Tuesday, April 24, 2012

30 Weeks Pregnant

What a week!
We spent a lot of it at the hospital.

Those park photos---

from last week---were taken on Tuesday, which was technically the first day of week 30.

J had been a little bit wheezy starting Monday, and that's not too weird for her, she kinda wheezes sometimes with colds and things.  So on Monday when I would use the nebulizer (a.k.a. "Monster Mask") she responded to it really well.  Tuesday she had a really runny nose, kinda watery eyes, and was still wheezy.  I was starting to think she had some intense outdoor allergies, or possibly was responding to something she ate with a new allergy.  (She's allergic to dairy, and then last week she got hives from kiwi (how weird is that?))  So I was starting to panic thinking that she was becoming allergic to the whole universe.  By Wednesday she was coughing a lot, wheezing to the point of being whiney and upset, and the monster mask wasn't doing anything at all.  I had tried benadryl during the day, still thinking she was having crazy allergies.   It seemed like she was most wheezy after she ate.  So I was starting to worry about whether everything she was eating was safe to eat.  And I was starting to really worry about the fact that her wheezing wasn't helped by anything that used to help.

By about 4 pm on Wednesday I was so emotionally drained it was outrageous.  I was feeling like I gave her allergies with my genetics, or my pregnancy eating, or with a traumatic delivery, or using too much chemicals in some way in her life.  (My chiropractor's thoughts are very all-natural, and he had shared them at this group meeting a couple days earlier.  I was starting to feel weighed down by my inability to make perfect choices, because there is no definition of perfect.  It's different according to every person you talk to---how am I supposed to choose?)

On top of that, I was physically tired.  I hadn't slept as well while J was sick, and I didn't get any rest during the day on Wednesday since she couldn't nap feeling like she did.  By the time she went to bed, I had one of my emotional break downs.  I let "the usual" take the forefront of my emotional freak out: "I don't know which way the baby is pointing, I don't know how this delivery will go, I don't think I have it in me to make it through this..."  But let's be honest, I was just as freaked out about J's health and my frustration at not knowing how to best care for her.  I needed a mental break from that because I spent the whole day trying to hold it together, while listening to her wheeze.

I didn't know what the best plan of action would be for her.  The last time she was very wheezy and we took her to the ER in IL, they basically just gave her a neb treatment and sent us on our way.  (Which was exactly what we were doing.)  So I wasn't sure if we really needed to bring her in.
Well J woke up pretty upset a couple hours after going to bed.  We tried one more med we had from our previous ER visit in IL.  She hates that medicine and she proceeded to throw up everywhere.  After she threw up I felt like, yeah, we need to bring her in.  Now it's about midnight.

We got dressed and got in the car.  She threw up again on the way.  I don't condone this, but I was so freaked out by the way she was throwing up that I just took her out of the car seat and held her for the 6 mins left of the car ride.  After that she settled down and stopped throwing up, and just rested on me.
 When we got to the ER, all of a sudden I felt really calm.  (Which is the exact opposite of the time we ran her there before.)  I just was filled with a lot of peace.

Nothing about it was easy, especially for poor J.  In the ER they take their temperature in the bottom, and you can imagine that's the last place J would have wanted a thermometer.  (And they needed to take her temp more than once while we were there.)  She also had her blood drawn, her ears looked in, a chest X-ray, each side of her nose swabbed, a shot, and a lot of looking over by quite a few people.  She was upset during most of it, but she recovered well in the downtime moments between the stuff.  I'd say she handled herself quite well.  And, surprisingly, I was handling the stress of her being so sad really well.

The test results came back and told us she had Influenza A as well as RSV.

I know God was holding me up with His peace because instead of feeling freaked out I felt really relieved.  With all my worrying earlier that she was allergic to everything, I was really happy to hear she had a virus---because that's just temporary.  I also felt really glad to hear the doctor tell us that we had acted exactly the way he would have recommended, trying the neb for just as long as we did at home before coming in.  It was so relieving to hear I wasn't under or over reacting, but just functioning in the proper way.

They then said we would need to check into the hospital.  That took me a moment to take in, because I was surprised---for some reason I just didn't think that would happen.  But after it sunk in (and I said "Okay Jesus, it's up to you to help us afford this with our crazy insurance, and having a baby, and still having a mortgage plus rent."  And really just set that down in His hands.)  After that I felt really happy to be sent upstairs.  The days before this had been so exhausting, feeling like I was trying so hard to make all these hard decisions and be "the grown up."  So I was excited to have a large staff there to "be in charge," to "be the grown up" for me, to have someone else to support us in the small scary choices---the weight was off my shoulders.

The last two nights I hadn't slept well, wondering if she was breathing well (and that was even before her wheezing was very noticeable) so I was very happy to have her oxygen monitored by people who were fully awake  while I got to sleep---I felt really safe.

They decided on which types of meds to put in her breathing treatments, and were doing those about every 3 hours.  They switched it up every so often, working with what she responded to best.  They also gave her some steroids to help keep her lungs open, as well as some Tamiflu for the fact she tested positive for the flu.  (The doctor said J wasn't really showing any signs of flu---perhaps because she had the vaccine for it, she had it but didn't actually get sick from it---but that we should give her the Tamiflu just to be safe.  Made sense to us.)  They also kept her on oxygen most the time, especially during the first night and much of the first day.  (And then on and off the rest of the stay.)  Poor J hated the little nose tubing, but once we got her to sleep she left it alone.  The second night we just kept a larger hose type thing (kinda like the Monster Mask) blowing oxygen at her face, which she was okay with.

If I had tried to prepare myself for this trip to the hospital, I never could have.  If I knew about the fact that it was coming, it would have been emotional turmoil for me.  But in the moment I was so at peace, I was happy, I was grateful.

It was a window into this pregnancy and the upcoming delivery.  It's so hard for me now, because I know it's coming and I don't fully know how to prepare.  Sometimes climbing the mountain is easier than getting ready to climb the mountain just because you are in the moment, and that's where God is able to meet you, here and now.

So not only did God meet me in helping me handle a situation that on paper would have made me just nuts (admitting my first baby in the hospital) with total peace, He also used it to show me how He and I will handle the very thing that's actually been making me nuts (having another baby come out of me).  If I will let go and trust Him with it, even though I have the knowledge that it's looming (unlike this hospital trip) I can be in that much peace---in the moment.  (So I guess I need to quit staring at the delivery mountain, and get on with my life-stuff mountains.)

The first night in the hospital I didn't sleep much.  I shared the grownup-sized crib with J, sleeping on my side next to her.  As the staff came in to give her her breathing treatments, it would wake me up.  (She did awesome and slept through it.  But I would be awake.)  Since I am never awake that much during the middle of the night while still laying down, it gave me the chance to feel "Little Miss #2" doing her nighttime thing.

For a while now, I've been debating if she really is all that active---during the day I just feel her nuzzle up to cozy herself every now and again.  But during one of my wake-ups that first night, I was shocked to feel what she was up to.  She was going to TOWN.  In my bleary eyed dreamy state I was envisioning her little legs just sticking straight out of my belly and literally walking the both of us off the bed on her own accord.  I can't believe I normally sleep through that!

The second night we spent there I must have been REALLY tired, because I slept through all J's breathing treatments.  I remember opening my eyes one time to see the door close as one person left.  And I happily closed them thinking "Wow, I'm still sleeping!"

My mom came to be with us during all this, so having her there to stay with J gave Blake and I the chance to still make it to our prenatal appointment on Friday morning.
The baby was head down!  Hurray hurray!  What a relief.  (No tears required!)
(I was also told that until 36 weeks, it's not really a big deal which way she wants to face.  Of course, you know me, I'd like her to stay this way from here on out!)  (I was also told if she tries to turn back around, we would try and turn her back at 36 weeks, which made me feel better.  But then I was also told "your baby knows what to do."  I'm sure that's more true than I know.)  Blake and I were even shown how to feel the baby's body parts with our hands on my belly, to try and help my sanity.  (I had looked up info on how to do it online and in books, but without having experienced hands to say for sure what I was feeling, it was just confusing.)  So that was really cool and wonderful.

Since then I've really been able to console myself by just randomly laying down (including in the locker room after swimming!) and feel that, yes, in fact she's still head down.  One time I was feeling her head and she squirmed away from me---I have to say it was one of the strangest feelings!  Totally realizing that there is something inside me---that in fact is not me---I knew that, but feeling it like that was bizarre, cool, and shocking.  (She was probably saying, "Moo-oooom!  Leave me alone!  How many times are you going to squeeze my head!?")

Anyway, at the appointment her heart rate was just great at 130.  And my uterus was exactly the right size for my weeks.  (I find this exciting since it always measured 2 bigger with J---which is normal and fine, but we all recall my hopes for a smaller newborn this time, so the news sounds promising to me.)
I also got a lot of reassuring answers to questions I had, regarding my "what ifs" of planning if I were to need another C-section.  So that cleared up a lot of mental space for me.  I was starting to feel like I needed to do more preparation across the board, but after the talk I felt very prepared for the "in cases."
So I left feeling so much better about all things baby.

J ended up getting discharged from the hospital Friday night!  The doctor thought for sure we would need to be there for five days but J turned around so fast that he sent us home after just two nights and days, with some medicine and a neb treatment routine.  He was really surprised at how fast she was responding.  Honestly, I didn't feel surprised.  J seemed so good to me.  Plus, it just kinda made sense to my heart in the same way I had been feeling so at peace with being there.  We know it was all God's hand on her (and us), and we thank you for your prayers!

Monday morning we went to a follow-up appointment, and she was still looking great---a small wheeze just in the back.  And coughing (but coughing is good for now, to clear stuff out.)  So he thought in about a week stuff should clear up.  So be praying for that.

I had some disappointment at our follow-up because I was given the clinic's statement on vaccines.  It basically says while the parents have a right to choose on the matter, the clinic HIGHLY recommends complying with the standard vaccine schedule, plus a lot of stuff about how they feel very strongly about it.  And it has every doctor's name at the clinic on there.  (And this is the town's only clinic, so that's every ped in town.)

With J we had done a delayed schedule, and we have yet to give her the chickenpox one.  The doctor spent time---more than once---talking to me about this.  I was disappointed by that because at our last clinic in IL we were given a lot more space on the subject, with a lot less (basically no) pressure to comply to a set schedule.  I'm not wanting to do things differently with baby #2, and I am not looking forward to the clinic's stance on that.  So I'm not sure if I will want to find a pediatrician out of town because that would mean a 45 min drive, which would suck.  We'll see.  I know ultimately it's up to us, but I don't like having to work against the clinic for it, I'd rather be the the same page as our doctor.

Anyway, as for me and baby:
I hadn't been getting to the pool much the week before J got sick---mainly due to my emotional turmoil about it "making the baby flip head-up" (with my belly hanging down the whole 30 mins, she has more space to roam and flop.)  (Which I think was pure paranoia---but there was one day where it seemed to be true, but I don't know.)
With J getting sick, I hadn't gone at all this past week either!  Then when you add in all the convenience food I ate during our hospital stay, the pounds went on faster than I want.  But I'm not too worried, and I'm not getting upset with myself---for heaven's sake, that was the last thing on my mind right then.  Plus, some of it was bloat that went back down since we've been home a couple days.  But I do feel like I need to be very intentional with my diet and physical activity this week to try and make up for it.  (And I'm not scared of swimming anymore, I think the baby will keep her head down.)

Since my belly shrunk an inch last week (at least on the day I measured), it's back up to the week before's size.  Meaning my belly is currently 10 inches bigger than before this baby was given to us.  Isn't that incredible?  I'm still amazed at how God designed us to be able to do that.  (Once J was born, and I saw my belly sans baby, it didn't seem like my belly would ever recover, but it really did.  I mean, of course it was a bit different but, seriously, how it ever went from both extremes seems like a total miracle to me.  I can't believe skin and everything else is that incredible!)

Anyway, my belly feels heavier lately.
On Sunday my mom sent Blake and I out to spend the day together while she watched J.  (We skipped church since we didn't want to spread the germs.)
I felt pretty pregnant that day.  For one part of our day we walked around an art museum, and while I will say I think I stood up to the challenge better this pregnancy than I would have during my last, I got tired after a couple hours and had to take my rings off because my hands were starting to swell.  So we took a rest outside by a really pretty water feature for a little bit.

To be honest with you, the day out was kinda emotional for me.  I'm really struggling to like it here in Iowa.  I try to keep an open mind, but I usually just end up disappointed with what it has to offer.  So spending the day out around town and in Des Monies (the place to go if you need something Ames doesn't have = a 45 min drive) just kinda made me homesick for Illinois and what I know.

I'm feeling the baby more and more now, waking or not.  She's getting stronger and stronger---making bulges on my belly, or drastic jumps, or rhythmic pulses.  I think J felt her move for the first time on Monday while we were snuggling.  We talked about the baby and she seemed to connect the dots, I think.

There were also two days this week where "Little Miss #2" was seriously karate chopping the depths of my pelvis!  The internal side of both my "bathroom spots" was being ambushed, and I felt like I should have earned some kind of medal for keeping it together---there was one time in particular when I was grocery shopping where I felt shocked and amazed that I didn't just have a "clean up on isle 8" moment!  I'm going to give my bladder a trophy!

Speaking of snuggling, J's still nursing.  Before getting sick she would just nurse for a couple mins before nap and bedtime.  Since getting sick, she's been nursing pretty often during the day again.  (I've actually been really grateful for this, as it was one of my only real defenses for calming her down at the hospital when things got really hard for her, as well as the fact that she can get some colostrum now to help her immune system fight this stuff.)  But it's really bringing on the Braxton-Hicks contractions.  I've been given the go-ahead on their safety, so no one worry.  I'm not worried.  In fact I kinda get excited to have them, since I didn't have any actual contraction sensations before I was induced last time.  (When they monitored me pre-labor, the machine registered a little something, but I couldn't feel a thing.)  So I like that my body is making good real contractions this time (as far as you can call Braxton-Hicks real, but you know what I mean).  Happy thoughts.  But I will say, emotionally... I'm pretty antsy when nursing J anymore.  It's a lot harder to do while pregnant.  (I keep hoping that won't extend into the first feedings of Little Miss #2, that the antsy feels just go away instantly and don't taper off slowly---that would be a sad thing for me.)

Anyway, I think that's my week.
It was pretty big.  (So was this post, thanks for reading!)


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