Friday, November 21, 2014

**Trigger*** Is love Alive?? Anniversaries, Memories, and Honoring our Babies....

As the seasons begin to change, I am reminded of  a song called "Winter's Song." This is a year when holiday celebrations should be a good thing, but instead, my heart is filled with memories of sadness and loss. Wyatt's 2nd birthday is right around the corner, and even with my arms filled with one of the most precious gifts life has given me, I still can't shake this feeling of loss. The song asks, "Is love alive?"-----------------
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I started this post last month and couldn't finish it till now......

 Here is my Facebook post from Wyatt's birthday:
 "Today is Wyatt's second birthday. We did a family candle night, and I remade my necklace. We watched the slide show I made for him, and now we are spending time as a family playing games. Happy Birthday Wyatt. You are so loved!"
One of the biggest blessings that has come from being Wyatt's mom even for such a short time is the people I have met along the way. One good friend who has also suffered a loss reminded me that a person who loves us wouldn't want to see us suffer. Guilt is a common emotion surrounding loss especially during time so celebration. I often find myself thinking that I shouldn't be feeling any joy because I am grieving. Sometimes it seems like somehow my level of sadness equates to the amount of love I have for my lost children. After 2 years of struggling with this thought, I finally know that it is just not true. I can express my love for my children with a tear on my cheek or smile on my face.

I have made a point to include my lost children in the fun things we do knowing that in some small way they are still around if only in though a thought or a memory. For Wyatt's birthday, I decided to not do a any grand event, but instead to cherish time with my family while honoring him. I plan to include our lost children in our holiday events as well. I am still brainstorming ideas. Here is one helpful link:
New Holiday Traditions to Honor Your Baby

No matter how much or how little I come up with, my love for my children is certainly alive!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

**Trigger Looking Back...Tiny Shoes

A tiny pair of shoes became a symbol of hope. A warm summer day about 6 years ago, I held a test in my hand and my heart filled with so many hopes and dreams as my husband Brook and I discovered that we were expecting our first child.We announced our news to everyone we knew and then after finding out we were carrying twins, I announced the news to everyone even if we didn't know them at all!

One of my favorite summer activities is to check out garage sales, and it became even more fun to look for baby items. I came across these shoes and felt an instant draw to them. I knew it would be a long time before we knew the gender of out little ones, but I bought them anyway. These shoes have been packed away ever since.

One thing unique to the journey of a pregnancy loss is the lack of many memories. Many grieving hearts cling to happy memories, but with an early loss, there are so few moments to remember. Many of these moments were never shared by family and friends leaving people at a loss for words. I didn't know if these tiny shoes would ever be worn, but they represented one of those amazing days full of love and hope.

Although our first pregnancy ended in loss, every little happy memory will be cherished. Today our beautiful daughter had these on her little feet. It feels wonderful to connect that memory to joy we feel today.

Note: It turns out those are not the right shoes, but my thoughts about them remain the same. ;)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

***Trigger*** A story of a Happy, yet Broken Hearted Mother's Day

Parents in the world of pregnancy and infant loss often refer to a child after a loss as a rainbow. It represents the beauty that comes after a storm. It's a beauty that can only come after a storm. Three weeks ago today, our second rainbow child entered the world and 3.5 years ago our Hunter became our first rainbow.

Today is Mother's Day. Today we celebrate mothers and children, yet today many people are grieving. Many people are just trying to survive this day as their hearts ache for the child, or parent they no longer have or for the child or parent they never had.

Today I celebrate; today I love, yet today my heart breaks for my 5 babies I cannot hold. I am torn today between amazing joy and tremendous pain. I question my right to celebrate just as I question my right to grieve. It somehow feels wrong to feel such joy, yet it feel selfish to still be grieving when I have been blessed with so much. My heart also breaks for those around me.

I remember the Mother's Days before my rainbows. I remember the storm that boiled inside of me as I watched others celebrate this day. My heart breaks for those who want a child in their arms so bad it physically hurts. My heart breaks for those who are still waiting for their rainbow. My heart breaks for those who are carrying around the burden of fear as they carry life inside of them or are waiting for an adoption to finalize.

