Sunday, June 29, 2014

Just another day in paradise.

Nothing real crazy happened today. I guess that's a good thing, right? ;)

I stayed in bed all day, ate food, read books, and talked on the phone. Nothing too glamorous here. So I think I will just give everyone a view of the accommodations and a run down of the typical things that happen every day. 

This is my room for the week. When Norah came to visit she told me " I like your other room [in Fortuna] better. Lol, I love babies with oppinions. 

Every day I order my meals and snacks from the menu. Room service brings it up and you can order whenever you are hungry. 
Most of the food is actually pretty good. You just really have to know what to get. 

Every 8 hours they hook me up to the monitor for a non stress test (NST). They do this to monitor my contractions and make sure baby's heart is doing well & not showing signs of distress. They also take my blood pressure and pulse every 4 hours to watch the preeclampsia. 

Baby has been doing great so far. Happy little guy... That is until they strap the monitor over him. 

The top line is his heart rate, the bottom one is my contractions. 

The other half of my job is to stay hydrated. I drink 3-4 of these bad boys a day. 

And that's basically my life right now. Just a whole lot of waitin' & gestatin'. 

I love you Baby Wonder... C-ya soon buddy.  <3


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Adventures in Preeclampsia

The theme of my day today was trying to beat my boredom. I woke up feeling good, so I cleaned up, put on some nice clothes, made some tea, and requested permission to go down and get some things from the gift shop. The docs said ok (probably because they've  figured by now that they won't be mopping up after me in the elevator), so off I went on my own for the first time all week. 

I was busy browsing for some thank you cards and a journal to keep me occupied for the next few days, when all the sudden I felt like I was standing on a boat in the middle of a river. Very disorienting. I quickly paid for my things and made my way back to the elevator. Security gave me a sideways glance, but when I flashed her my wrist band, IV port & giant belly she just laughed and waved me on through. 

Once back up at home base the nurse took one look at me and told me that I needed to go lay down so she could check my vitals. My blood pressure read 145/93. Yikes!! She took 2 more readings over the next 20 minutes to show the doctors that my pressure was dropping because, as she explained, if the bottom number didn't get below 90 they would put me right back on the Mag drip. I'm just finally feeling recovered from the last round of that medication, so after my stats returned to a reasonable level, I opted to lay on my back for the majority of the afternoon. 

It's not like I would have been able to do much anyhow, my head was swimming and if I was upright more than 5 minutes I could feel the beginnings of an epic headache coming on. Preeclampsia is the pits. 

But, if I needed any other confirmation that I'm in the right place doing the right thing, there it is. The way that I am now, I wouldn't be able to care for my kiddos anyhow. I also am now 100% convinced that this is why I went into labor in the first place. The baby isn't ready, but my body sure is since it has determined that he is the cause of all it's woes. Poor Wonder Baby. *sigh*

But on a totally silly note...
It has been making my nesty mommy brain nuts to watch other people change my sheets, mop my floor and bring me food. Lol... Ridiculous, I know. So today I sorted & organized my clothes, my purse & my toiletries; then I had a fabulous idea. I would "cook" a yummy snack for myself!

I ordered a pack of peaches, a snicker doodle, and a container of vanilla ice cream for myself at lunch. I'm sure you can see where this is going. 

Later in the afternoon I hiked myself down to the pantry, nuked the snicker doodle and the peaches, drained the fruit, then dumped it and half the icecream on the cookie. Viola! Peach cobbler a la mode. 

I think I may be slowly losing my mind... ;)

So the rest of the day has been composed of listening to an audiobook, playing scrabble on my phone, and and writing in this blog. Exciting stuff. 

BTW, Fun piece of trivia... Did you know that the fog in SF actually has a name/persona?  
The fog's name is Karl The Fog, and you can visit it's Facebook page, Instagram profile, or Twitter feed Evidently besides eating San Fransisco for breakfast every day, the fog has a wry sense of humor and an unapologetic internet presence. Who knew. 

Watching "Karl"slowly fade away this morning to reveal a glorious sunshiny day. It's so clear that I can see the sail boats out on the bay, a full panaramic to the outside ocean, and the mountains way beyond out there. Makes me want to get out & play!


Friday, June 27, 2014

A hard day.

I had a lovely metaphorical moment while looking out the window & drinking my early cup of coffee today. 
I watched the morning sun and gentle breeze slowly pulling back the thick blanket of fog that lay covering the city, until the sun was shining its warm light on every facet of the landscape. 
I had the realization waking up today that the fog that had been covering my mind for the last few days had been lifted as well. For the first time since all this has transpired I was able to feel well rested, clear headed, and go along with my typical morning routine. I feel like the metaphorical sun was shining on my mind. 

All that being said, today has actually felt fairly devastating. 
My contractions came back around 8:30 am, and I was thrilled because they felt like my early labor contractions have felt with my past two pregnancies. But as the day wore on, they tapered off again and by late afternoon, despite spending all of my day's concentration and energy on them, they were gone. 
On top of this, the doctors came by to tell me that if I hadn't made progress that they would induce me next Thursday, but they are keeping me in the hospital because they don't believe it is safe for me to leave. They stopped monitoring me and giving me antibiotics, so my visits from the nurses have been next to none. I feel fairly written off. 
Then Aaron brought the kids down this afternoon. 

My joy at seeing them was as strong as the overwhelming sadness that came over me when they left. I just sat and cried for an hour straight. There is nothing more precious to me in my life than being their mama, and I have tuned out what a void being apart from them has left in my heart. 

So of course, I had to take all this up with God. I asked him why I was so stuck & to relieve me from this burden. I didn't ask in anger but in dispair, and I felt his words gently enter my mind. 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29)

God is giving good things to me in this situation. There are things that I won't fully be able to see until all of this is over, and maybe some things I never will see... But the important thing is it is his plan. The Lord reminded me that all of this trial is fruitful for me and that I am growing in ways I never otherwise would be able to, but also at the same time, me having this experience has a purpose for many other people around me too. 

With this meditation in my heart (actually right in the middle of writing this too) I took a walk down the hall to the pantry to take a break & get a snack. As I was heating up some food a young man came in to wait in line for the microwave. I asked him if he had had a baby yet, and he responded no, and they were hoping that the baby wouldn't come for another 2 weeks. Turns out that he is from Eureka area and was life flighted down here as well. His wife's water broke at 30 weeks. They lost a baby last year in a similar situation. 
I talked a while longer with him and I could see some comfort take hold in his eyes from talking with someone from back home who was in a similar situation.  l let him know that I would be praying for them & their little son & he thanked me. 

In just 10 minutes in a chance closet pantry conversation I felt God reaffirm that there is a lot of purpose for me in this journey. I'm not going to understand it all, and I don't have to. The pain in my heart from being separated from my family will likely be in me as long as I am here. Not knowing what is happening with my body day in and day out will not get less hard. But...

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8)

... And I believe it. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 4 in the hospital.

Well, my labor seems to have stalled out. 
I had lots of big contractions last night that were squeezing the baby down, but my cervix won't dilate, so he's stuck for the time being. Today I had a few half hearted contractions, but I think my body has mostly given up for now. Which leaves the medical staff here at UCSF with the conundrum of what to do with me. 

A couple things have come up via screenings during my stay here. One thing is that they have now diagnosed me as having preeclampsia due to finding protein in my urine, and the other thing is that an ultrasound this morning showed Baby Wonder's abdomen to be super swollen. The doctors said that his tummy is the size of a 40 week baby, even though he is 36 weeks today, and that it is bigger than the circumference of his head. These two things considered, they are trying to plan the safest way to deliver the baby. They decided to contact the fetal treatment center to consult more about Baby Wonder, and after we hear what they have to say, we will make some decisions. 

On the bright side... Aaron went home this morning to get our kids, and they will be coming down to see me tomorrow. I'm excited... I miss my babies!!!

