Wednesday, August 29, 2012

See Ya!

Hey, did you know that sometimes they let you take your baby home WITH YOU?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Baby James is Here!

Sweet Baby James was born this morning at 8:26, weighing in at 7 pounds and 19.25 inches long. He is doing great, as is Mommy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

38 Weeks, 5 Days

A picture of the ginormo belly. Apparently, if you stay pregnant long enough, even your maternity shirts start to get small. And I am pretty sure this is what it looks like right before your stomach explodes. Geez, my skin is tight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Open Letter to My Uterus

Dear Uterus,

You have been amazing.  You have done a great job sheltering and nurturing this little boy for nearly 10 months now.  You have performed admirably, and I am very proud of you and your buddy, the cervix of steel.  Even while the rest of my body has tried to work against this pregnancy, with blood pressures rising and all, you have held strong and created a safe home for this booger.  While so many women with prior pre-term births constantly have to worry about contractions and whether this or that twinge is the beginning of early labor, you haven't tensed at all.  You are one calm, cool and collected uterus, you are.

But here's the deal: you're about to get sliced open.  Like, the doctor is going to cut you.  Open.  And pull a baby out of you.  And it won't be pretty for either of us.  (But then again, what way of extracting a human out of another is actually pretty?)  It will do, and the designated butcher is quite a good surgeon who will be very gentle with you and the other layers of me that have to be cut through in order to get to you (7 layers in all, I believe), but gonna get cut.  On Monday.  That's five days from now.  Sliced.

But you have an out!  We are 38 weeks, 2 days pregnant now.  That's a lovely time to have a baby.  I know 39 weeks is better; I've seen my March of Dimes graphics and everything.  I know Baby James' big old brain could use another few days cooking inside before he meets the big, wide world.  So I'm cool waiting another few days.

But if you don't start doing SOMETHING soon, there's going to be no way for you to avoid the big c-s.  I mean, something!  You've been so mellow this entire pregnancy that I have never even felt a single contraction.  Some uteri are gettin' all busy by now, at least with those Braxton-Hicks contractions.  But you, no, you are one cool cucumber.  Or maybe more like a very mellow hollowed out watermelon at this point.  I mean, I know I'm generally in the business of asking uteri NOT to contract so as to keep their precious contents safe, but, really, it's about time for you to pep up.  So c'mon, give me a squeeze or two, just to let me know there's a CHANCE you might decide to pop this baby out on your own before Monday.  Seriously, if you and Ms. Cervix of Steel show us a little action, we might be able to put off the surgery in hopes that you will end things on your own terms.  But right now, you're giving me nothing.  So we are set to be sliced.

And if that's how we have to go, that's fine.  But I'm just saying that I *think* you'd probably prefer to avoid the scalpel.  I mean, I could be wrong, but who wants to be sliced open at 7:30 in the morning?  I mean, really.  Still, I can't complain about you.  Even with Becca's clusterf*&^ of a pregnancy, you performed admirably.  So we're cool.  Buuuut...I want you to go into this process fully informed.

Ball's in your court, uterus.  Quite literally.  How you gonna play it?


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First Visit to L&D

I had an appointment on Monday, and after looking at my blood pressure numbers from the weekend, Dr. Sizemore decided that it was time to send me over to labor and delivery for some more extensive monitoring.  I was officially admitted to Williamson Medical Center for the first time since I broke my pinky finger in 1990.  :)

They hooked me up to the monitors (tracking contractions - none - and Baby James' heartrate - perfect) and took my blood pressure every 10-30 minutes for a few hours.  At first, when I was lying flat in the bed, my numbers were ridiculously low.  Like making me look like a hypochondriac low.  One of the readings was 116/66.  WTF?  Then I sat up in bed - not even all the way, something like 45 degrees - and the numbers bumped back up where they had been, somewhere around 140/mid-80's.  I at least felt validated then, like I wasn't totally crazy.  :)

They checked my pee for protein, still negative.  They ran bloodwork again, still fine.  At the moment, we are dealing with a diagnosis of gestational hypertension (similar to pre-e, but without the protein indicating that my kidneys are failing).  It may yet end up being pre-e again, but who knows.  There's not that much longer in the pregnancy for pre-e to develop!

After seeing my blood pressure level out, even though it was still up, they decided that I could go home, but I have to be stricter about my bedrest.  I'm still only on "modified" bed rest, meaning that I can get up to go to the bathroom, to shower, to move from the bed to the couch to the kitchen table (sitting in a chair, not lying on the table, silly), but I really don't need to be taking care of Becca on my own, and it was time to officially go on maternity leave and stop trying to work from home.

