Friday, October 30, 2009

Perinatal Visit

Today was my appointment with the Perinatal Specialist - Dr. Dickson. He's a doctor that specializes in high risk pregnancies - which I am. As if the gastric bypass surgery, the back surgery, the back pain medications, the second stomach surgery weren't enough, my body added in the incompetent cervix with Christopher. So I'm one fun risk after another now.

Squish 10/30/09 5 weeks 6 days
(This is "Squish" at 5 weeks, 6 days. This is my uterus. The white "V" is pointing down to the white spot that is his heartbeat. The round up in the upper right hand side is the amniotic sac - it sort of makes up that whole upper right area.)

The good news is that there is in fact only one baby in there. I asked the ultrasound tech to make sure because my mother-in-law had a dream that we were having twins. The tech looked around and said there was only one baby in there. I was also right in that squish is only measuring at 6 weeks, not 7. I spent enough years trying to get pregnant that I know how to find out when you ovulate. Most women ovulate on the 14th day of their cycle, I ovulated on day 22 - so I'm measuring a week behind based on the first day of my last period, which is what they normally go by. Right now squish is due around the 26th of June - I was told to expect to deliver early.

Dr. Dickson did say that our loss of Christopher was a pretty 'classic' case of incompetent cervix. Except for the fact that I caught the issue before the baby was born. Dr. Dickson did tell me that had he been my doctor at the time he would have probably forced the issue on delivering Christopher as soon as they saw the sac outside of my cervix and the liquid level in the amniotic sac. At the same time, he said that not many people would have been willing to do all that I did to try to save Christopher. That is one thing I have a lot of trouble accepting, it's hard for me to imagine that people wouldn't be willing to do whatever it took to possibly save their baby, but Dr. Dickson made it sound like most women wouldn't risk it.

The plan right now is that I see Dr. Leeds (my second OB at Sun Life) a week from Monday. She will probably schedule a visit a month from then to see me. I'll see Dr. Dickson in six weeks. At the six week visit - 12 weeks gestation - they will do a test called the "NT" test - Nuclotransulency test. (Around the first or second week in December). The test is one they do to check for birth defects and things like Downs Syndrome. They will do a thorough ultrasound at that point, checking my cervix then, and will schedule me for my cerclage.

I was told the cerclage would be done between 12 and 14 weeks gestation, right around Christmastime. What the cerclage is basically the doctor going in surgically and putting a purse string on my cervix. They pull the string tight to make sure that the cervix doesn't open. Kind of like the pull ties on a trash bag.

When they perform the surgery they normally do an epidural block to keep the patient from feeling what is going on down there while they perform the surgery. Dr. Dickson said that for me they would not do it that way. There is just too much damage already done to my spine to risk it. So they will do general anesthesia for me instead.

The risks with the cerclage are infection and miscarriage. Infection is an issue any time any part of you is exposed to outside elements. They normally put you on antibiotics at the hospital to prevent infection, and keep it in check in the off chance it happens. Miscarriage is another risk, when they go in to do the cerclage they use a needle, which can poke the amniotic sac and cause it to leak, which could cause a miscarriage. Also all that activity and them messing with your cervix could cause you to have contractions - the contractions if they get bad enough could cause the baby to be born, or even rip the area the ceclage is stitched too. Dr. Dickson said he's never had a case where that happened.

Once the cerclage is in place I'll have ultrasounds done every two weeks to check my cervical length, and look for funneling. What happens with incompetent cervix is that the weight of the baby puts so much pressure on your cervix that it starts opening up the top, as the top widens, the length of the cervix shortens forming a cone. The ceclage's job is to make sure that your cervix cannot funnel past that point.

IF my cervix starts showing signs of funneling or shortening I'll be put on serious bed rest, or hospitalized depending on how bad it is. If they are worried about the stitch holding they may go in and place another cerclage but that is highly unlikely from what Dr. Dickson said.

I was told right now to take it easy, and start getting used to making sure to get in some time each day with my feet up. Dr. Dickson said to expect some sort of bed rest, probably about 4 hours each day of laying horizontal with no pressure on my cervix. I was told to start working at not staying on my feet for long lengths of time, because once the cerclage is in place he won't want me on my feet for more than two hours at any given point. I was told get all my walking done prior to the cerclage placement.

At around 14 weeks I'll start getting steroid shots to help the babies body mature a little more quickly. This was in case squish is born early he'll have a better chance of survival. I was told that the risks of the shot are minimal compared to the chance of squish not making it if he's born too early.

