A few more things…

After the amazingly positive response I received on the post I made yesterday, I wanted to add a few additional thoughts.

Sharing the News

Getting pregnant is an exciting thing and it’s natural to want to share that news.  People go to great lengths to plan funny or exciting ways to share their news.  They make funny videos, do photo shoots, take cute pictures with their older child holding a sign saying “only child expiring July 2016” or with a tiny pair of baby shoes between the parents’ shoes.  When I got pregnant with Julia, Ken and I told our parents right away.  Within a week of my positive pregnancy test, we had told the rest of our immediate and extended family.  Within a month we had told pretty much all of our close friends, and by the end of the first trimester we posted on Facebook to share the news with the world.  We were blessed with a fairly easy pregnancy and we got to bring a baby home at the end of 9 months.

I am the type of person who likes to share exciting news with the knowledge that if anything horrible were to happen, I would want the support of my friends and family.  I’ve never been a private or secretive person.  (If I were, I wouldn’t have this blog!)  But deciding whether or when to share news of a pregnancy is a very personal decision.  When we started telling people, a couple friends were surprised and suggested that we wait until 12 weeks to tell more people.

This time we did the same thing we did last time… we told our parents immediately and shared the news with some close friends.  We told Ken’s whole family on Thanksgiving (my sister-in-law asked if I would drink some of the sangria she was planning to make, and when I said no, she immediately knew something was up!)  I don’t regret telling people, even though it has been hard to un-tell people.  I’ve had to send texts and messages to people saying “Never mind, there won’t be a baby in July.”  But the outpouring of love and support I’ve received from those same people has made it all worth it.  Next time I will definitely be a bit more guarded with my emotions surrounding pregnancy and I have no doubt I will be on pins and needles until we have a healthy ultrasound and see a heartbeat but I don’t think I will hesitate to share our exciting news because even if it ends with sadness, it’s still exciting at the time, and if anything were to happen again, I know I will need the support of friends and family.

The one regret I have is that we told Julia, too.  People warned us not to tell her but I think because my first pregnancy went so well I expected this one to be uneventful, too, and I didn’t want to wait.  She’s sometimes a rough-and-tumble kind of kid and she was being a bit too rough with me, wanting to sit on my belly to “ride the horsey.”  So we told her by explaining that she needed to be gentle with me because there was a tiny little baby inside of my belly.  We told her it was teeny tiny and that it was going to grow and grow and grow and eventually come out and she would be a big sister.

On Friday after my appointment, when we found out that the pregnancy was not viable, we had to tell her that we were wrong and that there wouldn’t be a baby.  Her reaction surprised me–she started bawling.  She was devastated and kept saying, “I want a baby brother!  I want to be a big sister!”  She still brings it up even a week and a half later.  Whenever we are sad, she asks, “Are you sad because there’s no baby?”  And every time she asks it breaks my heart.  Next time we will NOT tell Julia until much later in the pregnancy.  I can’t bear to break her heart again like we did this time.

Why I’m still very blessed

I have one beautiful healthy 3-year old.  I know I can get pregnant (and fairly quickly at that).  With Julia I got pregnant the first month we tried.  This time, I stopped my birth control (and weaned) in July.  I got pregnant our 5th month trying but my guess is that the first few months my hormones were leveling back to normal after birth control and breastfeeding.

I know that the number one predictor for having a healthy pregnancy is a prior healthy pregnancy, and when I came home after my D&C, Julia was there waiting for me, giving me hugs and promising to take care of me.  She reminded me why this is all worth it.

Many many women don’t have that when they lose a pregnancy and that would be so much harder to handle (in my opinion).  At least I know that I’m only 30 and that my body seems to know how to do this.  Unlike so many friends of ours, we do not seem to struggle with infertility because I can get pregnant, it’s just a question of getting pregnant with a healthy embryo and staying pregnant.

My heart goes out to families struggling with getting pregnant in the first place because that is a very difficult road to walk.  We are lucky to live in an age with lots of technology but it’s not easy to need testing, to take hormones or shots, to make your body ovulate if it’s not doing it on its own, to create embryos using eggs and sperm removed from the body.  That’s a much more expensive and treacherous road to walk and I feel grateful we have not had to do that.

Comparing Losses

Pregnancy loss sucks, no matter when it happens, and no matter how.  And everyone experiences that loss in their own personal and unique way.  I don’t think there’s ever a need to compare one person’s loss to another.  I do think the timing and type of loss we experienced may be slightly easier to handle than it would have been if I had been farther along, or if we had seen a heartbeat one week and then went back to see no heartbeat the following week.  But pregnancy loss is not something to compare or compete on.  It sucks and each person experiences it in their own way.  A loss at 7 weeks is just as sad and tragic a loss as one at 13 weeks.  It’s a personal experience and sad no matter when it happens.

The “M” word

After I posted yesterday’s blog post, I got about 12-15 messages from people saying “I read your post.  Thank you for sharing your experience.  I had a miscarriage too and never felt comfortable talking about it.”  There is this horrible silence that surrounds miscarriage.  It’s as though the word is a bad word.

I really think that needs to change.  Because people don’t talk about it, when it happens, you feel so alone until people start sharing their experiences and then you realize you are in good company.  The statistic I’ve heard is that one in 5 known pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  On top of that, there are miscarriages people experience when they never even knew they were pregnant.  They assume their period is just late and heavier than usual but it turns out they were pregnant and just never knew it.  One high estimate is that 1/3 of pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  And yet there’s still this silence around it such that people feel so alone and isolated when it happens.

I don’t know how to change the culture around Miscarriage but I’m going to do my part by talking about it, sharing my experience and encouraging others to share their experiences.

Miscarriages suck.  I wouldn’t wish one on my worst enemy.  But it’s not a bad word.  It helps to talk about it and to know that you’re not alone when it happens.

