Thursday, August 20, 2015

Preeclampsia and Bed Rest

It's a pretty well known fact that life doesn't always go as planned. But for some reason, it always still seems to take me by surprise when the unexpected happens. Maybe the greatest way to live life would be with as little expectations and ideas about things that haven't happened as possible. But I'm a dreamer. I like to sit an imagine. I'm not always the practical or "worse case scenario" type of thinker. Okay actually I tend to romantize practically anything that has a degree of beauty to it and is something to look forward to. I think for a long time I thought I had to stop looking forward to things and having high and excited expectations. But that just isn't me. What I have figured though is that I have to change my response when those expectations don't happen. For instance until this Tuesday, just two days ago, I had a normal and healthy pregnancy. Sure I was pretty dang tired and felt a bit off at times. But nothing a very pregnant woman with two small children wouldn't feel. I figured I would carry this baby until he came (hopefully a week or two early) on his own. But I knew since I carried Rosemary until 40 weeks and 3 days, he could possibly be a late baby. I wasn't really expecting to be diagnosed with preeclampsia this week. 

I have always hoped since having Blanche that she would be my "tough pregnancy." I was hoping the statistics would be in my favor. That my first baby was my preeclampsia baby and then it would never happen again. I had postpardum high blood pressure and had been re-admitted to the hospital after Rosemary. I told myself it was probably nothing too serious but more cautionary because of my first pregnancy with Blanche. But baby number three, he was going to be my baby to prove to myself that blood pressure and preeclampsia wasn't an issue. I've bad great readings this entire time. Until Tuesday. My readings were over 150/90. All three times. I had blood drawn that day. I was sent home with supplies to collect all my urine for the next 24 hours. I started crying as we merged onto the interstate. Sometimes doctors say a lot of things in a short amount of time. They stay calm and list possible outcomes. I stay calm because they are calm. But then all the sudden it all hits me at once. 

There's not a lot of reason to go into everything that went on yesterday. Even for the sake of my blood pressure it's good to focus on what I do know and as much of "the plan" that I know. I went into the hospital last night because Andrew was getting readings over 155/100. Or around that at least. I stayed over night to be monitored and to finish labs. The good news is with rest and a calm environment my blood pressure is stable. My preeclampsia is on the mild end, and I'm thankful for a good medical team catching complications early. 

There are always questions of what if, or have I done everything as healthy as possible? I love the ideas of homebirth, and we try and live and eat healthy and natural. I have had my fair share of P Terry's cheeseburgers this pregnancy. But probably not too much more than the average pregnant woman. Andrew cooks mostly vegan at home and we eat all organic and mostly minimally processed foods. I'm an active person and love to hike and be outdoors. Sometimes what I read and wish for in natural child birth books just don't work for me. I've been taking my prenatals from Whole Foods, taking a daily probeitic, and having daily smoothies filled with fruits, greens, and even strange protein powder that has things like quinoa and amaranth. I say all this because the more I experience life as a mother, the more I realize sometimes you do all you can and it might still not be good enough in the eyes of some. The most powerful mothers I've seen are those that empower. And that pregnancy and labor and birth are hard and great achievements no matter how it's done. I'm also taking this experience to be greatful for the medical world and knowing that my baby and I will greatly benefit from the resources they provide. 

I wrote all this because I'm laying in bed. For about two weeks. I've been assigned bedrest and two doctor visits a week until 37 weeks. Andrew will check my blood pressure at least twice a day. My mom is flying in to help on Saturday. Andrew's mom is also planning to help. Andrew is off work for the time and he's doing it all.

The pictures above tell the story of the night and day I went into the hospital. The girls got a package from my mom with matching pjs. They wore them to take me to the hospital. Rosemary's pjs are only size 18 months but of course they were sliding off her little bottom. As I stood nervously about to get in the van to go to the hospital I had to laugh looking at Rosemary climb into the van. Blanche gave her a big boost on the bottom and then pulled up her pants. I told Andrew that's what sisters are for. When I woke up at the hospital missing the girls I sent them a picture of "my funny slippers that fill with air" and a picture of me waiting for my breakfast. They thought the slippers were so funny and then wanted to FaceTime. I tried to micro manage Andrew from the hospital and tell him that maybe they could all go to the park. He joked with me to stop trying to manage him from across the city and that the were already having adventures. 

** I came home yesterday afternoon after my diagnosis, and I've only been getting up to use the potty. Andrew is cooking, cleaning, playing and helping everyone. He made me a healthy dinner and brought the girls little table in the bedroom so they could eat by me. Then he vaccumed their mess so I would stay calm. 

I can tell that sometimes I am having swelling in my face. And the last two afternoons even while resting my blood pressure elevates. It's all a little scary to me being I've seen the worst with my sister and her full blown eclampsia at 32 weeks with my nephew. Obviously ours is genetic and is a problem that runs in the family. Luckily both nights my blood pressure has dropped below hypertension and I wake up feeling pretty good. The next two weeks will be about me being as careful as possible. I go to the doctor again today. Thankfully my preeclampsia is in the mild stage but it can change very quickly so careful monitoring is needed. 

For those family and friends that are praying for us, thank you so much. Pray the girls can have a good understanding on what it means to be calm and gentle with mommy, so that they can still come in the room with me. I am praying I can stay calm and rested for the next two weeks. I'll be 35 weeks on Sunday and likely induced at 37 weeks. I'm praying the baby would be healthy and strong. That Andrew won't over do it. That my mom can have the energy to help as she gets the hang of the girls. And also for my mother in law, who just happened to have out patient surgery on her foot the same day I went into the hospital. It's frustrating when things time like that because I know she wants to help and do anything she can, but right now she has her foot up to heal. 

