Wednesday, September 28, 2011

moving on up...

I'm just getting settled in to my new room on the Labor and Delivery unit.  My doctor came in today to check on how I was holding up. I told her I had been feeling anxious about things, because well I have, and she suggested that I move up the monitoring since the baby is further along now. I told her I was on board with whatever they thought was best at this time and within a few hours I was moved upstairs and hooked up for 24 hour monitoring.
It feels different up here. My room is bigger but not as cozy. There is no more couch for Bill (or anyone else) to stay over :( .  My TV is smaller, but there is a dvd player so we can finally watch Bridesmaids!
Being on the L&D floor makes it VERY, very real. I just heard someone in the hallway on his phone telling people they just broke his wife's water.
So if anyone wants to visit I'm now residing in room 3010.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2 weeks and counting...

It has been exactly 2 weeks since we were admitted to the hospital and I can't decide if time has flown by or if this has been the longest 2 weeks ever. I'm leaning towards longest ever given the circumstances, the season change, missing my husband, kitties and home, and the increased back pain I'm starting to experience from laying around all day.
We had our ultrasound this morning and everything continues to maintain. We won't do another growth ultrasound for at least 2 weeks, so for now they are just checking amniotic fluid levels, movement, and dopplers to make sure they are not reversing. I stopped eating and drinking after midnight last night, just to be prepared for anything, so I was pleased to hear that we were not going to be having a baby today and very pleased to eat! (Telling a pregnant woman that she can't eat for over 9 hours is just cruel!).
During our monitoring we have experienced some decels in Avery's heart. She always recovers nicely, which is great, but usually means me having to be monitored for a longer period of time to make sure they don't become a pattern. There is no definite explanation for the decels and it is hard to say whether or not this is even 'normal' for a 26 week baby since typically they don't start monitoring this early on in pregnancy.  So as long as she is recovering from the decels and they don't become a pattern, we'll just continue to monitor them.
Other than that I am starting to feel less guilty staying in bed all day as the weather gets colder and rainy. I'm sad I missed out on the last days of summer, but know it will be worth it. I've started taking pictures of the tree outside my window as it changes colors and its leaves fall off. It is a reminder that time is passing, slowly but surely. Precious time we are so grateful for.
I've also been killing time by doing a lot of online 'window' shopping for baby stuff. How do people ever decide what to go with?! There are so many options for everything. Today I was looking at car seats and got so overwhelmed with all the options that I had to take a break. Anyone have any recommendations for a must have car seat?
The same goes for crib bedding. I like the idea of going with a mix and match kind of look but it is so hard when there are so many options, many of which are ridiculously expensive. If I was at home on bed rest I think I would make a trip to the fabric store and make my own bedding. I read the instructions online to make crib sheets and a crib skirt and both seem super easy to do. It is sometimes frustrating having all this time on my hands but not being able to do much with it.
The next couple of days will hopefully be filled with uneventful waiting, tv watching, magazine reading and baby growing. Then my parents come! And they are bringing me cupcakes from Crooked Tree, who did our delicious wedding cake. SOOO EXCITING! It'll be a yummy Thursday night treat, can't wait!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

