Friday, August 31, 2012

16 Days and Counting

Still here, still not much to report. I've been in the hospital now for over two weeks and it's starting to get a little old, but not terrible. Some days are slower than others but I still get phone calls and visitors and that helps a ton! I'm getting pretty tired of the food, but Chris and a couple friends have brought in food from the "outside" to help with that. :) I did discover one little gem the hospital has, but of course it's a dessert! It's an apple dumpling that is basically like a delicious apple pie that looks like a little present. I've only ordered it twice because I'm trying not to get huge, but it's so tempting!!!

Whichever doctor in my practice is on call comes to see me every morning. They basically just ask how I feel (which is always fine) and feel my stomach and my legs (which are always fine), I think to make it feel like they are doing something productive. It is interesting to get sooo many different opinions. Between all of them and the two different Perinatologists that have come to see me, I have been told: if my cervix is still shut tight I might as well go home at 28 weeks on bed rest, wait till 32 weeks and go home on bed rest, 34 weeks and go home on bed rest, stay here until I have the baby, that I should only have an ultra sound and not the spectrum exam (vaginal exam that opens it a little so dr's get a good look at cervix opening) because they don't want to mess with anything down there and start something, and that I should have a spectrum exam and not an ultra sound because it will tell more about my cervix. I pretty much just listen to all the opinions, ask a few questions and have just decided to wait until next week and see what the perinatologist on call and my doctor on call want to do with the exam, then depending on what they see, go from there. If the cervix has started opening even with the stitch in, then there are no debates, I will be here for the long haul.

And so, I wait. I get my temp and blood pressure checked every 4 hours (even though I've never had high or low blood pressure in my life) and I get monitored for contractions every morning and every night. I usually have about 2 to 3 a day, which I'm told is normal and not a problem. I watch netflix on my laptop, lots of TLC and HGTV and some crime shows that freak me out but are addicting. I have a few new books from friends that are good too. Chris and Lila come most every night and I try to get all my squeezes and kisses in. She thinks it's fun to make my bed go up and down, turn on the baby monitor machine, and throw her toys she keeps here in the laundry bin.
An unflattering picture of Lila and I watching Toy Story 3. She loves snuggling under my blankets!

Oh, an update on Lila's poor tooth situation...Turns out she did shove her tooth completely up into her gums. OUCH! The pediatric dentist said she had to have hit it hard and at just the right angle to do that. The good news is that the tooth should come back down on its own in about 2 months. It bleeds a little when she bites something on it or bumps her mouth, but it's not too bad. He said she will be uncomfortable, like she is teething again. He prescribed some numbing medication but Chris said it's hard to get it on her gum in the right spot because of all her squirming. Shocking. The dentist told him that 90% of the time, the tooth is fine and doesn't die or anything. He also said the permanent tooth could have been chipped when the baby tooth was jammed back in, but we'd have to wait and see. That is easily fixed though. I am just so grateful that so far it looks like there will be no sedation, needles, crowns and all the other things we were dreading!

I keep feeling like even though bad things are happening with out family right now, we have had the best situations possible in those scenarios and feel really blessed. We've received a lot of help and encouragement and it means a lot to us!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lila's 2!

                                                  Happy Birthday Lila! My baby is 2!

It's kind of ironic that two years ago today, I was in this same hospital having Lila. Now I'm trying to keep her brother in! :) 

For 2 years Chris and I have been lucky enough to raise this little girl. I feel like we are still trying to figure her out! Just when we think we know her and what to expect, she does something totally unexpected. For example, she is apparently doing fantastic at my friend's house and is totally happy. I get pictures texted to me of Lila having a blast! She even texted me to let me know they had done 3 hours of shopping and she was the best shopping buddy ever. That is something I didn't think I'd ever hear! She is always the absolute hardest to shop with. I guess I have some things to learn from Tara! I thought she would have a really hard time being at someone's house everyday, but surprise, she's fine!

Lila loves being outside doing just about anything. She loves to swim and I wish I wasn't on bed rest because I think I could have had Lila swimming by the end of this summer had I been allowed to be in water after my cerclage. She has no fear of water, blows bubbles, kicks her legs and dunks her head. She just needed some instruction. She loves water even if she can't be in it. She dumps it, dips toys in it and anything else. My parents got her an outdoor water table for her birthday that has fun things hooked on that spin, etc when you pour water in it. I'm sure she'll love it!

