Wednesday, August 31, 2011

more prayers, please

Well, apparently it wasn't just my liver.
The peri lab called today and the doctor was also concerned about the level of protein in my urine. It was 279.

At my 12 week baseline check, it was 220, but apparently they didn't have record of that in my chart, so the last he knew was that it was 140 pre-pregnancy, so that was a fairly large jump. Either way, 279 is definitely higher than it should be. (Normal being <150.)

They want me to come in on Tuesday and have my BP checked and repeat all the labs again.

That was enough information to put me into a tailspin. As nervous as I was about the liver enzyme yesterday, having 2 things more out of whack than they should be was more than I could take. I called David to tell him the news and pretty much lost it on the phone.

David was great. Honestly, he took it a lot better than I expected. He reassured me that we will handle anything that is thrown at us, he doesn't want to see the NICU again, but we will do whatever we have to. I told him I was sorry my body was letting us down again and he shushed me saying there's no way to know what causes this, it could well be his genes at play, too. He reminded me that we married for better or worse and sometimes life throws "worse" at us. It was really what I needed to hear.

I still spent a good deal of the day crying and then telling myself to knock it the eff off. Neither of these lab values are horrifying. It's the trend that matters. My BP was still good today (115/60 in the afternoon, 120/80 this evening. Both quite good particularly considering the emotional mess I was all day.) I have an OB appointment tomorrow and I'm sure we'll discuss it in details tomorrow.

I'm 9 days from the point that I delivered Robbie. In looking back, my first sign of trouble with him happened at 25w1d. My feet swelled suddenly. I hadn't had any swelling at all up until that point. It wasn't even very severe. I actually thought it was kind of cute. Oh look- a pregnancy symptom. It improved over the weekend as I kept my feet up and hydrated. It was at 25w4d that the epigastic pain started. I was admitted to the hospital at 26 weeks exactly and he came at 26w2d. I'm really hoping that history does not repeat itself.

Normally, when preeclampsia reoccurs, it happens letters and less severely. So even if this IS the beginning of bad stuff, the hope is that it develops at a snail's pace and we can go a LOT longer. I really had my heart set on 37 weeks. I kept feeling strongly that the baby would come in November. Even if it was November 1, that would be almost 34 weeks. Any parent of a 33 weeker would tell you that's still too damned early, but as I sit here an hour shy of 25 weeks, 33 weeks is sounding pretty hopeful.

What I'm pleading for us prayers. Let my labs show improvement next week. At the very least, no decline. Pray for healthy kidneys & a healthy liver, for continued good blood pressure and health for my baby Chello.

She's been very active today and I've loved it. I love her so incredibly much already. The thought of her suffering through the NICU the way that Robbie did (or worse) devastates me. As I told David today, I just need our baby to be okay.



Well, the labs are in. It took some doing to get them. The perinatal center was as helpful as usual (read: not at all) when I was a little confused that they weren't back yet. So I called my OB's office as I knew they'd been copied on the results. They were also as helpful as usual (read: extremely) and after one of the staff called and chewed some ass at Quest, they called me back with the results.

All were normal. Except one. My ALT (a liver enzyme) was slightly elevated. It should be between 6 and 40 and mine was 47. The nurse said that Dr. G was not concerned about that number, but would like to have it repeated in a week to make sure it wasn't getting worse. She confirmed when my next appointment is (Thursday) and said they'd give me the order then.

I immediately googled ALT (what DID people do before the Internet Age?) and found that that particularly enzyme is associated with a number of other conditions that I fall into. Obesity, fatty liver syndrome & Tylenol usage, specifically. So there are a lot of reasons that it could be a little high that don't mean HELLP. I tried to tell myself to chill out and wait for more answers. I took my blood pressure and even in the agitated state I was in, it was 120/75.

Less than 5 minutes after I hung up with the nurse, I had to join a conference call for a project I've been working on for a few weeks. I told myself that it was time to get back to work. But it wasn't long into the call before the tech I was working with commented that I seemed awfully quiet today. She sort of chuckled because both she and her work partner were really off their game yesterday and today it was the client and me. (The client had been up with his post-surgical puppy all night. We all had baby woes today!) Guess it's a rough week.  But clearly I wasn't putting on my game face as well as I'd hoped. I tried to rally myself a little more.

Fortunately Chello was very active tonight, which never ceases to make me smile. Even now that she's getting big enough to punch me in the stomach occasionally and make me feel like puking, it's still pretty cool. I told myself that I was otherwise symptom-free. By the point that my liver enzymes were elevated with Robbie, I was already hospitalized and near kidney failure. Everything else was fine, so it wasn't that. Relax, Trish, relax. I willed myself to feel it even though I was so tense that the muscles in my shoulders were burning.

