Friday, September 30, 2011


Robbie was intubated for the first 5 weeks of his life. That's a long time to sit and watch your baby not breathing on his own, for the record. And the thing about being intubated is that's all you can do - watch. You can't pick them up or jostle them around much because you can't risk pulling that tube out. And believe me, once you've seen it come out by itself (which Robbie did something like 5 or 6 times during those 5 weeks, which no, isn't normal) you really don't want to have it happen again. Seeing nurses run is never encouraging. Seeing their hands shaking is even worse. Watching your child limp and blue, and someone manually bagging oxygen back into their bodies, well, it defies anything I have words for. My point is, when they're intubated, you don't even want to do anything except watch their chests rise and fall.

Which leaves a lot of time for looking around, too.

I'm a fairly (okay, extremely) social person so spending 8, 10, 12 hours or so in the NICU doing basically nothing, I eventually got to chatting with almost everyone around me at some point or another. I got to know their stories; What gestation their child was born out, what caused it and so on. There were three or four of us with micropreemies who all spent a lot of time together. Our babies were the most critical, so we were all clustered together in a room that was doubled as the admit area. We saw everyone come in, from other micros who would eventually join our long-timers club, to full termers who had some trouble at birth or right after, and of course, everything in between.

I have a very clear memory one day of sitting, talking with the mom of a 25 weeker who had been born just 4 days before Robbie about another baby who had been moved to the step-down unit that day. I had been surprised to come in and find that baby moved. I must have asked if she knew where he'd gone or something, and she told me he'd gone down to the other unit. I was surprised because he'd been a 29 weeker who wasn't much more than 2 pounds. Robbie must have been 3 or 4 weeks old at that point. He and my new friend's daughter weighed about the same as this baby who had been moved already, but here we were, still listening to the sound of the ventilator alarms on our two babies. (The sound of which will haunt me for the rest of my days, I swear.)

What I remember was when she answered, she said it with this sort of defeated sigh. "He went down to the pods." (The pods being the brand new step-down unit that had opened two days after Robbie was born. It was NICU Mecca in our minds.) My eyebrows shot up "Really? Already?" She looked chagrined, "Yep." We both glanced at our intubated babies, up at their monitors for their vitals and then back at each other. I think her daughter was actually on an oscillator at that point. That's a specialized ventilator not-so-lovingly referred to as "the jet" because that's approximately how loud the thing is. All I could say was "Wow." We were quiet then, both of us silently reflecting on what a difference 3 or 4 weeks could have meant to our babies.

I'm not ashamed to say I was jealous in that moment. I was jealous of that baby's mother being rid of the vent, being rid of that room we'd lived in for so long.  I was jealous that she could now do something besides just watching. I was jealous that she got to keep her baby inside her body long enough to make such a profound difference in our experiences.

Of course, now I have enough distance and perspective to realize that 29 weeks is still really early. That is a mom who still worried if her child would survive birth or the NICU. That was a mom who also saw her baby stop breathing and turn blue; a mom who had to leave her child in the care of sometimes literal strangers each and every day. While our experiences were somewhat different, they were also very much the same. But in that moment, I had more appreciation for the difference three weeks can make than at any other time in my life. I so wanted to be that 29 weeker mom.

At my OB appointment on Monday, my doctor walked in and beamed. "Twenty eight weeks!!" I couldn't help but be excited with her. I told about the 29 weeker I remembered and she nodded. We agreed it's still too early, but it sure was exciting to be this far. She felt like we were going to see at least 30 and was very happy about it.

Because my labs last week had been pretty stable, I got to take the week off from the pee jug and just had some blood work drawn that day. I left feeling pretty confident about the course of things. Of course, my body is never happy with happy, so the nurse called on Tuesday to kill my buzz.

ALT was back up a bit, to 63. That's still better than it had been, but this week my AST creeped over normal as well. It should be under 30, and it was 33. That's not horrible, but because that one had been normal and now wasn't, it added a layer of concern that I could have lived without. A few other things were just slightly askew as well. My potassium was just a little low, glucose just a little high though I passed my 2nd glucose tolerance test the week before.) The nurse indicated that my OB still considered these numbers stable, and to continue with our plan.

