Saturday, May 28, 2011

31 Weeks, Thank Goodness!

So this past week has been a little scary on the pregnancy front. It started out wonderfully, with a beautiful baby shower on Sunday, thrown by our family. We got just about everything we needed for little Owen and more. And seeing everyone after being on bedrest was really, really nice. But unfortunately, on Tuesday, reality came slapping us back in the face as the reason why we are considered high-risk reared it's ugly head: Pre-Term Labor (PTL).
Every Tuesday and Friday I go to my regular OB's office to be hooked up to the NST monitor where they watch babies heartbeat and check for contractions. On Tuesday I went in, just like any other day. Not feeling particularily different. However, once I sat down in the recliner and the test started, I began to notice something strange. I felt like the top of my uterus was squeezing on and off. When the nurse came back to check on me, I asked her if I was having contractions. She picked up the strip and looked it over and said "yep. I'm gonna go talk to Dr. Crain and see what she thinks of this". (Dr. Crain is the other attending OB at our office, my Dr. was in surgery that day). And of course, due to my history of classical c-section and premature rupture of membranes, I was told to go to the hospital.
So I went in to triage where my dad came and met me so he could help communicate with our family on what was going on (my hubby was trying to get out of work and my cell phone gets very little signal in the hospital). We spent the afternoon there where the nurses did a fetal fibro test to check for pre-term labor. It came back negative which was very good. However, that didn't solve the problem of the contractions which were coming about 2-4 minutes apart. Normally, a woman can have contractions and as long as she isn't dialating, it is ok. But for me, with my up and down incision on my uterus, the doctors don't want me to contract at all if possible due to the risk of rupture. And since I am on bloodthinners to boot, a rupture would be, very, very, bad.
At that point I was given a dose of procardia, a medication I already take, to try to calm my uterus down. When that didn't work, I was admitted and taken to Labor and Delivery. At that point the doctor decided to give me everything for the in the event that I did rupture and the baby would need to be taken. I was given steroids for the babies lungs and I was put on antibiotics to prevent infection. Then to help stop the contractions, I was put on a magnesium drip. Magnesium is a miserable medication to be on if you ever get the displeasure of experiencing it. Although it works, it makes you feel really yucky.
I spent that Wednesday in L&D waiting to be moved to a room on the antepartum floor since it seemed like the magnesium was starting to work, and the contractions were getting further and further apart. Eventually, they stopped and I was able to be taken off the magnesium and moved to the other room. I stayed there another night for observation. Thankfully, I woke up on Thursday and had made it to 31 weeks pregnant.
When I was discharged I was given new instructions for home. Whereas before, I was allowed to walk for periods of 10 minutes at a time, I am now no longer allowed to. I have bathroom privledges and I can be up to eat and I can go to my doctors appointments. The rest of the time, I am to rest as much as I can to keep my uterus calm. The doctor's new goal is to get us to 34 weeks pregnant, which is when a baby who is born early has a reduced risk of complications. I am hoping we can make it even further.
Here's to hoping we see week 32!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

It has been a really good week for baby Owen. We had our first two non-stress tests and he did very well at both of them. His daddy and I went to our second pre-natal class and learned all about natural childbirth. Then we followed that up by scheduling our c-section for July 14th, 2011 at 8:00am. Not trying to put natural childbirth down at all, we just have to have a repeat c-section since that was what we had with Jack. I would much rather have intense pain over the course of a few days, as opposed to a spinal block and full on surgery with an 8 week recovery time. But as long as Owen comes out fat and happy, and hopefully crying, it's all worth it.
I feel like we made a lot of progress forward, making it all the way to 30 weeks pregnant.
But then, that nagging worry creeps into my head. Am I getting too happy? Am I too excited about this baby? Will it all be for nothing? Will our loss come in some other form this time? Questions, questions, questions. They plague my every waking thought and dreams. And being at home on bedrest doesn't help distract me from these thoughts. Even when I am trying to work from home, I find myself drifting off into these "what if" scenarios. Not only do you have the normal first-time parent worries, you have the -we've experienced a loss before- worries. It is enough to make you want to buckle. And granted, writing for me is a release, so please don't send the Calvary after me. It's just good to put these thoughts down somewhere. To get them out.
I keep trying to stay positive. I try to remind myself that we are doing really well, the baby is growing and we have lots of love and support. Sometimes, I am able to conquer my fears with this technique. When I fail, I look for support by reminding myself of my friends who have gone on to have successful pregnancies. I re-read success stories from people I don't even know, that I find online. Just to refill my well of hope. But it is hard. It is so very hard.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Almost 30 Weeks

