Monday, September 29, 2008

Outcomes for preemies

I am always scanning for stats on outcomes for preemies. They are actually hard to find in a digestible form - not a wordy medical study. I think this chart is pretty helpful for those of you who may be facing premature birth. Or perhaps I just like it because it concludes that the roomie would have a solid shot at his current gestation...

Outcomes for Premature Infants by Gestation (click here)

I know. I am a little post-happy lately.
What can I do.

Roomie is still head up and beating the hell out of my cervix. I swear sometimes it feels like he is punching his way out. Is there a danger in this when you have virtually no cervical length and are 1 cm dilated? I tried this morning a few suggested methods to flip the bugger. Lay on an incline, have dh talk to him down low, flashlight. It was pretty silly. And of course, did not work... I know he has time to flip, but I really want him away from my cervix. I have enough trouble down there without his help...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Show and Tell - Sept. 28, 2008

This is an image of DH and I right after we closed on our house. The place was a wreck, slathered from top to bottom with any combination of wood paneling, wallpaper, mint green paint and fake stone finishes. Underneath all of that we have uncovered plaster walls and beautiful inlaid hardwood floors.

Buying our house was step one in building a family. On the day we signed those papers, we knew finishing the house meant we could start trying for a family. We were so clueless. We had no idea how hard the renovations would be - both to the house and my faulty parts. That was almost three years ago.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Weekend update

Pattern for diaper covers

Cream Chipped Beef (my mom is the master of meals that fit into the "white trash" variety. Yummmm.

Chocolate cake.Life is dull. But i suppose dull is good:)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crowded house

Post terb, I am at my mom's house. My sisters kids sleep here onthursdays, so i knew it would be a little rowdy. But then my SIL dropped off my other nephew. It got more crazy. Then my brothers whole family decided to stay over because it will be stormy tonight and they live way back in the woods and all have a bizarre fear of falling trees. So in an attempt to find some calm (and a TV) I landed in my moms room... only to get kicked out at 9:30 by 2 of the mere 10 freaking people who are camped out in this house.

Under normal circumstances I suppose I would not care. But tonight was a night I have been looking foward to for a while. The 2 hour premiere of a show I am embarred to say I love... but I do. And in a house that normally has a TV in every room, there are only 3 now, each of them in a room with a sleeping kid. My sister stole the majority of tv's and mattresses when she left three months ago. So in the end, I'll blame her.

Because I am a selfish bedrest biatch who had a rough freaking day.

T, T, Letter T, What begins with T?

Trouble (contractions upticked last night after dinner)
Triage (as in prenatal, where I landed my ass this morning)
Terbutiline (the shake-bomb that seems to flat-line my contractions in no time)

Released already. Starting to contract already. A little.

Had a positive fFN test. I know a positive is not a "true predictor" but I am still freaked. Was really hoping to skip the NICU all together.

Ever had a positive fFN and still carry for another 7 weeks? Is that possible?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bedrest and childbirth education

Quick question:
For those of you who survived bedrest and still had the option of a vaginal birth, how did you educate yourself about the birth process? Books? Videos? Did you eventually attend a class?

I would love to think a vaginal birth is still in the cards for me... But I am a first-timer... and clueless.

Everything is Misc.

A stack of growing greens hemp diapers I found on crai.gslis.t. All clean and ready to be pooped on...
The ceiling fan that is part of my perpetual peripheral view.
New stroller. New car seat. Newly refinished floors covered with paper. A stack of lumber that will, this saturday, become the roomie's room.
Snack-time when the apples ran out. An awesome friend from grad school is sending 8 pounds of heirloom apples from the midwest via DHL! They should be here tomorrow. Just hope I will be here to get them. My mom is picking me up to take me back to the farm for the weekend so I am out of the boys hair while they build the room...
Having an easier go at it. I seem to have 3 day ups and downs. I am on an up right now. Hoping I can hold on to it. Friday will be sweet. The "cheaters" 30 week mark. Some of my docs turn me on friday, othrs on staurday. But I use friday cuz it makes me feel good.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When sanity eludes me.

I know.
I should thank my lucky stars.
I should bow down to the powers that be and express only gratitude to be who I am, where I am, and to still be pregnant.
But I am coming close to the edge, that line between sane me and bat-shit me.
Bedrest is hard.
It is harder than I ever thought it would be.
I am exhausted but not tired.
I am ready to run, but can't.
I try to talk about it, but no one seems to be able to get it. (except for Sara, my gestational twin)
It is a lonely place to be. A lot like miscarriage land, where everyone kind of looks at you like you have the plague.
The world is waiting for me to tip over. And somedays I get really close.

