Friday, November 4, 2011

Jessie Mae

Incompetent Cervix.

The two words that I feared the most. I felt like I was punched in the throat. On August 31, 2011 I went in for a routine prenatal visit at 2:30 and by 6 p.m. I was being admitted to the Antepartum Unit of Dekalb Medical Center. It was week 19 and the next day was supposed to be the day we had the ultrasound to find out if it was a boy or a girl. It was too late for the Cerclage, my cervix was open almost 3cm and the bag of waters was bulging. A condition that made it too risky to attempt the stitch. I am still way too traumatized to give a blow by blow replay, as is customary of my story telling, so I will spare the horrific details. And horrific they were, in the end. 

On September 20, 2011, at 11:03 p.m., Our daughter, Jessie Mae, was stillborn. She was small, weighing only 1 pound 8 ounces. Her tiny, perfectly formed hands were only as big as the tip of my finger. She was as cute as could be, looked just like her Daddy. 

I never saw it coming, even in spite of the situation being as dire as it was. I was crazy enough to think that I could make it far enough to spare her. I can't even begin to describe how it feels, other than to say that it's like God ripped my heart out, shoved it down my throat and left me to choke on it. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bedpans and Basic Cable

 Today marks 20 weeks into my pregnancy. With all the past complications behind me, I was feeling pretty good, except for a slight suspicion that something may not be quite right. The nausea was mostly gone, I was getting our registry together, a baby party was being planned. Even my husband, who is ever constant with his stoic demeanor, was showing some outward signs of happy anticipation. All the excitement that I had anticipated was just beginning to stir and I was feeling almost normal again. Well, as normal as can be expected for a pregnant woman.

  I went in for a routine check up and it turned out to be anything but routine. I was actually dressed and ready to walk out the door when the doctor asked if I remember them doing a pap at my first exam. I  told him yes, of course. See, this particular doctor is not the usual doctor I see. There are two at the practice and I usually see the other more often. Mine was on duty at the hospital that day. The doctor asked me to wait a moment before I left so he could check with the nurses to inquire about why there was no record of having had one. Was it done, but just not recorded? Or, was it for some reason or other, not done at all? I could swear it was. When he came back he had confirmed that it had not been done because of all the bleeding that had occurred in the first trimester. Woopsie! Then I remembered that it was attempted a couple of times with the pelvic exams but you can't really get a result if there is any bleeding involved. So, back to the table for a pelvic exam so he could do what he had to do. Oh joy! every woman's favorite thing, a pelvic exam and pap smear!

  I am back on the table now and I shared my concerns about leaking amniotic fluid and how could I tell the difference between it and normal fluids? He tells me that during the ultrasound (which was scheduled with the specialist the next morning) the sonographer would be able to see if anything was going on. He mentioned that he may notice fluid built up during the exam if the leaking was happening as well. Then I hear "Ummmm..." and a pause. Not the sound you want to hear from the doctor when he's staring down your peekachu! He tells me he sees no signs of fluid leaking, but he does see that I have a "bulging bag of waters". He can actually see right into my cervix! Which is apparently incompetent or insufficient. It is supposed to be closed. Either way you choose to say it, it's still my worst nightmare come true. This is not good. He told me that with this particular complication, most people don't discover they have it until they have experienced a second trimester miscarriage or two. He told me that if it was something that we were aware of ahead of time, or caught it earlier, he would be able to insert a stitch to keep the cervix closed. In my case, because the bulge is visible, it is too late for that. If he attempted it now, the bag could rupture and of course miscarriage would be imminent. And even the stitch is no guarantee, it is just a precaution. With an incompetent cervix, it is too weak or too short to support a pregnancy as the baby grows and the uterus gets bigger. They usually result in loss of the pregnancy or major preterm delivery. Most babies don't survive.

  Of course, now I am in complete shock. I was silent for a minute trying to take it all in. I asked what would be the next step and said I will do whatever it takes to try to save the pregnancy. Even though he did let me know that the prognosis was not a good one. My choices were to go home and do nothing, go on with life as usual, knowing that the pregnancy would eventually fail. Or, strict bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. In the hospital. I asked him when he would like for me to be admitted and he says, "well, you could go now, if there isn't anything at home that you need right away", or I could go home and get some things together first. I knew I was in deep trouble at this point. And trying to wrap my head around the idea of at least the next four months in a hospital bed. Four months!! Four months of bedpans and basic cable. He agreed to allow me to go home and get a few things together. I needed to take care of my two dogs that were kenneled at home, thinking that mommy would be home shortly to feed them and let them do their business.

  We went into his office and while he filled out the documents I would need, I called my husband, trying not to let the panic that was creeping up take hold. He was just getting out of work and was about to head home, so I gently informed him that he would have to meet me at the house only to drive me back to the hospital, as they were expecting me there by 6 p.m. The drive home was pretty surreal, I don't even remember it. Once I got there I couldn't even wrap my head around the fact that I was packing up to be away for God only knows how long. All the while trying not to lose it completely. I grabbed a few things, like pajamas and clean underwear, toiletries and my MacBook. I even grabbed my Viva Glam lipstick just in case I might feel the need for it. Ok, I grabbed the MacBook first, then the rest. I even attempted to stop and clean the kitchen, but quickly aborted that mission once I realized how ridiculous it was.

