Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I am so pleased to report, that I really don't have anything to report! Praise God! My appointments on Monday went very well. Amniotic fluid is at 13.8cm! Blood pressure is 128/72! Weston is as active and strong as ever! (I told Steve that we just may have a field goal kicker on our hands - those kicks are really starting to hurt!)

The days are dwindling down... tomorrow I will be 35 weeks, with only 2 more weeks to go. Yesterday, it kinda sunk in... WE'RE GOING TO MEET THIS LITTLE BOY IN 2 WEEKS!!! How can that be? The end of this bed rest stuff is in sight! Instead of admiring ultrasound pictures, I'll get to admire his precious face IN PERSON! I can't wait to hear him CRY (although, I'm sure that will get old fast - especially in the wee hours of the morning!) I'm only going to be pregnant for 2 MORE WEEKS!!! No more heartburn - no more food cravings at 3am - no more maternity clothes - no more kicks in the stomach! Even with all the excitement of this journey coming to an end, I was surprised yesterday when I also felt disappointed that my pregnancy was coming to an end. With Steve being a little older... and this pregnancy more complicated than Amaya's... there's no doubt about it... this will be the last little baby....

When Dr. Harms put me on bed rest... it honestly felt like a death sentence. But God has used this time for me to FOCUS on HIM... to TRUST HIM... to LISTEN to HIM... my prayer life has tremendously changed... and I find myself praying all the time... little prayers here and there... thanking God for every blessing, no matter how small and insignificant. And I've been blessed to have the time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas... this time of quiet - I may never get again... so I'm trying to cherish every moment - the good and the bad and rely on God for strength.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Remaining Stable

I've been so busy laying on my left side, taking multiple trips to the bathroom, reading books, watching a little TV, taking naps, and on Pinterest, I completely forgot about updating our blog on my appointments this week. I just got an e-mail today from a friend (who isn't on Facebook and doesn't get my updates) asking about whether little Wes was born, so I figured I'd better add "Updating the Blog" to my VERY BUSY schedule! (Can you sense my sarcasm there?!?)

Monday's appointment went well for the most part. Mom came with me to offer support especially with my amniotic fluid being so low the previous week, I was more anxious about this appointment. Both my mom and I were shocked to learn that my fluid levels had increased from 6.5cm on Thursday to 12cm!! What an answer to prayer! The sonographer also did a growth measurement and Weston now weights 4lbs 11oz! (Amaya was 5lbs 10oz when she was born, so we can handle little babies!) My blood pressure was still 140/98, so Dr. Harms decided to bump up the dosage on my blood pressure medication in the morning with hopes that my diastolic number would come down a little more. Overall, it was a good appointment, but Dr. Harms said that my case intrigues him and that I still make him a nervous. But, the best news of all - I asked him if I could go to Amaya's Christmas Program at church that evening and he said, "YES!" (More on her program later...)

Thursday's appointment I was originally scheduled to meet with one of the midwives because Dr. Harm's schedule was full. Mom and Dad took Amaya to Lydia's program at school, so I was by myself, but I wasn't quite as anxious about this appointment. My fluid levels remained stable at 11.7cm!! Another answer to prayer!! My blood pressure was 130/86!! Yet another answer to prayer! They were going to check another urine sample and as I went out in the hall, Dr. Harms saw me and said, "Jan, you're not on my calendar." I explained that his calendar was full and that I was planning on seeing a midwife. He told me, "No. I need to see you today." YAY!! There's just something about Dr. Harms that makes me relax and I am so thankful for him and his expertise. And since my numbers looked so good, I didn't have to do a urine sample. It's was a very short consultation because everything looked so good. And this was the very first time that Dr. Harms had any hope that we just might make it to 37 weeks. There's a little bit of wiggle room with the dose of my blood pressure medication, but he's a little hesitant to increase it anymore. So, for now... we press on... most likely I'll have a urine sample and blood work done next week just to make sure that nothing is brewing. Despite all my numbers within normal limits, there's still a chance that I could develop preeclampsia.

I have much more peace this week. Knowing that Wes is nearly 5 pounds and that I've hit all the critical weeks, I can relax a little. If he was born today, he may still need to be in the NICU, but with each day that passes the chances are getting greater and greater that he just may need a few days in the special care nursery and even better yet, come home with us. Five weeks of bed rest done... only 3 more to go!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I received the best phone call last evening from the OB I saw on Thursday. She called with the results of my blood work and 24 hour urine collection!! Drum roll, please.... it was all NORMAL! PRAISE GOD!! I meet with Dr. Harms tomorrow after my ultrasound and we'll see what he's going to do with me. I'm hoping and praying that my amniotic fluid index is is the acceptable range and that my blood pressure cooperates. My mom is planning on going to the appointment with me for support and to calm my nerves.

