Tag Archives: ultrasound

9 months

30 Aug

Today marks 3 MAJOR milestones.  I am 36 weeks pregnant! I am officially 9 months pregnant!  AND, I am in my last week of pregnancy!

I cannot believe that we have made it this far.  It is so surreal.  I have wanted this for so long and I am just amazed that this dream we have had is finally coming true.  Even though I believed that God would keep His promises, it was so hard to see how that would look and when it would ever happen.  I felt weary and afraid for so long.  I no longer feel that heaviness that weighed me down for such a long time.

Right now, I am feeling crazy for a whole new set of reasons, though.

I had a pretty rough weekend.

When I woke up on Friday, I was having what I thought was contractions pretty consistently, but not really painful.  I feel so clueless about what labor feels like because the only time I have experienced labor or anything similar has been during miscarriage.  This was in no way even similar to the pain of what my miscarriage last summer felt like, but I was having tightening and some very mild cramping, so I assumed that it was contractions.  I wasn’t concerned though because I knew that it was normal to have some contractions and not be in labor.  The contractions stopped after a few hours.  I was really sick all day on Friday as well.  I puked everything I ate and just felt really horrible.

Saturday, I woke up to the same feeling of what I thought was contractions.  They weren’t any stronger than the day before and so I wasn’t worried at all either and again it stopped after a few hours.  I had more stomach issues and felt pretty tough again all day.  Also, I lost some of my mucous plug.  That afternoon, I got one of my crazy headaches.  I tried Tylenol.  I tried a cup of coffee.  I tried a bath.  None of my usual tricks worked at all.  So, finally, I just had to put an ice pack on my head and deal with the pain.  The headache finally went away at about 4:30 am and I was able to get a few hours of sleep.

Sunday, the same contractions.  But, on Sunday, I noticed the cramping pains were not really going away.  It was happening off and on throughout the whole day.  Sometime in the afternoon, I realized that baby wasn’t moving near as much as usual.  Up until this point, she has been moving so much and so forcefully that it is at times painful.  On Sunday, I definitely still felt her move and hiccup every so often, but her moves were much less frequent and forceful.  I was trying to be calm and not be concerned.  I did a lot of things to try and get her moving, but she just wasn’t budging much.

As the evening wore on, I was trying so hard to balance being a crazy person and also not being stupid by not calling the Doctor.  Finally, the emotions of it got to me and I broke down bawling.  I hadn’t told my mom or Arturo up until this point.  They both said I should call the Doctor to be safe.  So, I called his office and they said they would page him.  He called me back in less than 5 minutes and told me to go to Labor and Delivery.  I really didn’t want to go, but in the end, I am glad we went.

As soon as we got there and hooked baby up to the monitors…she started moving like crazy and was doing great.  She is such a stinker.  I felt so much better feeling her move again.

I was having some very small contractions every few minutes, but my cervix was closed, so after a little bit of monitoring baby girl and having me chug some water to slow down the contractions, they let me go home.

We had another appointment yesterday morning and had an NST done.  It was our last NST before she will be born.  Everything went well with her.  My blood pressure is staying pretty stable.  We are getting some high readings from time to time, but in general it is staying under the numbers my Dr. wants.  My labs were a little bit elevated from last week, but not enough that he is making me have her now.    Thursday, we will have our last bio-physical profile ultrasound done and get all the final details about the C-section next week.

I am telling her she HAS to stay put over the weekend because my Dr. is going to be gone for Labor Day and I DO NOT want to have one of the other Doctors in his practice deliver her.  I do not trust them.

So, sometime next Tuesday, we will get to meet this girl who we have been longing for and praying for all these years.  I am unbelievably overwhelmed by the reality of that.  Thank you Lord for your faithfulness.

 

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“you’re a hot mess”

17 Aug

Those were my Doctors words to me on Monday evening, “You’re a hot mess.”  I have been laughing about that ever since then.

Over the weekend, my blood pressure started to rise again.   I was so frustrated because I had several days of normal readings and then on Saturday, boom, it was back to being super high again.  I saw no point in calling the Dr. office because my Dr. was out until Monday and I had an appointment to see him then anyway.  So, I just tried to do as little as possible and relax around the house.

Sunday was my parent’s 35th wedding anniversary!   My dad is still at home in Minnesota so we celebrated here with my mom.  My blood pressure was down that evening and I felt really good, so we went to supper to one of my and Arturo’s favorite restaurants, The Melting Pot.  My mom had never been there and had always wanted to, so it was really fun to take her there and celebrate with her.

Monday was appointment day!  Because they had to squeeze me in on the schedule last minute, I had to see my Dr. first and have the ultrasound after.  Arturo was off work so he got bombarded with all three of us!

I was pretty honest with him about my frustrations and I told him how the other Dr. had told me she didn’t know why I had been at the hospital at the first place.  His eyes got really big and he said, “Um, yeah.  You were there because your blood pressures were super high.”  He also said that things probably were going to remain frustrating and confusing because of the “second patient.”  He was referring to baby girl.

