Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This time last year I was dealing with slow rising Betas, thinking that yet another pregnancy was coming to an end. This year I am celebrating Christmas with my little miracle. Never give up as dreams do come true. Merry Christmas to all!!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Season for Giving


I have been following the story of a little 8 month old girl, Isabelle Sherman, from a town near where I grew up, for quite some time now. For over 6 months she was fighting a mystery disease that kept causing sepsis and prevented her from gaining weight. At 7 1/2 months old she was just over 8lbs. This little angel has been fighting for her life at our local medical center when she should be home just enjoying being a baby. Recently it was discovered that Izzy has a disease called Mitochondrial Complex 1 Deficiency. As you will read, the prognosis is not good. A couple of weeks ago Izzy was discharged from the medical center as there really wasn't much else the doctors could do. Last week, Izzy spiked a fever of over 105 and was rushed back to the medical center where it was found that she is septic again, and even after 5 days of antibiotics, the cultures are still coming up positive...and she is still spiking fevers.


Since Izzy has been in the hospital most of her short life, her mother Stephanie, has been unable to work as she has been constantly by Izzy's side with the exception for a few days when Stephanie was sick herself. Izzy's dad also had to leave his job as they have three young boys at home, and with Stephine constantly by Izzy's side, it was impossible to work and take care of the boys. Through donations the Sherman's have been able to "get by" for the time being but I recently learned that they are almost $700 in the rears with the utility company that supplies their electricity and heat. While anyone is more than welcome to directly make a donation on Izzy's page, I am personally collecting money to put directly towards their utility bill. If anyone is interested in making a donation directly through me, you can send money via PayPal to bringonthebabies@gmail.com. If you would like to send a check you can send me a private email and we can work that out. And again, if you are more comfortable, you can always make a donation directly on Izzy's page.

Here is a link to Izzy's Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/HelpIsabelleGrow

Here is the direct link to make a donation on her page:
http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/go-team-izzy/27281

Here are a few news links to her story as well:
http://mohawkvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/596227/help-isabelle-grow/

http://www.fox23news.com/news/local/story/Baby-fights-mystery-diagnosis/KdviTqMdFEa6Ea6Xt_NtVQ.cspx




Thanks for any consideration that you may give!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What the Future Holds

Over the past several weeks I have been thinking a lot about my future. Not just my future in the sense of what I want to do and how I want my life to be, but more along the lines of motherhood and where I go from here. Since it has already been a year since we did our last IVF, it is coming time to pay the yearly storage fee for my remaining six frozen embryos. With the craziness of getting pregnant, the complications during the pregnancy, and now just being a mom, I really haven't given much thought to my frozen embryos and what the future holds for them. I do know one thing for sure and that is that I am no where near ready to start thinking about having another child. I am the type of mom that wants to enjoy what I have and not rush through things just to get them done. Giovanni has already changed so much since birth and I just think it is important to enjoy it because before I know it he won't be a baby anymore. I just don't want to take this stage for granted as I know I will never get it back.

Many people have asked me if I plan on having more kids. Considering what I have went through, not only during this pregnancy, but everything before that just to get pregnant, I honestly don't know what to say. If things were going to be easy and I was guaranteed not to have the complications I had this last time, then yes, I would do it all over again. But can anyone really make that guarantee? One thing that we do know is that I cannot get pregnant and stay pregnant again without some type of intervention. We learned that the only thing that kept Giovanni in all that time was the scar tissue from the CKC I had to remove the cancer. The doctors had no idea how I was still hanging on with a cervix under 1cm, and now we know. While I know that infertility treatments are in my future if I do want to do this again, there is always that small possibility that, by the miracle of God, I could get pregnant on my own. Yes, we need to do everything we can to make sure that I don't get pregnant as my body cannot support implantation without heroic measures before hand, but again, what if a miracle happened and we were blessed by the fact that my body suddenly learned how to support a pregnancy on its own? This is where we need to take action now. Within the next few months I will be consulting with a physician who specializes in transabdominal cerclages (more in-depth post to come). There is a physician in southern New Jersey and one in Chicago that specializes in these. I actually spoke to the doctor in Chicago several times during my pregnancy as he specializes in incompetent cervix due to CKC so I am quite comfortable with him and am leaning towards going with him for this procedure. In short, a transabdominal cerclage is a stitch that is placed high in the cervix by making an incision in the abdomen. Traditional vaginal cerclages are placed vaginally but since most of my cervix was removed from the cancer, I am not a candidate for this type.

Even though there is a chance that I will never try and have another child, this is still something that my husband and I feel strongly about. Once it is placed, it is there for an indefinite amount of time. I look at it as a safety net...if we need it, I'll have it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

One Year Ago Today...

...I was handed this picture.


Dreams DO come true!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Back To Work I Go


Yup, that's right. I am officially back to work. After pretty much crying all day on Sunday, Monday morning I put on my big girl panties and headed out the door. It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. The minute I closed the garage door and pulled out of the driveway, I started crying. Despite my extreme dismay regarding leaving Giovanni, I am very blessed for the mere fact that my husband is staying home with him. In other words, my husband has become a full-time "manny." Throughout the day he sends me pictures of Giovanni and lets me know what is going on. My husband is now the one bringing Giovanni to his physical therapy appointments (for the torticollis), making sure he gets his meds, and monitoring his feedings to ensure that his weight remains stable. While I am grateful, there is a part of me that is jealous. I wish I could be the one that is doing all of this stuff. While I know (at least I hope) it isn't true, there is a part of me that worries that Giovanni isn't going to feel connected to me since I have to leave for work everyday. Is this normal?

One great thing about my job is that they are VERY family oriented. My boss is nothing but supportive around the fact the I am a mom, and a new mom who went through hell to get my little miracle. I don't have a typical 9 to 5 job where I sit at a desk all day. I have a job where my car is my mobile office and I travel between two States to do my work. Needless to say that it has taking some time to get used to pumping while working. Since it is colder than hell here in NY, pumping has been rather unpleasant. Yesterday I mastered the art of pumping while driving. I had a very long and intensive day so having to stop and pump for 20+ minutes would have put me behind and made my day even longer. One good thing about breastfeeding/pumping is that my company will not separate me from Giovanni for more than 24 hours. I have a meeting coming up in January in Philadelphia and both my husband and Giovanni get to travel with me!

All in all, going back to work was bittersweet. I was sad that I had to leave my little peanut, but thankful that I had such a wonderful job and company to go back to after being out on medical leave for almost 8 months. I am a very lucky girl!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Photo Bomb

I just wanted to share some of my favorite pictures of Giovanni. Enjoy!

Me and peanut out to dinner.

Halloween festivities.

First time in the Bumbo.

All ready for church.

Sitting with daddy.

Two months old.

Three months old. 

Happy Thanksgiving!




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guess What??