I hung up the phone and started cussing. I wasn't sad, or worried, or anxious. I was angry- absolutely pissed, in fact. What the fuck is wrong with my body? Seriously, a few years of infertility, 2 miscarriages, and then I get preeclampsia at 26 weeks? WHO THE HELL GETS PREECLAMPSIA AT 26 WEEKS? The odds are pretty much astronomical against it. But who? Yeah, this girl.
And then I get pregnant again and at 26 weeks, it becomes clear we're headed there again? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? I was mad.

I spent a full 24 hours just being pissed off. Everyone around me tried to be encouraging, but I didn't even want to hear it. I didn't want to hear about my blessings or my luck or any glass-half-full stuff. I just wanted to be pissed off. And I was.

Of course, after I had my temper tantrum, I was able to think more clearly. I remembered again that 29 weeker from the NICU. And I focused on how far we have come. When you get a call at 26 weeks to come for steroid shots immediately, you don't expect to see 29 weeks with a baby in your belly. But I was here anyway.

So here I sit, now at 29 weeks and 1 day. Chello is kicking at me, and I'm feeling hopeful. We're still living one day at a time, but those days have already added up to 3 more weeks than we got before. While I hope they get to add up to 3 more weeks, and then 3 more weeks again, I know that what we have matters a lot. And I am grateful.


Monday, September 26, 2011


Well, blogger just ate an entire post. That's frustrating, and it's really late, so I'm not going to try to retype the whole damned thing. It didn't even save part of the draft.

So here's the bullet points of importance:

  • 28w4d. More pregnant than i've ever been. YAY!
  • last week's labs were stable or improved. 
    • didnt get a protein level, but it was "stable"
    • liver enzyme (ALT) down to 54. Not normal, but much improved  
  •  Chello measured at 54% on monday.
    • peri happy with Chello
    • not happy with labs, confirmed modified bedrest
  • feeling much better, no swelling to speak of
  • BP up to about 130/80, but that's "normal" for me prepregnancy, so trying not to freak out
  • Robbie had his sedated hearing test on Tuesday
    • he can hear! 100% of all ranges and tones in both ears! 
    • also woke up from anesthesia well, yay again!
  • I'm well-read and watching too much TV.
  • Overall, happy place to be!
  • Blogger pisses me off 


Monday, September 19, 2011

27 weeks 4 days

Still going...
As my last post indicated, Monday's labs showed an improvement in kidney function but a decline in liver. Specifically my ALT was up to 71. My OB isn't in on Wednesdays (when the labs came back) so the covering OB looked them over and sent me immediately back to the lab for repeat blood work. I then saw my OB on Thursday for my regularly scheduled appointment.

She was as wonderful as always, of course. She came in and immediately asked how I was doing, clearly meaning emotionally. I told her that I was holding it together okay, but that the day I had to come for steroid shots really sent me over the edge for a while. She was very sympathetic and hugged me. We kibitzed a while about some really annoying drama with the peri lab (at one point they told me they never got my lab results, but that they didn't care. They then apparently called my OB to yell at her because she had them and they didn't. Even though THEY ordered them and had her CCed on the results.)

Then she asked how my blood pressures had been at home. I was honest and told her that at home, they'd been quite good, a little higher (but not really high) at work. She shook her head and asked how I'd feel about being put off work. I told her it was fine. I certainly can tell a difference in the way I feel at work versus home, I can see it in the numbers, and frankly, when I'm averaging three trips a week to various labs or doctors, getting the time off work was getting challenging. We have short term disability insurance and we went into this knowing we would probably need to use it. I had hoped not to need it until much later, but we were prepared to do it when we needed. She felt it was time. We agreed that I would finish the week part time- I worked 4 hours Thursday and Friday and then be done.

She still thinks we can make it into the 30s for the baby. I told her that I had pretty much given up the idea of 37 (she ruefully agreed) but that I was still holding out for November. November 3 would be 34 weeks. Some 34 weekers go home, and even if they don't, USUALLY it's not a long NICU stay (believe me, I know 34 weekers have complications. Don't send me hate mail, please.) and she agreed. She thinks that's possible. Obviously I'd love to prove everyone (myself included) wrong and go longer, but that seems like a reasonable, hopefully attainable goal.

