Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Love Of My Life….

is this man. He is a wonderful husband and person. He is kind, passionate, hard-working, loyal, giving, thoughtful…the list could really go on and on. I feel like in our culture people use the word amazing far too often for far too insignificant reasons, but I can honestly say that my husband continues to amaze me on a regular basis with his kind and loving soul. I truly feel SO blessed to have him in my life, and I know there's no way I could have found him without all of the prayers I prayed for God to send me someone like him.

I cannot wait to share the journey of parenthood with him! I just know he's going to be a great father. He has so much to offer a child in so many ways. Not only am I blessed to have him in my life, but I know that our baby is going to be eternally blessed to have a man like Dustin as a father.

As someone who is an absolute music fan, Dustin recently played the new Ed Sheeran album for me. (It's SO good btw!) So, in honor of my handsome, sweet husband, here are two songs from the album that remind me of our love:

Monday, June 30, 2014

So There Ya Have It…

that is our story thus far. I am now six months pregnant and praying everything goes well with our baby. I was on disability for a month at the end of the school year and have been obeying fairly strict guidelines from our doctor about taking it easy while I'm currently off work for summer break. I still have no idea whether or not I'll be back to work in the fall. I'm leaving that decision to my doctors. As of right now, I feel that I'll most likely be back to start the school year off with my kiddos.

My due date is approximated as October 27th. However, we just had a level 2 sonogram with a specialist in Sacramento on Friday who said my due date may be more like the 30th of October. I'm not sweating it, because I know it's all in God's timing anyway.

At that same appointment, we were also told that it looks like the hematoma is healing itself. Praise the Lord!! We already knew the sex of our baby because we did genetic testing early on (3 separate nerve wracking rounds of it!) thanks to my "advanced maternal age." Oh, the joys of waiting until you're in your 30's to have a child! Friday's appointment confirmed what genetic testing had already told us about the sex of our baby. (For now I'm keeping that a secret from the public. I'm sure soon enough it will be out. For now, though, I'm keeping it secret with the exception of those who already know.) And lastly, we found out that the baby is currently breech. I'm ok with this. If the baby moves in to the correct position, then that's great and we'll proceed as necessary. If the baby stays put and God decides breech is the way for our little peanut to hang out while chillin inside of me, then far be it from me to question God's plan, and we'll more than likely schedule a C-section. Again, I'm fine with whatever happens - as long as the baby is healthy and I'm healthy. That is really all that matters and what I care about most.

I do have a couple of baby bump pics, but they're not loaded on my laptop yet. Until then, I'll leave you with this very cool fortune I got in a cookie at dinner with my husband the day he found out I was pregnant:

What can I say?! God is good and ALWAYS on time!!  :)

Say What?!?

It's interesting the reactions you get from people sometimes when you discuss things related to pregnancy….especially when you're pregnant and have some sort of medical condition. We didn't tell many people about the fact that I was even pregnant to begin with, but of course, the longer you're pregnant, I've found that it becomes increasingly more difficult to hide it or not to talk about it - especially when you have to be out of work and on bed rest and keep going back to the hospital and doctor's office. I've encountered the following annoying/stupid reactions from people when they hear about my story:

1. looking at me like I'm crazy
2. some sort of reaction implying I'm overreacting
3. ignorant questions/comments (please think before you speak, people!!)
4. rude comments/questions (refer to parentheses above)
5. telling me a story about their brother's/mother's/cousin's/great aunt/friend/neighbor in Timbuktu who had the EXACT same thing…which would actually get me kind of excited to hear that someone actually knew another person who had had the exact same condition and symptoms and could possibly relate to what I was going through/feeling…Only to find out that it was NOT the same thing at all and that what that person had experienced was NOT at all what I have been experiencing.
6. ridiculous pieces of advice
7. people blatantly not even listening to me and instead talking over me and telling me things that could never apply to me because my situation is different than their own experiences or of those that they know who have been pregnant; in addition to saying stupid things like, "Yeah, I can relate. When I was pregnant, I was SO tired all the time. You know, you really need to make sure you're exercising and drinking a lot of water. That really helps." I've quickly learned to dismiss this, while thinking things like: "No, dumbass! My doctor said I'm not supposed to exercise, or do anything strenuous. Didn't you listen to me?!? And drinking a lot of water is a no brainer part of pregnancy that in no way is going to help a subchorionic hematoma go away! W-T-F is wrong with you?!? You self-absorbed, ignorant fool who doesn't listen when others speak!!"

