Monday, May 19, 2014

Vasa Previa: almost done!

I thought that with being in the hospital, I’d do a lot of updating and posting about what it’s been like. Nope. I’ve been here 3 weeks now and have only posted once. I’ve actually had a lot to entertain me and haven’t really gotten bored much. But… Joel pointed out that I probably ought to update. I’d like to remember these things, too, so I will. (Warning: this is going to be extremely long. I probably wouldn’t read it if I were you, but I want to remember all of these things, so I’m keeping it all in here.)

The Plan

Like I said, I’ve now been here for 3 weeks. It’s Monday and on Wednesday I’ll be 34 weeks. That’s when the c-section is scheduled! There weren’t any morning slots available, so it’s scheduled for 6:00 pm, which isn’t ideal since I have to fast 8 hours beforehand (not good for a pregnant woman). If the 7:30 slot opens up we’ll take that. That would be the best. Tomorrow morning when my doctor visits we’ll decide what to do. If a morning slot hasn’t opened we’ll either stick with the 6:00 or see if there’s a morning slot for Thursday. I’m quite anxious for tomorrow Smile.

Daily Life

I have a bit of a schedule (the nurses are sometimes late) that helps give structure to my days. 

6:00 am: The nurse comes in to give me Nifedipine (medicine that stops the contractions), take my vitals and put me on the monitor (baby’s heart rate and contractions) for an hour.

Sometime after 6:00 am: Dr. Seale comes in to check on me (that’s why I have to do the monitoring so early; he needs to be able to check the strip).

7:00 am – 12:00 pm: Once monitoring is done (I can’t sleep while on the monitor) I do different things. I order breakfast and then either get ready for the day, sleep, or just waste my time on the computer or watching tv. Pretty much all of those things happen, I just never know the order.

12:00 pm: Time for more Nifedipine! Then I’ll usually order lunch.

2:00 pm: Back on the monitor for an hour.

Sometime between 5:00 and 6:30: Order dinner.

6:00 pm: Nifedipine again

6:00pm – 10:00 pm: Hang out doing whatever. Often Joel and the kids are here around 6:00 and we hang out. Sometimes in my room, sometimes in the Ronald McDonald Family Room (awesome place!). Occasionally they come before dinner. Depends on the day.

10:00 pm – 11:00 pm: I get ready for bed right before 10:00 and then I’m monitored for an hour again.

11:00 pm – midnight: Depends. Sometimes I finish up whatever project I was working on and go to bed, sometimes I stay up till the nurse comes in again.

Midnight: Nifedipine, then sleep. The nurses leave me alone till 6:00 am.

The Nifedipine and monitoring times are really what make the schedule.Here are some things I’ve done in-between to stay entertained:

  • Watch movies, Hulu, Netflix, TV, etc, usually while doing something else. I have a hard time just watching and not doing.
  • Puzzles (I’m on my 2nd. Quite challenging ones.)
  • Different crafting projects I’ve been needing to accomplish for years (wahoo!)
  • Playing an addicting and frustrating game on my phone: 2048
  • Chat on the phone
  • Chat with the nurses
  • Have visitors
  • Do my hair
  • Work on different projects on the computer
  • Browse the internet
  • SLEEP (The first week I had a ton of energy, but I guess my body is slowing down because I now need a few naps throughout the day and the 6:00 am wake-ups kill me)
  • Read
  • Go to the Ronald McDonald Family room with Joel and the kids
  • Video chat
  • Getting my nails done twice by my awesome cousin (thanks Tamara!)

That pretty much covers it.

Joel and the Kids

One of my biggest concerns about being in the hospital was for my family. I knew Joel could handle it, but I also knew it would be hard and I hated thinking about all of the stress it was going to put on him. I also worried about how the kids would handle it. (Kids are 6, 4 and 1 1/2.)

They’re doing great!

I mean, not that they wouldn’t like for me to be home, but they really are doing well. I think for the kids it helps that Joel is able to be home with them (his bosses have been awesome about letting him work from home) and I think that adds the stability they need. He also brings them up to visit me everyday and we video chat throughout the day. They call on video chat every night to do scriptures and prayers together. I love that.

Joel has been keeping up with the laundry, doing housework, working on the yard, taking care of the kids and visiting me. I’m not sure how he’s doing it all. I struggle with just my jobs when I’m home and he’s doing both of ours like a champ!

There have been a lot of awesome people who have helped make it easier for him. For me, dinner is one of the hardest things of the day (the days I don’t have to worry about it just go better for me) and we’ve been very blessed to have a lot of people help out with that. People have sent gift cards to restaurants and a bunch of people have brought dinner over. That helps so much! Joel works right up until dinnertime, so it’s nice for him to not have to worry about that. His mom has also watched the kids a bunch when he has meetings at work. And we’ve had so many people offer to help out if he needs it. There has seriously been so much kindness shown towards us and we really appreciate it! It makes me feel so much better to know that people are helping out so much to take some of the strain off Joel. Thanks everyone!

