28 weeks

For so long 28 weeks seemed unreachable, but we’ve done it!! TWENTY-EIGHT weeks today!!

28 Week sign hanging up in my hospital room!

Let me take a minute to reflect on how far we’ve come and appreciate the support we’ve gotten.

We started this bedrest adventure seven weeks ago, at 21 weeks, with the doctors not sure if I’d make it to 24 weeks (viability and 50% chance of surviving). My cervix was extremely short and funneling, and they had to do an emergency cerclage (stitch in my cervix) just to give little Euro a chance of making it. I was also put on weekly progesterone shots and strict home bedrest since it appeared that the cerclage had stabilized my cervix.

After two weeks of bedrest at home, I was admitted to the hospital at 23 weeks 4 days because my cervix had funneled all the way to the cerclage, which was the only thing keeping little Euro from coming out!  Once again the doctors weren’t sure if I’d make it to 24 weeks or much past that so they put me on long term bedrest at the hospital and went ahead and gave me two rounds of steroids to help Euro’s lungs develop and give him/her a better chance of making it if born.

Amazingly, not only did we make it past 24 weeks, but here we are at 28 weeks and still holding steady.  My cervix is still funneled all the way to the cerclage and it could still rip at any time (which would pretty much guarantee Euro coming shortly after that), but we’re taking it one day at a time and that’s been working pretty well for us so far!

What else has helped us during this difficult time is the amazing support we’ve gotten from our friends and family. I’ve been on bedrest at the hospital for 4.5 weeks and there have only been a handful of days that I haven’t had visitors. I’ve also been lucky enough to receive more than one awesome care package that has helped to keep me busy and my mind occupied! On the digital side of things, I’ve gotten encouraging e-mails, texts, Facebook messages and comments from more people than I could even start to name! This ongoing support and caring from so many people has been overwhelming and humbling, and yet so very very needed and appreciated! Thank you!!

Now that I’ve reflected and said my thank you’s, let’s get to the good stuff… how is Euro doing?

Euro once again scored a perfect 8/8 biophysical and is up to 2lbs 4oz!! The little one is crazy active and I’m pretty sure was having a party in my tummy this morning to celebrate being 28 weeks! When I get monitored it shows up as a little black box on the monitoring strip and this morning Euro’s strip was almost straight black from being busy the whole time!

As for me, Euro’s incubator, I got my 28 week blood work done on Monday and got a perfect A+. The doctor said I was completely health (other than my inconveniently incompetent cervix) and was even surprised that I didn’t have anything even slightly wrong.  She said that most people have at least something a little high or a little low, but literally my blood work was golden! Along with my blood work, on Thursday morning they checked my weight since I haven’t been weighed since my first day at the hospital. Strangely enough I weigh 1lb less than I did a month ago!  So, since being in the hospital I’ve lost a pound and Euro has gained almost a pound. The doctor didn’t seem concerned though because Euro is growing right on track and I’m healthy. It does make me wonder though what my weight would have been if I wasn’t in the hospital or on bedrest!

Our next big goal is 32 weeks (almost 100% survivability and no long term health issues), but for now I’m still taking one day at a time and celebrating each of these days as if it’s a major milestone!

Observations from bedrest – week 6

I have now spent six weeks on bedrest and four weeks of it at the hospital.  Of the four weeks at the hospital I have left my room a total of ONE time.  Yes, I have been in the same hospital room lying in the same bed for FOUR weeks and only got out once, for an ultrasound, and even that was in my bed!

Kona and Dad hanging out in the hospital room.

Now for my random observations for the week:

  • The longer I’m in the hospital the more homey my room looks.
  • The longer I’m in the hospital the more of my things from home end up here. James is seriously worried that we might need to rent a U-Haul to get everything home once I’m finally released.
  • My Dad was really cute when he felt Euro move for the first time.  The little one was definitely putting on a show and making my whole stomach move and ripple.
  • It’s amazing how much fall window clings and a few decorations can liven up a room and make you feel better.  Thanks Liz!!!

