Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I distinctly remember the day we left my small, south Texas hometown and headed to the big city of Houston, TX.  I was heading off to college at the mere age of 17.  My mom and I drove up with a dear friend from high school, Timmy, with his truck loaded to the top with supplies my mom thought I would need over the next year.  I was overstocked with things I don't even recall using at home as a teen, much less now that I was in college.  After my mom and Timmy left and headed back to Mathis, my mom began calling daily to check on me.  This was before cell phones and before I ever felt the need to own a pager, so I often came back to my dorm room with random messages on my answering machine.  I think she may have been suffering from a bit of empty nest syndrome, but I also think she was genuinely worried about her daughter being so far away from home.  However, her worry always seemed to revolve around food which I never quite understood.  When we did speak, she always asked the question, "What did you eat for lunch/dinner today."  She wanted full details too.  My simple answers never sufficed and I just didn't understand why this was so important to her.  I mean, I was old enough to know when and what I needed to eat, after all.  This question has haunted me since I was 17 years old.  In fact, she still asks me the same dreaded question even though I am 35 years old, married, and with a child of my own, "What are you eating for dinner."  Awhile back, she told me she often woke up in the middle of the night worried about whether or not she fed us enough as kids, were we fulfilled nutritionally throughout our childhood, and had we eaten well that day.  I rolled my eyes (yes, unfortunately a teenage habit I haven't been able to break) and thought she was insane.  Don't we all usually think our moms are at some point or another?

Fast forward to my current life as a mother of a 15 month old.  Here I sit at the dining room table, watching my son eat his dinner - I should probably rephrase that statement to, the dinner he usually refuses to eat - it suddenly hit me!  I, too, am obsessed with Merrick's food intake.  How had I turned into my mom?  I realized when I pick him up from daycare, it is the first thing I look at on his daily chart.  I immediately want to know,  "How much did he eat today?"  "How much milk did he drink?"  I, then, proceed to ask the teachers how much of his lunch did he actually eat and how much was thrown across the table.  At dinner time, when Merrick decides he does not like what has been placed in front of him and he begins pushing his bowl away as if it were plagued with "cooties," I feel the worry and concern bubble inside me.  The anxiety of whether or not he is getting enough nutrition begins to overwhelm me.  I'm obsessed in making sure he only consumes what I have deemed 'appropriate' foods, fresh fruits, no preservative based foods, tons of water rather than juice, and the list can go on and on.  Next week, he is moving up to the big boy, toddler room and they will begin providing his snacks for him instead of us hauling them back and forth each day.   I don't think I've become "THAT" parent yet, but probably well on my way after my list of questions regarding this snack time food intake!  

Now, fast forward to my second pregnancy with Landon.  I've been told that the problems we are experiencing with this pregnancy are due to a placenta dysfunction.  We won't have a specific diagnosis until after Landon is born and they are able to perform a biopsy on the placenta.  It is clear, though, it is not functioning properly in order to provide Landon with the proper nutrition he needs for growth.  For those that don't understand the role of the placenta, it's purpose and function is to act like the lifeline between mother and baby.  The placenta transfers oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus.

So, as I sit here on a daily basis waiting for what is to come, I am again overwhelmed with the thought that I am unable to nourish the child that lays inside me.  My one and only purpose right now is to provide him with plenty of nourishment to grow and prepare for the life outside the womb and I'm failing.  This is a situation that is out of my control and I'm unable to fix it.  As a mother, this is probably one of the hardest things to face.  Feeding Merrick is something I can obsess about and usually fix it by making him some macaroni and cheese.  In this situation, it's not that easy of a fix.  I have decided the only real thing I can do is eat and drink as much as I can, in hopes that I will be able to give him just a little bit more nutrition the placenta may not be able to provide.  I'm going to have a ton of work to do to remove the extra weight I will have gained, but if it gives Landon a little more of a fighting chance, so be it.   

