Friday, July 23, 2010

Look at us now!

Just over three years ago the last in a long list of treatments gave us 5 tiny but oh so precious little embryo's. Two of those turned into our now 2 1/2 year old twins. Their start in life was scary and premature and there were times when I feared for their lives, their futures. But against all odds they have since grown into two of the most amazing toddlers the planet has ever seen.

A year ago today (well, okay, yesterday) was the day a very faint blue line told me the third and last survivor of those 5 little embryo's had settled itself in my uterus and dug itself deep down into my heart. His start 7 months later wasn't nearly as premature or scary as that of his big brother and sister, but he is just as big of a miracle as they are.

Look at those three little eggs now!

Just over three years ago I had almost lost hope of ever becoming a mother. That last IVF was brutal. I was just about ready to throw in the towel. With every injection all I could think was "After this cycle, I am NEVER going to empty another syringe into my belly! I give up!!" I almost DID give up. The very last shot was delivered by my husband, their father, because I just couldn't do it anymore. I was done. Beaten. Without hope.

And look at me now...

I am a mother!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

We're home, and all is well!

Yes, it IS a boy! He was born on March 4th, at 36w1d. A very respectable term, considering all that's been happening with this pregnancy the past couple of months. We never expected to get this far!

It was a very speedy birth: exactly 4 hours and 5 minutes from the first contraction till the moment they handed him to me all covered in blood and goo. We only narrowly avoided a c-section, since his head was tilted the wrong way and he started to show signs of distress. Same as with the twins, but this time there was only one baby, and it was all going so fast that they decided a natural birth might get him out quicker than a c-section. That is, with the assistance of a very scary pair of scissors and the gyn putting all his weight on my belly to help push him out. And out he came!

All was well right after birth, his apgar scores were (almost) perfect, his weight was good for his term, and he was allowed to stay with me the whole time. No rushing off to the NICU, no taking him away for testing. He was just there. On my belly. Where he was supposed to be. It was perfect! It was everything I didn't dare dream of or hope for...

They moved us to a private room, where we could hold him and look at him and cuddle him as much as we wanted. No glass cage, no alarms, no nurses rushing into the room every so many minutes. Just us.

His big brother and sister came to visit with grandma when he was just 3 hours old. They gave him careful little kisses and said his name and he instantly belonged with them. We were a family. For one day and one night, everything was perfect!

And then the next day things started to go downhill. We thought 36 weeks was perfect. Only one week short of 37 weeks, that's almost full term, isn't it? Wrong. 40 weeks is full term. Anything short of that means there's a chance the baby is just not quite ready to be born. A lot of times, 36 weekers do just fine. But there's just as many 36 weekers that struggle. And ours struggled. Nowhere near as much as his brother and sister did, but he struggled nonetheless.

When he was a day old, he stopped drinking (we'd been cupfeeding him because they needed to run glucose tests the first 24 hours, so just practising breastfeeding wasn't enough, he had to drink 15 cc's every 3 hours). He would let us pour milk in his mouth, but he just wouldn't swallow. He missed 3 feedings in a row. It's not that he was sick, he was just too tired. He did everything he needed to do: he kept his temperature stable, he passed the glucose tests, his saturation was great, his breathing stable. He just didn't have any energy left to feed himself. All he had the energy for was sleep. Oh, and he was turning yellow, fast.

And so on the second day the neonatology-pediatrician came in and told us he needed to be admitted to the high-care nursery where they would put in a feeding tube so they could give him enough fluids to help him get rid of the waste-products that were turning him yellow. They would run some tests to check his liver values and he might need to be put under a uv-light.

Nothing major. Nothing scary. No brainbleeds, no breathing problems, no life threatening complications, no NICU. But there I was again, alone, like I was 2 years before. And all the emotions from that first time, that I'd stuffed away somewhere deep inside, came flooding back up. Together with all the fears that had surrounded this pregnancy. He wasn't sick, he wasn't even that premature, he was just tired. And so was I...

Long story short: the next 3 days he spent sleeping. And sleeping. And sleeping. Being fed through the feeding tube meant he didn't need to waste energy trying to feed himself. He could just sleep. And sleep. And sleep more. In those 3 days, he was awake maybe 4 or 5 times, and only for a couple of minutes each time. He was so tired. When he was 3 days old, his liver values shot up, and they put him under a uv-lamp for 24 hours. And that did the trick. The next day he started waking for his feedings, and he started drinking again. He would take the breast for a couple of minutes every other feeding. And he'd drink. Just like that.

