Friday, September 28, 2012

Bump Watch - 38 weeks!

This week has been a LOOOOOONG one.  We have been out of the house everyday for some kind of appointment...mostly for Sadie.  Monday, I had my non-stress test, then Sadie had Physical Therapy.  Tuesday we had a meeting at the school for Sadie's preschool transition.  Wednesday we saw Dr. Kwasnica at 8:45 in the morning.  Thursday I had an ultrasound at the same time Sadie and Daddy went to go get the new wheelchair.  And today, I had teacher inservice, so I was at a conference center for in-person meetings all day.  I am SO thankful that Brian took this week off of work.  And I am SO exhausted, even though I had all his help (and he helped A LOT!)

So, my ultrasound/midwife appointment this week was cool.  I had a different ultrasound tech and about half way through, she turned on the 3D.  I GOT TO SEE MY BABY!  You can tell just from the normal ultrasound that he looks like Sadie, but this was amazing.  He has her little button nose and her chubby cheeks.  At one point he even smiled, and we could see him blinking (so weird).  I started crying.  It was so amazing.  She printed out pictures for me, I'll share them with you, but our scanner wasn't working, so I had to take pictures of them with the camera and upload them, so they're kinda sucky... 

He has his hand up by his face, but you can see him smiling a little here

Look at that cute face!!
His head and his belly measured 39 weeks + 1 day and the ultrasound was on 38 weeks exactly.  So, he's big, but not outrageously so.  You could see the layer of fat on his belly, he's so very healthy.  I can't wait to see his little face, and I'm hoping he has a head of red hair like Sadie did when she was born.  I am so excited!

The midwife said that the ultrasound/Biophysical Profile looked awesome.  She asked if I wanted to be checked, because midwives don't check you every week automatically unless you want to.  I said no and that I don't even feel like I'm anywhere near labor.  But we did go over my birth plan (I brought her a copy) and she said everything looks pretty much like what everybody requests...except for the antibiotics.  But, we just need to make sure we remind them when we call initially to say I'm in labor that we're the ones who want the antibiotics even though I'm GBS negative.

And that was it... I go back in on Monday to start it all over again!!

How far along?  38 weeks...and not feeling a thing yet that is anything like labor.

Weight Gain? I weighed myself this morning and I'm at +47.7 lbs.  At this point I might be losing a little weight.  However, my baby is OVER 8lbs and they're now predicting over 9lbs at birth if I go full term!  WAHOOOOOOOO!

What's up with my Body? I hurt.  I hurt when I sit and I hurt when I stand and I hurt when I lay down and I hurt when I go to the bathroom.  I hurt when I walk and I hurt when I lift Sadie and I hurt when I breathe.  Brian asked me tonight if I needed a WAAHHHH-mbulance.  I told him yes.

Sleeping isn't so hard still, thank goodness.  What's hard is getting up 5-6 times a night to go to the bathroom.  And turning over is hard.  I feel bad for Brian, because I grunt and moan when I get up and when I turn over and I'm SURE he's not getting really good sleep either!

And did I mention that I hurt?

Gender? It's a boy!  You can read about our ultrasound appointment and see pictures if you go to this post here.

Emotions: I cried when I saw my baby in 3D on the ultrasound.  That's all.  

Baby name: I think we've FINALLY chosen our name.  But I think you're gonna have to wait until he's born to find out what it is!!

Best moment of the week: Sadie's new wheelchair.  I was really sad that I had to miss the appointment when Sadie was fitted, but I'm SO GLAD we got it!!  And I love it!!

What I'm looking forward to: Baby Shower tomorrow!!

How baby's growing: Baby's organs are all mature and ready for life outside the womb!  Now he just has to pick a time and make his grand entrance!

all belly ( see the crib set up behind me?!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sadie's new wheelchair

I want to start at the beginning... back in May I learned that our private insurance will cover a new wheelchair 100%.  This was really exciting news, because the wheelchair we have doesn't really support Sadie completely.  1. it's too big, 2. it's basically a giant stroller, and 3. we need something that tilts.

So, I went on a hunt.  I found 4 or 5 wheelchairs that I liked, sent links to Denise (who was our PT at the time), and we agreed on which one we thought would be the best.

