Wednesday, December 31
Stacy remains in good condition and spirits. She beat me at Trivial Pursuit tonight - I only had one pie when she won and for you naysayers no I didn't just let her win!
Thankfully we won't be getting an extra tax deduction for the baby this year - hopefully he'll stay closer aligned to his original due date of tax day on April 15 than anything else as it relates to that subject.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported us, prayed for us and been so thoughtful. It has been a shining beacon of happiness and hope in what has otherwise been a sad close to 2008.
Here's to 2009 - I hope for the best for everyone!
The morning started at about 6:45 am when the transport took us over for the ultrasound. That lasted about 40 minutes or so. It was good to see the detailed ultrasound again. They gave us a few printouts and I hung a couple on the railings of Stacy's bed and put one on the white board. The results of the ultrasound showed that the heart looks good (DeAnn will be happy, and yes we told them about the heart history in our family!), there is very little fluid (no surprise there), baby is about one pound nine ounces (with a plus or minus error margin of four ounces), and his size is estimated to be in about the 48th percentile.
The overall score that baby got on the ultrasound is 6/8. I guess that's OK but 75% isn't that a C? They said if it wasn't for the lack of fluid it would have been an 8/8 - I guess he'll have to take his Fluid Sciences courses a bit more seriously. I'll have to have a talk to him about that! The resident that we see everyday said that the score was actually pretty good but beyond that we don't really know what the score means.
We have been seeing some visitors again so if you were planning to come today or anytime forward you are definitely welcome and we can't wait to see you. Keep in mind we are trying to keep visitors to no more than two at a time though and only between noon and 8:00 pm. Even though we are back in the garden right now please call before visiting to make sure the time is good and to verify our location. Since we've been changing rooms so much and because I don't really want to post a phone number in the blog please call the hospital and ask for Stacy's room to check (our cell phones aren't supposed to be used so if you do call our cell phones leave a message and we will get back to you).
That's all for now. Happy New Years to everyone. Meaningless bowl game in Arizona tonight, but it is a bowl game (not sure if we will be able to see it or not), GO GOPHERS!
Stacy felt some more tightening this morning which got us both up around 4:00 am; she went on the monitor for about an hour. They took it off about half an hour ago. At 7:00 am, transport comes to take us to a level two ultrasound which is a bit more detailed in terms of measuring the size of the baby, fluid levels around the baby and the like.
When that is completed, we may know some more about what is happening and what to expect; but like with everything else my assumption is that regardless of what they find out that the only thing that we should expect is not to know what exactly to expect because every case is so much different. I am hoping though that we can see the baby doing some more practice breathing for a more sustained time period.
I'll follow my instructions now and try to get about an hour of rest before the transport comes - at least Stacy is sleeping now again which is good. I'll post another update once we find out more information from the ultrasound or if anything changes.
Tuesday, December 30
We'll be here again in critical for at least the night and hopefully things will stay stabilized. I'll try to get some sleep on my mini cot again - so much for the the full airbed I just bought to use on top of the uncomfortable, spring ladden, thin mattressed but larger hide-a-bed in the garden. That's definately the least of my concerns though and hopefully I'll be able to use it later. It is not necessarily common but also not unusual for people to move back and forth between the garden and critical. But like I said before it doesn't matter where we are as long as the baby and Stacy are OK.
I said in my first post this would be like a roller coaster and it definately is - at least I accurately defined the expectations for myself. Feel free to write comments and continue to send emails. I read them all to Stacy and she enjoys hearing them.
When they monitored the baby in the garden this evening, he was presenting heart beat variations which in and of itself isn't bad but requires closer monitoring. It can be a sign of contractions even though Stacy has felt none and is not in any pain.
They did an ultrasound immediately when we got back up here and the baby was demonstrating a good heartbeat, good position with his head still down and other positive signs including he was practicing his breathing motions. Unfortunately there is, as we know, very little fluid left which can exacerbate the condition since it constricts the umbilical cord at times depending on the baby's position which can in turn contribute to the heart rate fluctuations. Thankfully they continue to watch us closely and have us in the best place for the current condition of mom and son.
