Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Another pretty goo day around. I was blessed to have lots of friends stop by throughout the day.The social butterfly in me loved every bit. I was so excited to get in an early post on the blog, but then I only managed to change my status on Facebook. I guess that is better than nothing. I am coming all you FB friends!!! Hold on until tomorrow!
I rarely look at my actually blog. I just read the comments from email. So I start reading comment after comment talking about my new and improved layout??? Are you kidding me, she did it that fast? While I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the credit for the handy work, the truth of the matter is I had zero responsibility. If there is anything remotely cute on my blog, it is thanks to the ever crafty Moriah Farmer . I say she should charge for her service. She said she does it for people she loves!!!!! She loves me!!! And I love her. She also taught me how to do picture collages. Now don't go comparing mine to hers because hers blow mine out of the water!!! Anyway, I am love the layout myself. Looks more appropriate for this little man in my belly!
Other than that, it has been a relatively day. I had a round of contractions this evening that seemed to concern the nurses. I am about to share way too much info,again. but I think the problem has been solved. Miralax is my friends and should take care of business. Enough said on that! I know I sound like I am in my 80's. The things pregnancy does to the body!!!!
The Ambien has started to kick in and I am officially typing all over the place once again. Spell check will have to do for now because I don't I could effectively proof reed this is if my life depended on it :)! Thank you all for continued prayers. I am so happy to be here. Much more relaxed. Still don't like to see my man walk out the door. But at least no tears tonight! I can be a big girl! But we have high spirits and are doing well. You will hear no complaints from us!
That being said, I am really struggling to put a complete thought together because this Ambien
is really kicking in. So sorry if there a million grammatical errors. I will blame it the medicine for sure. Sweet dreams. Will return with a little Halloween fun!
Just so you know, I feel aslseep and it is now an hour and half later. NO CLUE!!!!! I better post this before something really goes chaotic...Ahhh Ambien!
I saw Dr. B before yesterday's ultrasound so I was eager to hear his thoughts. As I anticipated, he was very pleased with the results. Not only was he encouraged by my measurements, but he was also thrilled with the stability of the situation over the last 24 hours. When I asked, he was quick to encourage me that it is extremely likely we will reach that 28 week milestone. He was even optimistic for more than 28 weeks. As you may know, I think Dr. B is the greatest OB/GYN in the world (no offense to all others...I am sure they are good too..maybe not AS good but... you know)! Anyway, he does not posess the ability to predict the future. That being said, it was reassuring to hear him say he could easily go a good bit longer, pending no unforeseen complications. If he is letting himself think that far, so can we!!!
He did confirm that I will remain here until Wednesday of next week, which was music to my ears. My status at that time will determine if I stay longer or head back home. I will mostly like have another ultrasound on Monday morning to reassess my cervix and the little guys growth. (Dr. B was also pleased to hear yesterdays weight measurement!) In the mean time, I will have my IV removed and will be switched to all oral meds. I am loving the sound of that.
As for the the monitoring of my contractions and the baby. It is only scheduled once during each 12 hour shift and PRN/as needed. If I feel anything changing, they put it on. Otherwise, 2 times a day. Once this IV comes out, it will just look like I am living it up in a rather large room for no real reason!!! Oh, wait, I forgot about the TED hose and compression pumps attached to both legs! :) It is best to remain clot free while appearing to live it up I suppose!
So there you have it. The latest report before 8:30am! Things are going as well as they could be. Lets just keep praying for stability, with none of those unforeseen complications. And of course, for our little one to keep growing away!
For the girls at work who get to read this...be back soon!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The hardest part of the day just occurred; Blake headed home for the night . He was her last night and, as expected, got very little sleep. His boss was gracious enough to let him have the afternoon off. But, he has a full day tomorrow, by himself. So, he needs a good night’s rest tonight. But I would rather have him here with me… Can you tell I am feeling a little sappy? I will stop before I become a puddle.
On to the latest news. I think I managed to post some detail about my ultrasound yesterday. Terrible, ugly, scary are just a few words that come to mind! Dr. B let me know I would have another one today when he made his rounds last night. Fortunately, they like to do inpatients first thing in the morning. It was with MFM, and Dr. C came in to hear the report. To back up just a bit, I was contracting every 5 minutes when I arrived yesterday. They pumped me with oral terbutaline, indocin and 3 rounds of intramuscular terbutaline before they were stopped. Luckily, magnesium was not required. By this morning, I was having very minimal uterine “irritation.” When I went in for the ultrasound, no contractions were felt. Baby boy was measured and this one estimated him a little heavier, at 2 pounds 4 ounces. I was thrilled with that! Then she performs the “non abdominal” scan. No contractions this time. It was like night and day. I could see what appeared to be a full length cervix. Sure enough, she got several measurements, all around 3.6cm/36mm. I could not believe my eyes. The only time my cervix length shortened was when she applied pressure, during which it dropped to 1.3 cm/13 mm. All in all, my cervix is very “dynamic”. When I contract, things get ugly pretty quickly. I feel quite blessed to have had my appointment when I did. More than likely, I would have blown off the contractions as par for the course and may have taken an extra terbutaline. Scary to think it could have sent me to the “point of no return.” I am so grateful Dr. B had me admitted. I feel a million times better knowing that I am being monitored. I do not have to make the decisions. Should I call? Should we go in? Is this more intense? Are these more frequent? Do you see how that can start to make one a little crazy??!!!
For the most part,my day has been quiet as far as my uterus is concerned. I have had lots of calls, posts, emails, posts on the Facebook wall and of course nurses and staff in an out. I have had a steady flow of visitors tonight, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have had little time to sit and write. Wouldn’t you know I was just given Ambien to help me sleep. So even this may be a little shorter than expected!