We can breastfeed!! The other afternoon I was sitting in bed when Giovanni became fussy as it was time to eat. We forgot to take a bottle out of the fridge so my husband went downstairs to warm one up. Apparently he didn't move fast enough as Giovanni's fussiness turned into a total meltdown. I don't know what made me do it but I scooped him up and put him to the breast. He instantly latched on and all I could do was cry tears of joy. After 12 weeks and 2 days of bottle feeding, mouth surgery, nipple shields, and latching issues, he was finally doing it and like a champ. He ate for a total of 30 minutes and fell asleep shortly after. I breastfed him for the rest of that day and night. Since he is so used to the bottle and the milk coming out faster, he apparently started to chew on me to try and get the milk faster and needless to say my nipples are as red as a firetruck and one has starting bleeding. I also somehow ended up with a blocked milk duct which is also quite painful. I am continuing to pump every few hours as I always do but once I heal a bit I am going to start putting him to the breast first thing in the morning and then again before he goes to bed for the night (yes, he is sleeping through the night already!). I am so happy to say that I am finally able to breastfeed my child!! I couldn't be happier as it is the most amazing feeling ever!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Things Change, Nothing Stays the Same

First of all I want to preface this post with a warning. I had surgery (yes, I know) on my foot Wednesday and I am a bit emotional from the pain and my unwillingness to take the pain meds that they gave me. So consider yourself warned...

For those of you who know me in real life, you know that I live for the Holidays. My most favorite time of the year is from Thanksgiving to New Years. The last three Holiday seasons have been awful. In 2009 we were dealing with our first loss; 2010 we were doing our 1st IVF which resulted in a heterotopic pregnancy; and in 2011 we were dealing with what we thought was a loss of pregnancy (from IVF #5) due to messed up Betas but it turned out to be from a poorly developing twin which we lost later in January. This is the first year in a long time that I can honestly say that I am happy and excited about the upcoming Holiday season. With Giovanni in my life I want to restart traditions that I once had and show him what family is all about. One problem...family isn't what it used to be. I understand that as time goes on things change, but I am finally coming to the realization how much it has changed. As dysfunctional as my family was, I can't help but miss the times when all of us were together. All of the aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. Despite the dysfunction, somehow, we were all able to come together for the Holidays and put the craziness aside. I am not the only one dealing with this as my husband is feeling this as well but it seems to be hitting him much harder. His family has gone through many changes through the years and now with everyone grown up with their own families, he is struggling with the lack of togetherness that he once felt.

The question of the hour becomes "How do we change this?" I don't know if there is an easy answer. The reason that it is bothering my husband and I so much is because of Giovanni. We want him to grow up knowing what family is and have him surrounded by those who love him. I know that it isn't critical at this point because he is so little yet, but as he gets older that will change. How do you reconnect as family when everyone is so busy with their own lives? If anyone can answer this, please let me know.

The other issue that my husband and I are facing is what to do if something was to happen to us. Since I really don't have family (no brothers or sisters) we are going to meet with a lawyer and put together a will so everything will be in writing. We have an idea what we want to do but approaching who we chose to be Giovanni's guardians if anything was ever to happen isn't the easiest thing to do. What if they decline? Then what? It just isn't an easy topic. First of all it isn't something that I even want to think about because I obviously want to be around to parent my child but it is also difficult to ask someone to take on this huge responsibility if something does happen. I know one way or another it will work out but getting there is no walk in the park!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thanks

I just wanted to thank everyone for the encouraging comments and supportive emails over the past week. Ultimately I decided to start on Zoloft (which I did last week) as I really needed something to help get me over this hump. I am thinking that I am also going to seek out a counselor (which will be strange for me) that specializes in either PTSD or infertility/pregnancy loss. I also don't think that the lack of sleep is helping at all either. Giovanni is sleeping 6-8 hours straight each night, but because I pump, I have to get up several times to do so. But that is another story...

I also took the time this week to stop by and visit all of the people that made this little miracle possible.


I am forever grateful to these people and consider them to be family now. They made my dream of motherhood come true. Love to them all!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Coming To Terms With the Past

I haven't written on here much lately as I have been trying to avoid what I am feeling. I am not sure if I should be feeling what I am feeling. Is it completely normal? Is there something wrong with me? You would think as a psychologist that I should be able to navigate my way through my own feelings and emotions, but these feelings are something that I don't know what to do with.

I know that I am not dealing with PPD as I am able to function and participate in life. There are just times, pretty much like flashbacks, where I feel very detached from reality. I am not sure how to explain what is going on with me. I often find myself staring at Giovanni where I just burst out in tears. All I can think about is how I almost lost him. I am frozen with fear that something is going to happen to him now.

Last weekend I was driving home from a day of shopping with him, happy as can be. I had the radio on and was singing to him, thinking about how I enjoyed my alone time with him. I came to stop at a red light. The light turned green but an ambulance was coming, lights and sirens, so I had to wait. Next thing I know I realize the cars behind me are blowing their horns. Tears are pouring down my face. I proceeded through the intersection and pulled over. I frantically tried to remember what happened. I soon started remembering the noise of the sirens, the reflection of the red lights in the dark, the hotness of the Magnesium, the nausea, the dry mouth, the overwhelming fear that I was once again losing the miracle that was inside me. I had completely flashed back to the night I went into preterm labor. It was like it was happening all over again. I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw Giovanni sleeping in his car seat. He was there with me and everything was okay. What the hell is wrong with me?

These type of things have been happening quite a bit. I am having a really hard time understanding why as everything turned out okay and he is with me. I realize that I had a nightmare of a time conceiving that was plagued by loss after loss; a nightmare of a pregnancy; a nightmare of a birth; and multiple complications post-birth. But why now? Why am I having such a hard time coping with the PAST? That is exactly what it is, the past. I am starting to realize that I really haven't, from a psychological perspective, dealt with everything that has happened. I always just figured that once I had a baby that all the stuff from the past would somehow just go away. That is not the case.

As much as I have the "I can fix myself" attitude, I think it is time for me to realize that I need help with this. All of this isn't going to go away on its own. I obviously have many feelings and emotions that need to be dealt with. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

8 Weeks Old

Today my little man is 8 weeks old. I can't believe how fast it is going by. It seems like just yesterday I was going in for my induction to bring my little miracle into this world. It is hard to believe how much he has already changed!

My little peanut when he was only 13 days old!

My little peanut at 8 weeks!

I love him so much!

Today was his 2 month well-baby visit. He has jumped from the 1st percentile for weight (yes, you read that correctly) up to the 9th percentile weighing in at 10lbs. 2oz. He has grown from 19in. to 22in. long which puts him in the 14th percentile. The pediatrician was quite pleased with his growth but we need to stay focused on his weight gain. I am still feeding him every 2-3 hours around the clock. He has been sleeping one 4-5 hour stretch at night so I am adding in a little extra during the day to make up for it. I am a bit nervous about returning to work as I need to keep up with this 2-3 hours schedule by continuing to pump. I work by myself 99% of the time so jumping in my back seat and milking myself won't be an issue then, but every once in a while my boss will be riding with me so I am a bit nervous about that. I will say that I have an incrediably understanding boss who has been encouraging and supportive of this whole process, so I know that it won't be an issue. I am very lucky in that department!

