Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our Birth Story and Finally Having a Termie!

Here I sit on my 35th Birthday, sore, exhausted, and very sleep deprived but more blissful than I have been in months or even a year. I made it a life goal to have my children before I was 35, and at the time I had no idea how life changing and difficult that goal would be. Having a micropreemie and then having a high-risk bed-rest gestational diabetes cerclage termie has redefined my beliefs and been something I didn't even believe I could accomplish.
I will spare some of the more personal and frankly disgusting details of our daughters birth. Luckily though I did wake up in labor at home, the same day that I filled out paper work to be induced the following week. Labor was fast and furious and sent us to the hospital a mess, and more movie like than I would have believed. I dilated quickly as was predicted by my history and doctor, and we all thought I would have a lunch time baby.

Then things changed. I had told the nurses and others to not let me watch monitors too much and turn alarms down. Some trauma and triggers from my first birth and preemie experience haven't not healed (and may never for that part). So, as I pushed and pushed I would ask if things were okay but wanted to be kept a bit in the dark as well. Trusting those around me and myself. Not easy for any mother in labor and really not easy for a NICU veteran. NICU parent are forever connected to heart rate monitors and alarms and the hospital environment and for me at least it doesn't bring out the calm side.

Though I was an expert pusher per my nurses, I knew that I had been pushing for a very long time. I knew too that there were things that they didn't like, and that I was just not progressing where we should be. Apparently our daughters head was positioned upwards and sideways, and my pelvis was not really being flexible and we weren't able to really turn her in any possible way.

It was decided that it wasn't safe to keep pushing after 15 hours, and I was taken to the OR for a c-section. I promised the staff I would not blame myself for this portion of our daughters birth, so I will hold my promise (though my heart may say something different if you asked it). She was then quickly born, bruised and bit wet (i.e. fluidy upper respiratory wise) but healthy 7.7 lbs and apgar of 9 and 9 (just like her minature big sister 1 lb 14 oz and apgar of 9 and 9).
They finished everything up in the OR and dad was with our daughter in the nursery. From there it was a long time for me to hold and see her but, was wonderful when I did. I had a bit of trouble post operative, and continue to be amazed at the challenges of a c-section recovery but am getting there everyday. We spent two nights in the hospital and have been home ever since.

Our daugher is completely backwards and wants to sleep all day and be up all night. Of course the rest of life needs us up all day so, we are doing our best. Kate is adjusting as a big sister, the best a 2 1/2 year old can. Sometimes it is beautiful and sometimes it is not. My new motto is 'take it one day at time' and 'this too shall pass'
Is it that different having a full term baby verses a 25 week micropreemie? Words just can't even describe it. I do not regret, feel angry or wish my preemie experience was different. I empathize with those that faced the challenge, will face it again or are trying to avoid it. I wear and live my preemie experience like an invisible bandage of honor that taught me more than I ever knew. I will wear this pregnancy visible and invisible scars as well with courage knowing and appreciating what precious gifts I was allowed to cherish and live with.

To all those who are still on bedrest, still in the NICU, still trying to get pregnant, or come to terms with a pregnancy that wasn't as expected I send you strength and patience because god knows you need it. I send you peace and hope because the dream and ending really is worth it I promise you that.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Come check out my other blog...

No baby yet....

Here is another project that I've been working on. I finally am somewhat ready to launch my veterinary blog. I have wanted to have another blog, where I could talk more about my work interests and topics. Something that I can link to our facebook page, and really start to create a bit more of the 'Dr. B' side of myself.

Of course, I am not happy with the format yet. I wish that I had more technological savy, and more patience but at 40 weeks pregnant I have neither. All the same, if you have any interest in animals or what I do for work check out my other blog.

Pass it on too, if you know anyone else that would be interested in this as I want to try to build some followers as it keeps it interesting me as the blogger.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bad Mood.

There is something about sprinkles that makes me smile, and my daughter too.
. sweetness
I hate to b e a whiner. I really do, some may think reading my blog that actually I do like it. I think sometimes though writing is just an extension of your thoughts and unfortunately a lot of us get into a circle of negative thoughts that just keep going round and round.

I have been working on this bad mood since my last doctors appointment and it just seems to be snowballing. My appointment really was fine, they are really pretty fast now-a-days. Normal blood pressure, normal urine, baby sounds good and is still head down. 2 cm dilated (one more than last week) and 80% effaced. The doctor was cheery, and said we'll see you in a week and talk about induction then if we haven't moved forward. Oh, and have a Happy Valentines!

Hmm... lots to be happy about there. Boy, these really are about as good as it gets now. Then why do I feel so frustrated? Why do I feel such a lack of empowerment? Maybe because I really am a passenger on this bus, and I am getting a bit anxious to start driving again. I mean, come on everyday of waiting now is a day off my barely there maternity leave. A day I would rather spend with our new baby.

