May 25, 2011

Wait, we’re really having a baby next week?!?

Posted in Pregnancy tagged , , at 8:42 am by lifebytheday

I still feel like next Wednesday WILL. NEVER. COME. but my darling husband has just finally realized that we’re going to be having a baby next week, LOL!

Our “official” induction date won’t be set until our appointment on Friday, but right now, we’re 99% sure that we’re going to be induced next Tuesday night, the 31st, in order to have him on June 1st.  That way, his surgery will be on Thursday or Friday when there are more bodies and support available at the hospital. 

I was talking to S yesterday and he mentioned that he might take Monday off of work.  (Yes it’s a holiday, but that never means much to my husband.)  😉  So I said, that would be great, but you know you have to take next Wednesday and Thursday off as well, right?  And he was like, “why?”

At first I thought he was kidding, but he legitimately had not made the connection between what was going to happen and when!  We’ve been in this hurry up and wait mode for several weeks now, and it has felt like baby boy’s birth is so far away, but now it’s really right around the corner!

We’ve discussed that it really doesn’t make sense for S to take time off just to sit with me in the NICU, that I’d rather he take some time off when we bring the baby home…but he obviously needs to be with me when we’re actually in labor (LOL!) and when the baby’s having surgery.  The following days and weeks we’ll just have to play by ear.

So now I just have to find ways to keep myself busy for the next week – when I can’t actually DO anything without setting off a round of contractions!  So frustrating.  I guess I should probably work on my shower thank yous, huh? 😉

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May 20, 2011

Baby shower!

Posted in Pregnancy tagged at 4:29 pm by lifebytheday

Now that the dust has settled a bit…or more accurately, like we’re just in the eye of the storm for a few days…I thought I’d finally share an update on my long awaited baby shower!

My mother worked so hard to make my day extra special, and it was everything I could have dreamed of.  Friends, family, good food, a delicious cake…and even some mimosas! 😉

Here are some photos of our big day:

Me, amidst all the loot 🙂

 

My mom and I, measuring for the "guess how big the belly is" game.

 

The person who came closest at every table won a gift card (and if there was an over/under tie, the person who guessed under won)! 😉

 

Me and my cousin (who was almost a week overdue and went into labor that night!)

 

Me and my grandfather, trying to hug with our bellies in the way 😉

 

Another shot with my Grampy

 

Some of my besties

 

The yummy cake - two layers, chocolate and vanilla - a preggo's dream!

 

 

Our guest book/frame - people signed in blue or pink to guess boy or girl!

 

Scary belly shot 😉

 

Me, my mom, and my aunts

 

With my brothers' girlfriends

 

All in all, it was more than I could have dreamed of…but also completely overwhelming and exhausting. 😉  But it is definitely a day I will never forget, and that I feel so grateful to have had the chance to experience.  I felt so loved and our little one is already a very lucky boy.  😀

May 19, 2011

37 week update

Posted in Pregnancy tagged at 12:00 pm by lifebytheday

After all of the drama of the past few weeks, I figured I owed you guys a plain old weekly update!

How am I feeling?  Physically, better after the amnio – I had been having a lot of back pain and stretching pain in my sides, and was starting to get really swollen ankles and calves, but all of that has been better over the past week or so.  (During my amnio, the doctor’s kept asking if I had been uncomfortable, and I was like “well yeah, but everyone says that you’re miserable at the end of your pregnancy…how was I supposed to know??”  And they told me that I had probably been as uncomfortable as someone 42-weeks pregnant or pregnant with twins.  Geesh!)  I’m starting to get some mild back pain again, so I know the fluid is starting to build up again, but hopefully we can get through two more weeks of relative comfort. 

Mentally?  Well, you know.  I’m feeling much better today, and am focusing on the few things that I learned yesterday to try and give myself a picture to hold onto for the next few weeks.

