Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rags to Riches

Well, my dear readers (or at least those of you who don't read my private blog), I have a confession.
I have been holding out on you a bit.
I am so sorry, but I didn't really have a choice. I couldn't make this public on this blog until I had a chance to make it public with my boss and colleagues.
Well, if you haven't guessed by now. . .
I am pregnant.
I had an ultrasound last week which showed a perfect little baby, with a gorgeous little heartbeat, and a fantastic due date of October 12, though this little one will likely make an appearance at 36-37 weeks, based on my past issues with HELLP (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001892/) and the fact that I am already spilling a tiny bit of protein in my urine as well as having some platelet issues that they will be monitoring as my pregnancy progresses. I am currently 11 weeks, three days pregnant. Everything looks wonderful so far, and though we aren't Facebook-public yet, now that my boss knows, I wanted to also share with you here.
To answer the questions that I am sure you will have:
1) No, this wasn't planned.
2) Yes, I was on the pill. AND we used a condom (because I have a history of ovulating while on birth control). And we DTD no where near when I would usually ovulate. This baby is MEANT to be! :)
3) I will continue to work after a very brief maternity leave (brief because I will not have been at my new job for a year and am therefore not eligible for FMLA, but of course, will be eligible for the 8 weeks of medical leave for the c-section).
4) Our nanny is thrilled and willing to take on a third baby (THANK GOODNESS!).
5) We are moving. We bought a new home with a much-needed fourth bedroom. We close April 25 and plan on moving in the next day.
6) Initially, I was very surprised, to put it mildly. I was very overwhelmed with the timing, since I had just returned to work. I was afraid of how my boss would react, but he was very happy for us and 100% supportive (recall that I worked for him before and he knows our history).
7) After the intial feelings of "Wh-wh-wh-what?", I have now moved on to the thrilled stage. For a woman who once stood in a Hallmark store wondering if I would ever have a child to buy me a birthday card that said Mom on it, to having three children that I will be celebrating birthdays with?? Well, let's just say that my experiences with infertility taught me one thing: Babies are not a guarantee. They are a miracle and not to be taken for granted. I know how much work three children will be, but I also know, without a second of doubt, they will bring so much more in love and joy than can ever be measured.
8) This little one will complete our family. I will deliver via planned c-section and will have my tubes tied at the same time. After a rough start and then a pretty darn commendable run, if I do say so myself, this baby machine is closing for business after Baby #3 exits the premises.
9) We told Will and Emma after the ultrasound revealed a healthy bubba. Emma, of course, is oblivious. Will was a bit trepidatious at first (he told me that I am too old to have a baby!), but he has now made his demands for a baby brother known ("I already have one sister, I don't need another one!") and wants to name his brother Caleb (not sure where the name inspiration came from, but while I kind of like it, M is a definite NO on Caleb).
10) If my intuition continues to serve me well, Will is going to get his wish. This pregnancy is very much like Will's. I have been lightheaded, have passed out a couple of times, and am already showing (yes, I will take some belly pics and share them here). Seriously, I look about five months pregnant. I have been my usual lovely pukey mess, but NOT as pukey as I was with Emma. And my cravings and aversions are more along the lines of what I had with Will. However, I would not be the first woman to be fooled by intuition AND we will be thrilled with whatever God has blessed us with.
So, that's my little update for you. I know a pregnancy announcement (especially an unplanned one) can be a painful thing, depending on where you are in your infertility journey. Please know that, despite our surprise at this development, I am still beyond grateful for the opportunity to carry this child and can't wait to be a mommy to three children!

Monday, March 26, 2012

I am cheating a bit on this post. One of my dear friends e-mailed me to ask for an update and this is my response.

Rebecca is doing as well as can be expected. She has been transferred to a state
of the art neurology facility at the UW, where more tests have revealed...
Nothing different. At this point, she has to recover and rehabilitate and we
just hope and pray that she regains function in both her motor and cognitive
skills.Her sight has fluctuated. She was able to see in her peripheral
left field of vision on Thursday, but that had faded again by Friday. It did
give the doctors a tiny bit more hope that she could regain partial sight, but
the chances are still slim.She has been up and walking short distances
with a walker and her physical therapist. She is a marathon runner, so to see
her struggle to take ten steps in a row is sobering. Considering where she was
last week, however, those steps are a miracle. She does not have the use
or feeling in her left arm and hand, which she finds especially frustrating.
Although she seems to have fairly good cognitive function, she still loses words
a lot, trails off midsentence, or has times when she can't remember things like a
family member's or good friend's name. The good news there is that she is very aware of the
deficits and struggles against them, which the doctors say is a sign of injury
(reversible) vs. damage (irreversible). It is still so difficult, not
knowing exactly what to say or do, but she is hanging in there, and I just try
to do my best. She has good, bad, horrible, and wonderful moments.

To add to that, here are thoughts from today.

