Update: Baby Girl coming!

Quick update. I've been admitted now to Labor & Delivery. The pessary has been removed and I am about 4.5cms dilated, 80% effaced and having pretty hefty contractions every 90 seconds. I am on the magnesium drip which fortunately isn't so bad. I am 29 weeks.

We've met with the neonatologists which was terrifying but had all of the grandparents here for the meeting actually which was nice to have everyone in the same page re:extended care. Grant is setting up cord blood banking as I type this, we banked Grace's with CBR and as a last minute decision giving birth at 29 weeks, decided to go ahead with this little girl's cord blood and tissue as well through CBR.

My water hasn't broken and since baby is doing well on the monitors, we are just waiting it out. Likely she is coming today, maybe tomorrow if we can get an extra day of incubation in. 

Really grateful to have our family here. Mom made my favorite cookies this morning for when I'll finally be able to eat after delivery and is sitting with a coloring book in the waiting room- unwilling to leave even though it may be a few hours, and dad is getting me my favorite sandwich (after delivering Grace all I wanted was a sandwich!) Pat and Simone are watching Grace and my mother-in-law is helping Grant by managing things at the new house.  

I am a bag of emotions, excited to meet her but also terrified. Because she is being born so early, I won't get a chance to hold her for probably 24 hours and it looks like she won't come home with us until end of January. The holidays are bound to be tough. (Though I already told my dad that his new granddaughter is his 60th birthday gift- his birthday coming up Friday!)  

love you all, thanks for walking alongside our growing family on this difficult journey. 

 

Baby girls home for the next few months... 

Baby girls home for the next few months... 

29 weeks today!

Hit the 29 week mark this morning, awoken by strong contractions 2 minutes apart and bleeding. I am literally screaming in between typing sentences. Glad to have made it to this milestone, really hoping we can slow down these contractions... Was a tough night but in great hands being monitored closely. 

Last night around 11pm I received the second dose of our second round of betamethasone steroids for baby's lungs. That set off a sea of  uncontrollable contractions for about two hours. We tried to control with Procardia (which I am finding has some not-so-fun side effects of its own) and eventually they settled so I could get a few hours of sleep. The place of placental abruption is now tender to the touch on my lower left abdomen, and the bleeding likely causing the ongoing uterine irritability. 

This morning we are likely moving to L and D. Still awaiting the doctors who are conferring about plan of attack. Baby has been great all week though last night began to show some very mild discrepancies in her charting where we're monitoring closely. IV fluids have been helping a ton with the contractions. Really hoping we can do this circus for at least another week and make it to 30, but if we deliver today, I know God is watching over us and whatever his plan, is meant to be.

Love you all, thanks for the continued support- we really need those extra thoughts and prayers today. Get on out there and have an extra great Sunday for me!  

 

Obligatory ugly hospital selfie. I mean, I am a millennial mom after all :)  

Obligatory ugly hospital selfie. I mean, I am a millennial mom after all :)  

Camp Bedrest Day 32: back in the hospital for awhile...

 (note: on my cell typing as I don't have my laptop so bare with me/my poor grammar/thought process)

Last night goes into the "top 10" category for scariest moments ever. The bleeding and pain I mentioned in yesterday's post had mostly subsided, but my MFM who had received my email with pictures of the blood wanted me to go straight to L&D to see her colleague. She replied to my email and called me, urging me to go in, but honestly I wasn't in a huge rush as I was feeling on the other side of things... 

Wanting to stay and learn more about the horror unfolding in Paris, I begrudgingly got in my wheelchair and went out to the car, packing a few extra "necessities" in my purse just in case... 

The hospital was a mad house, thank you Friday the 13th and a new computer system. I was immediately hooked up to monitors with blood drawn. Grant and I Killed time waiting playing WordsWithFriends, and by playing, I mean I destroyed him :)

Dr R (one of my favorites) was on call and eventually came around to do an exam where he concluded I had a partial placental abruption - a somewhat common occurrence (discovered in 1:150 pregnancies, sometimes goes undetected) where the placenta separates from the uterine wall early- causing premature birth or still birth. With very real risks of potentially having to deliver if things progress, I was being admitted again for at least 4-5 days for observations. 

Frustrated, I was happy to at least have a game plan. Grant and I continued to play while I got another round of betamethasone steroid shots for the baby's lungs, drew more blood and did a whole ton of weird tests since I had been in the hospital in the past month. Then quickly, I started getting pretty painful contractions out of nowhere, about every four minutes. The nurse came in concerned and noted that maybe my uterus was irritated and reacting to the exam, probably the contractions would go away. Dr R rushed in a few minutes later saying he wanted to start me on anti-contraction meds- only problem is I am deathly allergic to aspirin so indocin was not an option.  

