Monday, September 09, 2013

New Past-time...Documentaries!

In the evening, when Mike is putting the boys to bed, I take Kaitlyn and do her evening stuff (feed and put down..it varies each night when she might go down).  Usually, Kaitlyn goes to sleep around 8:30 or 9, and Mike is still with the boys for a while longer.  Until the kids are asleep, I usually do a few computer things, grade papers (if I happen to have a class going), read email, blog (like I'm doing now) and so on.  Recently, though, I've gone through the Netflix cue for a few things to watch, but something maybe Mike wouldn't necessarily want to watch, and something I could just interrupt halfway through (didn't have to invest an hour or two in one stretch).  One of the categories that came up was documentaries...specifically I think they called it "cerebral documentaries" or something like that.

So far, I'm on my 3rd documentary in the past week.  The first was called "Dying to Know", a documentary about the Gerson therapy.  The second was a National Geographic documentary on tracing the paths of human migration through genetic markers.  Now I'm watching "Burzynski", a documentary about a novel cancer treatment.

I like to think I'm a pretty "open" person...I like to learn new things, I'm open to new ideas and ways of doing things.  I also know quite a bit about certain topics, academically, and those topics I feel confident that I know more than the average person and can evaluate them critically.  So after watching these documentaries (and notice, they're all biotech/biomedical/cancer related...a subject I'm well versed in), I feel the need to offer my opinion on the documentary...which in turn ends up being about the topic of the documentary in general.  The way I see it, documentaries SHOULD try to show both sides of an issue and let the audience decide, but you can totally tell when the maker is trying to sway the audience towards one viewpoint.

Anyway, hopefully I'll get around to spewing my opinion on these...stay tuned! :)

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Four Weeks with Kaitlyn and Other Things

Today marks Kaitlyn's four week birthday!  Time really does fly!

We've had a bit of a busy week thus far, and it was technically a "short" week due to the Labor Day holiday, but it seems longer sometimes when it's hot out and everyone is stir crazy by the end of the long weekend.  Monday we did go on a trip to the Sea Life aquarium, and to lunch at the Rainforest Cafe (where we had quite the heart stopping when Daniel decided to wander off halfway through lunch, setting off a whole search party for him!).

Tuesday Daniel went for his 5 year well check at the doctor.  He's growing well (pretty much 50th percentile for height and weight, blood pressure was good and all of that).  Back in January when we had gone to the developmental psychologist, she had suggested that Daniel might try some medication for ADHD (formally, he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, with ADHD, sensory processing disorder and language delay, primarily).  We had decided to see if having speech therapy and going to the developmental pre-K at the school district would improve things (which, it did!), but he is still having a hard time grasping a lot of questions that we and the teachers throw at him.  In any case, we decided to give medication a try, so we're optimistic that it will help him focus so he can overcome some of the communication difficulties he's been having (among other things).

Jared's well check was on Wednesday, and he was good as well.  Instead of being in the lower percentiles, he's finally moved up to the mid-ranges again!  He had one shot scheduled and the FluMist if we wanted (figured why not, since Daniel had it the day before, and if the boys are vaccinated, it might prevent transmission to Kaitlyn who is too young to get it).  Jared had a bit of a runny nose, but it was easily wiped so they went ahead with the FluMist.  He went to daycare and was acting fine.  A little while after Mike put him to bed, though, he woke up with a really barky cough and was wheezing pretty hard.  It scared him, and it ended up that we spent a good chunk of the night up with him (Mike primarily...he ran the shower with him for a good long while, and sat up with him until around 2:30am before getting Jared back to bed).  I was up with Kaitlyn at the usual time, but still kind of tired from being up even as late as I was and worrying about Jared.

Today, Jared stayed home, even though his wheezing was a lot better and his cough was sporadic at best.  He'll probably go to daycare again tomorrow.  Daniel came home at his usual time (right before 3pm), so I was home with all three for about 3 hours.  Eep!  Basically, it's hard to get ANYTHING done with all of them needing me (or thinking that they need me) in one form or another.  Mike asked if I had gone insane from that or lost it, and surprisingly I didn't totally go off my rocker (thanks Zoloft?).  I do fear, though, that these types of things are just making me teeter on the edge, even though I've been the most stable after this pregnancy compared to after the boys.

So that's pretty much that!  It really boggles the mind that 4 weeks have passed, and Kaitlyn's one month check is coming up soon.  I'm really kicking into gear again with job hunting (although it's going slowly...but momentum is building!), and hopefully things fall into place so we can all be settled and stable again!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Tale of Two Tireds

And here I thought I was being clever (ha!) with the title of this post...but in actuality I'm probably just stupid tired and don't have a good grasp on what's clever or funny and what is not.

Anyway, I believe yesterday I was commenting on how the tired is starting to set in with both Mike and me.  Perhaps we were both delusional in thinking that since this is our third baby, that we were pros at this and were somehow immune to it because we knew how to handle things.  So actually the first week, both Mike and I went out shopping, to lunch, here and there and had all of these people admiring the baby (gotta love attention that a newborn brings, right?).  Inevitably, people ask how we're doing, if we're getting sleep, etc etc.  Now, we don't have our OTHER two children with us, so it's easy for people to assume that she's our only/first.  That first week we mentioned that she's been pretty good, getting up the requisite number of times, but not making us too exhausted.  Yet.

Now, I'll step back for a minute here and say that Kaitlyn has been and was (in the hospital, at first) a combination of the boys.  Daniel was a fusser in the hospital, and the first night after he was born I held him all night...or rather had to, otherwise he'd cry.  Mike took over that duty the following night (or he took the late night shift while I slept, and I took earlier in the morning).  So he made us insane amounts of tired right off the bat.  Jared was pretty good.  He ate then went right back to sleep, pretty much, in the hospital.  He was also under the lights for jaundice earlier on, and maybe the nice warmers made him a happier baby.  Kaitlyn started out pretty well.  She was born later in the daylight hours (which may have been a factor), and her first night she ate and slept pretty well, again getting up every few hours, but going right back down again.  During the day, the following day, she was pretty good as well, having a few moments of wakefulness (but not crying), and mostly sleeping and eating.

The night was a different story...the following night, after midnight (and of course, this is the night that Mike was away from the hospital and spending at home with the boys), she was waking every hour or so, rooting for food (or that's what it seemed), and wanting to be held.  Swaddling didn't do much.  So I got an hour here and an hour there of sleep...yeah I was pretty exhausted come morning, but I was going home that day, so I figured I could convince Mike to let me catch a nap.

Since then, Kaitlyn has been mostly good (not quite as easy as Jared was, according to memory...he ate, slept, and so on over night...can't really think of a night where it was a struggle to get him back to sleep in a reasonable time), but she has had a few times where she struggled to go back to sleep.  But, in general, her pattern is as follows.  Go to sleep around the time the boys are going to bed (8:30, give or take).  Wake up to eat around the time Mike and I are usually about to go to sleep (11-1am range).  Wake up again in the 3-4am range, and then again around 6:30 or so.  There are a few things that have made us a little more tired with her, though.  First, while she took to nursing pretty well after she was born, staying latched for a good 30 minutes sometimes!  After my milk came in, I thought that would be great, but she continued to take a long time to nurse, and often times she'd fall asleep in the middle.  Then it seemed like she might be using me as a human pacifier.  So the length of time she was taking to eat was keeping me (and us...Mike when he was feeding her out of a bottle encountered this too) up longer.  Second, she appears to eat a lot more than the boys.  So after she's done nursing, she wants to get topped off with some formula.  Add this to her propensity to fall asleep AND take longer to eat...sometimes her feeding routine gets close to an hour!

Anyway, where was I going with this?  Oh yeah...sleep.  Last night, I went to sleep at around 11:30 or so.  She hadn't gotten up by then, and I knew it was a risk, but figured I'd get an hour in there.  I actually got 2 hours of sleep, as she woke up around 1:30.  No problem.  She ate, went back to sleep.  Then around 3 or so, she got up again. This time she nursed, but no formula (she went back to sleep).  This could sometimes backfire, as she has woken up and wanted more food when she realizes that she wasn't done.  Then Jared woke Mike up.  And then Kaitlyn woke me up again around 5.  I was so tired and lazy that I just popped a bottle in her mouth.  Then at 6 she wanted more.  It's actually around then that the details get kind of fuzzy...I just know there were bottles, boobs, going out to the kitchen a couple of times, getting in bed and out of bed, and so on.

So by the time that Daniel got up, came into the bedroom and went into our bathroom to use the potty...I was so tired that it might as well have been 2am still.  Yawn.  The biggest stretch of sleep I got was 2 hours at a time.  Usually more like 1 hour here, maybe 30 minutes there.  So, yeah, both Mike and I are tired (Mike got more "sleep" in terms of length and duration, but he was sleeping on the floor in the kids room...ouch).

Well, that's all...and I'm here typing this all out when I should be resting, right?  I guess we'll wise up at some point!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Three Weeks - Due Date Passes, The Tiredness Sets In!

Well, Kaitlyn's original due date came on August 29th...and she marked the occasion by turning 3 weeks old!

