Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Doctor Appointment Update

I had another non-stress test today and appointment with my OB that went much better than two weeks ago.

* No signs of pre-term labor. Baby is doing great on the monitor and I'm not showing any signs of contractions.
* I had a steroid shot today for the baby's lungs and get a second round tomorrow. This is precautionary in case she takes the baby earlier than 39 weeks. It has made me incredibly crampy, but they said that is a normal side effect.
* Dr. Owen is still unsure of the date she wants to take the baby and is going to reassess at my week 34 sonogram. Depending on the findings, she is either going to schedule me early or leave me at May 24th.
* Depending on what she sees at 34 weeks, she can do an MRI to determine the "level" of accreta (there are three types) and will want to do an amnio test to make sure the baby is ready because she will take her early because of my health risk. Hopefully, like she said, this is just a "weird" thing my body is doing and there is no accreta. That is specifically what I am praying for.
* She did not put me on bed rest (thank you, Lord!) but more of a "half rest" meaning she knows my work schedule is half days and when I'm not at work for those 5 hours a day she wants me off my feet. Because I am not showing any signs of previa or pre-term labor she said she doesn't think I need to be on it. If the accreta is present (which we are praying it's not) there is nothing we can do to prevent it or remedy it until the actual surgery.
* I am feeling pretty good, just realizing that my limit of what makes my cramping start and what makes me feel bad is much lower than I had with Grace. I hate feeling like a wimp, but I am realizing this pregnancy is just tougher for me than I had with Grace. I have also had the realization in the last two weeks that my body is telling me to slow down and when I do, I feel so much better. Only 7 more weeks from today if we go until the 24th of May. We can do this.
* So all in all, great news! I wish I did not have to wait until 34 weeks to find out but I am happy to hear less urgency in my Dr.'s voice and at least have a plan. I left feeling like she is concerned and wants to be prepared, but is not expecting the worst. That is a sigh of relief. I have had a few moments of anxiety, but mostly I have a lot of peace. I know that whatever the outcome is, God is walking with us and this baby is His, just as Grace is his, and our little angel baby is His. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Hopefully, each week will bring a little more good news and this was just a scare.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I had a sonogram and doctors appointment about a week and a half ago that did not turn out as planned. I am still processing everything they told me and seem to be worried about, so I hope this makes sense. I am going to use bullet points because that seems to help me keep the info straight in my head. (Oh, and if you don't want to read words like uterus, cervix, and placenta, now is the time to stop reading).

To keep things short and sweet, this pregnancy has been a bit rougher than I had with Grace, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Cramping, spotting, and low fluid levels have been an issue as of late but we have been chalking it up to stress, being on my feet more than I should be, and dehydration (although less than 100 ounces of water a day is a bad day for me. This baby just needs A LOT of fluid!)

I had a great sonogram on the 21st. She is growing beautifully, already estimated at 3.7 pounds, heart, brain, everything looks great. The only issue has been this "cluster" of blood vessels around my uterus (such an awkward word) that they have been checking every sonogram. Luckily Dan mentioned at the end of the sonogram that they needed to check the "cluster" and when they did it appears to have grown. A lot. And not just grown but moved to a place near the lining of my uterus, which is also getting a bit too thin for the Dr.'s comfort. So here is a quick breakdown of what ensued over the next hour:

* Dr. Atkinson let Dr. Owen (my OB) know about the blood situation and told me best case scenario that I would need extra blood during my scheduled c-section. He left out worst case scenario.

* He seemed more concerned about the cramping and spotting than Dr. Owen has been. He did a swab test and an internal sonogram to rule out pre-term labor symptoms and make sure it's not a bacterial infection causing the cramping and spotting. All test have come back negative.

* I walked into Dr. Owen's office right after the sonogram and she was clearly flustered and upset about the blood situation. She then proceeded to tell me that they are concerned about placenta accreta, which is when the placenta grows up into the uterus and attaches itself. The only way to get rid of the placenta is to cut it away from the uterus, leaving the uterus wall too weak to carry another baby, so they will more than likely perform a hysterectomy. Deep breaths.

