Baby Tjader's Journey

A life undefined by pPROM, prematurity and Cerebral Palsy.

Day 47: Boring patient July 31, 2010

Filed under: Bedrest — Aimee @ 8:25 pm

I have absolutely nothing new to report, which in my case, is a good thing! Still, today has been very boring, so I’m going to have my dear husband wheel me outside tomorrow for a change of scenery. And would you believe me if I told you there’s a McDonald’s right here in the hospital? Well there is. Disturbing, I know. But I’m told you can get two ice cream cones for $1 every day from 2 to 4 p.m. Sign me up.

As impersonal as it is to not thank you all individually, I want to express my appreciation for everyone’s  interest in the blog and our journey. Reading all of your comments is a daily source of inspiration for me.

 

Day 46: Finally, a nap … and a massage?! July 30, 2010

Filed under: Bedrest — Aimee @ 7:56 pm

I woke up next to my husband this morning and couldn’t have been happier. T stayed the night with me and I decided to sleep next to him on the pullout couch. We both slept very well. We had a piece of Nana’s famous carrot cake before bed, so that must’ve done the trick. It was nice to wake up and eat breakfast together; definitely a good start to my day.

After T left for work, the nurse put me on the monitor and Baby T did amazingly well and continues to pass the NST’s with flying colors. The nurse came in and said, “Baby must’ve liked having Daddy here last night!” I like the thought of that. Baby had another impressive NST this evening — must be showing off today in honor of Nana’s birthday!

I had a slight fever of 99.9 just before lunch, but it went down right away. The nurse wasn’t concerned, because I’m feeling fine with no other symptoms. One of my fellow pPROM moms suggested perhaps I’m just too cozy in my bed and that very well could be. I think I have seven pillows on my bed!

One of my friends from work dropped by over lunch with muffins and a card from everyone in the newsroom, including a very generous contribution. I continue to be amazed at the enormous support system I have at work. People are just so dang amazing. I’m learning a lot about people, the human spirit and the kind of friend/daughter/sister/aunt/mother/wife/colleague I want to be.

I haven’t been able to sleep much during the day like I did at home, but today I finally got in a really nice nap. A therapist from Integrative Medicine came by to give me a back massage. I was out like a light 10 minutes after she left and slept for a couple hours.

And now I’m waiting for my handsome prince to return to me. Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?

 

Day 45: Look ma, I’m knitting! July 29, 2010

Filed under: Bedrest — Aimee @ 6:10 pm

Yesterday turned out to be a busy day — in hospital terms — so I didn’t get around to posting again as I said I would. By far, the best part of the day was getting my IV out, taking a shower and changing my PJ’s.

A neonatologist stopped by to talk a little about what we can expect at the time of delivery and during our time in the NICU. She didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know, but she reiterated that our biggest concern with this baby is going to be lung development. Our ultimate goal is 34 weeks, but even then, there could be major lung complications because of the amount of time baby will have been without fluid. She’s seen it go both ways. Our baby could be on a ventilator for a long time or could move onto just oxygen rather quickly. It’s numbing to think about, but we continue to visualize a baby with perfect lungs!

Then, someone from the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing came by and talked about some of the services they offer to patients. While I’m here, I can request acupressure, acupuncture, guided imagery, healing touch, massage therapy, music therapy, reflexology, etc. I’m really pleased that they offer these kinds of services. I really believe in a mind, body, spirit connection and it’s more important than ever that I have all three in alignment.

My sister, Megan, popped by to take me on my first wheelchair ride outside to the Healing Deck in the Heart Hospital. Apparently, it’s exclusive to heart patients, but I just had to see what was so special about it so we snuck out there anyway. It was just a large deck area with some flowers planted, etc. Nothing special.

Finally, one of my sweet coworkers came over with supplies to get me started on my first knitting project — a baby hat with little ears. It’s going to be multi-colored purple, just in time for Brett Favre’s return to Minnesota … AFTER training camp, of course. I will post a picture when it’s complete.

T’s staying the night tonight, so I’m very excited about that. I already miss sleeping in my bed with my husband. Boy, the things you take for granted when all is hunky dory in life.

If you’re interested in visiting, just send me an e-mail. I may be up for it, I may not, and I hope that doesn’t offend anyone. It’s just that there are people popping in my room all day long, and sometimes, I just need a break. You can e-mail me at aimeeblanchette(at)comcast.net.