Then I had to find a provider.

You can't just buy a wheelchair from the company that makes it, you have to go through a company that provides seating and mobility services.  The wheelchair clinic, provided for kids who are supported by state insurance, is in the building of a company called United Seating and Mobility, so naturally I called them first.

USM told me that if Sadie was enrolled in the CRS program (that provides the wheelchair clinic) then we HAD to go through the wheelchair clinic.  Why?  We're not using state insurance, it's purely private, so why do we need to even access the state program?

Then I had a LONG talk with the guy at the wheelchair clinic who basically told me that even though my insurance says they'll pay 100%, they won't.  And if we don't go through the wheelchair clinic, which allows the state provided insurance to "pick up the tab," then we'll be stuck with a bill.  However, to qualify for a new wheelchair through the wheelchair clinic (and they have available the one we want), we have to turn in the wheelchair we already have...and we weren't sure we wanted to do that.

If you remember, up until about a month ago, I drove a little Volkswagen hatchback.  It barely fit our current wheelchair in the back, and that folds up like an umbrella stroller.  If we traded that in for this other one we wanted, we'd basically never be able to take Sadie out, because we could never get Sadie and the wheelchair in the car.  Plus, we know that Sadie will grow, and having basically a giant stroller that folds up will be easier to travel with like if we fly somewhere on a plane.

So, I called my insurance company back and asked them again.  They said as long as the provider I choose is in-network they will pay 100% of the cost of the wheelchair.  Then I asked them to lead me to a list of in-network providers, because obviously USM and the wheelchair clinic just wasn't going to be easy to work with.  I found another company on the list that we work with often, they got us the Chill Out Chair and various other equipment, and they provide us with Sadie's tube supplies each month.

However, they've also been known to NOT be A+ in customer service, order the wrong thing, and take TOO long to get something to you.

They had to schedule someone to come out and measure Sadie, and fill out the order form for the wheelchair.  Luckily Denise had already gone through the order form and provided all the codes and things for what we wanted, so that made it easy for him.  And I explained to him that if we DID NOT get our wheelchair by October 1, we WOULD NOT be covered 100% by insurance because our year would renew.  He was very understanding and good at his job, and even though I worried and worried over the whole thing, we did what he was supposed to (oh, and I was diligent and called and nagged) and we got our wheelchair just in time!!

Mama wins again.

My favorite thing about the new wheelchair?  It's pink.

Sadie seems to fit in it really well, too.  We took it for a walk down the street and she seemed to be really comfortable.  It pushes like a jogging stroller with handbrakes and everything!!  Oh, and the seat spins so she can face me if I want!

Oh, and she has a tray!  So, since she actually is comfortable and likes sitting in here (as opposed to her other wheelchair which is basically a stroller, you use it to get from here to there), she can do activities for therapy or she can use it at school!!  yay!!

But the best thing, really, is that it's pink!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Spasticity Clinic - Our Second Visit

If you read my last post about Sadie's latest Ortho appointment, you'd know the drastic news we were given about her hips.  This morning we visited Dr. Kwasnica again (she's the one who recommended the hand splints) and continued the conversation.

I told Dr. Kwasnica what Dr. Segal said (they are colleagues and know one another well) and she was as shocked as I.  However, she later said that he must really mean it to recommend surgery to a child as young as Sadie.  She said that Dr. Segal is usually cautious about recommending drastic measures, so we should probably take him seriously if that's what he's saying about a child as young as Sadie.

We also talked about, in the meantime, trying Botox injections in her adductors and then having her wear a brace.  Dr. Kwasnica agreed that if we have to wait for surgery anyway, we might as well do something in the meantime.  She said it would help us with diaper changing, and it would stretch her tight hamstrings.

But it's not going to prevent surgery.

So we made an appointment in the beginning of November to do Botox.  Then we will be fitted for a brace, that she will probably wear at night, to hold her hips apart and provide prolonged stretching.

And we will probably move to schedule surgery next time we see Dr. Segal.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Update on Sadie's hips-The Orthopaedist again

I'm discouraged.