She also likes to go on walks to feed the ducks down the street. Chris told me there was a duck that tried to nip at her the other day and she shook her little finger at it saying, "no no no no no no" over and over in a very animated way. Wish I could have seen that! You have to be fast though, because she is speedy and has no problem just taking off. 

Lila is still not much of a talker, although Chris said he thinks she is trying to say more since being at Tara's. She babysits a set of twins some of the time and her own kids are home for several of the hours Lila is there, so she is definitely being exposed to more conversation. It should help! At her party today, she opened a big Buzz with all the works and she said, "Bu, Bu!" So at least she is trying to say Buzz. 

While she's not a big talker, she sure is a big eater. Although she doesn't like a lot of the typical "kid foods." She prefers steak, shrimp, grilled chicken and pistachios but refuses to eat much pasta, cheese, bread, crackers or potatoes. Go figure.  Like most kids though, she doesn't turn down much that's sweet! She does know the word "more" and uses it often! :) When we took out her cake today, she stuck her thumb in the icing, sucked it off and announced, "Yum!" to everyone. 

Lila had a Toy Story party today which kind of cracks me up because I just saw pictures and talked to family about my niece, Chloe's birthday last week in which everything princess, pink and girly was seen. I'm sure that will be Lila soon, but for now she loves Woody and Buzz! I ordered her a Toy Story  cake from the grocery store and my mother in law picked up a ton of fun things that were all Toy Story. We had balloons, gift bags, pin the tail on Bullseye and more. She got a ton of fun gifts and I must say I'm a little jealous that I won't reap the benefits of her being enamored with all her new things for a while. It should keep her busy for a long time! Chris and I (after much debating) got her a Little Tikes slide for inside the house. I didn't want my house to turn into a jungle gym, but with me being here and a new baby coming in the near future, we decided she needs something to burn energy inside. She loves it! She got all kinds of new books, some cute clothes, tons of Toy Story figures and toys, a real but miniature shopping cart, a water table, a baby doll high chair and cradle, a plastic seesaw (also for inside), a toy with pegs that you hammer (but thankfully don't come all the way out), a couple movies and some other fun things! This girl got spoiled and it's killing me I can't see her play with all of it!!!

Lila did manage to make 2 exciting by knocking her front tooth out yesterday! I still can't believe she did that. She fell while running on the tile and hit her face. We had a dentist friend just take a look at her since it was a Saturday night and it's hard to tell if it broke off all the way at the top or if the tooth got shoved up into her gums. That just sounds painful! It's so hard knowing I can't do a thing to help her at the dentist. She will have to be sedated and we still don't know what will have to be done. I can't imagine that she just won't have a tooth until her adult tooth grows in but I don't know that I want her to go through a crown either. Chris is taking her in tomorrow so we should know more. She did wake up at 4am yesterday, so I'm guessing it's bothering her. She wouldn't nap today either and she was very crabby for her party. We sang, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" on more than one occasion. I'm sure the entire floor of the hospital was pretty glad when Lila and her cousins left! 

I have a feeling we have many more exciting years ahead of us with this fireball! I look forward to seeing all of it. Happy Birthday Lila!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

10 Years and 26 Weeks

Now that I have a lot of time on my hands, I do a lot of counting. Mostly a count down to when this kid can safely arrive, but also just how many days and weeks I am pregnant since every day is so important now. I turned 26 weeks pregnant today. I have two weeks until I am checked again to see how everything is holding. Luckily, every shift change I still get to answer no to most all the questions the nurses and doctors ask me about contractions, cramps, pain, discharge, bleeding...all that good stuff. No news is good news on that front.

I had a lot of visitors yesterday, which made it a real upbeat and quick day for me. My brother in law brought me two red box movies. Two friends came and brought me an entire pastry wheel from Panera and two large bags of M&M's, then refused to help me make a dent in any of it! Do they realize I can't work any of that off?!!! Luckily, the young women from church all came to visit last night and were more than willing to help me eat it. :) Don't worry, I got plenty for myself! The girls also brought me flowers, a card, tons of movies, and one mom of a girl sent her daughter with a gift of two cute swim suits for our little guy. They are adorable! It was so fun to chat with the young women and feel their concern for me. It was also nice focusing on what's going on with everyone else too. I'm a lucky girl!