As much as I tried, I couldn't help but think about this baby in the NICU. Surely we can make it to 25 weeks, right? That's still too early, though. I remember Robbie in the NICU when he was born. I remember the guilt I felt every time they pricked his heels for blood or peeled off another lead from his see-through skin. I remember his silent cry when they disturbed him to change a tube or roll him over so that his head didn't get too misshapen. You couldn't hear either of us crying- Robbie because of the tube down his throat, my weeping kept silent so as not to upset the other parents. I said a silent apology to Chello for anything she would suffer because we selfishly decided to get pregnant again.

By the time I left work, I had worked myself into quite a state of self-pity. All I wanted to do was climb in bed and watch crappy TV. My side was hurting (probably psychosomatic) and I just wanted to lay down. I got home and found that the cat had puked all over the bed. I had a temper tantrum and yelled to David about how all I wanted to do was lay down and now I can't even do that, all while stripping the bed. David busied himself helping and talked to me in a soothing tone. My tantrum had little to do with the vomit (though seriously, 90% of our house is wood floor. WHY can't they puke on a freaking solid surface?) and more to do with a different kind of injustice.

Finally I did lay down and watch crappy TV (latest addiction: Awkward. on MTV.) and then took a long bath and read a little while and seem to have worked through the worst of the self-pity. The truth is that I don't know what this lab results means. My blood pressure is still excellent (tonight's reading: 110/65) I'm not swelling, my head doesn't hurt, and all my other labs were fine. Whatever is going on isn't coming to a head tonight. And whatever does happen is out of my hands. Wallowing isn't changing that.

I worked on picturing my next peri appointment at 28 weeks. Then seeing 30. I needed to write myself a different ending. Not at 25 weeks or even 26. I want to see full term. I don't want tubes and wires and statistics and guilt and tears. We all, particularly Chello, deserves better. So that's what I'm thinking about tonight. I'm going to pray for a health liver and a full term baby. And I'm going to believe it can happen, even if my liver doesn't like it.


Monday, August 29, 2011


Friday's peri appointment was good. Too bad there wasn't an actual peri there, eh? I don't know what the deal was, but after my ultrasound (more on that in a moment) I was dismissed. Pardon?

I asked if the peri wasn't going to come in and they said "There isn't one here today, did you have questions?" Again.. pardon?

I didn't have questions, but I had been told to expect labs at 24 weeks and I had been expecting to see Dr. B. The nurse said "yeah, we expected him, too." Pardon?

Seriously, I was confused. I get that things happen, but wouldn't it have made sense to mention that he wasn't in? I don't know. It was strange. And lead to us having to pour over my chart to see if Dr. Sunshine had noted which labs he wanted at 24 weeks, which he hadn't noted at all. So then I was going to have to wait until Monday when they could ask someone. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal, but since I knew one of them included a 24 hour urine, I really wanted to do it Sunday thru Monday so I didn't have to take my pee jug to work.

Fortunately God smiled on me and literally as I was checking out, Dr. B called to check-in (and I got to listen as she told him all about the patients she'd sent off to L&D, making me very sad) and she asked about the labs. "..patient here with a history of preeclampsia at 26 weeks, 24 weeks now.. said Dr. Sunshine told her labs, but there's no record of that... oh.. just order them.. oh.. okay.. alright.. all of them? okay..." :phew: She was really nice, but she really did act like maybe I was trying to get by with something. Maybe I'm running some pee-jug insurance scam. Who knows? All's well that ends well.

But back to the good stuff- the ultrasound was great. Baby Chello (have I explained the Chello thing? Our current baby names are Charlotte & Elliot, so I mashed them up and came up with Chello.) was really quiet that morning. Not a kick to be had all morning. It was a hectic morning (had a meeting with the daycare over the previous day's drama. All is better now.) so maybe I was just distracted, but seriously, I was starting to get stressed and the only thing keeping me calm was knowing that I was hours from a check.

As I was about 5 miles from the hospital, I started to feel a few kicks and as I was waiting to be seen, Chello started going crazy. I had to keep myself from giggling out loud in the waiting room because my belly was dancing. When the u/s tech came to get me I warned her we were about to get a show.

The tech was great. Sometimes they seem sort of irritated if the baby is really active, since it can be challenging to get a good still shot to make their measurement. This tech thought it was cute. I wish I could have her every time.

