(More than) Halfway Through!

12 Apr

Where has the time gone!? I truly cannot believe I’m going on 23 weeks and over halfway through this pregnancy. I have lots of updates being that I haven’t posted since 13 weeks.

I had my anatomy scan at the OB I see closer to where I live, and with my track record, I was very nervous about the possibility of them finding a placental issue again this time. Sure enough, my OB said that the tech noted I had a circumvallate placenta. Essentially, it’s a defect with the placenta where it curves inward and the baby does not receive the proper flow of nutrients which increases the risk of IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Retardation) greatly. It also increases the risk of placental abruption (scary business). Needless to say, I was pretty discouraged and felt like my body was failing me yet again.

I had my other anatomy scan scheduled for my OTHER OB a week later, so I was anxious for another set of eyes to give more perspective. As soon as my OB got word of the report, she told me that there in fact was NOT a circumvallate placenta (come to learn they are vastly misdiagnosed)!! She even had the radiologist take an extra look and examine the findings more closely.

However, the radiologist picked up a very small piece of scar tissue. It isn’t really significant and shouldn’t cause any issues, but they’ll just continue to keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t start growing larger and inhibiting his mobility. I’m taking great comfort in knowing there are no huge issues this time around and that the progesterone seems to be preventing any braxton hicks/contractions.

 

How far along: 22 weeks

Gender: Still a boy!

Name: His name shall remain private until birth! We WERE set on a name, however, we are now deciding between a few other options. Stay tuned until sometime in July/August!  

Labor Signs: NO! Thankfully. I’m at the doctor every other week having ultrasounds to check my cervix to ensure it’s not prematurely dilating, and so far so good! The progesterone injections seem to be doing their job.

Weight Gain: Yeah….about that. Somewhere around 15ish pounds?

Symptoms: This kid is a mover and a shaker. He moves CONSTANTLY. Progesterone increases during pregnancy in general, and that’s what contributes to fatigue, and now that I’m on a supersonic dose of progesterone, I’m 100x more tired than I would have been without it. I’m certainly not complaining because I’d go through much worse to ensure this guy stays put as long as possible.

Other than that, just contending with my ever-growing belly and chasing around 2 kiddos. I’m sure once I hit the 3rd trimester I’ll be begging for this honeymoon phase again.

Looking Forward To: Finishing the nursery! My mom and I painted it (grey) and I’ve been slowly compiling decorations and what not to get the process in full motion. His bedding is grey and white chevron and grey and white polka dots and I’m doing pops of a cute shade of orange here and there.

Cravings: Coffee Frappucinos (I okayed with my OB, and some days they are absolutely necessary for survival)!! I’m not a huge coffee person so it’s odd for me to crave it, but there’s pregnancy for you…

 

Week 13: BABY NUMBER 3!

9 Feb

I’m baaaaack! I really enjoy blogging about my pregnancy not as much to share it with everyone, although I do love that aspect, rather, to have something to look back on in tens of years to remember the sweet, fleeting time that is pregnancy.

With that said, I am currently 13 weeks pregnant with our third little bun and couldn’t be happier! My husband and I are VERY blessed to have the family of our dreams. I am keenly aware this is not possible for some people for various reasons, and I never take it for granted.

In general, this pregnancy has been downright rough. I’ve had really awful ‘morning’ sickness (really it occurs most often in the late afternoon into bedtime). Sh** really hit the fan when I recently got the stomach flu and had to visit the ER for some fluids and Zofran to combat the constant vomiting and nausea. I was battling whatever pregnancy nausea was going on, in addition to the horrendous flu. I would not wish that upon my worst enemy, let me tell you! However, I’m glad to report that now that I’m in my second trimester, I’m feeling significantly better and *pray* the nausea is behind me! 

