Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 15

11 days until 32 weeks
25 days until 34 weeks
39 days until 36 weeks

Currently: 30 3/7 weeks
This will probably be short and sweet. We are still status quo and staying steady. We've made it to 30 3/7 weeks...wooo hooo!!! Getting this far makes 34 weeks look atainable!!  Last night, Jon and Jack spent the night which was great. Nothing better than to waking up to Jack crawling in my bed, mumbling, "Monkey needs his big brother to snuggle him." (and yes, Jack's guess is boy...if you mention the word 'she' he will immediately correct you!)

We had an ultrasound today to check on Monkey's growth and everything looked great! Monkey weighs in around 3 lbs 5 oz, which is right on track for his/her estimated due date. It took some major coaxing and work to get some pictures without an arm over Monkey's face, but we got some!! Makes me laugh because Jon almost always sleeps with an arm over his face...so Monkey sleeps just like Daddy! Here's the pics we got:

finally got a face shot without hiding!

a bit of a smirk going on!!

The typical arm over the face picture!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 13

13 days until 32 weeks
27 days until 34 weeks
41 days until 36 weeks

Currently: 30 1/7 weeks

We're almost down to single digits to meet our first goal of 32 weeks!! And we can't even begin to explain how much of a thrill that is for us. When I was put in the hospital 13 days ago, I didn't really have the confidence that we'd make it to 30 weeks, and here we are!! There has been such a huge sigh of relief to have made it even 2 more weeks!! I know I've said it before, but every single day that we get is a huge blessing. As much as people think even 1 day won't make a difference, it isn't true. Each day, each hour for that matter, is a blessing!

Our latest Monkey portrait

We are at the point of being "boring" as the doctors say. Boring is good in the medical world! Boring means stable. So far, things have stayed somewhat stable. I had a cervical length done yesterday and that stayed the same at 7 mm. From now on, we will stop checking cervical lengths, as it is not very accurate anymore, since we're down to single digits for measurements. I mean, we're talking millimeters here, so hard to be exact!! From here on out, things will be based on my symptoms and such. So if I start having more contractions on a consistent, rhythmic pattern, then we'll see if my cervix is dilating more. The hard part is not letting curiosity get the best of me. I've stayed stable at 1 cm dilated, but they haven't checked me for almost a week. It's hard not knowing if there have been changes, but the problem is that if they check too often, it can irritate the cervix and start labor...not really where we want to be! So right now, we are sitting tight. The plan that I've heard is staying here until 32 weeks and then going home on bedrest after that. Although, I've also heard if I have another week of stability, then home sooner. Hard to say what will happen. I'm still having contractions here and there, but nothing exciting. We're hoping to keep it that way!! As I've mentioned before, I've kept myself busy with projects! I finally figured out how to upload pictures from my phone, so here are a few of my favorites!

We're hoping that there can be many more projects created before this little Monkey arrives! People keep joking that I should start selling them, which isn't out of the realm of possibilities. So now we have a contest among the nurses who can come up with the most creative name. I'm in room 3507, so they keep trying to incorporate that into it! Any suggestions?? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 10

16 days until 32 weeks
30 days until 34 weeks
44 days until 36 weeks

Currently: 29 5/7 weeks

We're up to double digits for our stay...day 10. I had another ultrasound this morning to check cervical length and unfortunately, it's down to 7 mm (from 12 on Monday). So that just means I'm not going home anytime soon. In all reality, it gives me a sense of relief...it gives BOTH of us relief! We both know that as long as I'm here, I'll be monitored closely and if something happens, we'll know sooner. Jon and I both feel like I can make it to at least 32 weeks as long as I am in the hospital. If I go home, we feel like it will be sooner than that. For all things involved (especially Monkey being in the NICU), we need to get past 32 weeks. If the doctors told me to hang upside down from the ceiling to keep this baby in, I'd do it! So right now, as horrible and tough as it is not being home and not seeing Jack and Jon every day, I know it's what needs to happen and I'm okay with this.

When I talked to Jon today, his first comment was, "Well, looks like we'll be having a baby sooner than later." And I immediately said, "Not necessarily." Just because my cervical length is less, doesn't meant that this baby is coming soon. One of the things that they do to help boost premature babies is giving betamethasone (a steroid) to help their lungs. I had that done when I came in and they don't repeat that. The other thing that they do is give Magnesium Sulfate to help protect the baby's brain. Premature babies have an increased risk for intracranial (inside the brain) bleeding. This can cause some major problems and be a huge indication of life long problems. MagSulfate is most effective when it is given two days prior to delivery. Right now, there is NO talk of needing to start this. I've asked every time my length drops and they keep saying 'not yet.' Now, the day that they tell me that we need to start MagSulfate will be the day that I get a bit more nervous. When they finally pull that trigger, I will know that delivery is soon. So as for right now, we are doing ok. There is not any talk that Monkey will be arriving in the next few days. I will do another cervical length on Friday and we will see what that brings. My contractions have slowed down a lot, which is a blessing. I'm still having a few here and there, but nothing consistent enough to make any changes. Monkey is very active and moving all over the place, so that's also good news! Keep sending the prayers and I'll keep cooking this baby! Thanks for checking in!