And as soon as he'd gone downhill just a couple of days earlier, he went uphill from there. It was amazing to see his little eyes open, to see his personality emerge from that deep sleep he'd been in. And before we knew it, we were going home. Together! We were both discharged exactly a week (and 3 hours) after his birth.

He was feeding himself. He was growing again. He was still sleeping a lot. But he was fine. He IS fine. He's HEALTHY. He's wonderful. He's PERFECT!!!

And all has been well since...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back in the hospital

But the news is terrific: It's a boy!!
Born early on the morning of 36 weeks and 1 day he was in time for breakfast. The first day was very very good and spent together.
The downside of being in the hospital is that Mijke is offline again, so for now you'll have to make do with a second hand story -instead of waiting longer.
Mom is doing fine (except that everything hurts, why did nobody tell her you can't sit, stand or walk properly?) Baby is mildly annoyed at having to feed himself, prefers food delivered through a tube, because that way he can sleep and grow. Although sometimes it's nice to get the milk directly from the source... The yellowness is being conquered with the help of a lamp and getting better, other than that he is doing well, being kissed by his sister and all.

Will forward your comments to the hospital e-card system, and will find out about pictures soon.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back home. For now...

Guess what? I managed to escape the hospital... I passed their "walk up and down the hall for 30 minutes"-test or whatever they call it. Still having light contractions a couple of times an hour, with a couple of extra scares thrown in just for fun. But since the steroid shots have had time to do their very important job, and having passed the 32 week mark, they have changed the flags in my file from "Oh shit! Keep that baby in!!!" to "Well, s/he should be kind of okay if s/he's born now, so when s/he wants to come, we'll let her/him..."

Which means there's really no point keeping me strapped to a hospital bed. I might as well wait it out at home. So home I am. With strict orders to stay in bed as much as possible, with bathroom priviledges and 3 30-minute strolls through the house a day. If anything changes, I am to come in to the hospital ASAP (thank god it's only a 10-minute drive).

The past couple of days have scared the crap out of me. But because they decided to keep me there after my check-up last Tuesday and managed to stop labour just in time that same night, I am still carrying our baby. For that, I am unbelievably greatful!

We will see how it goes from here...

Friday, February 5, 2010

32 weeks and 2 days

She is doing great!
The first night in the hospital was rough, with at it worst contractions every 3 minutes (!!) . With the medication dose doubled however peace and quiet returned. More hours were won for those little lungs. We were joking on the phone that while other people count down the weeks from 32, she is counting hours. Like 12 hours more than the twins already. And then one more night, and another.
Today she will try to walk for half an hour, three times during the day. If this goes well she can go home Saturday (bedrest remains to be seen) and hopes to make it to 34 weeks.

The good news of making it past 32 weeks is that even if the little one decides to come "now" is that she can go/stay in the hospital close to her home town and shouldn't need the specialist hospital with NICU much further away. (Although I imagine it will be hard enough running back and forth with the twins to a nearby hospital)

I discovered the hospital has an E-card system: you pick a card online and they print it and bring it around to the patients room the next day. I've been forwarding your comments already, so between phone calls, Internet, and printed paper she knows we bloggy friends are cheering her on. Thank you!

(And Mijke, I hope I haven't scrambled your information and your blog too much!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Message from a friend.
Mijke just called and told me not to be scared, and just post a message for her saying that she is ok, and hanging in there. In a hospital. I suppose the good news is that the baby is hanging in there/her as well. If I remember correctly she had her weekly check up this morning and was told her cervix was getting too short now. Time for hospital.
As a precaution she was given steroids to mature the little lungs, something she missed out on with the twins. She is also on anti contraction medication, and it is working, everything is quiet now.
She is on bedrest, so only allowed to get up to use the toilet. While I was still shocked she was already reassuring me that she was fine. That this is probably just a scare, and that in a couple of days she might just be home enjoying weeks and weeks of pregnancy. That for now she will enjoy the time off, like maternity leave. Read a book. Have a rest. She sounded like her cheerful normal self.
The only bad news is she doesn't have internet access, just TV. And for now that doesn't worry her.

