Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pile it higher and deeper - Aiden's post NICU health battle

Though he was allowed to come home with us, we were given some unsettling news that Aiden's platelet levels were extremely low. While platelet levels may sometimes drop in newborns, Aiden was past the phase where they would usually see such a drop, and his levels were much lower than they would have expected. We were released with strict orders to see his pediatrician the next day after we went home.

After a week and repeated blood tests, the concern for Aiden's hematological health increased. His platelets continued to drop, abnormal white blood cells were found, and his pediatrician didn't know what to make of it. I could tell by the seriousness and gravity of her voice, that this was not a good sign. In addition to the plummeting blood levels, Aiden also started showing signs of jaundice. This was not the "typical baby jaundice" but they were concerned there was also a problem with Aiden's liver. Last but not least, his thyroid levels were off and would need to start medication ASAP to regulate his thyroid levels.

I was in complete shock. Once we got over the initial shock during my pregnancy that my son would need to have surgery and a lengthy NICU stay, we held on to the belief that if we could just get through surgery everything would start to get better. Now we weren't sure if he would make it to his first birthday. It seemed as though his body was failing him. Emotionally, Adam and I were both devastated, but found comfort in each other. It was amazing how through all we had been through, we had grown much closer together. There was no one else who could possibly understand what each of us was going through.

Through all this, Aiden seemed the picture of health. He was active, smiled, and to the lay person, just a typical baby.

It took a long 4 weeks until we were able to finally see the pediatric hematologist at OHSU Doernbecher. He came in with a smile and the first thing out of his mouth was, "He has transient myeloproliferative disorder. I'm not worried... neither should you be." We sat there with our mouths hanging open. We had no idea what this disorder was and what it meant for our son. The Dr. spent the next 15 minutes explaining the disorder. Its a rare disorder only affecting babies with down syndrome. Basically, the blood levels do a sort of roller coaster ride with levels fluctuating up and down each week. In 75% of babies with TMD, the condition resolves itself. In 25% of the cases, further treatment (usually chemo) is needed but is high treatable.

We felt as though we could breathe a sigh of relief. For the last month, we had no answers as to what was going on and whether he would ever live to his first birthday. I think both Adam and I had put up a wall around our heart. We loved Aiden so much, but held back a little because we didn't know if this amazing little boy would live. Now we know that the chances were good that he would.

For the first three months of his life, we had a lot of scares and false alarms over whether Aiden would have to undergo treatment. Platelet levels rose, just as white blood cells dropped. Finally, in December, Aiden's levels began to even out and started to get "normal" blood cell counts.

Its hard to really describe what he had gone through from the time we learned of Aiden's prenatal duodenal atresia diagnosis, to the time when we were finally getting through the worst of Aiden's medical problems to a (near) clean bill of health. There were times I felt like I was being punished for something, like this was something we deserved. We had waited 5 years after we got married before we tried for a baby; we wanted to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. We had a booming business, bought a nice house in a great neighborhood , and I had gotten through a lot of medical/dental problems of my own. To feel as though we failed at something that we had waited so long for could possibly be taken away, took a heavy emotional toll on both Adam and myself.

But we made it through, and most importantly, we made it through as a family.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Aiden's Newborn Photo-palooza


Monday, September 26, 2011

19 days in the hole (well.. NICU)

Again, I am writing this in October 2012.. carefully trying to put together my memories from this time and onto paper (well, screen).

Due to breathing problems Aiden experienced after his birth, surgery was delayed for 5 days following his birth. On Monday, August 29th, Aiden finally had his surgery. In the days leading up to surgery, I spent as much time as possible in the NICU and got in as much skin to skin time as he would tolerate.

Daddy holding his on for the first time
 Night before surgery
 Little baby fuzz head

When Monday rolled around I felt mentally numb. I had already fallen in love so hard with my little boy, and now I was scared I could lose him. While the surgery was relatively safe, we didn't know the severity of the problem that was causing the blockage. Best case scenario they could just snip out the blockage and connect the two ends together and keep the surgery arthroscopic (with tiny tiny incisions).  Worst case scenario, there was another organ wrapped around that portion of the stomach and major open surgery with a major incision would be needed, along with a much longer recovery.

The next 5 hours during his surgery were painfully slow. We did receive updates about every 1.5-2 hours, but the time in between was difficult. Even though I was tired and sore from surgery, I paced the waiting room and wanted to walk around the hospital.

Finally his surgery was over and we were allowed to briefly see our son, though he was heavily medicated.

Day after surgery. Poor little guy seemed so lifeless and swollen. I didnt recognize him anymore because his face was so swollen.

Two days post op... even more swollen
 Concerned daddy looking over his little boy

After a week of not being able to hold our little boy anymore, Aiden begun his journey to recovering and attempting to eat for the first time. Up until this point, he had been fed intravenously through a IV inserted up his leg and into his abdomen. He had never taken any milk. I had been faithfully pumping ever 2 hours, as I felt like it was the only thing I could actually do at this point to eventually help my son.