I am grateful for everyday I stay pregnant.
But that doesn't mean that i don't wonder what would happen if I got out of bed and enjoyed a walk in the fall air.
I am grateful that the roomie is growing stronger.
But that doesn't mean that I don't resent having to eat while laying down.
I am grateful that the meds are working well enough to keep the contractions under control.
But that doesn't mean that I don't feel robbed, yet again, of a "normal" and joyful experience with reproduction.

I know becoming a parent means sacrifice. I have always known that.
And I have always feared how much of me might be lost in the process.
I just never dreamed I would experience this so far in advance of even having a child.
It has been a year and a half of losses, surgeries, upsets, scares and even more bodily failures than I could ever imagine.
It has taken my spunk, my soul, my creativity, my intellectual capacity and more to survive.
I don't know what t is like to enjoy pregnancy.
I don't know what it is like to anticipate the birth of my son.
Instead, my energy is focused on keeping him in, not birthing him.
I am focused on staying pregnant, not being pregnant.

It has only been in the last week that I have allowed preparations to begin. Our families purchased a stroller and car seat. I registered for cloth diapers. We went through 3 huge bags of hand-me-downs from my nephew. And the room for the roomie is being built this weekend.

Those are all good things. But all I can focus on is the mental and physical anguish of laying here day after day. I have the capacity for nothing. I am tired of knitting. Tired of TV. Tired of counting contractions. Tired of eating in bed. Tired of dreading bedtime. Tired of asking for help. Tired of perpetual bedhead. Just tired.

8 weeks till 37.
I will make it as far as I can. Because the alternative, what would happen if I "gave up," is heart breaking. But I feel like I always read about these amazing women, who stay on bedrest for months and months. Where are their complaints? Why do I feel like I am the only one who is at the brink?

There are some bright spots:
1. Haircut... I am thankful to have this time to grow out my short hair. Might as well go through it while also having perpetual bedhead.

2. An expanding waistline. (Scar from bellybutton ring)

3. Fall - I love fall for the temperature, the smell, the light - but most of all for the apples.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home sweet home

I am so grateful to be at home finally. I don't know what it is... the loss of the toco, that canyon of a hospital bed, the constant taking of vitals, or the icky food - but I feel so much better here at home. I am having considerably fewer contractions, unless of course, I am just not noticing them. My hips are sore at night from the switch back to our bed, but I think I found the right pillow combo last night. The only problem is that at night, I am getting dizzy and winded from the meds. My mom and I were figuring that I am more relaxed at home, dropping my blood pressure even further. Needless to say, it is a little upsetting to be dizzy when you are already on your side. I know there is some risk if my BP really bails, so I hope to get some answers to solve this soon. Perhaps even spacing my meds out an extra hour. It is tricky, because I often break through with contractions right before my last dose. Double edged sword.

I see my new doctor this evening (I had to find another doc to be my primary who delivers at my new hospital and takes my insurance.) I called for an appointment this morning and spoke to the kindest of all receptionists ever. They could just squeeze me in on wednesday - which was terribly inconvenient because I have already patched together a couple friends to babysit me while DH is at work. I was a little upset to ask them to also haul me to the doctor. But a few minutes later the kindest receptionist ever called back with a cancellation for this evening!!! Awesome. So hopefully the doc can give some insight as to what I should do when I feel woosy.

DH has been pulling off some extreme patience with me. Our house has only one bath on the second floor, and since I am not allowed to take the steps but once a day, I am stuck in the bedroom. So he and my mom have been carting my meals up on a beautiful old tray that belonged to my favorite grandmother. They have also been eating up here in the bedroom with me so I don't feel left out. I feel pangs of guilt every time I ask for something, but he dutifully retrieves my every request. I do worry a smidge about meal planning in general. I wake up in the morning and often think about the day as a whole - breakfast, lunch, dinner. Does anything need to come out of the freezer? Do I need to run to the store and how does that fit into my day? DH is more of a "figure out what to cook right before you cook it" kinda guy. But I think my mom will deliver enough pre-made stuff that it should be easy enough for him. He has a lot on his plate: work, taking care of me and dealing with a minor house emergency that is brewing (our soil pipe busted and will cost in the thousands to fix... ugh). So I just want it to all be easy for him.