I have been in my house for four months. I been isolated for longer than I was at the NICU and more isolated than the year we spent keep Kate in home quarantine. I know I am so lucky, and so thankful but I also really miss feeling a bit more than a caged animal.

So what did I do at the appointment? What I normally do in these situations, I smiled politely said thank-you. Took my little slip to the front desk, where the secretary made an appointment for me in 8 days, even though a week to me is 7 days. And of course, made it for the last appointment of the day. Perfect lets just make it for two weeks from now.

Then I went out to my car and cried. I wish I was the type to get angry in the office, yell and demand that we do something now because I am losing my mind. But, that just isn't me. I know medically it doesn't make any sense anyway. It might keep me from being so bitter though for days afterwards.

I am headed out for some alone time, and to take my husband some coffee (since I still can't have any treats). Hoping that a change will lighten the load a bit or stop the negative thoughts. I glanced at pinterest this morning for a quick smile and found the above three pictures in about a minutes. Each of them makes me smile, and sometimes that all we can do.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

39 weeks and holding.

Here we are Valentines 2012, and 39 weeks pregnant and holding steady. Absolutely never thought that I would get to this point at all, and now actually starting to worry about having too big of a baby and that we are going to have to induce this one out of the womb. I felt that I needed to do an update as I have been getting a lot of calls checking to see if we have a new arrival yet. So, here is the announcement (and maybe the little girl inside will take the hint) we still have no baby.
We did a little bathroom photo shoot yesterday to photograph this belly in all its glory. I am not complaining at all since it is every preemie mom's dream to have the full term big belly, and another do-over that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to have. Now when I go out in public, I always get asked when I am due, and I know that I do look very pregnant (all the good and bad that comes with it).
During the photo shoot, this is what the original munchkin was doing. Repeating over and over, "Show me pictures of Kate", "Show me pictures of Kate.", "More pictures of Kate". She has been particularly, umm what is the word... bossy. Testing her boundaries I think is the term that I read in my parenting books. A bit tiring is the description I would use. Love her to death, and even her feisty spirit. Little munchkin your world is really getting ready to change.

Monday, February 6, 2012

What I've learned on bedrest and making it to FULL TERM!

I've been thinking about this post for the past couple of weeks. Here I stand with one day left before my cerclage (suture that is holding my cervix closed) is removed, and most of my restrictions are removed and I am still struggling with the best words to express all that I have learned during this pregnancy and especially during bed-rest. When I blog, sometimes the words just flow from me especially if I have a passionate moment or it is something light and easy. Other times especially if it is really important to me, I just don't seem to have the right words.

I thought to lighten this post up though I would include some pictures from our nursery. It is one of the many things that in the 2nd pregnancy 'do over' that I am so happy about. And to sit here "READY" and willing to have this baby come and enjoy all that we have prepared for her is a completely different world than we had with Kate.
Obviously though if you've followed this blog, you know that it hasn't been an easy road. Really, this has been a very long hard almost 10 months. I knew when I was pregnant right away, and in honesty I have been worried about another pregnancy since I had my first. So for the last 2 1/2 years, this pregnancy and the outcome has been on my shoulders to some degree. When I got pregnant the worry only increased, and then we our way to the 24 week mark.

I mostly kept thinking that there was no way that I could face the NICU and having a micro-preemie again. I just didn't think that I had the strength to do it, and more over would our outcome be as good as it was with our first daughter. The what-if's, the memories, and the emotions that were still there just kept bubbling up with every week. The closer to the time I went into the labor the worse it was. And then, came the need for the cerclage at 23 weeks. Bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy, and all the complications that came along with it.
With 15 weeks of bed-rest what did I learn from it all? I feel it would be sad to walk away from all this time, nearly 4 months and not take a moment to reflect and say what did I learn from it all? How has this made me a better person? There are a million small things that I learned and were granted from this hard experience but for me it boils down to two main things.

1) The most valuable thing you can give anyone is your time.
2) If nearly everything you've known in the world is stripped away, could you be happy? Try it and remember what you learned.

The first lesson may seem obvious. But I don't think that it really is or that people fully appreciate it. I know I didn't. We went to great efforts, rearranging our lives so that I could give my daughter time. My hours of sitting and doing nothing, was not easily accomplished for anyone in our family or our lives. But, as we know each day or week can mean the difference of life or death to an unborn child. Odd and almost counter intuitive in our society that doing nothing beyond being present could be the most important thing one could do for their and their childrens health.