mile marker: 26 weeks

Sorry for the delays in posting. Usually I post in the evenings when all my guests have gone, but the past few nights I've had overnight guests. So we have some catching up to do.
Friday morning marked my 26 week, which is great because each week in the books means more development and hopefully less potential problems after birth. We also had our scheduled ultrasound. It had been 17 days since they last measured Avery's growth progress, so we knew going in that Friday they would be doing this. I was extremely anxious but very optimistic especially with news the previous week that she was getting some diastolic flow.  The ultrasound tech did all her measurements and told us that Avery scored an 8 out of 8 on her biophysical profile. She should use of muscle tone, had good heart rate, there is still amniotic fluid and she even practiced breathing.  Of course the tech was only reiterating what we already knew, our baby girl is perfect :)
The perinatologist came to speak with us afterwards and the news was not what we were hoping for. Avery has not grown at all in the past 17 days.  Again we were faced with a lot of tough conversations about balancing potential risks with benefits of having her stay in the uterus.  It is completely a grey area and he said that if I was further along, he would have delivered her right then and there. It was a harsh reality that we are now literally buying as much time as we can hoping to allow her to develop as much as possible before delivering. They have increased my monitoring to 3x's a day for an hour, but even these run long. Last night I was on the monitor for nearly 5 hours because they were seeing some abnormalities that they wanted to track closely. Then I was hooked up again promptly at 6 am for another 3.5 hours. The monitoring is stressful because I know that at anytime if things take a turn for the worse, the plan is to do an emergency c-section. They have also cut me off from food and water the night before my ultrasounds so I am prepared to go in to a c-section should they see anything that makes them think "now is the time." The doctors and nurses have all made it clear that this is a very grey area type of situation and unfortunately there is no knowing what is best for her. Never in my life have I so badly wished I could just have a clear cut answer. The doctors are allowing us to be part of the planning, but I'm afraid I'm going to make a wrong or selfish decision with fatal consequences. Somehow I think after all of this is said and done, nothing in parenting will seem even nearly as difficult as this.
Luckily for me I have also had some great company to keep my mind off of things as much as possible. I had my first overnight guest on Thursday. My friend Mary drove over from Missoula to spend the day with me. She came stocked with lots of magazines, snacks and Bridesmaids. And my 6' tall friend spent the night on my 5'8" guest couch in my room even after hearing that the nurses are now required to monitor my vitals throughout the night. Thanks Mary! Having you there helped me keep my mind off the next day's u/s.
Bill has also spent a great deal of time down here since Friday. He has made me laugh more than ever. Yesterday he took me outside for one of my wheelchair rides and proceeded to push me up a giant hill in 90 degree weather. I don't know what he was thinking. We have played cards, started to learn how to crochet (don't tell his friends), watched lots of football and done lots of talking. He has become my person nursing assistant often spending an hour sitting awkwardly holding the monitor in place when Avery isn't cooperating.
Thank you again to everyone who has come to visit, call, email,
send me funny videos, and daily pictures from their trips to Hawaii (hope you're having fun P!) The one thing that is very black and white in a very grey area time is that I have the most wonderful family and friends!

Slumber party!
Bill patiently holding the monitor in place.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

cruise control set...

Not much new to report from the last few days. The ultrasound yesterday went "well" as in nothing has changed or gotten any worse. So it is sort of one of those, no news is good news kind of situations.  They decided to hold off on doing Avery's growth measurement until later this week to eliminate the margin of error that comes w/ ultrasounds. 
The longer I'm in here the more I feel like a "patient".  I've been getting monitored for things more closely and having various tests done here and there. I know they are just doing their job to try and stay on top of things, which I appreciate, but the problem is the more they test and talk about potential problems, the more I stress about them. And then I remind myself that I can't waste my energy stressing about what "might" be, but gosh that is so much easier said than done :)
So although it makes for boring posts when there isn't much to report, it means that Avery is doing what she needs to be doing--hanging out. So long as she wants to hang out, we're cool with it and I'll just hang around with her as long as she'll let me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

one step many back?

