Thursday, October 30, 2008

Doc appointment/due date change

So I saw my regular OB doc today.

My urine was again negative for glucose & protein. My blood pressure is still good (110/60). My doc started telling me she still had not received my lab results from the other doc's office. I just couldn't believe this--they had called me just a couple of days after I last saw her. They said they were faxing them right then. She went out & asked the receptionist gals again & they said they had a record that they had received it, but now it was nowhere to be found.........

She did have info from the cardiologist & the high risk OB though. She said based on the ultrasound the high risk OB did I am actually farther along than previously thought. Today I am 16 weeks & 5 days. And my due date is now April 18th. What I don't understand is how I went from 15 weeks & 1 day to 16 weeks & 5 days & yet my due date only moved by 4 days???? (It was previously April 22nd) I don't know, it's that whole mysterious due date thing............ At least I'm a little bit closer to my 20 weeks, so I can claim I'm half way there sooner than I had expected!! Although I must say it's even more depressing that I am even farther into my second trimester than I thought & yet the fatigue & nausea (not to mention the headaches) are still here to stay.

She listened to the baby's heart beat with the doppler again. Last time she warned me that sometimes it takes a while to find it or it may be too early to find it & she found it right away. This time it took her quite a while to find it, but she did, the heartrate is in the 170's, which is normal.

Prior to the end of the visit I brought up my big question. I've been thinking this over for weeks now & have finally discussed it with hubby. At my age I do not want anymore children. And even though this is technically my first, it's really our third (I have 2 stepchildren) & that's a big family in my opinion. And because of all my issues with my ovaries I know I can't tolerate birth control anymore. I brought it up to hubby recently & he agreed completely with me. We discussed the fact that it's simpler for a man to have a vasectomy than for a woman to have a tubal ligation, BUT I still really want my right ovary removed (it's enlarged & abnormally shaped). So I brought all of this up to my doc. She said if I was in my 20's she would tell me no, but because I'm in my late 30's she said absolutely yes. As for the ovary, she said she wants to do an ultrasound later & take a look & at the time of the tubal she will look at it again & if it is indeed abnormal she will remove it. She said if I end up having a C-section she'll do it right then. She said the paperwork for the tubal is done at 28 weeks. I know there are a lot of legal issues time-wise about when the consent for that is signed. It's not something that can be done last minute, there's an amount of time that has to pass from signing the consent to having it done so that you legally had enough time to rethink & possibly change your mind. I know all of this because I've assisted with tubals many times, both done randomly (for lack of better terminology) as well as being done post-partum.

So as I walked out to the desk to schedule my next appointment the gals were frantically looking for my blood work from the other doc. Then they got a call from my doc (from her office) & she said it was there on her desk. They all had a huge sigh of relief.

Oh yeah, my high risk OB had called recently & said that my first trimester genetic screen was normal. And then today I had blood drawn for the AFP test that tests for several types of birth abnormalities.

So on Saturday I am 17 weeks!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

15 weeks

So today I am 15 weeks pregnant. Not much to report--no changes so far. Still tired all the time & still getting very sick late at night. It makes it really hard to fall asleep & I've spent a few nights heaving over the toilet for over an hour while hubby sleeps peacefully. Yeah, pretty much my life continues to suck these days.

So this week the baby is the size of an apple. After I finish writing this I'll go exchange the lemon for an apple on our bed. But the apples we have in the house are kinda small ones................but I'm planning to go grocery shopping on Saturday so maybe I can pick up a bigger one.......we'll see.............

Still the only highlight of my day is my workout. I am still working out 4 days/week. I am doing spinning all 4 days, usually for 40 minutes 3 of those days & for 20 minutes on 1 of those days. And I do pilates 2 days & yoga 2 days. I have to admit I am really enjoying the yoga. It REALLY feels good & the next day I really feel like I worked out.