For now I guess that's it. Most everything else is a "we'll cross that bridge if and when we get there". To just take it easy, not out do things, more rules will get put in place when the cerclage is put in, and depending on what my cervix does. Dr. Dickson did agree that avoiding surgeries and house fires during the pregnancy would probably be a good idea. Both of us are hoping for a boring pregnancy other than the frequent check ups.

My goals right now are:
Get pregnant. (CHECK)
Get to see the baby in there. (CHECK)
Get to see Squishes heart beat on the monitor. (CHECK)
Get to the second trimester. (When the chance of miscarriage goes way down.)
Have the cerclage put in place.
Get to the point I can have the shots done.
Find out what we are having, a boy or girl.
Pick a name.
22 weeks - the point when we lost our Christopher.
Hit 24 weeks - the point where if Squish is born early there is a chance he'll live.
Hit the third trimester - most babies born in the third trimester make it.
Hit 34 weeks - the point where hospital stays are minimum and the baby is mostly developed.
35 weeks - the point where they will go in and take the cerclage out.
After that it's keep the baby in as long as possible.
Bring our baby home, and not lose our sanity (okay, what passes for sanity in my world).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The good (great, amazing, scary) news

I really wanted to wait to post this until I spoke to everyone in person, but it appears it's just not going to work out that way. There are some people at church I wanted to tell face to face, not via email, phone call, or blog. At the same time with Kelley and I both being miserable sick (apparently me more miserable, him more sick) I can't promise when we will be back at church. We just aren't wanting to go in and risk getting people sick over things.

Kelley went in on Thursday and was told he has pneumonia or bronchitis. I'm really sick too. I kept telling myself if I'm not better on Monday I'll call and make an appointment. Friday it was like duh, I'm going in for my first OB appointment.

Not a gyn appointment an OB appointment. I'd had feelings for awhile that I was pregnant, not symptoms, just this 'I'm pregnant' seed planted in my head. I told Annette at one point that it was going to suck when my period came because I really felt that I was pregnant. I did something really stupid and took a pregnancy test four days early - I saw a pink line. I've taken enough pregnancy tests to know what a negative test looks like. You would think I wouldn't have quite so much trouble going okay, this is not a negative test, so that means it's positive. Instead I look at a positive test and start thinking I'm imagining the pink line, so I hide it away. I test the next day, and get a definite positive, and once again think I'm imagining things. So, I figure I'm in this deep, I pull out the digital pregnancy that came with my ovulation strips, and sit and stare at the 'pregnant' for about ten minutes before it comes through to me "you're actually pregnant".

So, my husband probably wanted to kill me, but I didn't tell him first. The first person I told was Annette - since we were hanging out all day, and I had to tell SOMEONE. Plus she's my best friend so that helps. I made plans to somehow manage to hold my tongue and decided to not tell Kelley until our anniversary. Lets just say he didn't go to school that night like he was supposed to and it was pure torture sitting there not telling him.

For our anniversary I picked out a sterling silver 1g memory stick key chain. Kelley loves key chains and as you all know he loves computer stuff. Once I found out I was pregnant I had all these plans of taking pictures of letters saying stuff about this year, the good and the bad. I was going to make him plug the memory stick in - view the pictures - and the last would mention the pregnancy. He was so sick though that I didn't have the heart to make him plug the stick in.

Instead, I stayed up till midnight (I couldn't hold in telling him anymore), woke him up to let him know. I told him it would be worth it. I gave him the pen set I'd gotten him first. I could see the look in his face "she woke me up at midnight for a pen set?" I told him that wasn't the good present. Next was the key chain. I really thought I did a good job with the key chain. He opened it up and had the look, he was trying to hide, "this is a little better, but I'm sick as a dog and she woke me up at midnight for it?" He did tell me it was a very thoughtful gift. I feel better about it because he's actually using it, still not sure he actually likes it. It might be a pity thing now, you know, the whole "she got, I might as well make her think I like it". Once again I told him that wasn't the best gift, and promised him it was worth it.

I gave him the anniversary card - I had wrote all the good and bad stuff this year. January - Papa passing away, definitely bad, I still miss him. March - Finding out we were having Christopher - a huge plus. March - Mom and Gino coming to Arizona, fun. July - The house fire, losing Christopher, June -mom and dad being in the car accident, brothers losing their jobs all that. That the year had had it's ups and downs, but I really felt things were starting to look up.

