Sunday, November 24, 2013
Today marks the halfway point to goal term for Baby Love 2. It's exciting to be at this point, and continue to see this little one grow. But the changes in Baby 2 also bring new paranoias. Joy.
I do have to say that each week we reach is like a huge milestone. And though the excitement grows, I still find myself comparing how far along we are to how far we got with Korbin. Time is flying by too, which probably good because each new week in this pregnancy brings on normal changes in Baby 2 and my body that I question constantly.
Is that ache really normal? The twinge I just felt? Yes, Baby 2 was actually literally punching me in the cervix at 16 weeks, and I freaked out that the sharp pain meant my cervix was shortening and I was going into labor. Still too early for that, realistically. But I'm paranoid about every little thing and need constant reassurance now. Normal symptoms may not be so normal if they could mean preterm labor, or that my cervix is weak. It's enough to make me feel crazy at times, even when I know things are just fine.
I did do a Facebook announcement, despite countless times saying how ridiculous it is for people to be so public about pregnancy when so much can go wrong. As my mom says, the more people who know, the more people we have praying for us, sending love and positive energy. I need all of that that I can get at this point!
Though I try really hard to be excited about this pregnancy, it is such a struggle when I feel fragile and others treat me like I'm fragile. It is so frustrating to have to feel like I need to slow down a bit, sit down more, pass off tasks to others and hope/trust things get done the way I would do them (we're all perfectionists at my work, and it is so hard to pass off a project to someone else when you know you've got it down). Really, I thought I had more time before the fragile aspect came into play. Like at least six more weeks. That week will be hell to get through and I'll be on the biggest emotional roller coaster yet. But we have to get through it. And I have to remain as calm as possible through it all.
Hopefully all the love and prayers from others will help carry us through this pregnancy.
Because I got a lotta love to give.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Yesterday we had the big anatomy scan. The appointment went well, and Baby 2 is doing great so far according to measurements. And we found out what this little one is! Lots of good news and excitement, but it comes with more information that can be difficult to digest. I'll start with the good, touch on the not so good, and hopefully be able to come back around to the good.
Before I go into it what Baby 2 is, I first need to go over feelings about having a girl versus another boy. Having a girl would be exciting, and as much as I just really want to raise a boy, I actually felt excitement in thinking that Baby 2 is possibly a girl. This surprised me, as not having Korbin with us still leaves me desperately wanting to raise a boy. I remember going through members of support group to see the odds that we could have another boy after losing one. If anyone was having or had a girl after losing a boy, I felt so completely helpless. But then I'd feel guilty because I don't want just any boy, I still want Korbin. And a boy to raise. I didn't think it was possible to want a girl after losing Korbin.
And yet, would having a girl be easier to handle after losing Korbin? I believe so. Everything about this pregnancy could be so different. I fixated on this and could only imagine frilly things, bows and flowers and purple and pink. I was 100% sure Baby 2 is a girl. Until we saw this first thing yesterday:
Yup, another boy! I have to say, I was so shocked that all I really absorbed for the remaining hour of the ultrasound was that everything looks normal. (And that my cervix is even longer than previously measured, how does that work?!? But I'm totally okay with that.) A boy. A little brother for Korbin! And yes, I'm thrilled!
So, lots of exciting and good news. Longer cervix, healthy baby boy 2.
But, we did get some news that I was really in denial about being true. Turns out Baby Boy 2 is Rh positive, and therefore can be affected by the antibodies I am producing against him if they surpass a certain level, which we're already nearing. At this point, I can't stress about it. I just don't have the mental or emotional capacity to stress about it unless something more actually happens. Which is frustrating.
But we're still monitoring everything. I had another blood draw yesterday to recheck antibody D levels. In two weeks we'll recheck both D and antibody C because though C is still in small quantities, it too can affect Baby 2. If D does in fact surpass the threshold level, which seems inevitable at this point, we switch to a different ultrasound facility with special equipment that monitors Baby 2s blood flow. We'll also be getting a second opinion from a different perinatologist (at least a different office that doesn't think double billing for an appointment is okay and standard practice). What worries me most about this is that this is less time with my OB. I think she is my security blanket in all of this, and I rely completely on her abilities for my care and Baby 2's care too.