Fall Window Decorations

  • My hair is a lost cause. Bedrest and thick curly hair do not mix well together.
  • My hair stylist is going to cry when she sees my hair once I get off bedrest. Sorry Kelly!!
  • Some friends & family (that will go un-named) have been trying to use me to satisfy their own cravings! What sick sick people to take advantage of a pregnant woman on long term strict bedrest! 😉

Example 1: Friend – Hey Kona would you like some Cold Stone? Me – No, I’m fine. Friend – Are you sure? Me – Yes.  Then the friend gets here and tells me they are disappointed because THEY wanted Cold Stone!

Example 2: Family Member – Kona how about Dunkin Donuts this morning? Me – No, I’m fine with my Raisin Bran. Family – Are you sure I couldn’t get you some yummy chocolate glazed doughnut holes? Me – Yes.  Then the family member gets here and ends up asking another family member if they’ll go get chocolate glazed doughnut holes for him/her because he/she would really like some.

  • After four weeks, it is amazing to have shaved legs!! Thank you, thank you, thank you James!!

James making an "icky" face because my legs are so hairy!

  • I’ve decided that I want to give birth standing up. After laying so much, I feel like I will not want to get back in bed, even if it is to give birth to a baby.  The nurses have all laughed at me when I’ve shared this insight with them.
  • It’s pretty easy to see where little Euro is hiding out when I lay flat on my back.  The little one makes a big enough lump that normally you don’t even have to feel around for him/her. I thought this was normal until a few nurses commented on it. Either I’m small or the little one is big.  I’m hoping the little on is big!!
  • Even after almost 35 years (coming this October) my parents are still pretty cute together.

Mom & Dad dancing at Ty & Austin's wedding (2010)

  • I am very proud of my Dad for using the computer to surf the web on his own, but listening to the ongoing conversation between him and the computer (no, luckily the computer didn’t talk back) is kind of annoying. This is only amplified by the fact I was stuck in bed and he was right next to me.
  • Bridesmaids was not nearly as cute/funny as I wanted it to be, but it did have its moments.
  • I can tell if it’s sunny, overcast, or foggy; otherwise I have no clue of the temperature, wind, rain, humidity, or anything else.
  • I come from a long line of strong independent women. This was confirmed when my 80 year old Grandma whipped out a knife (yes, a real knife, not a pocket knife – which she also had) out of her purse when my Aunt Linda said she needed something to cut with. This was further confirmed when my Grandpa mentioned that my Great-Grandma Fox use to carry a gun in hers! Not sure if he was kidding or not, but I do know she carried a shotgun under the seat of her truck!

Grandma Jones in 1951 - still just as sassy!

  • I’m still not very interested in movies/TV or reading, so keeping busy with work really is keeping me sane and providing a much needed cognitive outlet.
  • Typing sideways while lying down is miserable. It’s not comfortable, nor does it lend itself to accurate typing; I can’t see the keyboard and have to feel around for the right key.
  • Having a little newborn outfit hanging by my bed is a strong motivator to stay in this bed and be good! I want to make sure little Euro is big to fit in the outfit (5-8lbs) when he/she is born.

Cute froggy outfit, check out those feet! My mom said it reminded her of the frogs in our pond at home!

  • Being able to order off the “café” menu at the hospital has saved me from the regular bland hospital food! Only long term patients with no diet restrictions get to order off this menu, so I guess my long term stay has a few benefits.
  • The bottoms of my feet are crazy sensitive from not putting hardly any pressure on them for six weeks.
  • I don’t know how I’m ever going to be able to thank all of the amazing people that are supporting us through this pregnancy.
  • I’ve heard people say that babies are more active during the night because during the day they are rocked to sleep by Mom’s movements.  Euro is active all day long and then on and off (mostly off) during the night. Do you think bedrest is effecting Euro’s in utero sleep/wake cycle? Do you think this might effect Euro’s sleep/wake cycle after being born? I think there is a research study in here somewhere.
  • It’s amazing how many random thoughts I can continue to have after this many weeks on bedrest.

Overall I think I’m doing ok or at least as I well as I can be in this situation. I’m trying to stay positive and focus on how far we’ve gotten, but some days are definitely harder than others. If you’re counting down with me, we’ve got six weeks of bedrest down and nine more to go to get to our goal of 36 weeks pregnant.

