Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prayer request

I'm pleading for prayers for Sam, and for Sandi. Sandi is mom to Sam who was born weighing just 12 oz. He is now 5 months old and tonight is bringing a huge battle for him. He's struggled with a lot of issues, the one tonight is severe acidosis.
Sandi got "the call" tonight to come to his bedside. They're doing what they can.
Sandi is one of the most amazing moms I know. Her tireless fight for Sam began long before he was born when doctor after doctor told her to give up on him. Sam has proven doctors wrong time and again. I'm hoping so much that tonight is another of those times.

Please join me in praying for Sandi, her husband, Sam, and Sam's twin brother Sebastien. They all need it.


**sad update**
Sam lost his battle early this morning.
Please continue to pray for Sandi and her whole family.
Sandi has a blog if you would like to send your condolences.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reflecting on Father's Day

I always knew (hoped?) that I'd like being a mother. I knew I'd love a child and hoped I'd been a good one. I expected to feel love at a depth I hadn't before, though it seemed impossible to love more than I already did. As it turns out, I do like being a mother, do love my child beyond the ability to express it and I think I'm doing a fairly good job at it. I still find it amusing the unbelievably immense joy I get at the simplest things, though.

Over the weekend, David was using my laptop to look something up. He rarely uses my computer, so I guess this seemed unusual to Robbie. He climbed up behind David and looked over his shoulder and asked "Daddy, what doin'?" Joy. It was the first really inquisitive question I'd heard him utter, and the novelty made me giggle with pleasure.

At another point, he was eating his lunch very slowly. I had remained at the table, keeping him company while David got up and cleaned up a bit. After David was gone, he came behind me and was rubbing my shoulders. (God bless him.) Robbie didn't understand though, and got very upset, standing in his chair and putting his hands up. "NO DADDY! Stop huwting Mommy!" My little knight in shining armor was there to protect me. (Don't worry we explained that Mommy LIKES massages and he settled right down.)  My soul just melted.

But even more surprising than the intensity of those simple joys is the way that he's helped me love other people more. I do think that I'm more compassionate than I was before his birth, but I mean in a more direct way- the way that I see both my husband and my father.

As much as I love both Robbie and my husband, I love them both even more when I hear their conversations. David was recently telling Robbie about how he was going to take him to a baseball game and how much he was looking forward to teaching him all about the game, and showing him how to swing a bat and throw a ball. He gets so excited when he talks about taking Robbie camping (That's a daddy-kid thing. I don't camp. Call me at the spa if you need me.) that it just makes my heart soar.

Seeing my own dad as a grandfather has been another area I didn't expect to enjoy so much. My dad was a good dad, anyway. He raised me without a mother and while he certainly wasn't perfect, I never doubted how much loved me or how proud of me he was. That's as good a legacy as it gets, I think.

And man, does he love Robbie. Sometimes to their own detriment since neither seems to understand limits. My dad will crawl around in the floor until he can't stand or throw Robbie up in the air until his arms give out, but if Robbie wants more- more he will get. They both also frequently get scolded for getting a little too rowdy in public. Manners are important.

There isn't a week that goes by that my dad doesn't call and ask if he can come over- he's found some special treasure Robbie just has to have. It might be a book, or a puzzle or a train, but "it just fell in the cart!"

The relationship between all of them (David, my dad & Robbie) has been more slowly built than the relationship between Robbie and me. I think as a mother, my instinct to nurture, and probably the hormones, let to a quicker connection. But with the guys, it's come more and more with time. I found it a little frustrating in the beginning.

My dad would pace in the NICU. I don't think he sat down one time in 96 days. He made it his personal mission to cater than anything David or I needed, but was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. He had no desire to hold Robbie at all. It wasn't until Robbie was home and my dad was seated, that I pretty much threw Robbie in his arms and said "here!" that he did it. And then I thought he might actually hyperventilate.

David just looked frustrated a lot. He didn't know what to do. God forbid I didn't know the answer either- total panic. He's not good in situations that are unfamiliar and Robbie was unfamiliar in a way that few experience.

