I’m not a crier 

I’m usually not a crier. But I was watching a recorded episode of Nashville last night, and a particular scene really got to me…

Now I know I didn’t purposely do anything to cause Nora and Nadia’s premature births and ongoing related issues… But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel quite guilty. I mean, my God, Nora had bacterial meningitis and sepsis as a preemie, two separate episodes. When they told us they said, I’m so sorry, as if she was already dead! I’m honestly shocked she’s doing so well. We still have many follow-up appointments, which reminds me, we need another hearing test for her, as she’s at-risk for hearing loss for several more years yet, I think until she’s five maybe. And Nadia, every time I look at her and will her to crawl or make a babbling noise I’m reminded of her brain bleed.

There is the rational side of it all… But then there is the side who wishes she could go back. To beg for the cerclage, or do more research on my own, or rest more during both my pregnancies. I don’t know, anything to change a 29 and 30 week delivery. And then I think of our frozen embryo. How do we give that little boy or girl a chance? Is it irresponsible for me to attempt another pregnancy? What if I delivered at 24 weeks next time? How would I live with the guilt of raising a possible special-needs child knowing my body was the cause?

I think back to the month we started our first round of IVF, how scared I was of the process… And here now, with two beautiful girls… The situation may be different, but the fear remains.

Back to Iowa City

I’m not sure where I left off last…

Thursday Nora and I went to Iowa City for another Makena injection.  Apparently my insurance can’t figure out if they will pay if the injections are given at home.  I’m so hoping it’s worked out by this Thursday.

Then Friday I went to Iowa City so Nora could get blood drawn for an IgG level.  Thankfully Eric had Friday off and could go with me.  We made a day of it, stopping at Costco and stocking up on everything we didn’t need but missed having.  Right after we got home that evening Dr. Bayer (Nora’s immunologist at the University) called with bad news.  A month ago Nora’s IgG level was 211, but it was now 188.  So…  Dr. Bayer wants to check whether or not Nora is losing IgG through either her stool or urine.  If she is, I think this would be another issue altogether, but I’m not even thinking about that yet.  Dr. Bayer told me not to worry yet, that her level was essentially the same and Nora still has plenty of time for her level to increase to the 700 range of normal.  But of course I’m going to worry.

So today, back to Iowa City for Nora’s appointment, just with a nurse, to somehow collect stool less than an hour old, and urine.  Sounds like fun.

And then after Nora’s appointment I’m having my weekly ultrasound to check my cervical length, and then I’m meeting with Dr. Hunter, the high-risk OB doctor I was supposed to see last Monday.  I’m anxious and nervous.  And of course Eric can’t go with me, it was too short of notice for him to reschedule an entire day of clinic patients.  Should be fun keeping Nora entertained during my appointments…

I have some ultrasound pictures from last week, but I’ll wait to post those, as I need to get on the road, and I assume I’ll get a few more pictures today.

High-Risk OB Appointment Tomorrow

My high-risk OB appointment in Iowa City is tomorrow.  Yeah, tomorrow.  Eric has a full day of surgeries scheduled, so of course he isn’t available.  He’s rarely available, and never on short notice.  Eric actually called to see if they could see me this Friday instead, as he has Friday off, but my regular OB called back and strongly encouraged me to make Monday’s appointment work.  She said the sooner we talk cerclage, the sooner it can be placed, preferably next week.  If I wait until Friday to be seen the procedure wouldn’t be scheduled until I was 17 or possibly closer to 18 weeks, which she isn’t comfortable with.

