Monday, December 28, 2009

Guess What!?

We're home! Literally home! And please don't hate me for not updating this for the longest time. It's been a long road here with much to do.

So what happened? Well, we had initially thought we would be released from the hospital on the 11th, but we had some issues with eating and gaining weight after the eye exam and shots and other busy days earlier that week. So we had to wait and see if she could get back on track with her eating and begin gaining weight again. Over that weekend, she began to again take her full bottles and packing on the pounds, although she wasn't gaining as much as they really wanted her to. Still, they felt good that she would be released on the 14th. I didn't plan for it, lol. I knew anything could happen between now and then and after getting my hopes up previously, I didn't want to feel that disappointment again. Sunday, Dec 13th, overnight, she had to pass one final test before we knew if she could go home. That was the car seat test. Still, our primary night nurse felt so confident that she would pass that she was almost in tears as I said good night to her. She knew it would be her last night to work with Elisa and loved her. Long and short...she passed! So I arrived at the hospital on the 14th and we walked out the door by noon!

We previously had tickets home for the 18th so we spent the week in Phoenix at a local hotel. Unfortunately, one of our host family became ill on the 14th and we just couldn't risk staying there with her. :( We were so disappointed because they had been wonderful and we were looking forward to spending that week with them.

Elisa handled her first plane ride like a champ. We kept quiet on my return home because we had planned to surprise Andrew's parents. They came down Saturday the 19th to find Elisa and I home already. They thought they were going to go to the airport with Andrew to pick us all up. Instead they walked into the nursery and there we were. It was sooo much fun!!

So really other than posting a few pictures of her on Christmas day, there's not much that's been going on. We've been adjusting to our new "normal." Andrew and I are learning to live with each other again, lol. 2 months is a LONG time to be apart. But I am sooo thrilled to be home and am enjoying my time immensely.

Oh, and by the way, we are two months old today!! Her personality comes out more each day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Play time!

We were wide awake after our feed today so we got to play in one of
the hospital's bouncy chairs. She loved it! Even after we scared her
half to death by turning on the vibrate! I love her more every day.

We also had a virtual baby shower. Friends gathered at our house and
we used Skype to see each other. It was great and Elisa received lots
of great gifts. Some even set up the nursery for me so I don't have to
do it when I finally get home. I have great friends! Love you all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Where's my baby?"

Three words that should never be uttered out of a mother's mouth, lol. This morning, I arrived at Elisa's room to find all the curtains closed, lights off and room EMPTY. I stepped in the room and one of our favorite nurses was following me and the first thing I said was "where's my baby?" Her response was "Oh, I don't know." In her defense, she wasn't Elisa's nurse today so it wasn't her job to keep track of her, lol. After a few panic stricken seconds, I realized that Elisa was actually in the room, just on the floor in a bouncy chair, lol. And doing fine. And playing with her hands. It was just those initial seconds of seeing an empty room and wondering what the heck happened to my baby and why she wasn't in her room.

Just had to share! :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Life is good

Working while my baby sleeps on my lap. I couldn't ask for more. Well,
maybe to be sitting at my house in Kansas City rather than the
hospital in Phoenix but I'll take what I can get right now.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ok ok!


No tube, until I got my new one!

So hungry I'm eating my hand.

Just cuz I love this one.

4lb 4 oz. We backslid a bit on our bottles but she'll get back up there. She's taking a full one about once a shift, but then hardly anything for the rest. We now have a team of three day nurses who subscribe to the program along with a great night nurse. So hopefully our consistency frustrations are a thing of the past!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quick update

Well, our favorite nurse was on yesterday - one who is one of our few primaries. She noticed all of the inconsistencies and frustrations we were having and went to work. We now have a written plan in place in Elisa's file, she brought in the big doctor on campus to talk to us and posted signs around her room. The signs are basically saying "I'm small, but I'm mighty - give me a chance and I might surprise you!" I'll post pictures of them later, she really did a great job with it. Overall, it brought me back to being able to deal and renewed my confidence that she will be taken care of when I'm not here.

More later, with photos, I promise.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yes, there is an end...

To my rope. And I've found it.

So I said in my last post, there was quite a bit to update, and there was. There still is. She's doing fabulous. She's taking at least 40% of her feeds by bottle/nipple. She's been maintaining her temperature and is very close to being in an open crib. She has not had a recordable brady in 3 days. Being home before Christmas is not a far off possibility. Some feel that they would be shocked if she were still in at that time. In fact, some were so confident that I even bought my plane tickets home!

Here's where the end of the rope comes in. The opinion above changes based on what doctor/nurse/specialist is on that day. When it comes to consistency, they don't have it. In fact, the reason I believe she is only at 40% feeds is because when I'm not there, and it's not one of my primary nurses, they don't even bother to try to get her to take the bottle. And this is not just an unjustifiable frustration. I had one nurse admit to me that she was only on the pump because she was too busy with other stuff to feed her. Really? I had another nurse who was so resistant to letting me breast feed her that after she reluctantly let me try (and SUCCEED) and even get her to take another 8ml by bottle, force another FULL feed down her throat. Through the tube. When we arrived in that morning, she was on the pump. The reason? She was sleeping and she didn't want to wake her. Uhhhh, she wakes up when you get in there to change her diaper and take her temperature. I mean, she screams bloody murder. And you are supposed to do this every three hours, before you feed her. So how can she NOT be awake? Poor Elisa was in so much pain after that double feed. I had to sit with her and burp her for the entire three hours after it was over to keep her even remotely comfortable. And then, by the time her next feed came around, she SO was not hungry. Eh, hello? So they pushed her feeding times back by an hour.

I keep being told to trust the medical staff. I know the majority of the time she gets good care. This one instance was the first instance of anything like this in the entire 5 weeks that we've been there. But it's hard to trust someone when the story changes. Day by day, hour by hour. It's not intentional, but how am I supposed to gain any sense of direction, or even have confidence that they know what they are doing, when I can't get a consistent answer to the same question?

I'm at the point that I don't even want to go into the hospital anymore. It's too stressful. I can't go from A to C to B to K to D and then finally to Z. My brain can't comprehend the constant changes in direction. They keep telling me it's Elisa driving these changes, but from what I've seen, it's not. It's the whim of whomever is caring for her that day. She'll take the entire bottle...if you work with her.

I just want to go home. I just want my baby. I just wanted a normal life, a normal pregnancy, a normal ending.

*Sigh* this to shall pass.

My little rock star, who makes this all worth it:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monthly update?

So I am entirely too tired to really post an update with all the recent happenings. There have been a lot, and just the long and short is we may be able to come home in 2-3 weeks. I'll post a big update in a few days when I just have more energy. In the meantime, enjoy these month old pics! We were one month old yesterday. Hard to believe...

Just too cute for words!

Playing with my fingers.

I promise to give a full update in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

4 weeks today!

So not too much really to update. We've had a good week. We talked about trying real feeds on Friday, and Elisa decided that was too much. She spit up and bradied once the words were out of the doctors mouth. She dropped her stats enough that they needed to remind her to breathe, so they consider that an event. It was too funny. Guess we forgot to consult with her first. So they decided she wasn't quite ready yet.

Andrew arrived Monday night for Thanksgiving. Both Elisa and I are very happy to have him here. Elisa got some good daddy and me time in on Tuesday and Elisa took a big nap on his chest.

We also went to see the Blind Side before heading up to the hospital. I will say it was a very good movie, but I had difficulty concentrating. The main reason is because I felt so extremely guilty for going out and spending a morning at the movies while Elisa was at the hospital. I know that we are encouraged by the staff to get out and take care of ourselves and spend time with each other outside of the hospital, but I couldn't help thinking that I WOULDN'T be at the movies if she weren't in the hospital. If I had to care for her myself, I wouldn't be able to go. Simply because I wouldn't fork over the cash to hire a baby sitter just to go to a morning movie during the week!

