Sunday, April 30, 2006

The many faces of bedrest

Being in a high-risk pregnancy on bedrest is an extremely emotional experience. People who have never been in a similar situation can only imagine what it is like... fear, boredom, anger, frustration, hysteria... please! Somebody take me away! Since I cannot adequately describe to you what it is like, I will give you a visual glimpse....

Face #1: Content
Some days I feel content, like nothing can touch me. My cervix will NOT shrink. My baby WILL be full-term.

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Face #2: Eeeewww!
This face is reserved for such phrases as ,"this house is filthy!" and, "what is that smell?"

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Face #3: Holding my breath
This is for the days where I am holding my breath until me next cervical measurement. Dear Lord, pleeaase let my cervix stay long and closed!

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Face #4: Oh, you don't saaay!
This is for the plethora of unwanted pieces of advice. Of course as soon as a woman gets pregnant, people are full of suggestions to do/not do this or that, to eat/not eat this or that, lalala. Is there anything left to do if I take all the advice?

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Face #5: My cervix is HOW long??
This face is for the doctor's eyes only. It is the shock of finding out that my cervix is more than a centimeter shorter than it was two weeks ago. AAAHHH!

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Face #6: FINE (Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional)
This face is for the times when I feel the aforementioned feelings, but say that I feel fine. Yeah, sure, I am FINE.... why do you ask?

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How am I feeling today, you might ask? Well, to be honest, I couldn't really tell you if I tried....

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Bear hugs

Tonight David and I watched Grizzly Man, a documentary on a man who spent long summers in the Alaskan wilderness with the grizzly bears. Veeeerrry interesting. This guy was actually pretty nuts, but got some great shots of bears in the wild. His problem was he thought he was one of them, even to the point of taking on some of their mannerisms. In my opinion, when you put yourself in those situations it is only a matter of time before you get EATEN, which is precisely what happened to him at the end of his 13th summer with the grizzlies. He saw himself as the sole protector of the bears, the only one who cared anything about them. Many times throughout the film he could be heard saying "I love you, yes I do," to the bears or the foxes. There was even a scene where he was deeply moved that a bee had died in the middle of his task of collecting nectar from the fireweed. He was most definitely an extreme individual, and the movie was actually nothing like I expected it would be other than the fact that I did, in fact, see lots of bears.

Speaking of bears, this pregnancy thing has changed my sleeping habits. My husband now feels replaced by a big, stuffed bear that I hug while I drift off to lala land. I just HAVE to be surrounded by fluffy things to fall asleep now. Several times I have gone to our room to get into bed only to have to hunt for the bear that has been hidden from me. I'm sorry honey. I do love you, but the bear is a must. Must have bear....

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Now for an updated shot of me at 21 weeks.

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I have indeed made in one more week! Can we say party time? 28 weeks can't get here fast enough for me and we are now that much closer. Of course it doesn't take much to amuse me right now, so I take what I can get.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Why can't pregnancy be easier???

Well my appointment was not terrible, but not great either. So the news on the cervix... 2.2 cm with funneling almost to the stitch. Now I know the dr. was not thrilled with this development but he said he is not surprised either. He has not specified yet at what point he would consider hospitalization, only that it was "a bit early for that". Not that I was asking about that yet, but it is tempting. I no longer feel safe at home, and sometimes wish there was someone there to check on me more often.

My uterine cramping has been pretty consistent, which is concerning me. When I went to Labor and Delivery they hooked up the monitor and didn't find anything. But then when I talked to my dr. today he said that it most likely was contractions of some sort, and sometimes the monitor does not pick them up until 24 weeks or so because of the size of the uterus. So I got a prescription for Nifedipine, which is used for high blood pressure, but has been shown to help with contractions. I think it is a pretty low dose (10 mg every 6 hours). I am just going to have to watch for signs of low blood pressure because I tend to get low BP once in a while. He chose this one because unlike Terbetuline, it keeps working for an extended period of time, so since I am still pretty early he wants to try this first and if I need something stronger later he will try the Terb. I don't know if I should take it regularly like he says or just take it on my crampy days, as some days I don't really have any pain or contractions. I already took the first dose as today has been a pretty painful day and it seems to have helped quite a bit. Maybe that will be enough to lower my stress level a bit.

Meeting with the preterm birth prevention lady was good. I really liked her. She assured me that ANY time I feel something isn't right to call them and never feel dumb for going to the hospital to have them check me out because it is better to be safe than to have something happen and not get there soon enough. She said that the major mistake that a lot of people make is that they wait too long from when they recognize symptoms to when they go to the hospital. That made me feel better about going in. She gave me some handouts on things to look for and how to feel my uterus for contractions and how to survive bedrest.

