Thursday, July 29, 2010

Goodbye for a While

Yesterday evening we had a family dinner with my sister and her husband. This morning they packed what was left in their Ballard apartment into their car and started a three and a half day journey to their new home in Chicago.

While my brother lived in San Francisco for most of a year recently, that somehow seemed different... probably because we knew he wasn't planning to stay there. Alex and Kelly are planning to stay in Chicago. We know we'll see them again, but Chicago just feels like a long way away! We are looking forward to seeing them in November after baby Halcyone is born!

We've had a lot of fun with them over the past year; camping and crabbing, watching movies, sharing dinner and getting cupcakes, working on their wedding, playing board games, and introducing Alex to fireworks purchasing and lighting. Below are some of the pictures from these events together!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dexcom Love

A few months ago our health insurance finally approved a Dexcom Seven Plus for me. Now that I've been wearing it for just over 2 months, I think I can say that I'm very happy with it!

The Dexcom is a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that has a piece called a transmitter attached to me 24/7. This transmitter is attached to a sensor; a tiny little wire that is stuck in me. The sensor tells the transmitter what it thinks my blood sugar is and sends it to a receiver. The results are displayed for me to see on the receiver. I can see what it thinks my blood sugar is in the past 3 minutes and I can view graphs of my blood sugar as it has changed over the previous 1, 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours.

The Dexcom can be set to alarm if my blood sugar goes over or under certain numbers. Mine is currently set to vibrate then beep if I miss the buzz under 60 mg/dL and over 160 mg/dL. This has been very helpful as my body's needs for insulin during pregnancy are changing quite frequently. The receiver has woken me up on multiple occasions to catch a quickly dropping blood sugar. I can also download all the data from the receiver to our computer and see reports including hourly averages and multiple day graphs stacked on one another.

The only thing I find a little frustrating about the transmitter/sensor attachment is that the adhesive tends to wear out faster than the sensor. I can wear it for 7 days without a problem, but by 9-10 days, the stick-em is pretty much gone. I like to wear them as long as possible because it gets more accurate after the first 24 hours, so the more good data I can get, the better!

I'm looking forward to continuing to decrease my HBA1C test (3 month blood sugar average) now that I can keep myself in tighter boundaries. It took a while for our insurance to approve this, even though it will improve my health and decrease diabetic complications long-term. After my endocrinologist's initial request, it took a second letter from him, pregnancy, a letter from myself, and a letter from my doctor at the maternal fetal medicine clinic. Very worth it!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Reclined Summer

This past week has been fun as Tom and I have managed to find things I can do from a reclining position. Because the weather has been nice since I got out of the hospital, I've really wanted to just be outside! On Saturday we got a drive-thru lunch and took it to Blythe Park in Bothell where Tom set up my lounge chair in the sun. We ate, talked, and read for a few hours. We then went home and had a group of 9 over playing a Magic tournament that evening.

Our friends loaned us their Xbox so that I have more activity options. After getting movie-mush-brain on Friday, this has been excellent! I've spent a few hours playing Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, and Catan against the machine. Tom and I have also spent some time playing Lego Star Wars together. This is a pretty good arrangement since some of the segments involve flying, which I'm not good at. Tom can get us through those parts, then I rejoin him for the jumping and light saber-swinging segments.

On Sunday Tom dropped me off at my parents' house while he went to church. I again got to sit in the sun for a while! Yesterday I worked on a few knitting projects. Today I got to spend on a friend's couch while Tom was at work, and then at the park in my lawn chair at Community Group this evening. It's been so nice to have a little change of scenery!

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Week Later

It's now been just over a week since my surgery. We again visited the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor on Wednesday. He said things are looking good, but to keep bed-resting. I'm scheduled to see the doctor for rechecks every week now.

I've been filling my time with a little reading (Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, and a few others), movie watching (Gilmore Girls and The Blindside), and some hand sewing to finish up a few quilts. Tom has been super helpful, keeping house stuff going and taking care of me. It's also been great to have friends bring meals and visit during the day.

So far, the kitties are the biggest fans of bed rest. I've had several multi-hour nap cuddles from Orangey, and a few snuggles from Missy. Tom's pretty sure that when Haly is born, she is going to be disappointed that it's not me who purrs.

It's also been nice to have some beautiful flowers to look at! My friend Kate brought be a companula. Alex & Kelly brought me this awesome orchid when I was in the hospital!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sentenced to Bed

This has been a crazy week! After our fun anniversary trip and spending Monday with Tom we were ready to dive back into work, life, community group, and doctor appointments.

Tuesday morning I had my 20 week appointment with Dr. Chien (our primary OB). The nurse tried to find baby Halycone's heartbeat, but all we heard was a bunch of kicking and wiggling. After about 8 minutes she gave up and said the doctor would have to chase her around. Dr. Chien came in and found her with a healthy heartbeat of 143. I asked a few questions and Dr. Chien said everything looked good.

After lunch I had my once-every-two-weeks appointment with a nurse at Maternal Fetal Medicine (high risk pregnancy office) to go over my blood sugar patterns and insulin use. Again, I got a good report. She liked the couple changes I'd made last week. I had increased my 2AM - 5AM basal rate. Also, I had increased my lunch and dinner insulin to grams of carbohydrate consumed ratio to 1/5. The nurse made one more suggestion, checked my weight, and sent me back to the waiting room.

At 2PM Tom joined me for our 20 week anatomy ultrasound. The tech spent a while looking at Haly; measuring her humerus and femur, looking at the 4 chambers of her heart, looking at her brain, and watching her swallow. Everything looked good and she spent most of the time waving her hands and feet around. The ultrasound report said that she was perfectly on track for head and tummy size, right around the 46th percentile.

Next, the tech took a look at me too. After doing some measurements, she got really quiet, and left to talk to the doctor. After a long wait, the doctor came in and said she was extremely concerned. They don't know why, but my cervix was shorter than it should have been, even though four weeks ago it was fine. She said without surgery I would almost certainly miscarry, and that it would likely happen soon. The surgery itself carried a significant risk of miscarriage, and that even if it was successful, they would need to keep an eye on me and Haly for a couple of days afterward.

The doctor had us check into the hospital immediately for monitoring, and set up the surgery for early next morning. I got wheeled across the street and was admitted. Once in my room, a nurse hooked me up to an IV and a contraction monitor. Tuesday night was stressful and pretty sleepless.

Wednesday started early and fast. Wake up was at 5:00AM for surgery prep. 7:00AM Preop, 7:30AM goodbye to Tom and into the operating room, 8:30AM in recovery, and back in my room by 9:30AM. The rest of the day was a little fuzzy but included IVs, antibiotics, TOCO monitors (Tom kept calling it my seismograph), percoset, hospital food, and finally a beautiful sunset.

Thursday I didn't feel great for most of the day. It turns out they used a rapid muscle relaxer for the surgery that tends to make people feel like they had an intense workout. I'd say it feels more like being in a car wreck. My neck, shoulders and jaw were so sore! I couldn't lift my head without actually pulling it up with a hand, and it was painful to eat! At least that evening they took out my IV.

Friday was busy too. After more monitoring, they did another ultrasound. This reconfirmed that the surgery was successful. It was also another opportunity to see Haly. After meeting with the doctor about home care, they let me go in the afternoon.

Now I'm back at home: on bed rest. This means I can lay in bed or recline on the couch. I'm allowed to get up occasionally (showers, snacks, DVDs), go to doctor appointments, or occasionally go elsewhere in the car as long as the destination has a place to lie down. The effects of the muscle relaxant have finally worn off too!


Halcyone is still doing well. Every day the nurses found her heartbeat between a healthy 140-150. I've also been able to feel her a lot more the past few days. Tom can even feel her now too! The doctor said that even while I was knocked out for surgery she was still busy wiggling around.

We'll go back to the doctor next week for a recheck. In the meantime I'm drinking gallons of water so my body doesn't start having contractions and trying to figure out what exactly I can do in a reclining position. So far I've come up with reading, watching movies, and knitting. Sewing is the one thing that is most definitely out.

Thanks for your prayers, visits, flowers, and encouragement. Every step in this process has been punctuated by miracles and God's grace. Please keep praying that Haly stays healthy, that my body adjusts to the surgery well.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Our 5th Anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary! Well, actually we took a few days to celebrate, spending 2 nights at a fun bed and breakfast in Sequim.

On Thursday we took the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. We found some dinner at the "Grub Hut" in Kingston... yummy milkshake! We then took our time driving from there into Sequim, enjoying the cheery sky. After checking into our Bed and Breakfast we drove half a mile down the road to look at the beach.
We woke up to this pretty view in the backyard. We were the only people there that night, so were pretty surprised at the massive breakfast the hostess made for us; orange juice, peach scones, oatmeal with fresh strawberries, and shirred eggs!
After talking to the hostess, we decided to visit the Olympic Game Farm. (We considered driving to Hurricane Ridge, but there were so many clouds we thought it may not be worth the time investment.) On our way we stopped at the Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm. It smelled so good, even though the plants weren't in full bloom. We wandered through the different varieties, looked at the still used to get lavender essential oil, and bought a couple plants.

The game park is a place set up for cars to drive through and feed animals out the windows. Most of the animals are retired movie or entertainment industry critters; including Kodiak bears, wolves, cougars, bison, elk, deer, a rhinoceros, yaks, zebras, and prairie dogs. I wasn't so into feeding the critters from my window, but Tom enjoyed it. We bought one bag of bread and spent about 3 hours driving around.

We spent the rest of the evening reading in the sun at the beach, on our deck, and more reading.

On Saturday we ate breakfast (crab quiche!) with the other guests at our bed and breakfast and checked out. We tried to visit another lavender farm, but it was still closed, and headed on towards Fort Worden.
From there we drove to Kingston for some ice cream and took the ferry into Edmonds to head back home. It was a most excellent way to celebrate!