Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Florinef is Not Enough

So last Tuesday I went in to see the Cardio Mystery solver.  I had such high hopes that this guy was going to figure out what was wrong with me, and be able to help.  But, he really didn't.  There were a pair of nurses taking blood pressure measurements, standing, sitting, in each arm.  Then they did an EKG.  So by the time the doctor came in, he was like, yeah you have vasovagal syncope, and "my hands are tied with you being pregnant".    Apparently, when people get this, they raise their salt intake, drink a lot of water, and take hearty lumberjack drugs to raise the blood pressure.  Only because of my history of pre-eclampsia (Chris was taken at 37 wks to the day, and I was pushing protein 2 days before Sam was born at 39 1/2 wks) we don't want me to up my salt or raise my blood pressure.  In fact, I'm already on labetalol to Lower my blood pressure (well, to bring it within a more reasonable range).  
So Cardio guy's great solution was to prescribe a new medication, Florinef, and he told me to check with my OB before taking it.  And he said drink a lot of water, eat salt, rest, and Transition Slowly when I'm getting ready to move...and see you in 3 months.
You know, looking back on it, the whole thing pisses me off.  I am thinking I won't be keeping that appointment.  We'll see.  Honestly, the odds feel good that I won't even be still pregnant in 3 months.  I want to be though...better for Bebe if I keep my legs closed for a fat long while.  But still, I felt greatly let down.
So I came home, and put a call in to the OB.   I felt like no one in the OB's office had ever heard of this medication, everyone kept asking me to spell it out, wasn't something they'd heard of, once again, I'm a freak of nature.  So I started potching around on the internet.  And really, the news wasn't good.  It wasn't on any list of "Safe" meds to take while pregnant.  Though sometimes, that happens with meds because no one is able to do research on pregnant women.  So I take that with a grain of salt.  So I waited a rather agonizing 24 hours to find out what my OB thought.  In the mean time, I found one site (can't always trust the internet, I know) that suggested that by me being on this steroid, that the baby may have trouble developing it's own steroids.  
Well, she went ahead and said Yes.  So I started the drug Wednesday evening.  Thursday, I was contracty all day, and woke from naptime thinking that the bus with Chris on it had arrived.  Only it hadn't let him off, which Freaked me out.  It would be hysterical except for the fact that when I have freak outs, I tend to get short of breath, extra swirly, and contracting...which usually leads to bleeding.  Blessedly, we only got 3/4 that time.  I am happy to say, I have now gone a whole 8 days without any kind of spotting, that's a record since November!  (Knock on wood!)
Anyway, I spent Thursday afternoon/evening laying down, contracting.   They were even timeable, about 9 min apart.  I called the on call doc about 9 something.  Only she never called me back.  By 10:30, I was pissy and exhausted.  So I went to bed.  Surprisingly enough, I was able to sleep.  God Bless Tylenol PM.
But the contracty nastiness happened again on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and even some yesterday.  I called the emergency line again, and was basically asked by the doc, if I thought I needed to come in.  And Frankly, I don't want to.  I prayed on it.  Going anywhere, let alone the hospital, is So Bloody Exhausting.  I didn't want to do it.  It's inconvenient as hell to scramble to find child care.  So I figured, my appt with the OB was Tuesday (today), I'll try to hold on until then.  Maybe, prayerfully, the contractions won't get worse.  I wasn't bleeding.  If it just stayed Obnoxious, I could handle that.  And so it did.
This morning, I gathered data.  I tried taking my BP.  I got 190/130 with a pulse of 134.  That's Bad.  Only I don't know how True it is.  My machine has been flipping out all weekend.  Some of my measures were high (150/110) but 2/3 of the time I'd take it, it would error out, or go up in to the 200s for the initial squeeze such that my arm was killing me by the time it had gone all the way down...then it would error out.  I was not getting any kind of accurate BP measurements.   In the office today it was 130/80.  Not too shabby at all.   Still high for me, but so much better than what I was getting at home.  
And I was "contracting", at least feeling painful spasms every 6-10 minutes.  But when I told my OB that, she wanted to hook me up to the monitor and observe me.  Well, so much for a quick and easy appointment, and we had to juggle Sam's child care.  I'm thankful for Margaret and Kathleen for covering for me today!  But, when they plugged me in, they were high on my belly, and not reading anything, and then they'd move it around.  Still nothing.  Every time they'd put their hands on the machine, the "contraction" measurement would jump.  How accurate is a machine that I could control if it reads a contraction by putting my hand on it?  My heart was sad.  Either a. they aren't contractions, they're just the same irritable uterus pain that's been bugging me all along, only it's hurting me more or b. my doctor's staff is incompetent   They came to the conclusion it was the Former.  And though I say OK, they may not be true productive contractions, they Hurt.  They've been Hurting me more since I started the med.  I still get swirly, only now it's Every time I sit up, such that I've spent the greater part of the last 4 days horizontal, now I've only had one "spell" that has taken me to the couch, and it didn't last hours, which as I say, is a Lot Less Fun that you'd think it would be.  However I've been making great progress on watching West Wing on Netflix. ;)
And I'm in a Bad Mood.  At least, before, when I was on just the Labetalol, the spells were bad, but there were less of them than without any meds at all, but I wasn't in as much Pain, and my mood was nicer.  Frankly, I'm not finding the Joy in the Florinef.  The fact that I still feel crappy is not selling me on it.  And the fact that I could be putting the baby's health at risk doesn't sit well with me either.  It's a Fine Line I walk, I have to take care of myself or I won't be able to grow a healthy baby, but I also have to look out for him.  And taking this new med, I just wasn't feeling like it was Helping me enough to warrant the possible risk to the baby.
I still feel swirly, still can't take care of my kids, still can't be left alone with them, still don't feel safe enough to drive my car.  I'm laying down half the day.  Only Now I'm in a pissy mood, having nightmares, and 'contractions' that are painful enough to wear me down during the course of a couple hours.

