Lena’s Story + The Infection

December 22nd, 2013 | Ann

Honestly, I’ve opened a blank post every single day for the past 5 days and tried to write out Lena’s birth story and the subsequent week, and I’m struggling with the words and how to say what I want to say. It’s long, it’s semi-graphic (I tried to keep it clean!) and it made me cry to write it out. But, here’s the story…..

Lena’s Story
As you know, I was induced at 37-weeks for mild pre-eclampsia. Thankfully, I never had any of the serious symptoms of pre-eclampsia other than high blood pressure and a trace amount of protein. Jay and I went to the hospital on 12/1 and spent 2 days trying to get my body into labor. Finally, on 12/3, the midwife broke my water, I took an epidural and a heavy dose of pitocin, and I started into labor.

Ready to meet Lena!

Ready to meet Lena!

After a whole day – literally, until after midnight – I had finally progressed to the final stages of labor. I was 9cm and ready to have a baby… Only, Baby Girl wasn’t ready to come out. The more I pushed, the more stuck she got. Apparently, she was twisted and turned in the worst way. After 2 hours of pushing, the midwife, the doctor, Jay and I decided to move to c-section. At this point (around 2am), my epidural was completely worn off and my contractions were out-of-control painful. I was crying and screaming in pain.

They were able to place the spinal for the c-section and I was wheeled into surgery around 4:30. Although I was numb from the chest down, I was violently contracting. Hours of contractions plus Lena’s position made it impossible to get her out. What usually takes 2-3 minutes of surgery turned into 10+ minutes. I laid on the table, in absolute horror, as they called out for emergency doctors to come and help. I was pushed and shoved back and forth for 10+ minutes, and even had a doctor climb on top of me, in order to get this baby un-stuck. Jay was in the operating room and could not believe how much effort it took for the doctors to get Lena out – it was like nothing he had ever seen or experienced.

Finally, we heard a tiny little cry. She was out – click for initial photos and announcement. Jay cut her cord and they immediately took her to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for testing. The initial concerns were lack of oxygen and brain damage from being in transition for 10+ minutes and a possible broken collarbone. Thankfully, everything checked out OK and she was kept for observation for just two days. Jay and I spent as much time with her as we could in the NICU, and my family had a chance to meet her within the first few days she was born. After those initial days, she was transferred up to the postpartum recovery unit with us, and stayed with us until we were discharged. I also had some wonderful visitors during the time in the recovery unit who spent time with us and got to meet Lena for the first time!

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There had been concerns with my health and recovery in the postpartum unit, which delayed us being sent home sooner: the doctors wanted to make sure I was able to recover from both a near-delivery AND a c-section. They had concerns about shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, and an infection at the c-section incision site. I was also checked for pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the chest) and the contrast from the CT scan elevated the creatinine levels in my kidneys – which took a few days to stabilize with extra fluids and rest.

If I can be honest – recovery was really difficult… Much, much more difficult than I anticipated. I needed assistance getting up, getting to the bathroom, getting dressed and moving around the hospital room. I needed help holding, feeding, changing and caring for Lena. Jay stayed by my side the entire time, and my mom stayed at our house and helped take care of the puppy – along with help from a few friends and family members.

When I was discharged on December 9, I needed a lot of help around the house. My sister spent the entire next day with me – and was the biggest help in preparing food, caring for Lena, and getting things done around the house (laundry, dishes, cleaning up, etc.) Not only was I struggling with recovery from both types of labor (seriously!), I spiked a temperature and spent the afternoon under blankets warming up…. which leads to the 2nd part of the story: The Infection.

The Infection
Late Tuesday night (12/10), I was up and down out of bed, uncomfortable and running a fever. My temperature spiked between 100-101 degrees, and I called the nurse-line around 2am to ask for help. They recommended I take a trip to the ER to get checked out… and thankfully, my sister was able to come over and watch Lena in the middle of the night. Jay and I went to the ER – where things went downhill very quickly. I drank a dose of contrast and was sent for another CT test. The CT test showed more infection than was previously thought – and the OB surgeons decided to put me under to remove the staples from the incision. This was a “routine” surgery, they said.

