Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Goodbye 20's. Hello 30 Weeks!

I remember my husband and I telling people months ago that our nervous period would be highest between 20-30 weeks. Before 20 weeks, pre-eclampsia technically does not happen so there wasn't much to be nervous about. And after 30 weeks, our risk for recurrence does not yet go down but at least we have safely passed the micropreemie stage. So here we are at 30 weeks today. I am happy and grateful, though I certainly haven't exhaled you could say. Still plenty of risk to my health.

Also starting to feel the many aches and pains of the 3rd trimester and have to be vigilant to determine what is normal, what could perhaps be symptomatic of problems. Been having some mild headaches for example which in and of themselves are fairly common in pregnancy. But headaches are also a warning sign for pre-e. So I've monitored my BP when I have a headache to make sure it isn't from high BP, and thankfully it's not. BP hasn't changed. Same thing with rib pain - is it upper right quadrant pain that is caused by HELLP or is it just a foot in my rib? Oh it's a foot. Relief.

Feeling awfully tired at times but still walking when I feel well, about 1-2 miles a day. Daily.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ultrasound Update: 28 weeks 6 days

Quick update. Ultrasound yesterday looked good! Blood flow still normal. Gestation was 28 weeks and 6 days yesterday. The baby's weight was estimated at 2lbs 14 oz which is a whole 12.5 ounces heavier than Liam born around the same time. His stomach was measuring a few days behind, but his head was measuring several days ahead and his legs were measuring a full week and half ahead of schedule! Long and slender I suppose :) I can feel him at both ends (left side and right side) already, must be his hands and his feet moving together.

So again the u/s is looking for drops in growth percentiles which would signify the placenta not giving him what he needs. Fortunately and gratefully, his % increased from the 46th a month ago to the 59th.

He is still transverse and shows no signs of turning head down (I know he still has time) so it's completely up in the air yet as to whether we can do VBAC or have a repeat c-section.

As always grateful for today, hopeful for tomorrow!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Good, the Bad, It's All Life

On Tuesday we hit 28 weeks. Today I am 28 weeks 3 days. Darn right, I am counting the days! I'm now officially considering this my longest pregnancy! On paper Liam was born at 28 weeks 5 days but we are actually fairly sure he arrived at 27 weeks 5 days as this was his original due date in the early scans, matches my dates (my cycle is very regular) and namely, when Liam was in the NICU and had his eye check at 32 weeks, the eye doctor looked at his eye maturity and dated him the same as what we had. Doesn't matter much now but means I can say I have gotten this baby past L's birth gestation!

Certainly a milestone. Am I happy? Yes, very. This little guy kicks up a storm and his strength is amazing. I love to feel him rolling around adjusting his position. With Liam my placenta was apparently in the front of my tummy (anterior) and hence I didn't feel as much. Plus his activity slowed as the pre-eclampsia worsened. Hitting 28 weeks though does bring back the memories of where we were this time last pregnancy. IVs in each arm, a catheter, unable to move much because of the magnesium sulfate and strapped to a bed in ICU after delivery. Having never spent a night in a hospital to being hospitalized, and then in ICU with organs failing at 32. And in the middle of this I remember the lactation consultant bringing in a breast pump, trying to stimulate the milk into production, and me thinking how on Earth I don't even have a free hand to manage this thing nor have I even seen my son yet. (Fortunately we got things going and though my supply was never great, Liam got breastmilk his first year).

28 weeks and the survival rate seems so promising: 85-90% I believe? Yet I remember my son being very sick just before he went in for surgery at 2 pounds for a heart ligament (PDA surgery), suffering from severe pneumonia, on the ventilator's maximum settings. And I remember thinking shit, we might be that 1 in 10 statistic that doesn't make it out of the NICU. Lots of tears. Endless tears. These are the memories that will always remain. No sense trying to forget them, you just have to move on. And just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.

