Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Baby #2 Update

Like many pregnancies, this one has been filled with ups and downs. I officially reached and passed the “halfway” point and am currently 22 weeks {or 5 months} pregnant.

So far, there have been a lot of similarities with my pregnancy with Ben and some definite differences. Neither pregnancy has involved food cravings, oddly enough. Both were filled with food aversions, particularly in the first trimester, some nausea and a whole lot of heartburn. This one includes some significant lower back pain {darn!!!!} and so far, especially in the second trimester, a “normal” amount of energy.

I remember loving the second trimester in my pregnancy with Ben. I felt almost normal, and that’s sort of the case with this one, aside from the back pain. I’ve been sleeping really well almost my whole pregnancy so far and surprisingly have had less sheer exhaustion than I remember having with Ben. I’m staying up until a reasonable adult time in the evenings and waking up feeling well-rested, which is a joyous feeling, especially since I know what’s coming once this baby girl arrives.

This pregnancy, though, is a little different. I’m more experienced and less naive. While I realized quickly in my first pregnancy that once you see that “yes” on the pregnancy test, you’re never “out of the woods” so to speak, on anything, forever, in the rest of your life.

Experiencing a serious pregnancy complication, as I did with Ben, and living through a month in the NICU is enough to change anyone’s perception of future pregnancies. My worries with the second pregnancy have nothing to do with the color of the walls, whether the theme for our nursery will be woodland creatures or airplanes, nor finding the best “organic, all-natural crib mattress” on the market.

My concerns with my second pregnancy include the hope of a healthy baby at the end of a full-term pregnancy, wondering what labor is like {I never labored before delivering Ben via c-section}, how we’ll adjust to life with two, whether I’ll still get my morning and evening cuddles with Ben, if I’ll be able to breastfeed this time, and hope hope hoping this baby will adjust to napping on-the-go so I can keep up with my toddler. And let’s be real, baby #2 is probably sleeping in a pack & play in our closet.

{19 weeks pregnant}

During the first half of the pregnancy my doctor’s appointments were fairly regular, though because it’s a high-risk pregnancy they included additional ultrasounds. In my mid-point ultrasound this week we got a big scare. The doctor told us after the ultrasound that the baby had a heart defect, which in it of itself could be just fine, but it could be an indicator of something more serious. Fast-forward two nail-biting days to our echocardiogram where the pediatric cardiologist tells us there is absolutely nothing wrong with our girl’s heart and that it’s perfectly normal. It seems as though the ultrasound was mis-read.

In any case, our babe’s little heart is not the only thing developing normally – she is too! We got a confirmation that she is indeed a she {a little doubt in the last ultrasound} – and she’s huge! According to the ultrasound she is in the 85th percentile for size {so that means if she was compared against 100 babies, she’d be bigger than 85 of them!}. Wowza! Our fingers are crossed that she keeps on growing normally and that we get to meet her in late July or early August.

~

Looking back on my pregnancy with Ben:

  • 20-week post
  • 24-week post {and for the record, I don’t think you’re technically 6 months pregnant until 26 weeks. Oopsies! First time mama mistake!}

It’s A…….

Well it’s probably a girl!

Apparently wiggle worm #2 is on her way and made it difficult for the ultrasound tech to get some good views. As far as she can tell, though, it’s a girl!

We are so excited that Ben will have a little sister to pal around with. It’s encouraging that she’s starting out wiggly and rambunctious so she can keep up with her big brother. It looks like Ben was right all along – he’s been saying he’s having a sister for a while now.

Otherwise, all is well with the pregnancy. The size of the baby is totally normal. Boring is good!

Pregnancy Update: First Trimester Recap

In case you missed it – we just shared some big news: Ben is going to be a big brother this summer! His little brother or sister is due to arrive on August 8th. We are so excited to have another little one around and for Ben to have a sibling! If baby #2 arrives on time, Ben and his brother/sister will be 26 months apart.

Life has been a liiiiittle crazy lately – it turns out it’s rather exhausting being pregnant with a very active toddler, especially when it’s coupled with hosting the holidays and going through a major childcare transition.

I found out I was pregnant pretty early on and very quickly the pregnancy symptoms started to appear. I was probably only 5 or 5 and a half weeks before the nausea set in and by 8 weeks it was full-blown morning sickness combined with sheer exhaustion. There was about a week where I was completely out of commission, couldn’t eat and felt absolutely miserable. A quick call to the doctor turned it around, though. It seemed like all of the pregnancy symptoms peaked around 8-9 weeks and have sloooooowly subsided since then. This week {15} I feel almost normal – thank you second trimester!!

