Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Owen is Here!

Owen is here!! He made his big debut on Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 10:37am. He was 8lbs 10oz and 21 inches long. (1/2lb and 1/2” less than his big brother was, but also a week earlier).

The day started off a little rough. Basically the hospital has horrible communication between departments. The day before the registration lady told me I was scheduled for that day instead of the next, but they got that figured out. Then when we arrived at the hospital at 6:30am they couldn’t figure out why we were there so early. Apparently they had me down for an 11:00 c-section, instead of 9:30, but that was finally figured out too. However, they were full, so we got to spend over an hour in the waiting room, and then got prepped in the recovery room, because there still weren’t any rooms available. After a delay due to an emergency c-section, we finally got to go at about 10.

I had asked my doctor if there was any way I could see him being delivered and she was happy to accommodate me, even though she’d never tried it before. They didn’t have a sterile mirror, so they decided to incline the head of the table when it was time to pull him out and let down the curtain. It was perfect- they pulled him out and he was right there in front of me- the best view possible. There was also a clear view to his table, so I got to watch him getting cleaned up and assessed. (I didn’t get to see ANYTHING with Carter or see him until he was about 10min old and they’d finished all their assessments, so it really meant a lot to me this time). They then brought him over and laid him on my chest, another thing they didn’t do with Carter. (They had to knock me out after Carter was delivered, because I was hemorrhaging, so I only got to see him for a minute).

Once we were done there still weren’t any rooms available, so we got an extended stay in recovery. On the plus side, I got lots of attention, because the nurse can’t leave you unattended in recovery. On the down side, you’re not supposed to have visitors back there. They did however make an exception since we’d been there so long and let Ryan’s mom bring Carter back to meet his new little brother.

He instantly started petting him and pointing out his nose, ears, and eyes. I unswaddled him a bit to show him his hands and feet. Owen then proceeded to cry from being unswaddled. When Carter came back that evening to visit again, the first thing he said was that he didn’t want to tickle his feet, because he didn’t want him to cry again.

To my surprise and great relief, I wasn’t in nearly as much pain this time around after the surgery. I had been dreading the intense pain and not being able to do anything for myself. This time though I was able to get up out of bed on my own that very night. I knew it would be easier this time, since I didn’t go through labor first, but I hadn’t realized how untypical my pain was last time.

The last night in the hospital brought some frustration. They were again running short on rooms and had people coming in for inductions, so they wanted to move me down to a room on the surgery floor, since I was more recovered than some. I was a bit perturbed by this, seeing as 2 years ago I was sent to a different hospital for my induction, because they were full, but now they were squeezing people in. We did find out the next morning that all the local hospital maternity wards were overflowing though, so I guess they had to make room for people this time. We packed up our stuff and then waited, and waited, and waited. Again, the poor communication between departments showed up, as we found out the surgery floor had a room ready for me, but they never notified the maternity department.

Once we finally got moved I found comfort in the bed. The maternity beds are thin and uncomfortable and you can’t raise the legs, because they’re designed to come off for delivery. The new room however had a regular hospital bed with a soft, comfortable mattress that was fully adjustable. Poor Ryan though moved to an even smaller bed than he’d had before (and on his birthday too, what a sport).

We received prompt assistance when needed that night, because there was a maternity nurse sent down for the 8 of us who’d been displaced. The next day though it took forever to get help (if it ever came at all- frustrating when you’re talking about pain meds!) Owen was supposed to get circumcised that morning, but the doctor was busy doing her rounds on the maternity floor. I was finally asked if I wanted to be discharged at noon or wait until after 4p for them to get to Owen. We opted to go home earlier and take him back in on Tuesday. However, come noon my doctor still had not appeared to discharge me. She finally sent down my midwife, who had come in to visit, and she did my discharge and we were released around 2.

The following Tuesday was a LONG day. Owen had his 1wk check-up that morning. His weight had dropped to 7lb 14oz and he was jaundiced. We ran a few errands while we were in town and then went to our afternoon appointments. We both had a 2:15 appointment, me for my incision and Owen for his circumcision. I went in a reasonable amount of time, but we waited quite a while for Owen. You’re not supposed to feed them 1hr before the procedure and he was due to eat, which made it even more fun. After a long wait they took him back and said he’d be done in 5-10 minutes, but it ended up being 30 minutes. In total we were at that doctors’ office for over 2 hours.

We then had to take Owen back to the pediatrician on Thursday to check his billirubin level again for his jaundice. He went from 13.4 to 13.8, which means it was leveling off, but they want to check it again just to make sure it's coming down. We’re supposed to go for that tomorrow morning. He was also up to 8lb 1oz.

