Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hope's Birthday Story

This may be a long one - feel free to tune in and out at will :)

Wednesday was a very long day but a very hopeful one. We were almost certain that the doctor wouldn't warn us to prepare for surgery "just in case" and then send us home afterwards. Of course, that's not 100% certain, so it was nervous energy. We tried to do all we could to stay busy and to prepare - buy final things at the store and things like that.

Well, that night was a long one - I was way too excited to sleep. Same with the next morning. We dropped Katie off at preschool and made our way to the doctor's office. However, then things took a scary turn. I had been told that we were coming in solely for a NST to determine what we would do. Instead, we were taken back to a regular exam room with no monitors and they had me get undressed and draped. At this point, everything caught up with me and I was so emotionally exhausted I started to cry (I was doing that a lot by this point) because we thought that there had been a miscommunication somewhere and this was just going to be a standard, day before surgery pre-op appointment.

Within five minutes the doctor came in and before even saying hello was asking if we wanted to have our baby that day. I was so happy that I threw my arms around her neck and cried a lot more :) She checked me and I had dilated to a 3, so she said between that and the contractions she could tell the hospital that I was finally in active labor and we could go for it. She had a meeting at noon, but said we could do the C-section right afterwards, so she went to call the hospital. They weren't ready for us until about 10:45am, so we had two hours to kill.

We left the doctor's office and headed home to take care of last minute packing and anything else that needed to be done. Brian had some lunch to make sure he'd be ok, but I still couldn't eat since there was now certainly going to be surgery. We still had an hour to kill, so we went to walk around the mall. My contractions were still every two to three minutes apart, but knowing they were about to end made it much easier to wander around.

When we got to the hospital, we checked in at labor and delivery and were not surprised to find that we knew everyone who was working at that point in time. They were all very pleased to see that we were the scheduled "section" for 1pm and that we weren't back for more preterm labor fun. We got all set up in the outpatient room and prepared for all the fun stuff preceding surgery - it was a very busy day in L&D; there were three other women in there with preterm labor while we were getting ready. I felt a little badly for them because I could only imagine too easily how it must feel to see someone getting ready to deliver while you're worried about your preterm labor. I knew that feeling well.

My contractions were going pretty well at this point, but I wasn't eligible for pain meds since we would be heading into surgery. My parents were on their way and I knew they would be there, and Katie would be there, soon, so we tried to distract ourselves with TV. After going over some medical history (it hadn't changed in the past week), they started to set up all the IVs and whatnot. Unfortunately, my luck took a small turn here as they brought in a student nurse from IWU who had never done this particular procedure before. She stuck the back of my hand and missed, but they were not deterred - the lead nurse tried to help her wiggle it into the vein or whatever it is they were doing. Between this and contractions, I was in tears - it hurt!!! I'm all for teaching - I go to the cosmetology school for haircuts and I know they all need to practice, but let's not practice on the patient in active labor, huh? The nurse took over and got it all set up and started the IV drip (I needed two bags of fluid prior to surgery) and finally everyone showed up and we visited for a while.

After signing all the papers and talking to everyone, we heard the surgery was changed to 1:15pm (no big deal) and before I knew it they had me walking down the hall to the O.R. It was a little overwhelming and terrifying - I had somehow built myself up against the spinal block even though I had an epidural in my first pregnancy and it wasn't that bad. We walked into that really bright and freezing cold room and I sat on the table to get ready for the spinal. Thankfully, Brian was allowed to be in there with me (he hadn't been allowed until the actual surgery before - lots of things were different since this time the baby wasn't in distress). As we went to do the spinal, I was informed that another new person would be performing the procedure (I don't think he was a student, but he was new) and I groaned internally. It took them two tries and I was a total baby - whimpering and sniffling. I felt I had earned that right and just milked it. They put on my oxygen and laid me down very quickly (the spinal works instantly, so my body would have given out if I'd taken my time. It numbs you from the chest to the feet).

At this point, everything started to heat up as everyone was rushing around doing things I couldn't see. I didn't really know what was going on (they didn't put up a shield in front of me like last time, but I still couldn't see anything) and I started to get an anxiety attack because I felt like I couldn't breathe. The anesthesiologist said that was the medication making me feel heavy and warned me that if I couldn't calm down, she'd have to put me out and I wouldn't see the birth. Uhm, that was NOT going to happen. Thankfully, the feeling passed.

They were in and out so quickly, I can't even process it. If you figure that we went into surgery at 1:15 and Hope was born at 1:23, it probably only took them a minute or two to get her out. I could hear them talking about how deep she was buried and that they felt like they were reaching back to my spine but, unlike with Katie, I didn't feel any of the tugging, pulling, or pressure that I felt before. It was easy. They pulled her out, she cried, and it was done. Brian was reassuring me that she was completely perfect and that there was everything that should be there. They wiped her off briefly and then let Brian hold her next to me for a few minutes so we could see and talk to her before she had to take off. Again, this was different; I didn't get to see Katie until I was in recovery due to the distress, so it was nice to have these moments to get to know her.

Brian left with Hope and I was left during the tedious closing up procedure. It doesn't hurt, it just feels like it takes forever and I just wanted to get to recovery to see Hope. When we finally got there, we realized my bed was backwards and I had my head at the foot end of the bed. Not a problem, but it meant we couldn't raise my head up so I could hold her. They propped me with a few pillows, but I wasn't comfortable in that position, so Brian held her and we watched her inhale her first bottle. She was clearly starving - I've never heard someone so little suck so loudly. We were in recovery for about an hour and a half - the whole time my parents waited patiently with Katie in the waiting room. They still didn't know her name or what she looked like. Brian had come in to tell them she was born and had shown Katie pictures, but everyone else had to wait.

