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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Non-stress test tomorrow

Yesterday, Dr. McGowen's office called me to tell me she wants me to come in tomorrow for a non-stress test. I know this involves hooking me up to a fetal monitor to check for the heart rate, accelerations and movements. They are checking to make sure Ella is tolerating the low fluid and umbilical cord problems.

I'm going to admit it. I am scared to death. I don't want to lose this baby. There is a part of me that wants to tell them if it's dangerous for her to go ahead and take her. I know 35 weeks and four days is early, but if she's better off out than in, let's do it. Even if it's 50/50, let's get her out so I know she's safe.

On the other hand, I don't know if I can handle leaving a baby at the hospital when I go home. I had to go home empty-handed with Jenna, and even though I know Ella would come home sometime, I think it would just be too reminiscent of that day.

I am still having headaches. I'm going to tell them tomorrow when I go in. The Tylenol helps a lot and makes it go away, but it pretty much comes back four to six hours after I take the Tylenol.

I also hate bedrest. I don't know how someone does it for a long period of time. I'm going to miss Tessa's Halloween party Friday at school, when I promised her I would go. I'm also not going to be able to go to trick or treating with her. I feel like I'm letting her down, and it's just not fair to her. My sister is going to the Halloween party at school to make up for me not being there.

If I'm still pregnant Nov. 7, I'll miss my family's annual bonfire. It's a family tradition that's been going on for almost 40 years. I have never missed one since I've been alive. I love it. I'll have to miss it, too.

I know it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, and it's totally worth it if it gets Ella safely and healthily here. I'm gladly going to do it, but I think I can complain here. I'm trying awfully hard not to complain in real life.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Old crappy placenta

The good news is that Ella looks great on ultrasound. She's a little smaller than average, but nothing to worry about. She weighed about four pounds, 11 ounces, which is normal, but she's just short. I'm not worried about that at all, because Tessa was and still is short. In fact, she's the shortest kid in her class.

The bad news is that I might be developing pre-eclampsia, and even if I'm not, my placenta is breaking down, deteriorating and just plain isn't working like it should. The ultrasound today showed that my fluid is low, which indicates the placenta isn't working, and also that the blood flow through the umbilical cord is being constricted.

She asked me if I had had any swelling or headaches in the last few weeks, and I had. I never thought much about it, because I chalked it up to sinuses, the time of the year, the stress with Tessa's school problems, etc. They always went away with Tylenol, and I had been told that if they didn't go away after taking the meds, I needed to call then. I had a headache this morning, so instead of sending me home on bedrest, the doctor sent me to the hospital for monitoring. I also have to collect my urine for 24 hours to take back to them to check for proteins.

The room they put me in was very much like the one I was in when Jenna was delivered, but I am so thankful it wasn't the same one. I had a great nurse, too. She hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor, which was too funny because Ella got the hiccups for like 10 minutes one time. Brian asked if she was karate chopping the monitor, and two seconds later, the nurse came in and said, "Looks like someone has the hiccups." It was really funny.

My blood pressure got up to 130/91 at the hospital, but they have sent me home on bedrest because my blood work looked good. I have to take my urine back in tomorrow, and I have another ultrasound scheduled for next Monday. I'm not sure what happens if my urine shows protein or if the fluid is still low. I'm going to ask tomorrow when I turn the urine in to them.

I asked the nurse what could be causing the placenta to break down if it wasn't pre-eclampsia. She said they don't really know what causes it. She said she tells nursing students that it's called OCP or Old Crappy Placenta. Placentas designed to last nine months, but some only last eight. Brian said it's kind of like a diesel motor. They are designed to last 300,000, but sometimes, they blow up at 200,000. She said that was a good analogy.

I have a feeling that Ella will be here sooner rather than later. I told I think she'll probably be here in two weeks instead of the four to five that would go to my due date. She's going to be a little bitty baby just like Tessa was. I'm going to have to get Brian or my mom or someone to go and buy some preemie sizes along with some preemie diapers. When Tessa was born, she didn't have any clothes because she was so small. The truth is, even though I got a lot of nice stuff at my shower, I still need a bouncy seat, a swing and the bedding set, even though I do have that one picked out, just not ordered yet, so I still have quite a bit I need to buy.

