Sunday, October 9, 2011

Adventures in Babygrowing

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, I got the chance to get a first-hand glimpse of being a patient at the hospital I'll be delivering in.  At least, that's the positive side to the whole experience.

Friday night I was dozing on my couch, and got up to use the bathroom before heading to bed.  Much to my alarm, I saw quite a bit of bright pink blood.  I SO wanted to just head to bed (it was almost midnight), but thought with the issues I've had so far, I better call the clinic.  So I did, and when the on-call doc called me back, she advised me to head to the hospital to get everything checked out.  So I got dressed, gave my very bewildered pooch a snuggle, and left my house at midnight, calling my brother on the way so that someone knew where I was (he was heading home from work, so I knew he'd be awake). 

Thankfully mom and I had done a tour of the birth center a month ago, so I knew where to go.  I was a little emotional when I first got there, I think partly because I was still half-asleep!  The woman at the desk was super sweet and comforting, got me registered quickly and into a triage room.  Soon another very sweet nurse (NP or PA probably) came in, got me hooked up to the monitors, and I was much more relaxed.  She wrapped a belt type thing around me and found baby's heartbeat with a little probe, and I just lay there hooked up to that for awhile.  Heart rate was great, steadily around 145 and jumping up to the 160s when he moved around, which she said they like to see ("reactive" heart rate).  And zero contractions, so that was good too.

After awhile they were ready for me in the ultrasound room, so I got a wheelchair ride downstairs - quite the odd experience I gotta say.  (I might have ridden in one when I was 12, after an accident at the county fair when the greasy carney started a ride before my dad, brother and I were actually ON the ride, and we got thrown to the side and battered by flying fiberglass pods.  But my main memory from that was the ambulance ride.)  The very friendly sonographer got me all set up, and I once again got to see the little guy squirming inside me.  She was comforting when I mentioned a little concern about all the ultrasounds I'd been and will be getting, and said she looked at her little girl every week the last half of her pregnancy and she hasn't had any issues (she's over a year old).  Not that I'd advocate casual viewing, but it was reassuring and again, it does really feel like the benefits outweigh the risks.  Once again little dude looked just fine, and she even did an amnio measurement that came out slightly higher than my results at the perinatal clinic.  There's lots of variance between sonographers and equipment, but at least it didn't show me being a lot lower or anything.

So after being wheeled back up to the triage room, hooked on the heart rate monitors again and dozing for a little while, the nurse came in and said the results all looked good, she'd called the on-call doc and said to just head home, take it easy, no heavy lifting, etc, etc.  All good news, except no one seems to know why I keep spotting and/or bleeding!! And I know that is not all that rare, some women just bleed during pregnancy.  It's so hard to know the right course of action when it happens.  Knowing it's not that abnormal, it feels a little paranoid to rush in every time I see it.  Yet, I left it to the dr's call, and she's the one who recommended it.  And I've got a couple issues to be concerned about now, plus I'm high-risk just based on my age, so it's scary to ignore those kinds of things.  Next time, if the exact same thing happens, I'd maybe sleep on it and hold off on calling the clinic until the next morning, or at least a few hours later, to see if I was still bleeding (it stopped pretty quickly).  Yet there's always that fear that inaction could cause problems, and how horrible would I feel then?

Anyhoo, all seems fine now, I'm taking it easy all weekend, felt bad about canceling plans with friends last night but decided it was the best thing to do.  Unfortunately my house shows the signs of "taking it easy" and the housecleaning elves have yet to appear.  I'll do a few light tasks today though and hopefully make some progress gradually. 

There is definitely a comfort in being more familiar with the hospital now.  Everyone there was so great, and I think next time I go - whether it's for the big event, or a concern before then - I'll know more what to expect, and that's a calming thought.

When I got home about 3am Saturday to my yelping pooch (who had only been alone about a half hour before my brother got here), I came up to my room to find this evidence of his distress.  Thought I'd post so Jodie and Mom know what they might expect to find in my house, should I happen to go into labor and leave in the middle of the night when he's at my place. 

Thankfully he only destroyed August and September, but he sure did a number on the wire!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

My little man!

Yep, It's a Boy! I couldn't be more excited!  Which I'm sure is how I'd feel if I found out I was having a girl:)  Bottom line is it's just really fun to know, to begin to picture the little person growing inside of me, focus in on names, and to start picking out some fun little boy clothes, toys and nursery things. 