That brings us to today. Carter came down with a cold basically the same day Owen was born and Owen has now caught it. It’s been a little rough, not getting much sleep last night and having to hold him most of today. So that’s everything for now. It’s been an adjustment, but we are definitely loving our new addition and Carter loves helping out with his new baby brother. Click on our gallery to see pictures of the new little guy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

37.5 Weeks

I guess I’m overdue for an update. My apologies to anyone who’s been keeping up with the blog and been waiting for info. My last 2 weekly appointments have given no new news other than the fact that we now have the c-section officially scheduled. If he doesn’t come sooner, which at this point I’m really starting to doubt he will, he’ll be born on Aug. 19 somewhere around 9:30am. The Dr. has another c-section that morning at 7, so whenever she’s done with that one, it’ll be my turn to go in.

Not much else has changed- still having lots of contractions. In general they’ve gotten more painful, but for the most part they’re irregular. There have been a couple days where they were 10 minutes apart for a good part of the day, but then they’d go random again. Hence the doubting he’ll come before the 19th.

I’ve been doing my best to keep busy and help labor come on. I’ve been going on walks with Carter every morning around our neighborhood, which is 1mile, plus all the other walking and chasing him around I do during the day. We’ve also started going to the pool in the afternoons. It’s not so much to help labor, but it is nice to feel lighter. Plus, it’s a workout. It’s amazing how sore my muscles are after walking around in the pool for a couple hours. Carter of course loves it. He can swim all by himself now with just water wings on. The school’s pool has a waterfall wall at one end, so he likes to play in it and catch/pop the bubbles in the foam.

My last appointment is this Tuesday. If there’s any news I’ll post another update, otherwise the next post will likely be to announce Owen’s arrival!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

*ANOTHER 35 Week Update*

After spending the afternoon doing some online research, getting feedback from other mothers on the wonderful ivillage forum and talking things over with Ryan, I have made a decision. I have decided against having the test done Thursday morning for fetal lung maturity. My reasoning is as follows.

1. Almost every site agrees that fetal lung maturity is usually reached by week 35, which I am at. Add in that Owen is a larger than average baby and has had the steroid shots to help develop his lungs, and it’s pretty guaranteed that his lungs are mature. From my understanding, the reason Dr’s have to perform this test is to protect themselves from being sued due to performing an elective c-section at such an early gestational age, which I completely understand.

2. The Doctor said repeatedly that if I were to go into labor that they would go ahead and deliver me. I wouldn’t have to reach hard active labor, since they’ll intervene with a c-section anyway, so whenever I get to the point of early labor (regular contractions 5-10 minutes apart), then they would go ahead and take me in.

3. Based on 1 and 2, I have decided to let myself off bed rest. I of course won’t attempt anything too strenuous like long walks or lifting Carter (it has been over 2 months since I’ve had any type of exercise!), but I will start doing stuff around the house again, like cooking and cleaning. If his lungs are mature and it’s ok if I go into labor, then I figure we can still schedule the c-section for 39 weeks as originally planned and if nature takes its course sooner, then so be it, but I don’t want to force him out.

4. The test is an amniocentesis, which does come with risks. The risks are low, but still risks. They include infection, hemorrhaging, leaking amniotic fluid, and preterm labor. The risks alone aren’t deterring me from having the procedure, but just one more thing against it. Also, I could live without the pain of having a needle shoved through my stomach and uterus, which apparently isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world.

5. Finally, the test is expensive, and based on the above reasoning, an unnecessary expense. The cost of an amnio ranges from $1200-2000. Even after insurance we’d be paying a few hundred dollars out of pocket.

So we won’t be eliminating the guess work of when he’ll come by scheduling a much earlier c-section, but I’ll feel better about letting him “cook” a little longer if that’s how it’s meant to be. As for my suffering through the pain of cramping and contractions, I’ve already found it easier to cope with just by being up doing stuff and distracting myself. It’s much harder to re-direct your attention when you’re stuck in bed doing nothing.

35 Week Check-Up

Well I made it though 4 days of regular contractions, only to wake up this morning to cramping. No Contractions! Still in a lot of pain though after having my muscles worked out all weekend. I went in for my 35 week check-up this morning and found that I am still 2cm dilated, which is good, but also frustrating after suffering so much pain. I am also still measuring large, but we already know that it’s because he’s a big boy.

The Dr. decided that since I’m having so much trouble with cramping and contractions, that she’d refer me to the high risk Dr’s to have an amniocentesis done to check fetal lung maturity. I will have that done Thursday morning. If his lungs are mature then we can go ahead and schedule the c-section for any time. If they’re close to mature, then I may be able to deliver about a week later. However if they’re completely immature, then they’ll try to get me all the way to 39 weeks. She did say repeatedly though that if I go into labor, they will not try to stop it, which is great news to me. Statistically, white males’ lungs develop slower than girls (and boys of different races). She did say that since I had steroid injections for his lung development that they may be further developed. Also, he is a big boy, so he has that working in his favor.

