The Saturday before Memorial Day last year I was 26 weeks 4 days. I was feeling punky, but we had tickets to see a baseball game in town. We went out to dinner before the game and I remember in the car Hackett was talking to me and I had to close my eyes and lean back in my seat. I couldn't focus. I can't describe how I was feeling, not cramping yet, but my body was in turmoil. I didn't want to ruin our fun, so I pushed forward, even walking into the game from a few blocks away. While we walked I was nervous, but never said anything. Once we sat down at the game I didn't move. I held my belly and tried to hold it together. I was trying to monitor Koen's movement and noticed a decline, but thought I was still feeling him. Not as much, but after talking to the doctor that morning I felt that there was an explanation. Now I wish I had gone to the hospital and not the baseball game. Koen was dying. Dying inside my body and I didn't know. I didn't help him.
That day haunts me. I truly feel like that was the last day Koen was alive. Today, it is once again a Saturday, and once again I am 26 weeks 4 days pregnant, this time with Tobin. Baseball happened again today, but this time Opening Day for Hackett. He played his first game of the season and pitched for the first time. I missed it. It hurt my mama heart to not be there, but am thankful to have Tobin being monitored today. Thankful for the reassurance that he is not slipping away from me. I love my three boys so much, and all three of them are pulling at my heart strings today. Missing two of them dearly and happy that I still have one safely growing inside of me.
I have felt shattered and emotionally spent the last few days. I miss being with Kevin and Hackett. The past few months I haven't been able to be an active participant, but I was home. I got to hear about Hackett's day, listen him pretend play, watch him have sword battles with Kev, and snuggle. I was able to laugh with Kevin and climb into our bed at night. Such simple things that I have been away from from 17 days, 17 long days.
At the same time it is 17 days that I am thankful for and I wasn't sure we were going to get when I was first admitted. As much as I am thankful, I am also worn. My hope was that I would go home and get my fill of all that love and laughter that feeds my soul. Learning that going home wasn't a smart choice, and that things had gotten worse, was a blow. Before I could recover from that I got the gestational diabetes diagnosis. We live our Tobin so much and want tondo whatever we can to keep him safe. On Monday, it will be the same gestional age of Koen's birth. He most likely died in my womb a day or two prior to my delivery and that makes this whole week difficult. On top of my fight for Tobin, I am still grieving Koen. It is a lot to process. A lot to cry about. When I am in this state the only person I want to talk to, cry to, and bare my soul to is Kevin. I get quiet. The realization that this is will be a battle until July has also set in. It will either be mommy fighting or Tobin. I hope and pray that I can do the majority of the fighting, but if Tobin does come early he will most likely be in the NICU until close to his due date. Three more months, when you are emotionally exhausted, seems like forever.
The nutritionist and diabetes consultant both came to talk to me today. I was frustrated yesterday when I didn't see them and I was trying to manage my sugar levels without any instruction. I feel better now that I am equipped with a plan and information. The diabetes consultant broke down in tears as I tearfully told her medicallywhat I was going through and my history. It is such a sad story. I can't wait for the sun to shine again.
My boys arrived today and brought some sunshine. Sunshine, diabetes friendly snacks, snuggles, and some giant cards from my high schoolers. My students sweet messages made me laugh and miss them. More room decorations! It took us the whole day to figure out, but my nurse today is the mother of one of my students! Then I had 45 minutes of pure snuggles in my hospital bed with my Hackett. Pure bliss! He just melted in and after said "that might even last me a few days". We both needed that, but I think I needed it more.frustrated
Hackett was missing mom this weekend and having a rough evening. Kevin decided to share with him the hope that we were clinging to, that all would remain normal and that I would be going home on Tuesday. He watched the house being prepped for my return, and just like us, was excited.
