Sunday, December 23, 2007

Part II: The Labor Suite

Seth's birth day story continued...

Despite the rough night of Cervidil and numerous interruptions from my night nurse Candy, this (picture at left) is pretty much how I looked when they wheeled me from my home-away-from-home on the antepartum wing to the labor and delivery suite (L&D) on the other side of the 3rd floor. Not too shabby for 37 weeks pregnant and all drugged up, ready to push out a baby in 10 hours...But at the same time, I look at this shot, and I have to admit, I think: wow, I really look HUGE!

My nurse on the antepartum wing had attempted to remove the Cervidil, but was unsuccessful, and that was the first order of business when we got to L&D about 8:30. I knew Dr. Gibbs had wanted the Pitocin drip started as close to 8 o'clock as possible, so we were already "off schedule." But anyways....an L&D nurse was able to retrieve the Cervidil, Dr. Gibbs requested that I eat a small bowl of Cheerios to help me transition into labor, and the Pitocin drip was started to speed up my contractions.


As you can see from the additional pictures, things stayed pretty calm for a while...once our parents showed up (cameras in hand to document the events of the day), Jim set up my laptop so we could check e-mail, etc......Okay, I'll admit it: we set it up mostly so I could keep in touch with my on-line chat room"girls" (see "What I Really Do All Day" post from a couple months ago).

The nurses on the L&D wing seemed a lot more laid back than my antepartum nurses....and I have to say, this concerned me initially. I mean, c'mon: I'm trying to have a baby here. Could you maybe seem more interested in what my monitor is spewing out?


I guess this is a little unfair to them; looking back, I'm convinced that they were adequately concerned with and observant of my progress. Still, I was relieved when I learned that Dr. Gibbs had requested a midwife come in to break my water to speed things up. With my 6 o'clock deadline looming, I welcomed anything that might get things going and get Seth here faster.


Ooh....I have to insert a little sidebar here. Before the midwife came in, we had another visitor: a hospital chaplain. You may think this was either normal or strange, depending on your exposure to how hospital chaplains work. For me, I wasn't surprised, but I wasn't exactly thrilled, either. Let me explain.


I had been seeing this particular chaplain -- let's call her Marion -- for several days now. She was nice enough, and I didn't mind her company for the 10 or 15 minutes that she would visit my room. Earlier in the week, however, something happened that I never expected to backfire on me, but....it did. You may know that for the longest time, Jim and I had not named Seth....we weren't withholding his name from family and friends; we really hadn't decided. But the Sunday before his birth, Jim and I finally decided "Sprout's" name, but then, yes, decided to keep it a surprise until his birth. At one point the following week, however, in a moment of weakness and vulnerability, I shared the news with Marion, the chaplain. She asked, and although I explained that we were keeping it a surprise, she had said that she wanted to pray for the three of us by name, and I thought, "what can it hurt?" So I told her. Fast forward back to the L&D suite. So, here we all all: me, Jim, and our parents, all trying to make small talk with Marion as I'm riding out my contractions, and.....you guessed it. In response to someone commenting on how ready we all were to have the day over and for everyone to be safe and sound, Marion chimes in: "Well, of course....and you're all just so ready to meet baby Seth." I immediately went numb, then started sobbing. I had not bothered to tell Jim I'd told her; I really never gave it a second thought. But here it was: his name, out in the open, announced by a stranger. I was devastated that I'd robbed Jim of the moment of introducing his son to the world in the manner in which we'd hoped for. He quietly asked Marion to leave, and just held me. I kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" over and over, and although I know he was disappointed, Jim just held me and kept saying "It's okay." I had to ask our parents to leave, I was so upset. My blood pressure was spiking, and my contractions were intensifying. The nurses came running and we had to explain what happened...it was such a mess.


Or so I thought. Come to find out -- and I don't know how this was so, other than to say there were angels in the room -- none of our parents heard her. Somehow, she blurted Seth's name, but only Jim and I heard her say it. I was so relieved -- relieved to give Jim his moment back; relieved to know that no one else in the world knew, and there was no way the beans could be spilled and further.


Okay. Back to my labor. The midwife arrived right about 10 o'clock, chipper and soothing and ready to stick me with what looked like a crocheting needle. Ugh. She wanted to check me first, just to see how much progress I'd made on the Pitocin alone in the 90 minutes it'd been flowing. As she felt around my cervix, the expression on her face became unreadable. She turned to my L&D nurse and in the most puzzled tone asked, "Is this baby breech?" I had to smile....of course he wasn't breech. We'd just had an ultrasound, and both Dr. Gibbs and the midwife who inserted the Cervidil commented on Seth's position, just the day before. Still, the midwife was convinced she felt something other than a head. A hand, maybe? I told her that must be it -- after all, how many ultrasound pictures did we have of Seth with his arms up alongside his head? But she wanted to do an ultrasound, just to make sure, as continuing an induction with a breech baby is....well, let's just say it's not a good idea.


So, they wheeled in the ultrasound cart, and after a scuffle with the machine mechanics that necessitated an additional nurse and an on-call obgyn coming in to join the party, I watched all the faces around the foot of my bed fall -- Jim, our parents, my nurses, and the midwife -- as the screen revealed that our little boy was indeed breech.

And all of a sudden, it became clear why Thursday night had been so miserable: Seth was doing incredible acrobatics in an attempt -- successful, it would seem -- to somersault himself right-side-up. The end result: an inevitable C-section.

Dr. Gibbs came by during rounds about noon. I'll never forget the look on his face as he entered the room.

"You must have an audience with God," he says. "In 21 years of practicing obstetrics, I've never had this happen."

I replied that I did not pray for a C-section -- I merely prayed that the choice to either rush a labor or operate would be clear cut.

With a rueful chuckle, he replies "Um, yeah.....laser clear." Ha, ha. Pun intended, I'm sure.

Unfortunately, because I'd had that bowl of Cheerios for breakfast, we now had to wait for my digestive system to empty before we could proceed with the delivery. Tentatively, the operation would happen at 4:30. As soon as Dr. Gibbs left, the nurses stopped the Pitocin drip -- but not quite in time. I was already in a pretty decent labor pattern. They gave me a shot of Nubaine (YUCK!!!) to help with the pain, and as soon as I started to drift off into la-la land, Jim took our parents to the cafeteria for lunch. By the time they returned, it was drawing closer to go-time, and I was working myself into a nice state of panic.

By 4:45, everyone was ready to go -- in scrubs, watching the clock. My nurse came in with the most apologetic look on her face, and explained that one of the anesthesiologists was concerned with a possible placental hemorrhage, and was requesting additional blood draws. (I knew, even in the moment, that this was necessary, but seriously?! Can I please just go have my baby!?) At this point, I'm miserable. I'm in labor, and I'm scared to death, and I began repeating what became my mantra for the next hour: "I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this."

Long story short. We wait. The phlebotomist comes in, draws the blood, rushes out. We wait. And finally, they come to get Jim and I. Except we only go about 5 feet from the room, and they tell Jim, "Daddy waits here."

HUH? Why is he not coming with me? At this point, I'm shaking, I'm sobbing, and I'm 100% convinced that there has to be some way -- other than the way we're about to do this -- to get this baby out of me....

To Be Continued...Coming Soon...Part III: The C-Section

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Part 1: Induction

I didn't share the name of the Tic for privacy's sake, so neither will I share the name of the absolute best nurse I had during my stay. I give her the title of "best" as one of three contenders mainly because she hugged me when she met Seth...and she intentionally came to meet him on a night when she wasn't even my assigned nurse. Jim says, "let's call her Candy," so for the sake of anonymity, Candy she'll be.

Once the decision was made to induce, there was nothing left for me to do but wait. Wait, and start to hyperventilate, as I became more terrified by the minute of the moment Candy would come in to start my IV. I swear, I am terrified by this more than anything.