Honestly, we have quite a bit of stuff to do to get ready. We have to rent a steam cleaner for the carpet in her room and paint the walls. I feel so bad for Brian because he's going to have to do it all himself.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baby shower tomorrow and ultrasound on Monday

Tomorrow is my baby shower. I am excited, but not, too. I don't like being the center of attention, but I am looking forward to seeing all of my friends together. It's being held at my brother and sister-in-law's house, and her mother, who is a wonderful baker, is making the cake. I love good food, even though most of it is giving me heartburn right now. I'll just have to suffer the consequences.

Monday, we are having my 35 week appointment. I am also having a growth span that day. Part of me is so excited to see her again on ultrasound because it's been a while since we have, but another part is scared that they are going to see something wrong on the ultrasound.

Everyone tells me I am carrying small, even though my belly measures right on time. I haven't really gained all that much weight, about 16 pounds. What if she's small because she has Trisomy 18? I know that's irrational, that everything looked great at all the ultrasounds we had, and all the bloodwork came back normal. But, when you've lost one baby, it makes you irrational about some things.

I've also had a lot of headaches this week, which is a symptom of pre-eclampsia. With Tessa, my symptoms were all pretty atypical, which is why it wasn't caught. If Ella is small, it could be because I have pre-eclampsia again, which means they would either put me on bedrest or deliver me early. As much as I am over being pregnant, I don't want her to come too early, especially if it means she wouldn't be able to go home with us. Bedrest would be Ok, but not ideal, especially with the schedule Brian works.

I'm also worried that she might be too big. Dr. McGowen has already warned me that my pelvis is too narrow for me to give birth to a baby that weighs more than eight pounds. A c-section doesn't really scare me, but it's not ideal.

I just want her here healthy. I want to know she's healthy. The only way for me to know 100 percent is for her to be born or to have an amniocentesis, and I'm not sure if it's really worth it at this stage.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back from the meeting with Tessa's teacher and principal

I'm pretty happy with the way things went. We aren't moving her for right now. The principal said he wants to give the teacher a chance to make some changes and see how that goes first. We're giving it until the end of November officially, but if Tessa's upset stomach gets worse, we'll revisit it sooner.

I asked about the three weeks worth of work in her desk, and the principal was not very happy about it at all. The teacher said that they have two places to turn in work. One is for everyday work and the other is for unit work. She does not check the unit work every day, and most of what was in Tessa's desk was unit work. The principal told her she has to check Tessa's desk every day for her work, that there was no excuse for it going on that long. I could tell she wasn't very happy about him responding that way, but she agreed to do it.

I also asked her about the desk dumping incident. She said she didn't dump it; she just took every thing out and some things fell on the floor. I'm still not accepting of that answer, but I'm going to let it go for now. The principal told her that teachers have gotten too far away from learning and are now focusing too much on organizational skills. He said if a child is learning and is on grade level (which Tessa is) then organizational skills can come later. He told her teacher to back off of those for a while. I was pleased with that answer.

I also brought up the fact that the teacher said the kids weren't supposed to ask her questions during reading time. The principal's head whipped around to her when I said that, and she stammered something about giving them all individualized time. I told her that Tessa is behind, finishes up what she was working on and can't remember the instructions for the new work she's doing, so she just sticks it in her desk. The principal said that Tessa has to be allowed to ask her questions during reading time in order to stay ahead.

I told them that we were changing what we were doing at home with regards to work. My aunt lives across the street, and some of Tessa's friends from school go over there after they get off the bus so my aunt can babysit them until their mom gets off work. She wants to go there to play, and I would usually let her. We would come home, and then, she would do her homework. Now, she has to come home first and do her work first before she can go over there. I told her teacher that I wanted her to bring home the work that she didn't get finished with during the day, that this would serve as motivation to get her work done.

Her teacher said she thinks first graders should only be doing about 15 minutes of homework a night and parents have too much other stuff to worry about than work that wasn't done in class. The principal said, "You have parents here that want to help, so you can send the work home. Their system is going to be her motivation to get it done, so she can have her fun sooner." I agree, which is why we came up with the plan. So, even though her teacher didn't really want to do it, she's going to create a folder for us, put the work Tessa didn't get finished with in class in it, and we are going to work on it each night. This will also help us to see if it's a case of Tessa not wanting to do it or her not being able to.

She is also going to work to restore the relationship between her and Tessa. The principal wants her to do that first. I'm willing to give it another chance to see if she follows through with what she says she's going to do. The principal is willing to change her if need be, but he wants to try this first. I'm willing to do that.