It's been interesting to see all of the changes that she's gone through, all of the things that she's done so far, and how she's integrated into the family.  Last weekend marked her first trip to the Arizona Science Center (well, on the outside!).  She slept most of the time, of course.  The weekdays were relatively uneventful, although both Mommy and Daddy are starting to feel a little bit of the tiredness and fatigue set in, due to a combination of both Kaitlyn AND Jared's sleeping (or lack of) habits.

On Wednesday, Mommy, Daniel and Kaitlyn made a trip out to a few stores for the afternoon...it was kind of fun shopping that day!

In any case, we're still keeping up with the daily pictures...it's quite fun to see how much she's changed in only three weeks!

Well, this is sort of a short entry, and part of that is due to the tiredness stuff...I guess maybe I'll elaborate more on that some other time!

The faces of Kaitlyn...


My 40-week "Baby Bump"

Monday, August 26, 2013

On Recovery!

This might be another sort of odd post, but I was reminded somewhat of my own childbirth "recovery" a few times.  So I'll give an update of how things are going and such.

I was partially reminded of the healing and recovering stuff because the bruises on my arms have mostly faded!  I had quite a colorful series of bruises from IVs and blood draws (see picture), and it seemed like they sort of lingered there for a while, then finally started to heal (which went by more quickly!).  I can still see the spots where scabs were, but I think those are going to fade over time too and not scar up or anything (or if they do, they'll be small anyway!).

My belly is doing a pretty good job of returning to pre-pregnancy size, for the most part.  It's kind of hard to remember what extra baggage I had there to begin with, but I'm pretty confident that I'd fit into some of my "regular" clothing.  I still wear my favorite pair of maternity shorts, just because they're so darn comfortable.  I haven't weighed myself, and I think I'll wait until my 6-week post-partum visit to get the word on that.  Last pregnancy, I had lost all of my pregnancy weight by then, but it wasn't terribly hard when I was breastfeeding and I hadn't gained that much weight to begin with.

Post-partum bleeding is something that has always sort of plagued me.  It was the worst with Daniel (bleeding for over 8 weeks straight!), with periods of heavy bleeding and so on that medication and a D&C helped slow temporarily, only to have it return and eventually have to resolve on it's own.  After Jared, it was heavy as well, but not as bad as with Daniel, and it finished around 7 weeks.  With this one, even in the hospital it wasn't so bad...yeah, it was there, but not nearly the quantity, and it looked like it was starting to diminish a little bit.  At 2 1/2 weeks post-partum, I still have bright red bleeding, but it is pretty light.

Pain.  For the most part, the "baby exit" did pretty well with this delivery.  It might be due to Kaitlyn's much smaller size (and smaller head size even!).  Her delivery was pretty quick as well, so there wasn't as much swelling (vs. the two hours of pushing with Daniel!).  In any case, it is more of some lingering joint and muscle pain that slowed me down at first, but now I can move more quickly and get out of bed faster too.  I still sleep with a pillow between my knees just because it's more comfortable.  The one thing that has been the worst (and I've heard it gets worse with each delivery) is the afterbirth uterine pains.  I can feel it while nursing, and I have the occasional cramps and things, but I figure it's just part of the shrinking back down process.  The other pain that has gotten worse since the hospital is in my right calf, just below my knee joint.  That might be a remnant of muscles not getting worked while on bedrest.  It isn't enough of a pain to be really worrisome, but it's just "there" all the time.

In terms of sleep, I was definitely getting more of that before the baby was born (ha!).  However, my brain does have kind of a hard time shutting down sometimes, so even though I'm really tired at night (and even during the day when I might have an opportunity to catch a nap), I don't fall asleep.  I've done pretty well, emotionally/mentally, with recovery, even though I still have moments that tip me off...I'm usually able to catch myself and recover from a potential crying outburst.  I know it's still "early" in the sense that sometimes the worst of post-partum depression doesn't hit until later, but I'm hoping that doesn't happen!

In the end, I know the post-partum period lasts a year, but sometimes it feels like my own expectation is to bounce back as fast as I can...when I really do need to just recover at my own pace!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two Weeks Old...Visits and Things

Today Kaitlyn is two weeks old!  It really seems hard to believe from all directions...it seems like she's been with us for longer (technically, she has, but on the inside!), and sometimes it seems like time is flying by.  One week from today is her due date, which seems surreal still in that it wouldn't have been unusual for her to be still inside.

So what has the week held for us (and apologies for any reiteration too!)?  Monday was Daddy's work at home day, so we spent that with him while he worked.  We had a nice afternoon nap and got up a little after Daniel got home.

Tuesday was Daddy's first "back to work" day in the office, so Kaitlyn and I were left to our own devices for the day.  That included relaxing, for the most part.  We did run out to pick up Jared right before Daddy got home though.  Since sleep was a bit fitful the night before, Daddy offered to take Kaitlyn for the midnight feeding before bed (which ended up being a little later than he anticipated).  I slept all the way through until the 3:30am feeding time, which was good.

Wednesday was yet another low key day.  Daniel had early release and came home and we just hung out and watched TV (super exciting) while Kaitlyn napped.

Which brings me to today!  Today was the rescheduled lunch from two weeks ago.  I had to turn in some FMLA paperwork as well, so I attempted to get there a little early to fill that out (which, I did get there a little early, but still had to walk in after parking in the main lot vs visitor parking, and ended up talking to everyone before lunch).  We all went over to Corner Bakery (yum!).  Kaitlyn was really good, getting passed around, fed, looking around a little at everyone.  It was good to see everyone again...I was kind of relaxed about that (which, as an aside, I was a little teary eyed on the drive up there...my mind still wanders to sad things, and even though I've been in that direction a bunch of times...heck, I don't know how I get off on these tangents of getting myself worked up).

After lunch, I went back to turn in paperwork (among other things), and went to see the lab (which, the whole bay where I was is totally stripped and cleaned out.  It's...weird, but I didn't get as freaked out as I thought I would be), went to see Megan's new lair and so on.  I confirmed with HR that I'd still be coming back at 6 weeks post baby delivery.  I think confirming that is making me a little apprehensive, as it will REALLY be the end of things.

So that was that...I hit the freeway and headed home in time for Daniel's bus to arrive.  Kaitlyn got fed and Daniel is hanging out with me (helping a little with chores...cleaning the carpets a little).

In any case, here's Kaitlyn's introductions to the (former) lab peeps!






Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Conflicting Emotions...Happiness & Sadness in One

The title of the post is a bit misleading, since it really isn't about whether I'm happy or sad right this moment (FWIW, I'm pretty even right now...mostly leaning towards the happier side).  Anyway, what I wanted to go back to is some things having to do with work.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to with excitement and dread.  Happiness and sadness all in one.  Shit, if I'm not careful, I'm going to start welling up with tears while writing this.  It's nothing super huge, but Kaitlyn and I are making the trip out for lunch with my now former co-workers.  I'll probably hit up my soon-to-be former place of employment as well.

As a bit of a back story, I was supposed to go out to lunch with everyone the very day that Kaitlyn was born.  Monica had set up the lunch under the mask of "Amy is term!  She can get out of the house!"...when in fact it was just using me as an excuse for another reason.  She'd even joked that I had better not have the baby by then...I guess that was jinxed!  In any case, some of the crew came over for that lunch (instead of going out...ha!) while I was in labor, which I think at that point I was more than willing to give up my bowl of Broccoli Cheese soup at Corner Bakery for that afternoon.

So the happiness part comes from seeing all of them again, and introducing my former belly-dweller to everyone.

The sadness part comes with the bittersweet flavor of seeing everyone again.  I haven't been to work since June 5th...the day I worked half a day, met with HR, and ended up going to the doctor with contractions, leading to being admitted to the hospital for pre-term labor.  I have seen everyone on a few occasions, but sadly each time since then I've been a patient in the hospital.  Since then, as well, Cathie and my boss, Heather, have left where I work.  I'm next, and that's very upsetting (I know that the inevitable has just been put off while I'm out on leave).  I'm not angry that it's me, personally, but more that my whole (work) world has been blown to smithereens.  The other bit of sadness comes from others soon to be leaving, like the division head.  The place where I worked is looking very different from what I remember, and I'm kind of afraid to see it in person.  I know it's going to be worse when it's time for me to go "back" for a few days before my final departure :(.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Week With Kaitlyn

Well, the last post was the really long birth story.  Today marks her 10th day in the outside world!  It seems so weird that someone that we've only really seen for a short period of time, it feels like we already know, yet are still getting to know.

Here's how those days have gone so far!

August 8th:  Birth!  I think we have this pretty much covered!  Born at 4:08pm, we got some snuggle time in the delivery room while everyone was getting checked out and recovered.  We settled into a post-partum room for the night (me, Mike and the baby).  The night went pretty well, waking up about every four hours to feed and such.  The nurses also came in quite often to do vitals and checks and things.

August 9th:  Daddy had to run out to make sure Daniel and Jared were picked up and Daniel dropped off to take the bus to school.  Afterwards, he went to Babies R Us to pick up a few onsies and a car seat thing.  When he got back to the hospital, someone came to take pictures!  And we were ready with the cute new outfit.  After lunch, Megan and Pilar came by for a visit!  Then later in the evening, Daniel and Jared came by to meet their new sister.  The night was pretty long, in that Kaitlyn wanted to be held and fed quite a lot.

August 10th:  Time to go home!  All of the doctors came by to make sure we were both fit to be discharged.  After lunch, all of us headed home!  Mommy was able to catch a pretty good nap, after having not a lot of sleep the night before.

