Saturday, February 26, 2011

Still Holding On...

I apologize for not having written an update this week.  As you know, this little boy is full of surprises and once again, has kept us on our toes.  On Monday I attended my regular monitoring session at Labor and Delivery which determined the course of events for the remainder of the week. 

These monitoring sessions last about 30-45 minutes while I'm connected to bands that listen to the heartbeat, detect fetal movement and the heartbeat during that movement, in addition to, another band that follows any possible contractions that might be taking place.  I am not allowed to fall asleep during this session because I have to click a device that marks any fetal movement I feel.   It almost feels like a buzzer from a game show... I feel like there should be some loud, buzzing alarm with lights spinning every time I get to click that button, but unfortunately it is only a little black mark made on very long strip of paper that I have no idea how to read or understand. 

Now, the sound of the fetal heartbeat is a special one for an expectant mother, however it is also very loud and usually very fast and after hearing it so much for the past few months in total fear of what might happen, it begins to sound like a ticking time bomb.  So, here I am waiting and listening, trying to find things to occupy my time - playing solitaire on my phone, clicking channels on the TV, checking Facebook, and BabyCenter... thank goodness for smart phones or I may not make it through these sessions.  Through all of this, I still find myself getting antsy.  About 25 minutes into the session, I began to doze off - oops!  As soon as I drifted, I heard Landon's heart beat drop to a very slow, almost (what I felt) non-existent heart beat.  This jolted me around to view the screen and the next thing I see is the nurse running in to check on us.  The look on her face said it all.  I knew something wasn't right. 

It is very common for the heartbeat to fall off the monitor and it takes a little while to relocate it.  When this happens, you either can't hear it anymore or it becomes a very faint distance sound.  This was not the case.  It was a clear, slow thud that I knew indicated a deceleration.  I am usually able to reposition myself or the monitor to find him again.  However, this was different.  After checking the machine, the nurse quickly had me turn over and it dropped again.  She had me flip sides, and finally after a few seconds (felt like minutes) the heart beat picked back up again.  At this point, I was shaking with nerves.  You see, last week at the perinatologist office the prognosis looked far more promising than before, except that we did not know how often the decelerations had been happening and for how long.  IF these were occurring often and for long periods of time, he indicated that we may have more serious problems on our hands when Landon arrives.  Since no monitoring session had detected this since the time in Houston, I felt good about our new prognosis and moved forward.  This sudden setback was devastating! 

As I mentioned in a previous posting, after the monitoring session I head downstairs to get a biophysical ultrasound.  Things looked great (fluid, movement, etc.), except that the tech did not witness any fetal breathing.  She has 30 minutes to see this on the screen and if not, I fail the ultrasound.  This test is subjective and usually not indicative of major problems, had she been able to monitor longer, she may have been able to see what she needed to see.  However, in our case, with the combination of the decelerations and the failing ultrasound, I was pretty much a nervous wreck and it appeared to be enough of a concern for the nurse to contact my dr.  Not to mention, I was beginning to get hungry and my hands were shaking.  I asked the nurse if I could eat something and she said, "I'm sorry, but we are going to put you back on the monitor and I'll see what I can do, but I doubt you are going to be able to eat."  At this point, I feared we were likely headed toward an emergency c-section.  I called Patrick and he left work and headed straight to the hospital. I made a MERT alert (Marlo Emergency Response Team - ha ha - to begin putting into action the plans for Merrick, etc.)

I remained on the monitors for another hour to hour and a half and thankfully, there were no more decelerations.  The on-call doctor for our office was being kept abreast of our situation and would be by at some point to discuss what he would like to do.  Thankfully, it took some time for him to arrive and this left me with a very long monitoring that did not pick up any more decelerations.  So, I was allowed to go home and to see my regular OB the following day. 