We appreciate all of the visitors and think that it has been very helpful for Stacy, the baby and me. I think that it has put us in a better state of mind, helped the baby progress in a positive manner and certainly made the time pass faster. That being said if anyone was planning on visiting please check with someone first to confirm that Stacy can have visitors at the time you were planning. A good way to check is by commenting to this blog and waiting for our response or emailing us at:
Obviously at this juncture the ongoing prayers are appreciated and undoubtedly helpful.
Monday, December 29
Because "I'm bad at taking pictures because Stacy is usually the one who normally does it" I unfortunately don't have any pictures of our previous accommodations to use as a comparison but I have included some pictures of our new room in the garden.
While the care was great in the critical pre-birthing unit, the room was a bit small. Our current suite has plenty of room for guests, it's own bathroom with a shower and on a selfish note a full pull out bed for me instead of the fold down cot size bed I had before. It also has a DVD player and nice TV as well as a stereo which will help us pass what will hopefully still be a great deal of time.
Stacy and baby continue to do as well as we can expect. She is now off of the IV support and taking nutrients and medication orally. She also no longer requires the continuous fetal monitor which is now only done twice a day.
Our greatest hope is that we can be here for as long as eight to 10 weeks before delivery but we know that it could still happen at any time since the labor hasn't technically been stopped and the risk of infection which would induce active labor is still quite high. Even so we're still very thankful that we've cleared the first 48 hours and take comfort in the fact that the baby's lungs are maturing with each passing moment since that time.
We've had some wonderful emails and comments from many of you and they are all greatly appreciated; as are the countless other thoughts and prayers.
If anyone has any questions about anything that they would like me to respond to or would like to inquire about coming to visit please post a comment here on our blog or email us at:
The second stage has now begun as Stacy is off of the magnesium. As I noted in the previous entry, this is the medication which slowed the labor. Thankfully now three hours after that stopped she has still had no major contractions and the doctor thinks she'll remain stable. As such, he has placed the order for us to move to the "garden" at noon assuming there is a room available and nothing changes before then.
When we move to a new room, I will confirm the move for people who have been visiting so they don't go to the old room. Likewise if anything changes before then I will also update here if I have a chance.
Sunday, December 28
We're getting ever closer to the end of that first vital 48 hour period since the baby was given the steroids to help develop the lungs faster. Hopefully we will make it to that point (6:00 am Monday morning) in our current condition and when we do we will engage upon the next critical stage.
At that point, assuming no changes prior to then, Stacy will go off of the medication (magnesium sulfate) which has been preventing the contractions and delaying the labor process. She will remain in the critical pre-birthing unit until at least noon for observation after that medication ceases.
During that time (or anytime after of course) it is very possible that the labor may continue to escalate as it did prior to the magnesium in which case we'll move forward and prepare for delivery. It is also very possible that the labor might remain stalled and stable as it has been - in that case we will move to the "garden" which is a unit outside of the critical pre-birthing unit where women who are in Stacy's situation go for their "baby's to grow".
We are of course hoping that the labor doesn't escalate and we can go to the garden and our baby can continue to gestate.
For those of you wondering at this point, if taking her off of the magnesium might move the labor forward then why the hell are they doing it there is a sensible answer. Infection, which is a high risk right now since there is little fluid left to protect the baby, can cause the labor to move forward; the magnesium could prevent the labor even if there is an infection; delivering the baby as opposed to allowing an infection to escalate is a better option - hence, if you followed that, the best move after the baby has had the 48 hours with the lung medication is to stop the magnesium and primarily hope that the labor process remains stable or else deliver if it advances. Got that?
Hopefully you haven't stopped reading because given the last critical hours of stage one (until 6:00 am on Monday) and the critical hours beginning stage two we hope that you will all continue with your thoughts and prayers as it relates to this transition.
Stacy wasn't really into dictating because "she likes to type the message" so there is no entry from her today like I had hoped but she says hi and thanks for the support.
Every extra hour without delivery is good. The baby just got a second dose of medication that will help his lungs develop faster - he needs to hold off from being born for at least 48 hours from the first dose, which happened yesterday at 6:00 am, for the medicine to have the most effect. He will still need to be on a respirator when he's born but it will hopefully reduce the amount of time before he can breath on his own.
If by some miracle he can hold off being born until about 28 weeks the chances go up greatly of being able to breath on his own and having less problems. Keep in mind though we are only at 24 weeks and 4 days today so while we're hopeful we can wait as long as possible for delivery we're taking it one hour and one day at a time.
