Monday, May 19, 2008

Am I pregnant?

December 2002
Jeff and I had been trying now for a few months to conceive our first child. I was beginning to have a ‘feeling’ this month that things were different and in fact maybe I was pregnant. (Warning this post is not for the squeamish!)

I was at work one night caring for a patient. I don’t remember why he was there, but it was kind of strange that he was on our floor. In the ICU 90% of the patients are on a ventilator or CPAP machine. This patient was breathing room air just fine and was even ambulatory asking if he could go use the restroom. What he did not understand about the floor he was on was that there are no bathrooms in the rooms. On an ICU floor there is no need for restrooms in the rooms due to the fact that these patients normally have a Foley catheter in place and that they are bedridden. So again, why I had this patient I do not remember, but what I do remember is that he needed to have a bowel movement. He then told me that he had not had a bowel movement in over a week! I got him a bed pan and allowed him his privacy. When I went back to his room to empty his bed pan I about threw up on the floor right there. It was the worst smell ever. I felt like my sense of smell had become stronger by 1000%. I made it in time to the bathroom before I got sick! (Thank goodness) I literally went running out of his room. I later apologized to him. Another thing that I observed was coming home and the smell of coffee in our home. Jeff drinks coffee and just the smell of the coffee grounds made me nauseated. The final clue was that I had not started my menstrual cycle. These are all pretty good signs. I went to the store and bought a home pregnancy test. I was so encouraged by the fact that the box stated “now test up to 3-5 days before your missed period.” I took the test and it was negative.

A few more days passed and I decided to take another home pregnancy test. I still had not started my menstrual cycle. This time if you squinted you may be able to see a very faint line, but then again maybe my mind was doing tricks with me. So I decided to call my OB and have a blood test drawn. When I went into her office on 12-16-02 they drew the blood. I went home and was excited for the following day to find out the results. Instead I got a phone call from my OB office stating that they spin the blood and that my sample did not spin correctly. I then went back to the office to have my blood taken again.

12-17-02 I received a phone call from Dr. H and I was indeed pregnant. My HCG level was 98 making me 1-2 weeks pregnant. I called Jeff and my mom to tell them about the good news. Jeff was so excited. People kept telling me that he started pacing and saying “I am going to be a dad!”
1-3-03 today was the first time Jeff and I got to see our little bean on the big screen. There really was nothing to see, but they did show us the small flick that was our baby’s heartbeat. What an amazing feeling!
1-3----1-13-2003 I do not know the correct date. I was in the shower one morning and when I got out I noticed some blood. I figured I cut myself shaving. I checked my legs over and there was no blood. I then realized that the blood was coming vaginally. I was horrified. I called my mom! I always call mom. She said call your doctor right away. So I called Dr. H and although it was so early in my pregnancy she took a proactive approach. She told me to call off work and go lie down on my left side. So I did just that.

This was a scary time for me and our family. My sister had two miscarriages early on. I was very naïve when it came to this whole pregnancy thing, but I knew that the bleeding was not a good sign. I was lucky that it was light and more or less like spotting. I stayed on bed rest for a few weeks.

1-13-2003 I was referred to the hospital to the maternal fetal specialists to have another higher tech ultrasound done. It was determined that I was around 8 weeks and 5 days pregnant, there was a fetal heart beat, and NO OBVIOUS SOURCE OF BLEEDING was identified. I was still unable to go to work and another letter was sent to my job explaining that I was on bed rest and unable to return to work.

My Dr. also decided that I needed to have some blood work done to determine if I have any thrombophilia disorders. I was lucky in that my sister and I shared the same Ob. After her two miscarriages before her next pregnancy she had the blood work done for thrombophilias. They found that she is homozygote for MTHFR. I was heterozygote for MTHFR, but they found I was homozygote for something called PAI-1. What does this mean? PAI-1 is the primary inhibitor of tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) in plasma. Individuals (ME) with 4G/4G genotypes have a higher risk for venous and arterial thrombosis. In pregnant women, 4G homozygosity is a risk factor for fetal loss, IUGR, preeclampsia and preterm delivery. The treatment for me is to take a baby aspirin daily for the rest of my life. Also there were some studies at the time for using a drug called Glucapage. This drug is in fact used for diabetes. So it was determined that if I ever got pregnant again they would start me on this medication.