He took a look at my blood pressure readings since I had been released from the hospital and gave me orders to increase my medication one more time.  So, now, I am taking 600 mg in the AM and 400 mg in the PM.

He said it was really hard to make a decision as to what should happen because he really didn’t want to have to put my 34 week old baby in the NICU, but he also didn’t want me to get so sick that I could have a seizure, stroke, or some other pre-eclampsia complication.  He said he would like to see what the results of my ultrasound were for the day and then call and consult with the high risk Dr. before making any decisions.  He asked if he could call me later that day.

He is also somewhat concerned about my weight loss.  I am down 17 lbs and he doesn’t want me to lose anymore weight.  Well, I haven’t been trying to lose weight and I can’t really figure out how I am doing it.  I’m for sure not exercising, unless you count my frequent trips to the bathroom.  And I am eating whatever I want really.  So, I don’t know how to stop losing?

I am so grateful to have a Dr. that is caring and smart and humble.  He doesn’t want to make a rash decision either way and is humble enough to admit that it is a hard decision and he seeks a second opinion when he just doesn’t know what is best.

We went in for the ultrasound after that and of course baby girl was stubborn as always. This time, she wouldn’t wake up.  She was sleeping hard and despite the ultrasound tech shaking my belly around until I was extremely nauseous, she just wouldn’t get moving.  Her heart was beating fine and she did make the movements she was supposed to, it just took much longer than it had on Thursday.  We got some cute pictures of her face that included a look at her chubby cheeks.  I can’t wait to kiss them…but I am happy to wait another 3 weeks (hopefully)!

That evening when he called me is when he told me, “You’re a hot mess.”  It was exactly the comic relief I needed.

He said the ultrasound had looked good.  He also said after consulting with the high risk Dr. they came up with a plan that includes me having a non-stress test and labs every Monday and then an ultrasound (bio-physical profile) and labs on Thursday.  He said we are just going to take it day by day and make decisions based on my health and her health.  So far, she is still doing great, so as long as my pre-eclampsia doesn’t get worse, I should be able to stay pregnant until 37 weeks.

He gave me a list of the things that would make him do the C-section immediately. He can’t increase my bp meds any higher, so if this dose doesn’t solve the problem, I can’t continue to stay pregnant.  If I get a crazy headache that won’t go away with Tylenol or caffeine, I will have to have her.  If I get double vision or dizziness, I need to have my C-section.  If I go into labor, he will take that as my body’s way of saying this baby needs to be born.  He won’t stop my labor, especially since I have already had the steroid shots and that she will be born then.  If anything looks off in my twice weekly testing of labs (higher protein in my urine, elevated liver enzymes, etc.) it will be time to have a baby.  And if she doesn’t perform the way she should at the non-stress tests and ultrasounds or if her fluid levels drop, it will be time for her to be born.

So, in a way, this is going to be a lot like waiting for a natural birth.  We don’t know when it will happen.  It could be any day or it could be a few weeks from now still.  It is definitely not the planned birth I was hoping for, but I am for sure willing to comply with his plans and hope that it will keep her in longer than what I was told a few weeks ago.

My blood pressure has still been high from time to time, but I am not sure the higher dose of medication has had a chance to do its job, so we will see what he says on Thursday (tomorrow).

I have been having what I think are Braxton Hicks contractions. I am just not sure because I never had them when I was pregnant with Angel and so I have nothing to compare them to.  It just feels like tightening in my stomach muscles and a lot of pressure.  It is not painful, but uncomfortable.  Standing is really uncomfortable.  Walking is fine, but standing still is nearly impossible.  I had them pretty consistently all day yesterday, but today it feels better.

Also, she has been SUPER active the past couple of days, which definitely is reassuring, but has also become quite painful.  She is running out of room to be as active as she has been.  I’m thinking she is inspired by all the Olympics I have been watching and is practicing to be a gymnast.

I am telling myself every day, several times a day, that whenever she is born will be the perfect time.  God already knows when she will be born and His plan is perfect.  No matter what happens, He is still in charge and I just need to trust Him.  But…fingers crossed for three more weeks ūüėČ

 

rough waters ahead

12 Aug

It’s been a little more than a month since I have posted an update. Every time I have thought to write anything, I realize that everything I have to say is just complaints about how hard this pregnancy has been.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I have pre-eclampsia and am just super frustrated with how my Dr.’s are communicating with each other and me.    I have felt certain that no one wants to hear me whine and complain all the time, so I have just not been writing.

This week, though, I was reading a book that my sis-in-law gave me and I came across a passage that really spoke to me and my present situation.  It is from Creating With God by Sarah Jobe.

I know it’s not polite to talk about tomato chunks coming out of my nose or pulling a turd from my behind.  I’ve had to give my good, Southern-woman upbringing five or six valiums just to get the facts down on paper.  But I’ve decided that silence about the suffering of pregnancy just doesn’t help.  I think there is some fear that telling the full truth about pregnancy will be too discouraging to mothers-to-be.  We fear that if we talk about the suffering, no one will ever become a mother again.  But the truth is, no suffering in the world could have kept me from having my babies.  Naming my suffering has helped me learn my own strength.  Naming the suffering of others has helped me see Christ in them.  Telling the truth, even about “indecent” bodily functions, is important, faithful work.

