Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sonogram update

Just a quick update about my doctor's appointment today. First, the background for those of you I haven't talked to in the last few weeks.

I am 35.5 weeks (YAY!), and at our last sonogram the baby was breech with his umbilical cord wrapped once around his neck. (He has been breech all along, but the cord was a new thing.) For the last few weeks the plan had been to have the doctor attempt to manually turn the baby around 36 weeks so that I could avoid having a c-section. When we discovered the cord around the neck, the plan changed, and the doctor would not turn the baby unless the cord was no longer around the baby's neck.

So, today was the big sonogram to see what was going on with Baby Boy McFarland and if I was going to undergo the external cephalic version (baby-turning procedure) in labor and delivery tomorrow. The cord IS still around the baby's neck, but thankfully he seems to be tolerating this just fine. He is definitely still breech. In fact, he has moved from frank breech (butt down) to a footling breech (feet down) position. According to the sonogram, he gained a whopping 20 ounces in the last 10 days, and his estimated weight is now 6 pounds 4 ounces! Judging from what we saw during the sonogram, Brian thinks he's carrying at least a third of his weight in his incredibly adorable and insanely chubby cheeks!

Therefore, the doctor will not be attempting to turn the baby tomorrow. The plan for now is to go back in a week for another sonogram. Again, if the cord has moved, the doctor will attempt to turn the baby. If not, we will probably schedule a c-section for around 39 weeks assuming I don't go into labor before that.

I'm disappointed that it is looking more and more like I will need to have a c-section. I have spent my pregnancy preparing for a natural, vaginal delivery and it's something I feel pretty passionately about. BUT, I have not lost sight of the most important thing--the fact that I am pregnant with a healthy baby. I am truly so thankful!

I'll let you know if anything exciting happens in the next few days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knocked up and all alone....

Well, it's official.  I'm knocked up.  I can't go out in public without getting "the look" from concerned citizens.  You see, after battling valiantly to continue wearing my wedding ring, the day has come where I must venture into public very pregnant and ringless.  Shocking!  This little scenario was made worse last week by the fact that my mom was still in town and running errands with me.  So I was the knocked up girl whose mom had to help her because the baby's daddy was out of the picture.  I'm just kidding.  I'm sure nobody even gave me a second look, but I do hope to get the rings back on asap.  

And now for the "all alone" portion of the title.  For the first time in 6 weeks, Brian and I are living at home alone (with the kitties, of course).  My mom left on Thursday morning so that she could have at least a few uninterrupted days at home in College Station.  Between me and Sarah, my mom has only been at home for about 2.5 weeks since mid-November.  We are so thankful for all that she has done!  And we're very thankful to my dad for loaning her to us for all this time (and for making multiple weekend trips between here and College Station to see her).  And we're thankful for my almost 80 year-old grandmother who has more energy than most people half her age and who took great care of me along with my mom.  And we're thankful for Brian's parents who rescheduled their lives at a moments notice to spend two weeks taking care of us.  Have I mentioned that when it comes to family, we are truly blessed?!

So far, Brian and I are surviving re-entry into the real world, but we do miss all of the help.  I've been trying to slowly increase my energy and endurance without overdoing it. As I've mentioned before, being on bed rest for awhile really saps your energy, muscle tone, etc.  I'm pretty sure that being 35 weeks pregnant does something to your energy level as well.... My mom and I ran a lot of errands before she left last week, and we worked on organizing the nursery.  I've found that after about two hours of activity, I'm done and need a two hour nap to recover.  I also went to Sunday School and our small group last week, and I've been engaging in some light housework.  Nobody panic!  I've done some dishes, made up the bed one day, worked a little more on putting stuff in the nursery away, etc.  Brian is definitely taking on the bulk of the household responsibilities.  He's a trooper!

This is a big week for us medically.  On Wednesday afternoon I go in for another sonogram and appointment with my doctor.  This is the appointment where they tell us if the cord is still around the baby's neck, if he is still breech (he is by the way...I do NOT need a sono to tell me that his head is still lodged under my ribcage), and if the doctor will be attempting to manually turn the baby.  If the cord is no longer around the neck, I believe they will attempt to turn the baby on Thursday.  If the cord is around the neck, I'm not sure what the next steps are.  I'm assuming we will look into scheduling a c-section, but I don't know what the timeline for that will be.  Bottom line...I have no idea when I'm having this baby.  I'd say in the next 5 weeks, or so :)

And, if anyone believes that animals can sense things about their people...over the last couple of days, my cat has gone from his normal behavior of being attached to me at the hip (sitting by me on the couch, napping on top of me, staying in bed right next to me until I get up, etc) to acting like I'm a stranger.  He turns his head when I try to pet him, he keeps trying to sniff me, and he slept on the other side of Brian as far away from me as he could get.  Maybe he's just now realizing I'm pregnant, or maybe he knows something..........

