Friday, August 31, 2007

My Brian, My Cellmate

Brian and I have been in the hospital together for 19 days now.

Brian has missed only a couple of nights of hospital couch sleeping (for work travel), but otherwise this has been my view when I wake up nearly every morning.

I know most people know our story, but it began a lot further back in time than the mere seven years we've been married, or the couple of years we dated before that.

This is the man I met in August 1981 shortly before I started high school, who was the little brother of my brother's best friend, David.

I found the diary where I wrote "Met Brian M. today. He's cute!" on that day 26 years ago when I was just 14.

Little did I know then the long road we would take to date (we dated off and on, beginning my senior year in high school), then 10 years later we dated again. Little did I know that I'd finally get to marry this man as we did in 2000.

Little did we know the trials and troubles we'd go through to have a baby. Like most people, we just figured we'd start a family when we were ready to, and that it would be oh-so-easy.
Instead, here we are five years after our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, finally expecting a baby that everyone expects to make it, who appears healthy, despite the fact that my body has an apparent need to make everything difficult.

Brian has been my rock through all this. As my Mom says "He's loyal, faithful and true."

While some might wonder about him for driving halfway across the state in one night to be with me only to leave for work the next morning -- I also realize that it's harder for him NOT to be here. And with each passing day he and I both know that the birth of our baby is that much closer, that much more likely...and he doesn't want to miss that either.

I still look at this guy and feel so lucky to have finally married him. He is truly the love of my life, and I realize that as he stands by me and helps me so willingly, that he loves me that much too.

Thank you, Brian.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fifth Day Syndrome

Sure enough, I woke up this morning at 3 a.m. with more bleeding.

This time it was enough that they told me I couldn't eat til I saw the doctor, AND put me on an IV and gave me something to stop my mild contractions (if you could even call them that). Eventually I did get a late breakfast.

It's hard to go through this, since it seems like it gets to be a little worse each time and I can't help but wonder what the next one will bring, and when this will all end.

What's weird too is how the bleeds are clustered around every 5th day or so. I guess that's good that I have that much time between most of them, but it is odd...but seven episodes in 18 days means I'm not going anywhere.

But the baby seems unaffected by it all so far. And I asked the doctor doing the rounds today to make sure to schedule my next ultrasound at the earliest opportunity. He gave me some reasons why we should wait, but I told him I really need to see and know for my own peace of mind, so I should get one by Monday.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Baby Stuff and Belly Shots

My little brother Joel just got here from NYC for the long weekend, and he and his partner David just stopped by the hospital on the way from the airport.

Joel and David went crazy at Baby Gap and another Manhattan baby store, and just brought me a BUNCH of little clothes and shoes, including the green striped Baby Gap sleeper that a friend suggested I buy earlier this week.
This weekend is the 3rd Not Very Annual Joelapalooza, a party at my brother Jeff's farm that is held about every other year for Joel so his West Coast friends can come see him, we get to see him, and a small Woodstock breaks out on the mini-farm.
And here's my belly shot of today -- at 31 weeks, 3 days, we're closing in on our all-important 32 weeks mark. I can tell I've grown even more since I took the last one shortly after I arrived at the hospital.

And that's a good thing.

What Weight Gain?

It's been 17 days since my hospitalization, and this nurse rolls in a scale every Sunday morning. It's not nearly as pleasant as a latte, but it sure wakes me up.

I love weighing in. It's amazing how big I've gotten and if this baby went to term, the mind reels as to how big I could get before this pregnancy is over.

I laugh when I watch the Weight Watchers commercial with Jenny McCarthy, who says "When I came home from the hospital, I was hoping I'd be bringing home a 60 lb. baby..."

After two weeks of weighing in, the scale was way too nice to me compared to previous weigh-ins at the OB/GYN office visits, so it didn't appear that I'd really gained much if anything. So yesterday my nurse came by and she said some nutritionist was "concerned you aren't eating enough because she hasn't gained any weight since she got here."

Which really isn't true, but it made me laugh. Out loud. Hard.

Are they trying to send me into preterm labor?

The amount of chocolate I've been eating, much less the 3 squares a day they bring me, would easily sustain this pregnancy. And maybe someone else's as well.

