Growing another life, one day at a time.

An Update…

I really did have all intentions of keeping this updated.  I would have kept it more updated if I had stayed pregnant.  Unfortunately, my uterus decided that our son had enough time inside and needed to go outside.  So, our son, Theo, was born on 9/20/2012 at 6:14 pm.  He weighed in at 2 pounds 2.2 ounces and was 15.5 inches tall.  Initially, he was intubated, but was extubated to CPAP after less than 24 hours being intubated.

Since then, his life has been full of his parents wishing that he would remain “medically boring.”  Our only goals for Theo are to gain weight, develop, and get off the CPAP when he is ready.  Fortunately, Theo is surrounded by amazing nurses, doctors, and respiratory technicians.

The main point of this post, contrary to how it start, isn’t to announce his birth.  Of course, that is an important announcement.  However, the amount that this little 2 pound bundle has already impacted me, my life, and my priorities is amazing.  I am pretty sure that I will just be adding to the large amount of articles and posts that are already on the inter-webs saying that having a child is the most life-changing event.  Ever.  It is just too hard to not write about something that is so altering.

It might have taken me a bit longer than other moms who have a full-term baby to become fully aware of the change that my little son has had.  I didn’t get to hold him until he was 6 days old.  I have not yet breast fed my son.  I cannot pick him up and hold him whenever I want.  The only way that I can comfort him is to put both of my hands on his body and either sing or hush him quietly.  I can’t see his full face as it is usually covered with the CPAP.  I only have three onesies for my son because he is so small that even regular preemie clothes don’t fit.

However, I love him, with all of my being, for what he is.  I didn’t think that I could love anyone as much as M, but I have found a different love.  I think that it affects new moms very profoundly not because you “realize” that this little one is your responsibility and everything depends on you to raise him correctly (although, that is a big deal).  It affects us because of how quickly it all came about.  Sure, I began to love Theo when I found out I was pregnant.  But it was a slow-growing change.  Smoldering.  Growing warmer.

I think that it was after he really opened his eyes for the first time did I realize how much of my life changed.  I would do anything for my son.  If something were wrong with him, and he needed full time care, I would quit my job.  So what if that mean I wasted years of schooling and still need to repay a large amount of loans.  If he were sick, really ill (God forbid) and the only that that would save him would be some kind of transplant from me…  Take it.  Take whatever you need.  If it saves him, than everything is worth it.

I love my son and always will.

A slight tangent to this is how quickly that “mama bear” instinct comes into full force.  Holy cow!  I found out that I can go from nice and laughing to super bitchy and I-am-going-to-kill-you-if-you-don’t-get-your-shit-together in about negative 2 seconds.  Even M was a bit surprised.

Back to the point…

I am still trying to reconcile all of this in my head.  We are a family of three now.  One of them happens to be in the intensive care unit.  We are forever changed, but in a good way.  My priorities now include thinking about how my decisions will affect Theo.

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Coping With the Uncontrollable

In general, things are going as well as can be expected.  First and foremost, I am still pregnant.  I have made it to 26 weeks, buying this little baby boy a bit more time to incubate.  His heart rate continues to be in the 130-150 range (perfect) and is reactive (even better).  A reactive heart rate in babies means that the speed increases by a certain amount for a specific length of time.  I know that the increase in rate is 10 bpm but I can’t remember the length of time.  This is significant in that usually babies aren’t doing this until around 30 weeks.  Again, this guy is trying to prove that he is ahead of the curve.

Fine with me.

There are some things that are going on that I wish I didn’t have to deal with, but alas, are out of my control.  I continue to occasionally bleed.  Nothing big, and I only have one contraction per day (which is actually a lot less than the doctors thought I would have), but I do occasionally bleed.  This has led to a slight “worsening” of my bedrest.  Instead of just being flat for most of the time, I have to be in a position to where the head of my bed is tilted down a bit, to take pressure off of my cervix.  I have now been giving myself “flat” breaks periodically and actually only sit up to eat.

You might pick up on the fact that typing could pose a bit of an issue to me.  You would be smart to think that.

I am somewhat jealous (but trying really hard not to be) of friends that post things like, “Come on baby!  Hurry up and be born already!” on Facebook when referring to their own pregnancies.  Funny, a post from me would be more like, “Come on uterus!  Be completely unreactive and boring for the next 12 weeks!”

I have unfinished arts and crafts projects at home.  I had specifically picked these because I knew that I could get them done before the baby came.  In fact, I would need to get them done before the baby came.  Being here at the hospital makes it hard to finish those.

By far the most frustrating and disheartening issue that I have had to deal with are people with good intentions gone awry.  It is like telling a pregnant woman about to give birth about some particularly epic birth story.  Really?  Did you have to go there?  In my case, it is more like, “I just read this article about a 21 year old male that was born at 26 weeks.  He just now got enough independence and learning to be able to shop in a grocery store on his own.  Isn’t that great?”  Forgive me if I don’t immediately agree with you.

