A 10 week blessing

So as of yesterday, we officially made it 10 weeks longer in this pregnancy than we did with Lauren.  34 weeks 2 days was a huge accomplishment for us!  So thankful for every second I’m still pregnant with this sweet girl.  And I must say, we are also so thankful for all of the doctors and nurses we’ve encountered on this journey thus far.  They have all been so compassionate about our loss. They congratulate us on making it this far and never forget about our precious first born who is no longer with us. 

Here’s a pregnancy update.  The 34 week 2 day ultrasound estimated our girl weighing 5 lbs 4 oz, she has cute chubby cheeks, and long legs!  She’s incredibly active in my belly, constantly assuring me that she’s still growing, getting ready to meet us. While it has been a mostly uneventful pregnancy, we had a scare last week. I was in my OB’s office for a regularly scheduled non stress test.  My BP was 150/100.  Of course I immediately stared crying and thinking, ‘here we go again’.  The doctor sent me over to labor and delivery for tests and monitoring.  Thankfully, all the blood work related to pre eclampsia/HELLP testing came back negative.  And within a couple of hours my blood pressure returned to almost normal.  I got to come home the same night with orders to keep a close eye on my blood pressure and to limit activity.  So far so good.  I’m still waiting on the results of a 24 hour urine test I did after leaving the hospital.  The specialist told us yesterday that 30% of women who are preeclamptic will have no BP issues and the rapid results of the urine dip test will be negative for protein, with the protein showing up in the 24 hour collection.  Still holding our breath on those results but staying hopeful and thankful for the health I’ve had this far!

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Growing a little (rainbow) sister

I can’t believe it has been almost a month since I’ve blogged.  So much going on in preparation for the baby.  But I also have so much on my mind that I’m not even sure where to begin.

First of all…a quick pregnancy update for those of you who are following along.  I’m 31 weeks 3 days today. Lauren’s little sister is measuring 4 pounds 1 ounce, has very long legs, and a little bit of hair can be seen on the ultrasound.  As for me, no signs of pre-eclampsia or HELLP and other than typical 3rd trimester fatigue I’m feeling great.  My c-section is scheduled for Monday, March 3rd, at which time I’ll be 37 weeks 2 days. Keep those prayers coming. 

We recently had our baby shower, which was beautiful. We received so many great gifts.  But I’d be telling a lie if I told you I wasn’t worried the whole time.  In the back of my mind I just kept thinking, “I really hope we get to use all of this stuff”.  Yes, I’m at a gestation that birth would be premature and our daughter would spend some time in the NICU, but statistically speaking, she’d survive. But once you’ve lost a child, you can never really get rid of that fear.  I know people who’ve had perfectly healthy pregnancies only to have to say goodbye to their baby at the very end, for reasons that still remain a mystery.  I’m not being little in faith, I’m living in the real world.  The same world I was living in when our first daughter died.  The world in which bad things happen to good people.

I get those same anxious feelings and have those same thoughts as each additional piece of our nursery comes together.  I want to relax and enjoy the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy, which I think I’m doing for the most part, I just can’t completely get rid of those thoughts.

As excited as we are to meet our newest addition, it brings back so many of the raw emotions we associate with losing Lauren.  Every time we’ve reached a milestone past 24 weeks (when we lost her) I think to myself and my husband and I talk about how we never got to do those things with/for her.  A lot of tears have been shed, feeling happy and sad at the same time. Happy that the baby and I are doing so well and we’ve made it this far, but sad that we missed out on so much with our sweet Lauren. 

I feel that some people are forgetting Lauren.  They focus so much on the joys of this pregnancy and seem to forget that we are already parents to one beautiful angel in Heaven.  No, we never changed her diapers, brought her home, or countless other things, but she’s still our daughter and we’re still her parents.  I feel that they aren’t only forgetting her, but forgetting the pain that we live with everyday. The joy and happiness of this pregnancy and this baby doesn’t erase anything from the past. That being said, there are some people who I am convinced will never forget her. Her name is never far from the lips of my parents and we talk about her often. Also, we received a great gift bag full of baby stuff from a friend from my husbands work.  Among those gifts was an outfit for the baby that says “little sister”.  It melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes to know that someone remembers and acknowledges Lauren 17 months after her death even amidst all of the excitement about the new baby coming.  

