Friday, October 31, 2008

If Halloween is Any Indication...

If Halloween is any indication of how excited she'll be for holidays like Christmas...we better get ready now!

Seren is SO excited today! She woke up bouncing. I swear! And her enthusiasm for one of my favorite holidays is contagious!

She ran into my room after Daddy got up with her and said, "Mom! It is Halloween time! I excited!"

And it is no wonder. We decorated last Sunday and every night, we light our Jack-o-Lantern. She sings "The Five Little Pumpkins" while dancing near the lit pumpkin. Then we light all of the other pumpkins in our home (mostly candles). We continue to read Halloween books and have practiced wearing our costume.

She looked out the window, at a still dark morning and said, "I want to see Halloween time!" (As if somehow magically our neighborhood would have been transformed).

I come from a long line of Halloween lovers. I think it is one of those holidays. Either you love it or hate it. My father LOVES it. He taught High School for 38 years and every single year, he would get dressed up. We aren't talking a mask and calling that a costume. Oh no. Starting October 1st, he would start sketching and planning. This usually involved my mom as she inevitably had to help with plaster, paint, etc. He absolutely loves the excuse to be both funny and creative. (well, he is both all year but this is a special time). One year he painted his entire head and face in blue and went as a member of the blue man group. Another year? He was a sea creature complete with flippers and a papermache eyeball head. The kids that he taught LOVED this. He would often drive to work in costume. Every year the kids would be so curious as to what my dad would be. What fun!

Seren hasn't quite gotten THAT into it...mostly because her mom and dad haven't had time to be THAT creative. But give us a few years.

Pictures tomorrow! Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

34w 5 days

Today is an important milestone for me! As of this morning, I am more pregnant than I have ever been! Yahoo!

Seren arrived at 34w5days and that number has been burned into my head for the past 2 and a half years. Part of what comes with having a preemie is completely unjustified guilt. When she has childhood asthma, I blame myself for giving birth early. When she isn't feeling well? It is somehow my "fault" for giving birth early. I think this is ridiculous and it makes no logical sense but it how I think about it. Plenty of "full term" kids have asthma and plenty of preemies don't. I *know* this.

When people have second and third children, they always says, "Oh with the first one, I always knew exactly what week of pregnancy I was in. With the others, I had no idea!" I have to say that I have been VERY aware of what week I am in at all times during this pregnancy.

And every doctor or nurse that you talk to asks, "When did you give birth last time? How long was she in the NIC?" So the answer of 34.5 has come up frequently during this pregnancy.

So this is a HUGE milestone for me! I am so blessed to have made it this far considering that "threatened" labor started at week 28!

My freedom from bedrest is on Friday the 7th. I can't believe it! I can't believe I have been on this futon for a total of 8 weeks (assuming all goes well). I have missed my daughter, missed my husband, missed my friends. But it is going to be worth it!

One more week of bed rest! One more shot in the tush! That brings the grand total to 20 shots of progesterone, two steroid shots, two shots of terb and one flu shot. (ok, that last one doesn't count) :) But who is counting, right?

And then the BIG question is, "When will he arrive?" I sometimes look to the Internet for "answers" to these unanswerable questions. I just have to be patient and wait on God's time. As far as I know, I am less dilated than I was but my contractions have been stronger and more persistent than with Seren.

I don't think I'm "ready" yet for the baby. (Is anyone?) But I am DAMN ready to get off this couch. I am getting irritable and crabby the closer we get!

But WE did it! We are doing it! I am already anticipating kissing sweet toes and seeing a sweet gummy smile. And first giggles! Ok, maybe I *am* ready!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A shout out to Super Daddy

For the past 6 weeks my husband has been doing it ALL. And I mean doing it all. With his wife out of commission, he wakes up with Seren every morning, gets her diaper changed, dresses her, makes us both breakfast, gets the dishes going, gets me set up in my "office" and then either goes to work himself or takes care of Seren for the day. It is insane! On top of this, he is working two jobs and looking for a better one to replace his full time job. At night, he comes home from work at 9 pm and has dinner with me, we talk, he tucks me in and then he applies for job, writes his novel or works his OTHER job. He looks exhausted! On most days, he is superdaddy- taking care of all food preparation and cooking but with me having to be in bed or on a counch ALL day, he has had to step it up a notch.

