Monday, March 29, 2010


Welcome to Pregnancy after Preemie, a blog I created to document and share my pregnancy journey after the birth of my daughter at 24 weeks gestation.

I no longer actively post on this blog, however invite you to read through past posts to learn more about my decision to have a pre-pregnancy Transabdominal Cerclage (TAC) placed along with the anxieties that riddled my second pregnancy (after giving birth to a micropreemie). I have documented my entire pregnancy and want the world to know that there is hope to carry near term after the birth of a very premature baby.

As an update to my story, my son Henry is now almost 14 months old. The experience of having a near-term preemie is vastly different from having a micropreemie. I was able to breastfeed Henry exclusively for the first six months of his life. I was able to continue breastfeeding until just recently, and enjoyed every moment of it!

Henry has met all of his milestones thus far without any interventions. He was walking by his first birthday and has opened my eyes to just how delayed my once 1lb 6 oz 24-weeker was.

I have recently launched a new website: http://www.thepreemielife.com/. Please stop by to visit!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Henry Edward is One Week Old!

It is hard to believe that one week has passed already. This experience has been amazing!

Recovery from my c-section has been going well. I feel terrible that I have been unable to lift My Girl but with squatting down, can offer her full body hugs. This recovery has been much easier than my first c-section and my TAC placement.


Henry is settling in nicely and has already made a visit to the pediatrician. He is down to 5 1/2 lbs but is eating like a champ! We appreciate and cherish all of his abilities - such as the fact that he not only knows how to coordinate sucking, swallowing and breathing, but he is doing all of this while exclusively breastfeeding. We are hopeful for a good weight gain so the breastfeeding can continue.

Another thing to note, is that Mister Henry, born at 6 lbs 3 oz, was 4.5 times the size of his Big Sister.

Here is a little video about our birth experience. Enjoy!


video

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Details...

I went to bed early on Saturday night and was awakened by a strange sensation in my lower pelvis. It was a burning feeling that ran straight across. I had taken it easy all day Saturday, working on a special book/album tracking my pregnancy. I noticed that I had urgency and frequency symptoms associated with a urinary tract infection so when I woke that night figured I might have a full blown infection.

Attempting to fall back to sleep, my thoughts were restless, I tossed and turned and when I sat up and looked at the clock's display reading 2:01, I knew today was the day. I woke up Hubby who suggested round ligament pain. Poor guy. I knew he wanted his sleep but this was different. It was time to call the doc and go to the hospital.

We started with a phone call to my brother, thinking it would be easier for him to crash on my couch than to wake up my mother. Little did we know he was in NYC for the weekend and so we moved on to dialing my mom. She was over in record time. In the meantime, I had gathered a few items, the camera being one of them, and called the service letting them know there was no reason for a call back, I was just going over to the hospital.

This time I took a wheelchair ride up to L&D. I was put in room #7 which is the same number assigned to My Girl's first NICU spot two and half years ago. My view was the same as hers, overlooking St. Charles Seminary. Already comfort! Hubby snapped a couple of photos.



I left a urine sample, hoping that would reveal the cause of my discomfort. I was then hooked up to the monitors. I was contracting. Big mounds of contractions were filling the screen and I could feel the gradual build up, peek and dissolution of the sensation. Hmmm, not sure I ever had "real" contractions before. In fact, it was questionable as to if these were "real" contractions as "real" contractions cause cervical change. I was given three shots of Terbutaline and consented to Dr. Einhorn examining my cervix, which remained closed and unchanged from her last check two weeks prior.

Between each Terbutaline shot (they were spaced about 20 minutes apart) my contractions would reduce to irritability and then bam I would have a strong one. The fact that my contractions were not going away was concerning and even if there was no cervical change, it was still advised that I not contract against my TAC.

Dr. Manko took over the shift and told me if things didn't improve within an hour, it was "game over". I liked her decisiveness and take-charge manner as she was very matter-of-fact as to what to do. She was exactly what I needed.

Hubby and I knew it was time and started making phone calls. We learned who was on in the NICU and while we trust and love everyone on the unit were excited to hear that accompanying Dr. Guida, was Nurse Practitioner, Cindy Cox. She was at Our Girl's birth and it was so special to have her at Baby Boy's birth too.

The resident who was on happened to be the same one I had the week prior when I visited L&D. (He wanted to do an internal and I wanted a transvaginal ultrasound.) It was nice to see a familiar face and I think by standing our ground, while we disagreed with each other, have a mutual respect for where the other person is coming from.

Dr. Manko confirmed that today was the day and so the ball started rolling. I was happy to learn that my urine was negative for infection and at least it wasn't that that put me into labor.

I walked myself back to the OR. This was the first of many, many discrepancies between my two birth experiences. I was prepped, got my spinal and Hubby joined me. I was nervous but who wouldn't be?

In a very slow, methodical nature, my c-section took place. There was a calm over the room, a calm that was very much absent from the rushed and frantic birth of My Girl.

Tears overwhelmed me and I sobbed uncontrollably as at 11:38 AM, our Baby Boy came into this world crying and kicking. I was so proud that my 35w 3d Baby Boy weighed in at 6 lbs 3 oz!



Hubby got to cut the cord and held our bundle swaddled in blankets while I was closed up. He was breathing on his own! His apgars were 8 and 9.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

He's Here!

