Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Let's just say

It's not been a good day.

Yesterday was ok. Had my follow up and apparently last appointment with the peri's. Baby looked GREAT. Measured dead on but for the belly, that measured 3 weeks ahead. That was a bit too much of a difference. Tech indicated that it's a classic indicator of Gestational Diabetes. Oh yay. Cervix shortened just a tiny bit (down to 5cm) but the doctors are so not concerned as there is no other indication of a problem. It's probably within the margin of error and on top of that it is still so extremely long (twice the minimum they want to see.) that they released me from their care. Unless something happens from now on. And you never know when the cause of your premature delivery is truly undetermined pre-term labor. Good news, right? I guess. And finally, shrimp cooperated for a beauty shot.

Fast forward to today.

Elisa has been in rare form. Definitely entering the terrible twos. On top of that, she is miserable with allergies. Her poor nose is dripping like a faucet. She's decided that dripping and the associated drool since she can't breathe through her nose is "icky" and freaks whenever she gets some on her hands. She did not sleep well at ALL last night. And decided to disobey mommy and daddy when we told her NOT to stand on the furniture, did anyway and of course she fell. Resulting in one unhappy baby. I went for my weekly p17 shot to finally get confirmation of my diabetes 1 hour test to find out that I did indeed fail. So I get to return tomorrow to do the three hour. What a way to spend my mental health days off. :-/.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Strong enough

As a preemie mom friend, also going through her second pregnancy (first after her preemie) said, I have good days. And I have bad days. Not entirely unusual really, seeing as how when you've gone through something like a premature birth. Some days I just KNOW I can do this. Some days, I can't see past the day. An ache, a pain, a contraction, will freeze me in my steps and suddenly I'm paralyzed with the fear that this is IT. The beginning of the end.

Some say once I get past 26 weeks I'll be "ok." Some say 29 weeks. To be honest, I don't know if I'll ever be "ok" with pregnancy. Right now, honestly, I can't see past 26 weeks. People ask how I'm doing Physically? I'm doing great. Emotionally? Fragile. Emotionally I'm not strong enough to do this.

There is often the phrase "God gives you only what He thinks you can handle." How many times have we heard that? How many times have I said that to myself? I laugh at that right now.

Often these days, I have sleepless nights. I'm either in too much pain, physically, to fall asleep. A lot of the pain stems from the anxiety I'm feeling (and a lot of that is sub-conscious) meaning that my back and shoulders tense up so extremely tight that I'm literally almost in tears. Or I wake up multiple times at night. Sometimes because I feel a contraction. Sometimes to pee. Sometimes to hear Elisa stirring.

But one thing I've noticed. During all of these times, there is a phrase from the Matthew West song that goes around my head. Over and over. Every time I wake up I'm singing this phrase.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And I don’t have to be strong enough."

I don't have to be strong enough. Regardless of what this next month, or preferably 4, holds, I don't have to be strong enough. People say I handled Elisa's well. That I'm a "strong" person. I'm not, really. The urge to cave and bury myself deep in myself was more than I showed. And right now, it's taking a lot to keep going. To keep that positive mental attitude going.

"I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up, I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t You cover me?
Lord, right now I’m asking You to be
Strong enough, strong enough
For the both of us"

Thankfully, God is strong enough to be strong enough for me, for my baby. For my husband and for Elisa. I don't have to carry this myself. Right now I'm too weighed down by anxiety to really feel the freedom behind this truth. I hope to be able to lay that down. I know He's strong enough. Every time I'm tested, He's shown me. I guess I'm just too afraid to be tested again.

So for now, I'll cling to that promise. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And I don’t have to be strong enough."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wiggle Worm

The older Elisa gets, the harder it is to capture her on film. She just won't STAND STILL long enough to get a good enough shot. Here are a few of my attempts last night, even using the multi shot feature on my camera. She just moves TOO FAST.

I'm trying to squeeze every ounce of one on one time in with her as I can these days. I know that far too quickly, my time will be taken with this new little one. I know kids adapt easily but I worry that she will feel a bit "left behind" with so much attention being shown to the new little one. I want to make sure she feels loved. I'll have to jump that hurdle in December.

