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Friday, December 30, 2011

I think they're on to me..

I think they've figured out that I'm a nervous wreck. After a decent sonogram today (of which I'll go into detail later), I got a call from my OBGYN's nurse asking if I'd like to go to the hospital this weekend for a BPP. At first, I panicked and said "why? is my doctor worried? concerned? what's wrong?" The poor nurse was just the messenger and said that she didn't think anything was wrong...but did I want to go to have a BPP. I was like, well, at this point....UH-HUH. Yeah, I'm freaked. Meanwhile, angel and devil perched on my shoulder as I waited for the nurse to call me back with an appointment. Angel said that it was perfectly ok and that my Dr knew I get nervous. Devil said that it was all bad, and I should be worried. Stupid devil. The nurse called back and read my report from the center and said that there wasn't anything to worry about, but that the ultrasound tech would fit me in at 10 am on Sunday. I hung up and still worried a little until the nurse called me back and said that my doctor was not concerned and was just following through as per our conversation on Tuesday. OOOHhh...yeah. I forgot about that. So, yeah, I have a BPP on Sunday. I kinda like that.

Anyway, this morning I went in at 8 for my ultrasound, but the baby hadn't moved a lot as of then. So, when they asked, I was honest. So, they added a BPP on to the normal check of the UVV (Umbilical Vein Varix). When the sonographer started the ultrasound, the baby was making minimal movements, and the heartbeat was 133. I freaked. But, as it turned out, they were pretty much sleeping. Once she started looking at the baby, the baby started moving more. I asked if she'd look at the heartbeat again, and it was 155. Phew. It's always between 150 and 160.

Well, the baby moved around a lot...still in the breech position with feet to the forehead. They practiced breathing a lot, and the blood was still flowing with no change in the turbulence. Dr. B was there, and he said that everything looked good. He said that he was aiming for the 37 week mark of delivery...that was nice to hear. Oh, and the BPP today was an 8 out of 8. Yay for passing your test, baby!

So that's that. All is still stable. I'm just losing my mind.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

27 weeks today

Well, there isn't a lot to report with a different fruit for 27 weeks, but here is what is happening this week for the little one:
  • They are practicing inhaling and exhaling with their rapidly developing lungs.
  • It's official: Baby's showing brain activity! And the brain will keep on getting more complex.
That's all for the official development.

I had my sonogram yesterday, and it went pretty well. I was nervous at first when the sonographer who measured improperly prior to my being admitted to the hospital came through the door to do my sonogram yesterday. She's nice enough, so I didn't want to be rude. Plus, I knew Dr. D was there and that doctor always double checks the sonograms. The sonographer looked at the baby and even measured again (I should have told her that it was already done last week, but I didn't want to :)). Anyway, the baby is now 2 lbs 10 oz!!! That's the 76th percentile! Good job, little one!

The blood was flowing normally, but the varix did measure 1 cm 3 mm at one point. However, the baby was in an odd position with the knee casting a shadow, and they were extremely active. This could really add to inconsistent measurements of the varix.

I have an excellent picture of the baby touching their foot to their forehead. Live it up, kid, cause flexibility like that will never happen again.

Currently, the baby is in a breech position, with the head pressed firmly against my diaphragm. That explains the shortness of breath that I've head. The rump is near my right hip, but the feet are up there at the diaphragm too. How is this comfortable??

That's all for now. I have another sonogram tomorrow at 8 am. Keep us in your prayers.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Every day I'm shufflin...

Between last Friday and today, there hasn't been too much to update pregnancy wise. I've still freaked out about movement, and I think I've eaten 3 boxes of Nerds over the course of the weekend. Christmas was great...I ate so many sweets that the baby was doing jumping jacks. Of course, when I went back to normal eating, movement was minimal. I think I sigh a relief sigh whenever I DO feel movement.
I was actually feeling relatively okay about everything for awhile. Dr. D was great and monitored the varix for 5 minutes to ensure that the flow was steady. It was. I asked if they thought it was okay with the holidays that I'd go 4 days without an ultrasound for 2 weeks in a row. The answer was: No one can really answer that question.

Hope is not something a doctor can give you.