Anyway. Today was a very exciting day, as we tried feeding finally. And Elisa, again, showed her stardom. She latched on almost immediately and fed for 4 consecutive minutes. The consultant was thrilled. It was more than she expected from her seeing as she's still so young and little. But she took to it almost immediately. We did have to encourage her a bit but she got it. We still fed her through the tube for her full feeding, but it was very encouraging to see her accomplish this small step. Makes me feel like we are that much closer to bringing her home. It was kind of funny to watch her, though. As she is still little, she doesn't quite have the suck, swallow and breathe concept down. So you could see her thinking through the steps almost. She'd take a couple of sucks, swallow a few big swallows, stop and then breathe a few times and start over again.

So happy 4 weeks, my love. She's now 3 lb 9 oz and growing like a weed. 7 more ounces for her to get to 4 lbs! I can't believe she'll be a month old on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3 week birthday

Happy three weeks, my love. It's getting harder and harder to leave her every night, especially since she's been a bit more awake and active now. Not really much to report. She's now over 3 lbs and steadily gains. She's still being fed from her tube and has the occasional spit up. She had a big one last Saturday that scared grandma and me half to death (went as far as turning blue and needed the vacuum to get it all out so she could breathe again!) Because she keeps spitting up they have her on 2 hour feeds. No update on when we will be able to go home. We have to learn to eat from a bottle first, even though we are keeping our own temp, and the brady's seem to be occasional.

So I thought I'd just do a blog of the differences between these last three weeks. You'll have to let me know if you see a difference in her size, because I sure do.


About 1 week:

2 weeks:

3 weeks:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Well, today is National Fight for Preemies day and I joined last week to blog today. I've spent a lot of time figuring out what I should write about. And today, on what would have been 32 weeks and my main goal when all of this first began, it struck me how our perspective changes based on things that go on around us. Sometimes, this can be for the better. Sometimes not. It really depends on our choice.

For instance, now at 3 lbs, we look at Elisa and think of how BIG she is. I look at full term babies and think of how gigantic they are compared to Elisa. To me, she's become just the right size. I don't see her as little anymore. I don't see her as a "preemie" and I won't label her as one. She may have issues when she gets older because of her prematurity, but I will not allow the circumstances of her early birth to be the definition of who she is. She's just mine, and she's gorgeous.

While trying to figure out what to write for this, I ran across a lot of stories of preemies who were born around the same gestation as Elisa or later. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a success story, only heartbreak. One died after 11 weeks. Another ended up with lifelong issues that will never allow him to grow up. Now, both of these parents decided to use this tragedy to spread awareness and to fight for preemies. But what about those preemies, like mine? Who are perfectly healthy, just early. Where is the hope stories for her, the success stories? My heart breaks for these families and I am in awe of their amazing attitude and desire to turn their heart break into a positive. But I would like to see, and hear, about those babies who were born early but grew up to live normal lives.

I guess that's where I differ from a lot of people. I can't focus everything on the negative. I have to believe that God has something for me out of this. Which is actually a change for me, as I used to always err on the side of "safety" and assume the worst, rather than hope for the best. I had a choice to choose my perspective. I probably have many reasons to be mad at God and rail at Him for where I am now. After all, all I wanted was a normal pregnancy and a healthy child. Instead I got two failed pregnancies and a preemie - born in a city thousands of miles away from home and a forced long separation from Andrew. We missed all the exciting times of bringing a new child into this world. The celebrations, the flurry of activity when it's "time." And I won't say I haven't had many arguments with God about all of this. I've screamed, I've yelled, I've questioned. But in the end, I only come to one conclusion. I can stay angry at God or I can see the best in this. And you know what I see? I see a pregnancy that lasted 3 weeks longer than it should have, thanks to the skill of the medical staff here. I see a healthy 29 week baby, who acted more like a 32+ weeker at birth. I see excellent medical care for my baby. God performed more than one miracle in my life since I've been out here. And through it all, my perspective has changed.

In the end, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that Elisa is healthy. I'm thankful that I ended up in Phoenix. I'm thankful that I have the option of continuing to work while she's in the NICU. I'm thankful for a job that has worked with me throughout these last challenging weeks. I'm thankful for a spouse who dropped everything when it was necessary to come to me. I'm thankful for a family who also dropped everything to be a support for me when Andrew had to return home. I'm thankful for new friendships who graciously offered support and a roof over my head.

It could have been so different. She could have been sick. But she wasn't.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Two weeks!

Not too much to really update with. Elisa made birth weight today, yay! It was the doctor's goal to get her back up to that by two weeks and she made it. The one area she is underachieving in, sheesh. Just has to be weight, right? Not like someone she's related to. Otherwise, she is still breathing on her own, she's made it to full feeds and this time is handling the extra fortifier. (Previous attempts, she gave back all she was given so they had to take the fortifier out).

Andrew and I are hanging in there. This is a very stressful time for both of us, made even more stressful by the enforced separation. I can't imagine being in Andrew's shoes and having to leave us both behind. At least I get the comfort of sitting with her and seeing her. We are doing pretty well with the situation before us and I can only credit God with providing us both with the strength needed to get through this. I am very thankful for Andrew and I know he will be a very involved father and I can't wait to give him the opportunity.

So here we are at two weeks old. I swear she's bigger, but you can't really tell.

Thanks Sadie and Lauren for my comfy blankey. I really like it!

She's showing her orneriness again today. We kept pushing the hat up out of her eyes and she would pull it back down.

So happy 2 weeks Elisa!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

1 week today!

Happy 1 week! I can hardly believe it, really. It seems very surreal to me still that I am now watching her in her isolette rather than watching my belly grow or feeling her kick. We've watched several of her movements and laughed, because they were the exact things she would do in the womb!

So what have we learned about Elisa during this past week?

To start, she's received a double measure of the King/Hartzheim stubbornness. We should have known this with the shear amount of stubbornness that just the two of us harbor. Why do we think so? Well, lets look at her under her billi light. She hated the sunglasses they put over her eyes on this thing. I mean, hated. She would constantly finger it and attempt to push it off her eyes. She was also very active under this light as I think it just wasn't comfortable for her. Anyway, one night Andrew and I were in the room with her and watched her push her sunglasses off. So we reached in and put them back in place. Not two seconds after we replaced them, she had her hands back to them and pushed them off again. She did this several times in a row. We just laughed and laughed. Boy...what did we get ourselves into.

She likes baths. No surprise here again, as one of the tricks Andrew's mom used to use on him when he was fussy was to give him a bath. To this day, he always feels better after a shower or a bath. She received her first bath on Tuesday, and the look on her face said it all!

She has a mind of her own. Another not surprising feature she's inherited. She likes her legs straight out in front of her. No matter how much we attempt to contain her legs, she kicks everything off and sticks them right up. This is also how she was in the womb, so even though preemies tend to like to be comforted by a sense of "containment" and having their arms and legs balled up against them, she prefers that they are straight out. This is probably why she was footling breech in the womb. This is the exact position she would sit in those last few weeks. I don't have a picture of this one so you'll just have to imagine it.

Also, thanks to her great aunt and uncle in California, she is well dressed! She received several adorable preemie outfits and I was thrilled to find out we can dress her in those! So on they went...even though they are slightly too big. But she looks so adorable.

So, how's she been doing? Well, really, overall she's been doing well. Her only problems have been with bradycardia, which is where her heart slows significantly, usually accompanied by a bout of apnea where she forgets to breath. This is very common in preemies and is due to the immaturity of their lungs. She was evaluated by a developmental specialist who felt she was doing very well and her only issue was her breathing wasn't even yet. She also gave us some tips on how to read when she is overstimulated and needs to rest. Hiccuping, twitching, tremors, holding her arms straight out in front of her are all "stress" signs. When she's comfortable, her breathing will even out, her arms will tuck in next to her body and she's very calm. Also, when she puts her hand to her mouth, or sucks or pulls her arms into her body herself, she is "self-soothing." We've watched her for the last couple of days and are starting to be able to read her mood.