Chello looked great. Actually measured just a little ahead at 62%. Closer to 25 weeks than 24. She estimated the weight at 1 pound 13 ounces. I commented that was more than my son had weighed when he was born at 26 weeks. That lead to a moment that actually caught me off-guard. "Twenty six weeks? Wow. Did he live?" I answered that he had, he's 3, he's doing well. We then had the usual follow up conversation (How long was he in the hospital, any complications, yada yada yada.)

And then I laid there and thought about how truly screwed up that question is. Now, many friends thought it shouldn't have been asked, at least not in that way. And in hindsight, I do think it could have been asked more delicately. But I really wasn't offended. She works in a peri's office. She's seen a lot of things. She ended up telling me about her triplet grandchildren who were born at 28 weeks, so she probably has a perspective that few people do. But I thought "Wow. That's actually a legitimate question because it doesn't always turn out that way." A wave of sadness washed over me. It was a wave I hadn't felt in quite a long time.

While I will always feel sorrow about the way in which Robbie came into this world, it's not something that just eats at me on a daily basis the way that it used to. It's a little like telling people that my parents were divorced or my mom wasn't around. Yeah, that's sucky, but really, it just IS. It's part of our history, but not something to really dwell on. But all of a sudden, I felt myself dwelling a bit. It honestly stuck with me the rest of the day. Three years later and prematurity can still launch a sneak attack.

But back to the good stuff (again.) Chello was all over the place. Kicking and punching and wiggling around. She kept kicking her legs up by her face where it looked like she was trying to suck her toes or something. We laughed about envying that flexibility. I hoped that meant her abdominals are stronger than Robbie's were. (And I had her check the diaphragm again, too. Still looking good.)

Once they declared her healthy and took my BP (130/68. 130 wasn't the greatest, but the nurse was asking about the circumstances of Robbie's birth as she was taking the pressure, so I was a little agitated. It's been more like 115/65 most of the time.) and we play "Who's on first" about the peri, I was on my way.

The nice (if blunt) u/s tech burned my pictures on disc, so I can share them. I bring you.... Baby Chello!



I'm pretty sure she's about to give us the finger here.

Arm and foot up by the face

The weekend has gone fine. After Friday's acrobatics, Chello was very quiet the rest of the weekend. I broke out the Doppler THREE times today (there is a direct correlation to my level of anxiety and the use of the Doppler) because it was starting to really worry me, but tonight she's finally been active again. Maybe it's another growth spurt, I don't know.

I'm mid-pee jug and will have my labs drawn tomorrow. I'm hoping that all those results are normal and I can take a few deep breaths and feel better at least for a few days. Twelve more days until milestone 2. I think I can.. I think I can...


Friday, August 26, 2011


Well, he failed.
His hearing test, that is. Again.
Not really the news I was hoping to get today, but that's how things go, I suppose.

The question is what it means. There's some debate over whether he could actually hear and just not cooperate or if he genuinely couldn't hear. I, personally, think it was a little of both. He passed all the sections involving human speech, but when it came time the tones, he failed all in both ears.
The tones they were using were a bird & a train. I'm not sure that was the best way to go because both of those actually excited him and he kept saying "Mommy! The choo-choo is coming!" "Mommy, it's a birdie!" as we all stifled our chuckles. By the end of the very long hour, he was telling me that the orange choo-choo was coming on the train tracks. At least he has an imagination.

The thing is that I have noticed that he seems to have trouble hearing some things at home. If the TV is turned down kinda low (I can hear it fine, but it's quiet) he'll tell me it's broken and then cry if I don't fix it. But he seems to be able to hear us whispering just fine, and can hear sounds far in the distance just fine. I didn't even realize I could hear a train from our house until he pointed it out one day. I had just never noticed the faint whistle blowing.

The ENT wants to do a sedated hearing check sometime in the next month (waiting for a callback from the audiology lab to schedule that) to see what it shows. Right now, he showed a "mild hearing loss" in both ears. If that proves true through the sedated check, then it "defintiely needs to be addressed." We really just hope he passes.

Honestly, I came out of the appointments feeling pretty defeated. I told myself 100 times that there are far worse things than mild hearing loss. Hell, we've faced far worse things than mild hearing loss. But it just isn't something anyone wants their kid to go through. And honestly the thought of trying to convince a 3 year old to keep hearing aids on is daunting. I KNOW that lots of kids do it and we WILL get through whatever may come, but right now it just seems overwhelming.

