Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day #5: Bed-rest

Poor mom didn't make it to her last flight last night, which forced her to stay overnight in Denver.  Today she is on stand-by for a flight from Denver to Rapid City and I truly hope she is able to get on that one!  She hasn't flown in nearly 10 years and this is not exactly the experience an almost-newbie-flyer-who-is-already-frightened needs. 

Miles asked me to make a list of things I wanted for him to do before my mom arrived.  There's certain things that should always be done - whether you're single, married or having guests.  After having written my list and him beginning to tackle the different duties, I realized some of it is why she's even coming in the first place.  I had to remind myself that he didn't need to make the house look pristine because mom was coming to dust, vacuum, tidy, cook and be with me.  On realizing this I began to cross off different things.  I think Miles thought I might be trying to say he wouldn't do it, he wouldn't get it done on time or couldn't do it "my" way... but it just seemed silly to take away any free or down time from him when that is why she's coming anyway!

My husband is also very proud of our new family car :)  I'm not allotted any pride towards it since I don't have a paying job and it's not my credit that was able to afford it, but don't think that I don't absolutely love it!  (I'll always have a soft spot for my Mini Cooper though!)  Since we live up north in a rugged winter climate, he became anxious about all the work he'd done late summer on the car to make sure it shined, had no swirls and was just gorgeous.  Apparently Meguiar's makes a product that allows for spray-and-wipe clean during the winter when you can't spray, soap and rinse your car.  This excited him to no end because now when we pick up our families at the airport this winter, the car will STILL be clean.

He cleaned the car, shined the tires and lo' and behold our neighbor trots over to ask how my pregnancy is going.  As usual, she begins to talk and then tell me the most vicious, horrendous stories and experiences of her and "close friends".  When I attempt to make a positive note on something, she'd deject it with the resource that she has 3 children (3, 2, and 4-months) and one of them born at the Very Terrible and Life Threatening hospital I'm doomed to deliver my baby.

Upon finding out I'm currently on bed-rest and Nifedipine for my contractions, she went on to tell me how they asked her at this same hospital if she wanted the medications to stop contractions.  She, apparently, refused them under the whim that she just wanted the darn baby out already (at 33/34 weeks).  While I personally completely disagree with this choice, I saw her waiting for some sort of reaction or change of heart on my own situation, I let her know our baby is not healthy and I wanted the best for the baby's health.  She then proceeds to say, "Well I  told them, 'Look, I don't care.  I want him out now.  You got a NICU here.  He'll be fine.'"  Apparently she then left the hospital, having never been treated for her pre-labor contractions and came home to talk a half of a mile walk to begin the process of labor because, again, she wanted the baby out.

My husband and I are sitting in the garage amazed.  Amazed that she would put her own desires above her child's health.  I've not at all walked through this pregnancy saying it felt like rainbows and butterflies, but I think I can tolerate 9 months of uncomfortability, sometimes pain, and definitely inconveniences for the health and well-being of our child.  It scares me that she has 3 kids, and one of them is an infant.

I'm getting better at pre-occupying myself during the day while Miles is at work, and after he checks in on me during lunch.  It's at night that I have to grasp myself because I get crabby.  I get so frustrated by the end of the day because there's so much I had wanted to do... there's so much I want to be done... and it's all stuff that I want to do. 

I knew I was being unreasonably crabby, and I decided to open up the Bible to I Thessalonians 5.  God, I believe, was happy to see me reaching out to His manual when I knew I needed to be more like Jesus because what I read couldn't have hit home more!
Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. - I Thessalonians 5:13-15 (The Message)

As soon as I read that, it was unbelievably comforting.  God knew that I was frustrated.  He knew that I had allowed stupid things performed by my husband to get on my nerves, and he knew that towards night time I preferred to snap at him rather than just let it go.  Maybe not immediately life changing, but definitely changed me in that moment and thus our night was not destined to darkness and negativity.

