Saturday, January 28, 2012

36 Week Update

Hi all - getting a jump start on my weekly blog post this week. Probably because I am back in the hospital for a few days & am already getting BORED. Not a good sign. They've told me that I could be here for 5 or so days :( The only decent thing about this visit is that I knew it was coming, so I was at least able to pack my bag & bring my comfiest pajamas & favorite bathroom products.

As I mentioned in my last posting, I'm back in the hospital so that they can switch one of my current medications. The blood thinner I was previously taking isn't conducive for laboring, so they are switching it over to a different one. I was told that it could take anywhere from 2 - 5 days; however, as JD reminded me today - with the way things have been going for me the last several weeks, I should anticipate it being closer to 5+. Boo.

They currently have me hooked up to an IV for the medication change, but once I reach a certain "level", they will transition to injections. Once I can show that my levels are stable while doing the injections, I believe I will be able to go back home... until it's time for BABY! Fingers crossed that I'll be able to do this quickly so that I can get back home!

Today I hit the 36 week mark - one week closer to a full term baby B!! They OB did a quick check of my cervix when I got to the hospital this morning & I am still 2.5cm dilated. They also did a quick ultrasound to check baby's position & he / she is still in the head-down "ready to rock" position! I can't say that I can tell by looking that baby has "dropped", but it definitely feels like it when I walk or stand.

I haven't felt any more *true* contractions in a week or so, but the braxton hicks contractions have definitely been getting more frequent & more intense. Baby continues to move around at all hours of the day - in fact, I joked with JD last night that I don't think that Baby B ever sleeps because I feel him / her moving all. the. time. Baby B even woke me up early this morning with the hiccups :) The nurse mentioned that she saw a note from the OB in my chart that said that they will look to induce once I've reached 38 weeks - if I haven't already gone into labor on my own. It's crazy to think that Baby B could be here in as little as 2 weeks!! JD & I are so excited / anxious to meet our sweet baby!!!!

I'm starting to get a bit stir crazy being at home on "modified bed rest"... I never thought it would be this tough to be out of work! I know it will be a different story once Baby B is here, but for now it's starting to get to me! I mean, a girl can only do so much laundry, pack hospital bags, organize drawers in nursery, etc... Mom & baby hospital bags are packed, carseat is installed, car is loaded - I think we're as ready as we're going to be for this baby's arrival!

Here's what's going on with Baby B's development this week...

Your Pregnancy: Week 36 (

With a mere 28 days to go (give or take a few), you're almost at the end—and the beginning of your new life. Finish up your final prep by stocking up on diapers, washing the onesies and making sure the nursery is good to go. Then, even if baby comes early, you're still ready. Of course, every new parent feels wildly unprepared regardless of how operational the nursery is, but at least you won't be diaperless!

Wondering what's up with your body, your baby and your life this week? Read on ...

Your Body
Just when you think you can't possibly stand another day of your baby kicking your lungs and crowding your stomach, your baby will drop it like it's hot. This process, called lightening, will probably make it easier for you to breathe, but with your baby's head resting directly on your bladder, you'll be breathing all the way to the bathroom.

When your baby drops, you can rest assured that your pregnancy journey will be over within the next few weeks. Make sure to know the many signs and symptoms of labor so that you won't be caught with your pants down (both figuratively and literally).

Your Baby
Your baby continues to put on weight at about ½ pound each week. This layer of fat will help your baby regulate his body temperature after leaving your climate-controlled womb. In fact, your baby will be 15 percent fat at birth (and you ... well that's another story). Even in the womb, your baby can listen, feel, touch and see. The only thing separating him from living in the outside world is a little thing called the birth canal. Other highlights this week:

His gums are firm with ridges that look somewhat like teeth, though his actual pearly whites won't start breaking through until he's between three months and a year old.

Your baby has definite patterns of sleep and wakefulness—opening his eyes while awake and closing them while sleeping. Your baby will become alert and turn his head toward light and sound just as a newborn would—except when you put on that Celine Dion CD. Then the baby puts his hands up, turns away and gurgles, "Oh no you didn't!"

Your baby is now around 18½ inches long and nearly 6 pounds—just about as big as a breadbox!

Thank you again for all of the sweet calls, texts, emails, thoughts & prayers over the past few weeks!! Things have definitely not gone as we had planned, but the most important thing is that Baby B stays healthy & happy. It has meant so much to JD & I knowing that we have the love & support of so many great friends & family members!! THANK YOU AGAIN!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Doc Appt Update

Hi all - just an update from today's appointment with the OB at UAB...