Today I'm 33 weeks and 4 days... and my goal is 37 weeks (January 2nd)! I'm just so, so close... But, with that being said, I'm trying to mentally and physically prepare myself for Dr. Harms to say "let's cash in our chips," "we're done," or "let's have a baby today."

So... I started packing my hospital bag today... I have to add a few more things, but I've got my list all set to go. My dear friend, Jen was so thoughtful and bought me a "BIRTH DAY" bag a couple weeks ago filled with all sorts of goodies to help make labor a little more enjoyable... a journal, a CD of relaxing music, chocolate, NERDS for Steve, chapstick, lotion, tic tacs, slipper socks, tea, and coffee. She's the best! And my old college roommate and friend, Meredith (who completely understands the challenges of bed rest having experienced it herself), sent me a few essential things to help the whole nursing process along. So, I've got those things in my bag ready to go too.

The nursery hasn't been started, but little Wes will be spending a couple of months with us in the bassinet in our bedroom, so that's okay if he's here and it's not quite done. All of his clothes are washed and put away and we've got diapers, wipes, and all my nursing supplies ready - so if he made his appearance early, we can make it work.

I also got "most" of my Christmas shopping done - just stocking stuffer gifts left - and all of the wrapping is done. We're not going to be doing Christmas cards this year - it will be a birth announcement instead! Steve and Amaya picked out a gorgeous Premium Frasier Fir tree yesterday -  our house smells incredible and the tree is very, very full! They plan to work on decorating it later this afternoon while I lay on the couch and "observe." It is truly going to be a test of my willpower to resist the temptation to help decorate... but it will be beautiful when they get it done. Plus, we got our first snowfall last night - not as much as I would like - but it's gorgeous nevertheless. So, it's beginning to feel like Christmas after all.

While we're preparing for the birth of our SON (it's still hasn't quite sunk in)... I've been thinking a lot about Mary and how she prepared for the birth of her SON... what it must have felt like for a virgin to be carrying the SAVIOR! With each kick and flutter... she was reminded that she was Jesus' mother! Unreal... As much as I feel anxious and uncertain, I can't even begin to imagine what was going through Mary's mind and heart at the time... but somehow, I see her as having much more peace... And that's what I hope to have these next few days and weeks... I hope to have peace...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Down in the Dumps

Yesterday was a "down in the dumps," "woe is me" kinda day. I haven't been sleeping the greatest - call it pregnancy insomnia or too much on my mind - but whatever it is, I'm up for several hours in the middle of the night and can't fall back asleep. And with my 8-10 trips to the bathroom and 1-2 trips to the kitchen for a snack, sleep just doesn't happen like it used to. So starting the day off being exhausted really didn't help my mood.

While I'm thankful that my parents have been caring for Amaya so much during the week to allow me time to rest, I miss her TERRIBLY!! So, yesterday... I had things all planned out that we'd watch a couple of episodes of "19 Kids and Counting" snuggled in bed on my phone and then I had some winter craft projects planned. Do you realize how difficult it is to be able cut and glue things while laying down?!? Very frustrating, but our project turned out wonderful and I cherished the time I was able to spend with her while still following Dr. Harms orders.

One of my co-workers had stopped by Wednesday evening to bring a meal, visit, and deliver some Christmas cookies since I won't be able to bake this season... And she also brought a special project for me to work on. One of our nurses is retiring the beginning of January, and I was asked to address the invitations for her retirement party. I really enjoyed doing something different and feeling productive.. but I couldn't help but think about my dear friends at work and all that I was missing.

After I finished addressing the envelopes, Amaya and I had a "picnic" in our bed for lunch. She ended up having a meltdown because she wanted another bagel, but we didn't have anymore left. She stomped out of our bedroom and slammed her bedroom door. My heart just broke... poor girl... She's been so flexible, so sweet, so understanding, and so obedient... and on any other day, we would have just gone to the store to get some more. But with a mama on bed rest... there's just not much I could do to console her. Fortunately, Steve called at just the right time and was able to reason with her. I just felt so bad for her and so utterly helpless. I mean, for goodness sakes, it's just a bagel... but it just made me realize how difficult this must be for her when she doesn't quite understand.  It's been challenging to keep things "normal" for her, but we're trying.

