Archive for pregnancy

12th Pregnancy

Yes! 12! Can you believe it?? We weren’t planning on anymore, it just kinda happened – yes I know HOW 🙂 After trying for over a year for our 5th child, still breastfeeding, not even having regular periods, I just didn’t think pregnancy would happen so “easily”.

I’m now at 21 weeks. I have had 6 miscarriages and given birth 5 times to healthy girls.

I take Folic Acid and Baby Aspirin every day, but no Lovenox or other shots. I often thought that maybe MTHFR wasn’t the problem, that maybe I miscarry the boys, because we have 5 girls. Nothing else seemed to make sense. I miscarry when I take Folic Acid and Baby Aspirin and I carry to term when I don’t. It doesn’t make sense!

Imagine my surprise when we found out last week that this baby was a BOY! I really thought I couldn’t carry a boy and I was okay with that. A whole new world just opened up!!!

Anyway, I know I haven’t been blogging here or my other blog. I’ve been writing fiction books and taking care of my family. I do apologize for not being a better blogger. I still hope that between the blogs and information, I can help someone out there.

Have faith!!!!

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Still Blogging – Just Elsewhere

This has become my “old blog”. I do still check it, just not too often. My new personal blog is: http://just2more minutes.blogspot.com and from there I started my author blog too: http://taliajager.blogspot.com

In my personal blog, I have discussed many more medical procedures and another miscarriage.

In my author blog, I discuss all things related to my writing career 🙂

I hope y’all will visit and follow me there!

IUGR

I was told at my 36 week ultrasound that the baby wasn’t quite as big as she “should be”.

So, who came up with this term: AGA – Appropriate for Gestational Age? And WHO decides what that should be? I am a small, petite woman – About 5 feet and not pregnant I weigh around 115. Why should my babies be 8 or 9 pounds?

 In my research, I’ve read that a normal, full-term baby is about 7 1/2 pounds, that is what is considered AGA for a newborn. A premature baby is naturally smaller, but still considered AGA because the size is appropriate for the length of time in the womb.

SGA means small for gestational age. This is an infant below the 10th percentile on a standard growth chart.

IUGR means intra-uterine growth retardation and is often used instead of SGA. People may think it’s the same thing, but it’s not. An IUGR baby is less than the 3rd percentile and there is often abnormal genetic or environmental influences affecting the baby’s growth.

This make all IUGR babies SGA, but NOT all SGA babies are IUGR.

In my case, two of my babies were SGA, NOT IUGR. However, nobody was able to determine this in time. In this last pregnancy, I was told at 36 weeks the baby measured 34 weeks. She was in the 15th percentile. 2 weeks later, I went back for another ultrasound. I was 38 weeks and she measured 35 weeks, so she was now in the 10th percentile.

It wasn’t so much that she was on the small side, but it was that she was “falling”. And for this reason, I was advised to be induced. And because everyone was nervous, I went ahead with the inductions.

With my fourth child, she weighed only 5lbs 1oz. The placenta was calcified and my doula told me it was the thinnest cord she had ever seen. I do believe inducing was the right thing to do with her. She was small and something was up with that placenta and cord.

However, with my fifth child, she weighed 6lbs 3oz, the placenta was fine, and I heard that the cord was a little thin, but not bad. One of the nurses said that she showed signs of being an IUGR baby, that her proportions were “off”. I didn’t see it. Was it “new baby syndrome”? Maybe. Still when I look back at pictures, nothing seems wrong. Maybe I should have gotten another opinion? Maybe I should have waited a few more days? Maybe I should have tried the castor oil?

*SIGH* I can’t keep harping on what I should have done or could have done though. I must move on. If we had another child and the same thing came up, I would definitely look into it more. That’s all I want anyone to do, research it.

Low Lying Placenta

There is so much information out there about low lying placentas and none of it was right for me. I wanted to share my experience for those of you looking for help and information.