I have been seeing the OB frequently, and will start seeing her every 2 weeks during my pregnancy (and every 1 week as we get further into the 3rd trimester) here within the next few weeks, so she can keep an extra close eye on things. If you remember, our little diva Ella gave me a lot of problems and decided to make her entrance into the world beginning at 33w6d. My doctor and I will be doing everything in our power to prevent this from happening again, so I begin progesterone injections in a few weeks, which, ideally, will prevent my body from going into preterm labor. We are seriously praying I make it to at least 36 weeks with this little one and avoid any sort of NICU stay! 

 

HOW’D YOU FIND OUT? Since this babe was planned, I knew what day I would let myself start begin taking pregnancy tests. If anyone truly knows me, they know I’m incredibly impatient, so of course I began testing way too early. I knew it would result in a negative, but tested anyways. For a few days, I was getting negatives, and really thought I was out for the month, which would have been fine, obviously, but still had a nagging feeling and lots of pregnancy symptoms. I had ONE test left, and before I took a shower one night, I took it and set it out on the counter. My whole shower, I knew it was ridiculous to even have taken the test because it was night time (tests are usually more effective using first morning urine), and because I really felt like I was out for the month. 

I got out of the shower, dried off and casually peeked at the test, and like out of a movie, gasped and squinted to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Once I convinced myself it was truly positive, I ran down to my husband and shared the good news with him. He reacted as he always does, calm cool and collected. 

How far along: 13 Weeks

Gender: We find out on VALENTINE’S DAY! 

Maternity clothes: Oh yeah. This is the third baby, I feel like the day I found out I was pregnant I needed to wear leggings/yoga paints 24/7. It’s been very hard to hide this pregnancy until the 2nd trimester mark because I started showing much earlier, as expected.
Stretch marks: Eeek, not yet. I slather my whole body with my Earth Mama Angel Baby stretch mark oil and belly butter, so hopefully the combination will prevent or lessen any I might get. I didn’t get any with Hunter or Ella, so I’m probably doomed this time around.
Sleep: Not so wonderful. I’ve been tossing and turning a lot. I got a giant pregnancy body pillow, but that made me feel claustrophobic, so I ditched it.
Miss anything: I miss not being diagnosed with Celiac Disease😦 All I want is a Submarina sandwich and some Taco Bell. Random, random choices, but truly, it just all around SUCKS having Celiac Disease while being pregnant. Of the food I can eat, 99% of it sounds disgusting to me due to my constant nausea, so it really makes me feel limited, and it’s really frustrating. 
Cravings: Deli sandwiches and pizza…but I’m very particular about what kind of pizza. I’ve been dying for some Rosati’s GF Pizza, but can’t justify $25 each time I have a pizza craving. I’ve also been scarfing some cottage cheese lately, which is a good thing being that there’s so much protein in it. Like with Hunter, I’ve been craving saltier things, and crackers with cheese and turkey breast.
Queasy or sick: Still queasy, but not nearly as bad as it’s been. Finally feeling like a somewhat functioning member of society and have been able to resume working out. I’ve been taking Vitamin B6 which has not only helped my nausea, but my energy level, as well.
Best moment of the week: Feeling this little one pop/flutter around! It’s one of the most remarkable things, and I can’t wait until they become more consistent and stronger.
Looking forward to: Finding out the sex! We get to find out on Valentine’s Day, which I think is the best present ever! I think hubby is happy about not having to come up with some grand scheme, too😉 We are bringing the kids with us, because they’ve been really excited and involved in the pregnancy, and Hunter is at the age where he totally understands whats going on, and will love to see the baby on the big screen. I’m just hoping the baby cooperates and doesn’t cross his/her legs or the cord gets in the way!
 
-J
 

Bureaucracy in all it’s glory

19 Mar

In the month or so that we have been tackling autism, I’ve learned a great deal about my son, myself, family in general and ‘the system’.

The system–what theoretically should be a streamlined process and way in which to obtain services for a child with special needs. What does it really mean? How can we make this the most difficult, arduous obstacle course an already vulnerable and emotionally drained parent goes through? Furthermore, let’s cut state and federal funding so that it is nearly non-existant. Why not envelop every agency in layers of red tape, too. I mean, we’ve already come this far, right?