I was very relieved when we finally got to our room. I felt like I had been manhandled more than enough for one day. Katie came running into our room screaming, "Awwwww....she's so cute!" and wanted to just keep kissing her face. We gave her some gifts from us and from Hope and she was just in heaven - all she wanted to do was to bring in the rest of the family and tell them Hope's name (we told Katie she could be the one to introduce her sister).

After that, there were visitors and diapers and feedings and lots of walking up and down hospital hallways to ensure that I was well enough to come home. Thanks to the wonders of Lovenox and Heparin, my incision began bleeding severely the day after surgery and continued up until yesterday, which was a bit of a complication. I ended up in the ER on Thanksgiving because it was so bad, but thankfully it appears to have subsided and I will see the doctor again tomorrow to check on it. Staples are out, but there are still some open gaps because of the bleeding (they had to keep areas open to let the blood out, so I guess we'll see how we close them now). I'm moving pretty well and down to Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

Hope is an amazing baby. Although she has her fussy moments (we've had a long night or two), she's been very mellow so far and is content to watch the world around her and snooze. Katie has been a wonderful helper and simply can't do enough for her sister. In short, it might be a bit stressful and we might feel a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out how to work with two kids at home, but it's so worth it. I think we all feel complete and we're all just thankful to have Hope home.

BTW - Katie is now asking when she gets a baby brother. I did end up having my tubes tied during surgery because all parties involved agreed another pregnancy would just be too dangerous for me, so Brian informed her that any children we have from here on in will be named Jesus. It was sacrilegious, but really funny :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful is not enough

I cannot say I am thankful for where we are this year and all that we have, because that word is simply inadequate.

I tried "blessed" or "grateful" and, again, those simply do not do justice to anything.

As I sat in the doctor's office today to get my staples out, I could not help but think about the first time I walked into this doctor's office last year on this exact day because she is the only one who would see and help me with my ectopic pregnancy on the day before Thanksgiving. I called it the "worst day ever" because it had followed two previous miscarriages and so much confusion and stress and anxiety and fear and depression.

One year from the worst day ever, I have a diagnosis. I successfully managed to carry a pregnancy to term at 37 weeks and 4 days. I delivered a healthy, beautiful and perfect little girl who absolutely completes our family. I have experienced more support and love from family and friends than I could ever have imagined and enjoyed all of their joy sharing in our accomplishment. I have been so lucky - so beyond lucky - to have my dreams come true, and I can only hope that everyone who reads this and everyone else who believes that it just can't get any worse or that their dreams are dying can have an experience like this and see their own dreams come true.

So no; Thankful is not what we are this holiday. What we are can never ever be expressed in words - only through grateful tears and laughter, sincere appreciation for everything we have been given, and our deepest thanks to all who helped us reach this amazing and beautiful moment in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. I hope all of your dreams and wishes come true in the coming year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hope Elizabeth

Hope Elizabeth arrived at 1:23pm on Thursday, November 17. She was 19 inches long and 6lbs 13oz. Obviously, there is much more to share, but right now we are simply in heaven enjoying our amazing new family. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Baby Jellybean will be arriving today.

We are going to check in at the hospital at 10:45. Dr. has a meeting at the other hospital at noon, but says we will do the surgery as soon as she is done - so probably around 1:30ish.

There will be a short computer blackout while we take the time to enjoy this moment. I will return on Monday or Tuesday with all the news :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Big Development!

It is entirely possible that Baby Jellybean could arrive tomorrow.

Here's the story -
I woke up to a message on my phone from our nurse at the doctor's. As I said, Doctor has been out of town since last week and didn't see my Toco strips from yesterday or Tuesday. She's heard some of it over the phone, but everything has been covered by her partner and the nurse midwife. Well, I have to go in for a NST tomorrow at 8:00am (the minute the office opens).

Instructions: do not eat or drink prior to the test (from midnight on). Do not take heparin in the morning. Prepare to have the NST and go directly to the hospital if necessary for C-section. I'm not entirely sure if the concern is with the baby or with all of my freakin' huge contractions, but either way, this is very exciting. We could have a baby tomorrow. At the latest, we'll have one on Friday, though :)

The tough part is informing my parents of this kind of situation. They were prepared for Friday and ready to go, but tomorrow makes it a bit trickier. I figure we'll know by about 8:30 or 9am whether we have another day to go or it's time, but they have a 2.5 hour drive from the time I say go. Plus, they'll be at work when I call. My dad doesn't care much - he's at a point in his career where he can just say "Toodles" and walk out. My mom, however, is a speech therapist at an elementary school and it's a little harder for her. So, while I'm very excited with the idea that it could be tomorrow, I feel badly that it's going to be a bit more complicated for them.

So, stay tuned. Either tomorrow or Friday will be the big day. Personally, I prefer the 17th so that I don't confuse Jellybean and Katie's birthday eternally (since I went into the hospital with Katie on the 18th, I still confuse her birthday with the 18th and 19th).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Doctor's Appt - the End?

Hopefully today was my last doctor's appointment pre-baby, but I kinda doubt it. My doctor has been out of town for the weekend and was still gone today. I'm not entirely sure why they scheduled my appointment for today since they knew she would be out of town, but I'm assuming it was a miscommunication of some kind. In any case, I had to meet with the nurse midwife (which always annoys me because I just don't like her at all) and it's up in the air as to whether I will be back later in the week.

As always, no dilation. This is pretty surprising as I really thought we were heading into the hospital last night. I was having contractions that were absolutely huge (for the first time, I could not walk or talk through them) and they were only two minutes apart, but after about four hours they backed off a bit. I am absolutely convinced that my body is incapable of dilating. If you consider all the contractions I've been through and the fact that I have only dilated to the point I did with Katie (and with Katie it took 20+ hours and lots of drugs to get this far), I am concluding that my body is incapable of progressing in labor on its own. Therefore, I have also made the decision to go back on the contraction-reducing drugs until Friday to hopefully help myself survive until then. If my water breaks, great! But clearly there will be no active labor through simple contractions.

