Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Slight Change in Plans

Yesterday I said that I cancelled my Thursday appointment since I'd already made a trip out there and essentially had everything that would normally be done. I don't want to gross anyone out or go into detail, but yesterday afternoon I then passed my mucus plug. For those who aren't familiar, this is the "plug" that seals off the cervical canal during pregnancy. Some women pass it before birth and some don't. It signals that the cervix is beginning to open. However, the tricky thing is that it can happen anywhere from hours to weeks before actual labor! I called my doctor last night and informed him, and also told him that I feel fine, haven't noticed any pain or discomfort. Since I was not scheduled to see him again until July 15th, he felt it would be a good idea if I came on Thursday so he could check me. I think it's a good idea too because I woke up last night and started thinking about things and worked myself into a nervous tizzy. I had to turn on the tv at 3am to calm myself down and get back to sleep. I'm hoping that he'll check me and find that I'm not very dialated yet...I'm not feeling ready yet! Ethan needs to wait until after July 17th, when I have childbirth preparation class! (I'm a little late on this I know, but I sort of lost track of things during this pregnancy). I'd prefer not to have my "class" be actual childbirth!

On that note, I am going to go upstairs and start packing a bag to have ready just in case. If you could please pray that everything goes well on Thursday, I am not very dialated, and Ethan can stay inside my womb for at least a few more weeks, that would be much appreciated. I will post updates after my appointment.


Monday, June 28, 2010

A Stressful Start to The Day

Over the past several days (and really weeks), I've noticed a change in the type and frequency of Ethan's movements. I no longer have been feeling the usual "pops" I would feel when lying down or just after a meal. Instead I've noticed more feelings of pressure, as though part of him was pressing against me. And I started to feel like I wasn't noticing movement as much throughout the day as I did many weeks ago. I've read in my books that around this time movement can change, but in the past few days I began to get a little nervous. This weekend I started to think I wasn't feeling him hardly at all. The doctors and books all talk about doing the kick count where you lie down and count movements over the course of a 2 hour timespan. You should feel at least 10 movements in that time. Part of me got really nervous and wondered, "Have I even felt 10 movements this whole day?" It was really beginning to freak me out.

This morning I decided to call my OB's office. I originally had an appointment scheduled for Thursday, but I decided my anxiety was getting the best of me. They told me to come right in, and I called Keith to let him know I was going. Although I was panicky, I didn't necessarily feel like he needed to come...I guess I didn't quite have that dreadful gut instint. I mean, I was pretty sure I had at least felt some movement in the last 24 hours. But when you start worrying, your mind plays tricks on you. So during the drive there I prayed to God that there would be a heartbeat. And I also prayed that I would be prepared to handle the possibility that there might not be. My stomach was in knots. I got right in and actually saw a different doctor because mine was not available. The first thing he did was listen for the heartbeat. Praise God, he found it in seconds and it was a healthy 144 bpm! He also took the time to talk with me about everything, and recommended that I start packing a bag at this point, since I'm just about 34 weeks. He also talked to me about making a plan for what Keith and I wanted to happen for Ethan after birth, and communicating that again with the Neonatal staff. For some reason I think I was feeling like we didn't have any control over what might happen to Ethan, but this doctor let me know that we do have the power to say what kind of care we want for him. For instance, if we want him intubabted or if we want compressions done if he's not breathing on his own. I now plan on calling the neonatal doctor again and either arranging a meeting or discussing our plans with her so everyone is on the same page with what we'd like to have done. I felt like he was really informative and helped me to see that we still have some say in this whole thing.