I also think of those who are missing their own mothers today and for those who never experienced what it is like to have a loving mother by their side. Today is a wonderful day of celebration and a much needed day to thank some amazing people in our lives, but is also a very challenging day for so many. I hope you all know you are thought of and loved.

So although my heart is breaking, it is also being made full. I am thankful for my amazing supportive and awesome Mom and my beautiful children. I will choose to celebrate AND to allow myself to grieve. I have learned through these challenges that it is important to allow myself to feel what comes because pushing any feeling aside just causes more pain.

 I ask that you all hold the mothers and children in your life close today and everyday that you get the opportunity, and that you remember those who are struggling today. Please remember the mothers who have lost a child are and always will be a mother and the children are and will forever be loved. Although I only have 2 children to raise, I will always be a mother of 7.

My dear Wyatt and my 4 other lost children,
I miss you every day, and I love you Still.... 
Here is a song and slide show I made for our Wyatt after we lost him...

Friday, May 2, 2014

**Trigger** Birth After a Loss--- Baby Brooke's Birth Story

After a false alarm trip to the labor and delivery and a fun filled Easter day with the family, my contractions began to pick back up and were coming on strong. It was about 5:30pm when I told Brook that I thought it was time to head to the hospital. He decided to finish making pasta for dinner. As the contractions got stronger, I insisted that it really was time to go. Hunter was upset that he had to leave his pasta at the table, but my mom got him into the car and ready to go. My contractions were less than 2 minutes apart and way more intense than the morning. Brook kept teasing me saying that this was just another false alarm. The contractions did start to slow down a little on the way, but they were still very strong.

When the nurse checked me this time, I was sure it was the real thing. She said that I was not dilated any further, but I was 100% effaced. She said she wasn't sure I was in active labor yet. She said they would monitor me for an hour and then check again. She said they were likely going to send me home.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, because by then the contractions were really strong. I remember thinking that I wouldn't know when to come back because they had said when the contractions were 5 min apart and strong that I should come in. If this wasn't the real thing, I didn't know what was.

Less than a minute later I noticed a couple of drops of blood. The nurse said that was normal after being checked, but very soon after the drops turned into large clots. I instantly felt panicked. The nurse came back in and checked me a second time only a couple minutes apart, and said I was almost another centimeter dilated. She said I would not be going anywhere. She didn't give much of an explanation as to why I was bleeding, but she looked worried.

My Mom, Brook and my best friend Sandra were at the hospital with me. They were with me for Hunter and Wyatt's births as well. Sandra has been styling my hair for big events ever since high school, so it only made sense for her to give me a quick up do for labor. They all did their best to keep me distracted and calm, but the sight of blood with out any explanation on top of pretty intense contractions was starting get to me.

They quickly moved me to another room with a new nurse. I heard someone ask if they were going to do some sort of test due to the bleeding. The response was, "It was not ordered." My head was full of questions and my anxiety began to take over, but I couldn't get any words out due to the very intense and painful contractions. I was doing my best to breathe through each contraction and try to relax. Sandra began asking the exact questions going through my mind. "What could the cause of the bleeding be?" "What is the next step?" "Will a doctor be checking her soon?" They said that the Doctor would be coming very soon. Someone said something about a possible placental abruption.

The nurse I had was wonderful and she did her best to explain what was going on while trying to reassure me. She kept letting me know that according to the monitors, our little girl was doing fine. I kept breathing through contractions, but the panic was getting stronger, and so were the contractions. I was asked to lay on the bed because they were having trouble keeping the baby on the monitor, but laying down on my back was the worst position for my contractions.

I am not sure when I reached my breaking point exactly, but I think it was after hearing that the doctor who was supposed to be coming "soon," was actually at another hospital doing a procedure. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't bring in another doctor or something. There was still no explanation about the bleeding. At one point people were asking me questions about past pregnancies and surgeries. All of this brought me right back to my memories of losing Wyatt and my other losses as well. I remember crying out that my past surgeries involved taking my babies out of my body.

At some point, I began insisting on an epidural. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I felt defeated like I was a failure, but I just couldn't handle the pain, the grief and the worry all at the same time. Everyone tried to assure me that my baby was fine, but I was too far into panic at this point to listen. I remember at one point noticing that I was shaking. I asked, "Could this be transition?" I knew that people often panic during the last stage of labor right before it was time to push. They told me the could check me, but I instantly demanded the epidural. I couldn't stand the idea that they might check me and tell me that I was still not progressing, or have them try to talk me out of the epidural. I was certain at this point that I wanted it although I kept apologizing to Brook for giving up.

