23 Weeks!

image23 Weeks!

Yesterday was my birthday, I’m 23 weeks along and I’m now just a few days from viability!!! That means, a few days from the point where doctors would save my baby should I go into labor… and THAT is a huge milestone.  Obviously I would love it if the little guy would stay in a little longer!

I had my follow up appointment from surgery this week.  I think this was the most excited my docs have ever been about how everything looks.  "Text book" was the phrase they used! I admit, I even clapped in the doctor’s office when I heard the news! LOL.  We were so excited we even printed out the ultrasound picture of my cervix. No, I’m not sharing on here.. I thought that would be a little weird! But it was so nice to see a picture of a cervix that wasn’t breaking down and that we were all nervous about.

I have one more follow up appointment on Tuesday, and then I’ll see the high risk docs symptomatically.  That means, if everything continues to feel normal, then the rest of my pregnancy will be treated as normal! Woo hoo!

We also talked about how I still need to listen to my body, and take it easy.  Last Saturday I was on my feet for a little longer than I should have been.  The muscles in my belly hurt so bad from being stretched, and not getting to rest that it almost made me cry.  We were at a charity event, and all I wanted to do was hang out with our friends. That’s what makes this hard sometimes.  I don’t like giving up things… but I REALLY don’t want to force my body into to labor early.  Unfortunately, I just need to come to terms with the fact that I can’t do as much as some of my other pregnant friends.  And that’s ok.

Moving forward, learning to balance our busy life is going to be my biggest challenge.  I’m purposefully trying not to list everything I’m working on for the next several months so that i don’t have an anxiety attack right now! Ha! One day at a time, Becky…. one day at a time. 

My cerclage

It took a couple of days, but I’m finally out of my drug-induced haze!  (No drugs were used that could harm the baby.  They just made me REALLY drowsy.) All of last week happened so fast, the whole thing just feels surreal… like I’m going to wake up and this will all have been a dream.  Despite that, the procedure to put in my cerclage could not have gone any better.

The decision was made last Tuesday.  My cervix had been shortening, much slower than last time, but enough to worry my doctors that I may, in fact, deliver a preemie.  So, after an anxious night of no sleep, we dropped our daughter off at daycare and arrived at the hospital just after 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning.  It was snowing. Hard. Sorry (kind of) news friends who had to work through that without me!  But we arrived safely, and then the waiting game began. imageDr. Donnelly prepping me for surgery.

imageI hate taking medicine!

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When you make quick decisions, you don’t really give yourself time to realize the full scope of what’s going on.  So my nerves were doing pretty good that morning.

FAIR WARNING: If you do not believe in women and flatulence, (my husband) do not read any further. STOP READING NOW.

In fact, much like last time, I was much more worried about flatulence than I was about my doctor’s ability to put in the stitch.

You see, when you first enter into operating room, everything looks “normal”. Then, after the doors close, they hoist these things that make it look like you are about to participate in an olympic event… The rings! One of my best events in elementary school.  I so got this!

Sadly, that is not what they would be used for that morning.  Long story short, they give you a spinal to numb you from the waist down, then strap your legs in, and everyone gets up close and personal.  It is my worst nightmare to be THAT gassy pregnant lady who breaks wind in all of my doctors’ faces.  I mean, I was going to be awake for this!!  MORTIFYING!!  

At least last time they assured me they’d blame it on the only male in the room… the surgeon. hahaha.  This time, it was all ladies who would be down there, so I felt it would be best to just give them fair warning.  

Fortunately for me, I was a lady even while numb from the waist down.

This time, I actually slept through my surgery.  Thank goodness… because by the time we made it all the way to that room I was one anxious pregnant lady! I had gotten so little sleep the night before that the “happy” drug they gave me knocked me out. Cold. When I woke up, they were finishing up.

Dr. Donnelly ended up sewing both cervixes together since the other one was so small comparatively.  She felt that tying the two together would cause the least amount of bleeding, and least amount of risk.

You do spot red blood afterwards.  But it’s not much, and totally normal.  In fact, it is 2 days after surgery and I’m not spotting anymore.  I feel a lot more tired than I did, and my back is sore.  But otherwise I feel pretty good! And now I wait.

The reality is, I still could go into labor at 24 weeks.  If your body wants to have the baby, you’re going to have the baby, cerclage or not.  Milestones are BIG for me from now on.  24 weeks, 32 weeks… And my goal is to make it to 36 weeks when the stitch will come out.  Wish me luck!!   

