Monday, July 19, 2010

Deep Breaths

Figuratively and literally.  We recently compared belly pictures from this round to the belly pictures in my maiden voyage and found that 1. I am smaller this time around (who knew?!) and 2. I am carrying this baby lower.  Up until now, I've been telling everyone the opposite of those two statements.  I guess I don't remember as much as I thought I did.  But I find these facts curious when I am sitting on the couch, catching my breath as if I just ran 5 miles as fast as I could.  I'd swear that this kid is all up in my ribcage, squishing out my lungs and making it hard to catch a breath. 

Also, I am swelling.  It took 29 weeks, but the rings are finally gone.
December 30th - July 18th - RIP

My cute little hand in 2005 when I received the ring.  A little solitare diamond with a sapphire underneath.  It makes the diamond look blue in natural light.  I like looking at it when I'm driving and my hand is on top of the steering wheel, catching the sunlight at just the right angle.  It's currently in a container full of jewelry cleaner.  Along with the sapphire/diamond wedding ring that was dropped in behind it a day later.  I'll probably dig it back out sometime this week to be certain it won't fit on my chubby sausage fingers before putting it away in the jewelry box until this baby is born.  So in addition to the little old ladies wondering whether or not I am carrying twins or miscalculated my due date somehow (seriously, do people have NO filter when it comes to pregnant women?), they can also wonder how I managed to get pregnant twice with no proof of a husband.

Back to breath catching.  I am closing in on 30 weeks.  Can you hear Europe's "The Final Countdown" in the distance?  I can.  Which in and of itself, is pretty awesome.  But in all of the situation's awesomeness, I am finding myself secretly freaking out over being the mama of 2 small children.  Every time Ben hits a new milestone, I am so thankful that we put the previous baby stage behind us.  For example, communicating.  He recently started signing words to us instead of screaming his head off when he wants something.  Fabulous, right?  Absolutely.  But guess what?  We're about to do it all over again.  You know, that kind of thing.  I am also finding that the nesting hormones are creeping up and I feel oddly (and completely unjustifiably) unprepared to bring an infant home.  We have a nursery, clothes, blankets, a bassinet, etc all stocked up and ready to go.  But I am finding myself freaking over the little things that we don't have yet, but can be easily picked up in one shopping trip.  I need swaddlers!  I need packs and packs of diapers!  What if it gets cold early and I don't have enough long sleeved onesies in his size?  OMG!  This is not helping the lack of space my lungs have to inflate with oxygen.  I've also found myself flipping out over the next 9 weeks and my ability to clean the house.  I am too proud to hire a maid.  And let's face it, it's not exactly in the budget.  But before I was a hippopotamus, cleaning baseboards wasn't a big deal.  And beyond that, do you really need to clean baseboards that frequently?  That fact suddenly doesn't matter as much as the fact that I am now physically unable to do this with ease.  And I can be brought to tears over the subject.  I can no longer be reasoned with.

I am an emotional disaster.  A swollen, hyperventilating tear-soaked mess with a belly full of child.  A child that has been lying transversely all weekend, kick-punching me in either side of my abdomen like an MMA fighter.  Savoring the moments, and trying to document all that I can so that I have access to a friendly reminder this time next year when I am begging Jacob for #3.  But seriously, even in the midst of this disaster, I am totally thankful for the experience, and excited to meet my newest little one.  And on the day he's born, this stuff might even be laughable.  So deep breaths and keeping things in perspective for 9 more weeks.  Time flies when you're having a blast.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

7 months and all's well

Hey friends!  Lots of people are hunting us down, trying to get information about Mama's health status so I figured a little posty-post would keep me from typing lots of e-mails and having the same conversation several times.  So here it goes...

Last week at my July check-up, things didn't go so well.  To back up, let's go over what happened the week before that.  We already covered the wedding weekend, so skip a work week, and then we were back with the Turners in Avery County.  When you are pregnant and are caring for an active 1 year old, things that seem relaxing to others just aren't relaxing.  Short of parking it on the couch and watching him play in his toybox, everything else is physical and stressful.  Keeping a child from hurting himself in a different setting is hard and constant work.  Especially when you are smuggling a beach ball and sporting swollen ankles.  My sweet friend, Monique watched me do this recently.  I was chatting with her and completely absorbed in the conversation, but had one eye on her, and one eye on my son, who was trying to figure out ways to 1. break stuff in her house, and 2. find a way to hurt himself creatively.  So I am always on alert in this circumstance.  For 4 straight days, I was on alert.  And this means being able to hoist my overweight self off of any surface and run to scoop up my child prior to a potentially bad outcome.  OK, so that situation was always running in the background.  Now add salt.  A lot of it.  It was a holiday, and holiday food is never good for you.  Think burgers, chips, bacon, ham, the usual salty offenders.  All on my plate.  While I'm stressed.  How I didn't stroke out is still a mystery.  I basically set the stage for failing my physical and was completely oblivious to it.