 

Julia Rose’s Birth Story!

Sorry it’s been a while since I last wrote… but I hope you will agree that I have a good excuse.  I’ve been busy taking care of my beautiful baby girl, Julia Rose!  I thought I would share her birth story as well as just a few photos.  So here we go…

Early early Monday morning, October 8th, at 2:30 AM, we were sleeping and I got up to go pee (this was probably the 3rd or 4th time that night that I had to pee (I was, after all, 37+ weeks pregnant!).  When I got back to bed, it felt like I was either still peeing a little bit or like maybe my water had broken and was coming out in little dribbles every few minutes.  So I woke up Ken and (this may be TMI), I asked him to smell my underwear to tell me whether it smelled like urine or like amniotic fluid.  He smelled it and said it smelled sweet (which is what they say amniotic fluid is supposed to smell like) so he said we should probably go to the hospital.  I wasn’t convinced, so I said there was really no reason to go to the hospital, and I told Ken I was just going to go to work and keep my 2 PM appointment with my OB.

So I got up and went to work.  Around 1:15 I left for my doctor’s appointment.  When I first got to the doctor, they did all the usual tests… had me pee in a cup, took my temperature, took my BP, etc. then the doctor came in and asked how I was feeling.  I told her about what had happened, so she checked the fluid using a methylene blue test, which came back positive (basically it’s like litmus paper that turns blue in the presence of amniotic fluid), so she said that she would be delivering me that evening.  I asked her if I could go home first to get my stuff, then she did an internal exam and said she could feel body parts, so there was no way she was going to allow me to go home.  She said I should go straight to the hospital and that Ken could go home to get our stuff.

I then had to make a few phone calls… first I called Ken: “Hello?”  he answered.  “Hi!  I have some news for you!”  “Yes?”  “We’re having a baby tonight!”  So he quickly got dismissed from work for the rest of the week and went home to get our hospital bag as well as some last minute things that we hadn’t yet packed (we weren’t supposed to be having a baby for over a week, after all!)  Then I called my mom and Ken’s parents and they all spread the word to all the folks they needed to tell.  I went over to L&D at the hospital, where I changed into a hospital gown and got hooked up to the monitors.  I got all checked in and waited for Ken to get there.  When Ken got there, we both had a big rush of emotions… excitement, nervousness, shock, etc.  When my OB came in and told us that they would be delivering me within the hour, Ken quickly changed into his scrubs and got ready for the surgery!

I thought the next few hours would go by really slowly but they went by surprisingly quickly, and around 5:30 PM they started wheeling us back to the OR to get prepped for the C-Section.  The Anesthesiologists came in to consent me, and then they inserted the spinal (which was, by the way, a very weird feeling!).  Ken had my phone with him to take photos during the C-Section, so here’ s a photo of me on the table, waiting for everything to begin.

The C-Section seemed to take forever, and the one thing that was the most distressing about the whole thing was that Ken could see everything that was going on and I had no idea what was happening.  Finally, Ken told me they had gotten through the uterus and they got to the baby… there are a few photos that are not exactly the most beautiful photos to share with the world wide web (i.e. they’re kinda bloody) but here’s the first semi-decent photo of the baby. 

After they got the baby out, Ken went to stay with her while the Doctor and the upper-level resident finished sewing me up.  After what felt like hours (it was probably only about 10-15 minutes), Ken finally brought the baby over to me to give her a kiss and see her. 

After the surgery, they wheeled me back to the recovery room and then about 20 minutes later they brought the baby in from the nursery and I had a chance to nurse her for the first time and hold her.  It was such a wonderful feeling to hold our baby girl–it was like I fell in love instantly and immediately felt as though I would do anything for her! 

That first night is kind of a blur… I was on a lot of pain medication and was very very sleepy, but for some reason I couldn’t actually sleep.  I also just wanted to hold the baby all night… look at her, get to know her, watch her, etc.  There’s no feeling quite as special as holding your baby for the first time.

The advice I had gotten from everybody I knew who had a C-Section was that to recover as quickly as possible, I had to push myself to get up out of bed and walk as much as I possibly could, so I was determined to do that.  I got out of bed early Tuesday morning shortly after the nurses took out my catheter, and I made a point to stay on top of my pain so that I could get up and walk back and forth up and down the hallway a couple of times a day.  Tuesday and Wednesday we had a lot of friends come to visit, and then Wednesday evening, my mom arrived from San Francisco to stay with us for a week and a half to help out with the baby.  She’s still staying with us and will be here until Tuesday (at which time she will be 2 weeks and 1 day old!) 

We went home from the hospital on Thursday, and Ken’s parents arrived later that day for a long weekend visit.  Julia is so lucky to have 4 grandparents who love her so much and who are ready to spoil her!  Jim also came a week later and just left this afternoon, so he also got to meet his granddaughter.

While we were in the hospital, we took a lot of photos of Julia, and we also had a professional photographer come in to take her “official” newborn photos!

While Ken’s parents were in town, we also took Julia for several of her “firsts”–her first brunch (at our favorite breakfast place), her first walk in the stroller, her first bath, etc.

Now that she has been home with us for over a week, we are settling into a new lifestyle as parents.  It definitely takes a lot of adjusting and it will be a big learning process, but we are slowly getting the hang of it as she teaches us how to be parents and as we learn from her, from our doctors, and from other parents that we know.  One thing that has been the most challenging is that nobody can tell us about our baby because every baby is different.  The pediatrician has one piece of advice, the OB has another piece of advice, the lactation consultant and La Leche Leader have another piece of advice, and other parents have other advice but when it all comes down to it, we have to take every little piece of advice that we get and figure out how to make it work for our baby.  She is different from all other babies and may need her own very unique parenting style that we will need to figure out as we go along.

