Friday, November 30, 2012

Still Pregnant

On Wednesday, I hit the critical 32 week mark which is a HUGE sigh of relief and answer to prayer! My blood pressure behaved itself during my appointment... 122/74 - 141/80... so we know the blood pressure medication is working. Weston is doing great - it took the nurse about an hour during the non stress test to get enough accelerations of his heartbeat, but Dr. Harms reassured us that he's looking good. My fluid levels look good and Weston is head down already, so we didn't get to see his little face. And I'm not spilling any protein in my urine so everything (for now) is going great...

I asked if my blood pressure remained stable if he would consider letting me go back to work... I got a big old NEGATIVE on that one. I guess last week scared him enough that he just wants me to continue on bed rest and be a couch potato. I've been on bed rest for 3 weeks already - I can certainly handle 5 more, right?!?

Dr. Harms still wants me coming in twice a week for the non stress test, ultrasounds, and urine collections despite being on a blood pressure medication. He doesn't want the medication to mask any other symptoms, so he wants to keep close tabs on the two of us. I was hoping to go down to once a week visits only because the appointments are between 2-3 hours depending on how Weston behaves and I get pretty tired... But, if this is what it takes to keep him growing and developing than we're all for it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday

Christmas shopping is done... for the most part... just have to get a few little stocking stuffers for Miss Amaya and Steve-O and wrap everything... but it's done. What else am I supposed to do on bed rest? Several clicks of the mouse, a 20 minute phone call with a very pleasant customer service representative, a few e-mails back and forth and ta-da! Everything arrives on the doorstep in 3-5 business days. It's a little anti-climatic

On the one hand, it's wonderful to be able to sit at the computer in my robe, drinking coffee and shop away with Christmas music on Pandora... but on the other hand, I really do enjoy getting out in the hustle bustle of the crowds... but on the other, other hand... I don't miss being out in the freezing cold!

Happy Cyber Monday - there are some good deals out there!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hospital Visit

After a great appointment last Friday, I was hoping and praying that this would be the new trend and that both Weston and I would sail through our appointment on Tuesday. I invited my mother-in-law, Ruth Ann to the appointment because I thought it would be awesome for her to see her grandson and all his cuteness on the ultrasound. And God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that I needed her with me and that I needed my parents to be available at home.

Since Weston was a little stinker on Friday, I assumed he would behave the same on Tuesday. Surprisingly enough, he cooperated and stayed put, but his heart rate wasn't accelerating as much with activity. He was such a show off on Friday that they bumped up his requirements - now he needed to get his heart rate up 15 beats above his baseline for 15 seconds and we needed him to do this at least 2-3 times in a 20-40 minute period of time. The nurse was phenomenal and even tried a little Chris Brown music to jazz him up a little, but even LMAFO's "Party Rockin' in the House Tonight" just barely squeaked out 10 beats above his baseline for 10 seconds. He was still quite active and passed the non stress test just fine, but he just didn't perform as well as on Friday. And neither did my blood pressure... The nurse checked it several times and it was alarming... it was such a blur... but it was well over what I had ever anticipated... Ruth Ann's memory is probably better than mine, but I thought one reading was 166/122? And I think the lowest was maybe 147/110? Anyway, regards of the numbers... it was TOO HIGH! Grrr.... Now what?

We then headed over to check the amount of amniotic fluid via ultrasound. The sonographer was again wonderful and Ruth Ann got to see our little guy's profile, hands, and cute little toes. I love seeing this precious gift from God! My fluid levels were just fine and in fact rose just a smidgen from Friday which means that he's getting all the nutrition he needs.

The nurses collected a urine sample to check for protein (an indicator of preeclampsia) and fortunately, that continues to remain negative. A different nurse checked my blood pressure manually, and it was still in the 150s/100s. These appointments generally make me nervous only because I feel like a ticking time bomb... at any point, Dr. Harms could say, "Let's just cash in our chips."

When we had first talked about pregnancy induced hypertension two weeks ago, he was reluctant to start me on any type of blood pressure medication because the high blood pressure is a result of the pregnancy - and the only cure is delivery. Another concern is that if they did put me on medication - my blood pressure would most likely be around my baseline, but might mask some other symptoms of preeclampsia resulting in even further complications. I do recall him saying that he didn't like anything getting around 160/110 and that if Weston's health or my health was at risk, we'd need to change things up. So when Dr. Harms visited with us he said Weston looked healthy, but my health was at risk... and when words like "stroke" "seizures" and "organ failure" came out of his mouth, we knew that I was not about to "Pass Go and Collect 200 dollars." I was getting sent to "Jail." There would be no opportunity for me to run home and grab some toiletries - they were whisking me away immediately.