**************

I took Hunter in to his pediatrician for autism concerns. I already knew it. Nobody needed to tell me, but I needed a doctor to scribble in their notoriously poor writing, the words- dx: autism spectrum disorder, so that we could receive services. Even though, as a mom, I already knew in the darkest, smallest, cobweb-filled corner of my mind, there was something ‘off’ about certain aspects of him, the moment his doctor said, “I’m going to have to say that his behaviors do coincide with autism’, the room went quiet and I stared out the window for a brief moment attempting to process what had just happened.

Even though I expected his doctor to utter those words, the second we left the office and I got settled in my car, I sat there stunned and in more ways than one, heartbroken. I was given a list with 4 steps that I needed to follow in order to begin therapy for him. It was an ambiguous, overwhelming list of acronyms, places and people I didn’t know.

To many parents, it would take time to process everything. It might be a few weeks before getting around to calling everyone on said list. Perhaps they go through stages of denial, anger, sadness, and guilt. But you better bet I began calling the people from my ‘step #1’ as soon as I got home; and so the bureaucracy began….

I was told by someone working for this agency (state run) that it would likely be 2 weeks to receive a call back, and about 90 days to get an evaluation to determine if he is even eligible for services. I informed them that that would simply not work for us, and that I’d need to speak with their supervisor. I was then transferred to 10, yes 10, different people who were ‘not the right person I needed to be speaking with’. I took matters into my own hands, and posted on a local special needs Facebook group asking for any contact information at this particular agency. Luckily, someone responded with the intake supervisors contact information, so I gave Mrs. Bacon (love) a call and said we needed to chat. After explaining my situation, she was very empathetic and was able to schedule me in for just a few weeks later–NOT 90 days. BOOM.

Many other parents not as psycho persistent as me, would have accepted the 2 week call back period, and the 90 day evaluation rule. These parents might have children with exceptionally difficult mental or physical disabilities which require immediate services. The issue lies in (go figure) the state budget. There is hardly any funding dedicated to these children who need it most. Moreover, assuming the child qualifies (under their particular guidelines, a doctor’s diagnosis means little) the amount of therapy is hardly even a 1/4 of what the Surgeon General recommends. 

Thankfully, our insurance has excellent coverage for autistic children. I am so grateful for this, because there is simply no way we (or 99.9999% of parents) could pay out of pocket for everything. I have read many accounts from parents who have substandard insurance coverage, take out second mortgages, find side jobs, and sell prized possessions in order to provide their child with the recommended hours of therapy per month. 

While our insurance provides excellent coverage for ABA, OT and Speech, they certainly like to make the process lengthy and complicated. Hunter’s ABA coverage was being held up for weeks because each time I called in to confirm something or ask a question, I was speaking with a different representative (as opposed to the old system where people were assigned case managers who stuck with you the entire process) who would tell me opposing things. What do you know, they cut funding to behavioral health, and therefore got rid of case managers, thereby making the process increasingly difficult. 

After a few weeks of going back and forth, the insurance came through and he was able to begin most of his therapies. It was a long, incredibly stressful journey that is ongoing. I would literally devote his entire time in preschool (8:30-12:30) to calling our insurance and therapy centers. There are other therapies he will need, and unforeseen issues that have come up which have required a great deal of patience on our end, but this mama aint givin’ up without a fight. 

I’d like to end by saying, again, I am so thankful for our insurance and that we even have medical coverage. I know many, many Americans are not as fortunate as us, which is why it is maddening that state and federally run special needs agencies are so poorly structured and lack appropriate funding. Early intervention has been statistically shown to improve the chances of a child mainstreaming into school and society drastically. It’s unfair that these special little people are not able to realize their full potential. 

