Monday, February 27, 2012

She's Here!

36 Weeks
A quick update. She was born at 12:08 today at home. She was 4lb 12oz. She has some downs features, but she is doing fantastic. They cannot even hear a heart murmor, so she is doing very well with her AVSD. She is currently in room with me and may even go home when I do. She is not interested in nursing, but she has had donor milk and already had a wet and dirty diaper. She is SO beautiful. Tomorrow we will get an Echo and perhaps even the results of her FISH test. We hope to talk with a speach pathologist and have a name picked out tomorrow as well!

Here is a timeline for those of you that are interested:
This morning, left a bit late for work to see if the contractions seemed to get worse or closer together. I didn't think she would come so early, so I assumed they were not real labor.
8:50: After dealing with unrelated drama, ...I got to work.
10:30: Contractions started to get more intense than I could work through at work.
10:50: Decided to have Ryan come get me. I still wasn't sure this was the real thing, but I was uncomfortable and felt bad for my student employee who had to hear me breathe through it.
11:15: Ryan arrived as I was giving some instructions on how to do something to the student. When I stood up to leave I had a pretty intense contraction.
11:30: We arrived home.
11:45: I went to the bathroom and heard a "swoosh". Decided to call the midwife. As I was on the phone with her, I felt like I was going to pass out. She said to come in. I called for Ryan. Told him I was going to die and to tell Jamin I loved him.
11:54: I told Ryan to call an ambulance, baby was not going to wait. 911 told me to lay on my back. I refused.
12:08: She was born. I had her on Jamin's bed on my hands and knees surrounded by about 15 firefighters and other first responders.
12:22: I was being wheeled out of the house to the ambulance to go to the hospital.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Babymoon and other long ramblings

35 Weeks, 6 Days

Sorry I have not written in awhile. It has been a stressful few weeks.
At 34 weeks they had me start twice weekly NSTs (Non-stress test), once weekly BPPs (Biopysical profile) and once weekly practitioner visits. I am still working full time, so it has been annoying to have to take so much time off especially since I want to save that time for when my daughter needs me.
At my first non-stress test, they hooked me up to a machine with two bands, one that measured contractions and the other that measured the babies heartbeat. The test was at 8am and neither the baby or I are even very active at that time. She did not move much and when she did she would move away from the heart-rate monitor, so they would lose her heartbeat, so the nurses were not sure if it was a fail or not. They said that I should probably do a BPP. I made the statement "I do have a job (and I meeting I needed to be at)". The said they could call the doctor for their option and I agreed. A bit later, they came back in and said that I could decline the test, but I would have to sign a waver. I said that if the doctor thought I needed the extra test, lets do it ASAP so I could get to work for my meeting. The nurse said, "oh, well we already told the doctor you declined it, so we will need to call her back". She passed the BPP, where they do an ultrasound to measure fluid, see her move, see her heartbeat and see her practice breathe just fine. (and they also found that she still has a full head of hair). After that test the Dr on call came in and said that if I had declined the test, they would have dropped me from the practice. Yes, I should not have made the statement I made, but I also feel like this was all blown way out of proportion.
My next NST and the scheduled BPP were 3 days later. She had one great acceleration (she needed 2 to pass) on the monitor and another large gap where she moved off of the monitor, but since they got me in on the NST late, I was going to be late for the BPP appointment (which is what they do when you fail the NST anyways), so they moved me to the ultrasound, which she passed with 100% again. However, since she technically failed the NST again, the ultrasound tech did an RI (I think it means resistive index or something, basically measuring the blood pressure of the cord) and it was high, not super high, but high. So, they talked about doing a C-section and consulted with the high risk place which suggested that I add an additional BPP per week (that is 5 appointments per week now if you are counting) and monitor her pressure. If it stays the same, I can have a natural delivery. If it does not, I will need a C-section. The doctor and I talked and since she is not "passing" the NST's anyways and a pass on a BPP is enough to make them not worry about the NST, he said I could just cancel them (now down to 3 appointments per week).
This last week she again passed both BPPs and her RI's were slightly better measurements. The doctor came in after the first BPP and talked to me and said that we were cool (I wrote her an apology note after the drama from the first NST and gave it to a nurse to give to her). She said that plan A is still a natural delivery, but since she did not pass the NST’s and they cannot do a BPP during labor, that I should prepare myself for a C-section. I get that she needs to be concerned about liability, but it worries me that they have already made up their minds.
On Friday I also met with the midwife (who gave me her home phone number and said I could call her when I go into labor and she will be on call for me) and it was great. I learned that during labor they do a stress test (where they see if the baby’s heart rate does not rise back up after a contraction) and not a non-stress test, so it should be easier for her to pass and if she does not pass, it is a much better indicator that she really is in distress. The midwife was also awesome because while she was doing a Doppler of the baby’s heart rate, she mentioned that the beats per minute varied by 6 beats, which was a good sign. I told her a really liked her and she said something along the lines of “well, this baby has a lot of good things going on too and we need to focus on them as much as the bad.” I am really praying I can have a natural delivery with this lady, one that she is known to let her patients have.
In other news, we are ready to welcome a baby girl into our home! After the RI scare, my mom and I went out to a mom2mom sale and filled 2 Ikea bags full of girly clothes. Together we spent $60 (which is not a lot for almost a years worth of clothes, but is probably close to a record of what I have spent at a sale in the past). Her dresser is filled with clothes for Newborn-6 months, the desk I am using for a changing table is filled with socks, hair stuff, burp cloths, bibs and hats and I have an additional large vacuum bag that is almost full with 6-12 month sized clothes. My husband painted and hung a shelf to move all of the breakable precious moments I had as a child up high and give us more space and moved the crib from my sons room into hers. Now, I just need to finish re-elasticing my son’s cloth diapers and we should be all set. Although I would like to make a pink version of the liner I will store her diapers in.
Our Mom2Mom sale loot getting ready to be washed.