There are a few future plans I know off. Of course, they could change. The last I hear, I can expect to be here through next Wed. Trying to make sure we get to 28 weeks. We will reevaluate then. For now, it will be important to monitor my contractions. We need to decrease the “dynamics” of the cervix and just not keep testing it! It will eventually go if we let it. But we are trying to stay ahead of the game.
Dr. B will be in sometime in the morning. He was off today but did you really think he would stay away. Not Dr. B, he was in at 7:30 just to check on me…love that man. Not like I love Blake but you know what I mean. It is precious. Anyway, my nurse said he called to get the report from the ultrasound and was pleased but is still cautious with how quickly things go haywire. I expect he will be in before 8:oo and again at the end of the day. I will let you know what I learn from him, for sure.
We are in good spirits. We are grateful for you prayers. The providence of God is the only why such a significant increase in cervical length can be explained!!! I give Him every ounce of the Glory! I am thrilled to be monitored around the clock and will gladly stay here as long as they feel is needed without complaint! I do miss Nugs and Miss Bitty. And of course I miss my right hand man. But I will once again stop with all that. J At least I am being lodged in “Karen’s room” aka “The Predators Suite” aka “Nicole Kidman’s room” and “Steve McNair’s kids room.” Pretty fancy I must say. Not sure how I qualify For such luxuries! I will take it while I can get it. I will on my best behaviour so they won’t kick me out. With the staff I have had so far, that should be no problem. They have been wonderful. Karen told me ALLL about them. She, Chad, Max and Kate are very famous in these parts. Too be she was being discharged as I was being admitted. Barely missed her. I hope to see the little ones I asked you all to pray for. And keep Karen in pray as she is trying to manage some pretty heavy medications at home .
Please keep praying for minimal contraction activity, safety and health for our growing boy, wisdom for my doctors and peace of mind for us. We are really feeling peace despite the circumstances.
Of course there is no adequate way to thank so many people for all the support we have received. You don’t know how much it lifts my spirits to see so many comments from people who genuinely love our family. Thank you so, so much. Prayer have gotten us so far and I believe they just may get us further than the rules of medicine would expect!
Starting to feel loopy no. I am not even going to spell check this because I can hardly type at this point. Bare with me. Ambien is my friend…
More tomorrow! My eyes are getting very heavy and I have to brush my teeth before crashing!!! Lets hope I make it!
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
It is called Baptist Hospital!
That being said, it is pretty obvious today's appointment did not go as well as we had hoped. Over the weekend, my contractions seemed to pick up a bit, requiring me to take extra doses of terbutaline. I was a little concerned that things would have changed for the worse, and it did! My cervix changed quite a bit in a weeks time. The longest measurement we got today was .8cm/8 mm. Not soo good. I left the ultrasound on the verge of tears, concerned with what would happen next. Too be honest, I was more scared that I would be sent home rather than be admitted. My nerves could not take going home after what I had seen. While waiting to see Dr. B, I had a hard time holding back the tears. "I didn't pet Nugget and Olive before we left." Blake looked at me like I was crazy. I was.
After seeing Dr. B, it was decided that I would be admitted for monitoring. I would start terbutaline, orally, every 4 hours and resume Indocin every 6 hours for the next 72 hours. They would hook me up to monitors to watch my contraction activity and baby boys heart rate. So, off we go to the main hospital.
For now, my contractions are being managed managed. Things are a lot quieter than when I arrived. I would write more but I keep losing my Internet connection and have lost what I have written too many times to count now! So...I will update tomorrow.
We just ask for prayers tonight. 1) That the contractions will remain under control. 2) For our peace of mind 3) Strength for this little guy!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Blake took me to Dr. C's on Wednesday. I need to back track a bit before I write about this weeks visit. I failed to mention one detail of my last appointment...you know...the one where I showed up on the wrong day...yea, that one!!! Anyway, Blake works on Wednesday. In order to go with me to see Dr. C, he has to block out his first few appointments after lunch. Showing up on the wrong day caused a delay in my being seen. When I was called back, Blake got to watch me have my blood pressure taken and get weighed. Then he supervised my purse while I went to the restroom with a little cup in tow. (surely you can figure that one out minus the details) Once we got back to the actual room, we sat there 10 minutes or so before Blake had to leave. He had an appointment of his own he would miss if he stayed any longer. Not only did he miss Dr. C completely, he had to call his mom to come pick me up. In the end, it worked out for the best because she had to run me all over Nashville trying to find the steroids I needed!
On to this Wednesday. (this will eventually relate to my hair...) I got to my appointment on time AND on the right day, thank you. Because I was only seeing the doctor and did not have an ultrasound scheduled, the appointment should be quick. Therefore, Blake only blocked out his first appointment after lunch. My appointment was at 1:00. Surely he would be able to leave 1:40 and still get to see his 2:15 patient! Let's just say he didn't even get to watch me have my blood pressure or weight taken, my purse was left unsupervised, and my mother-in-law was headed to Dr.C's!!!! I didn't get to the back until 1:45ish. I sat back there another 30 minutes before the nurse practitioner came in. After the first 10 minutes of waiting, I decided to pull the ole camera out of the purse in an attempt to get a decent head shot for you! I felt like a moron taking picture after picture of myself, praying they did not have some type of hidden camera in the ceiling filming me. They would think I am so self absorbed. I learned I do not take good pictures of myself. After about 30, this was the best I came up with. Oh, and the last one is my "I am tired of waiting" face!
