Archive for Baby talk

Quick hello

Just popping in real quick to say that not long after my last post Baby T was born screaming at 5lbs exactly and 18.5 inches. He is still in the NICU and there are a few complications but he is mostly doing well. More details and pictures when things settle down!

Epic fail

I’m already a failure as a mother. My baby is in the process of failing his third NST in three days (yes, I’m distressed enough to blog from the phone) and the nurse is talking about going to get Dr. MFM to come take a look.

Trying very hard not to cry right now and mostly failing.

put the google down and back away slowly

I can’t stop googling “nonreactive NST” and it’s starting to really stress me out.


they should call them stress tests

In the past two days I’ve had an appointment with my nephro, a trip to the lab, a trip to L&D for a midnight NST, a scheduled NST and an appointment with Dr. MFM2 (Dr. MFM’s associate).

It’s a good thing they’ve already pulled me out of work because going to the hospital appears to be my new full time job.

Mr. Cheeks failed (another) NST today which means I get to go back to the hospital (again) tomorrow for my third NST in three days. Luckily he’s passed all his biophysical profiles, once again breathing and moving like a champ on the ultrasound, but no accelerations for some reason. They said they wouldn’t be so worried about it, except that he passed his first two NST’s with flying colors. So what the heck baby? No more failing!!

On the bright side, the appointment with Dr. MFM2 went pretty well. She was concerned about the failed NST’s but happy about his BPP’s. She did another ultrasound and remarked about how low he is and that he’s getting ready to drop very, very soon. Yay! Hopefully that means he’s ready to be induced a bit before his due date. I think this also explains why I haven’t been feeling him the same way in the last few days, why his movements are softer and lower than I’m used to.

My blood pressure is still good/acceptable and labs remain stable. She explained that someone without my history of proteinuria and lupus would probably be induced now (with my lab results) but knowing my history (and that I always leak protein) they still feel comfortable letting me go to 37 weeks. So more confirmation that the right thing to do is plan for not going much past 37 weeks. She did say that things have gone very well so far, which is great to hear because it gives me hope that when the time comes everyone will feel okay about a second pregnancy.

They also set me up with a growth scan for next Monday so we can see how much Cheeks has grown in the last four weeks! I’m curious to see if he’s kept up his 1lb every two week rate, if so he’ll be just over six pounds at 35w3d!

Tomorrow, in addition to my NST, we have a meet and greet with a potential pediatrician. I’m feeling good about him because a) his Yelp reviews are great, b) he’s one of the doctors recommended by Dr. OB and c) when I mentioned him to the L&D nurse last night she said she loves him. Hopefully he lives up to the hype.

Thursday we have the first of a two part newborn parenting class. Luckily that’s all I have that day and then Friday I finally have a day of nothing! Saturday we have our hospital tour and then my second baby shower.

In between all of that I’m trying to muster up the energy to clean up the bedroom which is FILTHY. The floor needs to be mopped, everything is everywhere, the bathroom needs a thorough scrubbing and I need to clean out some drawers for Cheeks’ clothes! But I’m still having intermittent contractions so I’m supposed to stay off my feet and avoid bending/lifting so nesting is kind of tough to do right now.

Please, please, please Cheeks pass your NST tomorrow! That’s really the only thing that’s worrying me and kind of making it so I do want him out (see yesterday’s post). I want to stay pregnant for as long as possible but these non-stress tests are really starting to stress me out!

another trip to l&d

Sooo, of course after I wrote my last post Cheeks largely went dark on me. Very little movement after breakfast outside of a few teeny rib kicks while I waited to get my labs drawn (around 5pm). I kept waiting and waiting because he normally gets active in the evenings but by the time I got in bed to do kick counts around 9:00pm he still hadn’t moved much at all, or at least not that I could feel.

Normally the way I do kick counts is that after I lie down, I wait until I feel the first kick to start counting the time. He usually moves in bunches so if I do it that way I typically get 10 movements within 15-30min, the longest so far has been about 45min. Last night I went almost 30min with zero movements after I felt the first teeny kick. This was with me poking and gently pushing down on my belly which usually makes him poke back or squirm.

