Saturday, December 06, 2008
Other than that. We scheduled our last "4 week" visit for January 3, 2009. From there I will have one "3 week" visit which will take me to 30 weeks, and then I believe from there on out I'll have visits every 2 weeks until 36 or 38 weeks at which point I'll go to weekly visits until I deliver. WOW, putting it like that makes it feel not so far away. That's only about 8 visits left! For some reason I feel like I won't make it to April though, and March 28th, feels closer to when I'll deliver. But, we'll see what God (and the baby) have in store for us. It's becoming much more real and exciting now.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
When I became pregnant with my daughter I knew that there had to be a better way. I began researching vaginal birth after cesarean, and even began researching home birth. I was newly married and I knew my husband wouldn't go for a home birth so I resigned myself to another hospital birth but decided this time would be better. I prepared my body with evening primrose oil, and red raspberry leaf tea. I had a supportive midwife through Kaiser that seemed to really care. I decided I would labor at home for as long as possible. To my surprise at at 37 weeks 5 days I had a cervical check at the doctors, I was 5 cm. and hadn't had a whole lot of contractions. I sent Sean to work, and went shopping with my mom for last minute items. i began feeling a lot of back pain, it wasn't excruciating, but i did notice it would come in waves. YAY, contractions. I labored most the day upright, and walking through stores. We made our way back to our house that afternoon. I finally had to concentrate on contractions and got into a warm bath. I was so excited, I wasn't in pain, but it was intense. Sean came home from work and I was feeling like I was in transition so we headed to the hospital. Unfortunately, everything stopped once we got to the hospital. They checked me and I was a stretchy 7, but I was not contracting at all. they sent me walking for 30 minutes and still nothing. they wanted to break my water (which in hindsight we should have tried), I was so upset about my previous birth and I just know that the artificial rupture of membranes caused the ultimate cesarean that I refused to have my water broken. So they started pitocin. I was also afraid of pitocin induced contractions so I went for an epidural. The epidural made my blood pressure drop and I almost passed out. This led to other interventions. The night nurse was really rude, took away my call light, yelled at my mom, had my husband sleeping on the floor, turned out my lights when i didn't want her to, didn't empty my catheter (which has led to permanent bladder damage), and didn't up the pitocin all night, until the morning where she upped it to where it SHOULD have been had she done it slowly. For those who know about VBAC's you know inductions with pitocin are not the best panning and upping slowly is the ONLY way it should be done if it is. We got a new nurse the following morning and we had the administrators of the hospital in our room talking to us as I was in heavy labor.the epidueral began wearing off towards the end of labor. My water was broken the following morning and things progressed relatively quickly. I was ready to push around 11:30-noon but chose not to and my nurses and midwife were ok with this. I changed positions, and breathed my baby down. I felt ready to push around 4 and she was born at 4:32 vaginally. SUCCESS. I was still left feeling violated, and abused. Although it was slightly healing.
When my I became pregnant with my third I was set on a home birth, although my husband still was not. The whole pregnancy I felt completely off and I ended up delivering prematurely at 27 weeks and 2 days by cesarean. It was very traumatic and we are still processing the details 2 1/2 year later. (her story and pictures are the bulk of this blog so far)
Now that I am pregnant once again with my 4th, I am facing these fears and replaying the details of all my birth experiences over and over in my mind. I find myself getting anxious and wondering if I can do it. Can I really have a normal birth, will I really be able to have another vaginal birth, Is it possible to be treated with respect? I have found a wonderful home birth midwife, but I know I will need to work through these feelings. Hopefully as the pregnancy progresses I can process these birth traumas and reach a peaceful place before embarking on what will hopefully be a healing birth experience.
Friday, September 05, 2008
I have been talking with Sean about a homebirth for quite some time. He has finally agreed to meet with a few midwives and go the homebirth route as long as the baby continues to do well and this pregnancy remains uncomplicated. I have been seeing an OB for monitoring progesterone and labs up until this point. He's known for being less interventive and will attend Vbac's (vaginal birth after ceserean). After speaking with him today and hearing my history and knowing that my previous VBAC baby was between my 2 cesereans he said "that I could not have a VBAC" So, it's imperitive that I find a midwife that I mesh well with, can trust, and that will trust that my body will do what it was made to do, and bring our child into this world safely and with minimal interventions. So, I have a midwife appt. tomorrow. I am dissapointed that out of 5 midwives I've emailed, that only one has emailed me back, luckily this one has been very professional and caring during my last miscarriage.