After talking to other moms over the past 15 months, it amazes me how it seems natural for us to become obsessed with what goes into the mouths and bellies of our little ones.  It begins from day one.... breastfeeding alone causes so much anxiety among some women, they are unable to produce milk.  We question everything from what to feed them, when to feed them, how to feed them, and on and on and on.  No wonder my mom still asks to this day.  

I can't help but wonder how much more obsessed I will become with making sure my boys are well fed as they grow up.  Knowing I was unable to provide the appropriate nourishment for the first 10 months of Landon's developing life, I may be a slight bit harder on myself.  Who knows, maybe I'll relax and not take it so seriously.  In any case, I get it now more than I ever did before.

I have often thought about Merrick and Landon in college and throughout their adult years, picking up the phone, rolling their eyes because they know I'm calling to find out what they had for dinner, but that's OK - I'm their mom and it's my job!


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Big Day!

This day has felt like an eternity to get to.  After not having much sleep last night due to anticipation for what new news would come to us today, I made it to the dr. promptly this morning.  I got there so early, I had to wait in the parking lot.  So, in an attempt to calm my nerves, I think I called almost every person in my phone book, but go figure it was one of those days that no one seemed to be answering the phones.  I guess this is what happens when you call people in the middle of a Monday morning - they are working!

So, here are my results from todays appointment.  I consider it good news and bad news, but I am still carrying a strong sense of optimism since last Monday.  My fluid levels are now at an estimated 12!  The tech measured 11 and the perinatologist measured 13, so I'll go with about a medium of 12.  This is great news and I feel much better knowing that he's got room to move around which means that hopefully, lungs are developing more and we hopefully won't have any problems w/him having extremity restrictions, or umbilical cord compression (this was my biggest concern of all as it could lead to many serious complications).  So, I'm crossing fingers this fluid increase is a positive for us.  My dear husband, Patrick, is now a firm believer in the benefits of PowerAde!!!!  I've been drinking 32 oz. bottles of this and water pretty much non-stop for the past few weeks.  I've heard urban legends about the powers of PowerAde, but I might now be willing to do a commercial for them when this is all said and done!
So, for the the not so great news.  Landon is still far behind in growth.  He is measuring 25 weeks and 6 days and I am 30 weeks and 2 days, so if my math is correct (which could be questionable) this means he is now about 31 days behind in growth, so the gap has widened...not by a huge amount, but it has.  He weighs about 1 lb. 10 oz. so it is the weight they feel comfortable to deliver him, if necessary.  
The ultrasound tech scared did give me quite a scare while she was performing the ultrasound. As she was checking the heart beat and the doppler readings, she became really quiet. I had heard a heartbeat, so I knew that was ok at least, but was concerned the decelerations were appearing again.  She suddenly turned off the machine and said the dr. would be in soon.  As soon as the dr, entered, I asked about the heart and he said he was fine, no signs of distress at this point.  That was a relief!  I knew if they had seen that, things were going to move very fast and I don't think I was quite prepared for that.
I will start doing kick counts regularly which I told the dr. will be hard because he's not a big mover, but I just have to get 3 in one hour.  If I don't, I am go go to Labor and Delivery, ASAP.  He kept mentioning this, so I don't know if he saw something that made him concerned or was just trying to prepare me, but he's a pretty blunt dr. so I think he would have informed me.  His previous predictions were that as Landon gets bigger, the placenta has to provide more for the baby and if it is failing already, then it will/could eventually give out because he is too big.  So, I think his concern is that we are this far along and are very likely able to save Landon and the outcome could be good, so I have to really start monitoring closely in case the placenta were to eventually give out.
So, the plan for now is to see my regular OB tomorrow am to check blood pressure, etc.  Then I will begin going to Labor and Delivery 2 times a week to begin fetal monitoring. He said that if they notice anything, they will do an ultrasound to confirm their readings.  If there are any indications of problems, they will deliver.  This could include decrease movement, heart decelerations, etc.  This means, we can expect to have him deliver anytime in the next few weeks.  However, I'm scheduled for a new ultrasound in three weeks if Landon stays put - this would then put me at 33 weeks, just a few steps closer to my expected due date and that would obviously be the best case scenario.
So, here I am - waiting, waiting.  I am doing OK today - I don't feel overwhelmed with emotion today about today's news because it really wasn't much new news.  I am disappointed, however, because I really did think there was going to be something different. I felt like maybe the new position he was in would give us a more positive growth measurement.  However, I do feel good that I'm 30 weeks, that fluid levels are up and the next time I see the peri, I'll be 33 weeks.  I'm looking for the small blessings that have been given to us.
I have resolved to the fact that I'm likely going to go further along and deliver a very small baby OR I'll be delivering a premie.  In the end, I know that we are in a much better place than we were before - still holding on and hoping for Landon to arrive.  He may be small, but this boy has a BIG story and a BIG heart!  
Merrick is doing great - he actually is fascinated with my belly and gives it kisses and, well, sometimes he gives it a slap or two.  I've also taught him to say, "Grow, Baby Grow!"   We are talking about Landon a lot more now and I think he may be realizing that he's got a little brother on the way!
Again, I say this every time - I am so very thankful for each and every one of you and the support you are giving to my family!  
PS - about Suzy - I asked the drs. at our meeting last week and everyone in the room agreed that we would be able to have her as a nurse, provided she was there that day!  It never hurts to ask.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