She did say that I will most likely have to have a c-section. Unless I was to go in to the hospital fully dilated and crowning, they’d probably still do a c-section. (Clearly she’s not a big believer in VBAC’s.) Personally, if I were to deliver early, I would love to give a VBAC a shot, since he’d most likely be smaller than Carter’s 9lbs+, but it doesn’t sound like I’ll get the chance. On the plus side, she did say she’d let me have a mirror in the OR to see the birth. She’s never done it before, so she’s not sure how the angle will work, but she’s willing to give it a shot. I’d heard of other women doing this so they could still see their baby being delivered. My one big disappointment with Carter’s delivery was not being able to see him born, so I’m glad she’s going to let my try to see. (From what I’ve read online, many Dr’s refuse this kind of a request).

Lastly, she told me to stop taking the Terbutaline, because it obviously wasn’t working for me. She prescribed me Procardia XL to take instead. It’s primarily a blood pressure medication, but is also used for Preterm contractions. We did ask about how that would affect me, since I have naturally low blood pressure and get really sick when it drops. Her answer was that if it makes me sick then I probably shouldn’t take it. With that in mind, I’m thinking I won’t be filling the prescription, because I already know that even a slight decrease in my BP makes my dizzy and nauseas, and I REALLY don’t want to go through that again.

So I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t progressed more over the weekend, but relieved that they will let me deliver now and not try to stop labor if it does begin (another reason I see to not take the medication). She didn’t say so directly, but Ryan and I both got the impression that I didn’t have to stick to such strict bed rest any longer. (Again, because it’s ok for me to deliver now.) So I am hugely relieved to be able to get up for a few little things. Maybe without the meds and being up a little more, I may go into labor this week after all! I can only hope. I’m definitely ready to get this whole pregnancy thing over with and meet my little boy. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

34 Week Update

So it’s been an interesting week. As mentioned in the last blog, the midwife gave me medication to take when I’m having contractions. Last Thursday night I started having really bad cramping, so I had Ryan take the prescription to be filled. Since it’s not a commonly used drug, the pharmacy didn’t have it in stock. If they couldn’t locate any in the area I would have had to wait for a shipment to come in on Monday. Fortunately they were able to partially fill the order Friday morning, since by then I was having regular contractions every 20 minutes. One pill and 30 minutes later the contractions stopped. That wonderful episode was after spending 2 days lying down and not sitting up, so I no longer have to do anything to provoke the contractions.

The weekend and the beginning of this week were uneventful, just the normal cramping, which has become par for the course. So I decided to schedule a professional photo session to get some maternity pictures taken. I knew there was a good chance that it would bring on contractions, but I really wanted to get the pictures done and I figured the medicine would help. I did have to stand a little, but mostly I was sitting (car, wheelchair, and poses). I was having a little more cramping then normal last night, but nothing too bad.

This morning though I was having contractions every 10 minutes. I went ahead and took one of my pills and waited for them to let up. An hour later there was no change so I went ahead and took a second pill. Another half hour later the contractions finally let up to just every 15 minutes, but never went away. This afternoon Ryan convinced me to call the midwife’s office for advice since the weekend was coming up. The midwife was concerned that the contractions had been only 10 minutes apart, even after taking the first pill. She instructed me to take 2 pills every 6hrs for the next 24hrs and then 1 pill every 6hrs after that if they haven’t stopped yet. She also said if they get stronger or closer than 15 minutes apart while on the medication to go into the hospital.

So it’s going to be an interesting weekend. The medicine makes me extremely jittery, so it’s hard to do anything. I’m actually only able to type this because the first dose is just wearing off and the next dose of medicine hasn’t fully kicked in yet. Hopefully the contractions will eventually let up. I’m scheduled to go back to the Dr. on Tuesday, at which point I will be 35wks. I hope Owen is able to hang on at least until then. I know he’s big enough to safely come out now, but my first choice hospital for delivery doesn’t take women before 35wks. And whereas I don’t really want another 9lb+ baby, I’d still like him to at least reach 7lbs.

I will post another update after Tuesday’s appointment. That is unless Owen decides to make his debut first. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

33 Week Check-Up

Well I had my 33wk check-up with the midwife this morning. I was anxious to see what she had to say, since I had a rough weekend. I hadn’t really been up doing any walking, actually less than normal probably, but I did do a bit more sitting up. I made it to church Saturday morning with the use of a wheelchair and sat up on the front porch to watch the fireworks that night, plus I ate all 3 meals at the table with the family. By the time I went to bed that night I was in quite a bit of pain. The cramping continued to get worse Sunday, even though the only sitting up I did that day was for meals. By Sunday evening I was having contractions 15-20 minutes apart and woke up several times that night in pain. By Monday morning the contractions had stopped, but I was having constant cramping and all my back and abdominal muscles were in pain from the contractions the night before. The cramping had significantly lessened by this morning, but after being up all morning to go to the Dr’s office the cramping has once again increased, though fortunately no more contractions yet.