Around 10am on Wednesday (12/11), I was sent down to the OB Surgery unit with my mom in tow. Jay was at Lena’s first physician appointment – and I was told that surgery would last about an hour. Here’s where things get absolutely bizarre:

I woke up at 4pm on Thursday (12/12) in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) at a completely different hospital.

When I woke up, I had a ventilator down my throat, an IV in my neck, a catheter inserted and other tubes and wires hooked up. They removed the ventilator and my mom and Jay both stood over me…

They said I had been asleep for 2 days.
They said that the “routine” OB surgery revealed a serious infection.
They said the infection was big – REALLY BIG – in my entire abdomen.
They said the infection was E.Coli – which naturally exists in everyone’s abdomen.
They said the E.Coli exploded in my abdomen – into places it shouldn’t have been.
They said I also had a hernia (a hole in my stomach) as a result of the infection.
They said that another surgeon from another hospital was called because the infection was so serious.
They said I was at risk for getting an infection in my blood and going into septic shock - so they kept me asleep.
They said I was transported – via ambulance – to another hospital.
They said I had another surgery the next day to make absolutely certain the infection was gone.
They said I could have died.
They said I’d be in the ICU for a day or two, and another 7-10 days in the hospital for recovery.
They said I’d be lucky to get home before Christmas.

Through the medicated fog, I heard everything they said. I understood what had happened. The very first words out of my mouth were….

“THIS IS BULLSHIT.”

I was angry, ya’ll. I was so angry. (Thinking about it STILL makes me angry!) I asked questions. I cried. I was in pain. I was sad and confused – AND LENA! What about Lena? My sweet baby girl – only a week old – would be without her mom for at least a week?

My heart broke into a million pieces.

I saw the fear in Jay’s eyes. I felt the concern and the worry. Even writing this now… makes me cry thinking about the raw emotion I felt waking up, knowing the seriousness of the infection – and knowing that our daughter would be without her mom for at least a week.

The time spent in the ICU and the Surgery Recovery were hell. Absolute hell. The caregivers I had were wonderful – but the experience itself was the worst thing I’ve ever gone through. I had twice-daily dressing changes. I had the IV in my neck for a few days. I was heavily (HEAVILY!) medicated with IV pain meds, antibiotics, and as much extra fluid as my body could take.

Slowly, day by day, things got better. The tubes came out – one at a time. I was allowed to eat and drink again. I was moved from the ICU to the Surgery Recovery unit. I was more awake and more alert, and started getting up on my own. I was told things were improving. I got to meet the surgeon (Dr. H) who took care of me – and got to ask every single question I had. The parade of surgery residents, infection control doctors and special nurses was endless. All day, every day – someone wanted to check something – to look at my wound, to check my vitals, or to make sure my recovery was on track.

I’ll never forget – my dad came to visit me a day after the surgery. He looked me in the eye and said: “You will be OK. You are the most – THE MOST – determined person I know. You are going to be ok.” - and I really, truly believed it.

During my hospital stay, Jay went back to work, and my mom continued to stay at our house. She was absolutely instrumental in taking care of Lena and Biscuit – there’s no way Jay and I would have managed without her. During my hospital stay, Lena came to visit a few times. Family and friends each took turns bringing food, groceries, and sending well-wishes. The outpouring of love and support was absolutely incredible – I still can’t believe the goodness of the people in our lives and how many people stepped up to make sure we were taken care of. My co-workers sent pre-made food from Let’s Dish. Jay’s co-workers donated their own personal PTO to him so he could have time off without worrying about pay. My friends sent flowers, visited, and checked in daily.

On Wednesday (12/18), I was released from the hospital. I was given a wound vac - an at-home treatment with a machine that accelerates healing – and set up with 3x/week in-home nursing care. I was given heavy antibiotics to take at home, along with other meds to help with recovery. My parents delivered our Christmas gift early – a brand new recliner – to help with my comfort and caring for Lena.