Shaving on bedrest

Part of the fun with bedrest and only showering once a week (and only having enough time during that shower to wash your hair) is that I haven’t been able to shave my legs in four weeks! Yes, four weeks!  And unfortunately, the hair on my legs takes after the hair on my head in that it’s thick and dark. Thus, my legs have been looking decidedly unfeminine and kind of icky.

Due to the long termness of my situation, I’d pretty much resigned myself to not having smooth legs until after little Euro comes (yes, scary I know!).  Yet, my wonderful husband had different plans.

Out of nowhere during one of his visits, he started gathering up shaving supplies from around my room and running hot water. I was completely taken off guard because I’d never complained to him about wanting to shave my legs or even hinted about him doing it for me, but here he was getting stuff ready to shave my legs for me.

We ended up positioning me sideways on the bed with my legs up on the adjustable tray next to my bed.  James had a tub of hot water and a washcloth to wet down my legs and proceeded to meticulously shave my legs!

It was slightly awkward and kind of messy, but James did an great job shaving my legs and it felt AMAZING when he was done! I don’t think there are words to express my gratitude and it definitely earned him husband of the year!!

27 weeks

Wow, TWENTY-SEVEN weeks!! We made it one more week closer to our next big goal of 28 weeks!!

27 weeks sign hanging in my hospital room!

This week was blissfully boring and other than a few highlights passed by quite uneventfully.

Little Euro got another biophysical profile scan on Tuesday and this time passed with a perfect 8/8! Last time the little one was at 6/8 because the tech didn’t see any practice breaths. This time though Euro was not only practicing breathing, but also hiccuping – both of which count towards the last 2 points we were missing on the biophysical! Go Euro!!

The practice breaths don’t mean Euro could actually breathe if born right now, just that the little one is practicing and strengthening his/her lungs which is really important for when the little one is finally born (which we hope is a long time from now!).

Luckily James was visiting when they did the ultrasound/biophysical so not only did he get to see the practice breaths and hiccups (which he was videotaping just like any proud Daddy), he also got to see the little one swishing around doing all sorts of baby tricks.

Otherwise, Euro is doing a good job growing, being very very active, and avoiding the monitors as much as possible.  I asked James if he thinks little Euro is going to be this active after being born and his response was if the little one is anything like him then YES!

Yet Euro’s not the only one growing; apparently I’m also getting bigger! Every weekend when my Mom comes to visit she always swears I’ve gotten bigger from the previous weekend. James is also a sweetheart and makes sure to tell me how “fat” I’m getting! Don’t worry, he’s been saying that since I first got pregnant so not only am I use to it, I know he’s kidding!! Besides, we’ve gotten into a routine of him telling me how fat I am and me telling him it’s his fault because I’m big with HIS baby!

Kona briefly standing up to show how big the belly has gotten. P.S. Ignore the crazy bedrest hair!

Twenty-seven weeks is a pretty big milestone since we are now only 1 week away from our next big achievement and because we started this battle (and bedrest) at 21 weeks.  At that time the doctors were hoping I’d make it to 24 weeks, which I not only achieved but have passed by 3 weeks!! For now we are still taking it one day at a time, but I really hope we make it at least one more week… if not many many more!!

Observations from bedrest – week 5

Yes, I’ve made it FIVE weeks on bedrest. It seems impossible that I’ve been lying around for that long; two weeks at home and three at the hospital.

James loving on Kona and little Euro

As for a timeline for how much longer I’ll be on bedrest, that’s pretty much up to my body.  Our doctor says I’ll be on bedrest for either:

  • Another 10 weeks  – that would get us to our goal of 36 weeks and a full term baby. At this point the doctor would take out my cerclage and let nature take its course.
  • OR until the baby comes –  which could literally happen today, next week, next month, etc… there is just no way to tell and because of my cervix there is nothing they could do to stop it if I go into pre-term labor.

So, this going to sound strange, but hopefully I will be on bedrest for another TEN weeks!

And now to my random observations for the week:

  • Using lotion instead of that icky blue gel makes three monitorings a day a little more tolerable! Now instead of having a sticky/tacky tummy, I have a super smooth soft tummy!
  • Having an “air” hospital bed is much better than a regular hospital bed. Only LONG term patients get these special beds, so (1) I guess I’m special and (2) I guess I’m going to be here a while.
  • Having cheerful pillow cases makes an amazing difference on your spirits. Thank you Mom!
  • Having a bright and colorful fuzzy blanket does even more for your spirits! Thank you Liz and Steve!!

