Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scary Stuff

The other night I went to bed and fell asleep (which is amazing...because it usually takes me forever to fall asleep), then around 11:30pm I got a text message from a friend. Another friend of mine, who is pregnant (and due just a few days before me), was on her way to L&D for some scary stuff. I sent her a text message telling her I was thinking about her and her babies (twins), and then I tried to fall back asleep.

But I couldn't. I was scared for her and those babies. I knew what it would be like to have a baby born this early, 29 weeks is just waaaayyyy too early. I prayed her girls weren't making their entrance into the world and that they weren't going to spend the next possible 6-8 weeks in the NICU. I knew how scary a trip to the hospital was when you got there and things didn't go well. When I was sleeping, I was dreaming about preemies and NICU's and trips to the hospital.

I waited and waited the next day hoping to hear from her or my other friend saying things were ok. Finally I heard that although things didn't go great, they were under control. She was home (now on bed rest) and the babies were still where they need to be. I was so relieved and very excited when I finally heard from my friend herself.

What is so amazing to me, is that although I think of her as my friend, we have never actually met in person. She's part of my mom's group, but unfortunately has never been able to attend and event. What has brought us together is not only our very close due dates, but we are both experiencing very tough pregnancies. We have each had our share of obstacles (some similar some very different). And although we've never met, I definitely think of her as a good friend.

Please keep my friend Melissa and her girls in your prayers!

Friday, January 29, 2010

29 Weeks

Yay for 29 weeks!
Baby Boy 29 weeks 2 days
Julianna 29 weeks 3 days (10 days old)

2 Year Check-Up

Julianna had her 2 year well child check-up today. I started her morning by telling her this was going to be an easy visit. No shots today! I was so wrong. She did fabulous for her check-up. She sat nice and still while Dr M. listened to her heart and looked at her eyes and ears. And then she asked Julianna if she could look in her mouth and Julianna stuck out her tongue and said "AAAAHHHH" What a good girl! There was no screaming and clinging to mommy or daddy. This was by far her best visit to the pediatrician...EVER!

Then, we found out she needed her second dose of her Hep A vaccine. Not too bad, just one shot. She did scream and cling to daddy for that, but only for about 10 seconds. Even better yet, was when we were given directions to go downstairs to the lab and get her blood drawn for lead screening (it was her first because she wasn't really mobile at her 1 year check-up) and to check for anemia (Julianna suffered from anemia of prematurity when she was a teeny tiny baby and Dr M. just wanted to make sure it wasn't coming back).

Wow! Was I surprised at her awesome behavior during the blood draw! She sat on daddy's lap and the nurse pricked her finger and squeezed 2 tiny vials of blood out of it, and Julianna didn't even flinch! Not a movement, not a whimper, nothing, nada. She actually kept talking to us during the whole thing! As a reward for her stellar behavior we stopped and got her some french fries on the way home...she was very excited!

Very proud of how grown-up she acted today!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Post Where I Have an Emotional Breakdown

*Disclaimer: This post is a completely emotional rant written by a crying hormonal pregnant woman.

Yesterday and today have been very emotional days for me. I am generally not a random crier, but today especially, the waterworks have been flowing. I feel like all the possible negative thoughts that I have been suppressing for the last 6 months have all bubbled to the top and needed to be let out. So here it is...my emotional outburst.

This pregnancy is stressful. I don't mean like kind of stressful, I mean keeps me up at night stressful. After I had my miscarriage back in June, I wanted to jump back onto the pregnancy wagon immediately. And we did, but that just caused me to stress for the first 12 weeks. I was terrified when I had an episode of bleeding. I would lay in bed at night praying to make it to 12 weeks.

Once I hit 12 weeks a whole new set of worries came up. Please let my cervix hold up. Please don't let me go into preterm labor before 24 weeks. At 22 weeks when I needed my cerclage I was scared of all the risks involved, but knew without it, this baby wouldn't have made it. I needed to make it to 24 weeks in order to have a viable baby. And even then, if this baby was born, it would most likely have significant medical problems, some that could be lifelong, and would require a very lengthy NICU stay.