I have the wound-vac attached for the coming weeks. It’s a tube attached to a black pack – which is completely mobile. Although the pack needs to be charged when I’m home, I can throw the strap over my shoulder and am free to move around the house, run errands, and take care of Lena.

Stylin' wound-vac pack

Stylin’ wound-vac pack

WHY?!
Why did this happen? It’s the biggest question that Jay and I have asked… All day, every day:

WHY ME?

Why did this happen to me? Well…. that could be an entire separate post. The short answer? Infection happens. Any time there is surgery (such as a c-section), there is a risk of infection. Even a simple mole-removal surgery could lead to an infection. It just happens. And, through the stroke of bad luck, I got an infection. A BAD infection.

There are other factors that could have increased my risk for infection:
- A long(er) labor than usual
- Having my water broken so early in labor – nearly 18 hours before I started pushing
- The heavy contractions during and after pushing at the end of labor
- A c-section surgery that required extra pulling, pushing and tugging
- A c-section requiring extra surgeons to assist with Lena’s birth
- A more difficult recovery from both birth AND surgery recovery
- An infection at the incision site
- Bad luck: infection happens

Recovery
I’m home. I’m recovering. I’m able to care for Lena and Biscuit while Jay returns back to work. I still have the incision with the wound-vac, at-home nursing care, appointments and time – mostly time - to heal. I will eventually be off the wound-vac and the incision will close. I am able to have kids in the future and lead a (seemingly!) normal life again.

I’m lucky – SO LUCKY – that the infection didn’t damage my GI (stomach, intestines, etc.) or my reproductive organs.
I’m lucky – SO LUCKY – that we caught the infection early… A huge thanks to my sister for being persistent about managing my fever the day after I came home from the hospital the first time.
I’m lucky – SO LUCKY – to have a surgeon who is watching out for me and takes the time to explain everything that has happened and what to expect in the future.

And most importantly, I’m lucky – SO LUCKY – to have the best family and friends. Jay is doing well, and Lena is happy and healthy. I absolutely adore her! My family took care of my house, my baby and dog – and I wouldn’t have been on my way to recovery without them. My friends and co-workers sent food, well-wishes and lifted my spirits when I needed them most – both online, and in-person.

If you made it through the entire story – congratulations! Future blogs will include many (many!) more baby photos and updates during my 12-week maternity leave. I know I have a long road ahead, but I am hopeful about the future.

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Thank you for the comments, tweets, messages, concerns, cards, calls and visits. Like I said – I wouldn’t be this far into my recovery if it weren’t for the amazing support in my life. I am SO grateful for the opportunity to move forward, to heal and recover, and to be the best mama I can be.

Thank you – from the bottom of my heart – for everything. <3

Introducing Lena Jane Freeman!

December 18th, 2013 | Ann

I was induced on 12/1, and Lena Jane Freeman was born on 12/4 at 5am. Lena was 8lbs, 9 oz and 20.2″ long.

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Because of a difficult delivery and some possible complications, Lena spent 2 days in the NICU. I’my happy to report that Lena is strong, healthy and happy. Jay and I are absolutely in love with her!

I was discharged home on 12/9, but re admitted a day later with some serious complications and a deep stomach infection. I’ll post some additional details about my experience over the past 2 weeks in the coming days and look forward to spending as much time as possible with Jay, Lena and Biscuit at home.

I can’t say “thank you!” enough for the thoughts, prayers, messages and well-wishes over the last 2 weeks. Lena is perfect and I feel SO incredibly blessed and fortunate to meet our new daughter!

37-Weeks: Nursery Preview

November 30th, 2013 | Ann

I am so happy about the nursery we’ve set up for Baby Girl. I adore the colors (green walls, white furniture, pink and purple accents)  - and I wanted to post some pictures of everything since it’s completed and done!

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Today is my last day before being induced – I’m spending time resting, relaxing, napping, and trying to get ready. I’m nervous and excited! 21 hours (and counting) until induction!!

36-Weeks

November 27th, 2013 | Ann

I anticipate this will be the final update before Baby Girl makes her grand entrance into the world. I am anxious, nervous, scared, excited… and cannot believe we’ll get to meet our daughter SO SOON!