I really love those words and realized that even though the truth about my pregnancy is that it has been really hard, it doesn’t mean I’m not still grateful for the journey.  That is what I have been afraid of, that people will think I’m not grateful.  Because I am.  I really am.

So, here goes.  Some updates since the last time I wrote.

On July 14th, at 29 weeks pregnant, my Dr. decided he wanted to start me on some blood pressure medication due to Gestational Hypertension.  People had been asking me for months why he hadn’t already done this.  I am pretty sure he wanted to wait until I was in my third trimester to start me on anything.  Also, he was unfortunately out of the office quite a bit in the month of June and  I am afraid that my care slipped through the cracks of the other Doctors in his practice.  I will explain some more on that later.  So, he had me start on 100 mg of Labetalol BID.  He told me to continue to take my blood pressure at home 2x/day and that we wanted to try to keep it under 150/100 because when it got higher than that is when I felt truly horrible.  He scheduled me to come see him in 2 weeks and then 2 weeks after that, he scheduled me to come in for weekly ultrasounds until the time that my C-section would take place.  He was still kind of unclear as to when that would be, but it would definitely need to happen by 37 weeks due to my blood pressure situation.

The medication was making no difference whatsoever.  150/100 was a far off dream.  I was more often than not, getting readings much higher than that.  So, I spent the next few weeks feeling really tough.  When my blood pressure was really high, my face would be beat red, my head would pound, and I felt utterly exhausted.  The only time I could get any relief from my headaches was to put an ice pack on my head and sit in complete darkness.  It didn’t take the pain away, but it made it tolerable.  At times, I could hear my pulse pounding in my head and I couldn’t help but be afraid that I was going to have a stroke and our daughter and I would be gravely affected.

My mom was here for a week from July 19-26.  The main reason she came was to attend my baby shower here, which was amazing, and it was so great to have her here for a week to keep my mind occupied.  My shower was such a blessing.  It truly amazes me how many caring people God has blessed me with as friends here in Colorado.  I know I never did anything in my life to be deserving of all the love we have received, but I will gladly accept it all!

On July 28th, I saw the Dr. again.  He took a look at my list of blood pressure readings and gave me a new set of instructions to follow.  He said that if my readings were 160/105 or higher, it was time to treat them with a higher dose of medication.  So, he had me increase to 200 mg BID and after 3-5 days, if it was still higher than 160/105, to double my dose again.  I had an appointment for one last ultrasound at the specialist’s office the next week and he told me to make sure and bring my list of blood pressure readings and get her advice.

Arturo’s parents came for a visit that weekend, and I felt worse than I have felt all pregnancy.  On Sunday during church, I started to get a headache.  I took some Tylenol, which will usually at least take the edge off, and hoped for the best.  While I was cooking lunch,  I told Arturo that after we were done eating, I was going to need to lay down.  I retreated to the darkness of my bedroom and packed my head in ice.  Several hours later, I was still in misery.  I am not used to a headache that won’t go away even after a sleep.  That evening, the pain let up enough that I was able to join everyone to go out for supper, but I was probably silly for pushing myself to do that.

On the 2nd, I took a look at my readings since the increase to 200 mg BID and there was never a reading lower than 150/100 and the higher ones were somewhere around 170/110, so I decided it was time to increase it again per his directions.  So, I started taking 400 mg BID and was just sure that dose had to do the trick!

Later that day I got a horrible headache again.  This one was even worse than the one I had over the weekend.  The pain was pretty similar, but it lasted much longer.  I was seeing double and very dizzy when I would stand up.  It lasted all day and through the night.

A couple of days later is when the real fun began.

We went for our last ultrasound and appointment at the specialist’s office on August 4th.  I was prepared for the crabby ultrasound lady, but luckily, we had someone different who was so wonderful!  She was very friendly and talked to us the whole time.  At 32 weeks, baby girl was weighing 4 lbs 13 oz and in the 73% for growth!  That morning I had read she should be weighing just under 4 lbs, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how well she was growing!  She wouldn’t show us her face, but we got a picture of the back of her head, which was very clearly covered in hair.  No surprise there!

The ultrasound tech took my list of blood pressure readings and seemed very concerned.  She asked if she could take it with her and she went to find the Dr.  When they came back in, the Dr. asked me about other symptoms I had been having.  I told her about my headaches, double vision, and dizziness.  Without running any other tests, she said I had severe pre-eclampsia and that her recommendation would be for me to be admitted to the hospital immediately and to have my C-section at 34 weeks.  I was absolutely shocked.  She asked if I had time to stay and be hooked up for a non-stress test and she said they would also like to give me a steroid shot to help baby’s lungs develop.  I of course agreed.

Baby girl looked good on the NST and so the Dr. said she would call my ob and tell him her recommendations.  She said I would need a second shot 24 hours later and that if they admitted me to the hospital I would be able to get it then.  She said either her or my ob would call me later that day and let me know what to do.