Without further ado, here's little baby dino measuring perfect at 9 weeks 6 days. My due date has been moved back to the original due date of April 4, 2009.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
August 20: Blood draw to check my progesterone levels since it's being supplemented with 200mg of Prometrium daily. Progesterone came back at 11.2 only up 2 points from previous draw at 9.6. Still not high enough. Have another blood check on 8/26/08. If levels are still low will be upping dose of Prometrium.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
So last night Sean and I headed off to home depot. 2 hours and $180 later we came home with a bunch of plants, dirt, and wood. In the dark at 10 at night we built our planters and filled them with the dirt mix. This morning came the fun part. Planting with the kids. We ended up with (2) tomato plants, (2) green bell pepper, (1) red bell pepper, (1) artichoke, (1 cilantro), (1) rosemary, (2) bunches of red onions,
(2) strawberry plants, (2) onion chive plants, and some seeds, (1) Habanero pepper,
(1) Jalapeno pepper, (1) banana pepper, (1) pumpkin (it has a 4'x2' area for one plant), (2) cucumbers. Without further ado here are some pictures from this morning.
Caden helping put a plant into the ground.
The girls taking their turn.
Emma putting dirt around the Bell Pepper Plant (I love this picture!)
Lily concentrating on the task at hand.
Caden pouring it in slowly.Emma, missing the mark. A+ for effort.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
While the baby bird was super cute we also have some not so cute critters roaming about. Yesterday, we found, "caught", and got rid of not one, but TWO rather large snakes. Hopefully, this is the last we see of them, but probably not.
while I'm at it, this is across the street from us.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
It's been a rough couple days in the Stanford Home. Emma has been unusually clingy, needy, and not feeling well. As you can imagine with 3 kids this makes things difficult. Throw in some medical problems and it makes for a very tired, and cranky mom, which leads to cranky kids, and cranky husband. Emma seems to be doing better today and while I have a raging migraine, the kids are happy go lucky and playing peacefully in their playroom.
Some good news. Caden is (mostly) registered for Kindergarten. All of a sudden I feel very old! LOL. We have to meet with the special education board to develop an IEP for him and then his registration will be complete. He'll be starting in July. We've also really been working with Caden on Math and reading. He tends to shut down if something is difficult or if he finds it not to be stimulating enough. A friend told me about a reading program at www.headsprout.com It's a video game online which teaches reading. Every 5 episodes or so the child should be able to read a new book which comes with the program. Caden just read a new book which you can see a video of here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=818__2GxlNc We are SO proud of him! On another note, we've been supplementing him with pediasure (one or 2 cans a day) and he seems to have gained a few ounces which is good since he hadn't really gained any weight in over a year. YAY Caden.
Lily is doing really well. For the most part she is always there to greet you with a smile. Soes have her devious side and can be quite moody but at times we find it really to be funny. She can also count to 10 (most of the time) in english AND spanish (Thanks Dora The Explorer). She's growing like a weed and already into 5T clothing (same size as Caden) and overall just doing VERY well. She's also very motherly and nurturing and enjoys helping take care of Emma and fetching supplies for me.
As for Emma, we're switching health insurance companies on May 1st. We have an appt. with a (supposedly) very good G.I. doctor through CHOC on May 2nd. We're hoping to get some second opinions and more testing and hopefully find out what we're truly dealing with. We had a follow up with her current g.i. Sean was able to take off work and come with me to help talk to the doctor and explain what's been going on. She weighed in at 25lbs. 3 ounces so the tube feedings have really helped kick start her weight gain. Which brings us to the mystery of why can she gain on continuous drip feeds but not by eating solid foods even though with solids she was taking in more calories. Her doctor went over alot of things with us and basically brought us back to square 1. She feels it's either Celiac or Cystic Fibrosis. The celiac blood tests all came back negative and the inital screening for CF did as well (albeit they only tested for 36 mutations out of almost 1,600 mutations, so i don't consider it truly ruled out). She wants her to have a sweat test for CF and wants to schedule an endoscopy with biopsy to check for celiacs. She's thinking if it's celiac maybe it just didn't show in blood and will in the biopsy. The good news is she's willing to test further now since things are still going on. The psuedo bad news we're switching insurances and hopefully our new doc can carry out these tests.
In the meantime we're conducting our own "experiment". We've put her on gluten-free foods and dropped her tube feedings dramatically. If it is celiac and an issue with gluten than a gluten free diet should resolve her diagestive issues. If it's not an issue with gluten then she won't gain weight (or lose some) will continue diarrhea, and nothing will be resolved. Since we feel like we're always waiting we figured it couldn't help to try. We'll give it a week and see what her body does. It's been 2 days. Yesterday, was a particularly BAD day. She woke up crying, and continued to cry, moan, and scream her way through the day. Her poor belly was very distended, and she seemed very weak. she finally pooped during her nap which resulted in explosive diarrhea. Her moaning and crying continued on through the evening and past bedtime. I was a very tired Mama. This morning she woke up and appears to be feeling a ton better, but still had another Diarrhea diaper. I really hope we can get to the bottom of what's going on with her. At this point we just want a diagnosis. We can manage a diagnosis, but can't manage the unknown. It's so difficult to watch her have good days and bad days and not know how to help her.