I don't know what we'd do without him. And he does it ALL without complaining. We HAVE hired someone to clean the house twice a month because I can't stand the dustbunnies- they were giving me the evil eye! And my parents are awesome- coming up 3 days a week to help with Seren and help us run errands. (I"'l give a shout out to them later). But other than that, he is carrying a lot on his shoulders.

Here is a picture of us the night I first went into the hospital- which also happened to be his 35th birthday! (Check out the stickers- Seren can't help but to decorate us. All. Of. The. Time)

I love my husband. I can't think of my world without him. He is my rock through all of this. I can't wait to see his face when he looks at his son for the first time.

And less you think that I'm literally not doing ANYTHING, I have been creative with our play dates. Sometimes we lay down. Sometimes Seren sits with me. She liked using the little ottoman/foot stool. This weekend we did a lot of Halloween prep- pics to be downloaded soon. She is so fun!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back on the couch

I'm back! All went well. I am still feeling frustrated and tired by all of this stress but I'm hanging in there. I just get so worried and that really fatigues me! Hard to know that any one contraction could be the one that just sends us over the edge.

So week 34 is upon us and the doctors have said that they won't stop anything that happens after this point. I'm to stay on my meds until week 36 and then we let mother nature do her thang. At that point, I'm also allowed to walk around and do whatever I want. Even now I'm allowed to do a little bit more. Of course, I heard that as "sure, do what you want" and Sam (rightfully) heard it as stay in the bed much of the day but a little time standing won't hurt. Ya give me an inch and I take a mile!

Two more weeks isn't bad. And then who knows!

I'm about 90% effaced still and 1 cm dialated. So this is the first dialtion we have had. Most women who have already birthed children dialate early. I'm sure the contractions haven't helped much. But one is better than 3cm at this point.

Sam and I are planning to have dinner or lunch out this weekend. That will be a big treat for me. Last weekend we went for a drive in the fall leaves. These little "outings" really help me feel human! So I'm already excited for our lunch/dinner date- just the three of us.

Annoying little suckers!

I had a lot of contractions last night and this morning as well. They aren't painful so that is really good. They are just annoying because they remind me that while I am 1 day away from 34 weeks, my body is still getting ready for the big day. I am going to the doctors for a routine check up in a few minutes and hope that all goes well. I'm anxious this morning which probably ups the contractions. Mind over body. Or something like that!

More soon!

Fingers crossed that my uterus just CHILLLS OUT!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Natural Birthing

When we were pregnant with Seren, we read and read and read. Ina May's natural guide to childbirth was well flipped through. I thought I was ready. I visualized. I meditated.

With Seren, I went to a grand total of ONE birth class. Sam went to three classes- he attended two more while I was in the hospital- taking diligent notes and filling me in. But, like most of us, even despite my reading, I still felt totally unprepared. "What exactly do I "do" when they say to push?" One classic memory of the quick and intense labor was Sam saying with pride in his voice, "I just learned this tonight in class! Just tonight!"

The birth itself was beautiful and natural. It was quick. My one regret is not feeling her emerge. The doctor asked if I wanted to feel her head. I said no. I was WORKING. I just remember thinking, "Nope. No stopping to have an emotional moment. I am workin' here. Let me birth my child." (But I do regret that since there are few times in life you are so close to a miracle!) My water broke at 1:15 am at home which was awesome after 3 weeks in the hospital and Seren was born at 4:45 am. I remember the doctor yelling out "4:45" and thinking, "What the hell? Like we want to know the time!? I'm busy over here!"

Oh right, the time of BIRTH. Right. I guess that IS good to know!

I was so grateful that I was able to deliver naturally with no drugs. This was very important to me.

However, after the birth, I had to deliver the placenta. Since Seren arrived early, the placenta was "stuck". The doc gave it a tug and sprayed blood all over him and his glasses. I distinctly remember that. He also then looked at me and said, "That was stupid. I should have not done that." So we waited and waited. Nothing. Meanwhile, Seren had been whisked to the NICU. So I had to go into surgery to have the placenta removed. I remember saying, "PLEASE! Don't cut me!" I was so confused, tired, exhausted, I feared that after all that WORK that they would have to cut it out. Hey, cut me some slack, I had just been through a long ordeal.