Speaking of going back to work, the anxiety of my return has set in. Going back is bitter-sweet. I would love to be able to stay home and take care of my child until he goes to school in 5 years, but my income is what supports this household. In the moments of my crying fits about returning to work, my husband has offered to return to work so that I can stay home with Giovanni (as opposed to him staying home) but that just isn't possible. There is no way my husband could supplement my income. I really appreciate his generosity though. I just keep telling myself that I am returning to work to give my son the best life possible. Also, his father will be staying home with him full-time so I am very fortunate in the department. I return in exactly 4 weeks so hopefully the time will go by very slowly. Also, by the time I return, the Holiday season will be upon us and that is actually my most favorite time of the year to work. Everyone is in such a good mood. It is right after the Holidays that suck but by that time I will be adjusted (hopefully). In the end I have a great boss and great colleagues (some that are moms too) so I am sure that with their support I will somehow make it through and everything will be okay.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When Do I Get a Break??

Sorry it has taken me so long to post an update but between things being crazy as usual and my total detachment from life for a couple of days, I haven't really felt up to posting. Giovanni had his upper GI study on Thursday and let me just say that it was awful! I knew it wasn't going to be fun but I never expected for it to be as traumatic as it was. After checking in, we were greeted by the technician for the test. She had the radiologist come talk to my husband and I about the test. After that my husband was instructed to return to the waiting room as I was going to be the one to stay with him. Once I stripped him down to his diaper, they laid him on this wooden backboard looking contraption and started strapping him down. The worst part is that they had to put his head in this cushioned vice and strap his arms in above his head. He immediately started screaming...like I have never heard him scream before. They let me stay at his head so I reached through the opening and gave him my fingers. He gripped them like he was holding on for his life. They then started the test. As he drank the Barium they kept flipping the board to get different views, all the while he is still screaming bloody murder in between gulps of the Barium. At this point I just couldn't stand to hear him scream like that so I started crying. The radiologist, who was right there, kept talking to me and telling me that he would be fine in a minute and that the test is actually worse on the parents. After what seemed like an eternity the test was over. The radiologist went over the results with me. She told me that he has severe reflux, delayed esophageal emptying, and aspiration into the nasal cavity. She then told me that she would send the report to my doctor that afternoon. The next day I got a call from his pediatrician. She told me the same thing the radiologist did and said that we were stopping the Zantac and starting Prevacid. She also said that when we see her on Wednesday for his 2 month well check that we will talk about the effectiveness of the medication and discuss referring him back to the medical center for a consultation with the pediatric gastroenterologist.

As for me, the news sucks. My fears were confirmed and I need to have a D&C. My MFM confirmed that the ultrasound that I had showed retained placenta and that it needs to come out ASAP. I go back to the medical center tomorrow morning for a surgical D&C. I am praying that it is straightforward with no complications. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Modern Medicine...Epic Fail

Since Giovanni was born, he has been having an array of feeding issues. First was his inability to latch which led to weight loss and to him being dehydrated which ultimately landed him back into the hospital. After working with three different lactation consultants he was still unable to latch but it was discovered by lactation consultant #3 that he had a 3rd degree tongue-tie and a 3rd degree upper lip tie. That was corrected a day before he turned 4 weeks old through a laser procedure. Although he was now able to latch, he had absolutely no interest in the breast and would throw himself backwards and scream when put to the breast, so I decided that we would continue bottle feeding him breast milk. From the very beginning, he has always choked on his bottles. Over the past couple of weeks, it seems to be getting progressively worse. Last night he choked for so long that I ended up having to flip him over and essentially preform the Himlich on him. I was seconds away from calling 911 when he arched his back, took a deep breath, and started screaming. That did it for me. I was done.

This morning I called his pediatrician and told her what had happened and how I am just not comfortable letting this continue. She was hoping it was just reflux as she started him on Zantac last week when he was seen in her office. She has now increased his dose but thinks that it is time for him to have an upper GI study done. She will be setting this test up through the medical center tomorrow as they have pediatric radiologists that specialize in this type of stuff. Essentially he would go into the hospital where they would give him a bottle of Barium and take pictures as he drinks it. It is a fairly straightforward and easy test, I just dread the havoc the Barium will cause on his poor digestive system.

On top of all this I have been dealing with some issues of my own. The first thing has been an investigation of a lump that was found in my right breast. Three weeks ago when I was diagnosed with Mastitis the doctor found a lump that was documented as Mastitis related. Fastforward to last week when I noticed that the lump was still there. I called my GYN and after feeling it for herself, she suggested an ultrasound just to make sure it was nothing. Today I went for that ultrasound and luckily it was nothing. There was no solid mass seen on the scan so it is nothing more than a blocked milk duct or remenents of the Mastitis. The other issue that I have been having is all this bleeding that I am dealing with. I am 7 weeks postpartum and I am still bleeding as heavily as I was the day that I gave birth. After having several epsiodes where I was pretty sure that I was going to pass out, I decided that it was time to call the MFMs. Unfortunalty the NP that I usually deal with was off so I was forced to talk to the other one. She told me that it was no big deal and completely normal. Not all that comforatable with her answer, I decdided to email the other NP to let her know what was going on. She agreed that it was time to get an ultrasound just to take a peek at things. I was able to get that done today at the same time that I had the breast lump checked. That scan, however, did not turn out so great. Since I had my pelvic scan done first, and had to pump in between, the radiologist had time to read it. Even though they really aren't supposed to say anything, the tech confirmed that there was "something there" and when I asked her if it was placental tissue, she said "let's just say that I will see you for a follow-up scan once they dust things out". Since my MFM's office is not 'in-network" with this imaging location, the will snail mail the results to them. I did call the MFM office to ask them to get the report but I am thinking that I won't get any answers from them until next week. Their priority is high risk OB patients, not me. I decided to call my GYN to let her know what was going on. She said that this needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later. She told me that if I start to feel or worse or if I start running a fever, that I need to go right to the ER. She said that she will have the report tomorrow and will call me so we can come up with a plan. Apparently it looks like there is yet another D&C in my future. I keep telling myself that maybe they looked at someone else's report but I think that is just me being in denial. I am a bit worried why this "something" is still in there, especially after all of the bleeding I have had. I am a bit worried that this is a piece of placenta that grew deep into the uterus and it is still growing and has its own blood supply. Hopefully this is not the case and removal will be fast and easy. This shit never seems to end...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Working It All Out

Over the past week I have been focusing on the goals I came up with for breastfeeding/pumping/feeding. After yet another meltdown after trying once more to put Giovanni to the breast, I decided that we were done. He is not going to be able to breastfeed and that is that. We have tried a SNS, nipple shields, laid-back nursing, a water "rebirth", three lactation consultants, and nothing has worked. The only thing trying to breastfeed gets me is a child who screams so hard that he stops breathing. I am done! No more feeling bad, no more letting others make me feel bad, it is over. Breastfeeding is supposed to establish a bond between mother and baby and that is far from what it was doing for us.