At 24 weeks, I thought I would breath a little easier, but I didn't. My fears grew stronger as I came closer to the 27 week mark. Now I knew what to expect if the baby was born. And knowing was so hard. I knew what would happen in the NICU, all the ultrasounds to check for brain bleeds, heart monitors, episodes of apnea, bradycardia, ventilators, CPAP, O2, possible PDA, jaundice, infections, IV lines...it scares me so much to have another baby go through that.

When I got an infection at 26 weeks (from my cerclage placement) and started having contractions, I put on a brave face and told everyone I was fine. But I wasn't. I was terrified of Baby K being born that early. Even though my infection is gone, I am still have contractions on a daily basis and constantly pray Baby K stays put.

I thought getting passed that 27 weeks 6 days mark would start to make me feel better. But it didn't. I mean, I feel so much better that this baby has already had a week longer in my belly than Julianna, but I know how hard things would still be at this point. It would be a long tough road for him.

I start a diabetic diet tomorrow, this will probably be the easiest obstacle to overcome. I mean women deal with gestational diabetes all the time and everything is fine. But unfortunately, it ups my odds for preterm labor a little and I don't need those odds to be any higher. I don't need anything else to complicate this pregnancy...I have enough already.

I want to scream when I hear other moms complain about their completely normal textbook pregnancy (sorry pregnant friends, this is just included in my rant...I am THRILLED none of you have to experience this...I wouldn't wish it on anyone! So please don't think I don't want to hear about your pregnancy...I do!) while I desperately long for a normal pregnancy, one where I don't worry about when my baby will be born and if he will survive if he comes too soon.

And with all this stress over keeping Baby K safe in my belly, there is the stress of taking care of Julianna. Not that she is stressful (well most of the time she isn't), but by being put on bed rest again, it means I have to find people to watch Julianna whenever Joe is at work. I miss her when she's gone for 48 hrs a time. And I hate that other people have to do my job. That I cannot be the one hugging her and picking her up and tucking her into bed at night. She already has quit coming to me when she wants things and goes to Joe instead. It breaks my heart that she realizes I can't help her when she needs me to.

This is stress on Joe too. He doesn't show it much , but I know it is. I feel awful that he has to do all the housework, and the laundry, and take care of Julianna, and do the grocery shopping, and cook the meals, and works 2 jobs on top of all of it. I appreciate everything he does and tell him that as often as I can, but it is stressful.

I know how important these next few months are for Baby K and I will do everything I have to to make sure he stays put, but I am really ready to be done with this pregnancy. I am ready for all this stress to go away. I am ready to exchange my sleepless nights from worry for sleepless night due to a crying baby. I am ready to pick up Julianna and give her a big hug. I am ready for Joe to be able to have some free time for himself. I am ready to be our family of 4, not 3 and 1 any day. I am ready to stop worrying so much.

I am ready to stop being scared all the time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Good and the Bad

THE GOOD:
Julianna's weight gain is still on track! Her dietitian came this morning and did a weight check and she was over 25lbs! (I knew this though because of her NICU follow-up). So she will no longer see the dietitian (unless I feel there's an issue)! Yay for Julianna!

THE BAD:
I had another OB appointment this afternoon. It did not go the way I would have liked. First off, I have gestational diabetes. Poop. I was really hoping I had passed my 3hr test considering I barely failed my 1hr, but no such luck. I meet with a dietitian on Thursday to discuss my "diet" and to learn how to test my blood sugar...YUCK!

Because I didn't pass my 3hr test, I now have to deal with hospitalization when I get my steroid shots...double poop. I have another appointment next Tuesday with my normal OB, Dr. O, to discuss the shots and how he wants to proceed. I will be glad to see Dr. O again. I like Dr. C, but will still feel better with my normal OB again.

So, now I am high-risk for about a bazillion reasons. I also now have even more restrictions. No housework at all, no lifting (this one isn't new), "sleep in late & go to bed early" and lay down whenever I can.

The only good news I had this appointment is that I will be getting another ultrasound next week. It's been over a month since my last one (I am supposed to have one at every appointment to monitor my cervix, but haven't for some reason lately). So, I will get to see little nameless Baby K again!