So yesterday I had my first appointment with my OBGYN since the varix was discovered. The first parts of the appointment were great. I've only gained 10 lbs (and I'm 27 weeks tomorrow), the heartbeat was steady and good. But when talking with my doctor (who is awesome, make no mistake of that), I wasn't really given any answers. I'm always told "It's a day by day thing." To me, that means that they aren't sure of the baby's survival rate. That makes me feel like I could just go crazy and I hate that feeling. I want them to say "Oh, I'm sure everything will be okay." Which brings me to my earlier point: Hope is not something a doctor can give you. My OBGYN once again explained the varix and turbulence problem, and how the monitoring ensures that the turbulence does not create a clot. The word "clot" makes my skin crawl. I worry so much...but I pray that I really don't have a reason to worry. The clot theory is just that...a theory. But it's a theory that scares me.

I asked what the plan of action was...and was guessed it. It's a day by day thing. I'm going to be induced between 34 and 37 weeks. 34 weeks means several weeks in the NICU, and 37 weeks is full term. If the varix grows, they are going to push for 34. I'm SO tired of the "I don't know's" and "if's". They get old. I want reassurance. Hope. I want this baby to be healthy when they are born. I want them to survive and thrive.

I have an ultrasound today at 2:30. I'm praying my favorite sonographer will be there to do the ultrasound, and that whatever doctor is there is compassionate and doesn't see a problem. The tension that courses through me gets tiring.

I'm sure I'll have more to update later. I'm going to have a hiatus in ultrasounds again due to the New Year holiday. So, I have an ultrasound today and Friday, but then I won't have one again til Tuesday and Thursday. My OBGYN said I can go to the hospital for a BPP (biophysical profile) on the weekend if they see it as something that's necessary. Going to the hospital without an appointment always feels extreme.

More prayers are needed for stability in the varix (no growth and constant flow). And for my sanity.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

For any future moms out there

Just wanted to put it out there. In the 6th month, maybe sooner, your hips and back might start to hurt, especially because you are supposed to sleep on your side. My sister got the most amazing pregnancy pillow for me for Christmas, and since receiving this, I have slept like a baby. Really :). It's not inexpensive, but it IS an answer to getting blissful sleep.

If you look at the video on this link to the actual site, it apparently is something you can use after the baby is born. 

Here is what the wonderful pillow looks like: (and yes, it will add a third person to the husband is just very patient and understanding.)

Movement Junkie

So I'm 26 weeks today!! I still have to "take it easy" and rest all the time...but I'm not in the hospital again as of now! For those of you who are curious as to the development of a baby, here you go:
The size of an average baby at 26 weeks  

So, that's the size. Here's what's going on:

  • The eyes are forming, and will soon start to open.
  • Eyelashes are now grown, too.
  • The baby is getting the immune system ready for life on the outside by soaking up your antibodies.
  • They are taking breaths, too. They're of amniotic fluid, not air, but it's still good practice.
Pretty cool, huh?,

They are also moving a lot at this point. Sometimes, though, you don't feel movement for awhile. This is when I become a movement junkie. I'll do anything to get a movement going. I'll eat a piece of candy and then lay on my right side. I KNOW you're supposed to lay on your left side, but I really want to feel movement. Then, I'll feel a hint of a kick and decide I want another kick. I'll poke at my stomach and wait for a response. There is something so reassuring about those kicks. Then again, it's a little strange to feel the kick in the first place. That reminder that there is a human inside is slightly creepy.

That's all for today :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More goodness!

Well today was pretty good!! I'm feeling good about it. I went in today to the Center and was told by the receptionist that Dr.N was there. Okay, I began to feel fear creep up into me. I was prepared for Dr. B...not Dr. N. Dr. N admitted me to the hospital and told me scary stories. I took a deep breath and immediately began praying. I mean, I was really scared!

Well, M (the sonographer) was there again (thank goodness!!!) to do my sonogram, and she began looking at the baby. The baby started kicking as soon as the sonogram started, and she even felt the baby kick. Then she started measuring (they do that once every 2 weeks), and the baby is measuring 2 lbs 3 oz!!! Yay for the little one being in the 66th percentile!! So, as of now, the varix has not affected growth. That is truly amazing. We're going to have to keep hoping and praying that the baby keeps growing and things continue as they are.