The big number for the day though, is that it is Chris and my 10 year wedding anniversary! A decade of happiness! We definitely didn't plan on spending it together in a hospital, but at least we'll never forget it. This is the first of a few big events that will happen while I am here and I had a good cry about that the first day, but now I'm okay with it. We are in love, growing our family and are able to be together for at least part of it. That's what makes me happy! Chris arranged for Lila to stay longer at Tara's (I'm gonna owe her big time by the time this is over) and he picked up a Flemmings steak to share and their amazing au gratin jalapeno potatoes for each of us. It was such a romantic evening of me eating cross-legged in the hospital bed and Chris next to me in the vinyl rocking chair. I'm now wishing I had asked a nurse to take a picture of it. :) Seriously though, it was great to just be together and talk without interruption.  I feel so very lucky to be married to Chris and our current situation has just continued to remind me of that.

So, in thinking of numbers and time today here are a few dates I am keeping in mind. Around September 6th I should get my ultra sound to find out what the doctors think about me staying here or going home. Chris and I still think it may be better for me to stay longer than that, but who knows how much say we will have anyway.  October 4th is when I turn 32 weeks and is when I will allow the biggest sigh of relief. It is still scary and early, but after talking to the neonatal doctor and reading the information they gave us, this is the week where the scariest stuff seems to be past us and the percentages drastically go in the baby's favor. October 18th is when I turn 34 weeks, and I'm not sure they would keep me much longer than that if I'm not actively having contractions. I'd love to be home for Halloween, but we'll see. Let the countdowns continue!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Days 5 & 6

Shockingly, not too much exciting is going on here! :) That's a good thing though because it means everything is holding steady. I get monitored for contractions and the baby's heartbeat for an hour in the morning and an hour at night. So far the baby's heartbeat has been great and the monitors have only picked up a couple small contractions here and there. Not anything to be worried about apparently.

Yesterday my doctor let me know that after talking to the perinatologist, they had agreed I should stay here until at least 28 weeks for sure and then they would re-evaluate. It was a mix of being relieved I would be observed until reaching that first big milestone and being bummed about knowing I'd be here for at least another 2 1/2 weeks. Today, the perinatologist came to check on me and just explained a little more on why they wanted to keep me here. Now I'm kind of scared to leave at all! He just emphasized how short my cervix really is which means the cerclage and the opening to the cervix has basically nothing to support it and with the pressure of the water sack on top of it, it could tear or the membranes or water sack could start bulging through the stitched opening. When it does start bulging then it becomes a week point and will eventually burst. That could put me into labor either right away or shortly after. Like I said, now I am pretty content with staying here until the baby is at least close to full term!

I asked about another ultra sound and he said they wouldn't do one until close to 28 weeks because they can get the best look at the cervix with a vaginal ultra sound and they really don't want to do those often since everything is so fragile. Plus, he pointed out that even if my cervix has shortened more, there is nothing new they would be doing for me so it really didn't matter. Since the baby looked just fine in the first ultra sound, there was no reason to check on him right away either. Makes sense to me.

So, I am just being a blob on a bed and letting my boy get bigger and stronger each day. My friends and family are continuing to offer help, bring me things to keep me comfortable and busy, and visiting me. It has been really nice. Today, one of the nurses came in with a big bag with a bow on it. Apparently there was a woman that stayed here about a year ago with a high risk pregnancy for about 3 months. When she had the baby and went home, she kept thinking about her time at the hospital and decided she needed to do something for the moms staying here. She started an organization called High Risk Hope that would deliver bags of comforts to the moms that have to be admitted for an extended time while pregnant. Inside was a nice blanket, socks, lotions, shower gel, chapstick, nice toilet paper, thank you cards, notebooks, pens, toothpaste, a nail care set, napkins, plastic silverware, and a few other nice things. I was pretty blown away by this woman's actions to help make our stays more bearable. She really thought of everything! The nurses and staff have also been amazing here. They have been kind and willing to do anything to help. They even changed my room tonight because my last room was right by the elevator and nurses desk and they thought I should be somewhere more quiet.

