Thursday, October 20, 2011

26 week OB Appointment

I got a phone call from my doctor's secretary on Tuesday. I failed my 1 hour glucose test by 25 points (my glucose at 1 hour was 165 and needed to be 140 for me to pass. I failed the 1 hour test as well when I was pregnant with Jack, but I only failed it by 8 points with him. My OB feels I will probably pass the test because she said most of the time if it's below 200, you don't have any trouble passing the 3 hour. Here's hoping! Needless to say, I get to do the 3 hour glucose tolerance test this coming Monday after I take Jack to school. I am dreading this because I remember how cruddy I felt when I had to go in after fasting with Jack, and wait 3 hours to eat. I thought I was going to throw up, but was amazed when I didn't. This time, I have to get up earlier because I have a little boy to get ready for school, feed him breakfast while I take my zofran and hope for the best. I figure by the time I get to eat, I'll have been up for 5 hours with an empty stomach. Oh well right? I just pray if I do throw up, it's not until the test is over because I don't want to have to drink that sickeningly sweet syrup twice.

My OB appointment was today. First thing was my weight. I am up one whole pound since my 10 week appointment (my first OB appointment this pregnancy). I'm ok with this, and my OB didn't seem concerned. Second thing was to take my blood pressure. I felt fine with the exception of having had really bad headaches the last 3 days. My initial blood pressure was 140/78. They rechecked it at the end with me lying on my left side for 5 minutes and it was 118/76 which is what I've been running, so we were all happy with that. I told my OB that in my paranoia after hearing I'd failed the glucose test, I tried to measure myself and thought I was measuring about 28 weeks. She said I was right where I should be at my 22 week appointment, but of course, we'd check it this time too. Sure enough, she said I was right between 27.5 and 28 weeks with my measurement. She's not going to worry too much about it until we see where I am at my next appointment.

Lastly, I had to ask because I just didn't understand the explanation I got from the gynecological surgeon back in November about the hysterectomy and why I wouldn't be able to have it done at the same time as a c-section if I had to have a c-section for some reason. My OB explained that normally (not pregnant), the blood vessels around the uterus and ovaries are very thin, so when they remove them, it's not alot of blood loss. However, when the woman is pregnant the blood vessels are dilated to about two finger-widths and so the risk of hemorrhaging is huge. THANK YOU. Finally, someone willing to explain it to me. I'm not arguing about when it's done, I just wanted to know the reasoning on why it couldn't be done at the same time as a c-section. Now it all makes perfect sense.

Charlie has been very active, to the point of scaring me sometimes. I just worried he'll get himself tangled in his cord like Jack did, and since there isn't a way for us to know if his cord is short like Jack's was, well, I get worried sometimes. My OB said her more active child was NOT the one to end up with a nuchal cord, it was her more sedate one that did. Jack was definitely more sedate than Charlie is, although he also had his moments of high activity. This child just goes crazy after I eat and doesn't seem to stop for a while. I love watching my belly jump.

A friend and I were talking the other day about our pregnancies-we're both on our second child-she's had a couple of miscarriages between children however. She is due almost 3 weeks after me. I was telling her that I feel guilty because I feel like while I'm enjoying this pregnancy more than I did my first one (I'm telling you, I was more sick with Jack than with Charlie even though this pregnancy has involved IV's and other issues which I didn't have with Jack), I don't feel like I'm bonding with this child the same as I did with Jack. She isn't enjoying this pregnancy as much as she did with her first, but also doesn't feel as bonded. She thinks it's probably because we have other kids to chase around and worry about, we just don't have the free time that we did before to relax in the tub, stroking our tummies and talking to the unborn babies. Maybe that's it.

