Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Even though it's temporary, I'll take it. Baby Boy 2, Ryan and I kind of need a break right about now, and yesterday's check ups finally have us one.
I had an ultrasound to check the little guys dopplers. As time goes on I understand these more and more, and can even predict where he is depending on the numbers I see. Basically we're looking at the middle cerebral artery (the MCA) and checking the blood flow rate through that vessel. Ry and I had already prepped ourselves for the little guy needing another boost of blood this week, so the quick ultrasound left me totally shocked. His Doppler was fantastic, the MoM being 0.9! In the lower side of normal, instead of the higher and higher side since we first started this process.
We got a couple of pictures for the first time since 18weeks, and one is my favorite:

Look at those lips! So adorable.
Later in the day I met with perinatology to review things. Since last week's transfusion, my list of questions just kept growing, but the doc was patient and went over every one of them in detail for me.
One thing I was worried about was bruising of the vessel in the umbilical cord that they have him blood through. I only just got a bruise yesterday from the IV I had, could it still bruise and cause harm? Fortunately, a reaction like that would be immediate, and they look for it before they decide the transfusion is completely done. Whew!
And it turns out that it's safe to do two courses of the steroid shots for lung development. The next and last course will happen when the need for another transfusion comes up (which I seriously hope isn't for another week or even two). I thought it was just the one course I already received and that was it. I know they can help, but the doc assured me that babies born after the steroid shots do so much better than those without any steroid shots at all. Good!
We still have at least two more transfusions to look forward to, and that honestly scares the shit out of me. I don't think it's the preterm labor worry so much any more but just the small percentage of the time when the baby doesn't do well. The first one went so well, can that happen again? Twice more even? Almost seems like too much to ask for, but they just have to go well. They have to. Because we're bringing Baby Boy 2 home. 
One other thing that totally shocked me was the doc telling me how stoic I was for last week's transfusion. I was a wreck inside and out, or so I thought. Maybe it was just inside and all the amazing people saying their prayers along with us gave me the outward boost I needed to have to show that our little guy could handle this.
Through all the fear, I've got to have faith. The procedure is life-saving for Baby Boy 2, but knowing the risks doesn't make walking into each procedure any easier. We just need to keep praying and having our pep talks with the little guy that we'll get through this and being him home in the end.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Exhausted. Relieved.
That's the simplest, quickest way to describe this week so far.
Monday was the start of 26weeks for Baby Boy 2 and me. We had our usual check up and ultrasound set with perinatology, and despite last week's appointment going so well, I knew we were headed into dangerous territory.
Call it a mother's intuition, but last week I felt so calm and confident that this little guy was holding out and able to keep up with making his red blood cells despite my antibodies continuing to break them down. Sure enough, his do pokers looked good and we were free to go. Monday went so differently.
I was nervous, anxious, and I just knew somethig was wrong. The numbers looked high even to me with my little bit of understanding. What sealed in my fears was when the ultrasound tech came back after reviewing with the physician to take just one more picture: the exact location of where the umbilical cord enters the placenta. There's no other reason to know that at this point (at least that I know of) except to plan for a transfusion.
Despite how active our little guy always seems to be, he was now on the losing side of a battle between himself and my body, which is supposed to just nourish him and support him till he's ready for the world outside. I broke down completely when the perinatologist was reviewing everything with me. It's a life-saving treatment for our baby, but it definitely comes with great risks. Preterm labor, fetal distress, even fetal demise in 1% of cases. That's what totally killed me. We've been in those small percentages so consistently (with losing Korbin, having these antibody issues, and now with Baby Boy 2 actually needing a transfusion) that I just lost all hope for a moment. I broke.
Despite my reaction, the perinatologist seemed quite positive about entering into this next phase. With my placenta anterior again, the entry for the umbilical cord has ended up at the top edge, leaving it extremely easy access to the perinatologists when doing the transfusion. Something I was frustrated to learn early on in pregnancy has now become a huge relief.
Going back to work Monday was not an option. I could not stop crying and was just a total wreck. Thankfully I work for extremely supportive employers who understand it can be hard to give your best when you're feeling the worst. I took Monday to try and collect myself, and tell immediate family what was happening now.
Tuesday I went back to work, but it was mostly to clean up things in preparation for my absence. I had prepared myself for having Baby Boy 2 this week, but hopeful he'd be fine. So I needed to leave  work in a good place. Plus I had appointments all day long in preparation for Wednesdays transfusion. I received the steroid shots to help Baby Boy 2s lungs develop in case of early delivery. I had my usual check up with my OB (which became my last with the new developments). I had to have blood drawn at the hospital to ensure we got the correct blood for our little guy. And then I decided last minute to check out the lactation specialists at Swedish.
After my milk did not come in when I had Korbin, that has been one of my biggest fears with this pregnancy. We know we're having this little guy early, so will it not come in again? Well I'm so glad I walked in and got an appointment right away as I learned so much about what I can and need to do to ensure my milk comes in and I can feed and nourish our next little guy, even when he's in the NICU. Somehow this appointment helped me feel prepared for whatever was to come on Wednesday.
Wednesday we got up and ready to get to the hospital early for an ultrasound first. Sometimes the steroid shots can temporarily lower the affects of my antibodies, letting baby catch up a bit and not be anemic at this moment after all. I was really holding out for this, but it was not the case. Ry said he'd rather just do the transfusion and know our little guy is just fine instead of waiting and maybe things getting worse. While I agree, the procedure still scares the shit out of me, and I just broke down again for a bit.
Next was prep for the transfusion, which happens within a labor and delivery room. It was a whirlwind of doctors and nurses and staff prepping me and everything they needed. Each one took a moment to ask how I was doing. I was just doing my damnedest to be as calm as possible. Our baby's life is now truly in their hands and I had to find some trust in them.
I went under conscious sedation at about 11:30am while Baby Boy 2 was paralyzed temporarily (such a scary thought). I could only look at the ultrasound machine and watch the blood flow in, and that's all I really remember. Then it was done and they were out and I was passing out exhausted and relieved after hearing them say it couldn't have gone better. Thank God.
Baby Boy 2 was monitored for a good heart rate and return of movement, while I was then monitored for contractions. Three hours later all looked good, it was noted repeatedly that we have such a happy little guy, and we were discharged. I did worry all night that I'd feel contractions, but nothing. Again, thank God.
We made it through and it went so well! We're still pregnant with our happy little guy kicking and squirming away, moving forward to 27weeks next Monday. Every day past 24w5d is a day of increased viability. Ryan was born at 28weeks. And Baby Boy 2 has had some steroids now to help with lung development. All good, positive things right now.
We're not in the clear just yet, however. Baby Boy 2 has had a good boost of healthy blood cells, but he'll need more to keep getting him through this pregnancy to a healthier delivery date. Possibly next week for the next one. Then hopefully we can space them out about 2-3weeks between transfusions.
So now we're looking at maybe mid-March for having our little guy. We're ready, and yet we can wait till then to meet him and take him home.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Perinatology, take...???

