Monday, February 9, 2015

Feeding Tube Awareness Week

Parents of tube-fed kids usually have a love/hate relationship with their child's tube.  More love than hate from me, though.  We all wish our kids didn't need it ( nice would it be to have a kid who can stay healthy without daily medical intervention???) but we're so glad the tube is an option!  It keeps them alive!

So for Feeding Tube Awareness Week this year, I'd like to share some of the things we love about that little piece of silicone that happens to save our kids on a daily basis!

I can give him medicine without hearing him whine.  I can also give him medicine while he's asleep!  You know how when your kid has a high fever and you have to alternate tylenol and motrin every four hours?  Never mind what time he goes to bed, I can continue to give him medicine to keep his fever down without interrupting his slumber!
I can keep him hydrated while sick.  You know when your kid can't keep anything down, and it's all you can do to make sure they eat popsicles, or a tiny bit of electrolyte drink every hour?  Well, I can just put Caleb on his feeding pump and set it to deliver gatorade or pedialyte at 20ml/hour, or whatever speed he's able to handle without throwing it up.  It's pretty darn handy.  In fact, at this very moment he's set to get 300ml at a rate of 80ml/hour because he has a cold and whenever he coughs with too much food in his tummy, he throws up.  He used to need IV fluids whenever he got sick, but in the almost 4 years that he's had his tube he has only needed an IV for sickness once!  And that was because his blood sugar was doing some wonky things after a day of puking, even though he was able to keep down 20ml/hour of gatorade for an entire night before going to the ER.
I love that we can make sure he gets exactly the nutrients that he needs.  I've heard so many people lament that their kid will only eat hot dogs, pb&j, or quesadillas.  No veggies?  No problem.  I can rest easy knowing that he "eats" more healthy than pretty much any other kid his age.  Even though he is a veggie fan.  ;)
Got a gassy baby?  No problem.  Just hook him up and burp him!  It's called "venting" and it's an easy way to get the air out of the tummy.
You know how feeding a kid is a big production with all the mess involved?  You've got to do all sorts of dishes, wipe down the table, sweep the floor, wipe the kid's face, and sometimes even change the kid's clothes?  Not with a tube!  Unless the syringe disconnects unexpectedly and you spill formula all over (it happens), or the tubing disconnects while they're sleeping and instead of feeding the kid you feed the bed (it happens, and it's why Caleb's bed will always have a mattress protector)...but other than those instances, it's pretty mess-free!  All you have to clean afterwards is a tube and a syringe.  Not bad at all!
When your kid is about to toss their cookies and they just look so uncomfortable...if you can work fast, instead of sending him to the bathroom to hurl, just hook up the tube and syringe and vent him.  You'll get his stomach contents out through his tube instead of letting them come up and out of his mouth.  It's so much more comfortable.  Just imagine needing to throw up, and not having to feel the discomfort of actually throwing up.  Amazing.
Road trips are so much easier when you can tube feed your kid.  Imagine there's a long stretch where there aren't any fast food places (not that there are any fast food places where we can feed Caleb, anyway because of his food restrictions.  Only Chick-fil-a, which needs to expand across the country!).  Just hook him up on schedule and feed him.  Easy peasy.

Well, right there is a pretty good list of reasons why it's awesome to have a kid with a feeding tube.  There are a million reasons why kids need feeding tubes--some aspirate food and drink into their lungs, causing recurrent pneumonia; some have severe oral aversions; some have low muscle tone; some have problems digesting; some have anatomical problems, like esophageal stricture or short gut syndrome; some are too weak to eat enough (like babies with congenital heart disease, or other organ failure); some need to go on a special formula and refuse to drink it by mouth because it's pretty yucky tasting (like Caleb); etc--and there's not a single parent alive who doesn't wish their kid didn't need a tube.  It's commonly believed that a kid won't starve himself.  To that I say, a healthy kid won't starve himself.  And we all want healthy kids.  For us, using a tube to feed Caleb is the best way to keep him healthy, despite his disease and special diet.  So instead of hating our circumstance, I choose to see the silver linings.  It's pretty awesome that we can use a tube to keep Caleb alive and thriving.  And it's pretty awesome that we can use it to help him burp, too.  ;)

Happy Feeding Tube Awareness Week!

This is Caleb with an OG (orogastric) feeding tube at a few days old.

This is Caleb with an NG (nasogastric) feeding tube at almost five months old.

This is Caleb during his year of being tube-free.  He was about 15 months at the time.

