Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Physical Recovery - Part 2

Thank you for the kind (and understanding) words on my last post.  It’s nice to know that maybe I’m not such a wimp after all.  J  I can imagine that having more c-sections would “toughen” someone up…especially if there were another baby/toddler to chase after and care for.  There wouldn’t be time to sit around and feel everything because you’d be too busy…you wouldn’t have time for the pain.  That makes total sense.  There was more to my physical recovery than just my surgery and so I’m going to share that with you now.

I’ve mentioned my wrist pain…I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it.  It started while I was pregnant and I figured it was just tendonitis.  I wore a brace, had a cortisone shot, iced it…nothing worked.  Then while I was in the hospital my other wrist began hurting.  It actually was worse than my left wrist.  I dealt with it because I had no choice but to do so.  It really made handling the baby difficult and painful.  Bath time was the worst.  I had to hold her so tightly because she was wet and wiggly but my wrists would scream with pain.  It was like someone was taking an ice pick and digging around in each hand.  It was really difficult to say the least.  And forget trying to take her infant seat in and out of the car.  Holy Hell…that caused such a burning sensation.

BJ told me that I needed to see the doctor again.  I was extremely hesitant because I knew the next step would be surgery.  How on earth would I care for an infant while recovering from wrist surgery?  Not to mention that I didn’t want to be away from her for more than 10 minutes.  I bucked at the idea of seeing the doctor and just suffered.

This went on for about 4 months, maybe a little more.  One day I happened to notice that my wrists were not hurting as much.  I could pick the baby up, move my thumbs and even grip things again.  Miraculously, I was getting better.  Each day and week that would pass after that I got better and better.  My only theory is that most of my pain was caused from pregnancy hormones.  I’d read that being pregnant makes you more susceptible to carpal tunnel but that is not what I had.  However, once the hormones fully got out of my system, I was better.  My right wrist/thumb still gives me problems from time to time but it’s definitely something I can live with after the pain I had been feeling.

I had been told to expect my thick, lush pregnancy hair to fall out “after giving birth”.  What I did not expect was the timeline for this to occur.  My hair was awesome during pregnancy.  Between the hormones and the pre-natal vitamins I had a great head of hair for the first time in my life.  It was awesome.  I waited a few weeks and then a month and then two months and my hair was not falling out any faster than it had before so I thought I was good to go and maybe I’d be lucky enough to keep this great mane.  Not so much.  What no one bothered telling me was the hair loss actually begins more than 3 months post-partum.  Say what?

BG and I actually started losing our hair at the same time.  I would say she was about 3 ½ to 4 months old when her little baby hairs started shedding like crazy.  I also started shedding like crazy at that time.  I had never seen so much hair fall out of one person’s head in my life.  It was like a horror show, for real.  We have a stand up shower so our drain is on the bigger side.  I clogged it, night after night.  My hair was EVERYWHERE.  I would empty my brush before blow drying/brushing my hair and then have to do it again when I was finished.  I was stunned and also a little afraid that something was really wrong with me.  I visited my due date buddies on a message board and I was not alone, thank goodness.  This hair loss thing was scary but normal.  It just kept getting worse, too.  Once I came back to work I started to actually “do” my hair.  My bangs were getting thinner and thinner and I hardly had any to style.  The sides of my hair would fall in my face and I couldn’t understand why so I looked really closely at myself in the mirror.  I was horrified at what I saw.  I had a receding hairline that rivaled any man’s and almost all of my bangs had fallen out and started to regrow.  It was the strangest looking thing I had ever seen in the mirror.

The good news is that the hair was starting to grow back.  The bad news was that the new hair was really dark (seemed darker than my natural color) so it clashed really badly with my highlighted dark blonde hair.  Since my bangs were almost non-existent it looked like someone had taken shears to my hair and only left me with about an inch of bangs.  It was quite a sight.  I went to get highlights and explained my plight to my stylist.  She had the same thing happen to her.  She did her best to highlight the little dark bangs so that they didn’t stick out like a sore thumb under my very thin bangs.  Once I got the highlights done it wasn’t so bad.  That happened in October and we had some family pictures taken in November.  I love our pictures but I really hate my hair.  If you pay attention to my hair you can see that I hardly have any bangs.  It’s strange looking to say the least.

Thankfully, I’m getting my hair back.  It’s growing at what seems to be a snail’s pace but at least it’s finally growing.  And it’s falling out at a regular pace, like before the pregnancy.  I know it must sound strange to hear me talk about this but I was not expecting the loss to happen so late after birth and I definitely was not expecting it to be so fast and furious.  I think it’s completely normal but no one told me the timeline so I was taken by surprise.  Hopefully anyone reading this that hasn’t been through it can be a little more prepared than I was.  It’s only hair but it’s a big part of what people see when they look at you.  Not to mention that for a lot of people (me included) post-baby self image can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.  The last thing I needed was to feel self-conscious about another aspect of my outward appearance.

