Saturday, December 31, 2005

We're ready to quietly usher in 2006, with the one member of our family who wasn't even supposed to arrive until the calendar flipped being the only one assured of being awake when the clock strikes midnight. Edward's internal clock is stuck in some sort of bizzaro world where daytime is for sleeping, and nighttime is for fully alert wakefulness. We're slowly getting the hang of things, and Edward is being very patient with us as we do. Days and nights have been filled with sleeping, eating and that other thing that babies do so well. Still, we found time for a nice visit with my folks today and will see Mary's folks on Sunday. Meanwhile, we rest up to see what the next day -- and year -- with our cute little guy will bring. 2005 hasn't been the easiest year for us, but I can't imagine a better way for it to end. Or for 2006 to begin.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Our follow-up appointment went well this morning. We even managed to get there almost on time at 8:30. The instructions are to feed Edward every 2 hours continuously until our next appointment--his one-week check on Tuesday (two days after his one-week bday, because of the holiday clinic schedule.) This means he and I will do little but sleep and eat from now until Tuesday. This should keep the jaundice at bay as well as prevent further weight loss, allowing him to bulk back up to his birthweight by next week.

I am eager to chat with so many friends and family, or at least to respond to the dozens of emails. But that will have to wait while Edward eats.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Edward was very demure and Kenyon-like during most of his stay at UI Hospitals, but Wednesday night, thanks to some lax diaper fitting by his Dad, he had an accident that required a change of clothes. We're not sure if Jerry Garcia or Jimi Hendrix once had a child at UIHC and left some things behind, but suffice to say that Edward was a very colorful, but mellow baby until checkout. He took what they had available at the late hour and wore it well.

He changed into something a bit more fitting of his buttoned-down style for the trip home, and is now sleeping comfortably in his own cradle in his own home. We're thrilled to have him here. Both he and Mary got a clean bill of health and we headed home around noon. He'll head back Friday for a check to make sure his weight is headed in the right direction; otherwise, he's home for good.

We stopped by the NICU on our way out to introduce Edward to some of the people who took such good care of his big brother while he was there. They were happy to see him only in passing rather than as a patient, and noted the strong resemblance to Will (they're both very cute, we're told, and who are we to argue?).

So, now it's time for a little nesting and some well-deserved rest all around.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Edward had a good third day today as we figured out a few things about what makes him tick. We learned that 35-weekers often fall asleep while feeding, for instance, so a little supplemental formula helps to fill him up. We learned that he's small enough that he needs a few extra layers to stay warm, so a double layer of sleepers and an extra blanket or two keep him toasty and warm. With these things figured out, everything seems to be working as it should. After losing a bit of weight his first two days -- something that is entirely expected -- he put a few ounces back on today and should have no trouble regaining his birth weight by the end of his first week.

Mary also is doing well, and is feeling good. She'll be discharged tomorrow, and Edward should come home with us at that time. On the off chance they want to keep him around to watch his weight or temperature, he might stay an extra day or two. By the end of the week, however, the three of us should be home and getting settled in together.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Here is our first family portrait, taken Monday in Mary's room at UI Hospitals. Edward is stylish in his new penguin stocking cap while Mom and Dad look much more alert than they would be day's end.

Here is the first of what promises to be many photos of Edward. Here he's hanging out with me in his Mom's room on Monday. We keep him bundled up tight to keep him warm.

He's doing fine today, as is Mary. He still isn't convinced that nighttime is the right time for sleeping, but otherwise we're all getting along great.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Day two for Edward has been good. He's had the chance to meet all of his grandparents as well as two aunts and an uncle. He held up well under the flashbulb barrage that accompanied these visits, and once I'm able to get our camera hooked up to a computer, you'll be able to see those cute poses. His biggest challenge thus far has been staying warm, but a double layer of blankets seems to be doing the job and he has comfortably slept most of the day.