We visited Dr. Segal today, like we do periodically, to take X-rays of Sadie's hips and discuss the progress of her socket development.  (here's the background about this  And here's the information about our last visit) It wasn't very hopeful.

First, the good news...

Sadie's feet are okay.  She only needs to wear the AFOs (ankle/leg braces) in the stander for now.  Once she starts school she'll probably wear them the whole time she's at school.

Her spine is okay, and her hands are good.  We are going to switch to wearing the hand braces at night, because she wants to use her hands more and more and the hand braces sort of inhibit her.

But her hips are getting progressively worse.

Dr. Segal looked at me gravely and told me that he doesn't think Botox would be enough help, and that snipping her adductors probably wouldn't even be enough at this point.  And he's concerned, because she's only 2.  He's changed his recommendation at this point to major surgery, he called it osteotomy.

Here's an example of what we have going on.  Sadie's hips SHOULD look like the left side.  But instead, they look like the right.  Well, hers isn't dislocated yet, so it's still in the socket, but it's straight like that.

What the surgery would do is cut her femur in 2 places, remove a big chunk and TURN that top part so that it's angled correctly like you see on the left.  Pins would be placed in her bone, no casts, but at least a 6 week recovery (that WOULD set her back some in her physical therapy skills), then pins removed during an outpatient procedure.

Sounds drastic, right?

And then he tells me he is even more concerned because he doesn't like to do this surgery until kids are at least 4.  I told him the earliest we could even CONSIDER something major like this in our lives would be next summer anyway.

He is worried that her hips will start dislocating and she'll be in pain.  What do you even say to that?  Nobody wants their child to be in pain, right?  I mean that's basically telling me that if I don't choose to do this surgery I'm basically subjecting my poor child to pain that is unnecessary.

In the meantime, we see Dr. Kwasnica next week and we are going to discuss Botox with her.  I still really feel like if we can loosen those tendons (temporarily) and use that time frame we have when the Botox is effective to stretch and widen those hips, we can maybe at least buy her some time.  I know in the back of my mind that this surgery IS inevitable.

So, that's the story.

It's discouraging.

I'd really appreciate any stories of success from anybody whose child has had this surgery...I hope there are some.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bump Watch 37 weeks

Wow, I haven't written for a week!  I promise there are some things coming.  Sadie has an appt with the Orthopaedist today and with the Spasticity Clinic next week.  Plus we have a meeting regarding Preschool next week.  Oh, and her wheelchair and her new Happy Chair should be coming by the end of the month...lots on the horizon!!

I had a good talk with the midwife this week about my birth plan.  I was not (still am not) entirely sure what I'm allowed to do/ask for at a hospital birth and what I am required to do.  I was really happy when she told me that many of my requests might be frowned upon with an OB doctor, but with the midwives at the hospital they're used to it and most people ask these things.  I WILL get to hold my baby right away, and for as long as I want, until they do the newborn screenings.  I don't have to have them put goop in his eyes (that's for, like, if you have an STD).  The lights can be dimmed while I'm laboring and pushing, I can labor in the tub, I can even start pushing in the tub...but I am not allowed to give birth in the tub.  I can opt for Electronic Fetal Monitoring or just the doppler, and I can change my mind throughout.  Brian can catch the baby, and cut the cord, which won't be cut until it stops pulsating (as opposed to right away).  And I can eat and drink, I am not required to be hydrated via IV.

And on THAT note... my Group B Strep test was negative.  Hmmmmm...  That kind of surprised me, even though I know it's a transient infection/virus.  We are electing to do the antibiotics anyway, because we feel that there is less risk in getting antibiotics during labor than there is having the baby get the infection.  We're not sure that antibiotics in labor would have helped Sadie, but it's peace of mind, and the midwife agreed.

My Non Stress Tests and Ultrasounds weekly are going well.  Tuesday's NST was a little quiet and slow, so she kept me hooked up for a little longer.  Although, baby's been moving a lot, which eases my mind.  We go in for another ultrasound tomorrow (Brian gets to come with me!), so that will ease my mind hopefully a little more about Tuesday's lack of movement.