Jon, Libby, Jack and Monkey 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 8

18 days until 32 weeks
32 days until 34 weeks
46 days until 36 weeks
Currently: 29 3/7 weeks

So we finally have a plan of action. My ultrasound today is, for the most part, stable. I went from 14 mm down to 12 mm, so yes it's a drop, but not as significant as previously. I also have not dilated anymore which is good news. I can sit like this for quite some time, which gives us some comfort. So right now, the plan is that we will do another ultrasound on Wednesday or Thursday and if that is stable then I will go home. That gives me 1 week of being "quiet" and that gives us a sense of relief.

Now when I go home, I will continue to be on complete bedrest. I know this will be more challenging at home than here at the hospital, but it's what we have to do. I'm nervous that being home will only confuse Jack and he'll think I can just get up and do a few things and won't understand that it's just like at the hospital...Mommy can only get out of bed to go to the bathroom and shower. Pray that when we are home, Jack does well with this transition. It will be challenging, but we will do whatever it is to get a few more weeks. Thankfully, our moms are out of school and able to help out soon. I will have weekly doctor's appointments and cervical lengths. Dr. McNamara (another one of the perinatologists) reassured me that even one contraction is enough for me to go back into the hospital if need be. (I think they're all catching on to the high anxiety that I've been feeling about going home and are doing anything to try and reassure right now...more comforting than they know.)

So that's the plan for right now. Wait a few more days to make sure things are truly stable and then home until delivery. Once again, every day is a blessing. Every day is one more day that we're not in the NICU...one more day to keep Monkey safely growing inside. Please continue to pray for each and every day we can get. Thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers. Every text, post on facebook, phone call...it's all so encouraging and appreciated!!

Taking things day by day...

Jon, Libby, Jackson and Monkey

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 7

19 days until 32 weeks
33 days until 34 weeks
47 days until 36 weeks
Currently: 29 2/7 weeks

Okay, so I knew this day would come that all of this would hit me. Yes, I understand the seriousness of all this and yes, I understand that this will all be fine and that we are trusting in the Lord to keep us safe through all of this. But tonight is a rough night. Probably because I had Jon and Jack here almost the whole weekend and they just left. Or maybe it's because my ultrasound is tomorrow and to be honest, I'm terrified. I don't know what is causing all of it. I know that things have been somewhat stable, still contracting, but nothing excessive, no other signs of labor, but I'm still scared. I'm terrified that even stability doesn't mean that Monkey will stay inside. I'm scared that if I am stable enough to go home, I won't know I'm having contractions until it's too late and I'll deliver even earlier than expected. I'm scared if I go home, that no matter what, this baby will come sooner than later. For some reason, being in the hospital gives me the comfort of knowing that the doctors (and myself) did everything possible to keep this pregnancy going. If I go home, that's solely on me. What if I miss contractions AGAIN and I don't come in soon enough to be able to do anything about it? What if I feel like I'm doing fine and start thinking I'm ok to get up every so often, knowing what I should do, but thinking, oh putting in that load of laundry won't be a big deal and then that happens too much and it is a big deal? Will I know that I'm pushing myself too much before I'm seen again? I know that I'll have frequent doctor's appointments, but what if once a week isn't enough or I have major changes the day after I'm seen and don't realize it and I'm not scheduled to be seen again until next week, will I know? I have so many 'what ifs' that it's driving me nuts. I'm trying to keep my brain occupied by reading, watching movies, etc...but honestly, the best thing has been this new found hobby of crocheting. Sounds old ladyish...I know! But it keeps my mind busy. I have to count stitches, I have to figure things out and that is good for my very preoccupied mind right now!

But I'm still scared. I'm worried and nervous about what the future holds for us. If Monkey arrives in the next few weeks, what long term effects will we have? Will he/she have long term health problems because of this, will it be a miracle and he/she will turn out as perfectly healthy as Jack did? How will having a baby in the NICU affect Jack? Is he old enough to understand and comprehend all of this? Are we expecting too much out of him? I don't know. It's all of the unknowns that run through my brain. And all I can do right now is pray. Pray for understanding. Pray for peace. Pray for our family.