In all, it was a very informative appointment, but I left feeling a bit discouraged at my now shrinking/funneling cervix. I am hoping maybe taking this medication will help my cervical length. One can always dream, right?

Two post day

Today is appointment day. I had to wait an extra day this week, because the peri. was not in yesterday. This week has been alright, just the up and down emotions and anxiety I have been feeling more of as our baby grows, putting more weight on my cervix that doesn't have any competence. Also happening today (after the appointment) is a meeting with a woman from the preterm birth prevention team. I guess they like to have a face-to-face meeting with the people that are going to be hounding them with questions. I will report on both of these occurrences when I get home.

In other news, I have occupied myself with some crocheting this week. Yes, I learned to crochet last weekend!!! So far it's turning out pretty well. Just don't ask me to try knitting.... TWO NEEDLES??? That would be double torture. My first project is a purple baby blanket that is small, being that it is experimental and all. I am thinking if it turns out alright that it will just have to be for the first few months. Maybe as I get better at it I will increase the size of the projects. I find it best to start with something tiny.

Enough rambling for now, as I have to go eat lunch and get ready for my appointment. More to come when I return from the land of the living....

Monday, April 24, 2006

My view every day.....

We got our new camera in the mail today so I popped the battery in the charger and decided to play with it a bit.

Here is what I have seen every day for the past 7 weeks....

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And here is what anyone who comes to visit will see....

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I have actually gotten used to the laying around thing. It's not so bad.... most of the time. I did have a bit of a meltdown last night because the house is MESSY! Being the neat freak that I am it is hard to sit in a messy house and not be able to do anything about it, as I like to have control of my surroundings (maybe a bit too much at times). I will give up control for our baby. She is worth it most definitely. But that does not change the messy house fact. Someone should invent some glasses that make your house look clean even when it is not! Then when people come over they could just pop those puppies on and they would never know the difference. Dream on.

The other day I was tagged with a meme by Amy S. of Spreng Bling Bling, a woman who was also diagnosed with incompetent cervix, had a cerclage, bedrest (some of it in the hospital) and now has a beautiful baby boy! I had never been tagged before, so here goes.

Six Things You Don't Know About Me:

1. I had to look up what being tagged was all about.

Yes, I did. I am new to the world of blogging so I looked up tagging to make sure I was understanding it correctly, and I didn't feel so stupid when I found out I was. LOL yes, I am learning many new things being on the computer every day.

2. I have hiked on a glacier.

I worked in Alaska for 3 summers. The camp I was working at was close to the Matanuska glacier, so we drove there and hiked all over it. Aside from the fact that I got stuck up high on the slippery ice and had to be "rescued" by one of the guys like a damsel in distress, it was an amazing experience. I felt so small and the world felt so big!

3. David and I only knew each other just over 5 months when we got married.

We met in the summer working at a summer camp as cabin leaders and by December we were married. I say when you know you know. I would not change it even if I could. No regrets, he is the best husband! (when you read this David, I LOVE YOU for putting up with this whole bedrest thing....)

4. I am a sore loser.

When it comes to board games, that is. I lose them most of the time and hate it every time. David on the other hand is great at them (blech it makes me sick). I don't know why other than I don't like looking STUPID. When we were playing "Would You Rather?" on New Year's Eve, the question came up, "would you rather always play but never win, or never play?" I said never play.

5. I collect socks.

I have almost no plain white socks. The only ones I have are ones that I work out in (obviously not in my current state). All my other socks have some kind of design or animal or whatever on them. Several of them are toe socks, but I don't wear those as often. My whackiest pair? Christmas toe socks where the little toes are reindeer and the big toe is Santa.

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6. I hate being asked to pick a favorite.

Color, food, movie, game, band, book, or vacation spot. I love variety and have a very hard time settling on one thing or the other. I go with what sounds good at the time. Variety is the spice of life!

Now for the people I am tagging:
PurpleK of Purple Puzzle Place
Melissa of One Sweet World
KMW of My Cerclage

Saturday, April 22, 2006

20 week retreat

I have reached the halfway point! Babyb is moving and I can feel her every day at least a few times. 8 more weeks until she has a great chance of survival! Here is what is happening in the pregnancy at 20 weeks.

Your Baby's Growth and Development
By pregnancy 20 weeks your baby is now practicing breathing and swallowing on a regular basis. Your baby continues to grow and fill out, with the head becoming slightly more proportional to the rest of the body.

