Monday, November 26, 2012

Still singing...

Well, today was a bit of a disappointment. I knew going into this procedure that it only has a 50-60% success rate, and that some babies are breech for a reason and might not be able to turn, but I had my hopes up. I have been trying for weeks to do everything under the sun to flip this baby...and sometimes it has seemed like she was SO close, but just couldn't quite turn the corner. I was sure a little coaxing from the hands of my doctor would be all it took, so I was really optimistic.

Last night, even though I didn't really feel nervous, I couldn't sleep. I had packed all the bags, cleaned everything (okay, I didn't sweep...sue me), and felt as ready as I could. All night, I tossed and turned and checked the clock, and finally got up before the sun (or the cute alarm clock who usually draws me out of bed with her "mama!" cries). I took a long shower, prayed, and relaxed until Adelyn woke up, and then tried to make the morning normal for her. I cheated on my "no food or drink past midnight" order and had a small bowl of cereal, and then tried to nap, but never quite could. Got a phone call from my doctor around 9 checking to see if I was sure I wanted to proceed, and she rattled my nerves a bit by telling me she didn't have high hopes for success. I told her I was in 100% and wanted to give it a shot as long as she was willing, so she said okay and that she'd see me soon.

I dropped Adelyn off to a friend around 10, met my wonderful doula Jerri-Anne back at my house, and we headed to Raleigh. Stopped in at my chiropractor's office in hopes that being well aligned and loosened up would help my chances for success, and then we headed for the hospital. Thank goodness Jerri-Anne was paying attention and noticed we were going West on 540 instead of East, or else we'd have been all kinds of late and out of the way. She's apparently as directionally challenged as I am, so we were lucky to get it all sorted out and end up in the right place with plenty of time to spare.

I checked in at patient registration, and headed up to L&D triage. Got changed into a gown and settled in right around noon, and had the monitors placed for contractions and baby's heartrate. Went through tons of questions, signed papers, and got all set with my nurse, then had a member of the anesthesiology team come to draw four vials of blood and start an IV, just in case. She was super sweet and had a great southern accent, and got my vein on the first try--yay!

My doctor came in to say hi and tell me that there was a c-section going at 12:30, and once they were done, she'd be ready to get started. Jerri-Anne and I chatted and watched the monitor for the next hour or so, and I was contracting every 10ish minutes, but not painfully. Finally, my doctor, a nurse, the CRNA, and good old Dr. M came in. He was exactly who I'd hoped to see, since he is the head of the department and has been in practice a long time--I figured he's bound to have done this procedure many times and should be a good asset.

They used the ultrasound machine to verify that baby sweet T was still head up, and checked to see where everything was positioned so they could decide which direction to go. Based on that, my doctor told Dr. M that she'd take the head if he'd take the butt, and they got set to go. I expected discomfort, but was surprised by the amount of pain that started as they pushed and pulled with a LOT of force. They were each using all of their strength it seemed, and somehow baby did not budge. After 20-30 seconds of that, they stopped to check with the ultrasound again--verified that she hadn't moved an inch and that her heartrate looked fine still, and then asked me if I was ready to go again. I said yes, and braced myself for the next attempt. I fully intended to try to breathe and relax during the procedure, but found myself holding my breath and tensing my whole body to try not to yell out from the pain. Attempt #2 didn't move her either.

I could see my doctor starting to give up, but she decided to try one time to push the other direction, and they gave it one last try. I wanted to stop so badly, but I also hated to give up and accept defeat. Finally, they stopped and we all accepted that it wasn't working and it wasn't worth trying any further. I was out of breath and hurting pretty badly, but so disappointed to stop. They put me back on the monitor to make sure baby wasn't too stressed out from all the smashing and squishing, and told me I could go once they had a good picture of that. I was contracting about every 6 minutes then, and feeling a lot of discomfort, but my stubborn girl looked perfectly fine and seemed completely unaffected by it all, so I was free to leave.

My doctor told me we needed to go ahead and schedule my c-section since there wasn't a lot of availability on the books, so I got two choices of dates and doctors, and picked the one that is on my due date--December 7th. I'm still going to hope and pray that maybe she'll decide to turn on her own, or that this accupuncture appointment will do the trick, but I am also going to work on preparing my heart and mind for the plan of a c-section in 11 days.