She is growing far too quickly. Her vocabulary grows in leaps and bounds daily. She is mimicking almost every word we say. Makes you very careful about the words that you say. You can't even mention "thunder" and she comes running to you crying "no sunder, no sunder, otay!" Just the other day, she bumped her head, so daddy in Homer Simpson style whacked his head with his hand and said "doh!" She proceeded to copy him repeatedly.

Every day I watch her I am just in awe. It's hard to believe that we are approaching two years with her. She has amazed me in so many ways and I love her more than I can even express. Could just be because I'm pregnant and hormonal but I just watch her sometimes and want to cry. I came so close to not seeing these moments. I'm so glad I was blessed with her.

Shrimp #2 is continuing to progress. We are 22 weeks today. I had my 22 week check up yesterday with some nervousness. Seriously, I thought I was going to be sent to L&D because of some of the same sort of pain I'd been having with Elisa the week before I was admitted with her. On top of some contractions (4 over night, still not the 6-10 an hour they want you to call in but 4 compared to the one every once in a while I had been getting.) Some of the contractions I only noticed because I happened to put my hand on my belly during one and felt how hard it was. This did NOT give me comfort because I began to wonder just how many I was actually having and didn't know! So these two things put together, my doc decided to go ahead and do a cervical length check just to make sure nothing was happening. And...nothing was happening. The length had not changed since it was last checked at a little over 18 weeks. AWESOME! I am still waiting for the results of my GD test though. Hoping, really, for good news because this diabetes diet is REALLY HARD.

So. 22 weeks.

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 even developing 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.

So good. I go back next for another peri appt and to check the cervical length again and then back to my doctor for my regular check up. Looks like I'm going to every 2 weeks now. I'll take it though.

I'll leave you with this image of my goofy girl and her love of ketchup. Seriously. Give the girl ketchup and she'll eat anything.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


That is how I'm feeling at the moment as I try to manage all the tasks that I need to get done to prepare for Shrimps arrival. So. I am going to take a break and update you all on Shrimp. Maybe this will help me re-focus on getting this stuff done!

21 weeks. Yup. That's today. Sad that the first thoughts that enter my mind are:
1. 3 weeks from viability outside the womb.
2. 5 weeks from when I was admitted to the hospital
3. 8 weeks from when Elisa was born.

Yeah. Kinda bothers me that I can't seem to get past those numbers. But oh well. For the most part, I'm feeling well. I'm having NORMAL pregnancy symptoms. Aches, pains already. Feeling heavy and more like "fat" than pregnant. That sounds kinda funny to say really. I saw a picture of myself at church the other day from the front and all I could think was do I really look that fat? Oh well. I'm pretty sure it's all baby weight.

We've started the stocking up on diapers process. Figure I'll get just one box of newborn size because I'm having a termie and won't need 5 months worth! If I find I need more than just the one box...I'll just go buy more. Otherwise, I'll stock up on the size 1s.

Elisa is entirely moved out of the nursery and into her big girl room. She's handled the transition very well. Slept over night in that room now for 3 nights and is only waking once. Sometimes she puts herself back to sleep, sometimes she's terrified and needs some help. Only once has she climbed out of the bed herself and made it to the door. Where she peeked around and into our room and called out to us from the baby gate there. She's eating amazingly well. Pretty soon she'll eat us out of house and home.

My secret is revealed...ketchup. Give the child ketchup and she'll eat anything....

So here's our 21 weeks update:

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 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.

We asked Elisa the other night if she thought the baby in mommy's belly was a boy or a girl. She confidently exclaimed "girl!" Guess we know where her loyalties lie. We shall see. In December.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Who's the big girl?

I am! I am!

Elisa slept for the first time ALL NIGHT in her big girl bed. She did amazing! She didn't fall out once, nor try to crawl out and come and get us or get out and play over night. She did wake up a few times but each time managed to put herself back to sleep. She did wake up for the morning before her "allowed" time, but really that's expected. Over all, I'm very proud of my big girl and hope the rest of the transition continues as easily.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The first of many

Fights between my children, that is.

That sounds odd to say, coming off this journey when I never thought I'd have one. Anyway, I digress.

Today was one of THOSE kinds of days. A very crabby girl. I think she must have sensed the weather. It was one of those cloudy, dreary, rainy and cool days. Personally, I rejoiced after all the heat we'd been having these last few weeks. We could open up the windows and turn the air off. It was heaven in that regard. But the thunder decided the perfect time to start was nap time. And my poor child, with her terror of thunder, was NOT going to go to sleep on her own. So it was the perfect day to take a nap with her on the couch.

