Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Running Streak...

We had a great Thanksgiving.  It was a great mix of work, play, rest and repeat.  Little T is crawling and after everything, while K was busy running, dancing and being crazy with her cousins.  I feel so blessed to not be on bedrest this year, that I just want to do everything too.

I have a race that I signed up for in January, a 25 K trail race that is pretty challenging.  I am not prepared at all. To help with my training and motivation, as well as to keep the holiday pounds off I have decided to try and run everyday until the New Year.  Runners are weird.  I can say this because I have been one for the last 20 years now.  Combine a runner with a type A personality, and you'll get some really out there goals.  Most people would think a running streak is just plain stupid, but to me it is motivating little goal.  I only have to run a mile for it to count.  I am 5 days in, and loving it.  We will see how I feel about it some 5 weeks from now.

This year, I am so very thankful for my health and my families health.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Prematurity Awareness Day: Remembering those that don't make it home.

Our daughter a week after birth

Everyday somebody will lose their baby due to complications from premature labor.

In fact one baby every 30 seconds will die, from complications from premature labor and delivery worldwide.

Those are the babies that will never come home with their family.  Babies whose mothers will only hold them on this planet for a short time, but morn their passing for a lifetime.

15 million babies died last year.

I am one of the lucky one's.  My daughter though born one of the smallest of miracles at 25 weeks weighing 1 lb 14 oz has not only survived but has thrived.  Our family struggled and suffered through trauma, and many scary nights in the NICU but that is nothing compared to those families that never get to take their babies home.

Even I forget how lucky I am sometimes.  It is easy to get busy in normal everyday life.  It is actually easy to take your miracle for granted, when she is climbing all over you and stealing toys from her little sister.  I just happened to be in the right situation at the right time, and my 25 week baby got the best medical attention possible.  Millions of babies don't.

I am passionate about premature labor, not only because I experienced it but it is a situation that CAN be prevented and improved.  Prenatal and antepartum care is of utmost importance, and can dramatically decrease the amount of premature births.  Measuring the cervical length of all mothers with an ultrasound at 20 weeks, could have a huge impact on decreasing the amount of deaths each year.  This is something that has such a minimal cost but such a huge impact.

Before I was transported on the medical-emergency helicopter the doctor in the small town emergency room made sure I had my first steroid shot.  A simple steroid shot.  Something that cost PENNIES was given to me, and then repeat in 24 hours.  He knew the importance of that shot.  He knew to give it to me right away, not to wait until I got transported, but to give it right then.  He knew that even though I was only 23 weeks pregnant that shot could mean the difference between life and death of our unborn daughter.

Our baby, though her eyes were still fused shut and her skin so transparent we would not hold her for a month after her birth was born breathing on her own.  She never once needed the ventilator even though she had four months still before she was supposed to be born.  That was a miracle, but a miracle because somebody knew the right medication to give me at the right time.  That was a miracle that cost pennies to give.

Prior to 25 weeks in many hospitals your antepartum care may be fairly minimal.  The ability to sustain a  life outside the womb is extremely difficult and dangerous at that point.  Because of increased education, and medical advancements there are babies born before 25 weeks that survive. Medical research, antepartum interventions, and prevention can help not only high risk mothers but all mother to reach 25 weeks and beyond.

My second pregnancy was as monitored as a pregnancy could be.  One could say that I was graced again with a miracle this time a miracle that was born at 40 weeks.   This was a miracle that was maintained by intense medical management, weekly injections of progesterone, weekly cervical length checks, fetal fibronectin test, specialist consultations, anti-contraction medications and 17 weeks of bedrest.  This was no simple miracle, this was a miracle that combined knowledge, skill, and determination.  My second daughter was born at 7 lbs 7 oz which was 4 times bigger than her sister.  She came home with me straight from the hospital, a day that I am forever grateful and humbled by.

We most not forgot those babies that don't get to come home.  We have to remember to fight for those that don't have a voice, and for those mothers who are silenced by their own grief.

There is one day late in our daughters NICU stay that I will always remember. She was just learning how to eat and grow.  This is a frustrating but somewhat easy part of a mirco-preemie's time in the NICU.  You work every couple of hours on them drinking a bottle, you change their diapers, and they may have one or two pieces of monitoring equipment on.  We had been there for several months, so I was pretty set in my routine with her.