I am going to begin updating our dr. visits/new info we receive about Landon Wyatt via this site.  I have decided to journal our experience through a blog dedicated to our journey.   I began last week and have made two posts - please feel free to stop by and take a peek.  You will read how I came upon the idea of  blogging our journey and hopefully gain an understanding of the feelings/emotions we are facing daily.   I am working on a tab for those who don't know the back story and want to catch up.  You may read these postings to get a full update since the initial news in December.  This is my first attempt at blogging extensively and I have already learned so much and have found the experience to be a positive one so far.

PS - One more thing... be sure to enter your email address under the RSS feed so you can receive email updates when I do make an update.  Also, click to follow my blog.  These will automatically be sent to the email address you enter.  If you have any questions about this, please let me know.  I'll try to find an answer.  I'm still learning.

Here is our update for today:

Many of you received my text today w/our cautiously optimistic good news.  We met with the team of doctors this morning.  There was a a lot of information given to us and lots of possible case scenarios, both, good and bad.  We feel very informed and we are now in a better place having almost made it to the 30 week mark.  The neonatologist was optimistic and gave us some hope for what we may expect when Landon arrives, but was also very realistic and practical.  We also were given a tour of the NICU unit which was definitely the hardest part of the day.  

Our perinatologist was adamant that it was too soon to do another ultrasound to check growth because it is not an accurate predictor in such a short gap of time.  He stood by his 3 week time frame, however he did offer to do a quick one to check my fluid levels.  The reason for this request on our part was because I have suddenly seemed to have gotten bigger and I have had the "pregnancy discomfort" all weekend, so I certainly thought he might have gotten bigger or my fluid increased.  I knew something was different... I've been telling Patrick all weekend that I thought he moved and that I felt bigger, etc.  Thankfully, the peri allowed us to check the fluid because it has increased to a surprising 8.4!  This is still in a low range and more along the lines of someone in their 36/37th week, but it is FAR (possibly double/triple the amount) above the amount that I had previously. The other good news is that he is no longer breeched.

We won't know anything more until Monday and that will be a HUGE day in terms of determining growth that may or may not have taken place.  It has been determined from the meeting today, though, that if growth stops or takes a further decline, this is when they will begin delivery preparations.  

This is all we have for now... I'm glad that the news is more positive this week and hope that it continues for us.

Again, I can't thank you enough for your help and support.  Will give you a new update next week.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Good Omens

I don't think many people remember or feel so attached to the nurse who cared for them in the hospital, but I think our nurse who delivered Merrick shares a special place with our family.  I previously mentioned the baggage I carried into the hospital on the day we headed in for my induction; I had packed like I was heading there for a month, but that is the norm for me traveling anywhere.  So, you can only imagine how a first rate member of Overpackers Anonymous Club felt about packing for a trip to the hospital to deliver our first born son! What I did not mention was that I also brought along our doula.  Her presence would become crucial throughout what seemed to be, the never ending induction.  I think the nurses were intimidated, doctors were intimidated, and they all thought it was the funniest thing that I came in carrying my big yoga ball!

