Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pessary...

As I mentioned before, taking out the pessary is a story I have to blog about.  

Let me mention first that in the days before removing the pessary, I came across an article about the pessary in which women graded the pain with having the pessary placed at a 3 on a scale of 1 (less pain) to 10 (greater pain).  However; in removing the pessary, women on average said the pain fell on the scale around a 7.  7.  Great.  Ouch.  So, that freaked me out.  I really wish I hadn't read it, and now I'm sharing it here...sorry for any of you that have a pessary and have somehow stubbled across my blog.  

Dust and I made the trip to Kansas City and let me tell you, 3.5 hours in the car with a belly that was measuring well over 40 weeks was no walk in the park.  It hurt, badly!  I took a couple of pillows and stuffed them in around me, which helped some, but it was still uncomfortable.  But, anyway, we made it!  

Once we arrived at the doctor's appointment and were taken back to a room, a midwife came in and said to us, "why are you here?"...I'm thinking, are you serious?  You must be kidding, right?  But instead, I just explain that we are there to get the pessary out.  She replied, "Right, but why now?  We usually don't take them out until after 36 weeks or you are in labor."  I told her this was when Dr. F asked us to come back.  I specifically remember at the end of our last ultrasound that Dr. F said she'd see us back between 34 and 35 weeks to get the pessary out.  In fact, we didn't look up the date, once Dr. F said that, the ultrasound tech looked up when that would be and told us what week to make the appointment for.  So, when the midwife asked us that, we didn't know what to think.  

The midwife said she wasn't really comfortable with removing the pessary at that point and left to find Dr. F to ask her why she had us come back then.  We sat in the room for 10 minutes or so before the midwife came back.  In the meantime, another person had moved an ultrasound machine into our room.  Once the midwife came back, she explained she hadn't been able to talk to Dr. F yet, but wanted to do a quick ultrasound.  Dusty and I of course didn't argue with that!  

Once she started the ultrasound, it appeared to her that both babies were head down.  Dust and I told her how surprised we were at that because Kanon had been transverse pretty much the entire pregnancy.  She then admitted she wasn't that good at doing ultrasounds, but showed us what made her think that, and for what Dusty and I knew, we agreed, but still were pretty skeptical.  Anyway, I'm pretty sure she was wrong because the following Saturday, as we all know, Kanon was still transverse!

Anyway, she finished having her quick peak and went to find Dr. F again.  After sitting there for another 10 minutes or so, a different doctor walked in.  This doctor explained to us that she spoke to Dr. F and that Dr. F apologized for the confusion and the mess up in scheduling us there and that Dr. F didn't know why we would have been scheduled back at that point in the pregnancy.  All I'm thinking is, are you kidding me, we've wasted a trip up here?!?  However, the doctor went on to say that she would give us the option of having the pessary removed now, or making another trip in two weeks.  We asked her what the typical timeframe is from removal to when somebody goes into labor.  She explained that removing the pessary isn't traumatic like a stitch removal and wouldn't cause labor to begin.  Considering that, along with how enormous I already was and how miserable the trip was, we decided to go ahead and have it removed.

So, now the fun part...I laid back on the table and she reached up inside to remove the pessary.  Let me tell you, that hurt!  It was somewhat suctioned, and then, of course, being in pain, I tensed up, which really didn't help at all!  In all honesty, at that moment, I seriously doubted my ability to deliver any more children vaginally.  I thought, if I can't get this pessary out, how in the world will I push two babies out?  It seriously hurt!  Thankfully, it was over quickly, although not near as quickly as when it was put in.  Once she finished removing it, she asked us if we wanted to keep it...uh, yeah!  So, in my stash of pregnancy supplements (which I will post about), I now have an arabin pessary as well!  In fact, we put it in our hospital bag and showed Dr. H after the babies were born.

I can't help but wonder if I would have still gone into labor three days later if I hadn't had it removed.  I really don't know.  In my mind, I am not sure, but I'm thinking maybe not.  We asked my doctor his opinion, and although he's not sure either, I think he's leaning towards no.  Now, that being said, do I wish I had held off having it removed so I wouldn't have had the babies as soon...I honestly can't say.  I'm not sure my body could have handled the 7 hour round trip to my MFM any further along in the pregnancy.  If anything, I would have asked Dr. H to remove it.  Ultimately, I think my body was pushed to the max as it was, and was ready to have the babies, pessary or not.  If I hadn't had it removed, I think something else would have caused me to deliver anyway.  But, all of that is besides the point.  What's done is done and I wouldn't change a thing!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

These Wacky Hormones...