I am having a very defeated pregnancy day. I need to look at the positives...I am almost 29 weeks! This kid has almost a whole week longer in my belly than Julianna!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Week's Worth of Celebrating!

I wish when I was little my birthday celebrations lasted almost a whole week! Julianna's did this year. It all started on her birthday, last Tuesday, when she got her birthday present from us, her kitchen made by daddy and Grandpa K & her apron and chef's hat made by me.

Little Miss Susie Homemaker in action

So stinkin' cute!
Then on Wednesday, Erin brought Ian & Ellie over to give Julianna her gift. They also brought yummy birthday cupcakes.
Mmmmm
Ellie thoroughly enjoyed her cupcake.
Ian like the rings from on top of the cupcakes the best.
Then yesterday, we had Julianna's birthday dinner with her grandparents. This is when she got her birthday cake. Please excuse the slightly crooked cake...I can never seem to get cakes level! She also got the rest of her birthday presents from family.
I think she may be drooling
She stayed miraculously clean while eating her cake!

Even though we didn't have an actual birthday party for her, I think Julianna loved her week of celebrating just as much!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Spohrs Have Multiplied

Congratulations go out to Mike & Heather Spohr of the blog "The Spohrs are Multiplying". Their baby girl, Annabel Violet, was born yesterday at 5:35pm. Heather & Mike's oldest daughter, Maddie was born at 28 weeks back in Nov 2007, and sadly passed away very unexpectedly last April at 17 months old, due to issues related to her prematurity. Heather and Mike have worked very hard to give "Binky" aka Annabel, a longer gestation than her big sister. Heather was 2 days shy of 37 weeks when Annabel was born.

Congrats Mike & Heather!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

All Girl

Julianna got some dress-up clothes for her birthday from Aunt Erin, Uncle Jason, Ian & Ellie. Aunt Erin made her the tutu! She looooved the gift!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Uncharted Territory

WAHOO! Today I am 28 weeks pregnant with Baby K! He already has 24 more hours in my belly than his big sister did! From here on out it's all new to me. I have no idea what to expect. While some moms are dreading their third trimester I am celebrating mine! We (my OB, myself & Joe) have been working sooo hard to get him to this point and we will keep working hard to make sure he stays put as long as possible.

My contractions haven't really gotten any better, in fact yesterday was really bad. Once I get the results from my 3hr glucose test (hopefully today or tomorrow), I will get scheduled for steroid shots (Celestone). Dr C. wants me to have them just in case I deliver early, and I couldn't agree more! I will do anything to give Baby K a better chance!

One of the blogs I read before I got pregnant (when I was researching cerclages and other treatments for me) showed a picture each week of her belly with baby #2 still in it and a picture of her daughter at the same gestation (but already born and in the NICU). I loved the idea and decided then, that I would do the same. I am cheating a little bit by one day.
Today Baby K is 28 weeks 1 day!

Julianna at 28 weeks 2 days.

I had to use this picture of Julianna for a few reasons. The first is because it was taken exactly 2 yrs ago today. The second is because it really shows just how tiny she was. And third, it was the first time I got to hold her! I finally got to hold my baby girl when she was 2 days old.

I wasn't expecting to hold her that day. Joe wheeled me down to the NICU and the nurse was in her room. She asked me when I needed to be back to my room to pump again, and when I told her I had about an hour, she got Julianna out and handed her to me. AAAAHHHH! I was terrified and so excited and I still really couldn't believe I was about to hold a baby that should have been safe in my belly still. It was the most amazing moment!

I only cried a handful of times from the moment I was told I would be having my baby at 1 day shy of 28 weeks, until she was discharged from the NICU, but today, trying to decide what picture to post, I cried. It could be the pregnancy hormones. But I couldn't help but think what a miracle Julianna is and how much I want this baby to make it to full term and not deal with the hardships she has had.