And for anyone who might have been wondering, Joel has changed more poopy diapers in the past 3 weeks than he has in the past 6 1/2 years that we’ve had kids and he’s been doing it without complaining. Smile  I change all of them unless I’m not home or it’s my birthday or Mother’s Day. (I don’t mind one bit. He absolutely hates it and has a strong gag reflex, so I like to be able to do that service for him.) I’m sure he’ll be glad for me to get back to take that over again Smile.

I’ve also been well-taken care of by others. Visitors, well-wishes and gifts have been plentiful Smile.  People are so kind!

Other Tidbits

Here are some other things from the past 3 weeks:

  • Food: The food was quite depressing the first week. The menu isn’t very big and since I can’t have gluten, it was even smaller. Luckily, the 2nd week I was brought a menu for the cafĂ©. Since I’m here long-term I can order from that and the menu changes each day and it’s much fancier food than the regular menu. It is available Mon-Fri, so the weekends are a little sad, but it’s definitely better than that first week. I’ve also learned different tricks to ordering and getting what I want (like they have smoothies and milkshakes even though they’re not listed on any menu). I also have tons of yummy snacks that people have brought me, so that helps.
  • IV:  When I posted last time, I was going to have to have my IV thing changed every 3 days. The policy has recently changed and it’s now every 4. That’s nice because it’s not the most pleasant thing.  The nurses also have to flush the IV a few times a day so that it doesn’t get clogged and they have to cover it when I shower.
  • Nurses: There are a TON of different nurses here! The one I’ve had the most is Aggie. She’s nice. But I’ve also had tons that I’ve seen just once. I guess there’s around 120 here, about 60-80 are full-time and the others are part-time.
  • Ronald McDonald Family Room: The kids love this place! I’m quite grateful for it, too. Their favorite part is that it is completely stocked with fun food! They also love the toys to play with. Here’s what it looks like: We don’t go there everytime they come, but probably 65% of the time.
  • Room: My room is tiny! Like really small. But the window opens up and outside my window is an area with trees and plants. Nothing else. No people walking around, no cars going by. It’s in-between some buildings. It’s quite nice. There’s a recliner right by the window and it’s nice to sit there and listen to the birds. It helps me forget (a little bit) that I haven’t been outside in 3 weeks.
  • Baby’s Health: Our sweet little baby is doing awesome! My doctor always comments that we could take the heart rate strips and put it in a textbook for how a perfectly healthy baby should look. That’s reassuring. Hopefully all of that continues once he’s out. He’s also a wriggly little guy! I’m glad for that. It helps me know that he’s not smashing the vessel in-between being monitored.
  • My Health: I’m doing well. I sometimes have contractions, but they always go away (which means they’re false labor, not true labor). Most are just tightenings, but I do get consistent and painful ones at times. Not a fan of those. Glad I’m in the hospital!
  • Rainstorms and the Full Moon: Have you ever heard that strange things happen when there’s a full-moon? Well, it’s true. More women go into labor that night, the ER is more full, and it makes crazy people more crazy. I keep quizzing my nurses on it. They all say full-moon nights are definitely busy. In fact, when it was a full-moon last week both myself and my sister, Kim (2 weeks ahead of me with twins), were having contractions. Hers were so bad that she had to go to the hospital to get a shot to stop them. All of the storms we’d been having that week also caused a lot of contractions for me. Apparently it’s the barometric pressure. I didn’t realize that before. I’m glad the storms are gone because although I’m still having contractions, they’re not as consistent or painful. Come to think of it, it was pouring rain when I came into the hospital with bad bad contractions over 3 weeks ago. Crazy!
  • I love social media! Through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I’ve been able to connect with other women going through this same thing. In fact, there are currently 4 others throughout the country in the hospital with vasa previa. 2 of us have the same c-section date and one has hers 2 days after. Kind of fun to have buddies who know what this is like. Smile
  • Why 34 weeks?: The recommendation for vasa previa is to be hospitalized between 28 and 32 weeks (30-32 is most common) and to deliver via c-section before 35 weeks. A bunch of things I’ve read say between 34 and 35, which makes it interesting that a lot of women on the Facebook page are going till 36 weeks. Most seem to be 35 or 36 and 34 is actually quite rare. BUT the vase previa vessel over my cervix is a really big one and doctors are worried that although I’m in the hospital, it might not be fast enough if baby were to start bleeding. That’s why it’s best for me to have the c-section at 34 weeks. Safer for the baby. Gotta get him out before this ticking-time-bomb goes off (and the contractions are certainly a motivator to do it sooner rather than later).