Not. Worth. It.

Or at least, that's the conclusion I came to today, when my doctor came in to pat me on the head and tell me the baby is fine.  So I told her I wanted to stop the Florinef.   She was ok with that.  Sure, it means I'll be sitting on my butt just as I was the last two weeks, and will be having the bad spells.  But maybe drinking a tub of gatorade a day, and moving more slowly will help that. I feel like I'm giving up the Hope of somehow getting better before the end of the pregnancy.  I guess I'm sad, and coming to the realization that I'm going to be worthless lump until May.    But I'm hoping to get my good mood back, and you know, anything that benefits the baby, or makes baby happy, makes me feel better.  As Kathleen said, "No More 'Roid Rage!"  That may be nice too.

At least I got to hear his heartbeat today, it was in the 140s, good and strong, my OB said.  And Eric and I snagged Sam from Kathleen, and the 3 of us went to lunch together at Red Robin, had a mighty fine burger and chocolate malt.   And Bebe loved that, he started dancing for a milkshake, and we know how much he loves french fries.  A few big pluses in a sea of minuses.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Doctors Doctors Everywhere

Eric and I were debating this week.  We know we'll hit the medical insurance cap this year, the big question is When?  At the rate we've been going, I feel like we might hit it before the end of January!  Last week, we started out with Sam having a Sleep Study, then Chris's therapy, an OB appointment and  Cardiology appointment for me, with EKG, and then they ordered an Echo, which I did last Friday. 
 This week started off Gangbusters too.  We managed to double book ourselves on Tuesday.  Unintentionally of course.  Monday, I had a really scary spell.  I was afraid to get out of bed.  Eric had gone to work, and I was left alone home with the boys.  And just after I'd gotten dressed, my BP went up, acting really weird, at the same time I thought my blood sugar had gone down.  I was contracty and feeling really weird. I called Christopher to come and help me.  He brought me juice and fruit snacks, which actually took the edge off.  I was able to make it downstairs at lunchtime, and talked him through heating us up some frozen chicken sandwiches.  It was really scary.  But I sure did have a great helper.  He took on the role of Mr. Willman and carried his case around to help me out, and ask me questions.  It hurt my heart having to expect Chris to take care of me.  But within a couple days, we'd interviewed and hired a helper to help us out on the days when Eric works.  AND Eric got told he can work from home 4 days a week, every day but Thursdays.  

It's hard to be too upset with these great helpers taking care of me.  

Willman and Willman, At Your Service! 