My body is shaped differently now.  I heard that would happen, too, so I expected it.  I have lost all but about 7 pounds of my “baby” weight.  My old clothes do not fit, though.  I’m still wearing maternity pants most of the time.  With an extra 7 pounds you would think I could squeeze into my old pants but my weight is distributed differently so that’s not possible for me at this time.  I didn’t like my shape before and I don’t like it now.  I need to change it and I will…I’m just having a hard time finding the discipline to do so.  I was about 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be before getting pregnant so I have a lot to lose before I’m comfortable with myself again.  I know it takes time but BG is almost 14 months old (WHAT?!) so I’ve had the time.  I just need to get my butt in gear and control myself a little more.  One thing that has really changed are my arms and shoulders.  Yes, I have more weight on me overall so my arms are bigger but I now have bigger muscles, too!  And my shoulders are a little bit wider because they are stronger, too.  That comes from carrying around my sweet baby girl and she weighs about 21-22 pounds right now so she can be quite a work out.  But that is another reason my clothes are not fitting like they used to.  I’m in desperate need for some new clothes but I’m hoping to drop a few pounds first.  We’ll see.  I’m getting sick of the maternity pants so I might need to splurge on a few things pretty soon.

I think that just about covers my physical recovery from pregnancy and birth.  I will be tackling my emotional recovery next.  It’s going to be hard to revisit my feelings from a year ago but I need to do it.  For myself, mostly, but if I can help anyone else I really want to.  I’m actually glad I’m going to write about it now instead of when I was going through it.  Some of you may have wanted to commit me if I had written everything out back then.  J

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Physical Recovery - Part 1


I think I must be pretty wimpy and I must also have a low tolerance for pain and discomfort.  Recovering from my c-section was harder than I thought it would be.

While I was in the hospital I was taking a big Motrin every 6 hours and a perc every 4 hours.  I decided to only take one perc because I’m pretty sensitive to medications like that and did not want to be loopy while trying to care for my new baby.

One of the days (our second full day) in the hospital I had a nurse that came to see me in the morning and the early afternoon and then no one showed up until after 7:00 that night.  I had visitors come and go, food come and go the baby came and went (more on that later) but no nurse and no pain medications.  The nurse that visited me early in the afternoon told me to make sure I got up and walked around to make sure I healed properly.  She showed me how to clean my incision and helped me put my binder back on after my shower.  So I took the baby for a couple of walks and tried to stay out of bed (something else she told me to do) as much as I could.  Then more visitors came and went and before I knew it, it was just after 7:00, which was shift change time.

 I had been sitting in the nursing chair while we had guests and when I stood up I almost collapsed.  My incision felt like it was on fire.  I was in so much pain I could barely move.  BJ went to find a nurse to bring me medication.  He was pissed when I told him how long it had been since I had seen a nurse.  I just didn’t think about it…I was busy with the baby and visitors and walking.  I completely over did it and had gone over 7 hours without any pain medication.  Holy hell…I could not believe how much this hurt.  The nurse that came in asked me why I hadn’t called sooner and I told her that I had never had to call before…the nurses had just been coming in to give me meds and check on my temperature and my blood pressure.  I wasn’t paying attention to how many hours it had been since my last doses.  It was hard enough to tell day from night and keep the baby’s feeding schedule straight.  So I got my meds and all was well.  Needless to say we complained about the nurse that I had and come to find out she was a substitute from another floor.  I also did not do any more walking, I enjoyed my hospital bed to the fullest.  There was no need to try and rush anything at that point.

My wrist was still hurting me and that really sucked.  I had to maneuver the baby, the boppy and everything else when I could barely move my hand.  It was awful.  And then my right wrist started hurting.  This was all I needed, right?  BJ helped when he could but he didn’t spend much time in the hospital with us.  He had to work because he had used 2 days needlessly right before she was born for our cancelled induction and then our health scare.  There’s more on that, too.  I’m trying to keep things organized in my head.  J

We went home and I made sure to keep up on my medications.  It was nice because we went home on Saturday afternoon so BJ was able to spend lots of time with us.  He stayed home Monday and Tuesday, too.  I really missed the hospital bed because putting my feet up was so easy on my belly.  Laying on the couch was not nearly as comfortable.  I was told to avoid steps so I had to have BJ get a list of items from upstairs for us on a daily basis.  I did go up 3 times before I was released because I had to shower for crying out loud.  I moved slowly but deliberately and still did not understand why I was hurting so much.  There was pulling and tugging and it really was uncomfortable.  BJ suggested I call my OB so I did.  She asked me to come in.  I went in and she looked everything over and said I was healing really nicely.  The incision looked great but I was really sore.  My body had been through major surgery and I couldn’t understand why I was hurting so much.

My SIL, meaning no harm, told me how she was up and moving and felt fine after her 3rd c-section so of course I felt very inferior (do those feelings ever go away?) to her and became very down on myself.  There were times that I would stand up because I had to go to the bathroom but I didn’t realize how badly I had to go until I stood up.  Oh, the pain that seared through my incision on those few occasions.   I could barely stand upright while walking to the bathroom it hurt so much.  I told myself that I would not wait to pee any more.  It was crazy.  Like I said, I think I must have a low tolerance for pain because everyone else told me their stories and I just sunk deeper and deeper.

 There came a point where I started to feel better.  I guess it was about 3 weeks post-partum.  I was able to move around better and the stairs didn’t bother me anymore and I was able to lay on my back with my legs straight without too much pain.  My wrists were still killing me, though.  There were times when I was bathing BG (baby girl) that I just wanted to cry.  I was so afraid I was going to mishandle her because of the pain and my limitations on movement with my hands.  Thankfully, I never did.

It took about 4 months or so until I was able to lay on the floor on my stomach and prop myself up on my elbows without too much pain.  I tried it several times a week before that but there was so much pulling and strain that I could only last a minute or 2.