My Mom has me stocked with luxury foods. Quiche, homemade breads and jams, cupcakes, apple cake, mashed potatoes, fresh salad from her garden, homemade tomato sauce from the garden.... ahhhhhh. Good thing to be on bedrest in the early fall. I am reaping the benefits of the late season. Grapes, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, basil... They only thing I wish I had, and I think they are done growing, is the string beans. Oh well. I am so spoiled. She also makes me homemade buttermilk pancakes with fresh sliced peaches. Have I got the best Mom, or what?

The roomie has been super active lately - to the point it is a little disturbing. Especially at night, when i wake up to go the the potty or take my meds. He is making getting back to sleep pretty hard. He can still pack a punch - enough that it actually makes me jump. It used to be I could put DH's hand on my belly and he would stop. But he is a fearless, near-three-pounder, who has grown accustomed to his fathers hand. Darn. But I often find and active day is followed by a quiet day, so hopefully tomorrow he will chill.

And we finally have a name. But you'll have to just wait cuz we're not telling till he is here.

BELOW: Snacktime with DH = Havarti with dill, crackers and fresh tomatoes from the garden. Lots of yarn and felting supplies tale up the rest of the bed. I am challenging myself with some more complicated knitting.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Breaking free

After a digital exam at 5:56 am, I have been cleared for release from the hospital. I have been here for one month and 2 days and am 28 weeks + 1 . Horray! I will remain on bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy - but at home!!! I am hopeful that I can clear 30 weeks, and can't help but look forward to 32, 34, 36 and beyond!

Life from my own bed will be much more tolerable. I will have the company of my furry companions, the comfort of my bed, and no more dealing with the constant interuptions from doctors and nurses at ungodly hours. I know they are doing their job, but sleeping has become a real task... even napping is mostly impossible. What I won't miss the most is the constant contraction monitor attached to my belly, and the near-perminent indent it leaves in my skin. I also won't miss the stress of listening to the heartbeat for 20 minute intervals, 3 times a day. I know a lot of people find this comforting, but I find it terribly stressful. Feeling him kick is good enough for me. Those moments that he goes off the monitor, or decels for even a few seconds, making me almost jump out of my skin. Goodbye TOCO, goodbye HB monitor!!!!

Then, of course, there is curling up with DH in bed. I am not much of a cuddler, but I want to just be wrapped up in him tonight. That is home.

I also had an anatomy scan yesterday. The roomie is 2 lb 14 ounces - a number I guessed, on the nose, the night before. He is in the 61st percentile. I am so proud! We'll forget he got steroids 4 weeks ago and just chalk his weight up to the one thing my body appears to be doing right. Joy!


My warmest wishes to my dear pal Sara who is coming down off too many days on the mag. My hope for her is a smooth transition back on to the procardia and a chance to get back home for a few weeks.
Hang tough, girlfriend. You and Spot are rocking the 28 week house.

BELOW: TOCO (contraction monitor) & TOCO imprint. Bugger, I hate that thing.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Adventures in the wheelchair

Perma-bedhead, sour-puss... Enjoying the strong winds of Tropical Storm Hanna. Breezes rock.

Bed Rest | Weight Loss

I suspect this post will get a lot of grumbles, but I have a bit of a problem. I am loosing weight, not gaining. I don't really have any to loose. I even had to put my wedding band on a necklace because it won't stay on my finger. I am kind of at my wits end and don't really need one more thing to worry about.

I was weighted a month ago and was 135. I lost about 10 pounds in early pregnancy due to extreme nausea and vomiting, so I started low. Well, after a few weeks of asking, I finally harassed one of the nurses to walk me to the scale on Saturday. I am 133 pounds. That is a 2 lb loss over 4 weeks. The roomie is fine. His growth is on target and my aversion to food does not seem to be effecting him. Clearly, that is the most important thing.

So here is the deal.
  • I am not nauseous, I am just not hungary
  • I am in the hospital and hospital food sucks
  • My mom stocks the floor fridge for me, but sometime I don't know what is in there so I don't know to ask for it
  • C.arnation I.nstant B.reakfast, E.nsure and the like upset my digestion terribly, adding insult to injury. The prospect of terminal diarrhea makes food even less appealing
  • Laying in bed 24 hours a day makes me want to eat healthy, because I already feel like crap. I crave things like watermelon and vegetarian sushi. Not exactly weight gainers.
  • I just, plain don't have an appetite

So if anyone has suggestions, I am all ears. I am so tired of the nurses telling me how tiny I am, or saying things like, "I wish I weighted that much, and your 6 months pregnant..." It is not like I want this.

