Thursday, June 26, 2008

Who would’ve thought I’d be the picture of stability?

I’m stable and I have the blood tests to prove it!! Ha-HA! The doctor called today and told me the latest blood tests showed things are not getting worse right now. I wanted to go “whoo-hoo!” drop the phone, run out the door and go rolling around in the grass with the neighbor’s dog. The doctor obviously sensed my overexcitment and said “You still have pre-eclampsia and you still have to be on bedrest and do twice weekly NSTs and…blahbity blah blah blah.”

I’ll admit, part of my mind wasn’t really processing everything she was saying because I had that stupid montage theme from Rocky going through my head “Getting Stronger! Getting Stroonger!!” Yeeeah!!

The other pop culture reference that just keeps creeping into my mind is (not surprisingly) courtesy of the Simpsons. I feel like I’ve had nearly every possible pregnancy complication at some point. So I think I may have a pregnancy version of Three Stooges Syndrome…

So if anyone needs for me to fix their electrical wiring, retrieve their cat out of a tree, or wrestle an alligator in their backyard – now is the time to ask.


I don’t know how much longer I’ll have this ‘indestructible’ superpower. But I’m keeping this sweet cape and unitard forever.

Of course, the someone has already beaten me to the punch in creating a pregnant superhero. Anime is already a bit weird for my tastes (maybe I just don’t get the appeal of big-eyed, short skirted school girls) but Yuki ramps up the weirdness to a level that is hard to not appreciate.

Well, before you become too freaked out and write an angry letter to Japan, you should know that Yuki isn't real anime. She was created as a punchline for the movie Juno. But pretty funny, and completely believable. What was I talking about? Oh yes… I’m doing well and totally…

(No… not hoarse. Stable. I’m totally stable.)

Monday, June 23, 2008

This is bedrest?

Soooo… I was gone all day enjoying the world of modern medicine. The latest pee jug showed an increase in protein, so my intuition/sense-o-denial that told me the last two tests were flukes didn’t really pan out. They say the pre-eclampsia is progressing, but progressing slowly – so that’s good news. Yea!!

In addition to bedrest, the doctors have beefed up our monitoring schedule a bit. So here is the new official schedule…
-weekly biophysical profiles
-twice weekly non-stress tests
-weekly 24-hour urine tests
-weekly blood tests for kidney and liver function
-every-other-week growth scans
-daily ice cream therapy (note: this is a patient initiative)

Maybe Alexander loves suspense …or maybe he just loves sleeping. Once again his napping schedule caused drama when he slept through most of the non-stress test today. Twice the doctor put that buzzer to my belly to wake him (which made the poor little guy jump in surprise… then go back to sleep). Just when they were about to give up, he started moving and *just* passed the test.

Since it took so long, the doctor decided to send me off to the radiology department for a biophysical profile ‘just to be safe’. Then I swear the doctor muttered under her breath “cha-ching!” I was like “what was that?” and she said “a ring… I’ll give the radiology department a ring to let them know you’re coming.” This seemed plausible since ‘cha-ching’ and ‘a ring’ do indeed sound similar -- but the way her eyes were darting back and forth only added to my suspicion. Well, even if they were just throwing some extra money towards their friends in radiology, I’m pretty sure Blue Cross/Blue Shield can afford it. Plus getting to see the mini-muffin on an ultrasound is always fun,

The biophysical profile (or BPP as acronym lovers call it) is timed and the baby has to pass several components to get a passing score. Unfortunately two of those components involve movement… and Snoozy McSleepinstein wasn’t so much as wagging one tiny finger. If he didn’t pass, it would mean another trip to L & D (or Labor and Delivery as acronym haters call it). When we reached the twenty-minute mark, the tech was getting antsy. I tried to reassure her that Alexander wasn’t in distress, he was just living up to his established idiom of being uber mellow. She wasn’t impressed with this explanation and ran to get me a lollipop. Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either but apparently she was hoping the sugar would get him moving. At the thirty-minute mark, the tech was really supposed to end the test -but we had bonded and she was trying to help avoid a hospital trip. So she gave my belly and the boy several well-placed jabs… and the kid finally woke up and passed the test at the 32 minute mark.

Phew. And, of course, he’s been up and kicking since I’ve been home. Maybe we need to get him a little PDA so he knows what times he needs to be awake to pass tests,

(By the way, he is definitely a boy – I saw his bit and pieces with my own eyes!)

News From a Reclined Position

The doctors say that the ‘hope’ is to make it to 34 weeks before delivery. (I think I’m about 31 1/2 now.) Everyday, I sing to the baby the montage song from Rocky that goes “Getting stronger! Getting stronger!” I think it motivates him… plus everyone knows that babies love references to movies from the 80’s. I think we'll make it closer to full term, but I can't tell if that is due to my overpowering sense of optimism or denial. So let's just say it's maternal instinct.

Dr. Gobbles seemed to low-ball the bedrest, and another doctor told me last week that I am only allowed to get up to use the bathroom and sit up in bed to eat. I’m supposed to be on my left side as much as possible. I am sitting up right now to type this, but just don’t tell the bedrest police. You can only lay on your left side for so long before the entire left side of your body goes to sleep … which leads to all kinds of hilarities when you try to get up to go to the bathroom.

So far, the baby and I are both doing just fine. I have lots of non-stress tests and ultrasounds to keep track of the baby… and pee and blood test to keep track of me. In fact, I am about to head out for a non-stress test right now. I get strapped down with two stretchy pregnant-lady-sized belts around the belly. One belt monitors the baby’s heart rate, and the other monitors contractions. As it runs, it spits out a graph – which I find very distracting as I am naturally drawn towards data. I am always trying to crane my neck around just enough to read it. Mmmm...instant feedback....

At the start of the test, the nurses always say ‘this will just take about twenty minutes’ – but I think the shortest non-stress test I’ve ever had was just shy of an hour. In fact, I had one of these on Friday and I think they had completely forgotten about me. Fortunately Tim was there keeping me company, so he went out and told the nurses that if I didn’t get unhooked soon I’d have to unhook myself so I could pee. I really love all the nurses at the doctor’s office, but I think they are asked to multi-task far beyond their multi-tasking capabilities. This always results in a pregnant woman getting stranded at the non-stress test machine with an overly inflated bladder that becomes an enticing trampoline for the baby.

Anyway, I’m doing one of those tests today and we’re having another biophysical profile (aka fancy shamnsy ultrasound) on Friday. Oh...and, of course, there will be the good ole’ pee jug to fill on Thursday. Yep… so my date book is full. I hope I haven’t intimidated you all with my newfound glamorous lifestyle and active social calendar. I’m still just regular people.

This was a fun weekend at our house. Harrison came over to go fishing with grandpa and he caught a fish ***THIS BIG***. Here is the picture to prove it – you can see Harrison is giving his celebratory “YES!!”

Also, mom (aka grandma) came over to help paint the nursery. It’s a very cool shade of green and we’ll (er… 'they' will) paint some funky mod squares for a little… how you say?… flare. Babies love flare.

Where was I in all of this, you may ask? I enjoyed watching the backyard fishing channel from a reclined position by the house. As for painting the nursery, I was allowed to do the honorary first paint stroke (it took them hours to cover up my poor artistry) but otherwise I was just barking out suggestions from a reclined position.

Ah… the reclined position. I recommend that you enjoy the reclined position today at your work or home. Now if only I had a man with a giant fan, and another one feeding me grapes. Where can I get those? At Sloth Liquidators Warehouse Emporium?

Monday, June 16, 2008


Well, I just got the official diagnosis of pre-eclampsia. Or maybe that’s preeclampsia. It’s seems unfair to have a condition that I don’t even know how to spell. Anyhoo, that second jug-o-pee yielded a result of 420 and put me well into the “over 300” range.

But don’t cry for me, Blogentina. There is some good news in all of this:

(1) The baby passed the non-stress test, and is therefore not showing any signs of distress at this time. He was sleeping through the first half of the test, but woke up just in time to pass. Nice one, mini-muffin.

(2) The doctor placed me on “modified” bedrest rather than complete bedrest. This means I have to spend at least 3 hours in bed in the morning, at least 3 hours in the afternoon, and generally take it as easy as possible the rest of the time. Dr. Gobbles said I should be in “princess mode”. Hmm… not really my style. In fact, I had to repress a gag reflex when he said that. I still prefer the term “load mode.”

(3) There really isn’t a third thing… but a list of two just seemed silly.

The doctor said an early induction is inevitable, but is just a question on “when”. If my condition worsens or if the baby shows signs of distress, we may have to deliver right away. But if I can remain in stable condition and the baby is doing fine we should be able to put it off for a while. According to Dr. Google (not to be mistaken with Dr. Gobbles) the average time from diagnosis to delivery is 2 weeks. Of course, I am hoping and praying that we get to keep this kid baking for at least another 6 or 7 weeks.

In addition to the modified bedrest, I’ll continue with the weekly non-stress tests and regular ultrasounds until delivery. I’ll also have to start doing weekly 24-hour urine tests. The doctor’s office had run out of those large orange biohazard jugs used for the 24-hour collection. So I had to go down to the lab to get one for this week’s test. So they gave me the jug, but as if the bright orange biohazard jug wasn’t embarrassing enough to walk around with they also put it in a big bag that clearly reads “24-HOUR URINE SAMPLE” on the outside. Yep, I’ll tell you folks… leave your sense of shame at the door when pregnant.

So that’s the update. Sorry I don’t have better news to report, but we sort of saw this coming too. Again, the most important news is that the baby is doing just fine right now. Prayers and/or “low-protein-in-pee vibes” are welcome.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “P”

Just because I know posts about urine are immensely appealing and popular, I’ll tell you that I have another pee jug day today. The doctors are making me take the 24-hour urine test again since as I was very close to failing it last time and the swelling continues to make me look like the Michelin Man’s daughter. (Seriously, put a blond wig on the Michelin Man and that’s like looking in the mirror for me.)

I knew it wasn’t good when my doctor walked into the office shaking her head. Then, my second clue that it wasn’t good was when she said “it isn't good.” The last jug I turned in gave me a score of 294 (or 296). I know, that sounds pretty good, right? Woo-hoo! Well, apparently the “cut-off” before they diagnosis a patient with preeclampsia is 300. D’oh!

While this may sound a bit alarming, I should again state that the baby is doing just fine. He’s big, he’s kicking, he’s power napping, he hasn’t shared any complaints with us. There is a possibility of bedrest if I do end up with preeclampsia, but that will just be an opportunity to get caught up on America’s Next Top Model once again. They’ve probably produced about five more seasons of that show since the last time I was on load-mode three months ago. But we’ll cross that bridge when and IF we come to it. I should know the results on Monday.

I must be getting old because it seems that medical issues have replaced the weather for favored small-talk topics. I should go hang out at a local nursing home and just dish with the residents.

The good news is that I finally have the re-writes to my book off to the agent. She told me her lovely assistant would be giving it the first read today. So I am checking my e-mail every two seconds and just hanging out with my orange biohazard jug today. Um… so, what are you doing?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Tiny Little Man Causes Big Drama

We’ve had a healthy round of drama recently. Everything is just fine… the baby is still in the womb, he weighs a whopping 4 lbs, and is keeping mostly to himself. But, in the last 48 hours I have had…
• 2 trips to the doctor
• 1 trip to the Acute Care Center
• 1 trip to Labor and Delivery
• 48 trips to the bathroom

Perhaps this table can further explain:

So here is the Good News:
1. Despite only getting a 2/10 on the first Biophysical Profile, baby woke up, studied hard, and scored a perfect 10/10 on re-take. He also convinced the doctor to take second score for his final grade.

2. The Labor and Delivery unit was deemed “pleasant enough” by expectant parents.

3. The baby is measuring at least a couple weeks ahead. Determined to be a “hardy lad” by all accounts. The following graph shows he has taken an early lead in the ‘playground intimidation’ factor.

4. Despite drama created by inherently flawed tests, baby has proven himself to outstanding the field of fetal excellence. Prediction: GENIUS!

And here is the neutral news…

1. Follow-up non-stress tests and biophysical profiles are required. I've decided that we have nothing more than a mellow baby on our hands (or at least that's the way he's acting in the womb. He's probably saving his energy for later.) I also think these tests are a bit flawed as they measure activity level and our boy seems to just like to sleep and hang out. (I'll let you insert your own joke here on which of his parents he takes after... although we are both champion sleepers.)

2. Although I keep calling him a boy, it cannot be determined if baby is a boy or a girl. Even with our multiple ultrasounds in the past couple of days, no technician would even guess. Doctor’s are turning back to the “possible badger” theory.

3. Cats’ emotional needs were not adequately met during crisis. Our bad kitty alert system has been elevated to Code Orange (“Bad Kitty Threat Level High. Intelligence reports that peeing outside the box likely in the next 24-48 hours” - Homeland Security).

4. All houseguests are forced to embrace a low standard of excellence when visiting. We'd like to think we are pioneers and shifting the paradigm of what it means to be a good host and hostess. Come on, everyone loves a good medical drama!

There really is no bad news to report (although kitties and houseguests may beg to differ). Oh, they did find I'm anemic - but I think that's just another handy excuse for my forgetfulness.

Now, what were we talking about?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How to Terrify a Cat

Our roof has been on its last shingle for a while now. We hired some roofers to come in and replace the shingles and install some metal mushrooms (for venting, I am told, not whimsy). This weekend, a team of a dozen or so men swooped in and began doing their thing on our roof. By “their thing” I mean they strapped on their tap shoes and did their impression of Lord of the Dance. OK, so I never actually climbed on the roof to verify this, but I recognize that hyper Celtic rhythm anywhere.

Cow and Bear huddled together under the bed, terrified. Poor kitties. Nobody wants to imagine a team of Michael Flatley’s invading their personal space. Seriously. Would you want this on your roof?

The cats recovered from the trauma quickly and are pleased that the riverdance is over. And the Michael Flatleys did a great job. Our new shingles look pretty… as pretty as shingles can look.

I declare our team of a dozen roofers Lords of the Highly Efficient, Moderately Attractive, and Reasonably Priced Roof ! (That’s hard to fit on a billboard or a t-shirt… which is the only reason those guys won’t make it to the big time. It isn’t due to their dancing, I can tell you that. They can tap dance like a tornado…with legs…wearing tap shoes. Oh crap, I’ve gotten stuck in these parentheses on a long and rambling string of thoughts and I don’t know how to get out….*pop*)

That’s better.

Anyway, new roof. True story.