See, I told you, there is nothing too thrilling to see. Don't get me wrong, I think it looks great and all. But it looks about the same as it always does to most folks. You just can't take a picture that explains how much better newly cut and hi lited hair FEELS! And just let me say that it feels very strange to be posting so many pictures of myself. You won't see me for a while...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I don't think Karen would mind my sharing this with you all, as I know she believes in the power of prayer. If you could remember Max, Kate, Karen and Chad at this time, it would be greatly appreciated. She has been such a helpful source of encouragement for me over the last few weeks. She has done an amazing job keeping those little ones safe as long as possible. I just ask that you pray for the health of both babies and Karen at this time.
Thanks a ton!
Update: I just saw a post on Facebook saying Max weighs 4lb .5oz and Kate weighs 3lbs 11.75oz!!!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
My guess is you are getting the sense that things went well. That is correct. It went very well. My schedule was backwards today, which caused the longer than needed visit. I saw Dr. B before my ultrasound. If you have the "non-abdominal" or t.v. ultrasound first, the gel they use invalidates the fetal fibronectin test (fFN). Sooo, we had the test done first, followed by a brief physical exam. Then we asked a few questions about treatment for the future and headed off to ultrasound. No need to stop back by his office. He would just call me tonight with the test results. We would make any necessary changes in meds at that time.
After a short wait, we were called back to ultrasound. Everything looked pretty good to our eyes. The little guy was breech today, with his head up and his bottom down. We didn't get measurements but it appeared as if he had a little more meat on his bones. That makes me happy because I am thinking the fatter the better. My cervical length measured in the 30's abdominally. Like usual, it went nuts with the t.v. view. It dropped from the upper to mid 20's to 18mm. But, hey, that was much better than last week! The ultrasonographer wanted to make sure the radiologist was pleased with the images before she let me go. When she came back in, she said the radiologist wanted to make sure I saw Dr. B before leaving. What...he said I didn't have to come back...it wasn't that bad of an ultrasound...uggghhh???
So, we go back to Dr. B's. All this did was make him panic. He was thinking my ultrasound must have been TERRIBLE if we were back in his office. Needless to say, when he read the report, he was pleased with the results and apologized for the inconvenience. Again, he stated he would call us with the results of the test.
We barely got out the door of the the building before my phone vibrated. It was my favorite nurse calling me with the results of the test! I was quite shocked to hear the results were negative. Yes, I said it, negative!!! (negative is good) Praise God! We were SURE it would be positive. Not because we are being pessimistic but because it just really seemed there was no way around it. I have so many contractions that are so intense. Shows you what we know!
When I started this post, the update wasn't official. But as of 5:19pm CST it is! The man himself just called to confirm the test was negative. I will continue with the terbutaline 3x/day just to keep things quiet. We really need to get to 28 weeks. Since I am on a low dose and it has been working well this past week, we will continue. I am happy with that plan because I really hate contractions. They keep me on edge. The fewer the better for my sanity...regardless of the negative test. There are still the .8% who do go in labor. I prefer to stick with the majority, thank you!!
So, I should not go into labor in the next 2 weeks. If that is the case, it gets our little man to 28 weeks. Such a HUGE milestone. Now I can breath a little easier about really getting there.
Seeing how I actually agreed to let Blake prime the walls in the extra bedroom, you know I am feeling a little more confident about the situation! To top that off, I even looked at car seats online at Consumer Reports and Target. I have not taken the step to register, but I do have one picked out in my head. That is progress.
We see Dr. C tomorrow. I don't expect to learn anything new. No ultrasound, just a consult. And I realize an after picture is needed. I am afraid I have you all thinking I really look like a celebrity. I am sorry to tell you that I really look the same. I just have no roots and my hair feels a million times better. Nevertheless, I will post a picture. Just not on this one. I will save that for another day this week. :) I am trying to post more frequently so I have to save something for later!!!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thankfully, my state of mind has been optimistic and positive all week. Otherwise, I would have been a wreck having seen such numbers. I was quite eager to hear Dr. B's impression of the ultrasound. I think it is accurate to say that he was concerned but not overly concerned. I wasn't admitted so that is a good sign! As a result, he made a few changes in my medication for the the next week. I will be taking terbutaline every 8 hours now rather than on an as needed basis. He also prescribed another medication, Indocin, to be taken over the weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday). The hope in taking all the meds is to prevent further shortening of the cervix. Maybe there will even be some lengthening by next week. Time will tell! Next week he will also do a fetal fibronectin test to help us know if I will go into labor in the next 2 weeks. Rather than me trying to explain how it works, I put a link to the site that explains it's purpose rather nicely.
I suppose I will have the "shakes" and an increased heart rate constantly over the next week. At least that is what I am hoping for! In the meantime, I am trying to keep a positive attitude about the future. Isn't it just like Satan to take my high spirits and try to squish them in an instant? I would be lying if I said his attempts have failed. But, I am not completely down and plan to avoid going there. All I know to do is to ask for prayer. This little guy needs as much time inside the womb as he can get. I can only pray the new plan of action will grant us the time he needs! And that I will be given peace of mind as we wait and see!
Friday, October 10, 2008
I remember seeing the first of our two Maternal-Fetal Specialist walking through the door. Like the rest of the day, much of what she said is a blur. I do recall her stating there was a likely correlation between the early bleed and the preterm labor I was now experiencing. She also gave us the statistics regarding the outcome for 24 week babies delivered via C-section vs vaginal delivery. All research indicated a 50/50 chance of survival either way. We were informed a vertical incision (as opposed to horizontal) would be required to take her from the womb. Such an approach would require longer healing time and would weaken the uterus for future pregnancies. Future pregnancies?? How can I even think about the future at a time like this. They do it for you I suppose. All that said to state that a C-section was never really presented as an option for us.