That's all for now - if Stacy's up for it later today I'll see if she wants to dictate an update to me from her. Thanks for all the support.
Saturday, December 27
At this point, they won't be able to stop the labor or delivery but they're trying to do everything they can to delay the delivery as much as possible. That will give the baby extra time to continue to develop and he needs every hour and hopefully day that he can get.
Right now I'm writting this from Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. The eventful day began at 4:00 am on our trip to North Memorial Hospital - I only passed one car in a no passing zone - didn't go over 45 mph and only ran two red lights. When it was determined that the baby was going to have to be delivered and it is only a matter of when the decision was made to transfer to Abbott this morning at 10:00. This was a bit safer of a trip in an ambulance with lights and sirens - Stacy in the back and me in the cab. No they didn't let me drive or even hit the siren or horn buttons.
The good news is that Abbott is associated with one of the best childrens' hospitals around and is connected to them by tunnel. Immediately after the baby is born he will be transferred over to Childrens' Hospital's NICU where hopefully if things go well he'll stay until he gets stronger and gets discharged at would have been between his 36th week or delivery date.
It will be a bit of a rollercoaster and we will try to keep everyone updated with all the ups, downs, twists and turns.
Friday, December 26
Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.
In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball. [it feels like it is sitting really high, but last time my doctor measured, she said it was in the "right" spot...I'll take her word for it!]
Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. [I have this screening at my next appointment, which is on Tuesday. I have to drink a ton of "juice" which I'm sure it gross. Hopefully all is well. Will update after the appointment.] This test checks for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related high-blood-sugar condition. Untreated diabetes increases your risk of having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow too large, especially in his upper body. It also raises your baby's odds for other complications like low blood sugar right after birth. A positive result on your GCT doesn't mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you'll need to take the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out for sure.
I've gained a little more weight than I'm supposed to (maybe 4 or 5 extra pounds), but I'm blaming that on Christmas (I was doing so well beforehand!). I ate WAY too much. Getting back on a normal schedule will probably help (and getting rid of all the yummy Christmas cookies and treats!).
We just found out our friends Steph and Steve are having a girl (Steph, hope you don't mind me sharing!). Think pink! It is funny because Jim and I were positive we were having a girl and they were positive they were having a boy! They are due two weeks after us, so if they only lived in MN or we lived in KS, our babies could be best friends. Boo, hoo.
Wednesday, December 24
This is the first year we haven't celebrated with the Thomas clan on Christmas Eve, but we are rotating every year going forward. It's only fair since both of our families celebrate on Christmas Eve. We are staying over in Ortonville Christmas Day night and then probably heading back to the Cities. Should be a fun time with family.
On a baby update, I've been having some pain in my lower abdomen. I'm thinking it was intestinal related, as it went away and I'm feeling much better today. I have a doctor appointment next week, so I can talk to my doctor about it then, if it persists (or I'll call her sooner if it comes back!). In the meantime, I'll be sure to eat lots of fiber!
Sunday, December 21
Friday, December 19
By posting this website, Jim and I by NO means expect anybody to buy us anything. I just wanted to make it easier for those of you who were wondering and have been asking about it. I put a link on the blog on the right hand side (under Helpful Information), so you can refer to it any time. Again, we appreciate any and all support from our family and friends and while that includes monetary items, we appreciate all the emotional support much more! We are very blessed.
We should have guessed he was going to be a boy! Ha, ha. In both of our families, this baby tips the balance boy/girl ratio over to the boys' favor. We better start having some girls!
Thursday, December 18
How your baby's growing:
Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With his sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that he's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see him squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing him for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze him when he hears them outside the womb.
How your life's changing:
You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer [well, don't have to worry about the heat of the summer! No swelling yet, but I'm sure it is just a matter of time]. Sluggish circulation in your legs — coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention — may result in swelling, also known as edema. Your body will get rid of the extra fluid after you have your baby, which is why you'll pee frequently and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery. In the meantime, lie on your left side or put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, and avoid sitting — or standing — in one place for long periods [much easier to do when you don't have a job!]. Also, try to exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning) and roomy, comfortable shoes. You may be tempted to skimp on liquids to combat swelling, but you need to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated actually helps prevent fluid retention. While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes.