The monitor showed HUGE contractions today (the nurse was amazed) and that they were two minutes apart, so that's consistent with last night. I am now in pretty much constant contraction land. In a typical hour, they are four or five minutes apart, but they do get as close as two. They do not stop. I have not had a contraction free hour in so long that I don't remember it - I know it's at least been since Thursday night. Jellybean is really really irritated and kicking back with each one. I have tried to explain to her that this really just makes the situation worse, but she is clearly going to do whatever she can to show her displeasure.

Tomorrow I should get a call from the doctor's office to find out if I'm coming in again on Thursday or not. We'll see. Right now, Friday can't come soon enough...but we are very very close.

We took Katie out today to paint her own pottery after preschool. It was another thing on my list of stuff to do with her this week before the surgery. She had a great time and did a very nice job - she actually spent 45 min. on it; I thought that was pretty good focus for a three-year old.

I've had two times this week where I thought my water might have broken. Once was Monday morning - I woke up coughing a lot and felt a huge gush. After an hour or so, things tapered off, so we assumed it was nothing. Same thing happened again today. My ever-inventive husband finally went out to the store and got some Ph strips for testing water in aquariums and pools and it appears I have not yet broken my water but that I do now have the ability to do some very primitive testing at home :) This makes me happy and allows me to worry less, so it's a very nice development.

Other than that, there's not much to relate. This is so very different from Katie's pregnancy because now I have too much time. Things are done and I'm left wandering around wondering what I've forgotten or what I've missed. I spend a lot of time thinking and wondering about everything that will happen on Friday. And I've never been this pregnant - having made it to 36 weeks with Katie, I am officially one week more pregnant than I have ever been. God bless those who make it to 40 or 41 because just being this pregnant (no contractions considered) is really uncomfortable. Turning over in bed is really tough and waddling is a joke.

Three more days. I'm ready ;)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Lighter Observations on My Pregnancy

Don't look for deep thoughts here - you won't find them ;)

* I am now a champion at contracting. If, in the future, there is ever a need to squeeze anything out of my uterus, for whatever reason, I will be able to do so at the drop of a hat. I figure my uterus is now the equivalent of a Ms. Universe contestant in terms of muscle, so perhaps we should set our test standards pretty high - I'm thinking perhaps I could try bowling?

* Morning sickness is not for mornings. It is not for afternoons. It is not for evenings. In fact, it just appears whenever it randomly decides to make life exceedingly inconvenient and embarrassing. In the future, I will no longer keep Saltine crackers in my desk drawer at work and I will instead keep only fun foods like chocolate or Doritos. This will be more fun for all involved.

* A mucus plug is as gross as it sounds. My vagina has started blowing its nose. I didn't know it had a nose, but it did and unfortunately it appears to have a very bad cold. I will be so pleased when I can go to the bathroom without wondering what will show up in the toilet at that particular moment in time. Bright side? I haven't been an episode of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and I have not had a baby fall into the toilet.

* Why gel on all the ultrasound and fetal monitor paddles? We can't come up with a patch or a powder or something that doesn't everything feel like it's just been basted like a turkey? Better question, why does the nurse or tech feel the need to use at least half the bottle for either or these purposes? Nope...better question: why, when they go to clean up after their procedure do they pull out one tissue and just spread the gel around my stomach? One kleenex will clearly do nothing - it is too wimpy to stand up to this snotty, blue, freezing cold gel. Also, after using that singular kleenex (clearly to save money), don't apologize for making a mess as you pull up the band on my maternity pants and get them all gooped up. Yes; I anticipate some level of gooey-ness, but don't do it purposefully and then "apologize" for it. Bad form.

* I am aware that my cervix is "shy." We do not have to reaffirm this every single time we do a check. In addition, that is just stupid. My cervix does not have its own personality and is not hiding from you - or if it is, perhaps that is an indication that you should be kinder when performing these checks.

* Likewise, my uterus is not "irritable." In fact, I asked it earlier and it told me that it is just plain old "pissed-off" and "bitchy." Let's use the correct medical terminology please.

* Babies will always use your bladder for a pillow. It does not matter how much room they have, this is instinctual. It also sucks. General fetal pressure during a normal day is enough to cause me to pee myself; babies do not need to assist in this matter.

* MTHFR is a motherfucker. I have no more to add to that.

* Lovenox - you are evil. Heparin - more so. Any drug that requires needles is simply uncalled for. I suggest creating some sort of super-absorbant formula that you can rub onto your stomach and it's absorbed into your skin. After all, these are sub-cutaneous shots - they don't need a vein or anything fancy to do their thing, therefore, they should not get fancy medical equipment like syringes to make them seem all haughty and important.

* I believe needles and shots are scary on purpose. Why don't we design them in a way to make them more fun to use or friendly? I'm thinking multi-colored needles or fun patterns could be interesting? Maybe a feather on the syringe to decorate (and then, after use, it could be a very dangerous tickling device...). However, I am eternally grateful to the nerves that chose not to reconnect after my first C-section and have left parts of my lower stomach completely without feeling. This is the best welcome pad for these needles.

* There is entirely too much urine involved in pregnancy. Urine test to find out if you're pregnant. Urine in your pants when you laugh or sneeze or the baby moves. Urine in a cup at the doctor's office each week. Perhaps we could find ways to use other fluids that have become more than generous since I became pregnant - saliva? It would be nice to use that for something other than soaking my pillow at night. Or, an even better choice might be facial hair. Perhaps we could pull a few dozen strands each time and test those instead?

* Pregnant belly. I'm not entirely sure about this one. If I were redesigning this whole process, not only would pregnancy be only like three months long, but I'm thinking that maybe the upper back would be a good place for the baby to grow. Yes, we would all look like hideous hump-backed creatures, but there are no organs to squish and it would probably alleviate low back pain. Just a thought...or maybe in the buttocks? No; that's just weird. Feet? Pregnant feet...oh wait...we get those anyway.

