Sunday, September 25, 2011

35 weeks, 3 days

Hello blog world. The countdown is on. 18 days until my scheduled c-section. I feel uncomfortable in my baby belly, so I am welcoming this transition. I am blessed, however surprising that sounds, that I am having a c-section and this tenderness in the upper belly will soon be replaced by a squirming infant along my breast and a carefully stitched wound in my lower belly. I cannot fathom the thought of it actually happening as having been down this path once before and preparing for its most common outcome, I was met with a whirlwind of unexpected happenings after the last delivery. My son was never put to my chest. He was never allowed to smell my scent. He was never given the opportunity to look his mom in the face. He was whisked away toward a traumatic experience from the words, "It's a boy," to IVs and respirators, to a coffin-like incubator traveling 50 miles away from his mother, to having to be frozen to 90* for 3 days, to "there is no more hope for him." My wound did not just cover my abdomen, but threatened my life due to the traumatic experience requiring blood products, antibiotics, anti-hypertensives. It was a five long days before I realized my real wound would take months, even years to heal. It has been five years before I realized that I may never truly heal from the wound of child loss.

And, yet I am here. Ready to experience what I have been preparing my life for since childhood. I have craved knowledge on child-rearing, being a good parent and creating a loving, healthy atmosphere for my children. I have planned and thought of all kinds of various situations I may encounter with my children and have discussed at length with my hubby about how we would handle such and such and this or that. I now just want to begin this part of my life's journey. If I had never experienced child loss, I would be ecstatic to transition. However, my tainted past has prepared me to expect the unexpected. Prepare for all eventualities. Be aware that the world may not be beginning to fall into place for us, but instead may be preparing us for a world of hurt, disappointment and disarray. Yet, my hope is in the LORD. I know that nothing happens that He hasn't allowed to happen. But, this doesn't mean that everything will be just as I want it to be. It just means I must trust in His plan. His purpose. His desire for me.

My past week has been productive. I had my NST on Monday last week and baby passed that test perfectly. No contractions during the visit and despite my recognizing a couple of decelerations in his heart rate, the nurse midwife assured me that it was normal to have during some movements and since it was not under 100 bpm, I had nothing to worry about.

On Thursday, my hubby and I went to my BPP and doctor appointment. I talked with him about some of my anxious thoughts and how I wished I was able to deliver this baby now with as uncomfortable and sick I feel because I know that he is alive and healthy, but since it was only 35 weeks, I realize that he probably has some growing to do. My hubby was irritated that I would even consider putting my anxiety at a higher priority than the baby's well-being. He insisted that I was being selfish and that he would step in if I put his son in danger. I tried to reassure him that I was just sharing some of my thoughts and concerns as I wrap up the last 3 weeks. He was having none of it. He effectively forbid me from going through with a vaginal delivery if I went into labor on my own before the surgery. And as we pulled up to the office I realized his anxiety is as high as mine, but still I walked briskly toward the door, hoping I would be able to slip into the ultrasound room before he would be able to make it in.

Fortunately, my plan failed and I was taken back to the room as Shaun was walking in the door. Naturally my blood pressure was elevated from the heated discussion. 116/60. Baby boy's heart rate was 140bpm, his amniotic fluid index was 16 and he passed his biophysical profile 8/8! Since I had been having this tender stabbing pain in my upper abdomen and Google told me that Fatty Liver of Pregnancy was a rare, but potentially fatal disease that included this symptom, I had the tech observe my liver as well. She said it looked normal, no masses, no cysts and not enlarged. Whew! Baby's cheeks are so fat and squishy and he is breathing perfectly, blowing amniotic bubbles at times. And yes, he is STILL a BOY!! hehe!