I love birth stories beacuse every single one is unique. And how we respond to experiences is shaped but what we wanted going into the experience. One day I will tell the full birth story here. And I'll surely tell my son's birth story here. But all of this pre-term labor, if anything, helps you realize that yes, you will be in labor again. Despite my best laid plans, we had to cancel our birth class this time as well due to bedrest. And I'm nervous that I should do or read SOMETHING about breathing through contractions, etc. Will I remember what the heck to do? Will I have ANY strength in my muscles after all of these weeks sitting on my tush to actually BIRTH a human?

And to be honest, while I LOVED the natural birth, and relived it many, many times, in my mind, I can't say I'm all about signing myself up for that again. It freaking hurts! If I am given the chance to do it again, I need to do much more meditating and visualizing. The past 5 weeks, I keep thinking about keeping the baby IN, it is going to be hard to switch gears and think about "opening", "surrendering" and "letting go".

I suppose truth be told and fears aside about the physical pain, I'd still love to give birth vaginally. I'd certainly love for him not to be in the NICU. So that I can just HOLD him right after the birth and not "share" him with NICU docs and nurses.

I guess, really, with this pregnancy, like all pregnancies, I know that anything can happen and we can't control the situation at all. Like parenting, you are (mostly) unprepared but you do your best, you learn, and you just hold on for the ride.

Friends, I'm still holding on.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Belly pic and more aspirations

Readers may remember Seren's desire to be a moose when she grows up.

Well, apparently she is going to be a coffee-drinking moose. She announced yesterday, as I stirred my fresh coffee,

"Momma, when I get big, I'm going to drink coffee. When I'm 20. I'll drink coffee when I am 20."

The thought of my two year old on caffeine is enough to send me running to the hills. Fortunately, I apparently have 18 years to wait.

Seren continues to be VERY excited for "baby broder". She offers that he could sleep next to her on her bed. And that he could sit "right here" in the tub with her. Last night I demonstrated how weak a baby's head muscles are. She thought that was fascinating. We are trying to be realistic with her about how little he will be and how he WON'T be able to play...yet.

Here is a picture of me taken on Friday. 32 weeks baby, 32!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Today, as soon as I opened my eyes, I smiled! We made it to week 32! I am so freaking happy this morning!

Each week brings so much developmental growth to the wee one.

Today feels like a huge milestone to me! The doctor yesterday said that they would let me "move a bit" at week 34. That was encouraging too. All looked good. I've gained 31 pounds, blood pressure is good. I feel good (mostly).

When I was pregnant with Seren, at week 32, I was dialted to 3-4 cm so since I'm nice and closed, I am actuallly ahead of the game! My dad pointed this out to me last night and I'm so glad he did.

I also now feel hopeful that we will birth a healthy baby. I have found myself being pretty pessimistic (realistic?) saying to friends, "Well, when I come back to work depends, a little, on how sick he is." While I am a believer in positive thinking, I haven't had much of it recently. I'm just trying to prepare my heart. But really, he MAY be healthy. I am going to make more of an effort to assume that he is FINE. I think the craziest thing about bedrest is the mental games you play with yourself.

I also am feeling good today because I got to see some friends at work yesterday. My long commute rarely brings me pleasure but driving up to the office building (ok, my mom drove), it felt like life was still normal. And seeing people was great. Really great.

**I was going to post this Friday but forgot. I took a belly shot but haven't been able to download it. Oops!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Today is Seren's second week in a local gymnastics class! Despite the truly frightening pictures of little girls in tight leotards and tight ponytails that were posted on the gym's website, we couldn't resist. Seren loves tumbling and we haven't taken her to a gym class yet. She also is incredibly flexible. I was like this too for a long, long time. I still am. (Ok, not while on bedrest and carrying around 30 extra pounds, but in general, I'm limber). She can't stop talking about gymnastics. We put her in toddler yoga pants today which she says are her "gymnastics pants".

I'm sure you'd agree that anyone that can do this should be in some sort of dance/gymnastics class.