I've lost count already. Four? Five? Anyway, the next blood flow check was today, new doc met, and much relief felt. We're not in the clear, but we are STILL so far so good. Whew!
The ultrasound was a full anatomy scan, as well as checking Baby Boy 2s blood flow. What they need to know now is how big he is in the off chance they need to do a transfusion. At this point, that would still be about three weeks out, so I don't want to focus on that. It was so good to see how well he is developing, and before even seeing the doc, the original doc I had been seeing (who reviewed today's ultrasound too) actually came in to tell me herself that things look good today. Yay! And my cervix is still cooperating. Yay again!
Next I met with the doc to review everything. I think I finally understand what this cut off number is, the 1.5 I've been freaked out about. The measurement of blood flow through an artery in Baby Boy 2s brain is taken in cm/s^2. This rate is then compared to a median that is known for each gestational age (it changes as baby grows and develops) by dividing the measured rate by the median rate to give what multiple of the median baby is at, 1.5 being one and a half times the median rate, and the cut off for normal to abnormal blood flow. Today he was at 1.2! This can fluctuate and change as he keeps growing, and is good in normal range right now. When I found out it was okay today, I sat and had a chat with Baby Boy 2 about how well he's doing, and continuing to grow and be strong and make his red blood cells so he can stay healthy for as long as possible.
We also talked about my cervix. Apparently at this point it's become a non-issue. At 24weeks, if it measures normal, then the likelihood of anything happening to it (aside from contractions causing it to go away) is next to nothing. We'll still monitor it, but it is no longer a reason I'd go into labor early. Just need to keep hydrated and calm and relaxed as possible!
So, good news today. Definitely needed! I still have an appointment next week, but if things look normal still, we're back to monitoring every two weeks. Another yay! Can we keep the good, relieving news coming?
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Monday, January 13, 2014