Physical changes (just want to put a stake in the ground as this will probably be one of my last official updates!):
– My stomach has definitely dropped over the past week or so.  I keep asking S if I’ve gotten smaller and he’s like “umm….NO”  lol…but between having the fluid removed and dropping, I feel much more “compact”
– I also officially have STRETCH MARKS (*gasp!*)…not on my stomach (oh no, I could always cover those with a one piece bathing suit), but on my hips and upper thighs!  Yucko!!  They’re not too bad yet (S tells me I’m beautiful and pretends he can’t even see them 😉 )…but I guess I’m officially a mother now, right?
– My boobs are starting to hurt again, so I hope that means they’re getting ready to do their job!

Weight gain?  +26 (although I had been up to +34 pre-amnio…lost 8 lbs in the 36 hours following the procedure and have held steady for the past week)

Other updates:
– I finally packed our hospital bag (!), and I also repacked baby boy’s bag.  The only things he’ll be allowed to wear in the NICU are hats and socks/booties, so the bag is now full of blankets, and every hat and sock we own…and yes, I bought a few more cute hats first thing this morning. 😉

Upcoming milestones – Induction (and meeting this baby!) on June 1st or 2nd!!

Photo(s) to come…promise!

May 18, 2011

Perspective

Posted in Pregnancy tagged , at 9:22 pm by lifebytheday

I was just about to write a post complaining about my doctor’s appointment (everything is fine, just frustrating), when I got some news that made me take stock of how lucky we really are.

One of the girls in my prenatal exercise class just lost her baby (no heartbeat) at almost seven months.

S and I feel absolutely sick, not only for what she must be going through, but because we know how differently our story could have ended.

Yes, our baby has a birth defect (which also makes me sick to my stomach), but he is going to be fixed as good as new and will get a chance to grow up healthy and strong.  There hasn’t been a minute of this pregnancy that we have taken for granted, but it has been eye opening to realize how far you can get in a pregnancy and still have things go wrong.  I am so grateful to God that he has kept our baby safe, even despite a little developmental “oopsie” (as our surgeon called it). 

So with all that said, I’ll just give you guys a quick update…

Baby boy is still growing with a nice, strong heartbeat, so the doctors are thinking that they’ll wait to induce me until 39 weeks.  Yes, that means TWO MORE WEEKS.  I honestly don’t mind dealing with contractions and being uncomfortable for another two weeks, especially if it means that he is bigger and better able to get through surgery, but I really don’t know if I’m going to be able to maintain my sanity for that long. 

I am so anxious to have his surgery behind us that it’s literally keeping me up at night.  We have no way of knowing how his recovery is going to go (eating, breastfeeding, how long he’ll be in the NICU, etc.) until he gets here and they do the formal diagnosis and his actual surgery.  And I don’t do well with not knowing.

We met with a lactation consultant and got a NICU tour this afternoon, and while both appointments went well, I was really looking for answers that they just couldn’t provide.  So even though we left with some good information – and proof that the NICU is not as scary as we were imagining – I just couldn’t shake my bad mood.  Until I got home and God gave me a good ‘ole dope slap. 

So with that said, I’m going to give S an extra hug and baby boy an extra rub and thank God for my family and our health.  I know you guys don’t know her, but would you keep M and her husband in your thoughts and prayers over the next few days?

May 16, 2011

More rollercoasters

Posted in Pregnancy at 7:25 am by lifebytheday

Sorry for the radio silence friends…last week was ROUGH, and it took us a while to recover.

Monday went from bad to worse when we were told at our appointment that not only did our baby definitely have some sort of obstruction in its intestines, but also that there was a 40% correlation between that condition and Downs’ Syndrome.

Talk about kicking two infertiles while they’re down.  I just couldn’t believe that we had to deal with this after everything that we had been through, and even started questioning whether we should have stopped trying so hard to have a child…that maybe this was our punishment. 

S and I spent Monday afternoon/evening alternating between holding each other and crying, and walking around the house trying to find something really satisfying to smash that wouldn’t cause too much damage.  Luckily we held it together, and made it through the night.

We were lucky enough to get follow up appointments scheduled for Tuesday morning, and we started bright and early (8 am) by meeting with one of the surgeons at Child.ren’s Hospital.  By the end of the hour, we felt 100x better, both by her calm demeanor and clear explanation of the baby’s surgery and recovery, and also by her downgrading of our risk of downs (due to the lack of other soft markers).