The doctors needed to wait until there was no more output from the tube inserted into Aidens stomach to pump out the accumulating stomach acids (what can't go down, must go up). Once there was no more output from the tube, it was a sign that Aiden's intestines were slowly starting to move and the acid was going down the intestines.

Look Ma! No tube!

They started Aiden out on the first drops of colostrum I had pumped and saved. After a week of steady improvement, we started to look forward to the day when Aiden would come home.  After 19 days in the NICU, he was finally ready to head home!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holding our breath- Aiden's "Birth" Story

Its now October 2012, and after revising baby Annabelle's birth story, I realized I never wrote one for Aiden. While I updated FB more often than I should have with the story of Aiden's rocky start, one of my recent goals is to keep a good record of our family on this blog. What better place to start than the past with Aiden's birth (did life exist before kids)?

Holding Our Breath- Welcoming Baby Aiden Into this World

Why did I title this post "Holding Our Breath"? Well, ever since Aiden's diagnosis of duodenal atresia and down syndrome, I felt like we were holding our breath for the next three months waiting for his arrival. The first 5 months of the pregnancy, like any other pregnancy, we was full of  excitement at the thought of our first child. While there is always a little worry about something going wrong, for the most part, we brushed it off as typical new parent anxiety. When we found out about Aiden's medical problem and diagnosis, everything changed. Starting at 28 weeks, I was in constant pre-term labor that had to be managed with medication and results in more trips to the Dr and hospital than anyone should have in their entire life.

Initially, they didn't expect me to stay pregnant past 34 weeks, or should I say our goal was to keep me pregnant to 34 weeks. After 3 amniotic fluid reductions, totalling 6.5 Liters (yes, liters) for the pregnancy, I had finally made it past 36 weeks. Our Dr at this point said they would not take any extra-ordinary measures to stop labor and my bedrest restrictions were lifted, being told only to "take it easy". At 37 weeks, Aiden was still double footling breech and my fluid was still very high. Our Dr decided that at 38 weeks, it would be best if we tried a version (manually turn Aiden so he is head down) and attempt an induction. If they failed to turn him around, I would have a c-section. In my head, I knew the version wouldn't work. It wasn't that I was being a pessimist, but I knew with all the fluid I had, and the fact that he had NEVER maneuvered head down, that it just wasn't going to happen. I did though feel better going into a c-section knowing that I "did everything I could" to try and have a vaginal birth.

The date was set for August 24th. While my regular perinatologist was not available that week, another perinatologist, who I had worked with a few times and was really nice, was supposed to be on duty for my version/induction/c-section. 

Once a date had been set, my parents decided to fly up for the birth and to help out. On August 24th, we all made the 40 minute trek across Portland to Providence St. Vincent hospital, which had a highly specialized NICU team. I checked in around 1 pm. The wing was almost completely empty, except for me. Shortly after, an IV was started and I was given a medication to stop contractions, which could interfere with the version. At that time I was told the perinatologist I was expecting was not there, and that a different OB was assigned to my case. I had met him a few times when I had been admitted for observation, but I didn't really know him and he wasn't very familiar with my case.

The version was very painful. Any woman who has been pregnant knows that any pressure on her belly isnt very comfortable. With 4 times the amniotic fluid I should have and 2 doctors putting their weight into my belly trying to find some sort of body part to maneuver was torture. After about 10 minutes of an attempted version, Aiden started showing signs of stress and decelerated heart rate and it was decided I would go straight to a c-section.

Right before the c-section, getting the spiel on what to expect. Me, pretty gosh darn scared.

Adam suiting up
At no time during the process of getting ready for the c-section was I "excited" about having a baby and meeting my son. I was consumed with fear and worry for my sons health. To be honest, I was scared I wouldn't love him when I met him, that I would only see the "disability" and not just the fact that this was our little boy we had been fighting for for 8.5 months.

The Drs scrubbing in for surgery

I was promptly wheeled into the OR where I was given a spinal. The spinal insertion was not so bad, but I wasn't in labor, as many women are. My legs quickly went numb and heavy and I was prepped for surgery. Once the drape went up in front of face, I really started to get scared. Its a really scary feeling, feeling so out of control of what is happening "below the drape".

My very kind nurse anesthesiologist talked me through everything going on but once I was in the OR, neither of the two doctors working on me ever spoke a word to me. They never told me when they made the first incision. What felt like 2 minutes later, they told Adam to get the camera ready. I asked the nurse, "Wait, they already started?" A minute later I could the feel the pressure of them pulling Aiden out, and Adam busily snapped pictures of him emerging. Then it was quiet and everyone got busy. I could hear them suctioning and Aiden gasping. The next thing I saw was Aiden's purple butt leaving the room. Ahead of time, Adam and I discussed that he was to follow Aiden no matter what happened. So I was left alone. I never got to see the son I had been carrying for 8.5 months and didn't know yet if I would instantly "fall in love" with him, as everyone told me I would.

Purple Aiden leaving the room

Aiden was taken into an adjoining room to be cared for by the NICU team. What I didnt know is that he did much better after just a few short minutes.