Mary also is doing well. They had her up already to see how she would do, and she defied expectations by taking a couple of laps around the wing. We're all pretty exhausted at this point, so a Kenyon family nap is on the schedule.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

We had quite a Christmas today with the birth of our son, Edward Jesse Kenyon. Edward is 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and, if the cries he has let out so far are any indication, has very healthy lungs. Mary is doing well after the surgery, and we're just moment away from her being able to hold him for the first time. It's safe to say this has been our best ever Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Good thing no one started obsessing yesterday, because it was definitely TSTO. My blood pressure was better today--still not perfect at 114/87, but good enough to be sent home to wait for the lab results. Dr. Kennedy called later with the results which were also in the acceptable range so for now we're in the clear. I will go in on Sunday at some point for a blood pressure check and non-stress test, possibly repeat the labs, and see where things stand. If we stay on an even keel, I'll be checked again at my regular Wednesday morning appointment next week. If anything changes between now and Sunday or between Sunday and Wednesday in terms of how I feel, I will not wait for those scheduled times. Basically, I'm on the verge of preeclampsia and there's no way to tell how or when it will escalate. Dr. Kennedy did say not to expect to go all the way to Jan. 6. John and I had thought even before this that it was a little unrealistic to believe that we could actually plan and control on some level. We should know better!

Yesterday and today they gave me the two steroid shots that will help the baby's lung maturity. And at 35 weeks tomorrow, it's safe to assume this baby will be strong enough to face the world whenever the time comes. And we can't wait to meet you Pele! In the meantime, keep kicking...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In my family we have an expression: TSTO. It stands for Too Soon To Obsess. My sisters and I invented it for my mom but admit that it often applies to us in equal measure--we all tend toward advance planning and contingency planning (a.k.a. worrying.)

So let's just start by putting everyone on TSTO alert and then admitting that my blood pressure was a little high today--130/97. The non-stress test was perfect so the baby is just fine, and at nearly 35 weeks now, would be fine outside the womb if that becomes necessary. After the blood pressure alert, they ran some labs, which came back normal. So they sent me home and will have me back tomorrow to repeat the tests and re-check blood pressure. Sorry to leave you in suspense, but there really isn't more to say at this point. It's a wait-and-see day. But again, TSTO. Stay calm and I'll report back tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

All's well that ends well.

Today's non-stress test was not the snap that the first two had been. After kicking vigorously for the half hour I waited to be called in for the test, the baby was apparently worn out or feeling some performance anxiety due to being the third of three babies being monitored simultaneously. The goal of the test is to see the heartrate "accelerate" from the baseline and stay that way for about 15 seconds twice in 20 minutes. Starting from a baseline of about 140, they wanted to see an acceleration of at least 160. Pele thought it was halftime and just hovered between 140-150 beats per minute for almost an hour. The steady heartrate was good, but not the performance required for Dr. Kennedy to sign off on the test, so she ordered a "biophysical profile," a type of ultrasound that also measures movement and general baby well-being. That came out perfect, so nothing to worry about.

I think the external conditions just weren't ideal for the non-stress test. The room was noisy with two other moms--one of whom had a two-year-old with her who was being entertained by a VeggieTales video (ugh!) and the other who had the radio on to stimulate her baby. Our baby likes it quiet--most active moments are while I'm trying to fall asleep at night.

On the plus side, I got another "picture" of the baby. The first time she brought a full-front face shot up on the screen we saw the baby jam a hand fully in his/her mouth. Pretty funny. Then she took a profile shot, and you can actually tell it's the face--outline of the nose and lips and a little hand waving off to the side. Usually those ultrasound pictures are so hard to make heads or tails of.

In other news, my blood pressure was fine, 102/70 and we scheduled the C-section for January 6 at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Two posts in one day?! Unprecedented, but I thought I should practice posting photos so we're ready to show off come January. So here, for those who care about such things, are the before and after shots of our bathroom.

You'll notice the lovely 60s-era harvest gold fixtures. I hear these are retro-chic now. I've never been chic and don't need to start in my bathroom. This photo shows the two primary reasons for the project beyond just plain ugliness: the floor tiles peeling back next to the tub and the makeshift shower.

