Friday, September 18, 2015

A letter to my children

Dear Ryan & Hannah,
You have changed our lives, for the better and, forever.

You are both so beautiful that, at times, I'm shocked you're mine. I have to pinch myself that it's all real. But, you are mine... ours! We get the distinct honor and privilege of being your mom and dad.

Sometime we'll get things wrong. Sometimes a little wrong, sometimes hugely wrong. Your mom and dad are human and we will make mistakes. When we do get it wrong, try to remember that everything we do is out of love and concern for you and also that we do mostly get it right.

We have so many hopes and dreams for your future but, one of the big ones is that you remain close throughout your life. That you will love and protect each other as best you can.

You might have noticed that daddy has a different accent. You'll learn all about his home country, England, as you get older and I want you to be proud of that part of your ancestry. I want you to be proud to be half English. One day soon we'll take you back there and I know you'll fall in love with England.

But, I want you to be a proud American, too.

As you get older, we'll tell you a little more about the brother you never got to meet. You'll likely never feel the bond towards Nathan the way daddy and I do. And that's okay. But, we want you to know he was an important part of our lives and changed mommy and daddy.

You see, we might be a bit more protective of you and it might make you annoyed at times. We lost a child and it changed us.

I will always have to remind myself to not be a helicopter parent. I'll always want to hover in the background waiting just in case you stumble. I promise to do my best to back off but, forgive me if I find that hard to do. I'm already cringing at the idea of handing over car keys and letting you drive off alone for the first time.

(Warning: I might be hiding in the trunk)

Most of all, we promise to love you and offer all the support possible.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hannah at 6 weeks

Hannah is six weeks old today and she's a wonderful little girl. She eats like a baby twice her age but, the doctor said she's not overweight. She has mostly outgrown her newborn clothes and has moved on to 3mos sizes. 

Weight: 9lbs 9oz (46th%)
Height: 21.25 (39th%)
Head: 14.75 (46th%)

There is one small hiccup; she has a hemangioma (benign tumor) on her lip. We see a specialist soon to decide what's to be done. In most cases, they end up going away on their own. We'll know more about her specific situation after we see the specialist. 

Otherwise, she's wonderful and perfect. She's sleeping longer at night which, for her, means getting up only twice. She sleeps for about four hours straight overnight. 

I return to work in two weeks and it's causing me a little anxiety. I know she'll be safe where she's going as it's been where Ryan has been for two years. 

Still, I can't help but worry about her.

Speaking of Ryan...

He started Kindergarten last week. His teacher is sweet, young and enthusiastic.

Here is a picture of him walking to school on the first day with his friend.

My husband has been blogging our family life for five years and recently moved it to blogspot.
He's very funny so go check it out here!

Until next time, Hannah and I will catch you later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time is flying by

I can't believe Hannah is nearly 4 weeks old.

There is so much to tell and it's hard to organize all my thoughts and everything that's been going on but, I'll summarize as best I can.

Hannah is up to 8lbs 7oz and is very close to being too big for newborn diapers and clothes. This is a huge difference to Ryan who wore newborn until he was 3 months old.

As for our "birth story", it's not really all that interesting to be honest. We showed up at the hospital at 7:30 for a 9AM scheduled c-section.

Everything went pretty much the same as with Ryan (and Nathan) to start with. Once they had me numb from the waist down they let James come in. One big difference between this delivery and the other two; I didn't throw up a single time. Hoorah!

I'm not sure how long it took to get Hannah out, it felt like quite a while. Once she was out, this is where things were very different between Ryan and Hannah's delivery.

Difference #1: Right after the doctor pulled her out she held her up over the screen for me to see. She was covered in muck and her face was all screwed up in a scowl. It was scary and hilarious at the same time.

Side note: A few days before she was born I was joking with a friend saying Hannah was going to come out looking like a Mandrake from the Harry Potter movie. Damn if that's not exactly what popped into my head when they showed her to me at that moment!

They took her over to the scale and I heard her crying (I don't think she cried before that moment). I remember James and I looked at each other and a sigh of relief came from us both.

The nurse told James to come over and he took pictures while they checked her out.

Different #2: Once she was wrapped up and handed to James, he was allowed to bring her over to me to be held up to my cheek. When he put her cheek to my cheek, she turned her head to me. She knew I was mommy. We were able to stay like that for a long time. A nurse took our camera and took pictures of the three of us like that and then of just Hannah and I cheek to cheek.

With Ryan, after he was weighed and wrapped up, they scooted him and James out of the OR to the recovery room to wait for me. I was able to get a quick look before they left me but, nothing more than that.

This new way is much, much better.

I was in the hospital for two nights. After that, I was ready to get the hell out of there. I don't like hospital beds. I find them to be as comfortable as sleeping on a pile of bricks.

A few random notes from the hospital stay:

I had quite a few family and friends come visit but, the one that sticks out the most (of course) is Ryan. When he came into the room my Aunt was holding Hannah* and I was laying in the bed.
He waved to her and it was the sweetest reaction ever.

*The day I came home from the hospital Ryan asked me if there was still a baby in my belly. I said "No Ryan, you can see Hannah is here". He said "then why is your belly still big?" Wow, thanks Ryan.
I decided to ignore that and said "The doctor took Hannah out of my belly". He said "No, Aunt Maggie took Hannah out of your belly".
We guess he assumed that because, when he met Hannah for the first time, Aunt Maggie was holding her.
(And, for the record dear son, I lost 6 pounds during my pregnancy AND dropped another 20 -and counting- after she was born)

We've settled into our home life quite comfortably now.
I suppose I was expecting an experience very similar to Ryan's first weeks at home but, it's been quite a big difference.

Ryan was on formula and breast milk to start and slept through the night early on. Hannah is on breast milk exclusively and wakes up 2-3 times a night to be fed.

Having a baby that wakes up a few times throughout the night is hard. James is back at work now so I get up with her overnight on week days. It pretty much means I spend a good portion of my day in a drowsy fog.

Usually her and I take a nap later in the morning or, sometimes, in the afternoon. But, most weekdays I'm only getting about 4 hours of sleep over night (sometimes less) and maybe, if I'm lucky, a two hour nap later in the day.