Trying not to panic, I got myself a small bowl of sorbet hoping it would get him moving. He did pick it up a little bit but by the 1hr mark I had only gotten about 6-7 movements that I was sure were movements. I did feel a few fluttery-feeling things but couldn’t be sure it wasn’t just gas or something.

I decided to call the urgent care line and they asked me to go into triage. Once again I felt so bad because Paul was already drifting off to sleep (and doesn’t have the luxury of not having to go to work in the morning) but he was worried and wanted to come with so off to the hospital we went.

Of course, right after I hung up the phone with the nurse I felt three little kicks and then felt him squirming a bit as we drove over. Ah well, we were already on our way so decided to continue.

Once we arrived they got me hooked up to the monitors pretty quickly and got a nice strong heartbeat. Cheeks then proceeded to flip out, kicking at the monitors and trying to squirm away (but he’s too big to get very far!). After thirty minutes the nurse came back and I told her I was feeling him quite a bit now but unfortunately she checked the strip and said he wasn’t having accelerations like they like to see.

That almost completely freaked me out but the next nurse that came in said it was fine because they were seeing good variability in the heartrate and no decels. The in-house OB decided to do a bpp just for peace of mind before sending us home and as soon as she put the ultrasound wand on my belly we saw a little baby wiggling away. She moved it to where his arms and legs were and he immediately showed off with a couple big kicks (which I didn’t feel*). Then she started measuring his fluid and while she was doing this he started breathing! It was pretty cool to see his little abdomen puffing up and down, she commented that they only needed to see it for 30 seconds but he was going to blow that out of the water. She also started laughing and said that he must just want attention because he was doing so well on the bpp. After he finished showing off his breathing she finished up measuring my fluid, it’s been between 15-19 and it was 14 last night so she was happy with that.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Cheeks is just wanting to make up for no more PR intervals by earning himself a few extra ultrasounds. Paul thinks maybe he’ll want to be an actor when he grows up since he loves being on camera so much 🙂

* I’m guessing that maybe after breakfast he moved into a position where most of his movements were being shielded by my placenta since I was only feeling very muted movements and couldn’t feel the kicks we saw on the monitor.

crunch time

The reality that my time as a pregnant lady is coming to a close is starting to set in and I don’t know how I feel about it.

I’m less than three weeks away from 37 weeks, at which point it sounds like any sniff of an “off” lab result is likely going to result in an induction. Soo, given that, we’re basically planning to bring home a baby in three weeks.

Every time I complain about being huge and uncomfortable, Paul jokingly asks me if I “want him out yet?” The honest answer to that is no. As much as there are aspects of being pregnant that aren’t awesome (like the whole beached whale feeling every time I have to get up from a laying down position), I have really enjoyed being pregnant and want to savor every moment of it. I’m not confident in my abilities as a mom, but I think I’m okay at being pregnant. I think Paul is actually more eager to have him out so he can start being a dad (which he’s going to be AMAZING at)!

The truth is I don’t deal well with change and it’s starting to hit me that everything is about to change.

More truth? The thing I’m most scared of is that I’ll resent the baby because I won’t have Paul 100% to myself once he’s here. Is that crazy? On second thought, don’t answer that. I know it is.

Anyway, given that we finally figured out it’s crunch time and we couldn’t put things off any longer, we’ve really kicked into high gear with preparing for Cheeks’ imminent arrival. Our house is actually starting to resemble a place where a baby might be living soon! I even laundered some baby clothes and Paul installed the carseat! We still don’t have a lot of things but I’m hoping that our baby shower this weekend will take care of a lot of what we’re missing. If not, I’m joining Ama.zon Mom on Sunday and will start ordering all the remaining essentials off our registry.

I also decided on a traditional Chinese postpartum meal delivery service which should relieve the stress of figuring out meals for the first month. I’m not totally sold on the postpartum “confinement” period but I have decided to do my own version of it. I told my mom I’m only going to do what I’m comfortable with and am just hoping she respects that.

According to eastern beliefs, the 30-45 days after a woman gives birth is a critical time where she has the ability to “reset” her body. The idea is that if you take proper care of yourself during this period you can improve health issues you had from before the pregnancy and avoid common complaints that women have after pregnancy (i.e. backaches, headaches, etc.). I think there is some basis for this in western medicine as well, for example the idea that pregnancy can potentially “cure” endometriosis, not only because you don’t get a period for 9-10 months, but also because it sort of resets the hormones in your body. I’ve heard stories of women who have had their lupus symptoms completely disappear after pregnancy so, I’m hoping maybe I can be one of those lucky ones!

