/ The RE's Muse: April 2005

The RE's Muse

After 4 years of infertility, 2 surgeries, 1 miscarriage, and 19 months of high risk pregnancies, hubby and I now have two little women in our lives--one a toddler, the other not far behind. Buckle your seatbelts, it's gonna be a wild ride.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Opening doors

I must confess. When A and I moved into our current home, I didn't designate one of the rooms our nursery-to-be. I never thought we'd get that far. Instead, I thought of the four bedrooms as a master bedroom, an office, and two guest rooms. In fact, only one of the two guest rooms even has a bed for guests, while the other just has boxes and boxes we've yet to unpack.

It is this room that we decided on as the nursery. This meant pulling the boxes out, going through as many as possible, getting rid of stuff, and so on. Mind you, when we moved into this house, the previous owner left us with a flea problem so we ripped out all the carpets and lived on the concrete slab for awhile. We laid laminate flooring in our bedroom, berber in the office, and we recently finished tiling the main parts of the house (living room, dining room, family room, and kitchen). This left the guest bedroom and the nursery to be done.

This past weekend, A put down laminate flooring in the nursery. A few weeks before that, he hung the blinds in there. While he was putting down the flooring, I put up a switchplate cover that matches the bedding we've selected for the crib and plugged in the matching nightlight. And the other night, A hung the valance over the window. That night, as he showered, I walked into the nursery and just stood there, taking it all in. It was almost too much to consider. I just never thought we'd have a nursery. As I stood there, I smiled and yet, I had to walk out when the threat of tears was too much. I had to shut the door. If anyone had told me we'd one day be preparing a nursery, I'd have told them they were mistaken. But here we are. And somewhere deep inside my heart, a door was opened when I entered the nursery that night and pictured all that it will be.

OB update: Had an appt with Dr. Hotstuff yesterday. Go figure--my BP was up (153/87) for the first time in weeks. This is only the second time this has happened and, if you'll recall, the previous time was also with Dr. Hotstuff. Coincidence? I think not. Perhaps he gets my heart a'revvin' and all being as he's a pretty good looking fella.

So, what does this BP issue mean, you ask? Once again, I'll be doing a 24 hour urine test, creatinine, uric acid, and some other tests to make sure all is good. I've got no swelling, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, etc., but was told that if any of these come up, he'll be sending me to labor & delivery. Hmmm...I've gone from being told to call them to being told I'm to go to L&D if these things happen. Kinda scary. And since this Saturday is my baby shower (did I just write that? holy cow), I'm gonna play hooky from work tomorrow and stay home to pee in a jug all day. Then I'll bring my pee and my veins to the lab at 8 a.m. Saturday morning when they open. I'll then be heading off for my 9 a.m. manicure/pedicure appt before heading to the shower, which kicks off at noon. Priorities and all. Hopefully the tests will come back okay but I try not to worry about that right now. I'm trying to stay in my own "pool of calm" (Julianna at My Eggs are Cooked would be so proud of my efforts) these days.

The wee girl continues to move, though her movements have started to change from kicks and pows to more twisting and turning. I guess space is getting to be at a premium in there. Lately, she's been entirely on my right side--so much so that when Dr. Hotstuff did the doppler yesterday for her heartrate, he couldn't find a thing on my left side. You'd be proud--I actually didn't panic. Just told him that she's been on my right side for about a week now and--bam--there she was when he moved the doppler over there. Told ya so doc.

Other than that, we started our childbirth classes this week. Nothing to really say about that. My perinatalogist visits have been good (most recently on 4/22), my weight gain has slowed to one pound in the last month (I guess there's something to be said for gaining it all during the first and second trimesters) and my sugars have been okay--not great, but acceptable. Of course, I cheat here and there which explains the lack of 'great' on their part. Bad me. But, all in all, I'm not doing too poorly for 30 weeks along; let's all cross our fingers things stay that way.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Rounding third, heading for home

So last week saw the start of the third trimester for the girl and I. And what a week it was!

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I realized I had not felt la principessa move since before dinner Tuesday. One call to the OB's office later and I'm on my way in immediately (note: if you ever want to be seen stat at your ob's office, just say "decreased fetal movement" and you're in like Flynn, no lie). My BP was through the roof (um, you think?). Fortunately, they got her heartbeat right away and then hooked me up to the non-stress test machine, where I sat, talking myself down from the ledge, and where the baby decided to once again make her presence known. Oh, yes, she put on a veritable acrobatic show in there then--bumping and jostling my belly nicely. Made me look like I didn't know what I was talking about in saying she hadn't moved in 16 hours. The doc came back in after 20 minutes to check the tape reading and declared things good and the baby 'reactive.' But the best part of all? La pricipessa got her first case of hiccups while I was hooked up to the NST. Talk about neat.... And almost as good was the fact that after the NST, my BP was 120/73. Completely normal.

And it's now official, I love Dr. Crunchy best of all the five partners. Not only was she so fantastic with the whole NST thing, but she even called me at home the next day to see how I was doing. She made me feel like she cared and that's rare in today's world of managed care. I really hope she's the doc on call when I go into labor (or am induced or whatever--knock on wood).

The fact that I may be having baby in the next 11 or so weeks is becoming more real to me. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared and nervous and about 9 million other emotions--all on a minute-by-minute basis, it seems. I'm grateful that all my tests last week came back normal (it's not often one of your doctors--who wasn't Dr. Crunchy--tells you "man, you peed like a racehorse!" when going over your 24-hour urine test result with you--guess I impressed him with my pee capcity) and things are going well. We're about to start working on the nursery (the flooring arrived on Friday) and our childbirth classes start next week.