But these days, they all have a very special bond. Robbie often asks for "Gampa" when he's trying to get out of doing something he doesn't want to. I have to avoid even mentioning that he's coming over until he's here because Robbie will go to the door and refuse to move for hours if he knows Grandpa is expected. Robbie usually asks for his dad in the morning "Daddy! Daaadddy? WHERE ARE YOU?" and then remind himself "Daddy's at work!" during the week. It's a special treat to see how much he loves the men in his life.

What I know for sure is that I am very lucky to have all three of them in mine.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

See Spot, Run

When I was pregnant with Robbie, I spotted. A lot. Not a lot of blood necessarily, just all. the. freaking. time. It sucked. After I'd call the doctor for the 10th time, I'd go to the unoccupied 3rd floor and work and call my husband, wailing into the phone "Why does this keep happening?" He would try to calm me down, but I felt like I was living in a constant state of terror, wondering if this Spot was The Spot of Doom.

So when I got pregnant this time, I faithfully inspected the toilet paper at each bathroom break, preparing for the worst. But Spot didn't come. Not at 5, or 6 or 10 weeks.
Around about the 12 week mark, I stopped inspected and started glancing.

On Monday, I had to double glance. Surely that's not...... but it was. Just the faintest streak in some cervical fluid. Fuck.

I told myself to chill out. It was so very, very little. There are explanations. I just saw the baby on an ultrasound seven days prior. The baby is fine. Right? I decided I wasn't call. There's nothing they can do anyway. Just go to the doctor at the next visit and it will be fine. But that's three weeks away. It'll be fine.

Of course, after several hours (and bathroom breaks to check for more- all negative.) I decided wringing my hands for three weeks was dumb. I'd just call the doctor and see what they said. They would tell me it was nothing and then I would be fine.

The nurse called back and said they'd like to see me. Just to be sure. I was at work and really not in the best position to be able to leave right then, so I opted to be seen Tuesday morning.

I spent the rest of the day arguing with myself. I felt like instead of having an angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, I had anxiety on one and reason on the other. It was neck-and-neck all day.

When I got into the u/s room we saw the baby right away. Very still. My heart stopped. Oh no. And then......he waved. (Don't get excited. I'm using "he" generically. We won't be finding out the sex before birth.) I said "moving!" and she said yes, heart looked good and immediately let me listen. Heart rate 161 bpm. She commented how he seemed to be waving. I said "hi baby! now please behave!"

I left the office with a spring in my step, determined to leave anxiety behind. And hopefully Spot, too.


Monday, June 13, 2011


Well, I guess pregnancy #4 hit its first snag.

At my OB appointment last Monday, I was given the results of my 24 hour urine. Protein was at 210. that's up from 140 pre-pregnancy. "Normal" is under 150. "Concerning" (aka: mild preeclampsia) is 300. This was not my regular OB (who has the nerve to be on maternity leave. How dare she!) but fortunately I like all the docs in the practice, so it was okay. Her leading theories are either diabetes or kidney damage.

I really would be surprised if it were diabetes. Being a fat woman with lot of doctors, I've been tested 7 ways from Sunday and everything is always normal. Dr. Sunshine wanted yet another A1C check (I'll save you the googling, it's basically a long term blood sugar test), which she ordered that day. It came back fine. Again.

Kidney disease... well, that's another story. Now, I was also tested for that before we got the blessing to try again, but really, that's not unlikely. My protein levels just before Robbie was born were over 9000. That's......bad. Really bad. Like darn-near-kidney-failure bad. Logic would lead one to believe that my kidneys do have some residual damage, even if it didn't show up in the preconception tests.

In any case, to say this was unwelcome news is pretty much the understatement of the year. I managed not to burst into tears in the middle of the office, but just barely. The rest of the appointment was good. I ended up with another ultrasound because they still couldn't get the baby on the Doppler (still can't at home, either.) and everything looked great. All my other tests were perfect. But all I could hear in my brain was "protein", "not normal", and then words that I'm still processing "hoping to get you at least into the 30s." While 30 would be better than 26, I don't want any 30s less than 36. I really want 37.

