Amniocentesis FAIL (36w2d)

So my fluid was at an all-time low of 4.5 today, and even with Dr. Schwartz’s Jedi-like skills, the amniocentesis couldn’t be completed today. There was one tiny (1.2cm) pocket he was aiming for, but the kid kept putting his arm there when Dr. Schwartz got close with the needle. Paul watched on the monitor as they tried and tried to get into the pocket they were aiming at.

I got jabbed twice though. Not as bad as I thought it would be at all. The pressure was the worst part – until the contractions started. (It’s two hours later and they’re still happening…) It wasn’t pleasant by any means, but I’m not shaking in my boots at the prospect of another one.

So the plan is to wait another week. Since we can’t absolutely confirm that the little guy’s lungs are mature enough to be on the outside, we hang out. I’m still doing OK enough (surprisingly) that we have time before things get to a crisis point. So we’ll continue monitoring me this week, and on Friday I’ll be checked by one of the other doctors in the office. If he sees a big pocket of fluid, they’ll probably go ahead and attempt an amnio – but if not, it’s not a problem. I’m scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 7:30 on Sunday evening to start the induction. Dr. Schwartz will come straight from the airport on Monday morning to check on me, and we’ll take it from there. (Friday’s potential amnio would only be to tell us something wasn’t right – not to give us the go-ahead to induce. The default now has been flipped to induce, as opposed to waiting for confirmation.)

We were pretty disappointed. Paul and I had worked this weekend to get ourselves to a good head space for having the kid today. We felt ready. (well, as ready as one can feel…) So it was a pretty big let down today, and Dr. Schwartz recognized that. But we agree with him that discretion is the better part of valor and to err on the side of caution is a much better way to go right now. Paul is concerned for me having to stick it out another week, but I’m fine. Letting the little man have an extra week is all to the good for him, and I can put up with basically anything for another 6 days.

I’ll be going in to start the induction process at 7:30 on Sunday June 27. It’s entirely possible that the whole process will take 2-3 days. Paul’s birthday is Wednesday the 30th. Could be fun if his son shares his birthday. (Considering Paul was born on his parent’s 3rd anniversary.)

For now though, we’re finally back home. The appointment today was over three hours long with 30 minutes of monitoring before and after the amnio. We know what a contraction looks like on the monitor now! I’m dead on my feet and in a fair amount of pain in my upper-mid back and from the continuing contractions, so I’m gonna lay down for a nap. I’ll be working the rest of this week, so I will be staying busy between monitoring appointments on Wednesday and Friday afternoons.

Sorry for the big build up to nothing, folks.

Pre-Eclampsia (33w4d)

We knew this was a possibility. Just didn’t think it would actually happen so dang fast. (But to put it in perspective, Dr. Schwartz expected to see symptoms of pre-eclampsia in me by 28 weeks or so. It usually shows up in non-hypertensive, non-diabetic, non-obese, non-thyroid-challenged women between 32-37 weeks. So the fact that I got to nearly 34 weeks with my medical history is astounding.)

Fetal Monitoring appointment today went well. Baby was head down (again) and cooperating with holding still for the monitor. It wasn’t strapped so tightly to me this time, so he wasn’t kicking at it. I actually fell asleep for a little bit while being monitored.

But when they took my blood pressure, things got a little scary. 157/110, up from 138/83 two weeks ago. (It was ~150/97 last week) And that’s with hella medication. The results of my 24-hour urine test came back in the mid 300’s, which indicates mild/moderate (as opposed to severe) pre-eclampsia.

None of this is a surprise. What Dr. Schwartz told us about at the beginning of this 3rd trimester is coming true. The hope is that the creeping up of my blood pressure stays slow/moderate, and that the protein count doesn’t skyrocket. More labs were taken today and the results will be in tomorrow – which will give a more exact look at what the situation is. I’m not showing many other symptoms – and especially none of the symptoms of HELLP syndrome. But I’m up 2 pounds this week, so that’s a tad worrisome.