Everything was happening so fast. They were expecting me to deliver that day. All the doctors could do was try and keep me from contacting in hopes that we could buy more time for her in my womb. Magnesium seemed to be doing the trick. My uterus was quieting down. Two doses of steroids needed to be administered to help stimulate lung development. I was told I would come off magnesium once I received my second dose. The specialists felt that prolonged magnesium use can lead to long term problems for both mother and child. Once the magnesium was stopped, I would switch to Procardia, a cardiac medicine that can also relax the smooth muscles of the uterus.
I was on magnesium from Monday morning until noon on Wednesday. Looking back, the side effects were tough. To set the scene a bit, I felt as if I was hanging upside down in my bed. I could only lie on my right or left side, with my hips and shoulders taking most of my body
weight. Within 10 minutes of finding a "comfortable spot", it felt as if stage 1 bed sores were beginning to develop. But I refused to move. I would stay on the same side for 6+ hours at a time, only making minor adjustments, in fear that turning would cause my membranes to rupture. When I turned, the magnesium made it difficult to breathe. It seemed I had an elephant on my chest that would not allow my lungs to fully expand. I almost felt as if I would suffocate until is subsided a few minutes later. While magnesium made me hot all over, I thought my face was on fire. Staff/family would continually refill a basin of ice water and sit it by my bedside so I could continually wipe my face with a cold cloth. At some point, a fan was positioned at my head to help cool me down. The medicine dried my mouth out completely. At times, it was difficult to speak. To make matters worse, I could not eat or drink. I could have nothing on my stomach due to the nausea associated with magnesium. They were gracious enough to give me ice chips every now and then for relief. Then I recalled the oral hygiene kits we used at EAMC. They were able to hunt some down (once I described them), which was such a treat!
I suppose that sounds like I am complaining. But to be honest, I barely even noticed the side effects at the time. I would do anything it took to keep my baby safe. My mind was focused on her...She would be born and spend months in the NICU. We would have to work out a schedule so one of us could be with her as much as possible. She would likely have physical and mental disabilities, but we could handle that. Our house is not accessible but we would be able to carry her up and down the stairs for at least 4-5 years. We could pull up the carpet to make the floors easier to manipulate a pediatric wheelchair. We would have to make our house work until we could find an accessible, one-story home. The Accords had large trunks so we should be okay with our vehicles until she got a little older...I just focused on her. Nurses told me I was handling the situation so well. "Most people complain and beg to get out of bed..." What in the world? This is my child. I will do ANYTHING you tell me to for as long as it is needed.
I received my first steroid Monday and the second on Tuesday. By Wednesday morning, I was 24 hours out from my second steroid injection. It was time to switch meds. I must admit I was a bit hesitant because of our success on magnesium. Knowing that I was being cared for by some of the best physicians in the area, I could only do what they recommended. I was comforted that Blake was able to read through medical abstracts online for further confirmation of what we were being told. Once the magnesium was stopped, the Procardia was started. There is no time frame in my mind, but the contractions slowly started to increase. It appeared things had progressed to the point that treatment may not be able to stop the process much longer.
February 28th, 2008
I started to spike a temperature, which made them feel infection had set in. Plans were being made for her delivery. Looking back, I am not sure why I was so calm. I knew the odds. But there were so many positive "signs." We met with one of the neonatal nurses who went to church with our family. She felt confident Caroline would be in the NICU sometime that day. She would have a few good days, a "honeymoon" of sorts, before the roller coaster would start. It would be a long difficult road but she would be in the NICU. She set up a tour so Blake could see where she would be taken, meeting the nurse who would care for our baby. Her name just happened to be Danielle. He saw the babies on either side of her bed, born around the same time as she would be. Then, there was the constant reminder of a baby I had been following on a blog. She had been born at 24 weeks and a few days. She was doing remarkable. I thought of her constantly as a source of encouragement. I was convinced I had discovered her blog because I would need to know there was hope. There was sign after sign after sign. She would make it.
Blake was in the NICU when my contractions became unbearable. I assume I had moved into the transition stage of labor. The pain was horrific. I lost all control, begging for my nurse while asking everyone to leave my room immediately. I could not have people seeing me that way. To make matters worse, my nurse was off the floor. 2-3 nurses came in my room, not knowing how far along I was, what was going on, who my doctor was, etc. I was hysterical. "I need Dr. C or Dr. B RIGHT NOW...I AM ABOUT TO HAVE THIS BABY...THE NEONATOLOGIST HAS TO BE READY...I NEED MY HUSBAND NOW!!!!" Totally out of my mind in pain. Again it seemed like an eternity before Blake arrived, followed by my nurse and doctors. I hear it was only 2-3 minutes. At that point things moved at a rapid pace. Again, it didn't seem that way to me but that is what I am told.
I was grateful to know that anesthesia was on its way. When he arrived, I must have thanked J. a million times for coming so quickly, followed by apologies when I cried out for him to hurry during contractions. I can remember apologizing to everyone over and over. I felt like a mad woman who was out of control, and I was. In the moments of sanity, all I could think about was how embarrassing it was to have them see me behave in such a manner. Fortunately, J. got the epidural placed and all pain ceased. What a blessing. No more mad woman. Still lots of apologies and thank yous!
