Thursday, June 30, 2011

Two Weeks to Go!

Well, I'm 38 weeks pregnant now. That makes this my longest pregnancy - Isaac was born at 37 weeks 6 days. I sure hope his brother follows suit very soon.

We had a doctor appointment on Monday and it went very well. As usual, we had an NST before the appointment. Sequel was very cooperative today. They didn't even have to give me Sprite to get him moving! He was having a dance party, I think. I'm always relieved to find that he's not in any distress - one less reason for the doctor to suggest a c-section! :)

My blood pressure was very good, too! 126/84, or something close to that. My doctor was thrilled! And she was also very happy that I am finally starting to dilate, even if it was only 1 cm. She said she was totally expecting to have to have a conversation with me at this appointment to try convince me of a c-section because my blood pressure would be high, but since everything seems to be going very well she's still on board with the VBAC as long as I continue to progress at the next appointment. I left feeling very confident that I'll get a trial of labor.

Then, on Tuesday in the middle of the night, I thought that I might possibly be leaking amniotic fluid. I called on Wednesday to see if I could get an appointment so she could check. Apparently, my doctor has Wednesdays off, so the on-call doctor told the nurse to make me an appointment with a nurse practitioner. I went in, she checked me out, and as it turns out, my amniotic sac is very much intact. I am very relieved, because if your water breaks, you have to have a baby whether you are contracting or not (which I was not), so I probably would have ended up with a c-section. I was pretty disappointed however, when she checked me and I was still only 1 cm. Oh well, I guess I can live with that. After all, it had only been two days since I was last checked. But then she mentioned that my cervix is "still way up there" which means that baby hasn't dropped yet. Crap. Here I thought he was locked and loaded, but nope! He needs to get his little patootie down there and put some pressure on my cervix so I can dilate!

Also, I keep having these start-and-stop contractions. It's frustrating to know that they aren't doing anything. Every time I get them, I think "Maybe this is it!" and then when the contractions stop an hour or so later, I think, "Oh well, at least they're probably helping me dilate!" And then I find out that they aren't even doing that! Grrrr.

I only have one more appointment with my regular OB, and that's on July 5th. She starts her maternity leave on July 10th, but I was really expecting to have had the baby by then. Now I have to decide who I want as my backup OB, although I have a pretty good idea because I've had some really great recommendations. I am a little concerned, though, that my backup OB won't be quite as VBAC friendly as my current OB. My current OB knows how I feel about everything and has been pretty darn supportive thus far. I don't want to get to the delivery room and have a doctor who will not be on my side. I guess I'm just nervous about getting a new doctor because my current one has built my trust, and now I'll have to put my faith in someone totally new. Ugh. I just have to remind myself that it will all be over soon, and I'll have by baby boy in my arms no matter what.

Deep breaths.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole

Well, as you probably know, I'm on modified bed rest per doctor's orders. I'm not really sure why, because the Labetalol is controlling my blood pressure well, but I have to do what the doctor says. The good thing about modified bed rest is that I can still do some stuff, like cook. The problem is, often times, cooking requires standing for a good length of time, which makes my feet and legs puff up like marshmallows. Don't get me wrong, I like marshmallows. Just not as my feet.

So anyway, I've been making easy and quick to prepare meals for dinner. And I thought, "Hmm... I haven't put many recipes up on the blog lately." I realized that I don't post my go-to meals that I like to make when I don't know what else to cook. It occurred to me that you guys might need some go-to meals, too. So here you are.

I'm starting with one of my long-time favorites - tater tot casserole. Don't judge me. I know the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tater tot casserole is Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar. But normal people who don't have 19 kids (and counting) like tater tot casserole, too. Plus, my brother works at a potato processing plant and gets us super cheap tater tots. It's all about who you know. ;)

Here's what you'll need:
2 lbs ground beef
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans of whole kernel corn
4 oz sour cream
2 cups shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
Tater tots (enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 pan - one bag from the freezer section of the grocery store will be more than enough)

This is a double batch, so you'll probably want to make half of this. I like having leftovers because then I don't have to cook again sometime this week. Or you could split this into two casserole dishes and freeze one.

First, you want to put a layer of tater tots on the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish. I don't pack the tots in too tightly because we like a higher ratio of meat than potatoes. You can do whatever works for you. Put them in the oven and bake them according to the package directions. This will make it so you don't have to bake it for so long after it's all put together.

Then brown the ground beef.