These pictures were the first I ever saw of my son... through a tiny camera viewing screen when Adam came back to my room, before I ever allowed to see Aiden in person.

Aiden's belly getting drained of excess fluid 

While I was getting put back together, no one gave me an update on Aiden. I kept asking over and over again and everyone seemed to busy to care or even respond to my questions. The doctors were fielding messages via speakerphone about other patients and creating their schedule for the afternoon. No one told me congratulations. My nurse anesthesiologist, who maybe felt bad for my situation, seemed to be keeping as busy as she could with other tasks and avoiding me as well. I have never felt so alone. Its hard to explain how empty and alone you feel after having your baby removed from you and being left baby-less and with no company behind a cold blue sheet.

After the surgery was over, I was taken back to my original room to recover for a few hours. I was re-united with my kind nurse, who called the NICU team to try and arrange a time to meet my son for the first time. Two hours later they wheeled my ENTIRE HOSPITAL BED down 2 stories to the intensive NICU floor, where I finally got to meet my son for the first time.

It was love at first site.......

I spent the following 2 days in the tiniest of recovery rooms. I feel lucky that I had met a few AMAZING WONDERFUL nurses who "mothered" me through the next few days. While I had a lot of hormones and a "birth high", I still found myself crying and having a very difficult time emotionally. Being in a recovery room, surrounded by other mothers who get to spend as much time with their babies as they want, was very hard. I knew ahead of time he would be going to the NICU, so the fact that I was alone in the recovery room was no surprise. But it was still difficult. I couldn't sleep at all, mostly from stress, but due to the fact that someone is always coming into your room ever 30 minutes, 24 hours a day. 

After 48 hours in the hospital and feeling pretty well physically, I demanded to be released so I could at least be home with Adam and my parents. While many people would have wanted to be in the hospital, closer to their baby, I felt like I could actually see Aiden more if I was released. It was very very difficult for me to be able to see my son. He was several floors away and I had to schedule it with the nurses around my medication schedule, and Aiden's schedule and ACTUALLY HAVE TRANSPORTATION SHOW UP! I was not allowed to walk there on my own, and had to have someone from the transportation (wheelchair) department come and take me. 

On the second night in the hospital, the baby in the room next to me was crying all night. My day time nurse had come in to say good-bye at the end of her shift to find me crying in my room. I missed my little boy and transportation had already told me they didn't have anyone that late at night to send to take me down to the NICU. Even though she was off the clock, the nurse insisted she wheel me down to the NICU, if not for me, than the fact that she want to meet my little boy. 

In the midst of some of the hardest times, you can meet the greatest people. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What you missed while I was MIA

So, for those that may have noticed, Adam and I have been fairly withdrawn the past few weeks. Our lives have forever changed during that time - the roughest of my life. We needed time to process and understand what is going on before sharing with all of our family and friends. It's a bit of a long story, so I guess I'll just start from the beginning.

June 22, 2011- 29 weeks pregnant

The previous week, my kasier midwife had referred me for an ultrasound as I had been measuring about 5 weeks ahead of my projected due date. Going into our appointment, the worst thing we imagined was possibly having fibroids or a very large baby. We met with out very friendly ultrasound technician and got started with the ultrasound. After about 10 minutes the friendly technician got very quiet. For the next 1.5 hours he took a very indepth ultrasound, left the room, retook another ultrasound, brought a different technician back to redo yet another image. Once the ultrasound was done we were told to wait for a few minutes while they review the results. A good 40 minutes later, the ultrasound doctor came in and told us that they were transferring us over to labor and delivery. She said my cervix was dilated and I seemed to be having contractions and needed to send me up for observation.
Once up in labor and delivery, I was hooked up to a fetal heart tones monitor and contraction monitor while I waited for further word from the doctor on duty. The nurse who was assigned to me kept asking me "Don't you feel that?" and I honestly replied that I didn't feel anything other than the severe hip and back pain I had been experiencing the past few weeks. She showed me the screen she was looking at and it looks like a stormy ocean! Huge waves and ripples everywhere! I guess I had been having contractions, though never really knew it. They described it more as severe irritation of the uterus as I did not have defined contractions, with  break between, just constant larger and smaller muscle movements, like a spasm in my uterus. I had felt tightness the past few weeks, but had assumed it was just ligament pain or my abdominal muscles reacting to my VERY large belly. I never felt anything coming and going, as I imagined contractions would feel.

The doctor on duty along with a nurse came in to tell us the news. Baby Aiden had a condition with his stomach called duodenal atresia . Basically, the part of his intestine didnt form correctly or is somehow blocked. In babies with complete digestive tracts, the baby swallows the amniotic fluid, passes through his digestive tract and is remove from the uterus. Because baby Aiden has a blockage in his tract, the amniotic fluid had build up to extremely high levels, causing me to measure big (and look like I was carrying twins). I was told the maximum of what they would call normal was 15, I was at 33, more than double the maximum. This condition is called polyhydramnios. We were also told that this type of defect is highly correlated with down syndrome, with about a 30-50% chance of our baby having down syndrome. While the blockage is not adversely affecting baby Aiden now, he will require major surgery soon after he is born, to restore a working intestine. Until he has the surgery, he will not be able to eat or drink anything. He will need to go to the NICU, where his belly will be drained of fluid, and he will be fed intravenously.

