Tuesday, November 30, 2010

17 weeks

Not much change this week. Just plugging along!

Pregnancy: 17 weeks

Weight Gain: still the same. not much change

Sleep: still sleeping, still have sore hips

Gender: unknown - we find out on December 20th!

Name: we have a boy name and a girl name now, but we're not sharing. :)

Feeling: still feel crappy about every other day. boo.

Cravings: right now i have a serious hankering for some KFC mashed potatoes....

Health: so far so good.

Movement: still feeling blurps

Belly: getting bigger by the day!

Next Appointment: December 20th

Thursday, November 25, 2010


two years ago, i spent thanksgiving pregnant and happy. after battling infertility, i was blessed to be 32 weeks pregnant with my little guy. i had an amazing husband, 2great dogs, a great family, a kid on the way, and a house. finally, i had it all.
then i woke up the next morning bleeding. a lot more than i ever had before. i ditched my black friday plans to go buy a temporal thermometer at babies r us and rushed to the hospital instead. they checked me over and, much to my surprise, sent me home. i delivered 6 days later.
thanksgiving will always be bittersweet to me. it will always remind me of the last day i spent in blissful ignorance. it will always be the day before the you know what hit the fan. this year, as i am pregnant again, it's hard not to remember that time in my last pregnancy. but, in light of those things, thanksgiving will also always be a day that i remember just how much i have to be thankful for.
so today, i am thankful for all the same things i was 2 years ago - my husband, my son, a new baby, my pups, my family, my house. but now i know how easily it could all have fallen apart, and the fact that it didn't is what i'm most thankful for.
happy thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

16 weeks

16 weeks already! it's going so fast, but so painstakingly slow at the same time! i'm trying to enjoy the pregnancy, as it's likely my last, but that's hard to do with a toddler. honestly, i forget half the time that i'm pregnant because i'm so busy with ryan. but then the nausea kicks in again. :)

i had my 16 week appointment today and everything looks great. the doctor thinks the placenta might be anterior because he always has a hard time finding the heartbeat with the doppler. i swear, it feels like eternity waiting for that whoosha-whoosha-whoosha to come across the speaker. today's heartrate was 160.

we officially have the c-section scheduled for may 2nd at 7:30am. it's strange to have an official end date - it makes everything feel much more real! now, we just keep our fingers crossed that this baby doesn't get any crazy ideas about coming earlier.

Pregnancy: 16 weeks

Weight Gain: according to the dr, i'm down 2lbs overall. apparently i lost 4lbs last appointment and gained 2 back this appointment. my scale has been pretty steady.

Sleep: still sleeping, still have sore hips

Gender: unknown - we find out on December 20th!

Name: we have a boy name and a girl name now, but we're not sharing. :)

Feeling: we are now 3 weeks overdue for feeling 100%. i don't need the zofran every day though, so i suppose i have that going for me.

Cravings: not as much lately. not terribly interested in food in general.

Health: so far so good.

Movement: still feeling blurps

Belly: getting bigger by the day!

Next Appointment: December 20th for the big reveal!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prematurity Awareness Day

Today, November 17, is prematurity awareness day. Ryan was born at 32w6d (32 weeks and 6 days) due to bleeding from a placenta previa. He weighed a hefty 4lbs, 14oz. I had received 2 rounds of steroids to help his lung development, however, not in enough time to be fully effective. He received a dose of surfactant within hours of birth. He spent a day on the CPAP and a few days on the nasal cannula. He was under the bililights for a short time and struggled with apnea and bradycardia episodes. After 26 days, he was released from the NICU. He received a shot of Synagis to help prevent RSV for each month until May. We had countless weight checks to monitor growth. We have been evaluated twice by the hospital for developmental delays in occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy.

There are 2 sides to his story – the side I’ve shared before where I remained positive and strong. And then there’s this side – the ugly, vulnerable, scary side. The side where I feel guilty for not protecting my baby boy. The side where we were forced to consider our child’s mortality just moments after his birth. The side where we held our child as his heart rate slowed and his breathing stopped.

I remember when my nephew Dylan cried for the first time. It’s the most amazing thing. At first there’s no one. Just a couple of adults and a few doctors. The next moment there is this beautiful new person. A person that you love for no reason other than because they are family. Not because of who they are or what their beliefs are or the fact that they make you laugh, but because they are yours. I remember Ryan’s first cry. It was glorious. It was MY baby crying. I was his mommy. At that point, everything became completely worth it. Not too many people experience the worst and best moment of their lives within hours of each other.

I didn’t realize at that point how much of the birth experience I would miss out on.
I didn’t get so big that I was uncomfortable.
I didn’t get to go into labor (at least not “real” labor).
I didn’t get to tell Michael it was time.
I didn’t get to send Michael to the waiting room to tell our eagerly waiting families that the newest McFarlane was here.
I didn’t have anyone waiting all day to hear the announcement of our new arrival.
I didn’t have a doctor announce happily that it was a boy. In fact, the doctor didn’t even mention that he had been born until I asked her directly.
I didn’t get to try to breastfeed until a few days later.
I didn’t get to hold my son until over 24 hours later. I was so excited to hold him and then they sent me back to the room because they had just settled him down. I would have given anything to help settle him down.
I don’t have any pictures of the new family; I took our first picture using the timer on the camera the next day.
And, perhaps the worst, I left the hospital without my baby. I left without my tiny bundle in his giant car seat. I walked out next to a woman that was leaving with her baby. I would be back the very next day and for 20 some days thereafter to sit next to my miracle.
Thank god I didn’t realize most of what I was missing.