The teacher had to fill out paperwork about all the the things she has to do in order for this to work, and we all signed it. I am going to hold her accountable to it. If it doesn't work within the next month, Tessa will be changing teachers, and the principal will be behind me on it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Update on Tessa's school situation

It happened pretty much as Tessa said it did, except the teacher said she had an off day all day long and hadn't gotten anything done. She said near the end of the day, Tessa was still working on board work, and the teacher told her to put her glasses on. Tessa said she couldn't find them, and they were in her desk. Her teacher said she came over and there was tons of stuff in her desk, papers, school supplies, snacks, etc. She told Tessa to clean it out, and she said Ok. Well, Tessa dawdled around, so the teacher came over and did it for her. She said Tessa had hidden two or three weeks worth of work in the desk.

I told her that Tessa felt humiliated by what happened, and her response was, "I'm sure she did, but she can't keep her desk in that order." I told her that I didn't like the way it was handled, all the while seething inside that she didn't seem to care about my child's humiliation. For all the teachers, does this make any difference in your response about whether it was right or wrong?

I told her that I didn't mind Tessa being punished when needed but that I didn't think she deserved to be humiliated. She had mentioned the children cleaned their desks every Friday, and when I said I didn't like the way it was handled, she said she would just let Tessa keep her desk in that order. I told her that if the kids cleaned out their desks on Friday, then Tessa should do it then.

I also told her about Tessa saying she thought the teacher wasn't the right one for her. She said she didn't know how to make Tessa do her work, since she's fully capable of doing it. Isn't it her job to know how to make a student do their work? She also said she can't stand beside Tessa all day to make sure she gets her work done.

Since she wasn't answering my questions the way I wanted her to, I asked her for a meeting with the principal. We are meeting with him on Monday, which I am glad about, because Brian can go with me then.

I'll be honest. Confrontation is really hard for me, extremely hard. I usually forget what I want to say and clam up. It happened again today, so I'm making a list of what I want to express to the principal. Here are a few questions for me to ask. Can you think of any others?

1. Why hasn't she noticed three weeks worth of work being missing?

2. If they clean desks every Friday, why hasn't she seen the mess in Tessa's desk before now?

3. If she doesn't know how to make Tessa do her work, shouldn't she find someone who can? Isn't it her job to do so?

4. Does she really think it's right to humiliate child in front of their peers?

Please help me think of anything else to ask. Like I said, I'm afraid I'll get in there with the principal and lose it and not remember any of this. I am just as angry after this phone call as I was last night. To top it off, she said Tessa had complained about a stomach ache most of the day, and I'm sure it's her nerves. When Tessa got home this afternoon, she told me she threw up at school today. That can't continue.

I've also decided to put in a call to her pediatrician tomorrow. I want her tested for ADD/ADHD. I don't think she has it, not really, although she does show some of the symptoms. However, I want to go in armed, saying we have this appointment set up to test for it. If Tessa does have it, I want to get her the help she needs, and if she doesn't have it, then I want her teacher (even if it's a new one) to do her job and teach her.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day -- I remember

Today, I remember Jenna and all of my friends' babies. I lit a candle for all of them. My heart is with all of you today, and I wish you peace.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

School issues for Tessa

We've been dealing with some issues with Tessa at school this year. She has a lot of trouble finishing her work on time. I've met with her teacher, who feels as though Tessa doesn't have a learning disability (like ADD or dyslexia, both of which Brian has so she stood a chance of having them, too). Her teacher thinks she is just on the immature side.

I agree that she's immature. It's probably mostly my fault because I've babied her. In some ways, I regret this, because of the trouble she is having now, but on the other hand, I still think children should be children as long as they can.

At our parent teacher conference last week, she said a few things that didn't set well with me. She said Tessa could get an IEP for immaturity. I know this is not true. She has to be diagnosed with a learning disability, which we don't think she has. I questioned the teacher about a diagnosis, and she went on to say that her scores on an achievement test would be a diagnosis. I don't believe this. I've been told and have read that she has to be diagnosed with a learning disability before getting an IEP. I was also told it has to be done by a licensed child psychologist or a doctor for this to happen. Later, she told me she expected Tessa to regress when Ella arrives and that school would be her safe haven. That made me cry.