While I am done with breastfeeding, I haven't given up on giving him breast milk. I am now officially an exclusive pumper...something far harder than exclusively breastfeeding. I am pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock. While that isn't ideal, I am looking at it as my job right now. To make things a bit easier I rented a hospital grade electric and I have to say that it is so much better than my Pump In Style Advanced. It doesn't hurt nearly as bad and it is so much quieter. While I can't drag that thing around when I leave the house, I have invested in a manual pump which I have to say does an incredible job. I am also planning on putting my Pump In Style in my car so when I am in a hurry I can just strap it on and pump both sides at once. I am also working on my supply. I remember the days when I was siphoning the breast milk directly off of my nipples with a 1ml syringe only to get 0.1ml. I am now producing between 2.5 and 5oz. per pumping session. I am producing just enough for him to eat but I am an overachiever and would like to produce enough to have some extra. To do this I went ahead and ordered Domperidone (had to order it from another country) as its number one side effect is increased lactation as it raises prolactin levels. While it isn't available here in the US, it is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use in lactating women. In other words, it is safe. I just checked the tracking for it and it is in NYC right now so I should have it in the next day or so.

I am also very happy to report that I have decided to take another 6 weeks off from work. I am using a combination of unpaid leave time and paid vacation. Doing this will have me going back to work the week before Thanksgiving and this will give me two three day work weeks in a row. I just couldn't see me going back to work this week. Giovanni is just starting to become more alert where he is starting to interact with me. He is starting to stare at me and occasionally tracks me with his eyes. Every once and a while he will give me a big smile followed by a high pitched squeal. It absolutely melts my heart!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Little Man's Professional Debut

Yup, I am one of those mothers! I am constantly uploading pictures of my little peanut to Facebook and texting friends and family pictures too. So to continue the trend I will share some of the professional pictures that we had taken of Giovanni when he was only 13 days old. Enjoy!



















Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Will It Ever End??

Over the past two weeks or so I have been experiencing an increase in headaches and pain at the base of my skull. I figured it was due to lack of sleep and stress. Friday afternoon I mentioned it to my doctor who suggested that I contact anesthesiology at the medical center. I ended up talking with the anesthesiologist that works in L&D and she said it was most likely that the blood patch that I had received after delivering Giovanni had broken up and that the leak started leaking again and that another one was needed. She offered to admit me into the hospital until they could do the patch on Monday but I refused as there was no way that I was going to go sit in the hospital and not take care of my baby. We decided that I would go to the medical center on Monday where they would admit me and do another spinal blood patch. The only part that made me nervous was that I had to stop my Lovenox Saturday night in preparation. Monday, just before noon, I was admitted back to L&D where they did the blood patch. Let me just say that it was awful! I ended up being quite dehydrated so they had to give me two liters of fluid prior to the procedure. Then, because of the dehydration, they had a hell of a time getting the blood out of my wrist to put into my spine. My poor wrist looks like I tried cutting myself with a rusty razor blade! Despite the Versed, the procedure hurt like hell and all I could do was cry...but I couldn't move at all. Despite the procedure itself sucking, the staff was wonderful and I felt better within hours of the procedure...except for where they inserted the blood patch...that still hurts like hell!

We also made an amazing discovery during our appointment with the lactation consultant on Saturday. After trying for an hour to get Giovanni to latch onto the breast, she discovered that he had a 3rd degree tongue tie and a 3rd degree upper lip tie. I can't understand for the life of me why this was not discovered sooner. I worked with multiple lactation consultants at two different hospitals and all they kept telling me was that Giovanni had a small mouth but eventually he would grow into it and then would be able to latch onto the breast. Not only am I am confused why this was never found, but I am also pissed that because of this missed problem, I missed out on a whole month of breastfeeding my son and put him through hell trying to get him to latch when it was absolutely impossible. First thing Monday morning we called a local doctor that uses a laser to correct these issues. He immediately scheduled Giovanni's procedure for the following day. The procedure itself went fine and was over in about ten minutes. As soon as the doctor brought him back to me I put him to the breast and he latched instantly. Although it only lasted a few minutes, I then knew that he could do it. My husband and I have to do these awful mouth stretches with Giovanni three times a day (he screams during them) to ensure that the ties don't reform. This has to be done everyday for the next two weeks. We go for a followup visit in the morning so that the doctor can check Giovanni's mouth to make sure there is no inflammation or infection.

Today we followed up with the lactation consultant to see if we could get Giovanni to latch, and stay latched, on the breast. Because of the frustrating 4 weeks he has had with the breast, all he did was scream. The LC explained that it is going to take a month for him to get the hang of things as that is how far he is behind with his breastfeeding skills. In the meantime I am pumping away and my output is slowly increasing. I pump anywhere form 2.5oz. to 4.5oz per pumping session. He is only eating 2.5oz per feeding right now so at least I am pumping enough to feed him. I went ahead and rented a hospital grade pump to use for a month or so as I really want to build my supply and the Pump in Style just isn't as good as a hospital grade pump. I will have it by next Tuesday so hopefully that will make a difference.

On a positive note, my little man is 4 weeks old today! I can't believe how the time is flying. He has already changed so much since his birth. He is now able to look at our faces, he can track movement with his eyes, and he can hold his head up for short periods of time during tummy time. I absolutely love watching him grow and I look forward to each new day with him!  



Friday, September 14, 2012

Needing Support

Last Saturday I posted about all of the issues I am having with feedings and my struggle to provide my son with breast milk. Since then I have realized that I am the only one that can deal with this situation as it is all my own. If I want the situation to improve I need to take steps to make that happen, not just bitch about how hard things are. Here is what I have done so far:
  • Contacted a private lactation consultant whom I am meeting with Saturday afternoon. I was going to meet with her this week and the LC from the hospital last weekend, but the onset of mastitis put a halt to that. Both my husband and I are meeting with this private LC for a 3 hour session. Her fee includes this initial visit plus unlimited email and phone support and a follow up visit if needed. 
  • Started taking Motherlove's More Milk Plus which is supposed to help increase milk production. This is an herbal breastfeeding blend the contains fenugreek seed, blessed thistle, nettle herb, and fennel seed. Not realizing that this particular blend didn't contain goat's rue, I ordered a bottle of seperate goat's rue (should be here next week) and I also ordered More Milk Plus Special Blend which actually contains goats rue for when I run out of this stuff. 
  • I am eating oatmeal every morning. Not only is this good for my milk production, but it is also good for my waistline!
  • I ordered a set of Pumpin Pals flanges for my breast pump as I have read incredible things about them. I just received them this afternoon and have only used them once but I can tell you that I love them so much more than the ones that came with my Medela. The prevent my nipples from getting irritated and they are also angled so I don't have to lean forward while pumping. I can actually sit back and relax. 
  • I have been using the Medela hands free pumping bra and while it is okay, I am not impressed by it. It stretches out after a few uses which allows the flanges to move during pumping which in turn leads to leaking milk. After reading through pages of support forums on breastfeeding, I decided to order the Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra. All the reviews say that it keeps the flanges nice and tight to your body and is strong enough to support the wight of the bottles filling with milk. I just checked the tracking and that should be delivered tomorrow afternoon.
My ultimate goal is to be able to exclusively breastfeed my son...with or without the nipple shield. While I understand that formula isn't going to harm him, breast milk is extra important because of my CVID and that is why I am putting so much pressure on myself to provide him with this. We will not know for months if he has been afflicted with CVID like me so right now it is so important that he receives what antibodies I have through my breast milk. While lactobacillus bifidus, lactoferrin, lysozyme, all found in breast milk, provide him with passive immunity, the most important component for him is the secretory IgA. As of my last set of blood work with my immunologist, my immunoglobin levels were normal which means that Giovanni is getting a normal amount of immunity from me. If he does in fact have CVID, with his underdeveloped immune system, breast milk becomes crucial as he gets this immunity from me and that is not something that is provided in formula. I am actually going a week from today to see the immunologist to see if it is necessary for me to start back on the IvIg transfusions. The pediatrician has also raised some concern regarding some of the scheduled vaccinations coming up at his 2 month appointment. According to the literature, infants of mothers with CVID should not receive the vaccination for Rotovirus, Chicken Pox, or the MMR. When I go next week to the immunologist I need to talk to him about that. If my immunoglobin levels are stable, and he is recrieving my breast milk, will that protect him enough to receive these vaccinations...that is the question we need answered. All I need is a very sick infant on my hands!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Feeding Woes