Sean and I are doing alright, despite it all. Both a bit drained, tired, and somewhat feeling down but managing. Hopefully, we can get a date night soon and have some time to reconnect.
And, I'll leave you with a few pictures of the past few weeks.
Well, blogger is being weird so, I'll have to add more pics later!
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Here are all the supplies I have ready before I get started:
Before I do anything with her I fill the feed bag.
The bag is then “burped” (turned upside down so the bubbles float up and then primed a bit) to get out any air bubbles which will cause her pump to error and is also “primed” to get her formula through all of the tubing before being connected to her.
I then attach the extension (part which connects to the actual AMT button and also to her feed bag. The red “Christmas tree” part of the feed bag connects to the blue part of her extension. The opposite end of the extension connects to her button. I also prime the formula through her extension at this time.
Next, I put down a layer of hydrocolloid dressing (or Duoderm depending on which I have). This protects her very sensitive skin from multiple tape changes. We try to make this bottom dressing last 3-5 days to help protect her skin. We also switch which side of her g-tube this bottom dressing goes on with each dressing change.
I then connect her feedbag and extension to her button. This locks into her button by turning the extension clockwise.
After this I make a loop in the extension and place it on top of the hydrocolloid dressing. The loop helps the tube from being pulled out from the tape which I’ll put over it. I also use Hy-tape (the orange tape) to keep the loop in place.
After securing the tube I use a layer of Tegaderm, which is a very thin tape which goes over her tube and the bottom dressing to sandwich everything together. I’ve found using this method is the most secure.
After securing her tube I put the feed bag into the pump as shown and close the door and begin the feed.
Emma is an active toddler so we have the Zevex enteralite Infinity made especially for mobility. It is lightweight, does not have a drip chambers, and has few errors.
I put her feed bag and pump into her backpack and she wears her backpack all day. She loves her backpack and enjoys helping in care of her tube and always fastens her “seatbelt” across her chest to help evenly distribute her weight.
So, that’s the logistics of her feeding tube, what we do everyday and how it is worn. Overall, it takes about 10 minutes to get her set up.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
It’s taken me awhile to write this all out. How do you put into one post weeks, months, years of stress, anger, and worry. I’ve had my moments of feeling weak and the “why me’s?” But, overall I’ve held onto my faith and hope that in the end it will all be right…until today. I feel broken down and beaten. I’ve cried a million tears, cursed a hundred phrases, and questioned whether there really was a god and why he feels I can handle all of this. Surely, he doesn’t realize that I’ve reached my breaking point.
Some of you may or may not know about Emma’s ongoing struggles. Since birth she’s had numerous respiratory issues, reflux, feeding issues, failure to thrive, etc. Last July we began the process of tube weaning her. It was fairly uneventful. She lost weight but gained it back quickly. She began eating everything in site. She eats more than the other 2 kids at any given meal, constantly snacks and all in all is just a big eater. The problem? She’s LOST weight since last august. She also seems to have bouts of abdominal pain, and abdominal distention.
She’s had diarrhea off and on for no rhyme or reason, and her stools are always really foul and somewhat greasy/weird looking. Fast forward to about 6 months ago. She began to get weird rashes. Small areas, here and there quickly fading. We didn’t think much of it until last Tuesday when she woke up from head to toe in hives with huge welts. Poor baby was in so much pain. We took her to urgent care and they gave her a shot of steroids and sent us home to follow up with her pediatrician 2 days later at her well baby. The steroids seemed to work and by bedtime she was fine. The next morning, Wednesday she woke to an even worse state. I thought she couldn’t look worse, her eyes were swollen and squinted, Her cheeks were swollen, her feet swelled so bad with hives I couldn’t get her shoes on. Off to a different Emergency Room we went (our regular doctor area). The pediatrician asked the usual questions. Have there been any changes in soaps, detergents, or anything in the house? No. Any new foods? No, and her allergy panel was negative for all foods. She contacted a dermatologist and allergist. Of, course this was by phone and she can’t get in to see the dermatologist until March 24. They put her on Zyrtec (an allergy) med in the hopes that it would help. She’ll be on that until she gets to the dermatologist for a skin biopsy.
