Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Patch Good Times.

As promised there is more to this fall that waiting watching and worrying. Last weekend was our big annual trip to the pumpkin patch, which includes rides, animals and sometimes treats. A good time was had by all.Crazy to think last year she wasn't even walking when we came out here. This time she was all over the place. Literally better than any playground is just being outside with straw everywhere.
Of course there was some lifting of heavy objects. Luckily she did not try to eat the pumpkins like she has tried to do with my mini pumpkins a few times at home. I see the 'world's strongest toddler' contest in her future soon.
A barrel ride with her cousins. It is amazing what she will do with her cousins, if Ed and I tried to make her do this alone there would have been screaming and an epic fail. But you place her in the middle with her cousins and its all smiles. I get a little frustrated to because I will ask her to do something and she screams at me, her cousin asks her and it is all smiles. I have a bad feeling I better get used to this a bit, and also use her cousins to my advantage.
Just trying to be arty, between watching a toddler trying to jump off a hay bale.
Another thing she would never do typically but it is much fun if her cousins are doing it.
And of course it is always fun to make silly faces at Grandpa.

Last weekend, was sun and good times. This weekend is dark and rainy, with everyone at other events. Just glad we got a chance to go have some fun together.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another week down.

I like to the think that this crew is helping me see the end of this pregnancy, or they are just openly expressing how I feel on the inside. Regardless, they make me laugh every time I look at them.

I am literally checking my owner ticker everyday to determine how close I am to hitting the 24 and 25 week mark. You'd think I would know, and I do but I think I check it constantly just in case I forgot and another day has gone by a little faster than I thought. Challenging enough even though all ultrasounds point to being 22 and 2 days, actually date calculations puts me back 3 days. When I go to my doctors they are always using the date calculation to be conservative. Don't want to give me 3 days extra, oh no we have to be conservative.

Recently I was talking to somebody who was pregnant and I asked how far along she was, and she laughed and said she stopped counting weeks a while back. I can understand that for everyone else, but I sure was envious. I am glad that people don't have to face this period of time, with the knowledge and experience that I have. I know that by medical standards I am still not to the point of viability. Prior to 24 weeks, or 25 weeks in some hospitals, the fetus is not considered viable outside the womb.

This is obviously very controversial, and I don't want to go into all that. I know there are 23 weekers, 24 weekers and so on that have gone on to thrive. The statistics for complications and survival though are bleak during this period of time. And if survival statistics are depressing enough the long term severe handicap rates are even worse. I have been here and had the dark conversations with hospital ethics members and I just don't want to do that again.

Another reason at this point I want to get to 24 weeks is so that we can start doing fetal fibronectin testing. This is the next test that we will use to try and predict any problems. I will have these every 2 weeks as well, and more if I start having contractions. The test detects the presence of a glycoprotien found in amniotic fluid, placental tissue, and the extracellular substance next to the placental intervillious space. It is though to be released through mechanical or inflammatory mediated damage to the membranes or placenta before birth. Swabs can be taken from the maternal cervix and determine with pretty good accuracy if preterm delivery will occur in the next 7-10 days.

Obviously it will be a great relief if I get a negative result. If we get a positive result though, we can also be more proactive and discuss the use of steroids for lung development, hospitalized bed rest, etc. But, here I am jumping the gun. I still have a minimum of 2 weeks before the test is even used.

Yeah, I wish I wasn't watching each day pass by. I do my best to not waste my days with worries and thoughts, and I promise to make my next post more positive with pictures of the official pumpkin patch outing. The problem mostly comes at night when its quiet, and the little sprinkle is in bed. When I am left with more rest time on the couch. More time than I could ever imagine normally. Watching another day pass.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Best Distraction.

I typically love this time of year, and despite everything I am still loving this time of year. It of course is a bit different. I knew that October and November were going to be very challenging mentally for me. These are the days and weeks that are so important medically to the pregnancy. The weeks that are defined by when I went into labor, when I was admitted to the hospital and words of viability, lung function and of course the always present cervical length and funneling.

I try hard but, I am watching each day tick slowly by and the weeks seems to be barely changing. I want so badly to be past 25 weeks, but I still have to get there one day at a time. A watched pot never boils, lets just say I am living that moment by moment.
To my great surprise, my daughter is the best distraction. Leave it to a two year old who is absolutely always in the moment to remind and distract me from my worries. These pictures are from an impromptu trip to a local farm. Not our official trip to the pumpkin patch, but a "Hey its sunny lets go out to a local farm for some fresh air!" kind of trip.

Just as in previous trips to other farms she is absolutely at home on a farm. Its like the best playground around. So much to climb on, and explore. Though it is really hard to not stick your fingers in the chicken hutch and let them peck you.

Even though she is very small still (we barely break 23 lbs on a good day), she is absolutely fearless. This is good and bad, as it makes her an accident waiting to happen. She climbs everything and will refuse any help in the process. She uses all types of things to help in her climbing, an adjacent pumpkin, a small box it doesn't matter as long as it helps her complete her task.