Then, I had to wait for the Doctor to come in, and when he did, I think I was holding my breath. He sat down and said that everything looked the same, and that he thought three times a week for ultrasounds was a good idea. I then exhaled and began my verbal diarrhea that is so common for me. Sometimes I wish I could just stop talking. I told him that I did offer to come in every day for ultrasounds. What? Why did I just say that? He completely surprised me and said that he thought that was too much, and he was glad that I was in the hospital for a couple of days so he could get some consistent results, but he thought the plan of action was fine.

Also, I was told that the size of the varix with millimeters is dependent on the angle in which the baby is.

All of that said, I left the ultrasound room feeling good. I haven't felt good like that in a while. I made appointments from now til Feb 1st, and then left the hospital.

So, today I feel good. It's raining and I'm home cuddled with my cats, I'm going to make pizzelles for Scott, and I get to just take it easy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A good day

Yesterday was a pretty good day. Of course, today I am waiting for it to all fall apart. I woke up at about 3 with the same terror that I woke up with in the hospital. I felt lost and scared and just with the same hopelessness. No idea why. I've been working to fight it all morning.

So, yesterday I went back to the hospital. I almost packed a bag just in case I was admitted again. I got to the Center and the receptionists were so nice. They asked me about my weekend and wanted to know if I made it to Scott's graduation. Then, I waited for about 30 minutes. My favorite sonographer, M, came out, and I was really relieved to see her. She began the ultrasound and the baby was very active, practicing breathing, good heartbeat, lots of blood flow, etc.  M even measured the baby's foot for me, and it was an adorable 5+ cm. That's a good sized foot, in my opinion!! Then, I got to wait for the doctor. Thank GOODNESS it was Dr. D, so that was super relieving. They should have checked my heart rate...I'm sure it was less spiked than it was during my hospital stay!

Dr. D came in and told me that the baby was doing wonderfully. She did measure the varix, though, and at one point it measured 1 cm 3 mm again. She said it might be the angle and didn't seem too worried. Of course, I'm worried for the both of us. The flow looked great though and was filling up the varix, so that's a good thing.

Movement yesterday, feeling wise, was minimal. But, I was told that the baby is kicking directly into the placenta, so there's more cushioning. This morning, the movement is minimal again. I really need to just relax. (I've been trying...really, I have...)

When I got to my car I noticed I had a voicemail. It turns out that we finally have an offer on the townhouse. The offer was far too low, so we have counter-offered. Hopefully they'll agree. Then again, the thought of packing up this house is overwhelming. I suppose it won't get any less overwhelming.

This month feels like it's dragging by. January 3 is the beginning of my third trimester...28 weeks. It seems like it isn't far away, but each day feels like it takes forever.  As of today, I have 100 days left til I reach my due date. The due date used to be March 29th, but I won't make it that far. The furthest I'll go is 37 weeks. So, it's about 80 days left. God give me strength, and let this baby keep growing with the vein healthily flowing.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trying to stay sane

Life was just the same as I left it. Except the laundry hamper was a little fuller, the dishes piled a little higher, and the cats more affectionate. I can't blame Scott....he was there for me in the hospital constantly and provided so much support. But, there was a mess none-the-less.

Yesterday, Scott graduated from NC State with his Masters in Engineering. I'm so proud of him. All day, I didn't worry about the baby. The baby moved from the beginning of the day to the end, constantly kicking and flipping. Scott even felt one of the movements. Why would I worry when there is movement, right? Anyway, we spent the day with Mom and Kelly going to graduation and then out to eat. Then, we packed up to come to Mom's for Christmas (a week early, I know). I felt great.

Then, today happened. It's Christmas with the NC family today. Next week was supposed to be Christmas in Erie for both of us, but I can't Scott has to go on his own. :( Anyway, I woke up and ate a cookie and began my water drinking fest. The kicks were these little, VERY sporadic movements. I wanted to feel movement like I did yesterday.

I know worry doesn't do any good, and any movement is good movement. I have to remind myself that I'm only 25 weeks.