I spent my last couple of days at work tying up loose ends, getting my projects covered, letting everyone know I would be gone for a while, and doing paperwork. I took it as easy as I could while there and at home. My boss was obviously a little stressed at losing me, but really supportive about going. She is the mom of a former 32 weeker herself, having spent 4 months on hospital bedrest because of an incompetent cervix (she had previously lost a baby at 16 weeks to the same condition) so she is uniquely sensitive to my situation. There was mostly good-natured ribbing from my coworkers about being abandoned (though one particularly lovely soul demanded to know if I was "going to get fixed now" and when I told him that David was going to get a vasectomy, he asked "why, he's not the one whose body is all messed up?" Thanks.) and then I was off.

This weekend has been a little hectic. I had specific permission from the doctor to attend a couple of events I had already planned for, so long as I kept my feet up. Unfortunately my evening plans had to be cut short because my blood pressure was lingering at just barely under 140/90 and I had to get home and try to get get it down. Fortunately once I was really prone and quiet, it did, but it's been around 130/80 pretty much since then.

My OB had warned me that sometime between 25 & 28 weeks, BP tends to resettle closer to a normal pre-pregnancy pressure, which for me was 130/80. (That was my post-Robbie "normal." It never fully recovered after he was born.) I know that's an okayish number, but I have to say, it was a lot more comforting when it was settling at 115/65. I'd gladly take a little light-headedness over increasing numbers.

Tomorrow I have more labs. Dr. G said if my protein was stable these week, she'd give me next week off from the pee-jug (would be just blood work) so I'm really hoping for steady numbers. This week's labs also include my second glucose tolerance test (one of those benefits of being AMA is getting to do it twice.) I also see the peri tomorrow. I have a growth scan and consult with my favorite peri in the practice. She thinks he'll up my growth scans to make sure the baby is responding well to everything going on, so this might get to be an even more regular activity. That is fine, though I hate that no appointment in the peri lab can ever be accomplished in less than 2 hours.

I'm staring down my next milestone, which is 28 weeks. The odds for survival and outcomes increase nicely at 28 weeks, though that's still seriously, seriously early for a baby to be born. Chello is still not allowed to come, but I am still counting every day as a blessing and each week as a celebration. Getting to see a third trimester will be exceptionally fun.

In the meantime, I'm trying to take it as easy as possible. I'm not confined to bed, just was told not to do anything strenuous, to be up no more than an hour at a time, and take it as easy as possible. That leaves a lot of burden on David, who is already feeling the burden of responsibility, which has lead to some tension. We could use some prayers of patience for both of us, I think.

My friends have been amazing. They're already starting to fill up my freezer will meals and provided some reading entertainment to keep me occupied. I might have gotten a little weepy today after a friend whose literary opinions I value brought me a bag of books. Bedrest can be soul-sucking, but the outpouring of love and support has kept it nourished anyway. I'm the luckiest unlucky gal around.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Open Letter To My Body

Dear Internal Organs,

Listen, I'm sorry. No, that's not sarcasm, I am. I know I'm hard on you. I'm fat and that's just a hard life anyway, and then these last few years I keep overwhelming you with hormones and drugs and surgeries and it's hard. And four pregnancies, that's rough, too. I know. I'm sorry. I am.

But here's the thing - this is it. I swear to you, after this we're done. David has already agreed to a vasectomy, so I'm not even going to ask you for another assault to end my (admittedly limited..) fertility. We just need one more baby and then you never, ever have to deal with this shit again. I promise.

I know that with a baby comes extra blood to filter and the baby keeps kicking at you and stuff. It's hard to be nice. But she's just a baby and doesn't know any better, it's not her fault. I'm just asking you to be patient and chill out for the next couple of months and then you can have the next few decades for peace.

