Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Yesterday, Margaret had an unscheduled trip to the pediatrician. She had a pussy (is that right?!?!? LOL) inflamed area on her left heel that I wanted the doc to check out. The doctor lanced it and is going to do cultures. In the meantime, it is being treated as a staph infection. Yuck.

And unfortunately, the antibiotic that Margaret has been given is a sulfa. We have been avoiding those since her Daddy is allergic to them and that allergy is known to be inherited. I just gave her a dose and I am watching her like a hawk! I even got dressed and completely ready to leave the house before I gave it to her... just in case. I'm a bundle of nerves.

Also while at the Pediatrician's office yesterday, I asked about RSV season. Yes, it has already started here. So I got the ball rolling to attempt to get Margaret approved for another year of Synagis shots. I'm not sure we will qualify since she has been so healthy but I have to try.

Then when we were leaving the office, a small child ran up to us, grabbed Margaret's hand and put it in her (the child's) mouth. I just stood there in shock. Now I'm super paranoid. This was easily more traumatic than all the holding down and lancing that went on in the doctor's office. That's a preemie Mom reaction for you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is it possible to eat too many pickles? I'm up to 1/2 jar a day. I feel like such a cliche!

Another Appointment

Third Peri appointment this morning. I saw Dr. Steadman again and I think they are trying to keep me with him for the duration. Which is fine with me, you know he is my favorite.

First, I am gaining well! Yay! BUT my blood pressure was rather high for me... 129/95 yikes! I'm hoping it is just that I was so nervous about my appointment. They didn't seem worried about it since I haven't had any headaches, swelling, blurred vision, etc. I have a blood pressure cuff here so I can check if I start to get nervous.

My cervix is still closed and long- a little longer than last time at 3.8 cm. Dr. S said that the pressure I felt last weeek was probably normal and not to worry about it.

The baby is measuring about a week ahead which is more in line with my thoughts about when my due date should be. All anatomy looked good.

Gender... well, the baby was being shy. The doc couldn't see anything. The u/s tech said she thought she could tell but the umbilical cord was getting in the way. So she was 60% sure... only 10% more than the normal 50/50. Not such good odds. So, I don't know if I should write here what she thinks she saw or not. So I guess I won't. Dr. S said at my next appointment he will be able to tell with certainty. I'm still not going to be painting anything pink or blue!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Four teeth, finally!

Looks like we are on the monthly plan for teeth. Margaret popped her fourth tooth today- the top left center one. She has been grumpy and drooly and sleepless for the past three weeks... about as long as she has had the hard white bump on her gum. At this rate, we have 16 more hard months ahead. Maybe she'll start getting them in pairs at some point!

I'm interested to see how her look will change with these top teeth.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Baby Radar and Finding Food

Margaret has developed some sort of baby radar which directs her to the most dangerous item in the room. I have to remain ever vigilant or I find her playing with (eating) electrical plugs, small plastic items, dead bugs. And I think I have gotten rid of everything dangerous! Somehow she can find things invisible to me. Today she is intent on pulling down the mini-blinds and curtains in the living room/play room. They need to come down in preparation for painting the room anyway. So I'm appreciating the help.

Also, a couple of days ago I caught Margaret on the floor chewing on the remains of a plum I had put on the coffee table wrapped in a napkin until my next trip to the kitchen. She was covered with drool and complained bitterly when I took it from her. This got me thinking. She always eats whatever she finds on the floor... tiny parts of leaves, tiny pieces of paper, etc. My baby who CRIES when she sees a spoon coming toward her will gladly eat anything she finds on the floor.

So I set up a "trap". I placed a plum that I had partially skinned on the floor where I knew she would find it. And find it, she did. Upon finding her treasure, she began gnawing it and carried it around with her for half an hour- eating it off and on. Am I going have to feed this baby by letting her find all her food? I hope not.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

A very sad day

This morning an online friend's baby, Collene, passed away. She had been in the hospital since her premature birth in December. I'm absolutely crushed by the news. It is so unfair that she had to leave her Mommy after fighting so hard.

You will be missed, sweet Collene.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Second Peri Appt

Monday I had my second Peri appointment. As you can probably guess, it was uneventful (else I would have already updated).