I am now starting to feel the baby get in the way when I do things I normally do. And when I move a certain way or turn from side to side the way it moves feels really weird to me, it's clear that it is it's own separate entity, the way it moves I mean. I know it's there, I stare in the mirror quite often at it, shocked at how big it is, but it's still a funny feeling when I find it getting in the way. I had to go to work yesterday for a mandatory training class on a new timeclock system we're getting. Afterwards I went upstairs to visit my coworkers & show them my tummy. In scrubs they really can't see it yet & they always insist there's nothing there yet. They were all shocked at how big it really is already. Although one girl said 'a really good meal could also do that too, though' We all laughed, but I insisted that no matter how big of a meal I ate my tummy would not be this huge, LOL. I think the shock of it for me comes mostly from the fact that I do not gain weight in my middle. Women are either pears or apples & I am definitely a pear--gaining in my butt & thighs when I do gain. So having a tummy is so very foreign to me. It feels really strange.

My next doc appointment is tomorrow. I'll probably post a blog afterwards, if anything significant happens that is. I really can't wait til I hit 20 weeks so I can at least say that I am half way there. I'm still hoping the fatigue & nausea let up as they are supposed to now, but since they haven't yet I'm not holding my breath for it to happen anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

14 weeks tomorrow

So this is the last day of my first trimester. Finally a milestone has been completed. It honestly feels like it's been an eternity now that I've been feeling so tired & sick. And I know this trimester was even cut short, because I didn't even discover I was in it until nearly 5 weeks of it (almost half!) had already passed. So I know the next trimester will feel REALLY long, but I am praying that the fatigue & sickness will pass soon as most people say it will (I have met a few who continued that way for the entire pregnancy & I really pray I am not one of those people). I feel a little disillusioned (sp?) at this point--I have often heard women say they were at their all time happiest while they were pregnant & as they say it they are absolutely beaming. I had always expected to feel this way if I was ever to be pregnant--and it is so not the case for me. I am trying really hard to relish this & enjoy every moment for I know it won't be here for long, but I really just can't seem to enjoy myself. I want my life back, I want to feel like I'm living again & not like a zombie 24/7.

Anyways, I do not know what the baby will be the size of this week--I haven't looked into that yet. Hubby ate that peach early on last week, so the bed's been bare for a while now.

This morning I did the prenatal yoga DVD after spinning for 40 minutes. I have to say I really, really enjoyed it. It felt sooooo good to stretch out my body. And none of it was too challenging for me. I actually switched back & forth between the gal for the first trimester & the second trimester. Most of the modifications for the second trimester are just to use a block & strap, which I normally have to do when I do yoga. I have a very unflexible back, which I am quite certain is due to the scoliosis, which makes me have to do this. I have been spinning 3 days a week & doing pilates 4 days a week. I am now debating if I should do pilates 3 days & yoga 1 each week or if I should split it in half, 2 & 2. I'll have to see how I feel when I do them & decide based on that.......

I guess that's really all there is to report this week. Not a whole lot going on, not much change. And no doctor appointments this week at all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

walk the line

I'm referring to the movie, "Walk The Line".

It's a movie about the singer Johnny Cash. We bought the DVD at least a couple of years ago, I think when it first came out on DVD. Hubby & stepson kept seeing it advertised & they really wanted to see it. I have to admit that I don't know much about Johnny Cash. I have the impression that my father was a fan, but I could be mistaken about that.

So yeah, we watched it back when we first got it. I liked it a lot. I am a fan of Reese Witherspoon (LOVE 'Sweet Home Alabama'), so I had fun watching her & the romance of the storyline. I have to admit I REALLY liked the duets they sang together, although I had NEVER heard of June Carter & hubby hadn't either.

So a month ago or so I bought the latest Third Day CD, Revelation. Third Day is one of my most fave bands. Hubby really likes them too, he always says he doesn't think there's ANY song they could do that he wouldn't like & I have to agree. They're a rock band, but with a slight country edge. They're from Atlanta, Georgia, so I assume that's why the country influence exists. Anyhow, I love that band & this new CD was totally amazing as I had expected.

So how are the two related you're probably asking yourself??? I'm getting to that................ Well on this new Third Day CD they have a woman on there singing some duets. I have no idea who she is (haven't read the liner notes yet), but she has a southern accent. Again I am surprised how much I like duets!! So anyways, everytime I get in the car & hear this CD it makes me want to watch "Walk The Line". So I've been watching that movie over & over & over, at least a couple times each week for the past month.