August 11th:  Sunday!  Our first full day at home.

August 12th:  Monday comes, Daniel goes off to school and Jared to daycare a bit later (where you got to meet all of the daycare ladies!).  I sleep in while Kaitlyn sleeps, waking up to make a few appointments.  The top one for the day...a visit to the pediatrician!  We hit up the office in the afternoon (not with the regular doctor, who was on vacation, but with Dr. Ramirez).  Kaitlyn weighed in at 6lbs 5.5oz (a bit down from birth weight, but that was OK).  Height was still good (although the nurse measured 19 instead of 19.5 inches), and head circumference (which we didn't know before) was 14cm.  We got set up with another appointment for a weight check in a few days.  Our other fun for the day was heading to Michael's and Sports Authority...then to Outback Steakhouse for lunch!

August 13th:  Outings for the day included Target and Wendy's!

August 14th:  Didn't really do a whole lot...Daniel got home early from school, and Kaitlyn spent the afternoon with Daddy while Daniel and Mommy hit up the movies.

August 15th:  Weight check day!  Increasing a bit from the "low" of 6lbs 5.5oz to 6lbs 9oz!  Spiffy!  Afterwards we made a trip to Peter Piper Pizza for lunch.  Now, as a bit of an interesting aside...Kaitlyn's belly button cord stump fell off!  At a week old...now that's really trying to outdo her brothers.  After we noticed that it had fallen off, she demonstrated that it wasn't her ONLY trick.  Someone tried rolling over, and succeeded!  (from front to back).  Yep, definitely trying to outdo the boys!

August 16th:  Another outing...this time to the lab to get a heel poke for the second newborn screening blood test.  Afterwards, we hit up Target again briefly before Daniel gets home from school.

August 17th:  Saturday!  To get out of the house (for relaxation purposes), we took a drive up South Mountain.  Kaitlyn and Jared slept most of the way, Daniel and Daddy did a little exploring at the top.

August 18th:  Sunday!  A pretty lazy morning, followed by a trip out to Peter Piper Pizza with Daddy's friend/former co-worker Wes.  Mommy played with the boys in the game area, while Kaitlyn hung out with Daddy!

So that's the 10 days in a nutshell!  Kaitlyn's already been out and about...to the doctor, to the lab, to the daycare, to pizza (twice), to Outback, to Target (twice), and various stores.  Already met quite a few people as well...and a new week is about to start!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kaitlyn's Birth Story!

At this time last week, I was settling into my hospital room in labor and delivery...not knowing what was going to happen in the next hours, days or possibly weeks (eek!).

So I left off on the Monday before last...the 5th of August.  Daniel's first day of school, an NST appointment and so on. Tuesday, the day after, was pretty uneventful as well.  I'd been taking Zoloft for a full week at that point, and it was starting to take the edge off of some of the hormonal and stress driven emotional stuff (I'm sure that wasn't helping with any contractions I'd had).

Wednesday started out pretty tame.  We got Daniel off to school, got Jared up and dressed and off to daycare, then made our way to the weekly doctor's appointment.  It was pretty standard, and these visits were actually getting a little more depressing, since there was usually NO progress beyond what had already been made.  My appointment was with the nurse practitioner, and on checking, she confirmed that I was still at 6cm.  Group B strep was still positive (not surprising, but I thought MAYBE, perhaps, that all of the antibiotics shoved into me might have killed it off temporarily).  She gave me a copy of my record to take to the hospital just in case as well.

Daniel had early release from school that day, so he got home around 12:45pm.  I'd meant to go get a TDap shot at the doctor's office after lunch (I was supposed to get it the week before, but I think everyone including me spaced out on it before leaving the office).  So we went to do that really quickly and went back home.  I was feeling a little crampy, like contractions might start coming on.  While playing with Daniel, I started feeling contractions again.  They actually started kind of slow (for me!), maybe every 5-7 minutes.  They got a little closer, and we made the call to go to triage sooner rather than later in the evening.  By now it was around 3pm.

We (Daniel, Mike and I) got to hospital triage pretty quickly and went through all of the admitting stuff and right into a room.  Got hooked up to a monitor again, and low and behold, contractions (of course).  The nurse came in and checked me again.  Still at 6cm.  I swear every doctor at the office knows my MO, so it wasn't terribly surprising that when the nurse called that they said just to have me walk around.  So we did that for a while...went down to the healing gardens with Daniel and all of that.  After a bit, it was time to go and get Jared from daycare, so Mike and Daniel left for that while I sat in triage...contracting, but not "progressing" because I wasn't dilating further, and getting a little more depressed that all of these contractions were coming but nothing was happening.

And then I sat.  And waited.  And Mike and the kids got back and were hanging out in the waiting area.  I just KNEW I was going to be sent home, even though both nurses that came in to check were dumbfounded that I was so dilated and nothing had happened.  The nurse had the doctor come down and chat (and she also checked me too...although I didn't think anything would happen in that short of a span!). Mike and the kids came in at that time too, and I was pretty upset at the fact that I felt like I was crying wolf every time I ended up in triage with contractions...and expressed my fear that I had no idea when or if I was ever progressing when contractions started again.  I didn't want to keep staying at home for fear that one of these times it WOULD be the real thing.  Everyone pretty much reassured me that I was doing the right thing each time, and it still COULD be a few more trips to triage.  However, the tide changed a little bit when Dr. Hebets suggested that I should stay the night, get some rest and see if things changed by morning.  I was still a bit iffy on that (stay the night, then get sent home?  Couldn't I just sleep better at home?), but it was reassuring to Mike and me to have me in the hospital for the night "just in case".

Mike and the kids went home and I got moved to room 341 in L&D.  I mention that, because it was a repeat room (ha!)...my second try room.  I was surprised that they put me in L&D (I was thinking antepartum again?).  They suggested I take a shower, get some food and they'd give me an Ambien to help me sleep.  So I did the first two...shower and light dinner...and got hooked up to the monitors again as well.  The nurse confirmed from the doctors to start the IV just to be able to get antibiotics started quickly if needed.  I also got the Ambien...they said it'd take about 15-30 minutes to kick in, and to stay put and call if I had to use the bathroom...Ambien sometimes makes people say silly things or something to that effect.  I took the Ambien, THEN the IV attempts started.  First try in my right arm started hurting more at first than I ever remember, but I tried to stay still and just get it done (after it's in, it isn't a big deal, I figured).  It didn't go (the nurse thought she might have hit a valve or something) and so on to try number two.  Yep, fail on that one too.  She felt SO bad, so she got another nurse.  And third and fourth try...nope!  Nurse number 3 comes, and at that point I'm feeling REALLY lightheaded for whatever reason.  They pop the cool washcloth on my forehead and give me a little break.  Try number 5.  Nope.  Finally, the nurse looks at the nice vein on the top of my right hand (notoriously "wiggly" and sort of uncomfortable) and decides that might be her best shot.  And it was definitely uncomfortable, but it worked!

I actually slept pretty well, courtesy of the Ambien.  When I woke up in the morning, I wasn't feeling nearly as many contractions, and it really bummed me out.  I really thought I had endured numerous needle sticks and a night in the hospital for nothing.  The doctor from the previous night came in and said that since I was now officially "term" (37 weeks!) that they could do a little more to get me delivered.  With the change in doctors came Dr. Jackson (the doctor I prefer to see in the office, even though I like them all!).  He checked me again and he called me a "7 to 8cm".  Either he was being super generous or I had gone from being stalled at 6cm to being just a little more overnight somehow (as an aside, he'd explained before that sometimes when the cervix gets to be in the upper ranges, it can be stretched or not depending on the person checking and it can be a little dynamic too...lower dilation measurements are usually more in synch from person to person).  He also did a quick membrane sweep/strip to see if that would help as well (membrane stripping in previous pregnancies always resulted in a baby less than 24 hours later for me!).  IV antibiotics got started just before 9am...and I got one dose in before they let me walk around a little bit more and contractions came on again, pretty handily, and I got kind of bored so I went back and waited for Mike.

By the time Mike got there, I was hooked back up to the monitor again, and the contractions were coming on fairly regularly, but they wanted to see them a little stronger.  The doctor suggested that I go for the epidural before they decided to start pitocin, because those contractions are definitely more painful (and he didn't want to be responsible for any swearing as a result of wanting an epidural and not having one :) ). Within about 15 minutes of saying "yes" to the epidural, the anesthesiologist came in and set up.  As he was getting started, the attending anesthesiologist came in and planted himself in a chair and started making jokes and spouting all sorts of random trivia (mostly regarding the Apollo astronauts).  It was pretty funny.

Another doctor came by and asked if I'd like to consent to participate in a study that they were doing. Mothers delivering around 37 weeks (which I was exactly!), in their mid-30s, and having received steroids.  That's me! All that they'd need was a couple of pieces of placenta once it was delivered, one for expression arrays and the other for FFPE.  I'm totally down with that!

After that, Megan, Cathie and Monica came by to visit.  For some reason, I had thought the nurse had already started the pitocin, but she hadn't...and came to hang the bag while they were there.  About 20 minutes later as everyone was about to head back to work, I felt something akin to a water balloon breaking and coming out and then something warm on my legs.  I had Mike look and it was my water that had broken!  I was SO happy with that, and was laughing pretty hard.  Since things might start to move kind of fast after the water breaks, and Daniel was due to get out of school soon, Mike headed out the door to get them and bring them back to the hospital (so Megan could take them for the night).  I was still at about 8cm, so there was still a little bit of time, in theory.