My in-laws (MIL, FIL & SIL) are flying over from England tomorrow. We're very excited to have them come. I love my husbands family and always look forward to their visits.

On Hannah's due date we attended a baby shower in her honor at James' work. It was such a special thing they did for us and I was overwhelmed by the generosity of his colleagues. It was even more special because Hannah was there for her own shower!

We're having a "Sip & See" this coming weekend, too. The few people who haven't met Hannah yet will be coming for the occasion. I have to say, I prefer baby showers with the baby being there. The one my work had for me before Hannah was born was lovely but, I love being able to show off the honoree. This has all been for her after all!

I return to work on September 23rd and Hannah will go to day care. She'll be at the same place Ryan has been for the last 18 months and I trust them but, I know it will be hard to leave her there at first.

Ryan starts Kindergarten in a week but, he'll be at that day care after school so, it's nice knowing that they'll be there together.

I'm sure there are other things I meant to write about while composing blog updates in my head over the last couple weeks but, it's 3AM and Hannah is sleeping so I think I will, too.

Until next time, I leave you with this:

Big brother & little sister

Monday, August 3, 2015

Introducing Hannah

Hannah Claire was born on 7/29/15 @ 9:51AM weighing 7lbs 13oz and 20" long via scheduled c-section.

She's absolutely perfect.

I'll write more soon about her birth and how things have been since coming home.

For now, here are a couple pictures of our sweet daughter.

Do I even care that I'm being stitched up?

Mommy & Daddy holding Hannah

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Six days to go & Ryan gets a nasty virus

This has been a pretty awful week (so far).

On Monday Ryan's school called saying he was lethargic and complaining he didn't feel well. So, James runs along to pick him up and by the time I get home, he's out of it.

Once he stirred I took his temp and it was 101.7. Gave him so ibuprofen to bring down the fever and that's been what our life has been like ever since.

His fevers spikes, ibuprofen brings it down, wears off & we start over again. This fever comes along with a bad cough and some diarrhea. Awesome.

Last  night we got him to the doctor because his fever peaked at 103. He has Adenovirus - whatever that is.

No medication can be given, it just has to run it's course which is 5-7 days. We're on day 4.

Last night I finally got some decent sleep - 7 hours maybe. I feel like a walking zombie still, though.

This morning when I took his temperature it was 102.6. I really don't even need a thermometer anymore. When I felt his back I knew it was over 102 and, I was right.

Just the poor kids luck, too. He has a friend who is in town for two weeks only from Saudi Arabia and we had a play date planned for Saturday. I'm not at all convinced he'll be okay in time. But, we'll see.

I've had to fib to Ryan this week and tell him that school was closed because he was getting upset about missing the field trips. No, I don't expect I'll be getting a "Mother of the Year" award any time soon.

As for Hannah...
On Friday her estimated weight was already at 7lbs. She was very active during her NST so, no concerns with her.

My own weigh-in had me having lost 2 pounds this pregnancy. My doctor was quite pleased with that and offered a "great job" congrats for it.

My final NST is tomorrow and my final OBGYN appointment is Monday.

I expect next time I update this blog, I'll have pictures of Hannah to share. My energy is waning tremendously and I haven't opened my MacBook at home in at least two months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Two weeks to go

I intended to write a bit last week about Nathan but, it was a hard day as it is and, adding to it, James & I came down with some kind of stomach virus.

The day came and the day went. Between throwing up and sleeping we both thought a lot about our son and I was able to have a proper cry for him. I love and miss him so much - I can't even describe the piece of me that feels missing even three years later.

It's still incredibly emotional so, I'm going to move on now...

My NST's & BPP's are all going well and Hannah is doing great.

Her mommy... not so much. I have Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction which is causing a great deal of pain. Oh my gosh the pain! It actually reminds me very much of the first several days after a c-section when your pelvis hurts and it's hard to walk. Or stand. Or sit. Or... you get the picture.

I'm also being monitored for Pre-eclampsia. This is a new development just in the last few days. On Friday there was some protein in my urine and my blood pressure was a little higher than usual.

We returned today and there is still protein in my urine and my blood pressure was even a little higher so, blood work was done. I will get those results pretty quickly and then we'll see where we go from there.

The doctor said 37 weeks is full term so, if needed, we'll get her out early.

There is a strong part of me that is ready to deliver her on Wednesday. That part of me is growing with each painful step I take.

But, two weeks is barely more than one week so the other part of me says "suck it up, buttercup".

As it stands, I'm scheduled for the c-section on July 29th @ 9AM at exactly 38 weeks.

I made the switch from Lovenox to Heparin and it has been another miserable experience to add to the list. The Heparin needle is twice as thick, the liquid feels twice as thick and it's twice a day. I seriously hate the Heparin and can't wait to be done with it and back on Lovenox (which isn't until post delivery).

Ryan is still marking off the days on his calendar and is very excited about meeting his little sister. He talks about her all the time and has started asking for two of everything so that "Hannah can have the other one".

I'm tired folks and I'm not sure when I'll write again. I hope to update at least once more before delivery day but, we'll see if I manage it.

Please keep my family in your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This is the month I have my baby!

(Okay, OUR baby. I mean, James did have a hand in it!)

I'm 34 weeks today and, in exactly four weeks, Hannah will make her debut!

Remember my last post when I said I want to remember and enjoy every minute of this pregnancy and not rush it?

Yeah, I take that back.

Since she's moved to head down I feel like my pelvis is supporting the weight of a bowling ball. It's uncomfortable and painful.

Sitting hurts. Standing hurts. Laying down hurts.

I don't get a lot of sleep at night because I just can't get comfortable.

I'm boiling hot all the time and find it difficult to cool down, especially at work.

Speaking of work... my office chair is pretty much torture. I have a back cushion and a butt cushion on it but, they're not helping.

My point?
Let the last four weeks fly by!

Ryan was asking nearly every day when Hannah was coming so we made him a special July calendar where he can cross off the days. I think this visual will work better than us trying to explain weeks/days to him.