Other good things include the great caregivers I have had & the awesome conversations I get to have with them. I also have on call room service for food whenever I want it, and the view is fantastic now that the fog has burned off!

I also am so grateful to God for the peace that He has given me in all of this, even in the hardest moments he is so faithful and sure to me. <3

This whole picture is baby's abdomen. The big black spot is his bladder. 

My abode for the week. 

High-tech ice pack... A newborn diaper filled with crushed ice. I had to laugh... That is totally something I would do! :)

The view on a clear day. Yesterday was totally white with fog, you couldn't see a thing. 

This is the team of doctors who are caring for me. They all come talk to me everyday. What sweet, smart people... I am so blessed. <3


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hurry up & Wait.

9:00 pm and still no baby.

The contractions are still happening, but nothing has progressed into true active labor. I have a feeling that the drugs they gave me may have confused my body, and it's taking a while to figure it out. 

(Me taking my little friend for a walk)

(Aaron hanging out in the hospital on his birthday. Poor guy... That kinda got hijacked! I promised to make him a carrot cake when we get home.)


Getting There

The arrival of this baby has not at all gone how we expected.

His due date is July 24th, but on  June 22nd, I found myself having lots of what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. By night time the contractions had formed a pattern and were getting stronger. When they started lasting 2 minutes a piece at 4 minutes apart I thought " Oh boy, I think this is it", and went into the hospital at 10 pm. 

At the hospital they gave me several shots to help stop the contractions. This only worked for 40 minutes, so they gave me an oral medicine that seemed to work, and then sent me home. The meds were supposed to last six hours, but I only made it 2 1/2 hours before I was contracting again. This time I packed a bag of clothes and headed back to the hospital with the mindset that I may be there a while. 

When I got back to the hospital they monitored me for a few hours, then decided to admit me since the labor was progressing. They started me on a 24 hour drip of magnesium sulfate to try and stop labor (which made me feel funky) so that they could put me back on the oral medication and send me home. By mid morning the next day, however, it was apparent that this plan was not going to be effective, so they called UCSF to get their opinion. 

Per recommendation of the doctor in San Francisco, they ordered a Life Flight for me, and by 2 pm they had me on a gurney in the back of an ambulance headed for the airport.

I can't say that it was the most comfortable 2 hours of my life being strapped down in a sardine can on wings (and may I say that turbulence/take off & landing is a whole different beast when you are lying down on your back!), and then riding along the 101 through San Francisco in the back of an ambulance, but the EMTs were great, and I was certainly glad to not be making the drive in a car while being in active labor. (I know Mary did it on the back of a donkey, but I have no illusions of being that kind of a rock star).

I arrived at UCSF in the late afternoon and Aaron (who drove down) did shortly afterwards. After some diliberating, the doctor decided to take me off of the magnesium drip and let me go into labor if that is what my body wanted to do since baby will be considered full term on Thursday. 

I slept all night without many contractions, and when I woke up this morning they started happening, but not very regularly. So now we are just waiting in our room with a view for the little guy to come, and I am so glad to not have anything stopping the process this time!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our New Baby

Several months ago I paused my blog after announcing that we were expecting our 3rd baby in July. We were thrilled to be having another little Souza join our clan, but we in no way anticipated what an adventure this pregnancy would be for us. 

At our second routine ultrasound, they discovered that our baby boy had swelling in his entire urinary system. The doctor quickly made an appointment for us at UCSF and we traveled there for care in the next few days. 
The doctors there diagnosed our baby as having a condition called Posterior Urethral Valves (PUV), which are flaps of skin in the urethra that block urine from exiting the bladder. The blockage was causing urine to back up into his bladder, ureters & kidneys. 
Since he needs intervention and possible surgery after birth, we decided to schedule an induction at UCSF for July 17th, one week before his due date. 

This was a good idea, but unknown to us, God had a different plan and we found our adventure continuing as baby decided to come one month early. This is the story of his birth and what follows. I will try to keep everything as updated as possible for those of you at home who are following what's happening.