Of course I've known now for almost a month... I really hope I get better at blogging one of these days. 

The only negative of my Level II was that I found out I had something called a circumvallate placenta.  One edge of the placenta isn't smooth to the wall of the uterus, but has a little ridge.  This only occurs in 1-2 % of pregancies and doesn't sound like a major problem, but means extra monitoring later in pregnancy to be sure the cord stays attached properly to the placenta.  Otherwise, the little guy looked great! 

Then I had a little scare this week, and still a bit concerned, but focusing on staying positive and accepting there are just some things I can't control (thanks to some sage advice from a couple great friends!)  Tuesday I had a little spotting, then some lower ab pain, so I called my clinic and they wanted me to come in.  They checked my cervix and everything looked fine, but then on the ultrasound, the NP had a hard time seeing the little guy and was concerned my amniotic fluid was low.  She also came up with measurements almost a week smaller than his gestational age - well within the normal range, but that scared me since he was almost a week bigger 3 weeks ago at the Level II.  So they referred me to the Perinatalogist... it could have taken a few days to get in there, but thanks to connections (my friend's cousin rocks!), I got in the next afternoon with a fabulous doctor.  They redid all the measurements and thoroughly checked the anatomy again, and everything there was very reassuring.  He was back to being about a week "big", and all organs showing great functionality, everything flowing perfectly.  They did determine I am just under the normal range for the amniotic fluid though - which to me seems like I'm really low, since the normal range goes down to the 5th percentile.  Still, the biggest concerns there are baby is functioning or growing properly, and neither of those is the case.  I'll go back in 3 weeks for another ultrasound, and will just be drinking tons of fluids (the only thing they can recommend that might help) and keeping my fingers crossed that I'm back up to "normal" - or at least not any lower.

Then there's my concern about having so many ultrasounds in general.  Western medicine seems to say they're totally harmless, but I've also seen plenty of perspectives saying they can lead to ear infections and/or hearing loss, or even interfering with brain waves.  But how do I not do them when there are real issues here to be monitored?  So far it feels like the benefits outweigh the risks.

During the 24 hours between my appointments, I was put on very limited activity.  Luckily the perinatalogist said normal activity is just fine, but that whole experience was a wake-up call for how hard things may be if I do get put on bed rest early.  The other SMC in my group who is pregnant right now - 35 weeks - is on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy, they're hoping to get her to 37 weeks.  With everything that I've found out so far, the placenta and amnio issues, that's a real possibility for me too.  I just hope I can get things done in my house to a place where that will work.  Then there's work - if I'm doing my normal day-to-day job, I think I could pretty much do that on bed rest, depending on the level of "rest" that's needed.  But if I have to be in the office interviewing and training, that's not much of a possibility.  But again, such things are not within my control, and I'll do whatever I need to make sure this little guy stays healthy!  Probably my biggest fear is needing to use FMLA before giving birth, and therefore taking away time I'll have with him after.  But I don't know exactly how that all works, and part of me says I'll take 12 weeks afterwards anyway... all FMLA is is job protection, and I just don't see them replacing me because I'm out an extra month!  Especially since the way it works in my company, it can take a month just to get a requisition approved.

Hmmm, what was that I said at the top?  Oh yeah, focus on the positives... it is hard when these concerns are running through my mind.  Yet overall I truly am feeling very positive.  I am so excited to be pregnant, to have this chance to be a mom like I've always known I should be.  I'm very fortunate that despite my romantic life not panning out like I'd hoped, I still have this chance.  The love and support from everyone around me is HUGE and makes such a difference.  My mom couldn't be more excited, my wonderful friends are so encouraging, my fabulous sisters are great supports... and recently I've come to appreciate big-time the benefit of my great brother, who has stepped up and helped out with all the heavy lifting and big house projects I can't take on anymore.  It takes a village... and I have an AMAZING village!!  I so can't wait to meet my little guy, and in the meantime, plan to enjoy everything I can about my pregnancy!

Lots more to write about but this is turning into a lengthy post.  I'll try to get back sooner next time!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pink or blue???