While the beef and tots are cooking, get the rest of your ingredients ready.

Put one cup of cheese in a large mixing bowl.

Add the sour cream...

...and the cream of mushroom soup and corn. I've also heard of people using green beans instead of corn, but I like corn better.

Add the cooked ground beef to the mixture. At this point, I started to realize that I should have used a bigger bowl. Oops. But it worked out okay.

Mix everything together (except the tater tots, of course).

Then start glopping the mixture on top of the cooked tater tots.

Once the entire mixture is in the dish, even it out with a spoon or rubber scraper and top it with the rest of the cheese.

Bake on 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

And you end up with a delicious glob of meat and potatoes. Okay, I know it doesn't look all that appetizing, but it is really, really good. Seriously.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Love Shopping For (Almost) Free

There are these matching shirts that I've been wanting to get for my boys. One says "Big Brother" and the other one says, you guessed it, "Little Brother". The problem is, Carter's doesn't make these specific shirts anymore, so they're really hard to find. Well, the "Little Brother" one is really hard to find. I have found the "Big Brother" one in a few different places online. I did find the "Little Brother" shirt in the newborn size on eBay, but I didn't win it. :( And now it's nowhere to be found.

So one day last week, my parents called and told me about a garage sale that had a lot of baby clothes. I decided to stop by. I know I'm on modified bed rest and shouldn't be going a lot of places, but I was going to go over to my parents' house to use their jacuzzi tub anyway, so I decided to stop by the garage sale on my way. I am SO glad I did because guess what I found? Yep, the "Little Brother" shirt!! Brand spankin' new, it still had the tags on it! And the best part - it was only 50 cents! Although, now I'm a bit worried that it won't ever fit him because I'm told he's going to be huge... oh well. Maybe we just won't button it.

I also found these adorable little shoes for Sequel. Normally, I think baby shoes are a total waste of money. They're unnecessary, and usually only worn a few times (which would probably explain why these shoes look completely unused). In fact, we didn't even have shoes for Isaac until a month or two before he started walking. However, these were just so darn cute that I couldn't help myself. And for 25 cents, I won't be heartbroken if he never wears them.

Then today I realized that I had a coupon from JC Penney for $10 off of a $10 purchase that expires today. I love it when they send me these coupons. I get them about 6 or 7 times a year. Don't ask me how you get them sent to you, I have no idea. I do think that you won't get them if you have a JCP credit card, however. Both J and my mom have JCP credit cards, and the coupons they get are usually $10 off of a $25 purchase. So I guess sending me these awesome coupons is a great way to get me to NOT sign up for a CC. LOL. Anyhoo, my coupon expires today, so naturally, I had  to use it. I found this cute 3-piece pajama set for Isaac on clearance for $10.40. Now, I don't really think that's much of a clearance, but with my $10 coupon, it's a steal! So with tax, I spent a total of 43 cents! Woohoo!

I love it when I can shop and hardly spend any money! :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Month and Counting

We had an ultrasound today! I always love seeing baby. It's so fun! Especially this far along, he looks much less alien-like than he did before - more like an actual baby. It makes me realize how close we're getting! Anyway, Sequel looks great! He's still head down, fluid was good and all that good stuff. The tech said that his diaphragm was going up and down, indicating breathing-like movements, so that means good lung development. And he's measuring at... drum roll... 39w3d, which is all fine and good, except for the fact that I'm only 35w5d!! The u/s tech actually had to check her measurements. She thought I was due today instead a month from today. But we have to take this with a grain of salt because the tech said that it's accurate within 22 days. That means it could be off by three weeks. Either way, he's still measuring a bit ahead, but maybe not by as much as we think. Based on the measurements, the u/s tech estimated that he is 8lbs 4oz right now (give or take a lb). That's the 90th percentile! Even if you subtract 1lb for margin of error, he's still over 7 lbs. Isaac was 6lbs 13 oz when he was born at 37w6d. This kid is already bigger than his brother was when he was born! Eek!

Next we had our NST (non stress test). This consisted of me sitting on the exam table with two monitors strapped to my belly - one to monitor baby's heart beat, and one to monitor contractions. The goal was for baby to have two "accelerations" in a 20 minute period, meaning his heart rate had rise by 15 bpm twice in that 20 minutes. They also gave me a little button to press every time I felt him move. After about 5 or 6 minutes he wasn't moving a whole lot, so the nurse gave me a Sprite. That did the trick. Then he moved around like crazy and we got our accelerations. Everything looked great!