Here are some recent snaps from the past week:

After a fresh haircut!

After a fresh haircut!

Trying out the new Moby wrap!

Trying out the new Moby wrap!

After my work baby shower last week!

After my work baby shower last week!

This week, I’m working to finalize a lot of the logistics for her arrival… confirming our daycare start-date, setting up her baptism, booking newborn photos, emailing my doctor who will also follow her as a patient after she’s born, packing (and re-packing) my hospital bag, planning who will be taking the dog out while we’re at the hospital… It’s nice to have things in order. It also makes this whole process seem so REAL.

My goal for this week is to let go. Let go of the negative feelings, the anger, the hurt – to let go of any non-productive feelings. In the past months, I’ve seen the relationships in my life grow and change – both for the better, and for the worse. And I acknowledge that a lot of the changing in relationships is because I am changing. I’m preparing to become a mom, putting myself and my family first, and focusing on being the best person I can be.

To create the life I want to live, I’ve been practicing letting go of hurt, letting go of snarky judgement, and letting go of anything that doesn’t make me a positive, more compassionate and caring person. I want to be a role model for Baby Girl – I want her to grow up seeing the habits of a happy, successful, kind mom – the type of mom that MY mom has always been!

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I’m in the final days before we get to meet Baby Girl face-to-face. I can’t even imagine what the next week will hold. I am so incredibly thankful for the love and support of our family and friends. Being able to call, text, or reach out with concerns, questions or even reassurance has been absolutely invaluable. I feel blessed beyond measure.

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Thank you for all of your love, support and kindness. I have no doubt that I am bringing Baby Girl into a group of friends and family who already love her unconditionally! <3

WE HAVE A DATE!

November 20th, 2013 | Ann

I spent some time yesterday following up with the midwives, talking about the doctor I saw at my ultrasound and his recommendations for care, including a planned induction. Because I’ve been a “high risk” patient (high blood pressure and preeclampsia),  he recommended being induced at 37-weeks. Although I would rather start labor naturally on my own, I understand the risks/benefits, and want what’s best for me and the baby. Baby looks GOOD – she is strong and healthy, and ready to come out! In order to keep us both safe and healthy, I support his recommendation and scheduled my induction…..

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WE HAVE A DATE! I’m tentatively scheduled for induction on December 1, 2013!

december1Holy cow, you guys. That’s only 11 days away!

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I’m feeling EVERY type of emotion: excitement, anxiety, nervousness, happiness and anticipation. I cannot wait to meet our daughter in less than 2 weeks! Hoping for the next 11 days to be restful, comfortable (as comfortable as possible) and a time for Jay and I to get ready to be first-time parents!!

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35-Weeks

November 19th, 2013 | Ann

Another week down, and just a few more to go. Things have been nice and steady with my labs, protein and blood pressure. I’m still having twice-weekly ultrasounds and weekly labs and urine collections. My regular midwife is in Nicaragua, and I’m feeling a bit frustrated with the lack of follow-up from the other midwives in the group. The idea is that they “follow” all the patients – and I could really see any of them and get the same level of service. Unfortunately, that’s not the case and last night’s midwife-group visit proved more frustrating than helpful. I tossed and turned all night last night thinking about how I could address my feelings. Thankfully, I have an ultrasound this morning and will be following up with the doctor.

As far as how I’m feeling… miserable. Big. Sore back. Can’t get comfortable. Not sleeping. I’m definitely feeling the worst I’ve felt during the whole pregnancy. Whether it’s knowing that I will likely be done in 2 weeks, or I’m just realizing how horrible I feel – I’ve hit a pretty high peak of discomfort. Thankfully, Jay is so sweet and so accommodating. I’m still on “resting” orders – spending the majority of my time at home sitting, relaxing, and bossing him around. He’s always concerned about helping to make me comfortable and getting what I need.

