Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birth Story

This past Monday morning, I posted to this blog that I was so happy that I had reached 37 weeks.  I hadn't bled in 2 weeks and was feeling pretty good (other than being super pregnant).  I knew that I could wait another 2 weeks for the C-section that was scheduled on May 9, for when I was 39 weeks.  I did what I had done for the past 4 weeks - I reclined on my couch with my feet up and worked with my laptop on my lap.  Around 1:15 pm, I felt myself having a Braxton-Hicks contraction.  This, in itself, was not unusual.  I'd been having them for 3-4 weeks at that point.  But in the middle of the contraction, I felt a trickle of...something coming out of me.

I grabbed the phone and pretty quickly got myself off the couch and to the toilet.  I saw there was blood on the small pad that I had been wearing and could hear liquid pouring into the toilet.  When I looked, I was scared to see that the toilet was filling up with blood.  It was gushing out of me.  This was way more blood than I had ever seen and way more blood than had come out of me the last 5 times I bled during the pregnancy.  I immediately called my husband to come home from work and then called the doctor.  The receptionist at the doctor's office took down my details and even after I told her "Blood is pouring out of me," she told me that she would send a message to the nurse and someone would get back to me.  Really?  Okay.  So for the next 5 minutes, I gathered some belongings and stuck them in a bag and shut down my work computer (after diligently informing my boss that something was up and turning on my out-of-office assistant).

When no one from the doctor's office called me back, I phoned again and basically said "WTF?" except without swearing.  I reiterated that blood continued to gush out of me and the nurse came on the line.  She apologized for the fact that I wasn't put through right away the first time.  She told me to go to the hospital immediately and to call 911 for an ambulance if I was actually bleeding as much as I said I was.  I told her that I would check on my husband's ETA and if he was still too far away, I would call 911.  When I called my husband, it turned out that he was already on his way up our street.  Thank god he works close to the house!  He helped me to the car and we headed to the hospital.  On the way, I could feel the baby moving, which was reassuring despite the fact that I could still feel that I was bleeding.

When I got to labor and delivery, they got me into a room and onto a monitor pretty quickly.  It took the nurse over 1 minute to find the baby's heartbeat and during this time, I started quietly freaking out in my head.  Why was it taking this long to find the heartbeat?  I was 37 weeks pregnant.  The heartbeat should  have been obvious to find.  My husband and I both let out big sighs of relief when we finally heard that strong heartbeat on the monitor.

The doctor came in to talk to us.  She said that because I didn't have complete placenta previa, she could give me the option of delivering that day or, if the bleeding stopped, I could go home and try to make it to my scheduled C-section date.  I wouldn't have had this option if I had complete placenta previa.  I didn't know what to do.  I asked for more facts.  The doctor told me that, in general, babies born electively at 39 weeks had fewer issues than those born electively at 37 weeks.  They were bigger, stronger and had fewer breathing and feeding issues.  But she also said that in my situation (marginal placenta previa with lots of bleeding), she didn't consider a C-section that day to be "elective."  She also said that if she was in my situation, she would be having the baby that day.

My husband and I took some time to discuss the situation and make a decision.  After talking it through, I realized that my biggest concern with delivering at 37 weeks was the baby's ability to breastfeed.  I had a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with my son and wanted that again with my daughter.  While I know the placenta previa wasn't my fault, I wanted to be able to do something right and I knew that I could breastfeed with the best of them.  But I also knew that each child is different and that even if my daughter was born at 40 weeks, she might not latch or suck well.

And it seemed like the list of cons of continuing with the pregnancy grew and grew the more we talked about it.  If I went home, the next episode of bleeding could be even worse.  It could be even more blood and could happen in the middle of the night, which wouldn't be good because someone would need to babysit our toddler at that point.  The placenta could detach, which could kill the baby.  Next time, the C-section might be an emergency and I would have to undergo general anesthesia instead of just having a spinal.  And I just couldn't bring myself to relive those moments when the nurse couldn't easily find the heartbeat on the monitor.

So we decided to do it.  I called my parents and started sobbing.  Until that point, I had held it together pretty well.  And with the force of the sobbing came more gushes of blood, which confirmed to me that we had made the right decision to move forward with the C-section that day.  My mom agreed to hop a flight the next morning and my dad would follow a couple of days later in the car.  We informed the doctor of our decision and they started prepping me and gathering the operating team.

3 hours after I first started bleeding, the doctors delivered my little girl.  It was all so quick.  As she was operating, the doctor leaned over the curtain and told me that it was a good thing we decided to deliver that day.  It turns out that I had bled more than they thought and there was a big pool of blood clotting right on top of my cervix.  It just hadn't made its way out of me yet.