I knew my IV had to go in before 7:30, but there was no way that I was prepared to get it without Jim there to hold my hand. He had some final errands to run before coming up to the hospital, so we were cutting it close, but there were things that had to be done before Seth showed up. I can only imagine what was going through Jim's mind all Thursday afternoon and early evening, knowing that it was going to be his last night before fatherhood.

After Jim got to the room, I allowed him to finish his dinner, and then we called for Candy to start the IV. Thank God for her wonderful technique and personality. She kept me as calm as humanly possible (for me, at least, given my predisposition in this particular situation), and she got the IV placed on the first try! (Granted, she got blood everywhere, but she warned me ahead of time that she tended to make messes, so that really wasn't a big deal...not to mention I had already declared her fit for sainthood for not killing me in the IV process.)

The midwife came in right at 7:30 to insert my Cervidil. It definitely was not the most pleasant experience; I swear, she placed that thing up around my lungs! (At least it felt like that's how far she shoved it in!) She was very positive as she placed the insert, and commented on Seth's position and the "state of my uterus." Also, Candy had done a very good job explaining the side effects, risks, and common occurrences with a Cervidil induction, so I wasn't too surprised when I started to feel just plain yucky.

Once the Cervidil is placed, an expectant mom is kept on a permanent fetal monitor -- one for the baby's heart rate and one for the mom's contractions. Candy explained that there might be points in the night when , if the nurses station saw that the baby had "fallen off the monitor," she and another nurse would have to run in and wake me, telling me to move immediately in order to reposition the baby. She said this was very common, and usually just meant the baby had moved and we needed to reposition the monitor. She explained that she wasn't telling me this to freak me out, but rather, because there is no time to explain the situation to a panicking mom in the middle of the night.

I can't even tell you how many time Candy had to wake me Thursday night/Friday morning. 10? 12? Enough that when I got up at 5:30 Friday morning, I didn't feel at all rested, and I was dreading the hours to come. I knew Seth waited on the other end of the day, but as exhausted as I was at this point, I didn't feel confident in my ability to labor and deliver him by 6 pm (the deadline Dr. Gibbs had given).

Little did we know all that had occurred in the wee hours of the morning, and how it would dictate the events of the day.

To Be Continued.... Part II: The Labor Suite... coming soon (I hope)

I'm going to do this in pieces...


I had a revelation the other day: I'd started a play-by-play of Seth's birth day experience while we were still holed up in the hospital (
oh, yeah...we're home, by the way), and I just couldn't seem to get the words out right, or fast enough, or something....which is why it's still not posted.

Well, it dawned on me yesterday that I have not yet processed all of what transpired between noon on Thursday and 6 pm on Friday. And because I hadn't really even allowed the experience to sink in with me, I was in no shape to share it with you.

I've started to process everything (sorry for sounding so hokey...it really
was something I had to process, literally hour by hour). So, I'm going to be posting the story in "chapter" (which means it will require effort on your part if you don't want to read it backwards. ;)

So, that's the plan.....it'll make it easier to caption the pictures, too.

And just because, even though it has nothing to do with this post, here is a cute picture of Seth and (part of) Daddy late last night:




Monday, December 17, 2007

Ta-da!

Okay, okay. For all you impatient people who keep asking when I'm going to post pictures and update the blog....here you go.

I'm still writing up the whole story, but as the drama continues to unfold, I figured I'd at least get the basics up for you.

 

















Seth James made his debut via C-section, Friday, December 14, at 6:06 pm. He was a whopping 5 lbs, 3 oz., and stretched out to 19 inches.

He is a delight -- I can't even begin to list his virtues. The best yet is that he seems to have Jim's laid back personality. He doesn't fuss, doesn't cry. Falls asleep easily. ;) We're already so, so in love.

Recovery has been hard, and it has taken some unexpected turns that have lengthened my hospital stay. Oh well. We're still confident that all three of us will be home from the hospital and celebrating in style by Christmas.

Thank you all for your continued love and support. Again, more details will follow, but for now, I have to sleep....cant.....keep.....eyes.....open.......

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's go time...

Well, after months of waiting, it is time to have a baby.

One way of the other, Jim and I will be parents tomorrow.

Dr. Gibbs has decided to induce me, with no argument from this peanut gallery. I have been feeling progressively worse the last few days, and my pressures have been very unstable throughout the day.

I will be given an IV and a Cervidil suppository Thursday night between 8 and 9 pm. This will prepare my cervix for labor. Friday morning, I will be moved to a Labor & Delivery birthing suite, where the Cervidil will be removed and Pitocin will be administered. The Pitocin will start and/or intensify my contractions. I will be able to get my epidural very early in this process, so I'm not really too fearful of the whole labor thing (I'm more apprehensive about the IV tonight....that never goes well).

Dr. Gibbs said that we will know fairly quickly if the induction is working, as he does not plan to let me labor for more than 8-12 hours. If Sprout hasn't made his appearance by early afternoon, we will begin discussing a c-section.

As I'm typing this, I'm realizing how absolutely exhausted I am. Ambien is no longer working too well, and I'm running on about 4 hours of sleep....

So, I'm gonna take a nap and try to store up some strength.

I will close with this. PLEASE do not take offense to this, and know that it is NO reflection of how grateful Jim and I are for the support and love you all have shown: while we will happily announce the birth of our son as soon as we can, we are asking that once you receive word of his birth, please respect our wish for privacy while we are hospitalized. I have been told repeatedly that I will regret asking friends and family to refrain from visiting while we are still in the hospital, but this is a decision that Jim and I have made together. There is a very great chance that I will not be allowed to have visitors, and given the high-risk nature of this pregnancy and delivery, we -- and Dr. Gibbs -- feel it is best that we use the first days of Sprout's life to bond as a family and for me to recover.

Once we are home and settled, we would welcome friends and family to stop by, and celebrate with us the arrival of our son. Thank you, all, for your continued love and support. More updates to come!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

He's just amazing...

My nurses -- minus the Tic -- are doing a great job taking care of my body, but this guy gets the prize for tending my heart.

Jim is here (almost) every day for lunch, and shows up like clockwork every day after work, staying until I'm ready for my Ambien dose. And I know he's exhausted. He's still giving 110% at work -- which, for Jim, may mean setting the alarm for 4:30 am, to make sure he's ready to face the day -- at home, at church, with our rentals....you'd think there wasn't enough of him to go around, and yet he manages to get it all done -- and get it done well.

He knows my biggest fears and insecurities about this hospital stay, the looming delivery, and the daunting reality of bringing Sprout home, and he knows how to alleviate them all. I can't say enough about how proud I am to be his wife, and how happy I am to be giving him a son.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I've been tagged....

Okay, from what I gather, the gist of this whole blog-community tagging thing is for me to write a post, detailing six random things about me. (I'm in turn, then, supposed to go "tag" other people....but I think I'll let the insanity peter out with me....I know; I'm a party pooper.)

1. I hate white condiments. Seriously. Like, all of them. I don't eat mayonnaise, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, whipped cream.....I will cook with the aforementioned, but if you offer me a BLT with mayo or a bagel with Philadelphia spread, I'm handing it back. People who know this think it's all in my head, but I really don't like the taste. It's probably why I don't eat pasta salads, potato salads, and most "dips." You may think I'm missing out; maybe I am. But think of all the calories I'm sparing myself.

2. It makes me sad that Jim doesn't wear his contacts more. =( He has the most gorgeous blue eyes, and I rarely get to see then sans spectacles. I know he hates to put his contacts in, so I don't often push the issue. We have discussed lasik surgery, and that may happen, when we have an extra couple grand sitting around (hah!), but in the meantime....Don't get me wrong; I love my husband, not matter what he looks like. (Hey, if he "tolerates" my stretch marks and bed head, I can deal with his sexy wire rims!)

3. I sometimes get my chocolate fix from eating directly from the bag of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips....it's awful. As soon as I've needed to open the bag for a legitimate baking task....it's all over. I'm embarrassed. Shame on me.