This time I got to see Dr. Steadman. In Margaret's birthday story, he is the one who told me that I had carried a baby with no chance of survival through the worst odds to a point that she had a pretty good chance... made me cry those happy tears. I really, really like him. And not just because of that incident. He was also the doctor who gave me my first u/s after my rupture. And unlike the OB who admitted me, he was far less pessimistic about the potential outcome of my pregnancy. At the time, his words were like a life-preserver.

I had a very lengthy u/s- both transvaginal and abdominal. Baby looks good: strong heartbeat, saw arms and legs, kicking and doing flips. During the u/s the tech and doc both mentioned that I have an abnormally shaped uterus. Dr. Steadman said it isn't so abnormal as to cause problems and "we" aren't going to worry about it.

My cervix looks good. Measured 3.6 cm and is closed. Totally normal.

During our chat while he did the u/s he said that my course of treatment was based on the assumption that I am going to rupture again this time. They are going to watch me very closely and he said I can start to exhale at about 28 weeks. Then he went on to say that he thinks I ruptured last time as a result of my amnio. I can't tell you what a huge relief it was to hear that. I have been waiting so long to hear that something, anything was the cause of my rupture. I can't describe the weight lifted from my shoulders. (even though I'm not sure I'm convinced)

Friday, August 11, 2006

As soon as I posted yesterday, Margaret started clapping for the first time. She loves her new skill and will clap while grinning at me.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Skills explosion

Margaret still remains delayed in her gross motor skill and speech but we have had a period of advancement the past week or so.

Gross motor wise, she is still doing the same things... butt scooting, not much rolling, can't get from laying on the floor to sitting. She is certainly getting faster with the scooting. I asked her PT if she would crawl and she said it is unlikely now that she has learned to get around on her bottom. She has also tried to pull up a couple of times on her learning table but she is so tall that she couldn't get the right leverage. I need to find something higher for her.

Margaret has discovered that she can go to places she has never played before. Her favorite is the door leading from the den to the carport. She loves the glass storm door and the door stop. At first she loved the dead beetles but I made sure to pick them up when I saw one in her now perfect pincher grasp. The previous owners had also installed a chain lock to the door but it is down on the floor. Margaret can't get enough of that chain! I think we are going to take it off soon.

We installed a gate between the den and the hall but are using toys and other items to block the wide doorway between the den and the kitchen. We have a huge gate for that doorway, too, but since we will be painting the den soon, we are not going to install it quite yet.

Margaret's fine motor skills and social skills are the ones that have really shown big leaps in the past week. She now will hand you something! I think it is the cutest thing ever when she is playing with a toy and decides to hand it to me. She has also taken to trying to share her favorite things with me. Frequently as she is sucking on her blankie (it gets totally wet and yucky), she will try to put the corner she has been working on in my mouth. It is so sweet yet so gross. And she likes to grab her bottle and try to feed me with it. She looks so proud of herself when she is doing that. It just melts my heart.

Eating. This is still an extreme struggle. The last time we saw her ST, she told me that at this point it doesn't matter what she eats, she just needs to do it. So we have been giving Margaret things I would have never even considered before all these problems... The "I'll never" foods. So far, she will take a couple of bites off of a french fry. She will try to get Spaghetti-Os in her mouth but hasn't quite figured out how to handle them. She ate three peas (which I was so happy about). She put a small sliver of turkey deli meat in her mouth. So these are improvements but we are still struggling. I just keep hoping that she has some sort of breakthrough. Formula is getting very, very expensive at her rate of consumption.

And we think (maybe) she said her first word (besides Mama and Dada, of course)... maybe. I'm not convinced and will need more evidence. We have a print of a black cat on our den wall. Saturday I was holding Margaret on my lap and she was whispering things, which she does when she practices new sounds. Then I heard it- a whisper. Cat. I looked down at her and she was looking up at the print. I said, "cat." She started grinning and repeated it, again a whisper, "cat". I said it again and she was so delighted! That same night, she had a very hard time sleeping (teething). One particular time, she was fussing so I picked her up for some cuddling. When I put her in the cradle hold, she looked up at me smiled her biggest grin and whispered "cat". The continued on to say OOOooooooo. So I'm waiting for her to actually say cat about our real cat. Then I'll know it is real.