It's now hanging on the fridge and today he got to make his first "X" on it.

As for my weekly appointments, all is well with Hannah. She's still passing the NST and BPP with no trouble and, at last check, was measuring pretty big.

We do another size/weight check at 36 weeks and that should give us an idea of what to expect at birth.

Finally last weekend we started to actually prepare for her arrival. I think James and I both felt like we'd put a jinx into motion if we started too early but, the time had come.

James went into the storage area in the basement and started to pull out some stuff we needed to inventory so we'd know what was left to buy.

He put the bassinet together for me (under slight protest). The thing is, this bassinet was bought brand new for Nathan and it was put together well in advance of his arrival.

However, we can't live in Nathan's shadow forever. We have to move forward and know that while it was intended for our second son, our first daughter will be the one to use it. And, that's okay.

Speaking of Nathan...
Monday will be his third birthday. Or, "Angelversary" as many parents in our situation like to call it.

Three years. Wow.

I'll write more on that Monday.

Lastly, I have to say how proud I am of the USA Women's Soccer Team for their outstanding win against Germany last night. It was a nail biter for me and had my heart pounding but, we did it! We're going to the final on Sunday and I'm so excited!

Today I'll be supporting England against Japan in hopes of a USA v. England final. The showdown in my house will be epic but, even James said that England has already well surpassed expectations and, if they do make it to the final, he knows USA will be the better team.

With that being said - GO USA!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

32w 6d - So very proud of my girl

Today's BPP & NST went so much better!

AFI went from 8.8 to 16.8. Hannah was plenty active for the BPP ultrasound and was practicing her breathing very nicely.

She even cooperated for the NST which showed to be reactive. Everything is perfect.

And, she's even moved into Vertex position, finally!

I can't even express what a relief all this is. She's beautiful and perfect and in five short weeks, we'll be bringing her home.

As for me, well, I'm hot all the time. It's summer so to be expected but, I just can't cool down enough to feel comfortable, even inside.

At home and work I have a fan blowing on me all the time. In the car I turn the AC up as far as it will go. I'm huge and uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, being hot all the time also means I'm not sleeping very well. I wake up feeling sweaty and gross.

Also, my back is starting to hurt a lot. At home I move from the sofa to the La-Z-Boy and back again several times throughout the evening.

I'm feeling Hannah down quite low now (a result of her position change I suppose) which means I feel dragged forward more than ever. I'm sure this is causing the more severe back pains. I walk as fast as your average 90 year old these days.

However, none of it matters. I'm taking in everything I can the last month of this pregnancy. I want to remember and enjoy it all.

I'm 40 years old and, next month, I'll have two kids. I think that's perfect and I can hang up my TTC cape for good.

So, I don't want to let a moment of this last month to go unnoticed. After Hannah comes, I'll never again know the feeling of being kicked from the inside. Of smiling and rubbing my belly when my baby is hiccuping (which is every day now).

I'm savoring as much of it as I can.

Friday, June 19, 2015

32w 2d - A very long morning

First up this morning was the MFM appointment.

Quick stats:
Fetal Position: Transverse (This time in the opposite direction)
Heartbeat: 151
Fetal Weight: 5lb 2oz (77th%)
Mommy weight: -2 from start & +1 from last week
AFI: 8.8 (slightly low)
BPP: 8/8

After the first ultrasound where they measured her (but, didn't do a BPP) was the NST. The NST was a big giant bag of fail. The monitor couldn't find the heartbeat without the nurse pushing it down and she wasn't moving around anyway so, they decided to send me back to ultrasound to do a BPP.

Hannah was sleeping. Her heart was beating beautifully but, she was clearly sleeping. No moving around and definitely not breathing.

So, we moved position a few times to get her to wake up since a sleeping baby won't pass a BPP.
Finally, after a few position changes and some prodding at her, she woke up long enough to do some breathing and moving.

Then it was the meeting with the MFM. This particular doctor is my least favorite to talk to. He's a great doctor but, not so great bedside manner.

He said normal amniotic fluid is between 10-20 and I only have 8.8. Not panic territory but, we need to keep an eye on it. He asked questions like do I feel leaking (no) and her movement (normal).
He decided that rest & fluid is the course of action to take until Tuesday when he wanted to check the fluid again.

Then it was off to my OB. On my way to the OB, the MFM called him to discuss the visit we just had. The OB walked in and asked how freaked out the MFM made me. I told him pretty freaked out. Enough that I called James, who wasn't planning to go to this OB appointment, and told him to meet me there.

He said AFI between 8-18 is considered normal so I'm low normal but, we're going to keep a close eye on it. He agreed that rest & fluid is the best thing to do between now and Tuesday when we reevaluate.

He also assured us that if the fluid dropped I'd be admitted to the hospital right away and given the steroid shots. Our goal is to keep her in as long as possible but, we all agree out is better than in if she's distressed.

It looks as though twice weekly appointments are now required as we make our way through the next 5 weeks and 5 days.

I want to carry Hannah to 38 weeks. It seems so close yet, as they say, so far away. This is my daughter and I want so much for her to be safe. The thing is, safety is such a very fine line during pregnancy. You're constantly weighing risk/benefit in a high risk pregnancy.

The most important thing is, I feel like I'm being taken care of. I feel like everyone involved is paying close attention and the right decisions will be made to keep her alive.

Today I am 32w 2d and I lost Nathan at 32w 1d. It makes me anxious to be in this place right now.

On another topic...
Yesterday for some reason I decided to look up a c-section video on YouTube. It freaked me out! I don't know why I did this so close to the end but, I really wish I hadn't done that.

I sent James and text saying "yeah no, I can't do that".
Of course he pointed out I've already done it. Twice in fact.

But, the thing is, I didn't know exactly what was involved before. I mean, I knew what went on in general but, now that I've seen it...

Well, I can't unring that bell.

Bring on 9/29/15 @10:30AM!

Monday, June 15, 2015

31w5d - We have a delivery date!

Friday I saw my OB and MFM at back-to-back appointments.

Weight gain is... nothing. I'm down from my last appointment again so, I've gained nada from appointment #1. In fact, I'm down 3 pounds from my first appointment last December.