Emotionally, How I’m Doing

I feel like this is an important section to add for anyone who might be going through the same thing. It’s a big part of it.

I’m actually doing really well with being hospitalized. The first two days were the hardest. I cried a lot. I also had a breakdown when I wasn’t able to help Kaylee (my 6 year old) get ready for her kindergarten “opera” and when I realized I’d be missing the last month of school for her (thankfully, Joel brought her up the next day so that I could help her get ready for the evening performance for the parents). And then 2 days ago I had another crying session because I was missing being with my family and I was scared for what was to come. Luckily, none of those moments lasted long and most of the time I feel great!

It’s actually quite relaxing being here. Like I said before, I haven’t really gotten bored very often. I’ve also been able to get a lot of projects done and to do some good studying and thinking. It just feels like a really long pampering time (you know… besides the times I have to get poked with needles and such).  I am excited to be back with my family, though. I miss them (although, I’m trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to get back into caring for a house and family… this is pretty cozy here Winking smile ).

I’m feeling anxious about the c-section coming up. I’ve just never had one, so I don’t know what to expect. I keep telling myself that women have them all the time and it’ll be fine, which I know, but I’m still not looking forward to the actual surgery.

I also hate not knowing how my baby will be. How much NICU time will he need and what will that be like? Also, what will it be like right after he’s born? Will I even get to hold him? I’m hoping that since he is 34 weeks and not earlier and since I have had 2 rounds of the steroid shots for his lungs, that he’ll do well and that I’ll be able to hold him. I hate not knowing when the kids will even be able to meet him. That makes me sad. There are just so many unknowns coming up. I’m excited, but really anxious, too.  Even with all of the craziness with the vasa previa, I’ve still know what the plan was up until now (hospitalized and then c-section at 34 weeks). No one knows what the plan will be once he comes.


That pretty much covers it. I think it’s everything I’ve thought about sharing over the past 3 weeks.

Thank you to all for your kindness and prayers!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Vasa Previa: medical stuff on hospital bed rest

It’s Thursday and I’ve been in the hospital since Monday afternoon. I’ll admit, Monday was pretty terrible for me. I was an emotional wreck. Although I was completely relieved to be admitted because of the contractions (they’d come even when I was taking it easy and they hurt) I felt like I was going into prison. I didn’t want to leave my family for longer than I had to and it just seemed awful. I cried a lot.

Luckily, after a good night’s rest I felt much better Tuesday. I woke up with a better attitude and tried to get into a vacation mindset. I’ve felt pretty good emotionally ever since.I’ve received a lot of kind words and support from everyone. Joel’s bosses are great and he’s able to work from home while I’m here. We also have tons of people willing to help him with that and to watch the kids when he needs to go in for a meeting or just needs a break.

Now for the medical stuff for anyone who might be faced with this in their future:

  • I am on bed rest. I have bathroom privileges and can sit in a chair a couple times a day and go around the hospital in a wheelchair. If it weren’t for the contractions, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be on actual bed rest. Darn.
  • I have some of those leg compression things that I need to wear any time I’m not up. They were annoying at first, but then I tried to think of them as leg massages. It helped some. Now I barely notice them.
  • I have an IV line start in my hand. They’ll change it every 3 days. They flush it at least 2 times a day to make sure it doesn’t clot up. It’s there so that if there’s an emergency c-section it’s ready to go.
  • They also have a bin of fluids and papers and everything else they’d need in the case of an emergency c-section. It’s right by my bed and every new nurse is told that’s where it is. They’re prepared to have me ready for the section in a matter of a minute or two. For now I can wear my own clothes, but if there are any signs that a c-section could be coming they’ll probably have me wear a hospital gown.
  • I take a medicine called Nifedipine to stop the contractions. I take it every 6 hours and it can’t be missed. I still have the occasional contraction, but they aren’t painful or consistent. If contractions start “breaking through” we’ll most likely just do a c-section, even if my cervix isn’t changing. You just never know when one of those contractions will be a real one.
  • They do a non stress test (NST) once a day. They’ll do it more if I want. Baby’s heart is looking good so far.
  • I am also taking a prenatal and stool softener (sorry, TMI, but when you’re in bed and not moving they want you to take it – I want people to know what they can expect).
  • I was given a second round of steroid shots. The first on Tuesday and the second Wednesday. Seriously, ouch! But I’m so glad to have them. They can make a huge difference for sweet babies.
  • They do basic stats every morning and evening (listen to heart, lungs, check feet, temperature, things like that. They take my blood pressure before giving me Nifedipine each time. It’s a blood pressure lowering medicine, so they have to make sure my blood pressure isn’t too low (it is a calcium blocker and I guess the cervix needs calcium, so it helps it to not contract).