Otherwise, things have been eerily quiet for the past 4-5 days. My meds have been doing a stellar job holding back the contractions. I have not had to have the terb for a week!!! Horray! Rumor on the floor is I may go home at 28 weeks, which would be friday or saturday. Problem is sometimes they won't release you on the weekend because the Chief is not here. So I am going to beg like hell for friday. I think I would do better at home. I think my appetite would be better, my mood better, everything... just better.

Here is a belly pic. 27 weeks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Week Three - Hospital Bedrest

Taking a quiet morning to sit up a bit and post. I am sure my contractions will act up soon, but I have a moment of reprieve... and it is all mine...

I wanted to send a reminder to all you bedrest mama's out there to order your absentee ballots for the fall election. That darn election is closer than you might think... and whether you are still incubating a little one bedside, or caring for a newborn, getting to the polls might be hard this year.... There. I have done my civic duty for the year.

It was a rough week. The ups and downs of this whole experience have been so severe - ranging from complete terror to boring calm to emotionally draining. Yesterday, just looking at the hospital menu through me into tears. I am so sick of the food. Even with my mother keeping homemade goodies in the fridge, if I have to look at that nasty menu one more time I think my head is going to spin off. Quite literally. One of my lady friends is on her way over to rescue me with a vegetarian sushiroll lunch! YEAH!!!

We got through the decel episode, which appears to have been a total fluke. I dread being put on the fetal heart monitor, which is done three times a day. The nurses tend to forget they have hooked me up and I am stuck listening to the roomie flutter and beat for a half hour, rather than the prescribed 20 minutes. I have taken to removing myself if it goes to long, or telling them I need to go to the bathroom. But I suspect they see through my antics. I do have the contraction monitor on at all times, leaving a permanent indentation in my belly. I mind it less.

My doctor gave me some news yesterday that I am trying desperately not to get too excited about: seems they may release me to home bedrest at 28 week if my condition stays stable. I fear that this news could be both conjecture on the residents part, or an omen that something dreadful will surely happen in the next week and a half. But I would love, love, love to be at home, in my own bed, with DH and my kitties. I would love to hear the bustle of the neighborhood kids out for recess at the school across the street. I would love to eat "real" food." Being at home also scares the shit out of me. But I know they will make the best decision for me and the roomie. And I know I won't have to do anything I am not comfortable with.

So today closes week three in the hospital. I have heard some amazing stories from the nurses about women who have endured far more than I have on this journey. So I will just be thankful that I can still get up to go to the bathroom, that I can still take a shower, that I have so far avoided the dreaded mag sulfate. Despite how much it sucks to be here, I have it pretty good.

Well - just had a contraction, so I better get on my side and see if my ute will chill. Thanks again to all of you for your wonderful support and kind words. Waking up to a 10 new comments on a post really does a lot to brighten my day. And especially to Sara, who is my super-champ-hero-due-date twin. Reading her blog is like looking in a mirror.

Here is a picture of me and my beloved Bennie-Bo-Bo who I miss dreadfully. I keep trying to bribe DH to smuggle him into the hospital, but he won't do it:(

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Crappiest of Crappy Days

(I'm dictating to DH -- I finally had to let him into my secret world.)

After breakfast they put me on 20 minutes of the heart monitor. At the very end of my session the roomie's heartbeat deceled for about 4 minutes. My room was turned upside down by an army of nurses and my favorite doctor. They put me on oxygen and place a new IV for fluids. I was warned by the doctor that if this continues that I should be prepared for emergency C-section. She told me that it would happen very fast and there would be a lot of confusion. After the decel ended I was placed on continuous monitoring and I was taken off food and drink in case I would need general anesthesia.

DH and my mom arrived quickly and things settled down for a little while. Then my contractions started up and I had to get another shot of Terb.

We're all finding the continuous monitor to be unbearably stressful, anticipating having to call for the nurse when his heartbeat decels. We had one scare after the morning, but it was short-lived. For now his heartbeat looks great despite the fact that he moves so damn much that it's impossible to keep him on.

I can deal with the contractions. I can deal with the drugs. But listening to his heartbeat go down makes me feel too out of control. It appears to have been an isolated event, that he may have just squeezed the cord himself but it looks like I'll have to be monitored for a while. Bummer.

DH is spending the night in a very uncomfortable recliner but I'm grateful for the company cuz I love him like crazy.