If things are getting worse quickly, Dr. Schwartz will have to hospitalize me for more intensive monitoring (BP readings every 15 minutes, IV therapy, fetal monitoring, etc.) Nobody wants that – cuz it would stress me right the hell out. Being in the hospital (by definition, uncomfortable) wasting paid leave with no baby, strapped to a bed would just suck SO bad. And it’s possible that I could be monitored for up to a week before things reach a critical point where the baby has to come out. So that would be a TON of paid leave down the drain. If I’m allowed to be at home, at least I can still do *some* work, and Paul is here to keep a close eye on me. We live like 7 minutes from the hospital if that becomes necessary.

In preparation of the baby coming much sooner than anticipated, I got the first of two steroid shots today. (Supposedly they burn like crazy, but I didn’t feel it at all!) For those who know or care, I’m being given Betamethasone.

So here we are. I’ve been told I can’t go into the office any longer. Dr. Schwartz didn’t get into specifics right yet, but basically I need to be off my feet as much as humanly possible, with feet elevated. And most importantly, I need to be in a calm environment, away from stress. I need to go into the office tomorrow to collect some things and wrap up some stuff, but I’ll be leaving at noon for my 1:00pm appointment. I might go in for a couple hours on Friday too. Cuz seriously, I wasn’t ready to not be in the office quite yet.

Dr. Schwartz is back at home in Denver until Monday, so he’ll call me during my appointment tomorrow to go over my lab results and answer whatever questions we come up with by then. He’ll be back in the office for a 9-day stretch starting on Monday, so I have a strong suspicion that he’ll deliver me during that time, assuming I don’t need to be delivered this weekend for some reason.

As far as baby goes: he’s doing OK at this point as far as we can tell. He was 4 pounds exactly two weeks ago, so we’re assuming he’s somewhere between 4.5-5lbs right now. Our concern for delivering him soon is his lung maturity. The steroids they gave me today (and tomorrow) are designed to kick his lungs into high gear to make surfactant to make it easier for him to breathe. He’ll have to spend some time in the NICU when he comes, but we don’t know how long – could be 2-4 days, could be 2 weeks or more. No way to know until he gets here. If we make it to 36 weeks (doubtful) they can use amniocentesis to check the development of his lungs, but prior to 36 weeks, there isn’t much they can do to check. If he comes sooner than that, it will be because my body just can’t take being pregnant anymore.

We’ll have a better idea of where we stand after tomorrow’s appointment. I already have appointments for Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week for fetal monitoring. Here’s hoping I can keep those.

I still need to pack my hospital bag. I need to wash some baby clothes and put things away in drawers and in his closet. I need to go out and buy some preemie-sized clothing and onesies. It never occurred to us that we could have a preemie. We knew the pregnancy would almost assuredly have a bumpy ending, but having a preemie never occurred to us. I can’t believe I’m typing that word.

I don’t know how to deal with this, really. I’m a planner, and I can’t plan anything right now. I don’t know how things are going to go or what my options are anymore. I don’t know how nursing/pumping gets dealt with in a NICU situation. What do we do with ourselves when we can’t be at the NICU? Does it make me a terrible parent that I’m still worrying about getting to work during all of this? I’m vacillating between abject terror and a preternatural calm, both stemming the knowledge that I am in control of absolutely none of this. I’m going with the flow, because I don’t have any other choice. I’m doing my best to stay calm because stress really doesn’t help the situation. Prayers would be appreciated though. An update will happen as soon as possible after the appointment tomorrow afternoon.

Fetal Monitoring (32w4d)

Today was my first experience with fetal monitoring. They did an ultrasound to see what position the baby was in and then took me to another room with a reclining chair for me to hang out in to be monitored. It took the nurse a minute or two to find his heart with the monitor, but once she got that thing strapped on, it was clear as a bell! (Actually, the baby started kicking the monitor which was funny to feel and hear!)