Today was one of those days you just sort of wish you have skipped. Pretty much since I was admitted to the hospital a week ago my blood pressure has been boarder line high, but no one seemed too concerned with it. That is until this morning when I got an unexpected visit from the lab technician to take blood. I say unexpected because literally his appearance in my room was the first time I knew anything about getting blood work done.
My nurse informed me that I was having my blood tested at the request of my doctor due to my consistently "high" blood pressure. He wanted to test for indicators of preeclampsia. Great, just what I needed to hear and other potentially horrible set back.
A few hours later my nurse told me that the indicators don't show that I have preeclampsia so for now they are just going to keep monitoring for high BP. But shortly after that my doctor came to follow up and he feels that even though I don't have the blood indicators, he is pretty confident that not only do I have preeclampsia but that he thinks that is what is causing problems with my placenta and the diastolic flow. For those of you who may not know, the only "cure" for preeclampsia is delivery. So he followed up his diagnosis with more talk about the possibility of delivering Avery any day, especially if things take a turn for the worse.
We have obviously been aware that Avery being delivered early could be a possibility from the beginning of this, but hearing it again from the doctor is never easy. I know that every day I keep her in there, the better, so I worry that this is all happening too fast. I wish doctors were more optimistic in delivering their news. I suppose that is not their job, but hearing their cold reality of things sometimes makes all the good days feel insignificant in comparison.
As I type this Avery is working up a storm in my belly. Her kicks are literally a swift kick of reality that she is an energetic active baby who reminds me daily to never give up any hope no matter how dreary the day's news is.
Tomorrow morning is our growth ultrasound, so hopefully it will bring some more good news on her progress!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

cruising together...

In between our scheduled Tuesday/Friday ultrasounds, there isn't much that happens on a daily basis besides monitoring. It can make for long days and lots of waiting for the next appointment. We have been lucky to have several great friends and family visit and call (THANK YOU EVERYONE), but this post is dedicated to one person in particular; my wonderful husband Bill.
Bill has been amazingly supportive from the day we found out we were pregnant. I remember looking at the positive test sign and crying out of pure fear and unexpectedness. He high fived me with a huge grin of excitement. I knew right then that no matter what he was going to be the best partner to take this journey with.
It has been almost a month since I have been on bed rest and my husband has stepped up and taken on so many additional responsibilities around the house, working, providing for the kitties, and all while still making sure that Avery and I are his number 1 priority.
He comes to see us every day, has brought supplies to shower and get ready here to maximize his time and has done a fantastic job of balancing his life with this unexpected interruption of having his wife out of the house.
Most importantly Bill has been the most optimistic, encouraging person through this all. I haven't seen his doubt waiver once through it all. His strength is contagious for Avery and I. He is the best husband and daddy already. I am truly the most blessed woman to have him!
Thank you my love for everything you have done. You are amazing!

Friday, September 16, 2011

mile marker: 25 weeks!

Today has been a GREAT day!
Bright and early this morning we had our ultra sound to track progress on my amniotic fluid and doppler readings. The results were beyond fantastic! For the first time since this all started we had a positive doppler flow. No more absent flow which means Avery is getting more flow of nutrients and oxygen she needs to develop. Even though there is no guarantee this will last, we continue to take it one day at a time and even one good day is better than none. Our once pessimistic doctor gave me a high five and told us we just have to keep doing what we are doing. Finally I was able to cry some tears of joy as I shared the news with Bill. As hard as this has been, we know that we are doing whatever we need to give her the best fighting chance and it is working so far!
Besides that I spent the day with my mom. She gave me a fresh pedicure, took me on one of my wheelchair privilege rides and kept me company.
25 weeks is a huge milestone and while it is still early in the game, each week brings with it more growth, development and opportunity for Avery to have the best possible life. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. It is working!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a long day...

Today was the longest day yet of bed rest. I didn't have any appointments or consultations. So it was just a long day of Avery and I in bed waiting for visitors.
I got an early morning 5 am wake up call when a new mom and baby moved in next door. So this made my day start earlier than I would have predicted. Avery and I watched an entire marathon of Million Dollar Listing. I did find a little humor in the housekeeping lady stood for a least 5 minutes wiping the same spot on my small tray while she watched TV completely oblivious that I was watching her wipe the same spot over and over and over.
The highlight of our day was finding out that Avery is going to have another girl cousin! My sister is expecting another girl only 3 weeks after Avery is due. Congrats Jill, Travis and Lia. The Eller Family is so excited!!
The low light of my day was the green beans I got with dinner. They were horribly disappointing, but other than that the food has been pretty decent and we have lots of options.
Other than that we had our daily monitoring which Avery despises. She can rest all day and as soon as they hook that thing up she goes wild, trying to kick it off my stomach. She's a girl who knows what she likes and having her heart monitored is not one of them. (It took them over a hour to get her on the monitor for round 2 today). But when they finally get her on the monitor her heart is looking great! Very consistent and they are seeing her heart do all the things that they hope to see during a monitoring.
We also finished our 2nd and last steroid shot today and I must say they were not nearly as bad as I was expecting them to be. Now we just have to sit back and hope they are working their magic.
My mom is in town for the weekend so I will have some company tomorrow during the day. We are scheduled for another ultra sound so hopefully we'll have some good news to share!
 Thanks Career Path Services family for the lovely flowers. We love them and miss you all!
Avery's heart monitor. The gaps in the line are her attempts to kick t off :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