IV running fast bags of fluids, I started on 10grams of procardia, prescribed to get another dose in 4 hours. I sent Grant home as it was midnight and I knew I was in good hands. Unfortunately my contractions failed to slow, instead picked up rapidly and were growing in intensity, now 3 minutes apart. I was given another dose of procardia and that also didn't do the trick. Twenty minutes later another dose, followed by visits from Dr R explaining that my contractions were now 2 minutes apart and the on-call OB/gyn would come to discuss options if we couldn't stop labor. 

The nurse told me to call Grant. He rushed over. When Dr L (the OBGYN on call) came in, she examined me, noting I was now 3cms dilated and she could feel the baby's head. I was shaking uncontrollably when Grant arrived- terrified but more a physical manifestation of labor that I had forgotten about from my first delivery. While Dr R had suggested we be ready for a emergency C section at anytime, Dr L gave me hope that if we were truly delivering, she would help me have a vaginal delivery if possible. (She herself is 30 weeks pregnant!) 

We were terrified. Only 29 weeks (tomorrow). The contractions were not coming under control. I was also starving (hand't eaten since lunch) and hangry. Had we not gone into the hospital, we wouldn't have had the cervical check that was causing these contractions and possible labor.   

In triage, only a thin curtain seperated us from a couple who was told they had to be induced at 37 weeks due to gestational diabetes/aging placenta. This couple took six hours-- six-- debating with their doc to postpone because they didn't want a "premature" baby even though the docs assured them 37 is considered term. Grant almost punched them as they complained how their child wouldn't have the best odds developmentally "being born so early" because they read children have the highest IQs being born after 39. Confession: I actually wanted Grant to punch him... Or at least shake him and congratulate him on having a full term baby and being in a great hospital to deliver...

Another round of procardia settled down the contractions to be manageable fortunately, so 14 hours later we are still sitting here in triage figuring out if I go to Labor and Delivery or the Antepartum/Moms Unit.  Looking like Moms Unit for observation!! 

I am processing the nightmare of last night (words don't do it justice in describing the roller coaster of emotions). On one hand the Incompetent Cervix and Partial Placental abruption have nothing to do with each other from the POV of clinical studies. My body just stinks at being pregnant. On the other, maybe they do- at the very least it means I am really high risk and the best place for me is here. I am wondering if the dilation would have progressed without the exam, what would have happened if we just monitored closely at home. 

I am honestly in a bit of ill spirits, frustrated and trying not to be defeated. Glad we didn't deliver right now, but surviving off a mixture of anxiety and adrenaline.  

Hope you and yours enjoy a nice weekend! 

 

Camp Bedrest Day 31: A Scare but Hanging In There

Forewarning: this post may get a bit graphic. I am still processing everything, and would probably have avoided posting, but I want this to chronicle the reality of how scary being pregnant with an incompetent cervix can be for those of you facing the same battle. 

Tuesday night we had a nice family dinner but around 8pm I felt terrible. Similar to kidney stone pain, I was cramping up all over with concentrated pain in my lower right side, finding it difficult to breathe or speak. As I have history of kidney stones, and they are extremely common in pregnant women on bedrest, I dismissed the pain as yet another stone, hoping it would pass itself - regardless would deal with in the morning. I chugged some water, took a hot shower, and tried to sleep it off. I was uncomfortable all night but managed to get some sleep. At around 5am I just couldn't take the pain anymore so hopped in the shower again after throwing up and took a long heated steam shower (bonus points, my parent's shower rivals that of a five star resort with a gorgeous view over the vineyard- sorry California drought! I'm taking full advantage of our stay at Camp Kennedy) 

I try to avoid unnecessary medication at all costs, but I took a single Tylenol pill Wednesday morning to hopefully take the edge off of things. An hour later, I went to the restroom (chugging bottles of water for the kidney stone means frequent trips!) and discovered I was bleeding. I've never bled before in pregnancy. I screamed for my mom, Grant came. I went right back into bed, left a message with my MFM's receptionist, and tried my best to not read the internet front-to-back (there is a ton of bad/scary information out there about bleeding at 28 weeks). Two hours passed and I still hadn't heard from my MFM and the bleeding and pain (about a 4, but my 4 is probably a normal gals 6 or so after delivering a 9.5lb baby and multiple kidney stones) continued, I called Grant to pick me up and take me to the hospital but my doctor called in response to my email (annoyed her receptionist hadn't passed along the earlier message) and had me go in to see her colleague instead. 