I feel like this whole situation is more serious than I originally thought.  I mean, if my regular OB wants me seen tomorrow, we aren’t wasting any time!  How do I not feel like a ticking time-bomb?  I was buying groceries a few days ago, with Nora, and I lifted her, in her infant car seat, into our vehicle, which is kind of high, and thought, this is like lifting 25 lbs almost above my head, this probably isn’t good for me!  But what do I know!  They technically didn’t give me any restrictions except no strenuous exercise.  So we’ll see.  Eric isn’t going tomorrow, so I’m nervous, not sure what questions to ask…

Off the subject, had to share a cute picture of Nora and me from yesterday 🙂

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Where from here…

I’ve been struggling on where to take this blog…  It started as a way for me to get my feelings out regarding our IVF journey.  Well clearly we are past that.  Then our NICU days, and more recently the life of a stay-at-home mom.  I’m not sure many of my posts have been all that entertaining!  Although I guess I don’t really write for all of you, but more for me, and for the advice all of you wonderful ladies, (and men?) offer me.  All that said, do all of you really care to follow as I document my life?  I mean really, I’m not all that exciting!  Honest yes, and I LOVE everyone I’ve met through writing, but entertaining I am not.

So the password protected posts…  If you haven’t already guessed, those were to conceal my pregnancy.  Yes, I’m pregnant, again, on our own.  (If you remember back to October when we got pregnant on our own but lost it very early.)  This pregnancy I was the annoying lady who kept bothering her doctor to do something.  So not to rehash too much, for those of you who know all this…  I’ve been on progesterone suppositories, 200 mg each, twice a day, since we found out we were pregnant.  I hate them, but ya know, what we do for the sake of our children!

Side note, I decided to write openly on here, as we are now into our 11th week of pregnancy and have heard the heartbeat twice already.  I know it’s still early, and thus we haven’t announced anything more publicly, so if you know us in real life, please keep this private for now.

So do you all really want to go through another pregnancy with me, reading the details that are really, probably, only important to me?  For now, I guess that is what I’ll be writing about.  Unless I can dream up something far more interesting!

For those of you reading the password protected posts, I’m sorry I didn’t update sooner with details from my appointment last Wednesday with my OB in Iowa City.  I meant to, but time got away from me.  Or rather, I was lazy and tired and laid around all weekend.

So last Wednesday.  I was scared to talk to my OB in Iowa City, as I had a lot of questions, mainly centering around how to keep this baby in past 29 weeks.  Side note, I decided to stick with my doctor in Iowa City, as she knows my history, and any doctor here would send me to Iowa City at the first sign of a shortening cervix.  So I figured skip all the hassle here and make the drive for my appointments.

Appointment last Wednesday was good.  I’ll try to summarize…

  • My doctor found the heart beat with the doppler, it was in the 160s which she said is fantastic.
  • Because I’m over 35, we scheduled an ultrasound for next week (11 weeks) to check the nuchal fold, then I’ll meet with a genetics counselor to review, and then I’ll have my blood drawn for the Materniti21 test.  Should have results in roughly three weeks.  Per their website “The MaterniT21 PLUS test is a noninvasive prenatal test (or NIPT) that detects fetal chromosomal abnormalities; from common (trisomies 21, 18 and 13) to the more rare (fetal sex aneuploidies, trisomies 16 and 22, and select microdeletions), all of the information reported is clinically relevant.”  This test will also disclose the gender.  I’m pretty sure they check the nuchal fold at this appointment because the blood test does not address related issues.
  • We scheduled an ultrasound for 16 weeks to check my cervical length and at that appointment I’ll also have a blood draw related to the nuchal fold, I forgot the name of that test…
  • At 16 weeks or as soon as my insurance approves our request I’ll start Makena injections.  My understanding of these are they are meant only for women who have already delivered a pre-term baby.  Supposedly they are a long-acting type of progesterone, given in weekly injections.  I should be able to do them at home, pending insurance approval.  I assume we will do them either if they deny our request, but apparently they are $1,500 a shot.  Ouch!  Lots of interesting data about these….  If I remember correctly, 12% of women delivered before 32 weeks on the injections, compared to 20% on the control.  So they clearly don’t help everyone.  And there are risks, with 2% of women on the shots delivering stillbirth, compared to 1% on the control.
  • We scheduled my 20 week anatomy scan which will also be an ultrasound to check my cervical length.  Depending on the measurements from 16 and 20 weeks we will discuss placement of a cervical cerclage.  The stitch would need to be placed before viability, so at the latest 22 weeks according to my doctor.  We did not yet discuss the benefits and risks, although she did mention the risk of breaking your water during the procedure.
  • Ultimately my doctor expects this baby to be born early.  But how early, who knows…

Honestly, that’s all I really know for now.  I’m so sick of feeling sick.  And so exhausted, but I know it’s a good sign and comes with the territory.  And above all, I know some reading this would give an arm or leg to be pregnant.  I do remember that feeling.  And I know I am blessed to be pregnant again, and on our own this time.