This is Caleb with an NG tube for the second separate time in his life, around 18 months old.

Caleb with his g-tube (gastrostomy) at about 22 months old.

Caleb today, at 5 years 3 months, getting fed lunch with his g-tube.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Board and Batten in the Front Room

Ok guys, I did this project way back in early September, when Caleb started preschool and before I was pregnant.  It took 3-4 days to do it all.  I'm just now getting around to blogging about it because a) this hasn't been a very smooth pregnancy and it's just hard to get around to anything, and b) I finally have it furnished and decorated how I want it (mostly).  Also, our camera is broken (the lens won't open??) so I finally just decided to use my phone.  Forgive the quality of the pictures.  You'd think I'd at least be able to edit them in photoshop since we get it for free through my hubby's work, but no.  I don't know how.  If you know of a good tutorial that will teach me the basics of photo editing with photoshop, send it my way!

Now, let me tell you how this went down.  Ever since I built the window seat this room has felt so much more cozy and inviting.

Just for a fun little reference, this is what it looked like on the listing we saw when we were going to buy this house:
10980 N 6000 W, Highland, UT 84003
Yes, seriously.  

This is how it looked on our home listing when we were going to sell our house last spring:
Yes, I do believe that I like my decorating tastes much better.  ;)  But to me, it was still lacking a little something.

It lacks no more!  Let me tell you what I did to make it look like this:

The first thing I needed to do was decide on a paint color.  You can't tell in the middle picture, but the walls were stained from dust and smoke accumulation (from the fireplace) behind all of the pictures that the former owners had on the walls.  I wanted a nice, neutral "greige" (gray/beige).  I found inspiration on pinterest and painted on samples of Revere Pewter and Analytical Gray, keeping in mind that this room gets tons of natural light.  I ended up choosing Revere Pewter (it's slightly lighter than Analytical Gray) and had it mixed at Home Depot, even though it's a Benjamin Moore color.  I left the bottom portion white, obviously, to make my job easier.

For the woodwork, I started with a little inspiration here and here and here.  I took what I liked from these sources to get an idea of how I wanted the spacing and how fancy I wanted the trim to be.  I didn't want it to feel too formal, because I wanted it to feel like it belongs with the rest of the house, so I decided on a plain board for the top.  This is a pretty big room, so I didn't want to space the battens too close for fear that it would make it look too busy.  I taped the battens up and decided that 19 inches from the middle of one board to the middle of the next was just right.  I also didn't want the top to be any higher than the fireplace, and I had to be careful not to go too high to sort of cut the room in half (that would look a little funny).  I settled on just shy of 48 inches for the total height, since the walls are 8 feet and the vault is 10'3".

I had to replace the baseboards, because the existing baseboards were that cheap, nasty fake oak.  If I hadn't needed to do that, this project would have been much cheaper and faster!  But I don't mind.  I love beautiful baseboards and there's something satisfying about making a mitered cut (with an electric miter saw, of would not be satisfying to do that many cuts by hand!).  If you can use your existing baseboards, this project would require no mitered cuts!  All straight cuts, which is less intimidating to many people.  I wish I could remember the total cost of this project, but it's been too long...I want to say it was around $300?  Worth it, in my mind!

To decrease the cost, I used MDF "Bender Board" as the battens, which is only a quarter inch thick and is 3-3/4" wide.  It is the same thickness as the top of the baseboard, so it has a seamless appearance.  The top board is a 1x4 primed trim board (which is actually only 3.5"x3/4"...why do they call that a 1x4?).  It sticks out farther than the battens, but I prefer that rather than having the battens stick out farther than the baseboards.  It's personal preference, I guess.  But it was cheaper this way, which I'm a fan of.  :)

Also, my walls are textured.  I've seen people put some sort of board all along the bottom to hide the texture, but I didn't do that.  I can see the texture when the light is shining on it just right, but it doesn't bother me one bit.  Again, it's all personal preference, but I don't think it's worth it to go to the trouble and cost of putting a whole extra layer on your wall just to hide the texture.  It still looks great if you don't do that!