Feeding has been a struggle for us since Giovanni was born. I knew going into this that breastfeeding would be difficult as I have gestational diabetes, hypothyroidism, asymptomatic PCOS, and infertility working against me, all barriers to successful breastfeeding. I was determined to try my best so I can do what is best for my son. While in the hospital after his birth, I was not producing much colostrum. I was actually siphoning drops of it off of my nipples with a 1ml syringe. The nurses and lactation consultant told me that three drops of colostrum would raise his blood sugar 20 points, so I made an effort to get what I could. I was using the hospital pump as well, and I would only get a few drops with that. It actually became quite frustrating as I would pump for 20 minutes and at times I wouldn't even have enough to suck up with the syringe as it would all just get lost in the chambers of the pump parts. With each pumping session I was only getting 0.1ml. (Yes, you read that right.) By the day of discharge, I was producing .6ml which is considerably more than a few days prior, but not enough where I was comfortable feeding Giovanni. Without going into great detail in this post about all of the problems I had with the hospital regarding my discharge, I will just say that I was in no way comfortable being discharged (another whole long post) as I didn't feel that my son was getting enough to eat. Needless to say, my concerns were ignored and I was discharged against my wishes. Luckily, while I was battling with the hospital to keep him until we knew he was getting enough to eat, I called my pediatrician and setup an appointment for the following day.

The next morning I went to the pediatrician and all I could do was cry. I knew that Giovanni was hungry and there wasn't anything I could do. I had originally asked the hospital about supplementing with formula but they told me not to as it wasn't necessary. By the time we saw the pediatrician it was almost 24 hours since his last wet diaper. I knew something wasn't right. His weight had also dropped from 6lbs12oz down to 6lbs1oz. The pediatrician was quite concerned and had us feed him 2 ounces of formula right in her office. She told us that if he didn't have a wet diaper by 7pm that night, that he would have to be readmitted to the hospital. Needless to say, we never had a wet diaper so Giovanni was readmitted back into the hospital...our local one though, not the medical center. For the next 24 hours we worked with the nurses and lactation consultants to determine what the problem was. They determined that his mouth is unusually small, therefore he wasn't latching properly. Because of this, my breasts were not getting stimulated enough to signal my body to produce milk. I then started a routine of pumping for 20 minutes and then feeding him, and I was doing this every 2 hours. As you can imagine, this left me with very little time to sleep which made recovering from my 3rd degree tear and spinal fluid leak very difficult. Within 24 hours Giovanni was peeing and pooping regularly and put back on 4 ounces.

For the next couple of days I was following this same schedule but I became worried that he would lose interest in the breast. As much as I didn't want to have to use it, I gave into the nipple shield that the hospital gave me. He struggled with it but seems to now be getting the hang of it. While it would seem that this would solve some problems, it actually has created more. Now, instead of pumping and feeding, I am putting him to the breast for 30-40 minutes (using both sides), pumping right after he is done, and then feeding him what I pumped. After all of this is said and done, I have very little time until his next feeding since I can't let him go more than 3 hours and the clock starts when he starts eating, not when he finishes. And to top off this routine from hell, I started having severe stabbing pains in my right breast a couple of days ago. I couldn't stand it any longer so I called my MFM. Since I called on Friday they told me to go to urgent care so I didn't have to suffer through the weekend. Turns out that I have developed mastitis and I am now on antibiotics for 10 days. I am still in a ton of pain but I am trying my best to stick to the routine. While all of this is so much to handle, learning the he was up to 7 pounds as of his last appointment with the pediatrician on Wednesday is making me even more determined to keep this up.  

I never expected things to be easy, but I never expected them to be so difficult. If I could just put him to the breast like most other women do, things would be so much easier. I have to admit that I cave a few times a day. I end up crying my eyes out from a combination of no sleep and seeing how frustrated my son is, and all I want to do is to switch him to formula. It would just be so much easier. While I understand that many women opt for formula and their kids are just fine, I feel like I owe it to him to keep trying. I am working with a lactation consultant at my local hospital, who I go and see again tomorrow, and I am also considering hiring a private consultant but they are just so expensive. I am praying that this gets easier. I am hoping that once he gets a bit bigger that his mouth will be large enough to latch without the nipple shield although I am worried that he won't latch as he only knows how to eat with the shield. One day at a time I guess...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Birth Story

 I apologize for the delay in sharing this. Motherhood has been keeping me quite busy. So without further ado, here is the birth story of Giovanni Luca... 


On Tuesday, August 21st, my husband and I arrived at the medical center at 7:30am for our induction. Going into this I did not know what to expect as the consensus was split whether I would deliver vaginally or have a c-section. I knew that it could potentially be a long process and that I would just need to go with the flow. Around 10am one of the residents came in to insert Cervidil as my cervix was still high, hard, and completely closed although I had been 100% effaced since 32 weeks. They told me that it was going to be 12 hours before they could remove it and assess my progress. Around 4pm the contractions started, and while they were between 4-5 minutes apart, I was having periods where they would just stop only to restart again, so we couldn't count them as "regular contractions". At this point I was still comfortable enough to move around so I decided that I wanted to get on the birthing ball. I can't even tell you how much this helped to ease the discomfort of the contractions. I stayed on the ball for a couple of hours and even fell asleep on it as I propped myself up on the bed using a bunch of pillows. At 10pm the doctor came in to check my progress. I was so excited to see how much I was dilated. Much to my disappointment I was only a fingertip dilated. I started crying as I was just so frustrated not to mention hungry as I couldn't eat after midnight the night before.

