Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the dating weighting game

One more week down! Even though I haven't really done any more than normal, the Christmas holidays have made me feel like I am overexerting myself for some reason. Maybe it is because Cody has been home on vacation for the last two weeks, or perhaps it's the hustle and bustle of people coming and going around the house. Either way I was looking forward to getting an all clear from the OB yesterday.

Cody took Rhys to visit some familiar peeps at the NICU while I waited for over an hour to get checked out. My cervix is good, blood pressure is still a bit elevated (for me) but within normal range, and I gained FOUR pounds. In a week! Holy moly Little Sister better be beefing up in there because I'd hate to think all that weight just plastered itself to my rear. I've really noticed my belly growing the last week or so, and have also noticed that Little Sister's kicks are moving up my abdomen so I think she's spreading out. The nurse got a good laugh during the heartbeat check because Little Sister was just thumping away and interrupting the reading. I'm anxious to see the peri again in two weeks to see how much she has grown.

Rhys continues his weekly PT with ECI. The PT seems to think he's made some improvement in the short time she's been seeing him. I have noticed his legs seem a bit stronger than previously, but we're still working on his back muscles and keeping him remaining standing for longer periods of time. He is doing very well using his right arm, which is something we've been hoping for. He still occasionally keeps a closed fist on his right hand, but not nearly as much as he used to, and he can easily be persuaded to grab things with his right hand after initially reaching with his left. He has become a pro at bouncing and can simultaneously throw his arms up and down and/or grab and hold onto the animals up top. Hey, nothing special but it's coordination and I'll take it! His little fits are becoming an everyday occurrence. It's almost funny that he raises his fists and shakes them when he's really angry. Cody and I have to be very careful not to outright laugh at his behavior.

Rhys is now about 22 pounds and has outgrown nearly all the clothes I recently bought him. He has never looked malnourished by any stretch, but he is becoming quite the ham. We continue to work on new foods, but Rhys still prefers his yogurt. Cody recently tried regular oatmeal/Malt-o-Meal spiked with milk, butter and brown sugar and after his initial refusal (and a lot of persistence on Cody's part) Rhys actually ate some of it. I gave him Whataburger fries yesterday on the way home from the doctor and he really seemed to like them and did a good job chewing and swallowing instead of spitting it out. One of these days we're going to look back and wonder how the heck we did all this. Oh wait, we've been doing that for the last year and a half!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

happy homecoming

One year ago today Cody and I woke bright and early in our room at the Ronald McDonald House. After a Christmas night of little rest we sleepily opened the door when we heard a knock. In came one of our favorite NICU doctors, who wished us good morning and gave us great news. Despite initially being told we'd need Care By Parent for at least two nights, she thought Rhys did great on night one and was signing his discharge papers. We were so unprepared for this announcement we'd taken Cody's car to the hospital the night before, sans carseat. So while Cody rushed home to swap our cars I packed up Rhys's few belongings entire life and received final instructions.

Last year, the day after Christmas looked like this for us. This morning Cody and I were well rested from full night's sleep (Rhys must have felt sorry for waking us up at 6 a.m. yesterday). We were all exhausted from a day full of visiting family and opening presents. Rhys received so many great gifts I can't even begin wrap my mind around it. He is one spoiled loved little man! Belated Merry Christmas to you all, I hope it was great.

And Happy 1st Birthday to Rhys's buddies, Kyle and Liam. Auntie M and Uncle D also received a surprise one year ago when their boys made a slightly unexpected arrival.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

info galore

Today's wait at the OB had to be the shortest on record. I was in and out in 45 minutes. If only they could always be so speedy! No ultrasound (again) today, just a heartbeat and cervix check. I was sent home with two more antibiotics. That makes me feel like I'm falling apart, but my OB assures me I am not. I understand infections are more common while pregnant, and bless my OB for taking no chances. And for not making me feel like a paranoid moron in the process.

The talk about infections prompted me to ask my OB if I should expect to see any signs of my cervix dilating. His answer? Probably not. That doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. Because everything happened so quickly last time, with zero indication until it was much too late, he doesn't expect the tell tale signs of impending labor. His solution is weekly office visits to check things out. Okay by me! Though I will certainly be on pins and needles the next four weeks, until I reach 28 weeks. As mentioned previously, if/when my cervix unexpectedly starts to efface I am fairly certain I will be put in the hospital until Little Sister makes her arrival.

I had the tiniest bit of spotting this afternoon. So tiny that a normal, non-freakish person wouldn't have even seen it. Spotting can occur after your cervix is checked, but this is the first time it's happened to me. I noticed it late in the afternoon so if it continues through tomorrow I will call the office to ask about it. Just in case. Everything with this pregnancy is just in case.