I was allowed to go off bed rest when I had no bleeding episodes for a two week period.
1-28-2003 I made it two weeks with no bleeding. I called my OB to obtain a “go back to work slip”. She agreed and I was allowed to return to work for 3 8hour shifts only. I was not to lift anything heavy either. This made going back to work very difficult! I am constantly turning bedridden patients every two hours so they don’t get skin breakdown. HMM
I was able to get other nurses and aides to turn my patients. Everything worked out.

Jeff was out of town one weekend away in another state for a friend’s wedding. He was in the wedding. Because of the problems I was having I did not attend. I will never forget this night for the rest of my life! I went to Subway and got some dinner. My usual 6 inch ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on Italian white. I was feeling great. By the time I got home I just had to go to the bathroom. I was in my scrubs and ready to eat and then get the dogs taken care of before heading to work. When I went into the bathroom I noticed that my underwear was completely soaked red. I was shocked. I felt nothing. I ran to the phone and called my mom. Who told me to get off the phone with her and call my Doctor. The first thing out of her mouth was you can call off work now and get on your left side. I then tried calling Jeff. This was not like the first bleeding episode at all. This was scary bleeding like I am expecting all of my insides to fall out. I changed my clothes and put a pad in my underwear and went to lie down. Back to Jeff he is at a wedding. His phone is off. He has no idea what is going on at the homestead. I felt so bad for him, but at the same time was so angry because I just wanted to talk to him. We just went through bleeding what is going on? I just did an extra two weeks on bed rest and made it with no problems. An hour passes and I am watching some game network channel. I got up to use the restroom and to see how things are going down there. I look on the pad and it is soaked. To top it off this time there are now quarter size pieces of clots dropping into the toilet. I begin to freak out and telling me this is it. This baby cannot survive this. I called Jeff’s phone again. It is still off. I call my mom again. She says go lie down. I am a wreck. Another hour passes and I go through the same thing. Another soaked pad more clots. I call my mom again. I said I am coming to get you we are going to the hospital.

I do NOT like surprises. I wanted to know what was going on. If I was losing this baby I needed to know and prepare myself.

2310 February 8 2003 we arrived at the hospital. I was 12 weeks into this pregnancy now. I was put into a room expecting the worst. When you have vaginal bleeding the last thing you want is a really cute doctor entering your room. That is what happened on top of the fact that I am sitting there with nothing on underneath my gown. He wheels in his ultrasound machine and decides that because I am so early into my pregnancy that he needs to do a vaginal ultrasound. He pulls out a condom and puts it on the tip of the transducer. I take a deep breath expecting to see nothing. Low and behold there is baby. Baby looks like he is swimming the backstroke inside my womb. Baby has a heartbeat! My mom and I both got teary eyes. There was nothing that he could see that was causing this bleeding. My baby was alive. It was back to bed rest I go!
2-24-2003 back to the hospital I go to see the maternal fetal specialists. The ultrasound revealed that I was now 14 weeks 1 day pregnant. Baby had a strong heartbeat and that I had a blood clot on my placenta. Now there was a reason for the bleeding. There was nothing to do, but stay on bed rest and closely monitor this pregnancy.

3-12-2003 I had a blood test taken for alpha fetal protein. (AFP) My level came back at 3.24. This was high. According to the literature “...indicating an increased risk of an open neural tube defect or other congenital anomalies.” I got a phone call from my Dr. stating I was positive for a neural tube defect. Now what? I was then scheduled an ultrasound back at the hospital with the maternal fetal specialists, genetic counseling, and a possible amniocentesis.

