Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Charlotte's Update

Another e-mail sent to my team today, which explains the school references. Here is an update of the past two days:

Again, I canNOT thank you ladies enough for the amazing support system that you have provided for me and my family. We so greatly appreciate everything that you have done from the meals to the help in the classroom to the prayers. Oh, the prayers. I cannot thank you enough. Please don't stop. Charlotte needs them. I need them. Tim needs them.

As you all know I went to the doctor on Friday, and my fluid level was up to a 6.4. Remember, that is still dangerously low. I was so happy. So, so happy. I saw that as a wonderful sign and that it would continue to rise.

I went to the doctor on Monday, and the news was amazingly bad. I kind of told Kate and Krissie what I could write in texts through the tears. I was told that the fluid level was just too dangerous. It had dropped to barely a 2 by Monday. I was also told that one of my blood tests came back positive for what would be a neural tube deficiency. There was talk of termination, and waiting would mean delaying the inevitable. It was the worst day of my life. How can they ask me to make a call like that? Hy head has never spun so much.

I went to the Maternal Fetal Specialist this morning. I cried the whole way there, and through the ultrasound. I could barely look, I was so afraid that at any moment her precious heart would stop beating. The doctor came in and was surprisingly positive. My fluid was a 5.4! Charlotte looks absolutely perfect in her development. They won't measure her because it has only been one week since she was last measured and the soonest they will measure her again is three weeks later. Also, the fluid looked more clear than it has been looking, you can see that the water looks just black on the screen, opposed to the speckled like before. Also- possibly the best news so far, is that the amnio results (what we have of them) have shown that there is not a neural tube deficiency. 

We don't go back until next Thursday. We won't have any more ultrasounds until then, and we will have the specialist do it. It is too confusing bouncing from one office to the next with different machines, and different doctors. We feel like we are on a roller coaster, and unfortunately, the news today didn't bring me out of my sadness and fear. What if there were more misinterpreted results? What if what we were told yesterday was more true than what we were told today? When you're going between three doctors and four offices and two genetic counselors all in one week, it all gets very hard to read and understand.

I'm sorry if I don't respond to all of the text messages. Know that we read them all, and know that we appreciate them all. Know that I have cried many tears of happiness through all of this because I can tell how loved Charlotte is, not just by me, but by my friends and family as well. 

I don't know what the future will bring for our little family, but please know that I am scared. I have been on bed rest mainly for my mental health. Also for the rest for my body physically, to help in what way that it can, but mostly, for my mental health. Hunter is almost the only thing that brings a smile to my face these days, and I need all of the smiles that I can get. I also just need rest. I didn't know how physically taxing it is on the body to cry, and pray, and worry.

Thank you, from the very bottom of my heart, for everything. Please don't give up on us yet, Charlotte and I are fighting, I promise you.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Trying to be hopeful today. We go in to see my regular OB. I will be so glad to see the first familiar face since getting the most terrifying news of my life.

I have put myself on bed rest. I think my doctor would have suggested it, and I am very surprised that the others have not. I had been to 4 doctor's appointments in 5 days and it was not once mentioned. This kind of made me mad, in hindsight. I sometimes feel like they think this pregnancy is a lost cause.

I refuse to think of this pregnancy as a loss. Not yet. Charlotte is kicking in my belly, and her little heart is beating. I am fighting for her. I may not be able to order tests or ultrasounds, but I am CAN choose to rest my body. That is what this week has consisted of. With the help of family and friends, I have been able to rest. Rest, and drink.

I have been drowning myself with water. The first day, it was almost 100 ounces, then 120, and this weekend, I managed to consume 150 ounces of pure water each day.

I choose to be hopeful. At least, I am trying. Every time I find myself getting comfortable, it hits me. I could lose this baby any day. She could be born with severe deformities. We still don't have the amnio results, and she may have a deadly chromosomal abnormality.

I wish I was Tom Cruise and could afford an at home ultrasound machine. BUT- until every ultrasound, I will choose to be hopeful.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Update: Ultrasound

This is an e-mail I sent to quickly update my co-workers, so if I mention school a lot, that is why. I have tried to take out the parts only relevant to school, but I just wanted to get this out there so that everyone can have the same update:

First of all thank you so very much for what you have done for me this past week. Your love, support, and prayers have been amazing, and not one second went by when I wasn't appreciating everything that you all have been doing for us.