At my 18 week ultrasound, I was told my placenta was about 2cm from my cervix. Nothing to worry about, they said. It will migrate up. Placentas almost always migrate up. Okay, no problem, no worries. I, for once, didn’t worry. Everything I read online said most likely my placenta would migrate up.

Imagine my surprise when I went for my 28 week ultrasound and found that my low lying placenta was now 2.1cm from my cervix. Oooohhhh… a whole .1cm of movement. And then, my family doctor was so worried she insisted I see an OB.

They said if I have a low lying placenta, I could bleed in labor and delivery. I could hemorrage. This worried me. But, I kept the faith. I kept hoping that it would change. I prayed.

I went for another ultrasound when I was 36 weeks. Finally, improvement! The prayers had worked. My placenta was now over 4cm away from my cervix!! This was perfect! Of course, they did find that the baby wasn’t as big as they’d like her, ending up labelling her “IUGR” and that led to a whole other set of problems… but the placenta problem had resolved.

If the ultrasound technician hadn’t told me to get another ultrasound when I hit my 3rd trimester, I would have waited until I was closer to my due date to have it, sparing myself the weeks of worrying after that 28 week ultrasound.

So, for all those wondering if your placenta will migrate later on in pregnancy, I am proof that it IS possible. It can migrate after 28 weeks. Don’t let an early ultrasound prevent you from delivering at home or even vaginally. Insist on having an ultrasound around 37 weeks instead.

Welcome Baby!

Wednesday January 6, 2010

After finding out that our baby was on the small side, possibly having IUGR, our midwife had us meet with her two backup doctors. Both doctors suggested an induction the 39th week. We tried every kind of natural induction we could think of at home (stripping membranes, EPO, sex, nipple stimulation, Nature’s Sunshine 5W, essential labor oils, acupressure, etc), but none of it worked. I didn’t like one of the doctors; he was funny, but not midwife friendly at all. The other doctor was more open to anything; he even had been nominated for awards by midwives. So, we went with him.

I was admitted at 7am on Wednesday January 6th.  Upon walking into labor and delivery with my husband and midwife, we were greeted by a bunch of nurses. One of them was someone my midwife knew… another midwife!! She asked the head nurse if she could be our nurse and she said sure. There was also an experienced ICU nurse who was orienteering to L&D and she was able to work with us too. I overheard the head nurse saying to the midwife who worked there that this was a good case for her to see because usually they didn’t get many natural deliveries. This would show her you don’t always have to intervene. It still blows my mind that so many people opt for all sorts of interventions.

Into room #5 we went, had to get into my lovely hospital gown, pee in the nice cup and lay in the extremely uncomfortable hospital bed. This was by far the smallest L&D room I had ever been in. It wasn’t very nice either. Pretty blah. We got started with all the questions and the prepping. After about 2 hours, they hung the antibiotics up and started the Pitocin. They started it slowly… going up by 1s. I was at 3cm and 50% effaced. We had to wait 4 hours for the antibiotic to be in my system. If I delivered before that, we’d be stuck in the hospital a longer time. At this point, I was still hoping to go home that day.

Around 12:30pm, the doctor came in and broke my water. My cervix was only about 3.5cm, but soft and stretchy. So, breaking the water was the next step. Always one I’m scared of because there’s no turning back. The contractions immediately felt different, harder and more painful. The Pit was turned up more and more and more until it hit 24, the max. And the contractions were hard, but not coming close enough. I was in the bathroom and Michael had a little chat with our “nurse midwife”. When I came back out, she asked if she could check me. So, I said sure. This was about 3pm. I got in the bed and she checked. I believe she said I was a very stretchy 5-6cm. She asked if she could keep her hand there for a contraction. Sure. So, during the contraction came and she “played around” with my cervix and when she was done she said I was 7cm. LOL! It was uncomfortable, but not real painful.