So far my food preferences have been all over the place. They were pretty regular until around 7 or 8 weeks and thankfully I made it through our prime rib feast on Christmas without feeling averse to anything I prepared. I didn’t have chicken for about two months because it grossed me out. Ice cream is heavenly. I’ve been really excited about feta cheese and plain sparkling water, as opposed to flavored. Coffee has been hit-or-miss {I went almost 2 weeks without having coffee during the rough part!}, and sweet things have been sounding very good. Cereal is great – I wake up in the morning and first thing, have a bowl of cereal with my vitamin B6 {anti-nausea}. Thanks to my new blender I’ve been making smoothies every morning – such a great way to start the day! No crazy cravings or anything like that {yet?}.

{Definitely showing a bit more at 14 weeks than I was with Ben! This photo also makes me look quite a bit more pregnant than I normally look…}

This pregnancy is still considered high-risk because of the complications I had with my pregnancy with Ben. I’m under the care of a group of perinatologists {high-risk pregnancy doctors}, and conveniently, their clinic is very close to our house. This is the same group that I received care from in the end of my pregnancy with Ben. I will have an ultrasound at least every 4 weeks for the whole pregnancy and it seems like an appointment with a doctor at least every 2 weeks. Per the recommendations of the doctors, I started taking baby Aspirin at 12 weeks, as it can help with the blood flow to the placenta.

{15 weeks – again this makes me look way more pregnant than I think I actually look. At 15 weeks I can still fit into my pre-pregnancy pants, though we’re definitely nearing the end of that. I’ve started wearing some maternity tops, mostly because they’re more flattering at this point than non-maternity fitted tops.}

I’ve had two great ultrasounds so far {8 and 12 weeks} and the baby looks great and even looks a little big! It would be so funny to have two kids on opposite ends of the size spectrum. My next ultrasound is at the end of the month and we expect we’ll be able to find out the gender of the baby.

We are very excited about the pregnancy and can’t wait to see Ben as a big brother. He is just the sweetest. Our fingers are crossed that the pregnancy goes full-term and is free of complications and without NICU time. Stay tuned for more updates along the way!

33 Weeks!

There have been numerous occasions over the last three weeks where I didn’t ever expect we’d make it to 33 weeks, but here we are!

33 weeks

I’m still in the hospital and will remain here until we meet this little fella. Our latest plan includes the scheduled c-section on Monday June 6th. Unless he needs to be delivered sooner, June 6th will be the very end of the pregnancy for sure. Our most recent doctor said that will definitely be the end of the road and given the situation she doesn’t think that he would have any benefits inside past 34 weeks.

My last bit of news is that I did have the second course of the steroid shot, which helps mature the baby’s lungs and preps him for delivery, so at any time now, the steroid is at full-strength and ready to work. This is an extremely important outcome predictor and will greatly reduce his time in the NICU.

Our doctor yesterday mentioned that if we do, indeed, make it to 34 weeks for my scheduled c-section that the baby would likely only need to be in the intermediate nursery {lower level of care needed for baby than the level 4 NICU} for a few weeks – maybe even only one or two, and that I might be able to hold him right after he’s born!

We are still really optimistic that we can make it another week and a day before meeting this little boy. Here’s to him cooking for another 8 days!

A Week in the Hospital

I’ve officially been living in my hospital room for a week now {plus the 5 days I spent on my two previous admissions…….} and it’s looking like I’ve got about 2 more weeks to go. So yeah, it’s been a fun month of May so far!

Alex and I are extremely fortunate to be in such a great place and have the ability to rely on modern medicine and have a really good outlook for our situation. Still, though, it’s not been an easy last three weeks for our little family, but we’re making the best out of the hand we’ve been dealt.

Now that we’ve been here for so long we’ve been able to get into a rhythm at the hospital most days. That will soon change a bit with Alex planning to go back to work next week for a few hours a day, assuming the baby remains stable. We have plenty of things to keep us occupied and my time on the monitors also helps fill the day.

Alex’s parents were kind enough to come out to help us at home while we are being pulled away. Both of his parents are officially retired and they also have a golden retriever, so naturally, they were the right folks for the job. It has been really helpful having someone stay at the house to keep Jackson and Henry company and well-cared for, not to mention they both are unable to sit still so they’ve been cranking out projects left and right! {I’m hoping they’ll take some time for themselves to relax though! Hint, hint..} We are so appreciative of them coming out to help with the pets and our house.

