Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Memory tattoos and a Happy Ava

Hey there everyone! I know I haven't posted in this blog since I had Ava, but I didn't want to turn it into a baby blog. I want it strictly to be used as a resource for those who are still on their journeys. But I figured I would do this post because I was once asked if I was ever going to do a memory tattoo of the little ones that we lost before Ava.

  At first I was hesitant to do anything like that, as it would have been too much of a painful reminder. But I am in a different place now, and I felt that I was ready to fully let out all of those emotions and honor our 5 lost babies as well as Ava in a loving tattoo. So last saturday, we did just that. And here it is:

Keep in mind these were very freshly done so that is why there are still speckles of blood on them. But here they are and we love them! They mean so much to us! Maple leaves to honor Canada, which we credit so much to help bring Ava into our lives by allowing us to come into their country and giving us the LIT Therapy treatment. I truly feel that was the key that opened the door for us.

Obviously 5 hollow hearts to honor the 5 little ones that came and went before her. I will never forget them, and think about them all of the time. What gender were they? Would they have looked like me, or Brian? What would their personality have been like? How old would they have been now? Not a day passes that I don't think about those questions. So these five hearts represent them and the holes in my heart from losing them.

 And finally, a heart in the middle with an A obviously for Ava. Our world. Our beautiful, happy, smart, energetic, loving, sweet, bright eyed little girl. She has changed me, and changed our world so much. I never knew I could love something so much. Every ounce of my being bursts with love for her. She is just the cutest thing in the world. I am so happy we got these tattoos. I feel that the chapter has finally closed on our journey and we are actually finally able to just live!

 Ava will be 8 months tomorrow. 8 MONTHS!! When they say time flies...I literally FLIES. Within a blink of an eye! I try to cherish every single second with her. I don't want to rush her growing. I love to see her learn and do new things, but on the flipside of that....I'm like STOP GROWING!!! haha. She is starting to crawl, has 4 top teeth and two bottom teeth, her hair is getting longer and her eyes may stay blue. She is such a joy in our hearts.

 Here are some recent pictures!

Such a little model!! 

Anyway, that's all I am going to post on here. Like I said, I just wanted to drop in and share our tattoos since I think it's important for those still on their journey who were questioning how to honor their struggles. I didn't know how, and I didn't think I wanted to remember. But in the end - don't be afraid of the past. The past is what leads you to your future. It's what makes you who you are. It has made me stronger than I ever felt imaginable. 

Again, good luck to you all. Never give up. Your rainbow is waiting for you!! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July 15th 2017

Sorry I haven't updated in a while - been a little busy with this new precious baby of ours. On July 13th around 12:00pm - I went to the restroom at work. I noticed after using the restroom - I continued to leak. I thought to myself "am I still peeing??" and then that quickly changed to excitement/panic when I realized, no...this was my water breaking. I was going into labor!!

 I hurried out of the bathroom and got back to my office where I was greeted by about 15 of my co-workers, all waiting on me to take me out to lunch for my 5 year work anniversary. I quickly told them that there had been a change of plans and that I needed someone to drive me to the hospital, stat. The look of panic on THEIR faces was priceless! So from there, my coworker rushed me to the hospital. I contacted my husband and family along the way and put everyone on alert that our little rainbow was about to come.

  Once at the hospital, I was quickly checked in and brought to the delivery room. My husband finally arrived and we waited on the doctor. Everyone then started to show up, my cheerleaders I should say. My mom, mother in law, sister in law and my sister who drove all the way up from NC to be with me was there. As we waited and waited and waited - I was leaking more and more fluid. I couldn't believe how much I lost - yet still no doctor. I wasn't even seen until 2 hours after checking in. Crazy. They tell you once your water breaks - it could happen anywhere from 1 - 6 hours later. Well, that wasn't the case for me. I wasn't even having contractions really. Finally my doctor came in, but really just to tell me that everything sounded fine on the monitors - but they weren't going to check my cervix until later since I wasn't having many contractions.

  The doctor finally came back to my room around 9pm to check my cervix for the first time. They don't like to do it very often after your water breaks because it can increase the risk of infection. But we needed to see where I stood. And I only stood at 1/2 cm dilated. Crazy! Immediately we knew - we were in for a loooooooong night. Everyone went home to rest that evening because we knew baby wasn't coming until the next day.