My contractions started changing at that point. Much harder and much more pressure. She said she’d like to do it one more time and that was fine with me. The quicker, the better.  So, she went in again and just held my cervix for a contraction. By the time she was done, I was 8 and feeling it good. My mom walked in at that point. They called the doctor and let him know I was at 8cm. I guess I should have mentioned that once I hit 7, birth usually happens within 5 contractions and/or a few minutes.

So, yeah, you guessed it… I had a few contractions and went “OMIGOSH, she’s coming!” I could just feel the intense pressure coming, knowing there was no stopping it and no doctor there. LOL! Of course, I wasn’t worried, there were 2 very experienced midwives right there. The nurses started yelling “head on perineum”! LOL! And a bunch of other nurses rushed in. I asked if I could push and my “nurse midwife” said I could do whatever I wanted. So, I bore down and her head came on out. I felt a couple “pops”. And they hurt! As soon as her shoulders were out, they told me to reach down and get her. So, I did. I sat up a bit, grabbed her and brought her up to my chest. She let out a cry not too long after. She was so little and so perfect. She had lots of brown hair, long fingers and was just adorable.

The next few minutes were like a whirlwind. I was trying to hold the baby and bond with her. Some nurse was trying to get some cord blood. The doctor came in and wasn’t looking too happy. He didn’t seem mad either, so who knows exactly what he was feeling. I don’t know if nurses get in trouble for not calling fast enough. She did say to him, “I left something for you to do” – meaning delivering the placenta.

When the placenta came out, I asked if I could see it. He said sure when he was done. I guess there was something “down there” bothering him, so I finally asked what was going on and was told that I had a little nick that wouldn’t stop bleeding and that it wasn’t in the normal area (like where you’d get an episiotomy). They tried to stop the bleeding for a few minutes, and then he said he’d have to stitch it up. YUCK! I hate being stitched up in that area. He did do it quickly, I’ll give him that, but it still hurt.

I know at some point they insisted on taking the baby. I never did find out why. Michael said he thought it had something to do with the cord not being clamped right or something like that. They weighed her and measured her at that point too – 6lbs 3oz and 18 ½”. Then they brought her back to me and put her on my chest – skin to skin. She started making sounds with her mouth, so I put her to my breast and she latched right on. No problems. She immediately started nursing. This was the first time any of my babies latched so quickly and easily.

During this crazy time, someone noticed the placenta wasn’t around anymore and my mom said I had wanted to see it. The doctor got mad! He asked where it was and someone said “we threw it away” and the doctor ordered them to get it out of the garbage because I had asked to see it. And they did. LOL! We got to see it and take pictures. Weird to some, but it’s so neat, seeing your baby’s home for the last 9 months.

We bonded there for a while and at some point we were told they had to take her down to the nursery and do a bunch of things. They said I could go, but at that point, I wanted to get cleaned up and get some pain meds and so on. So, Michael went with them. If I had known it was going to be about 2 more hours before I’d see her again, I would have gone.

I got cleaned up, peed and for doing that, they took my IV out. I was wheeled up to my room. Unfortunately, we were told no children under 14 were allowed at the hospital during flu season. I wish we had been told that before we checked in. It really made me mad. My doctor told me that I could leave from L&D, however the baby’s doctor had to release her too. We chose one based on my doctor’s opinion and found out he was on vacation. So, his backup said the baby had to stay for 36 hours because of my positive GBS status. So stupid. They said the hospital policy was 48 hours, so her policy was better.

The hospital stay was pretty pathetic. I hardly slept at all. I kept getting woken up by people needing something. And if that wasn’t enough, all I wanted to do was cuddle with the baby and I usually sleep with them… well that didn’t go over very well. One of the CNAs had a fit saying I wasn’t allowed to do that and that if nursery caught me, they’d take the baby back there. I looked at her and I said “Tough”. This is my 5th baby and I’ve managed never to roll on top of one or drop one while co-sleeping. Then I told her I’d be happy to check out AMA if they were going to push me. She backed off, but I was paranoid from then on. Since apparently checking out AMA could cost me a visit from CPS a denial to pay from our insurance.