My doctors have all warned me that bad flares are common postpartum so I’ve decided that in addition to the traditional meals (which I’m doing as much for convenience as for the potential health benefits!) I’m going to adhere to the parts that call for taking it super easy and being pampered 🙂 Paul has agreed that at least while he’s home he’s going to do the bulk of the baby care. Outside of breastfeeding, he’ll be doing all the diapering, cleaning and soothing.

I will probably leave the house and shower and wash my hair, but I think the logic behind not doing any of those things is a bit anachronistic in that they were mainly all geared towards not letting yourself get cold in an age where there wasn’t much access to hot water and homes were drafty. So I’m modifying it a bit to things like, when I do leave the house, I’ll be well bundled (including a warm hat!) and when I shower I’ll make sure to dry off and get into warm clothes right away (like while I’m still in the steamy bathroom). I’ve agreed to wash my hair less frequently but not stop altogether, but when I do wash my hair I promised my mom I’d wash it with ginger which is supposed to keep your head warmer (I figure this can’t hurt right?) and I’ll blow dry my hair immediately and thoroughly instead of walking around with damp hair like I normally do.

Oh and I’m also planning to do the belly binding, although not with a traditional wrap but instead using a postpartum corset or something along those lines. I’ve done some research and a lot of women (non-Asian) do it and it sounds like it really works. Maybe now that I actually have some bo.obs I can work my way to an hourglass figure for the first time in my life 🙂

Tomorrow I have another NST, Cheeks has been back to his active little self these last few days so I’m hoping he passes this one! I’m going tiger mom on his little baby booty – no more failing tests kiddo!

mixed messages

My baby failed his first test 🙁 He had a “nonreactive strip” during his NST on Thursday, but luckily he passed the biophysical profile which is when they check for movements and fetal breathing on ultrasound. I guess he was just having a lazy baby day or wanted some extra camera time or something. It freaked me out but the nurses seemed happy once he passed the bpp so I tried not to let it bother me too much.

While I was at the hospital I had my labs done and then on Friday morning I had an appointment with Dr. OB that I thought went pretty well. Blood pressure was okay (not great) at 134/76. He went over my lab results and seemed happy that everything was stable and my serum creatinine was even a little lower than the week before. The only number that was a little high was my uric acid at 5.6 with 6.0 being considered an indicator of pre-e, but he assured me that it wasn’t the best predictor and he was happy that everything else looked fine. Heartbeat was a healthy 140bpm, he took swabs for GBS and I got the TDaP vaccine.

Dr. OB even said I could cancel my appointment for the next week and come back in two instead. So I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I left his office and met up with my pregnant friend for lunch.

Except then Dr. MFM’s scheduler called me to say that he had gone over my labs and wanted me to come in next week after my NST to see his associate (because he was going to be out of the office) instead of waiting to see him the following week like we had originally discussed.

That had me a little bit worried but I tried to put it out of my mind.

Until during lunch his nurse called to say that Dr. MFM wanted me to do another 24 hour urine before I see his associate next week.

Urgh. Not sure what this is about it. Is it because of the uric acid? Is it because of the nonreactive NST? A combination of the two? Or is he just being really, really cautious?

34 weeks (almost)

I was going to write about more guilty feelings in relation to my mom and her desire to help and my desire for a little space but I think I need to take a break from all that.

Tomorrow I’ll be 34 weeks! From what I’ve read that’s the point where preemies have the same outcomes as full-term babies so even though I’d like to keep him cooking for another three weeks, getting here is a big, big relief.

It seems so surreal that my time as a pregnant lady are quickly winding down. It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, and these past few weeks have had their share of anxiety and discomfort but for the most part I’ve really enjoyed being pregnant. I love this time where Cheeks has been all mine and I don’t have to share him with anyone. I’m the only one who knows where he likes to put his little feet (jammed under my right rib), how often he gets hiccups, how if I sleep in a certain position it makes him squirm and punch until I move.