I've been trying to make up for all the extra work you're doing by eating really healthy. You might notice the drastic reduction in sodium lately, the leaner diet in general. Notice that even though we're currently 6+ months pregnant, we're actually down a few pounds. See, I'm trying, right? I'm just asking you to do the same.

Kidneys, I know this has been exceptionally rough on you. Robbie almost took you guys out but you rallied and healed up nicely afterward. I appreciate that. And your improved performance this week has not gone unnoticed. Your levels improved from 384 to 304. I really appreciate that. I'd love to see you really go for the gusto next week and maybe drop back into the 200s. You and I both know that's still not great, but I'm willing to negotiate considering all you've been through.

Now Liver, you and I need to have a chat. There is no excuse for your pitiful performance this week. You were holding pretty steady last week and that was great, but up to 71 this week? No, no, no. What do you have to say for yourself? You need to take a deep breath and do better. The lab took more blood today. You BETTER show improvement tomorrow. I haven't been taking any Tylenol and we certainly haven't been drinking anything, so there's really no reason for you to be so crabby. Remember last year when that surgeon came digging around in you looking for Gallbladder? Yeah, that was done for your benefit, asshole, so show some appreciation.

Blood Pressure, well, I know you're not an organ, but as an important factor in everyone else's health, I want to thank you for your cooperation. Please keep up (err.. down..) the good work.



Tick Tock

I'm now 26w6d pregnant. It's a relief to be staring down 27. My next goal is 28 as odds for the baby improve a fair bit at that point. But I also feel a bit like a ticking time bomb. I have no idea how long my fuse is.

I have set about a sort of forced nesting. In an effort not to focus on the things I can't control - mainly the dangers of extreme prematurity- I am trying to focus on the things I can, at least to some extent.

I've done paperwork for our insurance, double checked my company's leave policy, arranged our finances, gone through baby clothes. This weekend I will order the co sleeper and the dresser for Chello. There are things that still overwhelm me. Child care for Robbie is top on the list. He will go to school every day, but thinking about the possibility of being in the hospital on bed rest for a long time terrifies me. I know that I wouldn't be able to see him every day. The hospital is just too far from home and Robbie needs a routine that wouldn't allow him to visit frequently. Just thinking about missing him makes me cry. And even after the baby comes, I know that with school comes germs and that can get very tricky with the NICU. It's one of those situations that we'll have to figure out when we know what we're dealing with. But that doesn't keep me from obsessing over it anyway.

Everyone has been incredibly supportive and kind and prayerful. I really do feel incredibly blessed. I am blessed with every day of this baby still in my womb, and by the love of those around me. Even my coworkers brought me to tears yesterday. When I walked into work as scheduled, everyone was shocked. I just smiled and said "I'm here. Still pregnant." and the room burst into cheers. They'd all seen me leave in tears on Thursday (when I left to get my steroid shots) and feared the worst. It was good to have a little celebration.

My facebook page is full of well-wishes and inquiries. Everyone wants to know what they can do. I wish I knew. I just keep asking for more prayers because truly, it's the only thing we need and really the only thing that will do any good.

I am feeling pretty good, overall. (You know, beyond the back-ache, insomnia and constant peeing.) I am noticing some changes that make me nervous. My feet are swelling most every day now. My blood pressure has crept up just slightly the last 2 days. I'm even more tired than I was before. None of these symptoms are outside the realm of normal for a woman who is 6 months pregnant, though, so I never know how alarmed I should be. I had more labs drawn on Monday, the results should be in tomorrow. I have another OB appointment on Thursday. We'll see what they show.

I am curious to hear with my OB has to say. She always has a way of calming me down but not snowing me either. I want to know what she really thinks.

For me, I'm still trying to focus on a baby in November. I have stopped even entertaining the idea of 100% full term, but I'm still hoping to surprise what is probably everyone and make it at least that far. November 3 would be 34 weeks and while that's still too damned soon, right now it feels like a year away. But even before I got pregnant, I felt like November would bring a baby. I thought it would be a baby for a friend who was adopting, but she got her baby in May (YAY!) so that leaves me. A November baby for me. Please.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

More pregnant than I've ever been

Robbie was born at 11:22am at 26 weeks 2 days.