Contractions started picking up in intensity and I waited for everyone to get back (and Mike hurried back pretty quickly, all things considered...distance, timing for Daniel getting out of school, packing up things for the kids and so on).  During that time, the resident and medical student came in to check to make sure the baby was head down still by ultrasound (it was an easy one, and good practice for the med student).  They also noticed that there was a little bit of hindwater trapped by membrane, so they broke that (weird, since I have never had my water break TWICE?).  I still felt like I was leaking fluid periodically.

Mike came back with the kids, and we had a quick hello.  The nurse figured it wouldn't be too long before things started happening, so Mike gave Megan a call to come over a little earlier if she could (instead of 4 or 4:30 like they planned).  While waiting for Megan, the nurse lifted up the sheet and there was a pretty sizable pool of blood everywhere (I guess I was leaking more than amniotic fluid!).  At that point, the nurse suggested that Mike take the kids out just in case, and made the quick call to the doctors.  The resident and med student came in first and suited up, followed by my doctor.  They didn't even really have to check to see that I was all the way dilated and the head was really low.  So we all kind of chit-chatted (awkward in the delivery room, right?) and waited for Mike to get back.  The nurse manning the baby warmer asked if I could call Mike to get him back in here (which, Jared had taken my phone, so no!), so I gave her the number and she called to tell him to run back or he'd miss the delivery!

They broke down the bed for delivery, got everything into position and pushing commenced!  It barely took 3 pushes and she was out!  I was the most clear headed out of all of the delivery/childbirth experiences thus far, probably just being pretty relaxed and also not having it be in the middle of the night.  I could see her after she came out and was getting suctioned, watched Mike cut the cord and so on.  It was even cool to see the placenta after it was delivered (something I didn't see with the other two kids).  As the doctor looked the placenta over, he mentioned something about how it was starting to deteriorate a little, and it had quite a bit of old blood in there too, like it had been bleeding before.  I don't know when that would have been, since the only bleeding I had was with a small subchorionic hemorrhage early on, and some bloody show before first delivery attempt at 34 1/2 weeks.  Who knows if that could have precipitated some of the pre-term labor in the first place...it doesn't prove cause and effect, but just trying to figure out what might have happened that was different with this pregnancy just in case something like this happens with the next one.

In any case, I think I felt the best with this delivery compared to Daniel and Jared's (for various reasons), and in the end I don't think things could have gone better!

And so ends the birth story...Kaitlyn Elizabeth Stone, born August 8th, 2013 at 4:08pm.  Weighing in at 6lbs 13oz and measuring 19 1/2 inches!




Monday, August 05, 2013

On Missing Stuff...

As I mentioned in the post that precedes this one...I've thought about this stuff for a while (it happens when you have lots of time on your hands...thinking...).  I have days where these things bother me, some days where I don't feel like I'm missing much, and other times where the things I've missed or am going to miss are a passing memory.

So what am I talking about.  Since going on strict bedrest at 28 weeks, I've "missed" a lot of things.  Some small, some big.  Some unique to me, some just to pregnant women in general.  I might add to this later (since I forget some of the ones I've mental notes of!), but we'll see.

Number 1:  I'll start small.  Clothing.  It's not that I really enjoy wearing maternity clothing (or having to wear it out of necessity), but there are some things that I like!  Daniel was a summer baby, so I had quite a few summer things for him that I was looking forward to digging out to wear again this summer.  I have some pretty comfortable tops, some shorts that I liked, and before the pre-term labor started, I had gone out and bought myself some summery dresses that I was really looking forward to wearing!  I'd even told myself that I'd get some of those goofy pregnancy shirts (I saw one floating around on Facebook that was a striped shirt with a little baby peeking out of it!).  Since I was leaving the house maybe once a week for a few hours (doctor's appointment), that was really the only day that I "got dressed"...the rest of the time I hung around the house in a t-shirt and boxer shorts or something like that.  Dresses aren't terribly practical to wear to doctor's appointments either, so I didn't wear those out.  In the end, I know it's small...and maybe I'll get to make it up with the next pregnancy and go crazy with all of the cute maternity outfits and goofy pregnancy-themed shirts.

Number 2:  Going out.  This might be sort of an all-encompassing generic one.  I have missed being able to leave the house in general (going out to something like a lunch or happy hour, and even picking up the kids from daycare).  I haven't been out to the movies, and every week going out to the doctor (and hitting up somewhere for lunch...to bring back to the house) has been totally the highlight!  I didn't go to somewhere like Target even for like 4 weeks!  Even when I was able to do a little more (off of so much "strict" bedrest) I still didn't do much because every time I did just a little more, I'd end up with crazy contractions again.

Number 3:  Stuff with and for the kids.  I felt bad, first and foremost, for having to overuse the phrase "sorry, Mommy can't do that".  I wanted to be able to jump up and get things for them, make sure they weren't getting into trouble in another room and so on.  I hated having to explain to Daniel (mostly) that I was "sick" because it was something he could understand.  It got to be terribly depressing when they'd question why I wasn't leaving the hospital with them after they'd come to visit.  Daniel's 5th birthday came, and I wish he could have had a birthday party (other than just the family).  I know it probably won't register in the whole of everything, but I guess I kind of wanted to have a bigger party for him.  In other things...both Daniel and Jared are due for their well checks at the doctor (which I haven't been able to take them to).  I'm sure they're not really looking forward to the shot thing.

Number 4:  Work.  This has been a particularly painful one, and one I'm not sure I could have actually dealt with in general.  As I mentioned earlier, my last day was supposed to have been June 14th. That's since been postponed, but work has gone on and the lab has since gone through with the shut down and everyone has been displaced.  I miss work in general, and it's been heartbreaking to think about not going back and picking up where I left off.  I left rather suddenly, with plans for the next day and so on.  However, I don't know if I wanted to see the lab shut down like that.  I didn't get to pack up my own things (even though my desk is still there...with a few random things like my desk phone and computer dock).  I didn't get to finish a set of experiments I was working on.  Maybe it's better that all of that was done for me, but it's just not a great situation in general.

Well...that's about all for now.  I'm actually backdating this blog post just because I started it before (and it goes with the preceding post).  There might be more to this later...we'll see...

Still in Week 36...Weekend Update!

I've thought about doing the blog post that will follow this one for a while, but I waited until I was in a semi-good mood (translation:  wouldn't start sobbing while thinking of these things) to write it.

So...before I delve into the main part of this post (or main point)...I'll give a quick update on things.  Yeah, still pregnant.  Boy how it's getting entertaining to be reminded of it every day...I mean, not in a bad way (technically, not "full term" until this coming Thursday), but more in the sense that my body has been through so much that people (friends, acquaintances, doctors and so on) are starting to feel a little bit sorry for me.  Or maybe that I feel a bit sorry for myself.  Probably both.

In any case, since last Thursday (the 36 week mark), we've had two NSTs and an AFI ultrasound.  Now, I refer to what I said in the previous paragraph, because at each of the NSTs, the tech does the monitoring for 20 minutes, leaves me hooked up and goes to review it with one of the doctors.  Each time, she comes back and reports that Dr. So-n-so went over it and was surprised I've gone this long or something to the effect of why haven't I had the baby yet.  Today was really no different, in that the monitor was picking up 4-5 contractions every 10 minutes (so, um, do the math...one contraction every 2 or 3 minutes...eep!).  Granted, only one or two out of those in a 10 minute span I REALLY feel, the others barely register on my radar.

The AFI on Friday was fine too (about 19.5cm fluid measured...plenty still!).  The ultrasound person at the other office is a bit more business than the other one (who loves to go looking for the cute pictures).

Other that...Thursday to Monday was pretty good.  I realized it's my first full weekend out of the hospital for a while!  Thursday we made it to meet the teacher night at Daniel's school...he got to explore a little more, pick his cubby out, and (attempt) to meet some of his classmates.  I almost hoped that hoofing it everywhere might rustle up some contractions, but no such luck!

Friday came, and it was Mike's birthday!  We went out to Sweet Tomatoes for lunch and had a pretty relaxing day before the kids came home.  Saturday we made a quick trip to Target to get a few supplies and Daniel a new backpack for school.  He was VERY excited to pick out his backpack that came complete with lunch box!  We also went swimming and later on Daniel went and got a haircut.  Sunday wasn't bad either, just preparing everyone for the early morning today!

So...today was Daniel's first day of school.  We got up, got showered and went to get up the kids (they've been spoiled this summer...sleeping in a bit later!).  Daniel got up, and just as he was about dressed, the bus showed up (the communication that we were taking him today didn't get to the driver, and they never contacted us with the pick-up time...but no harm no foul!).  We quickly got Jared up, dropped Jared off at daycare and made our way to Daniel's school...just in time to line up to go inside!  He was so excited to see his old preschool teacher, Ms. Bonnie...and she was right there by his line and got to talk to him for a little while.  Right after they made their way in, we had to make our way quickly back to the car to the NST appointment.

Well...that is that...coming full circle with everything.  I'm still in a holding pattern.  I keep telling myself that I can be patient, but whether I practice that patience is another story!