"November - we found out we were expecting another baby." You could see when he hit that point in the card because his whole changed. He sort of shook his head, looked at it again to make sure he'd read it write. Turned to me with this incredible look and said "really?" I have to tell you I'll have a dozen kids if I can keep getting that incredible look from him. There is no greater moment than seeing that type of joy and love and hope all bundled into one look from the person you love.

We are both thrilled. I'm pretty sure we are both also scared to pieces. For me it's a huge batch of mixed emotions that I'm pretty sure I'll have forever. I'm so glad to have this new life growing inside of me. I'm so amazed to know that once again there is a life that is part Kelley, part me, growing inside of me.

At the same time I know that had Christopher lived, this amazing life wouldn't be here. I would either still be pregnant and carrying him, or would be on some form of birth control and taking care of a new baby. There is no way that this baby would be here had we not lost Christopher. I wish that there was some way I could have both of my babies here with me. It's such a bittersweet thing to know that Christopher's passing is what made this life possible. It gives such a huge meaning to losing him, the reason I'd been praying God would show me.

I have my first OB appointment, as I mentioned, on Monday. This is with Dr. Edwards, the doctor that helped me through having (and needing) the stomach surgery while I was pregnant with Christopher. I'm hoping for all my appointments at Sun Life I can have them with either Dr. Edwards or Dr. Leeds (the doctor who helped me through losing our Christopher). I'm not sure how many questions Dr. Edwards will be able to answer, and know they are going to refer me to a high risk OB. I'll put my list of questions on here, tomorrow maybe. Right now I think it's just over 50.

Please keep this new baby, Kelley and I in your prayers. Please pray that God lets us keep this baby with us here. I know that one day I'll get to see dear Christopher again, and spend eternity with him, but I would love to bring a child here for us to raise and love.

Right now it's small goals - making it to the first OB appointment was one. The first high risk OB appointment is another. Getting to see the baby's heart beat on ultrasound is the next. After that making it to the cerclage. Then to the second trimester. Next finding out whether it's a girl or a boy. 22 weeks is another goal, getting past the point where we lost Christopher. 24 weeks was the magic week number the people at the hospital kept talking about, the point where there is a chance of saving the baby if they are born, they use the word "viable". After that it's the 27 or 28 weeks, the point where most babies live if they are born after. After that, the longer the baby stay's in the better for them.

Thank you, to everyone, who has prayed for Kelley and I. Thank you to those who have continued to think of us, it means so much more than any words can say. Thank you in advance for the prayers I know will be said for us and this baby.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Prayers for the family of Jessica Kent please

I'd like to ask everyone to please pray for the family and loved ones of Jessica Kent.

Our pastor at Calvary Southern Baptist Church in Casa Grande lost his daughter-in-law around 3am this morning. Our pastor's name is Sammy Kent, his wife is Marilyn. Their daugher-in-law's name is Jessica Kent, her husbands name is Lawrence. Jessica has left behind beautiful children and her husband who I am sure are having a very rough time right now. Please pray that God gives them the strength they need to make it through this loss, as I simply cannot imagine their pain. I have never had the privilege of meeting any of Jessica's side of the family but I am sure they are suffering a great deal right now as well.

Jessica passed away to severe complications after a tough battle with pneumonia, I am sure she is at home with the Lord now wishing she could comfort her family during this time. I wish that at times like this there was some comfort that would help us through the feelings of loss. The only things that I can say, and in the end it is all that matters, is that through Christ we all will be reunited with our family and loved ones. It is one reason why I find it so important to share my love of Christ, and the belief in Him and the Father. It is only through that love of Christ that we are promised to join our family.

I pray that God will lift up the loved ones of Jessica Kent. I ask God to lay His grace upon them and help them through this troubling time as only He can. I ask that the Father will wrap them in His loving embrace and offer them the comfort and strength to get through these times. Lord please help this family through this, and let them know that one day they will be reunited with Jessica. Father please help Jessica and Lawrence's children through this, let them know that in all things their mother loves them and is waiting to be reunited with them in Heaven.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This year

So many of you know that it has been a very long year for my family. It started off rough - and has it's definite ups and downs.

On January 15th my Papa passed away. My brother's father-in-law (not exactly what I call him technically) was diagnosed with cancer.

In February my baby brother (and yes Joey you will always be my baby brother) lost his job.

March 6th we got amazing news - it was the day that Kelley and I found out Christopher was on the way. Which sort of reverts back to good news on Valentines as the day they say we conceived. March was also the month that my big brother, Bobby, lost his job.