Your baby's skin is becoming more complex at the end of pregnancy week 20, forming different layers. The epidermis, or surface of your baby's skin now has four layers that contain ridges for fingertips. The layers that form in your baby's palms and feet will provide him with his own unique fingerprint later in life.

Your Growth and Development
By pregnancy 20 weeks time you are at the midpoint of your pregnancy, and onlookers are definitely starting to notice your bump! After pregnancy week 20 your uterus has likely reached your bellybutton. Growth typically starts to become more regular from this point in time on, so you should be noticing regular changes in your belly.

Remember that you are halfway through your pregnancy by 20 weeks pregnant, only 20 more weeks to go! Some ladies will deliver slightly sooner than 40 weeks, while others will delivery shortly after. A typical pregnancy usually lasts anywhere from 37-42 weeks. Where you fall in this spectrum will depend on a number of factors, including the accuracy of your due date, the health of your baby and even your genetics!

I got to leave my house this weekend to go on a women's retreat with my former church, and I feel like I am an outlaw. The drive here was about 2 1/2 hours and it is in a hotel, so the accomodations are nice. My room is right by the elevator so when we have meeting times I hop in the elevator and get into a reclining lawn chair so I can visit with people. Wow what a difference it makes to be out somewhere besides my own house. Of course I am still a captive to the bedrest but I am enjoying the freedom. I have to admit I was freaking out to come, but told myslef that since we are right in the middle of a town there is a hospital in case the worst were to happen. And the night before I had the reassurance of going to Labor and Delivery where they hooked me up to a monitor to see if my cramping was due to contractions. It wasn't! So now we have a baseline that if anything changes I have to go in, but the cramping is no cause for concern at this point. And my cervix has been consistenly measuring at 3 or at least close to it.... once even more than that.... since the surgery. They did find a urinary tract infection when we were at the hospital so they gave me some antibiotics. Hopefully some of the cramping will ease up once those kick in too. So overall even though I am having a hard time with my fears and emotions, there are a lot of positives and all I can really do is hold on to the positive things we have had so far. Even the first trimester was really touchy, so I never expected to make it even this far. I hope we get to meet this little girl in August. I expect I will be induced before my due date, so hang in there babyb, you're doing great so far.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Perinatology and Starbucks

Well we have one more week down as far as cervix performance goes. Still around 3 cm and still closed! Today I expressed my fears to the nurse about how the farther I get the more nervous I get about something happening in between my appointments. She asked me if I had gotten a referral to the preterm labor prevention team. First time I had heard of that. Interesting. Evidently it is a team of people that specialize in preterm labor and the signs of it. They work very closely with high risk pregnant women and keep in touch mainly by phone. They would send someone to come to one of my appointments and meet me, then keep in touch with me and ask questions to see if anything concerning is going on. They are also there for me to call after hours when the peri's office is closed, so I don't get stuck with a regular advice nurse that tells me (as happened when I lost the last baby) that leaking clear fluid is NORMAL! The nurse also said this should help me feel a bit better during the "eeeek" period of the pregnancy.

My dr. said today that weeks 23 through 28 are the worst time in a high risk pregnancy and I would be worried that whole time. I asked if he could just put me in a medically-induced coma for that month or so and he said "sure, general anesthesia!" If only it were that easy. He said he is very pleased that the cerclage is staying put in a good spot and there does not seem to be any funneling again this week, but that he would not be clapping for joy until we get past 28 weeks. Another thing that the nurse talked with me about was my bedrest situation. She said that normally after 28 weeks or so they would start "loosening the reigns" on my strict bedrest as long as everything was still looking pretty good. Not that I will be at a normal activity level, BUT that I will be able to get out a bit more. I will take what I can get. And hey, when I look at it that way, that means only about 8 1/2 more weeks of strict bedrest (if they are telling me the truth) and I have already done 6 1/2. So almost halfway there. Granted she said that they would still not necessarily WANT the baby to come that early, but IF it did statistically they do very well.

Another thing I love about today is that I got to get a frappucino from Strarbucks! I still have these gift cards from Christmas, which I was too sick to use in the first trimester and too bedridden to use in recent weeks. I felt like a real person today. The sun is out and the air is clean, I got to put on cute shoes and sit up for close to 1/2 an hour! I love Wednesdays! It won't be long until it is summer and I can get out a bit more and maybe go swimming (provided I get a nice reclining lawn chair to lounge in when I am not in the water). Oh and the food! Everything I see on TV looks amazingly delicious... pasta, tacos, desserts, teriyaki chicken! Bring it all on, I'll work it off after the baby comes. I do try to be somewhat careful about the sugar intake, but how I love eating, plus I get hungry within 3-4 hours after a meal. Babyb must be growing fast right now because my appetite is raging. Anything for the baby, right???