I remember about a week after my first transfer, taking a warm bath and just laying there talking to the embryos, begging them to stick around, telling them how much love we had for them, and how much we wanted them. I remember laying in the tub with my swollen belly talking to Jack, reading him stories, trying to force Archie to read him stories and talk to him. This time, I've taken one bath (there just isn't enough time), and I talked to him a little. I told him that we were so glad he was growing, and how blessed we felt, and how I was so excited for him to come out in January and meet his big brother. I'll talk to him here and there when he's overly active, asking him what it is he's doing in there. Jack will occassionally sing a song to him, and he's always kissing my tummy. Archie has started talking to him more as the weeks have gone on. I don't know, it's just different this time and I don't know why. Maybe I won't experience the shock and guilt that I did when Jack was born. I felt so bonded to him in utero, but when he was born, I felt so disconnected. I felt so guilty about that and I couldn't understand. Was it because I'd been awake for 27 hours before he was born, and I was just sheer exhausted? Was it normal? Was I going to be an awful mother? I confided in my best friend, and she said she felt the same way when her daughter was born 8 weeks prior. I felt better, but I still felt like an already awful mother.

I just have these fears, some valid, some probably not so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm so excited, and grateful to be able to experience all of this again and to welcome another sweet boy into our family. We have more than enough love to give (heck, Jack would probably vouch for that when I'm squeezing him too tight in a hug, or smothering him in kisses). I'm just a little scared. One rocked our world. I don't think I got out of the house for the first 8 weeks before 10am, and I had trouble just figuring out what to do with him while I took a shower because all he wanted was to be held. I'm wondering (and trying to come up with a game plan) on how I'm going to handle two, let alone things like getting everyone up and dressed and out the door to take Jack to school by 8am. It's just going to mean earlier mornings and less sleep. If I thought I was in a fog for the first 3 months of Jack's life, I'm sure I haven't experienced anything yet, LOL.

Then I'm also dealing with the fears of an infertile. I've talked to a few of my infertile friends. IF is so hard. You work for years to start and build a family. We still have two embryos on ice. We've both said we're happy with two. But a couple of my friends have had their two, and thought that they were happy with that, only to say later, that they want another. Financially, two makes sense for us. We're out of money from the insurance to try again, so another cycle of thawing and FET would cost us totally out of pocket. We know twins would kill us financially, but it doesn't make sense to only put one back-especially when we've always put two back and only ever gotten pregnant with one. But with my luck, it would be twins. Don't get me wrong, we'd love them as much as our other kids, but the financial stresses on our family would be immense. I just can't see doing it. Jack tells us we need another baby all the time, and I keep telling him we're having another baby, and he says, "No, I mean after Charlie." Ugh. He wants that sister, LOL.

Believe me, if we got pregnant on our own (which I have to say after 6 years of trying, and 4 IVF cycles probably isn't going to happen since we tried on our own between cycles and before our first cycle), we'd gladly accept that blessing. I just don't think it's likely. I had prayed after Jack that we'd be one of "those" couples. You know, the ones who have to have treatment, and then they go on to magically conceive on their own afterwards...yeah, that wasn't us. So I can't imagine it would happen now. I've talked to Jack about being grateful for what God has given us. I have told him how hard we prayed for a baby, and how long, and how many doctor's appointments we had, and God finally gave Jack to us. Then I asked if he remembered how hard we prayed for another baby, and if he remembered all the appointments he went to with me to try to get ready for another baby and he said yes. I explained that God is finally giving us another baby-Charlie, and how grateful we are for him, and that we should be grateful that God had it in his plan to give us Charlie. That I feel like we have enough, but that if God gave us another baby without us having to go see the doctor's all the time, and without all of the things Mommy had to have done to give us Jack and Charlie, that we would welcome it with open arms.

It's hard to come to a decision we feel ok about as well for our embryos. Do we pay for them to be kept in storage? And if so, for how long? Is there a point when we don't want to go through anymore treatments? We could donate them so another couple out there could have a chance to have a child they've always wanted. But when I think about that option-as much as I'd like to be the person to do that, it feels like we'd be giving up two of our children for adoption, and as hard as we've worked to have our babies, prayed for them and wanted them, it seems so incongrous. It would be so hard to know that we had children elsewhere who weren't at home with us. After talking to Archie that's not something we're ok with either. But I also don't like the idea of letting them be thawed and just go. We worked so hard to bring life into this world. I'm not really sure what the answer is for us. It's something we're going to have to think, pray and talk about some more before any final decisions are made. We have until February to decide whether to store them for another year. Maybe we'll have made a decision by then.