Baby has been moving a TON. Not regular enough for others to catch the movement and feel it (other than Jim), but I'm sure that won't be long. We are hoping to start our registry today, but we've been trying to do it for a while now. If Jim is up to it, we will be going after work. And I know in a few months, I'll think I'm crazy, but my belly is HUGE! It is weird how for months, nothing and then in a matter of a couple weeks...pop! I'll take an updated picture next week.
Wednesday, December 17
The average age of a first-time grandparent in the U.S. is 45.
I guess I'm a little behind the curve ball, but I don't mind (I'll be 30 when baby is born)! Good things come to those who wait! I couldn't find stats on the average age of first-time dads.
Tuesday, December 16
Sunday, December 14
I can't imagine being pregnant during the hottest part of the summer, though! Although, there really isn't much else to do during the long winter in these frigid climates. Ha, ha.
I picked Jim up at the airport Friday night around 7:30, we stopped by and picked John, Kelsie and Dixie up and we headed to Ortonville, despite the many warnings about the possible bad weather. On Saturday, we had Christmas Lunch with Granny and we headed out of Ortonville at 3pm. No bad weather either way. Today, however, is a different story. It is raining here and it is -6 with a -35 wind chill in Ortonville right now with white out conditions. Glad we left yesterday! The rain here is supposed to turn into snow in a couple of hours, which is never a good thing. Hopefully we can all sit tight.
Kristine and Grace are coming over today to decorate gingerbread houses with Becky, Austin, Jim and I. John, Kelsie and Dixie are over, too (the Vikings play at 3pm!). Should be a fun day.
Friday, December 12
Meanwhile, the likelihood of having identical twins (when one fertilized egg divides in half) is about one in 250. This rate hasn't changed over the decades and is remarkably constant all over the world.
Thursday, December 11
At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.
How your life's changing:
At this point, you may find your belly becoming a hand magnet. It's perfectly okay to tell folks who touch your tummy that you'd rather they didn't. [at this point anyway, I don't mind...but then strangers can't really tell I'm pregnant with all the winter gear on] And if people are telling you that you look smaller or bigger than you should at this point, remember that each woman grows — and shows — at her own rate. What's important is that you see your practitioner for regular visits so she can make sure your baby's growth is on track.
You may start to notice stretch marks on your abdomen as it expands to accommodate your growing baby. [none yet, but I'm sure it won't be long!] At least half of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks by the time they give birth. These small streaks of differently textured skin can range from pink to dark brown (depending on your skin color). Although they most commonly appear on your tummy, stretch marks may also show up on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. There's no proof that lotion helps prevent stretch marks, but keeping your skin moisturized may help with any itching. [my belly had been a little itchy, but could be the dry weather, too]
I uploaded current preggo pics! Click on the "our pictures" link on the right to view. Man, my belly went crazy over the last two weeks. I'm DEFINITELY showing now! Jim is out of town on business and gets back Friday night. Then we are driving straight to Ortonville from the airport for Christmas with Granny (Jim's great grandma). Back on Saturday and decorating gingerbread houses with Becky, Austin, Kristine and Grace on Sunday. Busy few days. Good thing I don't have a job to get in the way of all of my plans!
Wednesday, December 10
We FINALLY started decorating for Christmas last night by putting up our brand new pre-lit LED light tree! So pretty...except four branches won't light up! Jim and I did everything we could think of to fix it and nothing worked. I'm really disappointed because it is a really pretty tree. Hopefully a call to the manufacturer will shed some light. I plugged it in for Austin this morning (he was in bed when we put it up last night) and he LOVED it. So fun to see Christmas through a child's eyes. Now I just need Jim to bring up all the decoration boxes for me.
Tuesday, December 9
[Grandma Thomas has requested a Friday, I believe, so I'll see what I can do! I wonder what days Jim and I were born on...]
Monday, December 8
If I wasn't in the Christmas spirit before this weekend, I should be now. It snowed on and off all weekend and the ground has a good covering of snow. Plus, it has been fairly cold (around 10 degrees during the day!). Hopefully the white stuff stays around for Christmas (then it can go away for all I care). Now if only we had our tree and Christmas decorations up, I would definitely be in the mood. Maybe I'll bust out the radio and listen to Christmas songs today. I LOVE Christmas songs.