We still need to chose a paint color and paint the walls that haven't been tiled (not really visible in this picture.) And the light fixture arrived the day after the workers left, so it will wait until they return for the final touch-ups next week. Other than that we're done. Very glad to be out of our temporary bathing quarters in the (unfinished) basement.
Another week, another all-clear. I'm fine (BP 110/72) and so is the baby, whose heartrate ranged from the high 130s to low 160s during the non-stress test. Interestingly, the physical exam revealed that the baby is laying crosswise (I believe the official OB term is "transverse"), which would be a concern if were not already planning a C-section. Having the baby in this position at this point in the pregnancy would likely mean a vaginal birth would not be possible--the head should be down by now for that to work. But since that's not in the cards for me anyway, it's just sort of an interesting thing to know--explains the side-to-side kicking pattern.

Now it's time to vote on birthdays for Baby Kenyon. Target is first week of January. January 1 is out (if you have a choice, why pick a holiday?) as is January 7 (Holly's birthday--everyone should have his/her own day!) So if anyone has any "good vibes" or knows something about numerology that would point to anything between 1/2 and 1/6, share now.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I ordered a stroller, car seat and car seat bunting (to be used instead of a snowsuit) online and all arrived simultaneously today along with 2/3 of John's birthday presents. (Talk about eleventh hour! Lucky I get home before he does so I had time for a quick wrap job so I wasn't quite the slacker wife I thought I was going to be as I watched nothing happening on package tracking for the last week!) Our porch looked like a mail room!

Now I have conflicting urges to tear into the boxes to see and touch and assemble it all, but at the same time wanting to keep it all packaged so it could easily be sent back. The logical part of my brain knows that even if the baby came now, starting life at 32 weeks is a world away from starting at 24. There would still be some NICU time, but nothing like what Will went through. But emotionally, I can't let go of the fear. I guess I probably won't until I'm holding the baby in my arms. Even then, I'm sure there's a whole new set of fears waiting in the wings, but I'm hoping that unadulterated joy will be the antidote.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Another Monday appointment this week. Back to Wednesdays next week. Today was another speedy one, even with the non-stress test--only an hour total, though they'd said the test alone could take a full hour. I believe we can attribute this at least in part to the baby's constant activity. It did not take long to demonstrate the range of heartrate they're looking for on the non-stress test. I think the nurse said they need to see it move up and down 15 points. Little Pele (as John as taken to calling him/her) was as calm as 130 at rest and as high as about 165 while wiggling. The nurse was very impressed with the rapid results and said the baby showed excellent neuro function--a level not expected until 32 weeks, which isn't until Friday. I don't quite understand how this test is connected to measuring neuro activity, but I'm sure one of my medical siblings can explain.

My blood pressure was fine--126/78 in the office visit (sitting up) and 118/86 during the non-stress test (reclining.) The nurse said it usually goes down when you put your feet up. Hmmm...note to self...built in excuse for sloth. And apparently I did not fully indulge in Thanksgiving gluttony as my weight did not change since last week. More stuffing please!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

To counter any display of ignorance in the previous post, I share this info from my brother, the self-described (and never modest) "internationally-known, well-respected medical professional" and, incidentally, father of four:

Doppler doesn't really sound any different on the inside. The sound waves it uses are undetectable by the human ear. So Cletus-the-fetus hears what you hear, only a little more muffled since there's a layer of Mom and amniotic fluid between. What Cletus is squirming from is the moron [in Cletus' world, anyway] poking Cletus in the side, the head, or whatever.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A special Monday update for those who check early this week. The holiday schedule means I'm seeing a different doctor this week and next whose clinic days are on Mondays. Dr. Kennedy IS allowed vacation and we are VERY glad she's taking it now and not at Christmas since delivery will be imminent then.

All was normal today--blood pressure 110/80 and the baby's heartrate at 140. Again, difficult to capture the heartrate as little squirmy wiggled away from the Doppler. I wonder what that sounds like from the inside?

Our friend Erin has a great story in today's Des Moines Register about the Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa, which is where I donated breastmilk when I was producing so much more than Will would ever have needed. It's such a great service they provide so I'm happy to see them get some attention in the state's largest newspaper. (I think this link will only stay live for a week.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another Wednesday and all is well with the baby and me. My blood pressure was 100/70 and the baby's heartrate was about 135, though hard to capture because this little bundle of energy would not stay in one place. That's pretty much par for the course--lots of kicking and wiggling, sometimes in such rapid succession that I feel like a punching bag. All welcome signs though.