Update After Doctor’s Appointment

Well I saw the MFM this afternoon.  I didn’t see the MFM I normally see because my regular MFM was on the L&D Floor today, but I saw one of her partners.  He did an ultrasound (though sadly I didn’t get any pictures to take home) and everything was looking great with the baby.  There was plenty of fluid, the measurements of the baby’s abdomen and head looked good, the baby’s heart was beating beautifully and she was even practicing breathing.  She was also moving around a lot during the scan, so the doctor and the ultrasound tech both said she had good movement.  They predicted the baby’s size at about 6 lbs. 9 oz. 

Since I’m not seeing my regular OB this week (she’s out of town at a conference until Saturday), I asked the MFM to do an internal exam as well… he said my cervix was high and closed (whereas my regular OB said on Friday that I was about 1 cm. dilated).  The MFM said it could just be that he has bigger fingers than my regular OB but he said my cervix was definitely not quite ready.  I asked him (because Ken wanted me to) if he could predict when the baby might come, and he said that was a very silly question… but he doesn’t think I’ll be going into labor anytime within the next week or so.  He thinks I could very well make it to my scheduled C-Section date of 10/16.  He told me it seems as though the baby is still pretty high up, because when he did my internal exam, he felt that her tushy was still pretty high and she doesn’t seem to have dropped at all.  So it looks like we could have another 13 days before we meet our baby girl, after all!  Of course I want her to stay in and bake for as long as possible but I am definitely starting to feel impatient and I would just like to meet her already and get started on this whole having a baby thing! 

Well… my next appointment is on Monday with the regular OB so hopefully I’ll have another update then!  We’ll be at 38 weeks on Tuesday and I should have my last HDBD photo on Wednesday.  I’m thinking that starting on Saturday (10/6) we’ll start with a more official countdown… 10 days until baby!

37 week HDBD Photo

Here we are at 37 weeks and 1 day!  Our kitten, Boudreaux, decided he wanted to be in this week’s photo, too, so here you have me, BGL and Boudreaux!

Later today I have an appointment with the MFM.  Hopefully she’ll do an internal exam to let me know how dilated/effaced I am (on Friday with the regular OB I was 1 cm dilated so we’ll see if I’ve made any progress) and she’ll probably give me an estimate of the baby’s size.  I will not be at all surprised when she tells me that the baby’s still breech since I can still feel her head way up high, though it does feel to me like the baby has dropped a bit/my belly has descended lower into my pelvis. 

On Friday when I saw the regular OB she said that even though I’ve got my C-Section scheduled for the 16th, she doesn’t think I’ll make it that far… partially because I had already started dilating and partially because I’ve already been having some contractions here and there.  My personal goal is to make it to Sunday night/Monday morning at the earliest because we have tickets to the Saints game on Sunday night and I would like to be able to go to at least this one game this season, even if the Saints are doing horribly this year (they’re 0 and 4 so far this season!)  And really… it might even be nice to make it to Monday night/Tuesday morning since Monday night is the Simchat Torah celebration at our Synagogue (this is definitely Ken’s favorite holiday since it involves dancing around with the Torah, drinking, and then a day of sitting around a table with our Rabbi philosophizing (is that a word?) about all kinds of deep and profound topics).  But really I would be fine with the baby coming anytime now… I’m ready to be done being pregnant and just start this next chapter!

At work, things have been piling up on my plate and people don’t seem to understand that at this point in my pregnancy I should be wrapping up projects, not adding more work to my to do list.  This afternoon I will (hopefully) be finally meeting with my supervisor to figure out who will be doing all of the things that I do regularly while I’m out.  I’ve written out detailed instructions about how to do everything  for whoever does take over, but I still don’t know who that will be.  People keep asking me, “Who should I talk to about x, y and z while you’re out?” and up until now I’ve had to say, “I don’t know!” but hopefully this afternoon I can give all of those people some answers. 

Well that’s all for now… I’m sure I’ll have another update after my doctor’s appointment this afternoon.  Until then, Happy Wednesday morning!

C-Section Tentatively Scheduled

So on Friday, Ken and I went to see my regular OB.  She did the standard things… she measured my belly, she listened to the baby’s heartbeat, I gave them a urine sample, etc. and then we started talking about my visit from the previous week with the MFM.   The MFM told us that the baby’s breech and that she would absolutely in no way recommend doing an External Version, and that a vaginal breech delivery is way too risky.  Well on Friday, we got a very different answer from the regular OB.  She explained that in 2 weeks (on the 28th), she can do an Ultrasound to check on my fluid levels, and that if there’s enough fluid, she is willing to consider doing an External Version to try to turn the baby.  This would be done in the Operating Room at the Hospital so that if anything were to happen, she could stop and do a C-Section right then and there if necessary.  An External Version does not necessarily guarantee that I can have a vaginal delivery since it still depends upon my uterus’ ability to contract normally, and it depends upon the baby staying in a head-down position, but it makes it more likely and it at least makes it possible for me to attempt a vaginal delivery and to know that we did everything possible to have a vaginal delivery (if that’s important to me).  There are a lot of risks involved too though… a risk that the baby could go into distress, a risk that the procedure would cause me to go into labor, etc. etc.

And… in the event that we decide not to go for an External Version, or that we do try an External Version and it’s not successful, we have tentatively scheduled my C-Section for Tuesday, October 16th at 8 AM.  Of course that’s very tentative since there are still a lot of unknowns… my body could decide to go into labor any day now, theoretically, in which case we would just go in and they would do a C-Section (if the baby’s still breech) or they would let me labor (if the baby has miraculously turned head-down).  So now, we just have to decide… and really we don’t have to make any decisions yet… if we want to pursue an External Version or not.  Luckily we still have 11 days before my appointment and that gives us time to weigh our options and really make a decision.  And it’s possible that the decision will be made for us–I may not have enough fluid, or I may go into labor naturally between now and then… there are a lot of unknowns.  It seems to me that a C-Section is the most likely outcome anyway because if we decide not to do the External Version, I’ll have a C-Section, and External Versions are only about 60% effective, so even if we do decide to try the Version, there’s still a 40% chance I’ll need a C-Section.  We just have a big decision to make in the next couple of weeks. 