* She then told me that she wanted to do non-stress tests every week and that she was giving me a steroid shot at week 32. And that I wasn't on bed rest yet, but I better take it extremely easy and stay off my feet as much as possible or it was a certainty (she knows I am deathly afraid of bed rest so I know if she puts me on it, it's serious). Oh, and I also got put on pelvic rest (sorry, I'm not going to explain it on the blog). Fun times.

* She also told me that she was nearly certain I was not going to make it until May 24th, the scheduled c-section date, and that her dad was most definitely going to assist in case there are any problems (he's an OBGYN in case you were wondering if she was just very family oriented). More fun times.

* The non-stress test looked fine on Monday. Baby girl was kicking like you would not believe and the nurse explained some things to me that helped a lot. I asked her why the non-stress test if I was clearly not having any contractions and my cervix is "a great length," according to the Dr. It seemed a bit dramatic to me. She explained that they have to make sure I don't have any kind of contractions or labor because of my thin uterine wall. That made sense to me.

So here we are today. I feel okay, just more like I'm 38 weeks pregnant instead of 31. I'm not terribly stressed or worried (worst case scenarios are just that, and until Dr. Owen tells me that I for sure have an accreta I am not going to get worked up about it). I have another appointment on Tuesday with Dr. Owen and another non-stress test, so hopefully we will have more answers and can get some kind of a plan going. I am trying very hard to stay off my feet and keep the stress level down so I don't have to go on bed rest.

And on to a lighter note, I have a precious pumpkin that keeps me laughing every day. This week she is very into wearing her tutu. Here she is watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in her favorite chair and "skirt." Her allergies have been terrible so her poor eyes were barely open.

Monday, January 31, 2011

I know this is old news, but I realized I never made an official post about the fact that we are expecting a second baby girl at the end of May. So here is your quick catch up on what's been going on:
On Friday, September 17th I was standing in front of the refrigerator and felt an incredibly intense wave of nausea. I thought I was coming down with a stomach bug and wouldn't let myself believe that we could possibly be expecting. The next morning I took a test and saw two definite pink lines. My knees hit the floor and I alternated between crying and thanking the Lord, trying not to wake up Dan. I was so overwhelmed with gratefulness, fear, excitement, and worry. We became pregnant only 3 months after the D&C and as happy as I was, I was also consumed by fear and doubt that this pregnancy would sustain.
I had a birthday party to go to that morning and did not say a word to anyone until I told Dan later that day. (Actually, Kristen was the first one to find out. I called her that morning freaking out that the test might be wrong). We told Tom and Beth when they came over later that week for his birthday and my mom when she came to visit that weekend.
It's incredible how different my emotions have been with this pregnancy. I have spent more than half of it cautiously optimistic but never fully letting the sheer joy of becoming a mom for the second time really hit me. I know it is a simple defense mechanism, but all the secrecy and waiting to talk about it, worry and fear have put a damper on what should be an amazing time. I have had to make a conscious decision to let my defenses down and get excited about this new baby on more than one occasion. I suppose the simplest way to say it is I will believe that all is okay when I hold her in my arms and see her for the first time.
Physically, this pregnancy has been different from Grace's. I think the main reason is that I was able to take it easy with Grace and other than a lot of cramping during the first 12 weeks, I didn't experience any trouble. This baby has come along during the 3 most stressful months of my life and rest and relaxation wasn't exactly something I could partake in like I was able to with Grace. I have had quite a bit of cramping, the intense tired spells (I know I had these with Grace, but I was able to actually take a nap!), serious nausea, and even some spotting. Now that I am not on my feet so much, working less hours, and not under so much stress I feel a TON better and am enjoying the "magical second trimester." 
So I am 22 1/2 weeks and growing great. The baby weighed one pound at our last appointment and all looks wonderful. She is growing right on track and I am feeling perfect. She is quite the mover (maybe I've just forgotten, but I truly don't think Grace moved with such force and ferocity as this child. It's almost as though she feels the need to remind me every hour, "I'm HERE! Don't forget about me!") We are still working on names, even though we have one that is a front runner, and in the next few weeks are going to transition Grace into a new room and toddler bed. Sigh. Here are my obligatory baby bump pictures and latest sonogram pictures:
Baby Girl at 21 weeks

Baby bump at almost 10 weeks. You can see why it was difficult to keep things a secret! My babies just like to make themselves known very early!