I have been able to visit with her almost daily. She tires easily and I try to keep my visits very brief. But she says my visits are her favorite part of the day. They are mine, too. It is hard to see her suffering, but so good just to see her at all. We have had some very tearful, honest conversations, with me telling her things that I honestly thought I would have to read in a eulogy at her funeral. This experience has reminded me not to leave things unsaid with people that I care about.

I brought her her favorite cupcakes today and it brought a smile to her face (she had a bad headache today and hadn't smiled at all, so I was quite proud of this feat). She will be transferred to the rehabilitation floor sometime this week or next and I am arranging for a mani/pedi and also a massage for her (she is very sore from being in bed so much). These things like such little things, and they are, but I just try to do what I can, which isn't much.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The phone call came at 9:15 last night.

Rebecca apparently suffered brain damage that was undetected last Friday when they did her neurology work up. As time has passed, we have discovered she is not so fortunate.

She is now blind in both eyes and has coordination and cognitive issues.

What happened is this: When she coded, her brain was robbed of oxygen. The cells in her brain were killed. It would be like if the circulation to your feet was stopped. Your feet would die, but not all at once. You wouldn't even notice right away. That's what happened with her brain. Parts of it died last Wednesday, but the damage was slow to be noticed.

In typical Rebecca fashion, she was texting and doing work on her phone the second she was moved from ICU to the special care unit on Monday morning. She tried not to take note of her fumbling fingers, which wouldn't type what she wanted (the texts she sent were jumbled), the headaches, and her increasingly fuzzy vision.

But by mid-afternoon, she described her vision as "what the t.v. screen looks like right after you turn off the set". She can sense light, but she has no ability to see anything beyond that. This type of injury is very rare, and it can be reversible, but the more complete the blindness (and in her case, it is 100% loss of vision), the less likely it is to reverse. Brain tissue just does not regenerate. They can help her with the motor skills, cognitive function can be regained, but vision. . . it is likely not to return. The MRI shows damage to the areas of her brain that control vision and cognitive/motor function. There is nothing wrong with her eyes. But her brain simply cannot process the images that are being sent to it. While partial blindness and spatial recognition are common after brain injuries and likely to improve with time, this type of vision loss is. . . usually permanent.

My friend is a stubborn woman who has always prided herself on being self-sufficient and a career woman. When motherhood wasn't easy to acheive, her work brought her a lot of happiness and satisfaction. She is a pharmaceutical sales rep like me. This is not a job you can do without eyesight due to the requirement of driving. She has been with her company for a long time and it is the leader in the pharmaceutical industry. I know they will do what they can to accommodate her, but . . .

She was stoic, but scared, and very deflated.

I just don't know what to say, how to say it, what to do. I just sit there, hold her hand, and tell her that I am there for whatever comes next. It seems like, lately, whatever comes next is just a harder blow.

I know God has a plan for my dear friend, but that plan is so unclear right now. I thank you for your continued prayers and love. She needs every single bit of it right now.

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Good News

They were able to successfully able to get Rebecca off the vent in the late morning and have stopped all of the medications. Although it is difficult for her to speak and she is still somewhat confused about what has happened to her, a full neurology workup has promised that, in that regard, she will recover fully.

Her cardiologist is still concerned with an arrhythmia and a possible murmur, but it isn't known whether she had the issues before, or if they are a new deveopment. His thought is that it's probably new since the trauma this past week, and time will tell whether once all of the medications are completely out of her system (some of the medications they had to use have the potential side effect of disturbing normal heart rhythms) and her body has had more time to recover, it will correct itself or if she will need surgery in the future. It isn't a serious enough issue to warrant immediate action and also, her body is still too weak for a lot of intervention, so they are going to wait and see how it develops.

Her kidney function is still rebounding, but doing better. She isn't requiring any supplemental oxygen at this point, which her doctors say is nothing short of a miracle.

She is apparently very frustrated that they are telling her that she will be in the hospital for another week. That's my girl! She is also asking for makeup! Also, classic Rebecca!

I hope to be able to visit her this weekend at some point, but I also don't want to overwhelm her. I know she will be inundated with people at the beginning. I am here or the long haul, so I can see her next week as she continues to get stronger.

Thank you again for the continued prayers. It seems to be working!

For Rebecca

First of all, I just want to say thank you to It Is What It Is and Mel for sending so many readers my way. It reminded me of the special beauty of the ALI community. You are all amazing and wonderful people. Thank you.

Second of all, my friend, Rebecca (Yes, that is her real name. If you are praying for her, then you get to know her real name.) is doing "well". It's funny, I was with my coworker yesterday when her husband called me with an update. I got off the phone and I was so excited, I said, "Rebecca is doing really well! She is still on the ventilator and in a medically induced coma, but..."

And we both started laughing, because, really, when ELSE would those things be consdered "really well"? And the answer is when the sentence ends with ... "It looks like she is going to make it!"

They were able to do a second surgery yesterday morning where they were able to confirm that the larger clots are now at a size that can be removed safely. So they did! And they were able to get 99% of the other, smaller clots as well. They were able to remove the catheters that were putting the clot-busting medications into her lungs and then put in a filter, which will stop other clots from making their way into her lungs.