After putting up the baseboards, I taped up the battens to make sure the spacing was right (I had to make a few minor adjustments to go around outlets--and I can promise you that no one will notice the imperfections).  Then I nailed the top board on (making sure it was level) then nailed on all of the battens (making sure they were plumb).  I had the battens cut for free at Home Depot, and that made my job so much easier.  There were no gaps between any battens and the top board, because Home Depot's cutting machine is so much more accurate than if I had done it myself.  I love that they offer that service!  After everything was nailed in, I countersunk the nails and filled in and sanded the nail holes, then I calked all of the spaces.  Calk makes a huge difference, friends.  Huge.  It's magical stuff.  The calk also helped stabilize a few of the battens that were somewhat loose since very few of them got nailed into studs.  Not a single one wiggles any more.  ;)  Then was the painstaking painting.  Everything came primed white except for the battens, so I used primer on the battens and then I was able to paint everything with one coat of white.  I used high gloss paint, because that's what makes woodwork look so fancy!  It's also easier to clean, and dust is a big problem in my old house.  :)

Here are some more shots of my new favorite room in the house!

That shelf in the corner was a free score that I refinished for $30.  I have yet to dress the shelves (right now they hold the pictures that I don't know where to hang), but I think it'll be a great place to keep books.
 This room is a great place to enjoy a good book!
 Ah, I love that window seat!

When Nate works from home, he uses this desk.  He hooks up his laptop to the extra screen and keeps a spare mouse, mouse pad, and keyboard in the drawer.

So, what do you think?  I think I can imagine it in every room in my house!

TDC Before and After

Thursday, January 22, 2015

20 Weeks!

I'm so glad to be halfway!  This has not been an easy pregnancy.  From 6-14 weeks, I had pretty bad morning sickness and lost about 5 pounds from throwing up and being unable to eat much of anything.  Then at 13.5 weeks I woke in the night with bleeding, and was diagnosed with placental abruption.  I proceeded to bleed until I was about 18 weeks.  Now I haven't bled for over two weeks and it's been such a relief!

My routine 20-week anatomy ultrasound went well.  The baby is super active and measuring just right (two days big, actually).  My placenta is low-laying, but there is no placenta previa visible, which is good news.  There were two slight abnormalities, though.

First, the ultrasound showed what the doctor described as a "shadow" on the baby's heart.  It's called an echogenic focus, and it's basically nothing.  My doctor said it's the most common abnormality he sees on ultrasounds.  From my research, it sounds like it's a slight calcification in the baby's heart, between the ventricles or by the valve.  It sounds like it doesn't affect the function of the heart at all, which is good news.  They'll do a follow-up ultrasound later on (the doctor said 32-34 weeks) and if it hasn't resolved then we'll just have to notify the pediatrician when he's born and they may or may not want to do an EKG later on.  Thanks to Dr. Google, I found out that an echogenic focus is a marker for chromosomal anomalies, such as Down Syndrome.  There are many markers for DS that can be seen on an ultrasound, so having one marker shouldn't be significant, especially since I'm not of "advanced maternal age."  But having a perfectly clear ultrasound in no way guarantees that your baby will have healthy chromosomes anyhow.  So it's probably nothing, but now chromosome problems are on my mind and I probably won't rest entirely easy until the baby is born.

The other problem seen on the ultrasound is my amniotic fluid.  The fluid levels are fine, but it's very...dirty.  It looks like bleeding for five weeks straight leaves lots of "particles" floating around in the fluid.  If you've ever seen an ultrasound, you know that the black spaces around the baby are anmiotic fluid.  My black spaces looked like they were filled with layers of glitter floating around.  You could literally see them bouncing off of the walls.  It was honestly a little alarming to me.  The ultrasound tech said that we'd need an ultrasound in a month to follow up, but the doctor wants me to have another ultrasound to measure my cervical length at 26 weeks (you know, to make sure I'm not at risk of dilating early again) so they'll just check the amniotic fluid at that time.  The tech did say that she has no reason to believe that the dirty appearance is due to infection, so she would guess it's because of the bleeding...and while I agree with her, just hearing the word "infection" freaks me out.  We have reason to believe that Caleb was born 13 weeks early because my placenta was infected with strep and staph.  It would have killed him had he not been born when he was.  So naturally it scares me to think that there's even a slight possibility of an infection.  When Caleb started getting sick from the infection he stopped kicking (which was my only indication that anything was wrong, even though I was dilated to 4cm by that time and hadn't had a single contraction), so you can bet that I'm going to be hyper aware of this baby's level of activity.  So far he moves around more often than not--he's so active!  So that's very comforting.  If that doesn't keep up, I'm going to be calling my OB right away!

Those were the only concerns arising from the ultrasound.