It was decided to attempt to place a balloon catheter in hopes that it would help to dilate my cervix. They gave me some pain meds and started to insert it. The doctor tried for a good 15 minutes to get it in but I just couldn't take the pain. Even though they couldn't leave it in place for more than 5 minutes, it managed to get my cervix to dilate 1-2cm. They then decided that we would start Pitocin in hopes that my body would respond. This was started around midnight. The Pitocin brought my contractions to 1-2 minutes apart but again I would be contracting consistently and then all of a sudden they would just stop for 5 or so minutes. After more pain meds and 7 hours, the doctor checked my cervix again. I was positive that we had made substantial progress but again to my disappointment I had only progressed to 2-3cm. Around 7am on the 22nd it was decided the next nest step was to break my water. For some reason I just didn't want to do this as I really wanted to wait for my MFM to stop in and see me as she would be making rounds within the hour. They really didn't want to wait but also gave me the option of getting an epidural and trying the balloon catheter again. All I could do was cry as I didn't know what to do. I was only 2-3cm so I didn't want the epidural as I was so afraid of being bed bound for a long period of time. Very reluctantly I agreed to have my water broken. I don't remember the exact time but the doctor came in with the little plastic hook that looked much like a knitting needle and broke my water. As soon as I felt the gush of fluid I knew that there was no turning back. I was an emotional mess as I was getting quite uncomfortable and the constant gushing of fluid was getting to me. I suddenly noticed that the contractions were intensifying and soon they became unbearable. Anesthesiology came in to talk to me about an epidural. They told me that it would help me to relax and labor conmfortably but I explained to them again that I was nervous about getting it so early as my cervix was minimally dialted. The anasthsiaologist was fine with me waiting. After he walked out of the room I only lasted another 20 minutes or so as the pain was to the point where I just wanted to die (and I was screaming) so at this point I didn't care. I let them start the epidural. I don't remember much about the epidural process except how hard it was to stay completely still during my contractions. The nurse that was there was absolutely amazing and really helped to make the process a little easier. I had noticed that they were taking a long time to get the epidural started so I started to become nervous. I don't remember their exact words but I was informed that they had "overshot" the needle and that caused a spinal fluid leak. I was told that there was a 1% chance of this happening but I was lucky enough to be that 1% I guess. Once the epidural kicked in I was able to lay back and relax. Soon after the epidural the doctor came in and asked when I had last been checked. I can't remember the exact amount of time but it was around an hour since the last cervix check. I wasn't expecting much at this point but when she said the words "you are fully dilated", I almost died. It was time to push!


Somewhere around 9am I started pushing. I couldn't really feel the contractions through the epidural so the nurses let me know when I was having one. I did a series of three pushes with each contraction. They told me to push as if I needed to poop. I don't mean to sound immature but pooping during labor was one of my biggest fears (and no I didn't poop). Since I knew that I had to effectively push to get this baby out, I just went with the flow...even though I kept asking if I pooped yet. About an hour into pushing I was starting to feel the contractions again so I was able to tell them when I needed to push. Around 10:30 I noticed the doctor get up and walk out only to come back with my MFM. I didn't think much of it until I heard someone say how low the baby's heart rate was dropping. I started to panic as I just wanted my little boy to be okay. At just about 10:45 everything changed. His heart rate had dropped into the 60's and it wasn't recovering. My MFM just kept telling me that I needed to push and that we had to get this bay out right away. They hooked up the vacuum to his head but it wasn't working. All they kept saying is that I couldn't stop pushing as they baby had to come out now. I was doing push after push with no breaks in between. I could feel every vessel in my face rupturing. I then felt my MFM stick her hand in me to grab the baby while continuing to try the suction. At this point I tore but I didn't care as I was just so scared that he wasn't going to make it. The resident that was assisting ended up needing to cut me further as my baby was struggling. With one final push at exactly 11am, Giovanni made his entrance into this world. I only got to look at him for a brief second as they whisked him away to be evaluated. All I kept asking was "is he okay" and no one would answer me. Things were quiet, too quiet. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard him cry. It was the most amazing sound in the world. I didn't know at this point if they had to resuscitate him but I knew that he was alive. I made my husband go and be with him in the next room as all I cared about was my new little man. Turns out, that despite his initial rocky start, my little man was just fine!


He was a perfect 6lbs. 12oz. and 19 inches long.


I am absolutely in love!


At this point I knew that he was safe and that my husband was with him. The doctor informed me that it was time to deliver the placenta. I didn't know much about this part except that I read that it was fairly easy and that most women don't remember doing this part as it is so insignificant. My story is quite the contrary as I will never forget what happened. I am not sure at what point the doctor told me to start pushing but I remember pushing for quite a while. I don't remember too much after this point as things got a little fuzzy. I remember the doctor saying that I needed to push and push now, in the same manner she spoke to me when Giovanni was stuck and his heart rate was declining. It was soon after this that my entire body started to shake, almost like I was convulsing yet I was conscious. I was completely shaking from the inside out and that is when the nurse put oxygen on me. The resident and my MFM kept looking at each other and shaking their heads and my MFM kept telling me that I needed to keep pushing and that I couldn't stop. I vaguely remember hearing that my body was retaining the placenta and that they needed to manually extract it. The baby nurse asked me if I wanted to hold Giovanni but I said that I couldn't as something was wrong. I felt hot, nauseous, and shaky. My husband took Giovanni and stood by my side. The look on his face said it all. I have no idea how long it took but eventually they got all of the placenta out. It had broken into pieces inside of me. I had lost a lot of blood. I had also learned at this time that not only did I have a 3rd degree tear, they also had to do an episiotomy as well and this required quite a few sutures. As soon as they were done suturing me up I quickly sat up and demanded water. I was still violently shaking. I am pretty sure that my body was in shock. Within 10 minutes I sucked down three large pitchers of water. I suddenly felt quite faint and the nurse then put the oxygen back on me. I was listening to the conversation between the resident and MFM and they were going back in forth about giving me Magnesium. I begged them not to do it. I remember the nurse walking over with a syringe and putting something into my IV. I am pretty sure that it was Ativan as I quickly became semi-unconsious. I only half remember this part but they ended up giving me Cytotec to make sure that all of the placenta was out and they also did an ultrasound.

Shortly after things calmed down, I remember waking up and seeing my husband holding my son. I had a son. Me. I was finally a mom! For the first time, I was able to hold him and all I could do is stare at him and cry. I was too weak to hold him by myself so my husband had to help me. I remember looking down at this tiny human and thinking about everything that I had been through. It was like a movie going at high speed. All of the losses, the failed IVFs, the surgeries, and all of the complications before and during this pregnancy. It was all over. I suddenly realized that the chapter the never seemed to end was finally over. All of the pain I endured, the heartache, and every tear I shed seemed so insignificant now. All that mattered at this exact moment was my perfect little son. I remember rubbing my cheek across his head and feeling his soft hair glide across my face. I remember the smell of his skin. I remember the sounds of his squeaks as he laid there in my arms. It's over. It was finally over.

The next couple of days were difficult due to the fact that they drew spinal fluid when the did my epidural. I ended up developing a horrific spinal headache and was unable to care for my son the day after birth. I ended up needing an emergency spinal blood patch which couldn't be done until Friday as they needed to wait 24 hours as they had already restarted my blood thinner. I also have quite the story to tell about my discharge and how it ultimately led to Giovanni being readmitted into the hospital 12 hours after discharge but I will save that for another post as I really want this post to be just about his birth.

In the end I am a mom and it is truly the most amazing feeling in the world. My son is perfect, my family is perfect, my life is perfect. I am now complete. 


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Introducing...

Giovanni Luca!
Giovanni arrived on August 22nd at exactly 11am. He weighed 6lbs. 12oz. and was 19 inches long. I am absolutely in love!!

I was planning on posting an update as soon as he arrived but unfortunately there were many complications with his birth and things didn't go as planned. We were discharged on Friday from the hospital but were readmitted yesterday (to a different hospital) due to some issues that were missed/ignored by the hospital where I gave birth (don't get me started!). We should be leaving the hospital today or tomorrow so as soon as I get a spare moment I will write a post about his birth story...or should I say nightmare.