I've also been stressing out about what to do with Sadie when I have to go to the hospital.  We have her booked at Ryan House for the 9th, but there are 2 problems with that... 1. what if I go into labor BEFORE the 9th?  and 2. Grammy comes on the 9th, and even if I don't go into labor until the 11th or 12th, if we take Sadie to Ryan House on the 9th, then Grammy misses out on 3 or 4 days with Sadie.  Also, it's a lot of work to get Sadie ready to go to Ryan House, I have to write out her schedule, pack her clothes, make her enough food and label the food, etc. etc. etc.  And I have to do it, it's not really a job for someone else.  Plus Ryan House is the OTHER direction from the hospital.  

But I came up with a solution.  Chelsea.  Chelsea is our respite provider and she is amazingly flexible and competent.  She agreed to be on call and she is prepared to stay the night for 1 or 2 nights while we're in the hospital.  Chelsea can feed Sadie, bathe Sadie, put Sadie to bed, etc.  I feel so much better knowing we have her on board.  

Whew!  Things are coming together! I just have to start thinking and pre-packing for the hospital!

How far along?  37 weeks!!  I think we're "officially" full term now!

Weight Gain? I gained a couple more pounds this week.  My medical records from the midwife say I've gained 33lbs, but my own records say more like 48lbs.  Either way, I'm all belly, really, and my weight gain is normal.

What's up with my Body? Okay, yes, I have 2 stretch marks.  They are way down low kind of UNDER my belly, so they're hard for me to see.  But I did ask the midwife and she confirmed that they are indeed stretch marks.  I'm convinced that they are where they are because this baby is settled so low and just hanging out down there that my skin is stretched far more at the bottom of my belly than at the top.  I'm not sad about them or upset, I feel like they're kind of like a badge of honor!  (I know, I'm weird...but I don't feel like I need to be a super model.  My body has carried babies and I should be proud of that!)

This child LOVES to punch my bladder, and tug on my round ligaments and tendons.  Sometimes with every step I feel like he's closer to pushing some vital organ out my vagina!  Forget waddling, I feel like I'm walking on hot coals or something the way I carefully take each step!

The false labor comes and goes.  Sometimes I feel it a lot in my back...I hope that doesn't continue.

My feet are killing me.  I try to wear shoes around the house, but I forget, and then I'm walking on this hard tile.  Just laying in bed in the morning and thinking about getting up makes my feet ache.

Speaking of sleeping, I'm still doing okay with that, surprisingly.  As long as Sadie sleeps!!  She has been having some rough nights (but she's also been taking naps), which have made me REALLY tired.  But I'm hanging in there!

Gender? It's a boy!  You can read about our ultrasound appointment and see pictures if you go to this post here.

Emotions: Sometimes I feel really happy (like happier than I should be) about silly things... like driving with the sun roof open (I've never had a sun roof before, so it was delightful that the weather was cool enough to enjoy this!), or that I programmed directions to the hospital into the navigation system.  But then sometimes I feel like I want to just go cry somewhere by myself...for no particular reason.  Today, I'm up for a fight, so I'm going to email the school district and start being pushy about her starting early to preschool.  We'll see how that goes. 

Baby name: I think we've FINALLY chosen our name.  But I think you're gonna have to wait until he's born to find out what it is!!

Best moment of the week: Being able to enjoy cooler weather!  I actually walked around the block yesterday...twice.

What I'm looking forward to: Mighty Moms dinner tonight (this will be my last one for a while), In person Professional Development with my co-workers next week, and my baby shower!!

How baby's growing: Baby's lungs, which are the last thing to fully develop, are mature enough now that he could survive if born at 37 weeks.  Although, it's better to keep him in there longer.  He's mostly gaining weight at this point.  Baby Center says 6+ lbs.  I say he's probably closer to 7.5 or 8lbs at this point.  Anybody wanna guess what you think his birth weight will be???  Baby Center also mentioned hair, and the ultrasound tech told me last week that he does have hair on his head.  It'll be exciting to see if it is bright red like Sadie's.  I kind of have a feeling it won't be.