That isn't all that I mean from this lesson though. I learned that what I needed most from other people was their time. Everybody wanted to bring me something, do something for me, fix some part of this mess. What I needed and enjoyed most was their time. I enjoyed their conversation, their calls to check in on me, and just somebody to help pass all the time I had. To hear about their normal lives, to play a game, to enjoy a show with me. Those are the things that most of us are just too busy for. Or we try to do something, make a dessert and drop it off saying that they need to rush to another errand and run out the door about as soon as we came. Having been on this side of a condition, I can tell you this just slow down! Sit down, have a cup of tea when somebody offers it and connect with them. I don't think they need to be in crisis either, under the surface there is probably something they want to talk about.

I do wish I could have learned this lesson another way, but I am glad that I got this extra time with myself and my family. I need to read my own words in 6 months and then again a year later to remind myself (Queen of the Rush), how important it really is to slow down and enjoy everyone around you and that could mean not doing anything at all but giving them your time.

The second point, may seem dramatic and over-done but I would defend it and say it happens to more people than we would like to think about. Life is very fragile, and the reality is you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. It is nice to think that once you get over one challenge you will have it easy for awhile, but the fact is that you don't have that type of control over your life.

I was an extremely active, type A, working mother. Being made to sit by myself day after day was extremely hard. I am used to running 20-30 miles a week, taking care of most of our families responsibilities, working a very challenging and physical job. With one doctors visit, that was all done (though I had been scaling back for the entire pregnancy, and no running since I got pregnant). My days suddenly got very long and still. After a few weeks of doing this, which seemed to put my mood and body into pain and depression I was also place on a very strict diet. As well, there were days when I couldn't even sit up because the pain was just too much. Often if we tried to even go to families for a visit, I would be too painful and it would end our visit.

And this went on for weeks, months even. So, how do you stay happy? How do you still find some joy in your day? I have to say it is a very large challenge. One that I think some do much better than myself. Those that live with chronic illness, injuries or handicaps that they will never be free from or simply those that have aged and this is the reality of their lives.

My challenge was to not have my physical abilities and releases, my sugar, and sometimes not even have my own emotions or physical well-being and still be happy. First thing you notice over time, is just your health becomes one of the most important things to your day. You appreciate and find joy in sleeping through the night, being able to eat something, and not needing to go to doctor is a huge accomplishment in a day. Next you realize you have time, and freedom to do something. You can think of everything you can't do, or you can come up with something that you can do. Read, craft, watch the fish swim in the tank, call a friend. This takes effort, but in the long run better than just sitting and thinking of what you can't do.

And then of course, it goes back to the first lesson give others your time. Call a friend, write somebody a card, go on-line and give somebody some support that is also in a hard situation. Talk with your family, which is really one of the anchors to my happiness. Even with all the other things gone, I had my family and pets with me. I knew that I would see them at least for a few hours in the day, and that made me happy.

I did not succeed at this every day, I would guess that I did it over 50% of the time. It is hard, as the lessons that you need to learn often are. I am proud of surving this time, and I look forward to adding back some of my old favorite joys (running here I come!). I do know though, that my abilities, physical and mental well being as well as those of friend and family are limited and out of our control. Which means, I also now know that with a bit of work and vision we can get through it and enjoy it.

Snow day... blog catch up.

We had a week of snow several weeks ago, but for some reason I haven't been blogging as much lately and these slipped through the cracks. Typically we don't get much snow around here, but we've gotten some every year for awhile so Kate is starting to warm up to the white stuff.

Probably a unknown but positive side effect of me being on bedrest for most of this pregnancy is that it has given Kate and Dad some time to do things on their own. We are a close family so we do most things together, but now that another is on the way and since playing in the snow was not on the approved list of activities for me this was time for Dad and daughter.

I stood on the porch or driveway and took pictures, and then made them coco inside.
The hardest thing to do at this age in the snow is to walk around. Well, that and keeping your hat and gloves on. Its a steep learning curve that if you take your clothes off you will get cold and then it is hard to get them back on.
We live on a huge hill, and people come and sled on it every year with snow. Dad and Kate did have a few adventures down the hill, and everyone had fun. She wasn't ready to do it by herself yet, but the neighbor girls were quite encouraging so maybe next year (yes I don't want snow until next year now :)).
She allowed Dad to pull her a bit. Otherwise, Kate is slowly heading from 2 to 3, which I am not sure is a good thing. We seem to be having a few more attitude moments the further we get away from 2. In general she is being excellent, and full of funny things to say and do. Recently she told us in the car she needed to get home to eat dinner and do homework. Neither of us knew where she got this from but had a good laugh about it. I asked her the other day what she wanted to be when she grows up and she told me after much thought, "I want to be nice, Momma". Sounds good to me too.