Chris and Lila have still been coming everyday. I feel so bad for Chris. He looked a little tired! It would be very hard to work full time and be a single parent overnight. He is doing amazing though and has been my hero. Not only is he working and taking care of Lila and the house, but he is also staying on top of all the insurance stuff that I'm no good at. Today he fixed a problem with my employment (I'm still on leave but they had tried to terminate my employment on accident) and I had been trying to work it out for a week. Pretty important since we need that insurance! Today was the first night Lila really held on to me when Chris tried to leave. I think she finally figured out that I'm not at home anymore and have to stay here. She kept gripping my neck and hugging me. I admit I was trying really hard not to lose it. I'm hoping it will get easier. I know she is having fun at her sitter's though. Tara sent me pictures of Lila at Pump it Up where she was having a blast jumping and sliding on everything. It makes me feel good to see her doing well!

I'm hoping my days go by quickly and uneventfully and I can look back on this a just a short period of time that things were a little crazy!
 Oh, as a side note, they have stopped checking my blood sugar levels, so no more poking! Yea! I'm still going to stay on the diabetic diet for the most part though because it has been healthy and I'm hoping will help me not get too huge as I just lay here! :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 4

Chris sent me this picture today with the caption, "Holy 3 1/2 hour nap, Batman!" I guess she woke up after an hour and a half but fell back asleep on him. He lives for those moments! I love the closeness that he and Lila have. If he's home, she usually could care less whether I pay her any attention or not. It's all about daddy! I'm glad she has him while I'm gone. Her curls are so cute in this picture...I'll have to talk with him about the hair in her face though! Someone needs to teach him how to do this girl's hair! :)  Chris took her to the grocery store this morning and mentioned he had the realization he hadn't had to shop for a full trip since the last time I was on bed rest. I drilled him to make sure he bought her healthy things! They played, napped then came to visit me. I love my time with them here even though I have to bribe Lila to sit with me or play. She was loving the phone and kept saying, "Heywo," her version of hello. She may or may not have broken it during this visit... I also read to her, then I put her little yogurt snacks up to my lips to try to get Lila to give me a kiss. She thought it was hilarious and it made my day.

Other than their visit, I had a thrilling day of laying in bed, taking a shower, watching TV, eating, getting poked, reading, get the idea! One of my doctors (I'm with a large practice that rotates who's on call) visited today and started talking about how I seemed steady and maybe being on strict bed rest at home soon. I asked if they were going to do an ultra sound first and she said maybe not, they'd just do one weekly in the dr's office. Now believe me, I want to go home badly, but I want this kid here more and I want to be smart about it. I told her about the perinatologist suggesting I stay here for a lot longer and the different threats that he saw. She quickly said that if that's what he suggested, she'd call him and look over my chart again. Never heard back.

It's so hard to know what to think. They have had me on Indomethacin which is a pill used short term to relax the uterus so it doesn't contract. To me, of course I look steady because the pills have stopped the few contractions I was having and they haven't even done an ultra sound to see if I've continued to shorten. I'm worried they will send me home in a couple days and I'll contract again when the med wears off or my cerclage will tear from the pressure on it, etc. Then I would just be readmitted to the hospital in maybe a worse condition and we start our insurance co pays all over again since it would be two separate visits.

No matter what, Lila will need to continue being watched at my friend's since I would not be able to do a thing for her, but if I'm at home then I would need to do everything for myself. Plus the weekly dr's visits mean I am sitting upright to drive the 30 mins there, up for the waiting room and appt, then the 30 min drive home. That's not great either. I'm hoping they put their heads together and come up with the best plan for the baby. If that's for me to go home, then I will be thrilled to be more comfortable but I worry about being super disciplined about staying down with Lila home in the evenings and all. I guess it's just more waiting.