The following week

While we were kept very busy with appointments, we got more and more scared. We now had to worry about having a very premature baby, who would need major surgery immediately after he was born, and will spend at least 1 month in the NICU, and has a high risk of having down syndrome. I shut myself off from the world. I felt guilty for not being able to control my babies health, sad for the loss of my low-risk home birth (now will need to birth across town at a high risk hospital with a NICU), and very angry that it feels like I am the only one having a complicated birth, and on my first baby! I tried so hard to do everything "right" only to feel like everything is going "wrong".

During the following week I was started on a medication to slow contractions,  spent nearly every day in the hospital or doctors office to monitor my cervix and contractions, and met with a perinatologist (high risk pregnancy OBGYN). For the first 2 days, the contractions did slow down a bit with the medication, but was still put on complete bed rest. The doctor even told me to stay hydrated, but not TOO hydrated so as not to have to get up too often to use the restroom. With that much fluid, it was next to impossible to stay on bedrest. My hips and back felt like they were about to shatter under the pressure and my bladder felt like the size of a shot glass! I couldn't sit for longer than 10 minutes without feeling like I was going to scream from the pain. Sleep was impossible, other than the brief naps I was able to take sleeping sitting up in the foam nursing chair I had next to my bed. Laying down on my size was the WORST! 

On Sunday night, while putting together  a burrito for dinner I started to feel so tight in my stomach that it was hard to stand up straight. I rested to see if it would go away, but it only seemed to get worse. Adam rushed me over to Kaiser L&D, where, again, got hooked up to the contraction monitor and was having fairly major contractions, even with the medication. They decided to keep my overnight and put me on a loading dose of medication to see if they could get the contractions under control. It was my first time ever being admitted to the hospital, but at least Kaiser had really nice rooms with a tv and a place for Adam to sleep on a recliner. They ended up putting me on the maximum safe dose of medication before my contractions were somewhat under control enough to send me home in the morning.

The next day (Tuesday) we were told to return to L&D to make sure my contractions were still under control. Well, hooked me up the monitor and they were not AND they ran a FFN test. If it had come back negative I would have had a low chance of delivering in the next two weeks (I was 29 weeks at the time). It came back positive, meaning I had a high chance of delivering in the next two weeks. They decided to immediately e transfer me over the St. Vincents, the high risk hospital (which will also be the . I was told to expect to stay there for at least the next few days while they decided if they were going to do an amnio reduction.After another overnight stay in the hospital, they did an amnio reduction in the morning. The reduction was no walk in the park. While the initial pain was no worse that what an amniocentisis would be, as the fluid started to drain, I started having severe contraction, nausea and pain due to the rapid shrinking of my uterus. By the time the procedure was done, they had drained over 2 LITERS of excess fluid from my uterus. This brough me down to an amiotic fluid index (AFI) of 22. Still very high, but took a good amount of pressure of my uterus and slowed my contractions to the point where I was able to go home.

 Since then my contractions have slowed down to the point where I am off complete bed rest and able to just "take it real easy". When they did the amnio reduction, they took several vials of fluid to be tested to see if Aiden definitively has down syndrome. We were told that it could take up to 2-3 weeks before the results come back.

July 7th - 31 weeks

The Diagnosis

Today we had our weekly appointment with the perinatologist. While we were not expecting the results for at least another 2 weeks, our doctor told us that baby Aiden does indeed have Down Syndrome. 

The next few days were incredibly difficult for the two of us. While we had felt we had mentally prepared for the diagnosis, hearing a definitive diagnosis was very hard for us. I went through a lot of emotions wondering whether I did something wrong, whether this was something we could handle and a lot of feeling of hopelessness and despair about why we were so "unlucky". We had done the first trimester screening and came back with a 1:1000 chance of having a child with down syndrome. Our 20 week ultrasound came back with perfect results! Still, we felt like maybe we should have "known" better and pushed for further first trimester testing instead of assuming it would not happen to us.
At the time we had the first trimester screening, we had been asked if we would like further testing. Adam and I discussed it, and decided that Down Syndrome was not something that would change our mind about continuing the pregnancy. Little did we know how important that conversation would be. 

I am so glad we didn't pursue further genetic testing. At the time, I was already receiving a lot of pressure from the genetic testing department and received almost daily phone calls reminding me to make an appointment for the nuchal translucency ultrasound to screen for Down Syndrome. I was told it was routine for anyone who had a greater than 1:20,000 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome. I was reminded... repeatedly and with great urgency.. that my time to terminate was coming to an end. I got very upset and told them to WRITE IT DOWN IN MY CHART that I do not want to receive another phone call about genetic screening. We do not care if our child has down syndrome. If I had caved to the pressure and they had detected a high probability of having a child with down syndrome, I cannot say how I would have felt. I don't think I would have the heart to terminate the pregnancy, but I am not sure how I would mentally cope with the pressure from medical professionals to terminate.

