Saturday, June 26, 2010

Some Days

I feel like I have this need to prepare for all side of all possibilities. Unfortunately that has meant looking into things like newborn hospice and funerals and other heartwrenching things that one never wants to think about when thinking of their soon to be born baby. Do I need to be preparing with a crib or a casket? Should I buy little diapers or will they just be a reminder on the top shelf of the closet that the baby who should be wearing them isn't here? Some days I process it all logically, some days it's all emotional. Every day it's daunting.

But honestly, with all the doom and gloom that we have encountered from some drs, we know it's a possibility, and hopefully at least looking into these things ahead of time will help if we are faced with some of those things.
While we are optimistic right now, and so is our main dr, we still can't know.

One of the message boards I read is for women who have carried a pregnancy to term despite a poor or fatal diagnosis for their baby. That lucky group of women who have had their drs offer them a termination. Heck of a club to belong to. It's very hard to read some days, very encouraging on other days. And honestly, I find it oddly comforting to read through the experiences of these women as they deal with the end of pregnancy, giving birth to their child, and dealing with the weeks and months following. It's nice to know that there are others who sit in the middle of the unknown. It is nice to know that there are some who have babies that prove the drs wrong- the miracle babies. It is also nice to know that a whole range of emotions is normal through this whole process.
I haven't ever posted there because I am hopeful that I won't need to be on a "grief and loss" board. That things will be fine, that my baby will live for a long time. I don't want to be the one reminding them that they didn't get to be one of the lucky one's whose baby lived despite what drs told them. So I lurk, and glean, and hope for a miracle.

Today I linked from this board to someone's blog. She lost her baby 6 months ago to Trisomy 18. I can't number the blogs I have read over the past 13 weeks detailing experiences of those who have had babies with hydrocephalus, those with a host of other issues in addition to hydro, some who continually prove drs wrong, some who struggle through life on a daily basis. And blogs of those who have other fatal or poor prognosis given for their baby. Those who have been through the stress and strife of wondering if their child will be ok, only to have to let go of their baby and send them back home entirely too soon.

I don't know if I thought it would get easier to read through others' experiences. It doesn't. Each time I read through the emotions from these mothers who are going through their own grief, it brings me to tears. Today I sat and cried as I read through this woman's recent experience, of her conversations with her 4yr old daughter about the child their family just lost.
Sometimes I feel far removed from it, the way I did when I read of someone who knew their child would die within hours of birth two years ago when I was pregnant with a perfectly healthy child.
I remember wondering at that time if I would be up to a task so great as to carrying a pregnancy knowing I would have to let go. If I would be strong enough to be willing to walk in that woman's shoes.

I still wonder.

I wonder if I am up to the task before me. I wonder if that task for me is having the strength to let go, or the strength to carry on. I wonder how much time we will have with our son; if it will be minutes, days, or years. I wonder how it will affect our other children. I wonder which drs he will prove wrong....will it be the drs who presented the worst case scenarios in the beginning, or those who have been more hopeful and encouraging.

So many I long for answers.

Some day they will come.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Still waiting.......

It's almost 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. I'm thinking that the odds are very much on the side of not hearing back from Perinatology today about the MRI results.

Another long weekend of waiting. Hopefully Monday will bring some news.

I keep thinking of when my Peri said (last Thursday), "I'm leading committee tomorrow with Perinatology, Neonatology and Radiology, so if things are pretty clear cut and easy to see and we have a chance to go over it, I may be able to call you tomorrow afternoon." That "tomorrow afternoon" was a week ago.

I'm trying to convince myself that they are just very busy (which I KNOW they are), they are dealing with some very rare cases (which I also know they are, especially since I've connected online with a woman whose baby is one of those cases), and that just because I haven't heard anything yet doesn't necessarily mean things are that much worse than we've seen previously and not "clear cut and easy to see". *sigh*
A couple of the days this week I've been fairly convincing. A few others, not so much.

So now we wait.
And pray for patience.
And hope for a phone call on Monday.


My husband has had a couple of days off work this week. It's been wonderful.

One of the best things is actually hanging out in bed for a bit in the morning. Usually he's gone by 5:30 every morning, and let's be honest, that's not exactly a lounging around in bed hanging out talking kind of hour. Especially if one of you isn't much of a morning person.