After the appointment on Friday, we had a lovely weekend… it was kind of low-key, which was nice since I feel like we haven’t had a very low key weekend in a while, and I feel as though I can use all the down-time and R&R I can get these days.  One of the highlights of the weekend was on Saturday evening when we went out for dinner with some friends, and some of the friends had their 3-month old baby girl with them!  Ken and I both had a chance to hold her, feed her, burp her, etc. and it was a lot of fun to see that the parents, though tired and busy with a newborn, are still able to get out and socialize with friends.  I took a couple of adorable pictures of Ken holding the baby and I sent them to his parents and to my mom. 

Of course they asked (jokingly, I hope, since they know we’ll call them as soon as there are any signs of labor) if something had happened that we didn’t tell them about.  Ken also let me use his stethoscope to listen to the Baby’s heartbeat, which was very exciting!

Up until now, we’ve only ever been able to hear it in the office with a Doppler but now that the baby’s big enough, we can hear it through my belly using Ken’s stethoscope.  That was pretty exciting! 

And… on another note, it’s Rosh Hashana!  Last night we went to services at our Synagogue, and then we went to dinner at the home of one of the ladies who is a member of the Shul.  She is older (like our parents’ age) and has grown-up children, so she is very motherly and nice.  It was nice of her to invite us over for dinner, and we had a lovely time at her house.  I didn’t feel comfortable asking for time off for the Jewish holidays because I’ve already taken so much time off for doctor’s appointments, for being in the hospital, etc. etc. and I just want to save my time off for when the baby is born… but I’ll be going to services this evening.  Then tonight after services, we have been invited to the Rabbi’s house for dinner, which should also be a lot of fun! 

In the next several weeks there are a lot of very exciting things going on that will make the time fly by… it’s so hard to believe that our baby girl will be here in less than a month now!  Crazy!  So what’s going on between now and then? 

  • Today & Tomorrow: Rosh Hashana
  • Friday: Visit with Pediatrician
  • Sunday: New Orleans Baby Shower!
  • 9/26: Yom Kippur
  • 10/1: first day of Sukkot
  • 10/3: Corks n’ Canvas in the Sukkah
  • 10/6: Sukkah Hop & Pey Dalid Concert
  • 10/7: We have tickets to go to the Saints game!
  • 10/8: Simchat Torah Buffet Dinner

And then… if I still haven’t had the baby, October 12th will be my last day of work, and the 16th is our Scheduled C-Section! 

Tomorrow we’ll be at 35 weeks (which also means there are 35 days left until my official “due date”), and Wednesday will be the Week 35 Hump Day Bump Day!  Until tomorrow… have a lovely Monday!

So much has happened since I last posted!

I just looked at the calendar and realized that the last time I posted was the last day I was at work, and today’s my first day back since then!  So much has happened in the interim that it’s hard to know where to start!  I guess I’ll start in the most logical place… last Monday, right where I left off! 

Monday afternoon at work, everyone was getting ready for the storm–people with desks near the windows had to put plastic bags over their computer monitors to protect them in the event that windows broke and water got in the building.  Everyone was talking about their plans: evacuate?  Shelter in place?  etc. etc.  It was quite hectic and stress-inducing just hearing all the talk about the storm.  All of the anticipation is what scares me the most.  Around 2 PM we got a message that we were free to go and that we would get updates about when to come back to work.  Ken also got out of work around that time and then found out later in the day that he would also be off until Thursday at the earliest.  Knowing Ken would not have to work definitely made me feel better about our plan to stay at home during the storm.  I had been really nervous about the possibility of being stuck at home by myself without power while Ken was at the hospital. 

Tuesday we hit the 32-week mark, and the Baby was the size of a Squash!

Tuesday morning when we woke up, the wind had started to pick up a little bit but there was nothing crazy happening yet.  We went on a walk down to Stein’s Deli to get bagels for lunch.  It was absolutely packed since apparently it was one of the only places open Tuesday morning.  Around 1 or 2 in the afternoon is when the wind started to pick up, and so did the rain.  Most of the afternoon and evening the wind and rain was pretty constant.  We ended up spending a lot of time next door with our landlords, watching TV, sitting around and chatting, playing with their kids, etc.  Over night on Tuesday, our windows were rattling and the wind was whistling outside.  We got ourselves set up with flashlights nearby so that if the power went off, we would be ready.  The storm continued all day Wednesday and into Wednesday night.  By Thursday morning, it had pretty much stopped.  Somehow we were EXTREMELY lucky and we never lost our power.  All of our friends lost power sometime on Tuesday night or Wednesday and some people ended up not getting their power back until Monday or Tuesday this week!  We were really lucky, so a few friends came by to store food in our fridge and freezer.  People also came by to charge their phones and use our internet.  It’s amazing how dependent we all are on electricity to live our day-to-day lives!  Thursday, Ken and I took a drive around the city to check out some of the damage–there were a lot of trees that fell down and lots of power lines that were down.  A couple of buildings had a lot of damage but for the most part, the buildings in New Orleans proper were okay.  Several other parishes had a lot more damage and they are going to need a lot of help getting back on their feet.  Ken ended up not having to go back to work until Friday morning and I found out I was off until Tuesday (but since I was already taking Tuesday off to spend the day with my mom, I didn’t actually have to report back to work until Wednesday morning).