My blood sugar took a nosedive while we were there though. I’d had a super busy morning and a board meeting right before my appointment, so I just hadn’t eaten enough. I took my blood sugar and it was at 48, so I asked for and chugged some juice.

My blood pressure though… not good. It’s been 138/83 or lower this whole time. Today’s lowest was 155/96, and that was after I was done with the monitoring, so I’d been chilling out for a while. So they took some blood and another urine sample, and I’ve got the 24 hour urine collection to do tomorrow. (I did one when I was about 20 weeks or so as a baseline.) We’ll see. Dr. Schwartz says he’s not worrying about me yet so I’m not to worry either.

I feel the same though. Swelling hasn’t gotten any worse. No pain in my upper abdomen. I’ve had a twinge of a headache a time or two in the last week, but nothing severe or lasting at all. No weight gain since last week. (Shocking since I’ve been so dang hungry!) I’m trying to think positive and assume it was the busy/stressful day at work directly before the appointment or because my blood sugar was so low. We’ll see. If pre-eclampsia has started, we’ll figure out a way forward from there.

Unless something changes though, I’ve got an appointment for monitoring in a week, and then I go to twice weekly after that. FWIW, the baby monitored excellently today – Dr. Schwartz said he couldn’t be more pleased.

Tonight we went to our Baby Basics class, and were fairly disappointed. I didn’t learn anything at all. Paul at least got to change a diaper on a baby doll and we both burrito’d the doll and put a shirt on it. Some of the information presented directly contradicted what we’ve already learned in our Prepared Childbirth classes, and what we’ve read in books and online. So meh. Good to have the experience under our belts, but we’re both looking forward to the Breastfeeding class in two weeks much more. I figure between the couple of baby care books we have, my experience, and just fumbling along – we’ll be just fine.

Dr. Happy’s reality check (27w1d)

I had my regularly scheduled appointment on Wednesday morning, the last of my 3 week appointments. It was a simple appointment, no bloodwork, no ultrasound to speak of, nothing major – just checking in.

First the good news: I gained 3 pounds since my last appointment. I was TOTALLY expecting more, because I feel so much bigger. But Paul concurs with his mom that apparently I’m shrinking in other places. As he (ever so lovingly) put it, I’m “less flabby” than before. I get what he meant though – places that were flabbier are – well…. full of baby now, so they’re filled out. (I’ve got stretch marks to prove it!) I was THRILLED to hear that I’d only gained 3 pounds. I like to think that I’m making good choices with what I eat and portion control – but it’s so hard to tell when I’m SO farking hungry, and when I keep gaining weight, regardless of what I eat. So yay me. I’m up a total of 12 pounds so far. Everyone is happy about that. The little guy should start putting on an average of a half pound a week here soon – so steady continued weight gain is expected.

My blood pressure was a little on the high side when I first got into the exam room, but when taken again at the end of the appointment was down to a happy-making 128/83. So the meds are still working as they should, which is awesome.

We didn’t really get a look at the little guy. The nurse this time was all business and only even remembered to turn on the speakers so we could hear the heartbeat after she’d already found it. The stallions were galloping at 142 bpm.

Dr. Schwartz was pleased to see that my blood sugars were already coming back down now that my stress level has reduced quite a bit. Between finishing off the horrific, unending server install/migration at work (I worked 4 weekends in a row…. I’m still trying to catch up on rest) and Paul finding a contract programming gig – my stress has gone down a lot. My blood sugars are almost back into the happy range they were 5 weeks ago. Dr. Schwartz upped my evening regular insulin by 2 units, so nothing major. He and I are still expecting to see more insulin resistance as the pregnancy progresses, so I’m prepared for more insulin bumps.

