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Thursday, June 25, 2015

The "To-Do" List

Today marks week 33 of pregnancy for me and Baby M.  We passed another week of NST's and Biophysical Profile ultrasounds.  He's given me a few scares this week during the testing though which is only consistent with his personality.  Freak mommy out first, then do what I'm supposed to do second.  On Monday I met with the head doctor of the practice that I go to. It was the first time I had met him and I was sceptical because I've heard some not so great things about his office manners. He walked in my room while I was tied to the NST monitors and asked why we were doing the test.  The baby hadn't moved a whole lot during the first 10 minutes but the doctor saw some movement and slight increase in heart rate that he said would "meet standards" if there was no improvements.  We talked a little bit about my history of pregnancy loss, using my sister as our egg donor which he actually thought was great, and the factors that still make me high risk such as the velementous cord insertion and my genetic condition, Homocystinuria.  His comment was "well aren't you really interesting?!"  Yup....that's me. About as abnormal as they come apparently. He left the room and Baby M really took off kicking with his heart rate elevating into the 170's. 

The music notes indicate kicks

There was a few times during the end of the NST where I thought I saw the heart rate drop down to 106 and even in the double digit range.  I'm not sure if Baby M just moved away from the monitor briefly or if there really was a drop in his heart rate.  The doctor never said anything about when he came back in to check on us and unhook me from everything though so I'm hoping it was just a brief moment of Baby M sneaking away from the monitor.  I met with the doctor in his office after being unhooked and discussed the recommendation for the early induction from my genetic doctor.  We were interrupted multiple times by the doctor's wife calling him about her knee injury and the doctor making phone calls to an orthopedic specialist so his wife could skip and ER visit.  It was a really annoying conversation to be listening to when all I wanted to know was when we will get to meet our baby! He told me he would not induce me until 39 weeks if I were his patient.  But after talking to him about our fears of complications that can arise that late in pregnancy, he said he would agree to an induction at 38 weeks either by vaginal delivery or c-section.  He didn't think I needed to worry about the cord insertion or Baby M's big head causing problems during a delivery either.....but lets be honest, he's never pushed a baby out of a small hole that's less than a third of the size of the baby's head!

I'm really up-in-the-air about what kind of delivery I want though.  There is a huge part of me that wants to have a vaginal delivery.  I want to experience the contractions and pushing and emotional aspect of knowing that I'm physically bringing our baby into the world.  I want to be able to be the first person who holds our son.  I want to know what it is like to feel utter amazement in myself for accomplishing the birthing process.  But then again, I fear something will go horribly wrong during delivery.  I worry the baby will get stuck in the birth canal because his head is too big to make it out.  I worry about what kind of intervention would have to be used in a situation like that and what kind of damage it would do to me and the baby.  My sister-in-law had a forceps delivery with her first son and my mother-in-law hemorrhaged with my husband.  Those stories kinda have me freaked out a little.  My husband wants to just go for the c-section.  He thinks that would be the safest route for the baby and said that if something starts going wrong during the delivery he would freak out but would feel like he couldn't show how scared he is because it would make me even more anxious.  If only we could see into the future and know what is going to happen.  Right now we don't even have a scheduled induction date....and who knows-the baby could decide to come out in the next 2-3 weeks really!

Since we don't know when this bundle of joy will be coming out to meet us, it's starting to make me panic about what we have left to do to prepare for his arrival.  Everyday I'm asking my husband if he's talked to our contractors about finishing the bathroom project so we can get the plumber to come out and hook up the bathtub that is currently sitting in the middle of our uncarpeted nursery.  The carpet should be getting installed the week of July 6th and we have some painting in the nursery and master bedroom yet to do before that happens. Oh, and then let's not forget we have trim and doors to paint/stain and put up and closet shelving to install. I've already realized that there is no way we will be living upstairs before the baby comes, and probably not even at all while I'm on maternity leave since our stairway is not safe to walk up and down with a baby and can't be finished until we tear down and redo the dining room on the first floor that the stairway connects into.  So I've been trying to rearrange our bathroom and bedroom on the first floor to make space for the baby stuff we would use for the first three month.  I've emptied our dressers of the clothes that don't fit us anymore and still don't have room yet for Baby M's clothes:/ I feel so unprepared and it's driving me bonkers! There is so much yet to do before this baby comes that it actually makes me hope he stays in there until the beginning of August.

