02.04.16

This weeks appointments could not have gone any better. For the first time in this entire pregnancy, I feel like I can breath!! God, it feels so damn good. Monday I measured in at a whopping 3.68!!! That’s up from 2.99. Our doctor was joking with us that I should leave teaching and just grow cervix!! I feel amazing. I can’t help but give a big shout out to my co-teacher Kate for picking up some serious slack (and I promised her I would put her in the blog). Not having to walk my kids to and from special, among other awesomeness, provides me with a strange sense of relief. Thank you Katherine, I love you.

Today we had our MFM appointment. It lasted over two hours, which is unreal, but this man was so thorough and answered all our questions. Leaving that appointment, I told Dan I finally feel comfortable telling Madigan that she’s going to be a big sister.

Hour one, we measured my cervix and checked out all the baby’s parts, even the sex organs <3. My cervix continued to measure well, which he was super impressed about. Although there were some spots on the heart, which will require further testing, he didn’t seem too concerned, which put both Dan and I at ease.

Hour two was spent poking and prodding me to get the best look of my vasa previa. To all of our amazement, my blood vessels shifted to the right and are no longer blocking the exit door ☺ Although they could move back, he seemed quite confident they wouldn’t. So, what does this mean?!?! As of right now looks like no bed rest!! See there is enough space between them and the exit that I would have plenty of time to get to the hospital. Unfortunately, they are not far enough away, that I still have to have a section. But honestly, cesarean sections are birth, so I couldn’t care less. Cut me open and pull that kid out, as long as it’s breathing, I don’t care how it enters this world. Birth is Birth!!!

I can’t believe how difficult it is to write an uplifting blog. It’s so much easier to spit your words onto paper when you’re depressed. But I’m not, and I have so much more to say. I don’t even know where to begin. The thank you’s I owe people this week. Thanks to my girls for getting me out of the house Saturday. I needed it. I wasn’t in a good place and you brought relief to my broken heart. Thank you to each and every one of you for taking the time out of your day to pray for my baby and me. I truly believe in the power of prayer and I see a miracle unfolding right before our very eyes. I will forever be indebted to you. Lastly, thank you to my sister. Even from California, she has been a constant in my life. I love you Kit.

Please, please, please keep the prayers coming. Games change all the time. Cervixes shrink and grow. We are not out of the woods yet, but a huge weight has been lifted, a weight I have apparently added to my bosoms and butt. 20 more weeks of making this miracle. We got this.

1.26.16

It is silly, I know, but the days that follow my Monday appointments are torturous. Waiting 7 days until my next visit is painstaking. Oddly enough, much more than waiting those 10 days after an embryo transfer to hear if you’re knocked up or not.

Let me rewind a little. A lot of people send me emails asking me to explain what exactly incompetent cervix is, and no disrespect, but I thought that’s what GOOGLE was for. Essentially, the cervix is what holds your baby in. When it begins to shorten, shrink or funnel (all very technical terms) it means your body is preparing itself for labor. It will then begin to dilate (10cm, ya’ll heard that right?) and out shoots a baby. Well, not exactly, but you get the gist. A baby is not viable, cannot live outside the womb, until 24 to 25 weeks, and even then chances of survival or facing a world without OT, PT, CSEs, IEPs, and any other acronym you throw out there, is rare.

So, what’s the deal with my incompetent cervix? Mine, by the grace of God, is just short, not funneling yet, not dilating, just short, but that’s scary. This means there is less to go through before it shortens more, softens, and dilates. Due to my shortened cervix, I have a cerclage. It is basically a stitch that holds the cervix together so it doesn’t open. Good times right?

In a normal pregnancy, a woman’s cervix fluctuates weekly. This can be due to a number of things; position of the baby, weight gain, those darn Braxton Hicks contractions. The great thing about a normal pregnancy is that you never know this is happening, so you don’t freak out. My pregnancy, on the other hand, is anything but normal. I go in every week for a cervical length check. I also get a shot in the booty that essentially stops contractions. So, I guess I’m lucky in that sense; I’ve never experienced those BH contractions, but each week as I stare at that ultrasound machine, while Elsa measures my cervix, I fear the worst.