My contractions remain unchanged. Very infrequent and random. Except for two days ago when the nurse told me I had seven in one hour. Seven. There is no way I had seven. I don't believe the machine lied, but I have gotten pretty good at recognizing irritability and contractions and I felt maybe two bouts of mild tightening during that session. Oddly enough I have noticed that some nurses are more conservative than others when they read the data. What one nurse would consider irritability another counts as an actual contraction. The difference (from my understanding) is mostly pertaining to the intensity of the tightening, where irritability is much milder. The nurses who are very conservative count anything that lasts more than forty seconds as a contraction no matter the intensity.

So where am I in this pregnancy?

Right now I am officially 24 weeks. Though, based on when Little Sister was created I am not quite that far along. How am I sure? Because I was there folks! My OB likes his estimate, which is only a difference of 4 days, so we are going with that. No, four days isn't that big of a deal. Unless of course you're referring to a preemie and I then I want every extra day I can have.

How much weight have I gained? About 22 pounds. It's mostly all belly, though my face is a bit fuller, my arms a little flabbier and my rear and legs a bit snugger in jeans that were previously ginormous. At this point with the twins I had gained forty pounds. Yes, I said forty. A four followed by a zero. I have no idea how I gained that much weight, but however it happened it wasn't related to eating because I was just not into food at all.

How do I feel? Much to my surprise, great! I didn't get pukey during the first trimester, though I was extremely fatigued and had that yucky whatever stuck in my throat the entire 13 weeks. I have a bit of heartburn now but nothing compared to the twins' pregnancy. With the twins I got up (literally) 3-4 times a night to use the restroom from about 13 weeks on. And then horrible insomnia rarely allowed me to go back to sleep. I am very thankful for being comfortable so far and being able to sleep through the night, mostly uninterrupted.

Any concerns so far? Not according to my OB. I've noticed my blood pressure has spiked a little the last couple of weeks, but he hasn't mentioned a thing about it. My baseline blood pressure is very low, at about 100/60. My current blood pressure is about 110/75 (give or take) depending on where and what time of day it is taken. That is still a good blood pressure on its own, and I believe only anything above 120/90 is cause for worry, but some doctors get concerned if the bottom number (which matters most from what I'm told) increases by 15. This is another of those things I need to add to the "leave it alone" list until my doctor deems it a worry.

Is Little Sister a mover? Absolutely! I think she's doing flips in there. She thumps and kicks all day long. Her constant shifting makes me truly wonder how two babies ever fit.

Does Little Sister have a name? We're working on it! Cody and I seem to have serious difficulty naming our children. We have it narrowed down to a few we really like but haven't gotten any farther than that.

Beyond that we're working on finishing selections for the nursery. We had a major head start this time. The walls were freshly painted at the same time the twins' nursery was started, Bentley's crib is on standby and we have re-purposed a dresser. I have purchased fabrics for the bedding (online of course), I need to get a rocker and a few more odds and ends but that is about all. I love shopping for Rhys, but it has been really fun shopping for a little girl. We've only bought a very few pieces of clothing for Little Sister (as we don't know exactly when she'll arrive or how big she'll be in what season) but it's certainly been fun to window shop.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

bounce, bounce, bounce

Rhys has discovered the fun of bouncing. He's been bouncing for a few weeks now, but never more than one or two bounces at a time. Look at him now!

He's been at it for a good 30 minutes. Way to go little man!

Monday, December 14, 2009

peri vist @ 23 weeks

As expected, after reviewing the ultrasound today the peri told me I am still eating too much sugar/carbs. I don't eat a ton of sweets to begin with and Cody and I try to eat as healthy as possible as often as possible, but I am just a bread and rice kind of person and try as I might that is a major part of what I eat. I really have made an honest effort to limit my intake (despite my OB telling me not to worry), and that didn't do a thing so I give up! For now. Or until my OB tells me to adjust my diet. I go back to the peri in four weeks for another checkup... all part of the master plan.

Even still, I am just a bit on the high side according to the peri. Whatever that really means. Everything else with Little Sister looked great, when she remained still long enough for the tech to do her job. She is measuring a few days ahead and is estimated to weigh a whopping 1lb 2oz. That is right at where the boys were measuring - they each weighed 1lb 7oz at 23w5d. Cervix looked good today too. Woohoo! I am still having a random contraction here and there, but so far I haven't noticed an increase in frequency. The farther along I get the more comfortable I feel about this pregnancy having a different outcome from last time. I will breathe a huge sigh of relief once I reach 28 weeks, but as a lovely and wise friend recently told me "if we're going to wish let's wish BIG!"

