Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm all hooked up

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I'm at the hospital. Don't be alarmed, it's to monitor the baby. One of the tests I just had done came back with results that pretty much ensure I'll stay pregnant for at least two more weeks.
Good news!
I also had a shot of some steroids that will help Ladybug's lung development just in case she is born early.
Yeah. That hurt.
And I get another one tomorrow. Oh joy. The good thing about shots is they only last about three seconds, then they're over.
Not so with the IV in my hand. Woo! That smarted.

The doctors here have been EXCELLENT. Truly. They have put us at ease and made me feel like everything is going to be okay. Which it will be. I hope.

Ladybug is movin and groovin, which is a very good sign. They're taking very good care of us both even though the food in this place is... how do you say it? Rather rank.

Fruit is good though. And I have York peppermint patties, chocoate, and pretzels provided by my beautiful sister Jessababe. (See the Secret Life of B's under my favorite bloggies.)

So all in all, even though I'm strapped to lots of monitors and the IV drip is making me need to pee yet AGAIN, I'm in pretty good spirits. Trying to have faith and stay positive. Because I know Ladybug can feel that. And faith can move mountains.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. You can picture me in your head if you want: hospital gown. Very cute. Yoga pants my mum gave me. Hair up in a messy bun. Oh-so-attractive. And a fruit tray I don't think I'll finish.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I must go, for I really do have to pee. And my oh my is it ever a process.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ladybug's Diagnosis

Ever get tired of roller coasters? I think that's why they're so short. Riding one for more than thirty seconds takes away all the thrill and just makes your stomach hurt.
That's kind of how it is with doctor's appointments these days. I go in with a smile and walk out with a worry.

I have to go in for ultrasounds twice a week now.
Which means I have to quit my job earlier than we thought.
Those of you who know me well would think I'd be smiling broadly about that.
Instead I feel like a quitter even though I'm quitting for a greater cause. Which goes to show you how brainwashed I've become from working 7 years for a person who believes that work should take precedence over everything... weddings, illness, even kidney stones. ok I exaggerate. a little.

Ladybug needs to be monitored closely to watch for fluid forming around her organs. She was pretty sleepy at our last appointment, so it took a while to check her for "practice breathing." Of course, she was energetic before and after the appointment, but not during. On the flip side, at the cardiologist, when we needed her to sit still so they could get all the pictures of her heart, she wouldn't stop squirming. Foreshadowing? Probably.

Another concern they have is I have a LOT of amniotic fluid. Which makes my uterus big. Which may make it think I'm farther along than I really am. This is another reason I have to quit my job: I CAN'T go into preterm labor. 40 weeks, baby. I'm making it to 40 weeks. 

So here's the full diagnosis. You ready? Don't worry, I couldn't remember it at first either. I still don't.
She has a complete Atrioventricular Septal Defect (two holes on the inner septum between the chambers) or AVSD. This is also called an Endocardial Cushion Defect or Common Atrioventricular Canal. 
She also has severe regurgitation from the left ventricle to the right atrium because the valve isn't working properly.

She will need surgery immediately after birth, once she's stabilized. 

Prognosis? They didn't give me one. The doctor only said that to repair this kind of defect is extremely complicated. So it's basically the worst-case-scenario in a four-chambered heart. 

I have nothing else to say. No pearls of wisdom. Just passing along information. I'm still praying my guts out for a miracle, for faith sufficient, for anything. But I'm just so tired. I just want my baby.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Each day on Facebook this month, I posted something I was thankful for. Some of them were deep, others were small and simple. All of it counts! So I thought it would be fun to recap and list the things I posted so far (for the month of giving thanks isn't over yet!)

~I'm thankful for the Gospel
~I'm thankful for my mom
~Today I am so, SO grateful that I passed my glucose test. Wahoo!!!
~I am grateful for my amazing, patient, hilarious hubby.
~I am thankful for my sisters.
~I am thankful for a well-made BLT.
~Today, I am thankful for doctors.
~I am grateful for family.
~Today, I am grateful for coincidences, or as I like to call them, "anonymous miracles" from the Lord. I know you've heard me say that before. :)  
~Even though it's very, very hard sometimes, today I am grateful for my job. 
~I'm grateful that four years ago, I married my best friend.
~I'm grateful for this incredible weather. 
~I'm thankful for President Monson
~I'm thankful for miracles. this was posted on the day the full results of the amnio came back normal.
~Today, I'm thankful for the end of the day, a bowl of cereal, and to have Microsoft Word back on my computer.
 ~Today, I'm grateful for several things: the Man making dinner, a hot shower, and Psych being on tonight.
 ~I am grateful for a wonderful time at the movies. Harry Potter 7 is... ahem... amazing!!
~Today I am thankful for Mom having leftover spaghetti stroganoff in her fridge that me and big brother finished off. I'm also thankful for having a fun day hanging out with the Man, and leaving the doctor's office with a smile and a cute picture of our baby!
~I'm grateful for my sweet little niece Z, who got baptized! 
~Grateful (again) for incredible weather... it rained that day.
~Thankful that eggs have protein since I've become a pregnancy-induced vegetarian. 
~Thankful for Vanessa, who filled in for me at work so i could go to the doctor.
~Grateful for half-days. 