Dad came to pick me up for my appointment in the afternoon. I was only having an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid and a consultation with an OB. Steve needed to do a site visit at the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center where one of his staff works, so he was able to swing by and go to my appointment with me. Unfortunately, my amniotic fluid dropped to 6.5cm - it was 7.1cm on Monday. I'm still in the acceptable range, but needless to say, I was discouraged. But little Wes was practicing his breathing great and we think he had another case of the hiccups! :-) My blood pressure was 130/100 - the diastolic was a little higher than we would have liked, but it's still stable. Since I was meeting with a different OB, she wanted to err on the side of caution and have me do a repeat 24 hour urine to check for protein and get blood work for all the "preeclampsia labs" (liver function, kidney function, etc.) What I appreciated most about this OB, is that she was very encouraging and told me I was doing a good job. It's EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I'm very frustrated that despite resting and drinking fluids, that I didn't have better numbers... but I was told, it's pretty much out of my control. She also said that there's a big difference between a 28 week old baby and a 33 week old baby and the fact that I've been able to go this long was something we should be celebrating. Once again, I'm reminded to celebrate each day that little Wes can grow. My next appointment is on Monday morning - we'll see what Dr. Harms wants to do with us then.

Today's a new day... I'm trying to keep my spirits up... my sister sent me an encouraging e-mail yesterday, so I'm reading that over and over today and my mother-in-law called to check up on me and shared some encouraging words. Yesterday was so difficult trying to push those negative thoughts aside, so today I read through the book of James a couple times - it's one of my favorite books of the Bible. It's a gentle reminder that God is continuing to shape me, mature my faith, and that everything will work together for the good - It's just that there are some days I just need to whine and complain every so often. :-)  Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement - we feel very loved!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Low Amniotic Fluid

I always have mixed feelings on appointment days. Seventy five percent of me is nervous and anxious and the other twenty five percent of me is excited to get out of the house and interact with people!

Monday's appointment began with a urine collection (still negative for protein!) and then off to my non stress test. I didn't have anyone with me, because I was feeling pretty good - my fingers weren't swollen, I hadn't been having any headaches, but I did get on the scale and had gained 2 pounds since Wednesday, so there was a little bit of uncertainty whether my blood pressure would be down.

BUT... NO WORRIES! My highest blood pressure reading was 110/58!!!! What a relief and answer to prayer! Weston wasn't cooperating during the test very well, so the nurse buzzed him a little in the tush to get him excited and then his heart rate accelerated beautifully after that. This appointment was going GREAT!! And I got a little cocky and posted on Facebook how wonderful things went! The ultrasound portion - hmm... the sonographer said that everything looked good, but when I met with the OB (Dr. Harms was booked solid and couldn't squeeze me in), she said my amniotic fluid had dropped since Wednesday from about 13cm now down to 7.1cm. When I have the ultrasound done, they measure all the fluid in the four quadrants of the uterus and that's how they come up with the numbers.  And technically, according to the OB I saw - things STILL continue to look good and everyone is healthy... it's just that I'm not quite out of the danger zone (and may never be until this little guy is born). Anything below 5cm, and it's delivery time! Yikes!!!

Hmmm... I was so concerned about my blood pressure, but now I have to worry about my amniotic fluid? I thought things were going so well....

Here's what Dr. Harms has to say about low amniotic fluid off the Mayo Clinic website:

"Amniotic fluid provides a cushion that protects the baby and allows room for growth, movement, and development. It also keeps the umbilical cord from being compressed between the baby and the uterine wall. In addition, the amount of amniotic fluid reflects the baby's urine output - which is an important measurement of a baby's well being."

And what's even more frustrating is that there's not a whole lot I can do. She recommended that I hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and eat plenty of fresh fruit. I'm not sure what the fresh fruit has anything to do with it, but from the limited searching I've done on the internet, it sounds like rest and hydration MAY help.

So what made my fluid levels drop? Most likely, just the high blood pressure... even though I'm on a medication and it's been regulating my blood pressure well... the medication masks other symptoms... So while my blood pressure is terrific, there are still other things could be brewing that may cause me and little Weston harm. But, that's why I'm going in twice a week - continuing with close observation and it's a huge relief to be cared for at the Mayo Clinic.

The OB wanted me to meet with the OB anesthesiologist to evaluate me, discuss options, and prepare me for the worst case scenario. I was massively impressed with the anesthesiologist and he didn't mind my endless questions. I'd rather be prepared for the worst and pray for the best.

Regardless of what happens, I have more reassurance that God is in control and I have more peace of mind. I could literally drive myself crazy thinking through every scenario, but at the end... regardless of what happens... God will never leave me or forsake me.

With all that being said... you can continue to pray for my blood pressure to remain low and my amniotic fluid to GO HIGH! :-)