Anyway, I may be a little critical of the ridiculousness that comes out of people's mouths/their reactions, but I feel it's warranted. I've always been the kind of person to try to listen to someone's story and be sympathetic of their situation, so it drives me beyond crazy when others display the opposite of that toward me…or in general, really. My grandma used to say something to the affect of "until you've walked a day in someone else's shoes, you have no idea what they're going through." That has forever resonated with me because it is so true. Sure, we can all be judgmental at times, but for the most part, I always try to hear someone out and  be understanding of what they're going through. This is especially true when someone is going through something medically - or if they're pregnant. It's like my friend Kara said, "You never judge a pregnant woman's situation. Everyone is different and every story is different." (*Not verbatim, but close enough to what she said in order to get the point across.) She's a smart lady who said exactly what I think!

You Have A What?!?

The second opinion with my doctor's colleague turned out to be very successful. She spent about an hour and a half with me and we started basically at the beginning of my story with her reviewing everything with me, including all of the details of the images they took during that ER visit on Easter. In about a minute or less of reviewing those slides, she was able to immediately see something very significant. She suspected that what she was seeing appear on the sonogram pictures was what is known as a subchorionic hematoma. Hematoma meaning blood clot. She also suspected she was seeing a fibroid as well. She conducted another sonogram.

Yep, there it was: the subchorionic hematoma lying between my uterus where they baby is and the placenta…and a continuous flow of blood coming from the clot. And yes, there was also a fibroid sitting near there as well.

FINALLY!!! An answer. A bit of a scary answer, but an answer, nonetheless.

I was told that the subchorionic hematoma could cause some complications. For instance, you could bleed the entire pregnancy, it could cause miscarriage, it could cause pre-term labor, and/or it could cause placental abruption in which case that could be "detrimental to both you and the baby." Oh great!  So this is kind of no joke. The doctor agreed, it is a pretty serious condition and she asked me if I was still working because she wanted me to stop if I hadn't already. I told her that I had already started disability thanks to my regular doctor and that I had been out for a few days at this point in time. She said, "Good." Then, she continued to tell me that less than 5% of pregnant women typically get this, that 50% of women go on to have a health baby, and that the only way for it to try to heal itself and for the body to possibly absorb the clot is to be on bed rest. No walking the dogs, nothing strenuous, don't work, just try to rest as much as possible. *She addressed the fibroid as well and said it probably wasn't anything to worry about, but that pregnancy hormones can potentially cause it to grow more rapidly than it normally would. She then proceeded to tell me a story about a woman who had a subchorionic hematoma who bled buckets throughout her entire pregnancy in addition to having a tiny fibroid prior to being pregnant that grew to the size of a basketball by the time she was due, and went on to deliver her baby naturally (despite the hematoma and basketball sized fibroid) and then had the fibroid shrink back to a small size after her pregnancy.

There you have it. I have a diagnosis. And a fibroid. And a bleeding clot by my baby. Yikes!

Are You Crazy, Lady?!?

Fast forward a week or so to a Friday, my last day of work before going out on disability. I had a routine appointment with the midwife at my doctor's office. Just a basic appointment: get your weight taken, blood pressure, all the vitals, talk for a few minutes about how you're feeling, and you're out.


Yeah right!