 

Day 44: 4 A.M. nature call July 28, 2010

Filed under: Bedrest — Aimee @ 5:04 am

Good morning! I managed to fall asleep quite easily last night around midnight, but woke up having to pee just before the nurse came in at 4 a.m. to change my IV bags. I had to smile during my 10-foot walk to the bathroom, IV wheeling close behind. You see, the babe’s getting bigger (see belly picture posted earlier) and the size of my uterus puts a great deal of pressure on my bladder, which is full 99.9 percent of the time from all that water I’ve been drinking. It’s a normal pregnancy feeling to have to pee so bad it literally hurts to even walk. You read that correctly, I said “NORMAL!” Not that I welcome things like heartburn (knock on wood, hasn’t started yet) but in my condition, anything normal is a wonderful thing.

T had a long work day yesterday so he didn’t get here until after 9 p.m., but he brought Russell! It was so good to cuddle with my dog for a bit. Russ laid in my bed and checked out the place while T and I ordered his groceries online (my wonderful relatives in West Virgina graciously surprised us with grocery credits to gophergrocery.com) and T programmed a universal remote for my TV. Soon, it was time for them to go. I cried a bit, but held back as  best I could. I don’t want T to feel guilty about not staying here with me every night. I know this will get easier.

I will post again later, because I want to put the call out for visitors and provide all the details of where I’m at, etc. But now, it’s time to catch the 5 a.m. news. And make another trip to the bathroom.

 

Day 43: Steroids July 27, 2010

Filed under: Bedrest,Updates — Aimee @ 6:23 pm

I just received my second and final dose of steroids, so while I rub the area of injection (read: butt), I figured I’d share my disdain for these damn things. Why anyone would want use these drugs recreationally is beyond me. I slept all of two hours last night, because I was so wired. And when I got to the hospital, I was already exhausted because I hadn’t slept well the night before being admitted. When I finally fell asleep at 4 a.m., the night nurse came in to change the bag of antibiotics. I opened one eye, saw her next to my bed, but closed my pirate’s eye and tried to get back to sleep. No such luck. She was in the room for a LONG time monkeying with the IV, left and came back, then messed around with it some more. I got back to sleep for an hour or so around 7 a.m.  I have not slept all day. I have also broke out in a rad rash on my face and chest, so I look really hot today … literally.

Baby was monitored this morning and again this evening and passed with flying colors. That’s my little Tjader! One of the nurses came in and said she can’t believe how active this baby is for being just 24 weeks. As she was leaving, she waved the monitor strip in the air and said, “I’m off to brag about my 24-weeker!” Man, that made me feel good.

Mom left this afternoon to head back to Bemidji with Marley. I’m going to miss her. And I’m going to miss him. It’s just nice to have your mom around at times like this. She and Tyler got my room looking pretty darn good. She even bought Baby T’s first premie outfit, which is hanging on my bulletin board with a note from Nana. Tyler worked today, but will be arriving tonight with Russell the Min Pin. Tyler’s brother, Sam took Russ to get one of his vaccinations today so that he could come to the hospital. I’m so excited. Tyler’s not staying with me tonight … he woke up with a sore back, so until he gets a decent mattress pad, i.e., memory foam, I’d rather he stay at home and get his good husband sleep. He’s under more stress than I think he’d be willing to admit, so it’s important that he sleep well.

In the major complaint category, the hospital blocks many websites I use, such as Hulu, Netflix and get this … Facebook! I was on Facebook earlier, but now access is blocked. I can still access FB on my phone, but I’m not happy about this latest discovery.

In the happy department, I get my last IV of antibiotics at 10 a.m tomorrow, then goodbye IV!!! What a huge relief that will be. Can’t wait to shower, wash my left hand and change into new PJ’s. I think I’ll celebrate by changing my nail polish.

 

Day 42: Hello hospital July 26, 2010

Filed under: Milestones,Updates — Aimee @ 5:34 pm

Update posted below

I’ve arrived! This will be just a quick update, because I’m typing with one hand. The other is sore from the IV right now. I will update with more detail later.