By the time the doctor came in, I was hysterically crying and could no longer breathe through my contractions. I began screaming and felt strong feelings of anger. I realize now that much of that reaction was anger towards  past doctors and my past experience losing Wyatt. I was so worried that something would go wrong with this birth, and I would have to relive those awful memories. I kept saying, "I can't do this again. I can't have another dead baby!" They suggested that I try to focus on the sound of our baby girl's beautiful heart beat, but that was a surprise trigger for me as well. The last few days of my pregnancy with Wyatt were spend listening to his heart beat and waiting for the inevitable day that it would stop beating.

The anesthesiologist came into the room and began setting up for the epidural. I told the doctor that I felt the urge to push. She checked me and said I was only 7cm dilated. She left the room while the anesthesiologist prepped me. He asked me to move to the edge of the bed. I felt like he just asked me to move a mountain, but I managed to sit up and move over. I felt him clean off my back and he began to explain what he needed me to do.

All of a sudden I got an uncontrollable urge to push. I yelled out, "I don't know why I can't stop pushing!" They asked me to lay back onto the bed and I said, "I don't think you understand." Someone asked me, "Are you having a baby right now?" After one unstoppable push our sweet baby girl entered the world and was caught by my amazing nurse before the doctor could even make it back into the room. She was still in the sac when she was born, and the waters broke as she came out. Less than 3 hours after we arrived at the hospital, and I was told they may be sending me home, our precious baby girl was born at the exact moment I so desperately needed her.

I was in complete shock at this point. I don't remember the next few minutes at all. My Mom snapped a picture of my face.She said I kept this look on my face for a few straight minutes. She also missed out on what was going on in the room at the time because she was so worried about me. She said I was unresponsive for a while, and when she finally did get me to talk, all I could say was, "Did I just do that?" over and over.

So although I was yelling for an epidural the whole time, I ended up with a natural birth after all. The nurse that delivered our baby girl also took the time to review my birth plan, and even with all the excitement she remembered that I wanted delayed cord clamping and immediate skin to skin contact. I was very impressed and thankful to her for that. They did have to take her to the nursery for a while because her temperature was so low. While we waited, the nurse stayed with me and let me talk all I wanted about our Wyatt. She listened so intently. It was really healing getting to explain why I reacted the way I did during labor.

I had it in my birth plan to keep our little girl  by my side at all times if possible, but I think it was for the best that I had a little bit of time to process what just happened before bonding with her. It took a few hours, maybe a couple of days before I truly believed that I had delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl. Even today it still feels like a wonderful dream come true.

Brooke Lynn Stine: Born 4-20-14 at 10:16pm..(Easter Sunday and our 8th Anniversary) She weighed 5pounds and 15.6ounces and was 17.5 inches long. 

She is amazing, wonderful and worth every up and down moment of this roller coaster ride. 

I am so thankful for all the love and support we have had and know we will continue to receive. It brings a smile to my face and tear to my eye to think of how much our little Brooke is already loved!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

**Trigger** The False Alarm

After staying up all night Saturday with consistent contractions, I was beginning to believe our little baby was really on her way. Although I knew the contractions were not super intense, they were coming about 2 minutes or less apart. Since I was told on Thursday that I was already almost 5 centimeters dilated and 75% effaced, I decided it would be a good idea to head to the hospital.

As soon as we got into the car and began driving, my contractions slowed way down.When we got there the nurse checked me and discovered that all those contractions had not caused any change. They recommended that I leave and try walking around until I was in active labor. I was pretty disappointed because I was so ready to meet our precious girl, but I was also glad that I would be able to celebrate Easter with Hunter.

We headed home and gave Hunter his Easter basket and did a little egg hunt around the house. Then we went to the river to walk around. Hunter got to have his first ice cream from an ice cream truck, and he even got to pet someone's pet bunny. As we walked around a "psychic" called out to me asking if I was having a girl. I told him yes, and he said he could see her and that she was beautiful. I asked him when she would be born and he said, "Very Soon." We laughed it off, but it was only a few hours later that we were headed to the hospital again.......