We did a AUS, TVUS and speculum exam which showed my cervix is dilated through and through about 1.5 cms but that the pessary was in place and I am still only 30% effaced with baby head down. As I wasn't having regular contractions and my water was still intact, Dr. S kind of wrote it off as just being inconclusive, likely just pregnancy progressing. Maybe I have kidney stones (but then why the bleeding and tissue/big blood clots) Maybe I am in early labor and this was the grossly described "bloody show" (but why has it now lasted 3 days?) The ultrasounds revealed that it likely is not an issue with the placenta or umbilical cord (two reasons pregnant women in their third trimester sometimes have bright red clotted blood- emergency situations where we would want to induce). At this time, we don't really know what is wrong, why I am bleeding and why I am in so much pain... so we are not doing anything...and that gives me the greatest anxiety. I need numbers and percentages and data and plans of action! Fortunately baby checked out okay so it doesn't seem to be affecting her. 

The pain was so bad Wednesday night, there was a time I definitely thought I was going into labor. Fortunately we are still hanging on today on day 31- just with a lot of question marks. Sunday will mark 29 weeks pregnant and with each day we are gliding into a zone of greater comfort and safety should we deliver. I am an emotional wreck, I haven't wanted to see or really talk to any of my friends because I just don't want to really process all of the uncertainty looming right now. 80% of the day I feel okay, just dull lower back pain, but the other 20% has been pretty bad, with hour long episodes of contractions/pain/bleeding. 

In other news, we are now doing the p17 progesterone shots at home and although my mother is pretty familiar with intramuscular injections from her MS medicine and mother-in-law a former nurse, I decided to let Grant give me a stab... and I think he looks just a bit too happy here after practicing on produce :)

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He did great. The actual shot is about a four inch needle and the progesterone oil based so it has to be injected very slowly, but G had obviously been paying attention to all of the previous injections the nurses did as he executed flawlessly- just adding to his many talents :)  

Camp Bedrest Day 26: Home Sweet Home at 28 Weeks!

It's official, I am home home - back in my childhood home under my parents roof, pulling a Regina George from Mean Girls and even "Switching Rooms" with them. (Their bedroom is on the first floor and as I'm not allowed to walk upstairs, they're discovering for the first time that I actually had the best room all along with views in every direction! But I feel awful about all of the upheaval this has caused for everyone) 28 weeks has finally come, and there is a huge sigh of relief coming from everyone in our family and on our medical team -- we still have three months to go, but we made it to the "safety zone"!

28 weeks:

We will do an official growth scan on Monday at my MFM's office but my discharge ultrasound showed we were mostly stable, no amniotic fluid leakage and baby had flipped and was heads down, no longer breech! Big prayers she stays that way! 

According to BabyCenter, she is the size of an Eggplant this week - and I believe it! Our very active little eggplant keeps rolling about and we can actually see it which is fun! Now that she has reached 28 weeks, all of her vital organs are developed, she can blink, and she has reached 90% viability (some doctors claim even 95%+ viability as we are such close access to level III & IV NICUs when the time comes). The "Sixth Month" in pregnancy is a delicate one - weeks 24-28 are truly when the miracle of viability outside the womb occurs. Now on to the 7th, still technically have 12 weeks to go (3 months seems like forever!) but the worst is behind us. (Your prayers are working! Thank you!) 

If baby was to be be born this next month, between weeks 28-32, she would be considered "very pre-term" but we have graduated past the stages of "micro-preemie" and "extremely premature" - something we had been preparing for with the support of the awesome Neonatologists at Stanford's El Camino NICU. I would still need a magnesium drip but we probably would not try to delay labor any more as I am deathly allergic to Aspirin and Indomethacin is ibuprofen based.  Being born now, Baby Girl would likely stay in the NICU until end of January 2016, but we are confident she would be in good hands and have an opportunity to develop properly now that she has passed this big 28 week milestone-one of the reasons we were able to discuss me being discharged, and eventually decided I would go home and continue the strict bedrest from here. 


Life at Home:

It feels SO good to be home, I even had the chance to wake up this morning with Graceface in my arms (after she refused to go back to sleep at 2am so Grant brought her down with us for a family sleepover). Husband and baby in bed, life was as good as I could imagine! No more sirens, beeps, screens or screaming newborns keeping me up all night. No more vital checks every three hours or long monitoring sessions. No more hospital wristbands getting in the way of my arm knitting--- I feel great! 