Little Amaya was on my mind because she was spending time with her cousins visiting from Colorado for Thanksgiving and knowing that I'd be stuck in a hospital bed for who knows how long, I was concerned about where she was going to go, who would pick her up, care for her, etc. So having my parents (who know her routines, etc.) at home was a huge answer to prayer. I didn't need to worry about her after all... and this little girl is so resilient and flexible - she's an absolute blessing. And having Ruth Ann with me to support, encourage, cry, and laugh with me was a tremendous gift.

They wheeled me over to triage just down the hall and got Weston hooked up on the monitor and got a few blood pressure readings - still high of course. I met with a mid-wife and the team agreed that I should be observed for at least 24 hours and that I would be admitted over to Labor and Delivery. LABOR AND DELIVERY?!?!? I'M NOT READY TO HAVE THIS GUY!!! The only reason I was being admitted there instead of the antepartum unit was because they were going to give me a medication to reduce my blood pressure through an IV and I needed to be on a cardiac monitor and Weston needed to be monitored closely as well during the administration. Plus, if my blood pressure didn't respond... or if I had any indications of severe preeclampsia... I would be set to deliver if need be.

My nurse was incredible - very attentive and CALM. Guess that's what you want from a Labor and Delivery nurse, huh? Anyway, she got me started on another 24 hour urine collection, had anesthesia get an IV in, blood work taken (OUCH!), seizure pads on my bed, hooked up to the cardiac monitor, and hooked little Weston to his monitor and gave me my first (and ONLY - PRAISE GOD) dose of IV Labetalol to try to bring my blood pressure down. My blood pressure was checked every 15 minutes for an hour or two - I even have the bruises to prove it - and then once it was stabilized (around 130s/80s) it was only checked every hour. Steve and Ruth Ann had a little lunch and we watched the movie "Finding Nemo." I met with about 10 different doctors - from Labor and Delivery, anesthesia, and high risk OB. Basically, it was a waiting game - wait to see if my blood pressure would stabilize with just one dose of Labetalol and then transition me to oral medication - wait for my blood results (platelets, liver function, and kidney function) - wait for the results of my 24 hour urine... I was also on the agenda to receive a steroid injection in the tush to help little Weston's lungs mature faster so that if he were born in the next 1-2 weeks, he'd have a better chance of breathing better.

Around dinner time, they gave me my first dose of ORAL Labetalol with hopes that this would continue to stabilize my blood pressure over night and I could continue taking it at home. My blood pressure really plummeted to 105/57. The nurse hooked Weston back up to make sure he was tolerating the decrease in the blood pressure, and he was very happy with not a care in the world. This little man is AMAZING! Nothing has really phased him yet and I hope that's going to be the trend!

They transitioned me over to the antepartum unit around 8pm since both Weston and I were stabilized and not requiring any more monitoring. My blood pressure would continue to be checked, but not nearly at the intense level as it was in Labor and Delivery. And I still enjoyed my nurses over there - in fact my overnight nurse was the mom of a colleague I used to work with in Dermatology - but the amount and level of care I received in antepartum was much, much different.

Amaya slept over at my parents and Steve kept me company in the hospital. We didn't sleep the greatest - maybe got about 3-4 hours of interrupted sleep. The steroid injection made me feel pretty wired and hyper so it was difficult to get much rest.

Wednesday morning, Steve went home to shower and eat breakfast and run a few errands before I was scheduled for my ultrasound. My blood pressure remained in the 130s/80s overnight and into the morning - still not at baseline, but at least out of the danger zone. Then the nursing assistant came to take me down for the ultrasound. Unfortunately, Steve wasn't back yet, but he managed to find me to see most of the ultrasound. They measured the amniotic fluid and that was continuing to look good. She checked out his heart, lungs, abdomen, head, feet, hands, and his "special parts." - Still a BOY! (Not that there was ever a question, but it's still reassuring!) The sonographer working with us was in training and was having a difficult time trying to get Weston to practice his breathing. She jiggled him and shook him, but he was just being stubborn. Her preceptor came in and eventually got a couple of snapshots of him breathing, but this kiddo was very close to flunking the test. She passed him because she got the results she needed - it just took a little longer than normal. The great news is that he is growing and weighs 3 pounds, 15oz (nearly 4 pounds!) He's on the chunkier end of the scale, so that was a HUGE relief!! He is our strong boy!