The rest of the day didn't go a lot better. I got Robbie to school only to be scolded rather rudely by the daycare directly for getting him to school right at nap time. She wasn't aware he was going to be late (I had told his teachers.) and was apparently pretty pissed about it. Well, considering I was already in a bit of a mood, it didn't go so well. I managed not to slap anyone or cuss them out, but I definitely said my piece before the day was done. (I actually left and called back because I needed to contain my temper before I responded.)

In the end, it may work out well. In what I think was an attempt at peace-making, we got the notice tonight that he's being moved to the 3 year old room as of Monday. There was some debate about whether or not he could go because he's not potty trained yet, but I guess it's official. He's joining his peers. I hope he does better with them than he did in the previous room, but I'm a bit nervous about it as I always am. I want him to be liked and accepted and to enjoy it.

Work was just kinda crazy. I literally walked in the office into the middle of a bunch of bickering and that lasted most of the day. I was in no mood to chat for most of the day, so I just kept to myself, but I had to marvel that the whole day sort of took a wrong turn somewhere for not just me, but it seemed like everyone around me.

Hopefully tomorrow is a better one. I have a peri appointment in the morning. I believe I'll be getting a number of labs to check on my body's function and will have a growth scan for the baby to make sure she's growing appropriately. I'm doubting I'll have all the results (except the scan) until Monday or Tuesday since I'm fairly certain I'll have the dreaded pee jug (a 24 hour urine collection) to fill as well.

I'm hoping that if those come back normal, though, that that will ease some of my concerns, though. Though I also worry that they will come back bad and anxiety will rule again. Only time will tell.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Milestone #1

24 weeks.

When we decided to try for another baby, my biggest fear was very clear in my mind. It was getting sick before the possibility of viability.

I don't remotely feel like 24 weeks brings any assurances of survival. This baby is NOT allowed to come yet. Not for a good long while. But when I thought of The Worst, the image in my mind was very clear.

I could see myself begging doctors for steroid shots, begging them to try to save him or her. I had all too clear an image of the sad but resigned look on their faces as they explained that there was simply no hope.

I know that if I got sick tomorrow, the baby could very well not survive even the process of being born, let alone the complications of prematurity thereafter. I'm by no means throwing a V-day party.
But I am happy to mark one milestone off the list. At this point, the medical professionals would at least try.

I have sixteen more days to go to reach the point at which Robbie was born. From moment to moment, I think "we've got that in the bag" or "sixteen days is a long freaking time..." I'm a little concerned how that milestone is going to feel. When I picture reaching it in my mind, I get very emotional. I was there, but it still seems unreal to me that Robbie came at such a close stage that I'm at now. This baby is very likely about the size that Robbie was when he was born (he was closer to the size of an average 24 weeker.)

I'm feeling so much movement these days, habits becoming more clear, my attachment growing stronger every day. And to think of this baby struggling the way that Robbie did is terrifying. Knowing how amazing Robbie is now and that he did survive all of that is somewhat comforting, but I do still sometimes stroke the scars on his stomach, his feet, his hands and inwardly weep for all that he endured. I don't want this baby to suffer the same way.

So I ask for continued prayers. For the next 16 days to speed by uneventfully.. along with another 13 weeks. And if you're in the praying mood, how about another one for Robbie. He's having another hearing check tomorrow. The last one, given before his 2nd set of ear tubes was placed, showed moderate hearing loss. We're hoping the tubes have cleared that up, but we will know for sure tomorrow. He could use a little boost.


Saturday, August 20, 2011


I have definitely been feeling everyone's prayers since my last post. I've just felt calmer, more at peace and just bouyed by support that I know has come from all of you and from God.
That doesn't mean I'm not still worried, of course, and haven't had my "moments" but I haven't had the huge, all-out, gut-wrenching panic like I had been feeling. I've been able to talk myself through the moments of panic, rationalizing them and distracting myself instead of just spiraling downward.

The reflux is still kicking my ass. I've taken it extremely easy on my stomach this week, though in doing so I've managed to lose 4 pounds this week. Normally I'd be thrilled, but you know, for once, I don't want to lose weight, so I've been trying to eat more frequent snacks the last day or two to make up for it. Today was particularly bad again, though for the life of me, I don't know why. I had plain spaghetti (no sauce, no spices. Just a little butter and parmesan cheese) for lunch. I snacked on almonds in the afternoon (thanks for the tip, Mrs.Spit!), then had oatmeal (maple/brown sugar. not even any cinnamon) for dinner. But all day I had that feeling like I had a rock stuck in my chest. Nothing I couldn't handle, and the bright side of having it in my chest is that it's distinctly not my stomach, so I don't freak that it's secretly epigastric pain, but it's still unpleasant.