My Mom came back from a trip to Ashland Oregon's Shakespeare Festival with a box, and I thought "Oh how sweet, she brought something for the baby."

But no, it was this mug that says it all: "Gimme some chocolate and no one gets hurt."

There comes a point around 6 months of pregnancy where you really stop caring (or I would argue that you should stop caring if you still do) about how much you weigh.

I have outgrown most of the maternity pants I had bought at about 4-5 months, thinking I would NEVER be able to fill them up. I am now into two pairs of JC Penney sweats that are a size 3X and therefore will fit me until the End of Time and fortunately have a drawstring for afterwards.

But then I finally figured out what happened with my scale and the poor, misinformed nutritionist.

When I left Denver, I weighed in one last time at the end of June. When I came to Eugene's OB/GYN office, the cruel scale said that in just a few weeks I had gained 20 lbs. more than Denver.

When I was hospitalized a few weeks after that, I reported my weight since they didn't weigh me (it was Monday so I guess they don't make you weigh in). So I said something around the Oregon weight, but I did say it was a bit "generous".

Well, sure enough, they brought a MUCH nicer scale in on these Sundays, which weighed me much more kindly. So the nutritionist thought I was losing weight instead of gaining!

Doh!

Mystery solved.

Now, bring me some more Dove Chocolates and no one gets hurt.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The War Is On...

I just got this e-mail from Teri, which she sent to a few of her closest friends regarding my ahem, aversion to my kid being a Pink French Poodle for Halloween...

"All -

Please visit the blog below and leave a comment in my favor. The baby needs the poodle costume. It may be her only chance at pinkdom.

Please tell your friends and ask that they tell their friends. This is an important cause.

Poodle Power.

http://planetjules.blogspot.com/2007/08/happy-heinous-halloween.html

Love, Teri"


On Thursday, she's leaving to take 6 weeks off to go on a pilgramage to walk across SPAIN in an effort to shave off some extra time she would have spent in the hereafter in purgatory.

Let's just say I think this is very good time spent. :)

Quilters Alphabet

The Quilter's Alphabet
Author Unknown


Accuracy...mood dependent.
Bleed...bless the fabric that doesn't.
Credit card...purrs in a quilt shop.
Distance...at which points look good.
Even...well, does it look even?
Fudge...adjustment terminology.
Golden...the moment it's finished!
Hug...wrap up in a quilt.
Iron...the great fabric disciplinarian!
Justify...can't cook! Quilting an heirloom.
Knot...size need not stop a truck.
Love...quilting is a labor of.
Marker...please, let it wash out.
Needle...feet always find it.
Ouch...related to one end of a pin.
Pucker...that rascally little puffy thing.
Quilt...a thing of beauty, a joy forever!
Rip...as ye sew, so shall ye.
Seam...straight is good.
Time...to quilt, grab more.
Underside...where all the work shows.
Victim...of quilt guilt (too many?).
What...a quilt (all pupose comment)!
Xamine...I'll say how close!
Y...only quilt on days ending in "y".
Zero...other things you'd rather do!

Happy Heinous Halloween!

My friend Teri, God Love Her...

Teri called me a little over a week ago to inform me that she had found a Halloween costume for my kid.
"What is it?" I asked, of course curious....

"I can't tell you," she said. "You're going to hate it!" (said with a little too much glee in her voice).

It's pink. It's a French Poodle.

I realize a large amount of pink is going to be in our lives because that's what 99 percent of girl baby clothes are made of, so a certain amount of resistance is futile, I know.

But a pink poodle?

It's funny. It's hilarious perhaps.

But let's face it: It's just awful!

Apparently We Need To Bury St. Joseph

DH is supposed to fly to Denver this weekend for his fantasy football draft (barring the baby arriving by Friday, he'll go).

I informed him that he's supposed to bury a St. Joseph's statue in the yard at our house so it will sell.

He's Lutheran like me, so the look on his face was a bit priceless. "Oh Really?" He said. "Yeah." I said. "Doesn't that seem sorta sacreligious since we're not, uh, CATHOLIC?"