 I’m much more mobile now, thank goodness.  It took a long time to get here but I kept telling myself that it would get better and I didn’t push it.  I still feel my incision when I lift something heavy or walk uphill, it’s crazy.  I never thought that I’d still be feeling things 13 months after the surgery.  One of my coworkers told me that she still sometimes feels pulling and tugging sensations and it’s been just over 20 years since her surgery.  Yikes.  I guess this is just something I’m going to have to live with.

I’ve been able to start doing Pilates.  And by “doing” I mean I did them once last week.  Ha!  I was so sore after that I wasn’t able to tackle it again (I was going to on Friday but  left work early and then we had a snow day on Monday and I had a lunch meeting today…so maybe tomorrow I’ll get back to it).  It’s been almost 2 years since I did a core work out so I wasn’t surprised at how much my muscles were screaming afterward.  My incision didn’t bother me so that’s good news.  I just need to get back in the gym and work the muscles again.

There’s a few more aspects of my physical recovery that I’d like to share.  Mostly to just get it out of my head but maybe there are women out there that also had a hard time and can make me feel better about being a “wimp”.  J

Friday, February 21, 2014

Baby Girl's Birthstory - part two

Nurse Bernie said that the OR would be cold.  She wasn't exagerating.  Oh my gosh...the room was freezing...like a walk in freezer.  I started shaking from the cold and from my nerves.  There were several people wearing scrubs and masks walking around and talking.  I looked around the room and saw the table with all the surgical instruments and sort of zoned out.  I was doing everything I was told - walk over here, get on the table, pull your gown to the side - none of it seemed real.  Several people introduced themselves to me but I couldn't tell them apart with their masks on.

I was on the table and nurse Bernie wrapped me up in two warm blankets and the anesthesiologist went to work.  The pain this man caused me was almost more than I could bear.  I was already emotional and just knowing I was about to get stuck in my spine brought me to tears.  Nurse Bernie was great.  She told me I was doing a great job and to just breath and try to go limp.  This was not an easy task because I was shaking uncontrollably.  Getting the epidural was horrible.  I was supposed to relax while being hunched over and freezing and getting poked with a needle.  It hurt so bad.  It was like a sting and a burn all rolled into one.  He was telling me to communicate but at times it hurt so bad I couldn't even speak.  I think I must be a wimp.  At one point, I told him it was stinging really bad and he asked me if it was just pressure or pain.  My words were caught in my throat and Bernie answered for me...PAIN.  And then finally it didn't hurt anymore.

I laid down on the table and the rest of the machines were hooked up...my pulse ox and my blood pressure cuff.  The nurses were doing an instrument count and trying to figure out what music to listen to during the procedure.  I was lying there listening to them and would ocassionaly tell them that I was getting more and more numb.  One of the ladies started cleaning my stomach with a very scratchy sponge.  She was singing Moves Like Jagger while doing so.  I will never forget that moment.  The curtain went up as more preparations took place.  I was still shaking although I wasn't cold anymore.  I was begging God to let my little girl be ok.  I came to the realization that so much of my fear was the fear of not taking her home with us.  We had been through so much to get pregnant and now it was all coming to a head and I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that I was about to have a real live baby.  It still wasn't real to me.  I was so afraid she wouldn't cry upon birth or that the suspected problems with her head would prevent her from coming home with us.  It was a very scary place to be.

BJ entered the room and came to sit by me.  I was so happy to see him.  He sat there like a cat on a hot roof.  He was jittery and looking around.  The nurse asked me if we had a name and I told her the name.  It was amazing to be able to tell it to someone.  We had kept it a secret for so long.  BJ was so nervous.  I have never seen him like that.  I was talking way too much and saying things like:

she's going to be ok, right?
God is going to let her be ok, right?
We are going to be able to take her home, right?

BJ just kept saying yes and I hope so.  He wasn't looking at me...he was looking everywhere else.  He was holding my hand and hunching over.  I couldn't believe what was about to happen.

My doctor came in and made some small talk with us and the team and then it was time to get started.  At that point, my whole body went still and I felt like I could breathe again.  I took a deep breath and in my head I said to myself, "she's going to be fine, this is all going to work out".  I don't know what came over me at that moment but I sort of just disconnected from everything and relaxed for about 30 seconds.  It was an amazing feeling that I can't even put into words.

They told me that I would feel pressure and tugging and pulling and then I would feel a very hard push just below my sternum when it was time to get the baby out.  They made sure I couldn't feel anything and started going in.  They were chatting about someone they all knew and I blocked most of it out.  I tried to focus on BJ but he was a wreck.  His eyes were filled with tears and he was so far away.  I wanted nothing more than to hold him and tell him that all would be ok.  I kept saying the same things over and over again because when I'm nervous I make idle chatter and can't seem to shut up.  :-)  BJ didn't seem to mind, he was in his own world and I don't think he heard anything I was saying anyway.

My doctor announced that they were about to pull her out and then she said the most magical words I had ever heard up to that moment...."TeeJay, her head looks fine..."  I asked her if she was sure and she repeated that yes, her head looks perfectly fine.  And then BJ relaxed a bit and I could hear him breathing again.  I was so elated that I didn't even care that they were pulling and tugging on me so hard that I thought I was going to be yanked off the table.  Apparently, Baby Girl's head was still very far away from the birth canal.  And then came the HUGE push they were talking about.  It actually took 3 pushes on my stomach to get her out.  I thought I was going to hurl.