Finally, we saw the doctor for our appointment. She was very happy with how everything was going. My BP was 130/65, which she was happy with. She had a pretty frank talk with me about re-evaluating my VBAC, though. She said that she really believes that our bodies don't make babies that are too big for us to give birth to, and that I certainly can still plan on having a VBAC, she just wanted to lay all the cards on the table at this point. If this was a first pregnancy, or if I hadn't had a c-section before, she would probably suggest induction after 39 weeks because the baby is so big. Unfortunately, we can't induce for a VBAC (as I've mentioned before), so I'll have to go into labor on my own. She didn't seem very comfortable letting me go too far past 39 weeks because of his size, and I'm pretty certain that she won't let me go past 40 weeks. She also said that labor will be more difficult if this baby is a 9 pounder, and if I were to end up needing a c-section after my trial of labor, the recovery would be harder than it would be with a planned c-section. She said, if I get to that 39 week milestone and haven't had the baby yet, we'll have to have a more serious talk about scheduling a c-section.

To be honest, this is exactly what I was afraid of. I knew that if baby measured big, my VBAC would be in jeopardy. And I also know that ultrasounds later in pregnancy are much less accurate for measurements. I do know he's big. I can feel that. I'm much more uncomfortable than I was in my last pregnancy. My belly is bigger, and I've gained more weight than last time, so this news is not surprising to me. However, women deliver 9lb babies all. the. time. Heck, my mother-in-law's last baby was over 10 lbs. It's possible. And I want to try it. And I'm fairly confident that I will, indeed, go into labor before 39 weeks, although there are no guarantees. (Hey Cat, when do you want to come over and give me a foot rub? LOL)

James and I talked about it, and as of right now, here's how we feel: We will still plan for a VBAC, but we will schedule a c-section for July 8th. July 8th would bring me to 39w2d. If I haven't had baby before July 8th, that will be his birthday. For me, this decision really had nothing to do with his size. I feel like July 8th is a good date because it's not too close to Isaac's birthday (July 13th) and not too close to the 4th of July, and it's two days before our OB goes on maternity leave, so she would be able to deliver him. I am pretty comfortable with this decision, but I reserve the right to change my mind, of course. ;)

The OB also said that I'm past the point where they would intervene if I did go into labor. That means baby could come any time now! Although, I think it will be a few more weeks. I was only a fingertip dilated today, which is the same as I was on Thursday. I was hoping for a little more, but I know that it doesn't necessarily mean anything. Oh, and she also said that I still have to take it easy, but I can do a little more since my BP is down. Yay!

Ok, I'm cutting myself off now. This post has gotten really long. If you're still with me, thanks for reading. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventures in Labor & Delivery

Ever since our appointment on Monday, I've been monitoring my blood pressure with a cuff that goes on your wrist that I borrowed from my dad. Last night, I got some really high readings. Like, scary high. 160/100 high. Add to this the fact that I'd been having headaches for about a day and a half (which she said to watch out for), and I got a little worried. So I called the on-call number and spoke with the on-call OB. He said that the wrist cuff was probably not the most accurate, but I should definitely head up to Labor & Delivery to get monitored and some blood tests. This was at about 9:30 PM, so my parents came over to stay with Isaac (who was in bed), and James and I left.

Needless to say, I was freaked out. Here are some of the thoughts that were going through my head, "OMG, what if I have preeclampsia and they have to deliver baby TONIGHT?! I'm only 35 weeks! Are his lungs developed enough? Will he have long-term affects of being premature?" Yeah, I'm a bit of an overreactor like that sometimes. But when the doctor tells you to get your butt to labor and delivery asap, you tend to get a little scared.

So when we got to labor and delivery, the nurse took me back to the room where they keep the people who they aren't sure are staying. This particular room has three beds and they only really keep you there to be monitored, not if you're actually in labor. Thankfully, I was the only person in there. Anyhoo, the nurse took my blood pressure and it was in the 170s/115. Yikes! After a few more tries and doing different things that might help (switching arms, turning off the lights, etc...) she got a reading of 150something/108, so that's the one she recorded. Then the resident came in and said he talked to the on-call OB and they were going to do blood work and test my urine for protein, and that since my BP was so high, they were going to start me on a beta blocker called Labetalol.