Love this bright and cheerful blanket!!

  • Thanks to the generosity of my family and friends I’m getting to experience the amazing diversity of restaurants in Urbana/Champaign.
  • Strangely enough I’m still having problems getting into reading. Normally I’m a voracious reader, but even with my Kindle and any book I could want from Amazon, I just haven’t been reading hardly at all.
  • Same thing for watching movies. I’m really not that interested unless someone is here watching with me.
  • I really am a crazy organizing freak that doesn’t feel comfortable unless things have a place to go and are put there.  I completely recognize this because I had James and my Mom get me small plastic containers so I could organize the stuff in my hospital room.  This weekend my Mom helped me get things organized into containers and put away and I feel SO much better now!!!
  • I have the sweetest husband. He skipped his family reunion on Sunday to come and be with me – even though I told him weeks ago that he should go to the reunion. When I asked him what he was doing at the hospital (he just showed up and surprised me) he said, I saw most of my family yesterday (at his Aunt & Uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary), but I hadn’t seen you in a while. Yes, my heart melted.
  • I love leftovers and the nurses are so nice about heating them up for me! Side note – I have a mini-fridge in my room which makes it perfect for leftovers and other goodies.
  • My mom really is great company and gives amazing back and neck/shoulder rubs!
  • My lips are no longer chapped – Thanks Nancy, but still think I would have preferred a kitty! 😉
  • Pumpkin muffins are my new addiction. It is probably a good thing that I’m on bedrest and can’t go get them myself!
  • My room is pretty chilly – normally in the high 60’s – but this seems to be working well for my flowers! Amazingly enough I have some from three weeks ago that are still holding on!
  • I’m loving the maternity yoga pants. Finally had James bring them to the hospital and today I had to order another pair in a different color because I don’t want to take these off!
  • Can’t remember the last time I looked in a mirror.
  • I don’t laugh nearly enough anymore.
  • I’ve picked out colors for the nursery – Yellow, green, and…. Sorry, you’ll have to wait a while longer to get that last color! 😉
  • It’s nice that some faculty either don’t realize I’m on (and have been on) bedrest. To me this means that I’m doing a good enough job helping them that everything seems “normal.”
  • I really really miss going to work. Not that I didn’t like going to work before, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.
  • The food at Carle might not be the best, but at least I can get breakfast all day long!
  • I think I spend too much time thinking. Unfortunately it’s hard not to when you’re in this situation.
  • Redbox is pretty cool. Who knew you could look up specific locations online to see what movies they have in stock and even reserve them? Thanks Ty & Austin!
  • This might sound pathetic, but Facebook really has helped me feel connected to the outside world.
  • Almost every day my amazing sister-in-law has been sending me stories of James as a child. This has been an amazing gift that is priceless! Thank you Joanna!!

One more week down and (hopefully) many more to go! Here’s to bedrest and the continued growth and development of baby Euro!

 

26 weeks

One more week down! We made it to 26 weeks – technically 26 weeks 1 day as of today!!

26 Week sign hanging in my hospital room!

We are now two weeks past our initial goal of 24 weeks (viability) and have two more weeks to go to our next goal of 28 weeks. At 28 weeks the chance of survival goes up to somewhere in the 90% range, but unfortunately there still remains a good chance of long term health problems.

There appears to be some variability in the survival rates of 28 week old babies, ranging from 9096%.

This week was mostly boring baby wise. The little one had an ultrasound on Monday that showed a healthy active baby, but one that was head butting Mommy’s cervix!! As the ultrasound tech and I were looking at my cervix, the baby started head butting it and causing it to slightly open up.  Technically my cervix was already open (just looked closed), but seeing the little one hammering on my cervix was enough for me to decide to have a serious conversations with said little one about needing to stay inside Mommy where it is safe and warm.

Otherwise, all of my daily monitoring showed a very active little baby whose heart beat was perfect and only an occasional little contraction here and there for me (which the doctor was not concerned about).

Here’s hoping the next week is just as uneventful and goes quickly!