In our NICU the monitors had the ability to flash another patient (baby) name and information if there was an abnormal reading.  That way a nurse could leave one baby and go to the aid of another baby, especially if the baby was having a severe abnormality on the monitor (decelerated heart rate, etc).  As well, in the NICU there were codes.  In a true emergency code was called, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapist, and every member of the crash team would fly into action.  People and machines would come out of everywhere, and the air was filled with tension, and monitors and loud alarms.

One morning during a normal growing day for our daughter, a crash code was called.  Another babies information was flashed across my daughter boring monitor.  The alarms where sounding.  People were running.  This was not a false alarm, there was a baby in trouble.

I don't know how long this situation went on for, because when you are there it seems not only like it lasted a lifetime but also that it all took place in a second.    What I do remember were the screams.  The screams of a mother yelling, and sobbing over and over and over. The cries of a mother who has lost her child.

I selfishly wish I hadn't heard her sobs, because I can still hear them when I close my eyes.  I can still see her laying crumpled outside the NICU some hours later.  I can see her face as I tried to look away. The face of a mother whose baby had passed away, the look of somebody who appears to be just a hollow shell of themselves 

You see there are plenty of babies that don't come home.  My babies survived, but I still remember the ones that didn't.  I still hear their mothers cries.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sisterly love.

I wouldn't call it love so much as increased interest.  Sister at least isn't a vegatable anymore and doesn't require all of moms attention.   K does think that little T is very fun to push around in things (thank god for a strong baby gate on the stairs).  She of course thinks everything that Taylor has is instantly what she needs.  I feel this an absolute universal feeling amongst siblings.  I must have they have even if I am very content. 

From time to time, there is some interest like feeding T and helping scrub her in the tub.  But no unsolicited affection or attention. 

We don't have any fight yet either, so I know that will come.   Little T can't move well, so K can get away but that will change

For now I will take what we get at 8 1/2 months.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Challenging or Hard Anniversary Dates.

I don't know if it is my type A personality, or my obnoxious memory which serves me well as a doctor but haunts me as a individual or a combination of all of the above but I typically remember every date and aniversary as the come across the day planner.

Sometimes these things are good.  The day I met my husband some 18 years ago, followed by the day he proposed, the day we married.  I remember the day we drove home from the NICU, granted it was a 6 plus hour drive.  My first day at a new job, and so on.  With the good also comes the not so good.

I thought with my second pregnancy that I wouldn't have any of the bad anniversary dates.  I really thought it would just be good, good and more good.  After all the memories, and dare I say trauma of the first I thought that besides being challenged it would be smooth sailing. Of course it was not as smooth as I had hoped.

I then find myself disappointed in myself, because in the big picture everything has worked out great.  My girls are healthy and thriving.  I am healthy and doing great.  So why let a simple day haunt you?  Why not celebrate the next good memory and move on.

One part of bad anniversaries or hard experiences is they tend to have a harsh contrast to them.  The experience is sandwiched right next to normal, and so they stick out so crystal clear.  As well, they are usually a  new experiences or one-and-only experiences.   I also think that for me, I often can process all of an experience when it happens.  I often go into 'worker' mode, where I just buckle down and get done what needs to get done and move on.  I get through the crisis and then how knows when the time will come that I deal with it a bit more.

Everyday is a challenge to live in the present moment, and something I am always working towards.  Spending too much time looking back or looking forward does drain today of it happiness.  I do believe that every experience I have in life, I am supposed to have and it is meant to be.  That said though I am only human, and the pain and sadness felt in an experience leave me scared for when the next shoe may drop.

Last year, I walked in happily after work to my doctors appointment and looked over at that ultrasound and knew what we had to do.  Surgery was later that week, and then I spent the next four months on bedrest.  Those days were some of the hardest I had, and I don't think I even breathed for most of Novemember.  I really had a very long hard winter last year.

Last year with one in the oven and the lady bug

This year, a flower and a bee.
Today is just another day moving away from those memories and on to new ones.