And then we listened.  We waited for any sign of life.  I was whispering to BJ, "do you hear her?  was that her?  did you hear that?  I think that was her"  And then she cried.  And then I cried.  And then BJ cried.  I said, "oh my gosh, that's HER!  That's our BABY!  She's here and she's alive...do you hear her?"  It was the sweetest little cry I had ever heard in my life.  They were sucking her out and massaging her and she was not liking it one bit.  Nurse Bernie had been put on picture duty so she was snapping pictures while we waited.  BJ kept trying to sneak a peak but he was too afraid of seeing my surgery to really get up and look at her.  Nurse Bernie brought the camera over and showed us a few pictures.  I couldn't believe it...there was a LIVE BABY on the table that came out of ME...and she was MINE.  I commented on how big she was.  I couldn't believe how big she looked.  And then they finally brought my bundle over to me.  I was able to put one arm up to sort of hold her.  My first words were, "oh my gosh, she's so TINY!"  The pictures made her look huge but her little face was so tiny and precious...it was amazing to see her.  And then I said, "she looks just like the Little Guy", because she did.  We took some more pictures and BJ talked to her and then it was time for him to take her away to the nursery.  I laid there in awe as they finished me up.  The phone rang and it was the nursery telling us how much she weighed and how long she was...6lbs, 15.5oz and 19.5in.  If you remember, 2 weeks before that, she was estimated at being over 7 pounds.  Those techs can kiss my ass for making me worry and making me think I was going to have a big baby.  They obviously do NOT know what they are doing.

As they were finishing up they gave me a shot of Pitocin to help my uterus go back down and it apparently did not agree with me.  I felt sick and faint and started to see spots.  I told the anesthesiologist this and he checked my blood pressure.  I was crashing.  He asked my doctor what was going on and she said that she was just about finished.  He gave me something else (I can't remember what) and I immediately felt better.  For about 45 seconds I was worried that I would never see my baby girl again.  It was a pretty scary minute.  Before they wheeled me out of the OR I asked what her apgars were and was told that she scored a 9/9.  Way to go, Baby Girl, way to go.

I have so much to write about and I never wanted to be that woman that stopped writing once the baby came.  So, I'm going to come back here and share our story.  There is much more to tell and if any of what I have to say can help someone else then it needs to be said.  It has not been an easy year but it has been absolutely amazing.  I may start a new blog about parenting after IF or I may just stay here since this is my home.  I do know that I need to write this stuff out so that I can work it out in my own head and heart.  If you are still out there reading, thank you...I miss you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baby Girl's Birth Story - part one

The cervix ripening gel did not work.  My doctor checked me Tuesday (1/29) and I was still long and closed...not one centimeter dilated and baby girl was still floating around way up high.  Our induction was scheduled for Wednesday which meant that I was to report to L&D Tuesday night for the Cervidil to get things started.  I was bummed but excited at the same time.  There was going to be a baby, one way or another, on Wednesday.

We spent Tuesday evening at home and were visited by my SIL and her 3 kids a little while before we left for the hospital.  We had french bread pizzas for dinner and I had baked a chocolate candy crunch pie for dessert.  It was SO good.  I made a couple of phone calls as the evening dragged.  The Little Guy had been adamant that he wanted to be at the hospital when his "only sister was being born" but since births are very unscripted we promised that he'd be there as soon as he could.  He was so worried about his little sister and he just wanted her to be ok...just like the rest of us.  He was with his mom and had basketball practice that night.  I asked her to bring him to the hospital for a quick visit once we were checked in.  It was nice of her to do that for us.

We checked in and I was hooked up to everything.  It all felt very surreal, like I was watching someone else go through it.  A tech came in to start my IV line in case I needed it later.  I could tell by talking to her and looking at her that she didn't know what she was doing.  Since my left wrist hurt so bad and I wanted to wear my brace I asked her to stick me in my right arm.  She searched for a vein...and searched...and searched.  Mind you, since becoming pregnant, finding veins had not been a problem for anyone.  She found one and stuck me...and turned the needle and twisted the needle until finally she said she had it.  Then she said she blew my vein and pulled the needle out.  Lovely.  She left the room to get more supplies.  When she came back she didn't try to find a vein in my arm or wrist...she went straight for my left hand.  If someone is in labor and experiences contractions and needs to push a baby out, why would you hinder her hand that she'll need to either grip a bed or someone else's hand by putting an IV line in it???  She stuck it in and got it right away.  When she went to pinch it off and cap it, blood went everywhere!  It was all over my hand and my bed.  She was something else.  She got me cleaned up and changed my sheet and left.  Then she was back.  She had misplaced her scanner.  She came back 2 more times looking for it because she couldn't remember where she had left it.  This visit did not get off to a good start.

The Little Guy and his mother came by around 8:00.  They didn't stay long.  We chatted and took a couple of pictures to commemorate our last night as a family of 3.  We promised he'd know about the birth as soon as we could tell him.

My doctor came by around 8:30 to administer the gel insert.  I wish she would have prepared me for how much it was going to hurt.  I've had hands and instruments up my hoo ha but this procedure took the cake.  Oh my gosh...it felt like she was inserting a rusty razor blade up there.  You would think that they would make those things a little more aerodynamic for the hole in which they are going.  OUCH.  BJ was watching me writhe in pain and confessed later that it was really hard for him to see that and not tell the doctor to quit hurting his wife.  So sweet.