 But luckily, we had scheduled a follow up with my OB for Tuesday the 8th.  She'd prescribed me Blood Pressure medication last week because when I went in, though the baby's heart rate was Wonderful, my blood pressure was 140/80.  It did go down a smidge, but they were witnessing some of the spiking.  So they prescribed me labetalol.  I was actually pretty thrilled about that visit.  I had been so scared of the weird ways I was feeling.  I really expected them to tell me my pee was full of protein.  But it wasn't.  I have never been so happy to hear that my pee was clear in all my life.  No ultrasound that day, just got to hear the heartbeat, but it was good and strong, like 160.  As usual, baby was fine, and Mommy was the Hot Mess.  

THEN on the way home from the OB's last week, the Cardiologist called.  They could bump up our visit to the next day at noon.  So we didn't start the medication until we went to see her.  She took my BP, and I wasn't feeling too badly, though I was back up in the 140s again.  She told me to start the drugs, we stopped off on the way home.  I actually noticed a difference by the next day, I didn't feel like I was going to die.  I still was Swirling, but I felt better than I had in at least a week. She also did an EKG in the office, and ordered an Echocardiogram, which I got on Friday, and she told me to come back on Tuesday the 15th.    We also had an OB follow up appt that same day.  Blessedly, the boys both had school.  We asked Mom W. to come over and get the boys off to school so we could make the rounds.  And so we did.  

However, when I got to the Cardio's office, and they were taking my blood pressure.  It was 115/70, not bad at all, much more in my previous normal range, but before the nurse could get the cuff and oximeter off me, I started to get one of my "spells". I get this heat wave, and feel super dizzy, like I need to lay down immediately, but it was too scary for me to move out of the chair in which I was sitting.  She called out for ice water, and coolly talked to me, asking me how I was doing.  The words were hard to come by.  But afterwards she said that my BP dove down to 60/30, and my pulse dove to 53.  That's Not Good. 

At least, if you're going to be a Hot Mess, have a Mysterious episode right there in the doctor's office.  They acknowledged I wasn't crazy.  Actually they called it a Vasovagal response.  They had me give a urine sample, and lie down a bit in a room.   Eric figured they weren't too scared, or they would've sent for a stretcher or something to take me next door to the hospital.  As weird as that sounds, that was comforting.  When they came in, they had me stand up straight for a couple minutes while they took my blood pressure again.  I asked to sit again, just as it started diving again.  So I sat some more.  The doctor tells me,  that this could be related to being on bedrest so long.  It's a mystery.  But it's not my Heart muscle, the EKG and Echo show my heart,  and pumping action look great.  She thinks my parasympathetic reflexes are overshooting causing extremes in my blood pressure.  She recommended I drink gatorade for my fluids, something about more salt, but I have to be careful of salt because I shouldn't gain any more weight (already trying not to) and don't want to get pre-eclamptic, and we want to make sure my fluids were good, so she took some blood.  She also suggested I go see another guy, a Cardiologist who specializes in syncope (fainting) and "likes mysteries" and a pulmonologist for the shortness of breath, which she thinks are 2 different issues. I asked her if these spells hurt the baby.  She said, "they aren't good."  And I was a little scared by that.  Grateful though that we were heading up north to go see the OB directly.  

At the OBs office, once again we checked his heart, and it sounded strong.  But when I explained they wanted to send me on to another Cardio guy, and a pulmonologist for the shortness of breath.  So Dr. K wants to see me back in 2 weeks.  But while I was there, she asked the Ultrasound Tech to take a good look and make sure that these "spells" aren't hurting the baby.  They measured him and he clocked in a little big, and an estimated 1 pound, 11 ounces.  Hooray!  

It was so very kind of the Ultrasound tech to squeeze me in on her lunchbreak just to give me peace of mind.  

They checked the placental tear, and it's still there, tiny and healing, but not totally gone.  
Still, Baby was looking good.  Doing his backstroke, wiggling all over.  She said he was in breech position right now.  So when I say I'm getting kicked in the bladder, I really am getting Kicked.  And boxed in the diaphragm too.  He really seems to enjoy gatorade.  I alternate water vs. gatorade.  I noticed right off that the spells don't seem as bad with the gatorade, still having them, but the drinks really make the baby kick and dance.  It's pretty funny.  

Pulmonology couldn't get me in until the end of February, first available so they say.  My Dad says this has been the worst flu in ages, and since it's a respiratory one, the pulmo guys are Swamped.  I can get that.  Hopefully Cardio Mystery Man will be able to figure out everything that's going on.  I see him this coming week, he was able to get me in sooner.  I suppose I am Grateful that I got my flu shot, and that I don't have that.  I do seem to have caught Sam's cold this weekend though. I've discovered that at 25 weeks today, it hurts my uterus to cough or sneeze, and it hurts me to bend over the baby to grab tissues etc.  Those are nice regular pregnancy problems.  And I'll take them.  