Hubby's been a little perplexed by it though. I'm sure I understand why. Not to spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but Johnny Cash did have a drug problem. And hubby knows how much I dislike that kind of thing, so he's a little surprised that I like the movie as much as I do. BUT I have to say, at least as far as I can tell in the movie, he kicked his drug habit completely. So yeah, that does make it better for me, but it's also mostly the music that I really love in the movie.

So I was watching it yesterday & I can tell it's not the original recordings for the songs, so it got me wondering WHO was actually singing the songs. So at the end I let the credits run & took a look & was shocked to see it's the actors--Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon that recorded the songs!! I was really impressed by that. I mean I never knew they had singing talent, not to mention the ability to duplicate someone else's! So then I noticed in the credits that there's a soundtrack available! So of course on my way home from the doc today I stopped at Best Buy & got it! My only disappointment is that they didn't include 'Time's a Wastin'" on it. But aside from that it's really good.

So for those of you who haven't seen this movie, I recommend it highly! It's based on two autobiographies on Johnny Cash, which I am actually interested in reading--I've been in a reading mood lately.........

Cardiologist appointment

Ok, so I saw the cardiologist today. I worked with him while I was working at Riverside Community Hospital, but I wasn't there long enough for him to remember me, so I didn't mention it.

His office is really tiny (& packed!) & I had to wait 1/2 hour past my appointment time just to be called in. I was getting a little irritated. At least this isn't a doc I'm going to be seeing a lot of.

First the girl that took me back did an EKG. I had millions of these done when I was a teenager. I assume it was normal cuz the doc didn't say anything about it, but an EKG only looks at the electrical part of the heart, not the perfusion, so it won't show a murmur & I would expect mine to be normal. Although an EKG can show if a heart attack has happened in the past & I have had episodes of severe chest pain in the past, so it's good to know no minor heart attack has ever occured. You'd be amazed how many people discover they've had them without realizing when a routine EKG is done.

Then the doc came in & we talked about why I was there. I told him the murmur was found when I was 14 & I had tons of EKGs, echos, & stress tests done from age 14-18. I also told him I was on digoxin for those 4 years. I told him I am now pregnant & my OB wanted me to get an echo done. He said he'd order it, but he didn't expect to find any great abnormality. But he said he could clearly hear a murmur with his stethoscope, which back when they first found it they had a hard time hearing it, & every doc I see now says they hear it clearly, so that makes me suspicious that it's getting worse. But he's still confident that it's not anything to worry about.

He also said that a year ago or so they revised the recommendations about taking antibiotics when having dental work done. It's no longer required--but I'm sure it'll take a while before the dentists are on board with that protocol too. Most dentists will refuse to see you unless you've taken your antibiotics in advance if you have mitral valve prolapse.

So the echo is scheduled for November 3rd.

PS--yesterday I went to Whole Foods & while I was there I grabbed a peach to put on hubby's pillow this week. Hubby saw it last night & said it's not gonna last the week, it'll be eaten by him before the week is up for sure, haha! I also gave in & brought home some white bread, but it is sourdough at least. For some reason the foods that I normally love that are rough & have tons of fiber now upset my stomach. I've been wanting toast & sandwiches so badly, but our wheat bread I can't tolerate. So yesterday I stopped to look at the breads at Whole Foods & decided to bring home a loaf of sourdough. I have a hard time bringing white bread into the house, but there are folks out there who argue that a white sourdough bread is actually more healthy than a wheat yeasted bread, so I made my compromise with the sourdough & I am happy to report that I had a piece of toast this morning & my stomach was totally fine with it.

At Whole Foods I also got a prenatal yoga DVD to add to my pilates & spinning workouts. I probably won't be able to do it til Monday or Tuesday at the soonest, but I think it'll be a great addition.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

13 weeks tomorrow (& a garden update)

Ok, so I'm wrapping up the end of my first trimester here......tomorrow I will be 13 weeks. This week the baby will be the size of a peach. I'm still really tired, but I do have to report that the last 2 days I did not HAVE to take a nap & my energy held out until around 5pm (it usually starts fading fast around 2 pm), so I do consider that an improvement. I'm still doing pilates & spinning & the occasional walk. Not a whole lot is new here....... On Thursday I see the cardiologist. I honestly can't think of anything else to report..........