After I told her all this she decided she needed to check my cervix again. I have now progressed to 2cm and my cervix is very soft. She said that sitting up probably pushes Owen’s head down onto my cervix, causing the contractions to have an effect. She said the bed rest does seem to be helping though, because if I had actually been up and active I would quite likely have progressed much further already. However, since simply sitting up is now causing contractions, I am to lie down/recline as much as possible. And to help combat the contractions she gave me a prescription for Terbutaline.

The other discovery made at this appointment is that I am once again measuring 3wks ahead, so she ordered another ultrasound to check my fluid levels again. The technician said the levels look good, but Owen is a larger than average baby, though not overly huge. She took several different measurements, but the ones that I remember were that his head measures at 35wks and his body at 36wks (again, I’m only 33wks). She told me at the end that he currently weighs in at about 5lbs 6oz. (Average for a fetus at this stage is 4.5lbs). We also confirmed that he is indeed a boy, as he gave us a nice clear shot between his legs.

I am of course a little disappointed in losing the privilege to sit up, but am reassured that Owen would be okay if he were to come at anytime now. The midwife said that by 34wks they don’t worry too much about lung development, and that at that point it’s just a matter of letting the baby put on weight, and since the little guy’s already over the 5lb threshold, I feel a lot better.

I did finally ask what the chances would be of being on bed rest again if we decide to have another baby in the future. She said she doesn’t know any specific percentages, but that I would have a slightly increased chance, but that all pregnancies are different. She did note though that this has been a healthy pregnancy and they haven’t actually had to stop premature labor yet, so the prospect of bed rest alone shouldn’t be a deterrent. As usual I go back in 2wks. At that visit I will be seeing the Dr, instead of my midwife, to do a c-section consultation and actually schedule the delivery. Fingers crossed I make it ‘til then without any extra appointments.

Monday, June 22, 2009

31 Week Check-up

Well I had my 31 week check-up with the midwife this morning. Since I’ve been having more regular cramping she decided to go ahead and check my cervix again and run the Fibronectin test again, which tests to see if my body is preparing to go into labor within the next week or 2. Fortunately my cervix hasn’t dilated any more and is still at 1cm. She’ll call me if the Fibronectin test comes back positive.

She told me that 36-37 weeks would probably be too early to do a scheduled c-section, but if I were to go into labor on my own at that point they would let me deliver. So at around 36-37 weeks she’ll let me start doing a little more. So the reprieve off full bedrest that I was hoping would come at 34 weeks now won’t come until 37 weeks. I wanted to make it to 37 weeks anyway, since that’s considered full term, but it does double the amount of time I have left on bedrest. (6wks instead of just 3).

As usual I’m supposed to call if the contractions get worse or more regular. The bit of good news I got was that my glucose test came back clear and that Owen is now in a head down position. Of course that could change. He is much more the tumbler than Carter was and is always changing positions, which of course is getting more painful the bigger he gets, so I hope he decides to stay put.

That’s it for now. I have another appointment in 2 weeks. Hopefully there won’t be any need for an update before then. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


After the many updates on Owen and my pregnancy, I figured it was time to give an update on our other little guy. He's still growing like a weed and weighs in just under 30lbs. Not sure of his exact height since we haven’t measured him since his 2yr check-up.

He has a pretty full vocabulary and talks in full sentences. He also picks up new words immediately, so of course we have to be REALLY careful what we say around him. He's known his full alphabet for quite some time, but now is actually using it. I’ll let him send his daddy instant messages while he's at work. I'll tell him which letters to hit and he does the typing, so he's also learned "enter", "space" and "period".

Being on the computer is one of his favorite activities. We got him his own QWERTY keyboard that has oversized keys for toddler fingers and also a toddler size mouse. (It also came with a mouse pad that holds a picture and the only 4x6 picture we had handy was that of our friends NJ and Sebrena's little girl Kaitlyn, whom Carter's only met once in person, but adores through the internet. So he loves using his "Kait-Kait" mouse pad).

Anyway, the site we go to the most is Sesame Street, which has games specifically for toddlers. Many are as simple as just hitting any random keys on the computer, but others take more control, like using the mouse to select the correct matching pictures, which he is now able to do completely on his own. We're not trying to turn him into a computer/video game junky, but rather teach hand-eye coordination and basic computer skills that he will need in the future anyway. Plus the games are educational. He also loves to play the Nintendo Wii, which isn't so much educational, but very good for hand-eye and body coordination too (we also have Wii Fit which takes full body movements).

Other activities he enjoys are playing with Legos, Play-doh, and coloring, cutting, and gluing paper. He also really enjoys playing outside. He loves going to the park and playing on the swings and going down slides and through tunnels. At home he likes to blow bubbles, play with his t-ball set, “mow” with his bubble mower, ride his electric 4x4 “atv”, and draw pictures with chalk on the driveway. He also really enjoys helping with chores around the house: loading/switching/sorting/folding laundry, washing dishes, cooking, and sweeping. Next is teaching him to make his own bed. :)

Yesterday I noticed when I laid him down for his nap that he had several spots on his belly. On further examination I found them on his arms, legs, back, bottom, and face. He’d had the chicken pox vaccine, so we were unsure what could cause so many spots all over his body. Ryan took him to the Dr. this morning and discovered that our little boy is covered in bug bites, likely from chiggers. We figure he got them from playing in the backyard in just his swim trunks running through the sprinkler and sliding in the grass.