She really is continuing to amaze us. Andrew and I are, of course, worried still. We have no reason to be as she has no issues outside of normal preemie issues, but we are still scared. We will probably always worry until we can get her home with us. And still worry even some more, lol. It's always a wrench to my heart to leave her at night. I miss her tremendously when we leave and can't wait to see her again the next day. She's already captured my heart, I already don't know what I'd do with out her.

So happy 1 week Elisa! We love you very much.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Bloggers Unite - Fight for Preemies!

I just found out that November is preemie baby awareness month. As I am now the mother of a preemie, thought I'd participate. Spread the word!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daddy's turn!

So Elisa has been under the billirubin lights for about 2 days now, but in talking with the nurse practitioner in charge of her care, her numbers are borderline and she feels she will most likely be able to come off the lights. She is still doing excellent, although she did have one instance of brady while we were in the room. But she also corrected herself, so that's good.

Long and short of it is, I was able to change her diaper and give her a quick sponge bath. And then, it was Andrew's turn to hold her! After a few initial moments of wait, who are you, and her looking up at him, she calmed down. She recognized him at this point, and settled down to sleep. I was able to give her a little food in her feeding tube and she's been sleeping ever since. Here's a photo of her recognition:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome Elisa Grace - the birth story


Not only is she a drama queen, but she's impatient and has a mind of her own. As you read, on Monday I was moved back down to L&D as I was having contractions overnight and I also had an increase in labor symptoms. They wanted me to be monitored for 24 hours a day instead of the 2 hours a day they normally do in antepartum. We got a great nurse our first day down there and when we were talking with her about our frustration with the whole doctor shuffle and each one having a different plan of action and attempting to talk me out of the terb pump, etc etc, she managed to work it out that the doc who put me on the terb pump (who is also the one that all of the nurses I've spoken with absolutely LOVE) was my "main" doc and any change in plan for my care would have to go through him first. I was ecstatic. He wanted to check me again as he had a couple of ideas of how to prolong my pregnancy but first needed to see where I was and where the baby was. So he checked, and baby was footling breech again, but he also disagreed with the 6cm that had sent me back down to L&D but felt I was more 4cm. Again with the cervix moving backwards! He also increased the terb as I was still having breakthrough contractions and irritability.

But as the day continued, the terb, even at the increased value, was not stopping things. So he decided to put me back on the mag, even though it had given me a pulmonary edema before. They put me on a lower dose and watched my breathing and lungs very very closely. I also was diligent at doing my breathing exercises. After the first initial doses, I finally quieted down. He had considered moving me up to a higher dose, but after seeing how quiet I became with the smaller dose, he didn't want to increase my risk of the edema. The terb was still on at this point just to provide that extra oomph to help keep me quiet. I was not too concerned at this point, I felt very much like this doctor was going to do all in his power to keep me pregnant as long as he could. He also moved my ultrasound up from November 5th to October 30th as that would have been 3 weeks exactly after the first one! Just so I could see her again and check her size as I knew things were getting close.

Overnight on Tuesday, I began again to have periods of 10 contractions an hour and then down to almost no contractions an hour. The next morning, they took the terb pump out as it also increased my risk of an edema and the doctor knew my body had built up a tolerance for it. The mag was still doing a decent job of calming things down as my periods of lots of contractions weren't that frequent. They also started a motrin regimen as it can help to calm the uterus.

Tuesday went on, but as it did, things began to accelerate. I'd have periods of 6-9 contractions an hour followed by periods of 2-3. They gave me the first dose of a second round of steroids, as there is significant research out there to show that babies who have two rounds of steroids within two weeks in a pre-term labor situation do much better than those who don't. The goal was to get me to atleast Friday so I'd be in the steroid window. They also kept giving me medications, boosts of terb, and something else that I can't remember to calm the uterus down. It would work for a while, but then they'd pick back up. I wasn't too concerned as things didn't seem too bad. Andrew called around 2 Phoenix time, I believe. Here is where things start to get a bit fuzzy. All seemed to be going well, so we told him that and the update and all of that.

3 pm came and suddenly I started feeling lots of cramping and rolling around. I thought that gas had become unbearable and that I was constipated, as I hadn't been to the bathroom for that purpose in 2 days. So I asked for a suppository, thinking that would stop the cramping. The pain was so severe that I was unable to breathe through a few of the contractions. The nurse was in there trying to coach me to keep breathing. The suppository kicked in so I went to the bathroom and when I was done, I noticed that I felt something "down there." At this point, I knew it wasn't good. So we called the nurse back in who called the doctor. They examined me and found I was now 7cm, baby had dropped. With her being so small and me being so dialated, we were now in a situation where she could get her legs stuck down there or her cord could come through and get crimped and she could suffocate. Our only option for her survival was to deliver her immediately, by c-section.

So we had to call Andrew and tell him this. Andrew began a flurry of activity to get here to Phoenix, everything from finding a flight out that night to driving. Thanks to the wonderful generosity of one of his students parents, he was able to fly out first thing Thursday morning. Anyway, this was around 4 pm Phoenix time and things were flying. Nurses coming in and out preparing things, anesthesiologists advising me on spinal blocks, doctors checking things out, preparing the operating room. Of course the contractions are continuing and I'm miserable and seriously at the point of just wanting this to be over. They roll me down to the operating room and I can hardly move. They move me onto the table and I still can hardly move. The pain was just that bad. I could hardly breathe and hardly move. Finally got the epidural in and just things are fuzzy from here. I know mom was in the room with me, I know I felt like I couldn't breathe. I could feel them pulling and tugging at my tummy. It was the oddest sensation. I swear it felt like an hour, but couldn't have been more than 10 minutes when I heard the doctors go "It's a girl and she's big!" They called out the time of 5:06 pm.

Then you wait to hear that first cry of your baby. It never came. I just remember, though, having this incredible peace, I just knew she was ok. Mom couldn't see anything as there was a swarm of doctors and nurses around her, working on her. I kept asking, is she ok, what's going on, and no one would answer me of the medical staff. Mom couldn't see from where she was. She asked if she could go over and check her out and was given permission. So she did. She still couldn't see much but could see that she was pink, meaning she had plenty of oxygen. She also didn't sense a rushing/panic from the medical staff around her, which told her that things were fine and they were just assessing. I don't know how long it was, but they were finally wheeling her by me and stopped so I could see her while they were still sewing me up. She was 2 lbs 13 oz and 15 inches long. I don't know how long it took, but she received an apgar score of 8. She also didn't cry in the beginning because they pretty much grabbed her and put her on a ventilator immediately and gave her surfactant. Turns out she didn't need the ventilator. I don't know when they took it out but they did tell me in the operating room that she was breathing on her own. Mom had to go with her to the NICU as for some reason they didn't want her staying with me, even though I wanted her with me, lol. I knew Elisa was ok so didn't need her to follow the NICU team. But the medical staff insisted, so off she went.

I was sent into the recovery room where I stayed for an hour and was finally moved up to post partum. The room I ended up in is the room right next door to where I spent the last week and a half, lol. It's also closer to the NICU which is why they chose to send me here. They wouldn't let me out of bed until 4 hours post op in the post partum room (which technically was 5 hours post op...would have been around midnight) in order to see her. But I was bound and determined. I couldn't see her at all really lying prone on the operating table. Mom had taken pictures, but still, it's not the same as seeing HER.

At 10:30, 2 hours before my official "release time" the nurses gave me permission to go see her! So mom and I walked (well, I was wheeled) down to the NICU and on we went. All I could think was how gorgeous and how big she was. I was in awe of her breathing on her own and just how excellent she was doing.

Andrew arrived early Thursday morning and we immediately went down to see her. She was still doing excellent. Even her second day of life, she's doing wonderfully. She is breathing room air with the help of flow, no oxygen. She is now under the billirubin lights due to some jaundice.

I did end up overdoing it yesterday and managed to give myself a fever and a high high pain number. So it did mean I haven't been able to see her today. But if I remain fever free for 24 hours, I can go see her tomorrow. So far, I've been good, and resting much more today. I walk after I take the pain meds. I should be discharged on Sunday.