Then we moved over to the connecting hospital (where I will now be delivering) for a battery of tests and procedures.  It was recommended to us that we do an amnio – partly to screen for downs – but also to remove some of the excess amniotic fluid (what they call a “therapeutic amnio”).  Apparently I had so much extra fluid (4X what was needed) that I was at risk of my water breaking too soon due to the pressure on my uterus.  And the only risk of the procedure at this point in the pregnancy was my water breaking, which was likely to happen anyways! 

So we agreed that we should do it…but let me tell you friends, amnios are NOT FUN.  Even after all that I’ve been through, I’d rate that experience as one of the worst.  I’m so big and uncomfortable to begin with, and add in all of the contractions that I’ve been having…then picture a needle going through your skin, then through your muscle, and then your uterus and the doctor having a tug of war.  Yes, just as much fun as it sounds.  Oh, and then the baby managed to whack the tube at the same time I had a contraction which kinked and blocked the tube so badly that they had to remove it and insert it AGAIN from the other side.

I spent the whole procedure practicing my labor breathing and trying not to break S’s hand…while the doctors kept telling me that they could stop at any time, but that if I could do “5 more minutes” that I’d really feel much better afterwards.  I figured that since they were already in there and I was already in pain that I would just tough it out, but by the end of it (maybe a half an hour later), S put his foot down and told them I was done.  When they pulled everything out, I got a contraction that seriously lasted 10 minutes and they actually had to put me in a wheelchair just to go down the hall. 

Then we were hooked up to an NST monitor to watch the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions for an hour or so, at which point S went and got us lunch (the best chicken parm sandwich I’ve ever tasted, even though I’m sure it wasn’t really any good)!  The baby was moving around so much (thank God!) that after a half an hour of chasing its heartbeat around, they actually disconnected the heartbeat monitor and just watched my contractions. 

Then I had to go for a blood test and another Rhogam shot (in case any of the baby’s cells crossed with mine during the amnio) and schedule our appointments for next week.  We finally left the hospital 6+ hours later, completely exhausted, both mentally and physically.  Poor S had to go to work to put out fires for a few hours, and I went home and went to bed.  I literally was asleep the minute my head hit the pillow.

Luckily, we were told that they’d have the downs test results back by the end of day Wednesday, so we really only had to get through 24 more hours of waiting.  My parents came over Tuesday night for a quick visit and an update and then my mom came back Wednesday morning to help me do some laundry and cleaning.  And we all spent the day doing a lot of praying.

I got the phone call early in the afternoon and the great news that the preliminary test showed NO DOWNS – thank you Lord!  I honestly didn’t know how much more God thought S and I could handle…but we were definitely at our breaking point for a few days there.

So now we just have to get this baby through another week+ of growing and putting on weight and prepare for surgery and a NICU stay.  But honestly, and as crazy as it sounds, that all feels completely manageable now that we know we are only dealing with ONE problem, that is surgically correctable and without long-term complications.  We know that we’re in for a rough few weeks, but after the past few days, I’m pretty sure we can get through it!  I’m just anxious to have it all behind us.

Oh, and in other news?

We’re having a BOY!!!!!!!!

We decided to find out last Monday – after S and I both saw “it” on the ultrasound and really needed some positive news to hold on to.  It has definitely given us something to look forward to and plan for…and yes, we went blue clothes shopping over the weekend!  😉

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.  If you could spare a few extras in the coming weeks, please pray that baby boy will continue to grow big and strong and will get through his surgery with flying colors (and that mommy and daddy will survive his stay in the NICU).  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for being there for us.

May 9, 2011

More drama

Posted in Pregnancy at 7:33 am by lifebytheday

Just when we thought we were out of the woods (Killian is doing much better by the way, thank you all for the prayers and kind words!)…the end of last week brought about some more scary stress, this time baby related.