3-25-2003 a GOOD day, finally. Today we found out the following during the ultrasound. I am 18 weeks 3 days pregnant. The retroplacental clot is still visible. But the best news is this “THE EXTERNAL SILHOUETTE OF THE SKULL APPEARED TO BE INTACT.” “AND THE CLOT SEEN PREVIOUSLY I SUSPECT IS THE CAUSE OF THE ELEVATED ALPHA-FETOPROTEIN.”

The last thing we found out today was that we were the proud parents of a BOY! This was quite a surprise to me! I had already been buying pink! I just ‘knew’ my baby was a girl. I always babysat girls so in my mind this had to be a girl. I think I said and told the same people over and over “it is boy” kind of like how did that happen? The pink items went back or to new homes with girls and the blue items started coming into our home. As soon as we found out you were a boy we called you Joey from then on out! You were being named after your great grandpa. I had made a promise that I intended to keep as well as wanting to honor the life of grandpa.

We were asked a few more times about making sure that there was neural tube defect and having an amniocentesis. I said no. If this baby came out with a neural tube defect we would handle it. I was not putting the baby at risk to tell me this. I felt confident in the ultrasound that this baby was just fine. I was taking extra folic acid before I even found out I was pregnant. I remember in nursing school teaching about folic acid and wearing a green ribbon to encourage others to increase their folic acid intake to decrease the chance of neural tube defects. I knew in my heart that this was not an issue for us. I was going to trust my instincts.

APRIL~ a new month and new issues. I started to receive letters in the mail from our insurance company. I worked at a good hospital and so both mine and Jeff’s insurance was through my work. The problem was that I was now not working. They wanted us to pay over $1000.00 a month for our insurance. I was bringing in no money and we did not have this ‘extra’ money. This was a big stress to me. So I had to go back to work, if my doctor agreed and I was not allowed to be doing patient care, but I was allowed to do light duty if I could find someone to take me. I talked to the human resources people and they found a spot for me in the quality improvement department. I was working part time to keep my hours. A desk job. I actually really like it. I met some great ladies. Felt a bit like an investigator which is right up my alley. I always tell Jeff I should have been a private eye or a cop. I am nosey and I like to get to the bottom of things.
The order for returning to work said “no more than 4 hours a day and no heavy lifting.” Due to the fact that the pregnancy was the most important thing to Jeff and me he tried to get insurance through his job. This proved to be a cumbersome task. We were denied because I was considered “a preexisting medical condition.” Once I delivered then it was a different story.
Besides that fiasco April proved to be an uneventful month.

MAY 2003~ the month of May was progressing well. It was decided that I would have a follow up ultrasound on the 22nd to check growth and to look at the clot.
5-22-03 I went to the appointment. I was now 26 weeks and 1 day pregnant. The baby was active. They did see some “mild dilatation of the baby’s left kidney” as well as the amount of amniotic fluid was now low. I was told I had oligohydramnios. I was yet again put on bed rest. I was to spend the weekend drinking as much water and fluids as possible and a repeat ultrasound was scheduled for the following week.

5-27-03 today was another ultrasound down at the hospital. The concerns were to recheck the amniotic fluid as well as the baby’s left kidney. The amniotic fluid level went from 6.6 cm to 17.0 cm. Much better and no longer a concern. The kidney was not dilated and no more concern. Baby was measuring 27 weeks and 6 days.

6-6-2003 today was yet another ultrasound. The purpose for this ultrasound was to look again at the fluid levels, kidneys, and baby. The baby’s heart beat was 146 bpm, the amniotic fluid level was 13.9cm, and both kidneys were normal.
At this point RELIEF was all I was feeling. I was thinking that the remainder of this pregnancy now would be smooth sailing until the finish line. Well almost. I have to have a few more scares first.
6-17-03 I am up and on my way to work in the morning. I was backing out the driveway when I felt sick to my stomach. I got out of the car and was leaning over and throwing up in the grass. I felt better after I was done and when I went to get back in the car I felt wet. So I went back in the house and was very concerned that my water broke. I have never been pregnant before and really did not know what to expect. I felt a bit of a gush but not a ton. So I call my mom. She says go to the hospital which I do. I think I may have picked her up or she picked me up. Anyways she was with me. I went to the OB triage and explained what happened and thought my water broke. Well it turns out I wet my pants. Yes, how embarrassing is that. The good thing though is that baby was only 30 weeks along. So I knew he needed more time inside to grow. I was a bit relieved that baby was not coming sooner than we all thought.