I had a friend stopped by today and it was the best conversation and exactly what I needed. She is a labor and delivery nurse so she understands this...from all sides. She has a son about Jack's age, so she gets how this affects our family. She's a labor and delivery nurse, so she understands all of my fears. Not that our other friends haven't been able to understand...it's just that she got it. She said a lot of things that made sense and put my mind at ease. Going through all of this is going to have to force Jon and I to do things and let go of things that we never have before. We don't have the complete control that we did before, and that's okay. She helped me realize that as tough as all of this is, this will make us stronger. Stronger as a couple, stronger as parents, stronger as a family. It was a blessing to have her stop by and I'm sure she'll never fully realize how awesome and amazing that was.

So yes, tonight is a tough night. Tomorrow will be another day. We will have more answers tomorrow about what the plan is and know more about how Monkey is doing. Pray that tomorrow is a better day! So in the mean time, I'm going to keep reminding myself day after day that God never, ever gives us more than we can handle. In every situation that He puts us in, He knows that we can handle it. He knows what He's doing and we just have to trust in His plan. Day by day...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 6

20 days until 32 weeks

34 days until 34 weeks

48 days until 36 weeks

Currently: 29 1/7 weeks

Same story...different day. I'm still having contractions here and there, but nothing consistent. Both Jon and I are anxious for Monday to get here so we can see if there has been any more dilation or thinning at all. We're praying for neither...anything steady and stable would be good. The biggest concern is that I'm not feeling the contractions every time they  happen. You'd think it wouldn't really be questionable, but at this stage in pregnancy, it is! Talk about frustration...I feel fine and then they tell me I had a few when I was on the monitor...oops, didn't notice those! That's really what is buying us our time in the hospital. We'll know more on Monday if there is a possibility of going home or not.  

Last night, Jon and Jack spent the night with me. It was so nice to finally have our family in one place for an entire night. While 6 days isn't all that long, it feels like an eternity all at the same time. Especially when it comes to our family and being together. Jack was excited to come up last night for our sleepover. He brought his sleeping bag and slept next to my bed. We watched Toy Story 3 and then went to bed. It took a little while for him to get settled, but I think he'll do better tonight. I reminded him that he needs to bring some of his movies from home, as there are only a few cartoons on the free movie list! Hopefully we all get a bit more sleep tonight.

The highlight of my day was getting to go outside for a while. Dr. MacNamara (one of the other perinatologists) gave me the go ahead for wheelchair rides a few times per day. We took Jack over to the front yard of the castle to run around. They have a nice path with big circles and squares to run around. He played at the fountain for a while. It was just a huge blessing to get some sunshine and fresh air...even if it was only for about 45 minutes. It'll be hard to see nice weather outside and not be able to enjoy it! A few days a week will be nice though! While I can tolerate these 4 walls, Jack has some troubles, rightfully so! It's a lot to ask a 3 1/2 year old to entertain himself and play in the confinements of a hospital room. I'm grateful that they'll let me go outside so he can burn off some energy.

Hopefully tomorrow is another boring day for us. Please continue to pray for our family and this growing miracle. We need all of the prayers we can get!! Thanks for checking in.

Jon, Libby, Jackson and Monkey

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 5...21 days to go

21 days until 32 weeks
         35 days until 34 weeks         
49 days until 36 weeks
Currently: 29 0/7 weeks

Well...it's day 5. The good news: I'm still pregnant! The bad news: I'm still in the hospital and not going anywhere anytime soon. I was hoping they'd do another ultrasound today, but Dr. VanEerden said that even if my cervix was thinner, we wouldn't change the plan that we're on, so he felt Monday was okay unless things change. I'm not having many contractions that I'm noticing (although, I feel like I've had some, just not when I'm being monitored). I'm not ruptured and I haven't shown any other signs of active labor. If that changes, then I'll have another ultrasound but unless things change we'll wait until Monday.

On Wednesday when I realized I probably wasn't going anywhere, I realized I needed something to do besides look through magazines, read books and watch TV. So I figured I could learn how to crochet. (crazy thought, I know!) Nikki stopped by Hobby Lobby for me and brought some yarn. I did lots of youtubing that day, trying to figure it out. Wasn't working out well, but I figured I had some time! Well, my night nurse, Sandy, came on and she knew how to crochet, so showed me how!! I made a hot pad thing of some sort (basically it's just a bunch of rows for practice). I figured if I could accomplish that, I could move onto a hat. So I made a hat, but it wasn't very big. It would fit Monkey if he/she arrived right now, but we don't want that, so it was just practice. I googled and found all sorts of blogs and started another one. Mission accomplished and I've made a hat! It's pretty girly, so Nikki is going to pick me up some more boyish yarn so there's a hat if this is a boy and one if it's a girl. I may have a hat for every day of the week done pretty soon!