Through all the sorrow and dispare, Adam and I did what we do best, educate ourselves. We read through the book "Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parents Guide", connected with a local chapter of the DS association, and LOTS of google searching on blogs and forums to connect with other parents who have had a child diagnosed with down syndrome. And cried some more.

July 9- 31 weeks

During this time Adam and I stuck together. While each of experienced our grief differently, we talked each other through the hard times until we came to a conclusion.


Nothing has changed to make us love him any less. He has always had down syndrome, we just didnt know it yet. And really, what better parents than us (some tooting of our own horn is needed here). Baby Aiden will be born to two loving parents who work from home full time and will ALWAYS be available to give him unlimited love and attention. I have 7 years of experience working with children with autism using behavior therapy, worked for years in a special eduction classroom, worked as a adaptive PE assistance (traveled school to school providing amazing games and activities that incorporated both typcial and special needs children). His grandma (my mom, Jeanne) worked for 10 years in a special education classroom, and helped a lot of kids with DS. Like our doctor said, "It sounds like baby chose you well."

In the mean time, our focus is on having our little guy the best opportunity to be a healthy little boy.
He still has a difficult and dangerous journey ahead of him. While my amniotic fluid is rapid building up, causing the pain, restlessness, and contraction to increase with each passing day, our goal is to make it to at least 34 weeks (just another 2.5 weeks to go!). Im mentally preparing myself to eventually return to bed and rest and for a likely c-section, as the baby is consistently breech, which is common as he has just too big of a "swimming pool" to move around in and has yet to have been in a heads down position. We are trying to keep on the positive, though we are human and have our moments. We have decided we have to be strong and positive and make sure this little guy knows he is loved and wanted.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First kick!

March 30th - 17 weeks pregnant

We have spent the last week in Santa Barbara, CA for my beautiful sister-in-law's wedding. While the day turned out less-than-sunny, the rain held off until we were under the tents. By Monday, the sun emerged from behind its cover and I finally saw the sun... after months of Oregon rain! The change in weather inspired us to stay another week, but it also meant we have to take a ton of time at the hotel to stay and get work done. Its a bummer, but it has allowed us some time to go out and get food from our favorite places and catch a few rays and time with our family. My wonderful husband even took me to a local (and only) maternity store that sells new/consigned maternity and childrens attire. Having not have purchased or brought any shorts, this was a necessity as the temp is supposed to climb to 80+ this week and I was already sweating at 65-70* in jeans and a tee! 

I don't have any wedding pictures or pictures of myself as I forgot to bring the photo transfer cable, but here is a few phone shots of Lake Los Carneros next to Adam's parents house showing the beautiful scenery after a winter of over-abundant rain... yes, even in So Cal! 

While we have had a boring/stressful day in the hotel room, we did have a first! While I had been feeling fluttering for weeks internally, I finally felt a real kick on my lower right side. I called Adam over quickly but I guess that all baby had in him/her. It was a pretty good one. I might be glad I am not feeling kicks as big as that regularly as when it gets bigger, it might break a rib!

Friday, March 18, 2011


March 18th- 15.5 week pregnant

It's been at least a week since my last barf/gag/dry heaving episode! Yay! I missed food. So far I have enjoyed my new found ability to eat by eating eggs (with digestive enzymes, still don't digest them well, but at least they are not making me barf), Chipotle (skipped the salad, went straight for burrito), Arawan Thai food (coconut soup and garden curry), pancake and omlette Sunday breakfast with the hubby, and make 2 pots of soup! The first was a cabbage chickenless soup with LOTS of chickpeas, and the second was a hodgepodge of stuff I found with lots of veggies, a couple cans of randon white beans I found in the pantry, and a cup of quinoa. With the quinoa it turned into a thick stew by the time it was done.

I took an updated picture this morning. I'm sucking in... I have to.. I don't look pregnant. I don't have that lovely bump-ish-ness just chunk-ish-ness. My upper abs are still a quasi 2 pack, and then it bulges out at the bottom like a alcohol loving sorority girl. If I don't look like I'm actually pregnant in a month, I'm going to get one of these shirts:

Or I can really make a statement with this one:

 Anyway, here is the updated 15.5 week picture:

Sorry for the creepy no head pictures... once I actually have a belly, Ill rope Adam into taking pictures with my head included. Once there is actually a belly to take a picture of. 

Back to resting on the couch, watching cupcake/cake/food shows and finally breaking into my Chocolate Peanut Butter So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream that has been sitting in my freezer for 3 months. I've got a long day at the tack sale tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Barf and Boredom

March 9, 2011- 14.5 weeks pregnant 

Yes, I know. Long time, no post. Its been a rough couple of week with a few highlights thrown in there.

First things first! I finally  got to the point where I could take the "at home" home early gender test.

I know its not 100% percent, but its fun. While secretly hoping for a girl, I just have been feeling "boy" lately. Well, here are my results for comparison.