So, this afternoon, Tessa came and sat down on my lap and layed her head against me. She said, "I had a bad day today." I made her tell me what happened. For the past week or so, she has been hiding the work she doesn't get finished with inside her desk. I guess her teacher found out today about it. Well, she made Tessa stand aside, picked up her desk and shook all the papers out in front of the whole class. Tessa said her school box flew out, broke open and her crayons went everywhere. She humiliated my girl in front of everyone. I am in tears just typing that.

Tessa said she stood there about to cry and shaking from being afraid, and the teacher told her that she better not cry, that she would send her to the principal's office. We were at my aunt's house when she told me this, and we were both horrified about it. It's one thing to scold a child or reprimand her; it's quite another to humiliate her in front of the entire class. She said everyone was staring at her while she tried to pick up her crayons and afterward, too.

Then, a little while later, she didn't let Tessa leave when the school day ended. She told her she couldn't go home until her work was done, and she would just have to miss the bus. Of course, this frightens Tessa because it's her way home. If her teacher had caused her to miss the bus, she would have called me. What if I worked outside the home and couldn't have come then? Last year at this time, I was working in Tullahoma and couldn't have been there in time to get her. How is it fair to a child to do that?

I am going to pursue a meeting between me, the teacher and the principal. I actually interviewed him this summer because it's his first job as a principal. He's been an assistant principal for a few years and has worked with at-risk students during that time. He is also dyslexic, so he knows what students with problems go through. I don't think he will like the teacher humiliating her that way. I've talked to a few online teacher friends who said the teacher's behavior wasn't right. I was afraid my pregnancy hormones were causing me to freak out, but they were quick to reassure me that I wasn't.

Tonight, Tessa said, "I think she's just not the right teacher for me." I think she might be right. I hate to switch her around, but I don't want her to be in a class where the teacher is going to humiliate her and make her feel inferior.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Doctor's appointment today

I had my 33 week appointment today. Dr. McGowen is still wanting to go by one of the earlier ultrasounds and say my due date is Dec. 4 instead of Nov. 30, so it would be my 32.5 week appointment. However, I'm sticking with the Nov. 30 one because I just have a feeling she's coming in November.

Off on a tangent here, but if you go by my last period, I am due Nov. 26. The very earliest ultrasound put me at Dec. 4, which is why Dr. McGowen wants it there. The 12 week ultrasound showed Nov. 30, which is what my ovulation date (when I think I probably ovulated; I'm not sure) puts me at. Of course, Ella will come when she's ready.

Back on tangent, I had gained two pounds today. Overall, Dr. McGowen is very, very happy with my weight gain. I gained 10 pounds in the first month, but she doesn't want to count that because I was eating then to keep from getting sick. I've gained about nine pounds, not including the 10 in the beginning.

Dr. McGowen made a comment again about not having a big baby. Dr. Redden, at my last appointment, said the same thing. Dr. McGowen has said it several times, so today, I finally asked her about it. I said I didn't know if I was reading too much into it or maybe she said it for all of her patients. And, she said, no, that she doesn't think I can deliver an eight pound baby. She said I might even have trouble with a seven pound one. However, she said she didn't want me to have a C-section, and we would wait and see.

She looked over my chart and said that with our history, she's going to schedule another ultrasound. I thought she meant Jenna, but she said she thought I had atypical presentation pre-eclampsia with Tessa. I've often wondered about that. Whenever I went in for appointments while I was pregnant with Tessa, my blood pressure was never high. However, for the last two months of my pregnancy, I had horrible, horrible headaches and swelling. I have also never told very many people this, but I felt so spacey during those last two months. I had a lot of dizziness and it didn't take me much to set me off into a rage. I actually dreamed of killing my mother-in-law. I also never had any protein in my urine, so they didn't suspect it.

My doctor told me today that those other symptoms can be indicative of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia. She said some women just never show up with high blood pressure in the office. What made them suspect it and what made Dr. LaRoche put it in my chart (she was the doctor who saw me while I was pregnant with Tessa) was that my blood pressure skyrocketed the night I went into labor with Tessa. It was at stroke level, and I had to have double the amount of magnesium most women get to bring it back down. Also, Tessa weighed five pounds, seven ounces and was 17 inches long. Dr. LaRoche called it "IUGR due to severe pre-eclampsia." That's what was written on my chart, and I had never heard before that that was the reason for Tessa's small size.