There was another time that I went into the OB triage when I was at work. Being that I worked in the hospital I was delivering at and all my appointments were at, there was one day that I just was not feeling baby. By now I was a nervous wreck about EVERYTHING so when I was not feeling much movement one morning I went up to have a nst done. I wanted to just use the Doppler here the heartbeat and be done with it, but they insisted that I lie down and do a NST. Baby was just fine. Good strong heartbeat. I was a bit relieved.

JULY 2003
7-18-03 I worked in the morning and then had a NST at my OB’s office in the afternoon. Jeff was at a company amusement park day in Sandusky which is about 2 hours away. I got the the NST and baby was showing signs of distress and decels. I was told by my OB to go straight to the hospital and have a NST done there. There was concern over her machine as well as if I needed to deliver then I would be at the hospital. I was a bit frantic. Again my mom, dad, Jeff, aunt, uncle, sister, etc were all at this amusement park 2 hours away. So I got a hold of Jeff and he drove up to the amusement park with my aunt and uncle. The three of them jump in a car and start driving probably toooo fast to get to the hospital. It turns out that baby was doing okay...
At this point we are getting farther and farther. I had now formed a pretty good relationship with my OB. I think that she was very proactive, caring, and on the ball with my pregnancy. She and I had felt like we climbed a mountain together. She was not going to have me go 40 weeks. The literature also supported this because of the thrombophilia. We decided on having an induction and she had me go into the hospital on Sunday August 3rd 2003. They would then start the induction process.

I have to admit that when I thought of pregnancy this is not what I ever imagined. When you see the shows on television or movies no one that I had ever seen had gone through so much stuff to carry a baby to term. I was going into this thinking that every mother has a glow and all women look so cute when they are pregnant. I was wrong there too. I had never had acne like I did with this pregnancy. To the point that I had acne on my chest and shoulders as well as my face. I felt like one giant zit. Being on bed rest so much and not exercising I went from being 5’3” and 135 pounds to being 5’3” and almost 200 pounds! I was huge!! I was swollen and when I walked I could fell fluid in my legs. It was a strange sensation. But I was almost at the end of this. I was so excited to see this baby and hold him for the first time. I was so excited to have him out of my ribs. Joey I did not mention was also breech for a long time in this pregnancy. There was talk of maybe a cesarean section because he was breech. He loved to be up in my ribs and he sat high in my chest.
Sunday August 3rd………

This picture was taken about two weeks before I delivered. My face tells it all. I can't believe that was me. My husband looks so young!


Yes, my name is Arizona said...

My God, what a roller coaster ride! I have to tell you that I laughed out loud when you said you thought your water broke, but you had actually peed your pants. That was too funny. And I was relieved to read it was pee and not that your water broke. I love the photo. You have that glow you get when you're pregnant!

angie said...

You've been through the wringer in two of the pregnancies I now know of. How stressful this pregnancy must have been for you.......YIKES. Please tell me it wasn't this bad with Gabrielle?

Jocasta said...

That photo is great. You look wonderful (and like you have swallowed a beach ball!)

Doesn't seem fair that it's so hard!

Laurie said...

Oh just wait... Gabby's pregnancy was even worse!!!
I felt like I swallowed a beach ball! :)

We are on our way to Hawaii so I will be continuing the story on the plane as we fly there.

Laura said...

Wow! You have really suffered in your prenancies. I always joke that my body does not know how to be pregnant and deliver. babies without different issues. I had bleeding with my first pregnancy too and was sure I lost my little Lindsey. It was a terrible time (or so I thought until I had worse). I hate to admit it but I wet my pants almost everytime I threw up with my twins. I threw up many many times a day. UGH!

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