Tomorrow will be 32 weeks.

Friday, January 15, 2010

29 weeks and counting...

Wow. 29 weeks... Almost into the 30's... a little less than 3 more weeks and this little one is at the same term the twins were when they were born. And look at THOSE two now!

I knew this pregnancy was going to be a scary one, what with my background. But I didn't know my fears would consume every waking (and almost every sleeping) moment. To be honest, they didn't really, up until viability. I had some fears, yes, but as long as I hadn't hit that 24-weeks mark things still seemed a little "unreal".

Then suddenly it hit me: "If anything happens NOW, they MIGHT just try and save our baby!" From 24 weeks on, they will try and postpone labour. From 25 weeks on, they might even try and help a baby when it IS born. And from 26 weeks on, the will do everything they possibly can to give the baby a chance to fight. A chance to LIVE.

With that knowledge came the fear that I might miss some vital clue. That I MYSELF would do something stupid, or ignore a feeling or a sign. Something that might make it "just a day, or an hour, or even a minute too late" for our baby. But everything was still quiet, nothing much was happening. I was feeling great, no contractions, no other signs, nothing. I'd been spotting a little (and when I say little, I really mean little) bit every so many weeks, but that wasn't cause for concern. Right? Not after the 22 week ultrasound showed that the partial Placenta Praevia that had been diagnosed a couple of weeks before had resolved itself. So. I'd almost convinced myself that this time around, I was going to stay pregnant until at least 37 weeks.


And then I hit 26 weeks. And Christmas passed. And I said to my husband: "Wow, we made it through the Holidays this time. I managed to still be pregnant at Christmas, instead of celebrating Christmas in the NICU again!"

I sighed a big sigh of relief. And 3 hours later all hell broke loose.

I started bleeding. Within 30 minutes I was in L&D, hooked up to a CTG. Baby still doing fine, bleeding had stopped, they had no idea where it came from. And then they started talking about maybe smelling and seeing amniotic fluid. And having me transferred to a NICU-hospital. And scared the shit out of me.

Fortunately a simple test (that they did 3 times just to be sure, because they couldn't believe the result) showed that I wasn't leaking anything I shouldn't be. And I was told I was allowed to go home, but to call if anything changed.

Next day, I was back. More bleeding. Not more than the day before, but they told me to call if it started again so I did. And because I was also feeling some lower-backpain and my uterus was feeling a little 'off' (no contractions, just a bit 'heavy'. Hey, if they tell me to share every little detail with them (even if it seems totally insignificant to me), I do. I am a good girl) they made me come back. Hooked me back up. Baby still doing great, kicking and squirming and being a pain because they couldn't get a grip on it's heartbeat. But hey, if it's still kicking, it's heart is probably still working too, right? This time the monitor showed very light (probably BH) contractions. Nothing unusual for my term. Then the ob/gyn came in to measure my cervix (because, well, PROM the last pregnancy and all). Still closed. Still not too short. Shorter than normal, but still okay. For now.

Back home again. But with the strong advice to take it as easy as I could. No bedrest, but as much sitting and lying down as possible with two toddlers running around. Thank god for the holidays, and my husband having taken a week off from work.

I've been having very light contractions a couple of times an hour for a couple of hours a day ever since. I've lost some more blood and about half the mucul plug. I'm in for a cervical-check every week and it's getting shorter with every visit. But it's still just on the right side of "Oops, this is not good!". So I'm still at home. Scared, but functioning. Counting the hours and the days and hopefully the weeks and maybe, just maybe, even the months.

I mean, really. It's only ONE baby this time, right? The last two put together at birth weighed almost as much as a full term baby, so I can hang on to just a singleton. Right? Every doctor I've spoken to before even attempting this second pregnancy told me "Hey, it was twins last time. Twins always come early..." and I almost believed them. Almost. But not really. And here I am, hoping to make it to 30+ weeks. And then to 32 weeks. Because that's what the twins were, and look at them now (I know that's no guarantee, but I'm grasping every straw in sight). And then to 34 weeks, because that's considered "safe". And then to 37, because then I might get to take our baby home right away.

I'm hoping. I'm telling myself to stay positive. Succeeding at it most of the time, even. At least during the day. But oh, those long long nights with nothing to do but think and dream and worry...

Saturday, January 2, 2010