We have SO loved the visitors who have stopped by the hospital – it’s nice to see familiar faces who aren’t coming in to poke me with another needle {or wiggle the IV needle profusely in my vein and then decide that another vein would be better}, ask if I’m constipated yet, or wake me up at 4 a.m. to take my blood pressure. Sorry, I love {most of} you nurses, just let me sleep for the love of god.

One of these days I’ll get to go back home again. While I’m learning there is a lot I took for granted, my home is not one of those things. I’m fairly certain that every morning when Alex and I are sitting down for breakfast we marvel in how proud we are of our home and how much we love it. Not being able to go home has been by far the hardest part of this journey. While I love adventures, traveling, and exploring, I’m definitely a homebody. It’s almost harder that our house is so close to the hospital – maybe they won’t notice if I sneak out?!

The constant ups and downs and changes of plans haven’t been easy, either, but we’re certainly adjusting to the ebbs and flows of this predicament. We’re opting to remain upbeat and ready for anything – we wouldn’t get through this situation any other way. We realize that we are in the backseat – make that the trunk – and have no control of the road we’re on. We can visualize the destination, but we don’t know how or when we’ll get there. All I can say is thank you, again, for all of the support and encouragement in this unexpected situation. We are SO fortunate to have so many terrific friends and family members.

D-Day

Today we got a new doctor {our “doctor” is whichever doctor happens to be on the floor at a given point in time – usually they rotate every few days, so we’ll have the same doctor for a few days and then a new doctor the next few days} and a new plan!

This new doctor seems less “optimistic” from the standpoint of us getting to 36 weeks and he said between 34-35 weeks is going to be the end of the line. That’s totally fine with us and is in line with what we’ve been expecting and hearing for the last week or so. This doctor actually went as far as suggesting we schedule a c-section date because, somehow, they are quite tricky to schedule. And it turns out he was right! I had 3 options to choose from the week of June 5th.

So, at this point, my scheduled c-section is Monday June 6th. And yes, it’s 6.6.16 and no, we don’t care. It’ll be easy to remember and I actually like the flow 🙂 I looked up the number 6 and its numerology story and it is actually a pretty cool number – my favorite is the Chinese “lucky number six” that means smooth and well-off, plus, mathematically speaking, 6 is a perfect number. Pretty nifty! And it is not only our potential “d-day” {delivery day} but it is actually d-day from the WWII sense.

Bear in mind that just because the 6th is our scheduled d-day doesn’t actually mean that’s when the baby will be born! It is simply a possibility. If he happens to hold out until that week we’ll possibly re-evaluate once we approach 34 weeks {which is on June 5} and it could potentially be postponed if he’s doing really well still. Any of my monitoring – the ultrasounds or heart rate monitoring – can trigger a delivery, too, so, while we have a scheduled date, it’s not a firm line in the sand.

This new doctor today wanted me to get the steroid shot again {this preps the baby’s lungs for delivery and helps them develop} right away since I’m able to have it again, so I did my second round of that today.

The doctors agree that the babe is still stable and showing signs that life in utero is still okay, so, for now, we wait. We’re still keeping busy at the hospital – I’ve had a different visitor every day and we’ve been working on a puzzle and both of us have been working remotely. We’ve found a few things on Netflix to watch during my monitoring sessions to help pass the time, as well. So, we’re hanging in there okay!

Ultrasound Results & What’s Next

We hit our next milestone today: the growth ultrasound! We received some very unexpected but fantastic results from the doctor: the baby grew and he grew at the rate he should have grown at!

