Archive for the ‘medical stuff’ Category

Countdown…

June 17, 2010

Today it struck me that our baby will be here in just over three weeks…

THREE WEEKS.

Wow.

It feels like there’s a lot to do before then…  Just as I’m starting to feel that I’ve settled into a comfortable routine here with my parents, it’s time to prepare for more change.  T. will be back a week from tomorrow and that will shift things again, of course – hopefully we won’t feel too crowded with four adults and a toddler in a 900-square-foot house (1 bathroom!).  My mom’s been helping me sort through clothes and things – she has scoured the basement, cleaned and repaired a number of random household objects, and has become a favored playmate of V’s (although I still have my regular sitter watching her during the day).  Mom’s been doing all the laundry and cooking and dusting too.  She’s amazing.

Today I dropped off another 24-hour urine, last time in the “old” hospital.  They’ve built a new one that opens next Tuesday, which is where the Tadpole will be born, one way or another.  I have a c-section “tentatively” (my OB’s word) scheduled for July 7, but he’s willing to see how things progress towards a potential trial of labor.  I so appreciate his openness and flexibility – even if I do end up with another cesarean, it helps me feel more at peace about it knowing I’m not locked into it incontrovertibly.   Last week my parents did a little volunteer work at the new hospital and got a tour of the maternity wing – which I haven’t even seen yet!

I have been very, very thankful that V. is sleeping much better ever since I decided to try letting her sleep by herself (we were still co-sleeping up until the end of May).  It’s working, for the most part.  This morning she woke up at 5 (after falling asleep at 9:30 last night), but fell asleep again at around 6 for another 2 hours and woke up in a really good mood.  So it was ok.

Three weeks.  I can’t believe it.

so far so good!

June 11, 2010

I had another check-up today with the specialist at the fancy hospital, and he said he’s “amazed” at how well we are doing!  My proteinuria levels are basically back to normal, and my blood pressure is under control with the bedrest and medication.  I’m supposed to continue as I am with frequent monitoring until delivery.  We are now at 34 weeks and the baby looks great – estimated to weigh in at 6 lbs. 6 oz.

Such a relief.

Medical update

June 4, 2010

The good news is my proteinuria is down again – 240!  I feel validated that I’m taking good care of myself – and being cared for by a loving “village” as well.

Even so, my doc wants me to go back to the specialist at the fancy hospital an hour away next week, for another high-level u/s and second opinion again.  So my calendar is filling up with medical appointments:  Monday NST, Tuesday 24-hour urine, Wednesday NST, Thursday u/s.  It is starting to feel like a job.

They also went ahead and scheduled me for a cesarean at 38 weeks (+ 2 days) – July 7 at 10:00 a.m.  So he’s assuming I’m going to make it til then.  What I recall my doctors saying when V. was born is that past 37 weeks they don’t really see much point in letting the baby bake any longer, since by that point they generally do just fine outside the womb, and it just prolongs the period of high risk to the mother.  If I were to go into labor on my own naturally before then, the doc would just want to see how things progress but be prepared to go to cesarean if things stall out along the way.  Because of my previous c-section induction isn’t an option.

For the most part, I feel like I’ve made my peace with the idea of having another c-section.  In comparing notes with friends who’ve had emergency cesareans after long labor, it seems like having had the time to prepare mentally and emotionally before hand made a big difference for my peace of mind and ability to be emotionally and mentally present at the birth and to make sure that I had a say in some aspects of the process that were important to me – like ensuring that T. would be with the baby the whole time while I was in recovery, and that I’d spend as much time with her as possible as soon as possible.  I also think that the scare we had 2 weeks ago with the prospect of immediate delivery and a NICU stay put things in another perspective for me.  The fact that I’m experiencing pre-eclampsia for the second time makes me think that (at this advanced age anyway) – this is just the way my body handles pregnancy.  Perhaps I could have avoided it through better diet and exercise in the first and second trimesters… perhaps not.  I’ll never know.  There is no part of me (right now at least) that wants to do this again.

At the same time, when the nurse called me this afternoon to confirm the scheduled cesarean, a little part of me felt suddenly deflated and sad.  One of the ironies in the situation is that he has been consistently head-down since forever ago… if only V. had been head-down, I might have had a chance at an induced vaginal birth with her, and would have had the option for induction with this one too.  But that was something completely out of my control.

It is what it is.

So the cesarean is now scheduled for 2 weeks from when T. gets back from Albania, and 3 weeks before my parents leave, which is pretty much the best possible timing I could ask for.

Home bedrest

May 24, 2010

When we were in limbo, waiting for the proteinuria results, my husband said “well now you can imbue every moment at home with pathos.”  Indeed, I’m good at that!  I kept thinking “this could be my last shower at home… my last dinner at home… the last time I put my daughter to bed…” before hospitalization.

Now that I know I have some time – and blood pressures have been decent over the weekend, thankfully – there’s not as much pathos per se, but certainly I’m wringing all the pleasure I can from being at home and enjoying the company of my toddler.  Sure it’s not ideal that I have to lie on the couch or in bed, and I can’t play chase, or take her places, or even do the “Barnyard Dance” she keeps asking me for, but it’s such a pleasure to watch her play in the evenings after supper, before bed.  To eat breakfast with her in the mornings, looking at her books, talking about the day to come.

Over the next few days I may even be able to do a little work.  But right now I think I’m going to lie down again for a little bit before we go see the doctor again.  NST, ultrasound, BP check.  Here we go!

Great news!!!