We tried to get released at 36 hours which would have been 3:25am Friday, but the hospital and doctor fought us. Why say you can go home at 36 hours if you really can’t? So, on Friday January 8th, at 7am, they started getting us ready to go. The funny thing it didn’t seem like GBS keeping us there, it was some bili test for jaundice and the nurse told us it was at 8 and was low risk on her chart. When the doctor came to talk to us, she said it was a little high and she should be watched. Hmmmm… trying to justify keeping us there for that long?

Even though we were kept there for much longer than I had wanted and our kids couldn’t visit, I’m glad we went with that doctor and that hospital. We were able to have 2 midwives and a really nice nurse. The labor wasn’t too long and the delivery fairly easy.

The doctor ordered another ultrasound for the baby’s kidneys because the ultrasound I had done while pregnant showed some sort of dilation. She does have one kidney that is still dilated or something. They sent us home with antibiotics just in case its reflux, but I’m not sure about giving it to her before we know. We’re supposed to see the doctor Monday and find out what the next step is. Another ultrasound or a VCUG.  

So, I didn’t get my home birth. Seeing her size, I’m not sure I did the right thing (being induced). She was 6lbs 3oz. I read online that a baby has to be under 5lbs 13oz at birth to be considered IUGR. The “nurse midwife” told us that she had the physical characteristics of IUGR so that we made the right decision. I don’t know if she was just saying that to ease our minds… but she said she had a small head compared to her body and her limbs were smaller too. So, I guess her proportions are off. Her trunk is normal size, or something like that. I’ll have to research that a little.

Even though I didn’t get my home birth, things went well enough that I’m happy. No crazy doctor or nurses breathing down my neck. No rolling of eyes that it was supposed to be a home birth. No epidural. No c-section.

And the end product…

A beautiful, sweet, baby girl… Bella.

MTHFR

I’m trying to put together a post on MTHFR. It’s been difficult to figure out what I want to say and what medical information is important to give.

Let’s start with my personal brand of MTHFR 🙂  According to my lab work, I am compound heterozygous for MTHFR mutations. “Right…” You say. “What does that mean?” It basically means my body can’t absorb Folic Acid. I can’t metabolize it or Vitamin B9. Does that make any more sense? Not to me. Not even almost a year after diagnosis. I still don’t understand.

What do I do to treat my MTHFR? I take Folic Acid and baby aspirin. Oooohhh, big deal, huh?

From the research I’ve done in the past 11 months and from what the doctors have told me, it seems like something that is life altering. Yet, my life doesn’t seem that different. In fact, most days I wonder if taking this extra folic acid and aspirin are really helping. And helping what? I don’t feel any different. I’m 31weeks pregnant. I can’t stand taking pills. After taking 3 folic acid pills a day, I missed a couple and nothing happened. So, I put myself down to 2 folic acid pills a day (and the baby aspirin). Still don’t feel any different. I guess right now it’s a waiting game. I’m wondering if I should get retested after the baby is born. Maybe there was a mistake? Maybe I really don’t have it?

According to some websites, MTHFR can cause pre-eclampsia, placenta abruption, IUGR, stillbirth, having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, recurrent pregnancy loss, clotting problems, strokes, hypertension, and heart disease. They say this is all hereditary. Yet, nobody in my family has these issues… except me. And the only ones I’ve had are miscarriages, possibly mild pre-eclampsia, and IUGR with one of my pregnancies. My other three full term pregnancies were fine. I was born with a heart defect, but I don’t think it’s connected.

People with MTHFR are supposed to be on a blood thinner when pregnant. My doctor recommended Lovenox injections. I refused. I took the chance that my body would take the extra folic acid and aspirin and do what was needed with it. And so far, it has.

 So, were my tests wrong? Or am I the only one in my family to have MTHFR? Are there other family members suffering from it, but not sharing the information? And what would happen if after I have this baby, I stop taking the medicine? Do I really want to risk stopping medicine and end up having a stroke? No. But, do I want to keep taking these pills for the rest of my life? No. But, I am lucky that this is the only thing wrong with me. I am blessed to be so healthy.