Kevin picked him up from school yesterday so that he would be the one to share the bummer news with him. The first thing out of his mouth when he saw Kevin, was "is mom home?". Kevin told him no and explained in Hackett terms why. He buried his head in Kev's side as they walked out of school. When they got in the car he lost it and sobbed for five minutes before Kevin could even leave the parking lot. They left and went for ice cream. While driving, he told Kev, "Dad, I love Tobin, but I guess I care more about myself, because I want mom home". How truthfully human. I am so thankful that my 7-year-old is in touch with his feelings and shares them. Ice cream perked his spirits, but later in the evening he had some more questions. He wanted to know if Tobin would live this time. He understands that Tobin will be born before he's ready and will have to stay in the hospital so he was wondering if he would be able to see him and touch him. All such valid and heartbreaking questions, but again, I am thankful that he is asking them.
Hackett and Kevin came to visit me this evening. He arrived with his top hat, magic wand, and tricks ... to cheer me up. I got a lot of snuggles, belly rubs, and lippy kisses. He got a lot of reassurance of how much I love him, miss him, and am proud of him. He is doing good handling everything, but just like us, he is sad that this is occurring.
While Kevin and Hackett were here, my doctors came in to tell me that two of my four numbers from my three hour glucose test were just barely out if the normal range. I have gestational diabetes. My diet should be enough to control it, but it is one more thing. The last 11 months have been beyond emotionally exhausting, and I am spent.
I have done a lot of staring today. At my plastic bag, my sweet pictures on the wall, and my beautiful flowers. One of my doctors said today that I have the best room she has ever seen. Thank you to everyone who has helped make it as cheery as possible.
Here I sit in my hospital bed, staring out the window at the plastic bag still stuck in the tree. I am thankful that I have made it to 26 weeks, thankful that Tobin is strong, thankful that he is measuring at 2lbs 5oz which is at 27 weeks gestation, and thankful that the issue with my cervix was caught, but this is so hard. I am trying to remain strong, keep my thoughts positive, and a smile on my face, but some days and minutes, are easier than others.
When we decided to get pregnant again, nothing like this was on our radar. My pregnancy with Hackett was a breeze, and Koen too, until that 26th week. I have been nervous during this pregnancy, but never dreamed our risks would be compounded and this high.
My cervix went from 0.95cm to 0.32cm. It is not remaining stable this week, even with medication, but is now continuing to thin. My doctor stated today that he was sure Tobin would be born premature, it's just a matter of when. He said that I could go home, but worried about our 35 minute drive to the hospital, and feared that a loss could occur while en route. His recommendation was that I stay in town two more weeks. We were free to go to a Ronald McDonald equivalent near the hospital, because he knows I want to be with my boys. It was a compromise for him. But if I go there, I would really need someone with me at all times to limit my movement, and it's just not feasible with Kevin working at Hackett at school. So I stay here, staring out at my plastic bag, where there are doctors moments away and nurses are here to help me.
Unsure if I was going to leave my doctor ordered a one hour glucose test, which I have not passed every time I have taken in. Once again, my numbers were above normal, but not crazy high. I have not spoken with a doctor yet, but know the 3 hour test is in my future. Please pray that at the very least this can be "normal".
So many of you have been so generous wanting to know if you can visit, bring me food, or if I need anything. I told Kevin last week that he could bring me a new cervix, but I am not sure if any store has that in stock. I welcome visitors, but be warned I limit my standing time so much that I look pretty wild. Food is hard, mostly because I can't reach it from my bed! I am also trying to make the best choices I can, even though candy and junk food sound great. Truth be told, I accomplish very little in my day. Somehow the hours pass, but it is difficult to focus on a book, magazine, or even a craft. I don't know how I can do nothing all day, but I do. Growing a baby and the emotional energy it takes to keep him put is just about all I can manage.
I was so looking forward to snuggling Hackett in my own house tonight and wanting to make things easier on both him and Kevin. Kevin will pick him up from school today and share the bummer news. Hackett has been spoiled these last 7 years with so much mommy one-on-one time and it makes it that much harder. Knowing that the next time I am home with him, that it is quite possible that he will have sibling, is hard for me. I planned to have some more time with just him. Hard to explain and maybe hard for others to understand, but I think it boils down to the fact that I wasn't ready mentally for Tobin to be at risk of birth right now. In my mind I still had a few months to prepare myself and my family. I love my Tobin and will welcome him with my arms outstretched so wide, but I just want him to stay put for now.