Let me just say first and foremost I have no idea how that happened. I feel like I ate a truck full of crappy food in the last month and had very little vomiting so I expected to have gained about five pounds, maybe more.

Hannah has moved right back to transverse position but, since I'm having a c-section, no one is at all concerned about how she's positioned.

Heartbeat was strong in the 150's and she passed BPP with an 8/8, again.

So first up was the OB. I knew it was time to start discussing "D" date. I told him the MFM had said at my appointment a few weeks ago that he preferred for my OB to deliver at 39 weeks. My OB got pretty angry and basically said "no, it's my call and we're going in at 38". He asked me to wait while he called over to the hospital.

So then it was off to the hospital for the BPP and the MFM appointment. I had already decided I wasn't going to bring up the delivery date, to just leave that to my OB to fight.

After the BPP I met with the MFM doctor who said something along the lines of "with your history we think it's a good idea for you to deliver at 38 weeks".

I wanted to laugh at her and say "oh, did you?". But, I let it go. I said okay sounds good, I'll get with my OB to schedule that.

Incidentally, my OB said he has a good and valid argument to go in at 37 weeks but, we'll push it to 38. This is something I agree with completely.

So, barring anything unforeseen, Hannah will join us on July 29th, 2015.

I'm on weekly appointment with the OB & MFM now going forward which will be a hassle to work around but, what's six weeks, right?

6 weeks left... EEK!

Edit to add: I also received the Tdap vaccine on Friday from my OB and holy cow did I have a rough reaction to it!
Swollen (and extremely sore) arm, nausea, fever, fatigue & another one or two symptoms I'd rather not blog about.

Monday, June 8, 2015

30w5d - BPP #1

Friday I had what I think was the best appointment so far with the Perinatologist.

It was the first BPP (Biophysical Profile) and first & foremost, Hannah aced it. The best score you can get (assuming no NST is done) is 8/8 and that's exactly what she got.

She was kicking and practicing breathing and being all over a very squirmy little girl. The sonographer was so pleased with the ultrasound and was getting excited showing me interesting things on the screen.

She's now in a breech position that is also kinda sorta transverse. Leave it to any daughter of mine to be completely awkward!

I left that appointment feeling like a million bucks!

Last Wednesday was Ryan's pre-school graduation. I would have gotten emotional about it all seeing him in a cap & gown if it weren't for the fact that Ryan chose to participate in the most minimal way. After a couple weeks of practicing the songs and the Pledge of Allegiance, when it came to show time he just wasn't interested. Myself, Paul & Fiona mostly laughed our way through the entire thing because Ryan was happy to do anything but be a part of what was going on. And, of course, he was in the front row so his non participation was completely noticeable.

He's fortunate perhaps that the other kids and parents like him so much because he got some "ooooh's and aaaah's"& giggles for his antics. I need to teach him that he can't rely on charm and a cute face forever.

Saturday Ryan had his final t-ball game of the Spring season and the trophy ceremony directly after. I'm so proud of how far he came during the three months he played. We asked if he wanted to continue with t-ball in the fall or try soccer again but, he wants to stick with t-ball. So, we're signing him up for the Fall season, too.

Sunday was kind of a bittersweet day because he had a play date with his two best friends, one of which is moving away in two weeks. We were at Chuck E. Cheese for about three hours letting them run each other ragged before it was finally time to say goodbye.

He'll be attending his first official sleep over later this month at another friends house. I have no idea how well that will go down but, we told the other parent we're willing to give it a try if they are. I suspect Ryan will be okay but, I'll have a hard time with it. He'll only be around the corner and it will be a nice break for James and I.

And finally, this morning as I was leaving for work, having already said our goodbyes, he ran up to me for an extra hug... that he said was for Hannah.

Okay, maybe he can rely on his charm and cute face forever, after all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

29 down, 10 to go

The MFM wasn't so sure that delivering at 38 weeks was necessary so, at this time, we're aiming for 39.

That still depends on how the BPP & NST's go of course. If something seems off, they'll make the decision to go earlier.

I don't mind waiting until 39 as long as everything is looking okay. I know that newer studies have shown there are huge benefits to keep a baby in until 39 weeks because of the development that goes on between 38 and 39 weeks.

All well and good assuming everything is fine. However, if something feels wrong, I'm going to fight and make sure they do the right thing this time. We lost Nathan because of the "wait & see" approach and, well... hell no. Not again.

I've been pouring over the dates when things started to go wrong with Nathan.

My water broke at 30 weeks. I went into labor at 31 weeks and again at 32 weeks which was when he was ultimately born via emergency c-section.

The MFM said it was significant that the water broke before I went into labor. It indicates that pre-term labor was due to the water breaking so, had it not been for the water breaking, pre-term labor likely wouldn't have happened.

Okay, I see what he means. But, what was the cause of the PROM (premature rupture of membranes)? That's something we're still unsure of and will never know with certainty. So, how do I know I won't suffer from PROM again?

The truth is, we don't. However, if that does happen again, I won't be agreeing to any plan that keeps Hannah inside of me this time.

With all that being said, I have high hopes that the next ten weeks or so will go as planned and everything will be fine without any complications or drama.

I'm counting kicks/movement every evening and will start doing that twice a day now. Today it feels like she's sitting very low and pressing on my bladder. Very uncomfortable! I'm running to the bathroom frequently and I'm sure the receptionist is sick of seeing me go flying past her desk so often.

I had lunch with my friend/co-worker today. She delivered her stillborn son at 36 weeks back in January. She was kind enough to bring in a photo album filled with pictures of her precious son and I couldn't help but shed tears looking through them. The love and anguish is so apparent on her and her husbands face and I was struck again at the complete unfairness of it all.

I have to say though, she's a fighter. She's handling her grief so well that she amazes me.

Her kindness and support has been huge for me since we've become close. Today I came into work and there was a gift from her at my desk for Hannah. The fact that she's less than six months removed from her own loss and she thought to buy something for me really speaks volumes about her character.