where exactly are we going...

The Friday after our ultrasound appointment I was put on bed rest at home with weekly u/s and doctor appointments to track Avery's progress. Being put on bed rest, is stressful! I can honestly say I never thought I would miss working more than I do (HUGE shout out to my seriously, amazing, hardworking, supportive coworkers who make me realize every day that my job is a true blessing! They literally picked up where I left off since I had no idea that I would not be returning to work). After 2 weeks of bed rest at home they dropped the bomb that they were going to admit me to the hospital for steroid treatments to give Avery the best fighting chance possible and monitoring for at least 48 hours.
Bill and I showed up yesterday with my bag packed for a short stay at the hospital only to be told I would not be going least not any time soon if they have it their way. They devised a plan to keep me on hospitalized bed rest with daily intensive monitoring, twice weekly ultra sounds, steroids, and a whole lot of time.
So I have officially been on hospitalized bed rest for just over 24 hours and it was the longest 24 hours of my life. Avery and I have done a lot of bonding. I sit and watch her heart beat on the monitor and it is the greatest sound I have ever heard. There is a newborn baby next door with lungs that I didn't know were possible on a newborn! But after their mom or dad kept me up most of the night w/ their snoring I could hear through the walls as if they were in my room, I know those lungs must be genetic.
I have had the sweetest, nicest, loveliest nurses ever! I had the most cold, black and white, statistically based conversation with the neonatologist that left a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes. I had a fantastic follow up appt with a pernitologist who suddenly on our 3rd meeting, found his bedside manners and said some wonderfully encouraging things that Bill, Avery and I all appreciated. I have more faces come in and out of my room and I know it is only a matter of time before I know them all by name, personality, and friends because we are determined to be here for the long haul because the longer we are here, the longer we know Avery in inside cooking away preparing for her debut.
So while I miss my husband and my cats who were my favorite, expert bed resting buddies, we are all prepared to stick this out and do what ever we can for miss Avery!


what am i doing here...

On July 24th Bill and I went in for a follow up ultrasound appointment at 22 weeks pregnant. We were told after our 18 week u/s to come back in a month because the baby was measuring small, but not to worry because this wasn't uncommon and they just needed to get better measurement.
Bill and I went in that day totally excited to find out the gender of the baby since 'it' was being uncooperative the first go around. I had a hunch the modesty of legs crossed meant 'it' was most likely a girl, but I didn't want to get my mind set one way or another.
Early on in our u/s on the 24th, the tech told us we were having a girl. We were thrilled! She cooperated and now I just wanted them to finish the measurements so we could go and share the news. That's when our whole world turned upside down.
The perinatologist came in to follow up with us with a very somber look on his face, a look I will never forget. He told us he had bad news to tell us that was very serious. Our baby girl was not growing and it was likely due to an absence of flow between the placenta and her. On top of this my amniotic fluid was also at a critically low level.
 I don't remember much more from that initially meeting except a lot of unanswered questions, several mentions of still birth, and a lack of optimism.
I was crushed. Confused. Devastated. But elated. I was having a baby girl. A baby girl that we were not giving up hope on. Our baby girl, Avery Ruth Eller.
And so begins our journey.