4. I have the best memory of anyone I know. I don't say this to brag. I don't. I just think it's one of the things about me that makes me, me. It can be a hindrance, though, when I'm tempted to use my powers for evil instead of good, so to speak. For example, I can recall, almost word for word, whole conversations from months ago; this can be bad, especially if I am trying not to "keep score." And if I can recall something, and say, for example, Jim can't, it can lead me to coming across as a stubborn know-it-all. And I hate that. I hope that my memory never goes, though. Even when I'm old and decrepit, I hope to have my memories to keep me company.

5. I think about my ex-es more than I think is normal. And the only reason I feel at liberty to "confess" that here (knowing my husband and his whole family read this blog) is because it is innocent "thinking." I attribute it to the memory thing. There are just so many trigger points. I can't hear about a breaking news story in Kentucky and not think of Nathan. Or listed to certain of my favorite CDs and not think of Daniel. Big dogs always make me think of Mark, even though I never got to meet his dog Klondike....I dunno. Maybe that's fallout from dating too much. It's not really something I overanalyze a lot.

Okay, moving on.....

6. I absolutely hate confrontation. Maybe more than anything in the world. It's awful; I'm bad at it; and I wish I never had to encounter it. It's what I think I'll hate most about becoming a parent. I'm too hormonal at the moment to expound on this point, so I won't try.

So, there. Six random things about me. The end. =)

No, he's not here. Sit tight.

First of all, apologies for going AWOL the last few days. It was a rough weekend for this mommy-to-be.

Here is where we stand as of Tuesday afternoon:

Yesterday, Dr. Gibbs said Sprout will be here within the week. Before you ask,
I have no idea what that means, specifically. I don't know if that means c-section, induction, more tests, just wait-it-out. I don't know. So please, to spare me from repeating that lovely "idk" phrase, please just take that statement at face value.

I had
labwork drawn this morning; again, I didn't ask for specifics. I'm assuming it's the same panel I've been having drawn every few days.

Sprout also had another biophysical profile this morning. He did much, much better today than he did at last Tuesday's
BPP. He passed with flying colors in the first 13 minutes -- he didn't even need the full 30 minutes. Most importantly, his "practice breathing" was good. This is critical, as he is still tiny. Again, they were not supposed to be taking weight and height measurements, but we did discuss that he is still about 3 weeks behind -- the "estimated due date" that kept popping up on the screen as she was measuring his belly, legs, and head was averaging around January 21. No worries; it just means he is tiny.

I have been able to keep my pressure down today -- last reading was 138/83...which is sad that that is "down," but hey, we'll take it over the 159/97 I was running yesterday.

Ugh. Yesterday was AWFUL. Dr. Gibbs finally ordered a shot of
Demarol, just to get me some rest. (It didn't work, but between that and my nightly Ambien, I felt pretty human this morning when I woke up.)

So....here I sit. I'm prepared for anything at this point. If the labs are bad....maybe
induction tomorrow? Maybe a c-section? If the labs are unchanged from the weekend, I'd really like to see Monday. But, it is ultimately not up to me. We'll see what Dr. Gibbs wants....not to mention how Sprout feels about this whole thing.

Thanks, all, for reading and for keeping the encouragement coming. We'll keep you updated!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tic update

I hope you guys actually believe this woman exists; I know I'm a pretty good storyteller, but even I don't think I could make this stuff up.

Tonight's gems:

She had to check my reflexes by banging her stethoscope on my joints (uncomfortably, I might add) because her sons -- you know, those three boys that she has that I know way too much about -- had absconded with her actual reflex-checker tool (forgive me for not knowing what it's actually called). The point is, it's unprofessional to tell your patients that the reason you are using makeshift tools to perform a vitals exam is because you can't keep your unruly rugrats
from hiding your stuff. I called her on it, too. I asked "Well, why couldn't you get a replacement?" She hesitated...."Well, we're just out of them." Riiight.

And because, as we all know, the best way to get back on the right foot with your patient is of course to talk about tragedy, she proceeds with:

"So, I had to go to a funeral today. My husband's ex-partner went to work one day, and had a heart attack, and then had a stroke, and just keeled over and died. And he was my age."

Any of you following this farce would be proud of me. I actually spoke up at this point:

"Um....I'm sorry, but why would you think I need to know this?!"

She tried to cover, "Oh, well, you don't have to worry, I'm much, much older than you." (She's probably in her late-30s, if that.) So, so not the point!

Please note: I have had 9 nurses since I've been here. I know maybe -- maybe! -- one personal thing about each of the others, and most likely, that one thing is only as "personal" as whether or not she has children. But the Tic? Oh, no.....for whatever reason, she is inclined to divulge to me any and all random thoughts that flit across her brain.

Seriously, people. WHY do you think this is? What is it about her? Or, heaven forbid! Is it something about me that translates "Please, please just spew your business all over my already fraught-and-fried brain! Please! 'Cause I don't have enough to process!

Jim and I are sitting here, waiting for her to come back to perform my nightly NST.. We went for a wheelchair ride at 8, and she knew to come do the test when we returned. We were gone, perhaps 12 minutes. It is now 8:52. Anyone want to guess how long it takes here to come back? Stay tuned....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sara Jean, this one's for you...

As the Tic is hooking me up for my NST tonight, she forgets to enter something into the system, and the little alarm bell goes off. Her response:

"Oh! Ooops!"
(And then she proceeds to explain to me what she did wrong.) "You know it's pretty bad when the machine has to remind you how to do your job. Hah, hah."

Simmer down, SJ. She is off at 11; I only have to survive 2 hours of "care" and Ambien is on the way. Nighty-night!

More bizarre nurse behavior

After much consideration, I've decided to just put up with my "special" nurse. I would take very little pleasure from getting her in trouble, and let's face it: it makes for good story material. If Sprout decides he wants to go into the medical field when he grows up, it will have been instilled in him from an early age that you just don't tell people you're "not incompetent" by way of introduction.

I thought I'd share some more tidbits from my most recent experience with the Tic. (That's what I've decided to call her in my head. It keeps here anonymous to you locals, and it's short for The Incompetent Chic.)

Jim got to meet her the other night, which was great, because after some of the back-and-forths of that particular shift, I doubt he'd have believed she exists.

Scene One: She waltzes in an proudly proclaims that their family's new business is up and running....although her hubby had overbooked his time that day, so she had to help pick up the slack. (Okay, great, whatever.) I apparently didn't catch the punch line there, because she went on to prompt me, "So that means, I'm only running on two hours of sleep! Hah, hah!" To which I actually replied, "Hmmm....it doesn't seem like that is something I'd be telling my patients. Hah, hah." Her response: "Oh, that's what Mt. Dew is for." Nice.

Scene Two: She came in at 7:15 to announce that she was here (yes, I see that, thanks), and to inform me, "Oh, I have a new patient coming in that needs some TLC, so if you need anything, tell me now." I assured her I was fine, and she said she'd be back at 8:30 to hook me up from Sprout's PM non-stress test (the 20-minute test where they monitor my contractions and his fetal movement). 8:30. 9:00. 9:30. 9:45 all come and go. At 10:00, Jim asked if I wanted to call her. I said I'd give her 15 more minutes. He wasn't so patient. ;) So, out the door goes my knight in shining armor. He returns, just shaking his head, "She was 'with a new patient,'" he says, making air quotes. "Yeah, you told us that 3 hours ago!" So, she walks in, all chipper: "So, Jim says you're ready for me!" It's late; yes, Jim and I both couldn't refrain from rolling our eyes behind her back.