We've been thinking about names and have a "short" list, but nothing for sure. For some reason, I feel a lot less pressure in naming a boy than a girl. I guess that is a good thing since we are having a boy! We are very open to suggestions, as long as feelings aren't hurt if we don't chose them.
As far as the pregnancy, our baby is getting huge and kicking more and more regularly. I still am not sure if I'm feeling the movements on the outside or not, but our doctor said probably not until after the first of the year...so probably not. I still am a little tired, but sleeping in until 8 or 8:30am every day sure helps that. In the last week, I've started getting heartburn, which I hear is a common symptom associated with pregnancy. It probably doesn't help that I haven't been eating extremely healthy either. It is hard to do that this time of year when there are so many goodies around. Doesn't help that I'm craving sweet things, which I didn't really eat much before the pregnancy. Oh, well. What baby wants, baby gets! I have been trying to drink more water regularly, though.
Oh and I tried the Bella band on Saturday. My pants stayed up (yeah!), but I had to constantly adjust the band. I guess it is better than your pants falling off.
Saturday, December 6
These characteristics are determined by the genes he inherits from you and your partner, and certain "laws" of inheritance apply. With respect to eye color, for example, brown is dominant over blue, so if your baby gets a brown gene from each parent or one brown gene and one blue gene, he will have brown eyes. However, if two brown-eyed parents each carry a blue gene that gets passed on to their baby, that child will have blue eyes. Be aware that a newborn's eye color can change in the first nine months. And your baby may be born with hair that falls out and grows back with a completely different color and texture.
At birth, almost all babies have blue eyes because the iris has not yet made brown pigment (called melanin) that colors the iris (although some babies can have very dark eyes at birth). This is also why even the skin of black babies can appear lighter than it will eventually be.
[I really hope our little guy has daddy's bright green eyes...I guess we'll have to wait and see! Mine are hazel/blue/gray, so there is a chance.]
Friday, December 5
Before pregnancy, your uterus weighed only about 2.5 ounces and had very little space inside. By the time you're full term, your uterus (not including what's in it) will weigh almost 2.5 pounds.
Thursday, December 4
Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like he's practicing martial arts as his initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. [I swear I felt him move on the outside twice two days ago, but I might have felt it inside and thought I felt it outside. I think it is a little early for external movement] You may also discover a pattern to his activity as you get to know him better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now.
How your life's changing:
You're probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. [overall, I'm doing good, still a little tired, but the extra sleep from no job sure helps!] You're not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. If you're feeling good, relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester may bring with it a new crop of complaints. [Oh joy, I can't wait!]
That's not to say you won't have some minor glitches to deal with now. For example, increased oil production may contribute to the development (or worsening) of acne. Don't take any oral acne medications — some are very hazardous during pregnancy — or use any topical acne products without first checking with your practitioner. [Hasn't been a problem so far, I'll keep my fingers crossed]
You're also more prone to varicose veins now. As your pregnancy progresses, there's increasing pressure on the veins in your legs; higher progesterone levels, which may cause the walls of your veins to relax, can make the problem worse. You're more likely to get varicose veins if other family members have them. [a few family members have them, so I'll have to be careful] Also, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you age. To help prevent or minimize varicose veins, exercise daily, prop up your feet and legs whenever possible, sleep on your left side, and wear maternity support hose.
You may also notice so-called spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face. [nope, nothing yet!] They may have a spider- or sunburst-like pattern with little branches radiating out from the center. Though they may be a bit unsightly, spider veins don't cause discomfort and usually disappear after delivery.
For the record, my belly button has not popped yet. It is getting flatter, so I'm sure it is just a matter of time before it pops out. Renae calls it a "snooze button." Swelling/water retention has not been a major issue, either (other than when I eat too much salt, of course). I can still wear my wedding band, but not my engagement ring (both rings were uncomfortable). I know swelling gets worse the further along you are, so I'll have to keep any eye on it.
Wednesday, December 3
Oh and due to the many suggestions I received, I bought a Bella Band today after the appointment at Target. It was a little more expensive then I thought they would be, but if it makes wearing pants comfortable and possible...it will be well worth it! I'll let you know.
Monday, December 1
And now that we know we are having a boy, I really need to train myself from calling him "It." I did it several times yesterday and everybody kept catching me. I guess before we knew, I didn't want to say either one so I got used to saying "it." I'm sure it will sink in soon!