Loot + big brothers neuteral clothes sorted by size.

Babys room. The wallpaper came with the house.

Yesterday we had a fantastic morning. My son woke up at 6:30am and my husband got up with him since I am still sick (since Oct 1, I have been sick with something or another. Currently I have an eye infection and some sort of head cold). The midwife gave me an Rx for eye cream incase it is bacterial, but baby brain here lost it already. They let me sleep in until 8:30 and we all went out to Panera for breakfast. I am not sure if it was the huge dinner my son ate (usually he eats like a bird) the night before or what, but he was SOO well behaved. He ate a whole bagel. It took him about an hour, but he ate steadily and didn’t try to run around or anything. It seemed like every table around us was watching him and smiling. It makes me feel really good when others admire my son and presumably what they see as our excellent parenting when he is being so good, but I also feel a bit dishonest since they don't see the other moments. Next we went to the bank. We have been putting change in a tin since we have been married. We intended to use it for a nice dinner after about a year, but never did anything with it, so last weekend we finally rolled it up and decided to cash it in. My son has a piggy that he puts dad’s pennies in and whatever other change people give him, so we rolled that up as well, the little stinker had over $30 in there! We also wanted to change one of our accounts. Now that we are DEBT FREE! We can loosen our belts a bit. While we were working hard to pay down our debt, we budgeted $220 per month for groceries, personal items (shampoo, toothpaste) and when our son was younger, that also had to cover formula and diapers. It was not easy, and also very frustrating when I would hear the college students I work with talk about getting $200 per month in food stamps for JUST them… but that is another story..  Anyways, we have decided to fund a “kids stuff” category to our budget for formula (if we need it), diapers and clothes (I had been spending my allowance on clothes and toys at garage sales). While opening the new account, the person at the bank and I started talking about my baby and what we are expecting to be up against and she asked to add us to her prayer list. It is really nice to have so many people praying for us and our daughter. Next we went to the dollar store. In an attempt to teach our son the value of money at an early age, we allowed him to use one of his dollars that he cashed in to pick out a toy (the dollar store is an easy starting point because everything costs a dollar and I thought that varying price points for a 2.5 year old may be a bit too advanced. He also did VERY well at the store. He looked at all of the toys in the toy aisles, considered the suggestions that mom and dad made and after a last minute consideration of a solar clock that has a moving lady bug he decided on the first thing he picked out, a matchbox car garbage truck. He did exactly as he was instructed and first handed the cashier the truck (from the wrong side of the counter, but she didn’t seem to mind and the other side was taller than he was) and then the $1 (perhaps he was a bit insistent that she take it, but she was still smiling, so I don’t think that bothered her too much either).
When we got home, we all worked on making pizza pockets and breakfast pockets (instead of the pizza toppings, I stuff them with cheddar, egg (slightly undercooked) and bacon to freeze for quick meals after the baby gets here (and probably before). There really was not much for the boys to help with, so my husband ended up working on laundry and my son read his books. I ended up with 2 freezer bags of pizza pockets and 1 of breakfast pockets.
After this and another decent showing at the lunch table by my son, we all took a long nap. My son was actually the last to rise when we woke him up after 5:30 and almost 5 hours (this is unheard of for him, some days he doesn’t nap at all).
Then we packed my son’s bags and headed out to grandmas. Grandma has been kind enough to take him for a few days so Ryan and I can enjoy each other for a bit before baby comes. We did not get back to town until 8pm, but went to the furniture store as I would like to get a lazy-boy for nursing and holding the baby. The cheaper ones did not have a high enough armrest and I feel like I would be afraid of dropping the baby off of the side. I did find one that I LOVED. It was $400 and I felt like I was laying on a chair made of golden retriever puppies. However, it was ugly and didn’t really fit my husband that well. We tried to go to the actual lazy-boy store next, but they had already closed. So, we will pick up shopping later, or perhaps not at all as I seem to have survived without a lazy-boy with my son anyways. Next, we went to Babies R Us. I wanted to find a really cute newborn outfit incase we have time for a photoshoot before they take her away to the NICU. I have one I really like but it is really summery. However, so is everything currently available at the store and I didn’t like anything else better, so we left empty handed. Our last stop was Carabbas. I ALWAYS get the Chicken Bryan when we are there and last week my husband got an email from them with a list of “off menu” things. One of which was a Chicken Bryan pizza. We had to try it. It was good, but I like the actual Chicken Bryan better. The leftovers are calling my name right now. We also split a “chocolate heaven” dessert. After coming home and going to bed, that brings us to right now where I decided to write a blog update while I wait for my husband to wake up. We planned to sleep in today (maybe even skip church), however between my nap yesterday, cold and the fact it is so sunny out today, I was not able to sleep past 8. My son’s grandma usually drives to our house to watch my son on Monday’s and Tuesdays, so she will bring him back on Tuesday. I have high hopes of finding a home for all of the things misplaced by what is now the babies room and maybe even making a trip to Goodwill today.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Specialist Appointment