Dr. M asked me before we started whether his c-section had been THAT BAD that I was trying hard to avoid it again, and I told him no, not really, but didn't even try to explain just why I wanted this to work so much. I know many people, women even, dread labor and delivery and think it is horrible and yucky and painful, but it is something I have longed to experience for many years. I know it isn't pretty and it hurts way more than anything else in the world, but I also think it is beautiful and natural and the way God created birth to happen. I wanted that. I still want that. My c-section with Adelyn really wasn't THAT BAD, and I know that going into it knowing what to expect will help it be easier to do again, so I am going to try to look at the bright side to it, and pray for a really good experience and recovery. I think it will take all of these 11 days to help my heart get over the disappointment of not having the birth I wanted...but I know God is good and is still completely in control of my sweet baby girl's life and how it will begin.

I'm home now, and sore and tired, but glad to see the end of this long day. I started it by singing along to the Matt Redman song "10,000 Reasons", and the line that I like the most from that song is "whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes." So, my heart is a little heavy and I'm not quite over the disappointment, but I'm still singing and so thankful for a healthy girl, even if she is stubborn and causing me all kinds of trouble.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

One month down...

We've officially survived the first month of deployment! Just a little over ten more to go. Hopefully they'll fly by and soon we'll be counting down the days. For now, it's a small victory and we'll take it.

So far, it's been about how I expected. At first, it felt very normal because Nathan was often gone for a few weeks at a time for training anyway. It took a little while to sink in that this was different and we were just getting started, and now it's starting to feel like a long time. We have been able to talk frequently, but not as many long, undistracted conversations as I'd hoped. We have been able to video-chat a couple of times, but not on a regular basis at all due to Nathan's long days and lack of consistent internet service.

He leaves his current stateside location very soon to settle in to the overseas location where he'll be for the rest of the time. Once he gets his room assignment there, figures out his work schedule, gets internet set up, etc...we should be able to plan "dates" in advance and get a little more consistent with our communication. Adelyn LOVES seeing him on video, so I will be glad to let her talk to him more often and show off all of the new things she can do and say. We'll also be introducing baby sweet T to her daddy as often as possible so that she knows his voice and eventually his face.

This month has been full of wonderful blessings in addition to the hard parts. We have been served and encouraged so well by our family and friends, and it has really blessed my heart to feel so cared about by so many. We have received cookies on our porch, had dinners sent over, had people move to sit with me in church so I wouldn't be lonely, had our trash taken out on many occasions, even had our stubborn toilet plunged...and many more acts of kindness. Some days, being home and alone has been what I needed, but on the days that loneliness has crept in and I've started to feel uneasy, God has been so gracious in sending a call or text from the perfect person at the perfect time. It has been a beautiful month that has made me extremely thankful.

Speaking of counting down...we can do that pretty easily for baby girl's impending arrival. My due date is in 12 days, so she could be here any time, or at the VERY most, 26 days from now.

Tomorrow, I am having an external cephalic version--ECV done. I will check in to the hospital around noon, get an IV started, blood drawn, paperwork signed, and monitors hooked up. Once we are settled and have a baseline heart rate for baby, one last ultrasound will be done to make sure she hasn't tricked us and turned unexpectedly, and then my doctor will get to work. Sometimes babies turn with just a little guidance and it is quick and easy, while other times they are very hard to turn and it can be very painful and difficult. Sometimes they won't turn. Sometimes they turn back again. We'll just have to hope and pray for the easy kind. My favorite of all my doctors is the one doing the procedure, and she is super sweet and kind and reassuring, so I know that will help me relax. My wonderful doula will also be with me to help me relax and get through the discomfort, and also to be ready in case my water breaks or labor begins during the process and we end up sticking around for delivery.

I have my bag, the new diaper bag, and Adelyn's overnight bag packed and ready for action. My house is clean, bills are paid, and as much planning as can be done has been. It may be that we're back home tomorrow afternoon with no big changes, but if it happens to be THE day, we are as ready as we can get. I'll be stopping by my chiropractor on the way to the hospital tomorrow for one last adjustment to make sure I'm as ready for the procedure as I can be as well.