I think that’s about it. My regular OB comes in to check on me every morning. I actually get good sleep here, too. I take my Nifedipine on the 12’s and 6’s and they don’t wake me up otherwise. I was woken up more often from kids at home.

As far as getting bored here, goes, it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, I feel really busy. I brought tons of projects to do and have hardly gotten to any of them. Between nurses coming in and chatting with them, my family coming 1-2 times a day, phone calls, meals, Skype, responding to texts, etc. I really don’t have a ton of down time. I checked facebook and instagram way more when I was at home than I do here. Hopefully this can last till delivery time Smile.

Vasa Previa Update: hospitalized

Well, unfortunately the contractions kept coming and I’m now in the hospital. Darn. That’s one week and two days earlier than the original plan of 32 weeks. Here’s what happened…


Sunday I went to church and then came home and slept most of the day. After waking up and eating dinner I mostly relaxed, but also got my hospital bags packed up and ready. By the evening I was definitely having contractions. I got in the bath with Epsom salt (supposed to help stop labor) and a big glass of water to drink around 10:00 and the back contractions actually picked up. They were very painful!

When I’d gone to the hospital the Friday before, the nurse and doctor told me to first try different methods of stopping the contractions first, so that’s what I was doing. By the time I knew for sure they were contractions and that they weren’t going away it was 10:30. That’s the time we left for the hospital Friday. Thinking about repeating that night made me want to cry. I was exhausted and couldn’t imagine doing that again. I kept trying to get rid of them (walking, changing positions, heating pad, etc) so that I could hold off going in till Monday.

Around midnight I went downstairs to try different positions. I actually decided to lay upside down off of the couch in hopes that gravity would at least pull baby away from the blood vessel. Believe it or not, I felt almost immediate relief from the pressure in the pelvic area. That made me feel better, but the contractions were still happening. I was so so stressed out. I was worried I’d suddenly see blood and it’d be my fault because I didn’t want to go in. I finally decided to pray about it.

I prayed and pleaded with my Heavenly Father that either the contractions would stop and it would be okay to wait till morning to see the doctor or that I’d just know that I needed to go in. And that my baby would be safe. Even before I said “amen” my body felt tingly and relaxed for the first time in days. The pain completely went away. I knew that was my answer and that it would be okay for me to get some rest that night.


I slept great! And even though I went to bed at 1:00 and woke up around 4:45 (Logan had a bad dream) and I got up a little after 5:00 (contractions started again, though not as intense) I felt well rested and much better.

Once I could no longer sleep because of the contractions I got up to see if walking around would help them go away (with Braxton Hicks, that should help). They eased some, but were still there. I ate breakfast, got ready for the day, laid upside down again, and waited for the doctors office to open.

On the way to taking Logan to Joy School I called the perinatologist. I had an appointment for an NST at 1:30 that afternoon and I wanted to see if I could also have tests done to see how my cervix was doing and if I could do it earlier in the day. The doctor was in with a patient, but they said they had time at 1:00 for an ultrasound.

A few minutes later their office called back. They had talked to the doctor, who said come in as soon as I could for an ultrasound because with vasa previa I shouldn’t be having any contractions at all, even if they’re not “true labor.” That’s what I thought!

So I dropped Logan off, arranged for Joel’s mom to meet in the hospital parking lot to pick up Emma, and went and met Joel at work to head in to the doctor’s office (it’s at the hospital).

The doctor there was the only one of the 3 specialists at that practice I hadn’t met yet. Dr. Jeslen (sp?). She was very nice. We just did a quick ultrasound to check cervical length (4) and amniotic fluid. Baby looked good, but she felt me contracting just with her hand on my stomach, so she recommended I get admitted that day. She said I had time to gather things and eat lunch if I wanted (this was around 10:30). We set up admittance for 2:00.

Joel left to pick up Emma and Logan and I headed home to finish gathering my stuff and do all the last minute things I could before leaving for possibly a month.

Before going in we went out to eat at Zupa’s as a family, then Joel and all the kids took me in. We wanted the kids with me so that it would be less weird for them to suddenly come visit me there. I think it worked. All of them have been great about this.

So I came in 1 week and 2 days earlier than planned (just before 31 weeks), but it was such a relief to have the doctor say I needed to come in. As much as I hate being away from my family and being confined to my bed, it was freaking me out being at home with contractions.

This is already an insanely long post (what’s new with my vasa previa posts?), so I’ll do a new one detailing the medical stuff that’s going on and then maybe another about what it’s like to be here.