"Apparently we don't have to be Catholic to get help from their saints," I said.

No disrespect intended, but we Lutherans don't get the whole "Saint of this, saint of that" thing. I mean we've HEARD of it. It's just not part of our religious upbringing to believe in there being a patron saint of real estate.

But the house hasn't sold. We're getting lookers here and there, but the market sucks and our house is a little quirky so it's going to be slow to sell. So I'm willing to experiment with being quasi-Catholic this weekend for as long as it takes to bury a statue in the yard.

So tell me, do we bury it in a specific spot?

Where do we get a St. Joseph statue?

Is there a Catholic supply store online where I can get one?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Dreams of Our Girl

I dreamed I met our little girl last night! In my dream I walked into our bedroom, and she was sleeping on the bed...she didn't have any clothes on, or a diaper, and as I tried to get a diaper on her, I realized she was too big to fit into the newborn diapers. She was kinda chubby!

She looked a lot like me when I was a baby...with brown curly hair. I fed her, and thought "Breastfeeding is so easy! Why does everybody make such a big deal out of it!?!"

I guess I was thinking about it a lot yesterday as I read a book and watched the hospital's Newborn Channel that pushes breastfeeding enough that it makes me want to rebel against it -- but I won't.

The rest of the dream got really weird (I put her in a Moses Basket and put her in the river, HA), but the first part was cool.

What is it, Sunday? I keep a white board in my room that is updated just so I can remember. I've been in the hospital for two weeks now.

Friday and Saturday pretty much sucked. Except we moved to a newer, better, more spacious suite which doesn't really change things much for me, but makes it much easier on those visiting me. The hardest things about Friday and Saturday were that I had quite a bit of bleeding both days, and the doctors actually took me off food on Saturday morning (briefly) while they considered if we might have to have the baby.

It's just scary to think that all this could change on a moment's notice like that.

Plus, they had to poke me four times to get a good vein for my new IV/saline lock. I hate needles.

Saturday late morning things subsided and we were given the usual talk about how we REALLY want to get to 32 weeks, when the survival rate is just about the same as a full term baby, only with time in the NICU required.

Fortunately, last night I had a good night/early morning. No more bleeding today, which is good.

If you look at my ticker on the right, you'll see that my baby has made it to the 8th month at 31 weeks 1 day.

My sister Jill was here overnight too with her boy Erik. Brian and Erik went to a movie yesterday too. I like to see Brian get out of here and do something besides work and visiting me.

Jill & Erik just stopped by with a Starbucks for me on their way back to Seattle, and DH is at church.

That means time for a shower and a movie.

Another day of waiting. But it's ok.

I just keep reminding myself...it's either sit and wait or have the baby, and right now I'd rather sit and wait!

Friday, August 24, 2007

And On The 5th Day...

I woke up this morning and had another bit of bleeding. More than last Sunday, less than last Tuesday. What a way to wake up quickly.

I went from "you could go home the next couple of days" to "Oh, it looks like you just bought yourself another week in the hospital."

I'm listening to our girl on the monitors and she's fine, so that's why I'm here.

That's why I'm here.

Repeat.

Julie's Grand Day Out

Yesterday afternoon I got to go on a field trip! It was the first wheelchair ride out of my room in 11 days since I landed in the hospital.

Ah, the taste of freedom.

I was very excited to get out.
First, Brian showed me where my ice water came from:

He even wheeled me in all the way so I could see the mini pop machine and other stuff. It's always good to know where ice comes from, so you can direct the newbies a few doors down.
Then he wheeled me past the nurse's station.

This was the only other place I knew to exist in the hospital. They brought me here in an ambulance through the Emergency Room, so I didn't get any sort of reference point of where I've been in here.

Brian then wheeled me to the elevators and took me to the gift shop. We went through that nice and slowly. I took a picture of the chocolate rack where I blew most of the $5.00 my friend Teri sent me to spend on chocolate.

Unfortunately the picture didn't turn out, but the chocolate and Mentos were still good. :)
Then it was OUTSIDE!

Fresh air!

Flowers!

I asked Brian to slow down just so I could enjoy the short trip down the sidewalk to the other entrance back on the West Wing.