So meet Elisa Grace:

Less than an hour after birth.

Mommy's first touch and view.

Daddy's first touch and view.

Elisa Grace, born 10/28 at 5:06 pm at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital. 2 lbs 13 oz, 15 inches long. I can't wait to take you home and watch you grow up.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More drama

Ugh, this kid is going to be a drama queen!

So it's been a rough few days/hours whatever. Sunday, the doctor came in and begin pushing even harder than some of the others to stop the terbutilene pump. He gave me quite a few scare reasons to stop it and stated that there is no proof that it actually works. He asked me to think about stopping the terb and going with out any anti contraction meds. Well this was like asking me to deliver now! I realize that while, maybe it's not stopping the contractions, it makes ME think it IS. And in many ways, that's worth more than the medicine itself. SO this really shook me up and stressed me out. That, with the combination of missing Andrew and just this utter feeling of lack of control over the situation I am in put me into a fit of depression. Monitoring I think went ok last night. Might have been one or two contractions but nothing worrisome. I took my meds and went to bed. Woke up around 1:30 am and thought, hmm, that feels like contractions? So I called the nurse in and she put me back on the monitor. Sure enough, I had 3 episodes of "irritability" on my monitor so they triggered the terb pump for a demand dose. After about 30 minutes it calmed then down and I dozed back off. Woke up again around 6 am and they had started again. This time I had 3 in 15 minutes. So the nurse triggered the pump again and they calmed down.

So I began my day sleep deprived and still a little stressed out. Doctor came in later in the afternoon, a different one than yesterday, and again attempted to talk me out of the terb pump. They insist my diabetes blood sugar readings are too high. Gave me a whole lot more scare stories, but Andrew and I discussed last night that we were going to stay on the terb, and if the diabetes got worse, re-evaluate then. In the course of the discussion I did mention some additional symptoms I was having and the doctor became concerned that my cervix was changing. So he decided to do a check. Sure enough, I am now 5 cm dialated. I hadn't had but a few odd contractions all day but they put me back on the monitor. I had none, not even any irritability. Also, in my morning monitoring I had none. I feel like I'm having some, but there wasn't anything showing up on the monitor, so who knows. Anyway, they aren't entirely concerned as I really am having none of the other symptoms. So we are back in a wait and see pattern and I most likely will NOT be released at 32 weeks now, if I make it that far.

The "good" news is that I've made it past 28 weeks. That is a huge milestone as far as preemies are concerned and the baby has a good, good chance if she were to come now. Every day past 28 weeks is considered "bonus" days. It means one less week in the NICU. Tomorrow is 29 weeks. Even better. Only three weeks to go until 32 weeks. There is still a chance...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

2 more days down!

And one was eventful and one wasn't!

Friday, they started me on this glibutribe or something like that. I've not actually seen the medication's name and that's what it sounds like, lol. It's supposed to control my "high" blood sugar. And I've been high, yes, but not out of control high, so I was opposed to it. They gave me two options, stop the terbutilene pump and go to another form of contraction control or start on this diabetic drug. As I was NOT stopping the terb, I opted for the diabetic drug. I did ask for a second opinion, but the original doctor did come back in and explain their reasoning for believing I needed to be on this drug, so I reluctantly agreed. My highest reading up to this point was 168. They shoot for 140 and below, optimally 120. All but 4 of the 12 readings I'd had up to this point were below 140. My reading the first day, after the first meal, on this drug? 231. I was livid. And yes, I actually threw a fit. I know that will surprise some of you but I really can put my foot down when I feel it's justified, lol. So they agreed to let me have my "experiment" which was to have another day w/o the diabetic drug and see what my sugars did on their own. I'll get to more of that in a moment.

Later on Friday, I began to feel a few contractions. As it was time for the nightly monitoring anyway, I called the nurse in and they began the monitoring then. Shrimp did well, thankfully, but I apparently had 6 contractions in that one hour (which I didn't feel but for 2) so they gave me a demand dose of the terb. 1 hour later I was still having 6 contractions in an hour. All of them were random, no pattern to it, so while they were concerning, they weren't that big of a problem. But they dosed me with terb again and started an IV thinking maybe I was dehydrated. Did the trick. I stopped with the addition of the IV fluids. I asked the doc how much water I should be drinking as I was having 60+ oz a day, and apparently I need to have 90+. I've had 120 or there abouts today, and I can tell you, I do notice a difference. I did not realize I was that dehydrated.

This morning I woke up and was able to begin my experiment. My first reading after breakfast...175, and lunch was 151. Neither were all that good but dinners was 125! So it's gone down all day. The doctor did, however, "inform" me this morning that they were allowing me this experiment but I "will" be going back on the diabetic drug tomorrow. I didn't say really anything but thought to myself "whatever." I see two doctors a day, a resident in the morning and an attending in the afternoon. The attending came by later in the day and neither advocated for or against the diabetic drug, but did give me the 140 or below number. I think he thought I was of the impression that I wasn't getting good care because he was very concerned with letting me know they were only doing what was best for me. I assured him I was not in anyway upset with their care for me. He has me pegged though. He's like, you are in a situation you can't control and it is driving you nuts, isn't it? Umm, well, ummm, maybe? Dang, didn't think I was that transparent! Anyway, he was nothing but complimentary of me and my attitude throughout all of this, especially given the extremely unique circumstances I'm in and the very rough beginning we had. He said every day that goes by with no issues increases my chances of getting to full term. And he said that he would not have considered the contractions (they call the recording of everything your "strip") on my strip to be as concerning as they thought last night. He said he would have "tolerated" them as they really weren't as dangerous as they were made out to be.

So I now have 24 more days to go till 32 weeks. Shrimp is still baking. And yes, I will still call her Shrimp, even if it is a her. She was Shrimp before we knew if she was a boy or a girl and she will be Shrimp until the day I die, lol.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today's update

Are y'all tired of me yet? I figure I have enough time now to actually update this thing, lol. So I may as well.

Not too much to update today. Doc came and talked to me and said they wanted to place me on a diabetic drug. I don't remember the name. She said it was because my sugar levels were consistently getting worse. But in reality, I've only been over 160 three times since they've tested me. The rest have been 140 and below. And they really just want to see it at 140. They also wanted me to consider stopping the terbutilene to correct the problem and go to another, oral, anti-contraction drug. But my thoughts are...why rock the boat? The terb is working and the diabetes is NOT that bad. In face my last two readings today have been in the low 120's!! Which is just high normal. So that totally refutes the docs statement that the sugar levels are getting worse.

Also, I had a few contractions start up for a little bit again today. Really not contractions, but irritability. So I got an extra monitoring. But it stopped on it's own after about 30 min. And Shrimp didn't behave this morning in her monitoring and had what I thought were too many decels lasting too long. But the nurse explained they weren't as long as I thought and were in fact in normal ranges (never went below 120 but for once). Of course nervous mom doesn't feel the same way.

And, my uncle from Michigan showed up unexpectedly! Here I am just working away this morning, the door opens and I look up to see my uncle and my mind just can't make the connection, lol. It was too early in the morning. He is in Tuscon for business and had free morning so decided to take a trip up to see me. It was definitely a welcome intrusion!!

So anyway, I'll head to bed I think. Atleast do some reading and wait for my evening monitoring and then bedtime. And then it's Friday and then Saturday! Not that it matters as not that it changes much for me, lol. I'll still get woken at 6am by the med student for my morning check up.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things you learn...

1. Hubby means more and provides more comfort than you even realize. Now that Andrew's headed home, I find myself much more nervous, sad, and less confident. Don't know if that's from just being sad that he's gone, or if his presence really does calm me down.

2. Hearing other women complain about how much longer they have till they deliver is kinda annoying. They don't know how well they have it. I'd much rather be in their shoes.