My weight is hanging at 152.6 and my pulse was 72. We asked the doctor a lot of questions regarding my anxiety. She thinks my pain in the upper belly is baby kicking or muscles stretching. She said this is a common complaint from smaller framed moms and this side pain too. I asked if I should be tested for preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome. Her answer was no. I asked if going into labor is the risk for placental abruption, then should I worry about these contractions. She said no. The going into labor isn't the concern. The breaking of the bag of waters is what is concerning when it comes to chorioamnionitis (the infection in the bag of waters that may have been a factor in the placental abruption). So as long as my bag of waters is intact, no worries for infection in the bag of waters. Shaun asked if I would be allowed to labor if I showed up with labor. She said it was entirely up to us. I of course let her know that he absolutely forbid it and she said that was fine, however if I showed up and was 8-10 centimeters dilated, it might be a safer thing to deliver vaginally as it would be difficult to pull the baby's head out of the pelvis during the c-section. She didn't think this would happen though as I am acutely aware of the signs in my body and she didn't think I would be the kind of lady who would risk laboring at home before calling the doctor. So, then I asked her to check my cervix as the contractions that I do have are sometimes painful and I wondered if my body was yet recognizing them as true contractions and dilating me. She agreed only because I insisted as it was not necessary since I was having a c-section.

My cervix was high and pointing toward my back. She said the baby's head was low and I was a slight fingertip dilated in the outside of the cervix, but the inner part was closed tight. Whew! these seemingly uncomfortable contractions are just a pain in my belly, but not a cause for concern at this time! I was given a flu shot and tested for group B strep infection. I was sent on my way until Monday. Tomorrow I will be going to the St. Joe's birth triage center for my NST as there will be no nursing staff in the office. I guess I can make a trial run, just in case I think I am in labor over the next 18 days!!!

Father, thank you for your wonderful gift of life you have blessed me with. I pray that you allow me to experience motherhood soon from the outside of my womb! I pray that you keep Liam safe, that you protect him from the dangers of pregnancy and that you bring him breathing and healthy into this earthy world. I ask that you support me and my husband as we embark on this scary journey that resulted in tragedy the last time for us and help us to feel your peace throughout this transition to parenthood. We are so blessed to have a wonderful manual to raise our children in that you have provided for us and we have a great role model of a parent from your perspective.

Thank you, Jesus, for blessing my friend last week with her baby daughter and keeping both of them safe during their delivery. I praise you because your goodness shines in all that you are and do. I ask that you continue to protect and bless those of my readers who are still expecting and grieving and give them a glimmer of hope through you as they read this blog. I ask all this in Jesus' name, AMEN!

Monday, September 12, 2011

33 weeks, 4 days

This week has went by in a hurry. I have had 3 doctor visits since my last post.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6 I had my first NST at the MFM office at St. Joe's. The non-stress test measures baby's heart rate in relation to his movements. They also monitor contractions if there are any. See August 26th's post for description of NSTs and BPPs. My baby boy is extremely active and passed this test with flying colors. Mom's weight was 150.4 and blood pressure was 116/60.

On Friday, Sept. 9 I went in for my first Biophysical profile and growth ultrasound. At 33 weeks, these are his stats:

Placenta: looking good along the back of the uterus
Heart Rate: 135 beats per minute
Head circumference:30.94 cm
Head length (BPD): 8.45 cm
Femur length: 6.46 cm
Abdominal circumference: 29.19 cm
Amt. of amniotic fluid: plenty: 21.8 (anything over 10 is good and under 24)
Weight: 4lb, 14 oz
Measuring: 33 weeks, 3 days
Presentation: head down
Mom weight: 149.6
Mom BP: 98/60
Mom Pulse: good
Placenta is looking good and it posterior!
Baby is 47% on the growth curve!!
They do not check for cervical length after 32 weeks. So, this was not necessary. I have been having a lot of braxton hicks contractions, so I worry that my cervix is opening, but they don't seem too concerned.

My BPP score was 8/8! 100% Perfect!

At this appointment I received a Tdap shot for whooping cough and I will get a flu shot in October. The nurse did a consult with me regarding labor, delivery, premature labor, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, etc. I spoke with the doctor about my high after breakfast blood sugars and at this point we are going to try to correct it with diet and wait and see. Here are the answers to some of my questions:

What is this sharp pain in my upper right abdomen: probably baby or ligament. Nothing to worry about.