This week, I bit my tongue as the tears roll down my face. See, between this pregnancy and Madigan, I can read the cervical length even before the number pops up. Yesterday, I could tell it was shorter. I went from 3.4 down to 2.99. Both Elsa and the nurse practitioner, Amy, assured me it is still in a good place and not to worry, as they do fluctuate. However, I panicked. These days, it’s what I do best. I came home and I lay in bed for the rest of the night. I didn’t play with Madigan. I didn’t cook my family dinner. I didn’t wash that pile of laundry that’s been starring at me for a week. I just laid and finished up my three-day binge of The Affair, and cried myself to sleep.

Women with this condition usually lose their babies between 18-23 weeks. I’m there 18 weeks 4 days. So for the next 8 weeks, I will live each day in full-blown panic. That’s my life these days. Waiting each week for the next to arrive, checking off my calendars days one by one and reminding myself to breath.

I can’t even begin to explain to you how many messages I have received from people telling me that I am the strongest person they know. They must be crazy, because as of recent, I feel like the weakest. I am vulnerable and sad. I cry a lot and panic even more. Panic-that seems to be today’s word of choice! Maybe my sister is right, maybe I need a Reiki session to absolve me from this negative energy. I’m sad. I’m sad for the stress I am putting this baby under. I am sad for my sweet Madigan. I haven’t held her in weeks. She quite surpasses my 15lbs weight limit! I want nothing more than to pick her up and swing her around or practice our handstands like we used to. But when I get home from chasing other peoples children all day, I am too nervous to play with my own.

Sweet, Sweet Madigan, someday you will read this and know that mommy loves you so much. Until then, I’m going to keep plugging along, day after day, minute by minute. I’m gonna keep making this miracle because it, like you, like all of us, deserves this life.

1.21.16

I’ve been having a difficult time putting words on paper. I am so superstitious, and I believe if I write about my last few appointments, something terrible will go wrong. It is a horrible feeling. However, yesterday I received an email from a complete stranger asking how my weekly appointments had been going. A complete stranger cares about me! So, I realized then that I owe it to you, to all of you, to explain myself. I mean here you are taking time out of your day to think about my family and me. The least I can do is share with you more of our journey.

In the three weeks since my last blog things have gone well. My cervix is measuring well. Actually, better than it was at 12 weeks. After a battle with the insurance company, we were notified that the Makena Progrestrone would be covered. A $50 a week copay is nothing compared to a $3,000 vial. My body is holding on. It is working like it should and making me proud. My mind however is frightening. I can’t sleep. I am in constant fear of losing this baby. I sit with my legs crossed all day thinking that it will hold it in. Dan laughs at me and says I’m going to break a blood vessel in my thighs clasping them together so hard. That feeling of doom has not subsided. Each day, each hour, and each minute I count down to viability. 7 more weeks, 49 more days, 1,176 more hours, Please, dear God, let me make it 7 more weeks.

The best thing for me is to keep busy and boy do my students let me do that. They are in part the reason I am still a little sane. They make me smile each and every day. Their innocence reminds me of why it is so important to keep this baby growing inside me. They will never know how their lives impact mine, but for each one of them, all 26, I am grateful.

I have gotten a lot of questions over the last few weeks asking if it is okay to congratulate me. I have also gotten a lot of stares, and stood in many awkward moments. Yes, you can congratulate me. My baby is NOT dead. I feel her moving about EVERY SINGLE DAY. She is full of light and love, just like her mama. May I cry, yes? Probably. Most likely. Absolutely. I am a mess. But, crying is good. It means I am alive. I am here, doing my job, making miracles.

PS: Our weekly appointments are on Mondays and our next appointment for a Vasa Previa check is February 4.

