This Blog turns 1!!

I cannot believe that one year ago today I launched this blog! To be honest, I had a few anxiety attacks over it. But I knew I was doing the right thing. It was so important to me to share my own, high risk pregnancy experience.  I wanted others, who were either going through the same thing or something similar to have a real-life example to compare to, and to ultimately know that you are not alone.

I never expected it to grow to more than 8000 subscribers, or to receive the messages and emails from other people experiencing the same way. I feel like I have gotten more out of this experience than I ever gave. So, thank you!

While I am no longer pregnant, I still deal with all of the issues that made it hard for me to get pregnant in the first place, and made my first, second and third trimesters so stressful.  I still have uterus didelphys, Factor V Leiden, my endometriosis can return, and so could my uterine polyps. 

So, now I’m focusing on being a good mom, taking care of my health and finding ways to help others in their journeys as well.

Knowledge is power! And I firmly believe that the more thoughtful conversations we have, the more we share, the more power we give ourselves to make our lives better.

Meet Colin Michael

The 3-4th of July were crazy days.  Needless to say, I was NOT expecting my water to break before my cerclage came out, and I was NOT expecting to deliver a late pre-term baby.  But here we are, and Colin Michael is doing great for his gestational age.

imageBorn at 2:56 a.m. on July 4th, 2014, he weighed 5 lbs, 10 oz. and was 18 inches long.

I knew the exact moment my water broke.  I felt a pop, and then I was literally soaked with water. My water broke with my daughter, so there was no confusion what this was this time… and it was a mess… despite the cerclage.

As my husband raced around the house to grab the necessities… diapers for Hannah, phones and chargers, and my computer… our daughter sat on the couch watching quietly.  She knew something was wrong.  Mommy was on her hands and knees on the floor and daddy was running around the house like a mad man! How could you not?! LOL

We didn’t have time to pack much more because I started to feel contractions quickly after my water broke, and the last thing I wanted to do was tear through that stitch.  We’d figure the rest out later.  We needed to get to the hospital pronto.

I was scared.  This was not going at all how I planned in my head. The birth of your child rarely does.  I wasn’t too scared for my baby.  35 week kids can go either way… need breathing tubes and feeding tubes in the NICU, or be totally fine.  I was more scared for me.

First of all, we were no where close to ready.  Rooms hadn’t been painted.  Closets weren’t set up.  Furniture hadn’t arrived. Oh yeah and the basement is under construction.

Second, and most importantly my stitch was still in.  Who the heck was going to take it out?? Were we going to get to it in time?

That process turned out to be much more complicated than what I thought.  My doctor was on vacation this weekend, I knew she would be. But she still called ahead to labor and delivery to let them know I was coming in.

After check in they took me to a labor and delivery room where two doctors (pretty typical for a teaching hospital) sat down and we discussed how the stitch was going to come out. I opted for no medication to start.  I knew it was a relatively quick procedure.  In fact, I figured I was in enough pain with the contractions… just take it out in between and I’d be okay.

Uh… wrong assumption. Because the stitch was wrapped around both of my cervices, it was extremely uncomfortable and even painful at times when they tried to just get a hold of it. It was taking A LOT longer than I expected.  I looked from one doctor to another asking if it was over yet.  They just couldn’t get it.  At one point, they even asked what type of stitch I had!

Since it was causing me so much discomfort to take the stitch out with no meds, we decided to just get my epidural put in. Kill two birds with one stone… no more contractions, and less pain to take the stitch out.

So we waited… about half an hour to 45 minutes for the epidural to arrive. She was helping someone else who was having a c-section.  By the time I finally got it in, my labor had progressed so much that my doctors could no longer locate the stitch.  My cervix had swollen up completely around it.

At this point they had to call the on-call high risk doctor. I give the hospital major credit.  They only wanted one O.R. open during the holiday, but my doctors and nurses managed to get the other one open to take care of me. So off I went. They numbed me up a little more and in minutes my stitch was out.  I immediately dilated to 5 cm. In less than an hour I was at 8.  We got that stitch out just in time.

Now it was a waiting game.  I truly thought I was in the clear.  And then I started to black out. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew something was wrong.  All I knew was I was confused and I was about to lose consciousness. They later told me the color had completely drained from my face.  I told my husband and my mother-in-law to find someone quickly.  I did not want to wake up and have no baby in my belly, and somewhere inside something was telling me I needed to fight to stay awake.