So this morning as we were just laying there talking about nothing, we decided to do some math.
As of today I have been pregnant for 2121 days. 303 weeks.

That's kind of a long time.

(I did realize later that this doesn't include the weeks from the pregnancy that I miscarried. But since very few people knew about that anyway, that's ok!)

I'm a numbers geek.

I notice weird things; like the fact that my almost 2yr old stepped on the scale this morning and weighed in at a whopping 23lbs.
And when I saw the 23 I realized that today she is 23 months old. 23lbs at 23months.
Would have been even cooler if today were the 23rd, but that's ok.

Anyway, I like numbers. Not that I've really been able to pick my kids bdays-even the ones with which I was induced since the dr's schedule kind of dictated that more than my preference. If so my 3rd child would have been born on 11/1/01 instead of 10/30/01. But the whole 10/01 thing was ok.

Yes I know, I have problems.

Back to the point-
Since all those 7s and 3s and 21s line up today (2121 days, divided by 7 = 303 weeks), and we are aiming for a vaginal delivery to avoid a section-which the dr has mentioned is perfectly feasible around 35-36wks if head size is still within possible range, I'm thinking that 7/21 would be a great birthday. That puts me right in between 35 and 36, and gives me a few weeks left in pregnancy to feel like I'm ready for this whole process to begin.

I don't think I'll really be ready for this whole thing no matter when it happens, but hey, we can pretend.

Run, Run as fast as you can-31 weeks

Still running. And it still feels good.

This morning I had the rare treat of running with my Love. With my husband off work for a couple of days, I dragged him out with me. We kind of ran together a few times last year when we were gearing up for triathlons, but since we run at a different pace, and I started pushing my distance when he was keeping his lower, it didn't work very many times.

He hasn't run for months and is just breaking back into things again, so I figured this would be a perfect time to run together.

And it was!

It was so much fun to get out with him! He helped me keep a nice and even pace and I think I helped him push his distance just a bit further before he needed to stop to walk. Awwww, what a great team we make!

On the way back home after our turnaround (conveniently located at the playing fields with outhouses so I could make my now customary mid-run bathroom break), we hit a point where he was ready to walk. And since I was past my 2mile mark, my body had finally woken up. I desperately wanted to run. Not just keep on "running" at the pace we were holding, but actually run. He told me to go ahead.

(Not that I need my husband's permission to do something, but considering how well he knows me and the fact that I like to push things just a little too far, one of his jobs during the end of my pregnancies is to keep me in check so I don't injure myself, or cause problems for baby.)

I was a little nervous at first-I didn't want to set myself up for a letdown. I started out at our same pace as he slowed to a walk, realized I felt good, and kicked it up a notch. Then another. And another.

I have no idea how fast I went, I left the Garmin home again so I wasn't focused on the numbers and was paying attention to how I felt.

But wow, it felt like I was flying.

I haven't felt like I could really kick it up and RUN for months. It was so liberating!

And then I had the added convenience of him there to take my weekly belly picture for me so that I didn't have to drag out the tripod and use the timer. Yes!

31 weeks (and one day), fresh off a run:
It is good to feel good!

Appointment Update, full growth scan and the MRI

Another big round of appointments today.

I think I may be becoming somewhat of a morning person. Having to leave by 630 to get to my appointments has reminded me of how much I love Summer mornings. It reminds me of the early morning runs I took nearly every day last year. And of camping as a kid.
Good times.

But it only applies in the Summer. I'm still holding on to my "not a morning person" status for the dark and cold months.

Things began bright and early at 8am for a full growth ultrasound. I was flying solo today as Hubby had some meetings at work he needed to be in. I was ok, but I know he felt awful that he wasn't there. It was a little weird since he's been at every appointment for all the extra things going on this pregnancy. I did feel bad that he was missing the ultrasound.

Jo-the lovely sonographer we saw when we first transferred to this facility-was the lucky gal who got to peek into my belly today. I was glad it was her-she's a gem! She is so very good at going over every single little detail with me, generous with pictures, and takes her time to make sure we get to see everything.
This morning we got to see all sorts of fun things; We saw forehead movements, an eye open and close, and we saw his little mouth sucking away. Not sure what he was sucking at, but just to see that his body is able to do that brought a huge rush of relief to me. The unknowns of how much his brain has been affected by the pressure from the hydrocephalus are scary, so seeing him do something like making a sucking motion is such a treat! Jo also got a shot from an angle that was kind of a view of his shoulder and the back/side of his head. She stopped at that point and said "look! Do you see that fuzzy line along here? He has hair!"
It was beautiful!