01.02.16

First, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Dan, Madigan and I are so appreciative for all of your support. From the friends that came to visit, to the ones that left sweet little packages at our door, to the sharing of our post and each special intention you have set for us. You all mean so much to us and if we can ever repay the favor, we promise we will. I do need you all to know something. You have to say prayers for a really long time…I mean we could be talking May if all goes well. Hope you all realize that ☺

Christmas was beautiful. I didn’t allow my insecurities to ruin it. My family was wonderful. No one spoke to me about my current situation, but I knew they were all thinking and praying for us. For that I am grateful. I was so busy I wasn’t able to really think about the drama circulating my life. My girlfriends from high school came for a visit and they kept me laughing and reminiscing all day. It was really something special. It wasn’t until we arrived at the hospital Monday morning that the panic reentered and continued to manifest until now.

My cerclage seemed to have gone routinely. The doctor said my cervix, although thin, was much better looking then when we had Madigan. We are hopeful that with weekly checkups, progesterone (still waiting to hear from insurance) and modified rest, we will prevail. The spinal tap was less then desirable. My blood pressure was super low, like 70/50, and I couldn’t sit up for hours. I was so sick, but the sweet nurse Shannon never left my side. She was amazing. She answered all our questions about where I would set up shop for 5 weeks during hospital bed rest. She explained how C-sections worked and where it would take place. She made us comfortable and for that she deserves a medal! Nurses are wonderful people; please treat them with the respect they deserve.

The days that followed the cerclage were hell. I was still nauseous and I had this sharp pain in my side. The poor doctor must have thought I was nuts calling every two hours. I just didn’t feel right, I was in pain and sick and I needed reassurance. They explained it was most likely the stitch and it would loosen up. Thursday morning, I was finally able to walk around and return to some kind of normalsy again, but then the spinal headache set in. I mean seriously?

Those three days of lying in bed were torture. I googled, and cried, and googled some more. Every sharp pain, I thought I was in preterm labor. I was depressed. It’s such a feeling of helplessness. However, I must say, I have the most incredible support system. Right when I was about to lose it, a little ding would go off on my phone and there would be the most ridiculous joke, or sweetest sentiment. I really am one lucky girl.

Bottom line though, I feel like a crappy mom. On the first snowfall all Madigan wanted was to build a snowman with her mommy and I couldn’t go out. All she wanted was mommy to go with her to get her haircut and I was too scared to walk. Would the baby fall out? Having an incompetent cervix makes you think these things. I haven’t even been able to think about the VP. Now, I’m just determined to keep this baby in until we reach the hospital BR, 15 weeks to go!

My mom’s oldest brother, my dear Uncle Ronan, passed on Wednesday. I am so happy I was able to share with him how wonderful it was being his niece and sharing in his life. Although I am terribly sad, when I heard the news, I was relieved to hear my baby has gained another angel on her side. It is brilliant how even in the darkest moments; we are able to find light.

Lastly, I have to give a shout out to DTW. I am so grateful for Dan. He has been wonderful. Truly, he is a blessing. Anyone that knows Dan knows that he is maybe the most loyal and considerate man out there, and this week he has gone above and beyond for this family. I’m not sure how I ever got so lucky. I mean they did used to call me “Crazy Kelly,” what ever was he thinking?

Keep up the good vibes; we feel them every day.
Happy New Year friends.

12.22.15

Well, today 12.22.15, Dan and I were going to share our news that we are expecting in June. After having an incompetent cervix with Madigan, which entailed many trips to the hospital, surgery, and months of bed rest, I had a severe case of PTSD and didn’t know if I would ever have another child. Then, at a routine OBGYN appointment I asked my doctor what he thought of me becoming pregnant again.  He assured me that, if we did indeed try again, he would take every precaution possible to make this pregnancy seamless and hopefully full term ☺ And so we began.

Like Madigan it didn’t go easily, which is why we ended up completing our first round of IVF this past summer. Unfortunately, it didn’t take. Was I upset?  Absolutely, but I also was realistic.  I knew the frozen embryos I had weren’t the greatest for implantation.  So, we went ahead and started a whole new fresh cycle.  Every night I was poked and prodded, just as I had remembered.  We were able to retrieve 14 beautiful eggs and almost all fertilized.  Knowing my cervix was incompetent, we were smart and decided to implant just one.   10 painstakingly long days later, we received the call that would forever change us as a family.  We were PREGNANT!