Other than trying to prepare our home for a baby, I've been trying to get everything we need together for our third trimester maternity photo shoot.  I'm excited about this-but my husband is not.  I just keep telling him that these pictures will be the last ones we will have of me being pregnant with Baby M-not to mention we worked too damn hard to get this far not to celebrate and cherish how fat I am! I also started looking at what I need to pack in our hospital bags and think maybe this weekend that will be my project.  At least that way I will feel somewhat more prepared that if something happens I know we are ready to go and don't have to scramble around the house at the last minute trying to figure out what to throw into a bag before we make the hour drive to the hospital!

Based on today's ultrasound though, I don't think Baby M is ready to come out.  My cervix is still long and closed.  He's breathing is not very consistent yet.  It took three separate tries today before the sonographer caught him using his lungs.  So I know if he were to come now he would be in the NICU to help him with his breathing.  Size wise, he's still a big boy.  He's 5 lbs 2 oz today and his head is now 32 cm (12.6 inches).  I think by the time he comes we will have a 9 pounder but we'll see how he keeps growing over these next couple of weeks. 

Pray for us and our ability to get as much done on our to-do list as possible before baby boy arrives!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Calm after the Storm

On Wednesday morning I woke up to my husband frantically looking for our sump pump and asking me if I had seen it anywhere.  He said our basement was flooding.  He was angry because he couldn't find the sump pump to stop the water from rising any higher.  As he searched our house high and low for the sump pump I tried to go back to sleep and not feel sick to my stomach about the items being stored in the basement getting ruined.  It was pouring rain outside our bedroom window and all I could think about was the box full of our daughter's memories sitting on the basement floor being drowned in dirty water.  Eventually I was able to fall back asleep once I convinced myself that there was nothing that I could do to prevent, stop, or help the flooding situation.  An hour or so later my husband woke me back up and asked me to drive down to his sister's house to get their spare sump pump.  While driving the four blocks through town to my sister-in-law's house I could see the canal overflowing into the streets and yards completely under water.  When I got back with the sump pump my husband informed me he had located ours-it was at his friends house.  He had let his friend borrow it a few weeks ago and never got it back.  So he drove two blocks to his friend's house to get our pump back and when he got home he got busy to work pumping water out of our basement.  Our neighbor even brought her pump over for us to use once she got the water out of hers. As frustrated as my husband was that our basement was literally a swimming pool, and even as sick as I felt about our belongings getting ruined-especially the box of Riley's memories-I kept telling my husband "we aren't the only ones with a flooded basement." 

The flooded basement reminded me of how it has felt going through life over the last seven years.  It resembled "the storm," if you will.  After losing our daughter in March 2008 it felt like I was drowning in a dark, dingy, stinky basement all by myself.  My husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, tried to look for ways to fix my grief but he couldn't.  He couldn't figure out how to drain the water from the basement that I was drowning in.  Eventually we found the tools together to help us get our heads above the water again.  This cycle repeated itself four more times (our three miscarriages and one failed IVF attempt) before we finally found a way to drain the water so we could walk on dry ground again.  We finally realized that we needed to reach out for help-from our family and friends and Baby Quest Foundation.  We never imaged that people would be so willing to help us conquer this storm. We also never realized that by sharing our story it would connect us with so many other couples who have experienced these storms too and help us feel like we weren't alone. It's brought a calm to our lives that we've never felt before.  Kinda like the calm that was in the air Thursday morning when I left my house for my doctor's appointment-the sun was peaking out and it was the perfect temperature with no rain in sight. 

Wednesday was Riley's due date.  Had she been born she would be 7 years old.  Knowing that her memories were stored in a box on the basement floor and they very well could have gotten ruined on her due date is a hard reality to accept.  But what if she was trying to tell us that it is okay to move forward-that it's okay to let some of her memories go?  It's just stuff....a mold of her hand and foot that you could barely see because she was so tiny, the cards from her funeral and the funeral sign-in book, and some crib sheets that never got used and I wasn't planning on using.  Her memory really isn't even in those things-it's inside my heart and that can never be washed away. 