I have to say that I am thankful for a very proactive OB and that she always errs on the side of caution, however sometimes it can throw us into a tailspin of fear and anxiety.  At our appointment on Tuesday morning, she did indicate that decelerations can happen, but as long as they are not consistent then usually they are nothing to be alarmed about.  However, in our situation, being a high risk pregnancy, she sees it as a concern that we should probably check out.  Her recommendation on Tuesday morning was to attend my regular session on Thursday as scheduled, however this time, I would remain there for 4 hours.  She said have a good breakfast at 6 am (giving my body enough fuel to last many hours and enough time to digest before I might have to have a c-section), pack a small bag, and be prepared that we may have a baby on Thursday IF they see anything out of the ordinary.  This made sense to us as Patrick has repeatedly asked the question, "How can they only see what they need to see in a 30/40 minute time span - shouldn't they watch him for longer periods of time?"  So, knowing that I would be monitored for such a long period of time, I knew we would know how things really looked. 

We spent all of Wednesday packing a hospital bag, preparing for the arrival of Landon, and mentally prepping myself for what was to come.  Let's just say that nesting from a couch is not fun, so needless to say Patrick and the housekeeper were not too thrilled throughout the day as I requested 'this to be cleaned' and 'that to be moved.'  I headed to bed early Wednesday night, woke up at 5:30 am and headed to eat a breakfast that consisted of a Belgium waffle, eggs, and sausage.  Surely, this would keep me full for the upcoming hours.  At 10:00, I headed into the hospital and began the session.  This time equipped with a book, magazines, and my favorite device, my phone!

I waited and waited and waited.  Thankfully, after 4 long hours - Landon did great!  Go figure!  I have decided that he will likely be an Olympian gymnast and I suspect will come home with the gold medal at some point, considering he seems to flip positions each time we are checked.  I also think he will be the child that will keep me guessing for the rest of my life and will likely be responsible for turning my head fully gray, therefore forcing me to spend thousands of dollars over the years to keep it the natural brown it currently is (wink, wink).  In any case, the more we move along... the more excited I am to meet this little guy.  He seems to be quite a character and his arrival will be such a sweet blessing!

I've said it once, twice, and many times over... thank you tremendously for your support, prayers, and thoughts.  We are 35 weeks today with 4 more to go before the schedule c-section.  We are amazed at the journey we have been through the past few months!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week 33

We finally had our perinatologist appointment yesterday.  I barely slept a wink Sunday night as we waited for Monday to roll around.  Most people might have been excited that V Day was upon them, but for us it was like D Day - the day to determine how much progress had Landon made over the past three weeks.  Some friends came over late Sunday afternoon to help with Merrick since Patrick had to work all day.  This was so helpful, but as soon as they walked out the door and I watched them load up their two boys, my stomach turned to knots and remained that way until about 5:30 am when my feet hit the cold hardwood floors.  Thankfully, Merrick had a big day at school with Valentine's Day and all, so that kept me focused throughout the morning.  I was hoping for good news of course, yet was extremely nervous things were going to being moving very fast if the growth had stopped or the gap had widened.  Luckily, by 10:30, I was flying high with relief and happiness.

The ultrasound takes at least 30 minutes for them to monitor breathing, movement, heart beat, cord flow, and measurements of his body parts.  Landon is now measuring 28 weeks and 6 days and I am 33 weeks and 2 days (yesterday).  He weighs 2 lbs. 13 oz.  Though he is still far behind in his growth, the gap has not widened and he has put on 1 lb. and 2 oz. in three weeks!  This is FANTASTIC news for us.  So, for now, he will remain tucked away for three more weeks until we have our next growth ultrasound.  I will continue to be monitored two times a week at the hospital, so they can keep an eye on his progress because the doctor is still slightly concerned the placenta could give out at any time, but he is far more optimistic than ever before.

I asked a ton of questions about what we can expect when Landon is born.  Since we still do not know for sure what has caused all of the issues (either placental problems or a problem within him), he feels that our prognosis for a healthy child is much greater than what was originally thought in December and January, but can't determine exactly what we may face when he arrives.  My increased fluid levels have made a HUGE difference in his prognosis.  We discussed the issues to expect with an IUGR baby and where/how we can begin researching and understanding possible complications that we may experience with Landon when he does arrive.  Feeding seems to be the number one concern for IUGR babies and we will begin having discussions with our pediatrician to prepare ourselves.