I was taken to the OR for delivery. It seems it was located in close proximity to my room, which made travel time minimal. Once inside, everyone seemed calm. The temperature was at least 10 degrees cooler than my room. The walls and floors were stark white and very sterile in appearance. I was positioned in the center of the room with Blake to my left side. He gripped my hand, both of us holding on for dear life. As I have previously stated, my concept of time was nonexistent. Best I can recall, she was born within 15 minutes of our arrival. She was born at 1:41 pm., weighing 1 pound 7 1/4 ounces and measuring 11 inches in length.
Dr. B quickly held her up as she was being passed over to the NICU team. She made the most precious peep in an attempt to take her first breath. "She's trying!!!" is all I remember saying and then stared into the lights overhead in a fog. It wasn't until Blake shook me with tears flowing down his face, saying "Pray, Danielle, pray" It shames me to think I needed a reminder, in that moment, to pray for my daughter who was fighting to live.
We could hear the NICU team working, positioned to my left and behind Blake. I began to realize that valuable time was passing and we had yet to hear an update. Their dialogue could not be heard. The longer the silence, the more concerned we became. I saw the neonatologist approaching Blake from behind, as his head was buried in my side, praying for our little girl. He tapped Blake's shoulder and stated, "Mr. Malone, we have been trying to stabilize her for nearly 10 minutes. She was trying but we could not get her heart rate regulated. I think it is time we stop." Blake looked at me with disbelief and shook his head in agreement. His head fell to my side as he wept. My gaze returned to the lights overhead. No tears. No emotion. Frozen. It took 30 to 45 seconds before I could internalize what had been said. Caroline would not be in the NICU. Danielle would not be her nurse. There would be no "honeymoon" period. We would leave the hospital empty handed, once again. It was over. The uncontrollable sobbing took over, causing my entire body to tremble in the middle of that stark white, sterile room.
At some point, the neonatologist brought her to the bedside, wrapped in a blanket. He spoke of her beauty as he showed us her fingers and toes. He was so sorry for our loss. Her nurse, Danielle, asked our permission to bathe and dress Caroline. She was quick to state she would take good care of her and would not leave her side. She would bring her to our room once she was ready. It would take a while longer for the doctor to finish up with me.
We were only in our room a few moments before she knocked on the door. Wrapped in a knitted blanket, dressed in a white gown, Danielle placed our sweet, baby girl in my arms. "Take all the time you want with her. I will check on you later." She quietly left the room as we held the daughter we had been praying so desperately for.
Off in a peaceful sleep, it looked as if she would wake at any moment. Every inch of her was perfection. Her head was covered in peach fuzz. She had a tiny button nose and the softest, most kissable lips I have ever seen. She had long, slender arms and legs. At the tip of each finger and toe were nails the size of a pin head. I could not stop caressing her sweet, delicate ears. We analyzed every inch of her body, wanting to store a permanent visual image of her in our minds.
There was another knock on our door. It was Dr. B. His devastation was apparent. He asked if he could hold Caroline as tears filled his eyes. He was so sorry to experience this with us once again. He held her gently as he examined her face and hands. He agreed she was a beautiful baby. His emotions were raw. He place her back in our arms. He exited rather quickly, before he was overtaken with his own grief. We were so moved by his coming to be with us, with her.
Shortly thereafter, there was another tap on our door. This time, it was our parents, wondering if I had made it back to the room. They were not aware that Caroline with us and hesitated to enter. But, we were more than happy to have them meet their granddaughter. It was not at all how any of us had planned. But it was a beautiful and healing moment to share Caroline with those that loved her. In shock and scared, we did not take the opportunity to do the same with Finley. I would not make the same mistake on this day. We felt no shame, no embarrassment. There was no morbidity or fear in seeing her there. We were so in love with our child and wanted everyone to have the opportunity to be with her. I cannot express the joy I felt seeing her in the arms of our parents, brothers and sisters and their spouses. To watch them hold her, speak to hear, and kiss her melted my heart. As parents, it was the most meaningful gifts we were given. A few friends from our small group asked to meet the one for whom they had prayed. We were honored that they felt comfortable in doing so. Our time with Caroline was amazing. The room slowly emptied as we spent a few moments alone with our daughter. We spoke to her, telling her how beautiful she was, how proud we were to be her parents. We just wanted her to know how much she was loved and how difficult it would be to let her go. If we could have stopped time and held on to that moment forever, I am pretty sure we would have chosen to do so.
We had been given a number to call Danielle when we were ready. It had been at least an hour and a half since she brought her to our room. Was it time to call? How do you pick up the phone, knowing you would ask someone to take your baby away? How do you say you have spent enough time with your child? We couldn't do it. Danielle was our angel. She knocked on the door as we were trying to make this difficult decision. Wanting to check in with us, her timing was truly a blessing. She was not there to rush us, offering to leave her with us longer. But it was time. We gave her one last kiss and then placed her back into Danielle's arms. Although we could see her anytime we wanted, we knew it was the last time we would see Caroline here on earth. Before she left, she asked to say a prayer with us, for us and our little angel. It was a precious moment. She closed the prayer and walked away, carrying a piece of our hearts with her.
It has been 32 weeks and 1 day since Caroline's birth. She was born at 24 weeks and 2 days. This post is for her. This post is for me. There is healing in sharing my daughter with you today. I make no apologies for the images posted below. i am not ashamed. She was perfect. She is our beautiful daughter, whom we are so proud to have held, known and love.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Her: "What's your name?"
Me: "Danielle Malone"
Her: "What time is your appointment?"
Her: looks at the computer, perplexed, then replies, "We actually had you down yesterday at 1:30."
Me: "What? I always have his appointments on Wednesday because they said he isn't in on Tuesday...I guess I just assumed...and didn't pay attention to the day of the week. Oh my goodness, I am soooo sorry. This is totally my fault. I am so sorry. " Blah, blah blah!!!!!