3. PMA can make all the difference.

4. You can do a lot more than you think when you really put your mind to it.

Anyway, as if you can't tell, my mood is a little somber today. Hopefully after a few days I'll re-adjust to not having Andrew here and I'll get back to my relaxed, happy mood.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yay! A new milestone

28 weeks today! Only 28 more days to go until 32 weeks. Doctors are still talking about releasing me at 32 weeks if I am still stable and things still look good. I will, however, not go off of the Terbutiline (thought it was Tributilene, but I've been corrected! :-D) pump as I originally thought. They will keep me on that. I've already developed the gestational diabetes that's a side effect of the pump. My lungs and heart are holding up well, so I don't seem to be having any of those ill effects. And doc even said today that I have a 50% chance of going full term! Not great odds, but still rather good odds! He said I'm stubborn enough to make it happen, lol. Everyone loves what we've done with the room by making it look like "home." Shrimp has also calmed down in her monitoring. We've had 4 successful monitorings where she has stayed off of her cord. She still hates the monitoring. Put up with it rather well this morning until the last 5 minutes when she just went spastic on trying to get it off of her.

So all is looking good. Our little miracle is still cooking. We have the medical staff boggled trying to figure out HOW the cervix went backwards. Of course, we know how, but the medical staff seems unwilling to accept our explanation, lol. They were still discussing my case over the weekend, analyzing, etc.

So where is Shrimp at 28 weeks:

By this week, your baby weighs two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels. She can open and close her eyes, which now sport lashes. This movement is more of a reflexive blink than a deliberate opening and closing, but it won't be long before she's batting those beauties at you.

Bye for now!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New developments

No no, don't worry. Nothing too big. I just wonder if Shrimp is giving me this much heartburn and she's not even here yet, what it will be like when she gets older. And I don't mean heartburn in the literal sense, I mean worry.

As a lot of you know I'm a chronic worrier to begin with. I had thought the deceleration in Shrimp's heart beat was an equipment malfunction on Friday night what with the numbers they were telling me making it look like the machine became confused over if it was finding my heart beat or Shrimp's. So last night, they brought in a different monitor that also monitor's my heart beat so they could tell the different. Well, last night, Shrimp had the same decels, going from in the 150's to 70's or 90's. Happened twice in an hour then was done. Docs think that Shrimp is resting on her cord and squeezing it, but she moves immediately when the decels occur and the heart beat goes back to normal. Docs also say this is not that uncommon of an occurrence, that any baby at this gestation has a tendency to do that. But they considered sending me back to L&D last night for more constant monitoring. In the end, they got a good hour where Shrimp stayed off her cord so left me in my room. Decels again in the monitoring this morning, but not near as severe, only down into the 120's which is actually a normal deceleration and not at all worrisome. But I did ask the doc when these decels become a concern. The thing is they aren't that frequent so doctors aren't really worried and only 1% of babies showing this end up suffocating themselves. With that being said, they will just monitor Shrimp a bit closer to make sure she continues to move off her cord. They will not really deliver her unless things really look bad as even with these decels, it's safer to leave her in than to deliver her at this point. Doc said if I were 34 weeks plus, they would look much harder at delivering her.

And then the second piece of news is that thanks to the medication I have been placed on to control the meds, I now have gestational diabetes. So now I get to go on a diet. Yes, me, on a diet. BOOO. But whatever it takes. So my meals are about to get interesting, yummy.

So 27 weeks and 5 days now. Only 1 more day until I'm 28 weeks. 30 days to 32 weeks. Bring it on!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Holy Cow, it's a...

GIRL! I am shocked as I thought for sure after docs comments last week that it would be a boy! We ended up with a surprise ultrasound because of, what I think, was some equipment malfunction. The baby monitor was showing frequent deceleration of the heart and they thought me back down to labor and delivery so they could do constant monitoring on both baby and contractions. Of course things cleared up there as there never was a problem. Tech checked baby and normally it takes her forever to get 30 seconds of breathing movement, but Shrimp obliged immediately with that. Baby scored perfect in the ultrasound and had plenty of amniotic fluid. Since it took so little to get the score in, we asked the tech if she could confirm the sex and we got a perfect shot of what were definitely girl parts! I couldn't really believe it because odds were against us on actually having a girl with Andrew having only brothers. We would have been happy either way, but this is definitely a nice surprise! So come on little girl Shrimp, keep baking!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shrimp is an ornery buggar

I believe a lot of you follow me on Facebook so you are somewhat aware of the drama we have experienced this last week. In an effort to document so that we can remember this for when Shrimp does show his/her face, I'll post all the sordid details for you here. Alert, this may be TMI for some so if you don't want to know all the gory details, don't read. So, before I launch entire the entire book I will have to write today, let's get down to business. Shrimp at 27 weeks:

This week, your baby weighs almost 2 lbs (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14.5 inches long with her legs extended. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning - with a lot of medical help - if she were born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually only lasts a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle.

So onto the details.

Saturday, October 4th - Thursday, October 8th

Saturday night, I began to feel a low down pain in my pelvic region. Right near the pelvic bone. It began that evening as we were watching some movies and I just remember how much it ached. I was holding up my belly it was hurting so much but as it was constant and not intermittent, I didn't worry about it too much. We went to bed and woke up Sunday morning and the pain was gone. It did return again that night, and after several glasses of water and laying down in bed, it again went away the next morning. But at this point I was a little concerned as it seemed very symptomatic of the UTI I had a few weeks ago, so I called my doc who pulled me in for a urine test. Preliminary results came back negative and they sent out for more definitive results. Again Monday night, I had this pain that disappeared by morning. Tuesday night, the pain returned but this time I noticed some very strong, what I thought were Braxton Hicks, contractions. There was no pattern to them and after a few big glasses of water, they disappeared entirely. Wednesday was no different. Thursday, I noticed a lot of clear, mucosy discharge that again had me calling the doc. Results had come back on UTI and were negative, and they figured because the discharge was mucosy, there was nothing to worry about. They had no qualms about me getting on the plane. Me, on the other hand, still didn't feel like something was entirely quite right, but as I'd been consistently reassured throughout the week I thought I should trust my doctor.

Friday, October 9th

I got up for my flight that morning and the first thing I noticed was the low pain I'd felt all these last few days was still there. As it was consistent, I just figured that this was just how it was going to be for the rest of the pregnancy. So I continued on the way to the airport, boarded my flight and went on my way. At the end of the 2nd flight, I began to notice that I just didn't feel right. I can't really explain how I felt, but it just wasn't normal. I needed to find a bathroom so decided to find my way down to baggage claim and take care of business while I was waiting for my bag. First thing I noticed was the mucos plug. I wasn't really alarmed at that point, just figured it was something that would grow back but felt I should call my doc anyway. They called back as I was on the shuttle bus to the rental car center and advised me to go straight to a hospital. They weren't overly concerned but thought it was best that I get checked out immediately. So I picked up my car (was a 1.5 hour wait, grr!) and headed immediately to the closest hospital, Banner Good Samaritan. After confirming with my insurance that this hospital was in network, I went in and was immediately sent up to OB Triage. Nurses there were very reassuring and felt for sure they would check me out and send me on my way in 20 minutes. You could see the shock in the nurses' eyes when she checked and found I was 2cm dialated. Asked if I had been feeling contractions, and of course I hadn't. She went immediately and got the doctor who came in about 15 minutes after the nurse originally checked me. Doctor checked and I was in the midst of a contraction (which I didn't feel) and was no dialated to 3cm. On top of that, my bag was bulging and doctor thought she could feel a foot. At this point I think I called Andrew and my parents and told them I wanted Andrew to head down immediately. Mom called my boss and Andrew and they worked out a schedule to come down. Doctor grabbed an ultrasound machine, nurses were flying around me trying to start IV's, give me steroid shots for Shrimp's lungs. It was pandemonium. About the only part I really remember here is the doc looking at me and saying "you know it's a boy, right?" I looked at her and went no. I did not hear a word after, so I don't know if she was in a round about way telling me it's a boy or if she was asking before she saw anything. She also said baby was footling breech, meaning Shrimp's feet were facing the birth canal and were pushing and kicking on the sac. They rushed me to L&D but had to stop in a hallway while waiting for my room to be cleaned, where of course the effects of the magnesium they had started me on began. I started puking in the middle of the hall. Nurses were running all over the place to get bins to catch it all in and start anti vomiting drugs. Finally get me into my room, where my uterus still won't cooperate. I remember one nurse yelling at my uterus to calm down as she gave me quick shots of Tributilene. Finally they had things calmed down. I was on IV magnesium sulfate and was only showing some irritability instead of full blown contractions. They placed me on a catheter as I wasn't allowed out of bed. The neonatologist came to speak to me about the chances of babies born at 26 weeks and 3 days. Survival rates were 75%-89% but babies needed significant help. It was, in a sense, comforting to know that odds were atleast in our favor but still terrifying. Things remained calm for the night.