And finally, his latest “cuteness” started today. While coloring, I told him to write his name. He scribbled a little and said “Carter James Herman”. I then told him to write mommy’s name. He’s been saying for some time “Mommy Mindy, Daddy Ryan”, so he knows our names. So he scribbled some more and said “Mommy James Herman” and then scribbled some more and said “Daddy James Herman”. I had him “write” our names again this evening for Ryan and this time we were “Mommy James Mindy” and “Daddy James Ryan”. So apparently everyone has his middle name. :P

Monday, June 8, 2009

29 Week Check-Up

Well I just got back from my 29wk appointment with the midwife. I got to do the wonderful glucose test today- I seriously can’t remember why as a kid I liked sweet/sugary drinks. I just find them disgusting now. Anyway I’m supposed to call back on Friday to find out my results from that. Hopefully that’ll be negative, because a 3hr follow-up test doesn’t sound like much fun (and neither does the prospect of gestational diabetes).

The good news is I am measuring normal again. I had a feeling I would. I measured myself last week and it was 4cm/wks ahead. Then over the weekend I noticed in the mirror that my belly suddenly looked smaller and lower, so I think he “dropped”. Hopefully that doesn’t mean he’s getting ready to come out, but at least I’m measuring back to normal again.

I also only gained 1lb in the past 2.5 wks, which isn't necessarily good for pregnancy (it' supposed to be about 1lb per week), but it sure is nice to not see the scale go up another 3-4lbs and it wasn't significant enough for them to comment on. And I do promise I am eating just fine, plus lots of sweets to fulfill my current cravings. So it's just a fluke I'm sure, but one that doesn't bother me in the least. :)

The midwife asked how the bed rest was going and I told her it does seem to be helping. I’ve been having considerably fewer contractions. However I did tell her that it also seems to take less activity to bring them on. She gave me the option of going on medication to control the contractions, but said that so long as the bed rest is working and I have people to help me, that it’s the better option. She also said that if it continues as it has, with it taking less and less activity to bring on contractions and taking longer periods of rest for them to go away, then to call her and they will go ahead and start me on the medicine.

It does sound more assuredly like I will get a little reprieve once I hit the 34 week mark though. She said that this (bed rest and possibly medication) is the course we’ll have to stay on until I reach a safer zone, which as she said last time is 34 weeks. So it lifts my spirits a little to think that I only have 5 more weeks of full bed rest. Of course I still want Owen to come as close to our scheduled 39 week c-section as possible, but it’s much easier to think of just 5 more weeks instead of 10.

So that’s all I know for now. She didn’t check my cervix this time, since I haven’t had a long stretch of strong contractions again like before. She’s always one to be cautious and doesn’t check unless she thinks there’s a reason, because there is a chance that checking the cervix will stimulate contractions. I am a little curious to know if I’ve remained at 1cm or if I’ve progressed any further, but I won’t complain about not being probed. :)

I have now reached the point of appointments every 2 weeks, so I get to go back again on the 22nd. Hopefully everything will be good until then and I won’t have any unscheduled appointments between now and then.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

2 Weeks Down

It has now been 2 full weeks since I was sentenced to full bed rest. The first week was pretty easy, since we were staying with Ryan's parents. With daddy, nana, and papa around Carter never lacked for attention. The hardest part for me has been remembering not to get up. I realize now just how much you take for granted the ability to get up for even the littlest thing. It can be kind of frustrating to be dependent on others for every little need.

This week has been a big adjustment, but we seem to be settling into a routine. I've had help every day this week and have most of my help lined up for next week already. Carter's gone out on play dates twice this week and threw a fit both times. But both people assured me that once they reached their destinations he was fine and played well with the other kids, which is a relief. He's very social and loves to play with his friends, he's just not comfortable leaving without mommy yet.

He's also having issues with going potty for other people right now. Actually he's having issues going potty for anyone right now- he's become very independent and gets frustrated when he's not able to do something on his own- in this case potty. He can do everything except get his pants up and down. A couple weeks ago I was keeping him in his PJ's for the mornings and he could get them up and down, but he can't manage regular pants yet, even if they have an elastic waist. So he's had a couple accidents this week, but hopefully that will just help him realize it's ok to let someone else help him.

I've been doing my best to keep myself occupied. I've pretty much made it through an entire 200 page variety puzzle book. I've also been hand sewing a quilt for Owen. I had the whole thing cut and pieced together within the first week. All I have left now is stitching the detail between the front and back panels to keep the batting in place during washing. That's on hold for right now though. Within the last 2 days I've received requests for 3 portrait drawings, so I'll be working on those commissions for the next little while.