And today:
 I am thankful for... gee, where do I start??
I am grateful for gratitude because it gets us through the hard times.
I am grateful for people I love. Every single one of you. You know who you are.
I am grateful for smiles and that cozy, apple-cinnamon holiday feeling.
And I am grateful for my strong little baby who has already brought us closer together as a family. I love you so much, my sweet Ladybug.

And of course, I am grateful for Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the power of prayer, fasting, and temples, and for all my friends and family who may not have yet been mentioned in my daily Facebook posts.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Eat lots of turkey.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My cousins' voices

This morning I got up to scan a new picture of Ladybug, peruse blogs, and update my own. First of all, I'll give you the baby's update: went to the doctor on Friday and everything appears to be okay so far, no changes to her heart defect. What they're looking for is fluid building around her heart or other organs, which would not be good. But so far, she's okay! Heart rate still strong and she's still doing her "practice breathing" like she's supposed to. We see the cardiologist again this week, so more on that later.

Here's one of the ultrasound pics we got to take home:

Kinda blurry, but AWWW! She kinda has the same look on her face that the Man has when he's woken up early in the morning.

So while I was looking at other blogs, I came across my cousin Mari's. She and her sister Emily have the most DIVINE singing voices and I am so glad they videotaped this. After I listened to it (on earbuds since it's still early and the Man is sleeping), I put the speakers on my belly so Ladybug could hear it. I made sure the volume was low enough not to wake up Daddy.

View the video here, or click on the link to the right labeled In My Own Words.

You did a lovely job, Mari and Emily! I love you guys!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Preliminary Results Are In

Dr. Harris, my perinatal specialist called yesterday during what had to have been her lunch break.
Unless she was off that day. Either way I don't care. I feel so blessed to have such caring, incredible doctors taking such good care of me and my Ladybug.

I hadn't expected results so soon, but after testing chromosomes 13, 18, 21, x, & y, (or something like that. The Man knows more about this stuff than me),

So far, so good!!!

Results are normal. The relief, the glorious relief I feel makes every little twinge of that amnio worth it. A 1000 times over. I suppose I've always known that I'd go through just about any ache or pain for my little one, but now I am absolutely certain that I would without hesitation go through every ache or pain for this girl.

We're not out of the woods yet. The final results will be ready in a few more days. But I'm still optimistic and hopeful that all will be well. I finally feel like I can focus, keep moving, and concentrate on getting her heart healthy.

Now I want to again express my gratitude. First of all, to our Father in Heaven and our Savior. To my husband. To my parents, siblings, in-laws, and extended family. To all of you, who have shared your faith and prayers with us. Truly, our prayers have been heard and answered with this sweet miracle.
Strangers in temples across the country (and world! Thank you Aunt Linda!), everyone within the sights of this blog, friends, and family,
I have thanked God for you. I have prayed that He bless your lives and grant you the desires of your hearts. I have prayed that His tender mercies be poured out upon all of you.

I know this battle isn't over yet. There are still trials to overcome. There is still much for me to pray and hope for. And always much to be grateful for.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Now we wait

Just to give everyone a little update:

My last post sounded so full of wisdom, so full of confidence; confidence I wasn't feeling all the time. I told the Man about how I was trying to be strong on the outside, but on the inside...

I'm still 
a mess. 

When we had the conversation, he actually finished my sentence for me. Perfectly. I'm so glad I have him around.

Anyway, I had the amniocentesis done yesterday. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I didn't watch. (I'm sure most of you are thinking, well duh. Who would want to watch a needle get stuck in you??) Normally, I'm not squeemish about that kind of thing. No, for reals. I watch when I get my blood drawn. It's just not a big deal to me.