Friday, August 10, 2012

11 Days and Counting...

In exactly 11 days I am being admitted to the hospital and the induction process will start. As much as I love being pregnant, I am ready for this to be over. I have reached the point where I am so uncomfortable that I can hardly function and all I do is cry. The SPD is now causing my hip to pop out to the point where I stand up and my left leg is completely rotated inward. I have also started getting horrible cramps in my calves while sleeping that leave me limping for days. The one new thing that I am really struggling with is the swelling. I haven't developed full-blown cankles like Hillary Clinton but I do have pitting edema from my ankle bones all the way up to my hips. With how awful I feel right now, I can't believe that I complained of being uncomfortable at 30 weeks. That was nothing and I would give my left kidney to be "that uncomfortable" again!

I am starting to become quite anxious about the induction. At his point it looks like it is going to be a closed induction, which means an induction with no dilation of the cervix. I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil for a couple of weeks now to soften my cervix but it isn't doing anything. Today my cervix was completely closed and still high. Even the doctors who were skeptical about my cervical stenosis being an issue are now starting to believe that my cervix isn't going to dilate...even with heroic measure. They told me that the induction process can take up to 72 hours. When I arrive in the morning they are going to use Cervidil to see if that helps to dilate me and that process takes 12 hours. If I dilate a bit, they will insert a balloon catheter to further dilate my cervix and that takes another 12 hours. If the Cervidil doesn't work I may have to use Cytotec and that can take up to 24 hours and that could possibly be followed by the balloon catheter. When I dilate enough they will start Pitocin and hopefully my body will do what it supposed to do. If not, they will section me. From everything that I have read, and have been told, more than 75% of closed inductions end in a c-section. This doesn't sit well with me at all! I have no problem with having a c-section, but I don't want to be in agony for 72 hours (with no food) just to end up in the OR anyway. I obviously want to do the right thing but I think that if my body makes no progress within 24 hours that I am going to ask my MFM just to do the section. I am worried about being off of my blood thinners for so long; I am worried about my gestational diabetes after not eating for days; and I am worried about the effect all of this is going to have on my CVID. I don't need any problems. I am praying to God that within the next week that my cervix will show some progress so that I don't have to worry so much about all of this. It is almost over...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

37 Weeks


How Far Along: 37 Weeks

Size of Baby: This week the "average" baby is measuring approximately 19.13 inches crown to heel and is weighing in around 6.3 pounds. We just had a growth scan yesterday at 36+6 and the baby weighs 7lbs 1oz. and is in the 70th percentile. I asked how accurate they thought these measurements were as I know that ultrasounds can be off, but they said due to the fact that the measurements stay proportional based on my growth scans every 3-4 weeks, that they feel that this is pretty accurate. His head is still measuring 3 weeks ahead (40 weeks) so I am a bit nervous if I do end up going into labor naturally.


Weight Gain: Not happy about this! At my 33 week appointment I had gained exactly 30 pounds. Apparently they forgot to warn me that my weight was going to skyrocket these last few weeks. I am now up 38 pounds and I still have two weeks to go!! They told me that I should only gain another 3-4 pounds and this would put me just over the 40 pound mark but it is about 10 pounds more than I should have gained. I am very thankful that I controlled my weight gain in the 2nd trimester. I can't even imagine how bad my stretch marks would be if I hadn't!  

Belly: New picture next week.
  
Stretch Marks: Again, I will say that I am thankful that I didn't put on a ton of weight in the 2nd trimester. My first stretch mark didn't appear until 32+1 and they are now progressively getting worse and I can't even imagine how bad they would be if I gained even more weight than this! I have about 5-6 on each side of my belly and they a few inches long. The ones on my hips (from being overweight as a teenager) are also extending a bit. While I don't like them I know that they are a sign of a big healthy baby. 

Sleep: Thank God for Ambien! I wasn't sleeping at all and I started having major anxiety attacks from my lack of sleep. My MFM said that Ambien is safe to take every night since I had less than 3 weeks to go. While I don't take it every single night, I can see how my psychological well-being is affected by lack of sleep when I don't take it. Although I want my sleep now, I am ready to have sleepless nights once Giovanni is here...that is worth it!

Best Moment of the Week:  Getting my letter verifying induction. I am being admitted the morning of the 21st to start the process. They said it could take up to 72 hours as they want to try Cervidil and the cervical balloon to see if they can get me to dilate. Each of those interventions take 12 hours each. They said that if I dilate at all that they want to try Pitocin. If that works than I will deliver vaginally. If it doesn't they are going to section me. I am trying not to stress about what is going to happen. All I know is that Giovanni will be here sometime between the 21st and 24th.

Symptoms: I can't take the ligament pain anymore! While I am free of the wheelchair as of today from a cervical standpoint, I still have to keep it as I just can't walk much. Short distances are iffy, but long distances, forget it!

Food Cravings: All I want is fruit. Better than cupcakes or cookies I guess.

Gender: Still a boy.

What I'm Looking Forward to: These next two weeks to fly by. While I don't want to deliver him early, I really want these last two weeks to hurry up. I am ready to not be pregnant anymore and to finally hold him in my arms! 

Milestones: Making it to "full term".

Friday, August 3, 2012

More Pertussis Drama...

First off, I just want to thank everyone that responded to my last post. It is really nice to have some support so I don't lose my mind. Something else that really helped me today was some information that my BFF shared with me. She is currently 8 weeks behind me (28 weeks) so we talk a lot about pregnancy and I recently shared my frustrations with her regarding the slack that we are getting regarding the pertussis vaccination. Today she was informed by her OB that due to pertussis becoming an epidemic in the recent months, she was told that she had to get the vaccine (she is getting it on Monday) and she was also told that any caregiver for her baby must also have it. She was told this and she doesn't immunological issues like I do. She also forwarded me a news story from ABC News where the CDC is reporting that the recent outbreak of pertussis is the worst it has been in over 50 years. There have already been over 18,000 cases reported this year and also nine infant deaths were reported. The CDC also reported that "Our biggest work is to get adults immunized. This is particularly relevant to pregnant women and new grandparents, who will have contact with infants."

Due to this recent increase in pertussis, the CDC is now recommending that all pregnant women get vaccinated in the third trimester. It used to be that the shot was offered after birth but now they don't want to wait. I spoke with my immunologist this afternoon and he isn't sure what to do. With my immunodeficiency he is worried about giving me the vaccine without checking my antibody levels first as he doesn't want to give me a live virus and have it be disastrous to the baby. Tomorrow he is sending me for blood work to check my titer levels for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. If I have any antibodies to these he wants to hold off until after birth just in case I have a negative effect from them. If there are no antibodies he will consider having me get it but might order a special formula where the pertussis isn't combined with tetanus and diphtheria. I also have to go see him within a week or two after birth as he wants to keep a close eye on things to see if I need to restart the IvIg transfusions. I am very grateful to have the chief immunologist in charge of my case as I know that I am in good hands. He is very concerned with my case and takes my calls no matter when I call. He apparently has also given instructions to his staff that if I call and he is out of the office for whatever reason, that they are to contact him immediately. It is so nice to have that kind of care!