Baby Brother arrived on Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 11:38 AM. At 35 weeks 3 days gestation, he weighed in at a whopping 6 pounds 3 ounces! What a shock when he tipped the scales at such an amazing weight! He is still nameless and is in the NICU working on his nippling. He is in an open crib with no respiratory support, IVs or feeding tubes. We are working on breastfeeding as well. He looks so much like his Daddy!

He is doing so well and we are so proud of him! I will post photos and more details later on. I am feeling really good and have been up and around rather quickly.

Mom of 24 weeker AND 35 weeker!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

35 Weeks!

What a big day! First of all, I'm now 35 weeks and second, I received my last P17 injection this morning! I never thought I would get through all 20 shots and here I am, all finished!

I saw Dr. Davis this afternoon. We really didn't have much to discuss and my cervix wasn't even evaluated. My fluid level is holding steady at 10.5 and my NST was good - baby was reactive and no contractions were detected.

Concerned about my increased irritability, I asked Dr. Davis how I would know if I was going into labor. He said whenever I'm unsure just go to the hospital like I did over the weekend. He said I might go back six times between now and my scheduled c-section and that it is okay to be evaluated and sent home.

Baby Boy remains breech, frank breech to be exact. It seems like he's been in this position for as long as I've been evaluated. Of course this brings with it new worries for me such as his hips and possible need for braces or physical therapy after birth. But it's nothing we can't handle.

Oh, and he may just have a name. We are keeping it under wraps...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Moving Right Along

Yesterday was another big milestone for me personally - at 34w 5d, Baby Boy has officially had an additional 10 weeks in utero than his Big Sissy.

My lung maturity amnio is just two weeks away and based on the time of day right now, in two weeks, it will be over (unless the doc is backed up). I was told they can get a feel for the results based on how the sample looks. Hopefully this doc will give us his off-the-cuff opinion.

The Terbutaline has been working, for the most part. With taking it every 8 hours, I felt a surge of symptoms six hours into my pill. Additionally, at about the same time, I developed chest pressure and shortness of breath. I was confused because I know Terbutaline is an asthma medication. This prompted a call to the service last night. The covering doc felt that my asthma symptoms are worse than I thought and that the Terbutaline was working on both my asthma and my uterine irritability. I was told to increase the Terbutaline to every six hours and have been doing so for three doses now. So far, so good.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Changes

It seems as though the increased Procardia was not working well enough to eliminate or even reduce my escalating uterine irritability. I called my group and was squeezed in this morning. I saw Dr. Einhorn who was very matter of fact that I stop the Procardia and very reassuring that I am at a great point in my pregnancy. She decided to prescribe Terbutaline which I am now taking three times daily as it seemed to work really well when I went to L&D on Saturday. I took my first dose this afternoon at 2:30 and have been on my sofa ever since. I have noticed a significant decrease in my symptoms. I'm still trying to decipher the side effects as I feel a little dizzy and very tired - both may be a good thing as if my irritability symptoms subside, I may be very temped to pick up the activity again. Being dizzy and tired may keep me from overdoing things.

Thankfully, my mother has My Girl as she is probably the most strenuous part of my day. She is heavy at 27+ pounds and I still carry her on occasion and snuggle her before nap and bed. She's quite the lovey and I can't resist!

I will admit my emotions are running high, probably the highest so far during my pregnancy. I am beginning to worry that Hubby could miss the delivery, if God-forbid they have to do an emergency c-section. Starting today, every Monday afternoon/evening, Hubby is in Baltimore for his new program. He so much deserves to experience this birth and I don't know what I would do if he wasn't there.

Additionally, I am just torn. When my irritability is bad, I want so much to just deliver as I am extremely fearful of rupturing my uterus. Then, moments like now, when my irritability is at bay, I want to make my c-section date of February 12. I want so much to experience a "term" delivery especially after having a 24-weeker. How amazing is that? From micro-preemie to term? I want that so very much, not just for me, not just for my husband and not just for Baby Boy, but for other women out there who are nervous to take the plunge into a pregnancy after a preemie.

My lung maturity amnio is just 16 days away and I pray that Baby Boy's lungs are mature! I will be counting down the days but as I've mentioned before, feel like I'm at a great point in my pregnancy at 34w 4d. Tomorrow I will be 10 weeks beyond where My Girl was born. I no longer qualify for steroids to develop the baby's lungs, nor do I qualify for tocolysis to stop active labor - those two milestones are just amazing to have achieved.

Additionally, there were two things that were holding me back from being fully ready to deliver and those personal milestones have been met. The first was the arrival of the gifts Baby Brother will be giving his Big Sister. Baby Bop and BJ arrived in the mail on Saturday. Boy, were they hard to find! Riff came from Toys R Us but the other two had to be flown in from Hong Kong.



The second was a portrait of my most pregnant tummy. The sweetest part of this photo is Our Girl's hand because it was her birth experience that had the greatest "hand" in Baby Brother's pregnancy success.



Here is Our Girl. Our former 24-weeker, once 1lb 6oz. She turned 2 1/2 yesterday and we are so proud of her! Her feisty nature and willingness to fight her way through her 105 day NICU stay is still evident in the precious little girl she is today. Last night, while playing on the playground at the local mall, she fell backward from a climbing apparatus when she missed a step. She wasn't hurt and I was probably more traumatized than she was. I screamed and Hubby raced to pick her up, carrying her over to me. I snuggled her and she told me, "Mommy, I try again." I just love this child!