 

How to visit Kona

A friend and coworker of mine asked me if I could give her directions to where I’m at so she could come and visit.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to help her since I’ve never actually entered the hospital the normal way (I’ve always been admitted straight from my doctors office), so I told her to ask James.  The e-mail he sent her in response was so classic James – and pretty funny – that I had to share at least some of it on our blog.

The following excerpt starts in the hospital outside the elevator:

Push the up button and wait for the elevator to show up and the little up arrow to light.  Don’t get on one going down, although there is only one floor below that one.

When the door opens, wait for anyone on it to leave and then get on board.  Press the button for 11 on the elevator panel, which will be on the left side as you enter the elevator.  If you’re lucky, someone else may be there and then you can just ask them to press 11 for you.

The elevator does not stop at 5, so do not count the buzzes as it changes floors.  Wait for it to say 11 and open.

Go around the corner to the right and you will encounter double doors marked OB/GYN or something like that.

If you have a code, then you can punch it in on the numeric keypad.  Otherwise pick up the phone and dial the number on the placard next to the phone.  Tell them you’d like to visit 1146 and they’ll open the doors for you.

Once the doors open, walk through them.  If you try to walk through them before they open, a buzzer will sound for 15 seconds.  It’s kind of like a fire alarm, but no people rushing in to evacuate you.

Walk past the nurse’s station (on the left) to the double doors on the left immediately past it.  Open one of the doors and go through.

1146 is the very first door on the right after the double doors.  Knock and give Kona a chance to get decent.

If she instead takes the time to hide, just look around.  It’s a small room and there’s not really much of a place she can go except for down to the ultrasound room in the basement.

When you leave, reverse the process.  Except open _both_ of the double doors immediately outside her room.  If you don’t have a code, then tell the nurse you would like to leave and she’ll open the door for you.

When you leave the garage, they’ll want you to pay, depending on the time of the day you’re there.  I believe the first thirty minutes is free.  It’s $1.50 for between 1 and 2 hours or  $2.25 for 2 to 6 hours.  Don’t know about less than an hour, never been there that short of a time.  If you’re there more than 6 hours, leave already, she needs to pee.

When I first started reading his directions I thought he was just being very thorough, but the further I got, I realized he was inserting some pretty funny stuff into what should have been dry and straightforward directions!

Just one more reason I adore my husband… his off beat sense of humor!

Observations from bedrest – week 4

Here are my random observations from my fourth week of bedrest and my second week of hospital bedrest.

  • Flowers really really cheer up a room!

Love all the beautiful flowers in my window!

  • TV really is a pointless waste of time.
  • It is unbelievable how ratty my hair can get from just laying (and tossing and turning) on it for a week.
  • As long as you have a daily sponge bath, showering once a week is doable. Not enjoyable or preferable, but definitely doable.
  • Right now my sole function is to serve as a baby incubator.
  • I miss my husband.
  • Typing while lying sideways and your feet are higher than your head is not conducive to accuracy or comfort.
  • My Mom takes amazing care of me when she visits on the weekend.

Mom checking out how comfy the bed is

  • I need to figure how to win the lotto or something so my Mom can retire early.
  • Having the volume for the TV come through the sideboards of the hospital bed is not good. The lowest volume setting is still WAY too loud for me, yet if anyone is watching TV with me they can’t hear it unless I crank it way up.
  • I drink a crazy amount of water every day; normally over 120 oz which is basically a gallon of water.
  • I go to the commode a crazy number of times every day. I don’t count, but my Mom and Aunt Linda were making fun of me for going so much.
  • As much as I love hearing little Euro’s heartbeat and movement on the monitor, getting it done three times a day for at least thirty minutes (if they can get the little one to stay on) is my least favorite part of the day.

Hanging out on the monitor

  • Having the nurse put the bright cheerful 25 Weeks sign up in my room on Friday (when I hit 25 weeks) felt really really good.
  • I’m glad CMT still plays music videos in the morning; wish MTV still played music.
  • For some reason my lips have been chapped ever since going on bedrest. Normally they are never chapped and I have no idea what it is about bedrest that is making them chapped.
  • My entire bed shakes when the helicopter flies in and out of the hospital. First time it happened I thought it was an earthquake.
  • The small things in life really do make a BIG difference.

Overall bedrest could be better, but it could be a lot worse.  The little one is keeping put and I’m getting all the care that I need to make sure the little one stays in as long as possible!