Saturday, October 10th

Andrew arrived in around 7 am that morning. I was still on the mag and things were still rather calm. Doctors were still uncertain at that point of what really was going on but they were optimistic. They were watching for signs of infection to try to explain the sudden labor and were also concerned about the heart shaped uterus. The doc indicated in a purely diplomatic way that he felt my doc back home was an idiot for allowing me to travel at all with this unique uterus. Things remained quiet however, and we became optimistic that we would atleast make it to 32 weeks. Mom and Dad arrived sometime this day, but I don't remember when. I received the second steroid shot this evening. I needed to get in what they call the "steroid window" when the steroids would have the best effect on the baby if we had to deliver. We went to bed very optimistic.

Sunday, October 11th

Things were still mostly quiet, but then I was still on the mag. I think I would have the occasional contraction, but nothing that worried the docs at this point. At 4:30 I was in the steroid window, so they needed to stop the mag. The reason to stop the mag was it could cause long term effects on me and short term effects on Shrimp. For me it could cause a pulmonar y edema (fluid on the lungs) and an increased risk of osteoperosis. For baby, it can cause additional calcium deposits that could cause issues with Shrimp's baby teeth. All of that would be resolved when the permanent teeth came in. It could also cause more brittle bones for both of us. For the first few hours, things were again calm. Andrew and I settled down to sleep, I was given some Ambien to help me to sleep, and my parents headed to the house they were staying in (childhood friends from Andrew's church in Iowa). Things were really calm and the mag was weaning out of my system. We were confident that my body would hold it's own.

Monday, October 12th

We were woken very early, I think it may have only been 11 pm to midnight. I'm not sure, because I was on the ambien so I had no recollection of being woken up. I was told I was talking about mazes and frogs as the doctor and nurse were trying to talk to me. Andrew was very confused having gone to sleep thinking all was well and was roused from a deep sleep to be told that they had to do an amniocentesis. Bright lights were on everywhere and Andrew was very freaked out as he didn't understand how things went from being perfectly fine to lots of irritation and contractions. Tributilene was not working to stop them and docs were worried that there was an infection in the amniotic fluid that was causing me to contract. Andrew thought with all the activity and the messages he was getting from the medical staff that they were going to deliver the baby right then and there. He called my parents in and they performed the amnio right there in the room. Then the tense wait began to see what the results were. If it turned out there was an infection in the amniotic sac, then they would have to deliver me immediately as it was not safe for the baby. If there was no infection, they would get aggressive on stopping the labor. I had progressed from 3cm dialated to 5cm dialated and was 100% effaced and the sac was still bulging. Baby had moved from footling breech to just standard breech. Results came back from the amnio as negative, there was no infection, so they immediately started the mag. The continuously monitored me and baby through the night, I don't think the nurse really left my side. None of us slept. They checked me again early morning to find I was still 5 cm, 100% and 0 station. Bag had moved up a little bit in that it no longer felt as "tight" as it had in previous checks. Labor had again stopped with the mag.

Later in the morning, after only being on the mag for a few hours, I began developing problems breathing. My lungs were very sore and doctors became concerned I was developing a pulmonary edema. This was very troubling as if I was, then they would need to stop the mag again and there was no telling what my body would do. Would I immediately start laboring again? Doctor prepared us to deliver that day. I was only 26 weeks, 6 days. Results came back that I did, indeed, have a pulmonary edema and they stopped the mag. Then the doctor checked me again, and found out 2 things. 1. Baby had moved back up. I was -2 station and no longer with a bulging bag. 2. I was only 3cm dialated and 40% effaced! He was no longer as concerned that I would deliver that day! We couldn't believe it, things don't go "backwards" in labor. We knew it was God at work and protecting Shrimp, it was the only real explanation. The next miracle was I did not start contracting again. In fact, my uterus remained remarkably calm with no medication bar Motrin! Hope was back alive. They saw no reason I wouldn't make it to atleast 32 weeks.

Tuesday, October 13th

I was removed from the catheter and allowed out of bed to shower and pee. They also discontinued the Motrin therapy as it can reduce the amount of amniotic fluid for Shrimp and decided to place me on a tributilene pump, which would give a continuous stream of the medication into my system. There are no long term or even any effects on baby with this medication. I am at risk for another edema, arrythmia or gestational diabetes. So after 32 weeks they will re-evaluate keeping me on this med. I am still on complete bed rest, however, and am not allowed out of bed really. It was another calm day with 1-2 contractions every 6-8 hours.

Wednesday, October 14th

I graduated! They moved me from labor and delivery to antepartum. Basically this is a reduced level of care and monitoring as I no longer needed to be continuously monitored. I'd been very calm and there is a bit higher of a freedom here, however I am still on the bed rest. We did manage to get a quick ultrasound as Andrew was very concerned since he can't feel all the movement I can. Another miracle...Shrimp was no longer breech, but was instead head down! We couldn't believe it! His/her back was arched but was practicing breathing and wiggling around.

Thursday, October 15th

Still on bed rest, still in antepartum, still no real activity. Shrimp is very active and having regular parties in my uterus. Hates being monitored and will literally push up at the monitor whenever it's on. Is getting big enough that I can literally see my belly move when he/she wriggles. We've had three ultrasounds since the first when the doc said "you know it's a boy, right" and have yet to be able to confirm that. Shrimp has been characteristically stubborn and has kept the legs crossed for each subsequent ultrasound.

Friday, October 16th

Another very quiet night. Doc came in to tell me that I may be released at 32 weeks if things continue this quiet. However, I will not be allowed to leave Phoenix. Airlines will not let me on with how far dialated I am and it's not safe for me to drive 20+ hours into desolate areas.

So anyway, that's where things currently stand. We are still optimistic about 32 weeks. I am in great spirits.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost forgot!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I just realized that I almost forgot that today was the weekly anniversary update, eek! Shrimp is now 26 weeks baked, leaving 14 more weeks to go, or 98 more days. And what's been going on? Well, I've been growing. And so has Shrimp. OUCH. I don't think my muscles, stomach, can stretch any more! And honestly, I'm not even that big! I am at the point where people look at me and wonder is she, isn't she, but don't want to ask in case its just weight, lol. But the last few nights, I've ended up in intense pain which doc is telling me is the growing pains based on where they are. Last night, I experienced a few quite painful braxton hicks contractions as well. Lucky the woman who has painless BH's, because let me tell you. As a pre-cursor to labor, I'm going give me the epi! One was so strong I was using my own nails to dig into my own arm to transfer the pain sensation from my hips to my arm, lol!

On Friday, I leave for my annual conference. I do a lot of traveling but this is my "big" show every year and has traditionally required very long, busy, active, stressful days. I'm already wondering how I'm going to do this seeing as how I'm exhausted from just a day at my desk. Everyone keeps telling me to delegate, that I just have to make sure that it gets done, not that I physically do it myself. I keep thinking this is my JOB I can't use pregnancy as an excuse to not do it. So I don't know. Pray for me and Shrimp that I get the rest, water, and food that I need. Since eating also hasn't traditionally been an activity I partake in regularly during this trade show.