And, ever since I got the steroid shots, I’m almost positive I’ve been able to feel him “breathing.” I started noticing this strange sensation of a rhythmic pulsing that definitely wasn’t hiccups because it was much more gentle. It sort of felt like a dog softly panting. After a bit of googling I’m convinced that it’s his back rising up and down while he practices his breathing! Hopefully this means he’ll be just fine to make a slightly early appearance.

His movements now are noticeably different from earlier in the pregnancy. I no longer feel kicking or jabbing, but a lot of squirming – I think because he’s run out of room! I’m hoping this means that he’ll have no other choice but to stay firmly head down like he is right now. I’m pretty sure his head is off to the left a little bit and that he’s somewhat diagonal based on the fact that his hiccups make the lower left half of my belly shake and those little feet that reside under my right ribs (as confirmed by my last few ultrasounds). I can’t remember if I mentioned but he turned at some point between ultrasound at 29 weeks and the one I had at 31 weeks, he’s been head down ever since which they check for at my NSTs.

One of my coworkers felt my belly and proclaimed that I’m “all baby.” I didn’t know what she meant until these past couple weeks when I’ve been able to feel distinct body parts as he pushes them out. I still can’t really tell what they are but it’s pretty neat. I haven’t really gained much weight in the past few weeks, I seem stuck around 20-21lbs. My appetite is actually pretty good but I just can’t eat very much at once! I think maybe my body is preparing me to have to feed someone every 2-3hrs because that seems to be how often I have to eat. I’ll be famished, eat a small meal, feel completely stuffed and then be starving again a few hours later. I guess this means he hasn’t dropped yet.

I still haven’t had much heartburn *knock on wood* and I never even really had much in the way of round ligament pain as far as I can tell. My biggest complaint is still back aches, which in the grand scheme of things, ain’t so bad. Oh the contractions aren’t great either, but I figure they are preparing me for the real thing so maybe I’ll be thankful for them in the end.

homerest: day 1

I guess today was the first real day of my leave from work. I finally went in on Monday, New Year’s Eve for a few hours to clean up my emails and leave instructions for my coworkers about what I’ve been working on.

It was strange to walk out the door knowing I won’t be back there for months and months. And that things will be so different when I do.

As I mentioned, I also had an appointment with Dr. MFM on Monday and it made me feel better to have more clarity on the current situation and what we are watching and waiting for. My repeat labs showed my protein/creatinine ratio to be around the equivalent of 850 for a 24hr urine. In case you aren’t familiar, a 24 hour urine collection is when you collect every drop of pee for 24 straight hours (actually you discard the first “sample” after you start the clock, but everything after that gets collected) and then they measure the amount of protein you are spilling. They can guestimate an equivalent with a less time consuming test by simply comparing the amount of protein vs creatinine in a single sample. It’s not quite as accurate but it’s a heck of a lot easier than collecting and storing all your pee in a jug for an entire day.

So anyway, my previous numbers based on the ratio earlier in pregnancy have been anywhere from 300-500 which is already higher than what is “normal” for most people because of the permanent damage to my kidneys that has been done by previous flares. Dr. MFM said given that my current numbers aren’t alarming and they would have to see a number in the 2000-3000 range before they got worried. For now I’m repeating the ratio weekly so they can keep an eye and make sure it stays approximately where it’s been.

He also agreed that this probably is not a lupus flare given that my C3 is not low (for me) but that this is probably at this point very mild pre-eclampsia that at the moment is progressing slowly. My blood pressures are still higher than they have been but not quite at the threshold where they could even technically diagnose pre-e. I had one of my best readings ever in his office (where I ALWAYS read high) at 124/82. This is largely in line with my home blood pressures which can be anwyhere from 120/high 70’s to 130/low 80’s.

So far I’ve had zero swelling, no persistent upper-right quadrant pain (which can be a sign of liver damage), no persistent headaches (just mild ones which started after I began taking the bp meds for which headaches are a known side effect), no vision changes and no remarkable weight gain. These are all very positive signs.

For his part, Cheeks is rocking out his NST’s and the only concern through those has been that I have contractions during them. The doctors don’t seem concerned though, I guess because they still aren’t painful? I’m going to ask about whether they will be checking my cervix again anytime soon though just in case.