So upon my arrival back home, I was shocked to hear my blood pressure was out of control and I needed to be monitored more closely.  Who, me?!  Nu-uh.  I later realized I may have set myself up for this, but at the time I was convinced that my nurse had no idea how to take someone's blood pressure.  What else did I fail?  My glucose challenge test.  Oh yes, the tasty and refreshing cup of syrupy warm orange sugar-drink that every pregnant woman looks forward to enjoying.  I don't see how former pregnant women could EVER drink a Sunkist after downing one of these babies, but I hear some people actually don't mind it.  I do not fall into this category.  But I put on my brave face and forced it down my gullet like it was several shots of vodka during a drinking game.  And miraculously, I felt fine after the hour was up and I had my blood taken.  Also unexpected.  I walked around for the rest of the day, bragging about how I rocked the test and surely don't have diabetes.  A small victory for me, right?  Wrong.  I went to the hospital later in the afternoon to get my test results and saw a bunch of numbers, and then a big, fat 150 at the bottom of the page.  150 in bold, next to the value it was supposed to be: < 130.  Whoops.  I scanned through the other blood results and also found that my helpful little platelets had been eating themselves since I've been pregnant.  They do that sometimes, but not at this rate.  Disappointed and defeated by my crappy health, I went home and wallowed in self pity.

So to back up again, all of these things happened to me while I was pregnant with Ben.  And that pregnancy came to a dramatic end when my body decided to shut down in response to being pregnant.  It was not awesome.  One of my many diagnoses was "low platelet count". Doctors call it "thrombocytopenia".  It was the deciding factor for delivering Ben while in dreamland.  Platelets clot your blood, so when you're low on them, you bleed a lot.  Doctors don't like to give you pain management like a spinal or an epidural when your platelets are low because you could bleed a lot and create bigger problems.  So they numb you by putting you to sleep instead.  Pretty much the worst way to experience childbirth.  So my alarm sent me back to the doctor's office to discuss this finding immediately.

I arrived at the doctor's office to do the following: re-check my blood pressure (on a lower-salt/lower-stress regimen), refuse to take the 3 hour glucose test that involves an even MORE disgusting drink, fasting, and waiting 3 hours to get blood drawn (sounds fun, right?), and to discuss my platelet levels.  And it went much better than the last appointment.  I rocked my blood pressure check, thus proving that when I don't abuse my body, everything is fine.  I refused to volunteer for more diabetes testing, only to find out my doctor did the same thing when SHE was pregnant.  And I received a plan for how to field this low platelet situation.  This will include a repeat blood test in 1 month to check levels.  If they continue to fall, I will be referred to a hematologist for steroid therapy.  If my body responds positively and platelet levels stabilize, we will repeat the procedure in the week of delivery to keep me awake and alert for my son's birth.  If it doesn't respond, we will discuss an earlier delivery.  The doctor reassured me that my baby and I are just fine, and she'll continue to monitor me closely to ensure that we stay that way.  And if other issues arise, which we know from history that my body has the capability of doing, we'll cross those bridges when we come to them.  So that's the scoop for inquiring minds.

I am 28 weeks today.  I have a maximum of 11 weeks to go till I meet my little acrobat, AKA "The Bean", "Little Bean", "Bernard", etc.  He was head down yesterday, but as I was told during that exam, the peak of his amniotic fluid is 28-30 weeks. That means he has lots of room to move about however he wishes.  And he does.  This means feet in the ribs, little fingers tap-tap-tapping in my pelvis, and elbows and knees poking out of my stomach and rolling around for all to see.  Like the movie, Alien, but more acceptable.  His movements remind me of my favorite part of pregnancy, and how I only have 11 short weeks to continue experiencing them.  And I still get all excited every time I feel him and encourage whoever is around (mainly Jacob) to come feel how amazing it is.  And he can't.  Two things happen.  He is hell-bent on making me look like a liar and becomes immediately still when someone else's hand touches the belly, or he moves, but you just can't feel him.  His pesky placenta is front and center, still cushioning movement, so while I feel it on the inside, all is still on the outside.  Unless one of those elbows or knees rolls about.  Because of this, Jacob has felt his son a handful of times in the 28 weeks he's been living in there.  So that's the report for 7 months.  All is still well with Team Turner.  We'll continue to keep everyone posted and really appreciate all the prayers, warm-fuzzies and general positivity sent our way!