We DID have our ultrasound today, and the fluid level was at a 6.4. The fluke low fluid level is called Oligohydramnios (if you wanted to look it up, but I wouldn't b/c it's pretty depressing). While the doctor was hesitant to be super happy about this level, I am being cautiously happy. We got some preliminary results from the Amnio, it is called a FISH test, and it only tests for a few things. Since there was blood in the fluid, it was not easy, but after running at twice, they have 2 results, she is def a girl with normal girl chromosomes, and she does not have the fatal Trisomy 18. We are waiting on Trisomy 13 and 21 (Down's), and then the full results of everything will not be ready until 2-3, maybe 4 weeks.

On Monday, the fluid level was a 3, Tuesday was a 4.5, and today was 6.4. Sounds good, right? Well, the doctor said that fluid levels are quite subjective and that they fluctuate, and that if you catch it right after the baby urinates then the level would be higher. Even so, 2 cm higher in 2 days is a miracle to me. A level above 10 is normal, 6-10 means maybe mom was sick, dehydrated, etc, and under 5 is Oligohydramnios.  I am looking at it as a higher number, not in the 'Below 5cm' range, AND as a steady increase. Praise the Lord!! 

I don't know what the future holds, but it could be very sad. Speaking with the doctors, they like you to know every possibility, and the low fluid is very, very bad. That water does so much more than I ever thought. Helping develop lungs, bones, muscle, everything. Very low fluid could mean a whole range of things to the 'fixable' hip deformity or club feet, to facial deformity, cord compression, blindness, deafness, Spina Bifida, etc. One of the etc's being death. It is very scary, but knowing that my classroom is taken care of is helping me focus on the baby.

Again, my family and I appreciate every single one of your thoughts and prayers even more than you can imagine. We am so, so lucky to have a team like you surrounding us! Charlotte is a very loved little girl!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Monday, January 21, 2013

This was the day that I had scheduled for my anatomy scan. I was really excited to see our baby girl again, and it seemed perfect that the 20 week mark landed on a school holiday. I invited my mom because Tim wasn't sure he could make it. I thought it would be fun for her to see the baby. We had to wait awhile and passed the time with iPads and iPhones. Tim ended up being able to make it, and I am so glad that he did.

We got into the ultrasound, and everything seemed fine at first. The tech answered all of my 'is that normal?' questions at first. At one point, she started saying, "The doctor will talk with you about that". I should have thought more of it, but I figured she was just tired of me being annoying. I noticed a bright spot on her heart, and the tech said that she noted it in my file, but did tell me that it was called an echogenic foci. Of course, as soon as we were out, all phones and tablets were quickly googling the term. Most information was that it was a very common occurrence, and that they either cause no problems or that they resolve themselves. 

When we all got in to see the doctor, we had to wait about 15 minutes. We sat talking about labor, water breaking, and induction. I don't know why. I think I was talking about how I would not want my water to break anywhere but a doctor's office, and that is why induction is so nice. We actually talked about how there is so much water in there, it's crazy. I feel silly for that conversation now.

My regular doctor is on maternity leave, so I saw one of her partners. I have seen her before, but was really just relieved because we had been waiting so long all day. We started at 10:00, and it was already 11. She came in and spoke about the ultrasound, and this is about the time my world crumbled down around me. She said that there were a few concerns in the scan. 

  • Echogenic Foci- she knew that I had seen it, and I kept wondering why the tech thought that was important to note in my file.
  • Echogenic Bowels- more bright spots in the baby's belly
  • Small Baby- the baby should have been 20 weeks 2 days. She was instead measuring 18 weeks  days. About 2 weeks behind.
  • Low fluid- My fluid level was about a 3. I asked what was normal, and she said 13-15.
  • Fluid is not clear- possible infection?
She said that they were trying their hardest to get me in to a specialist at the hospital the next day because there are a lot of things wrong. I broke down right there. I remember asking questions, but I can't think of what I asked. She seemed sympathetic to me, and told me that she was sorry, and squeezed my shoulder before she left. She also said to take a few moments in the room in private with my mom and husband. I just remember bawling.

I also had to give blood for my second trimester screening, as well as some extra for a test for infections. I somehow made it into the lab and bawled as they drew blood. I think people just thought I was scared to give blood, when really there was so much more to those tears streaming down my face.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

We got an 8:30 appointment at the Maternal Fetal Specialist, and had to check in the hospital at 8:00. This made for a long day. We dropped off Hunter with Lupe early, and headed over. We got in and they gave me an ultrasound right away. They noticed the same things, and then we waited for the doctor in that large ultrasound room. My parents came back for this.