* Pregnancy insomnia. I have seen every single hour of the night for more months than I care to count. On the bright side, it can make the night very long and, if you fall into that beautiful pregnant coma sleep for each hour, very restful. However, there are really only so many times you need to see 3am if you're not "still" up from the night before or heading out for Black Friday shopping. There's really nothing about that time to recommend it.

* In a week, I will be able to wear clothing that does not require massive elastic bands around the waist. I'm not entirely sure about the design of these items; is it in preparation for "mom jeans" that we need an elastic band that goes all the way up to the nipples? If so, I still have no reasonable explanation for the tent-shaped, empire-waist top. I'll grant you they get better with the passage of time, but they still accomplish only one thing: feeling like a moving circus tent. I have flat out refused to buy the "new" style of tops that are all side ruched; those are just weird looking - like you pulled too hard on the threads on the side of your top.

* While my tummy never pops out far enough to give me an "outie," pregnancy is a lovely chance to make sure my belly button is as clean and lint free as it can be. This is a once or twice in a lifetime chance, folks, and I take advantage of it.

And that's just off the top of my head...we'll see if anything else pops in there that I'm willing to share (although after "vagina blows its nose," it's become clearly apparent that nothing is off limits anymore. I think I have achieved the blogging version of walking around naked with that one.)

Yes; I missed a day

posting, but it's been a bit hectic around here. Yesterday was my last NST on its own (we'll do another one on Tuesday with the Doctor's appointment, but I don't have to go in anymore - theoretically - for just a NST), and it was a long and frustrating appointment.

I was up all night Thursday night with pain and contractions. Nothing helped and I spent most of the night curled in a ball or pacing the downstairs. It's amazing how long a night can be. After everyone left in the morning, I continued pacing and finally went for a long long walk before my appointment. Strangely enough, the walk was the only time I felt pretty good - I think it's because the weather was so nice and everything outside just kinda took my mind off how I was feeling. I wanted to walk longer, but had to head to the doctor's.

They hooked me up, again, and forgot to set the monitor correctly. So, I hollered for about ten minutes from my room ("Hello?" "Can someone come in here please?" "Excuse me?") before anyone heard and came in. It was weird because I could hear a whole bunch of people talking in the hallway, but apparently no one could hear me (or they just ignored it because they didn't know what it was). So, all of that time was wasted because they didn't have the paper feed going and nothing was recording. Finally, someone came in and set it up to go. Jellybean had a very very high heart rate again - her baseline was about 179, but they didn't seem too concerned about that. Again, I don't like it because it's well over the high point of 160, but since it decelerated a few times, they said it was ok.

More concerning was that my body was "irritable" every two-three minutes the whole time I was hooked up. They looked like huge mountains on the strip, but they kinda plateaued at the top for a while. Sometimes they were just a huge spike. Whatever they were, they were regular and they hurt. It was the same stuff that had been going on all night, and I was in tears after laying there on my back and dealing with them (laying on your back makes them feel worse, but that's how we do the NST, so it's totally counter-productive). The nurse came in and said, "Well, no contractions." and I said, "No, but there is a lot of pain." so she agreed to show it to the doctor who was in that day (not mine - she was at the hospital).

The doctor sent in the midwife to check me and there was no further dilation. At this point, they said that nothing was happening and to head home. I was supposed to come back or go to the hospital if I was having pains 3 min. apart or my water broke. At this point, I started to cry - I explained to them that they were confusing the heck out of me because I was clearly having pains every three minutes. What did they want me to do? They explained that my pains obviously weren't active labor because I wasn't dilating, but if they got worse to come in. I have honestly never been this confused in my life and it is beyond frustrating. The best I can get from the midwife is that my contractions will probably never let me know if I'm in active labor and that my water breaking will be my only clear sign...in other words, I could very spend my entire labor at home and never know it because my pains are not clearly "active contractions."

They called my doctor to see what she wanted to do and she offered to pump me full of IV drugs at the hospital or change up the pain meds again. I chose the pain meds because I do not want to be back in the hospital for no reason. The nurse tried to talk me into going in because she thought the nubane would help, but it's way too hard with Katie around to have me incapacitated in the hospital. Finally, the other doctor came in and introduced herself (and royally pissed me off). I had already agreed to try different pain meds and this doctor came in and proceeded to lecture me for at least five minutes on how important it was to keep that baby in there until 39 weeks because it just wasn't healthy or a good idea to deliver before then. I tried to stop her to explain that my C-section was scheduled for 37 and that I understood everything she was saying, but she brushed me off and said, "I know you know...but babies need 39 weeks because..." and just kept going. Needless to say, I'm really glad this is not my regular doctor. I had tears running down my cheeks because she was making me feel so bad.

She finally offered to switch the pain meds, but only until my appointment on Tuesday (acting like I'm out for drugs only) when Dr. Dameron could see me. Then, when I asked about the effects of another medication on the baby or her health overall, I was treated to another lecture about the effects of narcotics and how my baby will be depressed when born and will go through withdrawal because of my need for pain medication. She stated that they have lots of people on pain meds and that it won't hurt the baby, but just kept making me feel terrible. Finally, she wrote the prescription for Oxycodone and I left.

I filled it, but I only used one and it didn't help. I won't be using any more of those. I have never felt more guilty and scared for telling a doctor I was confused and in pain. I'm so very glad she isn't my regular doctor because it was horrible.

Last night was really bad. The contractions remained at every three minutes and were the worst I had ever felt. I was just rocking back and forth on my hands and knees and trying to get them to ease up. They finally did back off around midnight, so that's been good. Today there has been pressure and achiness (my body always aches after a few days of contraction fun), but nothing major yet. We had a very nice morning taking Katie to the zoo and out to lunch. Brian also took her for a ride on the city bus (something she's been wanting to do). I have my list of things I want to do with her before Friday, so I'm trying to plan those out throughout the week and make sure she gets lots of individual special time before Friday when everything changes. I'm glad we had good weather today and were able to enjoy it outside.