In four days, I will - hopefully! - find out if I'm having a girl or boy.  It's funny how anxious I am for this now, since for years I thought I wouldn't want to know until birth.  There are a couple reasons that changed.  The first was when I decided to do the single-mom thing.  Going it alone, I just feel like I need to be able to plan as much as possible, and have lots of time to buy, register for and organize baby's gear.  I'm also hoping to hit some of the late-season garage and consignment sales to save some pennies.  And even if I hadn't made the decision to find out when I started "trying", seeing the lack of variety of "neutral" baby things might have persuaded me!  I am far from a girly-girl, and while I'm sure if I'm having a girl I'll get some cute pink things, I won't be immersing her in a totally pink world.  I was way too much of a tom-boy growing up.  But even things that aren't uber-girly definitely have a "gender identity."  It feels like I'd have to wait on getting much of anything if I waited to find out.  It may be different if I planned on having a second too... in that case I'd try harder to find cute neutral things to save them for #2.  Since I'm not, I figure it gives me license to go girl... or boy!

So, what will it be?  Boy, or girl?  So far I think most people are predicting a boy... but is that because many of them are hoping it's a girl?!  Myself, I don't have a feeling either way.  Or, I should say, a consistent one... for awhile I think girl, then boy, then girl again.  The same is true for my preference I guess...  there are days I hope it's a girl and worry that I'll be sad if not, but then something changes and I think I'd be a great mom for a boy and how fun it would be to have a son.  On the girl side, I know my close bond with my own mom is one of the big draws.  Yet there's no guarantee my daughter and I would have the same relationship.  Of course little girl clothes are totally adorable.  But the dog-lover I am, there's defnitely more pooch-themed boy things!  And I think it would be so fun to have a boy, who would get great sports exposure in my family, but who I'd also expose to lots of things that aren't totally macho... music, dance, theater, art.  Overall, there are lots of silly reasons to want either one, and I feel I'm just so lucky to have a child period, I know I'll be thrilled either way.  Yeah, on a down day, I'll be sad to think I'll never have whatever I'm not having... but the blessing of this baby has helped keep the down days to a minimum, and I think finding out the gender will make it that much more real for me! 

One thing I'm sure of... boy or girl... once I find out this Wednesday, the shopping urge is going to be MUCH harder to resist!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Finally sharing the good news!

Not sure why it's taken me so long to get back to my blog, especially when I've actually had something very exciting to talk about.  Yes - on Thursday, May 12, I took a pregnancy test, and got my first big fat POSITIVE!  That was after testing three times earlier that week and getting BFNs, so it was a huge surprise.  And pretty humerous, since I tested at 10pm and the first test had just a faint line; I just had to test again... which meant driving to Walgreens, finding them closed, then over to Cub to get another test, rushing home only to be unable to pee again for a little while, and finally seeing the test that said Pregnant in black and white about 11pm. By that time, I was pretty damn giddy!

After that, I got blood tests at my clinic that Friday and Monday to confirm my hopes.  Since then, I've had 3 ultrasounds, including the first-trimester screening which came back great.  According to the first-day-of-last-period timeline, my official due date is January 21, 2012.  Now I'm just eagerly waiting for August 31, when I have my Level II ultrasound and (hopefully!) get to find out the gender!  I'm so happy that Mom is coming down to go to that with me, will be really fun to not be alone for that one:)

I shared my news with everyone gradually, and even now at 17 weeks, there are still some friends out there that probably don't know, but most do.  Everyone has been super supportive and excited for me, which has made things that much better.  Overall my pregnancy has been pretty smooth so far, I definitely had some queasiness late in my first trimester, and even occasionally still do - especially when it's really humid. But I never actually got sick, so I feel pretty fortunate in that way.  I had a lot of fatigue for several weeks, and while I can't say I feel a rush of energy now, at least I don't feel like I'm about to fall asleep 15 times a day.  I have a TON of things to do to get my house ready, so far the most stressed I've felt is when thinking about that.  I know as I get closer to the actual delivery that will change though!

I can't neglect to add that today is my pup Descartes (Boo)'s 9th birthday.  It's his last birthday as an only child!  I really wonder how he's going to react to the new addition to our family, and hope that having a baby in the house isn't too tough on him.... and of course, that he's not too tough on baby!  I figure it can be a good thing... and quelch my worries about having a "spoiled only child"... that baby will actually have a little competition in my furry first-born:)