Baby bump at 15 weeks. A week before we found out that we were having another girl. 

Here's my bump with Grace at 16 weeks. Not too different!
22 weeks. I hope I'm about to level off because continuing to grow at this rate is a bit worrisome! My belly is measuring two weeks ahead of schedule. I always measured ahead with Grace, though, and toward the end of my pregnancy with her I looked like a normal 36 week pregnant woman!

Friday, December 24, 2010

It's a....



WooHoo! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Loss

Oh friends, what a sad time this has been. I have struggled with so many emotions, some I never knew I could feel, all in the span of four days. I can't begin to explain the empty feeling, the pain, and the numbness.
I have debated whether or not to share our story, worried that some might think it is too private, worried that it might be too painful, but I have realized that this baby deserves for it's story to be told, and I want to tell that story because it's wonderful. So, there may be tears, there may be hurt, but here it is, for better or worse.
We found out we were pregnant on April 30th. You can read the full story on the new blog I started here. Our first sonogram was May 17th. We all crowded into the little room and saw... not much. Only the sac. I didn't worry too much, but I thought I was 6 weeks and 6 days pregnant based on my last cycle and VERY CERTAIN conception date. So when she told me the sac was measuring 5 weeks and 5 days I thought it was weird, but thought I may just be growing more slowly. It wasn't until my Dr. called later that afternoon that I started worrying. She basically told me that she thought it was probably too early and rescheduled me for two and a half weeks later, but based on my dates, I could tell she was a little concerned. She told me that my levels and numbers were perfect, though, so there was no need to worry.
I started feeling better right before we left for Vegas, which was nice, but looking back, was probably a sign. I had been nauseous most days since I found out and all the sudden, I didn't feel nauseous at all. The one thing that was weird though, is that I started showing right about that time. I mean, a definite baby bump. While we were in Vegas, Dan asked how I was planning on keeping the pregnancy a secret with a belly. When we got back, it was a little difficult not to say anything with an obvious bump that I assumed meant everything was great and healthy. We told our Sunday School class through email and waited for Wednesday.
My mom flew in that morning for the sonogram and Tom and Beth met us there. Dan and I decided to go back to the room by ourselves since I was so nervous and I am glad we made that decision. Once I got laid down on the table and she started, we saw the baby, but I knew something wasn't right because it was too small. It looked like Grace's sonogram we had at 6 1/2 weeks. I was 9 weeks. The idea of no heartbeat never crossed my mind though; I thought I must be wrong about my dates or that the baby was just growing more slowly. Then it hit me that she said the sac was measuring almost 7 weeks and the baby was measuring 6 weeks. The sac had grown, but only 7 days in the last 2 1/2 weeks. I knew something was wrong and it was confirmed when she said she wanted to do an internal sonogram. I shouldn't need an internal if I'm nine weeks. We should be seeing more than what we're seeing. The next five minutes were the most quiet and terrifying. I was afraid she was going to tell me the baby was growing too slowly, or didn't have a brain, or anything besides there wasn't a heartbeat. But when she said the words, they hit me like a punch to the stomach and I burst into tears. I know she said something about talking to the doctor, but I only remember Danny scooping me up and crying with me and telling me we would see him again one day. I didn't want to tell our family. I couldn't bear to tell them that there wasn't another grand baby on the way. They met us outside after Dan told them and we numbly parted ways because my doctor asked me to come over right away.
After talking with the nurse on Wednesday and Dr. Owen on Thursday, we decided on a d&c for Friday morning. I can't explain the range of emotions those two days. I didn't want to talk to anyone, but couldn't even think about being alone. I wanted to scoop up Grace and hold her so tight, but at times looking at her made me cry, thinking about what we lost. I wanted to scream and just be silent. I wanted to run away and crawl under the covers and not think.
My friend Emily went through this very recently as well. Our girls are about 3 1/2 weeks apart and our babies were due 3 1/2 weeks apart. Talking to her helped me understand so much. It made me feel normal, let me know what might happen to my body medically, and gave words to the grief I was feeling. Em, I will be forever grateful that if this is something we have to go through, I had a friend like you to grieve through it with me.
The procedure on Friday was very quick and quite painless. I had some mild cramping and spotting but no real pain to speak of. I remember thinking right before how ready I was to get the procedure over with, but when the anesthesiologist came in and started explaining things I was gripped with the feeling that I just wanted to leave. The procedure would be quick and virtually painless, but they were taking the only part of the pregnancy I had left. They were taking my baby out of me and I would be empty when they were finished. I was heartbroken again at the realization.
Friday afternoon was really a "good day" if those are even the right words. I wasn't very weepy or emotional, I was grateful for the medical aspect to be over, and I felt better than I thought I would. Saturday was full of numbness and emptiness. My mom left, which was so difficult, and the day seemed to drag on. Today has brought much of the same, but I know things are going to get easier and easier.
I haven't had any real peace to speak of yet. No real closeness with God, which I think is surprising. Not that I don't know the truth; that He is close and grieving with us, that He understands what we are going through, and that this world is not the end for us, but my head and my heart aren't communicating much yet. Everyone's words feel empty and hollow, because I feel empty and hollow, not because the words don't mean anything. I want this time to be over, want to move on and start feeling "normal."
Thank you for letting me share. This is by far the most difficult thing we have ever experienced (I know, we have been very blessed!) and we are ready to be on the other side of it. Ready for more children. Ready to come out stronger because of it. Ready to feel God in all of it. Ready for the tears to stop. We are so grateful to all of you who have prayed for us, cried with us, shared your time and meals with us, and been the hands and feet of Jesus to us in all of this. We know that slowly, this will start to get easier.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Exciting News