Even though it was raining again today when I left my house for work and at times I couldn't see more than 50 feet in front of me while driving, I'm not going to let it rain on my parade.  For the first time in the past seven years it feels like we are actually going to get our Rainbow.  I've made it to 32 weeks and Baby M is doing fantastic.

I started my twice-weekly testing this week. On Monday at had my first ever non-stress test (NST).  Baby M was active the whole way to my appointment but surprisingly was reserving his energy when they hooked me up to the monitor and needed to assess his heart rate and movements.  I've said it a million times...but this little guy is so stubborn! When the nurse practitioner (NP) came in the look at the results of the first 15 minutes on the monitor she said "he's not as reactive as we need him to be" so she kept me on for another 15-20 minutes.  During that half of the monitoring little man was kicking the crap out of me and showing off in my opinion-"oh, I'm not reactive enough for you....well let me show you how reactive I can be!" The NP was very pleased at the results when she came back in to check on us.  Baby M's movement was great and I was not having any contractions. So we passed with flying colors on the first NST!

On Thursday I had my first bio-physical profile ultrasound.  Baby M was moving around, his heart rate was around 150, and his weight was 4 lbs 9 oz putting him in the 75th percentile for size.  His head, on the other hand, is measuring at 34 weeks and is already 11.8 inches!! I keep replaying stories in my head that my mother-in-law has shared repeatedly about my husbands birth.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to be begging for a c-section if this baby's head keeps growing the way it has been! I don't want to hemorrhage the way my mother-in-law did from my husband's 15 inch head! As of right now it's still up in the air as to rather or not a vaginal birth is even an option though...the placenta is 3.5 cm away from the cervix but needs to be at least 4, preferably more than that.  The umbilical cord is no longer covering the cervix so that is one less concern.  There's still time for the placenta to move too so we'll just wait and see what the next couple of weeks brings our way between the placenta and the head! All of Baby M's organs looked great but once again he was being stubborn and wouldn't breathe for us when the sonographer was watching for breathing.  She had to send me out to the waiting room for about 20 minutes and bring me back in.  Sure enough he showed us right away on the second attempt that he knows how to breathe.  This boy, I tell you what! Thankfully I've gotten to know his personality really well and haven't been letting things like this freak me out....I've been able to remain calm and confident in our son's ability to do what he needs to do to prove he is strong and healthy. 
Next week we get to do these tests all over again.  I still don't have an answer as to a specific date of when I will be getting induced.  All I know is between July 23rd and August 6th.  I'm anxiously waiting to find out just how soon we get to hold our baby boy in our arms!

I hope everyone has a good weekend that is hopefully filled with sunshine and not this yucky rain stuff!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

3D Ultrasound...Take 2

Last week we attempted to get some 3D images of our little man but he didn't cooperate much.  Since the sonographer wasn't happy with the images she got for us she had me come back today to see if we could get some better ones.  Boy oh we have a stubborn little boy on our hands!

Baby M started out in perfect position but as soon as she started attempting to get some pictures, he threw those hands and arms right in front of his face! We did get some cute pictures though and caught him opening his mouth and sticking his tongue out at us once or twice:) It's such a neat experience to watch him as he moved around in there, covering his face, turning his head, yawning, stretching, and kicking.  It's one thing to feel his constant movement...but to see him in's definitely surreal. I can't wait for him to wrap those little fingers around mine and kiss that cute button nose that he totally got from daddy!

Other than that update...there's not much more going on.  We continue to try to get our house ready for Baby M's arrival.  Saturday we picked out carpet for the nursery and master bedrooms.  While walking around Lowe's and Menard's I thought the little guy was going to drop right out of me.  He was putting so much pressure "down there" that I could barely walk at times and had to sit down wherever I could find a spot.  I'm not quite sure what that was all about because I haven't felt that intense pressure since then.  On Monday morning I was woken up to a sharp, squeezing pain in my upper abdomen that felt like a contraction but only happened once.  I had to google "what do contractions feel like" later that morning and I still don't know if that's what that pain was or not.  This stage of pregnancy is all new to me so here's to learning and figuring it all out! Next week I start my twice weekly appointments so lets pray those go well and that the doctor gives us an induction date soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

$H!+ is getting Real!