On a positive note, my amazing husband brought me Hunger Games today, so now I have something fun to watch!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 3

Not too much new today. I had a high blood sugar count at 6am because they had just given me the second steroid shot before bed so I had to get a shot of insulin. If all this poking doesn't cure me of my fear of needles, I don't know what will! I started off feeling kind of low, I think because I woke up around 4:30 am and just couldn't turn my mind off. I kept going through scenarios of having a premature baby and all that could entail, wondering if Lila was going to be okay without me for so long, what in the world we were going to do with her long term and everything else. Then having the insulin shot just made me kind of mad to be honest! :) They didn't have the results of my glucose test from Wed at the dr yet, so the nurses kept saying that if it came back high, I would be doing this throughout my whole pregnancy. I knew if I was here in the hospital they wouldn't let me get away with missing a single poke and I would be on the strict diet the whole time. Luckily later in the day I was told I had passed the glucose test, so i just have to do this for a few more days until the steroid is out of my system.

After a nice, hot shower I was feeling better though and then had a visit from someone at church who wanted to know how they would help with whatever we needed food wise and with child care. I knew my friends and everyone else would be willing to help with Lila, but I was having a hard time thinking about her going to different homes everyday and just feeling unsettled. Luckily right then I got a call from Chris who had dropped Lila off at my friend, Tara's before work. They talked and she said she would love to watch Lila everyday and had been looking for something to do anyway. My parents had offered to help pay for someone to watch Lila and this just worked perfectly! She is an amazing woman with a lot for Lila to do at her house and in her backyard. She will also be watching boy/girl twins soon who are Lila's age. I think it will be really good for Lila to get more socialization and maybe this will help with her crazy separation anxiety issues! While I am still struggling with the fact that someone else will be taking care of Lila for me, this is the best possible solution I could have hoped for. Members of our church will help make some freezer meals for Chris and Lila and offered to help clean too. Again, the outpouring of help and love has been amazing and really humbled me.

With this issue taken care of, I feel so much better and now just need to keep our little guy happy in my belly for a lot longer! I had a surprise visit from my friend Kirsten and her daughter Katie who had just returned from her mission. It was so great to see them and to chat. It really made the day go by faster.

A neonatal doctor came by to answer some questions I had about premature babies. It was a lot of information and a little scary, but I want to be prepared just in case. I keep feeling like he won't come any time soon, but I can't really predict that.

Chris, Lila, my mother-in-law Debbi, sister-in-law Camie and her kids came to visit tonight. It is funny to see how interested kids are in all the gadgets in hospital rooms. Lila kept trying to pull the emergency cord that brings like 10 nurses running into the room! Chris was able to thwart her though and we had a good but short visit. By the end of the night, she is just done and doesn't understand why I am stuck in bed. Chris's family has also been so kind to offer a lot of help and Camie even offered to give me a pedicure one day! I just might take her up on it. :)

I am going to bed tonight feeling a lot more settled and reassured about our family's situation. I feel really blessed to be going through this at a time when there is so much technology to help me keep these babies that just want to come too early. I can really feel my Heavenly Father's love for me and my family.

Day 2

Thursday started early after a bad nights sleep with nurses doing more vitals and blood sugar tests. Chris got the day off work and spent some time with Lila in the morning then dropped her at a friend's house for the day. He came to the hospital to be with me and hear what the doctors thought. The perinatologist came to talk to us and let us know I was definitely in a dangerous situation and they wanted me to stay here until I was at least 28 weeks, more likely 32, and possibly until I deliver. That was hard to take for me, knowing I wouldn't see Lila everyday until the evening when Chris could bring her and knowing I was going to be in one hospital room for a long time. On the other hand, I want this baby to stay in as long as possible and know my best chances of that are by being monitored here.

The hard part is that my regular OB came by too and thinks that if all looks steady in the next ultra sound that they will probably give next week, that they can think about sending me home on strict bed rest. To have two such different opinions is hard and I guess we will just wait to see what the ultra sound looks like and go from there.

Most of the day passed with me talking to family on the phone and trying to get details sorted out for Lila and Chris. My family has been incredibly supportive and has offered a lot of help. I just wish they didn't live across the country! Chris left to get Lila so I could see her for a little bit. She knows something is off and didn't want to sit with me on the hospital bed too long until I enticed her with some pistachios and Finding Nemo on TV. We had a good cuddle and then she needed to go home to sleep. My husband is amazing and has completely taken over laundry, groceries and getting Lila all taken care of. I just have to teach him how to do her hair now so all that time I spent making sure she would leave hair bows in isn't wasted! :) I got many calls and texts from friends and people at church wanting to know what they could do to help. I have been so thankful for everyone's willingness and concern!