All Your Business

I had 2 friends and my doctor all three ask me this week, "Is this going to be your last pregnancy?" Both times to my friends I laughingly replied, "Yes.  I'm pretty sure this will be our last biological child."  I make a point of saying that I have no idea if he will be our last child overall.  That's up to God.  We've always had hearts open toward adoption, and that hasn't changed.  But for now, we're just going to sit tight and see how we do upgrading to 3 boys!  3 boys is sure going to be Exciting!  Maybe that's why I'm going through all this, to prepare me for something Big.
Now, in other people's circumstances, I suppose this question would have been Very Rude.  It's none of your business what I do with my uterus, I'm sure they think.  Heck, there's a part of me, that kind of was like, what, huh?  But no.  Not really.  I wasn't put off.  It's my Doctor's business to know if I'm planning more Use out of this Uterus.  I've already been plenty of work for her, she ought to know if I'm going to be crazy enough to do more.  And these are my friends,  and they are only asking me because they care.  Care Deeply about my current situation.  And in that, it's not a rude question at all, at least not to me.  I think they ask BECAUSE they Care so much.  And really, it's been impacting them.  This pregnancy has brought out Helpers and Workers in the hearts of my friends.  They have leapt in line to help us out, and volunteered to clean, cook, chauffer, and really do all the things I used to be able to do.   So really, I just wanted to say, instead of, "It's None of Your Business!"  It's All of Your Business.  And Thank You for that.  It is Your Business.  You have invested your prayers, love and time in helping me out with my family as I grow this baby, so you are invested in the results, and have a logical point if you ask me if I'm going to try to do this again.  And No.  I think my body has been telling me that this is my limit.  I'm going to keep Pushing that Limit, walk this funky line to keep me and baby healthy until we can get the healthiest baby possible out of it.  But then, yes, I think we'll be done pushing that particular muscle to its limit.   We can work on getting the other muscles healthy later.  You guys have helped me so much, I don't ever think I can Thank you enough.  It's a Good thing that God does the Eternal rewards, because I know I could never pay everyone back, or Thank them enough for all the help and prayerful support they've given me.  The love and support of my friends and family make this physically possible for me.  And I know that when Baby gets here, he'll be as loved and praised and lifted up as Chris and Sam.  How many people in their lives get 3 Miracles?  I'm so  Blessed.

God keeps me strong, he keeps showing me the Baby is OK.  He is the Strength for both Baby and I.  And now I've entered the phase where I can feel baby moving all the time, so there's that comfort so often.  Even Eric got to feel him wiggling last week.  I haven't blogged much this new year because I haven't had the heart to figure out what to say.  Every day Facebook asks me, "How are you feeling?"  Crappy.  "How are you doing?"  You don't want to know.  I feel swirly and tired, and I am worried all the time.  Every contraction, kick, stretch, spot, I wonder if this is It?
At least this week now, we're entering the Viable phase.  25 weeks today!  50% odds of survival, and getting better every day!  It's almost getting easier to bear, or maybe I'm just getting more used to the idea. I didn't think I could handle it if the baby came early, and wasn't Compatible with Life.  Now we're getting into higher percentage of survival rates.  I'm so Thankful he's doing so well.  I can handle being the Hot Mess as long as he's doing ok.  There's so much to say, and yet the words just won't come.  I hope you all understand what I'm trying to say.  All at the same time, I'm like a fibrillating heart, all muscles twitching in all different directions, not doing anything Productive.

I guess I just wanted you all to know, even though I haven't been putting it all out here, I am so Thankful for you, for your Prayers and other ways of Helping us out while I've been on Bedrest.  And it is Your Business.   And I just wanted you to know, I'm not offended.  I am so touched you care, about me, about Bebe, and so Grateful overall for your help and concern.  I think I may be an Unusual Case. ;)

Sunday, January 13, 2013


How can you take this seriously?  I couldn't.   

Christopher started his Karate Class on the 2nd of January.  He was so Ready, he was beside himself!  He would not stop "practicing his moves".  The only still I could get him to hold was this position.  Namaste.  I don't even think it's real Karate, but I let him think it is.  Although at this point, he knows more than I do! 

