Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Walking Dead: Post Script

I made it through 6 hours of the work day before I had to throw in the towel. I picked up my little man who I missed TERRIBLY and barely made it in the door before I had my head in the toilet. I was only dry-heaving but I felt it from head-to-toe. In every blown vein, at every injection site.

I fed Spencer and we crawled into my bed. He was due for a nap but of course when I'm feeling especially rotten, he has no intention of sleeping. So instead we listened to music, which he loves and was relaxing for me. Violent Femmes, Morrissey, The Cure...lots of "college rock", if you will. He smiled away and we had a nice time until he dozed off.

It's already been decided that I'll be on a short schedule for the rest of the week to ease me back into things. At first I felt silly about getting this special treatment...until I EXPLODED last night. Cherry Coke was the first thing that tasted REALLY good to me (per the docs, I'm allowed to have caffeine right now...what's most important are CALORIES), but I should've known better. The sugary stuff is killing me. And it KILLED me last night.

I really didn't miss throwing up.

But aside from my misery, I want to say HAPPY LEAP DAY to everyone, especially my favorite froggie! I saw pajamas that said "One More Leap Before Sleep" but they were for girls. Drat! Tonight we have a date to read some new Dr. Seuss books and I can't wait. So enjoy your Leap Day doing whatever it is you do since nothing counts on Leap Day...but tomorrow it's back to real life, according to 30 Rock!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Walking Dead: Putting One Foot In Front Of the Other

I'm attempting to be at work and stay at work for the first time in 2 weeks. It is proving to be just about as difficult as I expected. You would've thought it was the first time I ever put on a pair of pants this morning. Comical. My head is utterly sea-sick and there are fish having a Battle Royale in my guts. And I'm tired. So, so, so tired. I guess minimal food and liquid will do that do a person. If I put my head down on my desk, I'd be asleep immediately. No question about it. Even if there were staples stuck in my face.

I hope little Sam is OK through all of this. Yeah, it's not The Bun/Bunny anymore. My mom has taken to calling it Sam I Am. "Green Eggs and Ham" is Spencer's favorite book so I think it's cute. My sister was called Rufus the entire time she was in the womb so it could be worse.

Besides all the internal nastiness, my outsides aren't feeling so great either. Todd has to change the pump needle in my stomach every 2 days and left behind is a sore, itchy, bruised knot, and sometimes it leaks medicine and other fluids. Delicious! So it's getting more difficult to find a comfortable spot to puncture. It looks like Sam has been punching me from the inside. And it's hard to get comfortable at night with all these ouch spots taking over. It hurts to even rub my own belly.

They don't photograph so well but there are 3 bruises on the left side of the picture and 2 on the right (soon to be 3 when that needle comes out tomorrow...rats). On top of that are the cosmetics. My body looks thin and frail (besides my very noticeable pooch which keeps bringing up the possibility of twins much to my horror), my skin is painfully dry, my hands and arms are bruised and punctured. But even looking so beat up, Todd still says, "You look good to me" out of nowhere.

Horrific vomiting, stomach bruises, frail frame, showing early, no appetite or way to get nutrition? Yep. It's a vampire baby. That is the only explanation and a few of my girlfriends agree. All I need are some broken bones and I'll be convinced!

Todd just asked me what girl names I like. People really seem to be thinking girl.

Probably because it's already causing such draaaaaaaaaaama!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blah: Too Exhausted To Come Up With a Clever Title

So let's get you all caught up, shall we?

1. Monday night, a Home Health Care nurse came to restart my IV. That was a disaster. Both hands were out of commission from bing past sites or having blown veins. She attempted to get one in my wrist and failed. Tried to get one in my forearm and that was turning out to be terrifying for both of us. Finally, she said she had no choice but to put it in the bend of dominant arm. NOT conveinient with a 6 month old. Very uncomfortable all around and when I would bend my arm, say to feed my child, the IV would stop dripping. What the HELL..