But then Dr. Scarypants arrived and started preaching. Basically what Dr. Schwartz told us is that now that I’m in my 3rd trimester (which started either today or a week ago, depending on who you ask) that the gloves are off. Dr. Schwartz doesn’t want to scare me, but he felt the need to reinforce the fact that I *am* a very high risk pregnancy. And while I’ve done fantastic so far, the likelihood of me getting all the way through this pregnancy, let alone with no complications is slim to none. He believes I *will* get pre-eclampsia – it’s simply a question of when and how severely. He reminded me that there’s nothing I can do to prevent pre-eclampsia, and there’s nothing I’ve done wrong that will make it happen. But someone of my size, first pregnancy, diabetic and hypertensive just *will* get it. Nothing you can do but pray for a miracle.

So now we live with goals. The first goal is to get to 30 weeks. Then to get to 32 weeks. Then to get to 36 weeks. And after 36 weeks – he could deliver me anytime. Dr. Schwartz warned me that he expects to put me on modified bed rest at some point which means I’ll need to modify my work schedule – if I’m able to go to work at all anymore. I may be reduced to working from home, which severely limits what I can do. (It’s hard to do Accounts Payable when the invoices have to stay at the office, ya know?) He didn’t rule out the possibility of needing to hospitalize me towards the end. (That’s my idea of hell there, kids.)

So for now we keep doing what we’re doing. Taking it as easy as possible, treating myself and baby well, eating as well as I can manage, exercising moderately (although he strongly cautioned me against over-doing it even by a little bit) and trying to stay calm. Each day my blood pressure stays below scary levels is one more day my little man gets to cook in his first apartment.

I’ll be honest, the thing that freaks me out the most is being told I can’t work. We cannot afford to not have me working, especially for weeks before the baby comes. That will just eat into the meager paid leave reserves I have. (Yes, my work is willing to adjust my schedule as necessary – but seriously, I can’t do half my duties from home.) But stressing isn’t going to help anything, so I try not to dwell on it.

I’m back to two week appointments now, and will drop down to one week intervals after 30 weeks or so. So next appointment is April 28th. Then I’ll have one right before my shower – which is in less than a month!

Oy, what a week! (17w3d)

So, I’m still sick. Haven’t been back to work since I left on Wednesday. Rest and fluids aren’t seeming to help, since I was worse this morning than I have been all week. Seriously thought I popped a rib after a particularly bad coughing fit this morning. I can hardly do anything without getting so winded I can barely talk.

I e-mailed Dr. Schwartz this morning to update him on my condition and ask what I should do. (Seriously, I wasn’t sure if I should go to Urgent Care or what at this point…) He called in a prescription for antibiotics (a Z-Pack) into my pharmacy for me to start today. While there, I took the opportunity to check out the sugar-free Robitussin, which turns out to have the SAME INGREDIENTS as the cold pills that Paul has here at home. DANGIT. So I’m on those pills now too (Mucinex DM – half a pill every 6 hours.) [start Whingy McWhingerson] I can tell the pills are working… I’m not coughing as much as I was before, but I feel like I have to cough all the time. I know this is better, but not all that much. [end Whingy McWhingerson]

What I don’t get though? Why did I develop a whiz-banger of a headache this afternoon? Seriously, I’d call this a migraine. Under normal circumstances, I’d have taken one of my migraine pills hours ago. But I can’t take those. So I take Tylenol and cringe with every coughing fit. It takes a minute or two to recover after every cough. I *really* hope this headache is gone tomorrow morning. I cannot afford to burn any more sick leave, but I feel like such ass right now. wah.

On a slightly brighter note: I really wish I could tell what the baby is thinking these days. I gotta imagine that between my frequent bouts of hiccups and now these body-racking extended coughing fits, the baby has gotta be pretty annoyed at me. Worst hotel ever, ya know? I can picture it kicking like crazy and banging a tiny broom on the ceiling. I’ve taken to patting my tummy and apologizing after the worst of the coughing. I hope it doesn’t take it’s (presumed) irritation out on us on Wednesday.