I had my final baby shower this weekend hosted by my sister and my high school friend. It included friends from high school, friends from college, and friends from blogging. My mom was there, too! We had delicious sandwiches, salad, and cake from Queen of Cakes.  We played a few fun games, and opened gifts. Overall, it was SO lovely. I still can’t believe how many amazing people are in my life – friends and family who love me, support me, and can’t wait to meet Baby Girl. I feel so blessed! Here’s a quick snap before the shower:

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I also have a work shower on Thursday this week – it will be a big potluck with my Human Resources department and other corporate associates. I am really looking forward to it ! Thursday is also my final SPHR Class and Friday is Jay’s birthday! I can’t believe I’ve made it this far in pregnancy and am hitting all of the “milestones” I’ve set – attend all baby showers, attend all SPHR classes, celebrate Jay’s birthday! I am SO CLOSE to being done!

Once I go into labor, I’ll be sure to update Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t already, you can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnTwelveInTwelve or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Minnesota_Ann.

I’m working on feeling prepared, feeling ready, and staying relaxed. I’ve packed my hospital bag, I’m wrapping up work projects and I’m mentally preparing myself to have a baby in less than 2 weeks!

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34-Weeks

November 12th, 2013 | Ann

Hello! I’m half-way through Week 34- quickly approaching Week 35! I am feeling HUGE…

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After my diagnosis of preeclampsia 2 weeks ago, things have been moving slow and steady – which is great! The wonderful, thoughtful Falon sent me the best card, including a Caribou Coffee giftcard. So sweet. And her message on the giftcard made me laugh:

Falon GIft

 

Under recommendations from my midwife, I’ve been checking my blood pressure a few times a day, doing 2x/week ultrasounds, weekly urine collection and weekly lab draws. Last week’s urine came back with elevated protein (boo!), so I went back in for lab tests yesterday. Thankfully, the lab tests were OK and I’m in the clear for a few more days – until the next ultrasounds today and Friday, and another urine collection at the end of the week.

At the appointment with the midwife yesterday, she brought up bed rest again. Because my blood pressure is steadily going up – and could easily spike and become dangerous – she said I should plan for one, or maybe two, weeks of bed rest at the end of this pregnancy. Realistically, that means next week or the following week could be spent at home, in bed, resting. As much as I hate that idea, I’ve stopped fighting it tooth-and-nail. Whatever is most healthy for me and the baby, we’ll do. I can deal with 2 weeks at home.

She also confirmed that 37-weeks is the target and I likely won’t go past then. The official date is 12/2 – but according to her, sometimes with preeclampsia, a woman’s body will just know when it’s time and put itself into early labor. For me, that would be fine – since we know the baby is big, healthy, and her lungs are developed and strong. If I don’t go into labor, the plan is still to induce me…. which could go a number of ways (vaginal birth, c-section, etc.) – and it just depends on how my body responds.

The feeling of helplessness and loss of control is frustrating. EVERYTHING hurts. This past week, I ventured into “total discomfort” land – where my back, my belly, my legs – everything is dull, achey pain and discomfort. After a panicked call to the nurse-line, and reassurance from friends and family – I know this is completely normal and part of pregnancy. No signals of “danger”; only “discomfort”. So for now, baby girl is going to keep cookin’.

Speaking of Baby Girls, Jay and I visited Jillian and Dave and their adorable baby, Penelope last weekend. Baby and mom are both doing great (we saw them 6 days post-labor), and it was so great to have “real talk” with first-time parents – who are in the same position as us! Baby Penelope came on her due date, and Jillian and Dave had PLENTY of insight and suggestions about labor, birth, and the first few days at home. I am SO EXCITED for their healthy baby girl – seeing her was precious, and also gave Jay some good practice at being around a newborn!

2 weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to have two (2!) baby showers – one with my college friends, and one with my extended family. It was SO WONDERFUL to celebrate Baby Girl’s pending arrival and be surrounded by so many people who are excited for us. Plus, the gifts. So generous. So overwhelming. I feel like I can’t say “thank you” enough! Here are some pictures from the showers…

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EC Baby Shower

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In addition to the showers, my parents gifted us with a new stroller/car-seat combo. It was SO incredibly generous, and I am so lucky to have parents who are SO EXCITED about Baby Girl!