And now, roughly 60 hours after my baby girl was delivered, I know that we made the right decision.  The baby is breathing and feeding well.  She knew what to do at the nipple just like her brother and latched and sucked right away.  My milk is coming in and after going down to 5 pounds, 14 ounces, she gained 2 ounces last night and is 6 pounds even now.  Relief relief relief.  I'm so happy that everything turned out okay.

Welcome to the world, Samantha Grace.  You are loved very very much.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Samantha Grace

She's arrived.  At 4:26 pm on Monday, April 25, Samantha Grace arrived 3 weeks early.  She is 6 pounds, 5 ounces, 20 inches long and perfect in every single way.

Birth story to follow.

37 weeks!

I'm now considered full-term at 37 weeks!  What a great milestone since a delivery now most likely means that my baby will not need any special care.  So much for the doctor's prediction that I had a 60% chance of delivering prior to 37 weeks.  It's been 2 weeks without any bleeding incidents.  I'm currently 169.0 pounds, putting total weight gain at 26.5 pounds.  Not much else to say.  I'm just counting down the days (14!) until my scheduled C-section date and keeping myself occupied by working full-time from my couch.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Still pregnant

I'm still here and still pregnant.  If all goes well, I will have a new baby in just over 2 weeks!  On Monday, I will hit the 37 week mark, which is considered full term.  If the baby is born after that date, it is highly likely that she will not need any special care.  Hooray! 

I've now been out of the office (but working from home full time) for 4 weeks.  It's been lonely, but manageable.  Thank god I have a job that I can do from a reclining position on the couch.  Two days ago, I broke out of jail and got my eyebrows waxed.  I couldn't stand it anymore and it had been over a week since I had last bled, so I figured it was safe.  And yesterday, I got to leave the house for a regularly scheduled OB appointment.  The doctor was on vacation and so I saw the midwife.  Perhaps it is all in my head, but I kind of felt like she wrote me off now that it is definitive that I'm having a C-section.

Since it is medically necessary for me to deliver by C-section, I've also asked to have a tubal ligation.  My husband and I will be very happy with two children.  We think having more than two will be financially burdensome.  I'd like for my kids to graduate from college without any debt, which is a gift my parents gave to me.  In addition, even if we wanted to have another child, we don't need my fallopian tubes to do it since we'll use our last remaining frozen embryo or, if that fails, we'll do a fresh round of IVF.  So it seems to me that there is no downside in getting the tubal ligation.  In our circumstances, it won't prevent us from having additional kids in the future (should we change our mind and want that).  But it will prevent the highly unlikely, but possible, accidental pregnancy.  And it spares my husband the pain of having a vasectomy.  So all around, I think it's a good decision.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bleeding - Take 5

I was going strong. It had been 2 weeks since I had experienced any bleeding. I saw my doctor on Tuesday for a regularly scheduled appointment. I asked her if I could start doing a little bit more and she said it was okay for me to go out to dinner that night with a bunch of my mommy-group friends. And she also told me that I could go into the office for a half-day to "tidy things up" as long as I didn't travel during commute times. So I went to dinner Tuesday night and had a wonderful time with my friends (especially since I hadn't really left the house in 2 weeks). I got home and was talking to my husband in the kitchen around 11 pm and GUSH, I started bleeding. Sigh.

So I called the doctor's office and my husband called my mother-in-law to come stay with our sleeping toddler (since we knew the doctor would want us to come to the hospital). We headed into the hospital around 11:45 pm and after getting checked in, they put me on the monitor and did a careful internal exam. I was contracting every 3 minutes, but they didn't seem to be dilating my cervix. They hooked me up to an IV to give me some fluid and also gave me 2 pills of nifedipine to stop the contractions. After 3 hours of monitoring, I was no longer contracting and there was no new bleeding and we were able to get home around 3:30 am. Our poor toddler had woken up around 3 am and was confused as to why we weren't there. My MIL got him back to sleep in our bed, but then he woke up when we pulled into the garage. So from 3:30 am to 4:00 am, we were chatting with our 2 year old. He was definitely happy to have us home. Luckily, we were all able to sleep until 8:15 am.

But now I'm back on restricted activity, which means I can't even help my husband around the house.  I had some dark red bleeding until this afternoon and it finally seems to have stopped.  I'll cross my fingers that it won't start again.  In the meantime, my C-section has been scheduled for Monday, May 9.  I'm truly hoping that this baby will stay inside of me until that date. 