  We were at the admissions window in The Women's Center at Dekalb Medical Center by 5:26 p.m. Four and a half days later, here I am, on strict bed rest for the duration of this pregnancy. While praying and trying to bargain with God about trying to start a family, I probably shouldn't have told him "I don't care what kind of complications you throw at me or how sick I get, I can take it Lord, if you'll just bless me with a happy, healthy baby." Uh... strict bed rest was not something that dawned on me as a possibility. Yet another lesson in being careful what you wish for. As of right now, I am doing the best  I can to stay positive. It's very difficult, but I try. So for now, we wait...and keep praying.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Careful What You Wish For

this post has been transferred from my original blog "Words and Wonderings of Katie Darling"
originally posted in August 2011

So, today my pregnancy is 16 weeks and 1 day. I am not nearly as worrisome as I was since the last post. That's not to say that it has been totally smooth sailing, I have just gotten used to the fact that this is going to be one hell of a roller coaster ride and I am actually beginning to look forward to what the future holds. Even if I am sometimes scared shitless!

The first trimester sucked pretty bad. I had a subchoreonic hemorrhage that occurred in week 5. It kept giving me trouble through week 13 and the constant nausea was exasperating, to say the least.  I can honestly say that it has been a total lesson in being careful what you wish for. I hated it. It's pretty gross and I learned, very quick, that pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. And after all the nastiness of it, I now think that all those women who say they loved being pregnant are completely out of their minds! Or, maybe they just mean they loved part of being pregnant? Maybe they're completely full of crap? I don't know how anyone can love being sick all the time whilst not getting any sleep at all. There have been plenty of nights when I thought I should just sleep on the bathroom floor, since I seem to spend more time in there peeing than doing anything else. Eat, sleep and pee is my daily existence, just like a baby. I assume this is all just practice for the millions of feedings and diaper changes that are soon to come, so at least by then I'll be used to it. I sure do have a long way to go, though. January 22, 2012 is still a long way off.

I can also say, thankfully, that I am not alone right now. I am blessed with an awesome husband who has the patience of a saint. I love him dearly for that! I have at least two coworkers who either just had their first or are due to have their first child in the very near future. And, I am lucky to have a very supportive group of friends from all over the world on Plurk, one of whom has 5 year old twins and one who is about to have another child very soon. Without all of their input and advice, I think I might be totally lost or just about ready to pull my hair out! Without them, living with Bipolar and ADD during pregnancy might prove to be a nightmare. Their advice, support, and totally off the wall senses of humor have been the best prescription of all!

I would describe being pregnant as feeling like I've been hijacked by an alien to anyone who asks, but for right now, I am pleased to have made it this far, considering. As far as having more in the future after this one is concerned? Yeah. I'd probably do it in a heart beat. The bottom line is that, in the end, I know all of the gross, scary, nerve wracking moments I have been through (which there will be plenty more of) will all melt away the moment I see my little baby's face.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mommy Wannabe

this has been imported from my former blog "Words & Wonderings of Katiedarling"

 Well, it's funny how things turn out sometimes. I remembered the other day, that I had described myself as such back when I was trying to think of how to describe this blog. 'Mommy Wannabe' was meant as a humorous way to say "been trying to get pregnant for more than 3 years without any luck." But, as luck would have it, or more precisely, as God's grace would have it, it has finally happened!!!! Mind you, it's roughly about four weeks, or so and I will have my first prenatal visit in a couple of days. I am sure I should be holding back on some of my excitement until I am a few more weeks in, but after so long and slow a journey of trying to get here, I find it quite difficult to contain myself! I also find it quite difficult to sleep through an entire night without taking at least seven trips to the loo before dawn breaks! 
 I guess that comes with the territory, though. I am definitely not complaining, either. (Ok, so maybe I am, a bit) I know there are many changes about to take place. Physically, mentally and emotionally. I expect that the constant need to pee is among the least of my worries. Particularly, miscarriage. Which really wasn't something I expected when I began to write this particular blog entry back in March. Because that is exactly how that story ended. Before I even had a chance to begin the second paragraph, It happened. I showed up to my first prenatal visit consumed with the worrying that begins when a first time pregnancy has symptoms of bleeding and spotting. The doctor confirmed the bleeding, but gently reminded me that it isn't so abnormal and we scheduled a visit with a specialist the following week.

     Sure enough, on what was to be the first day of my sixth week, I was scheduled to have my first ultrasound in the Perinatologist's office. Some time in the middle of the night, it was done. I was awakened with terrible pain and the bleeding had become pretty intense. I knew. There was no question, it was over, but it was too late to cancel the appointment. The ride to the doctors office, although short, felt like hours in the car. I was able to keep somewhat composed until my name was called by the nurse. She asked me how I was feeling and the flood gates were open. I know it caught her off guard. I replied that I was tired and she said "well, that sweet baby is probably keeping you awake at night...". When I replied "there is no baby, I'm having a miscarriage", I know she was stunned. Half of me felt bad for her, the other half wanted to ask her if she wanted some ranch dressing for her toes, since she was now standing there with her foot in her mouth. I of course, did not. That would have made the whole thing more uncomfortable. I just asked if she could send my husband back, if he was allowed in for the ultrasound. Well, that ultrasound confirmed my suspicions and the doctor recommended that we wait  about 3 months to try again. He gently reminded us that the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks occurs with 1 in 3 pregnancies and also that our ages (I am 37, my husband 45) and my medical history with medications could have played a part but, there really was no way of knowing. It just wasn't a viable pregnancy.

Although, I was devastated, at first. After a couple of days I realized I was still very hopeful. And just as defiant as ever. I told my husband, "F**k waiting three months! We've waited three and a half years trying, I won't wait any longer". And we didn't. I agreed to only one normal cycle, then we would begin trying on the next go round.

    And here we are now, it is May 17th, 2011, and we have managed to do it again on the first try. I am right back to where I started this blog entry 2 months ago. 4 weeks pregnant, peeing like crazy and wondering what God has planned for us, now? Whatever it is, I am ready. Bring it!!!