BJ and I were both exhausted so it was time to settle in for the night, as best we could.  There were 3 chairs on the right side of my bed for him to sleep in.  He maneuvered the first into a lounging position but was not very comfortable at all.  He decided to try the second chair but first he had to figure out how to get the first chair back into a chair.  The second chair was better but very noisy to lay on and still pretty uncomfortable.  It was on to the third chair...after figuring out how to get the second chair back in place.  The third chair was the winner!  However, it took up so much room he had to get the other 2 out of the way before he could actually lay down.  This chair adventure took about an hour!  It was comical to watch it all unfold (great pun).

My contractions started to get stronger around 12:30.  They were coming at about 4 to 10 minutes apart.  BJ was trying to sleep and I was trying to breath through the pain and practice for when the real thing started.  I had to get up to pee several times and that was very interesting.  I had to be very careful not to pull the string and to keep it out of the way while I relieved myself.  That was not very easy.  My belly was really big and I had a hard time just wiping myself, let alone fishing around for a string to move to the side.  But I managed.  Getting back in bed was tricky, too.  I was so afraid of snagging that damn string.

The night was full of sleep in about 10 minute intervals.  I was afraid to move too much because at times I couldn't hear baby girl on the monitor and I was afraid of the string and I didn't want to wake BJ up because he actually fell asleep.  More importantly, the contractions had moved into my back.    I knew that pretty much meant she was facing the wrong way and that I'd most likely be in for a very painful labor.  The pain was pretty severe at times and I had a hard time breathing through the contractions.  I put my own arm behind me and applied pressure to my lower back and that helped a little but was so uncomfortable I wasn't able to maintain that position for very long.

Finally the morning arrived.  My contractions were closer together and still pretty strong.  I decided that I wasn't a wimp after looking at the print out and seeing how they spiked all the way to the top of the chart.  BJ went to get some coffee and find out when I'd be checked for progress.  We were very hopeful and pretty confident that things had progressed nicely and that I'd be starting pitocin very soon.  Nurse Bernie (I really liked her) came in and said that she'd be doing the checking very shortly.  Yay!!  She looked at the print out and was impressed with what she saw so I felt even better.  We were going to DO this!

The moment of truth...she was prepping to pull the insert out and we were making small talk about the baby and then we told her about our fears regarding her head and Bernie said that not too much should be made about those ultra sounds sometimes.  The insert coming out was pain free!  Then she reached way up in my lady parts and shook her head.  BJ and I held our breath.  She said there was no progress.  She couldn't even get the tip of her pinky in my cervix.  My heart sank and the tears came.  Again my body had failed me.  I couldn't even speak.  BJ told Bernie how disappointed I was.  Bernie was great, though.  She kept everything upbeat and told me on several occasions that c-sections really are the safest way to have babies.  It didn't matter at the time.  I was crushed.  I knew I was headed for major surgery with a long and restricted recovery.  I was so excited to meet my little girl but I knew they'd take her from me right after she was born.  It meant not holding her as soon as she came out.  It meant her going to the nursery without me getting to see them clean her.  It meant no skin to skin contact right after birth.  It meant only hearing her first cries and not actually seeing her little face.  It was probably the biggest disappointment I had felt in a very long time.

My doctor came by to reassure me that everything would be fine and to let me know that we'd be going in for surgery at 10:45.  That meant that in 2 hours I'd be meeting my little girl...my daughter.  I was very excited and couldn't wait but at the same time scared shitless.  Scared of the surgery and scared for baby girl.  I was exhilarated but deflated all at the same time.  It felt like everything was happening to someone else and I, again, was watching from the outside.

I posted on FB and made a couple of calls.  BJ called his sister and she said she'd be right up.  We made small talk for a few minutes but then things started happening pretty quickly.  Nurse Bernie came in and hooked up my drip line (remember the fiasco of getting the line inserted?) and started running down a list of things that were about to happen...IV antibiotics, anesthesiologist visit, compression legs, cap and gown for BJ, etc.  BJ's sister arrived and tried to lighten the mood.  Yes, I was excited, so very excited, but so very disappointed and full of fear.  I had never had surgery before (just my wisdom teeth out and that didn't go smoothly) and she tried to explain it as she has had 3 c-sections.  She kept saying that her first was born via c-section and it was a good thing because she had complications that could have cost them both their lives if she had delivered vaginally.  Her theory was that this was happening for a reason.  And I said, "well, if that's true then something is wrong so that is not very reassuring to hear right now."  And again I was in tears.  The fear of the unknown (and knowing they would take her from me) was the worst part of all of this.  That and the fact that I was still having contractions from the gel.

Nurse Bernie came back and wondered why my fluids were not dripping properly.  You have one guess as to why.  The incompetent lady from the night before screwed it up...are you surprised?  I wasn't.  Nurse Bernie had to re-do her line in my other arm making for a total of 3 lines in about 12 hours.  The anesthesiologist came in and we chatted about the usual stuff and I was put in my sexy compression sock things and given a hair cap to wear.  In the mean time, BJ was fumbling around trying to get his booties over his boots and cursing himself for not wearing tennis shoes.  He was given a bigger pair but they were still not fitting.  He was so aggravated that he was stressing me out even more.  He hadn't eaten, even though he was told to by the nurses, so that made him more cranky.  I told him to eat something, even a candy bar, so that he didn't fall out in the OR because I NEEDED him now more than ever.  He obliged.  :-)  We took a few pictures and by that time it was time to go.  I was expecting to be wheeled to the OR in my bed but I was instructed to walk there.  Our room was right next to the OR so it only took a few seconds.  I kissed BJ good-bye and told him that I loved him and that it was going to be ok...although I wasn't sure of that but I needed to say it.  Then I turned my back, grabbed my pole of fluids, closed the back of my gown with my other hand and walked into the room that my daughter would be born in.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My, How Things Can Change

I have a lot to say so this will be a bit long.  First and foremost, Baby Girl is here and she is amazing (and seemingly fine).  I'll get to all of that but I want to catch you all up on the events leading up to her birth.  The last you heard from me I was 39 weeks and had made no progress.

