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!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The littlest Tribe fan....

Until tonight, I would have said that Jacob Genos was the littlest Indian fan I knew (he's the 1-year-old son of our youth pastors Matt and Jenny, who are also die hard Cleveland fans). But as I sit here tonight, watching game 5 of the ALCS playoffs -- timeout! Tribe is now up 6-0 after a 3-run homer in the 5th!!! -- anyways, I digress. I'm sitting here and Sprout is just thumping away in my belly, and I think Jacob has to relinquish his title.

Sprout's been so active today -- he woke me up at 3:45 this morning, and has been non-stop since. But it's been mostly normal rolls and kicks, varying if I'm sitting or standing, or if I need to eat or pee. But tonight, as I've been watching the game, he has started a new pattern: still and quiet when Boston is up to bat (which is fitting, as their bats have been silent! ha!), and as soon as the Indians are at the plate.... thump, thump, thump. It's probably all in my head, I know. But I'm touched, as I sit here, hoping -- just hoping -- that this little boy might have some Samas in him after all.

Gregory genes are so dominant -- just look at the resemblance between Jim and his dad! -- that I have no doubt I'm growing Jim's mini-me. =) But just maybe, our son will be a night owl like me, and I'll actually have some company after 9 pm. If he like Cleveland baseball....that's even better. (Lord knows, he won't be allowed to be a Browns fan!)

It's now 7-0, 2 outs in the bottom of the 5th, but I'll sign off for now. Go Tribe!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bring on the Halloween candy!

Seriously. Give me my Baby Ruths.

Jo (my ob nurse) just gave me the great news that I passed my one-hour glucose blood screen with flying colors!!! (This test determines if I am at risk for gestational diabetes.) I absolutely expected to fail the test. Shame on me for my lack of faith, because I certainly prayed my butt off that I'd pass it.

I'm SO happy and relieved to have caught this break -- and that is exactly what it feels like: like this is the first break I've had in the pregnancy drama for a while now. Whoo-hoo!

Now I can enjoy my lunch with Melissa today and maybe even treat myself to a decaf iced mocha! Yea!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesdays seem to mean drama for us...

Two weeks ago, after a long battle with a cold, I was told by my ob's office, "You need to go see your primary care physician; we think you have pneumonia." Last week, Dr. Emmert informed me of my dysfunctional kidney. Great. Today, I'm surprised by a (brace yourself) pantyliner full of blood. Not a good thing. Not a good thing at all.

So, I call Dr. Gibbs, and am rushed in for an ultrasound. Surprise! Guess who decided to rearrange himself for the first time in this pregnancy? Sprout is BREECH! (Under normal circumstance, being breech at 28w is not a big deal; in my case, it is.) Our gymnast is going to town, kicking away at my poor cervix. This could be one cause of the blood.

Option #2: we are dealing with another placental abruption. If this proves to be the case (which, basically means I will notice continued heavy bleeding), I will be admitted to the hospital and they will take Sprout via C-section ASAP.

Option #3 could be that that blood was the original clot from the abruption in July. Since Sprout has been head down and engaged in the birthing position, there was no way for the clot to pass his head and escape the uterus. Now that he is breech, and his head has unblocked my cervix, the clot may have "leaked" out. Who know? Dr. Gibbs was not able to tell much, even with an internal exam, due to the amount of blood and sensitivity of my cervix.

Dr. Gibbs recommended that I come home, rest, and pack a bag. He said that any more bleeding would most likely land my butt permanently in the hospital. (Bye, bye Thanksgiving dinner at my house. =( Boo!)

I haven't gotten around to packing that bag yet; I've been permanently afixed to the couch since coming home earlier today.

I'm tired and drained, and admittedly ready for this pregnancy to end. Jim and I are both very, very confident in the outcome of all this drama. We know that we will be blessed with a feisty, healthy son at the end of this journey, but I have to say, I'm ready to be done. This has been a scary, tiring, emotional 6 months. Thank you all for your support and prayers. We need it, and appreciate every kind word spoken and gesture done on our behalf.

I will keep this site as updated as possible as things develop in the coming days/weeks...

xoxoxo - Monica

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hydronephrosis = BOOO!

Ugh.

I'm back from my renal u/s follow-up appointment with my urologist, Dr. Emmert. (By the way, I love this man [not as much as Dr. Gibbs, but he's great!], and normally, seeing him is just a formality...not today.)

Bad news: the antibiotics I have been on for my bronchitis have caused a yeast infection. Figures. (Not that that was surprising news.) But still. I have an Rx to be filled, but it'll be a couple days before I get relief.

More bad news: my u/s from 9/21 showed that I'm still having problems with my right kidney. Again, I wasn't too surprised by this news, as I have been having some more pain, but I do feel bad that I have been "scolding" Sprout to "get off my kidney, already!!!," as Dr. Emmert is fairly certain that the problems are NOT being caused by the baby's position. (Sorry, honey; Mommy loves you.) I have another u/s in a few weeks, and of course, am to call Dr. E immediately if my pain intensifies. He is not sure if we will be able to avoid putting in a stint if the kidney continues to struggle, especially as Sprout grows. We'll see what Dr. Gibbs and Dr. Sunderji have to say about a possible operation; they weren't too keen on it in August; I doubt that has changed.

Anyway, that's my update. I'm bummed that I'm still encountering difficulties at each turn. I'm trying to be joyful, in spite of the circumstances, but today, I'm not succeeding very well. I'm going to go sit in the nursery and read to Sprout; maybe that'll give me some much-needed perspective.
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