It's been a little while since I last posted. Our laptops video card died so I've been out of touch, but it was a good break and it came at an appropriate time too. It gave me some time to reconnect with the real world a bit since bedrest has had me for connected to the computer for the past few months. We spent mother's day honoring our first born son Jack, since it was also his first birthday away from us and this past Saturday we attended a memorial service at the hospital where he was born. Overall, I think it has been a healing couple of weeks. In Owen's world, we've been ever so busy.
Not only am I getting bigger as we approach week 30, but I am confident that he is too. This past week, he pressed his hand to the inside of my tummy and I could see its outline. It was so fast, that I really believe I should wear a helmet cam to catch these moments for his daddy to see. Owen's kicks in general are a lot stronger and we can actually watch him move around in my belly from the outside in the evening when we are all relaxing. I enjoy this time a lot. I like getting to share his movements with Dustin so he feels connected to Owen too. We missed this phase of pregnancy with Jack, and it's been a real gift and blessing to able to experience these things. I always tell myself that, even if the worst happens to us again, I will always remember these times because they have brought us so much joy. I think Owen has showed us how to be happy again, how to be happy in our new skins.
In the medical outlook for us, this week begins our twice weekly non-stress tests every Tuesday and Friday morning. For those who don't know, an NST involves you basically being hooked up to a heart beat monitor and movement monitor for a certain period of time at your doctors office. If the babies heart rate and movement meet the criteria the doctor is looking for at the time, and everything else checks out ok, you get to leave. But, if the doctor isn't satisfied by something, either the baby isn't moving as much as they'd like or the heart rate isn't normal you get sent to the hospital for further evaluation. I believe (and this is an assumption, I'm not sure) that most people in the high-risk category do the NST's. I'm not sure if you would get them as often or at all, for a normal pregnancy. Either way, I'm happy to sit in a lazy boy recliner for a half an hour twice a week listening to my babies heart beat :)
We also have our next prenatal class this Tuesday which promises to be super fun. We're going to be going over all of the stages of labor and even though we are having a c-section, I'm excited to learn about it. Last week we learned mostly about the anatomy of a pregnancy and pregnancy exercises as well as what to look for in case of preterm labor. It was hard to be at that class because it was Jack's angelversary, but we managed to make it through. I'm hoping this week is a little more gentle on us emotionally.
Lastly, Friday is our next OB appointment and I am hoping to get the doctor to nail down which week he will be removing our cerclage. Because after that comes out, the baby can theoretically determine when he wants to come on his own. (Well he could do that now too, hopefully not yet though!). We talked about the dates for our c-section at the last appointment and it is looking like July 14th or possibly the 15th will be Owen's birthday. That will be when we hit 38 weeks pregnant and it's as far as our OB will allow us to go due to my uterus being scarred from my previous classical c-section.
Whew! This turned out to be a long one. Sorry ya'll! I'm playing catch up here. Thanks for reading, as always.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Milestone Coming to Pass

As of this Thursday, we will be 28 weeks (7 months) pregnant. This has been a long time goal of ours because, as our high-risk doctor puts it, you reach "take home" viability. It seems so odd to me that during my first pregnancy, I would have never worried about not actually taking our baby home. And now, I am obsessed with it. That is what experience gives you though, aside from a new respect for life, it gives you a fear like you had never known before. So every step you take, every milestone you reach, is like a hesitant breath. You want to take a sigh of relief but you can't because you know there is still so much that can happen.

I think people who have not experienced the loss of child don't totally understand this kind of anxiety. If you mention something on facebook about your worry, generally, people who have not shared the experience give you answers like "it will be ok this time" and "don't worry, you'll be fine". Those who know what it is like however, will encourage you through each moment. Reminding you to take things one step and a time, because they know that there is not a guarantee and they won't try to promise you that there is one. And I do not wish more people understood how I felt, because that means they too would have had to have suffered this kind of loss. I only mention it here because I feel like other people who are going through a subsequent pregnancy after loss can relate. If you have really understanding or empathetic friends, hold on to those people. You will need them to keep you strong. And if you are fortunate enough to have a great family support system, that really helps the anxiety too.