And wouldn't you know it, while we were talking I felt a pretty major movement on my left side. Leave it to Ethan to do that after I had driven all the way there! I kind of felt like he was being the WB Frog who doesn't sing in front of people and makes you look crazy (anyone remember that cartoon??). But I was oh so grateful for that nonetheless! :)


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Today's Appointments

This morning I had two appointments, the first one being the ultrasound. I can honestly say that this was the worst appointment I've had since the one where we did the Amnio. To begin, it was a different Perinatalogist than we've been seeing, because apparently they switch offices that they work out of every so often. We had a man who led us through the ultrasound, showing us everything and pointing out what he was seeing. The new developments are that Ethan's heart appears to take up about half of his chest. In a normal baby it should be about a third of the chest. This means that either he has a small chest or the heart is larger than it should be. It also can indicate that lung development is not as it should be. In addition, he thought there might be a small hole in part of the heart, since there appeared to be a little gap in part of it as it was beating. Again, this is common for Trisomy babies. Other than that, nothing else of his condition has changed. He's measuring at about 2 pounds, which is almost half of what he should be. Basically that equates to measuring at about 27 weeks instead of 32.

The worst part of this appointment came after the ultrasound. The doctor asked me if I had any questions, and I again brought up the subject of delivery. I had been thinking a lot about this lately, wondering whether C-Section would be safer for Ethan or not. I really wish I had just kept my mouth shut and not asked anything. He began with, "I'm going to be upfront with you," which as we all know never means something good is about to be said. He then proceeded to tell me that doing a C-Section would absolutely be an unwise decision, because it is not going to change the outcome for Ethan, and would be riskier for me in the long run and on future pregnancies. Okay, I understand that. But what really hurt was when he brought up the term “meaningful life.” He basically told us that regardless of anything that is done to save him or repair his physical defects, he will not have a high quality of life. I then lost it and cried and told him that I’m aware of the abilities and disabilities that Trisomy babies have, and I’m willing to accept that my child will never be ‘normal.’ He replied with, and I quote, “ It’s not just a matter of being normal. These children often aren’t even aware of their surroundings. If all your baby can do is breathe, is that really a meaningful life?” And he later added, “ Would your time with him just be meaningful to you?” Talk about a punch in the gut! Who the hell is he to tell me what a meaningful life is?! Do I want my child to suffer? Of course not. But I also know that I want to do whatever I can to save his life. And to have him make me feel like that would be a selfish decision that would be benefitting me more than my child really hurt. Oh, and I almost forgot the last thought he left me with which was: "As you know, these babies have a high risk of not making it to full-term." REALLY?? Perhaps he thinks I'm not aware of this, but for Pete's sake, I'm already at 32 weeks! Do we really have to bring that up at this point? I've been trying not to focus on that, because I'm not sure how I'd get through each day if I have that weighing on my mind. Now I know that I’ve made this guy out to look like a jerk, but to be fair I have to say that I know he wasn’t trying to be. Besides those comments he was very honest with us, which I can appreciate. I certainly don’t need someone lying to me and telling me something that’s not true. I just think his method of delivery could use some work.

Thank God for my OB, who is so compassionate. He did give me the same general feedback regarding a C-Section, but at least the way he explained it to me was gentle. I’m so glad I had that appointment last, because it helped me calm down and start feeling a little bit better. But I’m still left with thinking about delivery. Part of me continues to believe that a C-Section, while maybe not life-saving, would give Ethan a better shot at survival. However, I do have to be honest with myself about his severe physical condition, and also look out for my own health. I know that the risks with C-Sections are now rarer than in the past, but I can’t help but feel like I would be that person who has complications in the future pregnancies because of it (after all, I’m that person going through this). Am I willing to put a future healthy baby at risk because of that? I really don’t want to be the one who makes the ultimate decision on this, so I’m going to try to leave it in God’s hands. I’m hoping He will send a signal to me through Ethan or the doctors of what’s the best thing to do. Can you pray that God will do this, and that no matter what type of delivery I have, Ethan will pull through?