Overall, I'm just confused. It's so hard to know that my body is doing something, but I don't know what. And it doesn't help because even if I do have regular contractions, it doesn't matter because I'm not dilating - but there's no way to know if you're dilating unless you go get checked, so I could end up in L&D daily this week if these contractions keep up. At this point, I hope my water just breaks or we make it to Friday. Labor is so freakin' confusing and overwhelming in the first place, and all of this stuff is just making it more so.

As much as I look forward to that first moment when I get to see and hold Jellybean, I have to admit that I'm really looking forward to a day and a night of not worrying about what that pain is or whether she's ok. I'm looking forward to going to sleep without contractions. I'm looking forward to all of us making our new normal life and removing a lot of this unnecessary stress from everyone's life. I want the stress of a newborn and adjusting to life with two children. I want the lack of sleep that comes with the crying and spitting up and all night feedings. I want things that I understand again...it feels like it's just been so long since I could understand anything.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Feeling very very anxious

Mucus plug gone. Baby has dropped significantly - I can not only see my toes, but I can fit into a lot of my pre-pregnancy shirts (not pants). She is very very very low and ready to go. Had lots of cramping and pressure last night, but they backed off.

Lots of walking on the agenda today. Woke up just feeling anxious and excited. I know it could just be my mind gearing myself up for nothing in particular, but I'm going to think positively.

Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Let's get this ballgame going...

Ok - enough teasing. Really.

I've had a lot of practice. I would say that daily contractions (some near constant) for the past nine weeks is a pretty good span of time to prepare and figure out what you need to do, body. This is especially silly since you don't have to actually push this baby out. I wish there was a way I could communicate this to you - all you have to do is get some active labor going and the doctor will take care of the rest. A bit more dilation and contractions that we can actually monitor - that's all we need.

Again, I thought yesterday would be it. We had steady contractions all day - that hasn't happened in a while. By evening, they were painful, I couldn't breathe through them, and they were four minutes apart. But after they finally regulated to that four minute pattern, they only stayed that way for ninety minutes and then backed off to seven and then ten. Typically, you would get to go to the hospital after an hour, but we know my patterns well enough to know that I'll need two solid hours to truly indicate labor - thus, the near daily fake-outs my body puts me through.

I know I have now passed my mucus plug (oopss...forgot to warn you ahead of the TMI) and we're at 2cm. I am nesting like crazy - walking for forty-plus minutes up and down some pretty serious hills (I live in an area that most definitely ISN'T flat - the rest of the town may be, but the blocks around my house are not), and nesting like a fiend today. I've taken down blinds to clean and bleach them, scrubbed bathrooms and kitchens, cleaned baseboards - I've cleaned things that I can pretty honestly say have not been cleaned since we moved in (which is both creepy and disturbing).

So, let's get this show on the road. Otherwise, I'm going to go a bit batty sitting here waiting. It's almost harder to be this close to the end because I can see it, but I can't do anything to get there quicker. And patience is not my virtue :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Usual

Nothing too much to report. Had another appointment today and had dilated another half cm (2.5), so we're not moving along too quickly; however, this is the furthest I have ever dilated. In all my labor with Katie I never got beyond this, so I'm not holding out a lot of hope that it will go any further. If I couldn't dilate beyond this point with cervix ripening drugs and pitocin, I don't think I can do it on my own. Doctor was disappointed; she was hoping for a 4ish so we could get this show on the road (and as I said, "trust me - you're not wanting that any more than I am"). She, of course, restated the obvious and noted that either we will be hanging out until next Friday or it could be any moment. We'll see.

I've been having really really intense contractions all day - they're really squeezing and pushing downward and are all in my lower back and abdomen. She thought it was just the baby's head settling further downward, but it's not settling - they're contractions. They picked up a lot of them on the Toco monitor and were pleased to finally see them in the morning. Said if they change or become more intense I know what to do...again, I don't want to get my hopes up. They're making it very hard to breathe and they are very uncomfortable, so I wish they would increase or go away...Jellybean looked good.

So, waiting. Waiting to see what they do (or don't do) and then heading back in on Friday for another NST.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Unfortunately, I am not feeling well today, but I don't think it's pregnancy related.

Katie got sick last night. A lot. She started at about nine pm and just kept vomiting over and over (honestly, I'm amazed at the quantity she was able to vomit considering the first round pretty much emptied her stomach contents). Every few minutes or so, she would start to get sick again. The first two times we were too late and had to end up cleaning up the bedroom, hall, her pajamas and give her a bath because it was a mess. The third time I managed to get a trash can under her. The next few times, she was able to make it to a toilet. It's really hard because she still isn't old enough to understand what vomiting is. She calls it "spitting" (as in, "I need to spit") and it makes her cry because she's scared.

So, that was a long night and I was home with her today (the bonus of not working right now). This morning was really rough for her - she still couldn't keep anything down and she developed a nasty fever. After a really good nap and some ibuprofen, she is doing much better and keeping down crackers and pedia-lyte (and dancing to Sprout on TV), so I think it's a quick bug.