My veins were so difficult to find (which is not usually the case) that they sent out 9 MORE LITERS of fluids to plump me back up. I was so close to done. So close. The nurse tried to find the heartbeat but warned me it might not happen. It would have been cool since both of my parents were here (I needed a babysitter again) but no dice. Sigh. Would've been nice.

2. Spencer had his Oncology clinic yesterday and of course, because I'm all jacked up, I couldn't take him. This BROKE MY HEART. I haven't missed one appointment. That's been MY thing. I like to give all the information and get all the information and here them rave about how great he's doing and how good he looks (he dresses up for his nurse girlfriends). But it wasn't going to happen. I'm crummy mom again. It would've been dangerous with how I was feeling. So my sister stepped in and took him and I cried as soon as they walked out the door.

The good news is that he's doing great, per usual. He's 14.7 pounds and 26.5 inches long. Like the pediatrician, they said he's very strong and they really don't have many concerns regarding the Leukemia. They drew his blood (got it on the second attempt) and I got the results last night. Everything is A-OK! Even his infection-fighting white blood cells which had been boarder line low in the past. His doc said 1 or 2 more monthly visits and we can start to space them out. That will make me SO HAPPY. Watching him give blood...destroys.

3. After a very angry evening, my little man was being sweet as can be this morning. Lots of cuddling, hugging, playing. But after a very brief nap, my little maniac decided that the tube I kept telling him he couldn't pull was too tempting. He gave it a niiiiiiiiiiice good pull...and out came my IV. I didn't even really notice at first until my arm felt super cold. It was cold and wet because IV fluid was pouring down it. DRAT!

I called my Home Health Care nurse and we decided the IV will stay out. I've got nowhere else for it to go right now. My veins are beat and I'm all bruised up. So as long as my ketones stays negative-to-trace, I can stay off the IV fluids. If anything changes, back in it goes. This would be awesome except that I feel REALLY crummy today and have thrown up twice...I thought I was on the mend there. I'm starting to think it's sugary things that are wrecking me but I was told to try and pack on calories. I'll have to try another route. Like Mr. Hero, mmmmmm. Straight grease. That'll be tasty when it comes back up.

Hopefully this weekend will be less eventful. I'm planning sleep, sleep, and more sleep (along with a rotation of eating and drinking) so I can go back to work on Monday. I'm not really looking forward to anyone's smart ass comments or questions, especially about the Zofran pump I have to carry across my shoulder. But I'm letting people down by not being there. I need to get stronger so it's not 8 hours of torture. Please send some good vibes my way. I need them.

Monday, February 20, 2012

8 Weeks: IVs, Vaccines, and FUN

I'm 8 weeks along today. I've been told that I look a little big for 8 weeks (which spooks me more and more about the potential of twins growing in there). But there could be two reasons for this extra puffy gut: I've heard that women show earlier the second time around because your body knows what to do AND I'm severely dehydrated and malnourished from the Hyperemesis at the moment so I'm ALL belly. Either way, there I am. 8 weeks preggo.

Speaking of the Hyperemesis... sucks. I've had my IV and Zofran pump for 3 days and while my nausea is definitely less intense, I've got some issues. The IV has decided to quit working. All the little tricks I know aren't jump starting the sucker and one of them REALLY hurt the vein the IV is in. I mucked something up big time in my paw. So I'm not getting any fluids at the moment which scares me. I don't want any set backs. A nurse is coming out tonight to restart the IV in a new site. Awesome.

On top of that whole debacle, I'm super weak. I'm supposed to rotate eating and drinking every hour but liquids and I do NOT mix right now. It's been rough. My mom even had to come and babysit me and Spencer on Saturday. I really appreciate the help but I felt lousy. We decided to have a baby and everyone else seems to be paying for it. I haven't been to work since last Tuesday. I may have the tiniest bit of the blues.