Like I've said before, I'd rather sit here in the hospital any day, keeping this baby inside, than sit with our baby in the NICU. There are days that are very long, but I know that the days will be even longer and harder over there. At 29 weeks, there are so many complications that can happen and I keep reminding myself every time I start getting sad or start thinking about how much this sucks, that this is better for Monkey and better for all of us. At 29 weeks, we risk Monkey having breathing problems and ending up with life-time lung problems. Some babies have a hard time with feedings and have lots of issues with that. Every day that I can keep this baby inside reduces those risks minutely. Not a lot, but every day is one day better than the last. They say that every day the baby sits inside, decreases your NICU stay by 2-3 days. So even though it's hard missing every bedtime at home and it's hard not getting the extra snuggles that Jack wants in the morning and it's hard missing the good-bye hugs, every day is a better day than the last for Monkey. I sit here often and wonder why this is happening, why our family, why now but I know that God has a plan for us.

"For I know the plans that I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

We had that verse at our wedding and I think of it often through all of the things we've been through. I know and trust that God has a plan for us and that it is glorious. I know that God would not do anything to harm us, although at the time, it's devastating. He has a plan for us and everything happens for a reason. There is some sort of reason for this and although we don't know what it is, nor may we not until we meet God himself, I know that it will be okay. It's times like this that strengthen my faith, when some people would just question. I know through my whole mind and body that God knows what he is doing and he has a plan for us. I have to remind myself of this often, because it is very easy to slip back into the 'poor me' thought process. We have awesome doctors, my nurses are amazing. Nikki has been a huge help. Jon has been strong for me and Jack is doing alright. He's old enough to understand what's going on and accept what is happening. I'm sure there will be a break down at some point, (I mean...he's only 3, what do you expect!) but we will get through this with God that gives us strength.

Tonight we are having a sleepover and Jack is very excited. He's got his sleeping bag all ready to go, pjs packed and movies ready. I secretly think he's most excited about taking a bath in my big whirlpool tub, but let's be honest...who wouldn't be?!?! It's really nice! I'm ecstatic to see them tonight and have more than just a few hours with Jon and Jack. 

So for now, we're just hanging tight, baby-growing our way through the day! Thank you for your continued prayers and keep sending them our way!! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 4...24 to go

So here we are on Day 4 in the hospital. 24 more days to hit our first goal (32 weeks)! I had an ultrasound done this morning to check cervical length and unfortunately, it was down to 14 mm (from 18mm). So I'm still here. They decided against checking to see if I've dilated any more purely because my contractions have slowed down. They'll do another ultrasound in a few days and check cervical length again. If it remains stable, then they will check to see if I've dilated more with a possibility of going home if that is stable.

Right now, Monkey has flipped around and is now breech. But when you're only 28 weeks...there is still alot of room to flip and rotate around! The ultrasound tech did say that the fluid around the baby looked slightly low, but nothing to get worried about yet. Monkey still moves around a lot and is very active, which is great news.

Unfortunately, this is all just a waiting game. Waiting to see if my cervix is thinner...waiting to see if I've dilate more...waiting to see when this miracle will make it's entrance into the world! Our first goal is 32 weeks...and then we'll re-adjust our goal at that time. I asked Dr. VanEerden what my chances are of making it to 32 weeks, or 34 or 36 for that matter! Of course, it is hard to predict, but he did say that he has a mom next door who is pregnant with twins. She came in at 26 weeks, with a cervical length of 5mm and dilated to 5 cm. She's been in for 6 weeks and is still holding on. So with a story like that, it gives us hope!! Hope that the only thing we have to do is bedrest and we'll get through all of this with a healthy baby at the end!

There are so many things that you hope for when you find out that a baby is going to join your family. I think one of the last things people hope for is a term pregnancy...it's just expected. With every bump in the road along this pregnancy, it has shown me just how strong our marriage is, how strong our faith is, how strong our family is and how truly blessed we are. We have Nikki living with us and able to help out with Jack. We have a wonderful church family who is willing to help us out with Jack and help with meals. We have a wonderful team of doctors and nurses who are doing everything they can to keep this pregnancy going. We have a mom at our daycare who is a Child Life Specialist who can help Jack to understand a lot of this. We have Jen who has the patience of a saint with Jack, as he tries to understand all of this. It's summer, so we have my mom, Jon's mom, and Jon's aunts available to help since they're out of school. I have a group of nurses that I work with that stop by to break up my day. We have numerous friends who check in and pray. We truly are blessed with so many things. But most importantly, I've realized what an amazing husband I really have. Jon has been my rock and I am so thankful for that. I am lucky that he does so much with Jack and he isn't one of those dads who is just there. Jack is lucky to have a dad like him and I know that with our faith we will make it through all of this.