Tobin will be our last baby. We had decided that months ago. I cannot walk this journey, no matter the outcome, again. Neither can Kevin or Hackett. We need Tobin to continue to fight and it is another reason we can't take any risk. His little life is far too precious.
Today I am 25 weeks and 6 days pregnant with Tobin. I gave birth to Koen at 26 weeks 6 days. This morning they woke me up at 6am, like they do every morning, to hook me up to the monitor. Sometimes it takes them a while to find the perfect spot to hear his heartbeat, but in that search we can faintly hear that sweet sound. This morning, there was nothing. I tried to relax and the nurse kept searching. I had to roll to my side to see if that would be better. Nothing. This is the same thing that happened with Koen, our first indicator of a problem. Tears. The nurse left to go get a doppler and returned with a doctor. The doctor was able to quickly locate Tobin's strong heartbeat. We horrifying way to start my day. I think he must have still been sleeping and was curled up in a corner. Tobin did great this afternoon and avoided scaring mommy.
The nurses keep telling me what awesome 'accelerations' Tobin's heartbeat has for his gestation. It means that his heart rate rises for a brief period and than returns to normal. They look for that and want that. One nurse told me that one of the doctors even remarked at how great it looked. I don't really know how that would translate if he were born early, I don't want to ask, and have given myself a no-google rule. But it gives me comfort that my boy is strong.
Koen was 2lbs 13oz and I imagine that Tobin is quickly approaching that same weight. He is getting bigger, stronger. At 24 weeks his survival rate was only 50%, at 26 weeks that goes up to 70%. These two weeks in this same hospital room without my family have been hard, but I am thankful for every day. They have told me for every day he stays put, it saves him three days in the NICU. My two weeks have saved him six. Praise God!
My doctor seems very encouraged that there has been no change with my body (no contractions or any other indicators). I also get the impression that holding on to him for two weeks is a good sign. My cervix will be examined tomorrow and we pray that it has not changed. If that occurs I will be sleeping in a hospital bed in my living room tomorrow night! My doctor told me yesterday that was free to go upstairs to shower and said that he would not be considering sending me home if he didn't think my cervix could handle it. His confidence gives me hope that Tobin can continue to stay right where he is at and mom can fight most of this battle for him. That is my hope and prayer.
The last few days, after talking with my many doctors, we have a plan. In the hospital I am exposed to a lot of different people and as a result, germs. They have explained that it is often safer to be at home. And better for my mental health too! My doctor will examine my cervix this Tuesday and if there is no change and if I continue to be contraction-free (which I have been, praise God), then I will get a ticket home. After a few weeks of no changes under close monitoring and being 26 weeks they fully support, and even encourage that decision. The down side is that Tobin will not be on a monitor every 8 hours, which gives us great reassurance, but thankfully I feel my strong little man often. If I go into labor or have any changes we will make a fast dash back here, because it is the safest place for Tobin. The doctors will be on-call day or night, so I will continue to have that support. I will be on full bed rest at home, so much so, that they are checking with our insurance to see if we can get a hospital bed on our main floor. I will be first floor bound, but I will be home.
I am asking that you pray for this plan to fall into place. I am remaining as strong as possible, but it is so very hard to be away every night from my boys. This will be my tenth night. Only once have I made it past my bathroom door in the hospital. Before then I didn't even know what the halls looked like. I have one view. Want to know what I stare at? A plastic bag that is caught high up in a tree. It has been stuck since I have been here. The solitude and lack of change makes you a little nuts. Every day I look forward to the night, when I know the hours will pass more quickly while I sleep. I also know that when I wake I will have kept Tobin safe for one more day.