Speaking of my best pal, Spencer, he had his 6 month vaccines today. Poor dude. And I couldn't even be there to hold his paw or rub head. His pediatrician said he's doing great and is very strong. Soon we can start giving him thicker fruits and veggies and let him try the big hand held cookies. That'll be fun for him. More fun than the vaccines, for sure.

I hope this IV disaster can be remedied by the Home Health Care nurse and I can get back on track. I need to get back to work and back to life. Spencer needs me to do more with him than nap. I for sure feel like crummy mom these days. I prefer feeling like Super Mom. And I REALLY prefer not feeling like a lifeless zombie. Though those are pretty much the only kinds of zombies, right?


Now that the cat is out of the bag about the bun in my oven, blogs I had hidden are visible! There's a ton to take in since a lot has happen in 8 short weeks of pregnancy. So...ENJOY!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Emergency Room 2: Hyperemesis Gravidum and Me

Yesterday it was back to the Emergency Room.

My sister came over to watch Spencer yesterday so I could try and take a shower. She suggested I call my OB and tell her that I was still throwing up (and maybe I need to note how epic this food, liquid, pills, or vitamins have been staying put...and the Reglan that DID stay down made me a ZOMBIE). My OB was concerned and sent me back to the ER to at least get hydrated.

This turned out to be the pure definition of disaster.

Super long story short, I went for IV fluids, some doofus with a goatee took it out after about a quarter of a liter, and we sat around for hours while nurse after nurse said, "I'm here with your second liter. What do you mean they took your needle out? You didn't even get ONE liter??". Eventually I opted to just go home. I was in no mood to be poked again and I was told home health care was set up to come to my house the next day (today).

The verdict is that I have HYPEREMESIS GRAVIDUM: unrelenting, excessive pregnancy-related nausea and/or vomiting that prevents adequate intake of food and liquids. As compared to morning sickness, HG begins earlier in pregnancy and can last longer. Women with HG can lose up to 30% of their body weight. Untreated, HG can lead to renal failure.

No one seems to be too concerned about the Baby Bunny despite my inability to get nutrients. From what I read (I HAVE to stay off the internet), my body will protect the Bun first. And it seems like the worst thing to happen to HG babies is early delivery and low birth weight. I guess if that's the WORST that happens...

A Home Health Care Nurse came to Castle Grayskull to set me up with a Zofran pump. A little needle is in my stomach constantly feeding me anti-nausea meds. I get them more quickly and they never have a chance to wear off. I change the needle every 3 days and the syringe of medication about every 20 hours. I also have to carry the pump itself over my shoulder. It's very nerdy but it's GOT to work. The nurse started the whole shebang off with a jump start shot into my ass. YOWZA!

In addition to the Zofran, I'm receiving constant IV fluids. I'm trying to get through about 9 liters to repair the damage that's been done. A base needs to be created somehow so I can start to try to eat and drink. The first attempt to get the IV in lead to a blown-out vein. Made me even more sympathetic to what Spencer goes through every month. I may have tattoos but I am not a needle fan. Second time was a charm but it's in my dominant hand. Not awesome.

My supplies get delivered to the house. I got about a 2 hour crash course on how to take care of everything and troubleshoot. A nurse will call every morning and ask me my weight, my ketone level (I have some nifty tabs to pee on every morning), and how I'm feeling. Over the phone they can adjust the dose of my medication or give me an immediate bolus ( a word I just learned meaning "administration"). It's all fascinating and a little bit crazy. Todd says all I'm missing is a gown where my cheeks hang out.

If this doesn't work, I don't think we have any other options short of being hospitalized. Of course, I'll do whatever my Bunny needs. But I hate missing work, I hate being a burden on my family and friends, I hate thinking Bunny is in danger, and I hate, hate, hate throwing up. This sea-sick business is for the birds!

Then again, I had the perfect pregnancy with Spencer. Not a care in the world! And we got bad news after he was born. Maybe I'm getting all the insanity out of the way now. They say morning sickness is a sign that everything is going the way it should. But they also say intense morning sickness like this could mean twins.