Nurse Alissa said we had 15 minutes and I knew we'd already blown through that so we headed back through Emergency to find some elevators back upstairs.

But not before we stopped by the chapel.

And before Brian showed me where we were when his brother David was in this hospital so many years ago.

So that was a half hour of my day yesterday!

It is amazing what I can get excited about. But after 11 days in this pink-walled room and no end in sight, just finding out where I am in relation to the rest of the hospital is a wonderful thing.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My New Friend Patience

Anyone who knows me knows I've never been famous for my patience. I have a few good traits, but that isn't tops on the list.

I have always been a "make it happen" kinda gal. Once I've decided on something, I break it down and get it done. So call me persistent, not patient. That's always been an easy trade for me.

But with all our infertility problems, losses and uncertainty surrounding whether we would ever start a family, I learned a lot of patience.

I had even given up.

Now please don't think that "giving up" is what got me where I am. I don't believe that giving up is what gave me this child any more than trying hard to have one made me lose those babies I did to miscarriage. That's a bunch of hooey.

But this bedrest has taught me a new level of patience. Brian said last night as I told him that I had been here 10 days and that I only thought I had another 30-40 days of bedrest, that I have been incredibly patient.

Those are magic words to me.

In my view, this new Patience has been thrust upon me. But then I don't see much point in whining about it, I just accept what is and just like before, I get persistent -- I'll do what it takes to make this happen.

For now, I'm just happy my baby is still healthy and ok, and that's really all that matters. If that makes me patient, so be it.

The uncertainty of when she'll be born is probably the hardest. I read about preemies in a book my friend Teri sent me. I'll probably end up with a c-section, because of the previa (which is blocking the baby's "way out"). And it's hard to imagine having to go through surgery. But when will that be? I have no idea.

But in the end it's all worth it. And I haven't even met her yet.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Shiela Made Me Do It

My friend Shiela started this, and I'm already glad she did. She told me I had to take a picture of some of the people taking care of me and my baby.

At first I thought that was weird, but now I realize that we're documenting a looooooonnnnngg, drawn out birth story for my girl, and I really should have pictures of some of the people who helped our baby make it.

This is my 10th day in the hospital, and this picture of my nurse today is of Alissa, my first "repeat" nurse.

Every day and every night someone new nurse has walked in. But today I got Alissa back.

When you're a "lifer" on what feels like forever bedrest, it's nice to see a familiar face.

Alissa gave me a hard time a couple days ago when she was here. But then I probably started it. She laughed almost as evilly as I do when I told my brother in front of her that she was mean.

There aren't any mean nurses at this hospital. I haven't met one yet anyway. They are not all the same, but they are all wonderful.

So if you have a nurse in your family, give him or her a hug today and say thanks.

And thanks Shiela, for getting started on documenting my stay with more people. I know, I have to get a doctor next.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seven Months Today!


We made it to the end of our 7th month today!

Our girl kicked me awake around 6 a.m. She's apparently up for a busy day today.

She was pretty quiet yesterday. I worried about her a little, but apparently she was just taking a break or studying for her evening test, because she perked right up for the baby monitoring hour last night, and started doing her work-out to show her heart and her limbs are quite functional, thank you very much.

She got the hiccups at one point yesterday. I love that.

Here's the design I finished for her quilt. I bought some materials, but haven't figured out when/how I'll get it made.

So here we are, end of seven full months, and on to eight!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

So Much For Our Lucky Streak!

The morning just started out all wrong.

First some guy from the lab walked in at 6:15 and said a few words before throwing the strangulation thing on my arm and poking me for a blood sample -- all while I was virtually asleep.

Brian went to church this morning...My sister stopped by on her way back home...and just before noon, I woke up to a nap-ending feeling.

I had a bit more bleeding.

I called the nurse and she hooked me up to the monitors, and our girl is fine, so am I, but all bets are off for me to go home this week.

The doctor should stop by sometime to tell me that, but I already know.

The nurse said she doesn't know of any previa patient who stops bleeding completely. "It pretty much keeps going like this til the baby comes," she said.