I was pretty scared, not for me, but for my daughter.  I want her to have the best possible start in life and while I know that a baby born at 34 weeks will survive just fine, I didn’t want her to have a NICU stay.  I couldn’t believe that this had progressed so fast.  Just a week ago, looking at my blood pressure readings, my Dr. was still calling it Gestational Hypertension and saying I could most likely have her at 37 weeks.

In my final attempt at nesting, Arturo and I went to Target to get the last things on my list for baby.  That might not have been the smartest decision either, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax at the hospital if I had a list of things that hadn’t been bought yet.  Giving up control has been one of the biggest things I have been struggling with over the last few weeks.  I don’t really know how to do that.

On our drive home, my ob called and said, “I hear you are going to be staying with us for a couple of weeks.”  I was devastated.  I had been hoping that he would think the high risk Dr. was jumping the gun and he would let me stay home.  No such luck.  He told me to pack my bags and bring my computer, my nail polish, my books, whatever I needed to keep busy for an extended stay.  He said to be at the hospital by 5:00 and that he would come up and see me that night.

Packing was an overwhelming task.  I didn’t know what to bring for me and for baby.  If she was born at 34 weeks, it was very likely that I would be leaving the hospital before she did, so I maybe didn’t need to pack anything for her.  But, I optimistically packed a few newborn outfits for her anyway.  For myself, my laptop, my Kindle, 3 or 4 books, and my crocheting were at the top of my list.  Beyond that, I had no real clue what I would need so I just threw in a ton of underwear and socks.

My Dr. came in about an hour after I had gotten settled in on the monitors.  They had been checking my blood pressure every 10 minutes, and of course, it was completely normal.  I mean, every reading was under 130 on the top and under 90 on the bottom.  I became hopeful that if it stayed low like that, he may let me go home.  They were going to be doing a 24 hour urine collection to check the protein level in my urine.  He said I would get a second steroid shot the next morning and he was going to start me on Lovenox shots (blood thinner).  They had taken labs shortly after I had gotten there and he said my glucose level was slightly elevated and my liver enzymes as well.  He wanted to have the nurses check my blood sugar a few times to check on that further and the liver enzymes being elevated are another sign of pre-eclampsia.  When I asked him if I would be able to go home after all the testing, he said not to count on it and that a decision to let me go home would not be made until a conversation was had with the high risk ob.  His words were, “Well, letting you go home would only happen after a fight with Dr. Klein, so don’t count on it.  Plan to be here and have a c-section at 34 weeks.” Then, he dropped a bomb on me.  He was going to be out of the office and one of the other Doctors in his practice would be assuming my care for the next week.  I really hated that because whenever he is gone, the other Doctors he works with are less than fabulous.  I tried not to worry about it though because I was sure that he would leave them very clear instructions of the plan.

I didn’t sleep very much that night mostly due to just being extremely uncomfortable and hot.  I had just fallen asleep pretty deeply when my nurse came in to check my vitals.  I spent the night getting my mind prepared for an early baby and surrendered to whatever God’s will was for her life.


Through the night and the next day, my blood pressure readings remained normal.  I received the second steroid shot, a shot of Lovenox, and had my blood sugar checked a few times.  I was hooked up to the monitors for awhile in the morning and baby girl was still doing great.  When the nurse did an assessment of my feet, ankles, and reflexes, she said I had clonus.  I asked what that meant and she just said it was seen in pre-eclampsia.  I sent a quick text to my sis-in-law who is a Dr. and she said that clonus indicates increased risk of seizures and she suspected they were testing to see if I should be on anti-seizure medication.  So, that was concerning.

My sweet husband was off work again that day so he ran some errands for me.  I made arrangements for him to drop our dogs off at some of our friend’s house.  He had to work 12-14 hour shifts for the next 3 days and that is a long day for them in their kennel.  And I talked him into bringing me up a fan so I could hopefully sleep a little better at night.

The nurses were surprised that a Dr. hadn’t come to visit me at all that morning and said maybe someone would be in around lunchtime.

My parents got in the car and began the drive from Minnesota to Colorado.  My dad planned to bring her here and then he was going to fly home and come back closer to when the baby would be born.  There are no more supportive parents in the world than mine are.  I am so blessed to have them in so many ways.

That afternoon, a Dr. from my ob’s office came in.  She started by introducing herself and then asked me, “What is your understanding of why you are here and how long you will be here?”  I was so shocked by her questions.  I told her what I had been told by the high risk Dr. and my ob and she snapped back, “That’s not what he told me.  He said that if your 24 hour urine comes back fine, you can go home.  I’m not even sure why you are here.”  I was super glad that she thought I could go home, but very surprised by her attitude and that she was so willing to go against what the other two Doctors were reccommending.  She didn’t seem concerned by anything else that was going on, the nurse mentioned the clonus and she disregarded it.  She told them to discontinue checking my blood sugar and said that she would be able to let me go home that evening if my urine was ok.  She said there was no reason I would have to have a c-section at 34 weeks.  The nurse said, “Go home on bed rest.”  The Dr. said, “No.  I don’t want her on bed rest.  She needs to be moving around to prevent blood clots.”

I was so utterly confused.  Arturo was mad and said if something happened to me, he would sue her.