What's crazy is that one of my pregnant mommy group friends (who wasn't at dinner on Tuesday) ended up in the same hospital as me at the same time.  She is one week behind me and unfortunately, after a completely uncomplicated pregnancy, her membranes partially ruptured at 34 weeks.  So she's stuck in the hospital on massive doses of antibiotics to prevent infection and her doctors are hoping that she can make it until 36 weeks when they have to deliver the baby.  So her best case scenario is having a baby at 36 weeks.  I guess you never know what can happen.  I am thankful that I get to be home and resting on my couch and seeing my kid instead of stuck in the hospital.

Monday, April 11, 2011

35 weeks!

I made it to 35 weeks.  It's been 2 weeks since my last episode of bleeding and everything seems fine.  I'm guessing that I'm going to end up carrying to full term (which, of course, makes me feel horrible that my parents canceled their trip to Italy...sigh).  As of this morning, I've gained a total of 24.5 pounds, which is right around what I gained when carrying Ian.

I had another ultrasound this morning at Newton-Wellesley hospital.  The baby was measuring on track for 35 weeks and was moving around quite a bit!  She was even practicing her breathing, which she didn't do at the last ultrasound 2 weeks ago.  They estimate her weight to be 5 pounds, 11 ounces, which is 1 pound more than her estimated weight last week.  Grow, baby, grow!  To be as accurate as possible with regards to the placement of my placenta, they did a vaginal ultrasound.  As expected, I still have marginal placenta previa.  The placenta is 1 cm away from the opening of the cervix and you need at least 2 cm to go for a vaginal delivery.  So I haven't talked to my doctor yet, but I imagine that there is now zero hope of avoiding a C-section.  And I'm okay with that.  It will be fine.  Based on my last conversation with the doctor, I'll most likely have a scheduled C-section around 39 weeks, which is roughly 4 weeks from now.

And according to the ultrasound technician, the baby has a lot of hair on her head, but she can't tell whether it's actually long hair or just peachfuzz.  But I guess we'll find out soon enough, right?!?!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Doctor's Appointment

I saw my OB yesterday.  She was very happy that a week had gone by without any further incidents.  She still doesn't want me going back into the office, but instead of being on modified bed rest, she said I could "putter around the house."  That means I can help with dishes, laundry, cooking and playing with my son, but I still can't go for walks outside or on shopping expeditions.  I suppose I should be happy about this, but it's getting awfully lonely sitting in an empty house all day.  I'm keeping busy because I'm still working, but I miss the personal interactions I get when in the office.  She said that if everything continued to go well, they would most likely schedule the C-section around 39 weeks.  So that could mean another 5 weeks of lying around the house.  I guess I'll just have to suck it up and deal so that this baby can have maximum cooking time.  :-)

And now here's a story that really highlights how you always need to be your own health care advocate.  Last Friday, I got a call from my OB's nurse telling me that I had an "infection" and needed to be on a 10-day course of ampicillin.  I said, "Huh?  What?  What body part is infected?  I can tell you right now that I don't have a urinary tract infection."  So the nurse said, "Hold on, let me check."  She then proceeded to tell me that I had a vaginal infection.  I assured her that I did not, in fact, have a vaginal infection and that something seemed wrong about the whole scenario.  She told me it was fine not to treat and that I could talk about it with my OB at my appointment.  So yesterday, I asked my OB what was going on.  It turns out that she thought the RECTAL swab they did on me at the hospital (to test for Group B strep) was a urine swab and they sent it out for culture.  So when it grew out E. coli bacteria, they just assumed I had an infection.  Medicine at it's best.  Of course my rectal swab grew out bacteria!  I'd be more concerned if it hadn't.  Anyway, I'm proud of myself for pushing back and not taking a completely unnecessary course of antibiotics.

Monday, April 4, 2011

34 weeks!

I made it to 34 weeks.  I spent last week on bed rest and luckily didn't have any further complications.  I will see my doctor tomorrow and figure out what our next steps should be.  I feel pretty lame being on bed rest since most of the time I feel just fine.  But I get these bouts of cramps, which feel like the worst period cramps ever and those are pretty debilitating.  I have to lie down when I'm feeling them and I tend to moan out loud.  I never had those when I was pregnant with my first.  I don't know what causes them - perhaps it has something to do with the low-lying placenta?

I've actually lost some weight over the past week.  I have to drink so much to avoid becoming dehydrated that there is no room for food.  So at this point, I'm 165 pounds, up 22.5 pounds from where I started.  Otherwise, not much to report on the pregnancy front.  I'm lucky that my job can be done from a reclining position on my couch and I will continue to work as long as I can.