Thursday, August 01, 2013

36 Weeks...Let's Get This Party Started!

At this risk of jinxing anything...today marks 36 weeks...a FANTASTIC point to have made it to!  Given how incredibly difficult the last months have been (especially the past two weeks, it seems!), I'm excited that this is the point where all systems are go...I hope.

So today I'm doing all of that nesting crap.  Did two loads of laundry (after finding one of the things I want to have at the hospital after delivery!).  Picked up a few odds and ends from our bedroom.  Mike stripped the carseat cover and washed it last night, and I cleaned the outside and washed the straps.  Took a trip to Target for food and things.

Now that I've completely worn myself out walking, I'm sitting here chugging water, feeling the contractions come on.  I'm not running to the hospital right now, but if they keep coming...I hope it's the REAL showtime!  By the end of the day, Mike might be cursing me under his breath (or out loud!).

Happy 36 weeks, regardless!!!


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

End of July! Things Rattling in My Brain...

It's the end of July!  As long as I don't give birth in the next 2 1/2 hours, I'll get that August baby that I ordered (in theory...provided she doesn't go the other way and come late and have a September birthday!).

Anyway, today was a pretty good day.  We went to meet with Daniel's teachers at school today (his new kindergarten teacher!).  He was pretty excited walking into the classroom, but he was a bit disappointed that it wasn't his old preschool teacher, Ms. Bonnie's, room.  I think he thought that we were going to see Ms. Bonnie...and was kind of down when we left to drop him off at daycare without finding her.  We assured him that he would see Ms. Bonnie again sometime.

After that, I had a doctor's appointment at 10:45.  I don't particularly care for that time for an appointment, simply because they tend to run behind by that time of day.  In any case, I had another group B strep test (joy), and cervix is still same ol, same ol (6cm, bulging, etc).  Doctor didn't mention how effaced or how low the baby was (other than she's just low).  The NST/AFI (amniotic fluid check) will continue until next week, then there's really no need, if I make it that long.  Doing them right now is definitely for peace of mind.

Which brings me to the next subject...when this baby is going to come.  I think every pregnant woman reaches a point where she is just done.  Usually it's earlier than is really rational to have a baby come out.  So having said that, yes, I know pregnancy is supposed to last an average of 40 weeks.  I am quite familiar.  Telling a pregnant woman that they haven't hit their due date yet, so what's the rush is a very foolish thing to do...mostly because don't you think they KNOW this?  Everyone wants a healthy baby, and they know rushing things can compromise that...but having that drilled into your brain over and over by saying "why rush it, you want a healthy baby don't you" does't help.

OK, so that last part was pretty abrasive and confrontational sounding.  But there's also something that adds to the stress of waiting to pop out a kid...everyone telling you to be patient, but just as many either asking you when the baby is going to come (is it here yet?!), or insisting that it's going to be "soon".

So here I sit, waiting.  I'll be 36 weeks tomorrow, and yes, I know it's still 4 weeks ahead of the baby's due date.  I have been counting days and weeks so very closely, especially since 27w6d, the day we were first hospitalized for pre-term labor.  Almost every day in antepartum, they put the age up on the marker board, so that I knew too.  I have each week marked on the calendar.  I've had the major developmental milestones highlighted (first was 32 weeks...then 34....now 36...).

But as much as I want the baby to be healthy (and I know in my heart she will be just fine!), I am having a really hard time dealing with everything that has gone on.  I really wanted to "enjoy" this pregnancy, in much the same way as I did with Daniel and Jared.  I mean, yeah, there were hard times and bumps in the road with those, but for all intents and purposes, I looked forward to each stage in anticipation of getting closer and closer to the due date.  With this one, I've felt like a real ticking time bomb (especially in the past 2 weeks), where if I get up and walk for a few minutes it sends me into contractions.  The thought of it going on for four more weeks (or 5!) is a bit scary.

The emotional toll on me is huge as well.  The 34-36 week "limbo" period has been the most stressful of all.  At the check-up the day before I hit 34 weeks, I was a bit rattled to learn that doctor's would't stop labor.  That scared and shocked me, and I was so very nervous coming out of that appointment.  Two days later, I landed in the hospital in labor...and they did try to stop it.  That night was the most at peace I've been with having a pre-term baby.  I was a still nervous, but I convinced myself that I was ready.  So when everything stopped, and no baby was born, it was a huge shock, but one that I was still OK with since I still had weeks to go (and more time baking is better, right?).

Not long after, I launched into labor again, was in a delivery room for over 24 hours and nothing came of it either.  The labor and delivery nurse that I had during the day was really pushing to have a doctor just break my water and let things happen that way.  But, being in that limbo period meant that I could labor if I was going to, but they wouldn't help things along.  This happened again a few days later (although I was in a delivery room for a much shorter period of time).  I've been deluded into thinking that every time I start having frequent contractions that it isn't going to be the real thing.  I've lost sight of the fact that there's a real baby in there, and she's eventually going to come out.

Through all of this, I've had many episodes of being anxious and depressed.  The crazy pregnancy hormones don't help my situation.  I'm tired of the expectation that the baby should be here already (and yes, I know, it's still early!).  I'm tired of all of the false starts.  I'm tired of not knowing what's going to happen next.  I'm tired of hearing that "it's going to be soon!".  I'm tired of hearing "don't try to rush it". Even I try to convince myself that I'll be regretting the time I missed out on staying pregnant.

All of this goes back to the planner and control freak in me.  If someone could guarantee that the baby would arrive on such-n-such a day, and told me in advance how it was going to go down...I might feel better.  I'm almost envious of those who have had planned c-sections or scheduled inductions.  I, myself, had a scheduled induction set for Daniel (but he had other plans and decided to show up on his own!).  And I tell ya, knowing that I was going home and that I was going to have a baby the very next day was put me at ease.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hey...a Pretty Boring Day...Hooray!

I actually titled this post last night (as yesterday was pretty low-key), and today is pretty much the same.  Hooray for (relative) normalcy!

Anyway, Sunday night I slept the best that I've slept in probably a week.  Baby was going a little nuts, and I didn't fall asleep right away, but slept well and straight through nonetheless.  During the day, I lounged on the couch a little, lounged in bed a little while, worked on some cross-stitch and had a pretty good day.  Contractions were sporadic (still), but nothing alarming (no eruptions, just rumblings).  It was feeling a bit odd in the evening with the baby pushing down...puts me a little on edge that she's going to bust right out of her amniotic sac, but I know it doesn't really work that way.

Today was a little more exciting, if only for getting out of the house to go have an NST.  I actually MADE it to this one (vs last time where I was stuck in the hospital from the night before).  We took a trip up to the other office (not the one near our house) where they can do monitoring.  I'd never had an NST done outside of the hospital, so it was a little different.  Little room, recliner and they made sure I was propped up on my side. They had a computer that was hooked in, but also a machine that kind of looked like a fax machine that spewed out a paper version too.  The other thing that was different was a little buzzer that I had to push every time I felt the baby move.  Of course, she wasn't moving all that much (and when the person left to go get the results signed off on, she started wobbling all over!).  She reported contractions about every 6 minutes apart (status quo, I suppose!).  The whole thing was about 20 minutes (give or take).

Tomorrow will be a regular appointment, and hopefully that all goes well...especially since Thursday is the 36 week mark!!!  I'm reallllllly hoping that if I show up with contractions again that they'll help things along (even just something to push me over the edge!!!  Membrane stripping?  water breaking?  little bit of pitocin???).  Otherwise it might be to the 37 week mark...sigh.

And that...is boring days...I'm hoping that I'll have another day or two at least to rest up before anything happens!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Stress, Home, and Catching Up...

Once again, I'm losing track of days (but I'm sure I'm not the only one!).  When I just looked, I realized that I hadn't posted anything since Thursday, and today is Sunday.  Oops!  Time seems to sort of blur together, especially when you aren't exactly in the best mental and physical states.

Continuing where we left off on Thursday, I was back in antepartum again, and luckily that's where I stayed.  Friday Mike came by during the day, and hung out in the afternoon.  It was around this time that I was starting to feel like I was festering away in the hospital, and had first inclinations towards going home vs. staying (before I was leaning towards staying, for reasons of it being a little more secure).  Dr. Erickson came by and chatted for a bit in the afternoon, and between me and Mike, we always grill the doctor on all of the possible delivery scenarios, and so on.  After that was done, we decided it might be good to bring the boys up to the hospital in the evening to visit too!  In the early evening, while waiting for them, Heather and Cathie came for a visit (I hadn't seen Cathie since I was there at 28 weeks!).  It was good to have a chat and catch up with all of the goings-on (and fill in all of the pieces of the "summer" thus far).  Mike and the boys came and visited with them too before it was time for them to turn into pumpkins and go home (they left around 8:30).

It's really quite sad that I can't remember what sort of monitoring went on Friday night.  Contractions do kick up in the evening (this is tending to be a pattern), but they weren't hurting again, and they peter out after a while.  Kind of a boring way to end a day, I guess.