I talked to my parents and they convinvced me to call the high risk Dr. office and check in with them.  The high risk Dr. said that if it were up to her, she would not be sending me home, but if this Dr. discharged me to home that she would advise strict bed rest.

Despite all the conflicting information, my blood pressure was still remaining normal and baby girl was still doing awesome for her non-stress tests.  Two things to be grateful for!

I finished my 24 hour urine collection at 5:00 pm and then Arturo and I just sat waiting for the results and the directions from the Dr.  About 7:00, the nurse came in and said that my lab results had come in and my protein level was over 300 and that I did indeed have pre-eclampsia, but the Dr. said I could still go home and was discharging me.  She said that she wanted to see me in the office the next week and I told her I already had a weekly appointment scheduled.  She said if my blood pressure became 140/90 I should sit down and rest for a few hours and then take it again.  If it was still 140/90, then I should call the office.  If I got an extreme headache again, I should come straight back to Labor and Delivery.

So, we went home, more confused than ever.  We loaded up the luggage and fan that I had and stopped and picked up the dogs.  We had prepared for such a long stay and now everything had been changed.  I decided to try and find a happy medium between the different reccommendations.  I didn’t think strict bedrest was needed, but I also didn’t think it made sense to resume all normal activities.  So, I thought I should attempt modified bedrest, which is pretty much what I had been doing up to this point anyway.

Arturo had to work the next day so I was alone most of the day.  I wasn’t certain my digital blood pressure cuff was giving me correct readings because that morning I got a reading of 160/105.  I didn’t think that seemed correct.  I took it a few hours later and it was still 142/99.  I had some friends come out and bring me a manual cuff they said I could borrow.  While here, he took my blood pressure about 5 times and every time he got a reading of about 150/110.  I was so surprised.  But, I decided to just rest and not call the Dr. I didn’t think there was anything she would do anyway.  At 5:00 pm, I got a reading of 125/90 and was satisfied with that.

My parents got here that evening and my mom was planning to be here for the long-haul.

The next few days were pretty calm.  Check my blood pressure in the morning and rest most of the day.  I had a bad headache on Monday night.  I woke up to go to the bathroom (for the 20th time that night) and I was quite dizzy and almost fell down.  Two nights later, Wednesday night, my head started to get pretty bad so I resorted to drinking a cup of coffee.  I have not drank any coffee my whole pregnancy and while I know a cup of coffee is fine and safe, I found it easier to just avoid it altogether. So, after months without coffee, I had one cup and was wide awake, but headache free!

On Tuesday, I had a meltdown of sorts.  My mom and Arturo went grocery shopping and I agreed to stay home and rest.  That was so hard for me.  I love grocery shopping.  I love to be in charge of what goes in the cart and keeping a running total of what we have spent so that when we get to the register I am prepared within a few dollars of what it will cost.  I found myself crying about it and then mad at myself for crying over something so silly.

Yesterday, my mom came with me to see the Dr. My Dr. is still out so we saw the Dr. who had discharged me from the hospital.  I had an ultrasound first and was pleasantly surprised that the ultrasound tech was in a much better mood than the first time I had seen her for a scan at 12 weeks.  She visited with us the whole time and explained what we were looking at.  She showed us when baby girl was taking practice breaths and pointed out how good she was moving, which is what they were monitoring on this ultrasound.  After she had gotten everything she needed, she spent quite a bit of time trying to give us a good 3D image of her face.  We couldn’t get a clear image of her whole face because she refused to move her arms away from them, but we got some really cute shots of her nose and mouth and then another shot or two of the side of her head.  She is so stubborn and right now, I am really happy for that!  She is gonna need that strong will!

The Dr. was even more confusing than before.  She was very nice, so that was great.  But, she seems to be talking out of both sides of her mouth at this point.  She said that she had taken a look at all my labs and that in June when I did my 24 hour urine catch, it came back with a protein of over 300 and that I have had pre-eclampsia since then.

So….WHAT?  My Dr. had written the order for that test and then he was out of the office for 2 weeks.  So, after I had turned it in, I expected someone to call me if it was bad.  No one did and during that next week was when my blood pressure started to get really bad so I was at labor and delivery.  Still, no one said anything about my 24 hour urine and in fact, when I asked about it at the hospital, they said that they didn’t have access to the result.  I had called my Dr. office to see if someone could tell me something about it and was told that my Dr. had to sign off on it before a nurse could give me the results.  I asked if since he was gone one of the other Dr.s could look at it and finally a few days later, someone called me and told me that the Dr. said the result was fine.  So, I never asked about it again and it was never brought up again.

Now, I don’t know if when my Dr. got back he just saw that the other Dr. had signed off on it and didn’t look at it any closer than that or what happened, but this is obviously a concern that no one told me or realized I have had pre-eclampsia since June!

She said with everything combined, she agreed my pre-eclampsia is a severe case and that I should probably still be in the hospital on bedrest with a C-section at 34 weeks, which would be this coming Tuesday.  But, she also said we are in a gray area since my blood pressure is now controlled with the medication and that if I was her patient, she would probably wait until 37 weeks to deliver me and see me 2 times a week for ultrasounds and non-stress tests until then.