First of all, this is me. It's never going to be that simple. (I'm fully self aware and completely own this about myself. In fact, I embrace it!) Now, add in a bit of stress, continued bleeding, no definite answers, a difficult work situation to deal with, and basically feeling like you're going out of your F'ing mind, on top of being a hormonal pregnant lady. This appointment was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I had a bit of an emotional, crying, cursing, breakdown with the midwife at that appointment. She was super sweet and continued to hand me tissues as I bawled my eyes out and she listened to me vent my frustrations. Dustin sat in the corner looking like he was either humiliated or had NO idea how to even respond. At one point I looked at him and said, "I don't know. Babe, what do you think? Do you have anything to add?"And he just looked at me like I was crazy and said "No."

I won't go into all of the details of that story and I'll spare you the "F" words and "B" words and everything else that came out of my mouth. What I will tell you is that I asked for a second opinion. I was fed up with being told from more than one medical professional that they simply did not know what was going on with me. Remember my previous story about being your own health advocate?? Sometimes in life…not just with your health, but with anything…you gotta just take the bull by the horns and be a boss and take care of business! So, that's what I did.

I had done a bit of research (ok, a lot of research) and had been able to break it down to my condition most likely being one of three things. I wasn't even asking for a precise answer. I just wanted to at least hear someone acknowledge that yes, there are two or three things we think this could be; you have symptoms of one or two or even three of these things. I was NOT, however, going to be content in hearing these people continue to tell me "I don't know." I was prepared to take myself to a specialist at UC Davis downtown or San Francisco. I didn't care how much it cost me. What I did care about was getting something other than an, "I don't know."

So, this kind and very adept-at-bedside manner-midwife helped me schedule an appointment with another doctor at Sutter Davis before I jumped ship and took matters into my own hands.

Allowing myself to have a mental breakdown that day turned out to be a very good decision - even if my husband may have thought I was starting to lose my mind!

What A Roller Coaster….

Easter Sunday we slept late and just rested in bed until about 3:00 p.m. Then, we got up and headed back to Cottonwood to get our things and fetch our dogs who were still at my mom and dad's house. We arrived, waited about an hour for dinner to be finished, ate, packed our stuff up, and rolled back down I-5 to Sac. I took the next day off and spent most of it in bed.

Two days later was Open House at my school (April 23rd). I also had a follow-up doctor appointment in Davis that day for the ER visit on Easter. I left my house around 7:00 a.m. that morning, drove to Elk Grove and got to work at about 7:30, attended a staff meeting after school, drove from Elk Grove to Davis, had a quick follow-up appointment in which my doctor told me right as she came in the room, "I  just got called to surgery", so she spent about five minutes with me - long enough to do a quick ultrasound, see the baby's heartbeat, tell me yet again she didn't know why I was still bleeding, and then said she had to go, then I drove back to Elk Grove to attend Open House. I was there until nearly 8:00 p.m. I was going to make a quick stop downtown to take food to my friend Nicole's niece who was in ICU at UC Davis, and then meet Dustin a few blocks over to have dinner. We were quickly approaching 9:00 p.m. As I was waiting for Nicole curbside at UC Davis to come pick up the food I had brought for her niece, I felt an overwhelming urge to use the bathroom. I text Nicole and told her I was just going to run in real quick, hand off the food and use the restroom. I got up to where she was, found out there was a private bathroom in her niece's room I was told I could use, and went in to do my business. Same routine: a gush of blood and a clot in the toilet. I called Nicole in the bathroom with me - my trustworthy, always by my side, always gives it to me straight, loyal, nurse friend. She told me to call my doctor and suggested that I ask her about taking me off work.

I couldn't believe this was happening to me….only three days after we had just went through this.

By this time, Dustin was already at the restaurant and had been sitting there patiently waiting for his pregnant wife to get there. It was after 9:00 p.m. at this point, and neither of us had hardly eaten all day. I called my husband who was obviously grumpy, and told him what was going on. I told him I was headed home and that I was going to call the doctor on my way, so he should stay by his phone to see if we needed to head back to the hospital again.