A 13.5 month old AND twins???? Holy cow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Emergency Room: 12 Days of Puking and 2 Useless Meds

Let's not beat around the bush. I've been tossing my cookies for 12 days and I'm over it.

I know women get morning sickness. I'm not being a wuss. It's hard to function.

I tried 2 anti-nausea medications prescribed by my OB (and promised to be safe for my Bun) and they were both a bust. I had high hopes for Zofran (the Phenergan was an utter bust) as Phoebe told me it's what she took during her Chemo and Radiation. What I've been going through is NOTHING compared to what she battled so I had the highest of hopes. Well, those hopes were puked on.

I only had morning sickness with Spencer for about a week and it was nothing compared to this disaster. I was spending more time tossing my cookies at work than actually working. I just had a feeling that something more was going on, especially since it was becoming increasingly difficult to take care of Spencer by myself, a fact I feel sickeningly guilty about. My head was always in the clouds.

I decided at 4:15am to take myself the Emergency Room.

Along with my OB, they decided to give me some IV fluids and a third drug (Reglan). My bloodwork and urine showed some questionable things. First, there was protein in my urine. This might not mean much now but coupled with high blood pressure (which I don't have) could cause pre-eclampsia later. Second, my blood had ketones in it. Basically that means my body is eating stored fats to get nutrients and these waste products are hanging out in my blood making me feel sicker. Swell.

So, Reglan. This is the last drug that I can safely take without harming the Bun so it's kind of my last hope.

Finger crossed...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Spencer Lee: My Funny Valentine

Who knew that this year, my Valentine would be a 14.5 pound, 25.75 inches long toothless fella with dark blue eyes, reddish hair, and a ridiculously goofy laugh? And who knew I'd be all psyched to fill out hologram dinosaur Valentine's on his behalf??

I don't need cocktails at a fancy restaurant, chocolates or flowers. I just need to hang out with my little guy and watch him roll over, knock junk around in his gym with gusto, and make a mess with his peaches. A few books, some stolen smooches, and a good snuggle. That's all I need. Hell, the smile on his face when I get him from the sitter's will be the best Valentine's Day present I could ask for! I can't wait to see him today.

As he drifted to sleep next to me last night, I asked if he'd be my Valentine. He didn't object. He just smiled a sleepy smile. And of course, his daddy is my Valentine, too. Wouldn't have Spence without him so he is responsible for my happiness this holiday as well.

"If you live to be 100, I want to live to be 100 minus one day so I never have to live without you" - A.A. Maline

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby: Today You Are 6 Months Old

It's Spencer's half-birthday today. He's 6 months old and I am refusing to accept it. It's not possible. He was JUST born! He can't possibly have been around for half of a year already. And I know if I blink, he'll be a year old. I'm not ready for that! So I have no choice but to stop blinking altogether. Maybe I'll invest in a Clockwork Orange thing so I don't miss out on anything.

Here are some facts about 6 month old Spencer:

-He rolls. All the time. All day long. Now that he's figured out how to get from his back to his belly, he's done staring at the ceiling. I even found him on his belly in the crib which spazzed me out. But he does get tired of being on his belly after a little while so you have to flip him like a pancake...and the rolling starts all over again.

-He's going to crawl in no time, I'm sure of it. He's been using his feet to inch himself forward, closer to toys that are just out of his reach. I gush with pride when he does it because you can tell how hard he's working. You can hear it.

-He likes both the fruits AND the vegetables and he's getting much better at swallowing without making a mess...but I still strip him to his diaper at feedings. So far, he's done carrots, peas, squash, and bananas. Tonight we're going to give peaches and green beans a whirl. If he's anything like me, this will be a hit.

-After sleeping through the night since 2 months old, he seems to be getting up a lot recently and he's been quite a mad man for no reason. I found a little lump on his gums so I suspect we'll be seeing a tooth soon!