30 Weeks

I have hit 30 weeks! I had an appointment with my midwife this week. Everything is fine. I gained 10lbs between 20wks and 30wks and that’s what she likes to see, so I guess I did good there I measured 29 1/2cm so pretty much right on. My blood pressure was good and there was no protein in my urine – so no signs of preeclampsia (I was worried last week with my swollen feet and headaches, but it looks like it was just stress and the trip home for my cousin’s funeral). Baby’s heartrate was in the 140s, she was sort of vertex, but sort of transverse LOL! She’s just like her sisters, she likes to flip around.

I refused the glucose test and she said she’d draw my blood next time for the repeat CBC and all that fun stuff.

Right before we left for NY, I had an ultrasound. I was a little over 28 weeks. They called with the results while I was away. On the phone they told me I was 1cm dilated already. But, the report says .75cm. So, the midwife did look inside and said she could see it was a tiny bit dilated, but not to 1cm yet. So, the good news is that I’m not dilating anymore right now. She said who knows how many people go around dilated at 30 weeks because normally OBs and midwives don’t check at that time.

The second thing the report showed was mild dilation of the kidneys. Nobody is worried about this. It’s something that often clears up and if not, I’ll just take the baby in to have her kidneys checked when she’s born. My oldest was born with a kidney problem and it’s all okay.

Third… the placenta. It’s still only 2.1cm from my cervix, so it’s considered low lying, but not previa. They were hoping it would migrate up, but guess it’s being stubborn. My midwife said it might be because it’s posterior. She wants to talk to some other midwives about it and get their opinions. But, her gut tells her it’s fine and she’s not worried about it. It might be a bit of a challenge with my MTHFR status, so we’ll be keeping an eye on the bleeding in labor. I spoke to my old doula who agrees with her, that as long as it’s 2cm away, a vaginal delivery is fine.

The research I’ve done online seems to go either way… some say 2cm is the cut off. Anything less and it’s a c-section. Other sites say it should be 3cm. Some say you shouldn’t do an ultrasound to check the placenta until 35 weeks or so because it still has a chance to migrate. Some say home births are too risky. But, I’m comfortable right now. If my gut tells me different, I’d be switching. (I also looked up the placenta location in my other pregnancies, they were all posterior, but none were ever marked as low lying).

Anyway, I see her again in 2 weeks at her office and then 2 weeks after that, she’s coming here again! I love when I don’t have to go anywhere. She said something about being full term in 6 weeks! WOW! Just 6 weeks. And being the holidays, time will fly even faster!!!!

26 Weeks

The days seem to drag on and yet fly by. I often think about updating my blog and then I get sidetracked. I don’t have any real news to report. I saw my midwife last week for an appointment. She actually came to me! It was wonderful not having to drive anywhere, to wait in my own home, watch tv or be online while waiting. Not that I have to wait at her office either, but compared to waiting at the OB’s office, this is a dream.

My blood pressure was perfect for me, I gained 4 pounds since the last visit, no swelling. My belly finally measured accurately! I was 25 weeks and measured 25 weeks. The last visit had me a little scared because I was only measuring 15 week and I was 21 weeks. It reminded me of my pregnancy with NKJ. They had to induce me because she wasn’t growing anymore. My baby girl’s heart rate was good and she was moving all around. I see her again in 4 weeks and then the appointments will go to every 2 weeks! I can’t believe it’s already that time!

I will be having another ultrasound in a few weeks to check on my placenta. I sure hope it has moved up so it doesn’t cause any problems in delivery.

We did have some bad news on our insurance. It seems they were going to cover the midwife out of network, but our insurance switches January 1st! So, if the baby is born in December, that’ll be awesome money wise. If the baby isn’t born until January, we’ll be paying the whole thing.