I've never been one who ever felt like my hormones made me crazy.  I know a lot of friends that would seriously PMS, and I just never had that.  I also know that most women say clomid or other fertility drugs nearly made them crazy or made them want to murder their husband, or other similar things, and there really are only a handful of times looking back that I can really think of where I know the drugs were driving my hormones and making me crazy.  However...after pregnancy, I have definitely felt them so much more.

Way back in October, I emailed my nurse practitioner from my fertility clinic to ask about coming off of crinone.  When she replied, she wrote out maybe the longest email I have ever received from her, and in it, she told me to not be afraid if after giving birth, I felt off.  She said they see it in a lot of their patients, except, after having gone through fertility treatments and having a successful pregnancy and birth, as "infertiles", we feel like we can not possibly be anything but ecstatic about bringing babies home, and we push aside those normal post pregnancy feelings, whatever they may be, whether depression, anxiety, whatever, and struggle with admitting that maybe our hormones are out of whack.  So, that being said, it is something I've tried to keep in the front of my mind since giving birth, and have tried to keep myself in check.

And to be perfectly honest...I've had a few bad days.  

I realize that giving birth to Kanon and Remington has brought on a whole additional grief cycle for Chandler and Paisley.  The guilt of not being able to carry their pregnancy to term has hit me again so hard.  If I made it far enough to give birth to healthy babies that get to come home this time, why couldn't I last time?  We know pregnancy after loss is going to be hard, but what I didn't expect was how hard those feelings of guilt would hit after I delivered Kanon & Remi.   I guess I expected to breathe a sigh of relief having made it through the pregnancy, and didn't think about how the waves of guilt would flood me again.  

Then, another thing I didn't expect at all, but nearly floored me, was going back to my doctor's office for a follow up appointment with the doctor that did my c-section.  I've been in that waiting room what feels like thousands of times (probably closer to 300, but it sure feels like over 1,000).  Half of those appointments were as an infertile patient, sitting there filled with jealousy of the pregnant women who surrounded me.  Then, once I became pregnant, I was filled with joy knowing I had finally "made it", I was pregnant, I was "one of them".  What took me by complete surprise was going back, after delivering, and feeling all those feelings of jealousy wash over me again. 

I sat in that waiting room, and looked around at the pregnant women, and I felt completely envious.  Probably for the majority of them, they had no problems getting pregnant.  They probably had a discussion with their husband that said something like, let's try for a baby, and then poof, a couple of months later, she saw 2 lines on her pregnancy test, and was thrilled.  They were able to make a baby with their husband, in their own bed (or wherever, ha!) and it didn't require needles, petri dishes, countless ultrasounds to count follicles, estrogen patches, and on and on and on.  

And furthermore, what hit me most of all, was sitting there, realizing my pregnancy was over, and unless by some miracle, I won't ever have another.  I won't ever be that patient sitting in the waiting room, waiting to go see my baby(ies) on an ultrasound screen, or hear the heartbeat(s) on a doppler.  I won't be the one waddling in, 8 months pregnant and counting down the days until 40 weeks.  

In all reality, Dusty and I won't have another pregnancy.  We are out of embryos, and won't go through IVF again (what in the world would we do if we ended up with 5 embryos again?!?  We'd transfer them all, because that was the decision we made last time and what we believe is right for us).  We are finished having children.  And that is a decision that was not made by us...instead, it was made for us.  Infertility made that determination for us.  And I realized, sitting in that waiting room, how much that realization hurts.  We didn't get to sit down before trying to get pregnant and deciding that child would be our last.  We didn't get to talk it through and reach the conclusion that "x" number of children were enough, that we didn't need to try any more. When I realized that, sitting in that waiting room, knowing I never would again as a pregnant patient, I nearly lost it.  

Not only did I feel such a tremendous amount of sadness over knowing we wouldn't have more children, but I felt guilt for even having those feelings when I should be so thankful for the two living, breathing answered prayers (to quote my dear friend Kristi).  I can't help but think about all of the women going through infertility, countless failed cycle after another, miscarriage after miscarriage, that would give anything to be in my shoes, and they wouldn't care for a second that they were finished having children.  How in the world could I sit here, having 2 beautiful, precious babies at home and possibly feel sad that we wouldn't have more?  