At our scan on 12/31 I noticed that BG's head (the top view) looked a little narrow but no one said anything to me so I didn't think about it again.  I went in for my regular weekly appointment and my OB didn't mention any issues.  At our second weight scan I again thought her head was a little narrow but the tech didn't say anything and no one came in to tell us of any problems so I didn't even bring it up.  These scans were done locally in our county, by the way.  My first cervix ripening appointment (that was to happen after my OB appointment) got cancelled because there were actual women in labor that needed the rooms so BJ had taken off work for nothing.  That really bummed us out.  However, I still had my OB appointment.  I told BJ he didn't need to come with me now since we weren't doing the gel.  I was so hopeful for some progress at this point.  I was just so excited to get labor going and to meet our little girl.  My doctor came in and right away I knew something was wrong.  She was very business like and started telling me that my baby's head was too small for her body and she noted on the u/s report that her measurements were less than 73% and they should be much higher.  She was worried about the baby not being able to start labor because of such a small head...which STILL had not dropped into my pelvis.  I was high and closed with no progress in sight.  She ordered a NST right away.  I asked why no one told us this at our last scan which was 3 weeks prior to this one.  She looked back in my file and basically had no answer for me.  I was devastated.  The name for what they said our baby had was mild dolichocephaly.  Basically, it meant that the open portions of her skull had grown shut prematurely.  My mind was swirling around and I was all alone.  One day before our due date and we find out that something could be very wrong with our child.  I couldn't believe this was happening.  I had to report to L&D right away for my NST.  I called BJ from the hallway and he answered with "do you have good news for me?", hoping that I had dilated.  I held back tears and told him that I had bad news for him and quickly tried to explain what I didn't even understand.  He said he was coming up to the hospital to be with me.  I was glad he was on his way.  While I waited to be checked in at L&D I stupidly used my phone to google.  There wasn't much time to really look things up but what I found was very disturbing.  I was beside myself with fear.  I was mad at my body for letting me down again.  I had gotten over some of my anger at myself because I had carried to term with no issues or complications and now THIS happened.  When BJ came into the room we sat together and I tried to hold off the tears.  I apologized to him over and over again.  He said I had nothing to be sorry about.  I felt differently.  I told him that if I had not been hell bent on having a baby that we wouldn't be facing this terrible diagnosis for our child.  He would hear none of it.  He was great.  Baby Girl passed the NST, which I knew she would...she moved all the time.  We were sent on our way with another appointment for the gel ripening Monday night and another OB check on Tuesday.

We didn't know what to do with ourselves.  We googled and then got frustrated because we couldn't really find anything that helped us understand what was happening.  All of our happiness and joy and wonderful anticipation had now turned into the ultimate stress situation filled with worry and fear.  We told very few people what was happening and asked for prayers.  We tried to find information on this condition and what the severity of her situation was but there isn't much out there.  And what is out there isn't very helpful.  Usually preemies and breech babies are afflicted with this condition, she was neither of those things.  She'd been head down forever.  BJ stayed home with me the next day and we both sat under a dark cloud.  We talked about how much we loved this little baby and how we wanted her to come out, not only because we were ready but now we wanted to take care of her and "fix" her if we could.  With her being inside there wasn't much we could do.  The web suggested skull surgery to give the head a more round shape and the thought of that terrified us.  Poor BJ learned of the Little Guy's heart problem 2 days after his birth and then had to schedule open heart surgery when he was only 6 weeks old.  It seemed so unfair that now we were having another child with a health crises.  All we wanted was to hold and love our baby girl.  We felt so helpless.

On Friday, I decided to be a bit more proactive.  I contacted the ped office that we intended to take baby girl to and set up a meet and greet.  I picked up her u/s pictures and report and headed to the meeting.  I looked over the report and was even more disturbed.  Of all the measurements they took, only her femur measured on target.  Her head measured almost 4 weeks behind and her abdomen was measuring 2+ weeks behind.  They had her weighing 7 pounds and 8 ounces and said that her weight was only the 36th percentile and that she did not show appropriate growth from the last scan.  How could this be?  I was so angry that no one told us any of this before.  I would have been able to get an appointment with the MFM that did our 12 and 20 week scans.  I trusted them much more than I trusted these local yahoos.  It was too late for that.  I met with her pediatrician that afternoon and brought the report and the u/s pictures with me.  He seemed stumped by the diagnosis and didn't really have any insight for me.  Basically he told me to just wait and see.  What?  I knew more about it than he did from my online research.  He said he didn't see anything to really worry about (he didn't look at the pictures as he said he didn't know how to read them...hmmm) but that he'd also not had anyone come to him about this before.  Ok, I was basically on my own again.  There really was nothing to do but sit and wait and try to get her to come out.

It was a very long weekend indeed.  I was so uncomfortable and couldn't sleep and now most of my waking thoughts were about my little girl and how this would affect her.  I was due to see my OB again Monday afternoon if I didn't go into labor over the weekend.