I am so thrilled to be in this uncharted territory and to finally be experiencing a pregnancy in its third trimester.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1/20/2010

Today, I am 27 weeks 6 days and a big bundle of emotions and nerves. I think it will be a long day.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2 Years

Wow I can't believe how far Julianna has come in the last 2 years! Today is her birthday and she has shown us what an amazing and strong little girl she is right from the start. I don't even know what all to say about her. She is my miracle girl. I am so proud to be her mama!
Happy Birthday Julianna!
Mommy and Daddy love you sooooooo much!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

For My Little Chef

When I bake, I always wear an apron. I have about half a dozen different styles (you should see how hot they look on a pregnant mama). Julianna usually will get one out for herself and wants to wear it. She's my little chef. Julianna's birthday is Tuesday...wow...and we decided (more like I decided and roped Joe in) to build Julianna a play kitchen. Well, Joe and his dad built the kitchen, which is almost finished. I decided my part would be to complete some of the details on the kitchen and to make Julianna her very own apron and chef's hat.

I used the tutorial from Making It Fun to make her apron. I made a few modifications (like no pocket because I was afraid I wouldn't have enough fabric), but it was so easy to make. I think it took about 40 minutes start to finish.

Julianna's completed apron

Making it Fun also had a tutorial for making a chef's hat, but I couldn't get the PDF to open. So I used one from Skip To My Lou. It was super easy too! The only suggestion I would have is to make sure you have unscented dental floss (the pattern uses it to help gather the hat), Julianna's has a nice minty smell to it. :0)
Julianna's completed chef's hat
I am so excited about how they turned out and I can't wait until we can give Julianna her birthday present! I know she will love it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Forced Laziness

Had another OB appointment today (yes, it is the second in just 4 days, and I have another on Tuesday). I did my 1hr glucose test, which I hate to say it, but the orange drink wasn't really that bad. Everyone told me how awful it was and I really didn't mind it. Anyway, I also got another sterile exam...OUCH! Which, besides not being fun, produced doctors orders for...dum dum dum...modified bed rest, or as Dr. C called it, "forced laziness".

I am not on strict bed rest, I can still get up to shower, get something to drink/eat, and do small chores (all of which family has already vetoed). But he specifically said he wants someone to watch Julianna during the day for me. He isn't too concerned about the nights, since we both should be sleeping at that time, but doesn't want me up and about all day with a toddler.

The bed rest is due to 2 reasons. First, is obviously because of my contractions (which are very strong now and quite painful at times), which have been brought on by my infection. But he thinks that my super active unnamed offspring (aka Baby K) is causing even more irritation to my womb, therefore causing the contractions to be stronger and more frequent. The second reason is because during my exam he noticed my cervix is very soft (probably as a result from all the contractions). Thankfully the cerclage is still holding and doesn't appear to be under any strain. So that is a good sign!

Dr C. is hoping that with a few days of bed rest (until next Tuesday) we can get the contractions under control and get some improvement in my cervix. If that happens it will be a short "forced laziness". I am hoping for that!

The Sweet Life

So after last week's glimpse at the terrible...I mean terrific...twos, my sweet little girl has returned! Last week it was as if a switched flipped in the middle of the night and we no longer had our sweet little girl, but a super moody mutant from another planet (just kidding)! We dealt with constant tantrums, hitting (not sure where that came from), refusing to nap or go to bed at night, not eating (so UNLIKE her), and a multitude of crazy behaviors.

Then Monday morning, as though the switch flipped back, my sweet girly returned! Maybe she sensed I wasn't feeling well and decided to give me a break. Or maybe she got tired of her "mean mommy". No matter the reason, she is back to napping, going to bed on time, eating all her food, no tantrums (well much fewer), and she is so content to play with her toys again. It is so nice to have Julianna back to normal!

Sweet!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Update on Contractions

Here's what's going on...

I am having contractions...pretty strong ones...but not regular, which is good. I have an infection, most likely from my cerclage placement, that is causing early pre-term labor...hence the contractions all weekend. I am on antibiotics to try and clear up the infection and hopefully stop the contractions. Good news is that because the contractions aren't regular they haven't affected my cervix or cerclage (if they did I would be considered in pre-term labor), so no bed rest still at this point.

They moved my 1 hour glucose test up to Thursday afternoon because if these meds don't help out by Friday, then the doctor wants to start me on Celestone, a steroid to help with Baby K's lung maturity, just in case I do end up delivering early. But I can't have Celestone until after my glucose test, not sure why.