(To be continued)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

**Trigger** Announcing the Safe Arrival of Brooke Lynn Stine


Easter Sunday April 20th, 2014
Brooke Lynn Stine

Born at 10:16pm
5lbs 15.6oz
17.5 Inches Long
   We are all doing great as we try to rest and get to know our new little family. Brooke's big brother Hunter is just as amazed with her as her Mommy and Daddy are. She sleeps often, but when she opens her beautiful deep blue eyes, my heart melts every time. Thank you all again for being a part of this journey. Your support and love means more to me than I could ever say! This was the best Easter and Wedding anniversary gift I could have ever asked for. 

I will post her birth story soon. It was a crazy fast delivery, so fast the nurse delivered her instead of the doctor. She must have know that her Momma needed her at that very moment.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

*Trigger* Baby Girl Update: 37Weeks 5 days.... Contractions are picking up and making changes

So, it seems that bed rest and medication were really making a difference. I have been off bed rest for about a week. At 22 weeks my doctor discovered that I was 1cm dilated and 25% effaced. Last week she checked again for the first time and I was at the same exact point. I have been off bed rest for just over a week and now I am 3cm dilated and 75% effaced.

This doesn't tell us a whole lot about when she will come, but it does show that the contractions I have been having lately are doing something. My doctor did say that he doesn't expect me to make it to my next appointment before our baby girl arrives!  We still don't know how big she will be, but my tummy sure seems bigger, so I am hoping that means she has grown as well.

I have been nesting for sure. Yesterday I worked all day getting things more organized. Hunter even said at one point, "Mommy, you are still doing chores? It's so boring!" I made sure to stop and play with him for a while, but it feels so good to be able to do things for myself again. 

Hunter is excited to meet his sister. He has been practicing with some baby dolls, and he wrote her the sweetest little note. He tells her good morning most days and likes to sing and tell her stories too. He thinks it is pretty cool that she can hear him.  

It all still feels like a dream sometimes. I just can't wait to be holding our sweet girl in my arms!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

*Trigger* Baby Girl Update: Off bedrest and waiting for baby girl to arrive....

We have made it to 36 weeks and 3 days! Today is April Fool's day, and I keep thinking that this doesn't feel real. Is life playing a trick on me, or did we really make it past the scary preterm labor risk? At 22 weeks I was researching micro-preemie survival rates and hoping she would stay in at least long enough that we could depend on steroid shots and a challenging NICU stay to save her life.

Today I sit and wonder if she is going to give us the best April Fool's surprise, or hang on a little longer and keep growing. At my last appointment the doctor told me that she is still pretty small. The growth scan estimated about 4 pounds and 11ounces. I was told that these estimates are not extremely accurate, but no matter which way it swings, she is past the really scary part of all this. He also said that it would be good if I were to go into labor at any point now.

I am off my medication that was being used to control my contractions, so after 3 long months, I am able to drive again. I am also allowed to move around more. I am enjoying this freedom. After dropping my son off at preschool, I picked up a few last minute items for our baby girl. Last night I cooked dinner for the first time in a long time. As silly as it seems, it was really nice to be able to do a little of my own laundry and wash some dishes too. I am still being very careful about lifting or bending, and if I get tired I rest, but it feels so amazing to do things for myself and my family again.

 This is such an amazing place to be in this pregnancy. I am able to relax and really take this all in. My mom and best friend threw me an awesome baby shower, and we are having fun collecting a bunch of pink and purple baby items. It is so nice to get to give into some of these nesting instincts too. I am loving getting all her clothes washed and ready and arranging her nursery items too.  

It all feels like a dream. Although these months have been long, it still feels so sudden at the same time. After losing Wyatt, I felt as if I would be lost in darkness forever. My family and friends helped me pull through, and Hunter was a major inspiration as well. I am still in shock that we are blessed with another rainbow baby. Baby Girl Stine.... You are loved more than you will ever know!