Saturday started out to be kind of even keeled too.  I was able to doze a little bit throughout the morning between doctors, nurses and food.  Mike and the boys came by and hung out.  Once again, Mike and I were having the conversations about going home (weighing pros and cons), and when Dr. Erickson came by again, we kind of reiterated the same thing.  The other thing that was starting to annoy us a bit is being given the run-around with starting Zoloft again.  As most people might gather from reading all of this, it's really taking a toll on my mental state.  A lot of times I'll cry for no reason, and I get stressed out even more with thoughts of what's going on or not going on.  So she said she'd get the order and get started on that.  Let's just say that got very, very lost.

Mike and the kids left about 2:30 or 3, and there were just a smattering of things going on.  A nurse came to change out my IV (I'd had this one since Monday night).  I'm almost running out of places to have an IV (I had one close to my wrist that was removed last Sunday night, then Monday they put the new one a little further up on the same vein).  So the new one was on my left.  It was sort of funny with the nurse doing it.  There were two nurses working together, one had been a supervisor and behind a desk for several years, and thought it would be good to get back into patient stuff again so she was following my nurse.  She came in to do the IV, and I didn't think anything of it.  After it was in, she called the other one to do a little cleanup (there was some blood that got stuck in a screw valve and some that had dripped on the under side of my arm).  It was then that she told me that she hadn't started an IV in about 7 years (ha!).  Honestly, it doesn't bother me in the slightest...she did a good job :).  After that, I got set up so I could shower, and she actually got me a new pair of PJ pants because some blood had gotten on mine (which was no biggie to me I guess!).

In the evening, contractions started right back up again.  I'm starting to get a little bit anxious when i happens, just because I don't want to get my hopes up that it could turn into something even remotely resembling full labor.  Around 8pm, I asked to get put back on the monitors, and sure enough, contractions ahoy!  The nurse came back pretty quickly (I'd say less than the standard 20 minute wait) and started some fluids (I was still drinking a lot of water leading up to this too).  These contractions were getting more painful than they had before (I mentioned this to the nurse), but there was still no cervical change so she offered stadol again.  I was at least looking forward to an hour or two of sleep there, and really glad I wasn't sent to L&D if there was no progression.

The stadol was pretty much the start of my troubles, even though it sort of seemed like a good idea at the time.  As it got pushed into my IV, the same thing as before happened with the instant marshmallow gooeyness feeling all over.  I was caught a little off guard with how fast she'd brought it, so the TV was still on, my phone by my side and laptop screen still up on the tray.  But, honestly, I didn't care.  The nurse let me rest, kept the monitors on, and told me that I needed to NOT get up, but be sure to call if I had to use the bathroom.  My oxygen stats were starting to go down again, so I got hooked up to some oxygen as well.  After an hour, my contractions were starting to decrease (not totally knocked out), and baby was looking good so the nurse shut down the contraction and fetal monitors.  I still had the pulse ox on and oxygen.  She reminded me again to call when I had to pee so I could be escorted to the bathroom.

During that time, Mike called (which I was too dopey to answer still), and I dozed again until around 11.  After two hours, the stadol had pretty much worn off, and I figured it was time to use the bathroom and bed down for the night.  I texted Mike really quickly, turned off the TV, put my phone on the charger and put down the laptop screen before hitting the call button. Still a little wobbly on my feet.  Instead of my regular nurse, the nursing assistant came in (which I didn't think too much about) and I told her I needed to go to the bathroom.  At that point, she just took off my pulse ox and oxygen, and walked quickly out of the room telling me to call when I got back so she could turn everything back on again.  I'll note that at this point no one "walked" me to the bathroom (I walked myself)...I got the impression that she didn't really know what I was on at the time.

I got to the bathroom, my head spinning a little, and sat down to do my thing.  I was zoning a little bit, and just sat staring at the walls.  After that, I remember getting up, pulling up my pants, and turning to flush the toilet.  At which point everything started going gray and black, and I held on to the bar by the toilet and just thought it was better to get down so I didn't fall down.  Anytime before I've passed out, I get that feeling of "oh the floor looks so nice and cool", and I start sweating PROFUSELY.  And I went out.  Cold.  Everything went black and I came to and sort of made sure I could get up without going right back out again.

A bit panicked, I went back into the room, and went for the first place I could lay down...there was a cot right next to the bathroom door so I laid there for a bit.  I don't know what I was figuring in my head...that eventually someone would come in after they realized that I wasn't on the monitors, perhaps?  Maybe they completely forgot?  In any case, I rested for a few on the cot, and got my strength up a bit to go back to my own bed and hit the call light.

After I hit the call light, another nurse (again, not my own, and not the nursing assistant either) came in.  I was not breathing well, shaking, panicked and my heart racing.  I told her in broken breaths (can't speak all that well when I'm shaken up and still recovering from passing out) that I passed out.  I got laid back on the bed and just closed my eyes and sobbed while they rushed to hook me back up to everything (including contraction/baby monitor).  My main nurse finally came in and asked what happened, still all I could squeak out was "passed out"...she asked why I didn't call for someone to help me to the bathroom and I told her that I DID.  I told her that the other lady came, took the pulse ox and said to call when I got back.  This is where things got a little more frustrating, and the crazy stories started.

At some point, they asked the nursing assistant what happened, and the she said that she answered the call light, walked me to the bathroom and walked me back to bed.  She added that I must have gotten up a second time after that and didn't ring the call light to go to the bathroom.  The nurse relayed this to me, and I lost it even more.  I had NO recollection of having her even remotely walk me to the bathroom...and I had no recollection of going to the bathroom twice in a short period of time?  This tale was getting a little out of control...and it didn't help that I was getting so worked up that I couldn't explain what happened to me.  My heart rate was 150+ and the pulse ox was going nuts when I'd dip below a certain level.  They kept monitoring me all through the night, and I got little to no sleep (even after I asked for tylenol and something to sleep...I got benedryl finally...) just due to being so stressed out.

I was grateful that I did finally get about 3 hours of sleep before the resident came by.  The day nurse came in too (same as the day nurse from yesterday) and I was still upset, and trying to relay my anger at what had happened last night.  She had been filled in on the story, but hadn't heard my take on things.  My main thing was that I was CERTAIN that even though I had called for help, the assistant did NOT help me to the bathroom like she claimed, and certainly did not help me back.  When my doctor came in, I mentioned the same thing...and he told me he believed me (which made me feel better too...I tried to keep as simple as possible without losing it).

As the morning went on, I made SURE to get help to the bathroom.  Mike was there at that point (after I filled him in on the story) and he grilled the day nurse on things.  I think we both idly sort of wondered if there was any way they could check a monitor record or if they had any type of log of call lights and visits to the room.  Mike checked...and they did.  Even more disturbing (to me) was that I didn't really realize how long the whole incident was (from me ringing the call button/being taken off monitors to getting back to bed)...apparently 36 minutes!

In any case, the log that they had for the call lights (not sure if it's electronic or what, or just a paper log they keep) was that I rang the call light to get up, and there's no record of me being helped back to bed, just the second call light 36 minutes later.  On the monitors, there's a gap in the monitoring of the same amount of time.  So at best, the assistant didn't write down that she helped me back to bed at all and totally forgot to put me on pulse ox again (both).  She can't claim that she put me on pulse ox monitors and that I must have gotten up a second time to use the bathroom (because that would show up if I'd taken myself off). So her basic story is falling apart.

I'm angry, scared and confused as to why this happened at all.  In all of my stays thus far, and through all of the gnarly drugs that they've given me, the nurses have always been diligent about making sure I made it to the bathroom and back.  They don't want to risk it...and rightly so.  This type of thing (passing out) could have happened at any time, and if it had, there would have been a nurse to see it quickly and respond.  I probably would have been just as shaken up, but not as anxious and angry if it was dealt with swiftly and I didn't have someone trying to lie their way out of something that they should have been careful with.

So with all of that, it sort of solidified it in my mind that I would be happier and less stressed at home.  Mike also asked the nurse about the status of the Zoloft request, and had Dr. Jackson paged to come by after he was out of surgery.  It was a really good conversation that we had, and it achieved 1.  getting started on the Zoloft (which I started barking about almost a week ago) 2.  me going home, 3.  setting up monitoring to make me feel more at ease again, and 4. getting a lot of questions answered in general.  Also got a bonus cervix check (har har har), and still at the 6cm point, effacement still about the same (he said maybe 90%...even though it could be in the 70-90 range the way it's figured)...baby at +1 (she likes to migrate), and amniotic sac still bulging (oddly, that hasn't changed!).

Well, I'm home now...still cooking away.  Lots to look forward to, including being 36 weeks on Thursday, monitoring appointments (sad that I look forward to something like that, right?) and keeping busy to keep me from having way too much time on my hands to think about stuff.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Another Delivery Fail

Well...once again, no baby.  No water breaking (and they aren't breaking it for me), and at last check it appears as though I might have gone backwards.  Who knows though...difference of opinion depending on the person doing the evaluation.

So waiting around in the delivery room, I did get to eat (and that was good), then I sat some more and Dr. Mercer came in.  Well, on cervical check, she reported that the baby was at -1 or -2 (wha?  she's going back up?!) and she downgraded to 5-6cm.

One complicating factor (other than she's only 35 weeks today), is that the NICU here is full.  Not that we'd "need" it, but they don't want to risk delivery and her needing it, and having to transfer baby somewhere else.  On the bright side, at least I only spent a handful of hours in L&D before going back to antepartum (and actually the same room that I was in this morning and yesterday!).