I asked Dr. MFM what we’re hoping now and he said that we’ll take it two weeks at a time. The next goal is to get to 35 weeks. After that we shoot for 37 weeks – full term! He said once we get past 37 weeks the threshold for inducing me goes way down so it sounds like I shouldn’t expect to get a whole lot further than that. Which, really, is okay with me. When the time comes that it’s safer for Cheeks to be in than out, I want him safely out.

It’s a bit funny really, that story I read a few weeks back about the woman who’s son died because of the 39 week rule? I went to her FB page that she created and on it I found that she had linked to a presentation that she called propaganda in favor of the 39 week rule. Lo and behold, who authored that presentation but Dr. MFM! I was shocked because it was actually the same day he had told me I would probably have to deliver at 36-37 weeks. I really don’t think he meant it to be propaganda for the insurance companies to limit doctors’ autonomy when it comes to delivering early because he has always been quite candid about the fact that I’ll be delivering early. Yes, earlier on in my pregnancy he mentioned 39 weeks, but as soon as I started having even what he considered mild signs of complications he has not mentioned 39 weeks to me again, only 36 and 37.

Anyway, I’ll probably be blogging a lot more now that I can’t do much beyond laze about in bed. I had planned to clean up the bedroom a bit today but was feeling crampy all morning so I decided to do nothing instead =P

raising my blood pressure in 2013

The plan for after I’m done with my maternity leave has been to have my mom come and watch the baby. To be fair, my mom hasn’t been 100% on board with this arrangement for a variety of reasons but she’s been open to it mainly for the reason that I wanted it this way to begin with: reluctance to leave a newborn in daycare or with an unknown nanny.

But now I’m starting to have second thoughts about this too, mainly because I don’t want to have to cede my control as a mother or to have my mom threaten me with not watching the baby anymore every time I make a decision contrary to what she would make.

I didn’t think this would be a huge problem considering that my mom isn’t generally a huge control freak. Our house growing up was always fairly messy, our food wasn’t particularly fussy, and rules generally negotiable.

But I realize now that more and more frequently things are presented to me as a suggestion only for me to find myself being yelled at when I decide not to follow said suggestion.

Example, my mom and I were having a conversation just now and she casually brings up that I should stop wearing skirts. The genesis of this being that I wore a dress to my family baby shower on Sunday and apparently my grandmother’s helper, her sister-in-law and her all thought that I would make the baby “cold” by having an “open space” down there.

First of all, WTF?

Second of all, I don’t give a crap what “the helper” says. Who is she? She has met me exactly two times now.

I tell her okay, okay, since I generally don’t wear dresses anymore anyway, I wear my yoga pants 99% of the time as she herself should know since that’s what I’ve worn EVERY other time I’ve seen her in the past 3 months. She then lays in with the thing that completely set me off (also remember, eight months pregnant with hormones), she tells me, that I better not show up in a skirt at my next baby shower on January 12.

I probably should have stayed calm and just said okay, but instead I said (and I admit, with attitude), “OKAY, I was planning to wear a dress I had picked out but since you’ve COMMANDED me not to, I won’t.”

Then we hung up and I started crying in anger while poor Paul listened to me scream about how, I DON’T GIVE A FUCKING SHIT WHAT THE HELPER SAYS and SHE SHOULD MIND HER OWN FUCKING BUSINESS.

Am I overreacting? I know, I am. But if this is a sign of things to come. Of me being COMMANDED what I can and can’t do for the good and health of my own baby then I’m not okay with that. I’m sorry, I get it. I’m her child. But I’m not A child. And I’m about to have MY OWN child. As in MY child. That I get to make decisions for. That I get to be the mommy to. And she is allowed to give me her opinions but she is not allowed to make me feel bad because she throws out the “experience” or the “other people agree with me” card.

Paul said she was probably just flustered. Completely unrelated to our conversation she was having a bad day, I know this. And she was annoyed in part because she attributed her bad day with the fact that I asked her not to come visit today (she felt like the bad things that happened wouldn’t have if she had come here instead like she wanted). So that was probably part of it.

But now I’m upset, and my blood pressure is undoubtedly raised and I’m not happy or relaxed. And this is actually why I didn’t want them to come visit today! Because since Christmas I’ve seen them almost every single day and it’s been more stressful than not.