Friday was our big 35-week ultrasound, which we were super excited about, mostly to see how big the baby was.  S couldn’t get away from work, so I brought my mom who has been hinting the whole time that she wanted to see an ultrasound.  We had the ultrasound first and then my mom waited in the waiting room while I had my follow up appointment.  It was also time for the Group B strep test (if you are reading this and don’t know what that is, I will spare you), so I spent the twenty minutes waiting for the doctor disrobed from the waist down.

The whole time, I was sitting there thinking that it was going to be a normal 5-minute appointment, until the doctor walked in and opened his mouth.  Long story short, the ultrasound showed too much amniotic fluid and a possible blockage in the baby’s intestines.  And I’m sitting there listening to the doctor by myself, half naked, trying not to freak out.  So after a quick discussion and a cervical check (not dilated, but already 75% effaced…and yes, they are as unpleasant as people say), my doctor sent me off to L&D for a non-stress test.  Non-stress…ha!  Luckily the baby looked great, and I was sent home with appointments for another NST on Sunday and a meeting with a perinatal specialist on Monday (today).

Yesterday’s NST was a bit more eventful.  Again, the baby looked great (thank God), but I officially have irritable uterus (= lots of contractions) from all of the extra fluid, and my blood pressure was acting up as well.  So I was sent home but “encouraged” to spend the rest of Mother’s Day laying down on my side.  S took his role as enforcer very seriously and the only time I was allowed to get off the couch was to go lay down on a bed of pillows in the baby’s room and supervise final preparations.

So later this morning we’ll have another level 2 ultrasound to see if they can figure out what’s going on in the baby’s intestines, and then a meeting to discuss options.  At this point, it is looking like we won’t be allowed to deliver in our local hospital (we’ll need to go to one of the more high-tech Boston hospitals) and like we’ll be meeting this baby much sooner than we had planned.  I have really been trying to stay zen until we know more…partly because there is no point worrying (and possibly causing early labor, without a plan in place) until we have more information, and partly because I strangely feel pretty confident that everything is going to work out.  I have had to accept the possibility that I probably won’t be able to have a non-interventionist birth and that we might end up with breastfeeding issues (if some sort of surgery/recovery is required), but I’m trusting that the doctors know what they are doing and will do all they can to keep me and the baby healthy. 

This weekend has been a little scary because we knew that the NSTs (and instructions to pay careful attention to fetal movement) were really just bandaids to get us through to today’s appointment.  And for the first time, I truly felt the pressure of having my body (and my brain) be completely responsible for keeping the baby safe.  Luckily, the weekend was also full of distractions. 

Friday, after my appointment, my coworkers threw me a baby shower lunch, which was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Saturday was actually my 29th birthday (!) and although we stayed pretty low key, it was such a nice day.  S did some work in the yard and then we went off to BRU to exchange some duplicates from our shower and get our last few necessities, and ended the day with dinner at one of the nicest steak restaurants in Boston.  And, although I had trouble fully relaxing yesterday (knowing how much was left to do around the house), it was still nice to spend my first Mother’s Day being lazy.  My parents and one of my brothers (our baby’s future godfather) came over for dinner and helped with laundry and set up of the last few pieces of gear. 

So this morning, I just have to pack our hospital bags (yikes!) and try to deal with the most urgent things at work in case I end up going on leave sooner than anticipated (double yikes!!). 

Will you all send us prayers and healthy baby vibes today?  I’ll be sure to post an update as soon as I have one.

April 29, 2011

34 week update

Posted in Pregnancy tagged at 2:40 pm by lifebytheday

How am I feeling?  VERY big and full…like baby boy/girl has expanded to touch every inch of my insides, and is still trying to do gymnastics!

I’m also having a lot more contractions – which apparently aren’t Braxton-Hicks, since B-H contrax are only supposed to last 20-30 seconds, and mine can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  Fun times.  I’m definitely starting to feel worn out, and even the smallest things (like walking upstairs) have become a LOT of work. 

Oh, and I finally started getting the brown belly line…which combined with the blue veins and red splotches I’m already sporting makes for a very UNsexy rainbow effect on my stomach. 😉

Weight gain – +28 pounds (and gaining fast!)

Cravings – nothing new, besides ice cream at least every other night! 