Friday, March 21, 2014

*Trigger* Baby Girl Update... Resting and Nesting at 35 weeks

Tomorrow we will be at 35 weeks! The last growth estimate(about 1.5 weeks ago) put our little girl at 3pounds and 11ounces. I was told at my appointment this week that those estimates are usually very inaccurate. The main thing they are looking for during the growth checks is that our little girl is continuing to grow. I was also told that if anything looks alarming with the fluid levels, blood flow, growth or NSTs, we are at a point that they want her out. Also if I were to go into labor on my own, at this point they wouldn't stop it.

Depending on the reason for delivery, we may be looking at a C-section or an induction. Once we reach 36 weeks, the doctors want me to stop taking the Nifedapine medication that is currently being used to stop my contractions. I have read that some people go into labor within 24 hours of stopping that medication all on their own, and others end up needing to be induced. I was also told that at 36 weeks I will be allowed and encouraged to move around more.

So, we don't know if I will be having a C-section, induction, or vaginal birth. We don't know if I will deliver in the next week or next 5 weeks. We don't know how big or small she really is. What we do know though is that as of now she is doing great with her NSTs and my fluid levels are stable and the blood flow to the baby has improved. There is no indication at this point that she is distressed. As long as this continues, they want to keep her in, but if any of that changes, sometimes being out is better than in even if she is small.

I am doing my best to lay low and relax when I can, and I am still working hard to keep my calorie and protein intake up. I do feel like I am in a nesting stage. I want everything ready for our sweet girl. It is a little frustrating to want to get things done while knowing the best thing for our little one is for me to rest. The good news is that the internet is a great place for shopping and planning for a baby, and my Mom has been able to come spend some time helping me get organized.

 It is fun to be in a planning and celebrating stage of this pregnancy! We have a baby shower scheduled, and everyday new packages arrive from orders I have placed. We have her stroller and car seat too! We are adding some ladybugs and butterflies to Hunter's room because at least for a little while, they will share a room. I love the set I found! There is still so much I would like to do, but I know even if she comes today, we have everything we need. I am getting so excited to meet our precious girl!

Now we need to work on choosing her name...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

**Trigger** Baby Girl Update: Appointment full of GOOD news!

Today I am 31 weeks and 3 days, and for once in a long time, my doctor appointment was full of nothing but GOOD news. We had a little bit of a scare earlier this week about some symptoms that pointed towards pre-eclampsia. After running additional tests, the doctors are no longer concerned. Today's NST was perfect too. The best news I received today though was that the Doppler is showing that the blood-flow to the baby is normal. The doctor said that although she may not catch back up, as long as the blood-flow stays where it is now, she shouldn't fall further behind in growth. He will do another growth check in 2 weeks.

I will still be closely monitored with NST appointments two times a week, and an ultrasound once a week to check on blood-flow and fluid levels. I will still continue my medication that is helping to stop my frequent contractions, but they are less concerned about preterm labor and will only do FFN tests again if the contractions pick back up. Hearing all this good news makes it so much easier to rest and eat as much as I can. I will do what ever it takes for our baby girl.

Today I am going to work on figuring out what I want in my hospital bag and writing a birth plan. Everything seemed so up in the air for a while that it was hard to think past each day, but now I am getting excited again. Thank you all again for your support through all of this. Thank you for being there through the ups and the downs.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

***Trigger** Baby Girl Update: Still pretty little, but not showing signs of distress

Information is a blessing and a curse. Time can be the same. For a this hormonal, nervous mother, the combination can sometimes be overwhelming. "Are hiccups a bad sign or good?" "Is she kicking enough?" "Is she kicking too much?" "Is this nausea a sign of Preeclampsia?" "Is my medication a high enough dose?" "Could the medication be causing problems?" and on and on and on.....

Loving advice can be difficult as well. I know that positive thinking is important, but sometimes it is hard when doctors and other people tell me to pay attention to every little detail. At this point I am monitoring how often she kicks, how many calories and protein I am taking in, how many contractions I am having, how often and how long she has the hiccups. This is all on top of the many many tests  the doctors run each week.

So that brings me to today. I decided to stop worrying what the doctor might think and ask my questions.

Preterm Labor:
He decided my contractions are under control enough that we don't need to do a FFN test this time. It is hard for me to not have the reassurance every 2 weeks, but good to know that he is less concerned about preterm labor. She is head down, but he said that doesn't really mean much at this point.

