Friday, March 25, 2016

It's been a fairly uneventful week, although there have been a few new developments.

I had an ultrasound done Wednesday morning, still no change. I had asked the MFM to request a consult with urology or nephrology that morning, and the urologist showed up that afternoon. We had a decent talk. The assumption is that my fluid disappeared because the baby's kidneys have probably both shut down and he's not producing urine anymore. That's a really frustrating thing... We were hoping that at least one of the kidneys would be functioning well enough to avoid dialysis for at least a little while after he's born. Honestly, we have no idea what the outcome will be at this point. We don't know if his lung development has been affected by the lack/loss of fluid, we don't know if the kidneys are functioning at all, we have no idea what his status will be once he's born. He could come out screaming and peeing, or he could need a ventilator and have zero kidney function... It's all just speculation until he's actually born.

Wednesday evening, Gary was able to leave the kids at home with his mom and come visit me alone. He brought Olive Garden, and we had dinner outside. It was a nice break, and nice to have a 'date night.' Around 1am on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, they finally had a single room open up and were able to move me. It's been pretty nice having my own space. I don't have to share a bathroom with anyone, which is awesome. I painted my nails, because I don't have to worry about bothering anyone with the smell. I have a window to look out of, and I don't have to worry about being too quiet when people come to visit.

I did make friends with the lady who was on the other side of my last room. She got a single room that same night. It's so nice to have someone to talk to who is in a similar situation. Someone who 'gets it' and understands all of the stresses of being here away from our families and other kids, leaving everything to our husbands, worrying about our babies...

I started having a pretty rough time yesterday afternoon, and pretty much cried all night and most of the morning today. It's just so frustrating being here when I feel fine. I know why I'm here, I understand that this is the best thing for the baby, that this is where I need to be in case something happens. But knowing that is one thing... it doesn't mean that it's not ridiculously hard being here. I'm getting so frustrated with the constant monitoring. I feel claustrophobic, tethered to the bed. I can't get comfortable, because if I'm not in a certain position on my back they can't pick up his heartbeat and I get nurses in here poking around, moving the monitor, trying to find him. I'm not able to sleep well, if at all, because of that, and it's making me even more cranky and emotional than normal pregnancy junk.

I had another ultrasound this morning. There's still no fluid. At this point, I'd be shocked for them to do an ultrasound and say that they could see any. The MFM came in while the ultrasound tech was here. He looked at the scan and said that it's weird that the kidneys aren't as echogenic (bright on the ultrasound) as they have been in the past... He asked how I was doing, and I told him I wasn't so great. He asked what was going on. After talking to me for a few minutes and looking at the history on the monitor, he decided he was comfortable changing me from constant monitoring to just one hour every six. That was a HUGE relief. I can actually sit up and do things. I can get up and walk around. I CAN SLEEP FOR SIX STRAIGHT HOURS IN ANY POSITION I WANT!!! That was such a relief!

Gary, Lisa, and the kids came to see me tonight. They've had a busy week, and it was nice to see them and catch up a little bit. When Ezra saw me, he ran full-speed right at me. That was the best hug pretty much ever! I love being able to snuggle with them! They brought Panda Express for lunch. Any food that's not hospital food is amazing. It's already starting to get old. Gary brought the stuff he's bought for the Easter baskets, and I get to put them together, and they'll come here Easter morning after dropping Lisa off at the airport. I'm so glad I get to be a part of things. And that's Ryker's birthday, too, so I'm excited to spend part of the day with him. Maybe I'll send Gary to get a cake or something :)

All in all, I think I'm doing ok now. Much better than I was this morning, anyway. Baby's good. Gary's handling things at home, and I don't have to worry about that. I'm learning to let go, and let him do things his way. Definitely looking forward to getting home though. At some point in the next few months...

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ultrasound and Fresh Air

So I got a roommate on Saturday night. I ended up sleeping with earbuds in and music on so I couldn't hear her and her guests, and I kept my tv volume up fairly high pretty much all day Sunday because they were ridiculously loud and incredibly rude and inconsiderate. I finally couldn't take it anymore, and around 9pm I asked my nurse to move me - I didn't care if it was another shared room, I just couldn't be in that room anymore. She moved me next door, into another shared room until a private room is available. This new place is so much better!

I had an ultrasound this morning. Baby looks good, blood flow is great, but still no fluid.
Baby Austin
26 weeks 5 days

Other than that, no change. I'm still on constant monitoring for his heart rate and contractions, a pulse-ox on me, and I have the nifty calf compression things on. Nothing like being tethered to the bed with five different wires. They did take the IV out today, which was awesome. Hopefully I won't have to get another one.