Dr. Kennedy was very excited today about brand new research that shows that steroids are effective in enhancing lung maturity with planned c-sections like mine. I'd asked about this a few weeks ago after one of Will's doctors mentioned that his wife did this instead of an amniocentesis to check for maturity. At the time Kennedy was iffy, saying she understood the preference to avoid the amnio, but no one had demonstrated benefits of steroids after about 34 weeks. Now there is research to support this so it looks like the path we'll follow. Assuming we both stay healthy, I will get two steroid shots 24 hours apart (just like I did before Will was born--standard care for pre-term deliveries) then wait another 24 hours and deliver. It looks like we'll have a choice of whether to do this in the last week of December or first week of January, again all contingent on our health.

Also, starting the week after next I'll have a non-stress test at each appointment--precautionary only, not because of any signs of impending problems. It's basically a fetal monitoring test that measures the heartrate and uterine activity over a period of about an hour.

It's winter in Iowa--first snow this week. Typical of our weather, of course, the Tuesday/Wednesday snow came on the heels of a 70-degree Saturday. At least that means the ground is still warm enough that nothing accumulated. Also discovered this week that two winter coats--one dressy and one casual--still fit around my expanding girth. I suppose that doesn't say much for the fit and stylishness of either coat if it still fits around me at nearly 30 weeks. Oh well, 12 years of uniform-wearing ensured that I would never be a fashion maven.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fastest OB appointment ever this morning! My appt. time was 11 a.m. and I was on my way out the door by 11:12. All is well--my blood pressure was 120/64 and the baby's heartrate steady at about 150 beats per minute. Between last week's ultrasound and today the baby has shifted from head on my right side to head on the left side. I was actually able to feel the head today--cool! That also explains why my back now hurts on the left side.

John and I both had colds this last week, but nothing major. Apparently there's a three-week version in circulation--glad we didn't get that one. Perhaps obsessive hand washing really does pay off.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Today was the second ultrasound for the preeclampsia study. Everything looks good--no change since last time except for the baby's size, now estimated at 2 lbs. 7 oz. (more than twice Will's size!) To recap, the study is looking at bloodflow through the uterine arteries as a possible predictor of preeclampsia. My right artery is perfect and the left artery still shows slightly elevated pressure, as it did at 23 weeks. Not cause for alarm, but reason to continue careful close monitoring. The study doctor (one of the high risk OBs) asked how often I'm seeing Dr. Kennedy and when I said weekly, she said that's a good idea.

My blood pressure was fine--122/80 and the baby's heartrate was about 130, which is lower than the last few weeks, but it was taken in the ultrasound so that might make a difference. In the ultrasound the machine measures it. Usually in the office, the nurse just counts beats while watching the time on her watch--so possibly not as precise. Regardless, it's well within normal range.

Today was a beautiful 75 degrees--quite a treat for an Iowa November. John was distressed that I chose a short-sleeve shirt since it left my arm bruises visible. He's worried people will think he's responsible, which in a way I guess he is, since he gives the arm shots. But someone who doesn't know me at all noticed them today and said she could tell they were from shots so maybe it doesn't really look as bad as we think it does. Besides, we'll be back to long sleeves and sweaters in a day or two--this is Iowa after all!

P.S. Happy Birthday to Diana!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

All is well with both the baby and me. My blood pressure was 124/70, proper weight gain and measurements etc. The baby's heart rate was a little higher--152-156 she said, but it was a different nurse, so who knows if they all count the same way.

My mom, wise in all things, especially when and how to expand your worry list, asked me last week if I'd stay on the heparin all the way through delivery. "Wouldn't it be dangerous to enter surgery while on blood thinner?" she wondered. As always, Mom was right. I asked Dr. Kennedy about the heparin schedule and she said I would not be on it at delivery, but just one day off will be enough time off to return to normal for surgery. So I just won't take it the day before the C-section is scheduled. She's not sure whether I'll need it after, but doesn't think so. She thinks continuing the
baby aspirin will be enough, but reserves the right to change her mind.