To make matters worse, it was another of my brainless moments that got my schedule out of wack in the first place. As we walked out of my last appointment, Blake nudged me and asked if needed to stop by the desk before leaving. I replied with a very confident "nope" and he hesitantly walked on out the door. It was not until 2 days later that I realized my error. I should have stopped by the desk to schedule my next appointment. So, I made it over the phone, with no calendar available to look at while agreeing to see him on...Tuesday!
They were super sweet about the whole thing and got me back with little problem, that I know of. They all made little cracks, "Oh, you're here today!!!... I didn't think it was like you to just not show up!!...I had to rearrange my whole day (smiling)..." It worked out better in the end because I saw Dr. C, rather than the nurse practitioner. He decided to changed things up a bit. More on that later...
Third dumb moment. I needed Blake to pick up blueberries on the way home from work. I called the clinic but was distracted when they answered and did not hear the usual, "H.V.A.H. Can you hold please?" Actually, I didn't hear her initial answer at all. I only heard the second, "Hello????" At that point, I had forgotten who I even called in the first place and had to ask. Nothing like having to say, "Oh...yes...this is Dr. Malone's (airhead) wife. Is he available?" She got in a pretty good laugh before taking off to found him for me!
So, I officially have to admit I have a problem. But, acknowledgement it is the first step towards correcting the issue. I think I am on the road to recovery!
Why did I just share that? This is all so random. Is this really blog worthy?
My appointment went well. Ultrasound look great. He measured 24 weeks exactly. Cervix was fine. When meeting with Dr. C, he asked how many contractions I have been having. After hearing my response, he replied, "You will deliver preterm." Matter of fact. Not mean or heartless AT ALL. He just stated the facts. He decided it best to go ahead and have me take the 2 steroid injections needed to stimulate baby boy's lung development. You have to take one and follow it with a second 24 hours later. He feels it best to have it on board now, in the event that we aren't given 24 hours to wait when the time comes.
Too bad none of the pharmacies around Baptist had the meds in stock. I did not get to have Dr. B's nurse give it to me. That was left up to Blake. Great... He has never give an IM injection to a human being! I'm feeling excellent about being his first. Not to mention we neither had the correct number of needles nor the correct gauge. So, he had to get more... from the vet clinic. They were sterile!!!!
Applause to Blake for doing an excellent job. He has watched them give me IM injections the last 10 weeks. I suppose I should ask his forgiveness for my lack of faith... Actually, I think I will wait and see how things go tonight at 6:53 before doing all that!
Back to my conversation with Dr. C... Hearing I would deliver preterm was not a surprise. But, for whatever reason, hearing is said so confidently has stirred up a fight in me. I have a point to prove! I want to carry this baby longer than he expects. I told him I have lots of people praying specifically for my uterus. His reply, "Uterus, be still!" I know the odds/statistics are against me. But I am choosing to believe we will make it further than anticipated. I am not sure how his comment spurred this boost of confidence but I am going to run with it while I can!
And just so you know, I stopped by the desk on my way out of Dr. C's office and made my appointment in 2 weeks for WEDNESDAY at 1:00!!!
Anyway, I had to clarify...again... Once again, I am only 24 weeks!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
When all was said and done, there was no need for all the worry. Today's visit was fine. The contractions still do not seem to be changing my cervix. Neither do the little guy's constant attempts to kick his way out. His foot was CLEARLY visible right next to my cervix last week. It appears he hasn't moved it since!!! I have asked and asked him to stop but he does not listen to me. I am literally fighting this battle from every angle!
We got to spend a few minutes watching him rub his hand on his forehead. He opened his mouth and took another big gulp. My rehab friends will appreciate this because it looks just like a modified barium swallow!! He kept moving those little little lips all around and even stuck his tongue out a time or two. He is already a mess! We had my favorite sonographer, which always makes the scan more enjoyable.
As for the future, I am excited to say I will participate in my first ever glucose challenge test. Most people dread it, for whatever reason. But I am more than ready to drink my orange beverage and have my blood drawn 1 hour later. To be honest, I can't wait! I am even saying this knowing I will be stuck with 2 needles in one visit. That is huge for me!
Tomorrow I will being going back to Dr. C. I don't expect to learn any new information at that visit. Yes, I will have another ultrasound. #15 or so...I lost track. I just do what they tell me to do. Of course, I will post if there are any changes.
Today was good. Thank you for all the comments. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you Lord for peace today!
I will leave you with two surprises that made me smile.
A beautiful bouquet of roses was sitting at my front door when we got home from the appointment. Thank you Williamson's for such a sweet gift and always thinking of us. Have I mentioned how precious our friends and family are? Just one example...
Melanie Brown stopped by this evening with a gift in hand. It was a daily devotional entitled Jesus Calling. I immediately flipped to the entry for October 7th. I am pretty sure you will understand why I found it appropriate to share!
In order to hear my voice, you must release all your worries into My care. Entrust to Me everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek My Face unhindered. Let Me free you from fear that is hiding deep inside you. Sit quietly in My Presence, allowing My Light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you.
Accept each day just as it comes to you, remembering that I am sovereign over your life. Rejoice in this day that I have made, trusting that I am abundantly present in it. Instead of regretting or resenting the way things are, thank Me in all circumstances. Trust Me and don't be fearful; thank Me and rest in My sovereignty.
One year ago today, Blake's little sister, Anne Claire was boarding a plane to Hawaii with her new husband, Jeremy. Their wedding day had been absolutely beautiful. Months of planning, preparation, appointments and fittings all came together perfectly on one blessed occasion. Not only was I thrilled to have witnessed their union, I was relieved to have enjoyed every second of the entire weekend. That may seem odd for me to say.