Yesterday was National Doctor’s Appreciation Day… and I couldn’t get to this post, so here it is today!  The doctors you pick can make a big difference in your care… and I don’t think I could have done any better with mine!

A HUGE thank you to these doctors for helping bring our beautiful little girl into this world! Dr. Tricia Huguelet with University of Colorado Hospital, Dr. Deb Smith with Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, Dr. Jaime Arruda with UCH, Dr. Nick Behrendt with UCH, and Dr. Joel Schwartz.  Many more thanks to come when our son arrives! We really couldn’t have done this… and stayed sane… without you! – oh, and I apologize for no makeup.  Been a little busy taking care of Hannah’s pink eye!

Relieved

So, I still don’t feel awesome… But, they squeezed me in early and the cervix measurement was just under 3 cm. Everything looks great!  What a relief!! No surgery for me! (This week anyway)

I feel a little like the girl who cried wolf… but everyone at the hospital assured me that they’d rather me come in and it be nothing, than not say anything and it be something really bad.  They’re right… my baby is not worth that risk.

Why am I still experiencing some pain? A couple of guesses… this little guy is growing fast! 

imageGreat profile shot… head is on the right.. body to the left. 

He’s measuring in the 89th percentile for growth.  They’re guessing he weighs around 12 ounces.  Because he’s growing so quickly, my uterus is accommodating by stretching, and that’s causing more round ligament pain than I’ve experienced thus far.  Round ligament pain can be a shooting pain that travels places you really don’t want to think about. 

Also right now, he’s head down.  I’d prefer he stay that way, but we’ll see. He apparently is quite the mover.  He would not sit still for the ultrasound.  I can guarantee I’m going to be sore tomorrow based on the amount of pushing and prodding we had to do to get the pictures we needed.  So, it’s very likely he’s also been punching and kicking my cervix, which like round ligament pain, is not a joyful experience.

He had a great heartbeat, all of his organs were in tact, every finger and toe was accounted for and he had normal measurements in every area they looked. 

The doctor said he looks perfect.  It looks like I’m off the hook for another week! 

19 weeks… Not a great day :(

Trying to take it easy between hits at work today. 

Well, we’re at 19 weeks… about the same time we found out I would need a cerclage while pregnant with my daughter.  And I’m not gonna lie.  I don’t feel good this morning. The baby feels really low.

I’m just uncomfortable.  Sometimes I feel sharp pains down low… but mostly I’m uncomfortable, especially when I’m standing or walking.  I’ve talked with my doctor, and she wants me to try and take it as easy as possible.  We’ll see what it means for my cervix at my appointment at 1:30.  Quite honestly, I don’t know what it means.  It could mean my cervix is shorter… maybe it’s just round ligament pain.  But I do know that this is the worst I’ve felt so far.

This scares me.  I’ve been thru it all before, but it still scares me.  I just want everything to be ok.  

I’ll have an update later today on how the doctor’s appointment goes.  On the positive side… we get a full scan of the baby today! Measurements and everything! They usually let me look at the baby anyway, but this is the first size update I’ve had in a while.  Yay!  

Resting with my fingers crossed.

Labor and Delivery… and my tour of the NICU (this is a long one)

When the University of Colorado Hospital offered me tours of both Children’s Hospital and the NICU at UCH I happily agreed.  And both experiences were harder than I expected. 

Touring the NICU hit a little closer to home for me.  Uterus didelphys puts me at greater risk for delivering a preemie.  Even though I had gotten my cerclage at 19-20 weeks with Hannah, I still had doctors that were skeptical I would make it past 28 weeks.  When I did, they were surprised.  I did a little happy dance when I surpassed 32… and EVERYONE was ecstatic when I hit 38. 

What they told me last time, and I’m sure they’ll tell me again, is that the cerclage, or sewing your cervix shut, will not stop labor.  If you’re going to have the baby, your going to have the baby. They schedule to have the stitch taken out around 36-37 weeks, but if there is bleeding or extreme pain before then you need to get yourself to the hospital ASAP. 

So there I was, standing at the door to the NICU, looking at all of the tiny babies clinging to life. The smallest baby was just 10 ounces. The nurse giving me the tour was super friendly.  When she asked why I was there, we explained this blog… and then I told her about my uterus didelphys.  No other explanation was needed.  She said they get a lot of women with uterine abnormalities delivering preemies there.  And there sat another reason why I chose this hospital.  I didn’t have to explain. They just knew.