Just so it doesn't seem like I'm coasting through problem free, I will admit to some lower back/leg pain on the right side that makes walking--my primary form of exercise--less comfortable. Dr. Kennedy smiled and nodded knowingly when I told her about it--just another one of the things I didn't get far enough to experience last time, she said. She said the baby's position probably is putting pressure on my sciatic nerve(s?) and it could continue or the baby could move, relieving the pressure. She offered to send me to physical therapy if I want it, but we'll see. It's not debilitating, just sort of a stiff feeling. Definitely contributes to the "pregnancy waddle" or maybe it's vice versa. Once I get going and loosen up a bit it's better. I can still make it all the way home from work, though I didn't hesitate when John found me on my walk this evening and stopped to pick me up!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Today's blood pressure: 110/70
Baby's heartrate: 146
No additional news means a boring update: all is well.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

John gave his first heparin injection tonight. He's been dreading it for weeks, knowing that as I approached the third trimester (!) I'd have to stop using my abdomen as an injection site. Because of the bruising the shots cause, it's important to vary the site as much as possible. The other two options are thigh and upper arm. I've been alternating between thigh and abdomen, but now must switch to alternate between thigh and arm. Giving the shot requires pinching up the skin and then sticking the needle in. Logistically, it's impossible to do this for myself on my arm since it's a two-handed process. John did very well, though I don't think he believed me when I said it didn't hurt. I suppose I'm used to needle sticks by now. He'll be used to it too after another 13-14 weeks.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Today I started my weekly OB appointments. At this point in most pregnancies the check-ups are still every four weeks, but my checkered history calls for more careful monitoring. As of today though, everything is fine. The baby's heartrate was 144, which is about where it's been all along. My blood pressure was fine at 120/73 and all signs point to continued health for both of us. Dr. Kennedy keeps saying she just knows everything will be fine this time. Sometimes I wonder if she says that to reassure herself or me. Probably a little of both. It can't be easy to have two people's lives in your hands.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

On Thursday I went for the 23-week ultrasound that is part of the study I wrote about in early September. This was to measure the bloodflow through the uterine arteries where signs of constriction could point to oncoming preeclampsia. The right side was completely normal and the left slightly elevated pressure, but not enough to warrant any concern. Dr. R. who is running the study took one look and declared, "You will not be having a baby in the next few weeks." Music to my ears! She can't rule out later-onset preeclampsia, but she believes that if it were coming soon there would have been visible constriction in one or both arteries. In fact, she's the doctor who did the ultrasound the day before Will was born. She remembered that when she first spoke with me about the study three weeks ago and flipped back in my chart to look at her notes from that test. Sure enough, one of the arteries was described as "kinked" which doesn't mean that bloodflow was completely cut of, but severely restricted. The next part of the study will be a repeat ultrasound at 28 weeks and we'll hope that the only thing that has changed in the picture is the size of the baby!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Haiku for the working mom-to-be:

Friday afternoon.
Exhausted, hungry. Tough choice:
Nap or dinner first?

Tonight the nap won out followed by a dinner in which the primary menu selection criterion was: how soon will it be ready?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

An ultrasound today shows everything is as it should be. Their measurements line up exactly with a baby at 19 weeks and 6 days, which is right where we are--tomorrow marks the halfway point, 20 weeks. The baby was not in a "posing" mood, the technician said, so we didn't get a good full-body picture. John and I agreed that about the only thing that was recognizable were the feet--our first set of footprints! The baby's legs were extended but the upper body was curled up, including a hand/arm covering his/her face (no, we did not find out the gender!) Will always kept his hands by his face, too. The NICU nurses told us it was comforting for him. I think in the case of his brother or sister, it's probably a space issue at this point. Their estimate is that the baby weighs about 12 oz. right now. So tiny, yet Will was not much bigger than that at birth.