Everything has been really smooth since we arrived. The first peri (Dr. Wagner) came in to do a quick ultrasound. The baby looks really good, had a full bladder, was moving around a lot and even had some fluid around him/her (although not sure how much because he didn’t do an AFI measurement). The baby is growing right on target and weighs about 1.25 pounds. He seemed very encouraged and had quite the sense of humor. He warned me his personality doesn’t ever change, even at 1 a.m. He was a positive breath of fresh air! All of the nurses so far have been really great, too. My peri nurse said because I’ve made it six weeks post-rupture with no problems, I can probably expect to make it a good chunk of time before going into labor. My next big goal is 28 weeks.

I will have a growth ultrasound in the next few days — still waiting to find out exactly when. I got my first shot of betamethasone and will get the other one tomorrow. This is a steroid that helps with baby’s lung development. I’m on a round of IV antibiotics for two days followed by oral antibiotics. And, I’m hooked up to the fetal monitor to check baby’s heartrate (it’s averaging 150-155) and contractions. No contractions, aside from the occasional Braxton Hicks.

All-in-all I’m really happy about how things are going. More to come later. Dinner has arrived! Ahh, my first meal in the hospital: chicken pot pie, carrots, dinner roll, peaches and milk.

UPDATE: The nurse came in to take off the monitor after a few hours and said, “Your baby is already reactive!” I had no idea what this meant, but I could tell it was good. Now I know what it means. During a non-stress test (NST) the nurse monitors the baby’s heart rate, movement and any contractions I may be having. The nurse will determine the baby’s baseline (resting) heart rate and be watching for reassuring accelerations in the heart rate which are associated with the baby’s movement. If the baby’s heart rate accelerates with movement at least twice in 20 minutes (as Baby Tjader did … GO BABY T!!!) the test is called a reactive NST. A reactive test is reassuring and it’s unusual to get a reactive result this early in pregnancy. I’m a very proud momma today.

Mom left to go back to our house for the night and T is staying with me, bless his heart. His bed isn’t ideal, but he’s going to get cushy mattress pad and hopefully that will help. The room is … shall I say … OLD SCHOOL! Straight out of the 70’s, complete with dusty floral curtains, pink-stained walls and a stained glider chair. I expected this, so it wasn’t a huge surprise. I don’t really care about the decor, because I know I’m in a top-notch hospital with highly talented specialists. I have some of the comforts of home: pictures of the dogs, computer, blanket, pillows, flowers, toiletries, calendar, etc. The BEST thing I have from home (this was T’s idea) is a lamp for the bedside table! A table lamp makes the room much more comfortable than those flourescent hospital lights. I also have a refrigerator and microwave, a TV with no remote … yes, I said it. A TV with no remote! Aparently, patients like to steal them? I can change the channel from the hospital bed, but have to scroll throught the entire channel lineup to get to the channel I want. I’m going to need to get a universal remote STAT! You cannot survive on bedrest without a remote, people!

My first meal was better than expected. I have a drawer full of snacks and just finished up a chocolate chip cookie that T warmed for me in the microwave and a glass of milk. I’m sure breakfast will be here earlier than I’d like, so I should probably start getting to bed earlier than I have been.

I’m really feeling ok today. The anticipation of leaving home was worse than actually being here. I really miss my dogs, but Russell can come visit me anytime, he just can’t stay the night. I am allowed to go outside in a wheelchair every day, maybe twice a day if the nurses are feeling nice. If I continue to do this good (knock on wood) I don’t see why I won’t be able to. The worst thing right now is having a stupid IV in my hand. I’ll be much happier when that’s taken out on Wednesday. I hate having to wheel the IV into the bathroom with me and just the overall annoying feeling of having a needle stuck in your hand. Sidenote: I fear needles. I’ve been known to pass out during shots, but I think I’ve mastered it now. I have to be laying down and cannot get a shot or blood draw on an empty stomach. I passed out when I got my ears pierced years ago — fell right out of the chair. I passed out when I got a tattoo at age 18. I warn everyone about my history and haven’t passed out since November when I was in the hospital for my ectopic.

Well that’s a long enough update for today. We feel very grateful to all of our family and friends right now. We’re happy we’ve made it this far and now we’re looking ahead to 28 weeks, then 30, 32 and finally, 34. We couldn’t have done this without everyone on our side. I, especially, couldn’t be doing this without my husband. I’m so glad I married him!

Last family photo before the hospital:

And I can’t even believe I’m posting THIS photo, because I look horrible and HUGE, but I’m very proud of the baby in that belly!