Scene Three: Without breaking stride, we head right into the next inappropriate conversation. I'd been having a lot of mini-contractions while we were waiting, and a lot of sharp pelvic pains that were resulting in some pretty significant discharge (again, my blog. I can write what I want; stop cringing). I tell her about the contractions (which, by the way, both Dr. Gibbs and my nurses earlier in the day had confirmed I was having, as the monitor was picking them up), and she laughs at me. "Oh," she says, with profound wisdom in her voice, "those aren't real contractions. Real contractions are when you start cussing at us. If you can talk through them, they're just Braxton-Hicks." Okay. There are a couple things wrong with this picture. One, don't laugh at me! It is demeaning, and most certainly falls short of "patient CARE" in my book. Two, um, no: they are "real" contractions if the register on the monitor. And it undermines everything I've read about natural childbirth and pain management to assume that no woman can endure "real" labor in a civilized manor. Ugh. I wasn't trying to convince her I was in hard labor...I was just commenting on the reality of the moment. Just because YOU screamed like a banshee through all 3 of your childbirth experiences does not mean I will do likewise, and I don't like you assuming that.

Scene Four: While I'm hooked up the monitor, she says she needs to fill out my patient report. "So, describe your pelvic pain for me, on a scale of 2 to 10." I say, "7." She pauses. "Well, is it more a 6, or an 8?" Huh? "Um, well....it's more like a 7..., " I trail off, confused. She pauses again. "Well, I'll record 'between 6 and 8.'" Granted, I've been out of active society for a bit, but last time I checked, the number "between 6 and 8" was a SEVEN!!!! We move from pain level to urine color. Great. "So, would you say it's dark yellow or amber?" Now, you realize I'm not normally so snarky, but it's late, I don't feel well, Jim is tired, and this whole thing is just getting a little grating. I want to say to here, "Gee, I don't know. Do you have a color wheel or some paint swatches?" I don't. But I want to. I merely say, "well, dark yellow, I guess...like, brownish, maybe...I mean, yeah...dark yellow." And she excitedly replies, "Oh, so like tea?!" "Um, no...." And she proceeds to explain what she means by amber. Again, my answer: no, just dark yellow. Should I save my next sample? Again, rolling eyes.

Scene Five: When she come back to take me off the monitors, she starts in on whether or not I want a snack. Not really, but I figured it would get her in and out and on to the next patient, so I say "sure, bread and peanut butter." "Do you want milk?" "No thanks. Just bread and PB." "You sure? No milk? Tea? Sprite?" "NO! Please, just the bread and PB!" The bold is for emphasis here; I didn't really yell at her. She comes back...."We are out of bread, so I brought you PB and Saltines." Riiiiight. 'Cuz a Saltine is just like WonderBread. (Okay, so I get that it's not her fault they didn't have bread; it was just how the night ended.)

Anyway, I polled my online pregnancy chat-room buddies, and the consensus was to request that she not be assigned to me any more. I thought about it. Hard. But, you know what? I'm not going to be here that long. And as long as she doesn't actually mess up my care, what's the harm? Like I said, I'll have a pretty comical story to pass along to Sprout.

And it's kept you entertained, right? So, some good has come out of it. =) Happy Thursday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Long overdue pictures of Sprout...sort of....

I knew I was getting some visitors today, so I put a little effort into cleaning up this morning (meaning I actually used the hair dryer and put on some mascara). Since I didn't want the effort to go to waste, I played around with the camera a bit, too.

So, here I am, 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I wasn't too swollen today, though my BP would have testified otherwise, so the pics aren't too, too unflattering (though, after waiting a long time to get any cleavage whatsoever, I'm kind of bummed that these pictures don't really reflect that.....and yes, I'm talking about my boobs. It's my blog; I can write about whatever I want).


The stretch marks aren't too bad, either, though they are multiplying and they seem to be getting more fiery red. =( And the only piece of maternity clothing I'm wearing here is the tank. Go, me, for keeping my butt and thighs in check enough to still fit into my pre-pregnancy pajamas at 8.5 months pregnant. Not to say that I haven't struggled with body image. In fact, if you scroll down far enough, you'll find the post when I discovered that the "pregnancy glow" comes with a whole lot of unpleasantness that they don't really tell you about in the glossy nine-month magazines (types the mommy-to-be, as Jim blows up her hemmorhoid donut). Ugh.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

But things aren't half bad in Room 355.

Thanks so much Mom and Greg, for the roses; Jenny and John for the daisies; and Marybeth and Brad for the roses
and daises. It has made such a difference in the room -- all my visitors have even commented. If I weren't overwhelmed by the thought of all I'll have to take home in a week or two (the least of which is our SON!), I'd ask Jim to set up a small tree. (After all, what is Christmas without a tree?!) But as an alternative, the flowers are a blessing. Thank you all so much!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I love my ultrasound chic

First of all, her name is Jillian.
sigh....I wanted Sprout to be Jillian Noelle if he'd been a she, but alas, Jim shot it down. =(

Second, she is by far the best tech in the Maternal Fetal Medicine dept. (Granted, I've only ever had two other techs down there, but she outshines them by far.)

Despite the not-so-great experience this morning with Sprout's biophysical profile (more about that in another post), I had a great time with her, talking about Thanksgiving traditions and our first years of marriage to our husbands.

And she has admitted that she has developed an attachment to Sprout. Last week, she wasn't being too profound; she was just complimenting us on Sprout's nose. She admitted to often telling patients, "Oh, s/he is going to be a cutie!" or "look at those dimples!" but that she had not seen a baby with as precious a profile as ours. She kept saying, "I really, truly believe he is going to be one handsome little guy." (Well, duh!)

Today, though, she was being a little more serious, doing a personality profile. She cracks me up. She said that Sprout is more attentive and aware of his surroundings than most of the babies she sees. And that he seems very inquisitive; it is fascinating to watch him find his umbilical cord, catch it in his hand, and try to bring it up to his face. Or if he accidentally pokes himself in the eye, it is so neat to watch him try to figure out what he's done. (I know I've been so fortunate to have so many lengthy ultrasounds, and to get to observe him like this.) Jillian also picked up on some traits that can easily be attributed to Daddy -- like the fact that she had to wake him up today using a buzzer....literally, he was so sound asleep, she had to put a buzzer probe right up next to his ear and pulse it for 5 seconds. He startled...stretched...rolled over...and went back to sleep. Hmm....I recognize that pattern. ;) Her last observation is that he may well be very independent, in the sense that he can entertain himself. Once she got him to wake up, he seemed perfectly happy to float there, play with his cord, and relax, even though he was getting prodded and poked, and all these things were going on around him. Ah....I hope that holds true postpartum. Oh, how I'd love for him to be an easy baby.

But I digress....

I know I often sing Dr. Gibbs praises, but there really have been a handful of medical professionals that have made this experience as joyful as possible, given the circumstances. Jillian is one of them, so this is a special shout out to her.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Things that make you go "hmmm"

I was looking for a cartoon to accompany this post, but none that I found do this topic justice.

Just for the record, let me say that the following conversation really happened, and yes, it made me very uncomfortable. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think they teach you this in nursing school:

"Hi, Monica? I'm going to be taking care of you tonight."

"Okay, hi."

"Just let me start by saying, I'm NOT incompetent...."

Huh? Who says this to a patient?!

She went on to explain that she'd been a nurse for many, many years, but that she was just finishing up her orientation on the antepartum ward, and she was very open with the fact that she wasn't "really familiar" with babies when their still "cooking."

Again, NOT something you say to a patient who is trying her best to successfully "cook" her baby!

Please, no one take it upon themselves to come to my rescue. I obviously made it through the night, and there was another (competent) nurse watching my back, so, no harm no foul. =) Just thought I'd pass along this little gem.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

If the urge strikes....

Many of you have already expressed your desire to "do something" for Jim and I. I have resolved that I will humble myself to actually take you up on that, instead of demurely replying, "Oh, thanks, but I think we're fine."

My first act of "okay, if you insist" is to ask that if you were thinking of sending flowers to the hospital, please choose something festive.