Friday my mom arrived in the evening, and then she, Ken and I went to Shabbat dinner at our Rabbi’s house.  It was very hectic and busy because they were hosting a lot of people who didn’t have power and therefore didn’t have a place to stay or to make food.  It was really nice of them to open up their home like that to so many people!  Saturday, Ken was on call so my mom and I spent the day together–we went through baby clothes, we went out for lunch, we went to Macy’s to do a little shopping, etc.  We had a great day together!  Saturday night when Ken got home, the three of us went over to the home of some of Ken’s colleagues and we played a couple of rounds of Texas Holdem and Black Jack.  My mom really enjoyed meeting some of our friends and seeing a bit of what our lives are like on an every day basis.  After poker, we came home and went to bed since Ken had to work early the next morning. 

Around midnight on Saturday night/Sunday morning, I woke up with HORRIBLE lower back pain on my right side.  I had no idea what it was but it was really bad.  I couldn’t find a comfortable position to lie down in and I was tossing and turning because it hurt so badly.  I woke up Ken, who rubbed my back for a while, but I felt bad waking him up because I knew he had to get up early the next morning to work.  Finally the pain was unbearable so I went into my mom’s room and woke her up.  We figured out that the only thing that made the pain any better was putting pressure on it, so we rolled up a blanket for me to sleep on and we put it right under the spot that was hurting.  That made me feel a little better but the pain was still pretty bad.  In the morning the pain had not gone away, and Ken said I should call the doctor.  I called the on-call doctor (who happened to be my own OB!) and she said to come in to make sure it wasn’t a kidney or bladder infection or pre-term labor.  So I woke up my mom and told her that we had to go into L&D at the Hospital for me to get checked out. 

We got to the hospital and they hooked me up to monitors.  The baby’s heartbeat was doing fine and she was moving around a lot and luckily I wasn’t having any contractions.  They took a urine sample for me and the quick Urinalysis showed that there was bacteria in my urine, so the doctors decided they were going to treat me for a UTI.  They sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics and said to call them if I had a fever of 100.4 or higher.  Right around the time they were about to let me go, I started to feel very feverish.  I’ve always been good at knowing when I have a fever because my symptoms are very clear to me.  The resident took my temperature and it showed 98.8 degrees.  She felt my forehead and said I did feel rather warm but she decided to go by what the thermometer said, so she sent me home with my prescriptions.  We dropped off the prescriptions and then went home.  I crawled into bed and was going to try to take a nap but I was still feeling feverish so I took my temperature with our own thermometer and it read 100.85.  At that point we called L&D and told them that I spiked a fever, so they said to come back in and they would be admitting me for IV antibiotics.  Ken met us at home when he got off from work, and we went straight to the hospital.  Admitting me took several hours but finally they put me in a room and hooked me up for IV Fluids.  I got one dose of IV Antibiotics Sunday night and they said they were going to monitor me over night.  We got different stories from different people about when I would be able to go home–the attending said I would probably be in the hospital for 2-5 days and the resident said it would be around 24 hours.  Ken stayed in the hospital with me over night on Sunday night, and in the middle of the night I spiked a fever of 101.6.  They told me that because of that they were going to keep me for at least 48 hours without a fever.  Luckily I didn’t spike another fever and I ultimately got to go home late Tuesday, around dinner time after 2 more doses of IV Antibiotics.  I was sent home with prescriptions for more antibiotics–I’m on a treatment dose of antibiotics for 11 days and then a preventative dose for the rest of my pregnancy and until the baby is 6 weeks old. 

Apparently the reason that kidney/bladder infections are so common during pregnancy is that as the uterus gets bigger to accommodate the baby, it presses on your urethra and bladder which can cause the bladder to not empty completely, which can in turn cause infections.  So they need to keep me on antibiotics until my uterus shrinks back down to a normal size before the risk of infection goes away.  I’m still having some pain in my back from the infection but hopefully as I continue to take the antibiotics the pain will subside. 

In other news, on Tuesday we hit the 33-week marker, and baby is now the size of a Honeydew Melon or a Durian (I had never heard of Durians so I looked them up on Wikipedia–apparently it is a very smelly fruit that is sometimes banned because it’s so stinky! )

(I thought this sign was really funny!)

Tuesday night after I got discharged, my mom and I went to another La Leche League meeting at Zuka Baby.  This one was nicer than the last one I went to, partially because it was much smaller and there were fewer militant people there.  I think the ladies who were there also really enjoyed the fact that my mom was there because she shared her stories about breastfeeding me until I was almost 2 and a half.  After the meeting, anyone who attends gets a discount on certain products at the store, so my mom very generously bought me the breastpump that I had registered for!  Wednesday I took the day off from work to spend with my mom since we didn’t get to do the fun things that we had wanted to do on Tuesday.

First, I had an appointment with the MFM and my mom got to come with me!  The appointment went well and we finally had some questions answered that we had for a long time.  It turns out the baby is still head up and chances are, because of the size and shape of my uterus, that she will not have space to turn around.  She does still have 4 more weeks to turn around, but if she’s not head-down by 37 weeks, I will probably be scheduled for a C-Section around 39 weeks.  We asked about the possibility of doing an ECV or a vaginal breech delivery, but my doctor advised us against either of those because they are just too risky because of my Unicornuate Uterus.  It’s important just to keep the end goal in mind: a healthy baby and a healthy mommy and if the healthiest way to achieve that end result is with a C-Section, then that’s what we will do.  We did get a couple of cute pictures of the baby during the Ultrasound including this one of her face with her chubby cheeks and kissy lips!