We were there for a few hours. Poor James had to get up for work at 3am, so around 11pm, he went home and my parents came to keep me company instead. It seemed like a long night, and we didn't get home until midnight. Long story short, my labs all came back looking good, which was a huge relief. So instead of preeclampsia, I just have Pregnancy Induced Hypertension. This does put me at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia though, so I'm still on modified bed rest for now. That means no trip to the lake for us this weekend. Boo.

They wanted me to follow up with my regular OB today, so I called this morning and went in for an appointment at 1:30 PM. At the appointment, my BP was 140/88. She said I absolutely did the right thing by calling last night and that she was SO glad I did. She's going to keep me on the Labetalol and we're still shooting for a VBAC. But she explained to me that if my blood pressure gets too high or if I develop preeclapsia, a VBAC is pretty much out of the question because baby would have to be delivered early, and she won't use Pitocin if you've had a previous c-section (increased risk of uterine rupture, as I believe I mentioned in my previous post). But she made it clear that, at this point, there is no reason why baby would need to come now. I still have an ultrasound and another appointment scheduled for Monday, but she also added a NST (non stress test) to the list, which I believe I'll be doing weekly from now on. A NST is just where they have you lay there with a little contraption on your belly that monitors baby's heartbeat for about 30 minutes, just to make sure everything is okay.

And I just want to end by saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to my wonderful parents. They dropped everything to come watch Isaac so we could go to the hospital, they were more than happy to come chill with me at 11 PM, and they spent all morning/afternoon at my house to help me with Isaac so I could take it easy per doctor's orders. I do NOT know what I would do without them. They are truly amazing. I love you guys so much!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The News Could Be Better :(

Well, we had our 34 weeks doctor appointment today. Baby's heart is beating strong at 143 bpm. :)

And my blood pressure was high again. It looks as though I could possibly have the early signs of something called Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, which is essentially high blood pressure brought on because of pregnancy. The main concern with this is that it can lead to Preeclampsia. In order for Preeclampsia to be diagnosed, my blood pressure would have to be 140/90 (which it was today), and I would have protein in my urine. Fortunately, I only had a trace of protein in my urine today. Last time it was +1 for protein, so the fact that it is back to normal is good. I found out today that the blood work from two weeks ago was all fine and dandy. The nurse said that no news is good news.

My doctor is a little concerned since this is the second appointment where my blood pressure has been on the higher side. She told me today to stop working (which I'm not anyway because school is over), and that I'm not on bed rest, but I need to take it easy. Her words were, "The couch is your new best friend. Vacuuming is no longer your friend. Doing the dishes is no longer your friend." I'm glad James was there to hear it directly from the horses mouth or I'm afraid he would think I was making it up so he would have to do all the housework. Honestly though, it's going to be tough for me. I'm home all day with an almost-two-year-old. I have to make him breakfast and lunch and take him to the potty and change his diaper and stuff. Plus it's going to be hard for me to NOT do that load of laundry that's sitting in the basket, or that load of dishes that's piled up in the sink. Especially since I feel fine. I feel like I should be doing this stuff because I'm the one who's home all day. I already feel guilty about it.

She also had me get more blood work done. An hour after we left the hospital, I got a call from the generic hospital/clinic number on my cell phone. I got really nervous, thinking that they wouldn't call me if the results were fine. When I answered, I was fully expecting the nurse to say that my blood tests came back abnormal and I would have to go to the hospital to be monitored or something. Fortunately, she was just calling to tell my that the lab results were in, and everything looked good. Holy heart attack, Batman!

My doctor wants to see me back on Monday, so we're skipping right to the weekly appointments now instead of two weeks from now. We're also getting an ultrasound on Monday to make sure baby is growing ok. She said sometimes when you have high blood pressure for an extended amount of time, it can cause baby to not grow as much as he should. But she said I'm measuring a little ahead (as I have for the entire pregnancy) so she's not worried, she just wants to know for sure.

My sincere hope for our next appointment is that I will go in, my blood pressure will be back down, and everything will be hunky dory. (Do people still say hunky dory?) I don't like restrictions. And I really, really don't like what Preeclampsia could mean for my VBAC. If I end up getting diagnosed with it, the only way to get rid of it would be to deliver the baby. And they don't like to use labor inducing drugs for VBAC mom's as that increases the risk of uterine rupture, so that would mean the only way to deliver the baby would be another c-section.

So I'm trying to stay positive here, although it's hard. I've been so very emotional lately anyway, that it doesn't take much to reduce me to tears these days. I am currently accepting thoughts/prayers/good vibes/whatever you want to send my way.