I'm officially more pregnant than I've ever been. May there be may more milestones to celebrate.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the other hand...

Well, I guess I shouldn't have posted that last post so early in the day.

Just a couple of hours later, my OB's office called with lab results. Most were "stable" but my protein had increased to 384. That's not freak-out-kidney-failure level, but that's not good, particularly in that it's gone up over 100 points in a week. They wanted me to come in immediately for steroid shots for the baby's lungs.

To say I didn't take the news well would be an understatement. I tried to get myself together so I could tell my bosses what was going on and leave, but of course, the minute I tried to speak, I started crying. One of the bosses offered to drive me to the hospital, which was nice.

I opted to go myself. There was some chaos in trying to figure out where to get the shots from, ultimately coming from the hospital pharmacy. But here's a little tidbit for you- the hospital has at least 3 pharmacies. I know because that's how many I visited before I found the right one. Then I get there and apparently my insurance (which really is normally quite good) didn't cover them. Fortunately they were less than 50 dollars, but seriously... if they admitted me to do the shots, I bet they'd be covered then. I was frustrated.

I then headed back to my OB's office to have the first shot administered. I go back tomorrow at the same time to get the 2nd.

I don't exactly know what the plan is from here. When the nurse called she said weekly labs & monitoring from here on out and get the shots. Honestly, I was so overwhelmed I didn't think to ask if I needed to schedule another appointment or anything. Since I have to go back tomorrow, I will get it all worked out then.

I then headed home. I picked up Robbie and David met us at home. I spent a lot of time just hugging and holding Robbie tonight. I've checked my blood pressure and it's still fine. It was 122/72 tonight. We just hope that continues.

I did a lot of feeling sorry for myself, some praying, some more crying. I talked to Chello and told her I am sorry I was letting her down. I did a lot of thinking about the things that Robbie went through in the NICU and about how happy and wonderful he is in spite of all of it.

David keeps saying we've survived it once, we can do it again. I know all too well that even as unlucky as we were, we could be even unluckier this time. There are no guarantees.

But I also know that I could linger like this for weeks, too. As long as my protein doesn't shoot up and my BP stays under control and nothing else goes haywire, I could go quite a while longer. I did some bargaining with God (okay, more like begging...) for at least 4 more weeks. Thirty weeks is way too early, but when you're looking at it from 26, it seems pretty hopeful. More would be even better.

The truth is that it is what it always has been- in God's hands. I know, as I did with Robbie, that God walks with me through this journey no matter what it may bring. I hope and I pray that it brings good things, but I know that isn't promised, either. For now, I surrender it to God and know that He carries me. And I know that he has sent a lot of love and support from all walks of the world, and I'm feeling that love tonight.

Please say some extra prayers for Chello and me tonight. And David and Robbie, too. We could all use them.



26 weeks, pregnant with Robbie:

Woke up.
Rolled over.
Groaned in intense pain.
Made the decision to call the doctor. Haven't eaten in days, this can't continue.
Called the doctor. Can you be here in an hour? Um.. sure.
Decided to skip a shower, will take one when I get home. Call in to work, definitely not going to make it in.
Arrive at the doctor's office, pee in a cup, get my BP taken. Nurse tries (but fails to) not to look alarmed.
Doctor comes in.
Preeclampsia. Go to the hospital. Now.
I cry. I beg. I plead. I refuse to believe.
I called my husband and (fail to) try to remain calm.
Friend comes to get me and drives me to the hospital.
Husband meets me there, I collapse into his arms. Neither of us can believe this is happening.
No tears, just shock.
Doctors, nurses, questions, IVs, words I don't understand. My friends and my husband stand looking on helplessly.
I'm still sure there is some mistake.
More needles, steroids for the baby.
Statistics, odds, more tears.
Lots and lots of praying.

