Hospital Bedrest: Day 1 (this is a long one...)

Shortly after I pushed publish on my last post, I shut off the light, closed the computer and laid down to go to bed. Only as I lay there, I started to develop a strong throbbing pain in my belly. I've not ever noticed contractions at this stage of the game so I wasn't sure if that's what the pain was, but I was on my left side, was drinking water and was laying down - all the things they tell you to do if you begin having them.

After 30 minutes, then 45, I decided something wasn't right so I trusted my instinct and called the doctor on call. As I suspected, they sent me in to the hospital to get checked out. All to familiar with this routine, I assumed I would be monitored for an hour or so then sent on my way. However things took an entirely different turn....never a dull moment with me!

It was after midnight and although my dad was still awake, I woke my mom to have her drive me. When we got to the hospital they wheeled me to the birthing center and as we turned the corner I noticed someone had just been brought in via ambulance. Suddenly, nurses were shuffling around and there was lots of activity. Just a few minutes later I heard a nurse walk by saying how she barely made it in time. A mom delivered her baby right there in the triage room! They brought mom to a room and were tending to a very alert newborn in an isolette as we went by. I said a little prayer for the family, the dad looked like a deer in headlights, and also got teary eyed as I wondered if I would be able to make it far enough for that very moment (well, not delivering in a triage room in the nick of time...but having a good size healthy term baby).

I was put on the fetal monitor, given some IV fluids and after it was determined that I was in fact having irregular contractions, they shot me with a dose of Brethine to help calm my uterus. Still thinking they'd keep an eye on me and send me home, I was surprised when the doctor came by and told me they'd be admitting me for the night.

Once I was all checked in, they gave me an ambien and told me to get some rest. Mom had gone home and Ricky was on stand-by still in Southern Indiana. I didn't want him to have to drive up or leave work if I was going home the next afternoon.

I already had an ultrasound appointment set up for the next day but they bumped it up to 8am instead of waiting until 2pm. Because they still suspected a possible placental abruption they had the ultrasound done by the maternal fetal medicine group. They wanted to look for any evidence of the placenta beginning to pull away from the uterus and also to do a full growth scan of the baby, as oftentimes even if a tear/abruption is not seen on ultrasound, they are able to determine any problems if the baby is not growing well.

All looked perfect on the scan. Baby is an estimated 1lb. 10oz (which is several ounces bigger than usual at this point!), fluid levels are great, baby's measurements are on track and no evidence of any bleeding was seen. Great news! I was so relieved.

Back in the room I started to gather up my belongings as I waited for the doctor to review the scan and come in to discuss the great results. Again, I assumed I'd be discharged at that point and headed home.

Again, I was wrong.

The doctor came in and had a very different plan. He began by saying the scan looked really good and baby is a great size. "However," he continued, "you are at a very critical point in this pregnancy." He then led the conversation down a path I was not prepared for at all.

Because of my bleeding and the increase in its frequency, he said they still were very concerned. He explained that at just 23 weeks along baby was just shy of viability. "We need to make some serious decisions at this point," he began. "If you were to deliver today, tomorrow or even the next few days, we would need to know how you wanted to handle things."

Wait, deliver? My scan was great and I hadn't had any more bleeding in almost 24 hours. And he's talking about my risk of delivering this baby today or tomorrow? I felt like maybe he was mistaken on which patient room he went into. He said he wasn't trying to scare me, but there was no way of knowing if I was any immediate danger or would need emergency intervention if there was in fact a bleed that they weren't seeing. He left me to think things over and said he'd be back in to visit after discussing next steps with the maternal fetal docs.

I called Ricky and through tears tried to relay what the doctor had just thrown at me. Ricky left work, fearing the worst, to make his drive up to be with me. I just kept thinking the worst. Shortly after he got there, my doctor came back in to continue the discussion.

He explained things once again for Ricky to hear and when he said for the second time that we had some decisions to make I asked him what exactly he meant. "We need to know what to do if you should need an emergency c-section to deliver this baby. At 23 weeks there are numerous risks for developmental and physical problems. Worst case, baby wouldn't survive."