I woke up at 3:30 in the morning on Friday, April 30th and couldn't sleep. I was recounting the events of the day and feeling bad for my horrible attitude at the store. I was incredibly moody, bossy, and just not myself all day. When I got home, it wasn't much better, and I had to control my anger at Dan and how loudly he seemed to be breathing. I knew something wasn't right and knew in an instant that morning that I was pregnant. I was feeling the same way I did right before I found out I was pregnant with Grace. I got up and took a test (when you're trying, you keep these things in stock) and sure enough, I got a very quick and visible positive sign. I was shocked, crying, excited, and trying to come up with a great way to tell Dan since he was with me when we found out with Grace and I didn't have that opportunity. I was pacing back and forth and heard Dan call my name.
"Ashley?"
"Wake up, I'm pregnant." So much for a great way to announce the news!
"What?"
"You heard me, get in here! I'm freaking out!"
It is important to note that while we have been wanting another baby since October, we agreed that April would be the month we weren't going to try. For those of you who don't know, I bought the Lubbock Bridal Faire with a partner and it occurs once a year in January. Guess when the baby would be due? January. Needless to say, I was a little stressed. I had done the math and knew that my due date would be the week before the show. I suppose our way to get pregnant is to say, "as long as we don't get pregnant in April..."
After Dan calmed me down, we started to get excited and tried to go back to sleep, being as it was 4:15 in the morning. We told his parents and my family on Sunday the 2nd. We have been waiting to say much else until after our second sonogram on June 2nd. The first sonogram was May 17th and the doctors think it was too early because we couldn't see the baby. Hopefully we will see our sweet pumpkin and hear that perfect little heartbeat in a week and then finally send everyone over to the new site to start celebrating with us!
Oh my, friends, we are going to be a family of four! Woohoo!

The first test...
The second test...
and the third, just to be sure! Does every woman do this or is it just me?
video

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Welcome friends

In honor of our new little one on the way, I have decided to give our family a new blog. Even thought I'm a firstborn, I already feel protective of our new little second child and how unfair it would be to have all of his or her accomplishments and milestones under the title "Our Sweet Baby Grace!" So after we make the big announcement, we will move the blog to this page. Hope you enjoy our new journey!