As for the garden, when I got up on Saturday & looked out the window at my garden I could clearly recognize that we had a worm eating one of the tomato plants. The last time this happened I didn't recognize it soon enough & lost most of the plant & it still hasn't recouped yet. I get really grossed out about bugs, so I took hubby with me. We found not only one, but SIX huge adult hornworms & 2 babies. The next day on our way home from church we stopped to buy an organic spray for worms. There's a big picture of the tomato hornworm right on the bottle, so I was hopeful it would work. It did say in the directions that it can take up to 2 days to actually kill the worm. So on Sunday when I went to spray the plants I saw another adult worm feasting away, but I left it there, as a test to see if the spray would work. I did take a lot of pleasure in spraying it in the face & it was obvious it wasn't happy about it at all. When I checked yesterday it was still there, but it wasn't very active. When I checked back today it's dead on the ground. Woohooo!!! I would still like to know how these worms get here & how they know to come here.........we don't live in a tomato farm community or anything like that.........

Alright, I guess that's all for now....if anything interesting goes on at the cardiologist on Thursday I'll post a blog then............

Friday, October 10, 2008

12 weeks tomorrow & doc appointments

Ok, so tomorrow I will be 12 weeks--the end of the first trimester is here at last!! My nausea has lessened the last few days & I am told that within a week or 2 my exhaustion should also be coming to an end---I can't wait!!!!!!

So this week the baby is the size of a lime! That was an easy one, we ALWAYS have limes in our refrigerator.

On Friday I got a call from the first OB doc's office (the one I'm not seeing anymore). The gal tells me she got a request for my records from my current doc. She sounds confused & asks if I'm switching docs.......... I tell her yes I am. She says 'oh, ok, I'll fax all your records today then' She then pauses a moment & asks 'can I ask WHY you're switching docs?' To that I reply 'in all honesty I didn't like the way I was treated at your office' & to that the only reply I received was 'ok' & a prompt click. I guess it was too much to hope for an apology or something of that sort............

So today I saw the high risk OB for the first time. Actually first I met with a genetic counsellor that works in his office. She explained about my age & the father's age & the increased risks for things because of this. She went over all the options for genetic testing & then asked me if I needed more time to decide on it. I told her I would refuse the invasive diagnostic tests (the amniocentesis & chorionic villus sampling) but that blood work & ultrasounds were ok by me. I had to sign forms refusing the invasive tests. So today they did a 'first trimester genetic screening' They pricked one of my fingers & took blood for the test & then did an ultrasound of the baby (mainly to look at the spine/neck, this was part of the testing). I am surprised they don't do any genetic bloodwork on the father............ I told her my brother, sister, & I all have scoliosis. I told her my brother & I have pectus excavatum. She said there's a good chance the baby will have either or both of these, but since they aren't life-threatening they don't worry too much about that. In filling out the forms beforehand it asked about what medications I have taken during the pregnancy & I put down the retin-A. She asked about that & said they really don't worry about topical drugs--of course she said she couldn't guarantee nothing would happen, but she said she's never heard of a case of birth defects caused by a topical agent. I told her what my OB said & she said "I'm certain she's confusing it with accutane" I also told her that my husband's ex-wife had 2 miscarriages & they don't know why. She asked about all my immediate family & all hubby's immediate family members & their health & their children's health. She was drawing a family tree as she asked.

This ultrasound they did was quite fascinating!! I was staring at the screen wondering if I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing & finally the gal doing the ultrasound said "wow, this baby is ALL OVER THE PLACE! it will NOT stay still!" And that's exactly what I was seeing--it was flipping & spinning & moving ALL OVER. It was really a sight to see, especially after the last ultrasound I saw where it didn't move at all. I was able to see it's little arms & legs clearly & it's head & the umbilical cord. I'm sure that ultrasound tech probably thinks I just had starbucks or something, LOL, but I NEVER have caffeine, so that's definitely not the case. I think we have a little dancer in there.