I think the results are pretty clear. While we know it's not 100%, it was fun to try. We have been searching for names for weeks now (at least its something we CAN do) and tentatively picked "Aiden Holms" if it does turn out to be a boy. We have been searching for a girl name that we like in case it turns out to be a girl, but have yet to come up with one that we like. Only 5 more weeks until we can find out for (mostly) sure at the 20 week ultrasound! We are planners and definitely want to know either way.

Other than that, not much has changed. Still nauseated, though its not as bad as before. I am able to get out of the house more, exercise much more, and get more work done. It seems though the more tired I get, the more nauseated I get, so I am still getting nauseated at night. Ugh. I still have to eat small portions, but I am able to prepare food now without dry heaving over the sink.

As far as changes in me, not much has changed. I look fatter but haven't really gained any weight. I REALLY don't like this in-between just look thicker stage, but with my freakishly long torso and abdominal strength, I think I will be doomed to look a little thicker in the middle but in no way pregnant for at least another month. Last week I went to my first pregnant ladies meet up group for group pedicures and when I walked through the door this lady sitting in one of the chairs sipping wine asked if I was pregnant. I said, "yes" and she scoffed and said "well, you must be BARELY pregnant". I dunno, but 3.5 months of nausea and exhaustion, I felt like I deserved a little more credit than being "barely" pregnant. Well, even though some people were around the same due date as I was, I was the only one NOT showing. Oh well, there IS a BABY in there. We have heard a heartbeat, and the constant nausea is a never ending reminder I am still pregnant.

On the brighter side- we found our midwives! We had an amazing meeting with Carrie from Andaluz Water Birth Center. While we are not planning to birth at their beautiful birth center (30 minute drive or longer with traffic- can't imagine doing that in labor), they will bring a large tub, 2 midwives and an assistant or two to our house, which is only a 5 minute or less drive from the hospital, or less by ambulance. I felt very safe after meeting with the midwives. Just for everyone's knowledge, they will be bringing with them IV equipment (and trained in how to use it) but will only use it if absolutely neccessary, trained to minor surgical repairs in case of a tear requires stitches (PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE NO TEARING), trained in infant resuscitation, and monitor the baby as often as neccessary. They will be with me as soon as I feel I need the support and stay with me until several hours after the baby is born, have already nursed, prepare a meal for me, and make sure everyone is asleep. They will then return to check in on me AT HOME 24 and 48 hours after the baby is born. It will be one of the hardest things I will ever do, but I truly feel like I will be most comfortable birthing at home. I have done all my reading, weighed all the risks, and in my heart just feel like it will be a much better experience at home. When I think of birthing at a hospital I just think of the battle I will have to put up just to be able to birth and labor the way I want to, and comfortably, without a bunch of strangers around and away from the comfort of my own home and bed. One of the reasons I picked Andaluz is that I felt instantly at home with the midwife I was matched with. She was warm, carring, supportive, knowlegable and had birthed her two children at home, so she would know exactly what I was going through.

Here is their website:

If you click on "our midwives" my midwife is Carrie.  I am planning on joining their 6 week class series. It seems like sooo much more than just breathing and laboring techniques. It focuses a lot on our mental preparation. What our fears and hesitations are. How we envision our perfect birth. How to bring the father into a supportive position and most of all, embracing our pregnancy as something our bodies are MADE to do, not a medical emergency. They do a lot of birth art, meditation and relaxation techniques. etc. It just focuses so much on empowering and love! They even have a class that incorporates love letters and blessing for the birth, touch relaxation, and even touch base in the last class on baby wearing, circumcision, nighttime parenting, newborn care and breastfeeding. They have ongoing classes for postpartum dealing with breastfeeding! I can't wait to start my journey with Andaluz!

Well, I think I have rambled enough for now. I promise I will try to update more often, hopefully with pictures of me actually looking pregnant!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is the first trimester over yet?

Friday February 4- 9.5 weeks pregnant

So, I haven't posted in a while, as not much has changed.. Im still nauseated.. Im still tired... not much changes in my body. I did take an updated and better belly shot this week. While no REAL belly is showing, I do have a funny point below my bellow button that was never there before.

Kind of exciting but I'm really hunting for it. If there is anything good about the nausea, it is that I ALWAYS know I'm still pregnant.  Because of this bump, it seems as though my jeans are a little more snug around the button. Im not at all ready for maternity clothes, but Im thinking ahead. I already went ahead and bought several pairs of pants from ebay. GO EBAY! I got some great designer jeans at a fraction of the cost and close to the same cost as buying new pants from old navy or gap! Yay! Just because Im pregnant, I won't have to give up my sense of style, not that I really had one to be begin with. But at least I won't have to give up comfy jeans! 

Monday, January 31, 2011

I have the best husband... ever!

January 21st, 7.5 weeks pregnant

I came home from the barn today to find yet another sweet surprise on our doorstep!

Not that he needs to buy me something to show me he cares, but he knew I was having a rough week and didn't know what else to do. I cried.. again. It has really helped with my aversion to smells in the house. Instead it was overpowered by the smell of flowers! And its not just the flowers, he is being really attentive to me when he is done with work. Making sure I am comfortable, rubbing my feet/back. serving as a human pillow as I pass out on the couch. I know he is very excited about being a daddy.