How many c-sections can I have? No limit at this time, but plan on having the size family you want and we will discuss further after each subsequent pregnancy.

Do you know how much scar tissue I have and will I need a vertical incision? Will not know this until we cut in. Probably won't need a vertical incision.

How soon after baby is born should I do fertility treatments? 18 months as we want the c-section scar to heal properly.

That's a long time!? I know, but let's do this. You are breastfeeding, right? Well, then don't worry about birth control and see if you get pregnant on your own. If you don't, then at 18 months you can see the fertility specialist. (My opinion of this is NO WAY! Maybe I can wait until this boy's first birthday!!)

Can you check my heart murmur as it seemed to be louder after my delivery with Ethan. Do you think this is a problem? She listened and said it sounded like a normal pregnancy murmur.

I was told that I will have a dr. visit at 35 weeks and they will check me for group B strep at that time. Continue to go to my NSTs and BPPs and watch my diet and blood sugars.

Today I went to my NST appointment. I haven't been sleeping well due to baby kicking and contracting. I am quite uncomfortable. Sometimes I have pinching pain in my cervix and backaches. I attribute them to the growing uterus and baby and not really to labor. The nurse checked my BP, it was 100/60, and weight was 151.0. My NST was reactive the way it is supposed to be but I was having a quite a few contractions during the test. The nurse stated that the doctors were out of the office, but would be back at noon and would call me if they felt I needed to be seen in triage. I let the nurse know that I frequently ignore the contractions as I would be a mess and up at triage everyday if I counted all the contractions I felt every day. She just said to let them know when I was having changes in the contractions. I don't think I am in labor, but with all I was telling her she seemed concerned. I have had several contractions since and have not yet received a call from the doctor. I guess I am okay. Next appointment is on Thursday at 11am for a BPP!!!

Father, I pray that you are able to control everything that seems to be out of my hands. I pray that baby boy is healthy, that he comes on your timing and with a smooth transition into this life. I pray for safety and comfort for me through this journey as well.

Father, I lift my sisters who are reading this up and ask that you bless them immensely because of their faith in you. In Jesus' name, AMEN!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

32 weeks, 3 days

I cannot believe the anxiety and excitement and yet PEACE I feel all at the same time.  Maybe I am just always a mess when it comes to identifying one feeling, as it seems as if I write about this trichotomy a lot in my blog.  But, it is a real and necessary part of my journey.  [trichotomy: division into three parts, especially the theological division of man’s nature into the body, the soul, and the spirit.]

My ANXIETY:  Will I make it to my scheduled c-section?  Or will my body decide that I need another surprise?  Will I have any more complications?  Does my few high readings of lunch time blood sugars indicate gestational diabetes?  If so, does it really make too much of a difference if I have a couple of highs here and there, or do I need to be more proactive in my diet because it increases my risk of stillbirth and macrosomia?  Is this sharp tearing pain in my upper right abdomen a torn muscle?  Baby's foot in the ribs?  An early indicator of placental abruption?  A result of my poor posture due to increased frontal weight shift?  Do I have everything for the baby after he is born?  Do I have a day care provider available when I need one?  Is this person a good fit for our family?  Will I have to quit my job so I can be a stay at home mom?  Do I want to quit my job?  Can I stand the thought of separating from my baby?  Will I choose a competent and caring pediatrician?  Am I trying to control way too much of what is ultimately out of my control?  Will my husband get the necessary time off of school and work so he can help me while I am in the hospital and afterward?  Will I have complications during delivery?  What if I start to freak out the day before my surgery?  What if my job lays me off?  What if they lay me off just before I have the baby and then I won't have medical insurance?  How will we be able to afford a baby, a car payment, a mortgage, Shaun's tuition?  How long will I be able to get off of work?  What if I can't breastfeed?  What happens if I have to have a hysterectomy?  Will I resent that I was never able to have a girl?  What happens if my spinal doesn't take?  What if my anxiety overwhelms me so much that I can't possibly think straight?  What if my hubby isn't able to alleviate my anxiety in the delivery room?  Will I feel some of the surgery like my SIL said she felt hers?  Will I have a heart attack like my cousin did?  Will I lose yet another baby Plato?  Is God pleased with how I have let others peer into my life and thoughts or does He think I am still selfish and controlling?  Will He love me even through this crazy cycle I put myself through before I pray?