The initial plans included a 6 week old little girl, wearing a day gown handcrafted by Lucy. She would have been second in line to steal the show. Anne Claire selected forgiving bridesmaid's dresses that would conceal any lumps and bumps that remained from carrying her 40 weeks. Mine was orderd 2 sizes larger just to be safe. Blake and I were planning to have our daughter at the wedding. Anne Claire was anticipating the presence of her first niece.
After life threw its first curve ball, the family was concerned how my emotions would hold up on October 6th. How would I deal with the awareness that my first child would not be there as planned? My state of mind had been prayed for by many up until that point. Family members prayed specifically for my peace on that day. It worked. I made it through a milestone, of sorts, and had barely shed a single tear of sorrow. She had not gone unnoticed. She was not forgotten. I had just been given peace. What a blessing.
Sunday, October 7th 2007, did not look much different from any other Sunday. We got ready for church, worshipped with our church family, ate lunch and then I did some shopping with a friend. I was distracted most of the day by the calendar. I knew my cycle like clockwork by that point and expected a lovely gift at any moment. Much to my dismay, it had appeared in September after an unsuccessful attempt to conceive. October was feeling no different. Once I got home, I knew there were a few tests under the sink. There was no point in taking one because I already knew the results. But there was also no point in thinking about it constantly for the next few days. To put my thoughts to rest, I decided to just waste money and take one. I proceeded to change from my church/shopping clothes into comfy ones and momentarily forgot about the results. When I remembered a few minutes later, I learned that my instincts were wrong. Two pink lines were telling me the opposite of what I had been feeling. I was pregnant.
Blake had no idea I was even taking a test. He was caught off guard to see me walking down the stairs, half dressed, crying, with a stick in my hand. I can only imagine his initial thoughts... Once he realized what I was holding, it started to make sense. All I could do was sit in his lap and cry tears of joy and concern. This was what we wanted. But could we do it again? Were we emotionally ready to be pregnant again? What if...? In his ever calm voice, Blake reassured me that a new plan was in place for this pregnancy. We were as ready as we would ever be.
Because a new plan was in place, Dr. B got the ball rolling quickly. I was in for blood draws 2 days a week for the first 2 1/2 weeks. He monitored my hCG levels to see that they were doubling every 48-72 hours as they should. We had no problems there. An appointment was made with the hematologist to get Lovenox on board. It would require I take two, 60 mg injections, daily. My stomach was the target and Blake held the dart. It took 10 minutes before I could work up the nerve to let him give me the first dose. I hate to be stuck with a needle of any shape or size. This one may have been small but the medicine stung enough to make up for it! What can you do, though? If this is what it would take to safely bring a child into this world, I would do it. (I may have whined like a 3 year old with each injection...)
The first few weeks progressed smoothly. I purchased a second journal, intending to keep my thoughts and fears within its covers. Yet, somehow, I was never able to open it. I found myself being somewhat superstitious. If I followed the same "rituals" with this baby that I did with Finley, the outcome might be the same. I did not want to "jinx" this pregnancy. I did not sign up at babycenter.com for weekly updates. I had learned my lesson. It had been too hard to "unsubscribe" after Finley's loss. It did not help that your name was given to other companies like ViaCord, Pampers and Gerber, leading to free offers in the mail and frequent calls. Just like the weekly email updates on my baby's progress, the calls and mailers continued after her passing. I finally had to tell a salesman, "I have no cord blood to donate because my baby died. Please remove me from your list." I did not want to set myself up for that again. Because I was too scared to write, dates are fuzzy. I cannot say exactly when the first problem started but it was somewhere around 8 weeks.
Blake and I were home one evening after work. A routine trip to the bathroom revealed a nightmare. I was bleeding. Not just spotting, bleeding. My heart started to race and I felt like I would pass out. All I could do was yell for Blake. Never having experienced an early miscarriage, I assumed I was in the midst of my first. I called the doctor's office, after hours, and was told to make an appointment with Dr. B in the morning and to hold off on the Lovenox. The next morning, I was scheduled for an ultrasound to confirm what seemed to be a first trimester miscarriage. It was miserable to sit in the waiting room with other pregnant women around me. When we got to the room, I could not even look at the screen. I just watched Blake's face and saw his eyes widen with a look of disbelief. There was a heart beat. We still had a baby. We met with Dr. B for the results and learned that I had a small hemorrhage where the placenta and uterus join. Fairly common in early pregnancy, it did not seem to be a major concern. I was sent to the hematologist and my dose of Lovenox was reduced to one 60 mg once a day. It may be the dosing was too much for my body, causing a slight hemmorhage. Trying to look on the bright side, that was one less shot for me each day.
Once we survived the initial hurdle, the pregnancy seemed to return to some sense of normal. It appeared body knew what to do, as I began to show much faster than with Finley. My symptoms mirrored my first pregnancy: fatigue, no mint flavored gum and keep a full stomach or be nauseated. Each time I had an ultrasound, the heart rate was in the upper 170's, just like Finley. In tune with EVERY sensation coming from my lower abdomen, I felt movement for the first time on December 23, 2007. I was 14 weeks and 5 days pregnant, on a plane, flying back from a Caribbean cruise. I was able to feel little flutters over and over the whole flight home. By feeling each kick, I was reassured there was a little life growing within my womb. An ultrasound screen had confirmed it time and time again, but it seemed easier to breathe once I could feel it on my own.