Friday, January 16, 2009

Most recent appointments...

I went to the doctor yesterday and for a sonogram today (don't ask...a major scheduling mishap was involved).  The doctor took me off of "official" bed rest because I'm almost 34 weeks which was his big milestone for me.  I'm still supposed to take it walking around just for fun, no strenuous activities, etc...  

Last night Brian and I went to our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, Covinos, to celebrate.  We had so much fun, and the food was delicious -until I threw it up all over our bed around 1 a.m..  Again, the baby's head being pretty much in my stomach at this point can cause some minor digestive issues.  Yummmy!

So the sonogram was this morning.  The tech said how great the baby looked.  He weights 4 pounds 14 ounces and was opening and closing his eyes.  He has really chubby cheeks too!  I left, and when I got home, my doctor called and said they had the results of the sonogram.  They just wanted me to be aware that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck.  They told me not to worry. They clearly do not know me at all!

I am worried!  I'm not feeling crazed with worry, and I've been told this is quite normal.  I probably even appear relatively calm on the outside. Still, it's very unsettling.  The doctor felt that the only way that this would impact me is that in two weeks if the cord is still there he will not perform the "external cephalic version" that he had planned.  The ECV is basically attempting to manually turn a breech baby into a head down position. This is too dangerous with a cord around the baby's neck.  I had requested this because I really do not want a c-section.  I have read and planned for natural childbirth.  We even have a doula.  That's right...somehow this conservative, Christian, Western medicine-using, hospital-working girl has turned out a little crunchy/earthy/granola.  You I should probably live in Portland, OR or something.  

I digress.  I've accepted that it's very likely that I'll have a c-section (and I'm trying not to look at this as defeat), but at the moment I'm just a little anxious about everything being okay with our sweet, chubby-cheeked little boy.  I would feel better if I could be hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor 24 hours a day just to be sure everything was okay.  If Tom Cruise can have an ultrasound machine in his house, I don't think that mine is an unreasonable request.  Oh well!  

Again, I'm faced with a complete lack of control and failure of my own plans.  Who else thinks that maybe God is trying to teach me something?  :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

If you remember from my last post, I was trying to decide whether or not returning to work was a good idea once I was released from strict bed rest.  

In preparation for attempting to return to work, I've been a little more lenient with bed rest over the last week to see how I felt.  I've done a little more standing and walking around at home.  I went to the doctor on Tuesday, and Thursday afternoon was big!  I went to the plant nursery with Brian and his parents to point out the plants I wanted for the planters in our back yard (I was standing for about 15 minutes) and then we went out to dinner at Mi Cocina (where I was seated the entire time!).  Friday evening, Brian drove me to a store to pick out mats and frames for some artwork we wanted to hang in the nursery.  I was probably standing for about 30 minutes this time.  Saturday was the shower, and I did a fair amount of sitting and standing over the course of the afternoon.  

During these "adventures" I started to notice a few things.  First, walking has become quite awkward and uncomfortable. (I believe the word "waddle" has been used around our house on more than one occasion).  I'm also having some pelvic joint issues that are causing me a lot of pain when I move from sitting to standing or when I shift positions.  Second, standing for more than a couple of minutes has been producing a definite sensation of increased pressure in my lower abdomen which is accompanied by some crampiness at times.  Third, I have the stamina of a 90 year-old residing in a nursing home which I'm told is caused by prolonged bed rest.  

These things were really circulating through my head as I tried to decide whether or not to return to work on January 19 at 34 weeks pregnant.  Deep down, I knew that it was not a good idea, but I kept trying to figure out ways to make it work.  Last night, I started to realize that if I did go back it would be for selfish reasons such as: 1) proving to my supervisors and co-workers how dedicated I am to my job, 2) proving to myself and others that I can do it all, and 3) satisfying my Wonder Woman complex.  Some gentle nudging from God made it clear just how selfish all of these reasons were. It helped crystalize this new concept called motherhood for me--you know, the whole "another human is relying entirely on me for survival" thing?  