Still no symptoms of continued cardiac / heart problems, which means that the meds are still working! Unfortunately, the OB still wants me to stay home on "modified bed rest" & not go back to work just yet. Even though I am doing well, she doesn't want anything to "spike" my symptoms & cause me to go back to the hospital again :(
I asked the doctor what the earliest was that they would induce & she indicated that it would likely be at 39 weeks (which I will be on Feb 18).

She did check my cervix while I was in the office & she said that I was still dilated at 2.5cm, but that my cervix was "very soft", which means that baby is getting ready to come!! After seeing that, the doc said that it would surprise her if I made it to the 39 week mark - meaning that we may have a baby in the next couple of weeks!!!!

Currently I am taking a handful of medications to keep my heart rate stable - one of which is a blood thinner. Unfortunately, the blood thinner I'm currently taking I can't take when I am in labor / deliver the baby, so I have to switch to a different one - which means another (shorter) hospital stay to make the switch & re-stabilize. I have made arrangements to be re-admitted on Saturday (Jan 28) & should be there no longer than 2-5 days. Hopefully it will be closer to 2 days & it will be the last hospitalization before Baby B arrives!

I will continue to post updates on Baby B's progress! Thank you again for all of the continued thoughts & prayers throughout this crazy time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Week 35 - and back at home!

Hi all! I am happy to report that since my last blog posting I have been discharged from UAB & am back at home!!! After spending 8 long nights at two different hospitals, it never felt so good to *finally* come home. The cardiologists were happy with how I had been responding to the medications, so they felt it was okay to let me come home to "modified bed rest". I haven't gone back to work yet, but I have a follow up with the OB staff at UAB tomorrow & will find out then if I can go back to work until Baby B arrives. **Fingers crossed**

Since coming home, I've been trying to get as much rest as possible so that my heart rate doesn't spike again; but, I've also been trying to do small things around the house, like finish washing baby clothes, blankets, etc... & get the nursery organized for baby's arrival. So far, I've been able to do that without too much trouble, which means that my meds are still working :)

Today I was able to run out to pick up some items I will need when I am in the hospital when Baby B is born (pajamas, etc...) - although I was tired when I got home, it felt good to be able to do things on my own again :) After resting, I was even able to get mine & baby's hospital bags packed! Now we are just waiting for the green light from Baby B!

Baby has been doing just fine this week & I continue to feel a good bit of movement - I have had frequent braxton hicks contractions all week, but no regularity, so it looks like Baby B is going to stay put for a little while longer. I am hoping that they will measure me at my appointment tomorrow to see if I have dilated any more since last week. The morning I was discharged from the hospital, the OB team did another ultrasound to check Baby B's growth. Although the ultrasound tech admitted that it is difficult to get an accurate read at this gestational period because baby is so cramped, she estimated that baby to already be as big as 6lbs!! If that's the case, Baby B is either going to be a little monster or he / she may be coming earlier than the due date... Baby's head is definitely facing down now & is getting ready to make a move for laboring / birth!!!

Here's what's going on with Baby B's development this week...

Your Pregnancy: Week 35 (

Your Body
As Patrick Swayze put it, "Nobody puts baby in a corner!" Doubly true for your little tenant. Your baby has pretty much taken over your entire torso by now. Over the past few months, he's squished and mushed all of your organs out of the way. Any day now, he'll make a final move and shove your heart up and to the left to make more room for himself. (See, he's got your heart in his hands already.)

Before all this pregnancy stuff, your uterus was a small ball the size of your fist and was tucked neatly away behind your pelvis. Today your uterus is the size of a small watermelon and reaches all the way up to your ribs.

At this point in your pregnancy all the blood has gone to your belly ... literally. Nearly 1/6 of your body's total blood volume is chugging around in the vessels in your uterus. So that's why you feel so lightheaded all the time!

Your Baby
This week the final touches are being added to your mini-masterpiece and most of his development is going to packing on the pounds. While baby's movements may be becoming less jerky, he may do his final somersault in the womb soon—to put himself into the head-down position for birth. Other fascinating facts:

Your little Karate Kid can't quite pack the punch he used to due to the limited space inside the womb these days. You're likely to feel more wiggles, stretches and rolls than kicks and jabs. The extra layer of fat your baby is adding will create those cute dimples on your baby's elbows and knees. His liver has begun processing his waste products, so you know which organ to thank when he has his first blowout up the back of his onesie.

Baby's nails are growing so long they may curl over the tips of his tiny fingers and toes before he sees a pair of clippers. He'll be in serious need of a mani-pedi once he's born (as will you).