  July 14th came and not much action from there. I was checked again and they inserted a balloon into my cervix to help with dilation since I was only 3cm from the night before. That began a grueling long day. From the balloon, to only getting to 6cm by 4pm I felt it was never going to happen. They gave me some Pitocin and the epidural around 5pm since my contractions started to pick up a bit and boy were they painful. I was happy in a way that labor was taking a little while longer since I still had the lovenox blood thinner in my system and they won't give you an epidural if you have that - as it can lead to paralysis. So fortunately - I was in labor long enough to where they were ok giving me the epidural. I don't know what I would have done if I had to do that naturally. I don't know how people can do that. More power to them - but give me the drugs please.

 Anyway - once the epidural kicked in I felt instantly better. Of course - I was numb from the waist down so no pain whatsoever. haha. They put in a catheter for obvious reasons so it was actually nice to not have to worry about getting up at all. They did flip me over after every 20 mins. I will never take the use of my legs for granted though. It really was an eye opener not having use of them for a night. Anyway, as the night progressed - my contractions started getting stronger. (well I only felt pressure - no pain). By 9pm my cervix was dilated to about 8cm so we were on our way but still not there. By then my cheerleading squad was losing steam and most went home except for my sister in law. She was about to leave around midnight but decided to wait until the doctor came in which was any minute to see my progress. At midnight - I was 10cm and it was go time.

  So my sister in law went to the waiting room and everyone came in to prep for delivery. After 45 mins of prep - we started to push. My husband and the nurse both grabbed a thigh and I pushed 3 times during each contraction.

   This went on for an hour and a half and at 2:59am our little Ava Leigh Thomas made her debut to the world. My husband watched the entire thing which I couldn't believe. Ava weighed 6lbs 2oz and was 19inches long. She is very healthy and is stunningly beautiful with a full head of black hair. Our hearts just filled up with this intense love that I can't even possibly describe. She is perfect. Just absolutely perfect in every single way.

  So that is it. Our journey is over. Our struggle has ended. We got our beautiful rainbow baby that we had longed for, for so long. With every tear, heartbreak, fear and hope...we finally are able to close this chapter of our lives and begin the new one we had desired for so long. I never thought I would be here, typing this. As a new mother. But here I am! She is sleeping next to me in her bassinet and it's the most amazing feeling in the world.

  For those of you who are reading this, who are going through the horrible struggle of recurring miscarriages and infertility. Please, please, please never give up. Do as much research as you can, be your own advocate. Never settle for anything less than what you feel is right. If a doctor tells you no - find one who will tell you yes. Find one that listens. One that will work with you and not just the standard protocol treatments they know of. There is always an answer. There is always a way. Even if it seems hopeless. I felt my situation was hopeless...but I didn't give up. And I am so glad I didn't. My heart is with you all. It's a club I never wanted to be a part of - but the women I have met along the way gave me so much inspiration - that I only hope my story offers the same to those who are still on their journeys. This blog will always remain open to those who are seeking out answers, who need something to relate to, to gain tips for their own treatments or just in need of a little inspiration. I am always here to answer questions or offer my own advice for you. Be strong, be brave and good luck to you all. <3


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

37 Weeks!

Another milestone! I am officially "early term!" Woohoo!! She can come at any time and be perfectly fine! They wouldn't even try to stall labor at this point! So I am starting to get anxious/excited that within at most 3 weeks - she will be here.

 Monday I had another series of Dr.s appts. One with MFM and another with my regular OB. It will be that way every monday until she is here. At the MFM, they did the stress test where they hook your belly up to monitors and listen to her heart for 30 mins. At first she wasn't too active - so they gave me some OJ and she perked right up after that. Doctor said she passed with a 10 out of 10! Go Ava! Then we went in for the ultrasound and everything still looks great. She was doing a lot of practice breathing which was nice to see. Still didn't get a look at her face, as she kept putting her hands on her feet and pulling them up to her face, blocking it! haha! Guess it's getting pretty tight in there for her. Doc says that even if she was cooperating, the pic wouldn't be the greatest since it wouldn't even get her full face. She said the best pics - which you see online - are usually from 28-32 weeks. So we were fine just knowing she is happy and healthy in there. We will just wait to see her little face when she is here. Oh and the doctor says my test results are all normal - and the things that were out of range - are normal for pregnancy. So no signs of Preeclampsia! woohoo!