26 weeks pregnant, baby Chello:
Wake up early.
Roll over, wait for pain. None comes.
Wait for the baby to move. Feel a kick. Smile.
Husband's alarm goes off, lay in bed with him and cuddle.
We don't speak, but we know what day it is.
Eventually fall back to sleep, wake up to the sound of the world's cutest three year old calling "mommy? Daddy?"
Retrieve three year old from his room, bring him to ours.
Three year old requests snuggles. Happy to oblige.
He tucks himself under my chin and pulls face downward to kiss him.
Pull the sheet up and he snuggles under them.
Starts to call the cat. "baby girl! come 'ere! where is she? She's hiding in the closet?"
I help call the cat until she comes.
Smile through my tears as he hugs the kitty.
Indulge a request for cartoons.
Get up, take my blood pressure. 120/70. Smile again.
Take son to school, discuss his progress with his teacher. "doing really well..."
Home to eat lunch and go to work. Never been so happy to have a regular day.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hangin' on.

It is now after midnight, so I've made it through the day I got sick with Robbie. It was 25w5d when I suddenly had the most horrid "heartburn" of my life. I'd had an ulcer in my late teen years and I kept thinking "man, this is worse than THAT..."

I'd been doing pretty well anxiety wise, but then I got a little heartburn this afternoon. It's definitely up in my chest, even into my throat- quite clearly it's reflux. But no amount of Tums seemed to help and the anxiety crept up on me. Which just suffices to make the heartburn worse, of course.

I did redo my labs this morning. They took my BP at the peri lab- 125/70 and weighed me (down 4 pounds from the last time they weighed me, which was actually 12w) which made them happy. Then wrote the order for my lab draws. I then walked over to my OB's office and the tech there took them and my jug o' pee. (Walking around the hospital with a jug of urine was fun. My OB's office isn't actually in the hospital, just attaches by a walkway, so when I say 'walked over' it was quite a hike there and back. I got lots of funny looks.) So anything hinky that is going on in there will hopefully reveal itself with those tests- which I HOPE will be back tomorrow (but Thursday at the latest.)

I've been giving myself a pep-talk. God will provide. What is to be is to be, worrying changes nothing. We will get through this. I've taken my blood pressure approximately 437 times today (all fine) in an effort to reassure myself. I've talked to the baby a lot and told her how much I love her and to be safe. I even got the Doppler out tonight and just listened to her heartbeat and movements for a while. But I still can't shake the heeby-jeebies. I'm hoping that good lab results will help and getting through Saturday and still being both pregnant and not hospitalized will help.

Logically, we're so close that there is every reason to believe that will happen, but this week is just a nail-biter. This was also Robbie's first day in preschool, and Sunday was actually the 3rd anniversary of his home-coming from the hospital. It's just a big week. I'll be glad to see the end of it.


Friday, September 2, 2011

the week of terror

Well, my OB was able to calm me down a good bit today.

After weighing (down a couple pounds again, I think this puts me -6 for the pregnancy. I swear I'm not trying!) and peeing, she came in and asked how I was. I said "okay, I guess. Anxious." She seemed a little surprised. I just said "the labs."

She sat down and went through them and essentially said they're not that bad. She doesn't think protein of 279 is that bad, and particularly because I was at 220 at 12 weeks, she thinks that's a normal amount of increase at this stage of my pregnancy. They didn't test my ALT at 12 weeks, but prepregnancy, it was 36. The difference between 36 then and 47 now also isn't that big, and she added that my prepregnancy labs were run at the hospital lab versus Quest. The range that the hospital considers normal is actually up to 52, which I would still fall into. So not that bad.

She added that my AST (another liver enzyme) was completely normal and my uric acid was actually down, showing improved kidney function. If things were bad, she would expect both of those things to be up as well. And my BP was 116/70, which she said was about as good as it gets.

I asked her about the people who present with HELLP but normal BP and she said no, she wouldn't expect that from me. I asked if I was likely to present the same way as last time, she said she can't say I'd have epigastric pain, but she'd be shocked if I didn't have high BP. That was actually a relief, because I can (and do) check my BP multiple times a day, just as reassurance that I'm doing alright.

She did feel like I should be watched even closer, wanting me monitored each week. I told her that the peri center had revised their stance to every 4 weeks instead of 2 and she shook her head. She said that when I see the peri at my next appt on the 19th, he would absolutely say I should be seen every 2 weeks and if he didn't, to call her because she wants me seen every week and she'll just bring me in to her office every week if she has to.