Otherwise, I've been feeling much better.  I still throw up from time to time, first thing in the morning (it's always taking a sip of water with my medicine that puts me over the edge and sends me to bend over the porcelain throne, even when I eat a few bites of bland cereal before getting up).  The difference between the nausea and vomiting between the first trimester and now is that now the urge to throw up comes on super suddenly, and once I throw up I feel better immediately.  In the first trimester, I would feel on the verge of vomiting for 12 hours before throwing up, and throwing up never provided relief.  It was pretty bad.  Now I honestly can't complain.  It's not so bad at all.  I still take zofran maybe four times a week to control the nausea, but even that is perfectly fine with me.

My cramps have also decreased drastically.  They were awful the week of Christmas, when I was out and about more than usual at family gatherings.  Time spent in the car brought on cramps so awful that I ended up downloading a contraction timing app.  There were a few scary moments there!  But once Christmas was over the cramps went away almost entirely.  I credit the weekly progesterone shots, honestly.  They're designed to prevent preterm labor, and I think that's just what they're doing!  I started them the week before Christmas, so it seems that it took about a week and a half to get in my system and now they're doing their job!  Yay!  I'm still having plenty of braxton hicks contractions, but those don't worry me like the cramps did.

I feel much more stable now that I'm not bleeding or cramping.  I've even allowed myself to be more active (I actually walked through a few stores in the past week) and I haven't had any problems!  I can tell spending over 5 weeks laying low has weakened my muscles a lot, so it'll take a while to build up my stamina, but I'm glad that I'll be able to be mostly back to normal before long, with the main exception of heavy lifting.

I've also seen a decrease in heartburn recently (weird) and instead of my hair getting thicker, it's falling out more and more (I don't mind, because I have way too much hair as it is, but it's not "normal" for pregnancy, and I'm a little concerned about my thyroid levels, which have yet to be checked this trimester).  I don't have any overpowering food cravings, but I have aversions to ham and mints.  Yuck...just the though of mints...just no.  Since I'm able to eat pretty much anything these days, I've finally put on about 5 pounds in addition to gaining back the weight that I had lost.  And the best part of this pregnancy?  My mood is perfectly normal.  With my first two, I had awful and unpredictable mood swings.  I got mad at the littlest things.  I hated the sound of crying babies and whining children...I seriously hated kids during my first two pregnancies.  Now I feel like I actually have control of my moods, which is the most incredible thing!  I'm a functioning person (unlike before), and it feels great.  :)

17 weeks

18 weeks 2 days

1 day shy of 19 weeks

My little boy at 20 weeks 1 day.  Is that a smile I see?  <3 p="">

Friday, December 19, 2014

Russell is THREE!

Happy third birthday to my little Russell Sprout!

Russ is a pretty chill kid.  He completely skipped the terrible twos.  (But yeah, the threes were more terrible for Caleb, so I'm not holding my breath.)

Here are a few things about Russell these days:

  • He weighs 25 lbs 7 oz ( 4-pound gain in the past year) and measures 35 inches tall (a 3-inch gain in a year).  He's one pound heavier than Caleb was at age 3 and is a quarter of an inch shorter than Caleb was.  Russ sure is a shorty!  He doesn't have his check-up until next week, so I'm not sure where he lies on the growth charts, but I'm fairly certain he isn't on the charts at all.  I think that's where his "healthy" is, though.  I'm more than ok with his weight, hydration, willingness to eat, etc.  I guess I just have small kids!
  • He wears size 18 month clothes.  Most of them fit him just fine, but a few of the shirts are getting small and a good handful of his pants fall right off.  Some 2T shirts look just fine on him, but he's just not quite ready to take the leap and wear all 2T clothes.
  • Speaking of growth and eating, Russell is a fantastic eater.  He loves every kind of fruit, veggie, and meat.  He is a super adventurous eater and willingly eats things like curry and spicy foods (he loves to have Tabasco sauce to dip his foods in).  He demands to have his own green smoothie at lunch when I make them for myself (with apple juice, carrots, spinach, chia seeds, strawberries, and blueberries).  He always wants to snack on things like nuts, fruit leather, and applesauce.  He's a seriously healthy eater.  But he also has a sweet tooth that's hard to ignore!
  • Sometimes when I'm telling Russ what he can have for a snack, he'll tell me, "I don't want that because it won't make my hungry go away."  He wants something more filling.  What a cute way to say it!  When he's done eating, Russ will declare, "My hungry is gone.  I'm done."  And he always clears his plate from the table without being asked, which is greatly appreciated.  
  • Speaking of food, Russell appears to have outgrown his corn intolerance!  A few months ago, we reintroduced corn into his diet (we added gluten back in earlier this summer) and he had no problems!  His stools have been exactly the same as they were without corn (when he was intolerant to corn he had blood and mucus in his poop and complained of tummy aches all day long).  It's amazing to not have to worry about what I feed him!  Although, he has been complaining of tummy aches for the last few days, such as when I offered him a piece of toast (which he had the morning before) and he said, "Yes!...No, I don't want it.  Yesterday when I ate it it made my tummy hurt."  He has said the same thing about other foods, too.  I don't know what the deal is, but I don't like it!  He's very in tune with his body--always has been--but I'm really hoping it's nothing.  Coupled with the super dry skin on his chin, I worry, naturally.  But I'm hoping the rash is not food-relates and is just from the dry weather and that some moisturizer will take care of it.
  • Speaking of eating anything, before I came down with awful morning sickness Russ and I would go out to eat once a week while Caleb was at preschool.  Let me tell you, this kid was the best behaved 2-year-old I'd ever seen in a restaurant!  He always behaved like a little adult, making polite requests of the waitresses all by himself and everything. 
  • A few weeks ago, Russ learned how to climb out of his crib.  We converted his crib to a toddler bed and the first few weeks were torture.  He would not sleep.  Naps were done with.  Bed time took forever.  We would check on him and find him dilly dallying around his room and when asked why he wasn't asleep he would say, "My eyes aren't tired and they won't shut!"  After two weeks of this we finally decided he needed a "motivator."  So we told him, "If you stay in your bed and don't turn on your light, you can have a skittle in the morning/when nap time is over."  It worked like a charm and he's now napping better than he was when he was in his crib!
  • He's been potty trained for 11 months now.  That's so crazy to me!  He's completely independent in the bathroom these days, able to do everything on his own without prompting.  It's dreamy.  :)
  • Russ is already facing forward in his car seat.  We made the switch this summer.  We switched him much earlier than we did Caleb, but it's working out fine.
  • Last Sunday, on the way home from church, Nate asked Russ how his day was.  Russ answered, "I had a rough day."  When Nate asked why, Russell said, "Because they didn't have bubbles in nursery."  The kid loves bubbles!
  • Russell is super excited to be a big brother.  Without prompting, he has already started caressing my belly and giving the baby kisses through my belly and talking to the baby.  The other day he was rubbing my belly and then snapped his hand back and said, "Ouch!  The baby bit me!"
  • He is in a super obsessive animal stage.  He pretends to be an animal almost all day long.  Lately it's been turtles.  Russell is a turtle and Caleb is his owner (brings him food and water, keeps him in a "cage" with toys as a fence, etc).  The other day, Caleb let his turtle out for a walk and the poor turtle somehow got flipped over on his back.  Russell the Turtle had to lie there with his legs up in the air until his owner flipped him back over.  Poor Turtle would have died there on his back if someone hadn't flipped him over!  It made me laugh so hard and I eventually learned that the boys have an app on the tablet where they're veterinarians and have to help wild animals--and there's a turtle who is stuck on its back and you have to help it by turning it over.  Russell is so clever to have thought of that!
  • Russ is super boyish these days.  He loves to make jokes about poop.  Poop!  Where did he get that from??  Caleb never did that.  Russ will literally pick up a brown crayon and say, "Mommy, this crayon is like poop!  HAHAHAHAHA!"  Anything is made funnier to him by saying "poop" or "poopy."  We have to remind him all of the time that it's "inappropriate to joke about poop."  Mostly when he calls someone poopy (nicely, of course) then laughs his head off. 
  • He has had two haircuts in his life now, and both were exclusively to get rid of wispies over his ears and the wispy mullet.  I'm happy to say that his hair seems to be thickening now that he's gained those most recent two pounds.
  • He's a huge fan of jumping lately.  He'll jump off of the couch and land on both feet, jump over a throw pillow on the floor, clearing it completely and landing on both feet, etc.  He's a very good jumper!
  • Russ also likes to rhyme.  He notices when words rhyme and he makes up words all of the time to tell us that they rhyme (thinks like, "Caleb and Baleb rhyme, Mom!").
  • He's also a super good communicator.  Talking has always been a strong suit for both of my kids, and this kid just blows me away with some of the sophisticated things he comes up with.
  • I'm pretty sure he's tone deaf.  It makes me a little sad, I must admit.  The only two songs that he knows all of the words to are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I Am a Child of God (because he used to request that we sing them to him every night).  By this age, Caleb knew the words to a ton of songs, and could sing them without missing a note.  Russ enjoys music, but he doesn't seem to enjoy singing.  He maaaaybe gets a few notes right when he sings Twinkle Twinkle.  But not more than a few.  
  • In my mind, Russ has some qualities that make him unique from other kids his age.  The biggest one is his desire to seek harmony and avoid confrontation.  For example, if I'm bringing a blue cup and an orange cup to the table, Caleb will automatically tell me that he wants the color that I'm about to hand to Russell.  If they both declare that they want the orange one, Russ almost always changes his mind to say that he wants the blue one.  He absolutely does not want the one Caleb wants, because that would cause a fight.  How many 2-year-olds are that mature?  And he does that with so many things.  As long as he's not in a super tired/cranky mood, he mostly lets Caleb take toys from him.  Whenever I see it I make it right (I absolutely don't want Caleb to think that's ok), but for the most part Russell couldn't care less.
  • Russell has a "friend" that goes with him everywhere.  It's a little black bear that he calls Baby Bear.  He went through a phase for a few days where he changed his name to Baby Jesus, and today he started telling me that it's just Baby.  He would bring Baby Bear with him everywhere if he could, but he's pretty good about when he needs washed or when I tell him he can't bring his bear with.  He also has a favorite blanket, just a soft brown baby blanket with an elephant on the corner.  He's pretty attached to both his Baby Bear and his Elephant Blanket.