The remainder of the day was uneventful... my 24 hour urine collection wrapped up at noon... and all I was waiting for was one more steroid injection in the tush... a prescription for Labetalol... and dismissal! I always forget that it takes forever to get dismissed... we ended up leaving a little after 4pm. But, I was glad it took a little longer because the results of my urine came back and it was NORMAL! No PREECLAMPSIA!

So... the plan is... take my blood pressure pill twice a day... rest, rest, rest... monitor myself for any signs of preeclampsia... see Dr. Harms on Wednesday for another non stress test, ultrasound, and consultation. I will be 32 weeks on Wednesday and that was the first goal Dr. Harms told me to strive for - get to 32 weeks! So, hopefully nothing exciting happens in the next few days.

Thank you for all your prayers, encouragement, support - we feel very loved. We have so much to be thankful for. I miss all of you so much and it gets lonely during the day, so I appreciate the e-mails, texts, cards, and phone calls.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Our little guy passed his tests on Friday with flying colors and even better - I passed too!!! We started off with a non stress test, and Weston was a TROUBLEMAKER! The non stress test measures his activity and heart rate for 20 minutes to make sure he's getting enough oxygen and in order to get accurate results, this guy needs to stay put so the nurse can monitor him. Weston was very active and REFUSED to lay still making it nearly impossible for the nurse to track his heartbeat. And it didn't help that he had a major case of the hiccups! Every time he hiccupped, he moved! After two nurses chased him for nearly an hour, they had enough "footage" of his heartbeat and activity levels and said he was VERY HEALTHY!!! The nurses also monitor my blood pressure during the non stress test and the first reading was 126/74. I asked the nurse if she was sure the reading was accurate... and IT WAS! They did a total of four blood pressure checks and the lowest reading was 115/70 and the highest was 129/76! HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER!!!

Then I had my ultrasound and it was perfect. They are monitoring the level of amniotic fluid because it can be an indicator that Weston isn't getting enough nutrition and fluid.
The fluid levels had actually increased from my appointment on Tuesday - so everything is right on track and he is getting everything he needs to grow and develop.

I met with a different OB for my consultation and he reviewed all my bloodwork, urine tests, non stress test, and ultrasound and Weston and I both got a great bill of health! So, I continue on bedrest and twice weekly appointments. My next appointment is on Tuesday and I hope that everything continues to remain stable. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our family!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bed Rest and Other Updates

I apologize for not getting updates out sooner, but this time I have a REALLY good excuse. No, we're not busy... I'm on bed rest!! God certainly threw me a curve ball with this little bundle of joy. Up until this point, my pregnancy had been relatively boring - although with the exception of some eye issues and shingles - but little Weston was doing great! Fortunately, he is still doing wonderful, but mama's blood pressure is still high.

My mom went with me to meet with Dr. Harms after my episode in OB Triage. I am so GRATEFUL that my mom has been able to go to these appointments with me to support me and ask questions that I haven't thought about. And while I was expecting him to tell me to take it easy and potentially cut back my hours at work, he pulled me off work completely and on bed rest for the majority of the day. Needless to say, it was quite a shock. Plus, I now have a standing date with him twice a week to monitor little Weston and my blood pressure. Don't get me wrong, I love Dr. Harms, but I really don't want to be seeing him that often.

After being on bed rest for about a week, the shock and the seriousness have settled in. Bed rest sounds glamorous and like an extended vacation... but it's not all it's cracked up to be. I absolutely love my job, my co-workers, and my patients and to be apart from them is very difficult. And it's very discouraging because I've been working on a major project for a good part of the year and was planning on presenting it in front of the entire Mayo Nursing Council at the end of November. My other team members will have to pick up the slack, but I'm disappointed not to see it to the end.

I've also needed to put Dave Ramsey leadership on hold, Choir, church, volunteering in the church office, volunteering at preschool, play dates, meeting with friends, and helping out our dear friend Nancy with transportation to her medical appointments (On a positive note - her tumors are shrinking - PRAISE GOD!) And with the holidays coming up, it's easy to focus on the things I'll be missing... our tradition of going to Festival of Trees, Black Friday shopping, Christmas concerts, decorating our tree, shopping for Christmas presents, playing in the snow, BAKING... oye... Just thinking about the confinement of being in bed can make a person go crazy...