Well, that's probably enough for today. We'll see what tomorrow brings and go from there. Jon and Jack are going to come up for supper tonight. Last night was a bit too busy, so I'm anxious and excited to see them both! Thank you all for the continued prayers and keep 'em coming!!

Jon, Jack, Libby and Monkey

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 3...25 more to go for our goal

I've been waiting for Jon to bring our laptop up so I can keep everyone up-to-date! So Sunday afternoon we all came up so I could get my second betamethasone shot. I was expecting to come in, get my shot and continue on our day of groceries and graduation receptions....not so much! They hooked me up to the monitor to just check and I was having a few contractions. Couldn't feel them or didn't notice them, so they just kept watching. Got my shot, figured we'd be on our way, but then contractions started coming more frequently. My nurse kept asking if I noticed any and I said nope, not at all! Makes me a tad bit nervous that I'm not noticing something as important as contractions...yikes! Because of the frequency of contractions, the nurse suggested just staying for a few hours and watching things. So I sent Jack and Jon grocery shopping and waited...still contracting, so the nurse asked to check and see if there were any changes. Let the tears begin..."You're 1 cm dilated and about 60% effaced." Yikes...28 weeks and starting into labor is not a good thing. She called my perinatologist and the decision was made to start some medication and keep me in for at least 48 hours to watch things. So Jon took Jack home and got him settled in with Nikki and came back to the hospital. Took my first dose of Indocin...still contracting. Things slowed down until I needed my next dose early in the morning. Lots of contractions around that time, but then things started calming down.

So here we are, at Hotel Sanford, watching and waiting. When I first was pregnant and talking with my doctors, we had the goal of at least 37 weeks...they felt that was very possible and things looked good. So change in status as my cervical length wasn't so hot to start. Then the goal went to 34 weeks (when Jack came). Now the goal is 32 weeks. So that gives me 25 more days to go. Every day from here is absolutely a blessing. For every day that this baby stays inside, is said to save about 2-3 days in the NICU. From working in the NICU, we completely understand this. Dr. VanEerden was in this morning and I'm still having some contractions here and there...nothing consistent, nothing to get that excited about. But that does mean I'm still here. I'll be switching medications and POSSIBLY going home in the next few days. Doubtful, but possible. I'll have another ultrasound to see if my cervical length has shortened again and see if I've dilated anymore. That will depend on if my bedrest continues in the hospital or if it continues at home. Everything is a waiting game and as far as I'm concerned...I'll wait 70 days if it means I'll have a healthy, term baby. Please keep our family in your prayers as things are a bit crazy with coordinating schedules and Jack and everything. Thanks for checking in!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

28 weeks

Well...28 weeks before a scare is pretty good I guess! Nothing to panic about, everything is fine, just need closer monitoring now. If you don't like details, then don't keep reading please! I went to the bathroom yesterday afternoon and had a streak of blood. Now, I normally wouldn't panic about a small streak of blood, but this is exactly what happened when I started dilating and went into labor with Jack...so at 28 weeks, kinda scared me a bit!! I talked with my perinatologist (high risk OB doctor) and he wanted me to go in and get checked out just because of my history. Unfortunately Jon was golfing in a tournament (luckily in Brandon), but fortunately Nikki was home, so we ran Jack over to Erica's and headed into the hospital. I got checked in and the resident came and did an exam. Thank the Lord, my cervix was still closed. It looked like I had an infection of some sort and that's what caused a little bit of bleeding. They also checked a fetal fibronectin, which is a protein that can detect if you're going to go into labor and that was negative, which is good. She talked with Dr. VanEerden and he wanted them to do an ultrasound to check a cervical length (same thing I've been doing every 2 weeks). That's where things got interesting. I've been sitting around 26-30mm for my cervical length and yesterday, they got 22 mm....big change!! Dr. VanEerden had said if it went below 25mm, then that would mean steroid shots (to help boost the baby's lungs). So needless to say, I'll be getting 3 IM injections this weekend.  Two betamethasone (steroid) shots and my progesterone shot. So there's the scoop...Monkey looks really good and was active, cervix was closed, but just in case, we're doing the steroids to be cautious. I have another ultrasound on Monday and that may or may not result in bedrest. Please pray that my body will allow for Monkey to stay inside a LOT longer!! Every day/week from here on out is a blessing.