And now for a fun tradition that I started when Caleb turned 3!  Here's an interview to show you what 3-year-old Russ is like!

I've never known another child so young who is so in tune with the feelings of others, so aware of himself, so pleasant, so mature, and still so silly!  You bring balance to our family, Russ, and I'm so glad you joined us when you did!  Happy birthday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pregnancy Update: 15 weeks 3 days

I had an ultrasound today and it appears I have three separate (yet likely related) things going on.

1) I have a placental abruption, where my placenta is separated partially from the uterine wall, which has been actively bleeding for two weeks now;
2) a subchorionic hemorrhage, where there is a hemorrhage (or possibly a blood clot) between the wall of my uterus and the amniotic sack (I could literally see a sizable bubble in there); and
3) partial placenta previa, where my placenta is partially covering the cervical opening.

This could get complicated, but since my bleeding appears to be stable (even though it hasn't stopped), hopefully it'll just clear up eventually and not be an issue.  If the bleeding gets worse by the time the baby is viable (24 weeks) then I'll end up on hospital bed rest.  Worst case scenario, the bleeding gets so bad that they have to deliver the baby super early to save its life.  The placenta is kinda vital to the baby's survival.  ;)  For now, I'm going to "take it easy" as much as possible and only do the most necessary daily tasks in hopes that the bleeding stops, or at least doesn't get worse.

Also, the placenta previa could be a big deal (it could be the reason I'm bleeding), and it could eventually cause me to need a c-section.  But since it's not a "complete" previa, there's a good chance the placenta will migrate upward as my uterus stretches and grows.  They were taking so many measurements of my placenta because it was super long.  So I guess it's just kinda getting in the way.  But once the uterus gets bigger, it'll hopefully move away from the cervical opening and it won't be an issue.

So there it is.  A lot of wait-and-seeing.  And hoping that this bleeding and these cramps go away.  I started my weekly 17p (progesterone) shots today, which are supposed to keep me from going into early labor (I took them with my last pregnancy as a precaution since Caleb was born so early), so we'll have to see if that helps with the cramps.

Alright, I'm off to "take it easy" some more.

Oh yeah, and we found out today that...


I seriously couldn't be more excited about the prospect of having three little boys.  It's gonna be awesome.  Every day is gonna be a party at our house.  :D

Saturday, December 13, 2014

First Trimester Placental Abruption

This blog post will have lots of details that may gross you out.  It goes along with my policy of "if it's medical, it's not personal."  Be warned.

Thursday morning, December 4th, I was exactly 13 weeks 4 days.  It was around 3:30 AM when I awoke feeling like I was wetting my pants (see, personal details already).  I was a little embarrassed, thinking this is waaaay too early in my pregnancy for that to start, right?  I mean, it's not like I have 6+ pounds sitting on my bladder.  So I got out of bed and felt a gush.  I was like, seriously?  Can I not control my bladder?  So I went to use the toilet and was pretty darn alarmed at what I saw.  There was blood.  So much blood.  In my pants, turning the water red.  Blood everywhere.  It seemed kind of watery, too.  But then there was a blood clot, not huge, but certainly big enough to be alarming.  Oh crap, I think I may be having a miscarriage.