33 Weeks
I am happy to announce that unless something changes between now and when she comes, we do not have any more yacht payments (what I like to call the specialist appointments). I do however need to go in to the regular OB twice per week now for non-stress tests. How do people without such generous sick leave do this?

On Thursday at 6pm I got a recorded message saying my appointment was an hour later than I had written down, but since it was after hours I couldn't call to see why we had different times. On Friday, I completely forgot to call, so Ryan and I headed over for our 8:10 appointment. It turns out that their reminder system does not factor in the ultrasound, so we were there at the correct time. Shockingly, we only waited for a few minutes to be called back to ultrasound (it is usually at least 20 that we wait).
We had the exact same ultrasound tech today as we did last week for the heart ultrasound. I don't understand why they couldn't have done both scans then..... However, this is my favorite ultrasound tech, so it worked out. She knows when to keep her mouth shut and not say things that get our hopes up (unlike the rest of the techs), but she is super friendly and nice.
After the ultrasound the doctor usually comes in and talks to us, but this time the appointment was scheduled with (or maybe changed to) with their midwife (I am curious why I (our insurance) am paying $1,500 per appt to meet with a midwife about something other than natural birth).  They moved us to an exam room where we waited 20 min before she poked her head in and said she wanted to talk with the doctor before talking to us (why doesn't the dr just talk directly to us?)...... so 20 minutes later she came in and said that everything is what they expected it to be. I asked if it was where they expected it to be for a child with DS, or any child, and she said she was small. I asked what her ventricles were measuring and she said she didn't know but she thought she saw on the chart that she had a mild case of "big medical word meaning larger ventricles", but she didn't have a measurement. Per my googleing, large ventricles mean a higher risk for reduced mental abilities (even in children without DS), so I asked her if our daughter will be less capable than other children with DS and she said that since it is mild, it should not play a role in her mental capacity (no matter what her DS diagnosis is).

After all this, I saw a copy of the ultrasound report on my file and asked her for a copy. The report itself said that her ventricles and bowels were in the "normal" category. The only thing listed under abnormal was her heart. The growth chart showed her hugging the bottom line in the normal category for growth. They estimate she is about 3lb 8oz right now.
The highlight of our 3 hour visit however was meeting the NICU doctor. I love this lady. I believe that no matter what problems our little girl has, she is going to be in the best hands with this lady around. You sometimes hear stories of doctors not trying as hard to save babies with down syndrome if something goes wrong, but this lady seems like she will value my daughters life just as much as any other life! It sounds like they will try to keep the baby and I together as much as safely possible. It is possible that the baby may not need to be admitted into the NICU at all and she will go home with us and it is possible that she will need to be air lifted to Ann Arbor for heart surgery (but the heart doctor does not think this will be the case). I asked the doctor if the DS diagnosis will make her less likely to survive her first year that most children and she said that she did not think so. The rest of our conversation was about my frustration with the termination suggestions and how the hardest part of the diagnosis is other peoples reaction and her efforts to change that. She is very active in working with outside organizations and is also working to help doctors better deliver the news (and options). She also works with an organization that helps moms who made the choice to terminate work with the emotions that come with that decision.


In closing, I have some fun non-medical news. Our little girl is already competing with her big brother in one department: Hair. The ultrasound tech said "look at all that hair" (which is the comment many people made about Jamin after he was born). I asked the u/s tech to take a picture and because she is awesome she did: