Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cord Blood Banking?

Looking for advice and thoughts on Cord Blood Banking. I'm trying to start thinking about it, but can't get much further than - hmmm, I should look into that...

Anyone have any experience doing this? Anyone know of someone who had a good future outcome from doing this? I'm all ears!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

34 Wks - Peri Update, Contractions, Party Conversations, and Maternity Photos?

We went yesterday for a re-measurement on the baby and the amniotic fluid. Things are looking better in the fluid department. YAY! Also, the blood work that was done came back within normal ranges, so they didn't put me on insulin - yet. I go again Thursday for another NST, then wash - rinse - repeat until delivery.

So, I'm feeling less stressed about the baby, for sure - except for one thing... The baby is now breech again! Maybe this is like one of those puzzles where you have to manipulate pieces to get the ball from one side of the board to the other, but you can never seem to get all the pieces in the right order at one time to make it work out... Flip lever A - blood sugar is up, baby is down. Flip lever B - baby is down, fluid is up. Flip lever C - no, no wait, never flip lever C, no one knows what it does. :) LOL

Oh, you want to know about the contractions? Yeah, seems to have been a red-letter day for them today. I was out shopping and had about 2 per hour. They weren't really painful (other than the pulling sensation around the cervix area), and they didn't get into a pattern, but I certainly was uncomfortable. They quit after I got home and rested. I never was worried, just thought it was kinda neat and scary all at once.

Also, my bag is now officially packed! I'm so impressed with myself. I had figured I would procrastinate, but Peri's dire predictions last week made me realize I would have no time to pack if there was a real PROM emergency. Also, we do NOT want hubby to pack for us - a big no no. :) The only things I'm missing are a coming home outfit for me and for the baby. Since we don't know the baby's sex, Nana (my Mom) and I are going next weekend to go shop for a beautiful unisex outfit or one of each blue/pink.

If all goes well I'll be having maternity photos done tomorrow at a local studio - Bo is going to join me. I'm really looking forward to it! Bo does professional photography as a side thing, and I could so hear his hand hit his head when I asked about joining me. He was so frustrated that he hadn't thought of doing them himself... I wasn't upset though - we all know the cobbler's children need shoes, right?

We started talking over the studio appointment, etc and Bo realized how scarily close the Dr's prediction of delivery is. I could so totally here the blood drain from his face. LOL If we delivered at the beginning of 37 wks we've only got 2 1/2 wks to go!! OMG!

Between now and then we have a LOT of things planned, so we decided we'd go with the photo appt tomorrow to be SURE we don't miss the bump. Then Bo may try to take some pro "artsy" photos next weekend. YAY! Happiness prevails!

On to the "Party Conversation" part of this evening's entertainment... Saturday night I went to a birthday party for a friend. Bo couldn't attend, so I sauntered off, out on my own! People were highly impressed that huge pregnant lady was out by herself... I thought that was funny - I'm just pregnant! :)

I met this woman, we'll call her K - she is also pregnant, with her 2nd child. She's due in May. As you can imagine, we got talking about pregnancy, delivery (hers), and so on. She was NOT a happy pregnant lady - no glowing going on. She is feeling fine, she just simply hates being pregnant this time. I believe her exact words were, "Trust me, with the second one you simply can't have 9 months go by fast enough. I can't wait for May to get here. I've already picked the date for the C-section." She went on to explain that Drs don't want you to do VBAC anymore (um, not going to argue with unhappy lady, just shaking my head yes). Then she starts explaining VBAC... I told her I was familiar with it, and she looked confused.

I, for some unknown reason, started explaining that I knew a lot about the various complications and options for birth because of my "support group", a.k.a you guys! I didn't specify that we were blogging the support, but I didn't figure it was her business. I told her short snippets about several of the twins that have been born recently and some of the singletons. She stopped me mid-sentence and said, "...were they natural?" To which I thought she meant the births, and NO she meant the TWINS!

I will tell you, it took a few seconds for me to recover. I've heard people talk about the perception that IVF/fertility children aren't "natural", but I'd never encountered it in the flesh! I immediately put my "she's a moron and isn't worth it" filters on, and explained that EVERYONE in our group has fertility issues - that's how we found each other. I kid you NOT, she rolled her eyes at me! OMG!!! I wanted to slap her - she was too far away though, damned counter was too wide.