Now, I know that everything is being done in the best interest of Baby 2, and seeing a perinatologist will be done if Bsolutely necessary. But with so many appointments already, going elsewhere for parts of them just sounds so stressful, when I'm struggling to not stress these days.
In a nutshell, I'm really trying to be excited for all the good that there is right now. As time keeps moving us forward, I know there going to be more difficult moments ahead, and things will be even more stressful. So, focusing on the good. Baby 2 is a boy!! Here's the announcement I posted on Facebook:
I seriously felt so clever, haha. And here's a beautiful profile shot from yesterday:
With so much to mentally and emotionally prepare ourselves for, it's time to be excited while we still can.
Because we are excited for this next little guy, and love him so much already.
And we got a lotta love to give.
Monday, November 18, 2013
This one is difficult for me to admit and write about. I mean, when I think of people who hallucinate, typically those with some sort of mental disorder or even those on drugs come to mind (as with many things, it's typical to make an association like this one, until you live it yourself and realize how wrong you've been all along). So then where did mine come from last Saturday morning? Maybe the stress and anxiety from this pregnancy is giving me my own mental issues to deal with now.
Last Saturday morning I looked down at my supposedly growing belly after my shower, and seriously I swear I watched myself suck it in and it just deflated like nothing was there. Empty. I panicked, touched my now flat stomach, and then ran into the bedroom (I had been in the bathroom when this happened), telling myself that this cannot be real. That didn't just happen. No way. Yet I touched my flat stomach, I can still see it deflating. How could that not have been real?
Here's my bump pic taken today for reference:
Hard to the touch, and I can't even begin to suck it in. So whatever happened Saturday morning had to have been all in my head, and even now it feels like just a dream. But it was so freaking real in the moment.
And this happening reminded me of a horrific nightmare I had about losing Korbin, about a month before we actually lost him. It left me empty, and aching, and completely foretold what was to come, despite many around me saying it's just my attachment to baby creeping into my dreams. This memory of course only added to my growing panic over the whole weekend.
Back to now: I feel like I'm going a bit crazy. The paranoia, stress and anxiety are really adding up. Maybe I'm reaching a breaking point, who knows. Either way this hallucination left me so panicked I asked one of the ultrasound techs I work with to please just show me Baby 2's heart beat. I just had to know this one is still with us. Sure enough, kicks and movement and flips and a perfectly beating heart. Nothing to worry about, except everything that could happen and go wrong. It's enough to make a person go crazy!
Seeing Baby 2's heart beat is really the only thing that soothes me now. But, I can't exactly just see it every day. So I need to do more to try and calm myself, especially since I still can't feel a lot of the movements happening inside my belly just yet. The chats with Baby 2 help (we had an uber long one Friday night when I went to bed), but I definitely need more. And since I find it hard to sit down and be still when at home or work, I finally signed myself up for acupuncture at a friend's clinic. She's familiar with high risk mom's-to-be, and I got the okay from my OB today too. If all it does is make me sit and not move for 30min or an hour, I'm still okay with that. Maybe that's all I need. The less stress my body feels the better, for me and especially for Baby 2.
Because I got a lotta love to give.
Friday, November 15, 2013
So, I haven't ever really thought we're in the clear now at any point in this pregnancy yet. And I probably won't at all, honestly. But, I actually was just starting to feel more positive and excited about this baby.
Basically, I assumed that our only real obstacle to be aware of is that we could have Baby 2 too early. We have a plan, and loads of monitoring to try and keep that from happening as much as possible. And things have been looking good so far, aside from my random paranoia at the slightest change in my body. I actually started to relax a bit more and think about enjoying this pregnancy, even if just a tiny bit. Silly me!