Your baby is now about 5½ pounds and over 18 inches long—about the size of one of those price-club sheet cakes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

34 Week Update!

I know I missed a week's update, but with everything else that was going on, I just didn't get around to it...

Here's what's going on with Baby B this week:
I did have an ultrasound this morning to check on Baby B's growth. According to that, he / she is still measuring a couple of weeks ahead of schedule & could weigh as much as 6.5lbs as of now!! The ultrasound tech said that it's more difficult to get a very accurate read at this gestational stage because baby is so big & all of his / her parts are getting cramped together, so that estimate may be off. During the last week, I've also started having some REAL contractions (I've had some Braxton Hicks contractions as well, but these others were the real deal). The last time I was checked (last Thursday), I was 80% effaced & had already dilated 2.5cm! The nurses said that could have been from the recent stress on my body, & we are hoping for no more contractions for a couple more weeks (closer to week 37, when baby will be considered "full term"). Baby has definitely moved to the head-down position & is getting ready for delivery! While I've been in the hospital, I've been getting checked every 4 hours or so to make sure baby is doing alright - baby always sounds great & his / her heart rate has been in the 120s - 130s most of the time.

Your Pregnancy: Week 34 (
The nursery is almost done. You've stocked up on diapers. You're ready. And you're waiting. And waiting. And hopefully, if all goes well, you'll be waiting for another six weeks. So don't drive yourself crazy, use this time to enjoy being alone, with friends and with your partner. Because soon it'll be all about baby for a couple of weeks (months, years, whatever), and you'll wish you had this downtime back.

Wondering what's up with your body, your baby and your life this week? Read on ...

Your baby kind of looks like she's coated in a layer of cream cheese these days. The thick, white substance that protects her skin from pruning in the amniotic fluid is called vernix. When she's born you'll probably see some vernix lingering in her "hard-to-reach" places like under her arms, behind her ears and around her va-jay-jay, if she's a she.. Other news from the womb this week:

The soft fur, lanugo, that covered your baby's body for much of her stay in the womb is now almost completely gone. Your baby begins to develop her own immune system, instead of relying solely on antibodies received through the placenta. This will come in handy when some grubby relative manhandles the baby without washing his hands first.

This week, your baby measures about 17¾ inches, as almost as long as an American Girl Doll (!) and weighs almost 5 pounds, as heavy as a bag of sugar, minus the cup you put in your decaf this morning.

Catching Up...

well, a lot has happened since my last post a couple of weeks ago... without posting a super long blog, I'll try to hit on the high points to bring readers up to speed!

Last Saturday we celebrated Baby B's upcoming arrival with lots of wonderful friends & family at a baby shower!! Every detail was absolutely PERFECT & we are so very thankful for everybody who came together to make it possible! Baby B is already so loved by so many great folks!

Beginning the week of the shower, I noticed that I was experiencing some not-so-great pregnancy symptoms including: trouble sleeping, shortness of breath, hot flashes, etc... I just assumed that these were normal things to experience at 8+ months pregnant, so I wasn't too worried about it. However, after these symptoms started to increase, I started to get nervous.

Last Tuesday I went in for a weekly prenatal office visit with my OB. I was scheduled to have another NST (non-stress test) & an ultrasound to check baby's growth. While doing the NST, the office nurse noticed that I was breathing heavily / short of breath & asked how long I'd felt like that. When I told her, she immediately went to get my doctor, who was very concerned & immediately had me admitted to the labor & delivery unit at St. Vincent's hospital.

As it turns out, my heart hate was in the 180s (normal is between 60 - 100). It wasn't long before a cardiologist & a pulmonologist were evaluating me & it was determined that I needed to be admitted to the Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU) for closer observation of my heart & the baby.

I was under very close observation, underwent a laundry-list of tests, was put on bed-rest & 24 hour fetal monitoring over the next several days, until it was determined that it would be in my best interest to be moved to UAB hospital, a teaching hospital where I would have access to more specialists.

I have been at UAB in the high risk OB unit since Friday afternoon. Without over simplifying, I am doing much better & Baby B is doing great! I am no longer on 24 hour fetal monitoring or any IV medications for my heart (only oral medication & blood thinners). The cardiology team here at UAB has deemed me to be pretty stable & but would like to keep me here for a few more days to make sure that my heart rate stays in a safe range (under 115) with "regular" activity. Hoping to be released to go home by the end of this week!!