He went through a laundry list of issues the baby may face - most of which I already found out minutes before when I googled "baby born at 23 weeks".

"Basically, we need to know if you would want us to resuscitate and what medical interventions you would want for baby at birth."

With little discussion needed, Ricky and I exchanged a knowing glance that indicated we agreed - of course we would want any and all measures taken to help our baby live. I began to cry when I told the doctor this, thinking back to how much our life changed when Aiden was born and fearful of what our life would look like with another medically fragile child.

The complications swirled in my head: blindness, heart issues, underdeveloped bowels, cerebral palsy, and on and on. But what were we supposed to do? Take a look at our breathing baby and say "no, just let him die?" The thought is sobering, but still, we were sure that it wasn't a choice we would make. It would be in God's hands.

The doctor assured us that there was nothing to indicate that I was in fact in danger of going into labor at that point, but they wanted to have these important questions answered if something needed to be decided quickly.

With that, he said the best place for me to be for the next few days would be at a different hospital that had a higher level NICU with doctors and nurses who would be better equipped to handle an extremely premature baby. At least until I got to the point of viability. So they transported me via ambulance across the river to Cincinnati. (Worst ambulance ride ever by the way - which at #3 for the year gave me some experience to compare it to...driver had no clue where he was going, there was no airflow and I had to ask them to crack the side window because the A/C wasn't working, the EMT in back with me smelled like she had just smoked an entire pack of cigarettes so every time she hollered "turn left here John, no I said LEFT" I felt like she was breathing smoke right into my mouth.)

But I digress.

Aiden: Boba Fett +++ Ethan: Iron Patriot +++ Hudson: A robot 
It's Halloween. I've been here one night and according to the main doctor here in the Special Care unit I am looking at being here at least until Wednesday. They want to see me go 7 days without bleeding or any other issues arising. As I type this I'm getting photos of the boys trick-or-treating with Ricky (the rain actually stopped right at 6:00) which makes me happy for them, but I'm having a hard time getting rid of this huge lump in my throat. Bed rest at home is not fun. Bed rest in the hospital is REALLY hard.

I'm with my boys all the time so I'm used to breaking up their fights, helping them with homework and lots of snuggling, hugs and kisses whenever I want them. While it will definitely be difficult to miss out on the everyday stuff with my family, I am choosing to remain positive. I just got the most beautiful flower arrangement from my bestie (thanks Audrey and fam!), Ricky is close enough to drive up at a moments notice, my boys are being well taken care of at my parents' and the nurses here have all been more than amazing. I take comfort in knowing I'm in good hands...and my baby is too.

As my wise momma
always says "This too shall pass". The end result will be soooo very worth it.

An "abrupt" complication

I haven't talked much about my pregnancy here on the blog. I've been posting baby bump pics every so often on Instagram and have mentioned a few milestones on my Facebook page - like feeling baby's first kicks. Other than some moderate morning sickness in the first trimester, things had been going relatively well. Then I had some upsetting news at my appointment today. All is okay with baby right now, but at 23 weeks and 1 day I heard those two ugly words way earlier than I have in my other pregnancies...bed rest.

But let me rewind a bit...

I found out I was pregnant on Father's Day. The week before was spent packing up the house to make our official move from Texas. We had already planned an extended trip back to Kentucky for the summer and the first part of it was a road trip from KY to our family home in Michigan for a week. Ricky took some vacation time and came along - and we celebrated birthdays (my niece Lilly's, my aunt's and Hudson's), went to the beach, made s'mores around the fire pit and more. We so love our time spent there. Towards the end of the week, I started feeling a little funny and my womanly intuition told me to take a pregnancy test. I'll be honest, I was extremely nervous for the results...not because I thought it might be negative, but instead at the thought of it being positive. Here we were, embarking on a huge move across the country, splitting our family in two, starting the boys at a new school, living with my parents. Could we possibly add anything to our already jam packed plate? Well, God thought so. Two little pink lines proved it.