The doctors can't tell me whether returning to work would cause imminent labor and delivery because they just don't know.  I don't know either, but I am quickly learning---learning to listen to my body, and learning that I am a mom (weird!), and that my needs and desires no longer come first.  

All that to say: I'm not going back to work....until after the baby is born (hopefully 12 weeks after the baby is born).  

And I honestly can't say I feel perfectly content and peaceful with this decision.  I'm still learning to let go, and I feel guilty/lazy/weird about staying at home for the duration of my pregnancy. Part of me is also relieved.     

And one huge thank you to my awesome husband who has been so supportive throughout this pregnancy and the making of this decision.  In fact, this morning, when I woke up and announced that I was not going back to work, his first words were, "how can I support you in this decision?"  Wow!  Of course, he also said, "...not going back to work until the baby is born, or EVER?  We'll make it work either way, but I just need to know..." Poor guy...I guess I should have made my 7:00 a.m. announcement a little more specific!  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pictures and Medical Update

I went to the doctor for my two week check-up today (which, by the way, was the first time I've left the house in a week!).  Our baby boy weighed in at 4 pounds, 4 ounces and was 16.3 inches long.  This is according to the sonogram, but I've heard that those measurements can be really off, so who knows! 

 Somehow I got home with the DVD of another woman's sonogram.  The best part was that I didn't realize it until I was watching it with my father-in-law at home.  As I showed him his precious grandson's little heart, legs and spine I began to get suspicious.  I thought, this doesn't look like MY baby--I know my baby's body parts...  Okay, fine, I'm not that good, and the babies' due dates were actually close, so it would have been easy to go on thinking this was our child.  The things that clued me in:  1) I was suspicious from the beginning because the sonogram seemed to be going in a completely different order than I remembered from earlier this afternoon and 2) there was another woman's name printed at the top.  I'm a genius!  :)  

Back to the appointment:  the baby looked great, but my cervix did not.  I know...I'm blogging about my cervix.  Yikes!  It measured 1.5 cm which is the shortest it has been to date.  I've been a compliant bed rester, but as the baby grows, more and more pressure is put on the 
weakened cervix.  Brian's house motto since the beginning of this experience has been "Keep It Closed!".  Sound advice.  

So, what's the plan now, you ask?  More bed rest, of course.  The plan really hasn't changed much.  The doctor is still "okay" with me returning to some normal activities once I reach 34 weeks.  I keep pressing him on whether this means it's okay to return to work, and he keeps saying it depends on my level of activity while at work.  I have a long walk in and out of work (and typically the handicap sticker just gets you a place on the first floor of the parking garage--the walk is still equally far). I'm typically sitting while seeing patients, but otherwise I'm walking around our clinic getting supplies, consulting with others, bringing patient's in from the waiting area, etc...  Brian and I are still talking this
 one through, and I've been speaking with my supervisor about how much it's possible to limit my activity while at work.  

I'm still torn about the 34 weeks issue, too.  My doctor picked this point because babies born at 34 weeks or later may spend time in the NICU, but apparently there is a very small risk that they will have permanent health issues associated with prematurity (ex: permanent respiratory issues, vision problems, developmental delays).  However, I have also read, and my doctor confirmed today, that babies born between 31 and 36 weeks are 4-6 times more likely to die during their first year of life (I believe this is due to a higher risk of SIDS, RSV and other respiratory issues).  That little statistic makes me want to do everything in my power to make it to 37 weeks!  BUT, there is really no data showing that continuing bed rest beyond 34 weeks is going to keep the baby inside any longer...  UGH!  Lord knows I want off of house arrest ASAP, but it seems sort of wrong to jump back into normal life at 34 weeks.  Please pray for us as we make these decisions.

Finally, I will leave you with some pictures.

8 weeks pregnant in Puerto Rico.  There is no baby bump...that's just my tummy.

About 25 weeks 

My sister and I with Cason.  The night before Cason was born, we took a picture belly-to-belly.  This is our halfway there picture.  Soon the cousins will meet on the outside! Check out how skinny Sarah is already! (Christmas Eve-almost 31 weeks).