January 18, 2008, Blake and I headed to Gatlinburg to meet some friends for the weekend. I was 18 weeks and 3 days and must admit I was hesitant to travel that far from my doctor. Choosing to put on my game face and go, I would refuse to live in fear, sort of. Just east of Knoxville, I began to notice tightening in my lower abdomen. I didn't give it much thought at first. But when it continued, mile after mile, I could feel my pulse race and my anxiety increase with each passing second. "Was that a contraction? No, it is just my GI tract...I am fine...No, there it is again...I think that was a contraction...Please, Lord, not now...It is just gas...stop doing this to yourself..." My fears were out of control by the time we reached the cabin. Of all times, why did this have to happen when I am finally with a precious friend whom I have not seen in ages? After a few moments in the bathroom, my fears were slightly eased. Maybe it was just GI after all. We went to dinner and I was on edge the whole time. A few more stirrings sent me back to the bathroom. Afterwards, things seemed to stop. I was fine...I was fine...
Another "superstition" of mine involved shopping. I did not want to buy any maternity clothes for myself and I surly did not want to by anything for the baby. That was way to presumptuous. But we were at an outlet and I really needed khakis for work. Gap had a pair that were so comfortable that I gave in and bought them. Then we went to Old Navy and surprisingly found a ton of baby clothes that were to die for. They were marked down to the point that they were practically giving them away. Once again, I broke down and bought them. Some were pink and some were blue. We would not know the sex of the baby until after we returned home. Once we found out, I could take back what wasn't needed. As if I had not already broken a TON of my own rules, I walked into the Motherhood Maternity outlet. I found cute dresses from A Pea In the Pod and Mimi Maternity....marked down to reasonable prices...they could work for a shower... Oh, forget my rules, I just bought them. Against my better judgement, I left with several sacks of maternity and baby clothes. By the end of our trip, I had allowed myself to relax a little and believe it could actually happen. We would really bring home a baby this time.
My ultrasound was set for the 23rd of January. First and foremost, I wanted to hear our baby was healthy. It was a relief to once again learn that all organs were visible, 10 fingers, 10 toes, 4 chambers, 2 hemispheres. Developmentally, our baby was right on track. Then we learned we would be having a girl. It was a bittersweet moment. We would be given a second chance to have a daughter. Because of the similarities between the two pregnancies, I felt like she was a girl all along. It was now confirmed and we were thrilled to get the news. I was going in for weekly checks at that point in time. I had experienced several episodes of what seemed to be contractions and Dr. B was aware. However, with each appointment, my cervix was holding strong. There were no changes. I was not dilating. I still appeared to be progressing according to plan.
On Sunday, February 24th, 2008, Blake and I had been to church. I talked him into swinging by Baby Depot after lunch to look at a few gliders. Thrilled with the idea, he was willing to accompany me as long as the trip was quick. During another routine bathroom break, I noticed a tiny, tinge of blood. It was so minimal, most people would not have even noticed, but, my slightly paranoid eye picked up on its presence. I told Blake but I wasn't all that concerned. Looking back, I am not sure why I came to that conclusion. If only I had gone in at that moment... I decided to keep an eye on things. I was fine the rest of the day with no more sightings. Later that evening, I noticed the tightening, but again, I had been feeling this for weeks. Well into the night, the tightening became more regular and I became somewhat concerned. I was drinking glass after glass of water, with not noted improvement. When I saw another tinge of red during a bathroom visit and I began to worry. Blake and I sat on the bed around 2:00am deciding if I should go now or wait until they opened in the morning? We were both scheduled to work the next morning. I hated to be overly anxious and go in for no reason but something told me this could not wait.
The all-to-familiar drive to Baptist was less stressful than our previous late night trip. I was not having serious contractions. I was not in pain. We got to the registration desk and calmly filled out the paperwork. My bladder was screaming at me due to the gallons of water I had consumed over the course of the evening. I kept asking to use the restroom and was finally allowed once I made it to triage. It was in that moment my world, once again, came crashing down before my very eyes. Bright, red blood. A lot of bright, red blood. My hands started trembling, followed by my entire body. I frantically walked out to Blake and was barely able to tell him what I found. All I could do was cry out over and over, "Not again...please Lord, not again...I can't lose another baby." Over and over. It was all I could say as every nurse in the area flooded my area. Blake was at a loss for words but his face said it all. I have rarely seen that face but I knew what it meant. He was angry. Why was this happening to us?
I was 23 weeks and 6 days when I was admitted, early that Monday morning. The nurses tried to calm me down and reassure me. " This is not the same pregnancy...this is not the same baby...you have to calm down...the outcome does not have to be the same." But their faces told me otherwise. They did not believe the words they were saying. One nurse did and exam followed by a second. When the first asked, "Are those membranes I was feeling," I nearly lost it. By the time I reached the hospital, not only was I dilated, I had hour glassing membranes exposed in the birth canal. To type this is almost too much to bear. Tears fill my eyes as I revisit this horrific moment because I feel like I am there. I can feel the despair like it is happening all over again. I have never felt so far away from my God in my entire life. So alone. So helpless. So hopeless.
I learned of Caroline's existence on October 7th, 2007. I was admitted into the hospital at 23 weeks 6 days, beginning a fight that would ultimately lead to her loss. Here I sit, one year later, on October 7th, 2008 and am now 23 weeks and 6 days pregnant with her brother. It is impossible not to reflect on this day. I am praying for a different outcome and ask that you would do the same for me. Today might be a little harder than others.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"I love you and i always pray for you and your cervix, but i'm starting to get really p-oed at ms. uterus. she needs to get with the program and stop trying to be the star of the show."
This cracked me up so much I had to share...