Problem was my belly is growing and it was rather difficult to find a position where she was comfortable and the baby wasn't getting squashed. Finally did, but her feet were laying across the belly, right where the baby was.

Well, apparently, Shrimp didn't like this. Because he/she started kicking right where Elisa's feet lay. Elisa was too far gone into her slumber to notice. But I got a good chuckle out of it. Experiencing the first of many feet fights to come in the years to come.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

20 weeks!

I seem to remember starting a post during the pregnancy with Elisa, stating that she was now "half baked." Little did I know that she was, in reality, 3/4 baked and determined to come 9 short weeks later.

I've been traveling this week for my last trip of this pregnancy. So I don't have too much to report from home.

Most of our communication has come through Skype. Elisa has come a long way with her "understanding" of Skype. She hasn't tried to run behind the computer to see the back of my head as much. And she also will point at the screen and point to "mommy" or "daddy" or "Deda" (Elisa). And tonight she even kissed the screen when she saw me, said "bye-bye" and "I love you!" when we hung up. Can't wait to get home and see my little goober.

So here we are at 20 weeks.

I feel "huge" even though I know I'm not. I just compare it to where I am when I'm not pregnant. I've made up the 3 lbs I lost when sick, finally and will hopefully keep gaining. When I went for my shot before leaving town, I asked them to run a test for a UTI as I suspected I had one. The test came back negative for a UTI but positive for dehydration (?), protein and sugar. Huh? Dehydrated after drinking almost a gallon of water a day. And protein and sugar?? Protein was only a trace and apparently normal. They didn't really comment on the sugar other than to ask what I had for breakfast this morning. But asking around, it seems I shouldn't have sugar coming up in that it got me wondering. Dehydration when I'm drinking all of that water, sugar in my urine and always thirsty?? Something wasn't adding up. My risk for gestational diabetes is higher due to the p17, so I'm starting to think I may actually be getting it. :-/. So I've proactively put myself on the diabetes diet and will be asking my doc to run a diabetes test at 22 weeks instead of 24.

Baby is "looking" good though. I feel tons of movements, which I love. I can't believe I've been feeling them for as long as I have now. Almost as long as I could really feel Elisa's. It's great! So here's the update:

Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches 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 substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).

Kinda ewww...but oh well. I don't remember Elisa's first poop. Must have happened before I saw her or over that first night after I left. Hoping to get to see this little one's first poopy diaper. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The mind

Is a funny place. It remembers things and brings them up at the strangest moments. Sometimes you are left wondering where did that come from for a while until it dawns on you.

Andrew, Elisa and I took a much needed break to Jefferson City. Andrew is interviewing with the highway patrol and this was step two in the year long process and Elisa and I tagged along. We had a great time swimming, playing at the mall (and Elisa made out big in the sales tax holiday and is now outfitted for the winter!) and of course, eating.

We had a great time! But on the very last night, I experienced my first braxton hicks of this pregnancy. My mind is so in tune with my body that even though it was painless, it woke me up from a deep sleep. And I panicked. Seriously. It was just one but when I first felt it I didn't know that. My mind immediately started going to places I didn't like. All I could see was a repeat of Elisa's pregnancy, only this time there was no chance of survival. And not only that but I was again in a strange town. I laid there in bed with my hand on my belly holding my breath and praying that another wouldn't come. After an hour, I finally fell back into a restless sleep, but the fear and panic that accompanied it remained for the rest of the day.

It wasn't until later in the day after talking with my preemie mom twin that I realized where the over reaction had come from. I was out of town. Again. Everything that has ever gone wrong in any of my 3 pregnancies occurred when I was out of town. I lost my first baby on a trip. I lost my 2nd immediately upon returning from another. Elisa came while out of town. So there I was in a hotel and experiencing contractions, something that is terrifying to me to begin with since my only experience with them were not braxton hicks, but actual contractions that resulted in my daughters early arrival.