So I got cleaned up and woke Nate up.  I told him that if I start having cramps then I'm going in to the ER (after all, bleeding, blood clots, and cramps are symptoms that are pretty hard to ignore).  At that moment I felt a tiny cramp, so I was like, "I'm going."  Of course, it's 3:30 in the morning, so who would we call to watch our kids??  We decided that Nate would stay home and I'd drive myself to the hospital.
They were able to get me back for an ultrasound after not too long of a wait.  The ultrasound tech didn't let me see the ultrasound much at all, but after a minute of taking a look at things he said, "It's squirming around in there."  Whew!  What a relief!  He was also extremely surprised that I was only 13 weeks (and 3 days) because the baby was consistently measuring at 14 weeks.  He also informed me that I have a posterior placenta (it's implanted on the back of my uterus).  Good to know.

So after taking a look at a bunch of things, he brought me back to my ER room and they started an IV.  Or I should say, they tried to start an IV.  They were successful on their third try.  It turns out my forearms have deceptively nice-looking veins, but they blow extremely easily.  I'll be warning anyone else who ever tries to put an IV in my forearm.  
This is how it looked almost 9 days later.  I also recall how it took three tries to get an IV in my forearm when I had my tonsils out.  So after five total attempts in my lifetime, only one of those attempts was successful.  Yes, I think I'll have them stick to my elbow joints from now on.

To make a long story short, the doctor eventually came in and told me that I had a mild placental abruption.  My placenta is partially detached from the uterine wall, which shouldn't happen until after the baby is delivered.  He said it could bleed for a bit, then reattach itself and heal.  Or it could detach more and more until I miscarry.  He said to go home and stay on bed rest until I could follow up with my regular OBGYN within the next week.  He was very kind about it, but basically told me not to come back unless I was losing so much blood that I was dizzy.  There's really nothing the ER could do about a miscarriage, anyway.

So I made it home around 6:30 AM feeling very relieved that my baby was still alive and glad that there was something I could do to protect him/her.  

So I stayed on bed rest, with the bleeding getting better and worse and better and worse.  Literally every other day.  I could periodically feel my uterus contract and stay rock hard for a few minutes, but I never had any cramps.  Judging by my still-existent nausea and the fact that I could literally feel the top of my uterus growing higher and higher each day, I knew my baby was still ok in there.  All the while, Nate did a seriously amazing job taking care of the boys and me.  

I saw my regular OB on the next Tuesday.  Well, I saw the nurse anyway (the OB had just left for a delivery).  We located the heartbeat (always a relief) and she told me that there's a pretty good chance that the baby will be ok.  She gave me a 90 percent chance that the bleeding will stop on its own and the pregnancy will proceed as normal.  She wanted to wait for two weeks after the beginning of the bleeding before doing an ultrasound, to give my placenta a chance to fully heal.  She also said I didn't need to be on strict bed rest, but "modified bed rest," where I can be up and about and doing things, but don't do more than what's necessary and most importantly don't do any lifting (no more than about 6 pounds, she said).  Also pelvic rest.

Since going from strict bed rest to modified bed rest, I have been having loads of cramps.  As of today the bleeding still hasn't stopped, but it hasn't gotten worse, so I'm taking that as a good sign.  But the cramps are quite painful, and since my placenta is posterior, I get awful lower back cramps.  And then there's the overall soreness associated with placental abruption.  My abdomen is just plain sore.  Really sore.  And then there's the 10-minute-long contractions that I get when I do something as simple as bend over.  That was pretty "normal" for me when I was pregnant with Russell, so I was expecting it this time around.  But I sure hope that that doesn't harm my placenta any farther.

Also, oddly enough, the bleeding is always worst first thing in the morning.  I don't know if the baby likes to kick his/her placenta all night long or what, but after a day of milling around the house things always seem slightly better (except for those darn cramps).  

So now we wait.  There's a slight chance that the bleeding won't ever stop and then we'll just have to hope that it doesn't get any worse until I can deliver.  If that's the case, I'll be lucky if I can go full-term.  So let's just hope that it resolves!

I'll keep ya posted.

Friday, December 12, 2014

One Trimester Down, hopefully two to go!

