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!

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