So, because of all that, I am having an ultrasound at my 35 week appointment. Dr. McGowen said I'm measuring right on time, so she doesn't think the baby is small. She wants to make sure the baby isn't small, in case I've got the atypical presentation pre-eclampsia again, but she also wants to make sure she isn't too big since I don't have a big enough pelvis to deliver a bigger baby.

I'll be honest, I don't care either way if I have a C-section. My sister, cousin and aunt all three had really easy ones, and I don't need to deliver vaginally to feel fulfilled about Ella's birth experience. When I had Tessa, I had a second degree tear. My labor was an awful experience, and I didn't have an easy time having her at all. Now, I'm not going to run out and schedule an elective c-section because of all that, but the truth be told, labor and delivery scare me after what happened with Tessa. However, I know Dr. McGowen is on top of things, and all will be fine.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feeling overwhelmed

As much as I hate to admit it, especially with my friend Jen in the hospital hoping to stay pregnant as long as she can, I am officially over being pregnant. I am extremely grateful that I am carrying this life around, but I'm ready for her to be here.

But, then on the other hand, I'm not. Her room isn't even close to being finished. Between going to school full-time, being a mother and a wife, and Brian working 12-14hours a day, we just haven't had a chance to do it. The room has been used for storage for the past year or so and desperately needs to be cleaned out. Brian was off on Monday and got started on it, but I was sick and wasn't able to. I went to urgent care that night and was diagnosed with a sinus, throat and double ear infection.

The only thing I can take for it is a Z-Pak and Benadryl. So far, it's helping my throat and sinuses, but my ears are a raging mess. I need ear drops, but you can't take them during pregnancy. I'm actually thinking of calling the ear, nose and throat specialist I saw a few years ago to see if he will see me, then talk to Dr. McGowen about what I can do to get my ears better.

We still have to paint the walls, have the floor steam-cleaned, hang curtains, set up the crib, put the bedding (which I don't have yet) on it and do all the last minute things to get the nursery ready. It doesn't help that my shower, which I'm extremely grateful for, isn't until Oct. 25. I didn't want to buy anything else (I've already bought the travel system, some clothes, a diaper bag, some diapers, a package of bottles and other little things), until I saw what I got from the shower. So, after the shower, I'll have approximately a month to get it all set up. Is that even enough time, especially with how hectic are schedules are?

Don't get me wrong; I'm extremely grateful to be going to school and for DH to have a good paying job. It just seems like whenever we have any time off, we always have something else we have to do. We're going out of town this weekend for Brian's 20th reunion, so it will be another week before we can do anything.

This isn't even the start of my worries. I am so scared I'm going to love Tessa more than Ella, and I'm scared I'll play favorites just like my mom does. I don't want that to happen. I'm worried that us having a baby is going to scar Tessa for life, since she's so used to it just being the three of us.

I'm scared I won't be able to handle two children. I'm afraid Brian isn't going to be much help because his schedule is so weird. All I ever hear from him is how he needs at least eight hours of sleep to function. Well, I can't tell you the last time I got eight hours of continuous sleep. I would love to get that, but it's not going to happen. I think he's going to have to suck it up and lose a little sleep after Ella is born to help me out.

I am also getting scared that something might be wrong with Ella, just as there was with Jenna. I know, logically, that she's fine. She's growing right on target, her ultrasound looked great, and she's still here with me at 32 weeks. All of my blood work came back negative for any problems, but since I didn't have the amnio, I'm stuck wondering and waiting. I now wish I had gone ahead and done it.

My moods are awful right now. I snap at Brian, at Tessa, my mom, and to be honest, I'm pretty short with anyone who gets on my nerves. I don't have a lot of patience these days. That is my biggest symptom of depression, even more than sadness.

I asked my doctor at my last appointment if I could go back on my Zoloft, which works wonders for me in the past. She said I could but also warned that Ella could experience withdrawal symptoms after she was born from it. I'm going to try to stick it out because I don't want her to go through that. However, I just want to feel like me again, or at least, the me on Happy Pills, which is when I feel normal. She did tell me they could put me on Wellbutrin (which has never worked for me at all) or Prozac (which I've never used), but I love how Zoloft works for me. She said I can start it in the hospital as soon as Ella's born and take it while breastfeeding, too.

I guess I just need to focus on the fact that it's all almost over with, but that sends me into a panic, too. How can I be so happy about something yet so overwhelmed at the same time?