After the appointment, my mom and I went to get coffee and then we went to the Maternity Store.  We went with the goal of getting a Maternity Support Belt (which we found) and while we were there we found some clothes for me–3 shirts and 2 pairs of leggings!  We then went home to pick up Ken and the three of us went out to lunch at Rum House, one of my favorite restaurants.  After lunch, we dropped off Ken and my mom and I went for some spa treatments–I got a mani/pedi and my mom got just a pedicure.  At the Spa, my mom also bought me my birthday present–2 prenatal massages!  I scheduled the first one for next Saturday, and after that one I’ll schedule the second one for sometime a little closer to my due date.

Finally, since I didn’t get a chance to post HDBD photos for the past couple of weeks, I do have this photo that my mom took of me & Ken yesterday afternoon.  I really love this photo and my mom said she thinks the Baby will like it a lot, too!

Now I’m hoping to stay out of the hospital for the next several weeks and to keep this baby cooking at least 3 or 4 more weeks.  I’m also hoping to have a fun and enjoyable birthday celebration this weekend since my 27th birthday is this Sunday.  Not sure  yet what the plans are, but whatever they are, I’m sure they will be lots of fun!  Hopefully my next update will be much more routine… no more hurricanes, no more trips to the Hospital, just a regular old weekly pregnancy update!

Isaac

If Hurricane Isaac looked scary the other day, he looks even more scary today.  The entire Louisiana coast-line is under a Hurricane Warning, which is a step up from a Hurricane Watch.  Everyone is talking about their plans–evacuating or staying in place? 

We got some information finally about how things work at the hospital–there’s a “Code Gray” team that gets activated in the event of a Hurricane.  If that’s the case, all of the interns are permitted to evacuate if they so choose.  They are not required to be at the hospital at all during Code Gray.  Originally the Code Gray team was going to meet this morning to determine whether or not they were going to activate the Code, but they postponed and will be meeting tomorrow morning, which means we need to stay at least until then.  If they decide NOT to activate the Code Gray, then Ken is on call on Wednesday, from 7 AM to 9 PM and as far as we know, he’ll still have to work tomorrow, too.  If they DO activate it, then Ken does not have to report back to work until Thursday morning.  At this point, we are about 98% certain that we’ll stay here in New Orleans no matter what.  Luckily, if Ken does have to work tomorrow and Wednesday, I have offers from lots of people to let me come join them at their house so that I don’t have to be home alone without power.  They all have different things to offer too: one is on the 3rd floor of a big building, one has a generator, one is right next door to our house (i.e. our landlords), etc. I think for now we’ll just sort of keep watching and seeing what happens and we’ll make decisions as we need to.  Whatever happens, I just do not want to have to evacuate without Ken… the thought of being 32 weeks pregnant and being several hours away from my husband is terrifying and not something I want to even think about.  It’s true that I’m unlikely to go into labor in the very near future, but stress and anxiety can do funny things to the human body, and I’m sure they can wreak all kinds of havoc on pregnant women’s bodies.  

Luckily yesterday I did our shopping pretty early in the day so stores were not out of the things that we wanted to get–I got 48 16 oz. bottles of water, goldfish, crackers, canned tuna, canned corn, granola & soy milk, granola bars, nutrigrain bars, batteries and a lantern.  This afternoon on my way home from work (yes, I’m at work and they have still not told us when we are allowed to leave, but we’re guessing we’ll be released to go home around 2 PM) I’m going to stop to get cash at the ATM and I’m going to get ice from the grocery store.  My biggest concern with being pregnant during this Hurricane is staying cool and hydrated.  Dehydration can cause you go to into labor, and being over-heated is not only unpleasant, but it can be dangerous and often makes me feel nauseous/dizzy/lightheaded.  Also, when you’re over-heated, it’s easier to become dehydrated, thus causing a vicious cycle.   

Because of the storm, our 4th and final Childbirth Education class is being cancelled, and when I asked about them rescheduling it, they said that unfortunately they will not be doing so but that we are welcome to come to the September class–on the 25th or 26th of September, at which time I will be 36 weeks pregnant.  So I wrote back to the Nurse Educator in charge of the class and I said I will plan on coming to one of those classes unless we have our baby before then, in which case I don’t think I’ll need the “All About Baby” class since I will have learned some of that stuff in the hospital by then.

Chances are I won’t be able to do my 32-week update or Hump Day Bump Day picture this week what with the Hurricane coming, but I’ll be sure to give a big update later in the week.  My mom is scheduled to get here on Friday and stay until Tuesday.  Hopefully travel is not affected that late in the week!  Please keep your fingers crossed for me and all the people of Southern Louisiana who may be affected by Hurricane Isaac.  I will  update again as soon as I can!

No Clever Title

I have a bunch of random things to talk about today so this post is going to be somewhat random and rambling.  For that, I apologize in advance.  It’s not all baby-related but there’s just a lot on my mind today. 

Last night I went to my second pre-natal yoga class.  This one was taught by a different instructor, and it was lovely!  We did a couple of poses or stretches that I’m going to try to remember because they felt really nice… one felt really good for my hips and another felt really good for my lower back and pelvis.

After the class, I asked the instructor if she knows of any poses that are particularly good for encouraging a breech baby to flip around and go head-down.  She suggested doing a lot of the poses that involve going on hands and knees–I think they’re called the cat and the cow, or something like that… I have a feeling Ken would laugh at me doing some of these poses, so I’ll probably try to sneak in some time to do them every day while he’s at work! 

It’s hard to believe, but there are now only 60 days left until my due date, but G-d only knows how many days there are until the Baby makes an appearance.  All I know is that each day brings us closer and closer to meeting our Baby Girl!  As the time gets closer, I get more excited while also getting more nervous.  So 60 days to go!

