The Toddler Challenge

In a lot of ways being on modified rest really isn’t that difficult.  In the beginning it was HARD because I was so symptomatic that I could barely do anything.  I felt incredibly unwell but being at home made me want to jump into everything I would normally be doing.  Now fast forward 5 weeks later and I’m feeling pretty good.  There are days that are bad, but more so they’ve turned into just a few hours at the end of the day.  I’m able to tolerate doing a bit more than I could in the beginning and I have my Dr’s blessing to listen to my body and do what I can but stop when it’s been enough.  So the biggest challenge hasn’t actually been me, but my 3 year old.

This week I felt like I was coming undone with him.  When I first came home he was a complete disaster.  Opposite from what he normally is.  His normal is a sweet, kind, relatively quiet, obedient and rational little one.  His behaviour normally is actually a bit abnormal for the average toddler and I’ve been so grateful for it.  Often I’ve said “I’m just waiting for it all to change” but after three years it didn’t seem like that was happening and he would continue on in his way.  Then enter me being admitted to the hospital for 7 days, him being pulled from dayhome, my mom here to live and help out and my husband on Christmas vacation.  The poor little guys life was completely turned upside down and thrown out the window.  His entire routine and what he knew to be his world was shaken up and not put back together.

He began to argue, cry over things he normally wouldn’t, wake up in the middle of the night, wake up extremely early, rarely take a nap and all around was completely different.  There were very slight breaks in the cloud but it seemed I was finally getting my threenager and it distressed me.  Where was the little boy so kind and so sweet? The biggest challenge is that his nap times are riddled with yelling and screaming for 2 hours straight, not out of sadness or anger but just “because I like to yell and scream” and although I would try and address it it would continue to happen.  He continued to become more and more sleep deprived and then on Tuesday we had our worst day yet and I felt like I was at the end of my rope.  Everyone keep saying, “maybe he’s growing out of his nap” but in my head and in my heart I know my boy and I know for certain he absolutely needs sleep.  At the very least he needs a time to just be quiet, to wind down but of course sometimes you just can’t force little ones to do what you know they need.   At the beginning of this week I committed to two weeks of solid routine and if at the end of that he didn’t nap at all I would begin to transition to “quiet time” – any and all suggestions on how to do that well are very welcomed!

Yesterday after a good nights sleep he seemed to be back to my sweet and kind little boy.  I had a long appointment in the morning and left him at home with my mom.  When I came home I prepared us lunch and just like we would before this fiasco – we immediately went upstairs for nap time.  He didn’t fight me or cry, we rocked and he drank his milk then I spent about 10 minutes talking through nap time and quiet time with him.  We discussed why it is important to sleep well, why we need rest, why we need to be quiet.  He of course had a rebuttal for every sentence but he was absorbing my words and I knew it.  On Tuesday he lost a lot of privileges because of his yelling and screaming at nap time (that he had been forewarned about) and he could recall them yesterday (thank you rationality!) so we discussed those privileges again yesterday.  I reiterated quite a few times and he acknowledged his understanding.  I put him in bed and he cuddled up with his polar bear and blanket about 2 minutes after I shut the door he made one tiny little squeal and then was silent.  HE FELL ASLEEP!  My momma heart was so relieved.

The real relief came when he woke up and I went in to his room.  He was back to the behaviour I knew to be his.  All evening he was so pleasant and didn’t fight anything all evening, even when he would start he was easily rationalized with and redirected. He could even verbalize and discuss the differences from the two days.  I could have cried after he went to bed I was so happy to have seen my little boy back to normal.

Of course that was just one day and it may all change today but more than ever I’m optimistic that I don’t in fact have a threenager on my hands.  Rather I have a little boy whose world was completely upset and has been struggling to get back to what he knows to be true and normal.  I’m going to try my best to get him back to that place before this baby shows up and throws us all for a loop.

28 Weeks

img_8867

Well as of last Sunday I hit the coveted 28 week mark.  Although still VERY early to deliver (and I’m certain I won’t be delivering in the next week or so), hitting the third trimester and getting farther along, closer to 40 weeks the statistics improve drastically.  I’m a stats girl, I like numbers, I like rationalizing through numbers and like looking at odds.  I often browse medical literature related to any and all conditions I have just looking at the numbers and so 28 weeks? I’m liking the numbers more and more.

I remember a few years ago talking to someone who had a premature baby and she was telling me how the week after she gave birth an app on her phone that she hadn’t disabled gave her a notification that said “Congratulations! You’ve hit the third trimester!” She talked about the pure shock and heartbreak that message brought her. I remember thinking how awful that would have been, what a desperate situation.  I can’t imagine being robbed of that much time feeling your baby on the inside and nurturing it like no one else can.

Given that I was so close to a similar situation I am not taking any day, hour or moment for granted.  Sure sitting around sucks, but I’m feeling so much better than I was even a couple weeks ago and can do just a tiny bit more than I could before as well.  I probably push myself a little too much on certain days and definitely pay for it the next day or two but I’m no longer stressing over every contraction or pain.  I’m beginning to learn this new body of mine.  Slowly starting to trust it and trust myself again.  When I initially went to labour and delivery the day I was admitted I had NO clue what was happening and as the hours unfolded that feeling just got worse and worse.  It was so unfamiliar to me, so scary.  I’m extremely aware of my body to the point that when I explain things to doctors it baffles them that I feel how I do and can explain it the way I do.  The things they may stress over I can 100% guarantee are not stress worthy things and sure enough every test will come back negative – they find comfort in that and I only want to say “I told you so.” When I was discharged from the hospital I was still in that scary place of not being able to trust myself with deciphering what my body was telling me and I was terrified to go home.  Today I am closer to being that girl that can listen to her body and know what it’s capable of and when to stop.  Of course, as always I push it’s limits and I probably shouldn’t – I could be playing with fire, but I’m listening and trying to be kind to it.

So 28 weeks has been a good week and I’m looking forward to 10 more of the same before I meet this precious babe of mine.

 

The Battle

IMG_8554.JPG

I’m well into the second week of being on moderately reduced activity and I’ve hit 26 weeks!  It’s both easier and much harder all at the same time.  I’ve been feeling markedly better this week which is awesome and reassuring.  I’ve had far less contractions and no cramping at all.  It makes me really hopeful that I’ll go well into the 30’s (weeks) before delivering.  So in those ways it’s easier – feeling better makes life easier!

It’s also harder because I feel better.  The better I feel the more I want to do.  I want to cook, clean, run errands, lift my kid, move my couch and find those lost toys – all the things.  My brain registers that I’m feeling better because I’m resting and if I don’t rest I won’t feel better.  My heart cries for normalcy and independence.  It’s a constant battle.

Yesterday I had an ultrasound and doctor’s appointment.  Thankfully everything is stable and there’s nothing to be very concerned about right now.  My doctor classifies me as being on “auto pilot” for the time being and has told me to keep doing what I’m doing.  After the appointment I ended up running some errands and doing a bit more than I should have and ended up with some contractions – nothing major but a definite confirmation that I need to be persistent with rest.  Thankfully my mom is here to scold me when I lift Ezekiel, or am on my feet too much – it would be a much different story if she was not.

Christmas is such a hard time to be confined to a couch but I’m so loving this time of year. The lights, the baking, the gift giving – I love it all and I love watching Ezekiel experience it with a whole new level of understanding.

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I’m wishing you a time of peace, love and joy during this season.

At Home on Modified Rest

Well, I’ve been home since Monday and today’s only Friday.  Not even a full week at home and the learning curve to this new temporary life is steep.  I was sent home on “moderately reduced activity” which is a drastic difference to how I was living before being hospitalized, but still has enough freedom that I’m not just laying down all day long.  The guidelines are: resting 3x3hrs/day, 10 minutes or less of walking, less than 20 minutes on feet at one time, light house duties (nothing that involves any type of strain so no lifting laundry or vacuuming etc), limited stair climbing, no looking after toddlers.

Here’s the thing though, although I try my best to follow these guidelines sometimes I find myself wandering the house just “tidying” up and before I know it 45 minutes have passed.  Then I pay for it the rest of the day, I get crampy and start contracting and generally feel terrible.  Even leaving the house is a feat.  On Wednesday I had to drop off some papers for my short term disability, then we went to the library to return some books and let Ezekiel play, then we picked up some groceries (I order online and they shop, bag and deliver to my car while I sit in the car).  Total time on my feet was less than 15 minutes, and total time out of the house was about 1.5hrs and by the time I got home I felt terrible.  It’s discouraging that I no longer am just doing things to be cautious, I’m actually on these restrictions because without them I’d have a micro-premie in the NICU for months.  Earlier in my pregnancy I went off 12 hr shifts and night shifts extremely early (relative to the “norm” on the unit) because it was hard on my body and I was being cautious.  I then went on modified duties and sat at a desk (less than two weeks before being hospitalized), again because I was being cautious but now it’s just plain necessary to be resting for almost the entire day.  A hard pill to swallow.   I think it’s taken this long for me to figure it out.  Of course I knew it but I just had to “get it,” you know?  It’s amazing that 12 days ago I was living normally, cleaning my house, cooking, doing laundry and grocery shopping all in the same day and today I literally can’t do any of those things for more than a few minutes and I’m out for the day.

I’m doing my best to stay out of the hospital, and I’ll have to become more rigid with my time on my feet.  Maybe I’ll have to set a timer every time I get up to do something.  I’m trying to keep myself busy with projects that can be done while sitting.  I’ll write a post about that later on.  Honestly though the days seem to fly, when Ezekiel’s awake it’s all about him.  We read, build with blocks, play music and he dances, we do puzzles, colour and then it’s nap time.  I can’t imagine doing this without my mom here though, she’s doing all the cooking, cleaning, lifting, laundering and anything that’s just too much for me.  Some people don’t have that luxury and it would be a thousand times harder than it is for me.  So I’m trying to stay positive and count my blessings.  It’s really not all that bad, I get an extra 3 months (fingers crossed) at home with my little guy before we have a new addition and his world is turned upside down.  I’m doing my best to make the most of it because I won’t get these days back.

I’ll take all the suggestions for things to do while resting! Also all the prayers that I get to rest for 3 more months!

Going Home

Well, it’s been a week since I presented to labor and delivery triage with the worst abdominal pain I’d ever felt in my life.  I’ve had ultrasounds, EKG’s, bloodwork and other tests trying to figure things out without ever coming up with a definitive diagnosis. The best we’ve got is a most probable and likely.  Doctors don’t like saying things definitively unless they have 150% proof that it’s true (drives me nuts).

Here’s the thing – I’m not a textbook case – welcome to my whole life! I’ve never been a textbook case, and the problem with not being a textbook case is that you have several practitioners theorizing on the issue (or to some – the lack-there-of).  This is where healthcare is very grey.  Depending on a physicians experience and comfort level (and/or arrogance) they will treat or not treat, theorize that your symptoms are exaggerated, nothing to worry about – because they can’t find an answer.  Then there’s the other side of the spectrum, the physician who knows you, who takes time to understand you, taps into you beyond just physical symptoms.  They are the ones that trust the patient and at the same time trust their clinical judgement and make the best possible decision by marrying those two factors – those are my people.  I’m not one to run to a hospital or physician at every ache and pain, in fact I will suffer, until I have done my own theorizing and waiting it out just to be certain that I am neither wasting my own time nor the time of the practitioner.  When I choose a physician (in the case of a GP) I take my time and make sure that I can trust that physician, but also that they are acting like they can trust me.  In the case of a specialist you don’t always have that luxury, however I have been so so so lucky to have been referred to only the top of the top when it comes to specialties and I’ve never been disappointed.

Then came this hospital stay.  I see doctors left right and centre all through out the days, more if it’s an “exciting day” and less if it’s a boring day but not often do I know all of them.  I’m left to the mercy of whoever happens to see me that day, and for the most part I can’t really complain about it.  I’ve been very well taken care of, in the beginning things were very cautious and everyone was sort of tip toeing around wondering what was going to happen, but things are becoming more stable and they are becoming more and more comfortable with my “symptoms.”  Yesterday, though I had one physician who came in here, clearly not doing a great review of my chart or history and making clinical judgements based on a 30 second conversation and poking my belly a few times.  Then declared I was just having abdominal muscle pain and I should prepare to leave the next day.  To say I was floored and upset would be an understatement, in the moment I was shocked and not prepared to rebuttal anything (not that I had time anyways, he was out of here in two minutes), but it took a good 2 hours just to calm myself down.  In the end I reminded myself that 1) he was not my physician and would not be making any final decisions in my care and 2) regardless of his opinion I am the best expert on my body and “muscle pain” is not even close to what was happening (I should know, I also have had terrible joint and muscle pain since 8 weeks pregnant!).

However, going home is looking more and more likely, and no I’m not entirely comfortable given my history with Ezekiel.  The menstrual like cramping with irritable uterus is how I presented just hours before going into labor with him.  I actually didn’t have a single contraction when I began dilating (rapidly) so going home with crampiness as well as an irritable uterus that turns into contractions coming every 2 minutes and a shortened cervix that can be defined as “incompetent”  is not my idea of a fun time at home.  Given that I don’t know what the classical labor feels or looks like because it’s never happened to me, when will I know that it’s the real thing versus just irritability? How long do I wait? Will I wait too long? At this rate if I’d be in labor and delivery being checked out several times a day.  The uncertainty makes me extremely uncomfortable – here’s the thing, pregnancy? It’s ALL uncertain.  No matter how many tools you use, no matter how much experience you have the best you will ever do is an educated guess.

The bottom line is that in the end it’s not these Doctors I need to ultimately trust, it’s not even myself.  In the end I have to trust that God has it all taken care of, that He has orchestrated every move and decision made by the physicians.  That He has placed me in the care of the best and He is guiding them.  That He is protecting me and this babe and things will work out regardless.  Honestly, I think it wouldn’t matter if they sent me home today or 5 weeks from now, I would still be uncomfortable so I’m trusting with everything in me that my discomfort is just me being over cautious and not me being intuitive.  I’d love your prayers for the protection of this pregnancy for the next 13 weeks and for peace for me.

Ramblings From the Hospital

I’m on day 6 of hospitalization and modified rest.  It’s weird that I have expected this to come, yet now that it’s here I’m in a bit of disbelief that it’s actually happening.  Before I even became pregnant when I talked about a second pregnancy I always had this nagging in the back of my mind that it wasn’t going to be as easy.  Certainly my first pregnancy wasn’t a walk in the park, it had it’s own struggles, but compared to the last 25 weeks it really was so easy.  I don’t know why I was so sure this one was going to be different, I just knew.  Even though I was expecting this in a way there were parts of me that still hoped I could have a relatively event free pregnancy.  I was glad to take the extra pain, all the appointments and medications, modifications at work and at home if I could make it to at least 36 weeks without any serious complications.

Yet here I am wavering between peace and stress, with complications I both expected and didn’t.  I expected my cervix to shorten early – but 24 weeks early? Not so much.  I didn’t expect any other complications – this whole placental abruption just threw me for a loop.  Right now it’s actually not as big of a concern as my cervix – the placenta is functioning well still, the baby is growing and thriving.  However, my presentation of abdominal pain, no bleeding and so early on (19 weeks even though they didn’t find it until 24) is associated with poorer outcomes.  Thankfully I’m in the right place should anything serious happen with the placenta and I’m taking all the necessary precautions  of modified rest and listening to my body.  In anyone else all of that would likely be sufficient to keep the placenta functioning healthily without any more abruption but throw in my connective tissue disorder and it’s just unknown what will happen.  What is known is that my cervix will continue to shorten rapidly, and I will begin to dilate – when? Who knows, but guarantee it’s going to be a lot earlier than 38 weeks when I should be having a scheduled section.  What’s not guaranteed is when baby will actually come.  I mean people go a long time on bed rest and very dilated and deliver big healthy babies.  That’s my ultimate prayer and goal.

All these unknowns and uncontrolled variables -it’s just so much for a control freak like me.  Pregnancy is the ultimate of uncontrolled situations, anything can happen and rarely are you anticipating each situation.  Instead it always seems to be a wait and deal with it when it happens situation.  The opposite of what I would like.

Despite it all I’m doing my very very best to listen to my body first.  I’m trying to be over cautious and joyful through it all.  Not the easiest while stuck in a hospital but there really is just so much to be thankful for.  I try not to think about what-if’s, instead I take each moment in each day as it comes.  I try and occupy my time with useful things (quickly running out of those though!), and rest as much as possible.

This is only a short time (hopefully 12 weeks) in the grand scheme of things, and this little life growing inside me deserves the best chance possible and I’m determined to do everything I can to provide just that.

Living That Hospital Life


Well I figured that since I don’t have much else to do right now I would update the few people who care to read this!

Monday afternoon I had to leave work because I was having some of the worst abdominal pain I had ever felt.  After about an hour of that I began to realize that it probably wasn’t something that should be ignored.  Actually I was in so much pain that I could barely keep it together, I had to get my manager to drive me to the hospital. About an hour after getting to triage the pain started subsiding but they were still running tests and trying to figure out what was happening.  Then gradually everything just went downhill from there. I started having chest pain in my right side – something I had had previously at 19 weeks but had not had again since.  Then shortly after the chest pain started I began having lots of contractions that were two minutes or less apart.  I had the docs pretty worried! I had some episodes of nausea/light headedness and chest pain.  They took me to a couple different tests to check out my lungs and make sure that I didn’t have a pulmonary embolism (which I don’t!).  I had cardiology and OB/GYN trying to figure it out, but it was and really still is a bit of a mystery.  It was clear that I wasn’t going home though!

I spent the night in triage and then moved down to the antenatal unit in the morning.  I had an echo and ultrasound done first thing.  The echo was fine – nothing is wrong with my heart at this point which is a huge plus.  The cardiac side of pregnancy for me is the scariest for everyone because that can go downhill fast, but these episodes are not related to my heart – huge plus!  The ultrasound showed that I most likely have a small concealed placental abruption.  Which means that a small portion of the placenta has peeled away from the uterus wall but I don’t have any bleeding so it is “concealed.”  The good news – it’s small and baby seems to be doing just fine.  The bad news – my uterus doesn’t seem to like the irritation and is making that known by contracting and on top of that this dang chest pain has been relentless.  The other thing the ultrasound found is that my cervix has shortened significantly in two weeks – 7mm actually.  I know that seems small but 6 weeks ago it was a 39 and three days ago it’s a 24 – the number of concern.  Most likely it’s going to continue to shorten significantly, especially since my uterus is not making it easy!

So here I am, on the other side of the hospital bed playing the waiting game.  In the beginning it was really looking like I was going to have a micro-preemie in the NICU in the near future.  I got a round of steroids to help babies lungs, but thankfully things have slowed down and seem to be settling.  Today I had minimal contractions, just a lot of chest pain.  Right now it’s a day by day game, they said they want 24-48 hours of episode free hours before they’ll allow me to go home.  To be honest, even then I’m not sure what that will look like, or how comfortable I am with it.  With Ezekiel I had a silent fast labor and progressed without any discomfort, and now I know my cervix is not staying where it should and so being home only 24 or 25 weeks pregnant with an incompetent cervix is a little concerning.

I’m going on day 5 admitted and starting to get pretty antsy.  Trying my best to stay put and stay as safe as possible.  Not doing too much but laying in bed and trying to keep myself occupied.  I’ve had some visitors which has been lovely, I’m realizing that I must stock up on snacks! It’s 330am and I am STARVING!

It’s been a whirlwind and at times pretty scary but I’m praying and continuing to trust that there is a plan in all of this.  I know this baby is blessed and there is a major plan for it’s life, so I’m confident that everything will turn out just fine!

Letting go…

I am now 23 weeks pregnant and some things have changed for the better.  All of my physical ailments are still present and mostly worse – so no good change there.  I was reflecting this morning how much this pregnancy has humbled me.  My fantasy for my second pregnancy before becoming pregnant was that I would be a beacon of health, that I would be in tip top shape and sail through a second pregnancy.  However, this pregnancy has been the exact opposite.  I went into it still not healthy from my months of health issues that were happening this past year (that are still not figured out).  My first trimester consisted of constant nausea and exhaustion resulting in me sleeping the majority of my free time away.  My joint pain started extremely early at 8 weeks and has only progressed and worsened, resulting in me being unable to do much in terms of physical activity.  Simple tasks like laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping or errand running bring on types of pain I didn’t know existed.

So, this pregnancy is not what I had imagined, yet it is teaching me and pulling me in ways that I really needed.  I am learning that despite what I think I am not an island to my own.  I cannot possibly do everything by myself, I truly need a village.  I have had to ask for help and accept my limitations so much and so early on.  I have to rely on my husband to do things like take out the garbage and carry the laundry up and down the stairs.  He’s had to make and clean up meals far more than he’s used to.  I have had to ask for help from all of my physicians – suggestions on how to just live with a little bit of quality of life (and they have been excellent).  I have had to sit down with my manager numerous times and ask for modifications in my work – schedule and duties and she has done it willingly and with so much grace and understanding.  I have had to lean on God like I haven’t had to in so long (this is really good for me).  When someone is over and they ask if they can help I am eager to pass off tasks instead of decline and do it myself.  I have had to settle for “good enough” instead of “perfect” when it comes to my house cleanliness.

So no, this pregnancy is so very far from what I desired and dreamt about but it is absolutely everything I need in my life right now.  It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in accomplishing everything alone, I’m an independent person through and through.  This year has been a full year of struggling with my health and it’s taken this pregnancy for me to let go of the guilt and disappointment of it all.  Of my health plummeting and with it my weight increasing and activity decreasing, of not being able to accomplish everything I want to each day because of pain and exhaustion, of struggling financially because I can’t work over full time like I did in 2015.  I’m letting it all go and embracing the community of people that surrounds me that desires to help me.

We all need a community to lean on and I’m so very thankful for mine.

20 weeks!


In some ways I can’t believe it has been 20 weeks, and in other ways I can’t believe it’s only been 20 weeks! If this last week is any indication it seems the last 18 weeks are not going to be a downward journey but rather I will continue to travel uphill with a new struggle each day/week.  Again in a lot of ways I’m completely 100% ok with this, and I really hope that I do get to travel 18 more weeks with this little babe in my belly.  Every day is worth it totally and completely.  In other ways I just wish some circumstances were easier for me to travel in.

The last two weeks have me facing the very real reality that I will not be able to work to 36 weeks again like I did when I was pregnant with Ezekiel.  At 20 weeks pregnant I’m finding it hard to get through small day to day tasks let alone getting through a work day (even an 8 hr work day).  I’ve been having abdominal pains that no one can figure out, and on top of that if I’m up and moving too much I feel the heaviness in my uterus and the irritability that causes it.  These things scare me to some degree considering my labor with Ezekiel was termed a “silent labor” and the only reason I was at the hospital was because I thought I was being extra cautious.  I constantly wonder what next time will bring – will it be obvious or will it happen without my knowledge again? What will the signs be? How cautious do I really have to be?

My physicians are not worried about premature labor at this point, and I am partially relieved about that and partially not relieved considering they weren’t concerned about premature labor last time either and I ended up having an intubated late term premie in the NICU.  They are encouraging me to work less and even stop working, and I started this pregnancy knowing that I was going to push back on that quite a bit.  However, I am now humbly realizing that I am the expert on my body and my body is sending me very clear signals that it’s almost time to stop.  The pain in my joints is increasing with each day, the pain in my lower abdomen as well as right side gets worse with increased activity and now my chronic back pain that was well controlled is again out of control.

Here’s the dilemma – money.

I hate that.  I hate that money has enough control to make this decision one of the most difficult.  I’ve been praying for wisdom in each decision and I’m struggling with this one.  I’ve secured some finances so that if I have to stop working suddenly we can still make ends meet – but that just puts me in more debt, something I was really hoping to have whittled down by the time this little one came.

Yet money is just money.  If I get back to a Kingdom mindset (again, trying really hard with this one), then I know that the money that passes through my hands is not mine but graciously given to me by God.  So if it’s not mine to start with and if He’s provided me with everything I need to this point it stands to reason that this small portion of my life will also be taken care of.  In the grand scheme of things this is just a small part of life, and we will get through it and it will all be ok in the end regardless of what that looks like.

I wish that made the decision easier…..