I found out today about a preeclampsia study being done at the university, and when I said I would be interested in participating, they paged the doctor who is running the study to come meet with me. There's not a large window of opportunity to get people enrolled because the study requires a special extra ultrasound at 23 weeks to measure bloodflow through the uterine arteries. There is some research that says this can be predictive of oncoming preeclampsia, but not enough to mandate this test for all pregnant women or even all high-risk pregnant women. There's still nothing they can do to prevent it, but one step at a time I guess. I'm willing to do anything I can to add to the pool of knowledge. At some point there MUST be a treatment or cure.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In the last few days, maybe a week or so, I've started to feel the baby moving. I'd forgotten how subtle it is at first, remembering mostly Will's persistent kicks (punches? head-butts?) of objection the week I was sick before he was born. But at first it's a mere flutter. You have to be pretty still and quiet to even recognize it. It's a nice reminder that all is as it should be. They told me at the doctor's office that I could come in whenever I wanted to if I just needed the reassurance of hearing the heartbeat. I haven't done that, but have considered it a few times when the four weeks between appointments seems to stretch forever. Now maybe when I feel that anxiety I'll be better off finding some quiet and waiting for the baby to reassure me.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Last week we got to visit some friends in the hospital after their baby was born. When they called to ask if we could bring them a piece of camera/computer equipment they'd forgotten I didn't even think twice about saying we'd be right over and that we'd bring dinner to spare them the hospital fare. A few months ago I might have hesitated or even said we'd have to meet at the door. It was weird being back up on the 6th floor, but also very comforting to see what a real Mother/Baby room looks like--mom, dad, AND baby. A rolling bassinet at the foot of the bed. No worries or fear. Something we hope to experience for ourselves in January.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Update from today's 16-week appointment: all is as it should be. The baby's heart is beating at about 150 beats per minute; my blood pressure is normal, 114/70 (I think...should have written it down.) My heparin dose is increasing, and next month I'll have an ultrasound. Starting in October (24 weeks) my appointments will be weekly. Until then, high alert for anything that seems possibly, maybe, slightly unexpected or out of the ordinary. They say they won't get tired of hearing from me no matter how many times I call. I hope I won't be putting that to the test.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Welcome to the Kenyon family blog. It's been up since Memorial Day, but we're just now sharing it. We plan to use it, as the header notes, to share family news and random musings, and the first bit of news, as you can see if you read from the bottom, is that we're expecting another baby in January. I've been bursting to tell people all summer, but John has calmly played the voice of reason in this little drama, reminding me that even under the best circumstances it's best to wait at least until the end of the first trimester before sharing the news. And if you've come from our other blog, you certainly understand the many reasons this pregnancy can't be classified as routine.

I have the best doctor and a great medical facility practically in our backyard, so whatever is needed to keep us healthy will be done. Right now, other than a good diet and balance of rest and exercise, that consists of giving myself injections of heparin twice a day and taking a daily low-dose aspirin to keep my blood thin (clotting may have been a factor in my previous preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome) and having regular pre-natal check-ups every four weeks. The frequency of those checks will likely increase earlier than in most pregnancies. For those of you keeping track at home, I'm now 14 weeks along. I try to concentrate on each day, each week, and not let myself think too far ahead. There are just too many "what ifs."

Monday, July 04, 2005

Yesterday was a weird day. I woke up too early after being up late at a wedding and could not get back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. So I got up, but then spent the whole morning on the verge of an emotional meltdown. It finally happened shortly after noon when John asked if I wanted to go with him to the Jazz Fest downtown to hear a band we enjoy, led by a friend of a friend from Cedar Falls. I burst into tears and sobbed, "I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know why I can't get my emotions under control today!" John calmly replied, "Maybe because you're pregnant?" Oh yeah.

I think most men freak out or are at least squirmy uncomfortable at the sight of any woman's tears, especially those of their wife. But around here, tears have not been uncommon these last few months, so maybe he was relieved that there was no reason--no new or renewed pain triggering the outburst.