This is day 5 of Nexium. I definitely have far less burning than I had before, but I'm hoping with another few days of build up, it'll improve further. It's a small price to pay for the gift of this baby, but I can't say it's terribly pleasant either.

As for the gift I speak of, it's actually be a fun week. I'm leaning towards it being a girl (though keep in mind that I called Robbie "she" until 5 minutes before he was born, so what do I know?) so I've been calling her she a lot. She's been very active and somewhat regular intervals. I'm feeling more movement overall and in more places than before. Tonight I actually felt movement on the outside (with my hands) for the first time, and even saw my belly bounce a little once or twice. I just sat and touched and watched with a smile on my face for a while. Shortly thereafter, a coworker looked at me funny and said I seemed happy. I answered honestly that I was. Baby kicks are the best part.

My biggest fear for this pregnancy has been something awful happening before the baby even has a chance- before the medical community would even fight for her. That was been in my mind as The Worst. Now believe me, I know there are thousands of things that could go wrong outside of that, and that being born at 24 weeks is no guarantee at all. I know that better than most. But when my mind spirals into panic, the image the haunts me is one of me begging them to please just try. To please give me steroids, to please fight for a breath, to please fight for her life, and for a doctor with kind eyes but a decisive voice telling me it's just too early.

My first goal is 24 weeks. We need so much more than that, so, so much more. But I have to focus on baby steps or I will go crazy. At 24 weeks, they'll at least try. So as that goal has crept closer, it's scared and excited me. As I sit here tonight at 23w2d, I can feel 24 weeks so close. I vacillate between "only 5 more days.." and "5 more days is a long time.." The trouble with preeclampsia, particularly my kind, was how quick it came. If it hit now, we may not have 5 more days.

But right now, I'm leaning more towards "only 5 more days.." And then only 2 more weeks until the point Robbie came. We can make it. I hear my OB's words at my last appointment. "You're going to make it. You're going to make all the goals. It's going to happen." She didn't seem to be placating me, she seems to really believe it. Maybe she has some secret crystal ball I don't know about? I sure hope she's right.

For now, I'm just focusing on one day at a time. Today, I am pregnant and I love my baby. There are no promises of tomorrow for any of us, so I'm trying very hard to value each day as the gift it is. I know that your prayers are helping me fight off the Anxiety and letting me be open to the gifts. For that and so much more, I am truly thankful.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My preemie mom friends who have gone on to have more children warned me that their anxiety really peaked between 22 & 24 weeks. That "gray area" just brought out the paranoia in an even stronger fashion. I can definitely say I'm experiencing that as well.

Last night I ended up with what will go down in history as the worst case of reflux I've ever experienced. The pasta I had for dinner was spicier than I expected. And while it was delicious, I would come to regret that. When I got home, I didn't feel awful, but not great. Eventually I threw up just a little. I hoped that would help. It didn't. Finally I went to bed, sometimes sleeping it off is the best thing I can do.

But I woke up at 4 in excruciating pain. Not just some burning in my esophagus but seemingly my abdomen and around to my back were awful. I was certain this was the epigastric pain of disaster. Panic set in. I got up and took my protonix early, then sat down to take my BP. I had taken it before dinner and it was so low I actually chuckled. (100/60.) Now it was 140/85. More panic. I started to tremble. Only 22 weeks. It's too soon.

I prayed, and tried to steady myself. I tried to breathe through it, but now I was shaking and couldn't settle down. I talked to the baby and apologized for what may come. She kicked and I wondered how much longer I'd get to feel that.

Finally I went to take a warm bath and try to relax and wait and see if the meds would help. After an hour, I did feel a little better and I decided to try get a little more sleep and re-evaluate in the morning.

I woke up again at 6 and felt a little better, but not great. I still felt so anxious that I couldn't go back to sleep. I was up another hour.

Back up again a little while later with Robbie and I felt about the same, but the pain was up my esophagus now, which told me that it was "just" reflux and not my liver. I tried to let the relief hit me, but it just wouldn't come.

I had a regular appointment with my chiropractor this morning, so I decided to go see him. In my mind I thought if I was going to end up in the hospital, at least I could get my body in good shape before dealing with a crappy hospital bed. I was the picture of hope. Amazingly, when I told him how I was feeling, he did some voodoo with some nerves to the liver & stomach and the relief was almost instantaneous. It wasn't completely gone, but the improvement was profound. God bless that witch doctor.