But that "great" feeling is a double-edged sword. I feel invincible and slightly victorious for having made it to week 28 with the odds stacked against us. For those who know me, I tend to be a bit competitive/ Type A / Self-sufficient, and the fear is not being strapped to a hospital bed may make me more likely to push it. Doctor D would have liked to keep me until  week 32 at the hospital, but as I was doing so well being obedient and staying stable, we agreed I could resume complete bedrest at home. Insurance was also becoming a nightmare. The challenge is I now have an adorable 15 month old I just want to care for, lift up, and play legos with on the floor- none of which I can do as I need to be staying reclined. 

Being out of the clinical setting has been a great emotional booster for me, though I do need to recognize the added stress for my loved ones who now are having to take care of me (bring me meals, wait as I shower, babysit me so that I am not playing too aggressively with Grace even in bed.) When I did home bedrest for 14 weeks while pregnant with Grace, I fortunately only had a dog to worry about, so I was able to be solo (with the help of a dogwalker) all day while Grant worked - and he would just help bring the necessities. I am on a much more strict form of bedrest this time around since I am already dilated with water bulging, unable to really help myself or my child which is a struggle as I physically feel wonderful (the progesterone shots do this to me!) I feel guilty asking for water refills, or bothering my parents who have now been displaced out of their lavish master bedroom and are babysitting our little girl around the clock. My mother-in-law comes tomorrow to help, but again, I just feel awful being an inconvenience and adding work to everyone- especially when I feel so good. (Relatively good, my muscles still hurt and I was made aware of my disuse osteoperosis, but overall, I don't feel like I should be stuck in bed!)

Fortunately, although El Camino is called the "Hospital of Silicon Valley" the internet was so poor I couldn't stream any video (I only watched the CMAs and Captain America the entire time I was at the hospital- mostly read and crafted) so I now have at least a weeks worth of binge watching Netflix, Hulu  and OnDemand to keep me occupied and bedridden. We are looking into a wheelchair so I can get outside a bit more, though I really need to be in a reclined, not seated position for the time-being.

I am eager to move into our new home (we closed the day before I was admitted at 24 weeks) but Grant was a bit inspired by HGTV and is having new hardwood floors put in, rooms painted and lights hung and built-ins re-purposed so I have no idea what the house is going to look like when I get in there (remember my post on stress causing pre term labor? Ya well I had really hoped to decorate my home once things settled down but that is another story...) but it is unfortunately not a place we could live in right now, especially in this condition so were all at Camp Kennedy for the next few weeks...

That is our update here for now, I'll continue to post about life on home bedrest as I know many of the amazing moms-to-be I have connected with through this blog are under the same "prescription" and to be honest, blogging about everything has been the most therapeutic remedy for me to process this turn of events.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers on this next leg of the journey-- you have helped us come so far and each comment, message, note and prayer has meant more than words could ever express. We still have a long 3 months ahead but are so grateful we had the chance to save this baby girl and get this pregnancy back on the right track. God works in mysterious mysterious ways... 

Crafting on Bedrest: Busy Bag Mr. Potato Head kits for Toddler Travel

"Have baby, will travel" has been our motto since Grace was born. Within three weeks of birth she had gone on two 4+ hour roadtrips to visit great grandparents and was on her first cross-country plane ride at 6 weeks - 15 flights by age 1. Under age 1 is easy, but as we know, curious toddlers need distractions, which initially led me to a search for busy bags and quiet books.

I was absolutely delighted when one of the mom's from my Mother's Together group invited me to participate in a "Busy Bag Exchange" where each mom makes a dozen of one type of busy bag, and then goes home with a dozen new bags to keep her toddler distracted throughout the upcoming holiday travel season. From all the research I had done, I immediately knew I wanted to make the Mr. Potato Head velcro games as my project- providing children an opportunity to quietly and creatively dress their own flat Mr. Potato Head with a variety of hats, shoes, eyes, and other parts in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. 

When I ended up in the hospital, Sarah asked if I still wanted to participate, offering to help in any and every imaginable way (the sweetest!). Fortunately I figured I had this covered as I would have plenty of time to tackle the dozen MPH Bags. I debated cutting and sewing out of felt, but finally decided on just doing printed and laminated (waterproof! you never know what will happen with a carton of milk on a tray table during a turbulent flight!) I ordered up a laminator and got to work! (My nurses all think I may be the first person to ever have a laminator sent to a hospital room... hmmm)

After scouring the web, I landed on Jayme Carlton's awesome templates which were easy to just print off on cardstock, cut and laminate. Using both the main template and the additional accessories template  provided more variety for the kids' imaginations.

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Give it a try!