I was able to get up, take a shower, blow dry my hair, and feel like a somewhat decent person today. It really does make a huge difference. Gary and the kids were able to come visit for a while tonight too. Dr. B is back, and gave me the OK to leave for 30 minutes. We went outside and sat in the courtyard, and the kids ran around and played while I enjoyed the fresh air and talked to Gary. Then we came inside and hung out, watching cartoons. I miss them so much.

Zoned out, watching Phineas and Ferb

I asked the dr about whether the lack of fluid is affecting the kidneys and bladder, and he said no. At this point, the kidneys don't work anyway - the placenta is what filters everything for the baby, so there's really no detriment to having no fluid, other than the fact that there's no cushion for the baby. All there is to do now is wait, hang out here, and let the little dude grow.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Another day.

It's really only been 3 days. But it's already been 3 days. I can do this. I think. Maybe not. But I know I can, because I don't have a choice.

I had an ultrasound this morning. I think they'll be doing one every other day or so. It was just quick - check fluid levels and baby's heart rate, blood flow in the cord, that type of thing. Still no fluid, which is sucky. Dr B has said that hopefully next week there will be some sort of tiny pocket of fluid that he can get a needle into, so he can inject some saline so there's some sort of cushion around the baby, and we'll see how long that lasts. I'm trying to stay hydrated (they removed my IV yesterday), because that's really the only way to make any fluid, which is actually fairly unlikely at this point, but stranger things have happened.

I haven't had to have oxygen since Wednesday night. The baby's having a lot of what they call variables - quick heart rate decelerations that he's able to recover from on his own - but nothing major. Both of my Dr's have said that's normal for both a baby at 26 weeks, and a baby with no fluid. It's only scary if they last for a long time, or dip really low, like what happened Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning.

I'm still in a semi-private room, although with no roommate at this moment, waiting for a private room to open up so I can move into my new home. Watching a LOT of HGTV, scrolling facebook, trying not to shop online (I want to buy ALL the diapers!). Scrolling pinterest, finding projects to do when I'm out of here (yeah, right... with a newborn, a toddler, and two big kids? that's hilarious!), racking up lots of minutes on my phone, and making friends with the nurses. The hospital food isn't terrible, but we're only at day 3, so it hasn't had a chance to get too old yet. Snacks are always welcome!

I'm looking forward to Gary and the kids visiting tomorrow. We skyped tonight, and it was fun, but not the same as being able to squeeze them. Thank heaven for technology!

Get it straight...

Caution... this is a whiny rant, because I can, and this is my blog. I'm frustrated, and I need to get it out. Proceed if you'd like...

I want to start by saying, I absolutely love MY doctors! They are both fantastic - the OB I transferred to after the surgery (Dr. Medlock), and the Perinatal/MFM/High Risk Dr I've been seeing since this all started at 16 weeks (Dr. Beisweinger). They are both amazing, are super supportive and are very good at explaining things thoroughly and not treating me like I'm an idiot. They're pretty straightforward and, while things may change here and there, consistent.

Then you get the 'other' doctor I've seen. He's also in the MFM office, and I don't like him. I didn't like him the first time I saw him in the office, and I still don't like him now, when he's on call for the weekend. There's just something grating and superior about his personality. And usually, the things he says are the opposite of the things that my other two doctors have said and done. So I take everything he says with a grain of salt... And it sucks. Especially when he's the one here for the whole weekend.

I do believe that he's got our best interests in mind, but it's just frustrating that he's so opposite what the other doctors have said. He seems to have a major superiority complex, and he also seems to like big bad scary worst case scenario tactics. Granted, I want to know the worst thing that could happen, and I'd like to prepare for it, and I'm all for being cautious... But I trust Dr B with my baby's life. Literally.

Coming into this, Dr B said that the monitoring would likely be intermittent, really, just a precaution. I've seen him a couple of times since I've been here, and I've also seen Dr M. They seem to be on the same page, that with the way my monitor strips look, I don't have to be on the monitor 24/7. I'm able to get up, take a shower, go to the bathroom, whatever, for short amounts of time.

For the most part, baby's heart rate has been fine. He's having variable decelerations, where his heart rate will decrease slightly, and then it comes back up on its own. Usually this happens when I'm having a contraction (which aren't showing up on the monitor, but that's not a huge deal right now). Twice since I've been here, he's taken too long to get his heart rate back up, so they've come in and given me oxygen, and then he's gone back to normal.

My doctors don't see anything wrong with me leaving my room, and therefore the monitor, for an hour or so, occasionally. Especially when my family comes to visit. They know that it's going to freaking SUCK being here for so long. They've also both said that this is what babies DO at 26 weeks... especially babies with no fluid. It happens. As long as it's not happening often, it's not a huge thing.