I love that she is at the age that she really can get "into" these activities! Wish I could see all of the fun for myself!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Visit Number Two

Anyone want to place any bets on how many more visits I make to the hospital before this child arrives?

I have to say that writing today, I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I am so grateful to be home that I could cheer but this emotional roller coaster is so tiring. I want to meet my son, but I don't. Not yet. And last night I was up from 2 am until 5 am panicked about it all!

Friday night Seren went to visit her grandparents so Sam and I could just chill together. It was very relaxing and very nice. We brought in Indian food and watched a totally silly, romantic comedy. Perfect! Saturday they had some adventures while I played on the Internet here at home. By 4:15 pm, I was getting some serious contractions. Every ten minutes. I had to breathe and cry through some of them.

After the 4th or 5th one, I called the doctor and Sam picked up our packed bag. Seren was just getting up from her nap and we drove the 30 minutes to the hospital. Seren was a superstar. I think kids really have a sense when something isn't quite right. She insisted on holding my hand the entire ride. "You ok, mom. I hold your hand." It was amazing. I have to say that having her there with me made all of the difference.

Once admitted, I continued to have contractions every ten minutes for about 8 hours. It was insane. They lessened in intensity as the drugs took effect. So that was good. I wasn't placed on magnesium this time because I was already on nipedifine and the combination isn't advised. I was given two shots of terbuline (sp?). They can give you a shot every 20 minutes to make the contractions stop. I (thankfully) only had to take two shots- one in each arm.

I was also given steroids for the baby's lungs. This brings me much relief. They can't do if if your waters break, so now I'm all set. The shots are proven to be really effective.

It was so odd being back. "Oh hi, lab tech! Oh hi, cute hospital volunteer! How are you guys?" The nurses and doctors were amazing.

But it is rough. I got four shots, three lab draws, and no food. Plus, ya know, contractions. I hadn't eaten since 1 pm when we had lunch and only had broth between 1 pm Saturday and 8 am Sunday. I'm pregnant! Hook a girl up! They released my liquid diet.

The bottom line is this: no change in my cervix. No dilation. Keep taking the meds. Come to the office for another check. The contractions, while painful and strong, aren't being effective in changing my cervix. The doctors think the progesterone shots help. So yeah! My parents were able to stay at our home Saturday night while Sam stayed with me. Then the whole team visited me Sunday before they went to visit the farm. They also picked me up and brought me home after I got discharged at 8:30 on Sunday night. They have been so good. Everyone has. We are pulling together like we always do.

But I'm left feeling emotionally bruised. Is THIS the last time I'm home? Will they keep me THIS time? Am I going to have the baby today? What do we do about Seren? Are we ready for this? Will he be in the NICU? For how long? How will he fair? I feel that part of the joy is being taken away but all of this "threatened and aggressive pre-term labor." I have a few more milestones I want to meet. Week 32 is Friday. Then I'd like to see 34. And then, if I dare to hope, 36. God's got a plan, I just gotta go with it! And despite my complaining (which is really therapeutic for me, check is in the mail, readers) we are like real troopers. I am proud of us and I am very blessed that we got this far. I breathe a sigh of relief. My friends and family have been awesome as well.

I even liked seeing my cats last night. (For those of you who don't know me in real life, this is a HUGE statement as the cats and I have, at best, a love-hate relationship).

Man, our family knows how to PAAARTY on weekends, don't we? I promise, my next post will be more uplifting! More picture of Piglet or something. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Now he has seen everything

As an OBGYN, I'm sure he has seen it all. Women who aren't in their best moments. Sweating women. Crying women. Blood. Tears. Vomit.

Stressed out fathers. And so much more.

But he smiled when he saw my belly.

Last Friday, Seren, Sam and I went to the OBGYN for a visit and an exam. We chatted about bed rest. We chatted about our lives, our kids. He lifted up my shirt to measure my belly.

On my belly was a little surprise.

A Piglet and Pooh Sticker!

Seren LOVES stickers. She gives MANY to baby brother. Most of the time, they end up on my shirt. Sometimes on my skin.

So there I was with a Piglet and Pooh sticker on my big pregnant belly.

He laughed, looked at Seren and said, "How did this get here?"

"It is for baby broder!"