So that's where we are now.  Sitting around.  But that's okay.  Church has been great with my leave time, so with the vacation time I've saved up, I should still be able to spend James' first 3 months in the world at home with him, which is good.  We have decided to go ahead and bump up his delivery to 39 weeks, assuming he doesn't decide to come before then and that I stay stable enough that we don't have to take him before them, just so that I don't use up another week of my leave waiting for the possibility of going into labor and attempting a VBAC, especially since there is no indication that I would even go into labor before my due date.  (Cervix of steel, I've got.  One complication we don't worry about.  :) )  So I'm a little sad to probably have to let go of the possibility of a VBAC, but it wasn't like my life depended on it or anything.  In fact, my life may depend on not holding out for one.  It did last time around!  :)  It would have been nice to possibly have that experience and labor not be something else that prematurity took away from us, but, wow, we've gotten to experience SO much more normalcy in this pregnancy that I can certainly deal with not having to deal with contractions, etc.  I hear they aren't much fun, anyway.  :)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Just a Girl and Her Daddy

Being cute on what might turn out to be our final adventure as a family of three - dinner at Puckett's Grocery in Leiper's Fork a few days ago.

First Day of School!

We might have overdone it on the smile. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Update - in John's Words

It's actually still me typing, but John sent such a lovely and concise update to the church staff after our appointment yesterday that I thought I'd let him do the talking for once.  Here's what he said:

Hi everyone,
Just wanted to give you a quick update on Nancy. Her blood pressure is elevated (150s/80s), but her labs came back normal and there is no protein in her urine (sorry for the detail). This means that, as of now, she does NOT have pre-eclampsia (yay!), but the elevated blood pressure is still worrisome. It could be the result of the steroids she is taking for her lungs, it could be a pre-cursor to pre-eclampsia, or it could be that she will just have elevated blood pressure near the end of her pregnancy.
The doctor has placed her on modified bed rest (shouldn’t work or do anything strenuous, but doesn’t actually have to stay in bed all day) at least until her pressure comes down. We will continue to monitor it closely at home and go to the doctor twice a week now for testing. If she develops pre-eclampsia or her blood pressure gets higher (into the danger zone of 160s/100s), then she’ll be admitted to the hospital and likely have a c-section soon thereafter.
So, right now, we are more or less in a holding pattern to watch and make sure she doesn’t get any worse (and hopefully even gets better!).
Thanks for all the prayers and support!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

36 Weeks + A Little Excitement

As of yesterday, I am 36 weeks pregnant!  We haven't measured him lately, but Baby James should be about 6 pounds now.  Becca was around 6 pounds at her first Christmas, at 6 months old.  You could say he's got a head start on his big sister.  I'm not going to know what to do with this giant kid.  Bizarre. 

I am feeling appropriately uncomfortable and perfectly happy to be sore, tired, worn out and achey.  James has dropped, so he's in position, head-down, to make an arrival in the next few weeks.  I'm dilated a centimeter, which apparently means nothing, but hey, at least something is happening.  One more week, and we're full-term!  Even at this point, though, we are likely to avoid the NICU.  Woohoo!

But this week is not without a little bit of excitement.  Last week, Becca passed her cough on to me, dear child, and with my asthmatic lungs and pregnant immune system, it has hit me harder than it did her.  By Friday, I was ready for a trip to the pulmonologist, and picked up a round of antibiotics and steroids (prednisone) on the way home.  By Saturday night, my blood pressure, which has been really good lately, had bumped up to the "you're not going to die but you should call the doctor" range.  I gave it until Sunday morning, and called the doc during Sunday school.  He said to keep taking it and let him know if it went up further.  He thought the steroids *might* be to blame but didn't want to initially blow it off. 

Sunday afternoon, I rested, took it again, numbers were about the same.  I probably should have called the doctor then, but that night we were going out for our anniversary, and Super Dad had a Super Date planned for us, complete with a night at the Union Station hotel, where we spent our wedding night.  Knowing that my numbers weren't dangerously high, just possibly heading that way, we went on our date and had a great time.  By Monday morning, after a night off from work and parenting, they were down again.

Monday afternoon, at work, they bounced back up, so I went in to have the nurse run them.  Now they were up to 151/82 - highest I've seen since my pregnancy with Becca.  They considered keeping me overnight in L&D, but I convinced them to let me go home and rest.  They ran some lab work (which came back okay, thank goodness) and set me up for the super-fun 24-hour urine collection.  I'm nearly done with that now, and have spent the day at home on my butt (mostly).  Blood pressure has come back down to the 130's (sometimes upper) over 80's (sometimes upper), so we are still watching it.  I'll turn in my pee jug tomorrow morning, keep checking numbers and sit on my butt until I see the doctor tomorrow afternoon, when they will have results from the 24-hour collection.  (They are looking to see if my kidneys are spilling protein in my urine - the other classic indicator of pre-eclampsia.) 

If they don't like the results from that, or if my blood pressure bumps up too high again, I'm guessing they will put me on bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy.  I don't know how long that will be - I'm guessing they would wait until at least 37 weeks (next Monday) to take him (unless I get really sick, of course), so that he would be full-term, but I don't know if they will want to give him until 38 or 39 weeks or what.  At any rate, none of those weeks is very far away, thank goodness!

There's still a good chance that the urine test will come back negative and the blood pressure will normalize as I finish my run of steroids.  (It's a 9 day run - 3 days on 60 mg, 3 days on 40 mg, 3 days on 20 mg - and I'm on day 2 of the 40 mg.)  In that case, I'm back to the plan I outlined in my last post (I think). 

So, like I said, a little excitement, but we are so so so so so so so so happy to be looking at these issues at 36 weeks and not 26!  Such a world of difference!