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Finally, the lovely Ash (who just had the most adorable baby boy!) sent a darling gift for Baby Girl from Utah – some onesies, and a snuggly little outfit, including a heart-print fleece pullover and baby jeggings! They are so adorable, and I can’t wait until she fits into these clothes!
Ash gift
I’m still focusing on one day at a time. I know I can venture into “unsafe” territory anytime, and I’m thankful to have such great support system – family, friends, and medical staff who are tracking me, checking on me, and making sure I’m ok. I’m hoping for increased calm, relaxation and peace in these final weeks!

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32-Weeks

October 30th, 2013 | Ann

After last week’s update, I heard back regarding my test results: positive for protein. I also earned a diagnosis of “mild preeclampsia.” Since the midwives had already put me on a schedule for 2x/week ultrasounds, the only real addition to my “care plan” is a weekly 24-hour collection (more pee-in-a-jug), and weekly lab draws to make sure my kidneys and liver are working normally.

The midwives and doctors are still tracking me closely – I’m taking my blood pressure a few times during the day, I’m on the look-out for any of the signs or symptoms of preeclampsia - blurred vision, headache, sudden swelling, pain below my ribs – and I’ve been given “resting” orders both at work and at home. I’m to stay off my feet, keep my legs elevated (I have a little stool under my desk!), and try to sit or lay down as much as possible. If my blood pressure spikes, it may be cause for concern – I understand the importance of resting to keep both me and Baby Girl healthy!

Ultimately, I’m looking at early delivery. I’m almost to the 33-week mark, and it’s the midwives’ goal for me to have the baby at 37-weeks. At most, I’ll be pregnant another 4 weeks. That is SO CRAZY! At worst, I’d go into labor or be induced sooner… Because of the risk of early delivery, I got steroid shots to help grow Baby Girl’s lungs, and was tested for Group B Strep.

I feel like every day is another day spent cooking this baby until it’s time for her to come out – whether labor starts, I get induced, or the doctors and midwives think it’s safer for her to be “outside” rather than “inside”. With all of the developments over the past week and a half, I’m really taking it in stride: I simply can’t control a lot of the things that are happening. I can’t control that I got preeclampsia. I can’t control my high blood pressure, other than relaxing and resting. I can’t control the protein or lab results: they are what they are. I trust my healthcare providers and know that they are doing the very best to take care of the both of us. 

And honestly? I have a feeling in my heart of hearts that everything is going to be OK. Baby Girl is taking “practice breaths” – using her lungs and mimmicing breathing motions on the ultrasounds. I know her lungs are growing stronger every day – and by now, she’s got to be over 6 lbs. Based on the feedback from the doctors and midwives, even if I deliver anytime in the next 4 weeks, things are looking really good for both me and Baby Girl.

So…. onto the fun stuff. I had my first baby shower this past weekend with my fabulous Winesday girlfriends – Kat, Brady, Hannah, Carrisa and Angie. They were so thoughtful – picking delicious food, providing me sparking juice-mixers, and giving amazing gifts. We all took turns putting a diaper on Boo (for time), and it felt so lovely to be surrounded by such wonderful friends!

Here are some snaps from the shower:
(yes, those ARE boots with da’ fur!)

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clothes

cupcakes

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I was looking at the “locally grown” onesie at Patina earlier on Saturday and ALMOST bought it for myself! Then, 2 of the girls got me the same gift. I guess it’s true that when you have great friends, they know you better than you know yourself!

I also had an amazing gift from the lovely Jillian – who is due within the next week! She dropped it by my house last weekend, and it was such a wonderful and thoughtful surprise! So many useful baby things – mittens, socks, hats, bibs, blankets, nuks and a thermometer.

jillian gift

Jay is getting more and more excited to meet Baby Girl. He doesn’t have much (any!) experience with babies, so lately we’ve been talking through the details – how to hold the baby, how to change the baby, and what to expect. I know he has a great “fatherly” instinct and will be a wonderful dad. Lately, he’s been reading to her. This book (I Ruff You) was a gift from Brady at last weekend’s shower. He already speaks to her so sweetly, it warms my heart.

jay reading

Thank you so much for the thoughts, prayers, well-wishes and thoughtful messages. It means SO MUCH to know I’m not going through this alone. In the end, Baby Girl is going to grace us with her lovely presence – I have a feeling, it will be on her own timeline. For now, more resting and taking things one day at a time.