I believe God blessed me with a full nights sleep for that as well :)  Bella decided she was going to lay still while I attempted sleep.  I'll never be swayed to believe that when you, in true humility and repentance, reach out to God (be it the Bible, a prayer, a song, a moment...) that He will not bless you in some way.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Claustrophobic Cat

God uses situations to compose us into the persons He designed us to be.  Of course, we have the will to go along with His plan or fight it like a claustrophobic cat.  I admit that being put on bed-rest has had me feel like a claustrophobic cat, and may have even acted out on this feeling at times.  It's not hard to see though God using this situation for not only myself, but my husband.

If at all feasible, I would be doing a semi-big project daily and/or constantly be on the go.  Yes, I find time to relax and fiddle on the computer as such, but I feel much better as a person if I've done something productive (alongside all the chores for the day).  Otherwise I do feel as if I've failed and, if graded, would receive an F for the day.  On the other hand, my husband does not beat himself up if a chore is not done and instead he did something relaxing.  Neither of us, admittedly, have a personal healthy balance... even if we balance each other out.

For the next few weeks (or maybe even month and a half?) we have to trade places.  Not even just trade places, but take on completely different roles.  Instead of me ignoring any sort of physical discomfort (which I usually did throughout the pregnancy; writing everything off to just being pregnant), I'm now on constant alert for the possible contraction count to raise about 4/hour.  Little Bella doesn't feel so little anymore either, and now sitting and laying are very uncomfortable for me (standing seems to help but I'm not allowed to stand).  Dishes, laundry, the pets, and any other household duty I must now *gulp* completely ignore.  Housewifery hiatus means no work... ever.  A really big difference from not even having weekends (ladies know: housework doesn't stop on weekends). My life is going to be a perpetual lazy weekend until Bella fights enough that modern medicine can't even keep her baking in the belly any longer.

My husband, on the other hand, is used to being able to take weekends completely off from any sort of work.  Instead of being able to carelessly do what he wishes, he's not only got to take care of the home and the pets, but his almost-paralyzed-pregnant wife.  Who moans and squirms.  Who hates requesting anything.  Who'd rather be scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush than sitting idlly for so long. 

Admittedly, I was shocked at how self-disciplined he was.  He allowed himself the leisure to go on the computer in-between duties.  After a productive round in his game, he'd get up and do dishes, refill my water bottle, tidy up a room, take care of the cat's.  Sunday he even went to church without me (which I was happy he did) and picked up some groceries.  When he came home he served me Oreo's while he made brownies that my mom sent and my Macaroni and Cheese.  Whilst it's all very awesome, it's also very hard to get used to.  It's hard to remind yourself to ask for a water refill instead of just walking 10 feet to do it yourself.

Tonight my mom flies in to help us out until next Sunday.  She'll be doing what I typically do, and also helping get the nursery all the way together.  Basically she'll be getting things done so that all Miles will have to do is maintain after she leaves.  I know Miles could do everything she's coming to do, but he also has to work 5 days a week (and not on a 9-5 schedule) and so it would take him a lot longer to get the house in the shape she'll get it in.  It may also help me mentally be able to learn to depend on someone for most everything aside from assisting me in the bathroom.  Since it's my mom, I've bossed her around enough during childhood ;-)  I'll just have to remember what it's like and apply it to Miles.  I've got to remind myself these people are doing this because they love me, they love Bella and they want to help and take care of me.  No one is doing this (including Dr. Buehner who I resented for the first day of bed-rest) to hurt me.

Last night was hands-down the worst night of pregnancy.  I became very afraid around 2:00 AM when I was in the bathroom and wondering if I was about to go into serious labor.  My back was aching, I didn't feel well, and I felt all around really uncomfortable.  I kept my hands around my stomach to see if I had any contractions and luckily I didn't (or don't think I did).  So I practically napped through the night.  After that round in the bathroom of freaking out and wondering if I should re-wake Miles and ask if we should go to the E.R. or call the doctor, I went back to bed thinking if it lasted for another hour I'd become legitimately concerned.  Fortunately all that sickness went away, but Bella would not stop squirming.  I'm unsure if her feet are in my ribs, but my right rib cage feels just ... weird.  It's hard to sit or lay down comfortably, and when I DO lay down... she begins moving all around and making life just miserable.

