Monthly Archives: December 2013

A Little Excursion Through Labor & Delivery

Pregnancy never seems to be without it’s surprises. Last night was no exception. I got up from the kitchen table chair at 5:30 pm to get dinner going and found myself immediately doubled over in pain. Severe cramping, pretty low. It didn’t feel like contractions — it was constant pain, rather than a tightening in my abdomen that came and went. I tried to go about my business hunched over and limping until my hubby came into the kitchen and took pity on me. Even while sitting, the pain was strong. I grimaced my way through dinner… after dinner I stayed put in my chair and tried my best not to move but the pain remained. Hubby went to work on his thesis and I decided to call the advice nurse and see what she thought. After all, both my OB and the nurse practitioner had told me to go to Labor & Delivery if the pain got worse. Well, I thought, “It’s definitely worse!”

I explained the situation to the advice nurse who then transferred me to the L&D advice nurse. Repeat story. I told the nurse, “I really don’t want to come in for this since it’s probably not preterm labor… on the other hand though I want to be absolutely sure.” She agreed, and told me that pain at that level was definitely “not normal.” She told me to come in. It was at this point that I realized that hubby had absolutely no idea what was going on. I limped my way over to our office and stuck my head in the door and announced, “We need to go to to Labor & Delivery.” He looked at me with complete surprise and jumped out of his chair while exclaiming, “We do?!” I nodded my head and said that I’d be waiting for him in the car, as sitting down was my first objective.

Hubby dropped me off at the door of L&D/Pediatric/NICU building with Kaiser and I walked inside. The security guard asked me if I was there to see a patient and I said, “No, I’m here to go to Labor & Delivery.” He got major kudos when he said, “Oh, you’re pregnant?” Why, “yes I am”… feeling slightly amused and mostly like the guy might need glasses. He took me to the back to the counter with L&D where both the clerk and RN’s seemed to already know who I was from my prior phone call. I had to give a urine sample and then the RN had me rest on a stretcher while she hooked up the tocometer and took my vital signs. I explained my story again at her request as to why I was there, etc. I was really getting tired of hearing myself talk at this point. She left after a little while and told us to wait for the doctor to come in, but that it might be a while because they were in the middle of shift change.

Hubby was thankfully there with me and pretty fidgety… wanting to know what every last thing in the room was, what every graph was on the monitor, what baby’s heart rate was and if that “machine on the wall was a respirator” or not (I explained to him that it was a suction canister). I was hurting and just not wanting to explain it all… at the same time I was glad to get this out of his system before we had to return to actually have the baby. We debated who had more acronyms in their job, mine being in the medical profession or his being in the engineering profession.

Meanwhile, we sat there pretty bored for a while and I got to listen to baby’s steady heart beat and watch him kick the tocometer over and over again. He really didn’t like having that on my belly! It made us both smile, and even the nurse commented on it. After a while the doctor made his appearance. I got to repeat my story again. Blah, blah, blah. I had to go into the endometriosis and adhesion history part every time, to make sure everyone knew that it was most definitely a huge factor in my pain level. He was professional and to the point. He checked me and I was 100% relieved to find that my cervix was closed and not thinning out. They weren’t picking up any contractions, either, which meant the pain was there to stay but at least it didn’t mean baby was coming anytime soon.

And just like that we were free to go home.

Amazingly enough, we were only gone for two hours. It sort of felt like a waste of time, but as I was trying to fall asleep with often sharp pain, I had peace. Peace knowing that our son was doing just fine, and peace knowing that I didn’t need to be on bed rest or doing anything else to prevent further preterm labor. For those reasons alone, it was two hours well spent! Peace of mind is worth a lot.

In the end, we got a trial run through labor and delivery. Hubby knows where to park and where to go, and the fastest way to get there. I have the direct number now for the back desk in Labor and Delivery, which is something I didn’t have before. And best of all, we have a renewed hope that our little son will keep growing and stay put for the next twelve weeks.

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Filed under Endometriosis, Pain, Pregnancy

A Door Finally Closed

We’d put off the decision long enough.

Neither of us really wanted to cut our ties with our adoption agency.  We had grown to really appreciate and like our adoption specialist, Mona. Her advice and encouragement were always timely. She was the type of person we’d probably be friends with if we hadn’t already established a professional relationship with her first. We couldn’t say enough praise about our adoption agency, either. But we had pulled our profile books back in May due to the process of IVF taking place, and our agency had been patiently waiting on us to make a final decision over the last 7 months. If we cut our ties, we would lose all the money we had already put down towards an adoption (rough half of the total costs). It felt like a lot of money, and what if I ended up miscarrying?

It helps that I’ve made it to the third trimester with our son. 28 weeks along today! The hope of seeing him alive and surviving grows greater with each passing day. But those four little embryos of ours, sitting cryopreserved in a special laboratory freezer, seriously helped us know which direction to proceed. We’re committed to them and to giving them a chance to survive. Which means that, if we transfer two back in me at a time, and I get pregnant (Lord willing!), it might be a few years before we’re ready to pursue adoption again. Financially and time-wise, it just made sense to close our case now. Plus, our agency doesn’t like to have cases on hold for too long (understandably). After all, they have to make their obligations as well.