BUT! Dropping everything - saying no - learning to ask for help - this bed rest stuff has ended up being a BLESSING! Perhaps I was too busy... doing too much... relying too much on my own strength... not focusing on the important things... Since being on bed rest, I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from my family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, and church family. It's hard accepting help... but since I can't do much of anything... that burden falls on Steve. And my dear husband, has been AMAZING and has done everything around here - laundry, cleaning, preparing meals, dishes, grocery shopping, taking Amaya shopping for boots, etc.... And he's done this without a complaint. I know that by accepting a meal or two - it's one less thing off his plate... one less thing for him to worry about... And so, a wonderful neighbor-friend-church member (all rolled into one amazing person!!) has been organizing meals for us until the end of December! What a tremendous blessing! And Amaya is getting the love and attention she needs from lots of family too! But most importantly, I'm getting the rest that Weston and I both need. We have so much to be thankful for and what an appropriate time to experience that thankfulness around Thanksgiving.

What I'm most thankful for is the precious time spent with God. I can read and study my Bible without any interruptions. I can get through a long prayer list without any distractions. (So send me an e-mail if I can be praying for you!) Plus, I get precious time with Weston. With each little kick or flutter, he reminds me that right now - for this short period of time - that HE'S my PRIORITY. And this little boy has absolutely captured my heart. I would sacrifice everything for my family and Weston is no different... I may be missing out on activities, but it's all worth giving up in a heartbeat for this sweet little boy to be healthy.

On to updates! My appointment yesterday included a non stress test to measure Weston's movements and to make sure his heart rate was accelerating with movement and returning to baseline with rest. He performed beautiful for the nurse and after 20 minutes of monitoring - she said, "He's very active!" I already knew that WITHOUT the monitor! :-) During the non stress test, the nurse also monitored my blood pressure... I'm still running in the 150s/90-100 range... very disappointing, but there's not a whole lot more I can do about that. Then we were off for a very quick ultrasound to measure the amount of amniotic fluid - and it was perfect! Yay! And a much added bonus, my mom got to see little Weston's beautiful profile and "Gustafson nose". Like I said before, this little charmer has captured my heart already! I had more urine collected - still negative for protein (if it was positive for protein - it's a sign of preeclampsia). After all my tests, we had a consultation with Dr. Harms. He was very pleased that Weston was HEALTHY (PRAISE GOD!) but disappointed my blood pressure hadn't really budged. The good news is that as long as Weston's health and my health aren't at risk, we can continue with the plan and remain on bedrest with twice weekly non stress tests and ultrasounds until I reach 37 weeks and then it's delivery time! That's right... no January 23rd baby... he's most likely going to be a New Year's baby if we can hold out that long. Since I'm only 30 weeks along... he has a lot more growing and developing to do. Survival rate is good if he had to be delivered now- but a long ICU stay would be unavoidable. So, for now... I praise God for each additional day of bed rest and rejoice with every one of Weston's kicks! Next appointment is on Friday afternoon.

Thank you for the prayers, support, encouragement for our sweet little boy!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

OB Triage Visit

Yesterday, we had a little bit of excitement (and not the good kind). I woke up with a headache - I get headaches a lot so this was nothing really out of the ordinary - but this time my headache didn't go away with Tylenol. It was a busy morning at work - which is also nothing out of the ordinary - but I still wasn't feeling very good. I took more Tylenol in the afternoon, and right before I left work, I had one of my co-workers check my blood pressure.... 152/98! My norm is 110-120/70-80.

Dad picked me up from work, I texted Steve, and off we went to spend our Friday night at Methodist Hospital in the OB Triage Unit. My initial blood pressure was 155/104, but after several hours it did get back down to 126/80. The nurse had my hooked up to monitor to check out little Weston - and he was doing just fine - Praise God!! They took some bloodwork and a urine sample - everything came back normal. Today I'm doing a 24 hour urine collection for them to process and see if there is any protein in the urine. Basically, they are checking to see if I have preeclampsia, but with normal lab results this far, it's unlikely at this point.

We left a little after 4 hours of monitoring... there was an emergency C-section just shortly after I came in... and those little babes come first... but Steve and I got a little alone time and had dinner and watched a movie. What an awesome date night! (NOT!) Anyway, most likely, I have pregnancy induced hypertension that will go away when little Weston is born, but the jury is still out until I meet with Dr. Harms on Wednesday. (I had high blood pressure towards the end of my pregnancy with Amaya, and was induced at 38 weeks - but I'm only 28 weeks now! Weston has a lot longer to cook!) The OB residents I saw were just fine, but we left with a lot of questions - what caused my blood pressure to spike? what can I do to keep it down? when do I need to come in - every time I have a headache unrelieved with Tylenol? what does this mean for the rest of my pregnancy? Grr... We hope to have more answers on Wednesday... until then... I'm resting, drinking lots of fluids, and trying to keep my stress level low...