When the doctor, Dr. Refuerzo, came in, I liked her right away. She seemed really positive, and for some reason I just liked her. She told us the same things that we already knew, and left us with, "With all of these things combined, we are not looking at a normal pregnancy". She left the room, and told us that we would speak about these things across the hall. I broke down again. I cried for what seemed like 10 minutes at my second bad report. Everyone in the room, my husband and parents and myself, were all pretty devastated. I finally was able to pull myself together a little, get dressed, and go across the hall. They asked a few questions, but I don't remember exactly what. I know they asked about leaking. I didn't remember any. Tim and I spoke with the genetic counselor for a long time, and she told is about the next clinic that we would go to. I had so little fluid that they didn't feel comfortable doing the amnio at the first one. 

Our next appointment was in the Med Center near downtown. We got there early, and then learned that our doctor was in a fetal surgery. I saw another doctor. I liked him, but he seemed to ready to just jump into the amnio. I was expecting a long ultrasound (the first clinic said they would give me one), and they just looked enough to look for fluid pockets. I also just wanted him to talk with me about what he saw first. I begged to get checked to see if I was leaking and had just missed it. He set that up, and we found out that I am not leaking. Then we spoke with the genetic counselor at that office who told us all about what the amnio would test for. We chose to do every test, including a FISH test which would give just some preliminary results, in a few days so that we would not have to wait the full 2-3 weeks to get some information. 

When we got done, our doctor was back, and I really liked him. I was told that he was straightforward, and I am glad for that. I did not want anything sugar coated. He said that he, too, felt ok doing the amnio with my amount of fluid. He then wanted to dive right in, but I started tearing up and asked him if he could explain things from his perspective. He broke it down for me. He said that the heart things happens a lot- probably not a problem. The bowels- I had some bleeding and that is what blood looks like on ultrasounds when the baby swallows it- also pretty normal and will probably be gone in a few weeks. The size- he's not sure. The fluid- is NOT normal. A range of 10+ is expected and healthy. 6-10 means maybe mom was sick and dehydrated, but usually fixable. Under 5 is extreme, called Oligohydramnios, and it is rare. 


Then we did the amnio, and I am telling you now that these are NO joke. They hurt and they are just plain scary. I know that my low fluid and hyperventilating made it worse and take longer, but it sucked the whole way through-it never got any better or easier. I told him that I was really scared, and asked him to tell me how the procedure was going to go. He started by saying they would put a towel on my face, I thought he was kidding, but quickly gathered that he was not.

Once the towel got on my face, it turned into a real thing, and I had a mini panic attack.

He did the numbing shots and each one hurt. I think he did three. Then he did the big important needle, and it hurt so bad that I reached down and tried to swat his hand away. I think it was instinct, to try to get the thing that this hurting you so badly to stop. He did a great job of trying to keep my mind off by asking about Hunter, then the nurse asked if I had a name for baby girl. I bawled out, 'Charlotte', and she probably knew that it was a mistake to ask about the baby whose life is in very serious danger.

I was breathing so hard and fast that at one point he said, "This is it, this is serious, go somewhere else in your mind, I can't talk anymore, but you NEED to slow your breathing because this needle is right by your baby". I think I just held my breath at that point. It was hard to breath with a towel on my face, but if it was only on my eyes I could see some movements. I did not want to see anything. Tim said that he put in the needle, then pulled it out and there was a wire catheter. I could tell each time he moved the wire to a new pocket of fluid, it felt like he was sticking me all over again, but really he was just maneuvering the wire. It seemed to take forever, but it was probably 5 minutes. I remember breathing hard, praying out loud, and bawling, "I don't like this, I don't like this, I don't want to be doing this, I don't want to be here......". 

When he was done, I was so relieved. When he turned the lights on, he said, "I am so, so sorry that you are here". I really like this doctor. I asked him again, through deep breaths and with tears plopping off my cheeks, what do YOU think? What is running through your head? He said that the fluid was weird, and not clear. It looked more consistent with water breaking. I didn't even think to ask him why it would be that weird color b/c of membrane rupture. He also at the end inserted a blue dye so that I would very easily be able to tell if my water leaking. He also said that he wanted me to see Dr. Refuerzo on Friday to get another ultrasound.

This is where we stand right now. I took off Wednesday at the request of the doctor to recover from the amnio. I took off today, Thursday, for lots of reasons. I am laying around, drinking water like a maniac praying that my fluid level is up on Friday. I also will have a hard time facing everyone. I know that everyone is praying for us. I am SO thankful right now for my job. All of the grade levels have been so supportive, and the number of prayers that are being said for Charlotte is amazing. I just don't know if I can hold up to the sympathetic eyes. Every text that is so so very sweet sends me to tears. Happy tears, Hopeful tears. Thankful tears. I also don't know if I can be a productive teacher to my 24 kindergarten babies right now. I am taking this time for myself, and doing what I am hoping is best for Charlotte.