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


It is amazing to me how fast the weeks actually go by for me. My expectation was that the days would creep by at a snail's pace and that I would be going stir-crazy within a couple weeks. Don't get me wrong, bedrest is not what I would call stimulating.... but at least the time is going by fast enough. I think it might be in part due to the weekly appointments. Before I know it, it is Tuesday evening and I am experiencing the nerves of wondering if we are going to get good news or bad news the next day. So far it has been good news and we are hoping for it to stay that way, but as the dr. tells me every week, it is still early.

Some excitement for our week is that we ordered a new digital camera. Since ours has been missing for a few weeks and is most likely not coming back to us, David looked online last night at various cameras. Infact, he claims he looked so much and for so long that he was too wired to sleep very well. When we woke up this morning he said he hadn't slept much. I asked him why and he said that he looked at cameras for too long. So visions of cameras dancing in his head? Anyway, we are getting a Canon SD600 for our picture taking enjoyment. Hopefully this will give me a multitude of opportunities for updating my blog and making my entries more visually captivating for you readers out there.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Sunday

Today I ventured out of the house for something other than a dr. appointment! Since it was Easter Sunday I really wanted to make it to church. We were trying to figure out how this was going to work with having to be fully reclined. My parents ended up borrowing a recliner (that was not big and bulky like many of them) from their friends and loaded it into the back of their SUV. Hey the chair was even the same color as the carpet, so it didn't look too funny, which I was worried about. So I got to leave the house and even allowed myself to sit up at the table like a real person for dinner with David's family. We had dinner with my family last night, so in all it was a pretty good weekend.

I must admit my emotions run away with me sometimes. Today is one of those days where I have been feeling a bit fearful of babyb coming early. It usually passes quickly but it is hard when it comes. This is the hardest part, harder than the bedrest for sure.

I decided to take pictures to show the progression of my pregnancy, so here is me yesterday at 19 weeks.

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The angle doesn't fully show my baby bump, but you get the idea.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good Cervix!

We had our appointment today and the cervix was still hanging in there and behaving itself at 3.5 cm, so we had a "things look good this week" from the dr. again. Plus he wondered if maybe the progesterone shots were helping because it didn't funnel this week like it did last week, which to me seems like good news. Every week seems like a giant hurdle at this point.

Today was also our "big" ultrasound where they looked at all the baby's major organs and measured everything to get an estimate on size and weight. We were really amazed at the detail you can see on those machines. We saw all the chambers of the heart and the internal organs and the parts of the brain. Babyb seems to be healthy and strong, but likes to sleep a lot. Here are some more pictures for your viewing enjoyment.

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It is always nice to get out of the house too.... to put one some cute shoes and show off my maternity clothes (oh, the vanity) for one hour every week. I drank in the "fresh air" walking from the hospital entrance to the car (the farthest I have walked since the cercalge was put in), which may or may not have been cheating, but the car was on the first level so I didn't have to walk THAT far! I felt like an outlaw, really. Was somebody going to stop me? Oh, and that weight gain I spoke of? Well, it seems like their scale was having an off day last week because I was down to the same weight that I was before. I KNOW I am not wasting away because I eat plenty of food, so I figure all my muscle is just shrinking and I am gaining the fat. Guess I will just have to work out extra hard after the baby comes. Jogging stroller?

Monday, April 10, 2006


Well, as it turns out all those things that I thought were movements..... actually were, because they are only getting stronger now. Seems to me that they happen more if I am on my back and especially right after eating. Guess she likes her food already... can't blame her for that! I can't wait until they are full-blown kicks that David can feel from the outside. I keep telling him I wish he could feel this it is so cool. Sometimes this whole thing seems surreal, like I am going to wake up one day and be like, "oh, yeah I am not really pregnant." I LOVE waking up every day knowing that our baby is still safe inside me, it is such a wonderful feeling. Now just stay there babyb until it's safe to came out!