Day 1

I had thought that getting a preventative cerclage at 14 weeks would be the extent of the drama for this pregnancy, but I was mistaken. I find myself at the hospital on bed rest with a lot of time on my hands. May as well document the ordeal, right?

I have an incompetent cervix, which basically means it shortens and opens prematurely and some women don't know they have it until they lose their first baby. With Lila, we were so lucky that they caught it at my 20 week appointment on the ultra sound. Lila's hand playing in my cervix was a dead give away things weren't right! I had an emergency cerclage put in (a stitch that cinches the top of my cervix closed) and quit teaching to be on bed rest. The cerclage came out at 36 weeks and Lila was born at 39 weeks.

With this pregnancy, we knew I would need a preventative cerclage around 14 weeks. This means they can put the stitch higher and tighter because no opening or shortening should have happened yet. It went great and I was told I didn't have to be on bed rest, just not to lift over 20 pounds and not to walk around excessively (mall, Busch Gardens, etc). It was going well with me being able to let Lila play at the splash pad at the Y, spreading out any errands, putting Lila in a toddler bed and trying to get down time everyday. My appointments had been going well and my 20 week ultra sound showed I had plenty of cervix length (around 4 cm). I had an appt at 22 weeks with just a physical exam and the doctor said it felt great and I could come back at 25 weeks for another ultra sound and check up.

That was Wednesday. I had to take Lila last minute but brought the portable DVD player, some snacks,  and bought her a new toy to keep her happy. I had to do vitals, a glucose blood test, visit with the dr, have the ultra sound, then visit with the dr again to go over results. Poor Lila was at the end of her rope after 2 hrs plus there and skipping her nap. When I met with the dr at the end she made a sad face and told me my cervix had shortened quite severely. Meaning to less than a cm. She let me know I'd be going straight to the hospital (with Lila) to be admitted. I quickly called Chris to meet me at the hospital and help with Lila. I was doing really good until I got to the hospital and was valeting my car so I wouldn't be walking more. I asked the valet guy if he wouldn't mind just lifting Lila from her car seat into her stroller. He apologized and let me know he wasn't allowed and that they had cameras. I totally understood, but it was the icing on the cake at that moment and I started crying. I still feel so bad for the valet who apologized over and over. All I could do was nod my head! I gathered myself and checked in. Luckily my friend, Mandy works in the triage area and had been told I was coming. She got me in quickly and made sure I was taken care of.

Chris got there quickly to rescue an over-tired and cranky Lila from her stroller and to try control her while we waited for another ultra sound. She didn't quite make it, so Chris took her home where one of my young women saved the day by hurrying over and babysitting so Chris could come back to me. Meanwhile, I had the longest ultra sound ever! They measured every part of the baby, the fluid, the cord, the placenta, etc. She finally got to the cervix and my fears were confirmed when she said it was only 7 mm long. They also saw that the membranes and I think they said the water sack?? was resting right on the cerclage which was putting pressure on it. It also means there is a bigger chance of infection with it all resting so low. The doctor also did a physical exam and found that the cerclage was still holding tight, no membranes had come through and the cervix was still hard instead of softening. So at least there wasn't any trauma there! I was having some mild contractions that were not painful, just tightenings and only occurred every now and then and didn't last long. It was still a concern though since they could continue to shorten the cervix.

I was told I'd be staying for at least a few days with the chance of staying for a lot longer. It was decided that I should get steroid shots just in case the baby comes soon to develop his lungs and some other things. The only bummer with the steroid is that it causes my blood sugar to go up, meaning that they prick my finger after each meal to check my levels. I was brought to my room, given the steroid shot in my rear, was given progesterone suppositories, had all my vitals taken again and tried not to think about this baby coming too soon, what in the world I was going to do with Lila short and long term, the mess I had left in my house and everything else. It was a whirlwind and very overwhelming for me, but Chris was a huge support and stayed really calm and strong. He gave me a blessing before he left and it helped me feel so much better about our little boy and this situation. I am truly grateful for the power of prayer too and even though pleading with Heavenly Father usually makes me a little teary, I know He hears my prayers.