It was a difficult phone call to make. Our adoption agency has just been off-the-charts wonderful. And I love adoption– what is represents; how it cares for both orphans and moms in distress. Mona was ecstatic for us, upon hearing that I was already 27 weeks along. She said to me, “You know, it really thrills me when this happens, because whether you’re adopting or getting pregnant, you are bringing a child into your family, and that is the chief goal.” She made me promise to send her a birth announcement, and that was the end of that. It was just too easy, after deliberating the subject with hubby for months and months. There was sadness in my heart, obviously tempered by the joy of expecting a child, but it lingered there none the less.

In the end, I have to be thankful, because if we hadn’t chosen to adopt first, I don’t know if I would have ever been brave enough to try IVF, given the severity of my endometriosis. Either way, I’m just so thrilled that our family is expanding!

On another note, life has pretty much come to a grinding halt since this abdominal pain began. I have found that if I just don’t do much, the pain is a little better and I can avoid having to lay down. I went to my OB appointment on Friday and thankfully our baby boy looks pretty good. Every time I go in for an appointment, his heart rate is consistently 150!It’s just me who’s kind of a mess and having trouble walking, bending over, sitting up, crossing my legs, etc. The nurse practitioner offered to write me off of work and told me to go to Labor & Delivery if the pain gets any worse. Not exactly reassuring words. But I’m pretty sure that, once again, we’re dealing with sticky adhesions gluing together the entire right side of my abdomen, from my hip to my rib cage. At times it feels like there’s internal bruising. As baby grows, the web of adhesions  pull tighter and try to shift whatever they’re adhered to — bladder, bowel, uterus, etc. Not fun, but it will be totally worth it in the end.  In the meantime, I’m home sewing baby blankets and listening to sermons, or whatever takes my mind off of the pain!

Here's a sample of some of the baby blankets I've been making--learning to sew this year has been such a blessing.

Here’s a sample of some of the baby blankets I’ve been making–learning to sew this year has been such a blessing.

Thank you to those of you who have been praying for me — you have been a huge source of encouragement. And I’m sure it’s the ONLY way I was able to tell my mom on the phone the other day “Yeah, the pain’s pretty bad today, but you know what? I’d totally do this all over again. It’s so worth it. I can’t wait to hold our son in our arms!”

Merry Christmas to you all — may your eyes be transfixed on our Savior, born both fully God and fully man, as you celebrate this special season.

I received this ornament in my Christmas stocking at my in law's yesterday. So cute!

I received this ornament in my Christmas stocking at my in law’s yesterday. So cute!

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Filed under Adoption, Endometriosis, Pain, Pregnancy

Struggling to See

Hey y’all.

I’m writing through a bit of a fog right now. My belly pain has come back over the past week. Today it’s been at it’s worst, landing me in bed all day. I’m discouraged. We cancelled all our plans for the day and hubby has been such a tremendous help, running errands and taking good care of me. I’m thankful for him.

I have to keep reminding myself that I only have to get through 13 more weeks. 13 more weeks until we meet our son face to face. 13 more weeks that I will have to endure this debilitating pain. Or, maybe less if God chooses to give me a reprieve from it. Please pray with me that this will be the case.

It’s hard not to let pain taint your vision. Or poison your outlook on life. I have to remember that in almost all situations, pain is just for a season.

And so I think about joy. I must dwell on the things that I’m thankful for. I must ask the Lord to help me when I think I can’t keep living with this for 13 more weeks. He hears my prayers, and He always gives grace. He’s the ONE thing in this life that I can count on.

Thanks again for your prayers.

“The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.” — Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

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Filed under Pain, Pregnancy, Uncategorized

Ten New Pregnancy Revelations

It just happens to be one of those things you can’t really ignore or forget about. Yes, I’m talking about pregnancy (again). I would apologize for this, but the fact that I am experiencing this is still a miracle and complete mystery to me! This little human being wriggling around inside constantly reminds me of the fact that I’m pregnant, let alone the other things like the constant comments people make about my growing belly. Here’s ten new things I’ve learned in the last two months of experiencing pregnancy:

1. The Prego Brain is real. As in, freakishly, scary-real. I’ve always boasted in having a good memory. I remember my childhood like it happened yesterday. But the details of the past week are gone. I’ve waved a sad good-bye to my good memory. The other day I put some eggs in a hot frying pan and completely forgot about them. I also forgot to park my car in gear, got out and to my horror watched it roll away (luckily I was able to jump in at the last minute and step on the brakes!). I forgot that we prayed before dinner last night and asked hubby when he was going to pray (he looked at me like I had lost my mind). And so, yeah… it’s a little scary. I sure hope my memory decides to re-inhabit my body after I have the baby, so that I don’t forget him in the grocery store or at home! (No seriously, this is a real concern of mine.)