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31-Weeks

October 23rd, 2013 | Ann

I feel like I should title this post “ups and downs” – because the past week has been FULL of them.

I took Thursday and Friday off last week – I got a massage, a haircut and color, and ran errands. Oh! And, my sister got married!!!

Ann and K Wedding

 

The day was absolutely perfect – she looked beautiful, she was cool as a cucumber, and their ceremony was filled with so much love and emotion. I felt SO LUCKY to be a part of her special day! I was the bridesmaid (his brother was the groomsman) – and I got to pick my own dress. I LOVED this shimmery champagne dress and felt so beautiful with my hair and makeup done -

A wedding

A and J Wedding

(To see more pics, visit my Instagram at Minnesota_Ann)

Despite not drinking, I had a blast at the wedding – the food was delicious, the dancing was awkward yet enthusiastic – and I was most happy to see my sister so in love, marrying someone who is a perfect match for her!

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and off my feet. Monday was a midwife group – a tour of the hospital! I’ve mentioned a few times my recent elevated blood pressure as a result of pregnancy, and it continues to be an area of concern. So much so, that the midwives talked about admitting me for 24-hour observation (!) after a high reading on Monday. We finished the tour, and they sent me right back up to the Labor and Delivery unit, where I was admitted. Jay and I spent a few hours in triage – I had continuous blood-pressure monitoring, fetal heart-rate monitoring, and a full lab draw. Thankfully, they sent me home Monday night – but not without orders for a 24-hour urine collection (aka. Pee in a Jug)

I am fortunate to work in a flexible work environment – I was able to stay home on Tuesday and work while completing my urine collection. I dislike working from home – it takes longer to access what I need through secure VPN sign-in, and I miss having regular interactions with my co-workers. Wednesday morning, I went back to drop off my urine collection and I had a full ultrasound at Maternal Fetal Medicine.

According to the midwives, high blood pressure can lead down a few different roads… The first is Preeclampsia. The urine collection should – hopefully – find a regular amount of protein, and rule out the condition. I don’t have any of the other signs or symptoms and I’m hoping it won’t go down that road.

The second condition associated with high blood pressure is Gestational Hypertension. This is simply high blood pressure because of pregnancy. Typically, meds don’t work very well – and the primary treatment is to simply watch, and wait.

For now, I’m in the watch-and-wait category. At my ultrasound this morning, Baby F measured big. REALLY BIG. Like, 5 and a half pounds. Her proportions are all correct and there’s no concern over diabeetus (I passed my 3-hour test!) – she’s simply big. One guess, is that my due-date has been wrong the entire time. Also – Jay and I are both big/tall people – hence, we have a big/tall baby. The rest of the prognosis was excellent – her lungs and heart look great, she had both small and large movements, and she’s getting everything she needs from the placenta – all areas to watch with high blood pressure.

The other factor of keeping my blood pressure down is… rest. Plenty of rest. Although I’m not on bed-rest, the midwives wanted to make sure I knew it was a (strong) possibility. We settled for a compromise – lots of rest both at work and at home. I’ve been ordered to put my feet up, stop running around, and letting my co-workers and Jay take care of some of the standing and walking (more active) tasks. I specifically asked about housework and the doctor was clear – I am to do NO housework. Lucky me, eh? Hopefully that will help stabilize my blood pressure and keep me off bed-rest as long as possible.

In order to keep a close watch on my high blood pressure, I’m on 2x/week appointments – both blood pressure checks and ultrasounds. The midwives and doctor will be proactive in making sure the conditions continue to be safe and favorable – for both me and her. The doc also said to plan for an early delivery – within the next 6 weeks or so. December 22 just turned into early-December. At the rate she’s growing, I anticipate and hope she’ll be big, healthy, and will do wonderfully during and after labor.