At 5'0" I'll admit... I have very little room to hold a bigger baby than Bella and am getting really anxious about the possibility that she'll get even larger and this will become even more uncomfortable.  Times like last night, I felt like a claustrophobic cat.  A panic, a fear, and a worry all rolled into one.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day #3: Bed-rest

Day 3 of bed-rest is already getting to me a little.  My knee aches since I can't walk around much.  I've done a few of the leg stretches that have been approved.  Luckily I kept my hands busy today with crocheting.  Alas, the finished product is not newborn sized as said.  Instead it looks like little Bella will have a very warm hat when she's approximately 6 months old.

Miles and I slept in a bit this morning.  I wondered if he only stayed in bed with me since, well, I don't have many places to go and things to do, lol.  Around 11:30 though I noticed a contraction.  The fact that I noticed it made me panic.  As per doctor's orders, I took a pill a half an hour before my scheduled time because I soon had one more contraction.  All day I've noticed that near the end of the hour I get a contraction... and then it stops, or begins to let up, shortly after the beginning of the new hour.

I was able to read more of "Torch" by Cheryl Strayed.  Upon opening the book, it's not the story that intrigued me to want to read more but that she had a classy-like style to her technique.  Unfortunately I noticed her lack of class when she decided to effortlessly use the "f" word; a word I am hardly keen on.  Other than her lack of ability to word such things in another way, the book is mature and a good story.  By no means gripping, but... we'll see. I'm only on page 87 out of 330, but I will review it on Goodreads.com when I'm finished.  Haha... which could be very soon!

The rest of the afternoon I fiddled on Facebook.  Attributing much of my bed-rest time to Mafia Wars, Cafe World, FarmVille and e-mails.  I organized the online bookshelves on Goodreads.com, updated the blog design (thanks to Ri for pointing out a fantastic website) and continued to crochet a "newborn" hat.

Miles and I watched the Gators play Mississippi.   I continually played Mafia Wars during this time, lol.

I feel bad for Miles.  I don't think I said much at all today.  If this is true, I know why at least.  When someone is sick, they tend to whine or milk it for all it's worth.  This is a quality I absolutely detest.  So, instead of whining (because truly I'd love to whine about contractions, being in a seated or parallel position most of the day, etc.) I basically have just shut up.  He asked me a few times today how I was... meaning, "Talk to me."  I attempted, but all I can splatter out is, "Neehhhhhh.  It's all nehhh.  There's so many answers to that question."

We are now... each fiddling on our own computers.  Though I'm only doing it because I have about an hour and a half until my next pill, and yet I'm so sleepy.  I know if I go to bed right now that I will fall asleep and not wake up in time to take my medicine, so I'll drive myself to stay awake via computer, book or t.v.

Oh this is going to be so lovely...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Completely, Utterly, and Totally... Incapable

Much to my dismay, the bed-rest I had wished for is not mine.  Dr. Buehner's nurse just gave me a call back after I left her a message an hour ago.  I wanted to confirm whether or not I was able to do certain things, as well as run past somebody the different side effects from the Nifedipine that I'm taking for the contractions.

  • I can go to church. 

  • I can't take baths, due to being dilated and possibly causing infection.  Baths should be limited to days where I'm extra achy or crampy due to, well, bed-rest.

  • I can get up to make a sandwich.

  • I can get up and stretch my legs to prevent achiness or restlessness.

  • I can take over-the-counter Zantac for the heartburn caused by Nifedipine and bed-rest.

  • I can expect an elevated heart-rate for at most an hour after taking Nifedipine.

  • I can sit upright for periods of time.  It is preferred I'm reclining to some degree, though sitting is okay.