I couldn't get ahold of my doctor, but was able to get a message through before I left UC Davis and headed home. On my way home, my doctor called me. I pulled over to talk to her. We had a conversation that basically consisted of me saying that I didn't want to go back to hospital yet again if it wasn't going to result in any answers, her saying that she was puzzled as to what was going on, and then upon her asking me what my day had consisted of, she said she felt that I was more stressed and overwhelmed with the combination of the demands of my work and the stress of my condition than I was probably even aware of. At that point, she said, "Ya know, I don't think that working is causing any of this per se, but I do think that there's something to be said for being in the comfort of your own home and being able to rest. I think maybe you should just go out on disability for a while. Why don't you let me write a note to take you out of work." We had a quick conversation about the pros and cons and ins and outs of that, and I agreed. So, there you had it. No more work for a while.

You Are Not In Control…

The bleeding incident occurred in March. I continued to bleed heavily for two more weeks and then the bleeding subsided to that of a very light period. I never fully stopped bleeding, however. We had seen the doctor a couple more times between March and April. Every time I was asked about the bleeding and I confirmed that indeed, I was still bleeding and I continued to ask questions as to why this was happening. I was never given any answer. I was literally told, "We don't know why this is happening." Talk about scary!!

Then, the Friday before I was getting ready to start spring break for Easter, I was at work and started having really sharp pains and cramping. I was told that if I had any of these symptoms to get to the doctor ASAP. I was able to get ahold of my doctor and she said she'd fit me in around 3:30, so I left work and headed straight to Davis again. I met Dustin there. We had another ultrasound, were able to see our baby, and were told that the bleeding could cause some swelling in the abdomen and could cause pain and tenderness, so that was probably what I was feeling. Then she sent us on our way. Still, no real answers as to why all of this was happening. I was starting to feel pretty frustrated. The only advice I was given was to try to stay off my feet as much as possible, not to do anything strenuous, and to rest.

Luckily I had a week off from work, so I took the doctor's orders and laid low in my house for the week. I was pleased that resting seemed to be working. The bleeding had nearly stopped. I was at the end of my first trimester. I was feeling somewhat normal.

We went to my mom's house in Cottonwood to spend Easter weekend. The day before Easter, Dustin and I decided to take a drive through Red Bluff to go visit my cousin Andrea to see her new house and then on to visit my Uncle Billy and Aunt Linda. We actually ended up going to visit Billy and Linda first and were there for close to an hour when we were outside sitting on the back porch and I felt a sudden urge to go to the bathroom…like really bad. Abruptly in mid conversation, I stood up and said, "I need to go pee." They laughed, probably thinking, "typical pregnant lady."

There was nothing typical about this, however. As I walked, I started to feel something familiar. I got to the bathroom and before I could even sit down, blood started to get everywhere. This time I believe was worse than the first incident at work. There was blood on the toilet, on the floor, on my hands, all over my clothes. It was intense. I tried to clean up as best I could and rushed back out to my husband and my aunt and uncle and in a panicked state, announced, "I'm bleeding again." Then I turned and headed back to the bathroom. Dustin and my aunt came in the bathroom. The first thing I recall my aunt saying was, "Oh my gosh, that's a lot of blood!" She helped me clean up and get my things together as Dustin was immediately on the phone to my doctor who told us to drive straight to the hospital in Davis.

Dustin called to let my parents know what was going on and that we wouldn't be seeing them any time soon as we needed to head out. I was lying on the couch with my feet propped up, still bleeding, as my aunt and uncle sat with me and prayed over me and the baby. I was shaking profusely and was really a hot mess!

Needless to say, we spent the wee hours of Easter Sunday in the hospital. I think we finally got home that day close to 3:00 a.m. They did a bunch of lab work and a regular ultrasound along with a doppler sonogram. We left with no answers. All we got from our doctor who was very kind and had the same last name as us was, "These things sometimes happen. You just have to realize that you're not in control and whatever is meant to be is going to happen."