And I know I haven't posted a picture for a couple of weeks, but I took a shower today!!  So... ta-da!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bump Watch - 36 weeks

This was the last week Brian has to travel... hopefully ever.  We had a big scare with his job last week when his friends in different regions started calling saying they were fired.  We quickly learned that since Brian didn't have a call scheduled with the regional manager, he was probably safe.  But he was sick to his stomach with the possibility of losing his job...or being asked to transfer to CA. Instead, the other person who shares his position in his region was asked to relocate to CA.  I became instantly thankful that the management team considered our situation with Sadie and that we couldn't just pack up and move to CA.  What could have been a REALLY horrible day, actually turned into a blessing, because with this other person moving to CA, Brian will no longer have to travel every other week, but will stay in AZ primarily.

Then Sadie started acting weird.  Like she wasn't feeling well.  I thought it might be the barometer change since we had some rain over the weekend.  But Monday, the screaming all day started, and it didn't stop.  Tuesday I had to drug her just to take her with me to the midwife.  Wednesday, we went to see the doctor and learned that she's severely constipated.  So, we began operation blowout.  It's now Friday and we've had a LOT of poop...but she's still screaming.  Luckily, it didn't start until after we got home from the midwife.  I hate giving her drugs just to take her out in public.

On the bright side, since Brian's vacation time is use-it-or-lose-it, and it expires October 1, he is taking the next week and a half off.  Sadie has 2 doctor appts, and a preschool meeting during that time, so it'll be really nice to have his help!

Alright, with all the family drama out of the way...

How far along?  36 weeks!!  One more month!

Weight Gain? My weight is really not changing all that much.  I'm trying to eat some more high calorie foods (with good calories) to help.  And I've switched to drinking whole milk with Sadie. 

What's up with my Body? No stretch mark.  I don't know what it was, but it's gone.  May have just been veins.

Starting to have false labor, which is really uncomfortable.  Last night was the first time contractions kept me awake.  It sucked, because I REALLY needed the sleep.

My hips hurt when I lay down, when I walk, when I sit...all the time.

I'm officially waddling.

Gender? It's a boy!  You can read about our ultrasound appointment and see pictures if you go to this post here.

A note on this:  When I went to the hospital last weekend I asked the ultrasound tech if she could confirm that this baby is a boy, because we really saw one tiny look, and I'm concerned, because I know mistakes can be made.  His legs were crossed.

This morning I had another ultrasound, and I asked her the same thing.  She confirmed that it is for sure a boy, even though she didn't see a penis, she did see testicals.  So, I guess we'll throw out our backup girl name and donate all those girl clothes after all!

Emotions: I'm currently pretty stable.  

Baby name: I think we've FINALLY chosen our name.  But I think you're gonna have to wait until he's born to find out what it is!!

Best moment of the week: Having Chelsea's help (and friendship) when Sadie needed to go to the doctor...because she also had to get x-rays, and that's a pain when  you're pregnant!

What I'm looking forward to: Brian having some time off and getting to come with me to my next ultrasound appointment!

How baby's growing: Baby Center says my baby is 6lbs, but my ultrasound this morning said 7lbs 4oz (neither of these sources can be completely accurate though).  Baby is head down, way down.  Next week I'll be considered full term, although, we need him to stay in there a little longer...of course, unless he's READY to come out and meet the world!

Sunday, September 9, 2012's real

I've always been aware of what PTSD is.  My uncle, who fought in Vietnam has always had a problem with the 4th of July when the fireworks start.  And I've heard him tell stories decades after his experience about having nightmares and waking up feeling his surroundings to make sure he's not in a military bunk.  I've heard other, less personal stories, and I've always felt so bad for a person who's had a terrible experience that they can't escape from.

When I had Sadie, there were a lot of social workers who checked in on me to make sure I was doing okay.  And at one point, one of Sadie's therapists mentioned something about moms who have gone through similar experiences to mine having some PTSD.  I didn't doubt it...but I hadn't really experienced it either.  I mean, every once in a while, I look back at pictures, or I think about seeing her in that isolet so helpless, or even when the neurologist told us she'd be a vegetable.  And those memories make me sad.

But yesterday, I experienced PTSD in full effect.

