Friday, July 18, 2014

23 Week – Ultrasound and Doctor’s Visit

I had a monthly visit to the doctor to measure the baby, check the position of my placenta and check in with the doctor.

I had read enough stuff online beforehand to scare anyone half to death, so I had a mountain of questions that I ran through, and walked away feeling a lot better.

First of all, the baby is measuring straight on with where she should be. She is one pound, two ounces, which is great. She is sitting breech at this point, which is not that big of a deal since we are doing a C-section anyways.

My placenta is sitting posterior, or laying towards my back, but is still covering my cervix 100%. C-section is still the plan as a result. It isn’t a central previa, meaning it isn’t sitting squarely in the middle down low. A big flap of it is covering my cervix rather than the whole thing, so there is a slim chance my placenta will move. Likely not, but will take the small chance.

I asked about what’s called “placenta acreta” where the placenta is attached in a difficult spot down low. It makes for a more invasive c-section, where a hysterectomy may be needed. I don’t have it and am not at risk for it. They look for it mostly in moms that have had prior c-sections or uterine surgeries, which I have had neither. Yay for my previous natural childbirth’s!

Because my placenta is posterior, it means that I am likely to have a normal c-section with a horizontal incision. Sometimes they have to do the incision in a different way to avoid cutting into the placenta, so that was a relief to hear.

By in large, a lot of the secondary complications I was afraid of and heard horror stories about will likely not apply to me. I would sure like to do this with a regular c-section, and end up with a baby at a good healthy weight. Right now that is looking possible. Yay!

I go back in another month to check my progress again. Fingers crossed it is more of the same sort of news!

Friday, July 11, 2014

22 Weeks

Well, shoot. I am so overdue on writing about my sweet girl. I have two beautifully blogged pregnancies in the books for my two boys, and finally, here I am at baby #3, and finding myself with limited time chasing after Aaron, and working full-time. Being the youngest in my own family I know what it is to have maybe not-so-complete things from childhood because of this phenomenon (though, my mom is pretty awesome, and I do have pictures and such, so it isn’t like I have nothing from childhood.)

Part of why I haven’t written as well is that this pregnancy has been by far my most difficult.  My posts about Noah and Aaron are more flowery and up-beat, whereas I have to be honest and say that I keep trying to write posts, and then feel bad because I am basically sitting here complaining a whole lot. I don’t want to be inauthentic in what this experience is like. And want to be very clear in stating that no matter what I feel physically, or the emotional toll of what I am facing, I am so over the top stinking excited about this girl. I cannot wait to look into her eyes, snuggle her, play with her, and take care of her. She is a dream come true for me, and I am over the moon excited to have her part of our family.

So, what’s been going on?

First trimester was rough. Really rough. I threw up a lot. I had morning sickness with the boys, but it was manageable. It was more of a blood sugar thing for me. As long as I gorged myself on food, I was ok and could get through. I had snacks stashed everywhere. Next to the bed, in the bathroom for middle of the night pee-breaks (which Chris thought was so gross), in my car, in my desk at work, you get the idea. I was constantly eating. I was picky too…I ate only what was so good to me that I couldn’t turn it down. All of that was more or less true with this pregnancy, but man, I would find a favorite thing, and it would work for a few days until I threw it up, and then was on to trying to find the next thing. And, once I started throwing up, I couldn’t stop. One night I threw up eight times in a row before finally just going to sleep. Seriously. Chris was out of town for work, and I was trying to take care of Aaron who was really taking care of me, truth be told, as a 3 year old. Guilty, guilty, guilty… He was right there next to me as I threw up, saying in his little boy voice “you got it all up Mom?” I finally had to call my sister-in-law to take him so I could just go pass out. It was bad. The good news is that they have much better drugs for morning sickness than what they had a few years ago when I was last pregnant. Being a natural childbirth (and natural pregnancy for that matter) mom, it killed me to take the drugs, but I seriously had no other choice. Finally, by 17-18 weeks or so it passed. I am still really picky about food, but I have more choices, and I haven’t thrown up in a few weeks, which is a huge relief.

Once that passed, I found myself at work one day, just having an ordinary day. I went to use the restroom, wiped when I was finished, and found blood. FREAK OUT. I have friends that have had that happen and it was no big deal, so I tried to keep it together. I called my doctor. I am kind of annoyed at how that works. You don’t get a live person to talk to – you have to leave a message and wait for them to call you back. Meanwhile, I am freaking out while I wait. I gave it like five minutes before calling back and telling the receptionist that I am coming down, and someone had better be able to check me out! I high-tailed it to the doctor, where they did get me in. They did an ultrasound, and it revealed a tricky complication called “placenta previa.” Basically, the placenta is a pancake shaped organ that resides in the uterus with the baby. The baby is connected to it via the umbilical cord. The placenta filters blood and nutrients to the baby. It is supposed to be located close to the top of the uterus. Mine is stuffed down at the bottom, completely covering the cervix, or the baby’s way out.