After taking the test, I woke Ricky from his nap on the couch. "Let's go for a walk," I suggested. He resisted. "Later," he said. There was no way I could keep the news in any longer so I pushed. "No, let's go now." After hemming and hawing he finally agreed. "I have one last present to give you for Father's Day," I said.

Still unsure how I felt about it, I needed to get it out there to him so I could begin to process it. I mean was I happy? Of course. Ricky and I had mutually decided that perhaps we weren't finished building our family after Hudson was born, a decision that took both of us by surprise. We chose to leave it in God's hands - if it was meant to happen, it would happen. Months went by and I didn't get pregnant. I had submitted to the fact that perhaps it wasn't in the cards for us...and then boom. Out of the blue. It happened. So I was a bit taken back for sure.

We got a whole 10 feet from the house when I spilled the beans. "So there's something I'd like to give you" and I pulled the positive test from the front pocket of my hoodie. "Happy Father's Day!" My voice trembled as I told him the news. I think he said something along the lines of "Are you serious?" and then swallowed me up in a hug. As I shook my head yes, I burst into tears. He was so confused, asking why I was crying. "I don't know! I'm just so surprised. It's hard to process. I can't believe it happened and we are doing this all over again!" The emotion was too much to hold back. We both cried and laughed through our tears. I felt guilty for not immediately being overcome with joy. For letting the stress of what we had going on in our lives take precedence over the happiness of realizing this was God's plan and it would all work out. We spent the next few days in disbelief - exchanging smiles and head shakes across the room. We went ahead and shared the news with our family and with that the excitement started to build.

Like I said, the first trimester brought about a pretty long bout of morning sickness. Every car ride, plate of food and sip of water made me throw up. It was a bit worse than the first 3 times so of course everyone's initial thought was "this one has got to be a girl". But at just 13 weeks along I had some genetic testing done where the fetal cells were actually extracted from my blood stream which not only told us that we were in the lowest risk group for certain birth defects like Trisomy-13, 18 and 21, but it also allowed us to find out the gender. The phone call came with the results and I merged the call with Ricky who was back in Texas at the time. It was a bit strange doing it this way, not hearing the news in person as we looked at an ultrasound screen. When the genetic counselor said "It's a boy", Ricky and I both began to laugh. Deep down I knew it would be.

For several weeks things were going really well. I even allowed myself to wonder what it would be like to make it the entire pregnancy without a single "complication". Wouldn't that be nice?

At around 15 weeks I was snapped back into reality. I started having a bit of bleeding and of course began to worry. I phoned the doctors office, who had put me under the care of their high-risk nurse for any and all issues because of my history. The amount was not worrisome and it didn't last long so they just told me not to sweat it. A few days went by and it happened again. And then again. I went in for a regular visit and an ultrasound and both exams showed baby, placenta and fluid was fine. A huge relief yet they had no explanation for the bleeding.

A few weeks ago there was an episode of bleeding that was much more than any of the others. I called the doctor and they asked me to come in first thing the next morning. As I laid there, I began feeling crampy and achy so I didn't want to wait. I made the decision to go to the hospital to have things checked out that night. They kept me for a while to monitor things, but because I was no longer actively bleeding, I was sent home. At just 18 weeks they said that even if something was going on that was detrimental to the pregnancy, there really wasn't anything they could do to try to save it. I worried I was miscarrying or was about to.

The appointment the next morning again showed no signs of anything out of the ordinary. Fetal movement was good. No other symptoms. While the doctor said sometimes bleeding happens in normal pregnancies, he admitted that with my prior history it made him a little nervous. He asked me to try to take it easy and hopefully things would calm down.

The bleeding never went away - in fact, what started out happening once every few days, began occurring every other day, then every day. Again, not a lot. And not all day long. Just enough to make me worry.

At my monthly appointment today I got some sobering news. While it has not been confirmed by ultrasound, the doctor believes the bleeding is caused by a placental abruption - which is when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. It can be a partial or total detachment and may or may not cause bleeding, ranging from mild to extreme. Often times it is hard to detect using ultrasound imaging. She said she isn't sure about the diagnosis but wants to treat me as if this is the case.