 

 

Justified fear

Everyone keeps saying they know I’ll be so relieved to make it out of my first trimester.  Well, of course I will, but getting past the first trimester wasn’t an issue last time.  I’ll be relieved when I make it past 24 weeks because that’s when we lost Lauren, not a first trimester miscarriage.  And people also keep saying how happy they are for me that I’m pregnant because they just knew things were going to work out for us.  Well, I hate to sound so blunt, but I haven’t had the baby yet, and getting pregnant was never the problem.  I hate that people assume we had fertility issues simply because we didn’t get pregnant for the first time until about 8 years after we got married.  That was a decision we made, not a fertility issue.  And it also bothers me when people tell me that I shouldn’t be scared because God is in control.  I know that to be true 100%.  God was also in control when Lauren was born at 24 weeks and died.  It’s not that I don’t have faith.  It’s that I know God’s plan for this baby might not be the same plans that we have for this baby, same as with Lauren. People also say God will take care of us. I know that, too.  He took care of us when Lauren died.  If not for our faith and strength from him we wouldn’t be here today.  So yeah, God will take care of us but that doesn’t guarantee that this baby will be born healthy.  The fact that we’re scared doesn’t mean we don’t trust God, don’t have faith, or don’t believe he’ll take care of us.  We know that.  But we’re human. We know the Bible says, “fear not”.  But the Bible also says don’t judge others, love thy neighbor, teaches us not to gossip, and speaks against gluttony.  My point is, we’re all human and no one is perfect.  If one of my imperfections is the fear that my child will die, because that’s all I know, then I’m pretty sure that’s justified.  The only comparison I can think of is this:  You take a child to the doctor. The child gets a shot and hates it.  The next time you take that child to the doctor you tell them it’s just a check up, everything will be fine.  But the doctor gives the child a shot again.  And every time the child goes to the doctor, it gets a shot.  Would you expect that child to be unafraid of doctor visits.  Absolutely not!  You’d understand because every doctors visit is associated with something unpleasant.  That’s kind of how it is with us.  We know that people get pregnant and have healthy babies.  But that’s never happened to us.  All we know about pregnancy is sickness and death.  That’s what we automatically associate.  That being said, we appreciate your prayers and faith that this pregnancy will end differently.  Keep them coming!  But please stop telling us that it isn’t OK to be scared. 

Worse than preeclampsia?

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged.  So much going on that I haven’t taken time to do something I love. 

I found out last week that preeclampsia wasn’t the only cause of the tragic ending to our pregnancy with Lauren.  Last week we went to our new specialist for the pregnancy.  He was asking questions about the lat pregnancy and between that conversation and looking at my information on the chart, he told us that I didn’t just have preeclampsia.  I had HELLP syndrome.  HELLP syndrome is a potentially fatal condition that occurs in pregnancy or postpartum, a variant of preelcampsia.  The following was taken from the preelcampsia foundation website:

“H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells),
EL (elevated liver enzymes) and 
LP (low platelet count).

A suspicion of HELLP syndrome can be frustrating to the physician when all requirements for its certain diagnosis are not apparent. In some patients who are developing HELLP syndrome the primary preeclampsia indicators of high blood pressure and protein in the urine may not be present, and its symptoms can be mistaken for gastritis, flu, acute hepatitis, gall bladder disease, or other conditions. While some of these other conditions may also be present, there is no evidence they are related.”  

WOW!  That was completely me.  Even 3 days before our emergency c-section I had great blood pressure and no protein in my urine.  It’s amazing to me that the specialist we were using with our last pregnancy (the same people who were keeping me in and monitoring me in the hospital for 9 days after delivery) either didn’t diagnose it or just didn’t bother mentioning it to me!  I could go on about how awful that group was.  But I won’t.  

So all that being said, here’s an update on this pregnancy.  I am seeing a different specialist group.  (I should add that I’m seeing the same regular OB that I saw with Lauren, I can’t say enough positive things about them)  The specialist I am seeing this time is phenomenal! They make me feel like I’m receiving the best care possible.  They are so sympathetic about our loss and so attentive to every detail.  They’ve put me on a baby aspirin in hopes that it’ll ward off the HELLP and preeclampsia.  The good news is that there is a less than 5% chance of developing HELLP in subsequent pregnancies.  They are very optimistic that this pregnancy will have a different outcome.  So far we’ve had 2 ultrasounds and things look great.  Baby’s heart rate has been in the mid to high 160’s both times.  We’re remaining very optimistic and always cautious.