I'm having a hard time accepting that I will spend December in a less-than-Christmasy hospital room, especially when my home looks so nice (if I do say so myself). With the help of some wonderful girls from Westgate Chapel, I was able to get the tree up and the house decorated a few weeks ago (so it's not like I didn't get to enjoy it at all). But I'm sad that I don't get to enjoy the scent of my favorite Christmas candles (Bath and Body Works' Winter Candy Apple) or sit on the couch with all the lights off except the tree....

Okay, now I'm rambling. That's what I get for being woken up to do fetal monitoring at 5 am -- I've been "wide awake" for over an hour, but I'm still probably a little fuzzy and not making a ton of sense. =)

So, at the risk of sounding like a diva, telling you all how best to "bless" me, I'll admit it: if you're going to send flowers, please remember I'm allergic to lilies and that poinsettias last a long time. =)

How Sprout is holding up through all of this

I know he is foremost in many of your minds (and that's the way it should be -- he is certainly foremost in mine!), so I thought I'd throw out the stats as they've most recently stood.

We had an ultrasound in Maternal Fetal Medicine this past Wednesday. I had been sure to grill Dr. Gibbs at my Tuesday appt. about what we should be looking for as far as measurements and weight, etc. He was very careful to remind me that the estimated weight didn't matter nearly as much as his measurements matching up with themselves (his head, belly, fundal height, etc. all need to be on pace with each other). Despite this warning, however, I knew that 5 lbs. was the magic number to see.

No such luck. Sprout tipped the scale at 4 lbs. 13 oz. (So, yes, almost there.) His growth has continued to slow down. His weight now puts him in the 14% -- which, to my mother's heart, is much too close to the 10%-mark that indicates IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) -- and he is measuring about 3-4 weeks behind the average fetus of his gestational age. BUT. The good news is that all of him is measuring behind, which is what Dr. Gibbs had stressed to me.

I would imagine that even though I'm in the hospital, I'll still be having the weekly ultrasounds to monitor his growth (not that there is a whole lot of time left to be squeezing these in!) and to make sure he gains at least a handful more ounces.

The nurses keep having my clarify if I've had any steroids...I wish they would stop asking, because, no, I haven't had the steroids in question (the ones that would accelerate Sprout's lung development), and I'm starting to wonder if I should ask for them. Usually, 36w is the benchmark by which it is assumed a fetus' lungs are ready for the outside world, and, thankfully, I am 36w today. However, due to Sprout's teeny tiny size, they are estimating that there is only a 50/50 chance his lungs would be ready if we had to deliver now.

Dr. Gibbs was not on call this weekend, so I actually have not spoken with him in several days. I'm not sure if he is around today, or if I'll have to wait until Monday to discuss all of this with him. In the meantime, I'm as comfortable and at peace as I can be, just waiting.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Update

Greetings from room 355, home until it's time to push. =)

A lot has actually transpired between when I last posted and now...I was hesitant to update too much, because things seemed to be changing by the hour (which is pretty much par for the course for this pregnancy).

But I reveal a few things with authority:

I have preeclampsia, and it just sucks up one side and down the other. Thankfully, I am getting phenomenal care, and being here in the hospital means that as things (potentially) get worse, they will be caught ASAP.

I will be here in the hospital until I deliver. Feel free to start the baby pool, because most likely delivery will be no later than December 17 or 18. 38w is Dr. Gibbs magical number, and even if Sprout is comfy cozy hanging out, induction has already been discussed. (Yea!)

I am excited!!! As horrible as I feel, physically, it hit me a little while ago that the next time I walk through my front door, I will have a baby boy with me! This has been such a long, hard road, and I've struggled very hard in the last week not to get caught up in self-pity....but now the end is very near, and I just cant wait to meet my son.

Jim is holding up pretty well; I think we are both feeling a little overwhelmed by the list of things that still need to be accomplished before Sprout and I return home. We need to straighten out some medical bill snafu from July; cancel our previously decided-upon daycare arrangements and get our down payment back; install the car seat; get the 3 to the Mazda dealership to have my taillight replaced....all little, trivial things, really, in the grand scheme of things, but the combination of Jim's responsible streak and my type-A personality make even stuff like that a big deal.

I'm fading fast under the influence of some Percocet, but I will close with a couple thoughts, directed mostly at those readers who are local:

Please come visit me. I would welcome the company, and I know Jim will feel better about being at work all day if he doesn't have to picture me all lonely and miserable.

Please check in on Jim. I'm sure that it will be rough on him to spend the day at work, spend a couple hours with me at the hospital, and then go home to an empty house. A house, mind you, that he is now in charge of keeping clean and in order until my return.

I'm sure there was more I wanted to say, but again, the room is spinning a little, and I may even need to send Jim in search of one of those lovely pink tubs for my bedside...I'm not sure, but I think that is a good idea, so with that, I probably should close, at least until tomorrow.

Thank you all for the prayers that I know are being offered up on behalf of our family. I have no doubt they have helped to keep Sprout and I safe thus far, and we appreciate you.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In case it's a while before we update again....

Here is what is going on as of early Wednesday morning.

My blood pressure was elevated at my 34w appt last Tuesday, but Dr. Gibbs sent me home with instructions to take it easy, alter my diet (I'd not been able to keep solids down), and we'd reevaluate this week.

Well, after another week of a pretty much all-liquid diet, a 4 lb. weight gain at yesterday's 35w appt was pretty indicative that I was having some water retention/swelling issues. Dr. Gibbs examined my hands, feet, and legs; took my BP (which was 140/80); and sent me home with explicit instructions to "tone it down" and to monitor my BP at home. I was to call him ASAP, no matter when, if my BP reached 140/90.

Okay, and aside...how am I supposed to "tone" down the level of activity I'm currently doing? Yesterday, I literally did not get up off the couch except to fix lunch for Jim and to check the mail!

Back to the BP... I checked it at 7 pm, and it was 139/82. At 10:30, I started to get very flushed and dizzy, so I checked it again, and it was 141/93. So, I called Dr. Gibbs, and he thought it safe to let me sleep through the night, and I was told to call Jo (my ob nurse) Wednesday morning at 9 when the office opened.

I checked my BP at 6:45 this morning, and it was 156/93, and again at 8:00, and it was 142/92....so now I'm just waiting to talk to Jo at 9:00.

I'm anticipating being sent to the hospital (whether I'll be admitted or not isn't clear to me) for monitoring and a 24-hour urine collection to check for protein....(and for those not uber-savvy in where I'm going with this, we are concerned about preeclampsia). I don't know much more at this time, and I'm sorry to just leave you all with this uncertain not-so-good news...but I'm not sure when Jim or I'll be able to update, and I didn't want the next post to be "he's here!" without any warning.

So, we'd appreciate your prayers in the next few days, and we'll try to update as much and as soon as possible.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to all our friends and family!

I apologize that I've been slacking off with updating the site....things have been a roller coaster of uneventful and crazy these last few weeks.

I promise that in the next few days, I'll take time to post some family pics (I know there are some of you who are dying to know how big Sprout is making me!), and also update all of you on how things are progressing with the pregnancy.

In the meantime, Jim, Sprout, and I leave you with the warmest wishes as we head into this most blessed holiday season. Our love to you all this Thanksgiving Day!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

General Update

I had another good visit with Dr. Gibbs this past week....can you believe it? Two in a row! And by good, I mean good enough that I don't even need to go see him next week! I only have my urology appt with Dr. Emmert on Friday, and then I see Dr. Gibbs again on the 20th.

We went over the ultrasound results, as while Dr. Gibbs seems a little unsure that the MFS office is getting all the measurements he'd like to see, he was pleased with the results they did get. The biggest shock to me was Sprout's size. All my books pointed to him being at least 4 lbs., but alas, our babe is teeny tiny: he only weighed 3 lbs., 10 oz. at the u/s appt. BUT. Dr. Gibbs said this was well within the healthy range, and if he had it his way, Sprout will stay small (no bigger than 6-7 lbs. at delivery), which, after watching three live births in Lamaze last Monday, is more than fine with me!