So, I'm in the slammer. Brian just went to the fabric store for me to buy some stuff so I can handquilt my nieces quilt in bed instead of machine quilting it. It'll give me something to do.

Because I sure as heck can't anticipate going home anytime soon.

Oh well. As the nurse said, "That's why you're here."

Saturday, August 18, 2007

This Mama's Proud

My nurse Gretchen today was nothing short of fabulous.

I started out at 8 a.m. waking up to breakfast coming, and her cracking some joke with me that made me think "ahhh, much better than the nurse from last night who forgot my chocolate shake til it melted outside and had no sense of humor."

She was wonderful. She teased me and I teased back. Today she brought me my TUMS and said she'd forgotton to give them to me earlier and claimed to be out of it today, so I ribbed her about her not paying enough attention to me and that surely that must be some sort of malpractice. I said "Wow, that makes me wonder what else you forgot!"

Eye rolls from Gretchen The Nurse.

I think I have a reputation building at the nurse's station as a funster, because the nurses seem to be having fun with me. She said how refreshing it is to have someone like me on her roster. I wonder what kind of whiners she gets on a day to day basis.

But here's what she said today that made my day: She said that our baby is doing fantastic, and that looking at her monitoring graphs, her heartbeat and movements are "way beyond what we expect out of a baby at 29-30 weeks."

So I get to sleep with a smile tonight that our girl is well and she's exceeding expectations already.

I didn't realize how much I needed to hear something good today until I heard Gretchen say those things. This just might buy her a little slack when she comes home with that first B grade.

Friday, August 17, 2007

For Those Bearing Gifts...

Lots of people have provided me with some entertainment and chocolate since I landed in the hospital, but I think this one takes the cake.

Mom brought me some copies of Reader's Digest. I don't know which one is funnier, the copy on the left that claims to have an "untold story" about Princess Diana's marriage and life ((WHAT COULD BE LEFT??!?) or the one on the right with the headline "FATAL HOSPITAL MISTAKES YOU CAN AVOID".

I vote for the one on the right, don't you?

Thank you to my sister-in-law Julie I for pointing it out to me. I got my laugh of the day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's Not Rocket Science...

Well, it all starts with looking on the internet.

I wasn't hospitalized for two days before I realized how much I need the internet, my contact with the outside world goes up exponentially with the ability to e-mail, blog and go to my online support group that I've belonged to forever.

At someone's brilliant urging, I looked on Craigslist and found a laptop for sale for $150. The guy even lives 20 blocks from the hospital, and Brian met him in the hospital lobby to test it out before paying him cash and bringing it upstairs for me.

Ahhhhhhhhh.

But with this internet connection comes information, and with that information, some fear and trepidation.

You don't have to look far to find out that placenta previa is no joke. When you think about it, with normal hospitalizations when you'd have your average non-essental organ out (like say an appendix), they can practically do that with Day Surgery these days. At most, you're sent home from the hospital in a few days.

But here I am, with an open-ended invitation to stay for the duration of my pregnancy.

When I think about how long I could be here and more importantly WHY, it scares me bit. Well, more than a bit.

I have already been lectured about not reading any more, and I'll do that. I swear. But still. The thought that I could hemmorrhage or even bleed to death well, that sorta gets a girl's attention. Or as my most recent perinatologist said, "That's why you're here."

This same perinatologist also offered some pretty good assurance: With me here, 20 feet from the O.R., they can have me in the operating room and knocked out in five minutes, and the baby out in one. No joke.

"It's not like it's rocket science," he said.

"Nope, just take that extra minute and make sure the scar will end up being fairly straight and the knife is clean, wontcha?" I thought.

Meanwhile, my daughter still moves, or dances as she did yesterday, and I get to learn again, the benefits of taking one day at a time, and not thinking too much.

Anyone who knows me knows those two skills are not my forte.

But I've been through enough hell. I can learn a little more patience, just for my girl.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Good Day

Any day we get with our baby staying put is a good day, they say, so today was a good day.

We're doing fine, Kicky and me...She's kicking (even got her foot wedged up near my rib cage for the first time today), heartbeat is just right, and with all the monitoring, we're getting good marks for either one of us showing distress. That and no more bleeding, and it's been a very very good day.