My blood antibody levels were slightly raised at 12weeks, so we repeated that blood test this week, 16weeks. I know multiple pregnant people who have gone through this before. They are Rh - (a protein factor that is either present or not present on red blood cells, and when negative, one does not have them present), and their partner is Rh + which makes baby positive. Since baby's blood does get into the mother's blood system, it is then recognized as foreign due to the positive presence of the Rh protein and the mother's body doesn't like this foreign substance and wants to build up antibodies to it to fight it. Probably not the best explanation, but the best I can do. So, to prevent this, mother gets a Rhogam (not sure how it's spelled) shot either later in pregnancy, or for sure after delivery of the first child and then just later in pregnancy for successive pregnancies. And it's no big deal. Unless the hospital neglects to give the mother the shot after delivery of the first child. Guess what happened to me. Yup.
So I honestly could not have been any less concerned about my antibody levels until my OB called to go over this week's test results. I'm producing two antibodies, one called Big C that we will check again in a month (at 20weeks) as it's levels are still quite minimal, and the other is D. Now, D is the antibody against Rh factor on red blood cells, and my body is actively producing it and it has reached the threshold level above which we begin to worry about baby. No shot and everything's fine option for me, it's beyond too late for that to do any good. So what does this mean then?
First off, we need to determine Ry's blood type and Baby 2's blood type. Best case scenario, Baby 2 is actually negative, and we don't need to worry about at all. Thankfully, with Baby 2's blood in my system, we can determine Baby 2's blood type just by drawing my blood. But that takes a couple of weeks, while blood-typing Ryan takes just a few days. If Ryan is positive, then I'm pretty sure that means Baby 2 is definitely positive.
Okay, so then what does that mean?
Basically, these antibodies both have the ability to cross the placenta. If they do that, they then have te ability to cause anemia in Baby 2. If that happens, the only option is to do a blood transfusion directly into Baby 2, which it turns out is just like an amniocentesis and holds the very same risks. This is what I'm most freaked out about right now.
For one thing, what are the odds? Well, when the odds of losing Korbin were only 0.6%, any obstacle with odds even just right at that are huge. So odds don't change how I feel about all of this, or calm me in any way.
Well, what are we doing now and is there anything to prevent this all from happening? As I said before, the shot was te prevention and is not an option any more. But we are doing even more monitoring now. My blood will be checked every two weeks now for the production levels of antibody D. Once/If they cross into the danger zone, we switch to seeing a perinatologist for ultrasounds weekly or every two weeks. These ultrasounds are high tech enough with Doppler to watch Baby 2's blood flow. By monitoring the blood flow we'll be able to determine if Baby 2 becomes anemic whoh means we'll need to do the blood transfusion.
Now, I understand we have a lot to find out and determine before I freak out. But honestly, I've been doing my best to not stress about anything (work, food, bills, the house not being done, etc) as I know I already am on the verge of stressing about this pregnancy. And since I'm already paranoid about every little thing, this was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I didn't need anything more than focusing my energy on keeping Baby 2 healthy and safe inside me through to 36 weeks. And all this antibody business and what it can lead to completely overwhelmed me today.
Thankfully, I have Ryan, who stands next I me and does his best to remain and calm and strong and hopeful through everything. Even making me laugh by pointing out how much white hair (not just grey...) he'll have by the time we have this kid. I also have my OB who takes the time to over things twice with me just to make sure I understand everything and is readily available to me despite her busy schedule. And I'm thankful for the family and friends I have who I can lean on for prayers, positive energy and anything else they think to send our way. It's all needed to get through this without going completely white-haired myself.
We just want to have Baby 2 and take Baby 2 home, because despite the stress of it all we got a lotta love to give.
Monday, November 11, 2013
...I did my first shot just now! My stomach kind of hurts because I amped myself up way to much for it. I mean, I took phlebotomy, I've stuck people with needles before. But when it comes to my body, I ALWAYS look away just before the needle enters my skin. Always.