She also loves to carry ridiculously heavy objects. Typically something 10 lbs is not a match for her to lug towards you in a hurried fashion. This is only her second favorite lifting activity because, rearranging and moving an entire box of something from one area to another area one object at a time is big fun. Today I watched her unpack 12 soda's and place them on a counter top then move them from there to a small refrigerator. I have had to move all the apples up so they can not be moved every couple of hours as well.
She also continues to love to drive things. Tractors, fire trucks, and just about anything. Of course I over stepped in few moments later and suggested she go for a ride in a wheel barrow and full toddler screaming occurred. What was I thinking? The torture only a mother could encourage.
The days between outings are long. But, with this pregnancy I have living proof of how good the outcome can be. I know what we are working towards and why it is so important that things keep moving smoothly.
I have a living example of how wonderful 25 weeks can become!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hospital Scare.

It doesn't take a psychologist to realize why I am up at 4 am on a Friday morning. No matter how much you tell yourself that everything is okay, and that what happened the day before is not a big deal your body and or mind seems to know more. And now even though I should be trying to sleep so that I can enjoy a big day of surgery (me being the surgeon), I am instead drinking water in our downstairs.

The day started out typical enough. I was exhausted from the previous day of non-stop medical appointments and our lovely daughter had decided that 6 am was her time to wake up somewhat grumpily. I was very busy at work, and now with a half day schedule it is like trying to get an 8 hour day slammed into a 5 hour slot. I was just starting to get to the point of being able to sit down and do paperwork and phone calls, maybe heat up my lunch.

I glanced over at my cell phone. I had a message and a missed call from the hospital. What? I then tried to listen to the message but failed due to a combination of panic and people asking me things at work. Finally after several attempts, I understood something was wrong with my ultrasound the day before and they needed to see me right away. And they don't want to see me where they saw me the day before but at the hospital. The hospital is all I heard.

I called back, and asked if this was emergent. They said the sooner the better. Okay, now I was starting to feel a bit shaky. I guess it was time to wrap things up in a hurry, which I did. Trying to stop the tears from rolling down my face and I rushed out of the clinic. My poor co-workers most think I have really lost my mind.

I call Ed on the way, who is obviously very worried now too and wanting to come down. I say to wait and I will find out more information and call. I get to the hospital and have no idea where to go, as I have never been to this hospital. I am trying to memorize things as I go so that if I need to tell Ed how to find me, or where I left my car I will know. At least my 3 plus months of being in a large hospital have made me pretty savvy for reading signs and not being totally freaked in a hospital setting.

I tell the desk, that I think I am in the right place and she says somebody will be out for me shortly. Hospital terms that is about 40 minutes later. A young woman comes and gets me and says she will be doing my scan. I am so used to having trans-vaginal scans I ask if I need a gown. She looks a bit confused at me, and I lay down for abdomen scan. She instantly starts scanning the baby.

Now I am really confused. What is going on with the baby? And are all these people mute, why is nobody telling me what is going on? I watch her do the scan, which is all of about 3 minutes. She is measuring the ventricles, the cerebellum and the nuchal fold, all fetal brain measurements. Nothing to do with my cervix or my anatomy. She says she'll be back, she is an intern and has the resident review.

This is when I start to let the tears gently flow down my cheeks. I just don't know what is going on, and I am trying not to panic but really what is going on? The next person comes in and repeats the same part of the scan, all fetal brain. They notice the stream of tears going down my face.

Oh, we just didn't get all the measurements yesterday so we need to get more today. As far as we know everything is fine though I don't have the radiologist report in front of me. Okay, we are all done now you can get up. I am a bit shell shocked, really this was just a technicality? Why did they call me at work and have me come right in? What the hell?

I go to my doctor later in the day to get my weekly progesterone shot. He has no idea why they called me in like that, it is not his office that does these anatomical ultrasounds. The preliminary report he saw looks great, and he actually seems happy (cautiously) about my cervical length at this point and even more happy that I am working fewer hours.

I guess that was it, just a pointless trip to the hospital to scare the living daylights out of me. I am not sure. I won't feel better until I have the ultrasound report in my hand telling me that baby and I are fine. Of course I googled fetal brain scans which was not a good idea (ever). And of course, I am up and blogging prior to 6 am.

Some days are still just so much harder than others. I really could use an easy week though.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Evaluations, Bumps and Big News.

Okay, don't make me regret posting this picture. Being that this is the longest I have gone without working out since I was 14 years old, and the most pregnant looking I have ever been the self esteem is a bit fragile. All the same I wanted to celebrate my bump. Being that this is my second, I popped out a bit faster this time. I think they call this 'warmed-up' or freshened in the pregnancy books, both are terms that make me feel a bit queasy.

I am officially half way there, and we are having another GIRL! I am offically letting myself be excited for a little bit. I would have been equally excited about a boy, and excited in all different reasons. I am excited for Kate to have a sister, something I never had. I am excited to pull out all Kate's cute clothes and reuse them. I am excited that they may share a room and help us from not having to get a bigger house.

I am also excited because Kate just had her 2 year high-risk assessment. And I think she did awesome. I think that we are going to be pretty much done with these extra appointments to evaluate her progress and her development. Its official, all the Scheenstra girls are rock stars tonight!

Tomorrow we will go back to speech evaluations, cervix lengths, and dirty dishes.