 

Quietly stepping off my soap box,

-Jenna

 

Counting Blessings

2 Feb

If you know my boy, you’ll know a few things: he loves him some trains (namely Thomas), he’s energetic and he will make you laugh constantly. As of three days ago, another quality you can add to his list of attributes is that he has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It does not, and will not define him. Rather, it is a small piece of a large puzzle that makes him who he is.

We are setting foot in uncharted territory that is intensive ABA and OT, in an effort to allow him to be the best version of himself possible; not ‘cured’ of his ‘disorder’ or diagnosed ‘normal’. 

We will be devoting our lives to helping him (and Ella of course). It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. He is worth every effort and sacrifice. 

We don’t wish to hide him or his diagnosis. It’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. However, I will protect him with every fiber of my being. Protect him from ignorant people who will only hear the word ‘autism’, or who assume his behavior is a reflection of my parenting skills. 

I vow to remain optimistic throughout this journey, and hope along the way we can educate as many people as possible! I am so incredibly thankful for my family, regardless of our circumstances. We are truly, truly blessed and I will never forget that. 

-J

 

Mad, Mad World

15 Dec

As I knelt on the ground reaching under couches and tables to gather all the trains and their corresponding cabooses and tracks, I heard the news anchor in the background echo that the little one’s bodies would remain in the places they fell for the night, at the very least, perhaps into the weekend. 

I paused, and wept, leaving the trains in a salty puddle. The poor sweet souls in their scuffed up sneakers, pink sweaters and Spiderman shirts–left unattended, unable to be seen by their parents.

I just enrolled Hunter in preschool. His first day I dropped him off at 8:30 apprehensively, fearing he wouldn’t know what to do without me. I arrived at 12:20, 10 minutes early, eager to pick up my big boy. He ran up to me, smiled, and said ‘bye bye!’ to his classmates. Made sure to grab his Thomas lunchbox, and motioned for me to take his hand. He had a wonderful day, but was ready to go home with his mama and sister.

20 families tonight will not be greeted by their child’s smiling face. They will not get to feel the warmth of a chubby cheek pressed into the crook of their neck during an embrace. 

I am angry. I am confused. I am scared for yet another copy-cat incident.

But I have faith.

I have faith that God will protect and lay his hand on everyone affected. I pray that he give strength to the parents and children of the victims, and assure them that even though it might not make sense, His work does not go without reason. 

It’s not the time to debate gun control, what could have been done, or why it happened. That will surely come. It is appropriate now to shield these families in prayer and remember the lives of these sweet, innocent babies and faculty. 

 

I have studied every feature of my babies tonight–their exceedingly long eyelashes, olive skin, gaps between their teeth, chestnut eyes, dimply hands, fleece snowman pajamas, and kind souls.

We owe it to the victims that we not take our children for advantage, rather, we cherish every sweet moment with them, because as we have seen, life is so very precious and fleeting. 

 

-J

 

Ella’s Birth Story: Part 1

7 Jul

11 weeks old and I’m finally prepared to start tackling my blog again and share Ella’s birth story. Bear with me, as it’ll most likely be a pretty lengthy post. *Yep, I split it into 2 posts*

April 16, 2012:

I woke up in the morning, exhausted as usual, to find quite a bit of pressure. I truly didn’t think anything of it because it wasn’t rhythmic or constant. I noticed when I would sit down, the pressure would increase, so I chalked it up to her head resting lower in my pelvis. I got Hunter dressed and ready for the day and we headed off to Costco with my girlfriend and her little girl. I mentioned in passing to her that I was feeling what I thought might be Braxton Hicks, or actual contractions. I wasn’t sure. Still, I lugged my very pregnant self through Costco, because lets be honest, I can’t pass up a Costco trip. I obviously needed the new microsuede blanket and supersized bag of Pirate’s Booty. We headed to In N Out (seriously, dream day…Coscto + In N Out!?) and I began to feel a bit more crampy, and I was done with Hunter running around like a banshee, so we left for home.