I left the office and called David. He was equally disheartened. That was almost worse. He's always so positive and hopeful. To hear him comment about how crappy all my pregnancies are- it stung. I felt guilty both about being such a failure and for dampening his optimism.

By the afternoon, I had talked with some preemie mom friends with a better ability to see things clearly. The panic eased and I realize that I still am where I was before the appointment. Worried, but hopeful, with prayer to guide me through. If it is kidney damage, it certainly doesn't make life simpler, but it also doesn't guarantee failure. I still think we can get through this, and am still hopeful for a November baby. Hopefully late November.

As of now I'm 13 1/2 weeks pregnancy. I've past what I didn't know was the halfway mark with Robbie. I'm still hoping this is the end of the first third of my pregnancy, and not the first half. But as always, prayers are very greatly appreciated.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

12w0d: NT scan

Well, the baby is good.
I was ridiculously nervous this morning. I was relieved they didn't take my BP because I can only imagine what it would have been.
I had a fairly lengthy genetic counseling with what must have been the world's nicest counselor. She was one of those people you meet and think "I would like to be her friend." Even she commented several time, "I think we could talk all day!"

Took my blood, then sent me to wait for my u/s. Then came back and needed more blood because my insurance requires a different lab for the CF screening. She'd had to prick my finger twice for all the drops she needed, so this made a 3rd stick. She was really apologetic and kept expecting me to say no more. Good thing needles don't bother me.

Then she, the phlebotomist & I discussed which is worse- blood work or a 24 hour urine. I'm 100% that it's the 24 hour urine. My position is that if you told me I could choose between 1 blood draw a day for the rest of my pregnancy, or once a month 24 hour urine collection, I'd take the blood draws, no question.

Anyway, back out and then in for the u/s. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking by the time I got in there. I was just convinced it was going to be a still u/s. I told the (also very nice) u/s tech I was nervous and she was sympathetic. She must have looked at my chart because she didn't even question it, just said "well, considering your history, I understand." but honestly before I could ask her to show me the heartbeat right away, I could see the baby wiggling around. Definitely alive.

She measured CRL and said it was perfect, then looked at some other things before focusing on the nuchal fold. To me, it looked huge. I thought "shit, it's big. Okay. It's big. We'll deal. We can handle anything." She kept trying to get a measurement but couldn't quite get the angle she wanted. But eventually she said she got 2 and both were 1.2 so she thought that was good. She measured the heart rate- 170 bpm. Then left to get the peri in case he wanted to try for a different angle.

Yes, I said he. Dr. Bitchy is apparently on vacation for a month (seriously, I need a new job.) The bad news? The covering peri was Dr. Sunshine- the man I *HATED* when I was pregnant with Robbie. He was the "I'm the one that gets to pull the trigger" guy. The "you're not going to make it 12 hours" guy. The "well, at 26 weeks the baby has an 85% chance of living, but only a 68% chance of not having significant life-altering disabilities." Yeah. THAT guy.

As soon as he came in, I could feel my entire body tense. I'd started to relax a little when things looked good, but that all went by the wayside as soon as I saw him. He was genuinely nice. He was smiling and said he was happy with the scans she got and everything was normal. Then he asked when I should be seen again. I said no one had told me. He asked why I was there. I reminded him (while tripping over my words) that he had been.. uh.. "involved" in my son's delivery at 26 weeks because of preeclampsia.

He tried to give me the "oh, I thought your name sounded familiar" speech (yeah, right.) and then said I should come back in 4 weeks for a growth check. Then told me it was nice to see me again. I automatically responded "you, too." then internally called myself a nasty, nasty liar. NO IT WASN'T. Oh, and did I mention he rubbed my belly while talking to me? Seriously.

Anyway, I go out to check out and make my next appointment and it turns out I get to see him next time, too. Lucky, lucky me. I've decided this is an exercise in temper control and patience. At least this time I'm not terrified and confused. I'm prepared.

And then I was on my way. I officially told some people at work. And facebook. So it's official. I'm going to go forward under the assumption that all is well. (well, I'll try.) At least now I don't have to try to pretend my jeans still fit. It's all elastic from here.