Helloooooo week 30! Everything is becoming more real with each passing day as we get closer to meeting our miracle baby boy.  I am starting to feel like a whale, even though I've only gained 9 lbs total so far.  Baby M is pushing on my stomach constantly as if he is trying to figure out his escape route so I have this bloated/pressure feeling going on right now.  My back is starting to hurt but only on the opposite side of where the baby is which I find strange.  He's been balled up on my right side for the most part. Despite feeling uncomfortable now....this is the best feeling in the world, knowing that I am capable of carrying a baby this far and knowing what our future holds for me and my husband. 

Baby M is doing so great.  On Tuesday he was measuring NINE whole days ahead weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces! And we were scared of intrauterine growth restriction, why?!?! This baby boy is not going to be a small one and I'm starting to think I bought way too many Newborn outfits! Thank goodness everything still has the tags on them and haven't been washed yet in case I need to take some things back and exchange them for bigger sizes.  Since finding out we were having a boy, I've been having trouble controlling my shopping addiction.  Who said you can't find cute clothes for boys?!? This little guy is going to be stylin'.

He has quite the stubborn personality already, and he gets that honestly.  Between my husband's French ethnicity and me and my sisters Irish ethnicity-we are all a bunch of stubborn mules-but that's also why we are determined and resilient throughout whatever life throws at us.  I'm hoping Baby M has that same drive to succeed and to overcome challenges as we all do.  Anyways-we tried to capture some 3D pictures on Tuesday but he was being camera shy and kept his legs and arms in front of his face the whole time.  I am going to go back next Tuesday to see if we can get some better images but here's the best of what we did get:

After my appointment today, I will be having twice weekly appointments for the remainder of the pregnancy.  We have all of my Non-stress tests (NST's) along with all of my biometric ultrasounds scheduled from now until the end of July.  We discussed our birthing plan briefly today but do not have a definitive plan yet.  My genetic doctor recommended a c-section at 36 weeks but both my high risk OB and regular OB said they would not induce me or do a c-section before 37 weeks unless an issue arises with the baby before then which we would discover on an NST or ultrasound.  The only answer I have right now is that, if all continues to go well, I will have the baby between 37-39 weeks-so end of July most likely.  My doctor is hoping to have a better answer for me in 2-3 weeks once she talks with the high risk OB.  As far as c-section vs vaginal delivery-that's still up in the air too.  The high risk OB said the cord was not blocking the cervix anymore when she reviewed the ultrasound images on Tuesday...and if that really is the case, my regular OB is all for a vaginal delivery.  However, if there were any signs of distress during the delivery they would immediately take me to the operation room for an emergency c-section.  She is not going to let anything happen to this baby and I appreciate that so much about her. So basically-we will just have to wait and see what these next few weeks bring for us and just keep our minds open to the many options that we have at this point.
I've told my boss that my last day of work will either be July 31st or sometime before that if I'm induced that week or the week before.  I'm trying to get as much information as I can on our short-term disability policy to start preparing for my maternity leave. I'm beyond ready to have a break from work-some days my job is so stressful and busy that I wonder if I'm really going to want to go back.  If only that were an option:/ We have a meeting this Saturday with our neighbor who will most likely be babysitting for us when I do return to work.  And I ordered my breast pump and we took a breastfeeding class last weekend.  ANDDDD.....we started painting our master bedroom and the nursery over the weekend and our contractor finally started working on our bathroom so I'm hoping by the end of the month we can have carpet installed in the bedrooms and can get things organized around the house so I can feel like we are actually ready to bring a baby home! So many things to do to prepare for Baby M's arrival...but now that it's all starting to be worked on, it feels like this is really going to happen for us. We are really going to bring our baby home in 7-9 weeks. I can't wait to hold this sweet baby in my arms for the first time and kiss his sweet cheeks!!
Stay tunes for more updates over the next couple of weeks and keep those positive prayers coming!