-Blowing raspberries is his way to show he's mad, bored, tired, happy, wants to be funny, etc. We hear (and get slathered in) raspberries a ton during the day. His pals at the babysitter's think he sounds like a hummingbird.

My 6 month old little hummingbird!

Happy Birthday baby boy. I love you to the moooooooooooooon...and back!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Diagnostic Testing: Finding Out What's What

Nothing says "birthday" like tossing your cookies first thing in the morning. But usually it's from combining beer, jello shots, and whiskey. For me, it's from growing a monster in my guts (my morning sickness with Spencer was over in no time so I'm hoping for a repeat). I like to think that's his/her way or saying "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOMMY". And speaking of that sentiment, I found this in my work Inbox this morning:

The picture is about a month old but I love it. Made my morning!

But this really isn't about my 33rd birthday. It's about yesterday.

Yesterday we met with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doc that works with our OB/GYN. Their practice deals with all the high-risk pregnancies and I fall into that category because of Spencer's diagnoses. We were there to discuss our options are far as diagnostic testing goes. As I've said, we don't want to be blind-sided again. We want to know what's what and these are the people to inform us.

Right off the bat, I had an ultrasound. Only being 6 weeks, there wasn't much to see. They embryonic sac appeared empty to me until a tiny little gray wiggle was pointed out. It was the heartbeat. That's all we could see but that's all we needed to see. It was beating away and it was awesome. Spencer was there (and the nurses loooooooved him) and I heard Todd say, "We just saw your brother or sister!". After that, we met with the doctor and got down to business.

It's not that he told us too much we didn't already know. But hearing things from a medical professional and not the unreliable interweb makes a big difference. One of the first things he set straight had to do with statistics. "They" say there is a 1 in 200 chance of having a miscarriage after a diagnostic test. That is a NATIONAL average. Basically, that number comes from any yahoo performing the procedures. The more experience a person has, the lower their number is. In 11 years, our OB/GYN has only seen ONE miscarriage after diagnostic testing. Yeah, odds may not mean much to us anymore but that one made me more comfortable with going forward.

Then we discussed out testing options.

Basically, any blood work or ultrasound is kind of going to be useless to us because Spencer slipped through the cracks. Screenings are just screenings. They aren't full-proof. But there ARE full-proof options for us and that's what we discussed. It was narrowed down to:

1. Amniocentesis - a prenatal test in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is removed from the sac surrounding the fetus and is tested. The sample of amniotic fluid (less than one ounce) is removed through a fine needle inserted into the uterus through the abdomen, under ultrasound guidance. The fluid is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. Different tests can be performed on a sample of amniotic fluid, depending on the genetic risk and indication for the test. If your doctor has recommended an amniocentesis, the procedure is usually scheduled between the 15th and 18th week of pregnancy. The accuracy is 99.4%

2. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) - CVS is a diagnostic procedure which involves removing some chorionic villi cells from the placenta at the point where it attaches to the uterine wall. An ultrasound guides a thin catheter through the cervix to your placenta. This is the most common method. The CVS procedure collects larger samples and provides faster results than amniocentesis. CVS is usually performed between 10 and 13 weeks from your last menstrual period. CVS may be chosen over amniocentesis because it may be performed earlier in the pregnancy.

We were wary about the CVS because if you comb the interwebs, there is a lot of talk about limb deformities associated with the testing, specifically a lessened number of fingers or toes. I would hate to say, "Well, we found out our baby has no genetic disorders but he'll only have 8 toes". I'm going to love him no matter what. Despite Spencer's diagnoses, he is INCREDIBLE and I wouldn't trade him for anything. But I just need to know. 34 weeks of wondering is just TOO MUCH. But the point is, I don't want my need to know to cause my baby to be short any digits!