I decided I would go ahead and start the barrage of belly pictures now so I can have something to compare it to as I progress.This is a terrible closet mirror picture but its a start. I lost a few pounds since my Monday appointment, not due to the stupid doctor, but because the dreaded nausea has hit me full boar. I FEEL TERRIBLE! Nothing sounds good and I can barely keep water down. I haven't actually progressed to vomitting, but dry heaving like its no ones business and food aversions to just about everything except apple slices. I am also wracked with hot and cold flashes, severe aches and pain, headaches, and the worst exhaustion EVER! I hope this passes soon!


Ill take better ones later but for now, its for now it's time to go back to laying on the couch and doing nothing but whine about how sick I feel.

Did you just call me fat?

January 17th- 7 weeks pregnant

So, its been another rough week. While I am feeling MUCH better than last week, its been a rough emotional week. I had my first doctors appointment this week with Kaiser. It didnt go well. Whether it was my pregnant hormone addled brain or I actually did hear what I thought I hear, I swore my doctor called me fat. Not directly. But still, fat. I had been avoiding weighing myself as I know I have been eating more than my scanty 2-3 meals a day and had not been doing my usual 2+ hours of work outs daily. I caved before my appointment and weighed myself... post lunch and very bloated. Ive gained. I will not say how much but I swear my scale moo'ed at me. Cry #2 of the day. After trying to dig through my closet for my stretchiest yoga pants I own I decided it was best if I cover my growing self with a big puffy vest and move on with my day. I went to the doctors appointment... alone. It wasn't that Adam wasn't willing to go, but we just figured this appointment was not a big deal. Some blood work, a run down of the million and one things NOT to do, a bunch of nutritional advice that did not pertain to me (drink TONS of milk and eat cheese), and Id be done. Well I was wrong. Apparently, though I was 100% sure of when we conceived, the doctor told me I was SOOO  BIG that she thought I was another month along. She told me this could affect the whole pregnancy and that it could cause problems if I didn't do an early dating ultrasound RIGHT NOW and wheeled the ultrasound machine in. Now, Adam and I were planning on a minimum interference pregnancy, MAYBE 1 ultrasound after 20 weeks to mke sure everything was ok, and that't it. It is impossible to test the long term damage of many of the medical procedures that are performed on pregnant women these days. Well, I told her I am pretty sure we know when we conceived because we had tracked everything and also I had taken a pregnancy test a few weeks before the positive and it had come back negative. After some arguing about how it for the 'best for the baby' I caved. Well, I was right. I'm right at 7 weeks.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Ode my Kindle

January 13, 2011

Just a quick note to express my gratitude for my kindle (my Christmas gift from Adam), which I have promptly filled with many books on pregnancy. Here is a short run down of what I am currently reading or have read:

1. "Your Pregnancy Week by Week" by Judith Schuler- my take... fairly lame, unless you are a drug addicted HIV positive diabetic. Its supposed to be broken down by week and give you details on what to expect during that week.  I am only 7 weeks into the book, but so far, find it pretty lame. The first chapters focus primarily on why you should not drink, do hard core drugs (meth, cocaine, etc), and how HIV can complicate your pregnancy. REALLY? I shouldn't start taking up shooting drugs during my pregnancy? Each chapter starts with one small paragraph on whether you should be expecting any weight gain and how big your little "speck" is this week and what is forming during this week. But other than that, it tells you the million and one things to avoid. It fails to tell you that in week 6 you MAY feel like you have been hit by a semi-truck loaded with magical sleeping powder or that the smell of EVERYTHING is just about the most disgusting thing you have ever smelled. It will also fail to tell you that even though you may not have gained any weight, you will be so bloated and crampy and your boobs have doubled in size in these 6 weeks that none of your tops or bras will fit.

2. "Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy" by Vicki Iovine: This books gets a 2.5 out of 5. I found some of it to be informative, like a good friend telling you the truth (not the sugar coated version) of pregnancy. The good, the bad, and the really really ugly. Where she fails is to be non-judgmental. She basically stops short of calling you a complete idiot if you decide to go for a natural delivery and a drug free pregnancy. She fully supports using anti-nausea medication, and eating pretty much any crap you want during pregnancy, healthy or not. She DIRECTS the reading audience to get an epidural, instead of giving her opinion and letting the reader decide. A little in your face, which turned me off from giving it a high rating. I would read it again though and just skip over the parts I don't like.

3. Just downloaded "Does this Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat?" by Claire Mysko, Magali Amadeï. I know this is a taboo subject when you are pregnant. You are supposed to embrace your widening figure and stretch marks, but personally, this is really hard. I have worked for hours on a daily basis for the last 10 years attempting to lose weight and finally have what I would call an attractive figure and FINALLY wore a bikini for the FIRST time in my life in PUBLIC during my trip to Hawaii last summer. Im not ready to say screw it all and down a pint of ice cream and take the next 9 months as my opportunity to throw it all away. Not only do I believe that it is important now more than ever to eat healthy and nourish my baby correctly, but also to avoid unnecessary weight. Now don't go posting that I will be starving my baby, yadda yadda yadda. I never said I was NOT willing to gain weight for my pregnancy, I am just not happy about it. No where is it written I have to be happy about getting fat. I am going to eat healthy, and plentiful and maintain a healthy exercise program through the next 9 months, and read this book, because, to be honest, I'm going to need a little help accepting my new figure.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What the %^)#$^ is that smell?