I will have a follow-up next Tuesday to re-culture for the infection. In the mean time, I still have my same restrictions, with the addition of laying down if I have too many contractions. If the contractions haven't stopped by Thursday, or if they get worse within the next few days, then we'll move on to some more aggressive treatments.

On a side note, I LOVED the OB I saw today! It turns out he actually did my c-section when Julianna was born! He remembered me and asked how Julianna was. SO now the 3 doctors listed on my hospital paperwork from Julianna's birth all have been part of Baby K's pregnancy as well.

Things are a little to co-inky-dink for me. Almost the same due date...problems arising at almost the same time...same 3 doctors...I'll deliver at the same hospital...Baby K needs to be different and NOT follow in his sister's footsteps!

Contractions

Saturday afternoon I noticed Baby K being very "pushy" with my body parts, but didn't think anything of it. As the afternoon turned to evening I noticed it wasn't just him pushing, but my whole belly getting really hard. I immediately started trying to decide if they were contractions or not. I had BH contractions really early with Julianna (15 weeks) and with Baby K (13 weeks), and these were much stronger than the BH I had had. I put my feet up and drank a crap load of water, but they were still there, about 1 an hour. I wasn't too concerned since they weren't very frequent and I wasn't positive they were contractions.

(**Why wasn't I positive? Well, for those of you that may be new readers, I had a lot of contractions when I went into pre-term labor with Julianna, but HAD NO IDEA! So I really don't know what actual contractions feel like.)

I convinced myself they were not actual contractions. Then yesterday, they started again in the afternoon. Lying down didn't help. Drinking water didn't help. And when I was up they would get more frequent and stronger. For a few hours in the evening I was having them about every 30 minutes, regardless of what I was doing. I decided to wait it out until morning (since they still weren't very frequent and I could "talk through" them). Twice during the night I woke up to pretty strong ones and decided that, yes, they were contractions.

I called my OB's office this morning (but he's not there-I think he's out of the country, at least that's what I've heard) and told them what was going on. Well, of course they want me to come in. So I am sitting here waiting for my sister to get here to watch Julianna and at 1pm I will go see the new OB in the office. I have never seen him and am a little concerned he won't take my concerns seriously, but I am trying to be open-minded.

I am spending my morning planning for the worst (well the best version of the worst). I have a bag packed in case I get sent to the hospital. I have family lined up to take Julianna for a few days if I end up on bed rest again. Joe has already talked to his battalion in case he needs to leave work. I think I have all my bases covered. It seems that for all of my OB appointments I was prepared with bags packed in case I would get bad news, I never got any. The one time I did not prepared was when I found out I needed a cerclage. Now I know it's superstitious, but I would rather be ready just in case and then have things go really well.

26 weeks 4 days is just way to early...STAY PUT BABY K!!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hummy Hummy

This is what we see and hear when Julianna is "hummy" (aka hungry).

video

She moves her chair to the table and yells "hummy hummy" over and over until she gets some food...or we distract her until dinner.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

NICU Follow-Up

Julianna had her NICU follow-up appointment this morning. She goes once a year to check her progress. She sees Terry (dietitian), Stacy (her favorite OT!), Melanie (speech therapist), and a doctor. She stayed about where she has at all her appointments, her height and weight were between the 50-75th percentiles (adjusted age) and her head was...well we all know it's huge (90%!). She has gained 5 lbs since August! An amazing weight gain for any kid her age, but even better considering she didn't gain anything from last January until August!

We mentioned her choking issues to both Terry and Melanie. Terry was surprised that the choking (a daily occurrence-but not severe) didn't deter her appetite at all. Melanie thinks it may be a sensory issue. Melanie was also concerned with Julianna's speech. She has an enormous vocabulary for her age, 70+ words (should be between 40-50 words), but has yet to string any words together. Even adjusting for her prematurity, she should be saying at least 2 word sentences. She said she would really like her to get speech services through Eastgate or as out-patient (Julianna had a speech eval through Eastgate in August, and was shown to be behind, but not enough to qualify for therapy-I'll explain more in a later post).