I look forward to the day I get to repay the gift for her next baby. I hope it's soon. Very, very soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Let's try a new position

28w 2d

Yesterday I had another MFM appointment.
They had some computer issues so weren't able to give me my normal blue sheet with all the relevant info so I'm having to recall details from memory.

Fetal position: Breech and facing my spine (although, thinking back, the sonographer showed me how her face was still up against the placenta. And I know my placenta is anterior so how can she be facing my spine? I think that part was recorded incorrectly).
Fetal weight: 2lbs 15oz (67%!)
Heartbeat: High 150's
AFI: 15
Cervix: Long and closed (can't remember exact measurement)

Hannah is growing well and is pretty big for her age. The cord wasn't anywhere near her neck thankfully. The movement from transverse to breech isn't a big deal this early on. Still plenty of time for her to go head down.

She had the hiccups during the ultrasound which was unbelievably cute to watch (I'm pretty sure she has the hiccups as I sit here and write this).

Laying down on my back for even a minute or two is extremely uncomfortable so that makes ultrasounds tougher.

I start weekly BPP testing on June 5th and weekly NST testing on June 12th. I had thought the NST testing would start the same time as BPP testing but, it turns out they don't consider NST testing very reliable before 32 weeks so, that's been put off a bit longer.

The past few days she's been pretty crazy with the kicking and thumping around in there. I don't care how uncomfortable it gets, I love every single second of it. My daughter is growing big and strong and that's the most important thing.

Temporary discomfort and all the trips I have to make to see various doctors over the next ten weeks is nothing at all. I'm just so happy to have her with me every day. We can't wait to meet her.

But, not just yet.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Come drink the water

Friday when I was leaving work I stepped on the elevator with a colleague who works on the same floor I do but, on the other side of the building.

We were making small talk (I think she asked when my due date was) when she said "There are so many pregnant women on your side of the building, I'm not drinking the water over there!".

I laughed, nearly hysterically and said, "In the water? If only! It took me years, thousands of dollars, medical intervention and several disappointments to get to this place!"

Hopefully I didn't come across as a bitter woman, that wasn't my intention at all. I just blurted those words out without thinking.

Of course, in the end, I fell pregnant without any of the extra help. But, I didn't mention that because, I'm pretty sure I had already said too much to a woman who is just a work acquaintance.

So who knows... maybe it is in the water.

And, maybe I just stumbled across a way to make a few extra dollars:

For Sale: *Magic Fertility Water
*Disclaimer: May take anywhere from 6 months to never to become pregnant - results vary.

Or, maybe not.

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 hour glucose tolerance test - Round 2

Another pass!

Fasting: 77
Hour 1: 145
Hour 2: 143
Hour 3: 75

No more GD testing, no more fasting (until c-section day)!

With the worrying I've been doing lately, one less thing to add to the list is fabulous news indeed.

I should stress that I don't have any specific concerns that are worrying me, more of a general worry. I'm getting really close to 31 weeks which is when I went into pre-term the first time with Nathan. Knowing this makes me rather anxious about the chances of pre-term labor again. I'm at a greater risk now that it's happened before.

We love Hannah so much but, we're not ready to meet her yet. We need her to stay warm & cozy right where she is for another 11 weeks.

Also, the position of the cord at my last ultrasound is on my mind a lot. Draped over her shoulders like some diva wearing a scarf is too close for comfort. Fashion & accessories comes later sweet daughter - stay away from the cord!

It's going to be a very long 11 weeks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

27 weeks - hello 3rd trimester

Today I took the second (and final, I hope) 3 hour glucose test.

I didn't bother testing myself along the way because the numbers were so off last time on my meter. However, it did feel much different this time. At the end I wasn't shaking and didn't feel hypoglycemic at all. It's probably because I ate late last night and haven't thrown up in several days.

Quick stats:
Blood pressure: 124/78
Weight gain: +1 lb since very first appointment
Heartbeat: 150
AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index): 19
Fetal position: still transverse

Hannah gave us all a good panic during my check-up, though. The doctor wasn't able to find the heartbeat with the doppler which is very unusual for 27 weeks.

We had to wait (very nervously) about ten minutes to get to the room with the ultrasound as it was being used by another patient. In the mean time I was asked about movement and I admitted that last night it took nearly 2 hours to get ten kicks which was unusual. I don't get much movement in the morning at all so we can't use that as a barometer for an AM appointment.

Within a second of the transducer being put on my belly the doctor said something along the lines of "there's a little movement there". Okay, relief and now I can look at the screen.

However, she didn't move much at all but, the heartbeat was very visible. The doctor tried to get her to move and Hannah was having none of it.

During the ultrasound, the doctor who delivered Nathan came in to give me a hug. Word has spread in those ten minutes waiting for the ultrasound room to be available. Doctors were nervous. I was nervous.

I was reminded again to be aware of movement and if something seems unusual, to just call. She stressed to me that it's not a problem to call and she'd rather all our minds me put at ease if something seemed "off".

Bottom line though, she looks fine but, they do want to move my next MFM appointment up so that was rescheduled to next week to get a look at the cord.

As soon as I went back to sit down to wait for another blood draw, she started to move around which gave us all peace of mind.

The OB is going to ask the MFM for permission to deliver at 38 weeks. Even for scheduled c-sections, the standard practice now is 39 weeks but, my OB would like to go a little early based on my history. I completely agree and hope the MFM will permit. Given how nervous the MFM doctors are over my obstetric history, I suspect they'll also agree that this is a good plan of action.

Of course, I'm at higher risk for pre-term labor again so we're all just holding our breath hoping to make it to 38 weeks.

So, it looks like my second August baby will, in fact, be another July baby.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's not everyday you turn 40 (or, 16 as it were)!

I came in to work today to a "Sweet 16" themed decorated cube.

(So, I'm either 40 & pregnant or 16 & pregnant)

I'm sad to say goodbye to my 30's but, not because I fear aging. I'm sad to leave them behind because it was a truly amazing time in my life.

It was the decade I met my husband, got married, became a mom to two gorgeous sons and became pregnant with my own little princess.

Not to mention I met the best friends of my entire life in my 30's. I traveled to about a dozen or so countries and enjoyed the best and warmest camaraderie with my DC United family (I miss you guys terribly, I really do).