We've never had late pregnancy ultrasounds with any of our other children and I am constantly amazed at just how much can be made out in a plain old 2D ultrasound.

His BPD is measuring just over 8cms, which is average for a baby at about 31wks, so just a few days ahead! His head circumference has increased at a greater level than in the past, which is a little scary, but still within an ok range. HC was measuring about 31cms, which is average for a 34wk fetus, so nearly 4 weeks ahead. He has been staying within a 2-3wks ahead range for the past 12 weeks, so seeing that range increase is a bit worrisome to me, especially when we are SO close to being able to deliver.
Our Perinatologist was absolutely thrilled with his measurements though; she is more concerned about the BPD number than the actual head circumference number, so since his BPD is in a great range, she is still very encouraging about delivery. She keeps mentioning if we get to 35-36wks we can do steroids for his lungs and go ahead and induce, so if his head stays in an ok range for just a little over one more month, we should be ok!

As far as I'm concerned, I'm still as boring as one could hope. In fact as the midwife (that I see each visit for standard pregnancy stuff before I see the Peri) was trying to get all of my information into their new computer system, she had a hard time even finding a label for me. Most high risk pregnancies are high risk because of issues with the mother, not the baby. It was kind of nice to watch her scrolling through a list of hundreds of issues and know that none of them apply to me. I ended up being flagged as "Unspecified Pregnancy Complication", with clarification of baby having hydrocephalus added in the extra fields. Nice.
I am measuring right on, which is wonderful because to be honest, I think I would be beyond uncomfortable if I was still hanging out at 6wks ahead. oy! I only gained one more pound over the past two weeks (I swear their scale must be broken), putting me up a total of 18lbs from my official pre-pregnancy weight, and 24lbs from my first pre-pregnancy weigh in. That works!!
My blood pressure was a whopping 96/58. Go me!

AFter the midwife came the Perinatologist, for a run down of Sam's scan and some info on the MRI. Everything looks fabulous with him. Still the issue of not being able to get a good vent measurement because of his position, but I will take him sitting head down over a clear cut measurement anyday!! We were able to measure one side, which came up at 18mm, but really can't tell how very accurate that is. Dr B was hopeful that we could know on the MRI soon, she mentioned that she is leading committee with Radiology, Neonatology and Perinatology tomorrow morning, so she was hoping to get a chance to go over the scans with them then and get the to Neurology as well and call us by that afternoon. Otherwise we are looking at likely about a week until we hear anything. Ok. I'll plan for the week and hope we hear by then.

At least I've learned to overestimate what I'm told by medical personel, and be pleasantly surprised if I hear back before my estimates.

After that I finally headed down to MRI.
Fun times for a slightly claustrophobic girl with an expanded girth.
And really, could those tubes be any smaller? I really don't think I'm that big of a person-maybe I'm just in denial. I get that my waist has increased what, probably 10 inches at this point?, but still, not that huge. With the brace thing they put over me to help facilitate the scan, I was scraping along the edge of the tube. Yes my hips have spread and I was kind of laying on my side, but still-ack!!
I aimed for keeping my eyes closed and hoped that the music I picked would help me not think about the fact that I was stuck in the middle of a long thin tube.
I could almost hear the music.
So I just kept my eyes closed and willed Sam to hold still so they could get all the pictures they needed from all the right angles and not take too long about it.
I survived.

And now we wait again.
Next appointment is in two more weeks, a big fat "yippee!" that I haven't had to bump to weekly monitoring yet. Especially with the nearly hour and a half drive.
Back at 32 weeks and 2 days. July 1st. Crossing that calendar line into July will be a huge relief. June is just too early to have to deliver, but July seems ok.

Holding out for 32 weeks.
Loving the squirmy little boy inside my belly.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


30 weeks.

So very, VERY nice to see a 3 in front there! Hang in there baby!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pillsbury Dough Boy

Charlotte's new favorite game. She'll do it anytime, but absolutely will not let the belly be when I'm outside working on the tan.
At least she is doing the giggling.