Here enters Suzy, our nurse!  She was my nurse the first full day of the induction.  We talked throughout the day as you would to any nurse that cares for you in a hospital.  It's all business - "How are you feeling?" "What can I do to make your more comfortable?" "No, you may not eat anything!" "How much more can you possibly drink, girl?"  Little did I know, she was beginning to get me prepared for a c-section which I adamantly did not want.  I was not progressing and I knew her secret the moment she started limiting my intake of water and ice!  So, needless to say, I immediately called my doula and we began the fight to start the induction process all over again (it's known as a serial induction).  So, on to day 2 of my hospital stay.  Most people have likely already birthed a child at this point, but they aren't likely as tenacious and determined as me.  Low and behold... Suzy is my nurse again for Day 2 and was there when my water FINALLY broke and I was ready to deliver.  She was our nurse who cared for me during, after the birth, and for the remainder of the day until I was moved to the postpartum wing.

Most would think... this is where it ends with the relationship with your nurse, however I think this is where our very small wondrous world brings two people together for a very special reason.  Suzy only works the labor and delivery wing, yet on this day, my 3rd day in the hospital, now in the postpartum wing, in walks Suzy.  Surprise!!! She was there to nurse me through my recovery too.  My mom and I were thrilled!  It just so happened there was a shortage of nurses on the floor that day and she was assigned to me.  We bonded even more as she guided me through my breastfeeding, answered all the questions I had about caring for a newborn (I seemed to have forgotten everything I read or learned in baby care class), and shared her story about her three children and nursing.  My favorite memory of her was the dedication to be sure we left fully prepared for Merrick's arrival home.  Now, I don't want to get Suzy in trouble, but this woman hooked us up!  She gave us so many baby blankets, diapers, extra lady things I needed... she just kept filling me up and up and up!  It was AWESOME!

As we walked out of the door that day and we said goodbye, she said to me, "You know, you will probably never be forgotten."  I thought she was being nice, but she continued on, "When women come in with a yoga ball and a doula, we, at the nurses station unfortunately have an inside scoop of how this will typically turn out... it usually means we should get the c-section operating room prepared! I'm not sure why, but for some reason it just seems to be the statistic.  Let's just say that, I think you are probably one of the very few, if any, who have actually made it through a natural delivery despite that yoga ball!"  My heart was beaming with pride that we accomplished the birth we had desired.  Even though we had our doula, I think Suzy really helped make sure I had the experience I had been dreaming of for 9 months.

So, what does this have to do with Landon?  Well, as I mentioned before, I had to enter the hospital this past week to begin steroid shots for Landon's lung maturity.  On the first day there, I asked repeatedly about Suzy, just hoping that she might be there.  Unfortunately, she wasn't.  What was I thinking... this woman was not going to remember the Franks' family.  She delivers umpteen babies a day, not to mention it has been 15 months since she's seen us and I'm more than sure my math is good enough to know that is a lot of babies/families she has seen.  So, I figured I'd let it go.

On my second day of shots, I went on my own because there was no need for Patrick to take a day off of work for me to get a shot.  We had checked with the nurses the day before and she agreed, I could go alone.  I had to wait for a very long time in the waiting room of Labor and Delivery because, unfortunately, they were booked with many emergency deliveries, women in lots of pain, and what appeared to be a lot of c-sections.  As I waited in the waiting room, I saw the other side of delivery... the anxious family awaiting the arrival of granddaughters, nieces, and nephews.  This was moving as I remembered the birth of Merrick, yet it also brought me to the realization that my soon to come delivery was going to be full of excitement, but also shadowed with extreme fear and worry for the health of our dear Landon.