Rhys seems to have come a bit more out of his shell the last few weeks. It is great seeing his little personality develop. More increasingly he has quite the attitude when he doesn't get his way. He loves the phone and Dad's touch screen remote and boy if you don't want him to have it you'd better not let him see it! I understand this isn't unique, but when you see your child start life as tiny and fragile as Rhys did it is so easy to be amazed at every silly (and normal!) little thing they do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PT update

Today was Rhys's second session with the ECI therapist. I have to admit that I am pleased with her even though she's only seen Rhys twice. I think it is mostly to do with the fact that she is taking a different approach (at least right now) to the therapy. A fresh set of eyes as it were. Where the private PT was working more on sitting and pushing up, this PT is working more on Rhys legs, feet and back.

First, we're working on getting Rhys to bear weight (on command) on his feet. Rhys basically stands when he wants to stand. If you put his feet on the ground he will not always straighten his legs to hold himself up. The PT told us that Rhys has a lot of sensitivity on the soles of his feet and there are times when his feet touch the ground he wants to lift them back up instead of bear weight on them. This isn't always the case (because he will weight shift in his jumperoo all day long if you let him), but we still need to correct it. She suggested that when we hold him we should either rub his feet with our hands or rub his bare feet up against different textures.

Another issue has to do with Rhys's legs. Rhys has low tone, which is one of the reasons he doesn't have the "endurance" to remain in certain positions. We've seen huge improvements as the months have gone by but we still need to train his muscles to do what we want them to. The idea is to force the low tone muscles to act properly, in alignment, so that the remainder of the body can act in its correct position and send feedback to the brain. Right now we are working on two positions with Rhys. First, by making Rhys stand, with feet firmly planted on the ground, and not allowing his knees to buckle. He doesn't appreciate this position, however he is more tolerant of it when his activity table is in front of him. The other way is to straddle his legs over your thigh and have him put weight on his feet. He seems to cooperate more with this position. The way I understood it when it was explained to me (and I could be somewhat off) is that low tone muscles will sort of find their own way, even if it isn't the correct way. If we can get them to act properly the rest of the body can then be properly engaged and hopefully we will see some progress with the motor skills.

Rhys has not been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, but as a micro parent you always know that is a possibility for your child. While he is demonstrating some signs of possible CP it is still too early to say that he definitely will or will not outgrow it. We have seen Rhys make great strides in the last months so we are hopeful that with time and a lot of continued hard work he will gain all the muscle control necessary to move independently and unassisted. But at this point only time will tell. The new PT seems positive though and has promised to look into new toys or equipment that might help get him started.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I'm a three

22 weeks! My OB checkup today went well. It was the first time, in all my months of pregnancy, that I did not have an ultrasound at a visit. That was very strange, but on the other hand somewhat reassuring that my OB didn't feel the need for one. Little Sister's heartbeat was good and my cervix is still "closed, closed, closed". Based on a swab that was done two weeks ago I do have a bit of a minor infection that is being treated with antibiotics.

Since I began monitoring I have had a handful of contractions and occasional irritability. I am getting pretty good at identifying which is which, and I am fairly certain I am not having contractions except on rare occasions. Hopefully this trend continues and they don't increase in frequency. Irritability is basically a constant contraction, but is much less intense and doesn't cause as much 'damage' as a full blown contraction. I asked my OB about them today and he is not worried about my monitoring results so far. I have a few small fibroids, which is not uncommon, and those cause irritability, as does pregnancy itself. So, overall he is very pleased with how things are progressing. Just out of curiosity I asked him where I fall on his high risk scale. I'm a three out of ten. Not too bad! Though he did mention he doesn't want me to get any worse. Well, me either!

I remembered to ask him about the peri's assessment that I was eating too much sugar. Without being ugly he basically told me to ignore the peri. In fact, he wants me to eat a ton of sugar because he wants Little Sister to be fat! I think he was half joking, but he did mention that I should eat a lot of protein and try to beef Little Sister up and make sure she is as chubby as possible. I go back to the peri next week for another anatomy scan/checkup, but I have instructions from my OB to ignore anything I am told until I speak with him.


Rhys started his ECI PT last week. The new PT seems to think that Rhys's back muscles need a little strengthening. Which made sense to me once she pointed it out. So, she gave us some exercises to practice with him to get him to work his back. Now that I think of it that does seem to be what is keeping him from doing what he needs to. Might not be the only thing, but it is definitely contributing. We will be seeing this PT once a week now, and I am excited to get her fresh perspective.

Here are Rhys and Cody in our Houston blizzard last week. We very rarely get snow in Houston, and even when we do it doesn't stick to the ground. It snowed all day last Friday and covered the entire neighborhood in at least an inch of white.

Today I am: 1 year, 4 months, 3 weeks and 1 day old.
Adjusted I am: 1 year and 1 month old.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

happy birthday Bella!

Happy 1st Birthday
to Rhys's micro buddy