I had already been scheduled to see my Dr. this coming Thursday, but she had me put on his schedule for another ultrasound and appointment on Monday so that he can make the final determination as to whether I need to have the C-section on Tuesday or can wait a few more weeks.

So, we shall see what Monday brings, but Arturo and I have pretty much decided that we are not going to let him deliver her at 34 weeks unless my situation with the pre-eclampsia becomes life-threatening.  I will do whatever it takes to keep this girl in, even if that means not going to the grocery store again for several months.

I will leave you with another passage from the book Creating with God by Sarah Jobe.  I am working on accepting this and believing it to be true!

Pregnant women learn throughout pregnancy to trust others for their basic needs.  They learn their own limits.  They learn to ask for and receive help.  They learn to surround themselves with communities of support, knowing that when they most need to, they might not be able to lift their own legs.  They learn to trust that God will meet their needs through the people around them.  In short, pregnant women learn to live by faith.

Living by faith isn’t easy.  Most of us don’t want to ask for help.  We don’t want to be dependent.  It feels very vulnerable to let others (even our partners!) see our weakness.  We don’t know if they’ll honor that weakness or exploit it-if they’ll help us in our need or dismiss us as high-maintenance nuisances.  It is risky business to believe that God’s grace is sufficient to meet our needs, that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

We like to think that being Christian is about helping other people.  It feels good to meet the needs of others.  But being a Christian is equally about learning to let others help us.  Jesus asks his disciples to leave their jobs and families to follow him, not knowing where their next meal will come from.  God asks Abraham to leave family and homeland on the absurd promise that in his old age he will have a child who will become a great nation.  The Israelites leave slavery in Egypt only to wander around in a desert, depending on God to provide every single meal.  The Bible is full of stories of God asking folks to leave their self-built support systems to live lives of dependence in which God meets their basic daily needs. This sort of seemingly foolish, extremely uncomfortable willingness to lean upon God is at the heart of Christian faith.  Our willingness to be weak, vulnerable, and dependent is truly the space in which God’s power is seen.

 

 

 

 

 

anatomy scan

2 Jun

Well, this is the post I have been waiting to write for 4 years.¬† We had our anatomy scan yesterday, and Frijole is looking healthy ūüôā¬† But, first let me back up and tell you a few other things that have happened since I last wrote.

The last time I posted about the pregnancy, I was 17 weeks and had just had an appointment.¬† Everything was great then and we were just anxiously waiting for our anatomy scan to be scheduled.¬† We had to wait for the specialist’s office to call to schedule it.¬† My ob said he would like us to have it between 21 and 26 weeks, and I was really hoping for it to be sooner rather than later.¬† So, when they called to schedule it and said the soonest they could get us in was June 1st, which would put me at 23 weeks, I had no idea how I would be able to wait that long.

When Arturo came home from work that day and I told him the news, he said we should schedule an elective ultrasound.  I had been wanting to go for one but up to that point, had not been able to convince him it was worth it to spend the money.  I was so overjoyed that he was willing to now!

So, the next week, when I was 18 weeks, we went for the ultrasound.¬† I was feeling a little anxious in the days before the scan. It was at 18 weeks when we were told our son did not have any kidneys and would not be able to survive outside of the womb.¬† The main focus of the elective ultrasound is for them to be able to tell you the gender of your baby, but I knew that if Frijole didn’t have any kidneys, I would know what that looks like immediately.¬† There would not be any amniotic fluid and everything would look grey.¬† That was what I would be looking for.

When we arrived, she asked us if we were hoping for a boy or a girl.¬† We both said we were hoping for a healthy baby, but we were pretty sure that this baby was a girl.¬† The tech said, “Come on.¬† What are you really hoping for?”¬† I told her that I know a lot of people say that they just want a healthy baby, but that we REALLY meant that.¬† I told her about Angel and she then understood.

The ultrasound was amazing.¬† As soon as it began, I could see Frijole surrounded by fluid and I felt so calm and relaxed.¬† I knew Baby’s kidneys were working and was convinced FINALLY that this was a different pregnancy, a different baby.¬† The best part of the ultrasound was watching Arturo’s face light up.¬† It was a 3d/4d scan so the images were so clear and we saw so much more than what you can see on a scan at the Doctor’s office in 2d.¬† Frijole had both hands going and it really looked like Baby was waving at us with both hands.¬† It was unreal.¬† And, we found out we have a daughter on the way!

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I have felt desperate to know if Frijole was a boy or a girl and not for the reason most moms want to know.¬† We didn’t know Angel’s gender until his autopsy was complete and so to know this baby’s gender is another indication that she is healthy!

I have been so much more calm and relaxed since going for that ultrasound and we have both said numerous times how glad we are that we spent the money to do it.