I talked to Dr B yesterday about this when he was here, because he had said the other dr was here this weekend, and I wanted it noted in my chart. I have 'walking around' privileges. I can disconnect from my tethers for a while to spend some time with my family. I'm not on 'bed rest', per se... I'm just here to be monitored. And that doesn't have to be 100% of the time. He wants me hooked up when I'm in the room, but again... that doesn't have to be 100% of the time. I made sure to ask him, and the nurse double checked, and made sure it was in my chart before he left here yesterday.

Then the other doctor came in for rounds today, and said that he wants me hooked up to the monitors continually. I'm SO frustrated! The nurses are amazing, and have said that they'll make sure I get to leave to spend time with my family, as long as there haven't been major issues. It especially sucks, because I'm in a 'semi-private' room. Right now, no roommate, which is nice, but you never know when someone will come in, and it's hard enough getting the kids to cooperate without having to keep them quiet because there's someone else in here.

I'm just waiting for whoever is in the private rooms to either have their babies or go home, so I can move on up... Because this situation would SUCK for the next 4+ (let's be optimistic... at least 7 1/2 weeks, so I can make it to 34) weeks...

I want to end this, by saying how amazing medicine is. Everything that they've been able to do for the baby so far has been incredible, and I feel so blessed to have such an amazing husband who works hard, and has insurance to cover all of this. The fact that his command has been so supportive and understanding is also a huge relief and blessing. I'm so lucky to have the people in my life that I do - the people who have offered to take care of my family while I'm in here, who have offered to visit me and feed my family, and help Gary out with whatever he needs. I've been so blessed to have so many amazing, supportive people in my life. Not sure where I'd be without them.

At the end of the day, no matter how bored or lonely or fed up I may be, I'm still here. Baby is still baking. Gary and the kids are all taken care of. We're all healthy. So it's a good day.

I'll follow up with a non-whiny, more medical updatey update.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Moving In

Things have been looking better at my weekly appointments. Fluid was very slowly increasing, but increasing nonetheless. At my 25 week appt, I was at about 4.2cm of fluid. Things were going well, baby was growing, we were very optimistic that we'd be able to hang on for a while with no issues.

This Tuesday, 3/15, I went in for my weekly appointment with the high risk doctors. 26 weeks. As usual, they did an ultrasound. This week they did a longer ultrasound with measurements of the baby, to estimate his size. The measurements put him at about 1lb 15oz - so about 60th percentile again. Weight estimates can be off by quite a bit, but he is growing normally.

There was no measurable amount of amniotic fluid. The doctor advised that the best thing for the baby would be hospitalization. With no amniotic fluid, the risk of cord compression and losing the baby is increased. They wanted to admit me for the remainder of my pregnancy so we can monitor the baby and make sure he's doing ok. If I'm already in the hospital and something major happens that they can't help, they can do an emergency c-section.

When I was admitted Tuesday night, they hooked me up to IV fluids, gave me a steroid shot, and hooked me up to the monitors for baby's heart rate and contractions. He's looking good for the most part. He'll occasionally have a heart rate deceleration, especially during a contraction, but he comes back to normal on his own. Twice, once yesterday afternoon, and once around 3am, they had to give me oxygen to get his heart rate back up. Both times were during contractions. That was pretty scary. But since then, he's been doing fine. They came back in last night and gave me the second steroid shot, so now I'm good for a while. They disconnected my IV a bit ago, and just said to drink a lot of water so they don't have to hook it back up.

The goal is to make it four more weeks, to at least 30 weeks. At that point, if he requires dialysis, he'll likely be big enough to receive the treatment here. There is a possibility that he may need to be transferred to a larger facility - Birmingham, Atlanta, etc... if they don't feel that they can treat him here.

It's really hard for me to think of being here for so long. I can't think about four weeks, or six weeks, or ten weeks (which would be amazing for the baby!), or even a full week... I'm missing my husband, missing my kids, and missing spring break, Easter, Ry's birthday, both kids' field trips, Z's dance recital, Ry's tae kwondo belt graduation, and really missing hanging out with my crazy little sidekick. Luckily, Gary's command has been really supportive, telling him not to come back to work until after the baby's born. He'll be going in a few half days a week to stay caught up and in the loop, but he'll be able to be home with the kids, to try to keep their schedules and lives as normal as possible, which is awesome. Friends and people from church have also been amazing, volunteering to watch E while Gary has to go to work, volunteering to bring meals, etc...

I met with one of the high risk Dr's last night, saw my regular OB this morning, and my high risk Dr should be here later today. I have an awesome team, and total faith that they'll do what's best for me and the baby.