If I lay on my side, I feel a little movement...but it's so frustrating. Trying to turn off the voices of the doctors and trying to not worry. Not that it does a lot of good...because worrying is my specialty.

Anyway, there is a lot to be grateful for. I have been having an excellent Christmas with my family, and the gifts were well thought out and thoughtful. I'm going to miss Scott tremendously next week. Christmas without your husband is terrible. I certainly hope this baby appreciates this.

There's a little kick. But, when they are so little, you wonder...was that one??

I have an appointment tomorrow with the Center. Get to praying...those doctors scare me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Released on good behavior...

So here's the full story.

This morning I went in for an ultrasound, but the doctor wasn't there. So, at 11 I got called down for another one. I went, and was told by Dr. D that the baby had good blood flow, that the varix was only 1 cm 1mm (not 1 cm 4 mm), and that she didn't see a reason as to why I should be in the hospital. She wanted me to have 3 time a week ultrasounds, and we'll keep an eye on it from there.

What??!!! Stop. What's going on.

Okay. There are 4 doctors in this Center who are: Dr. N, Dr. B, Dr. M, and Dr. D. I won't put their real names on there 'cause there's just no reason to create a huge stir.

So. Dr.N had seen a few cases of the varix where there were really bad outcomes. He told me that a clot in the cord could happen when I was in the shower and my baby would die. Just like that. He admitted me to the hospital. Granted, he's nice and knowledgeable and obviously knows more than me. In his opinion, turbulence in the vein is a sign of imminent trouble. He said that if it were his wife, he'd do this action. He consulted with Dr. B, who is apathetic towards it all and just says: who knows what will happen. Not enough research. So I was admitted.

My OBGYN scratched his head and said: who am I to argue with a specialist? So, I was admitted.

I cried and did not fully understand. The first day I waited to find out my baby wasn't going to make it or was going to be delivered any second.

The second day, I went to the Center and was looked after by Dr. D. She had seen several cases of the varix and had never seen fetal demise. Hospitalization was a huge drastic step in her opinion. She measured the varix and looked at the flow and said: but you have to expect turbulence. That's the way it works.

No worries. I went sent back to my room. I cried and said: why am I here??? Is this baby going to be okay???

The third day, today, Dr. D saw me again and said...well, I already told you that in the beginning.

So now I start to panic. Am I going to go back Monday to be readmitted??? Who will I see? Dr. B who shrugs his shoulders? Dr. N who sees it as imminent death? Dr. D who says its fine? or Dr M who I've only seen once. What will they say? What will they see?

I hear the words of Dr. N and I'm scared. Leaving the hospital, where I wasn't happy, removed a huge safety net. No heart rate anymore. No daily ultrasounds. Will the baby survive? Will they catch a problem on time? Will there even be a problem? The fear becomes overwhelming.

So I'm home. I'm treasuring each kick I get and praying for more. I'm praying for more growth and no sign of clotting. I'm praying for a consensus from the Center doctors, because they are messing with my head.

I'm glad I get to go to Scott's graduation tomorrow. I'm glad I have Christmas on Sunday with my family. I'm glad to be with the cats and back in my home.

But I'm more scared than ever now, just with less misery. I'll keep blogging about this. I like it.

Day 3 of captivity

So let's begin with why I'm here. At 18 weeks of pregnancy, it was discovered that there was a varix on the vein in the umbilical cord of my baby. Of course, this led to complete fear for my husband and I, but at the time it was believed that this varix would lead only to low birth weight. We were sent to a hospital with stronger technology and the ability to verify what my OBGYN had found.

We went to the hospital the next day, and indeed they verified the 9 mm varix. What's a varix, you might wonder? Well, the vein in the umbilical cord has a dilated portion. Throughout the vein, it should be a consistent size. At 19 weeks, the smallest was 4 mm and the largest was 8 mm. The first doctor we saw at the hospital had a few negative experiences with an Umbilical Vein Varix. His first reaction was to admit me to the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. Why, you say? I mean, it was just about growth, right? No, now we are concerned about a possible blood clot. See, the blood goes through that smaller space and then funnels into that larger area. Should the blood begin to swirl, it could become thicker and create a clot. Or lead to very little growth. The blood wasn't just going from the small area to the large area, it goes back and forth.