I came home and tried to relax for a while before work. My BP had come down to 130/80. still higher than I liked, but frankly, that's about what it was prepregnancy and nothing too scary. I ate tums almost hourly.

I was afraid to eat anything. Eventually I ate some pop-tarts since that seems to be the only thing that doesn't piss my stomach off lately, but that's all I had all day. I sipped water very slowly. Definitely didn't hit my hydration goal today. Sorry kidneys, but today the stomach won. I'll focus on you tomorrow.

I called the doctor and asked if I could up my dose of protonix, then played back and forth until they finally decided to switch me to Nexium.

Late in the evening, the worst of it seemed to finally fade. I ate my usual salad dinner and practically held my breath to see how it settled. Seemed to go okay.

The whole day, all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of doom. I tried to focus on hope, but I couldn't seem to find any. I knew it was a symptom of Anxiety and not truth, but I couldn't seem to fight it back anyway. All I wanted to do was go home, pull the covers over my head and cry. After work, that's essentially what I did.

David laid with me a little while, looking lost. He wants to be comforting and supportive, but having never experience Anxiety, and just generally being the most optimistic guy ever, he doesn't really get it. I asked him to reassure me that we'd get through anything that may come- even The Worst, he said of course we would. I know he means that, but he also doesn't think it will come to pass. I don't really know if I do or not.

For so long, I felt so strongly about the month of November. We're going to make it to November. This baby is coming in NOVEMBER. But now even the limit of viability a mere 8 days away seems like a century. Is something changing? Is my body really failing me AGAIN? Is Anxiety overruling any hope or logic in my head? I really don't know.

I never thought I'd be the person holding my breath for 24 weeks. Anyone with any sense at all knows that 24 weeks just isn't enough. 50/50 odds just aren't good enough when you're talking about your child. But right now 50/50 seems light-years from zero. I'm clinging to next Thursday knowing it represent A Chance. And the day after is my next peri appointment where I know they are going to check on the baby again and do some labs to assess how my body is holding up. I'm hoping that if all of those things go well, Anxiety can take a hike and allow Hope to return again.

In the mean time, I'm clinging to those who seem to be able to hold on to it a little better than me. And I'm asking for prayers for both physical health and mental peace for me so that I can continue to feel these amazing little feet dancing on my bladder all the way to November.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Quickie update

After having trouble getting to sleep and then having nightmares about being sick again (Apparently my brain thinks I have a A.K.U. which is apparently some sort of heart condition. WTF?) I called the doc this morning and she had me come in.

It's really just reflux. BP was good, protein was normal, no swelling etc. I now have a script for some protonix. Please let it work. And be laced with some baby-safe Xanax.

Is it Thanksgiving yet?


Anxiety is really getting the better of me tonight.

I've had a pretty major case of what is most likely acid reflux most of the day. Tonight it started really burning up in my upper chest. I started to google for ideas to help when I saw it referenced as "epigastric pain."

Now, my understanding of epigastric pain was much lower, under the breast bone. That's certainly where it was when I was pregnant with Robbie. But a few sources say it can include the chest. And that's when the panic set in.

My blood pressure is fine. Better than fine, really. It was 115/70ish. Even after a warm bath and an hour of near panic attack, it's only 120/77. I'm not remotely swollen. My head doesn't hurt, my side only hurts in the dullest of ways (which is almost constant since my gallbladder surgery last year.) But it doesn't matter. The seed was planted in my head.

I've tried to read to distract myself but can't focus. Took a bath to try to relax but I couldn't really sit still long enough. I've tried to logic myself through it, but Anxiety has struck.

I had a talk with the baby (who has been pretty sedate all day but is pretty worked up tonight. Probably my own adrenaline revving her up. Yes, for the time being we're going with "she." Just go with it. No, we don't know which sex is true. I called Robbie "she" for 6 months, who knows?) I told her how much I love her. I apologized if my body fails her.

I'm only 22w. If disaster strikes, that's it. History has taught me that my body can betray me and my babies at any turn. God, please don't let it let us down again.

The thing is that the last few weeks I really feel like I've connected with this baby. I talk to her frequently. Sometimes in my head, sometimes out loud. I promised myself I wouldn't disconnect from this baby to try to protect myself. Every day together is a blessing and I'm going to count them. And for the most part, I think I have. I've enjoyed getting to know her habits and cycles. Quiet in the morning, busy at night. If I sneeze too hard, I get kicked for my trouble. If I let myself get hungry enough to make my tummy growl, she gets cranky, too. It's been fun. I'd like a whole lot more of it.