I go back to see the midwife on Monday and hope that I haven't dilated any more. I've still been having lots of cramping and occasional contractions, but fortunately haven't had any more regularly spaced contractions. I don't know if it's normal after being idle for so long, but it definitely takes less action to bring the pain on. If I'm up for anything more than just bathroom breaks I definitely start feeling more cramping and it doesn't take much more to bring on contractions.

That's pretty much everything for now. I'll post another update next week to let everyone know what I find out from the midwife.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Full Bed Rest

Well, I decided to call the nurse today to report some pain I’ve been having quite regularly in the groin area for the past couple days that won’t go away (I wanted to check in since we’re supposed to be out of town all next week for Carolina Camp Meeting.) The midwife was out for the morning, but the nurse suggested coming in this afternoon to get checked out just in case.

She started off with a pelvic exam to check my cervix. Last Monday it was still thick and completely closed. Today it was softened and dilated 1cm. I haven’t had too many contractions this week, but I did tell her about last week when I was having contractions every 30min for about 30 hours straight after being up tending to Carter for the morning. She went ahead and hooked me up to a monitor to make sure I wasn’t currently experiencing any contractions that I wasn’t aware of and that came back clear.

She then did an ultrasound to determine Owen’s position and found that he’s breech right now (which is completely ok at this point, he’s not due for another 3 months!) She figures that the groin pain I’ve been experiencing is from his position- his legs pushing downward when he moves. So she called it a lucky fluke that she discovered my dilated cervix, which she attributes to the contractions I’ve been experiencing, not the current groin pain.

So the result of all this is that I am now of full bed rest. I am allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and she said sitting should be ok, so I don’t have to be lying down 24/7. She also advised against traveling out of town, but since we will be staying with my in-laws and will receive more help with Carter than if we stayed home, she gave next week the go ahead.

After conferring with one of the doctors she decided to give me an injection of betamethasone, which is a cortical steroid to help develop Owen’s lungs in case he is born early and I have to have a second injection tomorrow afternoon. She also gave me a copy of my records to keep with me in case I do go into preterm labor.

She also told me that regular contractions 30 minutes apart at this point should be ok, but if they’re painful or more frequent than that to go straight to the hospital. Their goal is for me to get to at least 34 weeks. I’m currently 26w 3d, so I have 7 ½ weeks to go until it would be considered safe for him come out. He’d have about a 90% chance of survival right now, but with risks of complications.

And so the new countdown begins. I’ve been counting down to the planned c-sections day of Aug. 18 (88 days from now), but I have decided to now just count down to 34 weeks, at which point I will breath a huge sigh of relief (and hopefully be downgraded back to partial bed rest). So… 53 days to go, but it’s almost tomorrow, so 52. :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sofa Loafing- Week 2

Well the week has passed and I never heard anything back from the midwife’s office, so I’m feeling pretty confident that both tests came back negative. It is a bit of a relief, but it also means that the cause of the contractions and measuring 3 weeks ahead remains a mystery.

The week has been up and down in regard to handling the partial bed rest. Monday of course was my appointment, and after being out all morning, I had lots of cramping for the rest of the day. Tuesday morning Carter decided to test every limit he could. He had that look in his eyes where he knew he was about to do something he wasn’t supposed to and was waiting to see what my reaction would be. Unfortunately for him and me, the reaction wasn’t good. He refused to stop when told, would not take time outs, and was just plain defiant every chance he got, so I was getting up quite a bit to deal with him (which included a couple spankings!).

That evening we went out to eat with Ryan’s mom, sister and her husband and kids. I figured it was a sit down meal, so I should be ok. However, after combining that with the morning’s events I was doubled over in pain from really bad cramping and contractions by the time we got home. I woke up several times that night with contractions and noticed the next morning that they were coming consistently about every 30 minutes. They weren’t very long or extremely painful like others I’ve experienced, but they were quite regular.

Fortunately for me, Carter was a perfect angel all day Wednesday (I think he learned a lesson or two from his spankings the previous day). I was able to stay on the couch and rest the entire day, but the contractions kept coming and were still 30 minutes apart when we went to bed that night and I decided that I would make a call to the midwife in the morning if they were still present. I woke up once that night from a contraction and by morning they had finally stopped.

Thursday was another restful day, thanks largely to a friend who took Carter out for a play date with her daughter for the morning (Thank you so much Lori!!). Ryan was able to borrow a wheelchair from the university health center, so I was able to go out on a “walk” (push) around the neighborhood that evening and get some fresh air and change of scenery.