After that first visit with the Maternal Fetal Care center at the hospital, the thought of a hospital stay was overwhelming. So, it was decided that I would return in a week, and then two weeks after that. While they kept an eye on the cord, viability was not possible until 24 weeks. Finally, 24 weeks arrived and I began a 3 time a week regiment of sonograms. After a mini-growth spurt for the baby, the cord vein measured 1 cm 2 mm. The smaller portion was 4.2 mm. The varix had grown, but the turbulence had not begun to show itself.

Finally, on the 14th, I went to my 8 am appointment and was examined. The measurement was 1 cm 4 mm, and turbulence was spotted. The first doctor who initially confirmed the varix decided that hospitalization was a definite need.

There is nothing scarier than the thought of being admitted to the hospital for 3 months. Each day, I would be uncertain as to if this would be the day of the baby's induced birth. Each day, I would wonder if a clot had occurred. As the doctor told me, I could take a shower and a clot could happen. I don't think he meant to scare me, but he did.

An Umbilical Vein Varix is not a common occurrence. In fact, it happens in 1 out of 2,300 pregnancies. It's a relatively new discovery because of the sonogram technology today. There are two recent studies, both with less than 20 participants each, and they say totally different things. One says not to worry and deliver at 37 weeks, the other says hospitalize and deliver at 34 weeks. I hope I make it that far. That's 2-3 months from now. I'm 25 weeks now. I've already been administered two doses of steroids to help the baby and prepare the lungs for an early delivery.

The nurses are wonderful. My mom and sister decorated the room. My dad came to visit. People stop by and visit all day. I'm allowed to walk. I get new pictures of my baby every day. I have lots of entertainment. I get to order 3 meals a day from a menu, and I'm not on dietary restrictions. I listen to the heartbeat three times a day for an hour each time. Those are the good points.

My husband graduates from NC State this weekend from grad school. I can't be there. Christmas will be in the hospital. I miss my cats. I miss cooking and cleaning. I miss driving and going to Target. I miss walking around. I fear which doctor will be in the fetal care center each day, because I never know how they'll read the varix. Yesterday and today, the doctor told me that she expected turbulence as physics would support, and that she had never seen fetal demise. I pray that I do not change that mindset for her. 

In short, I want to go home. But, will I? If I go home, it means my baby didn't make it or I have a tiny preemie. If I don't, I lose my life for 3 months. I miss cuddling with my husband and sitting on the couch watching TV with him...will this happen again?

I'm supposed to create a schedule for myself here in the hospital. So far I get up, shower, clean up the room, order breakfast, begin heart-rate monitoring. Then what? I can crochet, watch TV, color, play barrel of monkeys, walk the halls, read, play on the computer. But I feel sometimes like I'm going to have a panic attack. Like this hospital and the doctors are draining all life out of me. Nights and mornings are the worst. It's when I miss Scott the most. He stays here on Wednesdays and the weekends...but the days he's not here are scary. And he's on the couch..not close enough.

Granted, my OBGYN has been amazing checking in on me every day. So supportive. Like I said, the nurses are amazing too. I just wish I was home.

Oh, I did ask my doctor if I could just come in every day instead of this, and he said that if an emergency did occur, my being here could allow for a quick c-section or emergency delivery. If I came in every day, that would not be would take much longer.
Currently, I'm waiting to hear about what's going to happen on the weekends. No one knows. The Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors don't want to come in on the weekends, even though they are on call. They admitted's not that hard to just come in for an hour...and there's 4 of them.

So far today, I woke up to a loud code red at 6:40 am. I showered at 7. At 8, I went for my sonogram. At 9, I had the heart rate monitoring. At 10, I ate breakfast and then a church friend of my Mom's stopped by and prayed with me. I really appreciated that. Now, I blog. I think this might be cathartic. Lots of people ask what's going on, but I just can't repeat it over and over. It hurts too much and I end up crying. Mom should stop by soon, and then maybe I'll get to walk. I'm really looking forward to Scott spending the night tonight.

Right now, I miss wearing my wedding rings. I miss my freedom. I hope and pray this baby is safe.