Wow, this has been a really long post. Thank you for reading it, and of course I’ll keep you posted as anything else comes up. I have another OB appointment in 2 weeks, and an ultrasound in 4. Let’s hope my regular Perinatalogist is there for that one!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Another Year

Today is my 26th birthday (don't worry, this isn't a ploy for you to send me cards or anything ;)) and I can't help but think about how much my life has changed in just one year. On my 25th birthday we were still living in Omaha, unaware that we would soon be moving to Little Rock. By the end of the summer I had relocated and started a new job. By Christmas I had found out I was pregnant, by February we were told we would be moving AGAIN, and in March we learned of our baby's devastating diagnosis. And then in April I started another new job here in Independence. Whew! I don't think I ever would have predicted all of this happening in just one year. Not only has my physical address changed multiple times over the past 12 months, but I feel like I as a person have undergone a transformation as well. Not only has my faith been enriched in this experience, but I feel like my overall perspective on life has been altered. I see a lot of things differently now, and appreciate little things that I may have taken for granted before.

I also tend to daydream about what my life will be like on my next birthday. Will we still be living here? Will I be celebrating it with Ethan? Might I even be pregnant again? It's too soon to really think that far ahead, but sometimes imagining good things happening in the future helps get me through the present. I can only think of one wish that I have this year. Though I can't tell you what it is (or it won't come true!) I think you can probably guess.

Keith and I will be going to dinner tonight, and tomorrow my mom and his mom are coming down to celebrate with me. We're going to be staying the night at the Embassy Suites near Country Club Plaza. It should be fun! Poor Keith has to stay at home with the dogs...but I think he secretly enjoys that :)

So here's to another birthday, another year of life. I can only hope that there will be many good things to come this year.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Maternity Photos

We now have our maternity photos! After anxiously waiting, our disc of photos arrived today. Janelle, our photographer who also owns a local company called Rain Kite Photography, did a wonderful job. I've posted a few of the "highlights" of our shoot:


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Breakdown in Aisle 10

Tonight was the first time that Keith and I purchased some things for Ethan. We were at Target, and I suggested that we go look at their baby stuff and maybe get a few small items. We first looked at onesies, which was kind of hard because we're not sure what his belly will be like if he has surgery done to repair the abdominal wall defect. So we decided on a few of the gowns, thinking they might be easier to put on him. We continued to browse, and then it happened. The tears led a sneak attack on me. At first my eyes watered just a little, and then before I knew it I was sobbing silently so as to avoid making a scene. There were so many mixed emotions that I felt: fear that he may never use these items; hopefulenss that he will; anger that this situation is even happening to us. I think what hurts the most is that there wasn't much joy in this shopping trip. To be honest with you, it kind of just sucked. Rather than anxiously picking out every cute item I could find like I imagined I would, I merely grabbed a few basic necessities to have on hand "just in case." We only ended up buying 2 packages of gowns, a few flannel blankets, burp cloths, and a package of socks. How pathetic is that? I'm not sure if or when we'll buy other bigger items like a car seat, stroller, etc. I think we'll just play things by ear for now and see how we feel as we get closer. Right now I don't feel strong enough emotionally to do it.

I said several weeks ago that I would let you know if we made any purchases, and that is why I posted this. And of course I will let you know if we decide to get anything more. If you could pray that Ethan does get to use these items, and that God will send me signals that it's okay to go out and buy more things, I would really appreciate it.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Long Time No Blog

Hello everyone,

I realized that it's been almost 2 weeks since I've last posted. Not to worry, I haven't fallen off the planet! I guess I've been so busy with work and such that I haven't really had anything interesting to talk about! There really haven't been any updates since my last posting. I am now at 30 weeks, which is exciting and scary at the same time. I'm now a few weeks into my last trimester. A few months ago I longed to be at this point, but now I'm just wanting to freeze time, or at least slow it down a bit so I can savor what's left. I am hoping to post a belly pic this week. Not today though, because I have what I affectionately refer to as "cavewoman hair" (i.e. humidity-induced frizz). But I will try my best to get one up in the next day or two.

Tomorrow I have another appointment with Dr. Murphy. I can't believe it's already been 4 weeks since the last one. After tomorrow I'm going every 2 weeks, which I'm sure will fly by. I'm hoping it will be another positive (and fairly brief) appointment. I will be sure to update if anything new comes about from it.

I suppose I'll wrap this up, but I just wanted to let you all know that I am still alive and well! Thank you for your continued support and prayers.