I laid in bed yesterday morning NOT feeling my baby move (like he usually does in the morning...he's pretty active most all the time, actually), and I started thinking.  Bad idea.  Questions were running through my mind like, Did I feel him move at all yesterday?  I can't remember.  Does he usually move at this time of day?  Is he not moving because he's asleep, or is something wrong?  And I spun myself so into a frenzy that I had to get up.

I didn't know what to do.  I remembered having the same thoughts about Sadie around this time... and looking back, I was probably right.  But it was my first time being pregnant, and I had been reading someone's story on Baby Center about how she went into labor, delivered a dead baby, and came home to an empty nursery.  I thought I was over-reacting.  Was I?  Or was Sadie sick and REALLY not moving?  And if I talked myself down, would I be making the same mistake?

What if the same thing was happening to this baby?  And I ignored it again?  And then we repeated the experience?  What if I have some crazy virus in my body that attacks my babies?  What if I have some mutated gene and it's going to effect all my pregnancies?  Or what if I was just being crazy and there was nothing to worry about?  (this, of course, is what I wanted to believe)

I told Brian about my crazy fears and I started crying uncontrollably.  He's so rational.  He said, eat something, drink something, lay on your side.  And that worked a little, I felt him move...but not a lot.  He asked me why I was thinking this...did I read something?  Did someone say something to put these thoughts in my head?  No.  And that's what maybe scared me the most.

Finally, I decided I would call the midwife and just talk to her.  But first I had to flub my way through the answering service.  Poor guy could probably barely understand me.  If it had been a weekday I would have just called the office and asked to come in and hear his heartbeat...but it was Saturday.  Luckily, the midwife knows my situation, and she didn't act like I was crazy (even though I admit, I was borderline hysterical at this point).  I said, "maybe this is silly, but can I just come in and hear his heartbeat?  I know I'd feel a lot better then..."  She told me she's already at the hospital (I learned later that when she's on call over the weekend, she just lives at the hospital since her house is kind of far away), so come in and we'll do a non-stress test and hook me up to the monitors and make sure everything is okay.  That made me feel better.

Brian elected to stay home and NOT feed my crazy.  Plus, someone had to watch Sadie.  So, my friend Laura, who lives down the street came.  I am so so so thankful I didn't have to go by myself.  I was NOT in the right frame of mind to do anything alone.

We got there, and they hooked me up to the External Fetal Monitor.  They found his heart rate right away and it was normal.  I sighed a HUGE sigh of relief, and, even though I felt a little silly, I was glad to hear him in there... but he still wasn't moving like normal, I thought.  I didn't care though as much at that point, because I could hear his little heart beating.

The midwife came and said she was glad to hear a strong heart beat, but she wanted to see some accelerations.  These are basically movements.  I guess when he moves, his heart beat accelerates for a moment.  They wanted to see that before they unhooked me.  So, they brought me some ice water and immediately he responded.  I would feel him move and I when I looked at the monitor, sure enough, his heart rate would jump up 25-30 beats.

Finally, the midwife suggested I go have an ultrasound.  She ordered a special one called a bio physical profile, which they often do on women who are considered high risk.  I was told that they look for 4 things: tone (a floppy baby can indicate that something is wrong), breathing patterns, movement, especially flexion of the arms, and the amount of amniotic fluid I have.  She told me that if there had been any indication that something like this was needed for Sadie, it might have been caught early that she was sick.  That made me relax a little... so if whatever happened to Sadie happens also to this baby, this kind of ultrasound can see that, and something can be done to get him out right away.

I told her, I was feeling better, but that I can't promise I won't be back next weekend freaking out again!  That's when she suggested doing this non-stress test and ultrasound twice a week in the office from here on out.  I guess that's routine if you're high risk, or fit into a category of which includes having a previously stillborn baby.  I said that doing these twice a week would make me feel better and that even though I don't fit nicely and neatly into their high risk category, I am definitely on the fringes.

Anyway, they took me to ultrasound and my baby looks healthy and great, so I was sent home.  Of course then the baby was his usual roly-poly self for the rest of the day... but now I know he's fine.  And I can relax a little...until the next time.

The conclusion?  You can't know if you have PTSD or not until you're in a situation that mimics your original traumatic experience.  Oh, and maybe I am just a little bit crazy.