But this time, I didn't watch.

And it really wasn't bad. No numbing, nothin. And the Ladybug cooperated beautifully. She held very still.
And I got a sparkly band-aid.

Now for the hard part: waiting. Praying. Clinging with my fingertips to that hope. Trying to put off my own selfish desires, my pride and vanity, and make every last effort to accept God's will.

Confession: I hate this. I want this over with. I want my baby, healthy and whole, in my arms.
But for now, I must wait. Results will come in some time next week.

Oh, and P.S.
Today is my wonderful, amazing, Grandma-of-the-year, supportive, and beautiful Mother's birthday. You can find her blog here. Happy Birthday, Mama!!! I love you so much!!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thank you doesn't cut it

Over the last few days, I've had too much time to think. Too much time to think can either be detrimental or beneficial. .
I think for me, it's been a little of both.
A few things that have come across my mind that I think I'd like to remember:

Your trials are not their trials.
I think about this every time I see someone else's life and wonder why.

Have faith in the outcome you want; and in the outcome you need.
Sometimes they aren't the same thing.  Sometimes they are. But with faith, you can rest assured that the outcome will, in the end, bring you the greatest joy.

Let the people who love you take care of you. 
You can't do it all. Guilt gets you nowhere. Let go of the things that aren't important, embrace and love the things (or people) that are, and accept help when it is offered.

 Gratitude is everything.
Be grateful for every single day, every single moment. Every prayer, every person, every little scrap of beauty that strengthens you, and every bit of pain that softens your heart. Even when you think you have nothing, you can still have gratitude. And it will carry you through. 

There is no such thing as a coincedence.
Coincedences are nothing more or less than tender mercies of the Lord... or what I like to call "anonymous miracles." They are His little way of reminding us that He is always there and He's in charge.
I also wanted to thank all of you, those who know me personally and those who don't, for your faith and prayers. You are amazing, every single one of you. I can feel of your love and am humbled by your sweet comments.
I have an amniocentesis scheduled for Friday. My prayer, with all the energy of my soul, is that we will hear good news. 

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude and my humble request that your faith and prayers remain with us. 
Thank you. SO much.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Healing a Broken Heart

The hardest question not to ask is Why.
The hardest thing not to do is fear.

A week ago, we found out our little Ladybug has a hole in her heart. The devastation we felt was mercifully eased by prayer, priesthood blessings, temple attendance, and further educating ourselves on the condition.

We were feeling optimistic. At peace. Everything was going to be okay, whether it was through a literal miracle or the miracle of modern medicine. Our little girl will live a long, healthy, normal life.

Then we went to the perinatal specialist. I thought more of my worries would be eased, more questions answered. At the appointment, the doctor told me there was a 10%-40% chance that because our little one has this heart defect, she may also have a chromosomal or genetic defect as well.

I feel like I have a hole in my own heart. I'm trying SO hard to keep optimistic like before, to wear a smile and remember that every other organ in her body including her brain, limbs, lungs, and umbilical cord are all functioning beautifully. I'm trying to trust in the Lord, to remember that my baby's precious life is in His perfect, loving hands... to remember that it is His will and not mine that will be done.

And yet it feels unbearably selfish to want a healthy, pretty little girl of my own. I should be grateful to bear a child at all (it took us almost two years of no prevention to finally get pregnant). I feel like I don't deserve it. And I have to beat down the rising envy in my heart when I hear of how wonderful everyone else's pregnancies are going.

I'm trying. I'm praying. I'm hoping. And all I can do is wait. It's like trying to take a deep breath with a huge heavyweight sitting on my chest.

Here's some photos of our little sweet pea:

 This one is at about 8-9 weeks.

 And here she is at 16 weeks, when we found it she was a she.

And here's the Ladybug at 28 weeks. Those 3D ultrasounds are AMAZING!
The dark spots on her head are due to the imaging machine. Her head is fine.

So here we go with the next processes: a pediatric cardiologist, who will hopefully help us to figure more of this out. And some genetic testing to rule out any other problems.

Thank goodness the Man has been learning about anatomy and physiology and all that great stuff. He can understand all the crazy medical jargon they're swapping around during these doctor's appointments. And thank goodness he's also my rock and my anchor during all we're going through. He's always been so much more patient and positive than me. 

In the midst of all my frustration, pain, and worry, this I do know: a broken heart can heal. Whether it's mine or my husband's or our little girl's.

The hardest part is waiting for it to heal.