I'll try to get Jim to take some better belly pictures in the next few days.....I feel like I'm growing daily now, and, if Sprout is putting on his 8-9 0z. a week like he's supposed to, I guess that would make sense! It's hard to believe the end is in sight! But I'm more excited than anything at this point....and we're even getting closer to a real name. We'll keep you all posted!

Sprout's Shower: Part II

One of my girlfriends commented to me yesterday that she checked the blog several times since the shower, and determined that it had either been a very eventful week in the Gregory home, or a very uneventful week, as I didn't post once after last Sunday. I'm happy to report that it was the latter. Nothing much happened last week; I was just too lazy to post anything creative.

But, as I sit here today, waiting for the start of the Browns vs Steelers game (this should be good!), I have no excuse not to write up the promised Part II report of Sprout's shower.

But first, a few more pictures:

I don't know how I feel about having my belly be the same size as my cake! At least I know that the cake weighs more! Jim made special arrangements to have my shower cake be one of the layers form our wedding cake: Thrush's Golden Harvest (spice cake with apples and raisins). Mmm! So good, and so rich!




Steph and Kristen, two of my closest girlfriends, did a wonderful job co-hosting my shower with Jenny. They helped me design the shower invites, and assisted Lisa with a fantastic menu. We are all very excited about venturing into the wonderful world of mommyhood together (Kristen is due with her first in early May, and we're hoping Steph follows suit soon!).






Just getting in some practice with Jenna Bach. After all, what is a baby shower without a baby? (I'm thinking the whole rock-a-bye thing will be easier without a huge belly in the way, though. I sure hope so!)






Jim and I feel so blessed by the generosity of our friends and family. We got almost everything we need for Sprout's arrival, and lots of things we don't really need, per se, but that sure make looking forward to his arrival more special, like cute fleece outfits, cozy blankets, hooded bath towels, super cute toys.....one more trip to Babies 'R Us for a couple more basic onesies and some diapers and wipes, and we'll be all set to have a baby!

I really should take a picture of my travel system (stroller and infant car seat) to do this story justice, but again, my laziness is coming into play...maybe I'll edit it in later. But anyway, here is the coolest scenario regarding our travel system:

A few months ago, my Aunt Denise commented to me that my Uncle Joe might be able to get our Graco travel system (TS) at a discounted price; he works for Rubbermaid, who owns Graco. Sure enough, a couple weeks before the shower, Aunt Denise called me to say that Uncle Joe indeed had been able to get the TS, and that I should take it off my registry. Cool thing #1 is that someone owed Uncle Joe a favor, and they provided the TS for free! So, sure enough, my TS makes an appearance at the shower. Afterwards, Jim and I were visiting with Aunt Denise and Grandma Soldano, and I wondered aloud what I should do in case there were a problem with the TS (as it had come directly from the Graco factory. Aunt Denise and Jim decided just to put it together on the spot to make sure it was okay, and as they started to pull pieces from the box, I realized that this was the stroller I registered for....this was way better!!! As near as we can figure, we got a free "upgrade" to the next level of Graco strollers, and we now own the deluxe model...this thing is like the Rolls Royce of baby buggies, and it is in the coolest pattern! So much better than the "gay purple" pattern we'd settled on (Jim's description, not mine!) So, thank you, Graco, and thank you, Uncle Joe and Aunt Denise for your legwork. =)

By Wednesday, I had our living room returned to normal and most everything in its place in the nursery. I can't say I'm 100% organized, as there is still a (neat) pile in the corner of the basement family room for "things to come" that aren't even out of the box yet: the high chair, the PackNPlay, and a box of "feeding" necessities (bibs, bottles, cleaning brushes). But the house looks like we could welcome Sprout home with no problem...well, other than parents that are starting to get a little anxious/nervous. But more about that in a separate post.

Some final highlights of my shower, and then I'll wrap this up. I was so touched by a few other things my hostesses planned. Each lady at my shower was asked to fill out a 3x5 card with "mommy" advice so that I'm not entering into this adventure completely clueless! Also, while I was opening my gifts, the ladies were given all the supplies to create beautiful scrapbook pages for me, for each major baby milestone, holiday, and season. I was so touched by this, as I know this is not my strength, and I would not have taken the time in the coming months to do this. But now, I only need to take pictures and insert them!

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Jenny, Lisa, Abby, Beth, Lauren, Steph, and Kristen for all the hard work you put into my special day. It was by far the best day of my crazy pregnancy adventure, and I know neither Jim nor I will ever forget it. Sprout will know, without a doubt, how much he is already loved!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sprout's Shower: Part I

Mostly to change the "mood" on the blog, I want to post something happy.

Sprout was wonderfully showered on Saturday with gifts of love, both practical and personal. I plan to write up a full report soon (I'm so, so tired), but for all of you who weren't able to celebrate with us, here's an "encapsulating" picture of the festivities. The gift I'm opening in this picture is one of my favorites (am I allowed to admit that?). It's my Pottery Barn Kids stroller blanket from my great aunts Nellie and Joanne (my late grandmother's sisters-in-law). You can also see another of my favorite gifts under the table -- also a PBK special -- my diaper caddy, from my great aunt Bert (same grandma's other sis-in-law). How very special that they were there in spirit, as they have a special place in my heart since my Ducky's death. Thank you, all three of you! XOXOXO
And, although this one is a little blurry, you can kind of get a better idea of about how big Sprout is getting in my tummy. ;) I didn't realize it at the time, but I've since been informed that my belly button was indeed popping through the fabric of my shirt.....I guess this is normal in this stage of pregnancy. Like the turkey thermometer, does this mean I'm "done"? =)
Again, I will post more details about the shower, and my thoughts on my wonderful day, later this week. For now, I'm off to bed to read (we'll see if I even get through a chapter!). Sleep will be welcome tonight....although Sprout seems to have liked the corn dogs I had for dinner, and is wide awake! He has some of my night owl genes in him after all!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I'm cranky; if you don't like that, then don't read this

I'm in a funk, and rather than try to sugarcoat it for any of you who check this often to keep updated on our progress, I'm just going to copy and paste a post I left for my chat room girls. I'll be nice enough to edit it so that the "secret language" we use won't trip you up...

Girls, I just tried to talk through this with DH (DH = Dear Husband), and that didn't go so hot, so I just need to vent here for a second, and hope you will all just listen. (If you can be encouraging in response, please post; if not, please just roll your eyes in private and pray I'm back to normal soon...)

My ob appt this afternoon was good. And I'm frustrated as all get out... The stats are as follows: fluid levels from last weeks u/s were acceptable; TNO's (TNO = The Nameless One = Sprout) hb is solid, as are his measurements; he has moved back up a little out of my pelvis/birthing canal; I'm still effacing (Dr G didn't give a %), but not dilated at all. My BP is elevated, but not in a "normal" way (only the top number is super high, not the bottom), so they're not too worried yet. All good things, right?

So, here is the clincher: I asked Dr G what kind of time frame we are looking at, and he said (after the disclaimer of, "Let's have this conversation again after your MFS u/s tomorrow and the kidney one on Thursday"): I think you're going to go all the way to the end.

Huh?

Don't get me wrong; I'm happy....I think. I mean, I know I should be ecstatic over this news (here is where DH had the apparently appropriate reaction, and I'm the weird one), but my true emotions are ranging more toward "I want to hit something."

Tell me this is okay, and that it's just the gigantic roller coaster of a pregnancy I've had that has me feeling this way....I wasn't looking for bad news. I'm glad I didn't get bad news. I don't want bad news ever again.

BUT. I still can't relax. I mean, so there was nothing pressing wrong today. So what? There could be tomorrow, or on Thursday, or next Tuesday. (and you're all going, "duh, of course there could be."