Which brings me back to these hormones, and really, they are the only thing I can think of causing the whirlwind of emotions I have experienced since giving birth.  Like I said, I've only had a few bad days, for the most part I feel great, and so very blessed, but those other few days have been rough!  On those days, I can feel the hormones taking over my emotions.  I don't know why I'm crying, or angry, or whatever else I may be feeling, but I am, and it makes me frustrated that I can't take a deep breath and shake off the crazy hormones.  Too bad it doesn't work that way!  

I told Dust a couple of weeks ago I would give myself 2 weeks to see if I started feeling better.  I have.  Those bad days are fewer and farther between.  When I'm cranky, I truly believe it is from being tired rather than from raging hormones.  However; I know that I'm not invincible and if I need to take medicine to help me feel normal again, that is perfectly ok!  

I share all of this because it is what is on my mind, and maybe it will help somebody out there going through something similar.   

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Hospital's Yellow Flower

Dusty and I were walking back to our room from the NICU after enjoying time with Kanon & Remington and as we approached our door, I glanced down the hallway to the last door down that hall, the room next to ours.  When I laid my eyes on the yellow flower taped to the door, my heart broke in two.  I stopped in my tracks and grabbed Dusty's arm and nodded towards the door.  I didn't have to say a word, and in that moment, Dusty's heart broke as well.  

You see, in October 2014, that same yellow flower was taped on our door.  The door to room 38.  That yellow flower is used to signify to hospital staff that the baby, or babies, have passed away.  The yellow flower prevents workers, whether nurses, cleaning crew, kitchen staff, whomever, from going into the room with a smile on their face, congratulating the new family.  Although so small and subtle, that yellow flower has so much significance.  

As Dusty and I went into our room, we were somber, and our hearts were so heavy for the family in the room next to us.  I thanked God that our babies weren't in our room so that momma wouldn't overhear their cries, knowing she may have never heard her baby cry, and if she did, she would never hear it again.  From that moment on, I vowed as long as they were in the room next to us, I wouldn't laugh too loud, or allow visitors to sound too cheerful loud enough to seep through the walls.  When it was my room with the yellow flower, I remembered how angry I was that everyone could just carry on when my babies died.  I didn't want to hurt that family any more than they were already hurting.

Later that evening, Dust went into the hallway to the ice machine to get a refill for me.  Of all times that he could have went into the hallway, he went when our friend and photographer, Lisa Mac, was walking down the hallway.  See, we met Lisa Mac when she edited our Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photos.  She didn't take them, but provided the editing services to the photographers that did.  Dust said hi to her, and Lisa came in and said hello to me.  As we hugged, she mentioned that she wasn't actually in the hospital to see me.  I told her I knew, I saw the yellow flower, and my heart was breaking.  She asked me to pray for the family, which, of course, Dust and I would do.  And then she went to take the only pictures of that sweet baby the family will ever have.

I saw the family in the waiting area outside of the room the next day.  I wanted to walk up to them and tell them I understood, that the pain will eventually get better, that it isn't fair, that it is ok to be angry, and all of these other things that were running through my head, but I couldn't.  I could not walk up to them, knowing I had two blessings upstairs in the NICU and justify saying a word to that family, even though I had stood in their shoes and knew the heartbreak better than anyone.  I still have two living, breathing babies, and couldn't talk to them without feeling guilty and worried I would cause pain.  My heart broke for them, I understood their pain, yet I felt paralyzed when I desperately wanted to help.  

A couple of weeks passed and it was the night before Kanon & Remington's newborn pictures and that family had still been heavy on my mind.  I had a few extra copies of 
the book, Mother of All Mother's, and at that moment, it occurred to me what I could do for that momma.  I grabbed one of the books and a notepad and stuck it in my bag that I was taking with me to the photoshoot the next day.  The next day, I asked Lisa if she would see that family again, or be in contact with them, and she told me she would, so I wrote a note to the momma, and left the note and book with Lisa.  

I'm having lunch with that momma on Friday.  I hope it helps her as much as I know it will help me.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

1 Month Old!

Where has this past month gone???  My babies were just born!  We were just in the hospital with them...and now, Dust and I took pictures of them wearing 1 month stickers last night.  How did that happen?



This past month has been nothing short of amazing.  Even though their first 2 weeks were spent in the NICU, Dusty and I can honestly say that time was a blessing.  Would we have preferred they didn't have any NICU time?  Of course...but that wasn't the plan.  And we're ok with that!  Sometime I must post about their NICU time and their amazing nurses, so many of which remembered us from Chandler & Paisley's time there.  