25 weeks

Twenty-five weeks!! We made it to 25 weeks – technically 25 weeks 3 days as of today!!

25 Weeks sign hanging up in my hospital room

This last week was wonderfully uneventful. I did my part to keep little Euro cooking and Euro did his/her part by staying in where it is warm and cozy.

We had an ultrasound on Tuesday (the 6th) that showed Euro weighing in at 1lb 7oz with a biophysical profile of 6/8.  This means the little one was absolutely perfect except they didn’t see any practice breaths being taken.  I talked to the doctor about this and she said at this stage it’s not a big deal and is actually hard to catch. If we did see practice breaths that would be great, but she wouldn’t really expect to see any until 27 or 28 weeks.

The doctor also said it was really good that Euro is moving so much and it means the little one is feeling good and growing.  When I then told the doctor that as much as I appreciate all the movement because I know it’s good, little Euro is actually getting a little rambunctious and some of it is actually hurting a little, the doctor said that was good because they normally don’t see that until a few weeks from now. I guess in some ways Euro is ahead of the curve… just like Daddy already, an overachiever!

At this point – safely to 25 weeks and no complications other than the short cervix – our doctor said we could take a little breath of relief.  She said she’ll feel much much better when we make it to 27-28 weeks (notice not if, but when!), but after everything that’s happened, I’ll take it! 🙂

Observations from bedrest – week 3

Random Observations from my third week of bedrest and first full week of hospital bedrest

Kona on hospital bedrest - notice my head lower than the rest of my body?

This last week has been quite a change and an adjustment compared to my previous weeks of bedrest.  Being at home was much better, but I know our best bet of a healthy baby is chateau Carle Hospital for the rest of the pregnancy!

So, in no specific order, here’s what I’ve observed from my first (of hopefully many) week in the hospital.

  • Hospital TV is way worse than TV at home.
  • Ordering from a menu and having someone bring you your food can be good. Having the menu NEVER change and the food taste like cafeteria food is not good.
  • People must realize how bad hospital food is because everyone keeps bringing me food! I am being spoiled by the treats people are bringing me! Thank you!
  • It is possible to lose something on a 3ft X 6.5ft bed that you’re not allowed to leave.
  • Sleeping through the night is impossible. On the positive side, I’ll be completely use to it by the time little Euro comes!
  • Flowers really do make a room feel more cheerful.
  • Getting a pedicure really helps your spirits.
  • Never underestimate your brother and sister-in-law! Utilizing the power of the Internet they found me the one thing I had actually been craving! Chick-fil-A!! There’s one hiding in the University of Illinois Student Union building just a few miles from the hospital!
  • I can be just as productive work wise at the hospital as I was at home.
  • I love clean sheets! Especially after not being allowed out bed for five days!
  • I know I’ve said it before, but my Mom truly is the absolute best. This has been the seventh weekend in a row I’ve seen her and the fourth that she has come just to take care of me. Her love and willingness to take care of me like this is overwhelming and a true testament to the power of a mother’s love.
  • Still no make-up, regular clothes, or doing my hair. My current priority is just to be reasonably clean and have a fresh nightshirt to wear every day.
  • I am so thankful that even though things are uncertain, every ultrasound shows that little Euro continues to grow and is absolutely perfect.
  • I’ve decided to get Euro started with books.  I’m reading the little one two of my favorites, Jamberry and Barnyard Dance, every chance I get.
  • Having some of your own pillows from home are a wonderful treat and much more comfortable than the hospital ones.
  • I really hope my houseplants survive my hospital stay.
  • Snuggling in a hospital bed with your sweetie is completely possible and does amazing things for your spirit!
  • There are some amazing nursers, techs, and doctors at Carle Hospital. I am very lucky to be here.
  • After a full three weeks of bedrest it now feels kind of wrong to stand up; even if it’s only for a few minutes.
  • Each day little Euro stays cooking is a milestone and should be celebrated and appreciated.
  • As much as James doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, he really is affected by all of this and needs just as much support if not more than I do.  If you haven’t already (or even if you have), send him your love and support and keep him in your thoughts as we go through this uncertain time.

James hanging out at the hospital and writing a computer program to help us pick the perfect name for little Euro! And yes, it did seem to help!