closed.  They wrote me a script for Vicodin and sent me back to work.  I never filled the script, two extra strength Tylenol every 6 hours plus a heating pad when I got home last night seem to have done the trick.  The spasms have stopped *knocking on wood* for now.
Last night after dinner we went back down to the hospital for my follow up u/s.  Light Blue is still proving to be a girl which makes us happy.  She is head down and weighing in at 1 pound 13 ounces.  She is still measuring ahead and this tech wrote down yet another due date (we have gone from June 6 to May 31 to now May 26)  I am sticking with June 6 because otherwise I would just drive myself crazy.  The reason we were there was to check the Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI) which we suspected was high due to my measuring large and a note from the last u/s.  Apparently the AFI is measured in centimeters.  They actually look to see how big the "pockets" of fluid are around the baby.  They take four measurements and add them all together to give you your AFI.  The tech said it depends what doctor you ask as to what is "normal".  Some say the top end of normal is 20cm others say 25cm.  Mine came in at 23.5cm so I am either abnormal or not depending on which way my doctor leans.  I figured either way I am borderline so they probably will just watch it closely instead of intervening in any way.
This Saturday I am going in for the Gestational Diabetes Screening.  Not exactly looking forward to drinking that stuff but every time I am asked about my size or the baby's size by a medical professional they always ask if I have GD.  I assume they think that Big Baby = GD.  I am hoping not.
While all this was going on my mother managed to fall on some ice while attempting to walk her dog and shattered her right wrist.  She is right handed.  She is still waiting to get an appointment with the hand surgeon to find out whether or not she needs surgery or if they can just cast it.  Not good.  I think we will have to take Maggie over to go for a co-walk with "Aunt Twink".

Monday, February 13, 2006

L and D Update

 I am not in labor, no contractions, no dilation, no UTI.  I am having back spasms for which they prescribed Vicodin (didn't know I could have that while pg) or Tylenol.  I am still going in at 8pm tonight for my u/s to check the amniotic fluid levels.  GD screen this weekend.  Fingers crossed they just think I am a hypochondriac* at this point.
Thank you all for your thoughts and good wishes!
*I called the doctor just to let her know about the back spasms but that they were radiating around to the front and ending in what felt like BH contractions.  She is the one who sent me to L&D just to make sure.  We are all happy with the long list of things that are NOT wrong at this point.  24 Weeks tomorrow.

L and D

2 hours to confirm back spasm vs. preterm labor. *sigh*

Friday, February 10, 2006

Interesting Developments, Not Necessarily Good

So the doctor said yesterday that my fundal height is measuring 4 weeks ahead. Dr. Google told me this was unreliable at best. The u/s tech told me on Jan. 19 that the baby was measuring a week ahead. I am being sent for another u/s on Monday to rule out polyhydramnios. According to the March of Dimes, this could be a bad thing. Of course, the words "rule out" and "could be" should be the operative words in that sentiment, but... I have never heard of this condition before. I am a bit surprised by it. Anyone have any thoughts?

She also told me not to have so many Braxton Hicks contractions. No seriously! I told her I feel those more than the baby moving. She said, "Don't do that". Um, how?

I am to get maternity support hose to help stop the swelling in my feet and I am to drink more water and less juice. She is unhappy with the weight that I have gained. I campaigned that it was the fluid I am retaining and not the food I have been eating. I also need to reduce the amount of salt in my diet. I am willing not to salt my food and to skip the french fries and chips but can I still have my V8?

*sigh* The thought of preterm labor from the polyhydramnios worries me a bit. My goal is to make it to 30 weeks. If I can get to that milestone I would feel a whole lot better even though I have read that at 24 weeks (next Tuesday) Light Blue will be viable, I just would feel much better at 30. Not to mention we still need to find a replacement for me to cover my job while I am off. Oh yeah, and I was going to take 8 weeks maternity leave because that is pretty much the only way we could afford to do it, if I deliver early to the point of requiring the NICU or am put on bedrest we are screwed.

Speaking of the NICU, no word yet from my boss on how his son is doing. I am sure there will be an update sometime today. I am leaving for our getaway weekend at noon so hopefully we will hear something sooner rather than later.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Prayers, Thoughts, Good Vibes, Whatever Ya Got

My boss and his wife welcomed their first child into the world last night after 27 hours trying to induce.  She ended up with a C-section when the baby appeared to be in distress and labor was not progressing.  After all the excitement settled down they sent the baby off to sleep for a while in the nursery to that mom and dad could get some rest.  At 4am dad was awakened by a doctor telling him that his son's blood sugar was dangerously low, like brain damage inducing low, so he is now in the NICU.  His tests this morning have shown great improvement but they are keeping a close eye on him and not making any promises as to when he might be released from the NICU.  They are hoping mom will feel up to a wheelchair ride down to visit him sometime today. 
I do not pray, but I keep people in my thoughts and send good vibes and healthy wishes, etc.  If you are willing to do any of those things for this little baby boy who just seems to need a little support right now I would be so grateful.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Most Popular Wife in the House