The reason for the ventilator is because of the extreme trauma her lungs have gone through. And when you are on a ventilator, they keep you sedated because it is scary to be on a ventilator and most people will try to pull the tubing out. So they are going to give her body another day to rest, but they have already started decreasing the medications they are giving her that are keeping her under, and they will attempt to extubate her at some point today.

A lot of people panic when they first come out of a coma like this and fight the removal of the vent and/or hyperventilate when it is actually removed. So they then have to re-sedate them and try again another day. But that wouldn't be unusual or a sign of bad things. It is just the way our bodies work. She will likely be off the ventilator by Saturday or Sunday. Then they will give her another day or so in the ICU to make sure she is truly stable off of it. Her kidney function is also having a bit of trouble rebounding, so they are watching that, but given what her body has been through in the past 48 hours, it really isn't troubling at this point.

Then it will be down to the regular hospital floor for a few days. From there. . . she might have to transfer to a rehabilitation center, just depending on how her heart and lungs are doing. They took a real beating these past couple of days. Her cardiologist is concerned about some things, but considering where she was two days ago? Well, we will just having to face the issues as they come.

But we are talking about a FUTURE here. It is uncertain, her recovery will be long, and there will be moments of fear, I'm sure. But she is going to have a FUTURE. This isn't the end.

So thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers to this point. I am truly blessed by this community, time and time again. Please keep those thoughts and prayers coming for my friend and her husband as they face the long road ahead. But there IS a road ahead and I am just so very grateful for that. And for Rebecca.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This Can't Be It

I have posted about my good friend before. She is the friend who was a ROCK for me during my infertility years, the friend that was there for me through every single miscarriage, failed cycle, and finally, successful cycle. She is the friend who called me, who sent cards, who forced me to eat after we lost Gummy Bear. She cried with me, prayed with me, and then. . . she laughed and celebrated with me. She was the first of my friends to hold newborn Will. She is the friend who gave me our beautiful high chair as a gift.
She has been trying to have a baby for nearly two years, experiencing two heartbreaking miscarriages, and being diagnosed with "unexplained" infertility. She was just about to start her suppression cycle in February when she hurt her knee skiing. She stayed off of it for a few days, tried ice, tried NSAIDs, tried ignoring it, but realized it was a serious injury and, as she is a runner, she knew she needed to have it looked at.
She didn't just "hurt" her knee, she tore her ACL. Her doctor recommended getting the surgery to repair it prior to becoming pregnant, as pregnancy and a torn ACL aren't a great combination.
The last thing she wanted to do was a surgery that would delay her IVF cycle, but through the miracle of great timing, her surgeon had an opening in his schedule and she was able to have the surgery done AND would still be able to proceed with her IVF cycle as planned.
She had the surgery two weeks ago. She started Lupron a week ago.
I talked to her this morning. She seemed fine. She was upbeat, excited to really be feeling better, excited to be moving through the Lupron without too many ill effects, looking forward to getting this IVF cycle really underway and finally becoming a Mommy!
An hour after we got off the phone, my phone rang again. As we often talk more than once a day, I thought nothing of it. I answered it and my world came to a screeching halt.
It was not her on the other end of the line.

It was her husband.
Calling from the ICU.
She had suffered a pulmonary embolism and had coded already at the hospital. Her vitals and prognosis were very poor.
They don't have family in the immediate area and he was all alone. I was forty five minutes away, but I turned my car around and drove as carefully and quickly as possible.
When I arrived, she was coding again.
We sat. We cried. We prayed.
She managed to make it through a procedure that was able to remove 20% of one of the blood clots. But there are so many that remain.
She is in a medically induced coma, on life support. They have done what can be done. Now, we wait. We wait and pray that she doesn't throw another clot, because her body can't take another surgery at this point. We wait and pray that she lives.
I know life isn't fair.
I know that.
But this cannot be it. This cannot be the ending that my friend gets. It just can't.
I know not all of my readers pray. But if you do, please. Please pray.
And if you don't, then please do whatever you do in times like this.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What Is Coming

My last post was about things that come out of my kids' mouths.

This post is about what has been coming out of mine lately...


I also seem to have developed the habit of sounding like an eighty year old woman.

I say things like, "Eat your green beans or there will be no dessert."


"Be nice to your sister, she is the only one you are ever going to have."

-or, the ever classic response to a whiny three and a half year's old declaration that "I'm hungry..."

"Nice to meet you, Hungry, I'm Mommy!" (Ugh, I hated, hated, hated it when my parents busted that out.)

And, finally, last but not least. . . I must say at least once a day. . .

"Time goes by so much faster these days."

That last one might be trite and oversaid, but it is so true. Time just keeps slipping by these days, the days hurtling past at light speed. Emma is a BIG girl, Will is a BIG boy, and I just shake my head in wonder at how fast this has all happened.