Upcoming milestones – my baby shower on Sunday, which I am SO ridiculously excited for.  I can’t wait to spend the day with family and friends, and am equally excited to do baby laundry and pack my hospital bag post-shower.

I’m getting so ready to meet this baby.  I guess it would be best if s/he waited until the 37-week (full-term) mark…but seriously, any time after that would be GREAT!

April 26, 2011

People say the darndest things

Posted in Pregnancy at 8:30 am by lifebytheday

Some of the things people have said to me in the last few weeks:

“Are you eating for two, or three?”

“Nice pregnancy!”  Umm, what?

“You look like you’re ready to have a baby!”  And after I said “…in six more weeks” …”those are going to be a long six weeks!”

LOL!!  I think it is all hysterical…especially now that I kind of agree with them. 😉

April 19, 2011

To bank or not to bank?

Posted in Pregnancy tagged at 5:16 pm by lifebytheday

Mommies (and mommies-to-be) – did you (or are you planning to) bank your baby’s cord blood?

And if yes, which company did you choose?

After everything that we went through to have this baby, and assuming that science will continue to progress, I’m strongly leaning towards banking ours…but definitely with a company that offers a payment plan. 

What else should I be considering?  It’s hard to tell which companies are more closely tied into the scientific research community, and which ones provide the safest banking centers.

All input welcome…thanks!

April 18, 2011

Oh look, there’s the wall!

Posted in Pregnancy at 10:34 am by lifebytheday

And I’ve officially hit it. 

Despite plans for not much…the weekend ended up being pretty rough.  I have felt off since Friday…super exhausted and really uncomfortable.  I also think that what I’ve thought was just the baby moving into an awkward position has actually been Braxton-Hicks contractions all along.  This weekend they got a lot more uncomfortable – and add in the exhaustion and I just felt out of sorts. 

Saturday morning I had a haircut appointment at 8am, which somehow tired me out so much that I had to take a nap as soon as I got home.  Then Saturday night we went to a party at my cousin’s where I barely made it an hour and a half before having to leave and go to bed.  On Sunday, I was so sick of being at home that I pushed through and went out shopping with my mom (which was probably more than I should have done).  Both S and I were in major need of some new clothes – S because he wears them out (yes, he’s my first child 😉 ), and me because I have officially outgrown almost all of my maternity clothes. 

I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I had gotten pregnant with twins – or what all of you twin mommies did! – but I seriously DO NOT FIT into clothes anymore.  I know that my pregnancy has concentrated in my belly (which I appreciate baby, thank you! 😉 ) but that, combined with the fact that I have a small frame and am carrying really low, means that clothes either fit my boobs and shoulders or my belly, but never both. 

My mom and I braved the local Destination Maternity and I literally tried on every article of clothing in the store.  I never thought that I would see the day where I was frustrated by the size and shape of my pregnant body, but I hit that wall yesterday.  Which then made me feel really overwhelmed and emotional…because I really love everything about my body, I just don’t know how to dress it! 

Even the things that were loose and blousy weren’t big enough (!), and when I went up a size, my boobs fell out.  And the thought of buying a bunch of expensive clothes and then having to have them tailored totally sent me over the edge.  I ended up finding a few dresses and tops that sort of worked and I’m hoping that they’ll get me through the next few weeks where I have to be out in public.  Once we hit May, I’ll probably be switching to yoga pants and t-shirts for the rest of my pregnancy.

I honestly never thought that I would reach the point where I felt fat and unattractive, but with all of the crazy hormones running through my body, not fitting into clothes takes on a whole other dimension.  I’m not looking for compliments or reassurances – although they definitely wouldn’t be refused, lol – but I’m just trying to be honest.  I know that all of my weight is in my belly – and I thank God for the fact that that means I have a healthy baby growing big and strong in there – but it’s starting to get a little old.  Seriously, the belly is starting to look a bit obscene, and I still have 7 more weeks to go!

Yikes…I just realized what I wrote!  I know that the next 7 weeks are going to fly by, and I’m going to try and focus on cooking this baby healthy and strong, no matter how big I get – as long as I don’t end up having to go nude! 

Thanks for listening while I shook off my grumpies… 😉

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