If this ECV doesn't work, I have an accupuncture appointment set up for Thursday. Apparently I am getting REALLY crunchy, thanks to the influence of many of my organic-minded friends. I am pretty willing to try whatever it takes, so it could be, if nothing else, an interesting experience.

For now, I'm hoping for what could be one last night of good sleep, waking up with my sweet funny girl, and trusting that God knows exactly how and when this next step in our journey begins.

How far along?  38 weeks, 2 days
Total weight gain: 30lbs
Maternity clothes? are getting too short to cover this belly!
Stretch marks? nope--thought I had found two, but they were just marks from my pants
Sleep:  I wish I could sleep for a week straight before this girl comes out!
Best moment this week: my baby shower last Sunday--getting blessed with lots of diapers, wipes, cute little outfits, and other fun things

Miss Anything? sleeping on my belly, eating spicy things without heartburn, putting on pants without a lot of pain...all things that won't last much longer
Movement: a lot less than before since there's not much space, but I still feel those little feet wiggling around here and there
Food cravings: tuna melts
Anything making you queasy or sick: eating too much--my stomach has a baby head resting right beside it, so if it gets too full it can feel pretty icky
Gender: she has a lot of pink and purple stuff to wear, so she better be a girl!

Labor Signs: contractions are getting serious at night, but never quite serious enough yet...just practicing still
heartburn all the time!
Belly Button in or out?  out out out

Wedding rings on or off? 
off...I'm just swollen enough that none of my shoes fit besides flip flops...that's fun
Happy or Moody most of the time: emotional
Looking forward to:  tomorrow--seeing what comes next

Friday, November 16, 2012

Full term!!!

Months ago, early in my pregnancy, one of the nurses at my OB office mentioned something about my chart listing me as "poor obstetric history". I kind of had to laugh, and said "yep, that's pretty much me."
Well, here I am, full-term, with a healthy baby girl growing inside of me...grinding her head against my ribs, sticking her feet into my bladder, and reminding me constantly just how blessed I am to be here now, waiting to meet her and fall in love with her a million times. Just look at these lips! 

Ultrasound today showed her looking healthy--approximately 5lbs 14oz (31st% for 37 weeks), plenty of fluid, and as breech as they come. Everything checked out perfectly, and now the specialist is going to review the ultrasound and then talk to my regular doctors on Monday to decide if I am a good candidate for an External Cephalic Version--where the doctor manually pushes and prods baby gradually into the head down position. As long as they decide to go for it, probably it will be scheduled for early next week, and I'll go in to L&D where they will look at her position one last time, monitor her heart rate, give me medicine to relax my uterus, and then try to coax her into place. There is a risk that the procedure could break my water or put me into labor (or cause distress for baby or placental separation), so they would have me come with bags packed and doula on hand in case we end up sticking around for delivery as well.

I'll be spending my weekend hanging off the couch, crawling around on hands and knees, putting ice packs on my belly where her head is, and various other silly things to try to get her to turn before Monday comes. They say playing music at the bottom of your belly can coax baby to come closer to listen, so maybe I just need to try more things to see what she likes. Adelyn prefered Yo-Yo Ma while in utero, but maybe this girl is a rocker.

Overall, I'm feeling about as close to ready as I can get. The bags are mostly packed, the house has been getting cleaner and cleaner with all my nesting, and I am feeling pretty excited and at peace with the thought of her being here very soon. This afternoon and evening I've been contracting every 15-20 minutes, so I am feeling like maybe if she just gets in the right position, real labor might not be far away. Or it could be weeks. Who knows?

Adelyn is finally off of antibiotics and presumably totally over her ear infections. She just got two of her two-year molars, so she's probably still feeling some discomfort, but the good news is after two more, that's all the teeth she'll get for a LONG time!
She's been sleeping mostly great and taking wonderful long naps (with the only trade-off being SUPER early wake-up times). She's learning tons of new words...animal sounds and numbers and letters. If I say "one", she says "two"...if I say "O", she says "P". I figure that's pretty smart and she just likes to be a step ahead :)

Nathan is working hard, doing lots of briefings and trainings and drills and other fun things to prepare for action. We get to talk most days, sometimes briefly and sometimes for a decent conversation. It's still hard not getting to really have privacy and unlimited time, and I often wish I could just call him at any point in the day when I have a question or something to tell him...but I'm thankful for technology allowing us to communicate. I can't imagine if we were just sending letters and waiting anxiously for replies!