Today, we met with my regular OB who I see once a week to reassure my health is OK and to monitor the possible beginnings of pre-ecamplsia.  Since Landon has been a little stinker and continues to move back and forth from breeched to cephalic (head down), she decided that we should go ahead and schedule a c-section for March 25th.  This falls into week 39 for us.  If he does move to the cephalic position and stays there, we can expect a regular delivery when he chooses to grace us with his presence.  For those of you who may remember, Merrick arrived at over 41 weeks and I had an induction that lasted a lifetime (see previous post here about that story).   So, my fear is that I won't go into labor on my own and will have to be induced.  For this reason, I may go ahead and continue with the c-section because I have concern about being induced and compounding problems on top of problems because induction can be stressful on a baby.  We want his arrival to be easy for him as possible, considering he has been fighting so hard!

I will continue to keep everyone posted as things come up, but for now we are still waiting for his healthy arrival and hoping that things continue to remain positive for us.  I have another great story about yesterday, but will save that for another post.

Thanks for all of your support!  We appreciate everything.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Monitoring - Week 1

Today completed my first week of monitoring!  I started last Thursday and things have been going well, thus far.  Heartbeat seems good and there have not been any issues with decelerations or concerns for the nurses and doctors.  After each monitoring session, I head downstairs to receive a biophysical ultrasound.  This is a quick ultrasound that basically measures the health of the baby, checking the heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and amniotic fluid levels.  Landon has successfully passed each ultrasound, so I have been sent home to hold on for a few more days until the next session.

When I saw my regular OB on Tuesday, the first words out of her mouth were, "I think I am witnessing a miracle!  Considering what a grim, hopeless outcome we expected in December, I am amazed that we are where we are."  This was great to hear from a doctor!  I know our dear Landon is fighting hard in there and I am so looking forward to meeting him and am curious what his personality will be like, knowing he is so resilient and tenacious!

The only concern I have for today's session is that my fluid has dropped back down to 7.6 which is still in a safe zone, but definitely on the lower level.  Hoping I get a better measurement on Monday, my next session, and this is not a continuing trend.    Funny thing is that I actually have not had one ounce of Powerade this week, so I think maybe Patrick may be onto something.  I picked some up today and will be drinking tons of it again this weekend.  I am going online soon to find out who I need to contact for that endorsement deal.

We are 32 weeks on Saturday - taking it week by week has been so helpful and it really seems to bring us more peace knowing that we are getting closer and closer to a safe delivery.

We did have a scare this past Saturday and had to make a trip to Labor and Delivery because I did not feel Landon move all morning, even after eating and drinking.  It was a scary feeling.  Go figure that as soon as I was placed on the monitors, he started kicking up a storm.  I told Patrick that Landon just may be grounded from utero til 18 years old due to all stress he has given his mamma!  I'm totally kidding, but hoping that he keeps kicking regularly and we don't have to make another emergency visit anytime soon.  I go enough during the week!  In any case, it gave us a good practice run.  We issued a MERT Alert (Marlo Emergency Response Team - a code that my friend Natalie and her husband created - ha ha)  They immediately met us at the hospital to pick up Merrick after she read my text that read, "I think we need a MERT Alert!"  She kept him until we knew what was going to happen.  Natalie took him to the park, so he was well entertained.

So, that's where we are today - no major news and we won't have much more until we see the perinatologist again on the 14th.  Yes, Valentine's Day!!

Also, I was asked by a dear friend why I had not posted any pics of my baby bump with Landon.  To be honest, we have not really taken any pictures of this pregnancy.  With all of the uncertainty we were given in December, it felt strange to take pictures because we were so scared of what was to come.  Also, I pretty much sit around on bed rest all day in comfy clothes with no make-up or presentable hair.  Now that we are in a much better place, I have decided that I will start to periodically take some between now and delivery.  Another very dear friend of ours is a photographer and we have asked her to take a small portrait session of my baby bump with Merrick.  I have pregnancy pictures from my pregnancy with Merrick, so we don't need tons again, but I would like to see Merrick and his little brother - especially since he loves to play with my belly button and give my belly kisses.  I think he is beginning to realize that he has a brother on the way.

Here is the official Landon baby bump that we took this morning before taking Merrick to school!  I bothered to put some makeup on today, so figured I better jump on the opportunity.

Again, thank you for all of your support, prayers, and kind wishes.  We appreciate it so very much.