So an update on Shrimp:

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes the first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum - a trip that will take two to three days.

Bring on October 16th!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thanks, Kid!

So what can I say? Shrimp has definitely found the bladder. Apparently, Shrimp is resting on my bladder and causing a very unique sensation. And since it seems like every symptom in the book can possibly be a sign of pre-term labor, it had me calling my doc who, thankfully, informed me it is just Shrimp laying on the bladder. This early. I have 15 more weeks of Shrimp laying on the bladder. Thanks, Kid!!

Which leads me onto another point. I am thrilled to be expecting Shrimp. Absolutely thrilled. That being said, I can do without the pregnancy part. In fact, if there was a way to just wake up in January and Shrimp is here, safe and sound, I'd be tickled pink. While my pregnancy has in a myriad of ways been a very good pregnancy, I've struggled with many of the symptoms. I think most of them stem from my absolute terror of something going wrong. I can't seem to determine the difference between a normal pregnancy symptom and a sign of something worse. So I worry about every new feeling/pain/symptom. It also leads me to be afraid to bond with Shrimp as I'm afraid that once I do, something will happen and the pain of losing Shrimp will be worse. It's like I can't completely reconcile the fact that this pregnancy has not and will not fail. I keep telling myself that once Shrimp is here and I no longer have to worry about my body failing me, it will be ok. But will it? I may be able to control my body better than I can the circumstances of life that will soon face Shrimp. But, I don't know, at least it wouldn't be because my body is a failure.

On a positive note, I took an evening tonight to rest. I've been feeling pretty puny for a few weeks with allergy type symptoms. This week, it appears to have escalated and my head really feels like it's going to explode and I'm so exhausted that my current evenings plans consist of writing this and then going to bed. Yes, at 730 at night. But my point was, I was able to, as I was relaxing tonight, watch Shrimp in my belly. I could see Shrimp stretch, kick, push against my side. It is the most indescribable feeling to see that and just leaves me in awe. The one thing I absolutely love about being pregnant is being able to see these kind of things. I just wish they made home ultrasound machines so I could actually physically see Shrimp as well, rather than just seeing my tummy move. But that being said, that could lead to a dangerous obsession with watching the screen instead of going on with life, lol!

Shrimp is now 25 weeks. That means there are only 15 weeks to go until d-day. Only 3 weeks to go until I'm considered to be in the third trimester. Here's where Shrimp is at now:

Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13.5 inches. Her weight - a pound and a half - isn't much more than the average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair - and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern it's color and texture.

Nighty night! Hopefully next week I'll have a much more positive post. Darn hormones. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I just saw the baby move! And Andrew felt as it kicked out. Wow! So cool! Didn't last long but it was the coolest thing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

24 Weeks!!!!!

Yes! I am 24 weeks. I am very excited about this actually. It's another milestone down. First I had to get past 6 weeks as I had never made it that far before. Then, past 12 weeks as I knew I would be "safe" then. Then it was 20 weeks, just cuz it's the halfway mark. And next up was 24 weeks. Because now Shrimp has half a chance of surviving should something go wrong. Chances are NOT good and I in no way want Shrimp coming now, but it just gives me a sense of extra security to know that if the "what if's" I always have in my head come true, all hope is not yet lost.

And so it's been another interesting week. Things you learn about traveling while pregnant. First off, I was highly surprised to find a lot of very polite and good mannered men on my flight out here. I must actually look somewhat pregnant (although that seems to depend on who you are asking, lol!) because men were jumping up and down to help me with my bag. One guy on the first leg of my flight put my bag up AND brought it back down from the overhead compartment for me! And he even stood aside to let me out of the seats first! I was very surprised. This happened regularly throughout the rest of my day, which just now became interesting.

We were delayed for take off from KC due to weather in Atlanta and were told to stay parked for about an hour after our scheduled take off time. We actually were able to push back earlier than we thought and were in the air 30-45 minutes after the scheduled take off time. Then the pilot gets on the intercom to tell us that not only are we late taking off but that they changed our flight pattern so our normal 1.5 hour flight will now take 2+. I'm thinking, great, I have an hour in between flights and this is going to cut it awfully close. Not only that, but I'm flying into Atlanta which has the worst airport for transferring flights on short connection times. So we land but are only 30 minutes late! We made good time in the air and they changed our pattern back to the 1.5 hour travel time. I had 20 minutes to make it to the next gate before my scheduled take off and to get 4 terminals away. I'm thinking this is going to be close, but I can do it. I was NOT going to run at 6 months pregnant through the airport. So I walked, fast, but I walked. I made it in 10. To get to the gate to find out that not only had they closed the doors already, but they gave away my seat. I'm thinking, uhhh hello? You knew my plane was knew when it landed, you knew I'd have time to make it and yet you STILL gave away my seat and locked me off my plane? Customer service is not a strong suit of Delta, and the stewardess at the gate would hardly give me any thing other than "you have to go back to gate 24 and talk to them there." Thanks. Whatever. So I walk back to gate 24 to scan my pass to find out that the NEXT AVAILABLE flight leaves at 8 pm that night. It's 11 am. I knew there was a flight leaving at 12 something, so I go to wait in the line of people waiting to talk to the people behind the desk at this gate. Only to get told that they can't help me (they are only helping other people!?) and that I had to use the phones next to them to call the reservations line. So I do, to wait on hold for 20 minutes to find out that all other flights out that day, except for this one, are booked. I can try flying stand by, or go into alternate airports and rent a car to get to my final destination (about 100 miles away from the alternate airports). I'm thinking, if I have to rent a car anyway, I may as well rent one from Atlanta and drive, it's only 3.5 hours. Not only that but I have a meeting I needed to be there for by 3:30 and this was cutting it close. So I ditch my connection and drive from Atlanta to Huntsville. Everything was going well until this stretch of road in the middle of nowhere and Shrimp finds my bladder. HARD. And continuously. Shrimp was insistent that I needed to go NOW and was making sure I didn't forget it. But there was no where to go! I drove for 20 more miles looking for any safe place to stop and finally found an Arby's where I almost RAN into the bathroom. It hurt SOOO bad by then. My poor bladder was sore from being so full and being used as a soccer ball for the last 20 minutes.

Anyway, I made it on two wheels for my meeting and to my hotel room where after dinner I went straight to bed. I was exhausted.

Today I was thrown my first baby shower by my co-workers here. It was great and we had fun chatting and Shrimp is well set up for comfort so far. Got tons of clothes and some really cute sleepers. I finally have stuff to put in the drawers of Shrimp's dresser! I can't wait to go home and fill it up. I also got some great toys for the little one and a bear that is to help Shrimp sleep after the arrival. It's exciting to see things start to come together.

Anyway, I'm writing a book this time. I better tell you where Shrimp is at now:

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Till next week!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I think it came back a little bit? After my appointment on Friday I was released back to "normal" activities and I spent a very busy weekend. Saturday was the first day in our new church building that is all ours. I'm so excited because we were able to paint and decorate in the way that we want! Plus it's totally ours so we can have meetings in it whenever we want and not have to "rent" it again. So we are in the midst of modifying the space and I can't wait to get down and really get it decorated.

Anyway, I got off topic a bit. Saturday and Sunday were both very busy days but my energy level held up very well. Sunday I was even able to get the kitchen cleaned, laundry folded and put away, flowers trimmed and lawn clippings picked up (Andrew mowed the lawn) as well as church in the morning and lunch with friends. Of course, by the time 8 pm came around I was dead. I was so tired that I actually started hurting. So Andrew had to finish the ironing and I laid down in bed. Work also has been very busy but thankfully, with the return of the energy, I've been able to handle it and keep up the pace. But let me tell you, by the time 5 pm comes around, I'm wasted. I've not been able to take a mid day nap over my lunch breaks, there just hasn't been time. I think I'm feeling it a bit.