So I go back to this doc on November 12th for a more in-depth ultrasound. The doctor met with me briefly & said it was too early to take a good look at the baby's organs, so they'll do that next time. And that's all there is to report for now...............

EDITED TO ADD: I forgot to include that I am still doing spinning & pilates 3 days each week. It's been too hot to go walking, but I heard the weather should be cooling off soon, so hopefully very soon I'll be able to continue with my walks also.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Today's doctor appointment

So today I had my doctor appointment with my OB doc. It was really quick. They took my weight, blood pressure, & tested my urine for glucose & protein. She mentioned that she STILL has not received my records & lab results from the other doc. She had a doppler with her & we listened to the baby's heart beat with it. Before she attempted this she warned me to not get scared if she can't find the heartbeat, it might just be too early, but she found it very quickly with no problems. I am still feeling so extremely tired & I did ask again if she was sure this was normal. She said yes, most definitely. She even laughed & told me that before she was ever pregnant she remembered her patient's complaining about that & she just reassured them it's normal, but once she was pregnant herself she said she had a whole new understanding of it. She said you could sleep 12 hours & still be tired. You could sit on the couch all day & still be tired. I was nodding emphatically to this. She promised me it's normal & it should get better in a couple of weeks.

So on Monday if I'm feeling up to it I think I'm gonna go in person to the other doc's office & try to get my records for myself. I'm getting a little tired of their nonsense.

On the 7th I have my appointment with the high risk OB. On the 16th I have my appointment with the cardiologist. And on the 30th I will have my next appointment with my OB.

Oh yeah, I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home & found now there's a fig on hubby's pillow. :-)

I guess that's all for now.............. (if anyone is still reading these that is, LOL)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

pectus excavatum

Pectus excavatum:

So I was born with this rib cage defect. Well, actually, having read my childhood medical record it states that it was not present at birth but began to show itself shortly thereafter & continued to progress over time. My brother also has it, but it's not nearly as severe as mine was. I actually have no idea if anyone else in my family has it though.

So growing up I remember going to many doctors over the course of many years regarding this. None of them seemed too concerned or wanted to do anything about it. Until later on that is.......I still wonder why they waited so long to do anything about it. I don't know, there could be a good reason for it that I'm just not aware of. By the age of 12 they were ready to take action. I had the surgery in August 1985, one month prior to my 13th birthday. In my opinion this is just a horrible decision in & of itself, not to mention the way it was handled in my case.

I feel it's a bad decision to do it at this age mainly because it's an age where a person is extremely self conscious about their body already. To go doing major surgery at a time like this just doesn't seem like an intelligent decision to me. I mean, if it's a ruptured appendix or something really critical there's obviously no choice, but for something like this it really should've been handled at a younger age or left alone in my opinion.

Also the way it was handled has never seemed right to me. I can remember going to meet with my surgeon & I was asked to leave the room so the surgeon could talk to my mom. That just isn't right, especially at the age of 12. It is after all MY body that they are doing the surgery on. I felt like I had no rights at all. No one cared that "I" didn't want to have surgery. No one cared that "I" didn't like being left in the dark regarding what was going to be done. They did discuss a few of the possible negative long-term effects of the surgery with me in the room, which did occur, despite all my praying that it wouldn't.

And not once prior to my surgery did anyone ever discuss with me that there would be pain involved. That was the most horrendous shock of the whole deal. Not only was there pain involved, it was horrendous pain--they had cut through every layer of the body, including bone. If someone could've at least prepared me for that I would've been so much better prepared & better off & probably had a much easier recovery. You may be thinking that pain after surgery is just common sense & didn't need to be discussed, but all I can say is that it's not to a 12 year old.

They had promised me they would do the incisions infra=mammary (cross ways underneath the breast area) so the scar would never be visible when clothed. And then of course I wake up to find they had done a HUGE midline incision. That was just the final kicker for me really. I was beyond pissed. I remember crying & crying about it all.