 

Fessing up about my feelings July 22, 2010

Filed under: Bedrest,pPROM — Aimee @ 2:07 pm

The purpose of this blog is three-fold. I started it as an efficient way to keep friends and family informed about T, myself and the baby; to provide information and support to other pPROM moms; and to document my thoughts and feelings during this pivotal moment in my life. Having said that, I don’t feel I’ve been completely honest about what I’m feeling or the kinds of things I’m REALLY thinking about. It’s time to fess up — for my benefit — and be real about what the last six weeks have been like.

So many of you have commented on my positive outlook. It’s true, I choose to be mostly positive because I believe that’s the only way I’ll get through this. My husband helps; he’s the most half-glass-full kind of guy I know. I, too, have surprised myself with just how positive I’ve been. Anyone who really knows me, knows that I’m a pessimist and can be quite negative at times. I try my best to keep those thoughts at bay, but in the quiet hours by myself, my mind sometimes drifts to the dark side of this experience.

The topic of a baby shower has come up a few times, most recently this morning. I have not allowed myself to think about having a baby shower or do anything else to prepare for this baby. Because I fear coming home from the hospital empty-handed, I cannot plan for a nursery, think about what we’ll need when baby arrives or even read books on how to care for a baby! And I feel guilty about that. Like any other first-time mother, I should be using this time to plan for my labor and the day when my baby will come home. I haven’t been able to do that, so not only do I feel guilty, I feel resentful.

I resent the fact that the innocence of being pregnant for the first time has been taken away from me. This isn’t my first pregnancy, however. We lost one pregnancy in November because it was ectopic, meaning the egg implanted in one of my fallopian tubes instead of the uterus. When we got pregnant again and finally saw a heart beat inside my uterus, we both cried. I remained cautiously optimistic until I hit the 12-week mark, when the chance for miscarriage drops to 3 percent or less. Finally, I could enjoy my summer feeling great in the second trimester and prepare for my fall baby. I never imagined that six weeks later I’d join a very elite (1 percent) group of pPROM women who MUST support one another because the medical outlook is so grim.

I hate that if we ever decide to have another baby, I will never lose the fear of this happening again. I hate that this experience could very well change our plans for having more children of our own.

I can’t help but feel sad when I go to my appointments and see other pregnant women in their cute maternity outfits, but I quickly remind myself that people may look one way on the outside, but you never really know what they’re dealing with inside. That reminds me of a man I rode in the elevator with at one of my appointments. He was a cute old man with a walker who insisted that my Mom and I get into the elevator before him. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he commented on the sunny day, told us we were “two pretty ladies,” and that every day is a blessing when you’re 80 years-old and have brain cancer … That was a humbling moment for me. I’ve since thanked God every day for blessing me with a wonderful life and have asked God to watch over my friends, family and that man in the elevator.

That man has me asking, why do shitty things happen to good people? I’m angry that women who don’t take care of themselves during pregnancy end up with perfectly healthy babies, and other women who are perhaps overly cautious during pregnancy encounter problems. Why is it that couples who don’t plan for or want children can get pregnant so easily? Why do women who can’t take care of one child go on to have three or four?

I know that thinking these things and especially saying them out loud is counterproductive. But in addition to all the hope and excitement we have for this beautiful baby, these feelings are part of me.

In closing, someone sent this to me today. Thanks, Laura!

A Child’s Angel

Once upon a time a child was ready to be born.

The child asked God,

“How am I going to live on Earth when I’m so small and helpless?”

God replied, “I’ll choose an Angel to watch over you.

She’ll be waiting on earth when you arrive.

“She will sing for you and will also smile for you every

day. And you will feel your angel’s love and be very happy.”

Again the child asked, “But I won’t know the language there.

How am I ever going to communicate?”

God said, “Your angel will speak the most beautiful and sweet words

you will ever hear and, with much patience and care, will teach

you how to speak. And she will use her voice to sing sweet

lullabies as she rocks you to sleep.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?” asked the child.

God said, “Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you

how to pray. She will teach you that prayer is the best way

to talk to me, not just in times of need, but in happy times, too.”

“I’ve heard that on Earth there are bad people. Who will protect me?”

God said, “Your angel will defend you even if it means risking her life.

She will instruct you in the things you need to know to live

life joyfully and safely.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.”

God said, “Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach

you the way to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in heaven.

The child’s journey was about to begin.

The child hurriedly asked, “God, if I am to leave now,

please tell me my angel’s name.”

God said, “Her name is not important.

You will simply call her MOTHER.”