 At my second Dr. Appt, we did a Group B strep test, which is a bacteria in the vagina that up to 35% of women have. It's harmless and very common - however it can cause harm to a baby if delivering vaginally. So if you do have it - they will give you antibiotics upon labor to get rid of it so you don't pass it to the baby. I am not sure the results - but hopefully I don't have it since I am so done with having to take extra medications. Speaking of extra medications - I am switching over to Heparin finally. I was suppose to make the switch today - but my pharmacy didn't carry the prefilled syringes that I need. They only carry the vials. So I will have to go all the way to the hospital where my doctor is, which is about 20/25 mins away - to pick them up. Pain in the butt I tell ya! So I might just continue on the Lovenox until I am back in that area on Monday. I don't think I will be going into labor this week - I have no signs whatsoever. But you never know. So I am taking a risk because if I am still on Lovenox at the time of labor - they will have a harder time to reverse it. Which means, I won't have the option to get an epidural. Clearly you see my dilemma. I guess I just decided now that perhaps I will just take the drive on my lunch break and pick up the prescription - since I do NOT want the option of not having the epidural! hahha! Screw that! I don't want to feel a thing!

 Anyway, well that's really all I have for now. Til next week! :)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

36 Weeks!

It is absolutely crazy how fast time is flying! Not that there is anything wrong with that, but man....this year has been the fastest year of my life! I blinked and suddenly here I am - 4 weeks shy from delivery!! That's even if they have me go to the full 40 weeks! Chances are it might only be 2 weeks left due to my age and whatnot. Yeah, I'm 38, aka old and high risk. We shall see!

 Last friday we toured the hospital. It was very informative actually and I am really glad we went, even though an hour of pretty much walking around, standing and yearning to sit really did it's toll on my poor feet. Some advice: schedule that in your second trimester!! lol! But touring the hospital kinda made everything seem so real. Like, I am going to be in one of those rooms soon. It's crazy.

 We also returned to see our MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor on Monday. I will have an appt with her every week from here on out. Baby is measuring perfect and is weighing in at a whopping 6lbs 4oz!! She is in the 60th percentile and they are expecting her to be close to 8lbs by delivery! She did beautifully when they checked her diaphragm for practice breathing. On a score from 1-8 she got an 8! Go Ava! We unfortunately didn't get any pics of her face this time because her hands were covering it pretty much the entire time! There was one moment when she had her hand grabbing her toes and pulled her toes to her face - so we couldn't get a pic then either!! lol. It was really sweet to see nonetheless! Hopefully this monday we can get a better glimpse of her beautiful little face.

 The doctor ran a typical CBC test as well as tests to check up on that protein in my urine. Just to make sure I didn't have any developing signs of Preeclampsia or Hellp syndrome. All seems to have come back normal. I got the results before talking with my doctor since Quest Diagnostics sends them to my email as well. So I got online and researched everything and all seems to be great with that. But I will confirm it all with the doctor on Monday to be sure. My protein, glucose, albumin, and creatnine levels came back just under normal - however - they have this site that references what levels should be in pregnancy - and everything was in range for third trimester pregnancy except the glucose. That was still low.

 Anyway, all in all - things are still coasting along. I am trying to get as much done at work and around the house as I can before baby gets here since I know I will have no time afterwards. Even though I have zero energy to do it now. LOL. I long for an uninterrupted good night sleep. I think I have a better chance at winning the lottery these days!

 Well, that's all for now!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

35 Weeks!

5 more weeks to go!! And boy am I ready!! Between the swollen hands and feet, constant peeing, the lack of sleep, heartburn and just overall being uncomfortable - I am r-e-a-d-y!! We had our baby shower last sunday and had such an awesome time! I will post pics below in a minute. We got so many great gifts and had lots of fun playing cute baby shower games. My sister really outdid herself! It was very special.

 I had a dr. appt on Tuesday and they stated I have a little bit of protein in my urine. But my blood pressure is normal so she wasn't too concerned. I just hope it's not an onset beginning stage of Preeclampsia. Everything else went fine - baby sounds great and I am measuring 37 weeks!! Insane. I always felt my belly was pretty big for my date - but the dr. thinks it's just extra fluid in there. I wish I was 37 weeks! haha! Let's get this show on the road!