Seeing how that is probably enough complaining for anyone for a day, I will go ahead and finish up this post.  For the next one, I plan on looking up and writing about cord blood banking.  I want to educate myself as well as other people about its uses.


Keep incubating!

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The First Post

I have started a few different blogs over the years.  Each blog was usually initiated because of a significant event in my life.  This time is no different.

A while ago, M and I decided that now would be an acceptable time to have a baby.  I say acceptable because I don’t know if anyone is ever really “ready” for a baby.  I mean, how can you be ready for something that is so huge, so life-changing, and so amazing?  We decided that, while of course there could be better times to have a baby, there could also be worse times.

Fast forward just a bit (funny how mother nature works…  you would think that your body would forget/un-learn how to make a baby when being on birth control for a while, but nope.) and you have both of us staring at a positive home pregnancy test.

BTW, definitely recommend First Response home pregnancy test.  The test was easy to do, easy to read, and was positive sooner than the EPT test.  Just saying…

We had our first few prenatal appointments, which all went wonderfully.  The first time that I met my current OB/GYN was actually at my first prenatal appointment.  With me being a doctor, I am not sure how I was okay with that but it has worked out perfectly.  I wouldn’t trade my OB/GYN for anything.

My most recent appointment, prior to above mentioned life-changing event that led to the creation of this blog, was at 24 weeks.  I had been struggling with the fact that I had gained a little extra weight (at that point, I had gained 22 pounds and most people gained around 15-ish) but otherwise, baby was doing well.  We had found out that he was going to be a he.  He also seemed to be large for his dates (about one week large).  And, his heart was doing great.

At 25 1/7, I had to drop off M at the airport.  We had just finished a weekend trip to a bridal shower in California and he needed to go on a business trip up north.  This was supposed to be the only business trip that he needed to make during the pregnancy.

I dropped M off at about 0600 in the morning.  I then went to work, stayed there for about 6 hours.  Went home, took a nap, and then worked out.  The only thing out of the ordinary for this schedule was the weekend trip and dropping him off at the airport early that morning.  Working out was a normal thing for me and I didn’t do anything strenuous.

At about 2115 I went to the bathroom and noticed a heavy amount of spotting on the toilet paper.  I immediately went into freak out mode, started crying, then called M and told him that I was bleeding.  Fortunately, my doctor mode kicked in at that point.  I stopped crying, put the dogs in their kennels, and went to the hospital.  While driving in, I could feel the baby kicking, so that was good.  I called the on call doctor while parking and she called L&D saying that I was about to show up.

I walked up to L&D, they checked me into triage, and hooked me up to the fetal monitors.  Baby’s heart rate was a solid 140-150.  Perfect.  Up until this point, I hadn’t felt any contractions.  About 3 minutes into monitoring, I had my first contraction.  They checked me, and I was dilated to about 2-3 cm and was 0% effaced.  The plan at that point then was to start me on magnesium and admit me to L&D.  It looked like I was going into pre-term labor.  That needed to be stopped.  Quickly.

About an hour later, I was check again, this time found to be 3cm and 100% effaced.  At that time, I was diagnosed as having started pre-term labor.  (Labor is when your contractions are actually doing something to your cervix.  If I had continued to have contractions but have no changes in my cervix, then I wouldn’t have been in labor.)

It took almost 6-7 hours for the magnesium to kick in.  During that time, I was freaking out.  My contractions were getting more intense and they were around 2-4 minutes apart.  I didn’t have M there and the soonest flight he could get back was the next morning.  Fortunately, the only close friend that I have made here took it upon herself to come see me in the hospital.  Her husband went to the house and picked up the dogs.  She stayed with me all night until the next morning when M showed up, after her husband picked him up from the airport.

I don’t know what I would have done without her.

The morning after being admitted, I had an ultrasound.  They verified that my water hadn’t broken.  His heart and anatomy looked great.  He was still a boy (:D).  And he was weighing out to be about 2 pounds 3 oz.  The best news, however, from the ultrasound and the high-risk perinatologist reading the images, was that my cervix was still at 2-3cm.  LABOR HAD STOPPED!  I still was having some contractions, but they weren’t doing anything.

The dose of magnesium was increased to try and stop the contractions.  Let me tell you, magnesium is a potent medication.  You would think that a mineral wouldn’t do much, but oi.  M can attest to the fact that it knocked me flat on my butt and then some.  I was confused, weak, nauseated, and felt like I had the flu/was hung over/hit by a Mack truck/etc.  The magnesium did the trick though.  The contractions stopped.

I spent about 36-40 hours in L&D.  During that time, I had the two doses of steroids to help develop baby’s lungs.  After bring in L&D, I was transferred to the high-risk antepartum floor.

And this is why this blog was started.  I was placed on strict bedrest until baby makes his appearance.  I am on all sorts of medications to relax my uterus.  I will be missing a wedding that I was supposed to be in.  I will be missing my own baby shower.  I will be living apart from my husband.  I won’t see my dogs and cat. I won’t be at work.

This blog, I am hoping, will be a way for me to share thoughts, communicate with people, post what I learn, and use up some of the ample extra time I have.

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