On the drive home, I noticed my ‘cramps’ were now starting to come in intervals-first at 10 minutes apart, then creeping to 5 minutes. Of course Steve was Northern California training and wasn’t due to be back for a week, so I texted my mom to come up to my house as soon as she got off work so that I could go in to be checked out. She thought I was just having sporadic ‘cramps’ and that it wasn’t indicative of early labor. Little did she know that when she got here, my (now) full-blown contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and becoming very painful.

Luckily, I’m OCD and already had the hospital bag packed, so I just packed a little bag for Hunter just in case I needed to stay. At that point I truly wasn’t sure if I was actually in labor, and kind of avoided thinking about that as a scenario because I knew I wasn’t even 34 weeks yet. My mom was briefing me on the ride to the hospital about what to expect if she was born today/tomorrow, and what sorts of complications we might face.

Once we got to the hospital, I was sent to Triage to be monitored. I was in fact having contractions every 2 minutes (as if that wasn’t obvious) but rather than just send me off to a Labor and Delivery room, the OB wanted to attempt to stop my labor since I was 33w6d. We weren’t sure what to tell Steve, because he was about 4 hours away, so of course I wanted to give him enough time to get to the hospital if in fact we were still delivering, but didn’t want to send him home if they were able to stop labor.

I was given a shot of Terbutaline, which within 30 seconds made me feel like I was on speed. Steve said I was talking a mile a minute and wouldn’t shut up. It wore off quickly and did nothing to stop the contractions. The OB came back in and decided to move me into a Laboring room, but not admit me yet because they wanted to see if my labor would stop on it’s own. A few hours passed, and the contractions were coming on stronger so she gave me a dose of Procardia (essentially the same thing as Terbuatline without the side effects…um WHY didn’t I get that the first time!?) as a last ditch effort to stop my contractions. At that point, I knew deep down that she was coming. This baby girl was determined to come that day, for whatever reason, and no drug was going to stop her.

My mom’s colleague, a neonatologist, came in to discuss what would transpire. He told me to expect a stay in the NICU, most likely a few weeks, and that the complications could range from mild to severe. I wasn’t too scared because I knew she would be in excellent hands, as I have known most of the doctors and nurses in my mom’s unit for 20+ years. They all knew I/she was coming, so I was reassured knowing we’d have a great team waiting.

April 17, 2012:

Steve was given the green light to indeed come to the hospital, after the doctor realized the Procardia wasn’t working. I was officially admitted and moved into a bigger delivery room. I hadn’t eaten since around noon, and it was now almost midnight so I was ravenous and lacked energy. Once Steve arrived, I was in a large amount of pain and requested to be checked to see how dilated I was. I was a whopping 2 centimeters, which meant it wouldn’t be wise to get an epidural yet, for fear of too many complications. I was given some Morphine through my IV to take the edge off, which felt like the worst panic attack and burning sensation imaginable. I was in such a daze after that, I tried to get some rest and told Steve to do the same. I was able to get maybe an hour of interrupted sleep in the span of 3 hours, so by 3:00 or 4:00 am I was nearing my brink. I told the nurses since I was only 2 cm a few hours ago that I probably wouldn’t be much more dilated by then, so to just get me another dose of Morphine, instead of trying to place an epidural (which I would kick myself for later).

A few more incredibly painful hours passed, and it was around 7:00 am. I felt an immense amount of pressure and called for the nurse to come check me because I NEEDED the Epidural. I remember I kept saying, “I need to push, she’s coming!” The doctor said, “No wonder you feel that way, you’re 8 cm dilated!” To which my response was, “You have GOT to be kidding me, PLEASE get me an Epidural RIGHT NOW or I might die”. In retrospect, I most likely could’ve done it without an Epidural, but because I had one with Hunter, I wanted a predictable experience and feared the unknown.