Reasoning in the pregnant brain

I had a movie pop up on Netflix today. One of those "Since you liked ___ and ____, we recommend this!" The movie? The Spirit of the Marathon.

Sounds good to me!

I had some busy work to do and was looking for a movie to have on in the background.

My line of thinking?
I love running. If I weren't pregnant I would be signed up for a couple of marathons for this season. Since I can't run every day at this point, and am really missing long runs and actually working towards an event, I would love to watch this documentary as it follows others doing the things I can't right now. Some inspiration would be great! Yes! Perfect movie to watch!

And then I cried through half of it.

Don't get me wrong, I would not trade pregnancy for anything in the world. And if being pregnant meant that I would never run again for the rest of my life, it's a trade I would be willing to make.
But there are days that I do miss that little part of the "normal" me.

I'm not sure why I thought that watching other people train, prepare for and run the marathon would help me feel better about not running right now myself. It didn't. It made me miss it. Even more.

But also made me darn sure that barring any serious complications that render me unable to do so, there will be marathons on the calendar for next year.

Never trust the logic of a hormonal emotional pregnant woman.

Icing on the cake-one more week! 29 weeks....

28 was a huge milestone. When this whole thing started at 18wks and change, I prayed for that milestone. 28 weeks is such a big deal; survival rates increase so much for babies at that point. I just needed to get to 28 weeks.

Anything beyond that would simply be a treat.

And it certainly is a treat!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

This week's appointment-head growth ultrasound

28wks and 2 days, next round of appointments.

This week it was only a head growth scan to check Samuel's BPD (bi-parietal diameter) and HC (head circumference).
And of course the standard pregnancy check up with the whole weight, blood pressure, "how are you feeling", etc, etc.

Good news #1: Samuel is still head down. A lot of hydro babies sit in a breech position because of increased head size. Feet in my ribs is a VERY good thing. I adore those little feet dancing along the top of my belly.

Good news #2: BPD is looking good, and HC is staying along the growth curve at about the same rate as previous. BPD is 7.7cms. It must be below 10cms or the possibility of a vaginal delivery is pretty much zero. 7.7 is good. HC is between 28-29cms depending on the angle, which puts it on par with the average size for a 31wk 5 day fetus. That's about 3wks ahead, which is pretty much how far ahead he has been measuring. That's still just fine.
We are so very grateful that there haven't been any huge jumps in his head size. It is such a relief!

Good news #3: I am as boring as boring can be. Weight: good. Blood pressure: good. Fundal height: now dead on! Midwife's suggestion: "just stay boring please!"

Due to Sam's head down position and the ossification of skull bones that jumps into high gear at this point in pregnancy, we were not able to get a good view-or measurement-of his ventricles. This worries me a little, as the focus has been on those vent measurements for this whole process. It's a little unnerving to walk out of appointments and NOT know how things have changed inside his head. This is where we count solely on hope and faith and prayer. And trust that things will work out just the way they need to. And rely on the beautiful amount of movement that our little guy gives us every day as an indicator that he's ok in there.

Back in 2 weeks for a full growth scan, check up with the midwife, and the Perinatologist, and the long-awaited MRI.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

28 weeks

28 weeks.

Do you have any idea how much the chances of survival of a preemie go up at 28 weeks? They are fabulous.

This is one of the milestones that I feared I would not hit. 10 weeks ago I prayed, I begged the heavens that I could be pregnant for this long. That I would make it long enough to really look and feel pregnant.

And here I am. It is a blissful feeling.

Samuel is active as can be, it is such a treat to feel him being so active every day. One of my favorite things every morning and night is to lay in bed and watch him jumping around. It is priceless.

I am so grateful to have made it this far. That our little baby is alive and doing quite well-all things considered. I am grateful to be healthy and that my body is holding up so well. Though this pregnancy has definitely been a challenge in a lot of new ways, it could very easily be so much more difficult. I feel beyond blessed.

I neglected to share the big old belly last week as I hit that 27 weeks, officially in the third trimester milestone. I'm adding it, because to me there appears to be a big change from last week to this week.
And this week, the grand and glorious 28 weeks:

Grow baby grow!
(I swear that shirt is a coral/peachy color and not the hunter orange that it appears. Yoga is great in the morning to help perk oneself up. Neon color is not.)