Pregnancy Part Two

Oy, so I fully intended to get this second part of my pregnancy story posted a week after the first. Maybe two at the most, I thought. Ha! What is it now? Two months later? Y'all, this parenting stuff is legit time consuming. I don't know how all these mommy bloggers do it. There's no way I can do a blog post a week, plus feed myself, feed the baby, wash myself and the baby, occasionally do things like vacuum and dust (ha, just kidding, never made time for that pre-baby), much less look halfway decent doing it. Seriously. I want to be a fly on the wall in one of their pristine houses for a day, 'cause I just don't understand how they do it all. I'm guessing cocaine (kidding), or just very carefully crafted photography. Anyway... no BS around here. My house is a wreck, I've only showered once this week (though it is only Wednesday, so I guess that's not too bad), and the sink is full of dishes, but tonight, I'm going to take some friggen' time to write this blog post, if for no other reason than so I can cross it off of my To Do list and not more it to next week's spread yet again. :)  Here we go... pregnancy part dos. If you missed part one, check it out here

After the initial shock of our ultrasound with the maternal fetal medicine doc wore off, we went home and holed up for the weekend. We spend a lot of time crying, and trying to process what all of this new information meant. I cancelled a lot of plans because I just didn't want to talk to anyone, or have anyone ask about the baby. I didn't want to lie, but also didn't want to tell anyone what was going on until we knew for sure the extent of what we were dealing with. Eventually we picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and started the waiting game. Because we opted to do a full microarray for the amnio, it was going to take a minimum of 10 business days and up to a full month before we would know the results. Of course, like the amnio (which was only supposed to take 5 minutes, but ended up taking almost 45 because Beastie kept moving and reaching for the needle), the results took a long time to come in. We went about our lives as best we could. we started work on my office/craft room, the nursery and the upstairs bathroom. I travelled with the hubs to Seattle for a few days. He had a work conference and I hauled my fat rump around town doing some sight seeing. I was finally feeling pretty decent, though my feet were constantly swelling, and walking the hills of Seattle didn't help that much at all. Finally, mid-June, while I was standing in the Chihuly museum, I got the call from our MFM with the amnio results. Thankfully, everything came back clear. No chromosomal issues at all. I've never been so relieved. We finally knew what we were dealing with (ha, little did we know), and could proceed with the pregnancy as planned. 

My view when I finally got the good amnio news!

My view when I finally got the good amnio news!

 

We setup a prenatal consult with the Cleft Clinic at Children's Colorado. They were wonderful and it was very reassuring to meet with the staff and gain a better understanding of what surgeries Beast might need, the general time line, and some ideas on what to expect. We had several more ultrasounds with the MFM, though Beastie always had a hand, umbilical cord, or something in front of her mouth and we were never able to get a clear picture. Beast still measured a little small, but overall everything looked good. 

One of the Beast's many ultrasound pics. 

One of the Beast's many ultrasound pics. 

Throughout the month of June, however, I was experiencing a symptom that I'd later learn was a result of my increasing blood pressure and impending pre-eclampsia. While my evening sickness and heartburn subsided for a few weeks, it started to come back mid-June. I had terrible heartburn at night and would often wakeup in the middle of the night feeling like everything I had eaten all day was sitting just below my throat. I brushed it off as a normal pregnancy thing. Little did I know. 

 

Anyway, at the beginning of July, I went in for a routine check up and they found my blood pressure was slightly high. So, they ordered some blood work and a 24 hour urine test (nothing says fun like a jug of pee in the fridge). All of those tests came back within normal ranges, so my doctor instructed me to watch for some indicators of pre-eclampsia and sent me on my way. 

A week later, I had a headache that just wouldn't go away. Honestly, it wasn't even much of a headache at all, maybe a 2 out of 10, but it was persistent so I called the doctor just to be safe. Since I had to go in for my four hour glucose test anyway (barf to that surgary crap), they told me to stop by the office beforehand for a quick blood pressure check, just in case. It was 190/100, definitely too high. So, my doctor immediately sent me up to labor and delivery for observation and another ultrasound. Four hours later, my blood pressure was still climbing, and the ultrasound showed that Beast had slipped to the 4th percentile for size. After my BP hit 210/130, they made the decision to send me down to University, a larger hospital better prepared to deal with severe pre-eclampsia and a potentially premature baby. 

Luckily, they didn't feel I was bad enough off to warrant an ambulance ride (thank God since the hospital bills were high enough even without that), so the hubs and I drove home, quickly packed, and headed to Aurora. 

 

I'll leave you there for now. Next posts will be my hospital stay and the delivery! Hopefully those won't take nearly as long to get out. :) 

 

In the Beginning...

I suppose, if we're to take this journey together, you and me, you should know where it all began. And since all of this began nearly one year ago, it seems as good a time as any to start. 

In my head, as I lie in bed at night trying to fall asleep, I compose the most wonderful writing. I always know exactly what to say. It flows, it's eloquent, it's equal parts Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling and Louis CK. The writer me of bedtime is amazing. Unfortunately, those beautiful bedtime words are even slipperier than most. I can never remember how I phrased things just so in the morning, and the times that I've attempted to keep a little notebook by my bed have proven fruitless. Sleepy me is excellent at words, but as soon as I try to voice them or keep them in some permanent state, they're gone. They are wild and untamable, my sleepy words, impossible to capture.

Anyway, this big, long, random introduction is really just the prelude to my actual blog post, which I had written quite beautifully last night, but alas, awake writer is far worse than sleep writer. Regardless, if this blog is going to be all about our journeys as a Micropreemie/Cleft family, we should begin at the beginning of the family.