25 Weeks

Wow. I still can't believe we're this far now. Part of me is relieved, and yet I am still paranoid. Did I just have a Braxton hicks contraction? Was it more? Should I call my OB? What's my cervix doing? Am I doing too much? Should I just keep going? Still so much to get through!
I did post a huge milestone on Facebook yesterday:

There's a mix of emotions in reaching this point. I mean, it actually shocked me that I felt even the slightest bit excited when I woke up this morning. Seriously though, 25 weeks is completely new territory for me, for us. And yet at the same time I just don't know what to expect. There's still at least nine weeks to get through. But then again, each day past 24w5d is a jump (even if small) in the odds of survival of our second little guy. And that's something I have to focus on now. Literally taking things one day at a time, because I just don't know what's next. We're still being monitored for so many things that completely freak me out when I start to think about them and question statistics and what the next steps may be. I just need some positive, some hope, some faith, right now. And there's just so much positive in waking up each day still pregnant.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Turning things up a notch

Things as in stress and worry. And more like 10 notches, or more. I am struggling to remain calm now, and I am just really confused after yesterday's perinatology appointment. One day at a time now, just one day at a time.
Yesterday was our second ultrasound with perinatology to check Baby Boy 2s blood flow (anemia) and see where my cervix is at now that we're at 24 weeks. Well, my cervix is like a non-issue now. Long and closed, exactly how it should be. What I should not have done was breathe a sigh of relief after hearing the ultrasound tech say those words, "long and closed." Lots of other measurements were taken, and I heard his heart beat a bunch. 150ish, healthy and beautiful.
Meeting with the perinatologist was not so great, however. For some reason I'd had this sinking feeling that the number they give us for his blood flow would be 1.4, but I kept saying no, it has to be just 1.2, still well below 1.5. As soon as this doc said 1.47 I about broke down. He then asked me why I was worried. Um, hello, really?
We then proceeded to have a very awkward conversation where I truly struggled to understand the numbers and stats he kept presenting. On the one hand, people presenting with the antibody level I have rarely have an issue during their pregnancy. Only 1-2% actually need to go the transfusion route. On the other hand, we're stepping up monitoring because we're so close to that 1.5 cut off. And yet even if we barely cross it we may not do transfusions but being at 1.5 or above means we'll need to do transfusions but remember only 1-2% in our situation actually need a transfusion and hitting numbers like 1.7-1.8 means we definitely do one but anything above 1.5 calls for a transfusion but not immediately because they'll watch it every 3-4 days at that point to see if it stays or not but as soon as you cross 1.5 you do a transfusion.
Did you get that? I still don't get it. And when this doc told me to not prove him wrong and actually need a transfusion I knew I did not like him as a physician for us. I mean, he pretty much jinxed us. Right?
I tried to ask about scheduling my c-section as our precious doc had mentioned. Do we do 36 weeks or 37 weeks? I've heard both now. This doc looked at me and asked me,"why do you get to determine your care?" I didn't know how to answer I was so confused. Finally I said that the previous doc had told me to be positive and schedule it now as things can always be rescheduled but the closer we get to 37 (or is it 36?) weeks the more difficult it becomes to coordinate all of it. He scoffed and said he still didn't understand why I thought I was in charge of my care.
So confused. On so many levels.
Thankfully, things are fine right now. My cervix is cooperating, and we don't need a transfusion just yet. But am I any less concerned? Heck no. I still can't believe this doc even said to me that he doesn't know why I'm so worried. I will do my best to not be stuck with him again. Next week I go back for another ultrasound and consult, this time with a different doc.
What really sucks is that this extra worry is completely unnecessary. I should have received the shot when we had Korbin. Ideally, he should be with us getting ready to welcome his baby brother home in the next few months. Sadly, that's just a dream of how life could be perfect, and a reminder of how it's not and won't ever be fully perfect. I just have to find some hope left that we'll be bringing Baby Boy 2 home, and not too soon, healthy.
Is that too much to ask for now?
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Monday, January 6, 2014