This weekend we have much to celebrate.  The 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is coming up on  Wednesday, and this weekend, partially in honor of that, our synagogue, Beth Israel, is having their big dedication weekend.  Before Hurricane Katrina, Beth Israel was in a building in Lakeview that was destroyed during the storm.  The whole Jewish community was devastated by the loss, but because of some strong-willed and dedicated individuals, the Beth Israel community has been slowly rebuilding itself.  For the past 7 years they borrowed space in a Reform Synagogue in Metairie, and we’ve been having services in there.  Ken and I became involved with Beth Israel shortly after we moved here in the Summer of 2008.  It has been a very welcoming, warm and loving community to become a part of.  Over time, the Beth Israel leadership decided that it was time to build a new building, and so over the past couple of years we saw them pick a spot, go through discussions about what the building should look like, pick a contractor, clear the space, break ground and now finally the building is done and this weekend is the big Dedication weekend for the brand new building. 

There is a famous picture that appeared in newspapers around the world, of someone (a relief worker?  A Jewish volunteer? A rabbi?) carrying one of the Torah scrolls out of the old Beth Israel building and I think it only begins to touch on the devastation that Katrina brought to the Jewish community of New Orleans. 

But this weekend, we’re celebrating the renewal, the dedication, the rebirth of Beth Israel.  Here’s a photo of the new building.  Walking into it the first time a few weeks ago for services brought tears to my eyes.  Even though I was not here and was not personally affected by Hurricane Katrina, I have been a part of this community and I have felt the warmth and strength that the community has a whole and that many individuals have.  People have dedicated their whole lives to Beth Israel and have thrown so much of themselves into it.  I’m sure that this weekend there will be lots of laughter and tears, remembering what happened but also celebrating what is to come. 

It’s kind of ironic that while all this is going on this weekend, there is a Tropical Storm, Isaac, brewing and heading towards Florida, then Cuba, and then possibly into the Gulf and towards New Orleans.  As of right now (11 AM on Friday morning), New Orleans is within the 5-day cone showing the likely path of the storm, but as we’ve all learned, the cones don’t necessarily mean much of anything and a lot of this will be a wait-and-see game.  Storms change paths all the time depending on weather conditions, currents, temperatures, winds, etc.  

Of course it’s important to have a plan–what would we do if a storm were in fact headed towards New Orleans and we were told that we needed to evacuate… now that Ken is a resident, he’s considered to be a necessary personnel so I could leave, but Ken probably wouldn’t be able to.  Where would I go?  Would I take the cats?  What if I were to go into labor while evacuated and miles away from Ken?  A couple of weeks ago we were talking about what our plans would be and I think that this close to my due date, and knowing that I’m at risk of going into preterm labor, I would probably choose to stay in New Orleans if a storm were headed this way (unless, of course, there were a mandatory evacuation).  I would park my car somewhere high in a garage, and I would probably stay home with the cats unless something happened, in which case I would head to the hospital (hopefully I could get an ambulance or police officer to drive me there if necessary!).

31 weeks & My day in L&D

First the good news… then the bad news…

The good news: Today I’m 31 weeks pregnant!  Baby’s the size of a pineapple or a squash, and this week she’s about to head into a growth spurt–she’s plumping up by accumulating fat under her skin, and she’s moving around a lot–kicking and doing somersaults.  I know that all the moving is a good thing and a sign that the baby is active and healthy, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that it can be rather uncomfortable at times.  By now all 5 of her senses should be fully developed, so if she were to be born today, she’d be able to see, hear, feel, smell and taste!

And now… the bad news…

Sunday night, most of the night I had cramping that felt just like menstrual cramps.  When I woke up and told Ken about it, he said I needed to call my doctor.  I called the on-call answering service and spoke with the OB on call.  He said, given my description of what I was feeling, it was unlikely to be pre-term labor but that I should go into L&D for monitoring just in case.  So I went in, and to turn a long story into a short one, I got 1.5 liters of IV fluids and two shots of Terbutaline before they sent me home with what they classified as “preterm contractions,” and not as “preterm labor” because the contractions I was having weren’t causing my cervix to dilate and/or efface.  I ended up getting discharged around 2:45 PM, after which time I went home and took a nap, then had dinner and waited for Ken to get home.  To make this week even more the week from hell, this morning I woke up with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, aches and pains, a headache and a feverish feeling (though my thermometer this morning said my temperature was 97.7). 

Tomorrow I see the OB for a regular appointment  (though it’s good that it is 2 days after my day in L&D so I can ask her any follow-up questions that arise from yesterday) and we have our third Childbirth Education class, the topic of which is “Birth and Changes After Delivery.”  I’ll try to get a Hump Day Bump Day photo for tomorrow, too! 

This weekend I’m looking forward to our Synagogue’s Dedication Event!  We’ve got a special Shabbat dinner on Friday night, a special Musical Havdallah Saturday night and then the big Dedication Event on Sunday!  Then next weekend, my mom is coming to visit for Labor Day!  I’m so happy she’ll be here to go through some of the baby stuff with me, and just for the moral and emotional support.  Sometimes a girl just needs her mommy!

Emotions Surrounding Pregnancy and a New Baby

Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to have a baby… it’s true that there are pictures of me at the age of 2 or 3, lining up all of my baby dolls in the hallway, putting blankets over them and putting them to sleep.  When I was little and my mom would take me to doctor’s appointments near what was Children’s Hospital in San Francisco (it has since been re-named), we would go up to the nursery (this was before the days of crazy hospital security) and we would peek at the babies through the window.  I would ooooh and aaahh at them and say that I wanted to be a Mommy some day.  Apparently if you asked me at the age of 3 or 4 what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always, “A Mommy!”  So this is clearly something I’ve wanted for a long time. 