BUT- This whole (2 day) experience has shown me that I have an amazing support system. My husband has been amazing. My parents have been amazing. My in laws have been amazing. My family up north have been amazing. My coworkers have been amazing. My students' parents have been amazing. My mom has her church friends and Bunco women praying like crazy. Several parents from previous years have reached out to their church groups. We have so many prayer warriors working for us and thinking of us, and we could not be more thankful. I know that whatever happens, there will be so many people here for us. 

I will do my best to keep the situation updated. But for now, please say a prayer for sweet Charlotte.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Switching Gears

It is so funny, when I was pregnant with Hunter I had so many girl nursery ideas running through my head it wasn't even funny. I was absolutely SET on our girl name, Harper Grace, and it was almost hard to shop only in the boy section.

Over time, that has obviously changed, and I almost can't get my mind to accept the fact that we are having a little girl! I am so beyond excited, I think I am getting worried that we will go to our doctor's appointment next week and they will say, "Oops!", it is actually a boy! I just can't believe that we got so lucky to have a perfect and adorable little boy, and now we are prepping for a dainty little girl! We actually got the elective gender ultrasound that my OB's office offers, and when we left I was totally satisfied that it was a girl. Then I watched the DVD and became totally unconvinced! I called the 3D place where we had Hunter's done and she said that she could get me right in. I have a great 'girl' picture, and  am pretty convinced at this point! I just didn't want to think I was having a girl and then at the anatomy scan get told that it is a boy! I would have loved another little boy, and getting to use Hunter's old clothes again; but thinking you are having a girl and planning on that, only to be told later it is not would be like losing a girl (I think...). 

We have chosen a name, Charlotte Ryan, and have started getting her nursery prepared. I *think* I have chosen her hospital pajamas, and have plans to make all sorts of bows. I have even seen the standard blue and pink striped hospital hat that the nurses slap on your baby so you don't cuddle a bloody conehead as soon as you give birth, but get this: it has an adorable BOW on it! Oh my, my, my...... That just sent me into Etsy baby girl paradise, and I can't stop myself! Mostly, I am just getting ideas and pinning them to my Pinterest board that I have set up for her.

Here is what we have so far for her nursery. We are waiting to pay off my OB's bill for her birth (they make you pay early), and then waiting on our tax return to buy the crib, but I am really excited with each new piece of my 'vision' that arrives on our doorstep! We already had  some of these items, we are just repurposing them to use in her room. I am even feeling crafty and having a coworker cut out let letters for her name on the wall, and have plans to cover them in fabric.... we'll see how that turns out!

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Pregnancy Week 19

I am the worst mommy! With Hunter, I managed to do a weekly bump update, and here I am at 19 weeks just starting!

We are almost through the first half of pregnancy, and I still can't get a hold on what is happening! I started with pretty bad nausea, and around 13 or 14 weeks it seemed to go away. As soon as I would start telling people that it is gone, I would get 2-3 days of really bad morning sickness. It was so bad that I wanted to go home from work a few times! I would say that it is gone, but I really don't know. That.....and I don't want to jinx myself!

I have had about 4-5 days total of a really bad sciatic nerve pain. Last night, it was so bad that Tim had to carry me to bed, and I went to sleep without even washing off my make up! With Hunter, I had it, but it was more of a functional sciatic nerve pain. It was steady, it hurt really bad, but I could still walk around. This go around, it flashes on like a strike of lightening, I can't bear weight at all on that leg, and it will go away after a few hours. Usually, it comes and goes like that throughout a day or two and then is gone completely for a few weeks. I am thinking that my sweet, sweet Charlotte is laying back on my nerve with the way it comes and goes. When she gets off of it, I am totally fine, but when she is laying on it I am almost incapacitated. This is definitely not ideal when caring for a seven month old!

My appetite is finally back, and I find myself snacking all day long. I am very surprised to find that my normal sweets are sounding just nauseating to me. Tim asked what kind of birthday cake I wanted, and the thought of cake almost made me sick! Can I have a fajita cake this year...? Don't get me wrong, I still munch on sweets all day, but cakes, cookies, and other sweetly baked goods just sound like the worst idea!