April - okay I can't remember officially what happened in April but I keep thinking this was the month that Keri - my mother-in-law - told me her husband (who I guess would be my father-in-law) had cancer. Not sure but I think that's about when we were told.

In May my mom and dad were in a serious car accident. Both of them had serious problems and my mom is still having problems from it. At the end of May was when I had all the stomach pain, leading to a serious surgery. I was told that I had a serious bowel hernia and obstruction. I had to suffer from very serious pain for a few days because we all wanted to avoid anything serious happening to the baby.

The end of June was our house fire - the worst part of which was that the bacon didn't make it.

July was when we lost our Christopher. The same night was when Kelley's car was broken into and the passengers window destroyed. (I can say that Kelley tried to clean it up well, but when I cleaned his car yesterday there was still glass.)

In August my niece was pulled over for speeding and they found drug paraphernalia in her car. I totally believe this was my niece's fault, but it still sucked. They also found out she'd been doing a lot of serious bad things.

September was when my mom found out she has some sort of serious internal problem. They did some testing and she was told that she had an enlarged appendix. Which we are pretty sure is wrong because she had her appendix taken out several years ago. After reviewing the pictures and such they think they found a piece of unattached intestines in the shape of a candy cane. So they are pretty sure she needs surgery, and is in a lot of pain. They won't give her pain meds either.

October is looking up. You'll have to read my next post to find out why.

One of the things I've learned this year is that everything that we get comes from God. He's also the one that takes things away. It's so easy to praise God when everything is going great, and life is good. It's much harder to give thanks when life is going down, and you can't even see the bottom of the road you're on. It's a definite lesson in humility.

Papa was a sad thing, but I understood it. My prayer at the time was for God's will to be done. I didn't want Papa to spend the next year of his life as he had the previous. I understood when God took Papa to be with him, and I was glad he wasn't suffering anymore.

When we were blessed with a pregnancy it was so easy to thank God for that. It was so easy to be thankful.

I was mad and angry at God for so many reasons. I never blamed God for taking Christopher - but I was angry at him for not saving him. It took me a long time to be able to realize God has a reason for all things. It took me a long time to be able to thank God for giving as well as taking. I did eventually start seeing that even after all the things that happened this year I had a lot to be thankful for.

God did take my Papa, but he's no longer suffering. The car accident my parents were in wasn't good, but they didn't die because of it. We didn't get to keep Christopher, but he was here. My God has promised that I will get to see our Christopher again. Christopher's life may not have been here long, but through the experience with him I've been able to touch other lives because of him. Peoples lives have been touched because of Christopher's life.

I've learned to thank God when times are good, and when they aren't. I'm married to an incredible man. I have two awesome dogs, and one demon cat who cracks me up. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive, a bed to sleep in. I have an incredible husband and despite everything he still puts up with me, still loves me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

On another note . . .

This is completely off topic of our baby journey. I figure since I have no clue when God is going to bless us with another child I should find other things to blog about.

Today I am asking for prayers for my mom and her sisters, Pam and Joy.

I'll try to make the rough draft as brief as I can. Pam, as far as I know has never been a major part of Papa's life. I mean, yes she is his daughter, but from what I've known for the past 15 years she never made herself a part of his life for long or in a major way..

Joy on the other hand used to call and speak with Papa daily, and helped him all the time. Joy was always checking on Papa, and doing something for him.

Around 2003 Papa, Pam and Joy had a falling out and pretty much stopped speaking to each other. When Joy and Pam stopped speaking to Papa, so did their families, that left just my mom and us kids speaking to Papa and visiting him.

At some point Papa made Mom the sole recipient of what there was of his 'estate' . There were other things involved, but it boiled down to Papa taking Joy and Pam out of the will because they hadn't spoken in years. When mom found out she took it pretty hard. She told me about it a little while later because she had no one else to talk to about it. The hardest thing for mom was she knew carrying out Papa's wishes would put up a wall between her and her sisters. It was something I prayed about often, hoping the silence would end, they would realize no grudge was worth losing family over.

The hardest thing for me to deal with was that Papa truly felt Joy, Pam, and their families didn't care about him. It killed me knowing that he had family within minutes of him that he never saw. My cousins also lost any relationship they could have had with Papa. I know that it wasn't until I grew up I realized Papa wasn't just a grouchy old man. My cousins, I don't think, ever had a chance to picture him differently. Papa thought they didn't care, my cousins, I don't think, ever had the opportunity to learn they might care.