But, with so much to look forward to in my 40's, I know it will be another fabulous decade!

Thank you to every single person who impacted my life the last ten years!

Laissez les Bon temps roulez!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Five years ago today we welcomed our gorgeous and spunky son into this world. It was a perfect day.

He's a spirited & imaginative little boy who can build nearly anything with Legos and absolutely loves Transformers.

We're so proud to be his mommy & daddy!

Birth - 4

Friday, May 1, 2015

MFM appointment #5

Quick stats

Fetal Position: Transverse
Placenta: No Anomalies
Heartbeat: 158 BPM
Amniotic Fluid Index: 13.2 (normal)
Fetal Weight: 1lb 15oz (67th %)
Gestational Age: 25w1d
Gestational Age based on measurements: 25w3d
Cervix: Closed & 4.3cm (excellent)

So she's in a bit of a weird position. No biggie, still plenty of time to move back to vertex position. 

The cord is currently draped over her shoulders a bit like a scarf but, not around the neck.
Even so, I'm to start kick counting now so we can intervene early if there is distress.

I admit, I was hoping the cord would be far away from her neck and it's a little scary with it being so close and her being in this awkward position. 

It's still hard to get any good ultrasound pictures of her profile or face but, we probably got the best ones yet yesterday.

An uncooperative profile
Hand right by the face

She is determined to be a complete surprise upon arrival with no real glimpses beforehand. 
Fine by me really, I know she'll be beautiful!

We see women go back for the ultrasound and they seem to be gone five minutes and come back with only one picture.

We're always back there at least 20 minutes and are sent home with a whole scroll of paper worth of pictures. I guess that's the different between a routine appointment and a true high risk appointment. They leave no stone unturned. 

All is well and so far, so good. 

When we got home I took a bath and, a little later, James left to get Ryan and brought home his school pictures. 

As soon as I even caught a tiny glimpse of them in James' hand, I started to tear up. My son is growing so fast and time is flying by so quickly. 

Because this is his last few months in pre-school, they do graduation pictures along with the normal Spring pictures. When I saw they'd be doing this a few weeks ago, I thought it was kind of silly. Pre-school graduation? Whatever.

However, the adorable pictures totally changed my mind and it's worth the silly tradition for results like this.
"Graduation" picture

Spring picture

Honestly, I feel like I'm floating on air today. Everything is just so perfect and we are a very excited family just waiting for Hannah to join us. 

But, not too soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

25 weeks & baby girls name

Apparently the next 3 weeks is when I'll feel the most movement from my daughter and from there, as she runs out of room, movement will decrease some and not be quite so dramatic.

In fun news, our crib arrived this weekend and it's gorgeous!
It's also a much nicer crib than we put on our registry. Turns out my in-laws bought the one we put on our registry but, Babies R Us saw fit to send us a crib that costs 2.5x more than what my in-laws paid for it.

It was obviously a mistake on their part but, we're just going to leave that alone.

We haven't set up the crib yet because we're still rather undecided what the bedroom situation will be.
As it stands now, we're thinking she will take Ryan's room and Ryan will move into the guest bedroom.

I still want to think of the matter more before we move everything around.

As for her name...
We settled on that some time ago but, wanted to keep it private for a while. I don't feel the need to anymore so here we go:

Our sweet girl will be called Hannah.
And, we're totally in love with her.

Friday, April 24, 2015

1,022 days

Or, 2 years, 9 months & 18 days.
146 weeks.

That's how long it has been since Nathan died.

And, I still can't handle baby showers. I tried and I guess overall it was a success. I mean, I stayed until the end (it was a work shower).

But, it was hard. I cried. The mommy-to-be cried as I cried. Thankfully, nearly everyone was gone by then and not many witnessed my blubbering.

She's having a boy and seeing all the decorations was incredibly hard.

Please understand, it's not that I'm not thrilled for her because I am. The whole thing just felt so... familiar.

This is my friend who was pregnant with me before. We had the same due date. She has a lovely son who is nearly 3 (plus a second son due very soon) and I'm here praying every night my daughter makes it to birth. Just let me keep her, please.

I thought finally being pregnant would make it easier but... nope. It was still heartbreaking.

And, well meaning colleagues said things like "it will be your turn next".

It's a very awkward dichotomy to be happily pregnant but, still mourning the loss of my son.

My friend suggested maybe once I give birth to baby girl, I'll feel a sense of closure and it will allow me to handle baby showers (boy baby showers?) better.

Part of me thinks yes but, I'm not sure. I guess only time will tell.

I really did think I'd be okay today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

24 weeks AKA medical viability

Another milestone to tick off not to mention 60% of the way to the finish line.

Today I woke up early so I could lay in the bath quietly with my eyes closed and feel baby girl moving around.

As a full time working mom, I get very little time alone. So, I like to get up super early sometimes just to spend quiet time with my daughter.

I feel her every day throughout the entire day but, I'm usually too busy to really take it in. The back of my head registers that she's moving around but, I don't get the chance to just relax and really experience it as it's happening. Her movements are so important to me and I want to be able to enjoy every wiggle and every kick.

On another subject...
Yesterday at T-ball practice I got to talking to one of the other moms. She was asking me about this pregnancy and Ryan's and the conversation lead to me saying that no, this was actually my third.

I told her a little about Nathan and she then told me that she just lost a pregnancy this past December at 22 weeks.

The conversation became a lot less awkward then because I felt like at that point, we understood each other and there was no need for any discomfort over the subject.

We exchanged experiences and feelings and all-in-all it was a good conversation (given where we were and the circumstances).

She intends to try for another but, is nervous about it. We talked a bit about how that wonderful blissfulness of being naive is gone forever. Every mom who has suffered a stillbirth will tell you that, too.

With that being said, I told her that every week that passes by I feel more and more confident. I can't say I am where I was with Ryan (or even Nathan) this far along but, I'm feeling good about this baby girl.

That's the best I can say because, probably insanely, I'm still afraid of jinxing it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

GD results are in...


With all good news comes some bad news, of course.
Since I did this one early and failed the one hour, I have to go straight to the three hour at my next appointment (was originally scheduled for the one hour again).