My blood pressure had plummeted. Nurses came in, rolled me onto my left side and gave me medicine to get my blood pressure back up.  We had to… because when that happened to me, it also happened to my baby. And that was frightening.

What I didn’t know was that can be a side effect to the epidural.  It had never happened to me before.  But apparently it’s pretty normal, and once we got my blood pressure back up, the baby’s slowly returned to normal too.

Finally, NOW it was a waiting game.

It took me 3 pushes and ten minutes for the little guy to come into this world. He was a lot bigger than I thought he would be!

When your baby is pre-term, a ton of people are in that labor and delivery room with you.  There your doctors, any family you want, and a full staff of folks from the NICU.  I knew that going in.  But as Colin came out he screamed.  It’s the most beautiful sound in the room.  And his was LOUD. In fact, it basically prompted the entire NICU staff to leave.  And that made me extremely happy.

They kept Colin in the hospital for longer than a usual full term baby.  We needed to make sure he was gaining weight, passed breathing tests, hearing tests, car seat tests, etc. We supplemented him with milk until mine came in.  Now, 2 and a half weeks later… he weighs more than six pounds, and my pediatrician says we need to stop treating him and thinking of him as a preemie… because he’s not acting like one. For that, I am so grateful.

You see, that night there were several 35 week moms who came in to UCH to deliver.  Who knows what was going on that caused us all to go into labor.  Three of those babies were still in the NICU when we were allowed to leave.  So we were so blessed to have a baby who did and is doing so well.

Uterus didelphys threw me a couple of punches at the end of my pregnancy.  Since Hannah had gone full term, we didn’t completely expect my next baby to come so early.  But my doctors still warned me that it could happen.

Interestingly enough, both Hannah and Colin were the exact same size when they came into this world.  I guess we now know the threshold for my right uterus! 5 lbs, 10 oz, 18 inches long… time to exit!

Colin Michael is my little fighter.  And I can’t wait watch his life adventure begin!

Are you having twins? You still have til August???

35 weeks!

Ahh… the joys of nearing the end of your pregnancy. I don’t know what it is about being pregnant, but people feel like they can say ANYTHING to you.  I truly believe everyone just wants to share in your joy.  So, instead of letting my hormones go all righteous on strangers, I choose to laugh and play along.  Because let’s be honest, while you jest at my water breaking and me going into labor at any moment, the truth is with me… it’s a very real possibility.  And THEN what are you gonna do?

Before I get into some of my favorite comments, here’s the latest on me and baby boy: He weighs 4 lbs. 14 oz, and his measurements have dropped to the 32nd percentile.  Not at all surprising, and not terrible either.  He’s simply running out of space in my smaller uterus.  He looks great!  He’ll probably be just slightly larger than his sister when he’s born.  My docs don’t even care about my cerclage anymore.  It’s scheduled to come out in 2 weeks so it’s coming out soon, whether I go into labor before then or not.  

I know, I know, he looks high… but he is actually VERY low.  Lower than my daughter.  He sits right on my pelvis, on my right side… which explains a lot of my sciatic pain.  But he’s head down, and facing the right direction for delivery! That particular part makes this VERY real, and me pretty nervous… we still have a ton to do!

I’ve been seeing a therapist to help with my stress levels… and it has really been amazing.  It is probably the best thing I could have done for my mental health.  So, to distract myself from the stresses of getting ready here’s a few of the things that make me giggle every day.  

My favorite comments: “You are all belly!” – Can’t get enough! If you could say that to me every 5 minutes, I will love you forever! 

“You look amazing” – While I think you are lying thru your teeth, I love and appreciate your sincere attempt at making me awesome.  Will you be my new BFF?

“It looks like you have on a movie prop” – I actually had an actor say this to me once.  Me and Rob Schneider… 2012

Needless to say, Rob Schneider is now my favorite actor of all time.

“Has anyone helped you yet, because we don’t need you going into labor here at the counter.. (laughing)… When are you due? Tomorrow?” – Yeah, laugh it up chuckles, the joke’s gonna be on you when my water actually does break on your floor.  I wish I was due tomorrow.. but baby’s in there possibly til August.

“Are you sure you’re not having twins?” – Seriously? Seriously.  P.S. I know I’m large but the turkey timer (my belly button) hasn’t even popped yet.  So slow your roll, I’m still baking.