I have been feeling pretty good, just normal pregnancy stuff that I have managed to find ways to cope with.¬† My back has been pretty sore and so I have been going to the Chiropractor for adjustments every 2-3 weeks and using the heating pad off and on at home.¬† My hips have also been sore, but sleeping with a pillow between my knees has been helping that some.¬† I am still pretty constipated, but taking Metamucil every morning and stool softeners every evening is making a difference.¬† My cravings have included every single commercial I see including food and every single Facebook post including food.¬† So far, I have been able to fulfill them all until this week when a recipe for lefse came up in my news feed.¬† I can’t get lefse here in Colorado.¬† I am hoping to find some when I travel back north at the end of the month.¬† Weirdly, my morning sickness resurfaced last week. I hadn’t had any for weeks and now all of a sudden, I am puking again.¬† So, that is weird.¬† I am 6 pounds lighter than I was pre-pregnancy, but I had plenty of extra weight, so no biggie.

Arturo and I took a “babymoon” to Vegas when I was 20 weeks.¬† We own a timeshare with points, so our out of pocket expense was basically nothing except for meals while we were there.¬† It was a stretch to take the trip since we have been struggling financially but we knew that we should make it a priority since money will be even tighter after our daughter is born and we probably won’t take a vacation just us two for years.¬† We had a really great, relaxing trip.¬† We took in a couple of shows, ate some good food, but spent most of our time relaxing by the pool at our resort.¬† We even took advantage of the grocery store nearby and the grills at the resort.¬† The best meal we had in Vegas were steaks that Arturo grilled.

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We had 2 nieces born in May which is really exciting!¬† Arturo’s sister had a baby on May 5th and my brother and his wife had a baby on May 26th.¬† I can’t wait to meet both of them!¬† I love being an aunt and how fun it will be for our daughter to have cousins so close to her age!

So, now, on to our day yesterday.

I had always pictured a healthy anatomy scan to go much differently than how it went yesterday.  I am even more grateful that we had done the elective ultrasound so that I knew my worst fears were not true this time.

After checking in at the hospital and waiting for a few minutes, a nurse took us back to an exam room where she weighed me and took my vitals.¬† She asked us a few questions and told us that we would be first meeting with a genetic counselor and then having the ultrasound.¬† This seemed backwards to me.¬† Why would we need to speak with a genetic counselor BEFORE the ultrasound?¬† My stress was evident in my blood pressure reading of 150/90.¬† This is pretty high and caused the nurse to be concerned.¬† I had high blood pressure while pregnant with Angel that caused me to be hospitalized for a few days.¬† It was even higher then, though.¬† I don’t remember the numbers, they just kept telling me it was “stroke level.”¬† So, I am hoping this isn’t the start of that.

The nurse took us into the counselor’s office which turned into one of the most stressful encounters I have had with any medical professional.¬† She wanted to discuss all of our family’s medical histories, which is empty on Arturo’s side, so she focused on my family history instead.¬† How fun!¬† She wanted to know about cancer, diabetes, pregnancy problems, mental illness, etc.¬† She told us all the chances of me getting these same illnesses and our daughter getting them as well.¬† She even went as far as to tell me that since my paternal grandmother had breast cancer, my chances double to getting it myself.¬† So, why are we talking about that right now?!?¬† I finally quit telling her about the medical history in my family.¬† When she asked questions, I just kept saying no.¬† It wasn’t worth the discussion.

Then, she wanted to tell us about all the additional risk factors our baby faces since we conceived through IVF and ICSI (the method in which they fertilized my eggs by injecting them with Arturo’s sperm instead of just putting them together).¬† IVF gives our daughter increased risk of having Down’s Syndrome and ICSI gives her increased risk of having a sex chromosome issue.¬† Neat.¬† Thanks for the info.

Then, of course, we had to discuss my age and weight, which are additional risk factors.

She also wanted to discuss Angel’s conditions and give her opinions about what could have caused his problems.¬† She said that in a lot of cases like his, it is caused because the mother had gestational diabetes.¬† Well, guess¬† what?¬† I didn’t, so try again.

What was most annoying about our consultation with her is that it’s not like she was telling us anything we didn’t know.¬† I know how old I am.¬† I know that I am overweight.¬† I know the risks of doing IVF.¬† I know about all my family’s health history and that myself and my child will possibly face some of those same illnesses and diseases.¬† I know about Angel’s conditions and I already know there is a small chance these could reoccur in our future children.¬† So, why are we talking about this now?¬† We aren’t trying to breed Superman.¬† We just want a child to raise on this earth.

She offered us amniocentesis if the scan noted any issues.¬† I told her again, that we only wanted to know if our baby had any fatal conditions.¬† We didn’t need to know about anything that might be life altering.¬† We would deal with that if we had to.

So, after that fun discussion, she sent back to the waiting room until the ultrasound.  We waited about 20 minutes to be called back this time.