Here’s what it looks like. I am the one called “complete placenta previa,” which unfortunately is the worst one:

This means a number of things:
  1. I will have to have a c-section early. I am not allowed to have any labor symptoms at all. They want to take the baby early, around 36-37 weeks to be sure I don’t have any contractions.
  2. Having this organ located next to an opening of my body, I am at risk of bleeding, and even hemorrhaging. Because of that I have to rest, rest, rest. I am not officially on bed rest, but when I get to third trimester, depending on how things are going, that might be part of the deal.
  3. Delivery is super risky, even with a c-section. Depending on the anatomy of where everything is, I could need blood transfusions or a hysterectomy. Seriously. I could bleed out and thus the blood transfusions, and if they can’t get the bleeding to stop, they will just yank my plumbing. Or as Chris says, gut me like a fish! It is pretty scary.
  4. Baby girl’s growth could be at risk. Depending on how my placenta is stuffed in there, it could mean that she isn’t getting the blood and nutrients she needs. If that’s the case, she will be delivered as soon as it is safe to do so. Or, if I hemorrhage and they can’t stop it, I could deliver her super early then as well. We will just have to see.
  5. I get one free pass if I have a serious bleed (which the other day was pretty minor thank God). Meaning, if I bleed, I will go to the hospital and they will try to stop it. Then, they will send me home to start bed rest. If I bleed again, I will be on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy from the hospital.

So, I have to rest, and will have tons of doctor’s appointments to check my progress and the baby’s progress as well. There will be lots of ultrasounds to check the placenta’s position, and to measure baby’s growth. It will inform what we do.

For now I am feeling very carpe diem over the freedom that I do have. I am enjoying being at work, or going to a store (even though I have to ride the lame motorized wheelchair things now! Sigh…) Being tired from having another kiddo, it is easy to think at times “man, bed-rest would be awesome,” but I think it would only be fun for a day or so before I got so stinking bored and lonely. I am trying to just face it for what it is and deal with it. My work is cool with me working from home when I get to that point, which is great. I will do better if I can use my brain to do something each day, even if it is from my bed.

It is uncomfortable too. I have felt pressure down low from the beginning, and even had days before I knew about all this where I would lay on my back and stick some pillows under my hips to try to encourage everything to move up. It didn’t work. Well no wonder! I had all this going on! For those that have been pregnant before: you know how at the end of the pregnancy, where the baby moves down into your pelvis and there is just pressure down there until you deliver? That is what it feels like all the time. Sucks. It isn’t painful, just kind of uncomfortable.

On the plus side, at about 18-19 weeks or so, suddenly I could feel her move! She is an active little girl, mostly in the evenings and night time when I am laying down and life is quiet. I just love that feeling. Both Chris and Aaron have felt her now which is so fun. Aaron LOVES to feel his sister move. He is such a cutie about his baby sister, and loves to talk about her. My only regret is that he gets confused between her and Noah. He sees pictures of babies, or we talk about babies with him, and previously we were talking about Noah. Now we explain again and again that he has a brother AND a sister. I have to keep reminding myself that this will all straighten itself out, and he will know his siblings apart. He really does understand though, that he is getting a sibling. He has friends at school that have had other siblings, and he had asked us if he was going to have a brother or sister. It is great for him to have this experience. Lord knows how he will feel about it once she is actually here. It has already been tough at times with him starting to get a feel of what life is like when you are not the main focus of the house, which has resulted in some interesting behavior patterns. That is all natural I suppose, and I am fortunate that he is a little older doing this. You can reason with him a little more than if we did this when he was a 2 year old. We will just see how it goes!

We have also picked her name! This was a tough one to decide on. Problem was that my mom picked out a name that I really liked at first, and so did everyone else. But, when push came to shove, I found that I didn’t feel right calling her by this name. The name she almost got was: Lydia, and we would have called her Lydie. So, we went a different direction. I have always loved the name Katherine. Seems like every Katherine I know also loves her name. Fortunately, Chris liked it a lot too, and lo and behold, we have her name:

Katherine Jean Wilkerson
She will go by “Katie.” Her full name means “pure gift from God,” which we absolutely agree with. The “Jean” part is special to us because Chris had a really great relationship with his Grandma Jean. She passed away years ago, so unfortunately Katie won’t know her, but we will tell her what an elegant lady Grandma Jean was, and how she was always there to take care of and love on Chris.

Finally, we are moving! After my dad died last summer, we’ve been talking with my mom about how we can re-arrange life to make it fun and more inclusive of her in our family culture. We would like to move to something bigger, and to have her close by where kids can ride bikes to her house. We thought it would be great to end up in the same neighborhood, where she can be with us when she wants, but also enjoy some quiet freedom from our chaos with small children! Through a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, we sold our house through a crazy series of events, and have found a big beautiful newer house! Moving is so stressful. These big purchases and sales are hard. And, I can’t do anything with my tough pregnancy situation, so this is a tricky transition to work through. Please pray for us. In the end, I think it will be amazing once we are done with all this!

So, I will try to do a better job here, blogging about my Katie. She deserves to have her story documented just like her big brothers were. I just need to stop feeling weird about posting the good, the bad and the ugly of how this is going. It just is what it is, and as I said before, no matter how this situation plays out, I am so very excited about this girl. Can’t wait to meet her face to face for real! We love her and need her in our family!