I put on my yellow mask and we looked at the rows upon rows of beds available.  Most babies will enter the NICU if they are early, experiencing a major/life-threatening problem, or weigh less than 4 lbs.

imageTiny machines for tiny babies

imageLittle spaces to reach in and touch your baby

These babies get help for just about everything you can think of. They even have specialists available to help your baby continue to develop, as if they were still in the womb… from learning reflexes, to staying in the curled up position they like to be in, in mommies tummy.  How cool is that?! They mimic what it’s like in mommy’s tummy to help these babies survive!

imageDarkness and quiet are great for these little ones.  This baby is getting treated for jaundice… common in preemies.

Parents must go through so much to be with their child day in and day out while they lay helpless in what look like little incubators. Just wearing the yellow mask was enough to make me feel faint and nauseous as I breathed in and out my own hot air.  But I guess once your child is in there, your needs don’t matter anymore.  Just theirs. If you have to wear the yellow mask, you wear it… and you’re happy to wear it and be there. My heart goes out to all the parents who go through this. You are my heroes.

My last stop of the day: Labor and Delivery. A totally different emotion took over as I stepped back onto the 5th floor of the hospital. It was such an exciting time to be there as I got ready to deliver my daughter. We were safely at 38 weeks, my water broke on it’s own, and labor was progressing at a great pace. We got to welcome in the GREATEST little human that day.  A huge smile spreads across my face just thinking about the day my son will arrive! 

Now, their facilities are not as nice as the brand new ones at Children’s.  But you still get a bathtub, shower, tons of space, sleeping room for dad… and for you brave souls who want to experience a water delivery, they even have enough space to set up that small pool in the room to accommodate you. I salute you ladies! I couldn’t have done it without my epidural.  Those contractions during transition were way too much for me.

imageEnough space for the water delivery pool.

imageYou can barely see the fold out couch/futon for dad… I’ll be in that bed thankyouverymuch!

Now I just need to make it to full term. I don’t care how swollen I get. I don’t care how uncomfortable I feel, this baby can hang out for as long as he wants! I’m in no rush to get him out.

My next appointment is Tuesday.  We’ll see how my body is doing then. But I know I’m in good hands. For anyone who may need care themselves… here’s a link to UCH’s website: http://www.uch.edu/conditions/pregnancy/

The hospital is also following my pregnancy on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/UniversityofColoradoHospital. I cannot thank them enough for helping me get the word out about what it’s really like to live through a high-risk pregnancy.  If you LIKE their page, you can get more updates on me, health news, and even some crazy tidbits about their doctors. Ha!

For now, it’s back to vacation, and enjoying the silence for a sleeping toddler!

18 weeks

18 weeks

Well, I didn’t get the greatest news yesterday. And of course it comes as I’m headed to Steamboat with my parents. My cervix has shortened quite a bit.

First, let me say the baby looks great! He is such a little active guy! I’ve been feeling him kick a ton, and you can definitely see it on ultrasound. My favorite is when he kicks the ultrasound wand, for lack of a better term. I’m not sure if it’s because he likes it, or because he doesn’t, but his sister did the exact same thing.

He’s breech… And that’s different from Hannah. She was head down most of the time. Head down is ideal for women like me, with uterus didelphys. So long as the baby is head down, you can deliver normally… No c-section. Unless, of course, you have other complications.  But a breech baby can’t typically be turned in someone who’s uterus is a fraction of the size of a normal one. There’s just not enough space.

Labor and delivery was the BEST part of my last pregnancy, because it was the easiest. I was in labor for about 6 hours after my water broke, and only had to push for 26 minutes. The epidural worked beautifully.  I’ll admit that I was scared to death going into it.  I mean, I know women have been doing it forever, but it’s still hard to get your mind around the whole thing.  I believe my exact thoughts were… “That 6-9 lbs baby is going to come out of where??? You’re joking, right?"  But it was WAY better than I ever thought.  And my fear was really the fear of the unknown.  So, I don’t want a c-section this time round. If this baby could please turn by the time he’s ready to meet the world, that would be awesome. Thanks.

But for now, that’s a secondary worry. My cervix is measuring 2.6 cm in length. We’ve set the threshold for this pregnancy at 2.5 cm. Anything lower than that and I have to have the surgery to put the cerclage in.

It’s news I’ve been prepared for. It’s news we expected. But it still hit me like a ton of bricks, like I had been punched in the stomach. I wanted to cry the whole way home. My body is still not working right.