2. The laws of gravity do not apply fairly to various parts of the body during pregnancy. For instance, the pull of gravity on one’s belly has got to be at least ten times stronger than normal. It just feels like that must be the case, whether you are trying to stand up, roll over, bend over, etc. Conversely, there seems to be zero gravitational pull your your stomach, where food somehow manages to make it’s way down and then immediately decides to comes back up.

3. People always say that pregnant women have no trouble staying warm. I confess I was really looking forward to this during the winter! Sadly, I must be in the small percentage of people who stay cold while pregnant… meanwhile the lovely heat dish hubby bought me last winter remains a close companion.

4. The fear of ruining your child due to colossal parenting errors is real and heightened during pregnancy. Obviously this is due to the imminent arrival of a baby. Hubby and I have had several conversations about this. We so hope and pray that we will be good parents and do the right thing for our child. But we know we are sinners too, and that it will be a battle to choose the selfless route and raise our child wisely.

5. Pregnancy changes every little thing about your body. Everything. I cannot think of a single thing it hasn’t changed, even if it is only a minor thing. My skin is more prone to infection and acne. My hair and nails grow faster. My fingers are swollen, my face looks a little puffier, I sometimes feel out of breath when singing…. but you know what? I just thought of something that hasn’t changed, and that’s my ears. Yes, my ears are still the same. (But somehow I don’t feel that negates my point though, so it’s staying put.)

6. It’s a sad day when your wedding ring stops fitting. That day came over a week ago. I bought a cheap cubic zirconia ring to wear for $30 for the rest of the pregnancy. I was sad but I actually had fun picking one out!

7. With each passing week of pregnancy, the excitement to hold your newborn in your arms grows exponentially. Especially after passing the 24 week mark (or the age of viability for a neonate). I also believe that the fear of the delivery will grow exponentially as the due date grows closer.

8. Pregnancy makes moods very tough to predict. Some days hubby tells me I am actually “volatile” (I know– YIKES!). Other days I am just like my old self. Some days I feel irritable for no reason whatsoever. I blame the hormones (and pray for patience and kindness).

9. Bystanders and friends cannot decide if your belly is small or large for how far along you are. No joke, when I am at work, among other places, the conversations go like this: (10AM — Coworker says to me) “You aren’t even showing yet! Where’s your baby bump?” (I take off my jacket to show that I do in fact have a belly.) “Well, you do have a bump, but you’re still really small!” (11AM– Another coworker) “Wow, look at that belly of yours. You’ve really popped out! I hate to say this, but you’re going to be HUGE by the time you deliver!” So I haven’t decided yet if my belly will be sticking out all the way to the North Pole or if people will still be saying “You look small!” when the 40 weeks are up.

10. Pregnancy is so different from anything I’ve ever experienced that it’s fun. Sure, it hurts and makes me more uncomfortable than ever, but I still love it. Don’t get me wrong– I’ve been miserable enough to be in tears multiple times. But the misery is a far cry from the misery and ache I experienced when I longed to be pregnant but couldn’t be. I love that I get to be pregnant, and we thank God for our son every night.

What about you? What have you experienced? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Filed under Pain, Pregnancy

25 Weeks & Thankful

I’m breathing a sigh of relief this week. I made it to 24 weeks, the age of viability should our little son decide to make his grand appearance in the world a bit on the early side. Not that I have a limited understanding of what a neonate being born at 24 weeks means– as a NICU nurse I know fully well what’s at risk! But at least now there is hope for survival and that means so much to me.

Our little son is right on track so far. Growing well. Kicking up a storm day and night. Nothing was amiss at my last OB appointment, and it was so nice to leave with a light heart. My wonderful OB doctor even gave me a huge hug when I left. She’s great. We are so thankful.

Thank you all to those of you who have been praying for me. A few weeks after my blog post regarding abdominal adhesion pain, the baby seemed to grow bigger and moved up in my abdomen. I had some lingering pain but it wasn’t constant and it didn’t hurt as bad. It was great! But then I got plagued by these continual headaches and for about 3 weeks life was just a blur of a painful, hurting head. And then, one day, the headaches were gone! Thank you Lord! I was so thankful because my sister and nephew were visiting and I wanted to make the most of their visit and not squander it by having to lay on the sofa with my head on an ice pack all the time. I also didn’t want to be taking tylenol too often with this little boy growing inside me. So I was very thankful when the headaches disappeared and I was able to enjoy the visit with my sister and nephew.

I am so thankful that now pain is a not a main melody in my life. I do have off-days. Two days ago my belly hurt so bad that I could hardly move my legs. But it is more the exception and not the rule. And I am grateful!

Well, I guess I had better post a picture. This belly of mine is getting bigger!

24 weeks 1 day

24 weeks 1 day

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