I told her that they wanted a complete set of labs on Tuesday. She said that was great. We talked about timing with labs & results and which lab to use for consistency and ultimately decided that I would take a pee jug with me for the weekend, go to the peri lab on Tuesday for the orders, then take everything back to her office immediately after (the buildings connect) and have everything drawn. Works for me.

David had actually juggled some things at work to be able to come to the appointment with me, so he got to hear the whole thing first hand as well. We talked about his agreement to have a vasectomy, which pleased Dr. G. And at one point we talked about the people who have 4, 5, 6 babies with a history of preeclampsia. I said that I didn't know if they had more faith than me or were just crazier, but I was definitely not one of them. Dr. G said crazier and nodded. As much as she encouraged us to try again, she's also relieved this is it for us.

I walked out of the office feeling immensely better. There is no way that I'm going to relax until this baby is healthy and in my arms, but at least for the time being, I'm not quite as stressed. That is a relief because today starts what I not-so-fondly think of as the week of terror.

Looking back at Robbie's pregnancy, my first sign of trouble really appeared at 25 weeks 1 day. It was a Friday (just like today) and I was in the middle of a mess at work. There had been a huge error that had deleted dozens of orders and no one seemed to know how to fix it. My department had neither caused the problem nor could solve it, but somehow were spear-heading the push to get it fixed. I'd spent several hours on a conference call trying to get it sorted out and after it was over, I was exhausted. I'd gone to my boss's office to have a post-mortem of sorts about the futility of the whole thing. I was sitting there looking at my sandaled feet and thought they looked kinda puffy.

I asked her if she thought they looked weird. She looked worried and said yes. I just laughed. I hadn't had any swelling at all, and I thought it was an amusing pregnancy symptom. She suggested that I should called the doctor. "Nah.. I'm fine. Just 6 months pregnant. It's to be expected." She looked doubtful. I went back to my desk a while later thinking what a worry-wart she was.

That weekend I kept my feet and my hydration up and my sodium down. They improved and I felt like I'd been right. It wouldn't be until Tuesday that the epigastric pain hit. And still, I just thought it was yet another pregnancy symptom that had caught up with me. On Wednesday, I was especially miserable and considered calling in sick. But the error with the missing accounts was still being muddled through. There were only 2 of us working on the problem and my partner was already out sick. I couldn't leave my boss in the lurch. Just finish throwing up and get ready and go. Man up, Trish. 

On Thursday I finally went to the doctor. I hadn't been able to keep anything  (even water) down for a few days and I knew it couldn't continue. I was going to need some meds, for sure, so off to the doctor I went. I was admitted just an hour after that. Robbie was born 2 days later.

As I sit here at 25 weeks 1 day, it's hard not to see those images in my mind again. Much of what happened between being admitted and Robbie's delivery is blurred because of time, the drugs I was on, the overwhelming nature of what was happening and just plain exhaustion. But the days leading up to the day I was admitted, they're etched into my mind.

As much as I try not to focus on what can't be changed, it's hard not to wonder if things would have been any different if I'd listened to my boss that day. Or if I'd gone the day my stomach started hurting, or even that second day. Nothing can stop preeclampsia, but maybe it would have bought Robbie another day or two in the womb. Certainly it would offered him a little longer for the steroids to work. And maybe that wouldn't have changed anything, either. Maybe he'd still have been vented for 5 weeks. Maybe he'd still have asthma just like now. But maybe it wouldn't.

I know that there are only so many things I can control, but buying this baby as much time as I can is something I'm determined to do. I hope that my prayers and yours will give this baby 37 weeks baking time, but even if that is not in God's plan, I want to do everything I can to make sure that I don't rob this baby of a day or two that might help. I've lived with those questions and that guilt for more than 3 years. I don't want to add any more to it than I have to.

I realize that that makes me even more neurotic, but I suppose that's some of the burden of motherhood. We sacrifice not only our physical selves, but our emotional selves as well, in the journey to protect our kids as much as we can. That's the way it should be.