May 22, 2010

My proteinuria is down to 284!!!  That is so much better than I had dared to hope for… I get to stay home!  I’m still to be on bedrest, drink fluids, monitor blood pressure, but I get to stay at home.  So happy right now.

oh my god (updated)

May 20, 2010

I just called my therapist’s office to cancel my appointment for Monday, and got the news that SHE PASSED AWAY.  The last time I saw her, three weeks ago, we actually had to cut our session short because she had a terrible migraine.  Apparently it was symptomatic of a cerebral hemorrhage, which caused her death then three days later.  I’m in shock, it doesn’t seem real.  She has a 7 year old daughter.  I can’t believe she’s gone, that I’ll never have a chance to talk to her again and tell her how much she has helped me.

***

And then there’s the little intermittent achy discomfort I’m getting just under my right-side ribs.  They said that if I should feel pain there, in the “upper right quadrant,” to call them right away.  (*Pain in this area is a classic symptom of HELLP syndrome)  I wanted to wait and see how it might evolve… because it doesn’t really feel like *pain* per se, but T. wants me to call them now.  So I guess I will.  I don’t want to, because I think they’ll send me to the hospital right away and I won’t come out again until the baby is born… and what about V.?  My little one, how will she be ok?  I can’t even begin to describe in words how desperately I don’t want to leave her.

***

Update: I just called, and the nurse said that since it’s not a sharp pain, and it’s intermittent, to just rest and wait.  She will let the doctor know that I called, however.  In any case, I’m going to go ahead and pack my bag for the hospital.  Because, really and truly, I don’t want to, you know, die.

$^%)*(^@&*^#

May 20, 2010

I messed up my urine test.  After collecting a huge jugful of pee for 24 hours, I forgot to put the lid on the jug (it was in a cooler with ice, so I didn’t see it for some reason…) and just as I was walking into the lab I heard a slosh… opened the cooler and realized I’d spilled like a cupful of pee.

So I have to do it over again.

The main reason this is so frustrating is that T. is scheduled to leave Monday for Albania, and the outcome of this test, and subsequent decision tree that follows (like, say, if they decide the baby has to come out RIGHT NOW), he might have to cancel the trip.  If they think I can hang on for another week or two, he could come back early and be here for the birth.  It’s just really hard to know what to do.  And now, we won’t know the results until Friday at the earliest.

I feel like such an IDIOT.

blogging in bed

May 19, 2010

because I can’t sleep. I’ve been awake since 3:30, thinking, planning, worrying, crying a little bit.  T. is looking into the possibility of changing/cancelling his upcoming travel plans.  Last night I went to the hospital for the first of 2 steroid injections for the baby’s lungs.  I had to go in through the emergency room, and I had to ride in a wheelchair up to L&D for the shot.  I get to do it again tomorrow night.  Then I came home and sent off several e-mails cancelling plans for next week.  Sheesh.  Why can’t I have a normal pregnancy and delivery?  I guess it’s just not my lot in life.

title?

May 19, 2010

Everything depends on tomorrow’s urine test.  Today we went to the big fancy hospital for a second opinion, and learned that the baby is “great” and “perfect” and doing really, really well.  But having my proteinuria as high as it is?  Well, if it stays that high, I have to go on hospital bedrest.  And because we’re only just at 31 weeks, the recommendation is that we go straight to the big fancy hospital with the NICU.  An hour away from home. 

It absolutely tears me up inside to think about being that far away from V.  I cried and cried in the car coming home just thinking about it.  I want to be here to feed her breakfast, to see her playing and laughing and reading her books, to see her adorable smile every day.  I don’t want her to have to deal with the confusion and disruption of only seeing Mommy in a hospital bed once a day.  And if she has to ride in a car an hour each way?  Oh lord.  As V. herself would put it, “NONONONONONONONONONO!”

Please, I just want to stay home.  I’ll lie on the couch all day, I’ll do whatever they tell me to, I just want to stay home.  If I can make it to 36 weeks I can have the baby here at the local hospital.  That’s my fervent hope and desire and prayer right now.

Contingency plans

May 18, 2010

The thing with pre-eclampsia, it seems, is that it is apparently so damn unpredictable.  The doctor said “I can’t tell you what will happen next,” but he was able to outline a series of scenarios that could all be equally likely.  There’s the chance that I could develop a severe headache, blurred vision, and a pain below the sternum that would send me straight to the ER, magnesium sulfate, and immediate c-section delivery of the baby, tomorrow.  At 31 weeks.

Or, my symptoms might remain stable – or even improve somewhat – over the course of the next 7 weeks or so and I’d go into active labor and have the baby vaginally.

Or, something in between.  Which would be that my condition would stay more or less as it is now (blood pressure elevated but not unduly alarming, some protein in the urine, minimal swelling) for a few weeks, then take a turn for the worse, and they’d deliver the baby by c-section.

It’s hard impossible to know.

This morning we went in for a biophysical profile and non-stress test; both of these showed the baby doing really well.  All the measurements are on track and they estimate his weight at about 4 lbs.  My blood pressure (I’m on labeta.lol now) was 114/88.  I’m to do another 24-hour urine test, and this time I plan to drink a LOT more water than last time.  My proteinuria, for those who want to know, was 1500 of whatever units/volume they measure.  Anything over 300 is cause for alarm.

Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment at the fancy hospital about an hour away where I would deliver the baby should my condition get worse before 36 weeks.  They have a NICU there.  I guess I’m going to meet the perinatologist and find out if I need to get a dose of whatever that medication is that strengthens the baby’s lungs in preparation for premature birth.  Should be interesting.

So I’m discouraged.  But hopeful.  I so wished that this pregnancy would be uncomplicated.  I guess that’s not what my body does.  I feel old.