The Nurse Anesthetist walked in, I swear with a glowing light around her wearing angel wings, and got straight to business placing the Epidural. I began the typical laboring woman moan while hunched over Steve’s shoulders praying for it to be over soon. The urge to push grew greater by the contraction and I begged the Nurse Anesthetist to get the medicine going. Being the angel she was, she gave me a dose of Fentanyl to take the edge off while the Epidural started working. Literally just as I got numb and got a catheter placed, I was checked and told I needed to push!

Excitement grew, and I noticed the delivering doctor was someone my mom knew, so we struck up a conversation about when her baby was due, baby names, maternity leave and all sorts of non-pushing related subjects. Steve recorded the birth, and at 8:11 I was jabbering up a storm with the doctors and nurses and by 8:17 she was born.

A tiny little pink, squeaking angel girl. The first thing I noted was how alert she was. I think I was expecting her to be not as alert being so early, but she proved us all wrong! I was able to hold her initially, and Steve got to cut the umbilical cord. After I got to inspect her precious little body, the Neonatologist took her to the warmer and began assessing her. She was breathing well, had great color, and overall seemed to be doing well for her gestational age. Thank God.

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued….

 

-J

30 Weeks

17 Mar

Weeks Pregnant: 30 weeks (EDD May 29, 2012)

Gender/Name: Girl; Sweet Ella Grace

Weight Gain: haven’t even stepped on the scale! Perhaps I’m in denial?

Cravings: Same ol’, same ol’. Candy, Outback, and Chipotle!

Symptoms: I’m becoming super uncomfortable. Her feet are as high up in my ribs as they can possibly go, and when she switches positions or rolls around now it literally hurts. Still also very tired and doing household chores wears me out big time. I recently started taking Hunter to swim lessons, and the weightlessness of the pool feels glorious. Not so glorious when I have to get out of the pool because I feel like 1,000 pounds, but I’ll take 30 minutes of weightlessness.

Recent Doctor’s Appointments: I recently had another anatomy scan that revealed I have no more evidence of my blood clot, and my placenta has moved completely away from my cervix! I’m cleared from all my restrictions and can breathe a huge sigh of relief. The rest of the pregnancy should be pretty uneventful. I have another appointment next Friday, and don’t expect too much excitement–just belly measurements, doppler, and peeing in a cup! I begin Non-Stress Tests and Biophysical Profiles at 34 weeks to make sure I still have adequate amniotic fluid, and she is not showing any signs of distress.

Looking forward to: The next 6-8 weeks coming (sort of)! If I do not deliver earlier than 38 weeks (which I think I will, considering I had Hunter at 36 weeks) I will be induced. Steve has to leave towards the end of May for nearly a year out of state for schooling. Emotionally, I literally couldn’t take him missing her birth and almost the first year of her growing up. This way he will at least get a week or so with her, and it will give us a tiny bit of time as a family of 4. It’s bittersweet, because while I want her to be here, it means it’s that much closer to him being gone again. Seeing Hunter’s reaction when he recently came home was heart wrenching. I had to leave the room a few times because seeing them interact simultaneously made me overjoyed, yet overwhelmed with sadness knowing that their time together is so fleeting. Steve is the apple of his eye.

In the near future, I’m so excited for my baby shower! I can’t wait to have all my favorite people (well, most of them at least!) in one place to celebrate our baby girl.

Missing: Still margaritas. And sleeping comfortably. I have to either get up to pee or shift my body constantly so my sleep is suffering.

Movement: Like previously mentioned, she HURTS when she moves around! I have no idea how she can get any bigger because she feels jam packed in there already.

Labor Signs: Lots of Braxton Hicks, but I’m hoping that’s not a sign that she’s ready to come anytime soon. I had a ton with Hunter starting around this time, so I’m not too worried.

Our little man got his first haircut today. And he looks just that–like a little man. Monumental day in my mama book, and he didn’t even flinch. So proud of him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are some pictures taken a few weeks ago when Steve got back. And please, look at that face Steve  Hunter is making. Twins much?

I’m off to enjoy this rainy, lazy Saturday with my boys!

 

-J

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