Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee"

(oops! The date is wrong.)

Today we reached a wonderful goal-32 weeks. It is such a blessing to be able to say that. Baby Girl continues to do well. We had an ultrasound this past Wednesday and while the fluid was very low she has stayed on the same growth curve (32nd percentile). She is now estimated to weigh 3lbs 6oz. This means that if she were born now she would now longer be considered a micro-preemie. Just reaching 32 weeks means that she will not be facing overwhelming complications from prematurity. We have more than enough to worry about with her lungs so we feel a great sense of relief in making it this far.

This past week seemed to last a month. All those stereotypical things people complain about with hospitals are so true and wearing on me a bit. I have a tendency to get cabin fever easily and this staying in one room for weeks on end is bringing out parts of my personality I'd rather not face. I am beginning to identify with The Shining much more than a normal person should.

The upside is that as my reserves are depleted other things rise up to ease the pressure some. I do have a medically necessary private room now and have for 2 weeks. This is probably the most significant change and has done wonders for me. I really think if I were continuing to deal with roommate issues at this point that I would be hiding in the bathroom all day or the nurses would be calling security to pull me off of some drug addicted roommate.

The other big change is that some of my most favorite nurses have taken it upon themselves to tweak the schedule so I am almost always assigned a preferred nurse. Bless their hearts for being protective of me. The kindness these women have shown me over the past 8 weeks is priceless.

Oh! I also have been able to continue my IV holiday. I should knock on wood but the closest "wood" in my reach is the wood grain sticker on my hospital tray.

I recently met with the child life specialist that works with the NICU. As delivery approaches I realize that I have no clue how to balance the needs of both children aside from changing the laws of space and time. There is a very real possibility that Baby Girl will be critically ill and require NICU care. I will undoubtedly want to be at her bedside as much as possible. At the same time I will have a two year old at home that has not had full access to her mother since early January. Being healthy does not mean that she will not need her mother. I don't want her to keep making sacrifices any longer than necessary. The child life specialist gave me great guidance in regards to splitting my time and giving Anneliese more stability in her life. Until a few weeks ago I never knew child life specialists existed but boy are we grateful for the resource now.

We also talked about how to approach all the possible outcomes with Annie. It is hard because with such an uncertain pregnancy we really don't know what to prepare her for and will be making it up as we go. It is a comfort to know we will have professionals to help walk us through it. She said they do a lot with play therapy at her age as two year olds can't express themselves very well verbally. I laughed and said "Well, you will have to meet our Anneliese." She has no problems sharing what is on her mind and has an impressive awareness of her emotions.

She also explained that quite often with young children the stress of having mom in the hospital does not come out until after mom returns home. At that point they feel safe expressing their frustration and want to test Mommy to see if she will leave again. It is good to be able to anticipate such bumps in the road and prepare in advance. In general she continues to handle the separation very well but lets me know she is not happy about it. Tonight while playing she sang "I'm a silly girl and I live in a house where I really miss my Mommy all the time." It broke my heart to hear it but I am very grateful that she can share her feelings. It's all I can do to stop myself from running back home to be with her.

As for Baby Girl Tee, she is a moving and punching machine. I may nickname her Cassius Clay. I have several sore spots on my abdomen from her antics and I am always impressed by her brute strength. Sometimes I think having to move against so much resistance has made her "buff." At any rate she is a true fighter in every sense of the word.

In the most exciting thing to happen to me in weeks she has gotten herself in a position where she is blocking the fluid from escaping. I have not leaked for 2 days! This is honestly thrilling for me. Her movements feel more gentle, as if she is floating just as a baby should. My belly is bigger and has a nice rounded shape. The biggest difference though is that she has not had big decels during NSTs because her cord has the cushioning it needs. Now, she can move from this position at any time and this wonderful swimming pool will be gone in a minute but for now the two of us are going to enjoy the luxury of amniotic fluid.

The doctors made a point of explaining that fluid levels increasing at this point will not change the status of her lungs as we are out of the period of critical lung development (leave it to doctors to dampen my excitement). At the same time, I think having a good amount of fluid may exercise her lungs more effectively as she practice breathes and help them maintain flexibility when she is born. I have no scientific proof of this (and I have cut myself off from reading any more oligiohydramnios, pPROM, hypoplastic lungs, etc studies) but in my mind in makes sense. At any rate it certainly can't hurt things.

I hope this post is somewhat coherent as I am running on very little sleep and my typing is atrocious. Again, I am so grateful for the support we continue to receive. This is a challenging time and every kind word and prayer helps.

Here's hoping for a nice calm week ahead! If you can believe it delivery is at most 2-3 weeks weeks away.

Anneliese sharing one of her favorite hospital hang outs with her cousin. It was so nice to have time with my family. Thanks again for the visit!


  1. I am so in awe of you. Being hospitalized for low fluid for 2 weeks before my delivery drove me utterly crazy...I can't imagine 8 weeks. I am keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Congrats JT for making it to 32 weeks!! What a journey. Annie will make a wonderful BIG sister. She is SO smart!

  3. Wow! I was on the prom site this am and wondering about you. 32 weeks! I am so excited for you. You and baby girl are fighters! Just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you.
    Hugs, Kathleen
    Mommy to angel Sophia

  4. JT--I'm so happy for you that you have a temporary hiatus from the leaking. I hope she stays in that position for the next few weeks.

    I'm amazed at how Annie speaks and expresses herself too. You have one bright little girl!

    Bethany and Christopher

  5. Jen, you have to give yourself more credit! Your writing is great, even if you happen to be hunched over a typewriter a la a Jack Nicholson. You know, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Just kiddinggg.

    On a more serious note, I think you're doing a wonderful job of balancing everything. I am thinking of you and BGT every day. Actually, I wanted to let you know that I'm moving back to Rochester for grad school, so I will be extremely happy to spend time with Anneliese whenever you need me.

    If you get really bored and want to feel better about how good Annie is compared to other children, ask Mom about how I reacted after she brought Lee home.

    Sending lots of love to you and all Tees!!!


  6. Happy 32 weeks Jenn and Baby Girl Tee! What an awesome milestone. I have faith that Baby Girl will continue to prove the doctor's wrong over the next few weeks and once she gets here! My prayers continue for all of you!

    Amy J

  7. Woohoo!!! Reaching 32 weeks is great! I know it has been enormously difficult and you are doing so well - I'd be totally bonkers by now. Good news about the fluid level and I hope it hangs on like this for lots longer. I look forward to reading more good updates.

  8. Wow, Jen! 32 Weeks! Hang in're doing great! That beautiful baby girl will be here before you know it. I can't wait to meet her. I'm so proud of you, Steve, Annaliese (and all of the other family, friends, and nurses that have been a part of this). I can't imagine many other things tougher than what you've had to endure. You are an amazingly strong woman and an incredible mother! Baby girl's gotta keep that fluid in there! Not much longer!! Thanks for keeping us have a lot of people that care about the well-being of you and your family, and I know your stories have helped others who have gone or are going through a similar experience.
    Much love,
    Angela P

  9. I am so excited that you are at 32 weeks and everything is going so well. Be proud of yourself and your baby girl. You guys are troopers!

    I wanted to tell you that my daughter Marie went to FSU to become a Child Life Specialist. About halfway through they did away with the degree and put it all under a Child Development title. Now she has a Masters in Child Development. She would love to become a Child Life Specialist one day when she goes back to work. She would be terrific at it.

    Keep us posted as often as possible. I check your blog everyday for new developments. I'm praying for you and sending you big hugs!