We are finally getting to remodeling this house! For those that don't know, we closed on our house three days before Margaret was born. So between spending so much time at the NICU and having a new baby at home, we haven't been able to get around to any of the plans we made when we first made the offer on the house (the weekend before I went into the hospital). No more living with panelling, terrible wallpaper, outdated paint! I have big plans but will be happy just to get rid of the 1970's panelling and kitchen wallpaper. And, no, I'm not going to overdo it! ;)

I'm feeling better lately! Hooray! Next Monday is my second peri appointment. They are going to measure my cervix. A new thing for me. I'll let you all know how it goes. They may even be able to take a stab at the baby's gender. We'll see.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Catching up!

This morning we took Margaret for her 1 year well baby checkup. And, my, she has grown! It is incredible how much change there has been in the past 3 months! The first thing the doctor said when she walked into the room was "we've gotten tall and skinny! All baby fat is gone!" (as if there really ever was any) But I agree Margaret looks like a little kid now, not a baby.

Her nude weight was 18 pounds 10 ounces (!!!). I nearly fell over. She has been stuck at 16.5 - 17 pounds for so long, I thought for sure she was a max of 17.5! As a matter of fact, the last time we took her to the doc, about a month ago, she was 17 pounds 4 ounces fully dressed. She is now on her actual age chart at about 18%!

Her head seems to have caught up and is remaining at about 50% for her actual age.

But her height is now an amazing 75% for her actual age. She was just shy of 30"! So now it is official, she is very tall! I went to check her according to her adjusted age chart, she is well above 95%. My tall baby. I guess she takes after her Mommy.

My Mom told me that at one year, I was 33 inches! When I charted that on the growth chart, no kidding, it is half an inch above the 95% line. So, I guess Margaret is like me in some ways!

Margaret did have to get a couple of shots at the doctor but I was smart enough to bring her blankie this time. She was much easier to console after she was given the blankie. Poor thing, I thought she was going to go to sleep cuddling it on my shoulder... She took a short nap when we got home then drank a bottle. Now she is sitting next to me on the sofa and seems to be just fine.

A big day. And we are looking forward to a visit from Grandie and Granddaddy this weekend. (Maybe I can get a nap- HA!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One year ago today...

A year ago today my day had started just like the 34 days before it. 6:30am blood pressure check and temp check. Everything was fine so I dozed a bit until breakfast and rounds.

Maternal Fetal Medicine was first. Dr. Jakel, the doctor who performed my amnio came by while David was in the bathroom getting ready for work. How am I doing? Fine. Still leaking clear fluid? Yes. Crampy? No. ... pressing on my uterus... Does this hurt? No. Okay! Well, see you tomorrow!

7:30 Breakfast. The same thing as every morning. Two eggs, scrambled. Yogurt, this morning strawberry. Grits with butter. One piece of bacon. Decaf coffee. Orange juice.

My OB came by as I was eating. How am I feeling? Fine. Still leaking clear fluid? Yes. Any soreness? No. ...pressing on my uterus... Any tenderness? No. Any questions? Yes. (and I asked a bunch of questions about labor and delivery that I don't remember too clearly)

I finished my breakfast, kissed my husband goodbye, and settled in for another day of trying to pass time with TV, internet, crosswords, magazines, eating the pounds of food they brought me. I had just started to let myself breath again. I was so close to 28 weeks that I started to feel more comfortable thinking about my baby's chances at survival and life outside of the antepartum unit.

Just the day before, one of the perinatologists had commented that I had lasted so long without any amniotic fluid was nothing short of a miracle... that I had carried a baby with no chance of survival through the worst odds to a point that she had a pretty good chance. When he left my room, I cried happy, happy tears.

So I had started to feel that I could have visitors without melting into a emotional mess. That Monday my friend Andrea visited for the first time. She came after lunch, around 1 pm and stayed a couple of hours. During the middle of her visit, I started to feel very tired and agitated. I found myself wishing she would leave- totally unlike me! I usually love the gossip and drama she provides me but that day, I just wanted to rest.

Finally, when she had gone, I was feeling a little crampy but nothing too unusual- like stretching aches low on my abdomen. So I tried to take a nap on my left side but the cramps stayed. When I woke up, I tried to catch up on my water intake since I had fallen behind during my visit.

At around 6pm, my dinner was delivered. It was turkey sausages, lima beans, rice. I opened the container and felt like I was going to hurl. Strange.