My perinatologist is from Denver, then today I met a second peri today who was doing the rounds and he moved here from Denver's University Hospital as well. Amazing.

Dr. P said today the reason they keep me here is due to the randomness of bleeding that can occur with placenta previa, and how it could become very serious very quickly. With me here next door to the Operating Room, they could have me in there and knocked out in 5 minutes, and the baby out in ONE minute. That's 6 minutes!

So the bed rest will be indefinite, and we're at 29 weeks 4 days today, and while our girl would be fine if she were born today, the goal is to reach at least 32 weeks, and any time after that is more gravy time.

That's about all I have in me today. I'll update again as soon as I can!

Monday, August 13, 2007

And then BAM!!! Bedrest

I'm in a hospital in Portland being observed as we just found out I have placenta previa (my placenta is right over my cervix), which caused some bleeding, and a nail-biting speedometer popping trip to the hospital.

Our baby is fine, she's measuring 29.2 weeks, weighing in around 3 lbs. (EXCELLENT), and has lots of fluid around her (that's good too), and we're into buying her time at this point.

But we had some bleeding yesterday and today so they sent me to a specialist hospital here in Portland, where I will be observed for about a week.

I'll update more later, since I'm about to have a LOT of time to kill, but wanted to ask for your prayers, positive thoughts, whatever it is you send up.

Our girl is going to be ok, according to our specialist. She might come early, but she should be ok.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Trip to Target for The Tiny Tot

I've been feeling these past few days like I just HAD to get a few things for the baby. I'm 29 weeks this week, with about 2 1/2 months to go, and this odd feeling that the baby's going to come sooner than that. Not a lot sooner, but more like 6-8 weeks from now instead of 10 or 11.

So with that in mind, I took a bit of an inventory of all the stuff my friend Delois gave me, and off to the store I went this afternoon.

I went to Target and bought some newborn disposable diapers, wipes, and a BUNCH of other little stuff, like a changing pad cover, nursing pads, a few bottles, a thing of J&J bath soap stuff, a thermometer, and some butt paste.

There's nothing like standing there in the baby aisle, without a CLUE and wondering about the bazillion products there are on the shelf and if I'll really need it. Does anyone really use baby oil or baby powder anymore? And if so, what for?

I did pretty good until I got to the card aisle and went to look at baby announcements. For no particular reason (why this, I don't know), I started to choke up and I just couldn't buy them yet.

But I don't feel so naked with all the stuff I got! I'm very happy to have a few baby things around me.

Baby Girl is still kicking like crazy. She is getting big enough now that she makes my whole tummy roll with moves that say "Look, there's an alien in there!".

This is so surreal!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Not Looking For World Peace

We went to the doctor today and found out Kick is doing fine. She kicked back at the doctor as she pressed the doppler to my belly to get a heartbeat reading.

She's also measuring ahead -- 29 weeks -- and I'm actually 27 weeks 5 days today, or thereabouts, so that's good.

We found a doctor near my brother's farm, who has a lot less charisma than my OB/GYN in Eugene, but we don't know if we'll be in Eugene by the time the baby is born or not.

Plus, this isn't a beauty pageant. Of course, I didn't ask any questions that could end in "World Peace", so I'm not even totally sure who the winner would have been. It's about who gets the baby out safely, and personality doesn't have anything to do with that.

To my new OB/GYN's credit, she and her nurse both said the exact right things when I briefly described Jacob's story. That's really all we needed.

And most importantly our baby is ok, still kicking, still taking up more space in me every day.

And that's a great thing.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Going Coastal

I'll tell you, there's nothing quite like a day at the beach.

I love the Oregon Coast.

My niece and I went there today with our dogs, Lucy and Casey, and we had a blast.
Lucy's not familiar with the ocean, so she drank the water (and looked a little surprised at the taste), and ate some of the sand.

My grandma used to live in Salem, and we had relatives out near Lincoln City, so I remember her taking me there on numerous occasions.

I love the familiarity of the Oregon Coast's shoreline, the constant blast of wind, the frigid waters that don't let you go in above your knees without risking hypothermia.

It feels like home.

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