We have not shared this with Hackett, yet, and not sure if we will. He has been doing awesome, but told Kevin tonight "I miss mom". He's trying to be strong, but the more days I am away the harder it is. Kevin is tired too. Being mom and dad to Hackett, driving back and forth the hospital everyday, working, and coaching baseball is a lot. If I am home, it will be one less thing on his plate. I feel myself looking forward to Tuesday with great antcipation and if there is a change it will be disheartening, so please send those petitions up high for me, my friends. I want to go home and keep my Tobin growing safe for many more weeks! xoxo
I am not sure what news I anticipated today, but I was focused on today being some sort of goal. I guess my dream was that we would have learned that the measurement of my cervix on Wednesday was a big mistake, that it is actually 3cm, perfect, that Tobin was in no risk, and that I could go home to Hackett. My dream, which was I knew was very unrealistic, did not come true. We learned today that my cervix is still measuring 0.95cm, just as it did on Wednesday. This is good news, but we had waited to ask questions until today. With the "good" news also came some harsh reality. He would consider it a miracle if I made it to 32 weeks. His hope is that Tobin stays our for a few more weeks, which would increase his chances of survival and decrease his chances of long term health problems.
We were given the option, and it will continue to be my decision, of whether I stay at the hospital or go home. At home we would need a bed on the first floor, there would be monitoring only once a week at an appointment, I would continue to be on strict bed rest, and if Tobin came it would be an emergency rush to the hospital. It is too scary. I am scared. I buried a son less than 11 months ago and now I am facing the harsh facts that if my body does not hold on to Tobin I could be burying another one.
We talked with a neonatal specialist on Thursday and learned the many risks of premature delivery. I pray that Tobin survives, and unless a miracle does occur that allows me to carry him to term, he will have a fight ahead of him. I don't even like to watch Hackett battle a fever, and I surely don't want to watch my premature infant fight for his life. It hurts my heart to even think about it.
I am keeping my faith, but in this past year I have learned that God will hold us through heartache, but not always deliver us from it. I don't know His plan. I can't explain why my second son was ripped from my womb and why less than a year later I am lying in a hospital bed fighting for my third sons life. I do know that my heart is tired and low and in those moments He is still there. His angels show up. Hackett's teacher sends a well timed email with love from him today at school. The housekeeper who prayed for me yesterday arrives at my room this afternoon, on her day off, bringing flowers and a card, and sharing that God woke her during the night to pray for me. I get a message that a group of high schoolers want to reach out and bless our family. So many of you are my angels, too. Thank you for holding me up when all I want to do is fall to pieces.
Tobin and I slept good last night. Even with my cramping scare yesterday, no contractions have shown during monitoring. This morning the cramping has decreased a bit and I am thankful. I am so hyper-in-tune to every feeling. I am under a microscope by my doctor, the nurses, and myself.
I have been without outside visitors for 18 hours now, but God has been with me. The nurse assigned to me the first night "just happened" to be working 8 nights straight. She is a ray of sunshine, laughter, and love. She often sits with me during the 30 minute monitoring time, telling me that sometimes babies just need to be held, but I really think she knows that sometimes mama's need to be held and comforted. She shared with me that she was called to this profession, specifically OB, and that is so very evident.
This morning I took a nap and shortly after I woke up, the housekeeper who comes in to tidy my room came in. We were chatting, she learned of my faith, and told me her story. She told me a few years ago she threw up her hands to God and said, "Your wish, Your will, Your way." Since then God has worked wonders in her life and with the biggest smile on her face she said, " I just have peace." She told me that she felt the anointing of God in my room and prayed over Tobin and I with such love in her heart. With tears in both our eyes we embraced. Such a powerful moment.
God is giving me angels and I too am saying: Your wish, Your will, Your way.
I am fighting, but being in a battle is not always easy. Being away from my home, my Hackett, and my normalcy, is catching up to me today. Kevin has been by my side since Wednesday and having my teammate makes things easier. Hackett needs his parents, so my teammate needs to be with him so that Hackett can have the normalcy that he is missing too. My mom arrived today and will help fill the gaps at our house to help with that too and I am very thankful. But being alone in my hospital room and knowing they are home, is just so hard. Kevin will return to work and a more normal schedule this week. Knowing all of this made saying goodbye very difficult this evening.