I just feel stupid...like people (family, friends, you guys) will think I made up all the drama of last week's "he's coming, oh my goodness!" and now I have to confess, 'Um, or not," and of course you know I'm expecting to have to post next week "I'm writing from my hospital room".....

I know the other circumstances of today aren't helping (insert here that today was the due date of my first pregnancy), and if you are still reading, then brava, ladies! I just needed to whine for a second and say/shout WHY CAN'T THIS BE SIMPLER?!?!"

Done.

PS - Heather, don't scold, but I'm off to unpack my hospital bag, just for spite. (I promise I'll repack it soon.....)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

So, here's what I REALLY do all day long....

Disclaimer: This post is going to jump all over the place, and I warn you now that it's loooong. Get comfy.

I don't admit this freely to too many people, because, honestly, even in today's world of on-line dating, IMing, buddy lists, and MySpace, people look at you skeptically when you tell them, "Oh, my online friend..." or "This girl I met in a chat room the other day..."

I inadvertently found a website (100% female-targeted) that was chock full of chat rooms. I could "talk" to people about pets (ie - furbabies!), Rachael Ray's new cookware, 401(k) plans, sex, babies, gardening, WD-40, local restaurants, the World Series -- whatever I wanted to, any time day or night. For a social bug like me, this place was heaven on earth!

So, I created a screen name (which, by the way, was SO cheesy I will not even confess to it now and have since changed it entirely), and jumped right in, posting and replying, and sending my opinion and "expertise" out to the masses via the World Wide Web. How cool was this?

This community of women started to take shape as I began to recognize screen names and "personalities." But the boards became so much more than a hobby when I experienced my miscarriage in February.

I had been very confused about my period and how my body was behaving this particular month, and it was so nice to be able to post my questions and seek opinions and just garner some emotional support while I waited to POAS (read: pee on a stick; ergo, find out if I were pregnant). And after I realized that yes, I was indeed pregnant, but, sadly, that my little bean was not going to stick around, a group of about 10-15 ladies who had all already experienced or who were simultaneously experiencing a miscarriage were there night and day (or, at least someone was there whenever I posted) to help me work through the range of emotions in a way that no one in my real life circle could at the time.

As I recovered from the miscarriage, I found myself less and less (and soon, never) in the various other chat rooms I'd frequented, but rather, daily checking in with my "miscarriage girls." (Jim was so understanding of this, as I think he was secretly relieved that I'd found an outlet to talk, as we were dealing with the loss of our first baby in very different ways.) And to make a long story short, I found a wonderful group of friends. These women are real and supportive and compassionate, and best of all (shallow as this will sound), they liked me!

When Jim and I were blessed to become pregnant again, the sequence of events that April morning were as follows: wake up, POAS, cry (happily), wake Jim up and hand him the pee stick as his birthday present, and then run downstairs to my laptop to post to my girls. There weren't too many of us "regulars" on the board at that point, but I think I still got 20+ replies of heartfelt congratulations that day.

These women -- those that have been there from day one and those that I've only recently met -- have championed my pregnancy in a way that only a handful of people in real life have done. When I was hospitalized in August due to complications, I can't even describe how it felt to "check in" once I was home and see dozens and dozens of well wishes and prayers and "girl, you better not be somewhere having a baby or we're gonna kick your butt!"-type threads, all posted on my behalf. These girls love me, and they love my baby, and even those that are sweetly and admittedly jealous (as they wait and wait and wait for their next positive pee stick) let me know DAILY that I, in a word, matter. (Who doesn't need that?!) And I found them all on the Internet! I marvel daily at the blessing they have become, and how lucky I am to "know" them, even if, for most of us, it never goes beyond these "anonymous" posts on a chat room board.

One of my best friends met his current girlfriend (who I really, really hope is The One) on Match.com. When he told me, he seemed slightly embarrassed, as if the Internet can only reveal the most unsavory of characters. First of all, as months have passed, he (and all the rest of us) of course has learned that his lady love is anything but unsavory. I now know, too, after my own experience of "meeting" people online, that some of the best, most genuine, wonderful, comical, interesting, loving people I will ever have the privilege to know could only have come to me through the socially "squeaky" door of an online chat room.

So, to my m/c board girls, and to my SAL girls, an aside: A handful of things have kept me strong through these past 9 months: foremost, my faith in God, who blessed me with the people I'm about to list; Jim's love and support and patience; our parents, who have gone above and beyond with both emotional and financial support; my incredibly talented, compassionate, and amazing obgyn and his staff; and lastly, but never in a million years least, you guys. You've given me an identity and a place to hang out all day when I'm HGTVed out. You've oohed and aahed appropriately at my shower invitations and nursery pictures. You've helped me wrestle with TNO's real name. You've pushed me to do any number of the following things: call Dr. G when I didn't want to (Daina, you rock!); pack my hospital bag when I didn't want to (Heather, that's you), slow down when I didn't want to (Kelly, thanks for taking over check-in), and look heavenward when I didn't want to (Jill....words don't do justice to the thanks I owe you for that). I am blessed, because of you all. I love you guys.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just kind of sad today...

Maybe it's hormones. I don't know.

Yesterday, Jim and I were rewarded with some unexpected time to spend together -- a dinner out and a trip to Babies R Us to shop for Sprout and a visit with Linda to watch The Biggest Loser on NBC. It was a good day.

And today, as the hours have passed, I have felt this sadness come over me. I can pinpoint several probable causes -- never-ending coverage of the California fires; a long talk with my dad about the not-so-pretty-side of life (ie, general [and not so general] struggles); news that a friend's grandfather had passed away; a reminder that not everyone likes gloomy fall weather the way I do (I daresay, some people may find it depressing)....

My baby is going to come into a world where there is sadness and sickness and devastation and heartache, and nothing I can do as a mommy will shelter him from this. I realize this is not a grand revelation; I guess it's just my mothering instinct kicking in already that wants to shield him from all harm. I think it's normal that I would feel sadness upon the realization that I can't.

But I will love him, and I will teach him about a God who is in control of all the ugliness I can't prevent. And that will have to be enough.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

154/92..uh oh

That was my BP this morning. Hmm. That's two days in a row. I'll have to check it in the morning and call Jo if it stays up.

Angi confirmed that Sprout is indeed head down with the ultrasound this morning. His heart rate was up (158 bpm), but was behaving fairly well and letting her get measurements. I'll find out on Tuesday how his fluid levels are holding up. Jim and I are both curious to know if the gush of fluid I experienced on Saturday morning might possibly have been my water breaking? We'll see....if it was, we're still in good shape, as Sprout's head is now blocking the cervical opening again.

My appt with Dr. Sipe (not Shipe, I misspoke yesterday) wasn't quite what I expected. Apparently, she doesn't keep office hours on Tuesday, so I saw her partner, the very male Dr. Klien. He was nice and thorough, but I was bummed it wasn't the doctor Dr. Gibbs spoke so highly of. Anyway, he said he could tell I'd suffered through the worst of the attack, and would leave it up to me whether to surgically intervene or wait it out another 2 or 3 days. Ugh. I opted to wait, as my pain is down to about a 6 from the 10 it was over the weekend. He said the surgery is pretty painful (which is probably what solidified my decision.....I'd rather have medium "known" pain than any degree of "unknown" pain...I hope it was the right call).

So, that's that for Monica's medical day in review. Next week will hold a "normal" appt with Dr. Gibbs, my MFS u/s, and my renal u/s. Fun times!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Start the baby pools....

Today, my routine appt with Dr. Gibbs ended up being anything but.

First sign of abnormal: higher than usual blood pressure. Not too bad, but indicative.

Next, I was treated to my first internal. Not too unpleasant (as I'd heard it would be), but a tad bit invasive. And what do you know? Sprout is no longer breech!! How, you may ask, did Dr. Gibbs determine this without an ultrasound? Well, he could feel his head! No wonder I have been feeling so much pressure in my lower pelvic area.