I'm really just getting kind of disconnected from the process and a bit despondent.  My hormones are going nuts all over the place, and anytime I get certain thoughts into my head, the tears start streaming (and I don't want it to happen...it just does!).  I can go from being happy or in an even mood to just losing it, and there's no good reason why.  I hate it, too, because it makes me totally unable to speak sometimes.  The nurse this morning was asking about medication that I had taken in the past and what I needed while in the hospital.  She saw the history of PPD in there (and they ask all the time), and so I asked her about starting Zoloft again before delivery (the doctor had suggested I start taking it before delivery when I was pregnant with Jared, and was glad I had prescription in hand for when I needed it...and I definitely needed it before delivery even...).  The nurse was going to ask the doctor about it so they could start giving it to me.  I asked the new nurse in antepartum when I got back about it...and she said she'd look too, but as I was asking I was crying.  And there was seriously nothing to cry about!

As of this evening...things are as they are.  During the evening monitoring, I was having contractions again (you don't say?)...and when I asked the nurse, she just mentioned that it was "alot...like one every few minutes".  No one wants to jump the gun, so just waiting to see if they go away or they get more painful.  Hopefully the universe gives me a sign!

Well, in any case...it looks like this little lady is going to bake a little bit longer...so happy 35 weeks!


Back to delivery...

I really don't want to jinx things by posting...but I'm back in a labor/delivery room again.

This morning in antepartum, they started monitoring again (after breakfast, like usual) and a few contractions came up.  I figured no big deal, it happens...and even with mad contractions, my cervix is just not cooperating enough (or it hadn't been).

After a few contractions, a nurse came to do a check (which was itself surprising...they've been holding off a bit) and she reported 7cm, still about 70-80% effaced, -1 station.  On calling the doctor, they softly decided to say they might break my water...and transfer me over to L&D again.  That was about 10am.

They did another blood draw, started antibiotics and I awaited Mike's arrival.  He got there about 11...just in time to pack up and go.

We got to L&D, hooked back up to monitors, and Megan and Monica came (yay!).  At this point, I'm not even watching the monitors...don't want to jinx things more. 

Another blood draw(2nd of the morning...yay she says sarcastically) and a resident comes by to check baby's position with a quick ultrasound.

Its just after 12:30pm now...this morning is a whirlwind!  Everyone went to get lunch and now just waiting on the attending (Dr. Mercer today). 

I think now I am the one who is the most disconnected... just going with the flow...I tell it like it is... :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What I Do During the Day

Since I'm mixing things up a little bit with blog posts (I never know what's going to happen every day, so sometimes, especially these days, and in the days to come!) that I usually just go with the flow.  Report on the days happenings and things and call it good.

Anyway, today I was reflecting a little on what my typical day is like.  I've done this sort of post before on my other blog, but haven't done it here since I started on the whole bedrest thing.  And it's taken on a different flavor being cooped up in the hospital right now.  I do like routine, even if variety in the days events is nice.  Maybe it's more that I like knowing what the plan is ahead of schedule, even if it varies from day to day.  So here's a day in the life of Amy, hospital style.

I usually end up waking up at some early hour, way early to be healthy, and way earlier than I'd ever get up unless I had to.  Today I awoke the first time around 5:30am, which was pretty good...I was happy that I had gone about 5 1/2 hours straight sleeping!  I had the IV line going into my arm from last night, as my last dose of antibiotics started around 11:30pm, ran for a half hour and switched over to saline...the nurse didn't want to wake me up at midnight if I was sleeping just to stop the whole thing.

At 5:30, I buzzed the nurse, she took the fluid off, closed off my IV (still in my arm, for easy access), and I got up to use the bathroom and then back to bed.  I dozed a little bit until a resident came by after 6am.  I have to be somewhat coherent these days, just because they're always asking for details, and I end up with a new one each day so I sometimes have to fill them in on things a bit more.

The resident left, and I dozed off for a bit more...a few more hours until 7:30 when a nurse came to take my vitals.  Dozed off again a little more, and the new nurse for the day came by, did a few more vitals and brought breakfast around 9.

After breakfast, I sat around a little "digesting" and was doing a little cross stitch.  At 10am, the nurse came by to hook me up to the monitors for the NST (that was about 20 minutes long).  Nothing really odd to report (I think I had like 1 or 2 contractions the whole time!) and baby was happily doing her thing.

A little bit of looking at things on Facebook, chatting online and so on, and then Dr. Mayer came for a visit.  She asked how I felt about staying vs. going home (like most of the other doctors had), as she knew previously that I'd been upset before about having to stay and be away from Mike and the kids.  But this time I think everyone agreed that it was safer and more secure if I stayed.  So she put that plan into motion to keep me here at least for the time being...assuring me that the plans are subject to change if my own feelings on things change.

Right before 1, Megan and Pilar show up (and they grab food to have lunch up here), and Monica follows soon after too.  It was a good visit with them, definitely brightening things up and adding that bit of variety to my day.  Mike comes around 2:30 and we hang out and chat (funny being able to talk without interruptions from the kids...hehehe).  It took a little bit to get all of the permissions in order to go for a walk (there has to be a doctor's order saying it's OK!) and so after that came through, we took a trip to the cafeteria for a little bit before Mike had to leave to get the boys and go home for the night.

I'm expecting dinner here in a little bit (typical is around 6:30), then the shift change, a new check in vitals, and maybe another round of monitoring (although that hasn't been said, they usually just like to do that after dinner).

Maybe the longer I stay here (but, well, I hope that's not too long), the more the routine gets established and I hope I can just get used to a few things so I'm not struggling to get through the day.

Overall, my day, today, has been a mostly quiet one...not filled with a lot of drama, contractions and worry, and I really hope that it stays that way, and that this isn't just the calm before the storm (like it was the last time I was discharged!).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Entering a State of Confusion

I'm once again starting to lose track of my days...had to make sure that today is Tuesday (right?).  Well, the major news is that I managed to keep myself out of the hospital for ONE WHOLE DAY.

Anyway, Monday (yesterday), I had a "regular" doctor's appointment, and there really wasn't a whole lot to report (no one wants to check my cervix for fear of breaking my water, irritating things more or whatever).  Baby's heart rate is good, my blood pressure and urine are good...and that's all fine and well and superficial.  In the mid afternoon, I hadn't heard from anyone to set up appointments for fetal monitoring, so I called to see if that was being worked on.  Not long after, I had an appointment set up for today (Tuesday) at the outpatient center attached to the hospital.  They set up an NST and an amniotic fluid index just for monitoring purposes.  So I was feeling good about that.

The evening, however, did not go as expected.  We went to get the kids at daycare at their usual time, and they do their thing where they run to the Village and play on the slide and in the ball pit.  We got them in the car pretty easily and went home, just like it typically plays out.  Sat down on the couch and Mike asked if I wanted anything to eat.  I actually had a left over burrito thing from lunch (I got full way too quickly), but I was still just fine from Taco Bell.  I was actually feeling kind of weird...in a way I can't really describe, other than just a bit off.  My stomach a little, my legs felt a little heavy, and I was a bit sore.  Before I knew it (and really without a lot of warning...at least from what I was aware of), I launched into contractions.  Sitting with my legs propped up, I idly started to time them.  It was ridiculous how fast they were coming...not a gradual build up or anything!

The kids went into the bath, I threw back a whole bunch of water and eventually moved to the bedroom.  Still contracting, and everything felt heavy.  I made the call right there to go to the hospital.  I didn't want to regret it later, and I didn't want to have to pull the kids out of bed either.

We got to OB triage about 8:45, got checked in pretty quickly (more quickly than some of the other times...there's some pretty chatty people doing that job) and into triage.  Mike and the kids stayed in the waiting area.  I waited and waited to get hooked up to the monitors, and I was continuing to time contractions for myself.  As soon as the monitors came on, it repeated pretty much exactly what I'd been timing.  I told the nurse about how I'd just been released, how far I was dilated and so on.  And of course, when she checked for herself it was about the same as I reported.  She was shocked that they let me go home with a bulging bag of water and with all of the contractions, that was a pretty quick decision to admit.  I got started with the IV antibiotics immediately in triage, and then we were off to labor and delivery again (at which point, Mike and the boys tagged along for a bit).

The nurse kept saying that the doctor was coming to discuss stuff, but that never happened.  It got to the point where he was pretty much MIA, and I'd given up on finding out anything, so all I could do was wait.  Mike and the kids went out to the car to sleep, on the off chance that it could be go-time...which it never turned out to be.

All night long I contracted again...3-4 every 10 minutes, then 2 every 10, then maybe back to 3.  But still no water breaking, so no baby :(

I've contracted on and off today, and they continue to shove penicillin into me (periodically).  I did get to go for a walk, people from work came by, and Mike was here in the afternoon as well.  And because antepartum is full (or so they've told me), here I sit like a lump in L&D.  I'm so tired, my head is spinning, and everything new that happens I keep hoping that it's a sign that the baby could be on the way.  This is so much worse than being near my due date and trying to get a kid out.

So I've been told that the plan is to keep me here...again...until my water breaks or I go into labor.  I'm so skeptical of this, since that's what they said before.  I don't know if I'm nervous about being at home so much anymore, especially if I can have monitoring every few days.  I, of course, don't want my water to break at home and worry about a mad dash to the hospital (or worse, deliver in the car...I've had several people say that they worry about that scenario in particular).