I'm glad to have that first trimester over with.  It wasn't my favorite.  Here's a little run-down of what it was like:

I felt awesome until I was 5 weeks and 6 days pregnant.  That's when the morning sickness came on strong.  I started out throwing up an average of twice a week.  Not so bad, really, except that I wasn't able to eat much.  I went through a few different cravings (not so much cravings, really, but more like things that I thought I could stomach better than other food).  Raisin bread toast with butter, orange soda, and summer sausage are what I lived on for a while.  If I tried eating other things, I usually felt like the food was stuck in my throat for about 10 hours before throwing up.  It was soooo rough.

I ended up losing 5 or 6 pounds, and haven't gained any of it back yet.

I couldn't walk through a grocery store without looking for a place to throw up.  The sight of all of that was just too much.

I realized just how much Nate thinks about and talks about food.  He would try to tell me what free lunch he got at work that day, and I'd have to cut him off for fear of tossing my proverbial cookies right then and there at the thought of food.  It was pretty bad.  And it happened at least once a day.  I had to scroll through my facebook news feed extra fast so as to avoid seeing any pictures my friends shared of food.  I just couldn't handle it!

I required a lot of medications...zofran, phenergan, vitamin B6, unisom, zantac, tylenol, colace, and mirilax (which I could have sworn didn't have a taste until I became pregnant).  Ugh.  I hate taking medication, but I seriously needed it for survival.

As far as pregnancy symptoms go, my list was short this time, compared to my first two pregnancies.  Yes, the nausea and vomiting was pretty miserable, but that, constipation (also miserable) and post nasal drip are pretty much all I've dealt with, with a little heartburn/reflux thrown in there.  I'm so relieved to not have the mood swings that haunted me with my boys.  I still feel like myself!  It's amazing.  I get headaches from time to time, but they're well controlled with a tylenol or two, which is nothing compared to how debilitating they were with my first two pregnancies.  SO glad to not have that to deal with (knock on wood).

Now let's talk more about the post nasal drip.  I remember having a stuffy nose through my whole pregnancy with Russell, and I thought that was no fun.  HA!  This time I have had so much mucus draining from my sinuses down the back of my throat that TWICE I would try to swallow a pill and it would get STUCK!  Talk about gross!  I'm supposed to take my thyroid pill on an empty stomach every morning, but I had to eat something first to try to clear my throat.  And even then it got stuck!  Thankfully thyroid pills aren't bitter, because it ended up back in my mouth.  Gag.  The other pill that got stuck...that one was pretty nasty tasting when partially dissolved.  I can tell that my gag reflex has eased up a bit, because I can talk about it now.  At the time, just thinking about it was enough to make me hurl!  And then there were the many times where I would just try to breathe, and the mucus would be overwhelming and I'd almost throw up.

I also caught a 24-hour stomach virus that our whole family got, but I got it worse than anyone by far.  I ended up throwing up about 15 times (if you include dry heaving) in half a day and couldn't keep down even a sip of gatorade.  So to the ER I went.  The fluids and IV zofran helped immensely and I was all better by the next day.

These days, my favorite thing in the world is pears.  Canned pears are my favorite.  I drink the juice with a straw.  Yummmm!  It's good for hydration and fiber, two things that I really need.  Otherwise, it seems that the cravings and aversions have eased up a ton.  I can kinda just eat whatever, as long as I don't eat a ton of anything (it makes me sick).  I also have to eat constantly.  I'm talkin' if I go more than 30 minutes without eating, I had better pop a cookie in my mouth ASAP to get my blood sugar back up before I get so sick that I can't eat anything.  It's so odd.  I've learned to keep oatmeal squares (the cereal) around, as well as pretzels.  And little chewy candies are also good to pick me up when I'm on the verge of being sick.  Skittles and sour patch kids are what I've been using lately, and they've helped a lot.

Now, right at the end of this rough trimester is when I had my little placental abruption drama goin' on, but seeing as this is getting pretty long already, that deserves a post of its own.  Stay tuned.

One day shy of 10 weeks:

One day shy of 12 weeks:

One day shy of 13 weeks:

I only take pictures on Sundays when I'm actually dressed nicely (usually the only day of the week where I'm dressed nicely).  My due date is on a Monday, so my pictures will always be one day shy of whatever week that is.  Aaaaand, I've been hanging out in pjs since the abruption, so I promise, next time I'm actually wearing real clothes, showered, and wearing maybe a little bit of makeup, I'll snap a picture.  But it might be a while.  Sorry/not sorry.  You should try wearing pajamas for a week straight.  It's kinda awesome.