Instead, I had to ask permission to hold my child.
I had to ask permission to change his diaper and feed him.
Our birth announcement was met with uncomfortable silence and concern.
I had to pump every 3 hours, around the clock, to make sure my milk supply didn’t dwindle.
I quit my pain medication early so that I could drive to the NICU every day.
My every move was monitored closely by a nurse. I learned how to care for my son under the careful watch of a medical professional, every mistake pointed out.
My very first act as a parent was to fail my child, causing him pain, potentially setting him behind, and putting his health in serious danger. And the rational side of me didn’t give a damn that there’s was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
All of my pictures from Ryan’s first month include tubes and wires.
The sight of a Wheaton Franciscan hospital band or the smell of the hospital soap can still, 2 years later, make my heart stop and instantly tears come to my eyes.
I hauled around an apnea monitor for the first five months of his life.
I visited my son in the hospital on his 1st Christmas.

I waited and tried so hard not to get my hopes up that he would be home by Christmas. I still cannot bear to think of my beautiful baby boy laying in his crib in the hospital, alone, on Christmas. My baby boy, the miracle that he is, deserved better than that. I know that he didn’t know any different, but that’s not how it’s supposed to be. A baby’s first Christmas is supposed to be filled with anticipation and wonder and ridiculous 1st Christmas outfits and too many presents. Not bottle feedings and apnea monitors.
The day I finally accepted that he wouldn’t be home was one of the hardest days. Christmas music was everywhere, taunting me and reminding me that while everyone else was enjoying the most wonderful time of the year, I was dying inside. I was going to have to leave my baby on Christmas and try to move on. We put up a pretty strong front that day. Michael stood by me, telling everyone happy Thursday with me. Immature, yes. Necessary for survival, yes. Two years later, my eyes still tear up thinking of that first Christmas.

The day I brought him home, I sat in the corner of the couch with my tiny baby in my arms and cried.
I cried for the months I didn’t think I could have a baby.
I cried for every drop of blood that I lost.
I cried for every moment I spent in the hospital, thinking I would be there a hundred times longer.
I cried for all of the things I lost out on.
I cried for every minute I spent in the NICU.
I cried for my baby’s first Christmas.
And most of all, I cried because I was happy. I cried because I didn’t think I would ever get to this point. To the point where things finally felt normal. And, I think for the first time since December 4, 2007, I breathed a sigh of relief.

Every milestone that he achieves makes my heart swell. Every time I see him smile, I can’t help but think that I am the luckiest person alive. I had a 10% chance and nothing but problems and I am lucky enough to end up with the most amazing baby boy.
I am lucky that there are no feeding tubes or oxygen requirements.
I am lucky that his reflux, although messy, was effectively managed with the first drug we tried.
I’m lucky that we’ve only been to the ER for wheezing twice and that his lung issues are easily controlled with an inhaler.
I’m lucky that he has grown to be at the top of the charts for his actual age.
I’m lucky that he shows no signs of developmental delay.
I’m lucky that I’ve found an amazing group of preemie moms who understand what we’ve been through and have supported us along the way, celebrating what would seem like the smallest accomplishments.
I’m lucky that he is alive. Thousands of mommies every year never bring their babies home.

Would I do it all again, yes. In an instant. Because being Ryan’s mommy is exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. He is everything I never knew I needed. When I look at those gorgeous, big, blue eyes, everything else is just secondary.

Please consider supporting the March of Dimes. For Ryan. For Rebecca Ann. For Robbie, Cameron, Evan, Lily, Carter, Aldon, Erin, Lucy, Garrett, Charlie, Lily, Robinson, Evan, Gunner, Emma, Campbell, Savannah, Kevin, Cooper, Hunger, Natalie, Ben, Fiona, Andrew, Brandon, Wren, Jacob, Layla, Eli, Hazel, Maddy, Marino, Skylar, Ella, Sara, Lillian, Chelsea, Sam, Jake, Leo, Jax, Claire, Kiera, and all of the other preemies out there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

14-15 weeks

i meant to update every week, but apparently that's too lofty of a goal for me right now. :) so we'll just try to do every other week.

things are going well. my last OB appointment was outstanding. the baby was being a bit difficult with the doppler, which is the exact opposite of how ryan was. he always jumped right up like he was saying "here i am mommy!" not so much with this one. this one made the doctor work for it. but the heartbeat was there and measured at 167, which is actually quite low for this baby (but still perfect!) as we've been at about 180 every other time.

we officially have our delivery date - may 2nd, 2011. my maternal grandmother will turn 90 on the same day. ryan was supposed to be born on my paternal grandfather's birthday, but we all know how that turned out! hopefully this birth will be less dramatic. at this point, there is no indication that the pregnancy will be anything but normal.

Pregnancy: 14w3d

Weight Gain: none, although a few more chocolate chip cookies and we're going to have to change that answer.

Sleep: still a big fan. the hips have been better the last couple of weeks.

Gender: unknown, although i have my money on girl

Name: we have a boy name and a girl name now, but we're not sharing. :)

Feeling: still tired and nauseous. seriously baby OP, mommy likes to feel better at 13 weeks. we're now 10 days overdue. please stop.

Cravings: still big on nacho cheese chalupas. except i like mine with pizza hut breadsticks, which are located a good distance away. it's ridiculous really.

Health: so far so good

Movement: i *might* be feeling some blurps every now and again, but i can't be sure yet.

Belly: getting bigger by the day!

Next Appointment: Nov. 22nd for our 16 week appt.