Here are the results:
Fasting = 77
Pass is 95 or lower

Hour 1 = 156
Pass is 180 or lower

Hour 2 = 115
Pass is 155 or lower

Hour 3 = 46 (she said this was too low and was a little concerning but, it's a pass)
Pass is 140 or lower

My own monitor was pretty off on all numbers really.
When I started to read up on glucose monitors yesterday (expecting to fail and figured I better do some research) I found that none of the OneTouch monitors have very good reviews at all. The biggest complaint was how wildly inaccurate they are. So, I was planning to ask for a prescription for a different name brand that had great reviews.

My next OB appointment is 5/13 (27w) and, I'll have to sit through the three hour again but, I'm feeling pretty confident now it won't be a problem.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The 3 hour glucose test

I figured since I have to sit around for thre hours, I'd "live" blog.

Last night:
James went out last night to get us a nice dinner so I'd be plenty full and as ready as possible to face an entire half day of fasting.

Within 5 minutes of finishing dinner, I threw it all up. 

What we're looking for along the way:

I'm starving.
First up will be the fasting blood work.
I took my own before coming up to the office and got this:

That's passing.

Now I'm sitting in the waiting room doing exactly that... waiting. 
The lady who will take my blood isn't in yet. Once she takes the first set of blood, I drink the orange glucose crap.

Fasting blood taken and drink finished.
Bad news is, I'm not even allowed to drink water over the next 3 hours!

9:20AM Hour 1
My own test said 184, that's a fail.
Feeling ok so far.

10:20 Hour 2
My test days 178, another fail.
Getting extremely hungry! One more hour to go.

11:30 Hour 3
My test says 61, finally a pass!
And, I'm now willing to eat an animal alive.
But, other than being incredibly hungry, I feel fine.

My test results based on my own monitor doesn't necessarily reflect what the blood test they do will show.

Overall, I expect to fail based on my monitor but, who knows.
Official results will come tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

23w (GD test update at bottom)

Yesterday was my first GD test (I'll do at least one more).
The orange drink wasn't as bad as I remembered. After I had the drink I was called back for my normal OB appointment.

Quick stats:
Heartbeat: 150+
Weight: -4lbs (it's okay I promise!)

It was a little strange at first because the doctor came in and recognized me.
Wait... a little background is required here.

I had a different OB when I had Ryan and Nathan. That OB was a one man practice so you only ever saw him and he was the one that delivered your baby.

As it happens, when I went into labor with Nathan, my OB was in the same hospital having emergency open heart surgery so, the practice I'm using now was covering for him.

I was in the hospital on strict bed rest the week before I delivered Nathan so I saw a LOT of doctors. Some that were on the hospital staff and some from the office that was covering for my doctor.

The doctor that ended up doing my c-section was a wonderful man who spent a lot of time with James and I after Nathan died and was well and truly concerned for our well being. In fact, he was my OB's best friend, they're like brothers.

So, when I got pregnant with baby girl, I found out my OB was retiring from OB work and would only be a GYN. So, we chose the office that delivered Nathan.

This office has several doctors and they like for you to rotate and see each doctor throughout your pregnancy.

Back to yesterday.
I'm in the office and the doctor walked in and said something like "Hi! I remember you!" and gave me a hug. I was dumbfounded. I didn't recognize her at all and that was clear because she explained that she had "admitted" me to the hospital with my last pregnancy. She obviously knows the outcome of that so, she was well and truly happy to see me.

She was wonderful and chatty and very attentive. Once again I was overwhelmed with emotion at being treated so kindly. Believe me, when you've been through a stillbirth, you NEED kid gloves. And, I've gotten it at every appointment.

After the appointment I still had 30 minutes left before they could take my blood so I sat and waited. About five minutes before it was time for them to take my blood, I tested my blood with my own monitor. To pass, you need 130 or less. My own test came up as 157!

So now I'm waiting for the official results. Let's hope the one I did was very, very off and I pass the GD test. If not, I go for the three hour test. Ugh

I should hear back today, maybe tomorrow.

Test results in: FAIL
Now I have to do the 3 hour test tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

22 Weeks AKA 6 months (in charts)

The name game
I'm on two due date message boards and on both, there are threads with people revealing what they're naming their kids. These threads are dozens of pages long and, unbelievably, the name we've chosen hasn't come up a single time.

I find this amazing because we've chosen a beautiful and quite normal name with the traditional spelling.  

*Side note, I seriously weep for the future. It's inevitable that one day we will be casting our presidential votes for either Blaze Axle or Jessyka Wynter (not kidding, actual names people have chosen on my due date boards).

The big GD test
Tuesday I go in for my glucose test. I've never even come close to failing one before but, I'm nervous this time. Not for any reason in particular (that I can pinpoint at least). I think it put the fear in me when a very healthy friend recently failed the 1 hour and 3 hour. 

Now, in my head I KNOW that it's a crap shoot. GD has very little to do with lifestyle and eating habits, it's often just the luck of the draw.

With that being said, people who are overweight do have a slightly higher chance of getting GD. 

Fingers crossed for a normal result. I really don't need another thing to stress over (but then, does any pregnant lady?).

Monday, April 6, 2015

Baby Kicks? Definitely.

It turns out I needn't have worried about having an anterior placenta at all. She's making her presence known just fine thank you very much.

Starting this weekend, the movement turned into actual kicking. In fact, this morning at work, one was hard enough to take my breath a bit!

I can't seem to catch it quickly enough to see if I can see the movement from the outside. It's still rather sporadic throughout the day but, she's most active in the evening. She's plenty strong though and I'm loving every second of it.

Given that she was an ounce away from being a pound last week, I'd say she's probably just about a pound by now.

James and I agreed that after the anatomy scan, we'd go register for baby items. This is something I've been looking forward to so much and Saturday was the big day.We both had so much fun walking around the store picking out items for our daughter. James somehow managed to sneak in some scans that I didn't know about until I got home and looked at the registry.