Now, I understand that an ultrasound is a medical procedure and whoever is doing the scan is looking for very specific things, taking measurements, and getting the necessary pictures.¬† But, what I have always wondered is why do the techs always seem so sterile?¬† She hardly spoke at all.¬† She didn’t tell us what she was looking at and if things looked good or not.¬† Baby girl wasn’t moving much so that made the scan a little bit more difficult.¬† She wouldn’t get in the position the tech wanted her in to fully see her heart.¬† She had me go empty my bladder after about 20 minutes hoping that would give baby girl some more room to move around.¬† She started moving a little bit more, but she still couldn’t get all the necessary pictures of her heart.¬† She finally did tell us that everything else looked great.¬† She definitely has two functioning kidneys, her legs are separate, and her umbilical cord has 3 vessels.¬† Those were the 3 things that I was concerned about because of Angel’s conditions.¬† Angel had no kidneys, his legs were connected, and he only had a 2 vessel cord.¬† Oh, and of couse, the genetalia were present again on this ultrasound and she is definitely a girl!¬† She also said her brain looks good, she has no signs of cleft palate, and all of her organs looked good.¬† She has plenty of amniotic fluid as well.¬† So, things look good.¬† She said the structure of her heart appears to all be there, but she can’t see if there is a hole in her heart or not.¬† She said that there is no reason to think she does, but she just can’t tell.

The Dr. came in a few minutes later to go over what the tech had just told us and give us some more annoying information.  She said that there is an increased risk of heart defects with IVF and that she wanted us to come back in 4-6 weeks for a closer look at her heart when she is bigger and it will be easier to see.  So, obviously that could be a little concerning, but I am going to do my best to not let it stress me out.  At least it is an opportunity to see her again.  She was also concerned about me possibly having gestational diabetes, again because of my weight, and wants to make sure my ob checks me for that ASAP.

When the Dr. left the room, the tech said she had forgot to look at my ovaries and was going to do that quickly.¬† By this point, baby girl was moving like crazy and so after confirming that my ovaries are OK, she took another quick peak at her heart and she said, “I wouldn’t be concerned.¬† Everything looks good to me.”¬† So, that is what I am going to keep at the front of my mind.

Before we left, the nurse came in and took by blood pressure again and it was 114/80, so much better!

We see our ob here in town on Monday and we are scheduled for a repeat scan with the specialist’s office on July 7th.

Every night I pray that God will keep our daughter healthy and that she will outlive me.  And, my new mantra is that I am too blessed to be stressed!

 

2nd beta and 1st ultrasound

26 Jan

My 2nd beta on Monday was 1646!  That is more than triple since Friday!  I thought for sure that number was an indication that I was carrying twins.  I was so super excited all day Monday!

I am still in disbelief about this whole thing, and if I wasn’t puking and exhausted, I might not believe I am pregnant at all.¬† I keep telling myself that this is actually happening, but my heart is still cautious.

I found this due date calculator online that tells you your due date after a¬†Frozen Embryo Transfer, with 5 day blastocysts.¬† The calculator says that my due date is September 27th.¬† Now, I know due dates don’t mean very much, but September 27th is Angel’s birthday and seeing that date as my due date really blew me away.

This morning, we had our first ultrasound.¬† And, well, it was bittersweet.¬† Two became one.¬† I am so happy that there is a baby in there, though I can’t help feel¬†sad that we lost one.¬† The nurse said that sometimes by next week the second one will show up, but she said that they usually see HCG numbers over 1000 at the first draw if it is twins.¬† So, while she said my numbers are very good, they are not twin numbers.¬† She said I am 5 weeks 2 days and that my due date is September 25th.

I have another ultrasound next Thursday, February 4th and will continue to see my RE until 8 weeks pregnant.  I only have one more week of Estradiol injections, but seven more weeks of the dreaded PIO.  I am starting to get a little sore, but it is bearable and will be worth it!!

I’ll update again after our next ultrasound.

just chillin

22 Jun

Well, apparently this baby is already planning to drive me crazy and play tricks on me. My theory is that baby is like Arturo, relaxed and not in a hurry about anything.

I was able to stay pretty calm over the weekend. I felt more at peace every day. I spent so much time in prayer and the Word it really helped me to be hopeful.

We went in for another ultrasound today. Dr. Hayes, who did the ultrasound last week, tried again and still couldn’t see anything other than the gestational sac. I started to tear up a little bit. She decided to go and get Dr. Magarelli. I have only been in his presence for my retrieval and my transfer. He doesn’t do the routine appointments. So, I was kind of surprised.

When he came in he said that he has X-ray vision and not only will he find our baby, but he will be able to see our next babies and grandchildren. Ok, a stretch, but his joke did relax me.

He first of all said, “This is going to sound weird, but you have a beautiful placenta.” He’s right. It did sound weird.

It took him a minute, but he found Baby!! Our baby is laying on top of the placenta, so because the baby is still so small, it makes it very difficult to see Baby. I have never been so relieved. I burst into tears of joy. He gave Arturo and I a big hug and at one point he referred to baby as “our daughter.” Everyone seems to think Baby is a girl.

I told him my theory about Arturo being a laid back guy and he said that makes sense because Baby is literally reclining on the placenta.

He said by next week we should be able to hear the heartbeat on the ultrasound and said to make an appointment for then.

I can never express the full depth of my gratitude to all those that are praying for us. It is overwhelming when¬† I think of the way we are being supported by people who don’t even know us. We are blessed beyond measure.

I am praying that the rest of my pregnancy is stress free, but I can already tell this child is going to give me a run for my money.

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