But when the panic sets in like it has tonight, it is that much harder. I can't help but envision the worst. And it's all the more real in my head because of the image of her that I've been building.

I'm trying to work through it. I took a prevacid and about an hour later, the pain eased significantly. I ate a little something and it didn't get worse. I'm trying to stop running The Worst through my head and focus on the image of a full term baby arriving in late November. Picture the look on everyone's faces as they visit and see a baby in my hospital room with me.

I came to the computer for more distraction and remembered a gospel song I heard on a Pandora station the other day. It wasn't a gospel station so it surprised me, but in a very good way. I looked it up and have listened to it a few times.

Slowly I can feel my heart rate slowing, my stomach untwisting. What will be will be. It's out of my hands. All I can do is pray and enjoy the baby's activity for however long I have it.

I would appreciate any prayers for peace and health you can spare us. It's 15 weeks to full term. Let's hope that's a lot of time to panic over nothing.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Perfectly Typical

I couldn't have asked for a better 3 year check up today.

I was nervous for a few reasons. This was his first check post-tube removal, so a good weigh in would be a marker of success (or failure - eek!) Also, as it was his 3 year check up, if his height was sub-prime, this would be the point we would start worrying about trouble with Human Growth Hormone (HGH) deficiency, meaning referrals to new specialists, HGH injections etc. I really didn't want to do that. At all.

Robbie was in rare form this morning. Recently his language has further exploded, astounding me daily. Suddenly I'm hearing these very adult phrases coming out of him and just wondering where it comes from. Sunday he came running from the back of the house shouting "Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" stopped at my side, grinned up at me and said "Whats goin' on?" Where in the world did he get that?

This morning, he wasn't really ready to be up so quite so early so when I asked him if he wanted to go see Dr. P his answer was "No mommy. Wanna take a nappy." and pointed back at his bed. I know the feeling.

Later in the car, I asked if he knew where we were going but he didn't answer. I asked if we were going to see Dr. P and he sighed like he was 12 and said "Yes, mommy. We're going to see Dr. P." Guess my questions got annoying. I couldn't help but laugh and wonder when this happened.

The trip there seemed like a demonstration of all his latest knowledge. He's known most of his colors for months, but grey has challenged him. But I think he pointed out every grey car in the parking lot walking in. Then pointed out a triangle flag (a pennant) on the wall. The things he sees amazes me, it took me a while to even figure out what triangle flag he was talking about.

Once we were called back, he was weighed - 25.4 pounds, and measured- 35 inches. Then we waited for Dr. P. She came in, cooed over Robbie, marveled that he's 3 already and went to plot his growth from his 2 year check up. She said she was looking for 2" of growth in the last year.... (I felt like there should have been a drum roll) "and he grew three!" WOOHOO! He was at 7.5% for height and 10% for weight.  He's still a peanut, but no growth hormones needed!

As she was still charting, I lifted his shirt and said "and look..." and she was thrilled. Since our GI doc had taken Robbie's tube out, she didn't know. The fact that he'd grown so well ON HIS OWN was cause for more celebration.

The rest of the exam went equally as well. She commented on his full set of teeth, saying that indicated good growth as well (he's had all of his teeth since shortly after he turned 2.) She was completely happy with his speech, his motor skills, pretty much everything.

We discussed nutrition a bit. I'm going to try V8 juice (because he still hates vegetables), skim milk (because he's still only drinking maybe 3oz/day of milk, but loves water), and a vitamin. And potty training. She was completely unconcerned at his lack of interest in going on the potty, which was a relief.

I do feel a little pressure about the potty training because he can't move to the 3yo room at daycare until he is, but I also do not care to shame him into doing it. He's made some progress in that he will sit on the potty for a sticker, but that's as far as we've gotten. She really shrugged it off.

We did talk about the fact that his stoma site is still leaking, which was probably 2nd on my list of conccerns behind growth. Fortunately she also was unconcerned about that, saying to give it a few more months to heal. If it gets worse, I'm to call the surgeon, but right now it just occasionally leaves a wet spot on his shirt, nothing major.

He got his Hep A booster (upsetting, but not traumatizing, easily cured by a sticker) and we were on our way, with her overall assessment ringing in my ears: "perfectly typical three year old."