Unfortunately, as the day has progressed, I have felt worse and worse. Brian confessed to having similar symptoms on Saturday night, so it may just be a little bug we are passing around. I feel very achy and nauseous and it's very hard to enjoy Jellybean kicking because when you are nauseous and achy, kicks don't feel very good at all. I also have a massive headache and I feel pretty wiped out. I'm hoping that a decent night's sleep will cure us all. I hate that it's been one of those days where I'm ready to call it a night at 3pm (that just makes for a long and uncomfortable evening). Hopefully we'll all crawl into bed pretty early tonight and we'll all be feeling better tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning is my 36 week doctor's appointment. My contractions have slowed down yesterday and today which is a mixed blessing. It is very nice to go through a day without nasty rounds of those things, but it also means that there's little to no possibility of actual labor. Doesn't it just figure that it all settles down right about now? Somehow I just knew that something like this would happen. Doctor says it's quite common - that often they end up fighting preterm labor for weeks or months and then end up having to induce at 40 weeks for some weird reason. Very strange. I'm thankful I don't have to wait until 40 weeks - she's got an eviction notice posted for next week :)

Next week...that's a nice feeling. Any time you're ready, Jellybean. I'm anxious for you to make your arrival.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Energy Burst

Earlier today was very similar to yesterday - still feeling just kinda "bleh," but I had a pretty good morning anyway. We've been having a LOT of trouble finding decorations for Jellybean's room (like an obscene amount of trouble considering her theme is monkeys - but we're trying to avoid "jungle," so that makes it harder. Oh, and I'm not willing to go to Babies 'r Us and pay like $50 for a lamp), so we went out and did a bit of creative shopping. After looking around at Michaels, Jeffrey Allen, and Target (sometimes it's a bummer that Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays) we found some good scrapbooking paper and some decals, stickers, and iron-on decals and put together some framed pictures of our own. They turned out quite nicely and helped the room look not quite so bare. Then we took Katie to the mall which has FINALLY installed a very small indoor play area and let her burn off some energy.

After lunch, I took a nap (my usual on weekends...I can get by without during weekdays, but I guess that's because I can sleep in) and didn't really sleep. Just some dozing - I mean, I think I slept a bit at some points, but it was one of those naps where you just really are very comfortable and it doesn't matter that you don't really sleep. I was in a much better emotional place and found myself actually just enjoying laying there and feeling Jellybean play around. She was having her usual mid-afternoon aerobics class, so I just put my hand on my stomach and enjoyed feeling her (usually, I try to avoid doing this because feeling her outside of my stomach when she's this strong typically creeps me out - I don't like when it feels like the alien thing trying to escape) move around. I also had a nice peaceful and excited feeling - like something is going to happen very soon and I'm just really excited for it. I'm anticipating and ready, but not anxious or frustrated like I have been. It was almost like for a few hours, God just granted my request to have the normal, exciting pregnancy I really wanted. I knew it was unusual, so I tried to just really be in the moment and enjoy it and it was great.

I woke up and Katie and Brian were out doing errands and I felt unusually good, so I decided to take a walk. I didn't anticipate doing much since I've been so achy and feeling so badly, but as soon as I started I felt just normal. I didn't even notice this large belly in front of me and I started at quite a brisk pace. It was just like any normal month where I would go for a walk to burn some energy and calories. I made it several blocks downhill and then turned around and came back uphill and still felt great, so I did it again. In all, it was only about thirty minutes, but it was pretty quick and felt really good. I know I'll pay for it a bit in the morning because my muscles will have stretched a bit too much and be achy, but it was totally worth it.

So, it's been a really lovely afternoon and evening. Part of me wants to hope that the energy spurt and extra exercise will get things moving, but I know better than to think about it too much right now. I'm just going to watch some animation domination on tv and see what happens.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Creepy Craft Show

We went to a local craft show today because...well, 'tis the season. We enjoy doing this before Christmas, and the others are all scheduled for after my surgery, so this was probably the only one we will enjoy this year. We found a nice pair of globes and hat for Katie, a few burp cloths for the baby, and a runner for the baby's dresser. Overall, a good haul. Katie even got her face painted.

However, not one...not two...not three...not a number I can even count (I honestly lost track) of older women randomly kept coming up to me to ask me about my baby girl. The questions were all the same:
"When is your baby girl due?"
"When will your baby girl arrive?"
"What are you going to name your baby girl?"

Now, none of these took place in any of those diva booths (the ones with hair bows/headbands/name plates/etc that would generally lead one to believe I was shopping for a girl). They were all simply as I was walking past or looking at more generic crafts. I don't know any of these women - have never seen them before. And I'm pretty sure I left my "It's a girl!" sign at home today. Needless to say, after the first one, it was ooky, but after so many it started to just get plain creepy. Thankfully, no one had urges to touch, which was helpful.

We had a very nice day, but I've not been feeling too grand today. I don't know if it's that general third trimester nausea again or if it's because everything's just all squished together in there, but I just feel kinda flu-ish and not well. It's not terrible, just an all around "ick" feeling. I tried to nap it off, but had little luck. I can also tell that Jellybean has really dropped because today was the first day that walking was actually painful (and my low back didn't care for it either).

So, we had a nice day shopping; I'm just sad I didn't feel so great. Hopefully it's a passing thing and tomorrow will be better. Or, I can get my hopes up again and think that maybe it's another sign that Jellybean will show up tonight or tomorrow. Honest to goodness - for as ornery as she was from week 28 on, you would think she would have leapt out as soon as I could start moving. I'm becoming more resigned to waiting until the 18th (it's easier to do now that it's only 13 days away), but I'm still very very open to the possibility of meeting her sooner.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My little brother

We're going to take a short detour today away from my normal whining and complaining and focus on what is really really important: my baby brother. Today he graduates from the police academy and I could not be prouder of him. There was a time when I was hoping to be able to attend his graduation, but now I will have to settle for a video of the event, which makes me a bit sad. But it's time to say some things that would embarrass the hell out of him if he knew I had a blog and was posting about him :)

My youngest brother is eight years younger than I am and we have never had the opportunity to be really close. When he was in fourth grade, I was off to college. When he was fourteen, I got married. We've just had a bit too much of an age gap to meet up in the middle. The four years he went to college here in town with me were the best because we met up every Friday to go out to eat and catch up; that was probably the most time we had ever spent together.