The risks from a placental abruption are serious. Depending on the severity, it can cause problems with the amount of nutrients that get through the placenta to the baby, which can in turn affect the baby's growth. A lot of women with this condition end up on hospital bed rest so they can monitor the situation around the clock. Luckily at this point I'm able to avoid that. Instead, my doctor called for "modified bed rest" which means "eliminating all unnecessary activity." I could feel the lump in my throat as she was saying all of this but held it together until I got in my car and called Ricky.

Then the waterworks started. So many emotions. I immediately fear for the safety of the baby. What if it gets worse and we lose him? What if it's already affecting his growth? Then I am upset at the thought of missing out on things because of bed rest. I've been there done that and believe me, it isn't fun. Sure I might get out of some cleaning and errand running. But what about Ethan's first basketball game and taking the kids trick-or-treating? And what about lifting and holding my 15-month old? Are those "unnecessary activities" for a mom of 3?

While I might pout a bit about my situation and I might be bummed about losing a bit of independence, I am going to do everything I can to take care of myself and this little boy growing inside of me. In the end, it's all that matters.

I have an ultrasound tomorrow afternoon to check on the baby - to make sure he is growing okay and to see if they can confirm the abruption. Please say some prayers that everything is on track.

I should have more time on my hands to sit down and write now that I'm being told to get off my feet and rest more, however if you're on Facebook, be sure to like More Skees Please for more frequent updates.

Cincinnati Museum Center's Ultimate Dinosaurs

My kids LOVE going to museums. When we moved to Austin, TX in 2010, one of the first things we did was become members at the Austin Children's Museum. Because we traveled frequently, we upgraded our membership so that we were able to use it at reciprocal museums and science centers across the US. 

I have fond memories of letting my imagination go wild at the Cincinnati Museum Center growing up, so once I had my own family, we started taking the kids there. Whether it be their holiday train exhibit or the awesome children's section, we got our money's worth from our reciprocal museum membership.

As we have transitioned back to the Cincinnati area, and our Austin membership expired, we have not yet purchased a new museum pass. So when we were invited to experience the new Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit this past weekend, I jumped at the chance. Not only do my boys LOVE dinosaurs, but it would give me a chance to refresh my memory on all that the Cincinnati Museum Center had to offer. 

We started our visit with a showing of the OmniMax film  Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia  It was my boys' first OmniMax experience...even my husband's! I had no doubts that my 6-year-old would love it, but I suspected my 5-year-old might get a little overwhelmed by the massive screen. Sure enough, just a few minutes into the show, he got scared and asked to leave. I didn't object to taking him out - I wanted my husband to be able to stay and enjoy his first OmniMax show AND while it normally would not have bothered me a bit, the lights and images surrounding us from side to side made my almost 6 months pregnant head spin. :)

After the 45-minute show ended, we met up in the gift shop where I browsed the sale shelves and scored a super catchy CD of dinosaur songs, a Dino card game/puzzle and some mini-dino figurines. 

Ethan of course thought the movie was "the coolest thing ever" and couldn't wait to learn more about these giants so we headed downstairs to the Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana exhibit. Prior to arriving, I downloaded the exhibit's app on my iPhone which gave us several opportunities to enhance our experience as we made our way through the massive dinosaur skeleton replicas. There were little dino images on the ground that would "come alive" when we held my phone over them with the app open. It was pretty neat! (see photo at left)

The kids enjoyed reading about what the world looked like before, during and after dinosaurs existed. And all-in-all our whole family had a great time. I would definitely recommend this exhibit and the OmniMax (although little ones might want to skip the show). As we exited the exhibit, I could barely keep my kids from running into the Children's Museum. We could have spent hours there! Looks like a Cincinnati Museum Center membership is in our future! I think it will make a great family Christmas present...hint, hint, Santa... :)

DISCLOSURE: I received complimentary tickets for my family to explore the Dinosaur exhibit and OmniMax show at the Cincinnati Museum Center. However, all experiences and opinions expressed in this post are genuine and my own. For more information on ticket prices and museum hours, please visit