Take that, prematurity. TAKE THAT.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

21w3d: Still kicking

The emotional roller coast of being pregnant again is astounding. I can go from completely confident to sheer gut-wrenching terror in under 4 seconds. It doesn't take anything. A headache, swollen feet, some bubbles in my pee and I'm certain this is the beginning of the end. I think edging towards viability, and towards Robbie's gestational age at birth, is freaking me out more, not less.

Truthfully, things have been good. I've actually had more trouble with my blood pressure being too low than too high. (Felt really cruddy earlier and actually registered 87/63 at one point. I'm lucky I was still able to sit upright, though standing was definitely out of the question.) I had a panic on Thursday when my feet swelled up like tree trunks all of a sudden. I had just been to the OB earlier that morning where my protein and BP were fine, but my feet felt like stuffed sausages all of a sudden. Then I looked up the sodium content of the chili I had for dinner and nearly passed out. More than 2000mg. In a freaking bowl of chili from Steak and Shake. I won't do that again. Every time I get scared, if I just wait an hour and take some deep breaths, things turn around. I'm just so damned paranoid.

One minute I'm wondering if I could ever convince my OB to wait and deliver me at 38 weeks instead of 37 (I know she won't. Both she and my peris are adamant it isn't safe, but I can daydream) and the next I'm running through a list of protocols for the NICU for this baby (no one sees him/her but David until I do, sign on the isolette about being present for first baths, feedings etc.) If I'm forgetful, it's not "baby brain" it's just that I'm so busy working on plans in my head that I'm too distracted to remember to lock the car doors when I get to work.

I had my anatomy scan a week ago and all was "perfect." I saw the one remaining peri in the practice I hadn't seen. I really liked him a lot. He was very pleased to report that all measurements were exactly right. (I watched. I was 20w1d at the exam and everything measured between 19w6d & 20w6d.) I passed my first GTT with flying colors. I still hate that orange cola, though. Good golly that shit is nasty.

My next growth scan is at 24 weeks and that's the point where I start seeing doctors a lot (more.) I have also already been warned that I'll have to do another 24 hour urine then. I hate the damned pee jug more than anything. The worst part is that it's probably the most important test for me since it was my kidneys that bore the brunt of the preeclampsia. I know there is no avoiding them. Doesn't make them any more pleasant, though.

The baby has been moving and kicking a lot. Just like Robbie, s/he tends to hang out in the breech position, with feet squarely ensconced in my bladder. My placenta has also apparently grown forward into an anterior position again, though way at the top of my uterus, so I can feel the low movement, but very little of the high. I am still loving every kick, though- even the ones that really kinda hurt.

Robbie still doesn't seem to grasp the concept of a sibling. He seems to think babies are cute, though and treats them pretty gently so hopefully when the big surprise comes, he'll take it okay. But we'll see. Otherwise he's doing great. I need to do a big post on just what he's been up to, but his 3year well-baby check is Tuesday (yeah, it's a little late. They were booked!) so I figure I'll do it then when I can add complete stats. Suffice it to say that he amazes me every day. I really don't think I'm ever going to get used to him talking and eating and drinking just like it's the most perfectly natural thing ever. I count my blessings as his mother every day.

I am trying very hard to focus on the blessings of this pregnancy, trying to read into the "good signs" instead of focusing on the bad ones. But the general feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop lingers. I hope that as I start to pass milestones, that will ease, but I don't know if it will. It's definitely work every day to let go and let God.

I have mostly been trying to keep myself distracted. I actually set a goal to read 50 books this year so I've been working towards that. I set that goal before I got pregnant again and I know that once the baby comes, the time to read will shrink to mostly nothing, so I need to get a little ahead. So far I'm about on track (I'm at 28 read so far.) but I need to kick it into gear a little to get ahead for at least December.

Of course, when I'm in my Debbie Downer funks I think "well, when I go on bedrest, I can read a bunch then. If it lasts long enough and I'm not stoned out of my gourd on mag." And then I shake myself out of that. No planning for Bad Shit. Positive Vibes and The Secret and all that mumbo jumbo.

Anyway, on that note, I think I'll go do some reading now. Next up is "The Help." So far no one has said they DIDN'T like it, so I have high hopes. Feel free to recommend your favorites. Please, no dark shit. My anxiety-ridden brain apparently can't take anything too intense these days or I have nightmares. I generally prefer funny mysteries a la Janet Evanovich or Lisa Lutz. I also apparently have a thing for Vampire porn, no matter how trashy. (Yes, JR Ward, I'm looking at YOU.) If you love anything in that vein (get it, vein? Vampires! ha!) please let me know. I'm always up for new brain candy.