One day at a time. Before I went into the hospital, or even had a positive result on having preeclampsia, I thought about "Give us this day our daily bread." God is the great provider and sustainer. And really all of these things are just a bunch of little things that make life more complicated. But if I can keep calm and fairly healthy we will probably be having a baby in two weeks. It all feels like a whirlwind, but the feeling yesterday of coming home to my husband and girls was the best feeling there is, and I'm excited to add another life to our family. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Happy Happy

Yesterday Andrew and I celebrated five years of marriage. That morning we said cheers and tapped our big mason jars together that were filled with smoothie. I was standing in maternity shorts and a nursing bra, my big pregnant belly sticking out. Andrew was about to head to work, the girls were running around, I was trying to prepare myself for another mid-shift of his. Meaning he leaves for work about ten or eleven and comes back right at bedtime. There are pros and cons to every shift he works, like I love being able to sleep in a bit and have him home for bedtime. But it also means I do most of the daily work and the day with him feels rushed. But that one little moment, where we were both standing in the kitchen while the mid morning light shinned through... later that day it kept coming back to me. So much of our life looks like that right now. My big round belly sticking out, my emotions all over the place, Andrew working hard to keep us all together and happy. And the girls running in circles around us, while we stand next to each other drinking vegan protein smoothies and knowing it can't be this crazy forever.

On nights like tonight, when I was sitting at the dinner table and felt like my children were literally wild animals... I thought about some of my friends that don't have kids. At first I was jealous of their freedom and energy that they probably don't even know they have. But as I sat there achey from this third almost full term pregnancy and my other two children wouldn't even let me think without being interrupted, I was so glad I am doing this now. I'm not even thirty. I turned twenty-nine just a couple of weeks ago. So I tell myself that those friends I am jealous of are going to be so old and so tired by the time they get to this. And maybe it's a bit snotty and not even true. But I like to tell myself I am doing this right. That maybe I can just laugh at how old my friends will be once they get to having their third child, rather than sit and cry and ask to be rescued from my own life.

Andrew has been amazing at helping me get through this last little stretch. On his days off he has spent a lot of quality time with the girls. Blanche literally calls him "Good King" and she told me yesterday that she calls him the Good King because he is a good daddy. I text Andrew the conversation and told him that I am too pregnant to hear these kind of things. He has done everything from building forts to reading books and sitting in their tiny pink baby pool with them. I am confident in his ability to care for the girls, which puts me at such ease to have this newborn and spend quality time with him those first several days.

The pictures above start with Andrew wearing both girls. He often wears Rosemary when she needs to go down, and I'm too worn out to do so. Lately, Blanche keeps asking to be worn. Which at first was funny to me because although she was worn in the ergo as a baby, she hasn't be worn in a long time. Since about two she has always preferred to run as a wild woman over being contained in a carrier. But maybe she senses the change coming soon. Maybe she is just jealous of Rosemary. But it means a lot to me that Andrew would even attempt to walk around the house for awhile with both of them strapped to him. And for the record, Blanche is only pretending to be asleep.

The next several pictures are from my birthday. The girls really made it special. Blanche was so excited that it was my birthday. I helped her hang scarves and silks around the table, and she and Andrew picked flowers from our yard. My good friend Jaclyn came over with her two little girls. Andrew cooked veggie tacos, and Blanche was ready to entertain. She had on her Easter dress and decorated the living room with toys. I felt very loved that day.

The rest of the pictures are from Andrew's days off and us helping the girls find things to do when its a hundred degrees outside. I've always had a hard time as a mother when the weather keeps us inside. The noise is louder and the messes seem greater. I love my children, but being inside multiple days in row are hard. I have pregnancy brain, pregnancy aches, and my hands are swollen as soon as I wake up each day. A hundred and two degrees does nothing to help. Six weeks though. That's about what I have left. So much of it is a mental game I play with myself. I just have to keep telling myself that I can do it. It is as much emotional for me at the end as physical. I feel tired and lonely and weak. I want to have energy and be social and feel strong. But it is a season and before I know it, it will be fall.

All of these paragraphs feel like rambling to me. I wanted to sit down and write something better. But maybe my mind is a bit gone. Its enough to keep documenting. To take pictures of those changing faces and write out what is happening. Blanche is growing up into a four year old. She sings parts from the original Annie. The last couple of days she's been singing, "Oh you're never fully dressed without a ... " and then interrupting herself and pretending to be Ms. Hannigan says, "Do I hear... happiness?" Rosemary is saying new words every day. She can even have little conversations using words like, "Yep. No. K." The girls fight like cats and dogs but then Blanche will share her last gummy bear without being asked after Rosemary inhaled the ones she was given. (Don't judge I've been popping a few gummy bears to make it through the days... we have a big glass jar on top of the fridge) Life is good. Life is nuts. The girls are exhausting but make life exciting. Rosemary has started saying, "Happy happy" when she is happy. And it's at the cutest times. Like after bath when she is getting ready for bed or when we she is going outside to eat a popsicle and swim. We will survive these last few weeks. Maybe they'll watch too many shows but I am giving them a brother. I think that's a pretty good gift.