For the 8 weeks that followed, we had weekly ultrasounds to see our little one grow, and boy do they grow fast. The awesome thing about conceiving a baby through IVF is that you do get those weekly appointments. You get to see them transform from a tiny little blob into this incredible being with arms and legs.  After, 8 weeks it was time to transfer to my regular OB.  It was a long three week wait.

As soon as I walked in, the panic set. All the emotions from Madigan’s birth story began to overwhelm me. I started to cry as soon as they closed the door behind me. Dan assured me everything would be fine and not to be upset.  Everything would be okay, right? Yes, the appointment went well. I was so relieved. They had all these plans in place for me to ensure the baby would stay in, so to speak. I was really happy and excited when I left, that we decided to tell our parents. No better feeling then explaining to your parents that they would have another little being to love.

The next week, 12 weeks, we went back and measured my incompetent cervix again. It was measuring great. I mean, it’s short because when I was 21, I had a cone biopsy, but that was expected. We set a date for my cerclage, December 28th, and just to be safe made an appointment with a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist (MFM). I was on cloud nine walking out of there.  The pregnancy was so far uneventful.  I felt great.  The bloating had subsided from all the IVF medications. I was so excited to begin telling people our news.  However, I wanted to wait until we met with the MFM, just to be safe.

Fast forward another week. Yesterday we met with Dr. Margono, our MFM. I wasn’t nervous at all because I had just been reassured the week before that my cervix was beautiful. However, after a quick measurement we found that it was once again shortening too fast. How can this be? I am only 13 weeks. Dr. Margono explained that he thinks I could still go to 30+ weeks. He seemed confident that the cerclage and progesterone would keep this baby in.  Then, why the look of worry on his face?  Why did his face tell us differently?

Dr. Margono went on to explain that the baby has a very serious and complicated condition called vasa previa. This is when the blood vessels within the placenta are trapped between the fetus (I hate that word, I have a baby growing in me) and the opening of the birth canal. If undiagnosed more than 50% of babies are born still. My heart sank as I heard him explain this to us. If I went into labor on my own, the baby could very well hemorrhage to death. Why was my body failing me again?

Having vasa previa, coupled with an incompetent cervix is very scary. My cervix could fail me at any point and there wouldn’t be enough time to get to the hospital and save the baby. So what then? What do we do?  We sat asking, with tears rolling down our face.

I will still get my cerclage Monday; I will begin weekly progesterone shots and suppositories (the shots cost upward to $3,000 and I’ll probably need 4-5: still waiting to see if insurance covers this). I will have weekly appointments. If for any reason there is any sign of labor, I will be admitted to the hospital for an emergency C-Section. If all goes well, I will not be admitted until 30-32 weeks. At that time, we wait under the careful eye of professionals. We pump the baby with steroids to develop her (Dan thinks his) lungs and we pray. We pray the baby holds on until at least 35 weeks. As my sister Katie points out, I’ve had a 35 weeker before, so I got this. We pray that the baby doesn’t try to come on her own, because if she does, we will have to deliver within minutes, or the possibility of death is…. well…great.

So, why am I telling you this? I don’t care if you believe in God, or Allah, or are a Buddhist and choose chant. I don’t care if you don’t believe in any higher power, I just need you to send your loving vibes our way. We need your support right now more than ever. For me this feeling of impeding doom is so heavy on my heart that I can’t breathe.  Christmas is days away and I just want to crawl up in my bed and cry.  I need your help in releasing this weight because I have the most charismatic, lovable little girl at home that needs her mommy and is expecting Santa in three days.

Right now we are just asking for prayers and space. I’m not ready to talk about it.  We are taking one day at a time.  Right now, our goal is 25 weeks; viability. I just need you to know that I know miracles do happen.  Madigan is living proof of that.  She was our first miracle; let’s pray God affords us a second.