Here are some things I never want to forget about their first month...

Remington - 
  • You are still such a tiny little thing, but you would never know it when you are unhappy! 
  • You are a Daddy's girl, for sure, and I love it!!
  • You have been slow to nurse because you are just so small, but you are getting there and are doing great now!
  • You do so well during tummy time!  You really don't seem to mind it at all.
  • You weigh 5 pounds 2 oz and are just under 18 inches long at 17.91 inches.
  • You have this "premie grunt" and it is adorable!
  • You are a bit sassy, which has earned you the nickname sassafras, which Daddy has shorted to "sass" and "fras", and they really fit you.  Ha!
  • While in the NICU, you pulled your feeding tube out twice!  The first time, Mommy & Daddy were there and Mommy about couldn't take your cries as the tube was being put back it.  It broke my heart.  The 2nd time, the nurses discussed and decided to not put it back in, which I am so thankful for, as I think it sped up your time to come home!  
Kanon - 
  • You are starting to look more like a "baby" and less like a premie, and you are adorable!!
  • You are a Momma's boy, and I love it!
  • You have taken to nursing like a champ...you even earned the nickname "piranha" from one of our favorite NICU nurses because when you root, you go to town!!
  • You honestly hate tummy time!  You cry and fuss, and just really can't stand it.
  • You weigh 6 pounds 7 ounces and are 19.67 inches long!!  
  • You love to toot!  You crack us up!
  • You are so relaxed and easy going!  It is amazing how you just go with the flow.
  • While in the NICU, they gave you a paci with a duck attached and you LOVE it!  We call it ducky and you hold onto it and it is so sweet!!


    Kanon & Remington -
    • You all have changed so much since you were first born.  It is just amazing to look at the pictures and see how much you have grown and how your looks have already changed.
    • You all have gone on your first two walks with Mommy & Daddy around the block in our neighborhood.  The 2nd time, we even took the pups!  
    • You have had dinner and lunch out and did perfectly!  
    • We've been to Target twice, Kohls and Hobby Lobby.  
    • Mommy and Daddy have had fun watching people realize there are two of you!  People watch us walk through places and we just love it!  We've waited so long to have you that we don't mind the stares one bit!
    • You have had lots and lots of visitors and everyone comments on how pretty you are (sorry Kanon, but it's true) and how perfect your skin is and how perfectly your heads are shaped.  
    • You both are taking 2 formula bottles a day and the rest are breastmilk.
    • We did your newborn pictures when you were 19 days old and you both did so good!  And oh my goodness, the pictures are amazing!!  (I'll share soon)
    • You both LOVE your swings.  I'm so thankful that April bought us a 2nd one for you, Kanon, because you both love swinging.  
    • Your first night home, we tried to sleep in the living room with you with you in your pack n play and that didn't go over very well.  You will nap in it some throughout the day, but you did not like sleeping in it at night, so we've moved you to the rock n plays and you are in our bedroom, which has gone much better!  
    • Speaking of sleep, you usually go about 3 hours between feedings, although a few fussy nights have been closer to 2.5 hours, but not many.  
    • Something I forgot to mention in your birth story post, but you both had APGAR scores of 9 each time!!  Wow babies!  You are so strong and so impressive!
    Mommy and Daddy could not love you babies more!  The first few days that we had you home were so surreal.  It really felt like we were playing house and babysitting.  It is starting to sink in now, and we love it!  We thank God for you every single day.  We love you!

    Edited to add the following because Mommy's brain couldn't possibly think of everything she wanted to say at the time I posted this.

    Remi:

    Diapers - You are still wearing your preemie size diapers, but we might be getting close to moving you up to newborn.  You go through about 8-10 a day.

    Clothing Size - Again, still wearing your preemie sizes.  They are so tiny, just like you!

    Feeding - You are taking 53 ml...I know that sounds like such a random number, but being NICU grads, we talk in mils now, and are slowly increasing your mils each day

    Sleeping - You are sleeping in about 4 hour stretches overnight and we can't complain about that at all!

    Kanon:

    Diapers - You are in newborn size diapers and you go through about 10 a day.

    Clothing Size - You came home from the NICU moving into newborn sizes.  I can't even believe it!

    Feeding - You are taking 58 ml, again, see Sissy's explanation

    Sleeping - You are sleeping 4 hours as well.  We keep you and your sister together.