Then I got up to use the bathroom. When I wiped, I thought I saw something... I wiped again and there it was, the smallest speck of discoloration. I started shaking. I made it back to my bed and called the nurse (my favorite one was working that day). When my nurse, Tina, came to my room, I told her about what I had seen in the bathroom. She asked if I had saved it for her but of course I hadn't. Tina took my temperature. Slightly elevated at 99.0. Next time, she said, save it.

About fifteen minutes later, I leaked some fluid and got up to check my bed pad. It was no longer clear fluid. I went to the bathroom again. When I wiped again, there was a larger amount of the stuff I had seen before. I saved it and called Tina. It was now shift change. Tina came to my room and I showed her what was on my bed pad and what I had from the bathroom. She took my temp again. It was 100.4. I asked her if I was infected, she replied that it was time for me to have a baby and that she was sending me to labor and delivery.

I asked if we could wait til my husband got there first. Tina asked how long it would take. Then I made the call I had been dreading. It wasn't the call that you see in the movies of the pregnant woman excitedly calling her husband to tell him "It's time!" I was crying in fear. I told David that he needed to come to the hospital, I was infected and they were taking me to L&D.

This is where things start to get a little fuzzy. I have no idea how long it took David to get to the hospital. Probably ten minutes but it felt like forever. I remember him walking into the room and I could see the look of terror in his eyes. Because I had not allowed anyone to tell me statistics or much information about infection or PROM, I had no idea how dangerous this was not only for the baby, but also for me. David knew. And when I saw his face, I knew too.

Tina brought the wheelchair and they took me to a room in L&D. By this time I was having contractions... they were about 3-4 minutes apart. The nurse checked me when I arrived and said I was 100% effaced and a fingertip dilated. (and I had only felt mild contractions for about an hour) I was given an IV and a liter of fluids followed by two antibiotics. My temp had reached 101.

8:00 pm An internal exam revealed I dilated to 4 cm. I had not been in much pain at all.

8:30 pm Epidural time. I was not in much pain but opted for the epidural because I didn't know what to expect. I was then hooked up to the pitocin and they tried to speed me up. I started to have more frequent contractions and it seemed as if the epidural was not working. I could still feel everything that I could feel before. I tried to time the contractions but I am apparently really bad at that because I could never follow through. Best I could estimate was about 1 minute apart.

Margaret's heart rate kept decelerating on the monitor and it really freaked both David and me out. At one point, he went to go get a nurse and she told him that she was monitoring from the nurses station and that everything was okay. They had called the anesthesiologist to up my epidural medication, though, because I was maxed out and still able to move my legs.

At around 9:45 pm, I started feeling like I needed to push. So I called the nurse. She told me NOT to push because they had to move me to a surgery L&D room since Margaret was going to need special care. It took them FOREVER to get that room ready... well it seemed like it anyway.

Finally they moved me to the new room and I immediately asked if I could push.... no, not yet! Not pushing is torture. Buddy, my new anesthesiologist, asked if I was still hurting and I told him I was. He asked me if I wanted something in my IV for the pain. I did and I finally started to feel less pain. My fever was approaching 103.

At 10:15, it was time to push. I pushed the first time and the nurse said I was doing it wrong, that I need to hold my breath. (never got to take those birthing classes) Second push, I held my breath and urinated on the doctor. Haha. Third push, Margaret was coming out. They let her head come out and then told me not to push anymore. It was very important to clear her airways of possible infection from my uterus before she took her first breath. Finally, I was told to push again and Margaret was born. It was 10:38 pm.

She cried the tiniest cry I had ever heard. The next thing I heard was that she was two pounds and fifteen ounces. Very big for her gestational age. My exact reply was, "Rock on!" My excuse is that Buddy had given me some other medicine when the doc started peeling my placenta from my uterus and I was really out of it.

I asked if I could see Margaret and they told me that I had to wait. David, though, had gone back to see her. Finally, the neonatologist said I could be brought to the back and they took me around to see her. Her head was the smallest I had ever seen and she had a mop of dark wavy hair. Someone asked if I wanted to touch her and I asked "Can I?" I felt almost like an intruder in the room with the doctors and nurses and her being bagged. But I touched the hair on her head and told her hello. I felt totally lost.

I had no idea what the future would hold. Did I give my sweet baby my infection? Would she be okay? Would she be OKAY?!

Fast forward one very hard year later. She is beautiful and smart and the love of my life. She is better than okay.