Most of you who take the time to read this know that Papa died in January of this year. When Papa died, of course the information about the will got out. We didn't have anymore time to try to fix the broken relationship between Papa, Pam and Joy anymore. The wall went up, and I'm asking for prayers that it might come down one day.

It killed my mom, and hurt her, she was torn between not wanting to lose her sisters, and doing what Papa wanted. Papa's wish was that she follow his wants for the will, so she tried to. I wish it had just been about money, if it was just money mom would have just split it and kept her sisters. It was never about the money, it was about what Papa asked be done.

When Joy and Pam found they were no longer in the will, they contested the will. I won't even tell you the horrible things they said about Dad, Mom, and Papa to say why the new will wasn't valid, that's all in the past and can't be undone.

This week Mom called to let me know it was finally over with. She had given Pam and Joy some money, and Papa's car if I remember right. Mom is relieved it's finally over, she hated fighting her sisters, so in one way she's glad. The thing is, Mom feels like she let Papa down in not fighting it all the way, she worries that he's upset with her now for not fighting to the finish over it.

I told Mom that Papa knows she tried. Papa knows she took it this far, and followed her lawyers advice. I can't see that Papa would hold this against her.

I'm hoping, now with the will being over, maybe the three sisters will speak again, even if they can't be friends, maybe they can be sisters again. I ask for prayers asking it to happen.

I hope Joy and Pam see what they lost with Papa, all the wasted years, and how all it did was wreck their relationship with him, and Papa died thinking his daughters didn't care. I pray Joy and Pam can see what happened between them and Papa and realize it just wasn't worth it. They've already lost their father, all three of them, I hope they don't choose to lose each other also.

Please pray for them.

When Papa passed away, the day before the actual funeral service, the pastor that would be performing the ceremony asked the family to meet him to talk to him about who Papa was. It amazed me how different Joy, Pam and their families view differed from our families view of Papa. I was shocked to see that they had no clue who Papa was anymore. Looking back I knew who they thought Papa was, because it's who I thought Papa was before 2000, I called Papa grandpa until that point - Papa didn't become 'Papa' until I finally saw 'Papa'. They saw Papa as a grumpy old man who complained a lot, who said mean things, who drank as soon as 1pm came, who would squeeze every last penny out of a dollar. They saw Papa as a man who didn't have a lot of fun, and always complained about what people did. They saw the guy that said mean things, and no matter what you did he would say you didn't do it right, or at least from what they said that was who they saw.

Joy, Pam and their families weren't there to see Papa give up smoking after 55 plus years of doing so. They weren't there when he started picking up Pepsi's rather than drinking beer all day. They didn't get to see Papa eyes light up when Jessica, my niece would run up to him and hug him and tell him she loved him. Papa would never admit that he liked it, but you could see in his eyes that he did. I don't know if they ever realized that Papa wasn't intentionally mean, he just said what he thought because he didn't lie to people. I don't know that they could imagine Papa driving a motorized wheelchair all around Busch Gardens and enjoying himself. I doubt they ever got to see Papa attempt to bowl, he had a blast at it, even though he wasn't any good. I don't know if they ever realized that Papa never asked for the things that were the most important to him. Papa would complain nonstop about the mess my nephews made whenever they were in his house, at the same time he'd talk about the crazy stuff they did for weeks later, and would ask when they would be back. Papa would complain about how noisy our whole family was when we all were at his place, but he would talk about how quite things were when we were gone. It always seemed to be the things he never said that bothered him. Papa would never admit he was lonely, but he'd ask when you were visiting again.

I cried after Joy, Pam, and their families left. Some of the tears were for missing Papa, most were not. It was at that moment that I realized that their families had no clue what they missed. I cried because of all that they never even knew they didn't have. Kelley didn't have a clue how to make me feel better when I was crying for someone else. They will never mourn the loss of Papa the way we did, because they never knew Papa the way we did.

I hope, and I pray, and I ask you to pray, that the same thing doesn't happen between Mom, Joy and Pam. I pray that at some point they will realize the past is the past, and you can't change it, but you can change the future. I can't imagine they would start talking like nothing happened, but all three of them lost their father, I pray they don't lose each other before any of them are in their graves.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark .

ONE: Don't miss the boat.

TWO: Remember that we are all in the same boat!

THREE: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

FOUR: Stay fit. When you're 60 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

FIVE: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

SIX: Build your future on high ground.

SEVEN: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.

EIGHT: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

NINE: When you're stressed, float awhile.

TEN: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

ELEVEN: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.