The saying 'No' to big sweets may be part of my weight managing to stay the same so far, though, and I am thankful for that! After Hunter, I managed to get down to 5 pounds under my starting pregnancy weight! I am still at that number on the scale, but this is the time last pregnancy that I finally started to gain weight so I am expecting to see the numbers rise any day now!

In the beginning, I had tons of headaches, and Tylenol doesn't do a darn thing for my headaches so I was left to suffer (or take my special headache meds, but I don't like doing that). Since hitting the second trimester, I have only had a few, and a long night of rest with some Tylenol manage to keep at a workable level.

We have started in on her room, and I am so excited to get some more furniture in there! We have had the room painted a grayish purple color for a while with white crown and wain-scotting on the bottom third of the wall for a while. It was my craft storage room.... as well a the dog's room.... and the store whatever else in there we wanted room. We started a couple of weeks ago, and it is coming along nicely!

I have been feeling baby move for a while, but it has been so faint and random. I have only managed to feel her with my hand one time, so I am glad that we have the doppler so I can hear her heart beating and check in on her that way. With Hunter, I felt him move at 18 weeks, and felt him with my hand at 19, so I am sure it will start any time now!

As a recap, here is the 18 week belly:

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Is it normal?

Is it normal to think that you gave birth to the most beautiful creature that ever lived? I am in love with my little man, and I could stare at his handsome face all day. I am in awe of his perfection, and I am proud if his every breath, every blink, every heartbeat.

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Friday, January 4, 2013


We all had an absolutely amazing Christmas, especially Hunter. Actually, little man had a really bad cold on Christmas, but he is such a trooper he managed to put on a happy face for most of the day. I won't write too much, but here are some pictures from the day:
Superman shoes!

My poor, sick little baby

Two things made him happy: Naked time and his new car

By the and of the day, he had enough Christmas!

But we got home, and the fire cheered him up!

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013


This is the 3rd year in a row for  a New Year's post, and I am excited to say that I have made a few resolutions and have already started one of them! (OK- maybe I started all of them, but one of them is something more 'tangible'.... and it is in full force!)

Resolutions 2013:

Get/Stay ORGANIZED!!- I am the world's worst when it comes to organization. I can have tiny bits of my life organized, but as a whole, I am terrible. We have started to get Charlotte's room ready for her arrival in June, and I threw away an absolute TON of stuff. Like, bags and bags of stuff. I just had to cut the cord. I can have hoarding tendencies, I will admit that. My mom used to call me a pack rat. But, the first step is admitting you have a problem right? We had been using that room as a 'catch-all' for all of our stuff. I had school stuff from, like, 3 years ago. Things that made it home somehow and I just didn't want to get rid of because you never know when you're going to want that worksheet to make copies of! I won't even go through all of the other junk we had in there. Today, I cleaned it all out. I mean ALL of it. There was nothing left in that room. Most went in the trash, some went in my teacher wheelie cart (I didn't even know it was in there!) to go to school and get put away, and some went in the hallway to go back in after painting because it will be part of Charlotte's room. As I type, Tim is putting a finishing coat of paint on the wainscotting, and it just looks so much better!

Stay Positive: I think everyone has a tendency to get a sour attitude about something when someone else around them is complaining. I do this big time. It's not like I can't form my own opinion or anything, it's just that I can see their point, and negative is so much easier than always being positive. ( I sound like a terrible person, don't I?) So far, it looks like 2013 will be an amazing year and I do not want to ruin any part of that with a negative attitude! This means no talking bad about other people, keeping complaining to a minimum, and making sure to say nice things about other people/give compliments every day. 

Take lots of VIDEO of my babies (and life in general): For the last two years I have had resolutions to take more pictures of life. This year, I have to give myself a pat on the back because I can go back and look at pictures from each week of Hunter's life. I love it. I got a nice video camera for Christmas, and my new goal is to take lots of video in addition to still photos. How fun will it be to go back and watch Hunter's first memories, Charlotte in the hospital, and every moment in between and after? I LOVE going back and watching what my parents have on video, and my mom just had a DVD made of what little video she had of her childhood (there is no sound so they set it to music), and I had a blast watching that. Not that I want time to fly, but I know it will so I want to remember it!

BLOG more: I started off strong, but with very mobile child to run after coupled with the fact that I am growing a new one, I have fizzled. I was lucky to get Hunter's 6 and 7 month posts up at all. I can't believe that when I was pregnant and when he was born I managed to so weekly updates! Poor Charlotte has only one belly shot, and that may not even be on the blog. And it's from 12 weeks ago. So yes, blog more. Way more. (also... BUY photo space for blogger!!)

I think that is it! What are YOUR resolutions for 2013?!
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