Mark always was put in a slightly difficult situation. In high school, I was way into band, music, and drama and my other brother was really into football. Mark was good in both areas, but, of course, was always being compared to his older siblings and seldom left to achieve on his own. I'm sure that was a bit tough. In addition, I was always pretty good at English and the Social Sciences while my brother was an overachiever at Math and Science. Again, this left Mark with no real place to excel on his own. I don't know if school was quite as easy for him either; he worked a lot harder than I ever did for his grades and should be really proud of being able to balance his activities and schoolwork.

In addition, my other brother went on to dental school and became a dentist. I went on to get my Master's and PhD. It's always been a bit weird for him because he has NO desire to continue on in school, and so I think he feels like a bit of an oddball being the only "non-doctor" in the family. I know that none of us have ever thought twice about it because we know he's pursuing the job he wants, but I think it's still been a bit hard for him to pursue his chosen field.

He majored in criminal justice with a minor in psychology at school and always knew he wanted to be a police officer like my father. Mark isn't the kind of guy to be cooped up in an office all day - he's happiest when he's out fishing, camping, or hunting, so he knew he needed a different kind of job that let him roam around. He did an internship with DNR, but unfortunately, that's an area hit hard by cutbacks, so there was no real future there. He did his internships, got amazing grades, and had excellent recommendations and references. Unfortunately, the economy hit the toilet when he graduated and he couldn't find a job. That was in 2009.

I won't go into the trials and tribulations of dealing with different police departments - getting interviews but no responses, scoring at the top of their list and then being told he wasn't a good fit, poor communication, poor timing - it was like if there was a bad luck problem, he had it. He even passed up one sure thing job offer for the job he really wanted, only to be told he couldn't have that job later on (after being promised it). It's all been a very big mess.

Through it all, he's been so patient. He's worked at the world's crappiest landscaping business and has been treated like utter shit as an employee there. But he stays because he is loyal and decent jobs are very hard to find. He worked 12-14 hour days in the broiling summer and was laid off in the winter - only to be called in if ice or snow warranted. He had to move back in with my parents and face the fact that he was a college graduate who couldn't find a job. I'm sure this was monumentally hard for him.

Where a lot of people would have given up, he just tried harder. He applied to more places and took more tests - statewide - even though each test was quite expensive. He spent hours and hours every day working out; he was running miles a day even after working for 12 hours in a heat advisory. He was lifting weights and doing cardio. He got himself into the best shape ever.

And it finally paid off. After two years of this kind of work and frustration, he finally got the job offer he had been waiting for at the department he wanted. He still had to complete the police academy and six months of probation before his job was "secure," but he was up to it. He has just completed twelve weeks of intense police training and physical training five days a week. He's studied hard and aced his tests. He has gone through a solid week of testing for the past five days to get all of his certifications. And he is graduating at the top of his class. I could not be prouder of him. This kid worked so hard and went through so much to get to this point - and come Monday he'll be out in a squad car doing the job he's always wanted to do.

So, congratulations Mark! I always knew you could do it and I'm so proud of you. After 9pm tonight, you're an official officer and about to start your amazing career!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back to the Doctor

Things were pretty uneventful today, which was good, I guess. It was a simple NST, so they hooked me up to the monitors and let me hang out for half an hour. Jellybean did get her two accelerations, but they were right at the end - I honestly didn't think she'd get there. However, she did it, so that's good for the doctors. I did hear her movements a bit more, which was certainly nice since she's still being a bit quiet. She perked up quite a bit last night, so that was also good.

I had a lot of contractions going on during the NST that they called "irritability," (and ask me how "irritable" it makes me to hear them call them that!) because they weren't a minute long each time. Apparently, it's only a contraction if it's a minute long - anything less than that (and they were pretty precise - 50 seconds was my average) is just "irritability." They advised me to hydrate (as if I humanly could injest any more liquid in a day - I'm on my fifth liter already) and reminded me that if I could get them to become regular, they wouldn't stop them. Ok - like I'm in control? I haven't been in control of a darn thing yet. I just hate that they phrased it all as they did, but, of course, my meeting was with the nurse practitioner again and I just don't care for her attitude in general. She did show the strip to the doctor and she said she "was ok" with what she saw, so we go on.

It was good in that there really isn't anything to worry about (and nice that my body finally cooperated enough to show the doctor's office all the nastiness it's been providing me for weeks), but I still wish it could all be over. I always have a fleeting hope when the contractions start or when I have an appointment that this will be the time that we get to go deliver. One of these days we will (certainly, in 15 days!).

However, just to be a bit trickier, I can NOT go into labor in the next couple of days. My youngest brother finally graduates from the police academy tomorrow night (after trying to get this job for two years and working really horrible jobs for a landscaping company - he's been so patient and overqualified). He graduates at 9pm (which seems odd to me, but I don't make the rules) and my Aunt is coming in to visit from Ohio (she can only make it out once a year). Tomorrow is the graduation and Saturday they're having a party for him and all the people who were references for him or helped in other ways. So, my parents informed me last night that they could make it up Sunday night or Monday, but if anything happens before then, they'll have to settle for pictures.

Of course, this is not what you want to hear in this situation - obviously, I would MUCH rather my parents be there; however, this is certainly Mark's time and he deserves it. More than anything, I would hate to go into labor and steal any of his spotlight - the poor kid has sat through so many graduations for my brother and I that it is only fair that all eyes are on him for the weekend. On the one hand, since we hadn't dilated further and nothing seems to be changed (other than dropping), I think we're ok; on the other hand, the gods of irony and really bad timing would seem to command that this would be the exact time it would happen. So, we'll see. I'd be happy to have her out and hold her, but I would feel really badly for my brother and very sad my parents couldn't be there.

