Monday, April 23, 2018

Long version, Part 1 (for those who like that sort of thing, ...and so I don’t forget):

I called the Dr.’s office Thursday, right after Corwin’s speech evaluation.  And before I had to pick up Jane from Joy school.  They asked if I could come in at 12:45.  I said “Of course.”  I immediately called my friend, Angela, who’d been with me at my previous visit.  She said I could bring my younger 2 to her house, where her daughter could watch them so she could accompany me to the visit.  Jonathan was working.  I called to let him know though, because if he wasn’t on a flight, then the office is close enough to his work that he could be there.
I picked up Jane quickly and ran to get something for the kids for lunch (McDonald’s hamburgers, which is NOT usual, but it was close, fast, & cheap – we’d been out of town, so no food in house, & kids were tickled) and then dropped them off.  Angela rode with me to the office.  When we arrived, we had to wait a while.  They were still out to lunch, and then, Dr. Tadvick was called to a delivery again.  His staff blamed me, of course, because this had happened at my last scheduled appointment as well.
So, while we were waiting, they have you pee in a cup and check your vital signs.  Another thing that I noticed during this was that my weight hadn’t changed at all from my previous visit.  For me, by now being in the 2nd trimester...that was also very atypical.  I pretty much gain the whole time.  When he finally arrived, after 2:00 pm, he wheeled in the ultrasound machine and I anxiously watched and waited.  As he was scanning the image on the screen, my eyes were doing the same thing... searching for any signs of movement or heartbeat we’d seen on the previous scan.  Nothing.
After searching for a couple minutes, he looked at the screen and said, “That’s where the heartbeat is supposed to be.  ...I keep looking, and we’ll do another ultrasound with a better machine to verify, but you know what we’re supposed to see.  I’m so sorry.” 
He started to lay out the options... first option is to wait, possibly for weeks/month for baby to pass on their own – risk for hemorrhaging to be greater, ...or be induced at the hospital now, or schedule early next week, etc.  I was far enough along (@ 15 ½ weeks) that they couldn’t just do a D&C.  So, I called Jonathan to confirm best scheduling since he was at work, and we decided it would be best for me to go in that night, even though he was scheduled to work, because everything could likely happen later when he’d have to go back in to work Saturday, if we waited to admit until Friday – he works every other 24 hours when he’s “on hitch”.
 So, I had Angela help me prioritize my phone calls.  I had a presidency meeting the next day I’d need to cancel.  Corwin had an educational evaluation scheduled with the school district, which I could reschedule, or have a friend drop him off/pick up.  I opted for the latter.  Same friend agreed to watch Jane.  Angela said she could stay that night with my kids, while I went to hospital, and take the 2 oldest in to school the next morning & drop off younger 2.  I also needed to go pick up some food, so the kids would all have something to eat for dinner and pack for lunches the next day.  Angela helped me with all of that.  She’s an angel, for sure.  Then she dropped me off at the hospital by 6:30 pm because they called while we were getting food at Sam’s.  I had to rush home and pack my bag etc.
We made it there, Eliana joined because she was teary and didn’t want me to leave.  She gripped me tightly.  When asked why she was so upset, she just explained that she wanted me to be at home with her.  So, I told her they’d take good care of me and that I should be home the next day, but that we could send her a Marco Polo (video message) from the hospital and asked if that would be alright.  She nodded in agreement and finally let me go so they could show us to my room.  Of course, being in the labor and delivery wing, there were pictures of babies in the room, the incubator, all things that speak to new life and small faces, hands and feet.  At first, they seemed to grab my attention, sort of like a slap in the face, even though they were very sweet photos of a newborn that would make most anyone, including me normally, say “Awww, so cute.”  My nurse came in soon enough though, and the staff were all very kind and apologetic.  They gave me hugs and told me they were sorry.