Oh, then it dawned on her that I was "part of the group", and she actually said, "turkey baster or IVF?" pointing at my stomach. I decided that she wasn't going to get me to play this game, so I explained that after 3 yrs and 4 miscarriages we found out that I had a blood clotting disorder, which made it impossible for me to have a child without a fertility specialist. I went on to explain that EVERY woman in my group has some type of fertility challenge, as fertility treatments are not something you would do unless you HAD TO. People were very litteraly moving away from us at that point... I think they thought I was upset. LOL No, not at all folks, just educating a dumass...

Then, I complained that the baby was on my bladder, grabbed my drink and found another person to talk to. Best of all, I realized that I was not angry with her, I just felt sorry for her. It must suck to go through life being unhappy and judgemental. I realized that the deeply drawn lines around her mouth were from making her frowny face too often. So sad...

BTW - I told Bo the story of this lady... He just shook his head and said, "How sad...". LOL We seem to have grown up a bit as a result of IF. We didn't damn her, hate her, or berate her, we simply feel sorry for her lack of awareness and compassion.

Well, it was a long post, but it feels good to get the thoughts out of my head.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things Seem Steady with A Chance of a Prom...

I went to the OB today - which started with a non-stress test (NST), which of course caused me to stress last night wondering about what the results would be.

I had to chase him/her around my belly for a good 45 minutes. Eventually giving up the straps that hold the monitor on, because s/he didn't keep still! The nurses were quite complementary with each check on my progress. All went well, the baby did wonderfully! Turns out that being hard to monitor is a GOOD sign.

Then we met with the OB Dr. Informed-n-Nice. Um, where has this guy been during all my long months of wondering if I'm at the wrong practice? He was polite, friendly, and seemed to not only KNOW my case, but was more than happy to answer ANY of my questions! It was sheer OB nirvana for little ol' me (and hubby too).

Dr. Informed-n-Nice reviewed the NST tape, and pronounced the baby as "Doing Great!" and proceeded to praise me also for my great GD blood sugar numbers. Actually, he wondered aloud if his own blood sugar numbers would be as good if he were to monitor for 4 days.

He also said the Peri had called him and said he was very, very happy with the 4 days worth of #'s they had. I go back to the Peri on Monday to repeat the measurements, so we'll see if my GD diligence has paid off in reduced fluid and leveled growth.

On to my questions... I asked, in detail, about the other potential causes of the polyhydromos - see yesterday's blog for the list. After he got over the shock of my familiarity with the syndrome and its causes, he said he thought most of those items would have been seen by the Peri on US several weeks ago. He thinks the chances are low that it is something other than the GD. He did say a bowel obstruction would be hard to detect, but that was a rare cause of this type of issue. So, I'll keep a mental note to diligently watch for it after baby is here.

One aside...Why are Drs always so shocked when patients know what they are talking about? The look on his face was priceless when I asked about "esophageal atresia" and possible "fistulas and blockages". I have to wonder, what do other patients do when they get bad news? Hmmm.

So, overall we have had a good report pending Monday's measurements. If that goes well then we will wash.rinse.repeat until baby makes a spontaneous appearance or until, as Dr. Nice put it, "being in isn't as healthy as being out".

Until baby is here I am to watch for signs of PROM (who knew I would have a chance at a prom ever again?) Preterm Rupture of Membranes - from the added amniotic fluid's excess pressure. Basically I am to go straight to the nearest ER if this should occur due to the likelihood of cord prolapse and the need for an emergency cesarean. So, we may still be in for an exciting ride... Hang on tight!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

33 Wks Is No Reason To Relax...

Well folks, you KNEW it couldn't be an easy ride, didn't you? Didn't you, as IF veterans, know that it couldn't be too easy to get to the finish? That would be just too much to ask...

I'm riding high, being told on Friday by my OB, "...all is well, except the baby is breech, which will correct itself most likely." I'm feeling good - minor heartburn, some anemia issues, and frustrating gestational diabetes aside... I'm looking healthy, feeling better than I have in a long time. Everyone is talking about my "glow".

Then, I go to the Perinatologist's office on Monday - WHAM! The bad and the ugly finally caught up to us.

Issues found 2:
- very big baby, 6.2 lbs, which is 90th percentile at 33 wks gestation.
- Too much amniotic fluid. The upper limits are 24 - 26 cm and I'm measuring at 23+ cm.

The Peri is now talking about an aggressive treatment plan, because our baby may die. This week he's probably starting me on insulin. We will be doing an amniocentesis at 36 wks, and possibly scheduling a C-section or induction at 37 wks. I am to have 2 appts per week from now on out - Mondays and Thursdays.

Do you think Mel would open the Virtual Lushary just for me? I really need a good stiff drink...

I looked up the "too much amniotic fluid" issue... It appears that gestational diabetes can cause the infant to have a high urine output, which causes the buildup in fluid. This leads to preterm membrane abruption and so pre-term delivery. The quick rupture of the membranes is a lead cause of cord prolapse and/or having the fetus not be able to engage in the pelvis properly for delivery.

Other than gestational diabetes there is some very scary stuff that can cause this condition - Downs, gastrointestinal blockage or fistule, cardiac issues, renal issues. So, I'm certainly going to ask for more info, and possibly more testing, to determine if there is another reason the fluid is too high.

Regardless of the cause, 26% of people with this condition deliver pre-term. These all sound like good reasons to have our bags packed early, and to not stray too far from the hospital. eh? :)

Here is what Wikipedia has to say, which agrees with other sources I've read - in case you are interested: This next link will give you all you ever wanted to know about the condition:

I'm going to try not to stress too much. Whatever the cause, our baby is in trouble, but we seem to have a good Peri on our side to help us avoid catastrophe. That's about the best I can ask for right now. Wouldn't you agree?

Oh, and our Peri, he called our OB's office and strong-armed me an appt with their best OB Dr. for this Thursday. It could have something to do with the fact that I told him another OB at their practice was "not too worried about the GD blood glucose #'s" and her saying "everything is just fine and on track" as of last Friday. You think?!?!? I would have like to have been a fly on the wall for that conversation...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bring Your Granny Panties...

I have scoured the internet for recommendations for what to bring/pack for the hospital. I've made a simple, yet pretty exhaustive list of the recommendations. However, I think we'll need to borrow a SUV and a sherpa if we really try to bring this much stuff!

You may want to pack two bags for the hospital or birth center: a small overnight bag for the items you'll both need during labor and a larger bag for everything else that you'll need later.

**To make sure you don't forget items that you may use daily and won't have packed until the day you leave for the hospital, attach a reminder to the bag that lists the item(s) to add.**

Be sure you also have telephone numbers for: OB Doctor, back-up rides and support people, and arrangements for pet care.

Mom List:

  • Bring your Granny Panties...the mesh ones at the hospital are a joke.
  • Flip Flops for when they let you shower
  • My own pillow(use a patterned or colorful pillowcase)
  • loose comfortable sweats to come home in
  • wipes (to refresh yourself)
  • toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant
  • Witch Hazel pads (if you are planning for a vaginal delivery)
  • Your own sanitary pads
  • Something warm to wear– those rooms are COLD
  • your favorite snacks and beverages & sports drinks
  • nursing bra, nursing pads, Lanolin
  • Pen and Paper were a must in the hospital - Also handy for a quick game of Hangman in between contractions
  • Birth plan
  • Insurance card and any hospital paperwork you need
  • A hair tie / Hair clips
  • A bathrobe, nightgown, slippers, and a couple of pairs of socks
  • Lip moisturizer
  • Something to read
  • Throat lozenges/suckers/hard candy to suck on during labor
  • Sleeping mask
  • Warm, comfortable socks that can be thrown out without hesitation
  • hand-held fan to keep cool during delivery/pushing stage

Baby List:

  • A going-home outfit
  • Infant car seat
  • A pair of socks or booties
  • A cap
  • Baby nail clippers / Baby mittens
  • 2 receiving blankets
  • Baby book for recording baby's first footprint/handprint
  • Clothes for hospital baby photo

Dad List:

  • The list of folks to call when labor starts (OB, Doula, people that will want to come to the birth), during labor (friends and family), after baby has arrived (extended family and friends, Insurance, FMLA/work-related contacts)
  • Cell phone w/charger & extra batteries
  • Camera w/charger & extra batteries
  • Money for the vending machines and/or soft drinks in small cooler
  • PJs for the hubby
  • Restaurant menus (because hospital food is awful)
  • Something warm to wear– those rooms are COLD
  • favorite snacks and beverages
  • music you guys both like – you’re going to be laboring/waiting for a while
  • music that is calming to wife – for delivery
  • toiletries, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant
  • change of clothes
  • something to read during the early stages
  • A bathing suit. If your partner wants to take a bath or shower during labor, you may want to jump in with her
  • Watch with a second hand for timing contractions
  • Favorite movies to watch while in early labor
  • Your own pillow (use a patterned or colorful pillowcase)
  • good hand cream--you will be washing or Purelling your hands a lot and that hospital soap is killer on your skin
  • Comfy socks--and your own slippers, because you don't want your socks on that grotty hospital floor
  • Laptop
  • CPAP (if you need one)
  • Breath mints – you are going to do a bunch of close-talking with your loved ones.
    card games, travel games, etc. to pass the time
  • It's always nice to pack a few extra ziplocs to hold wet items and dirties.
  • Sports bottle to keep water handy for yourself

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

DO NOT USE Target's Baby Registry!!!!!!!!!

I just returned from Target, and BOY AM I MAD!!! Target will not process ANY returns on any item over $20.00 without a receipt/gift receipt or the original purchasers' credit card - EVEN IF the item is on a Baby Registry!!!!!! Even if it is Broken!!!!

So, you know those big $ items you registered for - you are going to be STUCK with them if you have any issue/need to exchange them and have no gift receipt. Sounds simple, right? This is Target, they will work with you, right?!?!? Everyone loves Target because they are great, right?

NOT!!!!!!!!!!! Target changed their return policies last year....

  • Is the item broken? Sorry - no refund/exchange without a receipt!
  • You got 6 of an item from your registry, and you want store credit to purchase other items off of your registry - sorry, no refund/store credit/exchange without a receipt!
  • Want to do an even exchange for the SAME product in a different color/size (say you have a boy vs. a girl, or the baby is large/small) - sorry, no exchange without a receipt!
  • You want to buy the next product up the line from the one you got? Sorry - no refund/exchange without a receipt!

This is a real and serious issue - do not fall victim to this like I did... If you don't believe this will happen, like I didn't, just try it for shits and giggles. Create a registry - buy one item off it for over $20.00, then try to return it without a receipt. Go ahead, I'll wait....

Here's my story....
I was given a baby monitor, and now I'd like to return it. I went to Target to get the $ back on it/exchange it/get store credit, whatever it took. I was told that I could not get a refund for an item purchased off of my registry without a gift receipt. I talked with the Customer Svc Mgr and the Store Manager. They told me there is nothing at all they can do for me. Period. End of story. No Hope.

Now, mind you, the purchaser DID have them scan the item as part of a registry purchase, so Target DOES have a record of the actual purchase. It even shows purchased on my registry when you review the list online. However, they will not honor that record of the purchase as a receipt!!!!

My cousin had warned me about this policy at Thanksgiving, after she had similar issue with returns after the recent birth of her son. However, I had already been given the monitor, I didn't imagine there would be an issue with the monitor, so I didn't give it a thought.

Well, I sure should have listened!!!! Ladies, I now have a $150 unusable gift thanks to Target!!!! My only option at this point is to call the gift giver who really, really, really hates gift giving for exactly this reason (he would much prefer to give you cash/gift card than an actual gift). I'll have to hope against hope that he has the receipt for this monitor, or I will have to SHIP IT TO HIM in Idaho, so he can return it using his credit card. I also have to get this done in the 1/2 month left before the purchase/receipt passes 90 days! Oh for FUCKS SAKE!!!!

Here's more information about the situation from others who are having the same or similar issues with Target's new return policies: Specifically, read the one from "Anita of Conway AR (12/12/07)", where a group gift was given... It's enough to make you scream.

I am like most of you guys - I love target, but I cannot imagine using them for registry purchases in the future. Unless you really want to cry over the wasted nonreturnable gifts DO NOT USE Target.

I realize very well that there are things I could do to rectify the situation in some way that doesn't involve Target - garage sale, sell on ebay, contact the manufacturer. However, that isn't the point. The point is that Target is no longer upholding their end of the purchase process. Countless numbers of people are getting stuck with merchandise they cannot return/use simply because they have no receipt. Don't let it happen to you - don't use the Target registry - complain if it does - make a stink... The policy needs to change.

Work Shower, Hospital Tour, Latest US Pics - Oh My!

On Thursday 1/10/08 the ladies at the office threw us a baby shower. Both my old team and hubby's current team went together on one shower.

I'll be honest, I was so worried that my old teamates would have better things to do than come to a shower for us. I was kinda feeling like they would consider the baby and I to be "old news" since I no longer work there.

There was not only a great turnout, but also everyone was so excited to see how big I'd gotten since Thanksgiving. :) At one point people were actually forming a line to get a chance to talk to me. It felt so amazing to know that people really care about me and the baby. They really, really do. Makes me want to cry just thinking about it. Several people asked that I add them to our "call list" for the announcement email. They all want me to bring the baby to the office ASAP too. :) So sweet!

We got the most important 3 things - the car seat, a 2nd car seat base, and 2 Ultimate Crib Sheets (thanks S&S, so much!!).