And finally… “I sure hope your husband is rubbing oil on you every night!” – said the old man behind me in line at the supermarket.  O.M.G. I was cornered and HAD to reply.  (me stammering)… fortunately I haven’t needed that yet… It was the most polite thing I could think of.  Nothing like that awkward feeling you just can’t escape!  He made up for it by eventually telling me I was 23 and looked too young to have 2 kids.  Poor man.  I knew he meant well, but REALLY??? Clearly this blog is all about getting personal… but not like THAT!!  I have to admit I laughed about that one all day. 

I’ll be addressing the rude lady who called the station to say that she knew I was pregnant and thought my belly was “disgusting” in a future blog.  Because in my line of work… we try to make everyone happy :).  Cheers!! 

Miller Moths Remind me of Bat Season

It’s that time of year again.

imageMiller Moth Season.

I know there’s an appreciation out there for these things… but I think they’re gross.  They eat your clothes, they cling to you, and they stink when they fry on your lights.  Quite honestly, they remind me of a not-so-fun time in my last pregnancy: Bat Season.  I don’t think “bat season” technically exists… but it does in my house and it coincides with the invasion of Miller Moths.

We get dozens of Miller Moths in our house this time of year.  Thank God for my cat who likes to eat them.

imageGood boy, Cody.

But we get enough of them that we’re not totally surprised if one flutters near our heads in the middle of the night.  At least that’s what you hope it is.

It was about this time of year, when I was pregnant with Hannah that I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.  That’s when what is typically considered a middle-of-the-night nuisance, turned quickly into my saving grace.

As I was returning to bed, Chris started swatting at what he thought were Miller Moths flying around his face.  After he hit one, we suddenly heard pinging noises around the room and a horrible clicking sound.  I don’t know a lot about moths, but I’m pretty sure they don’t make those sounds.  Chris freaked out and I made an about face back to the bathroom.  You can only imagine my immediate fear when my fearless husband, my protector started wigging out.  I’m pretty sure I made it to the bathroom in record time, turned on the light and there it was.

image

Ok, so not this guy specifically, but one that looked just like him!!! A brown bat! Sprawled out on my pillow case!!

Initially I had no idea what it was… I was still VERY groggy.  Great combo, I know: A panicked, groggy pregnant lady. Was it a lizard with wings? Some horrible mutant mouse? I screamed… and that’s when my husband, who grew up in the south, yelled that it was a bat.

The reactions then went like this:

image

Cooper, our Golden Retriever, ran out of the room with his tail between his legs.

image

Cody, looked like he wanted to pounce on his new play toy.

image

And I immediately yelled for everyone to get out of the room because “Bats have rabies!!!”

Chris wanted to capture him and let the bat out the window… but I wouldn’t allow anyone near the creature for at least 45 minutes.  By the time he finally talked some sense into me, the bat had gone into hiding.  In my bedroom.

There was NO WAY I was sleeping in there until that thing was gone.

That was Saturday night.  I don’t want to make a long story longer, so here’s the short of what happened Sunday and Monday: I googled and called every bat removal company I could find… in the middle of the night.  Turns out they are SUPER expensive, and it’s useless to bring them out in the middle of the day anyway because bats are good hiders.

I then googled our situation.  Turns out, in the state of Colorado, if a bat flies in your bedroom in the middle of the night and you can’t find it… you have to get a rabies shot.  Bats can bite you and you’d never know it because their fangs are so fine and tiny. The big question: Can you get a rabies shot while pregnant?  So, now my high-risk pregnancy had become riskier.

We had to find the bat.  I played the crazy, high-risk pregnant lady card and managed to get the Colorado Department of Wildlife out to my house to check for the bat, and possibly more.  He was useless.  Found nothing and said the bat was probably gone.  I didn’t buy that for a second.

My doctors decided I should at least go to labor and delivery to get checked out.  Let me tell you, it’s always fun when you can stump your high-risk hospital with a situation they’ve never seen before.  Apparently the email exchange amongst my doctors was rather interesting, and quite humorous.  At least they were able to get a hold of officials with the state health department (something I definitely couldn’t do on a weekend), and we made a deal:

We had to find the bat by Monday at 1 p.m., otherwise the WHOLE family had to start getting rabies shots.

Even though it was up for debate whether myself or the animals got bit (my husband, not so lucky… he claims the bat performed some sort of sexual act on his head), we all had to get the shots because we were all in the room.

It was enough for me to know my baby could come early and possibly have problems because of that.  This was just something I did not need.  So, that Sunday night, my husband made himself bait.