Materials:

Directions:

1. Download the Files from Jayme Carleton's Website here and print on cardstock

2. Laminate sheets 

3. Cut all printed parts out and organize

4. Add rough side of velcro dots to potato where a hat, eyes, hands/ears, nose, mouth and shoes go. All individual parts should have the soft side of the velcro dots (less rough when your child is putting her hand in the bag).

5. Assemble bags and give away!!! 


I am hoping to do something similar on a snowman for the holidays, could also do a tree and ornaments!



Camp Bedrest Day 14: Ultrasounds, Pet Therapy & More

Yesterday Dr. D came by suggesting we take a look at the baby/my cervix and discuss going home to continue bedrest. I was ecstatic! Over the past week all of the other doctors had mentioned it, but as Dr. D is the most conservative - I didn't even consider going home until the word came from her! 

We set the time for noon, Grant came to meet us, and Dr. D rolled the ultrasound machine into my room where we saw Baby A is doing great, weighing in at 2 lbs 4 ounces with all vitals & amniotic fluid looking perfect - a huge relief! She is unfortunately breach which means I would have to have a C-section if my water breaks/labor begins so I am wrapping my head around that (after giving birth naturally to 9.5lb Grace, have a Csection for a preemie seems ridiculous) but overall faith was restored that the bedrest approach is working.

While stable, the reality is my cervix is still dilated and we are just at the 26 week mark -  we have a long journey still before we wouldn't need instantaneous medical intervention if labor began. The two biggest risks right now are infection causing PTL or my waters spontaneously breaking as my membranes are exposed. In the words of Dr. D, "We have a few more weeks until we don't have to worry about the baby just falling out." If we were to go into labor now or anytime before week 32, I would need to be hooked up to a Magnesium Sulfate Drip-IV to prevent brain bleeding and given another round of corticosteroids for Baby A's lungs before delivering. Unfortunately I am not a candidate for drugs that post-pone labor/stop contractions due to my severe allergy to aspirin and anti-inflamatories. 

I want to go home. I miss watching Grace grow, cuddling with Kellydog and spending quality time with my husband. I haven't really slept since I was admitted as I hear babies crying all night which cause me to miss sweet Grace and the nurses take my vitals (temperature, blood pressure, lung capacity, HR) every 3 hours to ensure I am not at risk for infection that can cause labor- which means absolutely no REM sleep, coupled with pregnancy insomnia. The days are long and lonely- usually my family leaves by 6pm to put Grace to bed and I don't see anyone until noon the next day - leaving 18 hours of restless solitude. Crafting in bed is frustrating at this point, reading a chore and meditating something I do only to check the box. The bland hospital food just makes me miss cooking for my family and I really really miss the sunshine. I have only been outside for 10 minutes in 14 days. I am trying to stay positive, but it is a challenge. I have never been one for jealousy but this dark, unknown emotion envelopes me every time someone visits and then walks out my door-- I almost don't want visitors at this point because the emotion is so overwhelming whenever someone stands and gets to leave this place.  Have I mentioned how much I miss Grace?! I feel imprisoned but my family isn't very supportive of home bedrest so here is where I am stuck. 

I never imagined that the most difficult challenge I would face as a woman wouldn't be a physical or mental one, yet an emotional challenge. I am torn because I absolutely want to do everything for thriving Baby A, but I also feel like I am missing so much with Grace growing so quickly. It is a tough scale to balance. This rollercoaster sure is giving me a ride. Halloween is going to be tough.

With the "Bedrest Blues" creeping in, my awesome nurse Kelley tried to cheer me up by having a surprise therapy dog, Appache - a beautiful white lab in a halloween bandana, come visit in the afternoon. Well this set off the Niagara Falls of tears streaming down my face missing Kellydog. It was embarrassing. This is the longest I have ever been away from her, and it was all downhill from there. 

Although my frustrations are rising, I am trying my best to keep perspective and remember how truly lucky I am that God gave us the gift to do something (or nothing depending on how you look at it) these past few weeks to keep this baby cooking. Too many of my girl friends have suffered the loss of a miscarriage which makes me feel so guilty complaining about the small sacrifices I am having to make now. I will never fully understand their loss (but gain great strength from their experience and always admire how they've handled with grace), yet I do sympathize with the fear we faced these past few weeks as we creep toward viability- and the overwhelming responsibility all on me to keep this baby cooking.

At the end of the day, we decided that I will stay put in room 166 until November 6th (or if I go in labor) as that weekend I will turn 28 weeks with the greatest of risk diminished.  My dad's 60th is November 20th and my 31st on Thanksgiving Day, November 26th, so hopefully it sounds like I'll get to be home by then, still cooking this Baby Girl!

"I'll be gone 'til November, I'll be gone 'til November..."

 

 

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