Today I was up a bit more, mostly because Carter was having a fussy day and insisted on going potty every 5-10 minutes. As a result I’ve had more cramping and a few contractions, but nothing too horrible. I even made it out to Wal-mart this afternoon with Ryan. To keep from walking too much I used one of their motorized scooters/shopping carts, which Carter loved, since he got to ride along. It was nice to get out, but it’s hard to not feel conspicuous riding around in one of those things. Plus, they really don’t handle very well- they jerk around a LOT!

So that’s been my week. Nothing grand and fabulous, but I survived it. Here’s hoping there are more relaxing days in the future and no more “Tuesdays” for a good long while.

Monday, May 11, 2009

And so the sofa loafing continues

Well I had my monthly checkup with the midwife this morning and she did a couple tests to see if they could find a cause for all the cramping and contractions. She took a swab of my cervix to run a test to see if my body is preparing to go into labor within the next 2 weeks. Fortunately, my cervix is still closed and thick, which means the contractions haven’t caused me to dilate any.

She also measured the height of my uterus (a standard thing to do at every checkup). I should have measured at 25cm (which correlates to 25wks). However, I measured at 28cm, which is 3wks ahead. Any variation under 2cm is considered a normal variation, but since I was over that she had an ultrasound done to check my fluid levels to see if they’re high. High fluid levels can cause contractions and could be a sign of things like gestational diabetes or congenital defects. Also, if my fluid levels are high, I could be at an increased risk of placenta abruption, preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes (water breaking), growth restriction for the fetus, cesarean delivery, and postpartum hemorrhage. Of course I’m having a c-section anyway, and I had postpartum hemorrhaging with Carter, so those two don’t scare me as much. I should hear back from the midwife later this week if they find a problem from either test and they’ll treat accordingly.

In the mean time, she extended my partial bed rest for at least the next 4 weeks (my next scheduled appointment). I am to rest as much as I possibly can and absolutely no sex (it stimulates contractions). She said it was a good thing that staying off my feet has been helping, but if it gets to the point that resting doesn’t help and they get worse then they’ll have to take a more aggressive approach to prevent early labor.

So that’s everything I know for now. If I find out more I’ll be sure to post it. I have survived one week of partial bed rest already (and went a little stir crazy). We’ll see how the next four go!

Oh yeah, we also got 5 more ultrasound pictures out of the ordeal. I’ll try to get those scanned in and posted sometime soon. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Long overdue update (sorry!)

Sorry it’s been so long since we posted an actual update, but life has a way of getting in the way. Since the last real post, Carter has turned 2. He had a lot of fun at his birthday party, with lots of his little friends. Counting adults and kids, there were 27 people crammed into our house for the party, but fortunately it was nice weather and it ended with all the boys getting to play outside in the yard. The party was a football theme and we had face painting, a piƱata, and a 3-D football cake.

Carter is a really good boy in general, but he is also your typical 2 yr old, meaning the “terrible two’s” are in full swing. He doesn’t always want to listen or do what he’s told, but we have a pretty good reward/punishment system that we try to stick to. Regardless, it can be very frustrating at times and in my opinion no woman should ever have to be pregnant and have a 2yr old at the same time, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it to have the boys close in age.

We have decided on a name for our new little one- Owen Rylan Herman. We derived Rylan of course from Ryan. We decided that Owen Ryan sounded too much like Nolan Ryan, the baseball player, so we modified it a little. I hit 24 weeks yesterday, so only 15 more to go. (That’s 104 days, but who’s counting?!) We’re having a planned c-section, so I only have to make it to 39 wks! We have settled on August 18 as the delivery day. We had considered the 20th, since that’s Ryan’s birthday, but after much thought and consideration, we decided it will be special enough to have their birthdays so close, but they’ll each still have their own special day.

For my part, my dizziness finally let up in my 5th month, but my blood pressure hasn’t really gone back up much. I guess my body just adjusted to it and compensated. It’s still really easy for me to get dizzy if I get up too quickly or anything like that, but it’s definitely better than suffering motion sickness around the clock, day after day.

After finally getting to the point of actually enjoying pregnancy, except of course for the frequent bathroom breaks, a new problem has arisen. I’ve been experiencing some really painful contractions and lots of cramping for the past couple weeks. I had Braxton Hicks contractions with Carter, but they didn’t get painful until the last month of pregnancy. This time I’m experiencing some that feel like real labor and cause me to double over in pain and yelp.

This past Sunday afternoon I had 5 in one hour (you’re supposed to call your dr. or go in if you have 4 in an hour). I held off on calling since they were getting further apart, rather than closer together. I called Monday morning and left a message for the nurse, not expecting a call back from the nurse until that evening. I was surprised by a call back from my midwife around noon concerned about what she’d heard in the message. After explaining what I’ve been experiencing she put me on pelvic rest for the next week or two with instructions to call or go right in if they start coming regularly or get really painful again. I had a few REALLY painful ones yesterday, because I wasn’t taking it as easy as I was supposed to, but fortunately they let up after just a half hour and subsided to just cramping.