Thanksgiving is going to be weird without him, but we have so very much to be thankful for and I am looking forward to food and family and celebration. God has been answering so many of our prayers is just the celebration of one of them. Hooray for full-term!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How far along?  36 weeks!
Total weight gain: 27lbs--half a pound from where I hoped to stop.
Maternity clothes? or Nathan's gymshorts
Stretch marks? nope
Sleep:  I can't get enough...I could sleep ALL day if I had nothing to do
Best moment this week: getting the good news that my platelets are up and my baby's head is down!

Miss Anything? feeling this girl go nuts when Nathan would talk to my belly
Movement: she likes to keep one foot pushed as far out as possible or into my ribs, but otherwise the movements are more subtle since she's running out of space
Food cravings: nothing new
Anything making you queasy or sick: eating
Gender: same same

Labor Signs: nothing could be any time, but it could also be six weeks
Symptoms: aches and pains and heartburn and all sorts of fun
Belly Button in or out? out. My midwife and I commiserated over our newfound "outies" together at my last appointment
Wedding rings on or off? off :( Had a few too many times where I could barely get them off, and decided it was best to just leave them for now
Happy or Moody most of the time: emotional
Looking forward to:  Next Friday--I'll be full term and I'll get to see her cute face on ultrasound again

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My hands are full

We've made it two weeks!

Yep, today we're celebrating small victories. Like the fact that my platelet count went up enough for me to have an epidural or spinal anesthesia if needed--yay! It will be rechecked when I get admitted to the hospital to give birth, but as long as it holds steady or goes up, things are good.

Also, there is beautiful sunshine today, and a few days of warm weather ahead of us...something my heart needs after these cold and windy days lately. Adelyn has learned to say "Brrr" every time we walk out the door, so I'm sure she will appreciate getting outside on a warm day as well.

The rest of life right now is tough. Adelyn has been battling double ear infections for weeks now that haven't responded to antibiotics. She's on her third one, and it's a high dose, so we were told to expect the tummy troubles that can come with antibiotics. They were right. Trying to figure out how to predict when a toddler will throw up is hard, and thrusting a cup in front of her face when she gags only makes her confused and distracted. I really don't know how this one works gracefully, but it's one of those things you figure out as a mommy I guess, so that's what I'll do.

The antibiotic does seem to be working this time, and she hasn't had much of a fever yesterday or today, so hopefully that means it's working and she won't have to take the next step of seeing an ENT specialist. We just have to make it through eight and a half more days of this antibiotic...yikes.

I had my 36 week appointment today, and am feeling so close to the finish line. I'm so excited to meet this baby girl and to be done with the discomforts of pregnancy, but I'm also feeling very overwhelmed by things right now. I'm at the point of being big and achy and tired where doing the littlest things seems HARD. Taking Adelyn to a store to grab a few things is so much work. Finding a comfy way to sit or stand to fold laundry is more difficult each day. Scrubbing out the tub when Adelyn has pooped in her bath AGAIN is comical. I am just so pregnant. Praise the Lord.

My midwife did schedule me today for another growth ultrasound because again my belly is measuring very behind where it should and didn't grow any from last week. I'll go back to the specialist next Friday to check and make sure that this still doesn't mean anything other than that I hide babies well somehow. Sure doesn't look like my belly is small to me!

Nathan is doing well--working hard and feeling exhausted a lot, and we aren't getting to talk much without distractions or technical difficulties preventing it from being the long and wonderful communication that I am missing. He's looking forward to finishing this training period and getting started on the real job ahead, and getting it over with so he can head back to us. We like that plan.

Mostly today I am just feeling like my hands are full. I have to remind myself that they are full of blessings that I cherish and am so grateful to be carrying...even when they are heavy and hard to hold. I have been encouraged by the help of friends and family, and just have to keep battling the feelings that I am doing this alone and can't handle it all. I can, because I'm not.

I heard this song on the radio last week, and just felt the words wash over me and provide such a sense of peace. It's been stuck in my head ever since, and while in some cases that gets old quickly, these words are exactly what I need to have running through my mind over and over:

"How quickly I forget, I'm yours. I'm not my own, I've been carried by you all my life..."