The wee precious girl seems to know now that mommy needs to regularly know that she's in there and thriving so she's stepped up her movement in the past two or three days, which relieves me to no end. The belly moves around like there's an alien in there at times. And there's no denying the fact that this belly is baby now--I've gone from the possibly fat belly stage into the definitely expecting stage. Sometimes I look down at it in wonder, and then I wonder just how much larger it can get--plenty more, I know! Somehow I've managed to elude stretch marks (maybe that's one of the only good things about my inherited genetics) but I'm starting to feel "bulky" and my gravity has definitely shifted. Despite these things, A says I'm beautiful and, even more importantly, makes me feel that way. Oy, I love that man.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Hello little person

Well, what do you know? Today's OB visit found the BP back in normal range. Still no protein in my urine--a good thing indeed and let's hope it stays that way! My most recent labs haven't come back yet--anyday now--but my labs from last week's visit to the peri came back and all were normal. That means that I'm on the appropriate level of dexamethasone so the principessa's genitalia should be completely normal. I'm relieved at the continued good news.

Oh, and we had another u/s today--our first in almost 2 months! It was a pleasure to see our little person again. And I do mean little. She's not growth-retarded or anything like that. At 27 weeks, she's about 1 lb., 13 oz., and measuring 26w1d growth-wise. The tech reassured us this was completely normal--especially since u/s has a one-week margin of error to begin with. Despite my girl's small size, everything measured within normal range (femur length, abdominal and head circumferences, etc.). As the tech simply put it, 'you and your husband aren't big people.' And as A reminded me--'remember, she's got to come out eventually so small is good.' The baby was head down, which would explain why I keep getting kicked just below my ribs recently. We got some beautiful profile pictures and the u/s went a long way toward reassuring me about the baby's growth. I was so worried she'd be a big baby given my predisposition for gestational diabetes, which typically results in larger-than-normal babies. But so far, so good.

On the GD front, this past weekend saw my after dinner blood glucose readings going up so the peri's nurse called me on Monday and told me the doctor would like me to exercise after dinner instead of in the afternoons as I had been doing. So the past few nights I've exercised after dinner and what do you know? My readings have gone down. That and I'm really monitoring my food choices so maybe that has something to do with it too. Of course, the nurse did tell me that if my levels didn't come down, I'd be started on injectable insulin. And today the OB reminded me that GD will usually exhibit right around 28 weeks, meaning I've got a week to go to see what happens. Of course, it could happen after that but...we'll see. Chant with me please: "No GD for me, no GD for me...."

Other than that, the invitations for my baby shower have been sent out. And OMG, I've already started to get a few gifts in the mail from those unable to attend. Wow, who would have ever thought that infertile me would one day have a baby shower? (Not me, pessimist that I am.) But I'm so very grateful, and starting to look forward to it--even though I hate being the center of attention (perhaps I'd do well to get over that, what with labor and delivery being one big exercise in being the center of attention--and then I'd do well to forget ever being the center of attention again once the wee little princess arrives!).

Friday, April 01, 2005

A far cry from normal

Yesterday my Pollyana rose-colored glasses got knocked slightly askew. I had an OB appt, just a regular ole visit but, alas, regular was not in the cards. My BP clocked in at a lovely 147/92 which concerned the good doc (the hot one I'd previously not met) to no end. Luckily, he said, I'm not spilling any protein in my urine so I'm not preeclamptic, at least not yet.

Apparently, as he reminded me, the second trimester really is the 'honeymoon' phase of a pregnancy. If you've been experiencing morning sickness, it usually tapers off, you have more energy, and so on. And your BP also drops--and this, as the doctor said, lulls one into a false sense of security. Silly me. So here I am, staring the start of my third trimester in the face with a sham somewhat secure feeling.

Oh, but wait--there's more from the good doctor. While the 'normal' pregnant patient's odds of developing preeclampsia are around 7%, my odds come in at 25% given my preexisting hypertension and insulin resistance. Great, just great.

So now I've got a slew of labs to have drawn this coming Monday--CBC, complete metabolic panel, RPR, a 24 hour urine (we know what I'll be doing this coming Sunday), as well as fibrinogen (which supposedly can accurately predict if one will become preeclamptic within the coming two weeks from when the test is drawn) and a few others. And I'll now start seeing the OB weekly and--here's the only good part as far as I see it--getting weekly ultrasounds to monitor the baby's growth in case I do develop preeclampsia.

On one hand I'm terrified, and bargaining my body to please please please just do what 'normal' pregnant bodies do and function as it should for the remainder of my pregnancy (now 90-someodd days and counting down). On the other hand, I'm slightly relieved that my girl currently has good survival odds should she need to come out ASAP. But that's not enough to take the worry away completely.

But--as my SIL said, it could have been a bad BP reading. For 1), it was done with a self-inflating BP unit--instead of the old-fashioned hand pump/stethoscope all of the other nurses have used on me previously and 2), it was done on my right arm. I've always heard that the left arm is better at getting more accurate BP readings as its closer to your heart. But--hey--what do I know? And, final point of contention, my BP monitor at home (a combination model--with a manual inflator but electronic reader) has not clocked my BP higher than 120/80 or so at any point in time for the past two weeks. So which is right? No idea. Last night A and I popped by the local Wally World store after dinner so I could take my BP on the machine in their pharmacy area. It came in at 130/80 even, slightly higher than the 110-115/70-80 I'd been getting at home all evening after coming back from the OB.

So, what to believe, I don't know. But I do believe that my fear is growing by the day, and I know that's probably not helping any. I'm going to do what I can to take it easy as much as I can (though I know that there's no way to prevent preeclampsia) and to help my little girl stay in there as long as possible. And keep crossing my fingers for no protein or sugar in my urine, my BP to behave, and my body to be good to me and to her. A hard bargain, I know, given it's past shenanigans...but I've got Hope for it--Hope hasn't left me yet.

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