Ok, I have to go, we're heading up tonight for my grandmother's services tomorrow. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I broke the news this morning to Jack when I got him up for school. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Jack, something sad happened last night.
Jack: What?
Me: Grandmom Ann went to heaven.

silence. I gave him a couple of minutes.

Me: Do you have any questions?
Jack: How did Grandmom Ann die?
Me: Well baby, she died in her sleep.

Then I got to thinking that I should probably clarify so he isn't afraid of going to sleep for fear of dying.

Me: You know, she was really old, and her body wasn't able to keep going. She'd been sick for a long time and her body just gave up. She went peacefully though, no struggling, and Cousin Paula was with her and holding her hand, so she wasn't alone. She was with people who loved her, and she went to heaven where she joined Great Grandpa Bob and God. She doesn't hurt anymore, and she is happy to be in heaven with them.


Jack: I want to say something to God.

I'm thinking, uh oh. Ok, brace yourself, he could say anything.

Me: Ok baby, go ahead.
Jack: Dear God, please help Grandmom Ann to stay in love with you forever.

Dear Lord! This child isn't even 5! Needless to say, I was balling like a baby. I told him that Grandmom Ann and God had a very close relationship even when she was here. When she was healthy that she used to go to church everyday (very strict Catholic), prayed everyday, prayed the rosary at least everyday, and that she really loved God. I told her that I was sure she was so happy to be in heaven with him, and to be reunited with Great Grandpa Bob after so long. I guess he could hear that I was crying (the lights were off as we usually have snuggle time when we wake up before we actually get out of bed and get moving). **As an aside, the "in love" part is something we occassionally say at home. I would never have expected that to come out of his mouth where God is concerned. Jack will ask if I'm in love with him, and I always tell him I'm very much in love with him, and he will say he's in love with me, so it's not a lusty type thing (obviously, he's 4, and my child-hello!) when he says it about Grandmom Ann and God, it's just the overwhelming feeling of love we feel for each other. Don't want people getting the wrong impression.**

Jack: Are you crying Mommy?
Me: Yes.

He put his hands up to my face and was feeling around for the tears. Then he gave me a big hug and lots of kisses.

I am so grateful to have this child in my life. He is the best medicine for a sad heart. How could he not make you smile with his sweetness and thoughtfulness?

My dad should be calling me later today when he gets information about arrangements for my grandmother. If this morning is any indication of how my son is handling this, our trip to CT for her services should be interesting.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

26 weeks and Updates

So, today marks 26 weeks for us. Everything seems to be going well. I am still nauseous sometimes, and the heartburn is still an issue, but I'm taking a half-dose (75mg instead of 150mg) of zantac about every 6 hours, and it seems to be helping for the most part. I'm still taking zofran-sometimes it's 2 times a day, sometimes not at all, just depends on the day really.

The newest development started about two weeks ago-braxton hicks (some of which are painful), and heart palpitations. I had both of these issues with Jack as well, the braxton hicks started at 19 weeks with him, and the palpitations at about 20 weeks, so this is occuring later this pregnancy. When I was checked out for the palpitations with Jack, I had to wear a halter monitor for two days, and it showed that I was having brief runs of SVT which is basically where your heart is beating really fast. It makes me feel dizzy and short of breath and lasts for a few minutes. When I check my pulse while it is happening, my heartrate is fast and irregular. It can also be caused by hyperthyroidism which I have, however, I had my labs checked and had an endocrine appointment right as this started this pregnancy, and all of my labs are normal, and my thyroid on ultrasound is "quiet". So, my primary care doc ran electrolytes, thyroid tests again, and checked my hematocrit. My sodium is slightly low (the low norm was 136, mine was 135) so not really low-and besides, I'm supposed to keep my sodium low because of the kidney stone issues. My albumin was slightly low as well, however, I'm not swelling up like crazy either, some edema in my legs at the end of a 12 hour shift, but that's pretty normal I think. My thyroid levels all came back normal. My hematocrit was the only thing a little low and it was 32.6 (normal low is 36). So no real reason as far as I can tell from my labwork. My doc also ordered an event monitor for 2 weeks. I'm not sure how this is different from a halter monitor except maybe I can push a button when I am actually experiencing the palpitations, and I can probably take it off to take a shower which was a "no-no" with the halter monitor. I have to wait for it to come in to actually be able to wear it. I did my glucose test on Friday, and I'm hoping to have the results by my next OB appointment this coming Thursday.