This pregnancy is just tons of ups and downs. Today, we got a 3D ultrasound picture of her sweet little face – I am already in love! Here is the ultrasound next to both Jay and I – I think she has features from each of us:

Jay Ultrasound

Ann Ultrasound

The bad news: things could get worse.
The good news: things are OK for now.

So I’m resting, keeping my feet up, and hoping to stay healthy with low blood pressure for as long as possible. Please send lots of thoughts and prayers our way – oh! and pictures of baby animals. That seems to help with the blood pressure, too. At least, that’s what I tell myself!

 

29-Weeks

October 8th, 2013 | Ann

Hello!

I’m officially in the 3rd trimester and today, Baby Freeman is the size of a butternut squash. (Thanks, BabyCenter.)

Here’s a quick break-down of how I’ve been feeling and what’s been happening lately:

- 2 weeks ago, I failed my 1-hour glucose test. I was devastated. I went back a few days later and took my 3-hour test. I passed with flying colors and felt more relief than I can remember in a long time. No gestational diabeetus for this mama.

- My blood pressure has jumped higher than usual at the last few appointments. After a tearful chat with my midwife, a trip to Walgreens for a home blood-pressure cuff, and a 30-minute call with another midwife, I finally feel less stressed. Long story short, I am OK. Although high blood pressure is concerning, it hasn’t been coupled with any other symptoms or indicators of a problem. Per the midwife, it’s something for me to watch but not (NOT!) obsess over. i.e. I am not allowed to take my blood pressure 20 times/day. They don’t even recommend 1x/day for me, since I have no other indicators of any other problems – again, this is just per my midwife, based on my health history and status. If you have high BP, check with your healthcare provider!

- My protein-urine screen came back good, and I am not on the watch-list for preeclampsia, for now.

- My hemoglobin was low (9.8, with a goal of 11) so I started iron supplements. Again, not a reason for concern – it’s very common with pregnancy.

- I am feeling HUGE! Baby girl is almost 3 pounds and will gain about a 1/2 pound/week up until delivery. (CRAZY!)

- Along with gaining weight, the swelling has been unbelievable. There are some days I spend too much time on my feet (which really, is like, running errands and general cleaning around the house!) and by the time I sit down, they are like grapefruits around my ankles. I’ve been trying to keep my feet up as much as possible. Each morning when I wake up, the swelling is down and I feel better.

- I’ve been feeling Baby Girl Freeman moving, swimming, and kicking like crazy! I wonder if she’s getting cramped in there? It’s all day, every day, little movements here and there…. and it’s one of the coolest (but weirdest!) things!

- I’ve been having a lot of pelvis pain – turns out, it’s common for your pelvis to start to separate during the last trimester, as a way to prepare for future birth. Source. It’s more pressure than pain – but still uncomfortable. I have a consult for a chiropractic adjustment this week, and booked a prenatal massage for next week (thanks to my lovely sister for the thoughtful gift!).

- This past weekend, I hosted a bachelorette party for my sister. It was so fun – and I can’t wait for her wedding in a few weeks. Additionally, I cheered the Twin Cities Marathon (more in another post) and I’m enrolled to take my SPHR Exam in December. I’m feeling a bit stressed by the amount of things on my calendar, but trying to take things one day at a time. Most importantly, I’m trying to rest and take care of myself.

- Jay and I will be working on our registry tonight. If you haven’t commented on Facebook or Twitter, please leave me your favorite / most useful baby item. I am SO THANKFUL to have so many new moms available as resources… This registry-thing is overwhelming!

- After we get our registry set, I’ll post some of the comments/recommendations!

- Overall: 11 weeks feels like a LONG TIME until Baby Girl comes. I’m looking forward to the last few months of pregnancy for my sister’s wedding, baby showers, being SPHR Certified (fingers crossed!) and getting the final preparations for Baby Girl ready. Right now, the time is crawling by!

Finally, here’s an updated snap from last week:

29 weeks