Wednesday, January 12th 2011

Random thought of the day.  I understand the rational behind the pregnant powers of super smell, but really??? This is ridiculous. I went to the mall yesterday to buy some rooibos tea from Teavana (insert heart here). I could smell everyone's BO. People really.. I could smell the smoker from 6 stores away. The stinky diaper kid. The lady with WAYYY too much perfume. My saving grace was entering into Teavana. It smelled of nothing but sugar and spice and everything nice. I don't think it took much to sell me on about a pound of tea. It all smelled amazing to me. I bought a "Cocoa Praline Tart", a blend of figs, pears, macamadamia nuts, chocolate, rooibos and honeysuckle teas. I also bought a Tulsi Dosha Chai Rooibos with cinnamon, ginger and cloves! My two favorite smells though had to be the "Zingiber Ginger Coconut" with overwhelming amounts of ginger coconut and apple, and Pineapple Kona Pop which just makes me want to go back to Hawaii and never come back with its pineapple, apple, rose blossoms, orange blossoms, and just heavenly goodness. Sorry for the long rambling description of tea, but with my new found sense of super smell, its like porn... for my nose.

(Pineapple Kona Pop)

I love needles!

 Monday January 10th

So last week I had my second accupuncture appointment since becoming pregnant, and let me just say, its just about the best thing any pregnant woman can do for herself!  I went from a balled up, emotional lunatic to a very calm, not a worry in the world sane lady. I felt less dizzy, less tired and was even able to get to the barn to ride!

On that subject, Ill go ahead and set the record straight:
  • Yes! I still do plan on riding. Its therapeutic for me. No, I wont be doing anything crazy like gaming or jumping later on in the pregnancy, but for now I feel comfortable with it. When the time comes I dont feel comfortable with it, I will stop or cut back. 
  • Yes! I still plan on eating my (mostly) vegan and (mostly) gluten free whole food diet. I stand behind the fact that I eat healthy and firmly believe that while pregnant it is more important than ever to eat healthy. I had a blood test back in the beginning of December and came up a-ok for everything, including IRON!
  • Yes! I am still working out, lifting weights, running, and doing most of my normal activities. I found that the only thing that is alleviating my symptoms is good old fashioned sweat. I am not working at the extreme intensity I was before, but I am getting up, getting my heart pumping and feeling great! Its the only thing that makes me feel better. I am not running as much, due to constant cramping feeling and a pulled tendon in my foot that has been bugging me for weeks, but I am power walking on the treadmill at a -6% to 40% incline on my simulated hiking trails. 
I received a wonderful surprise from my honey this week! It was completely unexpected, but definitely needed.

It also came with a box of chocolates not pictured here, because I ate most of them already and the box looks thrashed.

And this lasts for how long????

Monday January 3rd

So, Im back-blogging about my experiences as the weeks go by, so some of this might already be a little foggy (darn pregnancy brain).

If the rest of the pregnancy is anything like this week, its going to be a bumpy ride. Ive been struggling with severe dizziness, severe emotional mood swings and a sore chest. Im simultaneously hungry and having digestive issues. Im a complete mess. I can't go to the grocery store as I feel like Im drunk on a bottle of nyquil and vodka and can't walk a straight line. If a cop pulls me over, I swear he would give me a DUI- Driving under the influence... of pregnancy hormones. Being an active, do-everything, kind of person, this really irks me, making my mood swings worse. To top it all off... Im so bloated I cant get any of my pants buttoned, so Im confined to sweats. All of this together resulted in a lot of tears! Im still struggling with the thought of my "new life" and all the side effects of pregnancy are making it much more difficult.

At this point, I have told a few close friends. With all the issues I am having, they are either going to think Im a hypochondriac, or avoiding them. I figured its better that everyone understand what I am going through. Im not able to lift weight with the same intensity. I am so dizzy I can't drive to the barn to ride. Im hungry and eating everything in sight.

I'm hoping that this all settles out soon, so I can return to everything I need to get done. I guess this is just a forewarning of things to come. I've just had to come to terms that I will not be able to get as much work done as I need to if the computer screen wont stay still (dizziness).

I called Kaiser to let them know and see what the next step is, and they told me congratulations, take a prenatal vitamin, we are sending you an informational packet, and we will see you in 8-12 weeks.  Ummm... 8-12 weeks!! Way to go kaiser and send an informational packet in lieu of actual medical advice.  Luckily, I have been seeing a naturopath and an acupuncturist to deal with the hormonal issues I had been having in preparation of conceiving, and who also specialize in helping women through pregnancy, so at least I don't feel all alone (well, not as much so).

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