He said hiccups are a really good sign about how well the placenta is working. He explained it well in the appointment, but I can't really remember enough to post about it here. She had hiccups during my ultrasound too, it was pretty cute. :)

He eased my fears about Preeclampsia after checking a few things and asking me a few questions. My regular OB told me that some people are lucky enough to have "morning sickness" return in the 3rd trimester.

Blood Flow:
He said the blood flow to the baby is still off, but he did see a little improvement. It is always good to hear that word. :)

Fluid Levels:
My fluid levels are still great.

Kick counts:
I am supposed to be doing kick counts twice a day now. If she is not kicking 10 times in a hour, I am supposed to go Labor and Delivery right away. So far so good!

Non Stress Test:
She passed another non stress test. I will be having these done 2 times a week.

She did grow. She is estimated to weigh about 2pounds and 10ounces. That still puts her about 1.5-2 weeks behind in growth and somewhere in the 10-15%.

Hiccups, good stress tests, and seeing some improvement in blood flow are all good signs that my placenta is still working well enough for now, but he suspects it will become more of an issue as the pregnancy progresses.

He said at that point she will likely need to be delivered by April 16th. That is only 10 days earlier than my due date. I would love to make it that long! As long as she continues to pass the stress tests, and she doesn't drop off in growth too quickly, she should be able to stay in for many more weeks! I still need to rest to prevent preterm labor, and continue to eat lots of calories and protein.

Although I was hoping to see a better change in her growth, I am feeling good after my appointment today. I have decided to focus on what colors will match her nursery best and research about all the fun new Mommy gadgets out there.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

**Trigger**Baby Girl Update: Tests, tests and more tests...

We have made it to 29week and 4 days!!! At this point I am being monitored very frequently. Although all these possible complications can be scary, I am very thankful to be working with some wonderful doctors this time around. These doctors are willing to really explain what is going on while also listening to my concerns. They are taking all the information about this current pregnancy as well as my past pregnancies very seriously.

At this point I will be going in to have non-stress tests done twice a week, an ultrasound to check fluid levels and blood flow once a week, FFN tests every 2 weeks and growth checks every 3 weeks along with my regular visits to my OB every 3 weeks. I am also supposed to be doing kick counts twice a day and monitoring my contractions. The doctors are still concerned about my preterm labor symptoms, but what has them most alarmed at this point is the increase in resistance with the blood flow to our baby girl as well as the drop in growth.

Today's appointment started out like usual with the dreaded question... "How many pregnancies have you had?... and how many live births?" No matter how many times I answer that question, it still breaks my heart a little. Then we met with a different doctor than usual, so he wanted us to explain the details of our Wyatt who was still born at 27weeks and 2 days. Although I am very glad that he is trying to put all the pieces together, it is never easy having to go back and re-live those tough memories.

He will be getting my records from that pregnancy as well as Wyatt's autopsy report to help him try to figure out why we are having similar issues again. It is starting to sound like maybe our little girl's complications are not just another round of bad luck and may actually be related to what ever caused us to lose Wyatt. He said it is very uncommon to see such a fall in growth so early, and the blood flow issues are alarming as well.

I am just so thankful that these issues started so much later this time. Even if one of these tests come back with bad news, our baby girl has a very good fighting chance. She is already over 3 times Wyatt's size and her lungs should be much more developed. I am also very glad that this new doctor as well as our other high-risk doctor and our regular OB are all being very cautious about everything. They are working very hard to try and figure out what is going on at the same time as making sure I am being properly monitored. Plus they treat me respectfully.

I was told today that it is actually a good idea to get up and move around at least a little every day, but to still be very careful and rest when I can. I am still working hard to get all the calories they recommend.

 29 Weeks 4 days
1.5 weeks behind in growth (Will recheck on Tuesday)
2.75cm Cervix length (Wasn't measured again)
1cm dilated and soft
Perfect Fluid levels
Still moving well, but not quite as often.
3 Negative FFN tests
Meds doubled to help control contractions
Blood Flow becoming more resistant
Passed first non-stress test

Monday, January 27, 2014

**Trigger**Baby Girl Update: Falling behind in size

"27 Weeks and 2 days, 27 weeks and 2 days..... 27 weeks and 2 days..." This has been repeating in my head for a while now. That was the point our little Wyatt made it to, and that is the point I am at with this pregnancy. Too much free time lets my mind wonder, and I have been working hard to keep my thoughts positive, but in the night my dreams take over and fear creeps in.