I say yay for convenience foods on nights that we don't have dinner brought to us! The church and our family have been so wonderful about sending people with dinners for our eating enjoyment and Dave's sanity. And the visitors that come to feed me lunch and keep me from going insane out of boredom or lack of conversation are helpful, too. God bless 'em. Here's to all of you!!!! Dinner seemed to be MIA tonight so David broke out the frozen bean/cheese burritos and some salad. Gotta love the American way of life, don't you agree? Need something to eat? Just add water and/or pop it in the microwave and as Taco Bell says you're "good to go". The awful thing about pregnancy is this: even if it is a food that I normally like, I never know from one day/minute/second to the next if I am going to like it. And if I don't like the taste of it at that moment, no WAY is it going in my mouth, this gag reflex is waaay to sensitive! So tonight when going through the kitchen trying to figure out what to fix me, David lists off various items that normally I would like any of them, just pick one. Tonight.... none of it sounded good. So I guess I am not totally over the sickness yet, but we're making some progress....

Saturday, April 08, 2006

18 Weeks Today

Wow, 18 weeks! Every week that goes by I feel that much closer to actually being able to bring this baby home safe, although even that 28 week mark is still 10 weeks away. But I do take comfort in the fact that I have made it through 5 weeks on bedrest so far and all I have to do is make it through that 2 more times and then my baby has a 90% chance of being ok if she comes (in spite of a long hospital stay). I guess it seems silly just to hope far that rather than full term. Obviously every day or week more that the baby stays in there is better, but it keeps me sane to break it into smaller portions, instead of thinking I have to make it 17 more weeks until they take the stitches out. To me that seems a lot more overwhelming, in fact near impossible. I mean really, a stitch in a soft cervix is really going to hold a baby in there until full term??? I know and have heard many stories of success, but to me it seems so questionable. And even though the dr. seems less than encouraging, he also says that for most people it does in fact work successfully. So we hold on to the hope that we are not in control of this past what we can do physically plus the fact that for 80-90% of people that truly have an incompetent cervix (sometimes it is not diagnosed correctly and there is something else going on) the stitch does the job well. I would say overall those are pretty good odds.

Oh and finally finally I have gained some weight! It makes me feel a little "more pregnant" to know that I am gaining a bit. I am 3 pounds up, although not officially up to where I was before I got the morning sickness. Uck I am so glad that is over for the most part. Gone are the days of laying on the couch at 2 am praying that I would puke just for some relief. The awful thing about pregnancy sickness (it is not just morning for me, but all day long) is that when you puke it does not really bring relief for more than, say, 2 minutes or so. But I survived the weeks of constant indigestion, unrelenting nausea, gagging at every smell in existence and sucking on jolly ranchers one after the other just so I could have something in my mouth to distract me. Now I still get the occasional waves of nausea, but I can deal with that over the perpetual feeling of UCK! Thank you LORD!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cooperation makes it happen!

Our little babyb decided to cooperate this morning. The verdict: it's a GIRL!!!!!! I am so excited! I think daddy was hoping for a boy, but we are both happy with the news. We better be because that's what she is! The ultrasound tech had no doubts about it. Next Wednesday will be our main anatomy ultrasound where they check to see if everything on the baby looks healthy and see if the measurements are on target. Hopefully we'll get a handful of pics to share, but for now I will show the one they gave us today of her face, again, the hands up by the top of the head. She appeared to be searching for something..... the dr. said, "hmmm, binoculars?"

As for my cervix, the measurements were pretty good again today, actually longer than they have been thus far... 3.5! Then they did the measurement where they push on my tummy to simulate a contraction and it shrank a whole centimeter to 2.5 with funneling to the stitch. Basically he said that just means it needs to be there and it is doing its job. He is still apprehensive about whether the tissue is going to hold or not and that if my cervix were to measure shorter then I could be looking at a really long hospital stay. Oh, joy. But when I look at it from the standpoint that we are doing everything possible to bring this baby into the world safe and healthy, it is more than worth whatever we have to do. We love this baby already!

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Monday, April 03, 2006

Movements or......

So the past couple of weeks I have felt some occasional something down there that seems different than usual, like maybe there is something moving around down there! At just a tad over 17 weeks I am at the point where some people start feeling movements, so this does not surprise me, especially since I am WAY in tune to what my body is doing just in case something bad is happening. Not to mention the fact that I am laying still all day, so there is a lot more time for me to have a chance to feel even the slightest thing.

It kind of feelis like someone is just taking their finger and rubbing it against my belly on the inside. The main sensation I feel is when babyb shifts positions in there. It's like I can feel the pressure of him/her in whatever spot he/she happens to be. In the morning, it tends to be up higher toward my belly button, in the day a bit farther down. And then every once in a while there are these "twitches" on either the right or the left side, kind of feels like when you get a muscle twitch, only I don't think it's my muscle..... or is it? This is the excitement for me every day, wondering if that is my little baby in there, dancing away.