So anyway, Shrimp is doing well it seems. Has found some vital organs and enjoys kicking those. I think Shrimp is having fun making me jump. Shrimp will issue one strong well placed kick when I'm not expecting it and kicks hard enough and some organ dead on that I actually jump and give a startled "ouch!" Hasn't found the bladder yet though. So that's a plus.

Shrimp at 23 weeks:

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now - such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner - probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

17 weeks to go. Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

22 weeks and counting

And counting, and counting. I'm sooo wishing the time away until January and I can stop worrying about Shrimp coming early! I was always afraid of a pre-term birth but after last week, it's become even more of a worry even though I'm at no higher of a risk this week than I was last week. I guess it just kind of brought it all home how even though I'm past when most pregnancies fail, there still is the risk that Shrimp will come early! :( So I'm counting and waiting and praying that Shrimp stays PUT.

Although I have noticed personality traits already. Like Shrimp is appearing to be independent in nature already. I am feeling pretty regular kicks and squirms. And sometimes after getting a few in a row in, I'll put my hand down to feel them and Shrimp immediately stops. It's like Shrimp realizes I'm searching for the comfort of knowing he/she is ok and refuses to give that to me, lol! Andrew felt a few strong kicks the other day, but no matter how hard we've tried or how long he puts his hand on my belly, Shrimp will not perform for daddy either. Andrew's even taken to lightly shaking the belly to wake Shrimp up, lol. Not that it's done him any good, but it is rather cute.

I've still been taking it easy. Doc never did tell me an "end" time for the taking it easy so figured I'll err on the side of caution and do so until my appointment on Friday and I can ask. We had a labor day get together with some friends yesterday but we held it here at our house and Andrew and my mom cooked and Andrew cleaned, lol. So I still sat on my butt. Andrew did all the grocery shopping over the weekend that needed to be done. And he cleaned the house for me on Sunday! What a guy.

So Shrimp at 22 weeks is now:

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's eve ndeveloping tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas - essential for the production of some important hormones - is developing steadily.

I am almost over the UTI as well. Most of the symptoms have cleared up, but for a lingering exhaustion that I can only attribute to my body fighting off the UTI in combination with the strain already on my body from just being pregnant. I only have two more trips and then I should be home. I just pray I have no more drama on either of the other two trips!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shrimp and I are home

We made it home safely. And for those of you who are wondering, I did manage to delegate. Not going to say it was easy and that I wasn't placed in a chair against my will. But once I was in that chair, I stayed unless I had to pee or turn in paperwork.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's been a fun week

So, I'm a few days late in posting my weekly update. As you read my blog I'm sure you'll figure out why, lol.

On Monday, I had to fly to LA for business. Day was fine but I found that I did not have near the energy I normally did and was flat out exhausted by 8 and in bed. Tuesday, the fun began. I noticed that I had to use the bathroom every 30 minutes and after doing set up for only about 30 minutes, I was flat worn out. But I made it through the day. During dinner, I noticed a sharp pain in my back, and shrugged it off thinking it was just sore from all over doing it. In the middle of the night, I woke up with the pain even worse and to add to it, some strong pelvic pain. The pelvic pain lasted about 2 hours and then went away but it was enough to make me concerned, so I called the doctor when I got up yesterday morning. I was still going to the bathroom every 30 minutes. I figured doc would just tell me it's normal, no worries, you are stressing, blah blah blah. Much to my surprise, they informed me I needed to get to the hospital as they suspected I had a UTI or could be going into labor. I think my body hates me sometimes, lol.

So thanks to my wonderful co-workers, a few stayed behind and managed the booth for me and another drove me to an urgent care center. We figured it'd be a quicker trip in and out by visiting urgent care since I was fairly certain it was the UTI. After a 2 hour wait, I was called back and told to go to the hospital without even seeing the doctor because they won't treat women over 20 weeks pregnant. So we drove over to a local hospital. Much to my surprise, I was called back 10 minutes after I arrived and brought up to...labor and delivery!! I'm thinking, talk about service, I expected a 2 hour wait and just a regular ER doc. 20 minutes later I was hooked up to a machine to check for contractions and monitor Shrimp's heartbeat. Drew blood, peed in a cup, given dinner (!) and a bed and a tv, 90 minutes later I was informed, yup, UTI, given medication and sent home. Well, back to my hotel room anyway. I was pleasantly surprised at the speed with which it all went. I don't know if this hospital just has it's stuff together and can triage well or if they just err on the side of caution and assume that a 21 week pregnant woman with my symptoms is in labor, so send her up to the specialist. Whatever, I was in my bed by 9:30 with orders to "take it easy." We'll see how well that goes, lol.

Shrimp at 21 weeks:

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10.5 inches long - the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.

Let's hope next week isn't quite so active!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Guessing game

So, I've always thought these were kind of fun. I'm encouraging all of my friends to log in and make a guess on whether you think Shrimp is a boy or a girl! I've got 3 guesses already, let's see how many we can get! :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

20 week bump

Still don't think it looks like much and if you didn't know how skinny
I was before, you'd assume I've put on weight. Oh well, it will come
in time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shrimp is half baked!

That's right! We are 20 weeks and officially halfway there! Only 20 more weeks and we'll have a baked Shrimp. Beyond that and we are coming up on fried Shrimp. I'm going for a well done Shrimp as I hope Shrimp comes early, lol.

So what's new? Not much really. We are plodding along here counting the weeks down. We did get our crib yesterday, yay! And it's all set up and in the room. The room still needs some work done to it as I still need all those organizational things for the closet and that kind of stuff. Need the linens for the bed and some pictures and decorations. But I keep getting told to wait for the baby shower before I worry about that. I don't know if I want to wait that long. I kinda want it all now, lol. But I'll post pictures when it's all done and put together. Uploading photos here is a bear and I really don't feel like messing with it. A friend figured out how to do it from her iPhone but I've yet to get that figured out and got tired of trying. I'll mess with it again later. When I have my energy back. Will I have my energy back??

Shrimp at 20 weeks:

Your baby weighs about 10.5 ounces now. He's also around 6.5 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches long from head to heel - the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom - the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)

He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey stubstance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper.

Just for clarification purposes, these updates I'm posting with the facts of Shrimp's development were taken from So I didn't write those portions. But the rest of the posts content is from me. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And we...

Are out of ideas for creative posts. I guess you'll forgive me, right? It's exhausting trying to come up with snazzy titles and I didn't want to just say oh 19 weeks. Was too boring. So anyway, there you have it!

Not really much to say this week. Seems like my morning sickness, ummm, rather all day sickness has returned. Not so sure if it's just a reaction to the anti-depressants or is really a return. Feels the same as before. Finally, right now, I feel a bit better and was able to eat with out gagging too much. Helps that I actually wanted what I ate. And Andrew has a week and a half down already with his new school, and let me tell you, what a difference! He is settling in well and got through his first challenge last night with flying colors. It was back to school night, and every single child and parent showed up! Amazing! He liked them all and they seemed to like him so we have success! The next challenge is the first day of school, which is tomorrow. I'm still having a good feeling about this. And although he is still understandable anxious and stressed about it, it seems like he is handling it much better this time around and really, I'm just proud of him. He's doing an excellent job so far and has so many wonderful ideas!!

So, Shrimp at 19 weeks:

Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.

Your baby weighs about 8.5 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom - about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.

Ok I just had a strange thought after I read about Shrimp being able to hear me now. I have a human being in my belly following me around wherever I go. For some reason I just had a sense of a weird squeamishness at the idea, lol. Don't ask me why, it's just like the "John Hurt" moment from the Coupling show. Cracks me up. Glad Shrimp is there, though, so he or she better not be going anywhere soon.

Also, I've been starting to get tons of movement at times. Last night, Shrimp decided to have a little party after 10. I could feel Shrimp turning over and occasionally kicking. It was the strangest feeling ever. Finally Shrimp settled down around 11 and I could fall asleep. Let's hope the little buggar doesn't keep this schedule up, lol! Maybe have your party around 8 instead?? :)