As I waited, a nurse and a dad in scrubs came out the door pushing the little clear bassinet and a precious baby wrapped in one of those very blankets I received from my nurse friend, Suzy.  The family jumped up with excitement, took pictures, and beamed with pride.  I, of course, began to cry.  I wanted so badly to place my sunglasses over my head and hang my head low, but out of the corner of my eye... I saw her.  I saw someone pushing a gurney quickly through the hallway.  I immediately recognized the long sleeve thermal shirt under her scrubs, the dirty blond hair with highlights, and that very sweet smile.  I jumped up and leapt across the waiting room and into the hallway where she stood waiting for the Labor and Delivery doors to open.  She immediately remembered me, hugged me, and I just cried into her shoulder.  I told her our story, shared the proud mamma moments of Merrick, and she, as she had done before, provided me with comfort.  Our visit was quick as she needed to get back to work, but my day was made by a little ray of sunlight.

I immediately called Patrick as she walked away.  His laugh of relief that there was some familiarity in this hospital for us made me feel even better.  I think seeing Suzy was a good omen for us.  I felt like we had been touched by something... like something bigger than us is watching over us.  When my nerves were about to get the best of me as I sat there alone waiting to be called, I was soon reassured I was being protected and guided.  Though the encounters between Suzy and me have been short in the big picture of life, it made me realize that people come into your life and touch you... whether it be for the small moments or the big ones, they are there.

We so often take for granted the blessings that surround us.  I know now that I will now seek them out in a different way than I ever have before.  They are there, yet often forgotten.  When you do see them for what they are, they can bring us back to a place in which we can take a look at life in a more gentle way.

At our meeting on Monday morning with the team of doctors, I'm requesting that she be our nurse while I'm in the hospital.  I know these doctors are going to think I'm crazy, but I think they'll understand.  Having her there to be a part of our story, brings me comfort.

I have a picture of Suzy, Merrick and I, but need to find it in my never ending Iphoto log... hey, I was a first time mom for the past 15 months, there are a lot of pictures to go through.  I'll post as soon as I find it.

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Elevator

As we headed into the elevator at the hospital this afternoon, I was immediately reminded of the last time we made these same steps.  My memory hit me like a ton of bricks.  I remembered the feeling of discomfort, anxiety, fear of what was to come, anticipation, and excitement.  The first time we entered these doors and chose our designated floor, I carried a far too overpacked suitcase, a massive sized exercise ball, set of Friends dvds to keep me entertained (silly me), my laptop, my mother, and my dear husband who was a pretty nervous guy at the time, and finally the clothes in which I would hold and cherish my first born son.

This time, unfortunately, was different.  This time, I carried eyes filled with tears, a heavy heart, an achy stomach of nerves, and the intense clench of my husband's hand (who, of course, was still a pretty nervous guy). Ironically, as soon as he grasped my hand upon entering, I was overcome with feelings of discomfort, anxiety, fear of what was to come, anticipation, and excitement.  I'm not sure how we landed in this place and I'm aware it will be some time before we really know, but I also know I will have to enter those elevator doors again sometime in the near future.  The novelty of doing it again and again over the next few months will wear off.  As the ding of the door opening lands me on the 3rd floor of this hospital, it'll feel commonplace after awhile and that makes me sad since these metal sheet doors aroused so much emotion within me.  Despite this, I will always remember how bittersweet this memory, of elevator doors, are to me as I stepped foot into this contraption that would one day take me to deliver my first born son and at another time begin the preparations for me to deliver my second son.  The beauty of that, alone, will get me through this.  Though the emotions I felt are the same in the basic adjective form, they bring such different meanings to where we are and what is to come.

This is all I have to share right now.  It is a very late 1:30 am and being on bed rest certainly has my internal clock completely off kilter.  I decided at the very moment I was unsuccessfully trying to sleep, that I have a story to share.  I have learned over the past months about some very brave, gentle, and supportive women through blogs.  Their stories have helped me make it through the rough patches and have helped me understand and answer so many of the questions I have.  If anything, I only hope to share my story to provide comfort to someone who is also faced with a life story that is not what we dreamed or had planned for ourselves.