So, our story began as many do, with a pregnancy test. I bought several after work, and was completely petrified that I'd run in to one of my students or their parents at the drugstore. Not that I had any reason to be embarrassed about buying them, I'm married and 34, but it's still just weird. Anywho, I waited until the Husbeast got home and then took the test. I don't know that I've ever had a longer three minutes in my lift. I was so anxious! I wouldn't have imagined that I would feel so scared, so nervous, so everything! I remember commenting that I was really, really glad I'd not had to take a pregnancy test before then as I don't think I could have handled the stress of it at 16, or 25. After three minutes, I went to check and there it was, the faintest little pink line. I think we were both in total shock. A part of me felt like I knew already, but it was just so.... real. Before then kids had been this esoteric, nebulous maybe, and now? Now it was definite. Concrete. Crazy. 

I called my docs the next day to schedule an ultrasound to verify the pregnancy. Seeing that tiny little bean at 6 weeks was unreal. It's such a strange feeling. I didn't feel pregnant. I wasn't sick (yet), wasn't fat(ter than I normally am), I was still just me... but that me was now us. 

The littlest beast at about 6 weeks.

The littlest beast at about 6 weeks.

The first several weeks of pregnancy were completely uneventful. I thought that morning sickness started immediately, so I also assumed that I was in the clear since I had been feeling pretty darn good. Wrong. So, so wrong. Starting around week 7 I got all kinds of morning, well, evening sickness, and reached levels of exhaustion that I didn't know were possible. I didn't throw up much, which was very fortunate as the times I did throw up we found that I broke all the blood vessels in my face and next and looked like I'd been beaten, but I felt nauseous in the afternoons and evening all the time. I craved chocolate milk, watermelon, fruit snacks, and potstickers. Not all together. We told our families once we were safely out of the first trimester, but decided to wait until after our 20 week scan to make the obligatory Facebook post. 

The ultrasound started out normal, and me, being the oblivious, naive girl that I am, didn't notice or think anything about it when the sonographer stopped talking. We wrapped up and waited in the room for the midwife to come in and go over the results with us. I immediately began to panic when she came in with a rather grim look. Little Beast (thus named because we weren't finding out the sex and she was a venomous beast making me sick) was too small, the 8th percentile, and the sonographer thought she saw a bilateral cleft lip. I don't even remember what we said, what questions we asked. I just remember feeling so, deflated. We'd had the maternal/fetal DNA test done already that had ruled out all the big chromosomal problems. I thought we were home free. Apparently not. The midwife gave us a referral to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doc to get a follow up ultrasound and figure what we were really dealing with. The hubs and I went to get some lunch, and I cried, and we called the MFM. Luckily, they had an appointment available later that afternoon so we didn't have to wait. 

Honestly, I don't remember much between the two appointments, besides crying. I know we talked about what ifs and what to do, and just felt sad, and scared. I'm so glad we didn't have to wait, especially since the MFMs are only at the Boulder Hospital a couple of days a week and we were coming up on Memorial Day weekend. At any rate, we went to out MFM appointment that afternoon, and after a 2.5 hour ultrasound, God love our fantastic ultrasound tech, she was so sweet and calm and amazing, we met with Dr. Harper. She was so upbeat and lovely, she really eased a lot of our fears. Though Little Beast didn't let us get a good shot of her face (she always had her hands in front of her face, in the womb, once she was born, even now) the Dr and sonographer were fairly certain that her cleft was only unilateral and that she was measuring more in the 30th percentile. So, things weren't as dire as we first thought, but both the size and the cleft can be markers for chromosome problems, and since we'd ruled out the big ones already things were likely either just fine, or we had a problem that would make the pregnancy unviable. 

Then came more decisions. Do nothing, abort, or do an amniocentesis to rule out bigger problems. We went with the amnio option, which was painful and took way longer than it was supposed to because Beast kept reaching for the needle. After that, all we could do was wait (three weeks for a full micro-array) and try to process. 

I'm not going to lie, the processing was hard. Really hard. We both cried and just kind of holed up and mourned for the weekend. I was finally feeling pregnant, finally feeling the baby move, and now, everything just felt so uncertain. Our baby could have something terrible that would mean it wouldn't survive, and even if nothing major was wrong, we were still looking at several surgeries to fix a cleft lip and possible cleft palate. I might not be able to breastfeed. We'd have to watch our baby deal with surgery, and possibly some really tough bullying. It's so hard to go from feeling like everything is awesome to mourning what you thought things would look like. 

At any rate, this post has gotten entirely too long, so I'll continue with our little saga later. Hopefully next week! I'd love to meet my readers, so if you are here leave a comment and say hi! 

Back in the Saddle

Well then, guess who's back? Back again? 

No, not the master of rap himself, just little old me. Back at blogging, back at writing, and hopefully back at painting again soon. It's been a while, over two years in fact, and a lot of things have happened. Some awesome, others, not so much. I'm getting the blog back together to share my experiences, and hopefully provide some inspiration to those who might be on a similar path. It'll be lots of baby stuff, artwork (hopefully!), DIY projects that take way too long, knitting, probably some cooking and who knows what else. 

I hope you'll come hang out with me and share in our ups and downs. I'm really hoping to post once a week, but as you can see by my picture, the biggest change recently is the addition of The Little Beast (tm), so time is a hot commodity around here. If I'm not here, come say hey on Instagram or Facebook. I can usually be found somewhere on the web. :)