Dr. Gibbs said that I'm not dilating yet, but that I'm "thinning" out. When I told him my new target goal was 36w, he merely laughed, said goals were good, but that this baby was coming sooner than later. Oh my!

I have an ultrasound at 11:30 Tuesday to give Dr. Gibbs a better idea of what's what in there. I also get to visit with my new doctor, Dr. Shipes (it's a girl!), who is a colo-rectal specialist. Apparently, the hemorrhoid(s) I've been lamenting over may be a little more severe/problematic than just uncomfortable. Dr. Gibbs is concerned about a blood clot, with all the pressure Sprout is now exerting downward. So...yea! Another doctor.

Jim's appt with his doctor was a little less involved. He has to continue to wear the knee brace this week, and needs to do some exercises at home, but should be on the mend (and ready to tend to his wife) soon. Big YEA there!

In the meantime, we are going to venture to Lamaze class (actually, it's entitled Birth, Babies, and Beyond) tonight, although I can't help but think Sprout will make his appearance before the 6-week class is up.

Believe me, though, I'm a-ok with that; the end is in sight!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

And then there were two...

Invalids, that is.

If I didn't think he'd hate it, I'd take a picture of Jim right now, just so you all could see how pathetic a pair we currently make.

Our annual Fall Escape with our junior high youth group was this weekend. Jim and I had a previous commitment on Friday night, so our plan was to drive the hour to 4H Camp Palmer early Saturday morning. Early Friday afternoon, it started to become apparent that I was not up for the trip (even though I had planned to only stay for Saturday's activities, and not spend the night).

I kissed Jim goodbye early Saturday morning, making sure he had directions and admonishing him to be safe. My day passed uneventfully, and Jim called to check in with me about 6:30. I jokingly asked if there had been any injuries yet (as poor Matt, our youth pastor, has had to spend Friday night at the ER with a student for the past 3 years straight). Jim said, no, but that he'd twisted his knee a little bit, but was "fine." Again, I admonished him to be safe and not to overdo it with that night's Capture the Flag game. I shouldn't have wasted my breath....

Sunday morning, Jim was supposed to call me when he left Camp Palmer, to let me know he was headed home. 11, 11:30, noon, 12:30 all came and went, with no phone call. I, dramatic on a good day and now hormonal to boot, began to imagine the worst. But then I see the Miata pull in the driveway about 1 pm. Except Jim isn't driving. His co-leader, Paul, is.

I knew it!

Oh, Jim was in the car, and in one piece. But I knew he and Paul haven't bonded enough yet for Jim to have gone, "hey, Paul, it's a gorgeous day; do you want to drive my convertible home?" out of the goodness of his heart.

The two of them proceed to give me some cockamamie story about how Jim's knee is "just twisted," and how everything is "fine." (Um, hello, that's my line.) Jim slipped and said, "it's okay, I just have to go back to the doctor tomorrow." Um, back? As in, you've already been?, I question. He covers, "no, I mean, I have to see my doctor tomorrow."

So, Jim takes Paul home, and while he's gone, what do I discover on the kitchen counter but a HOSPITAL BRACELET!!! Okay, so now I'm going beyond concerned to just plain ticked off. Just because I'm a high-risk pregnancy doesn't mean I'm some delicate flower who can't handle bad news. (Come to find out, Jim called my parents, not me, as he was being rushed to the ER Saturday night. They didn't care to share the news, either.)

Anyway, I'll summarize, as I've managed to drag the simple story out long enough: Jim twisted his left knee. The hospital doctor doesn't think he has torn anything, but he is to follow up with his regular doctor on Monday. He is taking some pain meds, and is currently asleep on the couch (but then again, what all-American male who is "watching" Sunday football right now isn't asleep on the couch? ;) lol!).

I'm going to make him take a pair of crutches when we go to Cinci this coming weekend. The last thing I need is for him to get trampled at the football game on Sunday and become even more incapacitated. One of us needs to stay functional. Despite basic math principles, we're living proof that a Jim at 50% and a Monica at 50% does NOT make a Gregory at 100%.....it just makes for two cranky, frustrated, tired, and uncomfortable people.

We are going to look a fright as we go hobbling into Lamaze class tomorrow night....ugh.

Your prayers and support are coveted as we try to heal.

PS -- Sprout is fine through all this. Doing gymnastics that take my breath away, literally. He has no sense of what is going on out here, of this I am sure. If he did, he would know he should be still and quiet right about now.

PPS -- stupid Indians. They better win soon, or I'm going to convert Sprout to a Tigers fan, just for spite.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Save the dates

Okay, not really, but if you're one of my "mother hens" who are tracking my appts, here is the newest batch of upcoming events:

Monday, 10/22 - weekly appt with Dr. Gibbs
Tuesday, 10/23 - u/s with Dr. Gibbs
Tuesday, 10/23 - appt with Dr. Shipes, my new colo-rectal specialist (yipee)
Tuesday, 10/30 - weekly appt with Dr. Gibbs
Wednesday, 10/31 - fetal growth scan (u/s) with Dr. Sunderji
Thursday, 11/1 - renal u/s
Monday, 11/5 - weekly appt with Dr. Gibbs
Monday, 11/12 - weekly appt with Dr. Gibbs
Friday, 11/16 - renal u/s flw up appt with Dr. Emmert (this appt will most likely determine if and/or when I will need to have an operation to place a stint in my right kidney)

Ugh. Looking at it, all spelled out like that, is sad. I love my doctors, but hate seeing them so frequently. At least there are a couple fun events on the calendar to break it up, like the start of childbirth classes, our trip to Cinci, and my baby shower.

As I told someone yesterday, the days themselves are stringing together nicely and the weeks seem to be passing quickly; it's the 18-hour days that stretch on forever......Thank God for the distraction of the Internet!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just a "blah" kind of day

I don't know if it's the blustery weather, or just the fact that I've been a sleepyhead all week, but when I woke up this morning (at 9:43!), I just knew it was going to be one of those days.

It was an uneventful morning. 2 bowls of Special K, shower, and an hour or two of Discovery Heath network. Jim came home for lunch, but it was a quick "hi, honey"/kiss before I headed out the door to my weekly visit with Dr. Gibbs.

Nothing too spectacular to report at the ob's office. Up another pound in the last week, Sprout is still breech, by belly is measuring on target, and I got a flu shot. In other words, boring. Not that boring is bad. We've had enough of the alternative.

I decided to traipse down to Hylant to say farewell to James, our legal counsel and my fellow grammar snob, as he is leaving at the end of the month to pursue another venture. Boo-hoo. =( I got down there at 1:45, and didn't leave until 4:30. It was nice to see a whole bunch of people who I have missed on my previous visits, but I was pooped by the time I dragged myself our of there (not to mention that I didn't get a chance for lunch amidst my visiting -- thanks, Connie, for the Go-Tart!

So, off to home I went, where I proceeded to crash on the couch and wait for my arm to start throbbing at the flu shot's point of entry (which it did, right on cue).

The highlight of my night was a trip to Giant Eagle with Jim to fill up the truck -- we saved $65 thanks to FuelPerks....it's nice to know the high cost of my progesterone suppositories paid off one way or the other.

And now, I'm watching the Indians lose to Boston, and it is sadness indeed. Dad is at the game, and I think he is cursing them (sorry, Dad!). Maybe if I turn the channel, the outcome will change. Ah, wishful thinking.

Anyway, there's my day in a nutshell. Thankfully, Sprout has been a little calmer today (which may or may not bode well for mommy's night of rest -- we'll see). So, for now my only complaint is oily skin, a new stretchmark on my inner thigh (weird!), and an impending hemorrhoid (double ugh).

But, to end on a happy note: we get to go to see Jerry and Nikki in 8 days! Whoo-hoo!