Stacy, our FAVORITE OT, was so happy to see how well Julianna was doing. When she discharged Julianna last April, she still wasn't walking yet, and now Julianna is running everywhere. She was a little surprised Julianna isn't jumping yet, but wasn't concerned because her overall motor skills were right on track. We miss seeing Stacy, but are so happy that Julianna doesn't need to see her anymore.

We saw a new doctor (which was kind of sad because we thought we were going to see our favorite NICU doctor). He was great with Julianna! I think it is the first doctor she has seen in a year that she didn't scream and cry for. In fact, she smiled and laughed at him! He noticed some of the issues related to her PVL, some muscle tone issues and such, but overall he was very impressed with Julianna.

We go back to the clinic next January, and will repeat the whole process. Right now, Julianna's age still gets adjusted for prematurity. In other words all her developmental milestones (as well as height and weight) are looked at as though she were born on her due date. All the skills assessed were those of a 21 month old today, not an almost 24 month old. However, as of her 2nd birthday (in 2 weeks) she will no longer have her age adjusted. It will be weird to not adjust her age anymore.

We are so proud of how well Julianna is doing! We're also happy for how well all her NICU friends are doing too! Its amazing how far they have all come!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2 Kids...Am I Nuts???

There are moments when I am so excited about having 2 precious little kids...and then there's days like today...when I am scared out of my mind. Days when I get so completely frazzled by my toddler that I think, "Holy crap I must be nuts to add a newborn to this mix!" What event has made today so bad...one word...naptime.

Julianna had a great morning playing with the box from our new pack-n-play (I think all kids love big cardboard boxes), despite waking up to a diaper that leaked through her PJ's and all over her bed(thanks Joe for giving her the cup of water before bed). She ate a good lunch, and helped me clean up, then we headed up to bed, and it all went downhill. She has learned that mommy is not allowed to pick her up, and when she doesn't want to go where I want her to or do what I want her to, she goes limp and lays on the floor. She knows I basically have to leave her there until she decides to get up. She went limp 3 times on the way to her bed.

I finally got her into bed and covered her up, kissed her and told her to sleep good, turned and left the room closing the door behind me. Five minutes later I heard her door open (we put a gate at her doorway so she can't leave her room) and a sweet voice saying "mommy...love...mommy...love". This continued for about 15 minutes, then turned into screaming and crying, which I tried very hard to ignore. I went upstairs, and after a struggle, got her back in bed, covered her up, kissed her and left the room again.

Not even 5 minutes later, her door opened again. I heard her say "pewy...pewy". Which lately means she has a dirty diaper. Yep, so I changed her diaper, got her into bed a third time and repeated our routine...blanket...kiss...leave. I heard her get out of bed and start playing with some toys. Fine. She can play all she wants if she is being good and I am getting my quiet time. But then...CRASH! BANG! SMASH! CRASH! CRASH! CRASH! She was throwing all her toys over the gate in her doorway and onto the wood floor in the hallway.

So, for a 4th time I got her back into bed (it was now 50 minutes after I layed her down the first time!), but I layed down with her. I covered her up...kissed her...and pretended to fall asleep (I probably could have!). After 30 minutes of fingers poking my facial features and telling me what they were, little hands rubbing my arms, & "ticka ticka ticka"-ing me, the thumb went in the mouth (hers not mine), and she fell asleep!

I just told Joe last night that I am terrified of the first few months when he will be on shift and I will be alone with 2 kiddos for 24-48 hours at a time. I know I will be able to do it, that's not the issue, but my pre-planning self doesn't like that I will have to learn as I go. I want to make a plan now and prepare for how to handle days like today. Time to start letting go of my organized and structured self and embrace a chaotic but exciting new life.

Friday, January 1, 2010

NO! (In Julianna Speak...SNOW!)

Tuesday, we took Julianna outside to play in the snow for the first time ever (there was no way she was going out last winter). Here's some pics from the 20 minute excursion (that includes dressing time).

Ready to go out!
Our improvised sled.

Julianna loved it!


Pre-snowball to the face...happy

Post-snowball to the face...definitely NOT happy

This stuff is really cold.