Eric takes him to Karate class, and the first week of Intro classes were so Cool.  Chris was the only student in attendence, so he got 1 on 1 special treatment with the Sensei.  

They came home that first night, practicing their kicks and doing all kinds of Awesome stuff.  

I'm so glad we did this.  Chris has a great time, and I can just tell he's getting strong.  He LISTENS to his Sensei.  He may not listen to us, but he does to his teacher.  

That first night, Eric came home and they showed me what they'd learned as I laid on the Couch.  
I am Hugely Impressed.  

But that was NOTHING compared to This Week.  

Christopher came home with his very own White Belt.  

Eric showed me the video that he got of Christopher receiving this, his first Karate Belt this past week.  

I'm so Proud of him! 
Christopher's dojo takes many years to earn all the belts leading up to Black Belt.  And in between, he can earn stripes on his belts.  But I was hugely impressed that he got his White Belt after only a week.  Chris may have found his new sport. 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sweet Spiney Wiggle Worm

We went to see the folks in High Risk/Maternal Fetal Medicine on Friday.  Though it was a weird day for them.  Apparently, since so many folks were still on Vacation (including our kids, who stayed with Grandma)  there was only 1 doc in the office, and she was running her head off.  And so we Waited.  Not terribly long, but a while, long enough for Eric to make a Hot Cocoa run downstairs.  Then we got to spend a half an hour watching my Favorite TV show -- Baby #3 Doing the Backstroke!   He was doing great.  They measured a few of the same things as last time, and got a good look at the face and spine.  And his spine looks Fine.  No indications of Imperferate Anus.   I asked the nurse if I could have a picture of the spine, that the reason was because of Chris's spine being all wonky, and she said No.  What?!  Yes, apparently, they can give me "cute baby" pictures, but the stuff they measure, no they can't do that.  Not sure why, liability, I guess.  OK.  I wasn't that insistent, but she told me she'd ask the doctor.  I told her, I just wanted pics to share with the family, I know I'm not the only one who worries if this baby will be able to poop.  And now that we know he's doing fine (with regard to the Tear and stuff) we can worry about other things.  She said she'd check.  In the mean time, she printed off a few "Cute Baby" pics.  

Eric and I think his profile looks like Christopher, but maybe with a dash more of Sam's nose.  Although who are we kidding? - Both the boys have my nose, looks like all of them might.  It's going to be so amazing to see his face when he gets here, and try to place who he looks like.  

When the doctor finally came in, she took a look at the baby, whisking through the stuff the tech had done, and she u/s further, trying to check that spine.  As we discussed Chris's V and A (of VACTER(L) syndrome) she said Sure, we could have spine pictures.  We found ourselves with quite the collection, there were more spine pictures than Cute Baby pictures.   Crazy Lady printed off 6 of them for us! 

But his Spine looks good.  It really is difficult to hit a moving target.  

Oh and Yes, he's still a Boy! 

They estimated his growth at 22 weeks, 4 days (though I was technically, 22 w, 1d) so he's a little big.  They  estimated his weight at 1 pound, 5 ounces!  Big Boy!  

We discussed the weirdness I'm having with my blood pressure and stuff.  And I told her I'm seeing my OB next week.  But since I'm having high BP spikes and shortness of breath, Eric had gotten me a cuff just after Christmas, and I've seen 150/100 at home, and been feeling swirly.  It's just weird.  And not right.  They wanted to forward me on to a Cardiologist to do an EKG.  I kind of had thought we'd be doing one in Their office.  But no.  Apparently, they don't do that.  As it was the doc was crazy busy, I kind of got the impression, once they assessed the baby was healthy they were glad to be rid of us.  They don't want to see me back, just forward me on to Cardiology. 

It wasn't until we were walking down the hall afterwards did we realize, they didn't say 1 word about the Tear.  The tiny tear in my placenta was the reason I'd been sent to MFM to begin with.  When the tech was checking the placenta, I thought I spotted the gnarly corner and I asked her about the tear, and she told me to ask the doctor.  The doctor would assess it.  Only, I didn't, we talked about my BP and Chris, the tear, notsomuch. Eric and I are guessing that since they didn't say anything they must not have seen it, or it must be healed enough for us to not bother about it anymore.  That sounds good to me.  And it's so Comforting to just Know that the Baby is doing ok.  I can keep up this moderate bedrest thing, and my body being weird, as long as he is OK.  And so far, so good!