And so we continue to play the waiting game. Doctor appointment on Tuesday. Having a lot of trouble getting the Heparin injections, so I'm still on the Lovenox which makes me uncomfortable - every day on the Lovenox is a day I potentially have to have general anesthesia for the birth. Walgreens won't fill the Heparin because they say they need the doctor to contact insurance and get it approved. As far as we know, the doctor has done this, but insurance is able to take up to a week to decide if they want to approve it. I consider this all uselessly silly since a one month supply of Lovenox is $900. One month of Heparin (and we only need two weeks) is $218. Uhm...I'm pretty sure one of these is a much better deal for the company. *deep sigh* Medical bills and insurance are so fun. Especially as I make my way into "unpaid leave" territory ;)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New day, new attitude

Time for an attitude adjustment (I seem to need these every few days or so). I can be all mopey and cry-y and miserable because I'm freaked out and in pain, but that really isn't doing any good, so I need to refocus and figure out what is really important here.

I'm really glad we have another appointment tomorrow and that we're going to be doing this twice a week to keep a really close eye on Jellybean. I wish it was more of a Monday and Friday kind of thing rather than Tuesday-Thursday because after tomorrow it will be that long four day span before we check on her again. She has started moving around a bit more, so maybe she was just going through a slump. We did find out that she has dropped (you would think I would notice these things, but I carry her so close in that it's hard for me to tell), so maybe that's helping too - maybe now she has a bit more space to move in. I don't know, but I'm glad to feel it.

I keep reminding myself to, if not enjoy, at least fully experience those movements. Especially after this past weekend. To stop and actually feel it when she moves and to think about what is going on - remind myself of who is in there and what she is doing. It amazes me that someone so big can be doing anything at all in there, and I need to stop for those moments and just feel it.

I'm taking advantage of the nice days we have right now (it's supposed to get chilly again tomorrow) and trying to walk as much as I can outside. If nothing else, I'm hoping that helped her drop a bit, and it doesn't hurt me to get some exercise. I still need to focus on recovery after surgery, and sitting around on my butt all day isn't going to help with that, so I try to consider the walking to be a double good thing and do it for as long as I can handle it.

I'm trying very hard to keep my temper around Katie and to give her a lot of attention and focus right now. It's very important with all the change going on. Brian has been putting together furniture and cleaning the swing and bouncer and our living rooms are quickly filling up with a lot of baby stuff. Katie thinks it's all pretty cool, but isn't happy with the "no, you can't sit in it - it's for the baby" aspect, so I'm trying to make sure there's a lot of focus on what she can do and what she does do well. It's tough because I'm super tired and cranky with a lightening fuse, but I'm working on it.

Overall, I'm just trying to get myself at peace with the idea that it will probably not be until the 18th that we meet Jellybean and that this is the best situation for her. I'm not happy with it because, of course, I not only want to meet her (like, yesterday!), but I would really prefer to have my body back at this point and not feel horrible. Whatever happens will happen and I can't change that, but I have to focus on the fact that it (probably) will not be longer than 16 more days. That's not terrible. That's pretty quick in fact. But I think I will still secretly hope that she is like her sister and shows up next week.

As I said, she's moving a bit more, so that's very helpful for me emotionally. The contractions are still going strong. Over the past few days, I've gotten some regular patterns, but they eventually taper off. On Halloween, I had an hour and a half of ever five minutes, but then they backed off again. The past two nights it was every two minutes for two hours...but then they backed off. It kinda stinks because I get start to get my hopes up and then it all stops, but I guess the fact that they are starting to find a semi-regular pattern at times may be a good sign. We'll see.

Again, thanks for the good thoughts and the support. We're really close and I'm trying really hard to focus on that. I'll keep you updated after tomorrow's visit.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Doctor's Appt

So, I don't really know as much as I would like to, which is unfortunate.

We did the sonogram first, and it was good to see that she was fine and doing well. Her heartbeat was good and she was moving, just not moving in any way that I could feel. The tech kept us on the ultrasound for about twenty minutes longer than she needed to just so we could see her flex and move and make sure she was ok.

The doctor came in to check everything and we found out that I haven't progressed any further. I'm very disappointed that with the frequency and strength of the contractions, I'm not any further dilated. I shouldn't be surprised since I never dilated with Katie, but it is frustrating. We had another very scary night last night with a lot of very frequent and intense contractions combined with (TMI ALERT - LOOK AWAY) a lot of leaking fluid. Unfortunately, it wasn't a clear fluid, so I knew it wasn't my water breaking, but I couldn't imagine what on earth could be leaking in that quantity. The doctor was a bit surprised by this since she said my amniotic fluid levels were the best they had looked lately (good!), and so she did an exam and found a yeast infection on top of the bladder infection. I don't know anything new about the bladder infections - why I'm getting them or what they are - because the results aren't in from the hospital yet, so that is frustrating.

Doctor gave me a long pep talk about how close we are to the 18th (we are...it's only two and a half weeks) and how important for the baby it is to stay in there. Most of the brain development is taking place right now as well as lung development. I know this, but it doesn't mean I'm a happy camper.

She said we're moving to 2x weekly appointments to make sure we are monitoring her very carefully and that if there is ever a time when her strip (her heartbeat/accelerations) is not looking good, she will not hesitate to get her out of there. That is good to hear. We monitored her again today and she was a bit more lively, but, again, it took a lot of pounding on my stomach to wake her up and make her react. So, that means I'll be back in on Thursday for another exam and appointment, and we'll continue the Tuesday/Thursday schedule from now on.

She also switched me to Heparin today from the Lovenox. As I've said before, the Heparin has a shorter life, so if I would go into labor on my own, it will wear off much quicker than the Lovenox and also has a medication that can reverse it if necessary (which Lovenox does not), but it does need to be injected twice a day. So I'll now be on 2 shots a day (again, not the worst thing in the world, but not something I'd typically volunteer for).

Jellybean looks good - that much we are clear on. My body is just falling apart and being a complete mess, but at least we are going to be monitoring her much more closely. I really wish we had some answer to these infections and why I'm still having all these non-productive contractions, but we don't. Thank you all for all the good thoughts; I'm just worn out now. It's been a long day and night and there's no sign of those stopping any time in the next few weeks, so I need to try to get some sleep before it all starts up again.