I have had some cramping today. As a result they are monitoring Tobin's heart rate and checking for contractions three times a day, instead of twice. It is most likely just normal pregnant cramping, but I am just hyper in-tune to everything.
So I lay, pray, laugh, cry, sleep, and fight. What a year of challenges this has been.
On Wednesday, I was admitted to the hospital. The treatment plan changed from my doctors initial gut reaction of doing a cerclage, which is putting a stitch in the cervix to help it remain strong. When my specialist arrived at the hospital on Wednesday evening he told us he had been thinking about us all afternoon, reviewing my history, and conferencing with my regular OB. They both kept going back to my healthy, uneventful, full term pregnancy with Hackett. My cervix remained strong for him, and no surgeries or changes have occurred to my cervix since Hackett's birth. My understanding is that gives them faith in my cervix and its ability. There was no reason to monitor my pregnancy closely with Hackett and I may have walked around with a 1cm cervix for months with him. May have. There is no way to know. They don't prefer to do cerclage's this late in pregnancy, because there is risk. One thing being trapping infection. A real concern given my history with Koen. To rule out infection an amniocentesis would need to be taken (taking a sample of the amniotic fluid), but once again there is some risk associated with this.
So they devised a new plan, with less risk. Last year when we visited the specialist after we lost Koen, he told us that his priority was for us not to lose another baby for any reason. I trust that and his recommendations. The current plan to to administer medicine that will help both my body and Tobin's. They gave me 24 hours if Magnesium Sulfate via IV to help reduce internal bleeding risks for Tobin if he were to arrive early. I had two big shots of steroids to help boost the development of Tobin's lungs for the same reason. I am getting progesterone to help strengthen my cervix. I am also getting a 7 day dose of Zithromax via IV. Zithromax is safe for Tobin, and has been proven to fight off early infections in the placenta. We don't know if there is an infection present, but taking into account what happened with Koen, there is that possibility. Infections in the womb can weaken the cervix, so potentially it could be a cause. It's kind of a "it won't hurt, why not try it" approach. On Monday, I will have an ultrasound to get a new measurement of my cervix. If it remains at 1cm, I am not sure what will happen, maybe go home on bed rest or maybe stay put? I haven't pressed this issue, and am patiently waiting to see what Monday's news brings us. If my cervix is even shorter on Monday, I am quite sure I am not going anywhere. (Please don't quote anything medically that I have listed here, this is all based on my understanding and it is highly possible that I don't have everything exactly right!)
The neonatal doctor spoke to us on Thursday. That was difficult to listen to, as they clearly define the many things that could go wrong and potential treatments that would occur if Tobin were born premature. Today, I am 24 weeks 4 days. Yesterday, I realize I posted that same stat on Facebook, but I was a bit over zealous and miscounted. On Tuesday, I will be 25 weeks. Life is possible for Tobin, today, outside my womb, but not a sure thing, and he will have a fight. With each week he stays in my womb his chances are better and better. At our ultrasound on Wednesday he measured about a week ahead. Kevin and I are firmly believing that we make big, strong boys. At 26 weeks 6 days, Koen was 2lbs 13oz. He measured big for his gestation. That gives me hope. Tobin is fighting hard right now, he's not contracting, and at 24 weeks my nurse is extremely please with his strong heartbeat. I am proud of my boy!
There is nothing fun about being away from home, being separated from Hackett, and living in the hospital. But, I will gladly lay, minimize movements, be pumped full of drugs, and fight for as long as I need to. I want to fight to keep Tobin in, so that his battle is easier. It is possible that I can carry him to term and then his only battle will be fighting off our kisses!
We will happily be added to any and all prayer chains! We thank you from the bottom of hearts for all of your much felt prayer support. I am standing in faith that my Tobin will run in my backyard and play in the creek with his big brother Hackett, as Koen looks over them both from heaven.
I am Jackie.