I probably sound angry in this blog, but I'm not really. I was, for many years, but I've gotten over it. The surgery has had many negative lasting effects on my body that I am not so pleased with, but there's really not much I can do about it. It's just something you have live with. I've done the best I can with the circumstances & that's really all I can do. Being the optimist I am I do try to focus on the bright side & I take pride in the fact that I survived such a horrendous surgery at such a young age & if I could get through that I am certain I can get through any other surgery or painful event that life has to offer. Honestly, not much in life will be as painful as a surgery of that caliber. And the surgery itself had a big impact in me wanting to be a nurse. I also feel I can empathize with my surgical patients in a way that other nurses can't (most nurses I know have never had surgery).

For many years now I've wondered what exactly they did in there. I've had two MRI's in the past (neck & wrist) & they always question me over & over about the possibility of having metal rods in there (I guess this is one method used to surgically correct pectus excavatum). I was pretty sure I did not have metal rods in there, no one told me I did & I would think they would tell you that for sure. Both MRI's were a success, so it was clear there wasn't any metal rods in there. I had always thought about contacting my surgeon & asking him what he had done. I know he's still working, I've seen his name around, he's a pediatric surgeon.

Somehow it suddenly occurred to me to request my medical records from the hospital I had the surgery at. So in July of this year I did just that. I was praying they would still have them, it's been more than 20 years now. So just a couple of weeks ago the records arrived in the mail. I am actually REALLY glad I got them. It doesn't clearly explain exactly what was done in the surgery--all it says it that they removed part of the first 6 sets of ribs & reattached the sternum & somehow raised it all up. But it does clearly explain that it was a more serious matter than I had ever been led to believe. I do recall when they finally decided that surgery was necessary they discussed the fact that I have such a tiny ribcage, that's it both narrow & shallow. Adding upon that was the fact that I have scoliosis (curvature of the spine) & the pectus excavatum. I do remember them saying they felt my heart might end up not having enough room. In the records the xrays clearly show that my heart was not in proper position prior to the surgery & even after the surgery it is only 'in slightly more normal position'. So my heart isn't even where it should be, but it's somewhat more normal than it was. I was really shocked to learn this. In the OR Record it clearly states that they had mapped my body for infra-mammary incision on the table & then decided amongst themselves that my case was too severe for it to be done this way. To see that they hadn't just blatantly lied to me about the incision choice really made me feel better. I'm still not happy about having this big scar, but at least I know they didn't just lie to me like I had suspected.

Despite my addiction to working out & all my weight lifting I have never been able to regain my chest muscle strength after the surgery. And no matter how much I workout I still get very short of breath upon exertion, my heart just can't seem to compensate enough. (I do also have a heart murmur, so I'm not sure how much of that is related to the murmur & how much is related to the pectus excavatum issues) And there was a lot of developmental disruption to the breast area--I am not even sure I will be able to breast feed my baby because of it. I've asked the docs & it's just a wait & see game for now.

I do see on Wikipedia that pectus excavatum is sometimes linked to pressure while in utero. I did have this, my mom had a very large fibroid tumor in utero with me, but since my brother also has slight pectus excavatum I tend to suspect it's hereditary. I also read that mitral valve prolapse (my heart murmur) can be caused by the pectus excavatum & that if they had done the surgical repair at a younger age the murmur may have not occurred. I am very suspicious of marfan's syndrome ( )--I don't know, but I do have an awful lot of things on the list that are so commonly connected to it. I would love to have testing done to see if that's the case, but I'm sure it's expensive & insurance wouldn't cover it.

garden update

Just a quick update on the garden. I really need to get some pics, just haven't had time, or actually the energy, to get any.

So the cucumbers have lots of babies that are maturing on the vines. We harvested a couple of jalapenos already. I gave them to my mother in law, she LOVED them. I also gave her one of the first cucumbers--she said it was the best cucumber she's had in YEARS. Hubby ate the other cucumber & couldn't stop raving about it. There are more jalapenos coming & there are serranos coming too. There are little green beefsteak tomatoes on one of the tomato plants, the roma tomatos just don't seem to be doing well enough to produce anything unfortunately. There are several baby cantaloupes on the vine. Still no sign of zucchini, bell pepper, or watermelon, but I do know that watermelon takes a long time to produce & since we started the garden late we just may not end up getting any. The herbs are doing well too, as always.

I guess that's about it for now........................