The truth is, I don't trust my body to do what is needed to keep this baby safe. I don't know if I even trust God to get this baby to term. I trust Him to get me through whatever is thrown my way, I just don't know if His way is also going to be MY way. And at this point, that is not exactly a comforting thought. He more than proved His power to me in Elisa's birth. He kept her, and me, safe. He brought us to the right hospital at the right time. He brought her home to me. He has also kept her from having any long lasting effects from her prematurity. He brought to me one of the most amazing support groups I've ever had the privilege to be a part of. He brought to me my "preemie twin" mom, who without, these last two years I don't know if I would have survived with my sanity intact. A day doesn't go by that we aren't in contact. I know that was Him. Why else would she, a complete stranger to me, be lead to find my story in our birth board as she was sitting on bed rest preparing to deliver her preemie? Why else would Elisa have been born exactly two weeks before hers, showing her what 2 weeks down the road may look like for her preemie. Released from the hospital within days of each other. Two amazing little girls, who by the circumstances of their birth, brought their mothers an amazing friendship. He did so much for me through Elisa's story and life so far.

I guess that is what I can trust in. I have done EVERYTHING I can to avoid another preemie. I'm drinking tons of water. Resting. I'm in tune with each twinge of my body, always evaluating this twinge or that to see if it's "normal" or an indicator of a problem. I'm being followed by two medical practitioners. Who with their combined knowledge are dedicated to keeping me pregnant as long as they can. Who, if one fails, the other can pick up where the one left off. I can trust in the fact that in the end I have no control over the outcome. I do have control over how I react to it. I do trust that whatever is thrown my way through out the next few months, God will get me through it. He always has. Sometimes it may seem like He's let me down, left me out in the arctic with no map and no direction. But once I get through it, I begin to see He didn't really. That He was always there. I just couldn't see it at the time.

This time won't be any different. I think the lyrics from the Kutless song "What Faith Can Do" best describes where I am right now.

What Faith Can Do Lyrics

Everybody falls sometimes
Gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you're stronger, stronger than you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason for someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
It’ll be alright
Life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do

Overcome the odds
You don't have a chance
(That’s what faith can do)
When the world says you can’t
It’ll tell you that you can!

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
And I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That’s what faith can do
That's what faith can do!
Even if you fall sometimes
You will have the strength to rise

Thursday, August 4, 2011

19 weeks

And if you consider 37 weeks as "term" I'm "halfway" there. But really, one more week is half way. Scary to think that 10 weeks from now, Elisa was here. 7 week from now I was in the hospital. Kinda bothers me that I see a number and this is the first thoughts that come into my mind. BUT my "half-baked" baby is doing amazing.

My feisty girl has quite the personality. But she never ceases to amaze me.

Her "big girl" room is complete and she's taken several naps in there. Much to my surprise she has handled this change rather well. For the most part, she's going right down for her nap when I put her down awake in her bed. Only once did she fight the nap, but spent about 30 minutes playing in her bed with her care bears before finally dozing off at the end. I was very happy that she managed to stay in the bed for her play. I hope the rest of our transition continues to go so well so I can get to work on turning the nursery back into a newborn room. Crazy how much has changed in that room the last 2 years.

Now, onto Shrimp #2. As I posted on Tuesday, we had the big anatomy ultrasound and all looks good. We are 19 weeks today. Another item of possible interest is that my cervix measured 5.4 cm! According to my googling, they want it to be between 2.5 and 5 cm. Now, I'm not worried about it being too long. After all...what could too long mean when the longer the cervix is the further away I am from laboring right? At least that's what I'm telling myself lol. Just made me wonder if my body isn't trying to "make up" for failing me with Elisa and going to go the extra mile this time. Watch. I'll go the full 39 weeks lol. Oh darn.

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 1/2 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.

So here's to at least 20 more weeks. I take my last trip of the pregnancy next week. Kinda strange to think I'll be home for the next 6-7 months!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Introducing "Shrimp"

So far so good. Measured about a week ahead (no surprise really. Elisa did too at this stage) at 19 weeks 4 days. I'm technically 18 weeks 5 days. No talk of changing due dates though as that is pretty common at this range. Just a "big" baby. Elisa was "big" too. Tech said everything looked wonderful. All the important pieces were just where they needed to be, heart looked good, cord looked good. Placenta was in a good place, fluid was good. Just everything was good. Even better, my cervix was long and closed. So far so is low again. But is transverse so at least it's kicking my ovaries right now and not my cervix. Let's hope it stays that way. I go back in 4 weeks to check the cervix again and growth.