To date she’s been tested for celiac. Negative. Food allergies, Negative. Anemia: pretty severe (she is also very very pale and bruises easily). C. diff. Negative. She also had the normal cbc’s and all that. There are a few other tests which I can’t remember right now, but all her labs are pretty normal. Her electrolytes are off with sodium and potassium and one other is elevated, but they’re waiting on the rest of her labs to come back before delving into that one further. We’re also waiting on the results from her fecal fat (which could indicate an absorption issue), fecal elastace, and one other fecal test.
So, today she woke up with more hives but since there’s nothing we can do aside from what we’re doing we headed off to the pediatrician for all 3 kids well child physicals. Guess what? More bad news. Or should I start with the Good news?
The good news is lily is perfectly healthy, growing well, looks good. She may have a uti so she did have a urinalysis done. She does have some speech issues so she’s being referred for a hearing test and for speech therapy.
As for Caden, he passed his eye test with flying colors. His hearing test his left ear was fine, but there was a significant difference in his right ear and he failed on his right ear. So he’ll be referred to the hearing specialist as well. He’s grown just about an inch and a half in the last year but unfortunately has not gained ANY weight in the last (almost) year and a half. They’ve of course watched him closely over the time. It seems he teeters between 38-40 consistently. He eats fine (like any other toddler/young kid really. Some days picky, some days everything in sight. He’s also been off and on pediasure. He’s always been pretty skinny since he was a baby and I guess you just get used to seeing a rib cage. It was a blow to hear he had gained no weight. He also has a very significant chronic cough, most likely due to asthma, but it doesn’t respond well to flovent or albuterol. He’s being referred to an allergist as well. And because of his issues and Emma’s they are also doing a cystic fibrosis test on him, and a thyroid test.
Onto Emma, well, we finally found a doctor who seems as concerned as us (not that her others don’t) but her g.i. especially is very conservative in testing and plays wait and see a lot which is not ok, when you can literally watch your child fall apart. It hurt so bad when one of the first things she said about Emma is, “This is not a healthy child, she LOOKS sickly.” It wasn’t said in a mean way, but a rather concerned manner. I almost lost it in the office. While it was hard to hear it was also a small relief to have a doctor validate what we were thinking and feeling. She’s pale, her rib cage shows, her tummy’s only chubby when it’s distended because she hasn’t pooped (we’re talking in between her diarrhea. Her stomach goes flat for a few hours between stools). She just looks, well, sick. They took more blood and are also doing a cystic fibrosis test on her along with some other testing. At this point I really need to pull out a notebook and begin taking notes because I can’t keep track of everything with her. So now, we wait and see. She hasn’t really gained any weight. She has grown 3 inches though, YAY. Her speech is fine and her hearing wasn’t tested, but I’ll assume it’s fine, unless she gives us a reason to believe otherwise. This girl is SO tough though, she’s been poked about 8 different times in the past 3 days and still smiles. She does have quite a few more irritable moments, but what can you expect.
I came home and just bawled. I haven’t cried like that since the nicu days. Of course Sean is just as worried. Out of the blue tonight he started looking for video camera online and decided we need one. NOW. His reasoning “just in case”. It’s really hitting us hard and the not knowing is the worst. It’s hard to stay positive, and think positive, especially with everything hitting at once. I just want our lives back, I want us all to be healthy and happy and be able to move on. In the meantime, prayers and good thoughts would be greatly appreciated since we’re not holding up well on our own anymore.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
It all happened so fast. The neonatologist came in to speak with us about what a 27 weeker would be like. While in the room I was heavy into contractions and my water broke which took me from 2cm. dilated to 5cm. all with a whoosh of water. It was all a blur at that point and the next thing I remember is being in the operating room and having her pulled out of me and choosing a name right then and there, Emma Grace. My husband left to be with her and I sat in the recovery room, not really recovering, but rather waiting and hoping to see my baby as soon as possible. Life as we knew it would be tipped turned upside down.
She spent 9 weeks, 4 days, and 28 minutes in the nicu (the first time). Over the next year we struggled through oral aversions, severe reflux, tube feedings, many more hospitalizations. Her first birthday brought some hope and we began to see the light of the tunnel.
It’s been another year of growing. WOW, what a difference a year makes. Emma is an absolute doll to be around. She is bright and cheery. Talks up a storm, sings, counts to 10 and knows her ABC’s. She exceeded any and all expectations. She still has her tube feeding button but is eating 100% There is a concern on whether she may have a mal-absorption disorder of some kind, but other than that she is just perfect.
They say that 2 years marks when preemies are considered “caught up” and we no longer use the adjusted age. I just feel so blessed that we’ve made it this far and that she’s grown into such an independent, bright, and beautiful toddler.
Happy birthday baby!