Here’s the scoop:

  • Baby is still below the 1st percentile and always will be unless he grows at a rate that is faster than the “expected” growth rate.
  • The ultrasound measured that the baby made adequate interval growth, meaning he grew 2 weeks of growth in 2 weeks time, which is what the doctors would expect a baby to make.
  • While the levels of cord flow resistance are still elevated, today they’re not seeing an absence or reversal of the cord flow, which is extremely good news, as well.
  • The ultrasound estimates that the baby weighs 2 pounds 13 ounces today.
  • There is a 10-20% margin of error in ultrasounds…

What all this means:

  • Baby can keep cooking away for a while longer!
  • The doctor was extremely encouraged by the ultrasound today, in particular, his growth and the fact that the cord flow is stable and not worsening.
  • The regular heart rate monitoring that I do several times a day will continue to be the primary source of monitoring and ensuring that the baby is doing okay inside. I have been having more regular contractions and baby does not like them, so he’s been having more drops in his heart rate, but the recoveries after the drops and the time in between drops are still looking good enough to keep him in there for now. The heart rate monitor could only send me to delivery if he had a major drop and wasn’t recovering, or if the monitoring strip is trending in a negative direction, but that would be less of an emergent situation.
  • Our doctor said that at her practice she is one of the most conservative doctors and takes the least amount of risks and it is her intention to keep this baby inside for as long as possible. She’s even thinking at this point we could make it past 34 weeks if things continue to look so good.
  • Because the doctor thinks the baby might stay inside longer she is going to hold off on administering the second round of the steroid {which preps the baby’s lungs for delivery} until either we make the call for delivery or until the end of the window in which the steroid can be administered {has to be before 35 weeks}. This is really good news because it means she doesn’t expect he will be arriving soon.

We are extremely happy with the results of the ultrasound. If we could make it to 34 weeks or beyond that would be absolutely incredible for the baby! And at 34 or 35 weeks, we could avoid the NICU potentially, and the baby could simply spend some time in the intermediate nursery until he gains a little weight and masters eating.

With all of the great news, we also talked to the doctor about Alex being able to spend less time at the hospital. Alex has been unbelievably supportive in this situation and has slept here in my room every night and stayed for most of the day every day to be with me. The doctor was really confident in the baby’s monitorings and overall stability and said that Alex can definitely have a longer leash away from the hospital. He’s going to try to figure out a balance of home, hospital and work now, and will start going into work between my morning and afternoon monitoring and be able to have a little more sanity. I’ll take one for the team and hang out at the hospital until the kiddo arrives, though 😉

Next milestones:

  • Sunday {May 29th}: 33 weeks
  • Monday {May 30th}: next biophysical profile ultrasound {measures cord flow}
  • Sunday {June 5th}: 34 weeks — could we have a June baby after all!?!

Getting Ready for Baby Allen

After the craziness of finding out we’re going to meet our little boy sooner than expected, one of the first things we tried to focus on was making sure we were physically ready for him to arrive. Thankfully we had been really on top of things from the get-go.

{August and Oliver came over to give some of our baby gear a test run... thankfully they approved of the play mat!}

{August and Oliver came over to give some of our baby gear a test run… thankfully they approved of the play mat!}

It was helpful to have several of our family members coming out for my baby shower in April to have that as a goal to have the nursery somewhat assembled. Our extremely generous family and friends threw us three baby showers – one back in Minnesota, and two out here in Seattle – and we received so many thoughtful gifts that have been quite helpful in making sure we’ve got all of the things we need.

{My mountain-themed shower!}

{My mountain-themed shower! hosted by my friend from work, Cate}

{My last baby shower was so sweet - baby Allen and I are so lucky!}

{My last baby shower was so sweet – baby Allen and I are so lucky!}

We received a ton of baby clothes {thank you!} and were quite well stocked up, but it was mainly with 6-12 month stuff. I was okay with that because it meant I got to pick out all of the sizes we were missing. It has been SO fun shopping for cute little outfits and getting to pick out the things I want to dress this kiddo in.

Our list of “needs” changed a little bit once we found out that our babe would be super tiny, so I got us stocked up on preemie diapers and bought a bunch of newborn size clothes, a few preemie onesies and even preemie bottle nipples. I hadn’t focused much on my postpartum recovery needs, but those should mostly be taken care of now, as well.

The baby’s nursery is so close to being completely done! We’re really only waiting on receiving the rug {which comes today and Alex’s parents will lay it out for us} and then eventually I’ll order a few more little decorative pieces to keep the focus on the mountain theme. Both of us adore how the nursery has come together. It’s such a bright and calming space and we’re so excited to bring our little guy home and show him his room.

{This darn chair has been the biggest pain EVER. This is chair #2. We are awaiting chair #3 now. It's a gorgeous, amazingly comfy chair, but the first one arrived not only defective but in the wrong color, and the second one arrived in the wrong color, so we're hoping 3's the charm.}

{This darn chair has been the biggest pain EVER. This is chair #2. We are awaiting chair #3 now. It’s a gorgeous, amazingly comfy chair, but the first one arrived not only defective but in the wrong color, and the second one arrived in the wrong color, so we’re hoping 3’s the charm.}

I think we’re pretty much all set with everything we need to take this little munchkin home after he is big and strong enough to leave the hospital.