Once the day shift nurse said goodbye, and the night shift nurse came in, they took 3 tries to get my IV in, calling it the “nurse curse” since my husband and I both are... I guess actually, my nurse attempted twice, then the charge nurse came in and got it on the first try.  Jonathan could tell you the story in a much better way, as his approach to IV starts is totally different.  Take confidence all you nurses out there!  We’re not here to judge!
Anyway, a few bruises later, we got my paperwork, history mostly filled out, and Dr. Tadvick came by to place the laminaria, these seaweed sticks that expand with moisture to help dilate your cervix.  A short while after that, my nurse placed my first 400 mg dose of intravaginal Cytotec, the medicine they were using to induce.  They would come in 4 hours later to administer a 2nd dose of 200 mg... 4 hours later a 3rd dose at 200 mg.  The 2nd dose was around the time I think they thought I might already deliver around 2 or 3 am (because I’ve had 4 children previously).  They also had to check blood pressures every 30 minutes times 2 after administering the cytotec, in between all of that, when the contractions were intense, I would have to get up and rush to the bathroom.  (And take the IV pole, etc. with me every time).  My stools went quickly from soft, to loose, to clear liquid.  This can be pretty typical side effect of the cytotec, not to mention, I’d always had at least one good episode of diarrhea before delivering each of my other children.  Sort of the body’s natural way of cleaning out and getting ready I guess.  So, between pressure on a full bladder, a bit of a bowel cleanout, and giving what feels like a life history due to the redundancy that is hospital charting... I really didn’t get much sleep that night – to be expected.  I’ve worked night shifts, so I know.
At any rate, around 8 am, after that 3rd dose given sometime before 7 am, Dr. Tadvick came in and pulled out those laminaria that had swollen quite large at this point.  During this time also, the mild cramping that had stayed around a 4/10 on the pain scale, at this point turned to more regular contractions that would get up to around a 7/10, but then wane back to a 2 on the pain scale between contractions.  So, by about 9 am, my water suddenly broke.  I remembered having felt that when I had Corwin (he’s the only other one where I had “spontaneous rupture of membranes”).
The contractions stayed stronger for about 40 minutes after that, then they started dying down enough, and/or I was finally exhausted enough, that I actually fell asleep for just over an hour.  Around 11 am, my nurse (day shift now) came back in to deliver another dose of cytotec.  At this point, when she was placing it, all of a sudden I felt a gush again, similar to when my water broke, but I felt something more solid pass.  I looked down to see a tiny little thing, that was our early forming child, covered in blood, etc, but definitely had a face, body, little arms, legs, fingers and toes.  I stood there staring.  The nurse called out to another nurse passing by to call the doctor.  Dr. Tadvick showed up within minutes.  She started trying to clean him up, Dr. Tadvick finished the job. 
The nurse kept telling me how perfect he was.  I was thinking in my head that he wasn’t perfect or he’d still be alive.  But then I had another thought, that in a sense, he was perfect, for he had never sinned.  That’s spiritual perfection.  More important than physical anyway, right?  It means he went home to his Heavenly Father, devoid of sin.  More than I can say for myself.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Short version of past week's events:

This past week was pretty eventful.  We got back in town from visiting family last week late Wednesday night.  I could tell that something wasn’t right.  I didn’t feel like my belly was growing anymore.  And I had felt like my stomach was off, like maybe a mild bug for a few weeks – gassy, bloating, a few loose stools etc.  (Sorry if that’s TMI for those who don’t work in the medical field.  And maybe don’t read the long version I'll post later.)

Short version: We lost the baby, whom we named Anthony.  Anthony Ryan was named by his older brother, Kenneth.  Last Friday, the 13th, at 15 ½ weeks, I had to be induced and delivered.  Then, had a D&C (technically D&E, I believe) with general anesthesia due to part of the placenta being retained. I was intubated for the first time in my life.  Scary, but I survived with only a sore throat for a few days and feeling very grateful for all of the love, support, prayers and kindness that have been shown us.
Sunday we held a small memorial service at home with just our family, my mom included.  Everyone wrote letters to Anthony and shared.  Kenneth typed up the program.  And the kids put a few things into a memory box they’d picked out to hold items that made them think of him.

I'll update with long version later.  I've been working on it, but it's long, so... 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018
So... SURPRISE, we are expecting baby Heck number 5!  This was an interesting thing for us to discover, as we had not been trying to have more, and it was later than normal when I found out.  Jonathan actually figured it out before me this time.  Consequently, the pregnancy has been very different from the other 4 from the very start.
Then, this past Wednesday, in what was supposed to be our quick follow-up to confirm everything was okay at 13 weeks so we could announce our happy news to friends...  things didn’t go exactly as planned.  I had a friend with me, and when the nurse first came in with the doppler, she couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat (which in my mind is the whole purpose of this visit).  So, she brought in the 2nd nurse, with “mad ninja skills”, who also could not find the heartbeat.  They said the baby was “moving around and must be very active", so they would "send in the Dr. to check.”
They sent in my OB, Dr. Tadvick, who then brought in the ultrasound machine and quickly found a moving baby and heartrate of 161.  I felt a wave of relief, until he noticed something “abnormal” on the ultrasound which looked like a pocket of fluid behind the baby’s neck.  He explained that he would like to send me to a fetal maternal specialist right away to have it checked out and that I may want to also consider doing some bloodwork to help determine what might actually be going on.
Wednesday night, I received a blessing, and in that prayer, was told that I would gain understanding that whatever happens is the Lord’s will.  That Heavenly Father was pleased with my decisions and that I would be able to feel peace with whatever situations follow.  Or something like that.
So, on Thursday morning, in our visit with the fetal maternal specialist, our baby was diagnosed with cystic hygroma, often consistent with chromosomal abnormalities, or some other type of environmental factors.  It showed fluid collected/swelling around the back of the baby’s neck and down their back a bit.
The fetal maternal specialist strongly urged us to consider doing a blood “screening”, not invasive to the baby at all – since they take my blood only (and look at baby’s cells found there), that would determine the likelihood of Turner’s syndrome, Down’s, Trisomy 18 or 13 (the 4 most common types of chromosomal disorders, in order of commonality).  While she understood our perspective of it not affecting outcome in the sense of termination not being considered, she explained that it would be useful in determining care... if they needed to follow more closely in completing a fetal echo around 22-24 weeks, when heart is more developed, in order to determine heart defects.  Also, it would help determine if they would possibly need to be delivered in a larger hospital outside of Abilene (perhaps DFW) if they might need heart surgery soon after birth, etc.
Since that diagnosis, I’ve had a myriad of emotions, thoughts and feelings, but Friday morning, I came across a quote from an author from, Wendy Top, which said:
“Before we came to this earth, we were anxious to have a body of any kind.  We understood what a transcendent gift it would be to have a body, even if not perfect.  Now that we are here, many of us hate and berate our bodies when they deserve and need to be loved, respected, and cared for, just as our spirits do.”
As I read through this, tears came to my eyes as I thought about our unborn child and the fact that their body was already now, at 13 weeks gestation, imperfect.  But yet, the Lord has blessed us with this child, which we had not planned for, and here they are needing love, respect, and care, as any child or spirit needs.
I then had a scripture story brought to my mind that I have not read in some time.  I thought of the Savior, when he cast out the devils from some possessed and they begged to be cast into swine.  Matthew 8:28-34.  I realized that if they, even evil spirits, who have no opportunity to have a body, were content to be cast into swine, how much more true would it be that the spirit children of our Heavenly Father would be grateful to have a mortal body, even if imperfect – and even if only for a short time!  
Another thing that has brought me much comfort is music.  Particularly, this year’s (2018) youth album Mutual theme from church titled, Peace in Christ.
We were gone this weekend in Vegas and they got our blood work back yesterday, but tried to call twice while we were in airport and leaving to fly back to DFW, so missed both calls.  I called back a different number I missed this morning and it was my OB, Len Tadvick, who gave me the results that the screening looked consistent with Trisomy 18.  Then, a short while later, the genetic counselor called back from the fetal maternal clinic to give me the results herself with a little more detail/information.  Basically, the results of the screening are not diagnostic by any means and from lab’s perspective, only have a 36% chance of being accurate.  From the genetic counselor’s perspective, she does her own math/calculations based on more information, including peer-reviewed articles, taking into account things like my age, etc., and determined a 51 % likelihood of being accurate.  So, she basically told me that the screening lets us know that there is a 36 – 51% chance of the baby having Trisomy 18.
Because they also screened looking for X and Y chromosome material, they can check for the gender.  She told me that the results were consistent with the baby being a boy.  On that, they are 99% certain because of the fact that they found Y chromosome material present.  Obviously, there would be no Y chromosome material found in a girl.
Something I already also knew, but confirmed when looking up information shortly after regarding trisomy 18, when the gender is male, there are even less chances of the baby being born live, or living long after birth.
They also recommend doing an amniocentesis for official diagnostic purposes.  However, there’s a .05% chance of miscarriage associated with that, and since I’m already considered high-risk, we see no reason to actually pay for that test.  We’re trusting the Lord that all things will happen in accordance with His will.

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