I'm so tired, and part of me does worry that my body is going to fail to go into labor at all, even when it's time, just because it's been worked too much.  There's a worry that the baby could become too stressed.  All sorts of these things are starting to make me ponder where the best place is for everyone to be, and the best case for when I actually go to deliver.

So here ends my post for today...entering another state of confusion and unknown for what is going to happen in the coming hours.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Heading to the Final Countdown?

All of the days are starting to run together, and I like to look at things in terms of numbers sometimes just to put things in perspective.

Since this whole thing began:

6 - The number of nights I've spent in the hospital
2 - The number of nights I've spent without Mike there with me
3 - The number of times I've been through OB triage and not gone out the same day

15 - The number of OB appointments I've had to date
14 - The number of ultrasounds I've had to date

48 - The number of hours I've been on magnesium sulfate IV
4 - The number of terbutaline injections I've been given
2 - The number of steroid injections I've had for lung maturity
3 - The number of times I was given stadol to become oblivious to contractions
5 - The number of 4 hour doses of penicillin I've been given during labor
2 - The number of other maintenance tocolytic drugs I've taken after going home (ibuprofen and nifedipine)

241 - The number of days I've been pregnant (although 14 of those days don't really count!)

10 - The number of pounds I've gained this pregnancy (you'd think it would be more with sitting on my butt so much!)

Well, enough of that for now.  I could go so many directions with it and it might get a little crazy and too TMI!

Anyway, today was an interesting, yet surprising day.  I was at least able to sleep last night, which I really needed to get some after the previous night of sheer exhaustion.  I was worried that the combination of being in the hospital, being overly tired, and my mind going in a thousand different directions would somehow mess with my sleep.  I got semi-comfortable (as comfortable as one can get in a hospital bed, being sweaty from hormones and having an IV stuck in one hand) around 11:30pm, and tried to sleep.  My brain didn't shut off at first, but luckily I was able to doze off until the nurse came in to do vitals around 1:30am.

Back to sleep, and the next thing I remember is another nurse in at around 5:30 to do vitals again.  My eyes were playing tricks on me when I looked at the clock (I got the hands on the clock mixed up) and I thought it was 2:30 for some reason)...I even commented that it felt like I'd slept longer than I thought.  I barely just dozed off and a resident came in (and she was asking all of the same questions...how far along were you with previous labors, blah blah blah).  So I had to be a little coherent, and I couldn't go back to sleep for a little while.  Finally I did get back to sleep (dozed off on my back, oddly enough...and under covers...I had suddenly gotten really cold!) and woke up right before 9am.

Breakfast came and eventually the new day nurse came in to do vitals and check to see if I might need monitoring again.  She put me on the monitors while I was in (what felt like) a very weird position on my side.  A little more than halfway through, Mike came with the kids!  After the first hour, the nurse reported a contraction about every 10 minutes, and she went to page the doctor.  Monitoring continued for a while after a bathroom break, and nothing dramatic changed after that point.  Now was just time to wait for the doctor!

Right after lunch, Dr. Pottorff came, did another cervix check and I was still the same as I was the previous day (5-6cm, 70% effaced, bulging sac).  It's been funny how it's bouncing between the 5 and 6, but she explained that as more of just being such a small difference at this point between 5-6 (but definitely not over 6!).  The biggest surprise, though, was her letting me go home!

We talked about some of the major concerns, mostly trying to gauge how much I'd be able to take it easy (weekends are hard with the kids running around, pulling at me sometimes...weekdays are easier with daycare...I get more rest/sleep at home, and I'm less stressed out just being with Mike and the kids versus being in the hospital...I'm not as "secure" as I am in the hospital if something changes quickly...so on and so forth).  So we came to the compromise that this week I'd keep my appointment at the office (happens to be on Monday, tomorrow), and they'd add extra NST's and monitoring twice a week, just to see how the baby was doing and to see how many contractions I was having.  Those will likely just be in OB triage, so that actually reassures me that if they see something sketchy, all they have to do is run me down the hall.

Well, my bags will be packed each time (it's pretty much stayed packed), and I'm getting more secure with all of the different scenarios that could play out.  Let's hope I keep that feeling of security!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Entering "Expectant Management" Phase

Well, today I am 34w2d!  It has been a VERY long day, and it even seems like now that it's both a blur, and a bunch of crazy days all wrapped up together.  This is an EXTREMELY nerve wracking phase, and one that is wreaking some serious havoc on my emotional state.

In my head, I replay all of the changes in my thoughts that have gone down in the past few days.  The week started with becoming more nervous at the increase in contractions that I was experiencing.  The nervousness turned to a bit of anger before/during/after my weekly doctor's appointment.  I kept debating with myself whether I should have trumped the doctor and gone to OB triage on Wednesday.  I had that same feeling on Thursday, but drove myself into an emotional tizzy because I was home alone then...and I was really having a hard time convincing myself that contractions were bad enough to warrant a visit to triage.  Friday morning was a more of a relief, because I expected that all of my worries would be monitored in a good place.  Relief turned to a little bit of shock (not expecting things to have escalated as far as they had).  Shock turned to relief again when the suggestion came down that they might be able to manage things with terbutaline.

At that point, my thought had to quickly shift between "great, we're going to hold this off again for the time being!" to "this is really happening, we're going to have a baby tonight!".  There's a lot of mental preparation that needs to go into both scenarios...the expectation that they can stop labor (and you can relax after they do), or the expectation that you're going into this full throttle, and you'll have a new baby soon.  Both of those were as fickle as the wind.

In any case, the run down of things right now is that I'm in the antepartum unit (AGAIN...I had one of the same nurses I had last time...funny).  I have no idea in the world if my cervix has changed (which is apparently the thing that was holding me back from delivering...funny).  Apparently my amniotic sac is still bulging out, yet it's totally fine to be up and around (and the doctor even said I could go wandering through the hospital...that's another odd story that I'll add if I feel motivated).  I'm also still bleeding ("bloody show" or whatever...could be just messing around with my cervix, but it's way more than the "usual").  The decision was made to pull me off all monitors, so no idea either at how many contractions I had past a certain time.  Basically, they're putting me in a hospital bed, giving me free reign, and expecting me to declare when it's time to have a baby.

But do I want to know?  Is it going to help to have continuous monitoring so that I analyze every change, expectantly?  If something major did show up, am I ready to be whisked away, thinking that birth is imminent, only to have it stall out again (isn't this the dilemma of every pregnant woman?)?

So anyway, in replaying more moments through my mind, I can't help but wonder what could have been done differently.  I was pretty keen to get terbutaline the first time (in triage) to stop contractions.  Should I have declined that?  If I'd declined that first dose, would they still have wanted to give me more to afford that time to get antibiotics into me?  Did all of that terbutaline stall things out TOO much?  Should I have turned down the stadol?  I have no idea what that did to the labor stuff.  Would an epidural have been better, or a possibility?  In the end, what are all of these drugs doing to the baby?  She has been going absolutely crazy inside!

As a last bit...I'm also becoming so depressed because I'm starting to dissociate this whole process with an end result...a baby.  I have to remind myself that she is GOING to come out, and all of this will be a crazy memory, but in the here and now, it's almost difficult to bond with her while she's on the inside...and hard to come to realize that she's going to be the same baby on the outside very soon.

While this was all very deep and stuff...I still don't feel like I've adequately sorted everything through in my head.  But I do know that last night was the one of the first times that I felt quite secure in the thought that I was going to have a baby.  Kids were taken care of.  Mike was with me.  Everything was in a good place.  I really just hope that the time is perfect in the same way when it finally does happen.

Now in Labor/Delivery!!!

OK so finally got contractions back with the program...

Attempted rest/sleep around 11pm.  Contractions picking up, so unable to really sleep.  1-2 every 10 minutes.

12:30a.m.:  still at 6cm.  Given stadol for pain (awesome!!!)

2a.m.:  contractions in full force, stadol worn off.  STILL 6cm.  Given another dose of stadol.  Contractions about 4 every 10 minutes!

3:30a.m.:  stadol worn off...need bathroom break.  Painful contractions.  Dang it, still 6cm!  Giving more stadol.

6a.m.:  contractions same, maybe less painful... again still 6!!!

9a.m.:  I can eat!  Doing that, then back to getting things back on the road...

Friday, July 19, 2013

Live...from OB triage...

So here I am at the hospital once again...this won't really be live live...just a timeline of how things go Yeah, I'm that bored

Got here just before noon, set up in triage.  As soon as I got hooked up...here come the contractions!  Still at 5cm (so no change there!), but the contractions were coming at a rate of about 4 in a 10 minute window. Lots of blood.

12:20 p.m.:  Shot of terbutaline.  Makes the heart race, but flat lines contractions!

1:20 p.m.:  Feeling the terb wear off a little...waiting to see if contractions return...

2:00 p.m.:  cervix check.  Lots of bloody show, 6cm...bulging amniotic sac.

4:00 p.m.:  all set up in labor and delivery.  Getting antibiotics for GBS.

5:30 p.m.:  second terbutaline shot (stalling to make sure those antibiotics have a 4 hour window to be effective). 

Almost 7:00p.m.:  I'm in pain...menstrual cramps on crack!