For those who don’t know, pelvic rest is modified bed rest. There are different limits on different people, but for me it means no lifting, exercising, or sex and I am to rest as much as possible and drink lots of water. So I can get up and take care of Carter, but I can’t lift him or chase him around or do much around the house. Just walking around for a bit is enough to make me start cramping badly, so I’m trying my best to take it easy. Although let me tell you, it is really hard to stay off your feet when you’re drinking about 10 glasses of water a day. Even for someone not pregnant that would make you have to pee A LOT! I’m scheduled for my next appointment with the midwife this coming Monday, so I’ll probably find out more then.

In the mean time I’ll try to get some more blogs and pictures up. There has been a little more going on in our lives in the past couple months, but this post is already long enough, so… the end.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Results are in!!

The final vote came out 11 to 20 in favor of a girl. And the result is.... 65% of you (and myself) were wrong. :) We're having another boy!!! We'll let you know when we decide what his name will be. We haven't quite narrowed it down yet. :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

11wk update

So it’s been a long and rough couple of weeks. My morning sickness finally subsided a few weeks ago and I felt pretty good for about ½ a week. Then one day I started feeling really dizzy and as a result I was feeling motion sick- like being stuck on a boat on rough waters. The only thing I could think of was maybe a problem with my blood pressure. Normal for me is about 90/60, which is considered borderline low. Sure enough my blood pressure was down and was averaging 75/55 over several days. My doctor has assured me that it is normal for blood pressure to drop during pregnancy and that I should just be careful so that I don’t fall and hurt myself or the baby.

I went in for my routine prenatal checkup a week later and my BP was down to 74/48. After consulting with the Dr. my midwife assured me that I have nothing to worry about, but she did run some extra blood tests to see if there is an underlying cause. She also wants to see me in 2wks rather than the normal 4wks, because she is concerned that I have been continually dizzy for so long (even when I’m laying down). The good news is that at that appt (11wks) we were able to hear a nice strong heart beat, so the baby appears to be doing well. I just have to ride this out and hope my blood pressure goes back up soon.

Here is the latest sequence of pregnancy pictures. The one on the left is at 4wks, so basically the before picture. The others from left are 8wks, 9wks, and 11wks. I was too sick to take a picture wk 10. :( Believe it or not, I lost 5lbs between the 4wk and 8wk pictures and then lost 2 more lbs. after that, but I have yet to put a single pound back on. But that hasn’t stopped my belly from growing.

Here I am at 11wks and I am the same size that I was with Carter at 19wks.

And of course Carter still loves to give the baby some love.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby Talk

So I was lying on the couch this morning and my belly was poking out a little from my shirt. Carter came up to it and said "there you are!" and preceeded to say goodmorning to the baby and give my belly hugs and kisses. He later came back up to me, when my belly was fully covered and he said "where did it go?" So he had to pull my shirt up and find my belly again to talk to the baby some more. I think he's getting excited about being a big brother. I asked him if he wanted the baby to sleep in his room when it came out of mommy's belly, to which he excitedly replied "yes!" (If it's a boy they'll share a room). It was the sweetest thing and I just had to share it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pregnancy Update (8 1/2 weeks)

So we’re 8 ½ weeks into this pregnancy and I am feeling slightly better with the help of some anti-nausea medicine from my midwife, but there are still many bad days (they’re just not as bad as they were).

We finally got around to taking a belly picture today after we took down the Christmas tree that was blocking the “photo” wall. Here’s a look at the “before” picture (3 ½ wks) compared to now. I’ve done a lot of growing in just 5 weeks.

Clearly what they say about you showing sooner with your second is true. Here’s a look at my first pregnancy at 15wks compared to this one at only 8 1/2wks.

Carter already loves being a big brother and loves to give my belly hugs and kisses and talk and sing to the baby. He tells the baby “morning” when he wakes up and tells it “night-night” before he goes to bed. (Of course if the flutters I’m feeling already are an indication, the baby is actually waking up about the time he says night-night)

We got our first ultrasound picture last week.

Here's a little diagram I made up to show you what you're looking at. It's harder to distinguish on a still picture than it is while they're doing the ultrasound and you can see things moving, so I figured I'd offer some help.

And here's just a fun little thing I did in Photoshop. Nothing genius, but seeing as out last name is Herman, I always remember the character of Baby Herman from the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He's the cute little baby that's really a cigar smoking man off camera.

And just because no blog is complete without a Carter update- this week we're working on shapes. So far he knows: oval, triangle, diamond, moon, star, and circle. (He has one of those cubes with holes in it that you put different shapes through.) He had square down, but he just learned diamond and now he gets them confused (along with rectangles). He also occasionally confuses a circle for an oval, since he just learned oval too, but he's getting better.

So that's everything for now. Only 4 1/2 weeks left in the first trimester, so hopefully all the nausea will subside soon. In the mean time I'll keep eating whatever cravings hit me that don't make me want to vomit. :)