We are grateful for today, hopeful for tomorrow. My 4 year old's eating a bagel right now, watching Curious George before we head out for his swim class. My 4 year old, whose lungs were so fragile from damage his first year, missed only two days of school the entire school year for illness so far. He had a purple leg one day from a blood clot in the NICU, but still learned to ride a bike without training wheels at the age of 4. Right now, he's into giving the thumb's up sign (we have to reciprocate) and will give me the thumb's up from high atop the park play structure and smiles when I give him the thumb sign back. My precious son, who wants to name his brother "watermelon poo". Grateful for no swelling yet, grateful to still be able to walk every day. Grateful that I am getting so big that this week I've heard several times "You must be in the home stretch", "What are you, 32 weeks about?" and the meat guys at the market asking me when the Big Day is.

Grateful for today, hopeful for tomorrow indeed! And as of today, I am still baking. Monday we have our next monthly ultrasound.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Are We There Yet?

Jeesh the last few days have gone so slowly getting to 28 weeks tomorrow. Anyway my labs all came back. Liver tests (ALT and AST) looked great. Creatinine and something called LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) looked normal. Hemoglobin decreased again as did red blood cells but as explained earlier, at these levels in indicative of hemodilution as blood volume expands and is not a bad thing. (As drastic drop would be). The only thing that changed more than I expected was platelet level which was down to 181K from 211K two weeks ago. Still well within the normal range but we really don't want platelets to fall below 140K. I expect I will have another blood test in one or two weeks to check. I meet my perinatologist next Monday for our next ultrasound.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blood Tests

Saw the Ob today for our regular appt every two weeks. Went to get blood drawn right after. We are repeating the CBC we did a couple weeks ago and doing the first liver enzyme test since 12 weeks. (In HELLP Syndrome the liver enzymes will be elevated as liver damage starts to occur) I don't expect any problems since we have no other physical indicators or symptoms of pre-e/HELLP but will certainly feel better if the blood work comes back normal. At least Kaiser is great. I'll get the results emailed back by tonight - no waiting around for doctors, etc.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just Popping In...or Popping Out!

I'm definitely in new belly territory as I was never even close to this big with the last. Doing okay this week. No changes with the daily monitoring and getting used to it all. BP totally normal. A bit nervous approaching 28 weeks. Not nearly the anxiety I had at 20 weeks, but just kind of wanting to get to 28 weeks and get over it, and feel like we really are getting farther each day thereafter. These last two weeks have definitely gone slowly trying to reach the point of last pregnancy's delivery. Hoping my OB doesn't give me any grief about weight gain tomorrow! (I've gained about 21 lbs or so by now). I eat pretty darn healthy (swiss chard and asparagus yesterday to name a bit of what I had) and reasonable amounts of Easter bunny chocolate. I believe in moderation!
God, just please get me past this 28 week milestone so we can sail into new territory!

Monday, April 5, 2010

27 Weeks

Once again because it is so shocking and so amazing to me. Picture in 2005 of my pre-eclamptic self. I was about 27 weeks and would end up delivering in just about 7-9 days from this pic. I will never stop trying to educate people about pre-eclampsia. I was so clueless and thought all pregnant women swelled. We had had a clue things were starting to not look so good, but I did not realize how abnormal this swelling was. And certainly had no idea I'd wind up in ICU in 10 days.

And picture yesterday of me at Easter with my sister. Basically same gestation as above pic, 27 weeks tomorrow. (The paisley dress disguises the bump til you see me from the side). I show these pics not to say look and me and how fab I look (LOL), but rather to show firsthand what the effects of pre-eclampsia are on a regular sized person. I could still end up like the picture above if pre-e sets in, but we'll be on top of it and would most likely be in the hospital earlier on.

So tomorrow we hit 27 weeks. A good point but still need to get this bean much, much farther. I ended work last Wednesday (I was only part-time anyway) and that's been a relief. Trying to get off my butt to go walk on the treadmill in the garage for two miles tonight. Need to go in for another blood test to check liver enzymes this week, an appt on Friday. Chugging along.