So T figured that the weekend before Valentine's Day would be a great time for a little romantic get away.  I heartily agreed and therefore we are both leaving work early on Friday afternoon to head up to "our place up north" which happens to be Traverse City.  Our usual hotel has been bulldozed with a replacement already mostly built in its place so we are left a bit adrift trying to find a new home up there.  We have been going to TC every 6-12 months for the past 8 years or so.  We feel comfortable there, we feel relaxed there, we feel romantic there and we almost always get lucky regardless of how we make out at the casinos.
I booked us a room at a new hotel which has promised me a view of the East Bay, a huge indoor pool with hot tub and a whirlpool bath in the room from which I plan on watching the Budweiser Shootout on Saturday night while sipping sparkling grape juice from our nifty keepsake champaign glasses.  This is romance to me.  T and I on our own in our hotel up north watching tv until we think the pool will be deserted enough to allow us some non-splashy quasi-privacy in which to swim and enjoy each other's company.  *sigh* 
This weekend should be made even more special as it will be our first road trip since acquiring satellite radio.  Not the two letter one, but the one with the self proclaimed king of all media who gets bad press all over the place but who has brought this particular satellite radio's listenership from a measely 600,000 up to and beyond 3.3 million in less than a year.  Not shabby.  We are tre excited since we can listen to channels such as Hard Attack (heavy metal is an understatement), Raw Dog (comedy) and my hubby's new favorite Bubba the L*ve Sponge.  *shrug* 
I shall be the most bestest sweetheart he has ever had (Ok, Ok, so I am the only sweetheart he has ever had, doesn't that still qualify me for the Best category?) as I have just now been able to purchase the home docking station for the satellite radio transmitter which heretofore has only been able to pick up signal in the car.  This is of course a very big point of such radios. However, the reason we chose the one that we did was so that he could move it from home to car to work back to home, etc.  It is PORTABLE.  Well, until now, the home docking stations have been unavailable.  This was his Christmas gift from me.  It will not be complete until we receive this part, which, thanks to my DAILY checking at every website known to electronics-kind is now scheduled to arrive on Friday.  Hopefully, before we leave for TC. *fingers crossed*  This is just the kind of thing he needs to put a smile on his face.  The poor man has been suffering some major stress from work and has been more than pitching in around the house since my feet have been swelling and require putting up at the end of the day.  He needs something to be happy about, something that is just his for fun, no expectations attached.
It should be a really good weekend.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Maybe we should just name her Braxton

Ever since leaving the gym last night where I was quite proud of myself for completing my second good workout this week I have been having Braxton Hicks contractions.  They started in the car on the way home from the gym and were quite intense for about three hours or so.  I noticed that they calmed down considerably once I sprawled on the couch to eat dinner and put my swollen feet up.
I slept fitfully last night with strange dreams involving my grandparents, one of my childhood homes, college textbooks, a girl who was supposed to be my good friend but I do not know in real life , packing a suitcase to take to my shower (as in get clean shower, not get gifts shower), Jim Carey and time travel.  If you can find a common thread in there anywhere I will knit you a hat.
I've had occasional but undeniable BH contractions throughout the day today.  I called my doctor and the nurse said as long as there is no spotting and they continue to fit the definitions of BH contractions not to worry.  If it happens again post workout I might need to change things a bit, ease up a little.  I have been doing 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and 30 minutes on the bike.  If that is too much I guess I'll switch to 60 minutes on the treadmill, or maybe short breaks every 15 minutes or something.  This sucks, I don't want to fall out of shape leading up to labor and delivery. Still, I am listening very carefully to my body.  I shall do as it instructs me, if that means choosing the couch over the gym then so be it. However, I do not have to be happy about it.
In other news: Remember back when I completely freaked out that there were FIVE babies due this spring to people in my office and that I might have to leave the country come about February?  Well, start your shallow breathing folks because my boss and his wife are at the hospital as I type.  Her bp is up and they are going to induce.  It is exactly this moment that makes me SO happy that I am facing this birth as a pregnant woman.  It will be quickly followed by another in the next couple weeks and then two more in March.  I cannot imagine what I would do with myself were I not in my current condition.  I believe there would be copious amounts of tears and alcohol involved.  But, then again, I did that when their pregnancies were announced oh so long ago. T wanted me to get over it and prepare myself for the next announcement so that it wouldn't hit me so hard each time.  I didn't like that advice then and I don't like it now.  The pain was so raw and so crushing and so overwhelming I know the births and subsequent stories and pictures would pummel me to bits.  It was Light Blue that saved me.  It was my RE and the nurses and that afternoon we spent at the beach following IUI#2 but above all it was Light Blue.  Someday when she is older, maybe trying to have a little one of her own, I will explain to her how she saved me and try to thank her.  I hope she never truly understands it.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

This seems appropriate...

The date has been set for my baby shower. 
Can you guess? 
Oh yeah, April Fool's Day!  Hmm.