Armed with ski gear, tupperware, duct tape and an old kitchen towel, he slept in the infested bedroom waiting to hear the bat make some noise.  While bats are good hiders during the day, at dusk and dawn they get hungry and start to move around to find food and water.  The ski gear was so Chris didn’t get bit again.  The kitchen towel was to smack the bat down to the ground… they can’t take off from the floor.  The tupperware was to trap the bat, and the duct tape was used to tape the tupperware to the floor.

Here’s what happened next according to my Facebook feed:

The problem was over… or so we thought.

Turns out, my cat is also a very good “Bat Hunter”.

As he did before, he perched himself on the top of my husband’s dresser, staring at the space between our fireplace and our wall.  We originally attributed this behavior to him going nuts.  But he saw and heard something we couldn’t.  We had a COLONY of bats living in the walls of our house.

You can’t kill them, they’re protected. And bats can get into a space the size of your pinky. So we spent more than $1000 for someone to come in, plug the holes and put in “exit” cones that bats can only fly out of.

We haven’t had any problems since then. We made sure that bats can’t fly into our bedroom anymore. But occasionally I do still find bat guano outside our home.  Google it if you don’t know what that is.

I think it’s pretty obvious… I really dislike Miller Moth season.  And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous this time around.

Last Blood Draw… Done! RESULTS

I think my brain is finally functioning normally again! No food, and barely any water from 10 p.m. until 12:45 p.m. the next day makes for a seriously loopy pregnant lady.

Today’s goal was to rule out gestational diabetes.  I really didn’t need another complication on top of what is already going on.  While my doctor was convinced everything was fine… and she was right… I wasn’t always too sure. My last blood draw came back with a level of 100.

So to review: my fasting level was 77, one hour test after 10 oz of nasty liquid: 136, two hour test: 111, 3 hour test: 100.  All falling within the normal range. Yay!  My levels were so normal, that my doctor even asked if for the 1 hour regular test if I drank the whole 10 oz, or just half like I was supposed to.  I mean, I’m a little nutty, but I’m not CRAZY.  Who knows what happened with that first test.  Maybe it was the two large breakfast tacos I devoured for lunch!

While today’s lunch was no breakfast tacos, it was spectacular.  Well, anything would have been spectacular after going THAT long without food!  But I must say, my Reuben and sweet potato fries truly hit the spot.  And it was hospital food! Who knew?

I then went right back upstairs to ultrasound for baby boy’s growth measurement.  He looks perfect, and is measuring in the 72nd percentile.  The last growth measurement had him in the 85th… so he’s slowing down a bit, but still a good week ahead of schedule.  It makes me think he’ll be a lot like his sister.  And that is totally fine. I was totally okay with delivering a not-so-large baby.  I am totally okay if history wants to repeat itself this time around! Ha!

Bonus… more 3D pictures!!! 

Foot in his face

Umbilical cord by his face

hands up by his face

I’m a proud mama! And I’m very relieved.  In all honesty, it has been a tough week for me.  It’s really hard not to think the worst, no matter what anyone says to you.  I continue to learn to deal with problems as they come, but sometimes life can get overwhelming.  There were points this week where I wasn’t sure I could handle everything.  And by everything I mean work, volunteering with my sorority, watching my child, cleaning my house, taking care of my animals… EVERYTHING.  I wanted to stop everything, curl up in a ball and cry until it was over.  

But that’s not how life works.  And there’s no way I’m letting my husband and daughter down.  It’s a hard thing to even admit because I’ve always viewed myself as a positive person.  But it all goes back to the point of this blog… total honesty.  Dealing with a lot of emotion is a very real part of pregnancy.  I’d be lying to myself if I didn’t say these particular emotions don’t worry me, because they do.  So, at my next doctor’s appointment, I’ll be bringing this up.  As hard as it is to admit, I’ve got to do it.  Mostly because I’m not a quitter, and I know there’s help out there for me if I need it.  I owe that to my family and my unborn child.

2nd Glucose test result

So, the nurse said my first blood draw after drinking the nasty liquid was high.  I thought… Ok… maybe it will be similar to my last one hour test.  I scored a 136.  They’d like it to be less than 135.  I seriously, could not have been closer!! Ugh.  Just finished my 3rd blood draw.  One more to go!

1st Glucose test result!

My hospital has this super cool online feature where I can log in and see my test results as they are coming in! Good thing I brought my computer with me today! My doctor just sent a note saying my fasting levels look great! 77.  We’ll see how the next couple go! 

Woo hoo! A little more than an hour and I’m done!