While I am grateful that I have a team of doctors who understand what is going on, it is frustrating that no one else understands this. While I don't expect friends or family to take an interest and educate themselves on CVID, I don't believe that they have the right to judge or question decisions that are being made without having the facts in front of them by taking the time to understand fully what is going on. One thing that my husband pointed out is that older people (your 50+ population) aren't going to understand all of this. For them pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period was much different. I hear all the time "well, I did that back when I was pregnant and my child turned out just fine" or "back then they didn't do half of what they do now and I had no problems". While those comments are very irritating, and quite degrading, I get why people say those things. Back in the "old days" that is how things were and people just ASSume that what worked for them should work for everyone else.

My husband and I have been talking so much about all of this as it is a great source of anxiety for me. Since we don't want any problems or any drama when Giovanni is born we have decided that we are just going to ask everyone to refrain from having direct contact with him. My husband seems to think that this will be easier than asking everyone as they come to visit if they have had the vaccination. Just too much to deal with. His other idea, and I really love him for this one, is to have the nurses take Giovanni to the nursery if and when large groups of people come to visit and things start to get crazy. The only other potential barrier that we may have to deal with is if I can't get the pertussis vaccine. If my immunologist decides that I can't get it right now, I am also going to have to limit direct contact with those not vaccinated as well. If I have to wait until after birth to get it there will be a 2 week incubation period for me for the vaccine to take effect. Ugh, why do things need to be so complicated?!  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

You're Damned if You Do, You're Damned if You Don't

First off I want to start the post off by saying that I am absolutely amazed that I have made it to 36 weeks.

I really can't believe how big my belly is getting. Even the nurses and tech commented yesterday how different it looks since last Thursday. The downfall to this is that the stretch marks are getting worse. They are not horrible yet, but I know with three weeks left to go they will probably get worse. At this point, they are the least of my worries. I am actually loving my belly right now as I know it is doing an important job and doing it well. If being covered in stretchmarks means having a big healthy baby, then bring them on!

Now for a little bitching, Krystyn style...

I officially have reached that point where I feel that I can do nothing right according to other people. I know that I have a sarcastic bitchy side (that is just me) but lately, even when I am being nice or not being anything at all, I am being criticized by others. The first thing that is bothering me is the unsolicited parenting advice. God knows that I don't agree with how some people choose to raise their children, but guess what, it is none of my concern and none of my business. I don't go around telling other mothers what they are doing wrong or the best way to raise their child. I can't even respond to these "lectures" anymore without losing it so I now just say, in a very bitchy tone, "sorry, I didn't realize that your child is perfect". I do want to clarify that harmless information or people telling me what worked for them absolutely doesn't bother me. It is when someone questions a decision that my husband and I have made, or flat out tells me or implies, that they don't agree with my decision. Guess what? I could really give two shits?

The other thing that is bothering me are some of the comments that are being made, either to my face or behind my back, in regards to a recent email that my husband and I sent out. Last week, my husband and I decided that it was time to let everyone know what is going on and how it is going to impact things once Giovanni is born. An email was sent to immediate family, extended family, and one to friends, to inform them of some recommendations made by the immunologist and pediatrician. We are unsure how my CVID is going to impact the baby. Since I am considered immunodeficient and unable to maintain immunoglobin levels and build antibodies to disease and illness, it is speculated that Giovanni may not be born with the immunity that normal babies are born with. Granted babies aren't born with developed immune systems to begin with, but most babies are able to get some immunity through antibodies that the mother has while in utero. CVID is a tricky condition as it sometimes affects my general immunity causing me to run random high fevers with no explanation (last one was 105.8 with hospitalization) and it also keeps me from getting the antibodies from vaccinations. Some vaccines, such as Hep B, the pneumovax, and the flu shot, I am unable to get as my body blatantly rejects them. This is why I am a bit of a germaphobe as I don't have the normal immunological capabilities that most people have. Luckily we found a pediatrician who is very well aware of this condition and she, in conjunction with my immunologist (who happens to be the head of immunology at the medical center), have made the recommendation to limit Giovanni's contact with others for the first 8 weeks or so. They have indicated that having immediate family visit is fine as long as they have been free of illness for 7 days and also those who handle him need to have the pertussis vaccination. This in no way says that people must get the vaccine, it just means those who don't will be asked to refrain from handling him...which is no big deal. I completely respect everyone's decision to either get or not get the vaccine, but in return I ask that they respect our wishes as we are just following the recommendations from the doctors.

The response to these emails/conversations have been mixed. Some people have responded favorably letting us know that they completely understand and others have been completely disrespectful taking it as a personal attack as though we don't want them around Giovanni. At first I thought it was the wording of the email as my husband and I were very careful when we wrote it, but if it was poorly written how is it that others completely understand while others are insulted? Believe me, this is the last thing that I want to have to do as everyone dreams of a normal pregnancy and the standard delivery with visitors. Has anyone considered how hard this is for my husband and I? This is not a malicious or controlling move on our part, it is just us doing what is best for our son based on what the doctors are telling us. As I am writing this I am growing more angry that this is even an issue. If it is coming from the doctors, why is it even an issue? Don't people want what is best for Giovanni too or are they just interested in doing what they want? I shouldn't have to deal with this. If things went the way that the doctors predicted and Giovanni was a preemie and in the NICU, no one would be able to see him anyway. Shouldn't people just be happy that isn't the case? Why does everything have to be so hard and so confrontational? In the end all that matters and that my husband and I do what is best for Giovanni. While we understand that this is not the way it should be, if people have a problem with this than obviously they don't have Giovanni best interest in mind.     

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Long Overdue Nursery Reveal

I have been waiting for what seems like an eternity to share our nursery with everyone. It seemed like every time that I thought it would be done, something happened. Either a chair was back ordered (or lost), the artwork was damaged, etc. I am so happy that it is finally done! Without further adieu, here is Giovanni Luca's nursery:
This is the view of the room coming in from the hallway.

This is the Madison crib from PBK with the Row Your Boat bedding collection.
Close-up of his blanket.

This artwork I ordered from Etsy. This is an exact replica of the artwork I wanted from PBK but when I went to order it, it had been discontinued. I saved so much money by doing this too! I hot glued jute on the back of the frames and my husband designed and made the white hangers. 

His sailboat mobile.

This wing back rocker and matching ottoman in Natural Organic Cotton Basketweave is also from PBK. The sham (which you can't see too well) is the matching sham to the Row Your Boat bedding collection.

In the center of the windows is the PBk Rustic Oar in Blue. The window treatments are custom roman shades in navy that I ordered from Blindsgalore. 

5' round rug (PBK).

This is the Madison Changing Table System. This is the first piece that I fell in love with from PBK. The baskets are from the Container Store and the Lamp I ordered from the Land of Nod.

Wall decal that I ordered from Zulily. (sorry it is hard to see, the sun was starting to go down and the light was funny)

Blocks I ordered from Etsy. I think they are so cute!!

Diaper Caddy.

The view going out to the hallway. Ships wheel is from Ebay.

I have to admit that I had a lot of fun doing this project but I am glad it is over. Now that the nursery is done I feel like I am ready. Can't wait until my little man gets to enjoy his room!