  • I cannot go grocery shopping (though I figured).

Due to being dilated, even if it is only 2 cm, it is preferred that I stay on the couch and read, watch t.v., play video games, do a hobby, etc. 

Honestly, I'd hoped that I'd at least be able to do a bit more.  I do like the fact that I can make myself lunch or get a snack.  I do wish though I'd be able to walk around the house real fast with a duster.  Or pick up some trash, lol.  I don't know...

Like I said to Miles before he left after coming home for lunch, I just wish I could do something productive.  I know people think it's wonderful to sit at a computer all day (and not work), or to do a hobby all day, or watch t.v.  The thing is, I've always depended on doing something productive.  If I at least did one responsible thing all day, I could at least go to bed and feel somewhat satisifed.  Like, doing the dishes.  Now, I can't even do the dishes.  >.<

Miles' response, of course, was that I am doing something productive.  You know, like making a baby and trying to keep her inside until she should come out.  Which, he's right, and I need to dwell on that... but when I have instinct to just get up and throw out that envelope, or rinse my plate off... I find myself very frustrated that I have to sit back down and just wait until he's home or does it.  Or until one of our mother's is here to do it.  It's just... weird being incapable.

Don't take this all the wrong way though.  I want Bella to stay in the womb until it's a much healthier time, and I care deeply for her health and want her to be as healthy as can be.  As a person though, I'm done being pregnant.  It's been 8 months of sacrificing my body for her to grow in... and it'll be very worth it, I know this... but it doesn't change the fact that 8 months of not having your body is really actually quite frustrating.

Pre-Term Labor

Wednesdays are not our days apparently.  After the first attempt at going to the parents small group at our church, we've since been unavoidably incapable of attending meetings since. 

This Wednesday was my turn to prevent us from going. 

When you've finally passed the 28 week mark in your pregnancy, you soon stop counting how far along you are.  You soon forget a handful of basic information.  You frequently attempt to place things like milk in the dishwasher.  Or peanut butter in the fridge.  Your mind is so pre-occupied with keeping up some sort of stamina to hold this ever growing bundle that you pretty much just... forget.  Accompanying the typical forgetfulness, your body begins to do things you don't tell it to do.  Like urinating without your consent.  Most of the time this happens when you sneeze, laugh or cough.  Any woman who's had a child knows exactly what I mean.  You lose complete control of nearly every part of your body.  It is, in fact, no longer yours.

As I was doing little things around the house, whether I was standing, sitting or showering, I would notice a periodic trinkling.  There wasn't an alarming gush, but it was not normal.  Once I drove lunch to my husband I text messaged my friend to ask her what she thinks I should do -- call the doctor thinking it's the water breaking or see if it's just me losing bladder control.  When Miles came into the car to have a little chit-chat, I let him know what was going on much to my potential embarrassment.  Even through giggles and grins, we decided it wouldn't hurt to call the doctor's office and claim it as a potential emergency.

So I did.

Immediately the nurse told me to go to the E.R.  Our health insurance takes good care of us monetarily, but the hassle to go to the E.R. (or what I've so far experienced) almost makes you just want to stay home, pray to God there's nothing wrong and wait.  Regardless of, I went to the E.R. where they immediately chucked me via wheelchair ("Is this REALLY necessary?!") to Labor & Delivery where I ended up staying until noon the next day.

After a quick strip test, it was revealed that no amniotic fluid was leaking out of me.  They still hooked me up to a monitoring system to see if I was having any contractions (since I wasn't in any pain and couldn't really tell you if I was having contractions since, for about 2 months, people have told me different things) and to watch Bella's heart rate.  Within five minutes of being set up, I had a strong contraction.  Yes, I felt it.  No, it was not painful at all.  They're just weird.  It's as if she's pushing her little butt or back hard against my stomach.  Within 8.5 minutes I had an even stronger contraction that made the nurse rush out, rush in, inject me with some anti-contraction liquid and promptly said she'd be calling my OB/GYN.  Now I'm sitting there scared crapless.  Bella is not due to come out until the first week in December. NOT NOW.