Having a Homebirth

It’s amazing how the fact that I’m hoping to have a homebirth brings out the ugly in other people. I read a comment in a forum recently that wasn’t directed to me, but it felt that way. This person said something like “I don’t understand how anyone could risk having a homebirth when there are facilities to deal with birth.”

So, basically, if they build it, we should all go. I wonder if people really forget that it wasn’t so long ago that homebirth was normal, that doctors came to people’s houses and took care of them, that midwives took care of laboring mothers. This was normal. C-sections weren’t normal, inductions weren’t normal, natural childbirth at home was!

Then came along my grandmother’s generation. She tells stories on going into the hospital to give birth, the doctors would give the mothers some sort of gas mask they would have to hold up to their nose and mouth, this would knock them out until their hand dropped and then they’d wake back up again. Boy, that sounds fun! At the end of the labor,  mothers were basically out of it as the doctors yanked babies out. My grandmother says how she woke up hours later and was told she had a girl or a boy. Fathers weren’t in the rooms. She would then have to stay in the hospital for weeks!

And now look at where we are. People actually get to say “Gee, I think the 5th of January is a good day to have a baby” and they ask their doctor to induce them that day and the doctor says sure. Of course, that’s a whole other blog post.

My point today is that people rush to the hospital to have a baby now. They WANT the induction, they WANT the epidural, they WANT the meds… but I’m not sure why. Why would someone choose to be put in a hospital with all the bacteria and viruses floating around? Why would someone want to be hooked up to machines? Why would someone want an IV? Why have all these medical interventions if you don’t need them?

I completely understand if you are high risk that you would  need some intervention. But, for a perfectly normal pregnancy in a healthy mom, why?

However, I don’t normally tell someone who is having a hospital birth I think they’re nuts for doing so. I usually keep my opinion to myself. I wish other people would.

My reasons for hoping to have a homebirth?

  • Giving birth in the comfort of my own home.
  • Having as many people around as I want.
  • Not having any interventions unless absolutely needed.
  • Being able to eat or drink.
  • Being able to videotape and take pictures.
  • Being able to give birth in my tub if I want.
  • Having control over my surroundings.
  • Not having to leave my children with babysitters.
  • Not having to say goodbye to my children at the end of the visiting hours.
  • Not having my newborn taken out of my sight ever. No hospital mixups here.
  • Not having things done to my newborn that I don’t want.

I pray every night that it works out for me. That even though I have some things going against me, that I am able to try for a homebirth. I pray that when that time comes that my body does what it’s supposed to do and everything goes smoothly. Of course, I pray for a healthy baby and a happy outcome.

Bubble… Pop… Nudge

How sweet is it to feel your baby’s first movements?

At first, you feel something like bubbles popping and you wonder “is that the baby?”

A few days pass and you feel it again, and again wonder… could that be the baby? You know it’s not gas. You’re pretty sure there isn’t a butterfly in your stomach. It has to be it… right?

Then a week later, you feel it… a nudge, a definite baby nudge. You smile. You laugh. Maybe you tell the world “HEY! I felt the baby!!” or maybe you keep it a secret and not tell anyone, you make it a special thing between you and your baby.

A couple weeks later after feeling these little nudges, you notice your belly jumps a little when the baby nudges. WOW! What a special, wonderful feeling that is! And on top of that, you can see it!!

Then sometimes are those days where you are running around, busy doing errands, taking the kids to school, going grocery shopping and you realize… you haven’t felt the baby move. Scared, you sit down, you wait, hope and pray and then a few minutes later… she moves. And you breathe a sigh of relief.

Feeling the baby move is such a special time. It makes the pregnancy real – finally getting an every day confirmation that yes, indeed, there is a baby in there. Especially, when you’ve had miscarriages in the past,  knowing that this baby is okay is very important.

I am finally at the stage where I can feel our little girl moving every day. It’s so exciting. I love this stage. The kicks and nudges aren’t hard enough to hurt and they are hard enough to not just tickle anymore. I am so blessed to be able to enjoy this every day.

Thank you, God.

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