This fear was immediately squashed by the high risk doc. He told us that is ONLY a risk when the procedure is performed BEFORE 10 weeks. Some people will offer the test starting at 8 weeks and at that point, the fingers and toes are developing and when you snatch the tissue, you get something you shouldn't (and again, this does not apply to people who are properly trained experts).

For example, the doctor performing our test is a BIG DEAL. He only comes in to the practice twice a month specifically to perform diagnostic testing. He is the Vice Chair of OB/GYN and had more honors and accolades than I can list. If you're having a diagnostic test, this is the guy to have do it. And he will provide us with his exact miscarriage rate, which I am expecting to blow 1 in 200 out of the water.

I guess I should state that we decided to go with the CVS.

It can be done sooner (it will safely be done when I am 12 weeks and 3 days preggo so his/her digits are safe) and we will get the results sooner. Then I will be able to relax and enjoy the rest of my pregnancy knowing what's what. The CVS, like the Amnio, will only test for genetic disorders, no tubal defects. We will do a blood test at 16 weeks to check for Spina Bifida, and an ultrasound at 18 weeks to tell us the gender and look for things like Cleft Pallet and anything else that can't be seen any earlier.

I feel good that we made a decision together and that the test is scheduled with doctors I feel VERY confident in. I'm only 6 weeks along and I already feel so much more at ease. But the wait time after the test is going to be excruciating. And when the phone rings with the results, I may very well throw up. I feel sick just thinking about it.

But that could just be the morning sickness.

So I see my OB/GYN again in 5 weeks and get the diagnostic testing done in 6 weeks. I wish there was a way to fast-forward time so I didn't have such a heavy head. Todd truly believes the baby is fine and a small part of me does, too, because...and again, we don't put stock in odds anymore...but what are the odds of this all happening TWICE? What kind of higher power would put us through the ringer AGAIN? I'm trying to stay positive. It's all I can do.

Spending time with Spencer always helps. He's going to be an AWESOME big brother.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Moving On Up: Hard Work Paying Off

I deleted the post I had written about turning 33 (tomorrow, holy cow) and my birthdays past because it just didn't say what I really wanted it to. I'm not sure why but I couldn't properly put into words how I feel about being in my 30s vs. the shenanigans of my 20s. In the end, none of it really seemed important. I guess the bottom line was that I'm turning 33 (tomorrow, as I've said, and holy cow, again) and I feel pretty good about it.

I also feel pretty good about an evaluation Spencer had on Friday.

As you know, Spencer goes to Physical Therapy once a month. In order to receive therapies from the county, he had to be 25% deficient in any area. He was 25% deficient where Physical Therapy was concerned back at his initial evaluation in November because he was born with low muscle tone. However, he got super strong super fast so we only go once a month to learn some helpful exercises to keep him on track with meeting his milestones.

Friday he had a revaluation to see if he would benefit from any other therapy programs and the answer was: HELL NO. He's doing awesome! Everything they want to see out of a 5/6 month old, he was acing and then some. It was almost like he knew it was time to show off and strut his stuff. He even scooting forward a few inches, something I had only seem him do the day before after a lot of trying. I think crawling (even if it's the army version) will be right around the corner.

You know, when we first found out about Spencer's POSSIBLE developmental delays, I really felt like the world was over. Like my heart stopped beating and I would never be the same person. But when I watch him do all these awesome things...things other tots his age are doing or are SUPPOSED to be makes me think. If he was just your average bear, would I care as much that he rolls over, grabs his spoon, scoots, babbles, etc? Maybe our whole situation opened my eyes...made me appreciate every moment more.

So we'll continue on with our monthly Physical Therapy (let me stress again that that is NOTHING as plenty of kids go several times a week to keep on track or catch up) and reevaluate again around the 9 month mark (UGH, I still can't grasp that he'll be 6 MONTHS this week!!!) to make sure he's still kicking ass and taking names. It's good to have some many people on Team Spencer!

And speaking of teams, Spencer's team won the Super Bowl. GO ELI!!