At least we’re watching. At least we’re prepared. The cerclage worked great with Hannah. Hopefully it does the same this time around.

It’s a…

Time for some exciting news around here!  It was gonna take a lot to convince me they had the baby’s sex right while looking at the ultra sound.  Especially since they told us at 16 weeks they thought my daughter, Hannah, was a boy.  Well, I saw it for my own eyes… there’s no mistaking it.  And the plethora of ultrasound pictures in my purse are making me feel like I have my own stash of porn. 

We’re having a………………….

17 weeks!

image17 weeks!

Week 17 of this high-risk pregnancy, and another great appointment yesterday! I’m still taking things week by week, but it’s encouraging to hear “your cervix is looking stable.” As many of you already know, I have uterus didelphys and had to have my cervix sewn shut at 19-20 weeks with my daughter Hannah.  So my doctors are watching me week by week, this time, to see if that happens again.  This was week two.

The benefit… I get to see my baby A LOT more than someone with a normal pregnancy.  And that’s really fun, especially when it’s moving around!

imageHead and 5 little fingers. 🙂 Hi there!

Plus, for the last couple of weeks I’ve actually been able to feel the baby move! Little flutters for now, but they are getting stronger.  And I LOVE it!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I’d feel if my cervix acted differently, and didn’t shorten so early this time around.  You don’t want to have surgery if you don’t need it.  But I’m also convinced that the cerclage kept Hannah in for 38 weeks.  I feel like I would constantly worry that this baby will come MUCH sooner or I’ll have to go on bed rest if I don’t get the cerclage this time around.  I, honestly, think I would be more stressed out. 

I’ll have to talk about these things with my doctor.  She’s very good at helping me to calm my fears. 

You see, in the end, I’m selfish.  If you have to go on bed rest, you have to go on bed rest.  It’s not the end of the world.  But I want the full 12 weeks of maternity leave with my new baby and family.  I don’t want it to get cut short because mommy was sick. 

2 more scheduled appointments left, and then we’ll see where we go from there.  We have until I’m 24 weeks along to put the cerclage in. 

P.S. Still wondering what we’re having?  I’ll tell you Friday. 😉

An eye opening experience

I know I have just started this blog, but I cannot tell you how much it has touched my heart to hear from so many of you! Whether it’s just to say you’re thinking about me and my family, or to share your own struggles.  It has created a sense of community, sympathy, empathy and love that I didn’t realize I would get when I thought about writing this.  So thank you.

I had an opportunity to tour Children’s hospital and their department for moms and newborns at my last doctor’s appointment.  The Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health is amazing. It includes a complete birthing room, lactation services and rooms for parents and their babies who need to stay for a while… all within a short distance from immediate care that your child may need.

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imageSeriously, this bathroom is nicer than the ones in my own home!

imageHealthy mom can deliver her baby at children’s so their child can get the immediate care he/she needs.

So many things can happen during a pregnancy.  There can be problems with mom, problems with baby or problems with both. I feel blessed to know that my problems are with me.  I have no idea what it’s like for your tiny newborn to need immediate surgery.  It breaks my heart to think about the families that go through this.  I would much rather take any pain or issues upon myself than have my child go through that… as I’m sure is the case with ANY parent.

That being said, it makes me feel so much better knowing there is a facility out there that is prepared for these special cases.  On one floor a healthy mom can give birth to her child who may need immediate care.  That child will travel just a few feet for life saving treatment.  Families are taken care of, given rooms that house parent and baby so you’re rarely separated from your child.  And if dad needs a break, or family wants to hang out, comfortable rooms are available with refrigerators, televisions, you name it… so it feels more like home.

imageFamily/lounge room

imageComplete kitchen helps make this feel less far from home.

All of this is brand new.  Eventually, this summer or fall, they’ll open a new floor, separating in and outpatients, helping to divide the care.

I have friends whose children have needed care like this.  But I honestly never thought about the process it takes to get these babies that critical immediate care.  I have always been so conscious of everything that goes on when mom has problems.  This was truly an eye opening experience for me to see the other side of high risk pregnancies.

Children’s hospital allowed me to take some pictures… but for patients’ privacy kept my camera in my purse as we walked down the hall, past rooms containing parents and their children.

I can’t imagine my child needing care like this, and I hope we don’t end up at Children’s.   But if we do, I’m glad this place is nearby.