In my dream, We entered the ultrasound office full of hope. At first everything seems fine, but suddenly the bad news floods in. The doctor looks at the blood flow and measures the baby size and says that we need to deliver her right away. I think to myself, 'This can't be happening!' There are a bunch of other weird complications, and I feel out of control.
I was so glad to when I woke up, but the worry was starting to creep into my day.
In my Real appointment, We enter the ultrasound office and talk with the doctor. Everything seems fine. The doctor checks the blood flow, and my heart starts to race. He then measures her and says, she is about 1.5 weeks behind in growth. I feel the panic start to set it, but the doctor assures me that I will be monitored weekly and recommends talking with a nutritionist/dietitian. He recommends that I keep track of my calorie intake and be sure that I am getting 2,000-2,200 calories a day.

I will now be seeing the high risk specialist weekly for blood flow and fluid checks. In 3 weeks he will measure her again, and if she is still behind in size, he will run additional tests and decided where to go from there. From my previous experience, I know that that means it is possible they will decide to induce me and deliver her early to be sure she is growing properly. Sometimes it is better for a baby to be out than in.

I am left wondering once again, Why? What is causing another baby to not grow properly. With Wyatt it was due to multiple blood clots and because the cord had a knot. The blood flow tests showed there was a problem with him, but so far our little girl doesn't seem to have any blood flow issues. So what is causing her to not grow? The doctor asked me to take in more calories, and I will be sure to do that, but it is not like I am not eating regularly or having problems with morning sickness still or anything.

It seems very strange to be seeing my regular OB every 2 weeks in order to try to prevent preterm labor, while seeing my High Risk doctor weekly to see if we need to induce me. Either way, it is looking more likely that we will be spending some time in the NICU. With all my experience with pregnancy complications and loss, I have never experienced what it is like to be a parent of a baby in a NICU, and I am really hoping I never have to.

From my research and from discussions with my doctors, I have learned that there is not much known about how much bed rest will help with preterm labor and/or growth issues. Most doctors and researchers claim that some restriction of activity is helpful. I am going to continue to spend most of my time on the couch or my bed. I am also going to make sure to eat more and be sure to get extra protein. I will also be meeting with a dietitian for help in that area. 

So many things about this pregnancy remind me of Wyatt, but there are so many things that are different as well. First off, the high risk doctor has a much better bedside manner, and I feel like I can really trust that he is taking every precaution. He explains everything and encourages questions. Our little girl is smaller than she should be, but she is already about 3 times larger than Wyatt was at this point. Another thing that is very different this time is that I have plenty of amniotic fluid, so her lungs are able to develop properly.

Some days are going to be harder than others, and today is certainly one of them. I am thankful that I will be getting to see her weekly and that I have 2 doctors that I trust on our side. Not to mention all the awesome friends and family supporting us! I will never stop thanking you all.

27 Weeks 2 days
1.5 weeks behind in growth
2.75cm Cervix length
1cm dilated
Perfect Fluid levels
Lots of movement
2 Negative FFN tests
Contractions controlled by Meds

Saturday, January 11, 2014

*Trigger* Baby Girl Stine: We have made it to 25 weeks.

We have made it to 25 weeks! Every week and every day makes such a huge difference for her development. We had a Fetal Fibronectin Test done at our last appointment and it was negative! This is a huge relief. These results mean that I have about a 1% chance of going in to labor within 2 weeks of the test. My doctor will retest every 2-3 weeks.

As for me. I am taking it easy still, but I have been getting up a little more each day monitoring my contractions. The doctors say bedrest hasn't been proven to make a difference, but I notice more contractions when I am moving around, so I am staying on the couch as much as I can. Brook will be going back to work on Monday, so I am working on figuring out ways to get Hunter to be more self sufficient. Luckily he starts preschool on Tuesday. It's just 2 days a week, but I am excited for him. He hasn't had much activity lately, and he hasn't had much time with other kids.

 I want to thank all my awesome friends and family for your love and support through out this pregnancy. It means so much to me to have so many people who already love our little girl. I am feeling pretty hopeful lately.