 Anyway, we have a few things coming up. Tomorrow we are doing a hospital tour of the Labor and Delivery dept. Just to learn where to go and what to expect once we are there. Then on Monday I will have my 35 week Maternal Fetal Medicine scan. I will start having those weekly after Monday since I am "high risk" aka old. Whatever - it's comforting to constantly keep tabs on her.

 Speaking of her - girlfriend is kicking and moving up a storm lately. I feel her little butt and feet press hard against my belly all of the time. It's very reassuring that she is growing as she should. She also get's hiccups frequently. Another good sign if you listen to the dr.s and not google. Google will scare you saying that the cord could be strangling her. Doctors will tell you that's a great sign her lungs are developing and that her diaphram is working as it should. See the difference. Stay off google!! haha

 In other exciting news, my job is allowing me to do my work from home after the baby is born!! It will only be part - time, but hey, better than nothing!! I am excited because that is a huge stress lifted off of my shoulders. Now I can still bring in some income and stay home with baby girl. Perfect. The only downfall - another stress - is that we have to move out of our adorable townhome. We simply cannot afford it with baby expenses on top of me going part time. So now on top of handling a newborn - we have to pack the entire house up and move. Our lease is up in Sept. What a nightmare that will be. But it is what it is. Gotta cut corners and save where you can, ya know? are some pics from the shower! I will keep in touch soon! xo

                                                         The beautiful quilt my sister made!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

32 Weeks!

Another milestone down! At this point of the pregnancy, she will do extremely well if she were to be born from now til here on out! Very relieving to have made it this far! I am getting bigger by the day it seems, and more and more tired. All normal pregnancy stuff. But everything still seems to be moving along as they should. I have been feeling a lot of pelvic pressure and get a lot of braxton hicks, which is always somewhat unsettling. But from what I read, all normal things.

 I am officially going off prednisone today and hydroxychloroquine. I have dwindled down to 2mg of prednisone over the past week and I feel I am ready to completely be off of it now. The hydroxy stays in your system for like 50 days after going off and I would like it to be out of my system by the time she is here so there are no issues with it being in my breastmilk. Even though they say that it doesn't cause harm - still would like to be off of it. Less drugs, the better. Still a little apprehensive coming off of them since I have been used to being on them for so long, but I am also excited to NOT be on steroids anymore!! I just hope I keep thriving without them. But at this point - I am comfortable enough to do without.

  We are starting to receive gifts from the registry and we are going to be officially setting up the nursery this weekend. Crazy to even think about! I keep having to pinch myself that this is all really happening! These 8 weeks are going to fly, but will still be the longest 8 weeks of my life all at once. I am anxious to meet her. She is so active in there, kicks away and even has the hiccups on occasion.

   Here is the latest 32 week bump pic! I think I might topple over if I get any bigger! haha!

                                                                       32 Weeks

So that's about it! Til next time! xo

Friday, May 26, 2017

Horror Stories

I am a researcher by nature. I just want to learn every single thing about a topic I am interested in. So naturally when I began this journey - along with my hardships through this journey - I researched every single aspect of pregnancy. I swear I could write a damn book! But sometimes that research is not such a good thing.

  The internet is an amazing source of information. Type in anything and everything is at your fingertips! But type in a simple symptom, experience, question - and you get the worst of the worst stories. They make you paranoid. They legit turn you into a hypochondriac! Lately, I have stumbled upon some terrible stories and statistics regarding stillbirth or death of the mother after birth. It's just horrible and has been a cause of many disturbing, sleepless nights for me.

 I can't imagine coming all of this way, getting to the finish line - only to leave empty handed. My heart absolutely gets torn in half for those women, or men for that matter, who have dealt with that. It's so awful and there are no words. It has turned me into such a nervous wreck about labor and delivery! I want everything to go perfect, I mean who doesn't? But it's just so unsettling to know that it could all change in an instant! You can just never be comfortable at any point.

 Anyway, moral of this post is - I have got to stop reading this stuff. I have got to keep my internet research to the bare minimum these days or I am going to drive myself crazy! I have to hang in there for another 8-10 weeks. I can do this! I just have to keep my mind in a positive place and stop feeding into the horror stories that circulate the web.

 I advise everyone to do the same. It does nothing but make you stressed and worry. There is nothing wrong with being informed and prepared - but it's quite another to let that knowledge get the best of you - as I am doing. So from here on out - only positive stuff!!

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!!