So here we begin. The first one is the most difficult. And then after a few you become an old pro. I have supplies for 20 shots worth, and that's once a week for 20 weeks. I will become an old pro.
First things first, disinfecting! You wipe down the top of the vial with an alcohol wipe because germs are everywhere.
The first needle is huge! But it's to pick up the progesterone, which is very thick as it's mixed in an oil.
Here it is, however I have yet to master the whole creating a vacuum so that the perfect amount is drawn up. I guess I have a while to practice!
Needle switch! Thank goodness! This one is so much thinner, but still the dreaded 1.5" long, which I'm definitely dreading still at this point.
And...yes, that's my butt. With me holding a needle at ready. And I stood like this for a while. Ryan counted to 3 over and over. Then he said, "on one. One!" And still nothing happened. I looked at my hand holding the needle and could not do anything more than that! But then...
I did it! Holy crap! You have to inject the progesterone over about a minute, which really wasn't difficult as the smaller needle helped control the flow. Did it hurt? Only the initial prick of the needle. Seriously. Then it was just mind over matter as I stared at it until I was done with the injection.
But it's empty! I did it! I'll be honest, I felt a bit queasy about it afterward for a bit. Nothing a few Oreos can't fix!
Thankfully I can switch butt cheeks each week. And tomorrow I'll be double checking with one of the nurses at work that I got the right spot. Even though I did it, I'm kind of freaking out that I didn't really get it in the muscle, and this particular type needs to be injected intramuscularly...if that's even a word.
Anyway, it's done, I did it, and I will only get better at it. And it's totally worth it!
Because I got a lotta love to give.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
So, this most definitely will NOT be the final progesterone post. But this one is much shorter than my last one, I promise!
I picked up my prescription from my OB's office today. On the way to get it (as I took the elevator up one floor from my work), I imagined it had come in a box kit complete with all the different needles and syringes and alcohol wipes I would need for my injections.
Nope. This is all I got:
Which is great, it's the right medication in the right format. But I asked the receptionist, 'how do I get it in me? Is this all there was?' She have me a blank state and shrugged her shoulders. So I just told her no worries, I have my 16week appointment with Dr. Pray Monday and I can double check everything with her. I'm not going to stress about this. I at least have it in my hands now, there has to be a place I can get the rest of the supplies from.
I went straight to the coordinators at work and man, they are awesome with patient care. I mean ya, they know me, but they were able to take the time to stock me up on the necessary needles and syringes, go over a demo of loading the syringe (I will attempt to capture this next week with injection number one), where to inject it, how to inject, and even gave me a website that has a video of the whole process to walk me through it 'live' with my first few shots.
What I really appreciated was a moment of optimism from one of them. We were going over timing and how often I'll be doing the injections to determine how many supplies I needed. I said that hopefully this will be weekly through to week 36, if we get that far. She looked me straight in the eye, smiled, and said confidently, 'you will make it to 36weeks'. And it wasn't just said like this is what she tells everyone, there was such warmth in the statement I almost started crying. Part if me still strongly feels I need to just be realistic about what may happen because of what happened with Korbin. Essentially, emotionally preparing myself for the worst, even though that is the absolute last thing I want to happen. It's just hard to believe this pregnancy can be any different when all I know is loss.
I need people like this coworker, their confidence and enthusiasm and excitement. To boost myself up and maybe even start to feel some hope.
I have to say, though this is weird (heck, I'm weird), that getting everything set and ready with my shots actually made me feel a bit of excitement. I think being pregnant right now is still an almost unreal experience that only comes to life when I see Baby 2's heart beat on an ultrasound monitor, and that's only about once a month right now. But next week I'll really be involved in this pregnancy, with weekly shots and ultrasounds every two weeks. I feel like we're headed into the next phase of this pregnancy, where it becomes more of a reality for us. And I need that reality and excitement to continue to build for when Baby 2 is hopefully here next spring.
Because I got a lotta love to give.
P.S. The supplies needed for one injection, a teaser photo: