34 Weeks and a little more freedom!

We made it!  Initially, the high risk doctor said that I could go into labor as early as 32 weeks.  Then, my OB said that we should make our goal at least 34 weeks.  It feels great to have finally reached our goal!  Hudson is moving around like crazy – it is really cool to feel him when he is so active.  Sometimes my whole belly will just shake.  He has turned from breech to head down.

I am having a few contractions here and there but nothing to be concerned about.  I found out today that I am 78% effaced and 1 cm dilated!  That makes it feel so real!  I know that it doesn’t really mean much at this point because many women walk around for weeks like that.  I’m hoping I still have a few more weeks at least…although I am ready to meet this little guy!

And the best news of today’s appointment…I can officially go off bed rest!!  Woo Hoo!  I will probably still keep a pretty low activity level just to give us a good chance at making it to at least 37 weeks so I won’t be returning to work just yet.  For benefits purposes, it would be ideal to be able to return to work at 38 weeks but that really isn’t something I can control at this point so we’ll just see what happens!

Here is my latest belly shot…he sure has grown!

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No more grocery shopping and no more chores

We had an another cervical check appointment today with my regular OB this time since the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) doctor I was seeing thought it wasn’t necessary to continue monitoring me past 24 weeks.  I was surprised to learn that my OB didn’t agree with him and wanted to still keep a close eye on me.  At this point, the only thing we can do is increase restrictions on my bed rest because it is too late for a cerclage.

We got to take another look at Hudson first and he is looking great!  She was trying to get a good shot of his face but he had his legs up over his head the whole time.  Talk about flexible!

They only did 2 measurements of my cervix and they were NOT good – pretty scary, in fact!  The first was 1.4 cm and then the last one was 1.9 cm.  I was pretty freaked out because prior to this appointment the lowest we had gotten was 2.3 cm.  My MFM has said all along that between 1.5 and 2.5 is a gray area but 1.5 or lower is the danger zone!  After she finished the measurements, I was told to go to another room and wait for the OB to come in and discuss the results.

The wait was killer with tons of questions going through head.  Have I been exerting myself too much lately?  Maybe I started feeling too comfortable and really should slow down a lot more.  Will I be put on strict bed rest?  Can I go to my nephew’s birthday party?  Can I go to my own shower?

Then, the doctor came in and saved the day!  She explained that the ultrasound tech had measured incorrectly and had actually stopped the measurement too soon.  The actual measurement was closer to 2.4 cm which is pretty much in line with all of my previous measurements.  She was happy with that measurement (as was I!)  It still isn’t great by any means but it is much better than 1.4!   She asked how I was doing with the modified bed rest and if I was letting Dustin do the grocery shopping.  Oops…I’ve definitely been going with him to the store every week.  In fact, my MFM said that short trips to the store were fine as long as I wasn’t out all day.  She disagreed and scolded me a little bit for walking around the grocery store.  She said that if I had to go that I needed to be in one of the motorized carts.  If I am too embarrassed to use a motorized cart, then I can’t go!  Haha!  So it looks like Dustin is on his own for grocery shopping.  Or we’ll go later in the evening when its less crowded and I’ll be taking one of these bad boys for a spin!

I also got in trouble for sweeping the floor this week.  Our Roomba (the robotic vacuum that has spoiled us rotten) has gotten old and frequently gets lost in our house so the daily sweeping of the floor hasn’t been getting done.  It was grossing me out and Dustin was busy so I figured a quick 5 minute sweep wouldn’t hurt anything.  Apparently, even that is on the no-no list.  Sorry, Dustin – you’re back on the hook for all the chores!  I can however still get out of the house and go to events but I HAVE to stay seated!

I’m sure if she continued asking if I had been doing this or that, I would have gotten in trouble for more things.  It is just so hard to not do such simple things when you feel perfectly capable!  It is especially hard to put everything on Dustin when he is already working so hard and has very little free time as it is.  I want to be able to lighten his load, not add to it.  But, we both agree that the most important thing is that Hudson gets as much time as possible to develop and grow.  All of this will be worth it when I get to hold my sweet little boy!

The good news is we’re passing important milestones with each new week.  Our next goal is 28 weeks in which we will officially be in the third trimester!  Beginning 34 weeks, Hudson has the same chance at survival  as a full term baby – the only difference is he will develop a new skill each week that will help keep him out of NICU (feeding, breathing on his own, regulating his temperature etc…)

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25 Weeks

Another week in the books and Hudson and I are still hanging in there!  Every week that passes is a great accomplishment and brings us one step closer bringing him home happy and healthy!

I have been working hard on the nursery (from a seated position of course!) and have finished the curtains now too.  I even figured out how to add blackout lining to the back so that we can have a nice dark space for nap time!  Here is how it all turned out (after lots of rookie mistakes…but I’m learning!)

Nursery Pic

And for those of you asking to see bump pictures…here ya go!

25 Weeks

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Officially a Stay at Home Mom (for now)…

I have now made it to the viability point in my pregnancy!  It feels so good to have made it this far but we still have a ways to go.  I am feeling more movement now and it makes smile every time I feel him.

The doctors have agreed that the bed rest is working and while my cervix has been teetering on the borderline of concern, it seems to be holding steady for now.  Until the little man is better able to survive on his own, we are not taking any chances and are going to continue the modified bed rest.  When we discussed this at my last appointment, I felt a sense of relief at first because I know that this is what is best for my little man.  But I didn’t realize exactly what that would mean for my job.  I had to have the doctor fill out some official forms for the HR department in which he had to mark when I could return to work.  It didn’t hit me until I left the office that he wouldn’t be releasing me for work until at least mid May (I’ll be 37 weeks then).  At that point, my sense of relief turned in to a sense of fear of the unknown.

I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom but I never envisioned the time off work coming before I had my baby!  It is weird that I can’t finish out the year and I feel like I’m leaving a lot of loose ends.  We aren’t financially ready for me to stay home full-time, so I will be returning to work next year.

In my down time, I have taken up several projects that I can do while seated. I am learning to crochet and have started this bobble blanket for the baby.IMG_0118

It doesn’t look like much yet because I’m very slow at crocheting but it is coming along nicely I think!  It is something to keep me busy while watching horrible day time television!

Also, I got the bright idea that I could make all the nursery bedding!  I have seen so many cute ideas on Pinterest and Etsy but couldn’t find anything in the stores that I liked.  And everything on Etsy was way too expensive.  So I decided that it couldn’t be that hard to make it on my own!  Haha!  I roped my mom into helping me since I have no sewing experience at all!  We had a great weekend together and she was very patient in teaching me how to do everything.  Needless to say, it took a lot longer than I anticipated because I’m slow at sewing too!  We didn’t finish this weekend, but I took her sewing machine and accessories home with me and I’ve been slowly working on it on my own now.  So far, my mom and I finished the crib skirt and one of the sheets together and then I tackled the teething guards on my own.  Here is how it turned out!  It is by no means a professional job but I am kind of proud of our handy-work!

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I will be making curtains to match and another crib sheet that will have a little more detail to it than the first one.

Once I’m done with this project, I will have to find something else to occupy my time that I can do while seated or lying down!  I don’t do well with idle time so anything to keep my mind and hands busy is a must to survive the boredom of bed rest!

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18 Weeks Update

I went in for my 18 week check today.  We had our anatomy scan and our weekly cervical check.  My little man is doing just great!  The doctor described him as “awesome” which I found funny because he normally speaks with such technical and statistical language.  It was really neat to see how much he has grown.  We even got to see him trying to suck his thumb!  Dustin says that he will be right handed because he was going for the thumb on the right hand.  We’ll see!  He has all his major organs and limbs and his heart beat registered at 144 today.   Here is his sweet face…

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We also got some good news today about my cervix.  Last week it measured 2.35 centimeters and this week it was up to 3.1 cm!  Yay!  I’ve been laying low the past week and trying to not do a whole lot.  Dustin has been a champ through it all so far and has been taking care of all the cooking, cleaning, and other household chores so that I can be off my feet.  I also have started on progesterone supplements which are supposed to help.  My doctor has ordered at least 2 more weeks of modified bed rest just to be safe.  We will reevaluate in the next 2 weeks based on what the ultrasound shows. 

As of right now, he thinks I will probably deliver around 32 weeks.  I am praying that I can prove him wrong and keep this little guy in for much longer!  At 32 weeks, he has about a 90% chance of survival but we may be looking at about a month in the NICU with him possibly needing to be on a ventilator and need feeding tubes. 

This is all very scary but I am glad that we have good doctors who are well prepared to handle this.  I’ve got some time to get myself mentally prepared for the challenges we may be facing also.  I’ll be praying every day for another miracle…to be the exception to the rule this time.  I really appreciate all the prayers from family and friends also! 

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How many miracles does one person get?

Is there a limit on the miracles God chooses to work in our lives?  Is it a tit for tat type thing…like when something bad happens, then something good is due to come right around the corner?  Somehow, I don’t think it works that way but I have to stop and thank God for the miracle he has been working in my life!

I have posted before about my extreme grief that followed my miscarriage and then briefly hinted at my fertility struggles.  It has been a very hard road to travel and has truly opened my heart to accept and believe that God is working a miracle in my life.  In March, I had a D&C to remove my baby who had passed 4 weeks prior to me finding out.  My body didn’t recognize the loss and wasn’t doing what it needed to naturally take care of things.  After recovering (physically…I think I am still recovering emotionally and I’m not sure if that process will ever be complete), we decided to try again with the help of a fertility specialist.  It didn’t seem fair that it had taken over a year and a half to conceive our first baby only to have that taken away!

My doctor was magnificent and truly the best I could have asked for.  He recommended a surgery in July, a hysteroscopy to check out my baby making parts to make sure everything was functioning like it should.  Turns out, both fallopian tubes were damaged (potentially from the d&c…how cruel is that?!).  He recommended another surgery, a laparoscopy, to check the tubes from a different angle.  He said that if that test confirmed that both tubes were damaged, then he would need to remove them.  I gave consent and started coming to terms with the idea that I may never be able to have a baby the natural way and that IVF was likely the only option for me to have my own biological child.  We scrounged up all our finances, tightened our budget even more, sold a vehicle…all in preparation for what seemed to be inevitable.  In August, I had the laparoscopy and was thrilled to learn that only one of my tubes needed to be removed!  The other one turned out to be in perfect condition after all!  Blessing # 1!

Recovery from that surgery was not fun…I was in bed for several days, in pain.  But once that passed, we decided to try a monitored cycle with Clomid, a fertility drug that enhances ovulation.  I went in for several ultrasounds to determine which ovary the egg would be released from and had high hopes even though I now only had one tube.  All my hopes were riding on my right ovary stepping up to the plate and producing the best egg!  I was again devastated to learn that this month was likely not it for us since the left ovary was showing the biggest and most ready egg…I no longer had a fallopian tube to catch the egg if it came from the left side.  I don’t know if it was the extreme disappointment or the fertility meds messing with my hormones or a combination of both but I just burst into tears right in the doctor’s office!  I just really wanted to catch a break after all we’d been through but that wasn’t happening…it felt so unfair!

The next couple of weeks, I was an emotional mess.  My previous due date was fast approaching and my chances of being pregnant by that date were just shot.  I really didn’t want to face that day with no baby in my arms or in my belly.  I had already taken the day off work in anticipation of the flood of emotions to come.  I knew I would rather handle that at home than to try to hide it in front of my students and coworkers.

September 25, I woke up early and completely out of habit and obligation decided to take a pregnancy test.  I almost didn’t even test because I was sure that it was negative just as it had been the previous 5 days that week and the past 25 months before that.  It just wasn’t possible this month.  I’m pretty sure my heart stopped beating when I saw the second line faintly appearing on the test.  I immediately went to the cabinet and grabbed another test…a digital one this time and cried when I saw the most beautiful word, “Pregnant,” appear on the screen!

Just to put it in perspective, a normal healthy person only has a 20% chance of conceiving any given month.  Because I only have one tube, that cuts my chances in half…down to 10%.  I was ovulating from the side with no tube which to me, meant my chances were now down to 0%.  My doctor had explained that 30% of the time the right side tube can reach across and grab the egg from the left ovary.  So I figured, out of my 10% chance…take 30% of that and my odds of conceiving that month were only 3%.   Some people may see that as a statistical victory but I see it as God’s biggest miracle in my life so far!  There are so many reasons why it shouldn’t have happened that month and it did anyways!

Needless to say, the past 17 weeks have been a very scary and emotional time for me.  I am extremely grateful for the 2nd chance at being a mom but I am also very aware that anything can happen and I’m terrified of losing my little man (oh yeah…I’m having a boy!!!)  I just recently started to feel much better about my chances of bringing home a healthy baby in June.  I guess being firmly in the 2nd trimester has helped calm my nerves a little bit.

Now, I am praying for miracle # 2 and wondering if I’m pushing my luck asking for even more.  It turns out my body kinda sucks and at only 17 weeks I’m showing signs of premature labor.  At 16 weeks, I had an appointment with a maternal fetal medicine (MFM) specialist to check my cervical length since that was considered to be a potential issue due to my history of prior surgeries.  That week, I was told there was nothing to be concerned about yet because I was still slightly in the normal range (2.5 – 5 cm is considered normal and I measured 2.6 cm.)  Even though the doctor wasn’t concerned, I was!  That is only 1mm away from being abnormal!  So we decided to go in for weekly checks to make sure it wasn’t changing or shortening.  Thursday was my second check and unfortunately, it was even shorter at 2.35 cm at best!  Now, I am definitely considered at risk for preterm labor.  If I can make it to 24 weeks, my baby might have a shot at making it but if I go into labor before then, he doesn’t really have a chance.  I am again devastated that I have a perfectly healthy little boy and my body is failing him!  The plan for now is to try progesterone supplements and continue the weekly ultrasounds to check my cervix.  I am of course praying for no more changes but my doctors have told me to prepare for the fact that it likely will continue to shorten as the baby grows and applies more pressure.  If it gets as short as 2 cm, I will be placed on strict bed rest…lying flat for 23.5 hours a day only allowed out of bed to go to the restroom!  I will also be getting a cerclage (a stitch to hold the cervix closed and hopefully prevent the baby from coming too soon) if it gets any shorter.  There are risks with that procedure as it is a surgery and requires a needle to be dangerously close to my baby.  I am terrified of that but trying to trust that I am in capable hand with my doctors.  I am also leaning on my faith that God can and has worked miracles in my life recently!  I am trying to trust that he is in control and can make my body do what it is supposed to do!

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A Pair of Shoes

“A Pair of Shoes”

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
– Author unknown

I had to share this poem I read today.  It is oh so true in so many ways.  I don’t “hate my shoes” every day but it has been a rough spring/summer.  It has now been 5 months and 6 days since my baby was taken from me.  I think about it every day.

If the emotional toll of pregnancy loss isn’t enough to take on, the infertility diagnosis has brought an entirely new roller coaster to the table.  It has changed me – for better or worse, I don’t know?  I don’t consider myself to be an overly emotional person but my new “normal” is to break down in tears at the sight of anything that even slightly tugs at the heart-strings.  It can be a happy moment, a funny moment, or a sad one but you can bet that I am crying.  I hope and pray for the day that those tears will come from a place of joy and hope instead of from the lonely, bitter hole left in my heart where they currently reside.

Day by day, I squeeze my tired feet into these pitiful shoes and pray for a glimmer of hope, a rainbow to follow the storm…for myself and all the other women wearing these shoes.

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Happy Mother’s Day

I saw this video today and had to share.  I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there but especially to the moms who are missing their babies today.

 

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A Little Bit Stronger

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged mostly because I’ve been extremely busy but also because I started to feel like I had nothing of interest to say when in fact a lot has been going on in my life.

The last time I posted was a reflection of all my accomplishments in the past year.  Since then, there have been some major accomplishments and some major set backs.  Our first major accomplishment of the year was finally conceiving our first child.  We found out in early February that we were pregnant and were expecting our baby to arrive on my birthday, Oct. 5th.  Of course we were bursting at the seams with joy and excitement and couldn’t wait to announce to the world that our little family would soon be growing.  A few close friends and family celebrated with us but we were waiting until the 2nd trimester to make any big announcements (telling everyone at work, announcing on Facebook, etc…)  I had my first appointment at 8 weeks and got to see the baby and hear the heart beat.  It was one of the most exciting times of my life but it led to one of the most heart breaking times in my life.  While going in for an appointment at 12 weeks thinking everything was going great, we discovered there was no heart beat and that the baby had simply stopped developing right after my first appointment at 8 weeks.  It was the worst thing that I couldn’t have possibly imagined.  I had no idea that anything was wrong.  And I still have no answers as to why it happened.  If everything had gone well at that appointment, I would be making the happiest announcement of my lifetime right about now.  I feel slightly robbed of that experience.

It has only been a week since we found out that our baby had passed and I have already gone through every emotion possible.   Starting with denial…it took two nurses and my doctor to check for the heart beat with no luck and I was still stupidly happy that it meant we got to have an ultrasound and actually see the baby instead of just listening.  It hadn’t hit me that this was possibly the worst case scenario until the doctor brought in the ultrasound machine and informed me that there was no heart beat and the baby was too small for 12 weeks.  She ordered a more official ultrasound to confirm and I was still in denial, thinking maybe the bedside ultrasound machine she had used just wasn’t high-tech enough to see my small baby.  I felt fine and had no symptoms of miscarriage so it seemed unreal that this could even be happening.

The next few days, I was depressed.  I didn’t want to get out of my pajamas and just cried a lot.  I couldn’t really talk about what had happened without tearing up and even reading supportive messages from my loved ones sent me into tears.  I was a mess…puffy eyes, red face, and even though I did manage to shower, you couldn’t tell from looking at me.  I was terrified to return to work after the weekend because I was afraid that even a sympathetic look from a close friend would send me right back into tears and I didn’t want to cry in front of my students (they don’t know that I was pregnant.)  I can’t imagine having to explain that to 9 and 10-year-old kids!  Luckily, I was able to pull myself together and make it through the week with no tears.

I’ve had moments of anger and jealousy which I know is natural but makes me feel like a horrible person.  I’ve questioned if my doctor really knows what she is doing (even though I know she is a wonderful doctor!)  I wonder if she should have caught something sooner and I get mad at her.  I’m mad at myself for not even knowing my baby was no longer alive.  I should have felt it…I should have known, but I didn’t.  I’m mad that now every year on my birthday, I will remember the baby that should be celebrating her birthday with me (I say “her” because I had a gut feeling it was a girl – but it was too soon to tell for sure.)  I’m mad that I never got morning sickness because at least if I was sick, I would know that I was still pregnant.  I’m mad that when I am lucky enough to be pregnant again that I will be a nervous wreck, worrying about every symptom or lack of symptom and wondering if I am missing something again.  I guess right now I am just mad…

It is easier to talk about now without getting overly emotional.  In fact, I think that talking about it is how I deal with things.  When I am stressed, upset, excited, whatever, I talk…a lot (maybe too much)…it is how I wrap my mind around what is happening.  Right now, people are afraid to talk to me or don’t know what to say.  I understand that it is a touchy subject and everyone who goes through it will react differently and cope with the loss differently.  I feel like, for me, it gets easier the more I talk about it – I guess that is me accepting that this horrible thing has happened and I can’t change it.  I still get sad and I have good days and bad days and probably will for a while but I’m dealing with it and I’m doing better than I was initially.