After my surgery (in May, 2010) we got the very scary news about my Unicornuate Uterus.  Doing a Google search on Unicornuate Uteruses gives you scary statistics and bleak information about carrying pregnancies to term and about getting pregnant in the first place, so Ken and I both sort of felt a little bit of pressure to get started a little earlier than we maybe otherwise would have since there was a good chance that I could have trouble getting pregnant in the first place (I only have one ovary connected to my uterus), or that I would face many miscarriages before being able to carry a pregnancy to term.  With a unicornuate uterus there’s a high chance of pre-term labor, intra-uterine growth restriction, incompetent cervix, and breech presentation so at each doctor’s appointment I would prepare myself for the worst.  Ken always said that he wanted to have at least one kid by the age of 30 (he will be 29 at his next birthday in February), so when we first got the scary news about my uterus, we decided that we should start trying to get pregnant as soon as it would be reasonable… we figured that the earliest possible time that we could have a baby would be in October, 2012 because by then Ken would be settled in his residency program, we would have an idea of our general plans for the next 4 years, and we would be supporting ourselves financially.  So we counted backwards from October and figured we could start trying in January, 2012.  We emotionally prepared ourselves for a long road ahead… yet I got pregnant on the first cycle trying.  I found out I was pregnant on February 12th and, as you all know now, my due date is October 23rd. 

At the beginning of the pregnancy we were very cautious–we didn’t want to get too excited too fast for fear of losing the pregnancy, and we didn’t want to get our hopes up too high.  We kept saying at the beginning that we were “cautiously optimistic.”  Then as time went on and we kept hitting all of the developmental milestones without any complications to speak of, we slowly started to have a shift in our frame-of-mind.  Ken stopped saying, “if we have a baby” and started saying, “when we have a baby.”  We started having more serious chats about baby names, and we started actually looking at baby registry items online.  Now that I’m at 30 weeks, we’re not totally safe (you’re never completely safe) but it’s pretty certain that we’ll be having a baby girl very soon (knock on wood!).

Pregnancy is kind of like a roller-coaster, and I think even more so when you pushed things along faster than you otherwise would have knowing that you could face difficulties, and when you have a high risk pregnancy.  We were both shocked by how quickly it happened and I think in an ideal world, it would have taken us a few months longer so that we could be a little bit more settled.  Of course we’re excited and joyful about having a baby but, being so young, we are apprehensive about the financial strain it is going to cause: we have to pay for diapers and daycare, put money away for college and private elementary/middle/high school, all while paying off our own student loans.  Since Ken is an intern and has pretty crazy hours most of the time, I’m nervous about feeling very alone and isolated in the first few months while Ken is working and I’m at home with a baby, and Ken is worried about feeling guilty and about not having enough time to be at home with the baby.  He keeps expressing that he’s worried he’s not going to be a good father.  (I reassure him by saying that what matters is the quality of the time you spend with the baby, not the quantity of time… so when he has time, it’s important to make it special.  They’ll have to develop some father-daughter traditions and routines that are special for the two of them.  It’s all about quality, not quantity.)  I also don’t have that many friends in the New Orleans area who are pregnant or who recently had babies so, though I have a lot of great friends here, I don’t have a support system of people who are going through the same thing at the same time.  I think there’s also the stress of knowing that in January or February I’ll have to start looking for a new job in Baltimore, hopefully with benefits as good as the ones I’ve been getting through my job here, and that in June, we’ll be moving with an 8-month old up to Baltimore and we’ll have to find a new place to live, get settled in a new city, find a day-care and a new group of friends.  There’s just a lot going on. 

Sometimes it’s hard to acknowledge all of the emotions that you’re feeling and one emotion will sort of take center stage.  Throughout my pregnancy, I’ve tried to put on a happy face for everyone–when people ask how I’m feeling I say I’m feeling great and I’ve been very lucky to not have too many tough symptoms to deal with.  While that is true, I haven’t given much credit to my other emotions of fear and anxiety, and I think the other day when I started crying, that’s what I was doing for myself… acknowledging that I’m terrified and apprehensive.  That doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m thrilled and ecstatic but I do think that I have to pay attention to all of my emotions. 

Luckily there are things I can do to prepare myself which will lessen some of the fear and anxieties… when I told Ken the other day that one of the things that scares me the most is that from here on out we really have no idea when this baby is coming… she could come tomorrow (I sure hope she doesn’t!) or she could come up to a week or two after her due date, he made a really good point which is that the uncertainty scares me because I like to be in control.  There are ways I can feel more in control though, and I’m doing all I can to make myself feel like the reins (sp?) are in my hands: We’re going to our childbirth education class (we have the second one either tonight or tomorrow night), we’re getting a Doula to help with labor and delivery, I’ve gone to a pre-natal yoga class (and I intend to go back a few more times between now and the time the baby comes to meet other pregnant ladies), and I went to the La Leche League meeting to meet other new moms who are breastfeeding.  I also contacted a lady who runs a monthly mother’s group/meet-up and I’ll be going to their next event.  I’ve gotten some information about the Parenting Center at Children’s Hospital and I intend to go to some of their baby play groups to meet some more new parents. Being organized helps me to feel more in control, so I can do things to organize the nursery, pack our hospital bag, pack our diaper bag, etc.  I can also read–about labor/delivery, about breastfeeding, about sleeping, about soothing babies and about health and care of a newborn–and that helps me to feel somewhat better prepared. 

But I think what’s most important is just acknowledging that I have all of these emotions and that they are all normal.  On that list of the top ten most stressful things in life, I think having a Baby is number 1.  It’s stressful–that doesn’t mean it’s not fun and enjoyable and exciting–but it’s stressful and it’s okay to feel nervous, scared, terrified even.  What’s important is that I do things to make myself feel better prepared to handle it. 

And just cause I thought this was funny, I’ll leave  you with this, as well as excitement about the fact that tomorrow is Hump Day Bump Day!  Enjoy!