If you haven't heard about that last item, listen up! The Ultimate Crib Sheet sheet snaps over top of your normal "cute" crib sheets.

According to my baby-wise friends, with the Ultimate Crib Sheet you simply pick up baby, change them, snaps off the UCS... Then you snap on another UCS... Job done, put that baby back to bed. Note: some people actually put 2 UCS on the bed, but the manufacturer does not recommend this - too much padding can be a SIDS risk.

Bonus - you can't see the UCS when you look at the crib from the side - so the crib stays cute, and so does that expensive cute sheet. The baby lays on the UCS, not the cute sheet, so you don't have to wash/fade the cute one.

So, after the 1st time you are awoken at 3 AM by a baby screaming because they are wet, their clothes are wet, the crib sheet is wet, the mattress pad is wet and you are cussing how tightly the mattress fits because you to put the new pad and sheet on - you will remember this post and thank me/my friends for coming to your rescue. :)

Commercial over, back to our regularly scheduled program...

Later Thursday night we went on the Gigantic Hospital Tour. Everything seemed to be nice and new - huge labor/delivery rooms - and lots of basic info about where to sign in, protocols for basic needs, and lots of reassurance that the baby will be with Mom/Dad as much or as little as we want. They can take care of everything we'll be needing, it seems.

HOWEVER, and there is always a however, there are lots of "rules" and "protocols" that are just standard policy. The answer to just about every question ends up being "all the hospitals do x and so do we x" or "that is our policy/protocol". Oh boy... Not a good way to get my confidence up... I don't like it when people do things just because that is how they've always done them. This is such a HUGE place though, that I imagine they have to have policies/procedures/rules for just about everything or nothing would get done.

So, I'll plan to argue and refuse alot... I'll also expect to provide LOTS of treats for the nurses... Nurses please feel free to suggest your favorite bribes, I mean treats, to recieve from ornery patients!!!! :)

OK, I'll shut up now - I know you are really here to see the star of our show!

I gotta say, I am in love with my baby's already fat cheeks! Everytime I look at our latest US pics I get all giggly excited. It is just so surreal - this little cutie is hanging out in my tummy, just waiting to make it's big entrance!

30 Wks 3 days, weight est at 4.2 lbs - Ooooh, look at those fat cheeks!!!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just A Quick Upate...

Yep, still here, still pregnant, and still reading all of your blogs!!! However, I've not felt like commenting much so I hope you all will forgive me if I seem a bit distant.

Being laid off work and unable to find new work has left me feeling a little like I'm on bed rest. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, and I can't afford to do it even if I could think of something. :(

ANYWAY! On to more interesting news...

Last Thursday we had a GREAT ultrasound at the peri's office! He said things are going great, other than the fact that baby is very large for this stage. He's hoping the GD diet will help slow the baby's growth just a tad. The GD diet isn't so great, and I fell off the wagon for a few days over the weekend, so I'm not sure how happy he'll be when we visit next.

BTW - at both Dr's offices we've moved into the "visit every 2 weeks" stage! I never thought we would get to this point. It is so sureal...

Sunday we went to our first Childbirth Prep class (1 of 4). That was very interesting - mostly because I have never been around that many pregnant people at one time. It also struck me that HEY! I'm one of the pregnant people in the room!!! OMG! So weird, huh? Interesting, and yet a "duh" kind of moment too! We didn't really cover much true content, but we got to know each other a little better, which seemed to open up communication and ease everyone's tension a bit.

I just sent a note to our doula to setup our consultation for the birth plan. I'd like to do this soon, just in case the OB is right and we are a bit early. I'm also working on what the packing list needs to contain. You ladies are the best source of "real" advice on what to bring. So many of you have made it to the other side and blogged about what worked and what didn't. I love getting real advice - you just can't beat having knowledgeable girlfriends to ask!!!!

Tomorrow we will take part in 2 big events - 1) Former workplace baby shower and 2) Hospital Tour! Hubby still works at the company I was just laid off from, and they are giving us a co-ed dual shower. It will be great fun to see everyone again. I hope to have time to do some wandering and seeing people that don't come to the shower too.

The Hospital Tour is something I'm really, really looking forward to. I've been there 2 times to visit friends who delivered there, but I visited the postpartum rooms, not the delivery rooms. I hope to be happy with the place. I understand that it is a great place to give birth - very comfortable and large rooms, which is great for having visitors.

Well, that's all the news that is news for now... I'll try to check in soon with US pics from Thursday and an update on how tomorrow went.