I had a few other topics I wanted to touch on, but out of time as I only have a sitter until 5 today.  I’ll try to write more later in the week 🙂

Pre-term Labor Update – 28w6d

Just a little update, don’t expect great things as I’ll admit, I’m feeling a little out of it.  The side effects from the magnesium seem to be bothering me more today…  Blurred vision, difficulty focusing, feeling cross-eyed, like I’m in dream land pretty much.  So hopefully some of this makes sense and is spelled correctly.

We made it another day pregnant, it’s Sunday now, and tomorrow morning I’ll be officially 29 weeks.  Another day is another day.

Aside from the magnesium side effects, I’m feeling rather out of sorts here.  I’m sure many of you can relate…  I feel trapped in this hospital room, in this bed really, as I can only get up to pee, and with help to unhook and reconnect all these monitors and drag my IV pole along.  And you know how I hate depending on others!  Eric has been here most of the time, although he’s been snoring through the nights!  Good thing the nurses are here!  He’s been great though, silencing all the darn alarms on these monitors and such!  He actually left a bit ago to take Kona to my moms, at least for tonight so that he doesn’t have to keep running home to let her out.  I really hate dumping her on my mom and step-dad, but I’m very thankful of them for helping.

I finally got some sleep last night, as I finally accepted a sleeping pill from my nurse.  They check my vitals, temp, blood pressure, reflexes, listen to my heart, and check my pee every hour, so when I say I slept, that is relative, but there was some sleep, which is good.

My contractions are still coming and going, some more painful than others.  I actually didn’t notice anything strong during the night, but since I’ve been awake today I’ve felt quite a few and several made me wanna say, ouch.  I keep looking at the number on my external monitor contraction thing, but for the life of me I don’t understand the correlation between my pain and the number it displays, so who knows!  Baby looks great for the most part, two nurses did come in during the night to get me to change position and check oxygen levels, as her heart rate seemed low for a bit, but all seems better now.  They are avoiding checking my cervix for fear of aggravating it, so no idea if I’m still dilated to just 2cm or not.

So the plan for today has not changed, magnesium continues until 9pm tonight, antibiotics continue until God knows when.  I haven’t had any more pain meds, but I’ll surely be asking for some should I feel more uncomfortable.  I’m feeling a lot of the contractions is my back, which is totally not fun!

I was feeling a little selfish last night, guilty too.  We met with the NICU doctors yesterday afternoon, and it was the first time I really wanted to bawl my eyes out  The team was really, really encouraging, giving us great statistics on 29 week babies delivered here at UIHC.  Who knew this NICU has the best survival rates in the country!  The docs said at 29 weeks she would probably need help breathing, but perhaps only be intibuted for maybe a week and then oxygen in other methods.  Respiratory issues are not their largest concern with 29 week premies though, their brains are.  Apparently brain bleeds are common, although I’m not sure I remember, or understand why.  I do remember them preparing us by explaining how we might not get to see baby right away if she is delivered this early, as the NICU team would take her immediately.  Also, we probably wouldn’t be able to hold her for at least a week until she’s more stable.  All that said, I know everyday we can keep her inside is best.  My guilty feelings come into play there though…  I honestly can’t picture my current state being my life for weeks or months…  These contractions coming and going, some quite painful.  I guess seeing an endpoint with a normal delivery seems realistic to me.  But going on like this for how long?  Well, I guess there is a part of me that just wants her to be born if that’s what my body wants.  But again, welcome to motherhood, it’s not about me, it’s about what’s best for her.