In other news, my grandmother has been in inpatient hospice for two weeks today. My father, my half-sister, and I have been taking turns calling daily to check and see how she is doing. She's had some days where they were shocked at how alert she was (mainly the first two days after her admission), and other days like the last two where she does nothing but sleep, and isn't really arousable for family or staff. The last two days have been bad, and she's not had anything to eat or drink. Tonight, my dad's cousin called to tell him that she was informed that it is only a matter of days that my grandmother has left. I got teary (my father sounded like a mess as one would expect), but I don't think it's really hit me yet, or I've just worked myself to a point where I'm almost ok with it. I've had such conflicting emotions, and I've cried alot over the last two weeks between her, and people seeming to just look at me wrong setting me into tears (I've been a tad hormonal I think). It's just so hard. If you call and get news that she's had a good day-you think, "Great, I'm so glad she's had a good day." But then you think, "Yeah, but if she's really declining, tomorrow might not be so good, and this is just dragging things out." It's hard to know how to feel. It's not like someone who is suddenly and unexpectedly ripped from your life, and the only thing you can think is "I can't believe this is happening. Why? Why did this have to happen?" If you call and it's a bad day, you're thinking, "God, I just hope she's comfortable and not in pain." You're wondering if her fight is almost over. You're wondering if she's going to go that night and be greated by God and her husband in heaven. It's just so damn hard. So I'm teary, but I'm not hysterical. My dad's cousin told us that one of her bad days last week, she told my grandmom that soon she'd be with "Uncle Bob" (to my dad's cousin) again soon. He passed away 18 years ago. I did lose it that night. I was afraid she'd give up and go that night, but I was also hoping maybe it made it easier for her to let go of us here, and just go. Just be at peace. Please just continue to pray for her to be comfortable and to pass peacefully and surrounded by people who love her. **Edited to add-My grandmother passed away later this evening. My dad's cousin was with her and it was peaceful. Thank you for your prayers.

So that is my life in a nutshell at the moment. I have two belly pics to share with you tonight. I had too much going on two Sundays ago to do my 24 week belly pic, and to be honest, I've just been trying to keep my head above water the last two weeks between work, trying to get this house decluttered and more organized, and worrying about a million things to even think about a picture. We kept saying we needed to take it, and finally we didn't drop the ball tonight. The first picture is Jack in his normal excited form. He has moments where he could care less about Charlie (he told me the other day it's boring waiting to feel Charlie move), and moments where he's way too excited. This was one of those moments. The second is more reflective of what the belly really looks like. Enjoy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Everything Happens for a Reason

We decided we were going to drive up to CT to see my grandmother this past Sunday (yesterday). We as in, myself, Jack, my mom and my dad. Archie couldn't go as it was his weekend to work. I had no idea how much I would wish Archie was there, just to have him with me and comfort me. We knew she didn't have long left, and we wanted to make sure we made it up. Well, we were maybe 45 minutes into our trip, and my dad got a phone call from my stepmom. His cousin had called and said that the nursing staff had found my grandmother on the floor with a fever and were taking her to the hospital. I called his cousin and asked what had happened and which hospital they were taking her to, and told her we'd meet them there, but we didn't expect to be there for another 4 hours. She said she'd keep us updated.

When we got to the hospital, we found out she hadn't fallen. I don't know if my dad's cousin getting woken in the early hours of the morning just left her foggy or if the nursing staff didn't relay correct info, but I'm glad she hadn't fallen. She was, however, running a fever, and she had a cough. They hadn't been able to get a decent chest x-ray, and dad's cousin (she is in charge of my grandmother's care, and is also a nurse, so a good choice) declined to continue to attempt these x-rays and let be what would be. They believe my grandmother aspirated, which for those of you who aren't medically inclined, it means that at some point, she got food or liquid into her lungs instead of all of it going into her stomach. They will not be treating her with antibiotics. Her breathing sounded raspy to me, and her cough was somewhat junky.