I should be 13 weeks today and ready to announce my pregnancy to anyone who will listen.  I have been debating whether or not to post this because it is a very touchy subject and many people never talk about it.  But, I feel like it’s not fair to my baby that the world will never get to know how excited we were for those 8 weeks.  I don’t want to just move on like nothing ever happened…like the baby was never part of our family and never loved.  We will never meet her on Earth but I hope that we will recognize her in Heaven.

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Year in Review 2011

2011 has been a really great year for the Yates’ (Yateses? Yates’s? Yates?)  I have accomplished a lot this year, although figuring out how to spell the plural form of my new last name is not one of them!  It’s the apostrophe that tricks me up because I just want it to be plural, not possessive but it looks weird without the apostrophe.  If you know how to spell my name please, let me know!  Anyway, here is a look back at 2011 in our house:

Financial Accomplishments:

1. Paid off my car (only took 3 months from when we finally set down and wrote a budget…and stuck to it!)

2. Almost have Dustin’s truck paid off (2 more months to go 3 months now that we had to put new tires and adjust the alignment on both vehicles!)

3. Paid cash for Dustin’s college tuition (something we plan to continue until he graduates.)

4. Set up a minimally funded emergency fund (which will hopefully be fully funded by this time next year.)

5. Saved and paid cash for our Vegas vacation (with the help of flier miles and a gift from my parents!)

Household Projects:

1. Installed plywood flooring in the attic which seems to have at least tripled the amount of storage space because we can now get to areas that were previously too hard to reach.

2. Reorganized the garage and attic.

3. Pressure washed the front of the house and driveway.

4. Rearranged the living room.

5. Learned how to make homemade laundry detergent and homemade dishwasher detergent (thanks Pinterest!)  The laundry detergent actually works really well, was very easy to make, and made enough to last us probably a year and cost under $20 for all of the ingredients.  The dishwashing detergent I haven’t had a chance to try yet.  I am waiting for it to harden up in ice-cube trays so that when it clumps up it will be in manageable sizes.  It was also very easy to make.  It cost about $20 for the ingredients and made enough for about 100 loads.  There was also lots of the ingredients left over so I will be able to make another batch for about $5 when I run out of this batch.

6. Started collecting coupons in an attempt to save money (this was fun to do during the summer when I had more free time but quickly ended when school started back up.)

7. Fixed the sprinkler system twice…I think we’ve finally learned how to properly winterize the thing so hopefully we won’t be needing to fix it again any time soon!

8. Cleaned all the grout in our house with a little bleach and a lot of elbow grease!  That is not a project that I ever want to do again!

Career Accomplishments:

1. 100% of my students passed the TAKS test!

2. Started tutoring several times a week to supplement our income and help pay for Dustin’s tuition.

3. Planned and taught 4 weeks of summer camps.

4. Taught professional development courses for the teachers in our district.

5. This one goes along with #3, 4, & 5…taught or tutored the following levels: pre-k, k, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, college algebra, adults

6. Survived a full year being the technology liaison for my school.

Personal Accomplishments:

1. Celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary.

2. Babysat my nephews over night for 2 nights for the first time.  Everyone had a great time, nobody got hurt, and we only had a few pee related instances.

3. Ran in a marathon relay – nothing compared to many of my friends who have run half and full marathons but the 5 miles was the farthest I’ve ever personally run!

2011 has been a great year but I am excited to see what 2012 will bring us!

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