The nurse came back in after a call with my doctor and checked my cervix.  Yup!  Already 2 cm dilated and 50-60% effaced.  She left again.  (By the way, that was extremely uncomfortable.  To the point of pain... no one warned me of this!)

By this time I've been there for 2 hours already.  By this time we're really just left to wait for any nurse to come in and maybe give us some sort of relief; some news.

The test results came back from the nurse doing 2 swab tests.  One was to see if I had the hormone release yet, which would indicate pre-term labor in the sense that there's no hope in turning back.  The other was to make sure I wasn't leaking any amniotic fluid.  Which would also give us no hope in turning back.  Fortunately both were negative so I wasn't in imminent danger of birthing Bella within the week.  Both tests give me a 95% chance to not have Bella for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Hahahaha... *sigh*

My OB/GYN came in around 5.00 and I was injected with a steroid shot since I'm, according to them, about 33 weeks pregnant.  With Bella having Down syndrome, we can't risk that if she does come early (in 2 weeks or more) that her lungs aren't mature enough.  The nurse apparently was highly unpleased that I decided not to take the shot in my butt as per her suggestion but rather a less humiliating place on my arm.  For this I paid dearly.  She decided to make my first shot in years probably a little more painful than needed to be, leaving me with 24 hours to fret psychotically over the next round. 

The first afternoon/night was no fun, I'll tell you that.  Poor Miles was willing to sleep in a rocking chair in the corner until the night shift nurse found us a bigger and more accomodating room.  She also didn't make me have to ask her for some snacks by the bed and I never had to worry about running out of water.  Which is probably why I had to get up every 15 minutes...

At 6:00 they began giving me a pill to stop the contractions.  This is something I will now take every 6 hours until Bella says, "I've had enough in here!!!"  Dr. Buehner, my OB/GYN, ordered an ultrasound to just make sure she has enough amniotic fluid, check my cervix and measure her again.  Mind you, my last ultrasound was Monday.

After a long and semi-sleepless night, Miles waited with me until Dr. Buehner came back to see how things were doing as was promised.  When he came back, he said I could go home that day after my second dosage of the steroid shot and he'd be ordering my ultrasound for that morning. 

Miles was dressing to leave just as a nurse walked in with a wheelchair (I have learned at this point not to ask if I may walk) to take me to the ultrasound.  We hugged and kissed, bid our good-byes and promised I'd let him know what the ultrasound showed.

Since Monday, little Bella has gained nearly 1lb!  She weighed in at approximately 3 lbs 15 oz, and her thigh grew almost half an inch.  As the technician attempted a head measurement, Bella decided to begin sucking her toes :)

There's plenty of fluid for her.  She was breathing in the ultrasound (which, apparently, babies in utero don't breathe constantly... only when they are getting their fluid) and the technician said Bella's lungs looked remarkably strong.  The only "bad" thing was her AV heart defect. 

By this time I've talked with my nurse and she happily let me know Dr. Buehner said I could get the next shot at noon instead of 5:00 PM, and go home.  I'd have a follow up appointment with him on the 29th, as was already scheduled, and voila. 

So, of course, this means moderate bed-rest.  I'm still learning what the heck this entails.  I'd like to be able to make myself a sandwich.  Or throw in a load of laundry.  Make the bed.  Throw things in the garbage.  It's annoying. 

My mom will be coming into town Monday afternoon and leaving Sunday morning.  She's going to help while Miles is at work - even though he will be coming home during his lunch break.  I'm sure she'll also be helping me with the nursery since things are still scattered all over.  His mom will be coming in as well, but we're not sure when.  She wanted to make sure she didn't come while my mom was here, so that I would receive as much help for as long as possible instead of overlapping.  So basically, I'm taken care of... but it's still oober annoying. 

I think we may have ourselves a Thanksgiving day gift instead of a Christmas gift...