Life After the Second Line

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Halfway There

Today I am 19w6d into this pregnancy. My doctor plans to schedule my C-section for the last week in May, provided I make it that far (please, let me make it that far!) so I guess technically I'm a little tiny bit past the halfway mark.

Now is when the panic sets in. Oh sure, I've been scared since day one. After two years of infertility prior to P & E, to get a surprise like this has seemed to good to be true all along. And yet -- I wasn't *really* scared. I figured, hey, my pregnancy with P & E was totally fine for the first half, so this one will be, too. Aside from the wonky b/p readings at the doctor's office which I've never replicated at home, it has been. But now, in my mind at least, everything changes.

With Peyton and Ethan, I got my first high blood pressure reading in the doctor's office at 19 weeks. She told me to get a good home monitor and to check it regularly until she saw me again two weeks later. I did, and the readings weren't great. Definitely in the meds.-necessary range. At 21 weeks, I started taking them. And they worked -- the lowest possible dose kept my blood pressure in the acceptable range for the remainder of my pregnancy. Problem was, in the end, it didn't matter. My blood pressure was still fine when I was admitted to the hospital at 31 weeks. Seems I had developed a cord blood flow problem resulting from the underlying blood pressure issues, and the fact that it seemed to be under control didn't make a bit of difference. Then, following the two longest weeks of my life in the hospital, I had P & E via emergency C-section at 33w1d. E spent 4 weeks in the NICU; P spent 7 and stil came home on oxygen.

I'm so damn scared now. What's to stop it all from happening again, only maybe earlier this time? My hospital stay and the twins' NICU stay were hell, but I did finally get my happy ending. Today they are beautiful, healthy, thriving. What if that doesn't happen again? If I do end up hospitalized, what will I do without P & E for whatever period of time must pass before I deliver? Even G won't be able to stay with me this time around; if I'm not at home, P & E will obviously need their daddy to be here.

I know this is the absolute wrong attitude to have. I know, at this point, that my odds of complications remain in the 5% range. But I keep thinking, so what? My odds couldn't have been much higher than that the first time around, even with my various risk factors, but that's what happened.

I hate this. I hate that I can't seem to enjoy being pregnant. After I had P & E, I kind of thought I'd like to have another baby in part so that I could do the whole thing over and do it right the next time. You know, have a healthy, full term baby and all that. Maybe that's exactly what will happen -- how I pray that is exactly what happens! -- but I still will not have enjoyed the process. So in that respect, even if I am blessed enough to get a perfectly healthy baby on schedule this time around, I will still feel like I've been cheated out of the "real" pregnancy experience.

I guess, though, that this is "real" for me. It's not easy, and it's not wonderful, but damn it, if the end result can be, that's all that really matters. Only 19.5 weeks until I get there . . .

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Results are In

Baby #3 is most definitely a . . .


I knew it! I actually clapped when the ultrasound tech made the announcement. I should note, however, that I knew even before she told us. As soon as she showed us the femur, I started scouting for boy parts or lack thereof, and I saw right then, plain as day, boy parts in all their 18w6d glory. G was proud.

Everything looked fantastic. Bruiser was measuring right on schedule, kicking and flailing around to his heart's content, weighing in at a monstrous 9 ounces already. (This does not account for my eight pound weight gain since last month -- but we won't discuss that anymore right now, as this is a generally happy post). His umbilical cord blood flow, which is what prompted my hospitalization and the twins' delivery at 33 weeks, looked wonderful. It's really too early for that problem to crop up again, anyway, but hey -- I'll take good news anywhere I can get it!

The bad news -- because there is always a little bit of that, isn't there? -- was my blood pressure. I had high hopes that it would look good yesterday, since I knew it wouldn't be taken until after the ultrasound. Since the ultrasound was very reassuring, I thought, hey, the b/p should be fine. Not so much. In fact, I got my worst reading yet. It was significantly higher than anything I'd gotten at home, even when I took it on my home monitor there in the office. Why on earth would I have been stressed out after a good ultrasound? I don't know, and maybe that means I wasn't. Maybe that means my b/p is just working it's way up again, like last time, and I will soon need meds. UGH. But for now, my doctor is not worried. She said one high reading is not cause for concern, and that I should just keep watching it at home. Only if I get two or three days worth of consistently high readings, she said, should I call her so we could discuss meds. And she's obviously not *too* worried about me, as she is not seeing me again for four weeks. I'm trying not to worry much either (easier said than done, of course) because I know the worst thing you can do for high blood pressure is to worry about your high blood pressure.

Overall though, it was a great appointment. Seeing my new little guy, and being told how great he is doing, was better than any of the Christmas presents I got a couple weeks ago. Now I just pray for that to continue until the last week of May . . .

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Fun at the Peri's Office

Today's appointment w/ the peri went surprisingly well. In fact, I may be in love with that man. He told me my risk of having a preeclampsia recurrence were only about 3 to 5%. 3 to 5%! Yeah, yeah, he was quick to add that if I happen to fall into that 3%, the numbers won't mean shit, but for the moment, that is excellent news. He went on to explain that, last time, I had several factors working against me. First, and most signifcantly, I was having twins. Second, it was an IVF pregnancy. (Side note: did anyone else know that IVF increases one's odds of pre-e? I most certainly did not. And they have no idea why that is the case). Third, I was a first-time mom. He said pre-e is typically a first timer's problem. "Ah, yes," I said, "but I've read numerous studies showing that a woman who develops pre-e the first time is more likely than others to get it in subsequent pgs, too!" He said that was true, which is why my risk was still in the 3 to 5% range rather than the 1% range he would quote to someone who had not had the problem the first time around. Still -- I'll take 3 to 5% odds anytime.

Now, he did go onto to mention that my blood pressure, thusfar, has not been ideal. (No shit). However, it has not reached the point at which meds. are required. If that happens, my odds of developing pre-e again will rise to 20%. Not great, but that's still an 80% chance that it won't happen. Look at me, being a glass-is-half-full girl!

That was basically that. Overall, it seems like I should have a much easier time of it this time around since there is only one baby, and said baby was not the result of a fertility procedure. He asked us about that, of course, and when we told him this baby was a surprise, he said, "Well, infertility is not sterility!" Don't you think that would make a good bumper sticker?

Next up: big u/s next Tuesday. FINALLY!