My official "diagnosis" is cardiomyopathy, which converted to atrial-fibrillation - the cardiologists believe that this was brought on by one of two things: pregnancy itself (stress of pregnancy manifested itself in this way), or it may have been caused by a slight heartbeat irregularity that I've had since high school, which was aggravated by pregnancy. Both cases self-correct, so no lifetime care should be necessary. At most, I will require a little bit of follow up care after delivery, likely no more than 6 weeks.

It is highly likely that they will induce labor when I reach 37 weeks gestational (which is only a couple of weeks from now!!) since they don't want to make it harder on my heart than necessary.

This has all been a pretty stressful process, but I am happy to have caught it now before it was too late. It is so very important to listen to your body - because it will tell you when something isn't right. I wasn't alarmed by my symptoms because I assumed it was typical for this late in pregnancy, but it could have led to something much more serious / dangerous for myself & Baby B.

Throughout this experience, I am so very thankful for all of the thoughts, prayers, & support from our friends & family! We've had an out-pouring of love from the folks in our lives who have called / emailed to check in on me & help keep things as normal as possible at home. Continued prayers are much appreciated! I will continue to keep posting updates as they come in!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Week 32 - 8 Months Pregnant!!

WOW - time is continuing to fly by at a rapid pace! I can't believe that we are already in month 8 of pregnancy! On one hand, it's hard to believe that in a few short weeks Baby B will *finally* be here & we can begin the next phase of PARENTHOOD; however, on the other hand, I've felt every bit of these last several months & am oh-so-ready baby's arrival!

This week I've been under the weather - not sure if it's seasonal stuff, or if my body is just exhausted from a combo of the holidays & pregnancy. Sleep is getting more & more difficult, which makes the work day more & more difficult... I'm still feeling a lot of movement from Baby B at all times of the day. I've noticed a loss of appetite in the last week or so - probably due to the lack of space in my tummy these days :)

I go back to the doc for another appointment on Thursday for an ultrasound & a NST (non stress test) on Baby B. Can't wait to see how big Baby B has gotten since we last saw him / her!! At my last appointment, my doc measured Baby B's heart rate at 134 - it has been right on the borderline for the last several weeks, so I guess that Baby B is going to keep us guessing right up until D Day!!

We are so excited about this weekend as we have another baby shower hosted by some of our very best friends!! Can't wait to see all of our friends & celebrate Baby B's arrival!

We still have lots to do to get ready for Baby B's arrival next month - here's what's on my "to-do" list for January:
>organize nursery
>pack hospital bag for mom & baby
>install car seat

Here's what's going on with Baby B this week...

Your Pregnancy: Week 32 (
Your Body
There is something surreal about watching a tiny foot move across your belly (and something uncomfortable about getting jabbed by a tiny elbow in the dead of night). Now that your baby is nice and big and mobile, you'll be getting kicked and prodded in all sorts of unexpected places. Oooof! Did you feel that one in the ribs?

If you're feeling sudden, jerking movements, then your baby probably has the hiccups. Or he could be practicing his routine for So You Think You Can Dance. Changing positions, taking a walk, or drinking a cold glass of water or juice can sometimes get a very active baby to chill with the kidney shots for a while. You could also try telling the baby if he kicks you one more time you're going to come in there and give him a time-out. OK, that won't help ease the discomfort, but mentally it'll make you feel like you're still in control.

You can also take heart in the fact that in a few more weeks, your Karate Kid will be running out of room for the kind of athletic displays he's so fond of these days. In other words, he'll be too cramped in there to haul his foot back 6 or 7 inches to give you a swift kick in the ribs

Your Baby
Although your baby will still remain active, his days of trying out for Cirque du Soleil are nearly over. About this time your baby will settle into the head-down position in preparation for birth. Other fascinating facts:

Both you and baby are putting on some serious weight at this point. You'll probably gain about a pound a week for the next few weeks, with half of that poundage bulking up baby. He'll likely double his weight in the next eight weeks.

Ever wonder what your baby is doing in there these days? He's busy blinking, looking around, grabbing things, making faces, practicing his breathing, peeing and listening to everything around him—pretty much exactly what he'll be doing for the first three months of his life, sans the adoring audience and the flashing camera.

Your baby may (or may not) have a full head of hair now. If she's a baldy, don't worry. You can always buy a Baby Toupee or some adhesive barrettes.

By the end of this week, your baby will weigh about 4 pounds and measure over 17 inches long—about the length of a hot pair of above-the-knee boots. Christian Louboutin? Manolo Blahnik? We're thinking Isaac Mizrahi for Target—you've got a nursery to furnish!