Someone on my birth board suggested using babylist and I tried it out. I absolutely LOVE it! While we registered at a couple places, this site allows you to condense your registries in one place so you only have to give out one link to anyone who asks. Also, you can be on any website at all and see something you'd like to have for your baby, and you can click on an icon and add that one item to your babylist registry.

For example, I was on the MLB website and found adorable Nationals onesies for her. I was able to add it to the registry. I also added a DC United bib, too. Brilliant!

I'm probably getting a little too exuberant with it but, you never know what someone might feel inclined to get you so I'm adding a lot of different things on there.

We're not actually planning a shower but a "sip 'n see" instead. Basically, it's a baby shower that happens after the baby is born.

I am in such a wonderful and happy mood today! DC United won this weekend, today is opening day for the Nationals and it's gorgeous outside...

Why wouldn't I be smiling on a day like this?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

21w1d Anatomy Scan

Today was anatomy scan day and it went extremely well with everything measuring right on Target.

Some quick stats:
Fetal Position: Vertex
Heart Rhythm: Regular
Amniotic Fluid: Normal
BPM: 145
Weight: 15 oz
Cervix: Closed and Normal Length (4.7cm)
Sex: GIRL!

I get this nifty report at every MFM appointment

I can feel her moving every day now but, it's very sporadic. It's not a kicking feeling yet, more like she's rolling around. I have to admit, it's a pretty freaking amazing sensation.

She already has a lovely wardrobe of stuff we've bought her and donations from friends who are done having babies.

We're three weeks away from viability but, we certainly want her to stay put for several more months! However, viability will be a milestone to celebrate.

As for me, I'm feeling fine most of the time. I don't always sleep well but, my friend was nice enough to lend mer her pregnancy pillow which is helping me sleep better most nights.

I'm still feeling anxiety here and there but, I suppose it's less often as we get further along.

I have an appointment with my OB is two weeks and then back to the MFM in 4 weeks. Going forward, the MFM will check my cervix every four weeks because of the PROM (premature rupture of membranes) I had when pregnant with Nathan.

Side note: as I write this, baby girl is moving around.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my blog and sent me emails and messages. The love and support... WOW!

PS - I don't have any adorable ultrasound photos of her profile because she keeps her face smothered in the placenta. :-/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

20 weeks AKA Halfway there

This is  huge milestone for me. We're halfway to meeting our baby girl.
Well, technically, more than halfway because we'll have a scheduled c-section 5-10 days before her due date.

In other family news, Ryan is very excited to be having a little sister.
On Monday he said the following things to me:
1. I want to buy my sister shoes
2. I want to teach my sister how to play Angry Birds
3. I'm going to tell all my friends my sisters name is... (still keeping that private for now)
4. I want to take my sister to Kings Dominion (amusement park) and show her the dinosaurs

I'm happy he's so happy. Although, I'm pretty sure he pictures his sister as a toddler and not a newborn baby who will be a playmate. I've showed him pictures of tiny babies and tried to explain that's how she'll look when she comes home. I don't think it's sinking in, though.

Yesterday Ryan had his very first t-ball practice. He is the smallest kid on the team and the youngest. He could easily have been voted, after one practice, least likely to pay attention.

(We were told in an email before the first practice that the kids will be assigned their uniform number based on size. So the smallest kid will wear the number "1". I told James before we even met any of the other boys that I bet he'll be assigned 1.)

At one point the coach had Ryan come stand next to him in hopes of getting him to pay attention. Ryan's pre-school teacher had told me in the past she's having trouble getting him to sit still and pay attention, too. Today, when we dropped him off, I asked about progress and she said she makes Ryan sit next to her so as to keep his attention better. I thought that was a little comical and told her the t-ball coach is doing the same thing.

I'm not (yet) worried about his attention span since he's only 4. But, we're following closely to make sure this isn't a problem that gets out of hand.  He starts Kindergarten in August and I think that will be an indication of how well he copes.

As far as Kindergarten goes... man has that changed! When I was in Kindergarten, it was mostly play learning. Not these days! They sit at desks and do work and, in many cases, are expected to know how to read when they start.

I thought it was rough that his pre-k teacher had the kids doing Grade 1 workbooks but, now I see why. Pre-k is the new K and K is the new 1st grade.

The good news is, this summer the pre-k kids take a break from all that work and spend the summer doing camp type activities like going swimming once a week and going to the movies.

I want Ryan to be smart and excel in school but, can't they also just be kids for a while?

Thursday, March 19, 2015


My online BFF Christy sent me this article yesterday about how it's hard to accept the happiness of a current pregnancy when you're stuck in the past of failed pregnancies.

This article hit the nail on the head for me. I have said several times that the excitement of seeing your baby alive on the ultrasound lasts, for me, about a day. Then I'm back to worry and dread.

Today was ultrasound day so, I'm feeling excited and hopeful. Today, I know baby girl will be here in July/August.

Tomorrow? Who knows what I'll feel. I've made it this far and that's pretty damn awesome.

Her heartbeat was 140 and I'm down 2 lbs since my first appointment. That was a surprise to me because I feel like I've been eating a ton of food. The doctor was completely unconcerned with my weight loss because, I can stand to lose weight anyway and, as she said, at where I was pre-pregnancy, if I were to maintain the weight, that would be just fine and dandy.

I have no expectations of not gaining weight by 38/39 weeks (expected c-section time frame). Sure, good in theory but, I know me. If I can not gain more than 15, I'll be thrilled and call that a success (I gained 40+ with Ryan and about 10 with Nathan by 32 weeks).

Anatomy scan is in two weeks with my MFM doctor and, of course, hoping for everything to go well there.

My OB is moving up my gestational diabetes test to 23 weeks. Not because they have any specific concerns, but people who are overweight have a higher risk so they like to intervene earlier if it comes back positive.

My old OB let me take the drink home and down it one hour before my appointment but, this practice requires you come in, get the drink and sit around and wait the hour.

Assuming I pass, I'll still have to do another one a month later at 27 weeks which is the usual time they do the GD test on pregnant women.

As I was leaving my appointment today, the doctor hugged me and kissed my head. It was incredibly sweet but then again, she had just called my overweight! :)

Today is a good day.