It's not that I ever forget that I'm pregnant, but I don't always focus on the enormous complexity of all that's going on physically. When I was pregnant with Will I was obsessed with the What to Expect When You're Expecting book and read and re-read it constantly to know what was going on at every moment. Now I know that there's no way to know what to expect next week or next month so I try to focus on each day. There's really no book for a pregnancy like this and I'm not sure I'd want to read it anyway. Maybe it's better not to know what's ahead. Maybe this is yet another test of my ability to give up my need to control and plan every last detail and just let myself be swept along. I guess that includes letting the tears flow where they may.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Today's ultrasound showed a tiny but perfect beginning of a life, complete with a heartbeat of 153 beats per minute. It also showed that I'm not quite as far along as we originally guessed. Today I am seven weeks and three days. That led to an adjustment in the estimated due date. Based on the ultrasound, the due date is January 26, 2006, exactly a year since our family and friends joined us to remember Will and celebrate his short life. At first I misremembered and thought it was the anniversary of his death. I got stuck on the 26th which is tied to both his birth (10/26/2004) and his death (via the memorial service) but he actually died on Jan. 22. Regardless, it seems to be an intricately woven plot laid out before us and could be the most beautiful or the cruelest twist of fate ever. I'm leaning toward seeing the beauty--Will up there orchestrating things to mitigate our pain as we continue to face life without him.

As we've already established though, I definitely won't make it all the way to the due date. The C-section will be scheduled two to three weeks before that to avoid the chance of going into labor.

So now I'm supposed to start the heparin shots. I tried to get the prescription filled this afternoon, but after waiting more than 40 minutes I finally left Walgreens and planned to go back later. I didn't get a chance though so it will have to be tomorrow. This particular prescription seemed to flummox them on several levels. I guess it's not a common regimen, especially for long term use as I plan. Maybe they'll get used to it after a couple of refills. I hope to find out.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

On Wednesday, I saw my OB for what was originally scheduled to be an appointment to discuss some bloodwork I had back in April to test for a few different things that may have contributed to my developing HELLP Syndrome. These tests were supposed to help us know whether it was too dangerous for me to be pregnant again.

I had called the day before the appointment to let them know that we'd learned over the weekend that I am in fact already pregnant. Dr. Kennedy's cheerful greeting immediately let me know that all was fine, or at least manageable. She certainly would have been more somber if she was coming in to tell us that the tests showed continuing the pregnancy would be too dangerous to my health to consider. So the news is that everything they tested was within normal range except for anticardiolipin antibodies, which are slightly elevated. I don't know what those are, so apologies to anyone who might have come across this page while searching that particular term. Given that all the other levels were normal, this particular elevation does not indicate anything specific, she said. In fact, it would not be of concern at all except for my medical history. So she said she would recommend a daily low-dose baby aspirin and probably heparin shots during the pregnancy. That is, heparin shots that I will give myself twice a day. Yikes!

Not much time to absorb all this. This treatment is preventative, not curative. That is, if we're going to do it at all, we must start ASAP because it wouldn't help once things get going down the wrong path. So needless to say, though I am less than thrilled about nine months of twice-daily needles, I am willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that this baby is born healthy and as close to term as possible.

In addition to all this, I will be monitored closely throughout the pregnancy with more frequent scheduled appointments and nearly every ache and twinge requiring a "rule out" office visit. We will not have any repeats of last October when I was home for a week with searing abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea and we all assumed it was a lingering stomach bug, all the while I was getting sicker and sicker with HELLP. So I will be the Pregnant Hypochondriac and wear the label proudly.

The next step is an ultrasound a week from Monday to determine for certain that this is a viable pregnancy. I won't start the heparin until then. So it won't actually be nine months of twice-daily shots. I should be about eight weeks by then so it will really only be about seven and a half months left. Plus Dr. Kennedy pointed out that since I had a "classical" Cesarean section with Will, meaning I can not labor in future pregnancies, a C-section will be scheduled at 37 or 38 weeks. So there. Less than seven months of twice-daily shots. I feel Pollyanna lurking in the background and the glass will be perpetually half full.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A new part of our journey begins. After a few weeks of uncertainty and, on some level, denial, a home pregnancy test confirmed last night that Will's brother or sister is on the way. It's a long road ahead with more than the usual emotions given what we've been through. We're lucky to have such a wide circle of family and friends to care for us and support us along the way.