I’ll take a better picture of the whole nursery once I’m home from the hospital and we get the new rug in. It’s pretty darn cute, though!

Monitoring, NICU & Not Much News

We’ve made it to 32 weeks and 2 days! I don’t have any major updates today, mostly just little ones…

{I'm fairly certain I look more pregnant in this photo than in reality... even one of the nurses last night came in and said "gosh, you hardly look pregnant" mmmm thanks you can leave now!}

{I’m fairly certain I look more pregnant in this photo than in reality… even one of the nurses last night came in and said “gosh, you hardly look pregnant” mmmm thanks you can leave now!}

I haven’t had an ultrasound since the weekend – the next one is the big growth ultrasound tomorrow. This will measure how much the baby has grown in the last 2 weeks, as well as check his amniotic fluid levels and the cord flow. A decision to deliver could be made tomorrow if there was no growth or if the cord flow is “reverse” meaning that the blood flow through the cord is reversing in direction.

As of last night I’m on a more rigorous monitoring schedule. Initially I was hooked up to the heart rate monitor three times a day for about 40 minutes each session to take a look at how the baby is doing. Starting Sunday afternoon he has had many more decelerations {“drops”} in his heart rate than before and they’ve started to align with my contractions. He’s now having a drop about every hour or two, sometimes more. Honestly, we woke up this morning, still hooked up to the monitor, expecting the doctor to come in and tell me it was time to go to the operating room because he had so many drops overnight {which also meant we slept not at all!}.

Instead, she said that while he is having more drops, the time in between the drops he’s still looking great and not seeming to be stressed out and he’s making really good recoveries {his heart rate jumps back up to normal fairly quickly} most of the time. She said she’s being cautiously optimistic and really still hopes he’ll stay in there for another week. I’m not really expecting that he’ll stay put for a week, but I suppose it’s possible and we’ll learn more tomorrow with the ultrasound.

In related news, Alex and I toured the NICU yesterday. There is one floor of the NICU where it’s truly the intensive care unit, and depending on when our little peanut arrives, he could go there for a while. They also have an intermediate level nursery where the babies are moved when they simply need time to grow and learn to eat. It was really nice to get a tour of the space so we can visualize it as we mentally prepare for our NICU baby.

I finally got my consultation with the neonatologist on Sunday and that was really helpful. He explained to me that 32 weeks is such a magical gestational age to get to because at that point the survival rate and long-term complication rate becomes the same as with a full-term baby. He told me to expect the baby to stay in the NICU until his due-date {so mid-July} and that he’ll be on a feeding tube and it’s possible he’ll need some help with breathing. The longer he stays in utero the shorter his NICU stay will be and the fewer interventions they’ll need to do.

We are starting to talk about hypothetical plans for how we’ll deal with having a baby in the NICU for what could be 6-8 weeks. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll make it work. We’re anticipating having me spend most mornings/early afternoons there, then going home and eventually having dinner with Alex and then going back together to visit the babe and then sleeping at home. We are so fortunate that the hospital is so close to our house! There will be an enormous amount of going back and forth to and from the hospital to visit the little guy and deliver milk to the nurses for him, but I’m sure we’ll get in a groove pretty quickly. It’s going to be strange to go back home without bringing a baby with us, though.

Right now it’s our plan that once the baby arrives I’ll officially stop working {probably until October} and then Alex will go back to work once I go home from the hospital and am able to move around on my own, then he’ll take his paternity leave as soon as the baby comes home, hopefully through Labor Day, and then he plans on taking the rest of his leave around the holidays. Alex’s work has been extremely supportive of the situation and both of us have been working remotely from the hospital when time allows.

Alex and I are doing fine and hanging in there. We’ve still got plenty to do and our room seems to have a revolving door on it, so there’s constantly someone in here. Technology is an enormous help in this situation – we’ve been watching Netflix during my monitoring to take the edge off of it and we’ve used InstaCart to get Whole Foods meals delivered, as well as Uber Eats to get a celebratory dinner delivered to commemorate making it to 32 weeks on Sunday.

Thanks again for all of the encouragement and love! We are so fortunate to have so many family members and friends by our side during this really strange time.