My grandmother kept covering her eyes with her hands. We couldn't figure out if this was because she was emotional, wanted the bright lights in the hospital out of her eyes, or if she was in pain. My dad's cousin said she started doing this about two weeks ago, and she thought it was pain, but my grandmother has been more emotional lately. At one point, we saw her cover her eyes, and then she was wiping them, my father was sobbing, and I was balling. Not a pretty sight, it was just a really rough day. While we were at the hospital, the rabbi covering for Pastoral Services came to visit us. My grandmother is a devout Catholic, and received the Sacrament of the Sick back when she had her stroke 3 years ago, but he did say a beautiful prayer. Of course, I couldn't control my own emotions and again, was crying.

My grandmother was taken from the hospital straight to the inpatient hospice center. It is beautiful, and it overlooks the water, and has some really interesting rock formation in the water to look at as well. My grandmother had her eyes closed and appeared to be sleeping most of the time, and I just wished she would be able to enjoy that million dollar view if she had to be in that facility. We met up again at the hospice facility and sat with her while the nurses got her settled. I held her hand while she slept, and each time I took it away (usually to tend to Jack), she would be trying to grasp for something. I would put my hand back and she would settle. It was heartbreaking to say the least to see her like that. To have that be our goodbye and not have her know really that we were there.

But everything happens for a reason. I honestly believe that. If we had gone up last week as I had originally planned (but it was flawed because I was scheduled to work which is why we rescheduled for this past Sunday), we would have felt at a loss to be able to get back up there yesterday to see her. I'm not sure we would have been able to go up again while she was alive given everyone's schedules and tight finances (it's about $200 each time we go up between gas and tolls). Instead we were able to see her in the hospital and make sure she was ok (relatively speaking), we were able to see the new facility she would be in (her 3rd in 3 years if you don't count her stay in the hospital for the stroke), meet the staff, and finally, be able to say our goodbyes.

My dad called today for an update. They said my grandmother's cough seems to have subsided and she seems more alert. But her state of mind comes and goes, we all know that. We had all hoped and prayed yesterday that God wouldn't prolong suffering for her. If she's stopped coughing, I'm glad about that, but she lays in the bed twisted, and curled up, and moans in her sleep. It bothers me that she's more emotional-she probably realizes that either she's not long for this world, or that we're not there. If she goes in the next week or two, we probably won't make it back up for her last moments. I will only get 3 days off for services or bereavement, Archie doesn't get much as it's not his immediate family, nor does my mom. I can't go up to be with her at the end, turn around and come home for a day or two, go back up once she's cremated and they have her memorial mass. It's too much, and I won't have the time. I also have to have someone drive with me (it's a long drive, and my father doesn't drive), and if I thought I could do it without anyone when things are going ok, I know I can't when I'm an emotional wreck (being pregnant doesn't help with this). It bothers me that while she will be surrounded by her sisters, neices and nephews at the end (and don't get me wrong, I'm so glad she will be surrounded by people who love her), she won't be surrounded by the rest of her family-namely her only son, and her grandchildren.

I find myself really depressed about the whole situation. I got home last night, and talking to Archie, telling him about the day (combined with being tired and hungry), crying and upset, only led to me getting sick and throwing up in the kitchen. There's nothing I can do to make things better, or control anything about the situation. I can't make her more comfortable, I can't do anything to help her. I'm 24 weeks pregnant, and I keep reminding myself that while I don't have control over any of this, I do have to take care of myself and this unborn child within me. The last thing I want is to be so stressed that I go into preterm labor. I just don't think any of how I'm feeling is going to get better though until my grandmother passes. It will take time obviously for all of us to grieve, but the grieving process has already started for those of us who will continue to live on this earth after she's gone, and it's just dragging out indefinitely. Maybe my grandmother will go quickly. She's in the best place possible if she doesn't because they will be able to control her pain, make her as comfortable as possible, and they will make sure that she is well cared for. I already thought the nurses who worked with her yesterday were just so sweet with her. I couldn't ask for anything more.

Please just pray for my grandmother to be comfortable, and not to suffer. Pray that when she passes it is peacefully and she's surrounded by those who love her, that she isn't alone. Thanks guys.