24 Weeks

Today I had my 24 week check up with my OB. What a difference in how this appointment went compared to 24 weeks with Korbin. It honestly felt unreal.
The check up was quick, just me asking random questions, and a quick listen to Baby Boy 2s heart beat. I found out that our last triage experience probably wasn't caused by a full on kidney stone, but what is called "sludge." Wonderful name. Basically being pregnant slows things down, including the kidney duct work connecting them to the bladder. This, combined with pressure caused by baby growing, causes a back up in the kidneys which can lead some crystallization, but not necessarily a full stone. Thankfully, this will go back to normal after pregnancy, but it is something I need to keep an eye on still.
I left with the glucose drink for my next appointment, and a packet of info and worksheets for delivery. Despite having a c-section, we still have a lot of things we get to have a say in. Like who we want present, visitors, breast feeding, even music. Part of me doesn't want to think about it yet, we still have so much time to get through. And yet, if something happens sooner than later, we'd still have a say in a few things. I guess we'll get it figured out when the time is right.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Friday, January 3, 2014


I've been feeling movement for a couple of weeks now, which is so reassuring. What I've really wanted to feel, though, is a true kick. I remember with Korbin how in the last week I was pregnant with him I'd rest the iPad on my belly and he'd kick it like crazy. I got such a kick out of it, ha!
Well, today Baby Boy 2 kicked hard enough I could see it happen in my belly. I laughed and got Ryan's attention, but then Baby 2 quieted down a bit. I felt a kick with my hand too, but Ry still didn't get a kick with his hand. And then of course, I rested the iPad on my belly and lots of kicks. Yay!
It's reassuring to finally feel these good, strong kicks, and I just so hope I get to feel more and more of them for a good while still! I'd love for Ry to feel a kick or two at least as well.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Triage, take 2

Sunday night we went again, this time for about 4 hours. I honestly thought this was it, I was going into labor, and fear almost paralyzed me. Thankfully, nothing's wrong with baby, and I was not going into labor. But it was stressful!
About 8:30pm, I had sudden sharp and radiating pain in my back, mostly on the left side. I could massage it away or stretch it out, in fact that made it worse. And then all I could think about was the back pain I had at 23 weeks with Korbin and how the perinatologist said she suspects that was actually labor starting. I panicked, and started crying and praying that we weren't going to lose another child.
I called the on-call doc and she said come right in. When we got there they immediately started checking for contractions and if I was dialating or not. Well, my cervix was fine, and there were no contractions. So why the pain? After a few tests, a bolts of fluid via IV and some narcotics to make it go away (which it did), turns out I was passing a kidney stone. Seriously, a kidney stone causes that much pain? I've never had one before, and of course the timing had to be just right to send my heart into full blown panic mode.
As the doc said, I've never been so glad for a kidney stone. I do have questions still, like is this likely to happen again in the next few months? Are my kidneys okay? Will this get worse because of being pregnant? Can I do anything more to prevent them? Plus more to follow up with my OB on Monday.
The kicker was that we both hadn't slept well the night before, and we didn 'to get home from this till 2am. Exhausting, physically and emotionally.
Of course everything is fine with baby still, so panic wasn't necessary. But I don't know any different. And with little more than 3 months to go, I don't want anything more to go wrong. There's already too much to worry and stress about.
Because we got a lotta love to give.