I'm going to stop for now.  I only get a few minutes of time here and there and this post has taken me weeks to write.  Plus, I now have 2 bum wrists instead of just one.  Not sure what the deal is but I'm in constant pain and typing really makes it worse.  I will tell her birth story in my next post.  Like I said, she seems to be fine so there's no need to worry right now.  I will try to get another post up soon.  We just bought her a swing and that will hopefully help me to have 2 free hands for at least a little while during the day.

Thank you all for checking in with me and I'm very sorry for the delay in getting something up.  I'm also going through what I'm sure is mild PPD which I will write about later, too.  I have so much to say but not many free minutes.  I'm reading and following along with all of you and cheering for you and celebrating with you...I'm just quiet and busy.  Love to you all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

39 Weeks!

Again, I need to apologize for being so absent.  I feel a little overwhelmed with all I want to write and I think that has kept me away.  Not really a good excuse, but that's what I'm going with.  Thank you to those that have prodded me with e-mails...it's nice to know that you are still out there and still interested in reading my updates.  There's so much going on but for now I will just write a pregnancy update and then see where that takes me.  Here's where we stand:

As of my 38 week appointment there had been no progress.  I had been having some braxton hicks contractions on and off and some extra pressure in my abdomen.  I was hopeful for at least a cm or 2.  No such luck.  Plus, at my 37 week appointment I was measuring 36 weeks, no big deal...then at my 38 week appointment I had jumped up to 39 weeks!  No wonder I was feeling more pressure.  Baby Girl had gone through quite a growth spurt.  I told my doctor that I could not physically do my commute anymore.  I told her that I commute to DC (almost 2 hours each way) and that the bus was killing me.  She wrote me a note to get me out of work and I was so relieved.  She told me to walk, walk, walk and walk some more to get things going.  So of course the weather turns cold and rainy as soon as I'm home to take those walks.  Figures.  I walk around the house and I rock on my big exercise ball that I got for Christmas (which I need to write about, too) and I try to stay mobile and busy.  I have started feeling stronger contractions.  I knew these were different because they started in my lower abdomen like menstrual cramps and then my belly would get hard.  One morning I almost started timing them because they were coming fast and furious.  Then they stopped.  I figured it was the start of something good and that at the next appointment things would be moving along.  Not so much.  I hadn't seen any signs of a mucous plug and the contractions were few and far between.  I'm big, uncomfortable and having arguments with myself.  Things like:

me - I just want to go into labor and have this baby and meet her and love her
me2 - don't wish your pregnancy away...it's the only one you are every going to get to experience
me - you are right, but I can't sleep and I ache and I'm ready for her to be here
me2 - yes, but once she's here, you won't feel her moving around in your belly anymore...and you'll be even more tired
me - you're right again...I love having her with me all the time and feeling her move and rubbing my belly.

It's a hard problem to have, right?  I must sound so shallow.  But really, I am not wishing the pregnancy away, I just want to feel better.  I've had it really easy but these last few weeks have been pretty hard on me.  I wasn't expecting to be so uncomfortable.  I do not look forward to getting into bed at night.  Yes, I look forward to sleeping but my bed is my enemy right now.  I have pillows everywhere and can't really find a comfortable way to sleep.  Cry me a river.  Can I just tell you how cool it is to "complain" about the last weeks of pregnancy?  Especially since I have no real complaints other than mobility and sleep.

Backing up a little, we were sent for a sonogram on 12/31 to check Baby Girl's weight.  I didn't expect to see her again until I saw her in person so I was really excited.  BJ came with me and we were just amazed at how big she has gotten since our 20 week scan.  She looks like the Little Guy to me but BJ said he doesn't see it.  She has hair and chubby little cheeks and weighed in around 5lbs, 13oz.  We got a few good pictures of her and it's unbelievable how seeing those pictures made it even more real for me.  I have the huge belly, she moves all the time and our house is ready to bring a baby home any day now but I still have trouble believing that we are having a BABY.  I know it must sound crazy at this point but it's true.  Seeing her on that screen really brought it into perspective...there's a human baby, our baby, that will be joining us on the outside very soon.  It blows my mind that we are here.  Anyway...

I was really hoping for a little progress yesterday at my 39 week appointment but that was not to be.  My cervix is holding onto this baby like fort knox.  BJ said I shouldn't be surprised because I couldn't get pregnant on my own why would I think my body would cooperate come delivery time?  He's right and I told him that I was thinking the same thing.  My body didn't get this way on its own and it appears that it doesn't know how to let go of the pregnancy, either.  I keep telling myself that first babies are often late and many need help coming out.  I wasn't surprised that nothing was happening but I was a little disappointed.

My doctor wants another weight scan (yay!) on Tuesday and then to come see her Wednesday morning at 11:30.  If nothing is happening then I'm off to labor and delivery for some good old cervix ripening gel.  They will monitor me for 2 hours and if things start happening then we stay and have a baby.  If things don't happen after 2 hours then we go home and proceed with an induction the following week...I've already been placed on the waiting list.  Things felt extremely real after my appointment yesterday.  I'm now anxious and nervous and excited all at once.  I'm scared of labor, I'm scared of a c-section and I'm still scared that something could go really wrong.  It's a lot of emotions to experience at once.  Our due date is Thursday so the thought of having her the day before or exactly on that date is pretty awesome.  In the mean time I'm going to continue to walk around the house (because we are having lousy weather) and rocking on my exercise ball in the hopes that we won't need any intervention (yeah, right).

Oh, and we have a name but are not revealing it until she's born.  I learned early on that people are not afraid to express opinions when you throw out some names that you are considering.  And on the flip side, they get a bit offended if you don't love and pick the names they are giving you.  So we decided that once we picked a name it would be a secret.  It was the simplest solution to an issue that was becoming a stressful topic with people around us.  I bought wooden letters yesterday that we will be hanging on the wall in her room.

That's about all for now, I guess.  My wrist is tired of typing and I need to get up and get moving.  I will try to write more about the other things running around in my head very soon because once she's here I have a feeling I'll be even worse with blogging...as if that is possible.  Thanks for sticking around and checking on me.  It really is nice to have all of you out there rooting for us and caring.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

33 Weeks, 5 Days and Other Things

I’m sorry that I’m not writing more regularly.  I got out of the habit during our busy time at work and now I have a horrible case of tendonitis in my left wrist that causes me all sorts of problems.  I’m wearing a very sexy brace on my left hand this day and let me tell you, it’s as much of a conversation starter as my big belly.  I had tendonitis many years ago in my right wrist and this case is no different.  It took many months to heal and that was with a cast and 2 cortisone shots.  The doctor threatened me with surgery so I never went back to him because I was a chicken and it ended up healing over time.  This case has gotten progressively worse which is not boding well for being able to take care of a baby.  I saw and orthopedic doctor that told me cortisone was ok while pregnant.  I’m going to check with my OB tomorrow to see what she says.  If I get the green light then I will go back and get the shot and hopefully it will help things along.  I have only done a little research on it and have not found anything satisfying yet.  Have any of you gotten a cortisone shot while pregnant?

Everything else is going fine.  My weight is up 25 pounds, my blood pressure and my urine are all good. At least they were 2 weeks ago.  I’ll find out more at my appointment tomorrow.  I had my thyroid checked again and it was fine so there is no adjustment in meds right now.  I go back in 3 weeks to do another check.  My sleep is pretty much like it has been for a while.  I wake once to pee and sometimes fall right back to sleep and other times I lie awake for over an hour trying to get comfortable and get my brain to shut up.  If I wake a second time to pee there is no going back to sleep.  I try to cut off my water drinking at 9:30 so that I have 2 more bathroom trips before bed.  This seems to work out ok most of the time.  I feel like I’m eating less.  I’m hungry more often but can only eat small amounts due to feeling full.  I read that this could be the case.  I still love cold stuff…we actually had cereal for dinner last night!  I love ice cold water and cereal and the occasional frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream.  Yummy!  My vision is changing.  I read that in the book, too.  It seems like as soon as I read something I experience it or I experience it and then read about it the next time I open the book.  I guess you could say this pregnancy is pretty textbook.  Which is boring, but good?  I get heartburn at night and I also try to get leg cramps.  I’ve been eating Tums before bed and doing some calf stretches to help with the cramps.  Both seem to do the trick to alleviate these symptoms.

I’m so in love with this little girl.  We all are, really.  The Little Guy is reaching out and touching my belly more and more and watching her move and trying to feel her move.  BJ said he’s ready for those arms and elbows I’m feeling to be on the outside.  He knows it’s best for her to bake longer but he’s just so ready to hold her.  I love it.  I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy before.  She has started to wedge her little feet (I’m guessing) up under my sternum which is not comfortable but it makes me smile.  She also “bites” me over where I think my left ovary is.  BJ laughs when I say that she’s biting me but that is exactly what it feels like from the inside.  It’s so very painful that I double over sometimes.  I’m not sure what she’s doing but it really hurts.  It’s fun to watch her move around and twist her body.  Sometimes we will spend a good 10 minutes just watching my stomach and rubbing her to get her to move.  BJ talks to her every night and he won’t go to sleep until she kicks him.  It’s adorable.

We have our birthing class on Saturday.  It’s 9 to 5 so it’s a long day.  BJ is not looking forward to it but I am.  Sort of.  I’m nervous about it…labor, that is.  I’ll write more about it soon but I’m scared of a few things and taking this class will probably bring out all of those fears.  It seemed like that day would never get here and now it’s THIS weekend.  Yikes!

I have a shower at work tomorrow and I had one at home (well, my friend’s house) the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I need to write about both experiences and I will do that after the one tomorrow.  It’s so surreal to me that these “baby parties” are being thrown for ME.  I never thought I’d be the guest of honor at a baby shower and now I’m getting ready to attend my 2nd one.  Crazy.

And because I can’t write a post without telling you of my new worries…I just read a couple of days ago about counting kicks and how to do that.  Well, I don’t have to do that because baby girl is very active.  I sometimes wonder if she ever sleeps.  She does have calmer days here and there but for the most part I feel her very regularly.  The book went on to say that if I feel “jerky” movements that I should let my doctor know.  Hmmm…well, since I read that I’ve been worried.  There have been a few times when it has felt like she is riding a bull in there.  This type of movement has only lasted a few seconds at a time and then she moves around normally.  I haven’t googled it AT ALL because I’m trying not to be worried.  I mean, it’s ok if she moves a little ruggedly, right?  I will mention it at my appointment tomorrow but is it something I should really be worried about?

I have lots more to say but my wrist is hurting and I need to get some actual work done.  Here are things that I still want to write about (making a list will help me remember because pregnancy brain is REAL):
Thoughts on having a girl
My showers
Labor/Delivery
Breastfeeding
A letter to my daughter

I will try to get to all of those before I actually give birth.  :-)   OH…and I almost forgot…please head over to Patience’s blog to help her with her adoption funds.  She has been on such a long and heartbreaking road and now they are finally matched!  She could use all the help she can get!