My EXCITEMENT:  I am beeeeeeeeeeeYOND excited to meet my little man.  And I hope that he is just as excited as I am.  I delight in his rhythmic beats of his little feet in my belly.  I love to see his body parts peek out from the roundness of my skin.  If I weren't so modest, I would wear a bikini top all the time and just stare at the wonder of what he is doing inside of me.  I tickle the skin and gently wake him up so he knows his mama is thinking about him.  He bunches up inside of me and then we play a game.  I love to poke one part in my belly and then stop.  My little boy then tries to kick my hand.  I tickle or prod a different area and he moves his body in relationship to mine.  It's like a game of hide and seek.  Sometimes I am not sure who started it!  My discovery of his tiny body parts; knees, toes, bottom, back is so much fun.  I try to grab the parts and tell him, "I got your toes!"  [Ok, I know I am a dork, but I LOVE THIS!!]  Today in church we were singing You Are God.  The country style song isn't really my kind of tune, but the part where it says, "Life flows from God, it flows from God," was just touching my heart today.  I was tearing because of my love for my son.  So far I have been indifferent standoffish unsure about how I feel about this child.  I wanted him so badly, but feeling love for him was a kinda foreign thought for me.  Maybe it was my mind guarding itself, but today I FEEL LOVE!  Love that only flows from God.  Because Life FLOWS from God.  After all this 2.5 years of trying to get pregnant, losing 2 more babies and now expectantly waiting for his arrival, I know that as much as I wanted to control it all, MY GOD controls the universe and each individual connection within in.  I am so stinking excited to look at his little body, count his fingers and toes, peer into his eyes, sniff his baby fresh skin, cuddle with him in my arms, share my life with him, teach him to be a good man and share the love of the LORD with him.  Although, I gotta tell you that I think he has a thing or two to share with me about our LORD. ;)  I cannot wait to meet him.  39 days.  YAYYYYYY!

My PEACE:  It comes from God alone.  Just look at the sample of the crazy list of questions I worry about all the time.  It has to come from God because in all that I worry about, I feel confident that the LORD will complete this pregnancy journey with a wonderful outcome.  I feel calm most of the time.  The hourly contractions I have been having are but a small inconvenience to me instead of a fearfully trying time.  The pain in my abdomen is but an ache in the back instead of dread that I will be rushed to the hospital.  The worry last week about child care was alleviated when I prayed for His guidance over this issue and He provided (a story will follow in the coming weeks/months...God's timing is AMAZING!!!)  I just feel a great sense of PEACE that all is right in the world.  I know that God will will be done.  And I trust Him.  Period. 

I am hoping that this 5.5 weeks goes by quickly enough so I don't have to experience any more crazy cycles of the anxiety, slow enough so I can enjoy the anticipation and excitement and peaceful enough so I can trust in the journey to do it again! 

Father, I thank you for the opposing and yet real relationship between these feelings and the ability to communicate them with others.  I pray that you bless all who read this and give them a sense of your LOVE, your PEACE, and your provision.  I know, God, that I cannot live this life apart from you and ask that you forgive my shortcomings and moments where I think my way is better than yours.  I pray that you continue to bless my family and myself and give me the wisdom and courage to boldly examine my choices and decisions as you allow me the opportunity to raise one of your own.  Keep me in your arms and teach me to be a great parent and to minister to your people in the midst of my own busy life.  In Jesus name, I pray, AMEN!