Baby #3 34 Weeks

Little Babe,

You sure like to keep things interesting. This past Tuesday was a rough night. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning (really Wednesday) and couldn’t stop itching. As I mentioned before, I started having the itchiness appear on my feet and hands. While on my way into work on Wednesday morning, I called the Dr to see if they had my lab results back yet and my bile acids were a 6, which they said was within normal range. I mentioned that my symptoms had gotten worse and was now having the itchiness on my palms and soles. This immediately worried them and they started asking how long I’ve had these symptoms and requested I come into the office that morning to get more blood work done. I had an appointment the next day, but they said they didn’t want to wait that long so we turned around and went into the office to get more blood work drawn.

I was able to meet with a nurse practitioner and she confirmed that the Bile acid tests are the true indicator of Cholestasis and until that comes back positive, they wouldn’t do anything. She also informed me that this next round of blood work would be a better indicator of what is happening inside my body as some people just have elevated liver enzymes while pregnant but now they have something to compare, it will help them understand if things are getting worse or maybe i just have heightened levels. They also prescribed a pregnancy safe medication to help me get sleep at night and decrease the itching.

This morning, I went in for my Bio-physical test of the baby and a visit with the nurse practitioner. The bio-physical went great. You were sleeping so it took a little longer to get your breathing and movements. They even had to put a little buzzer against my belly to wake you up. Overall, you passed all your tests–the only downfall is you flipped and are breech again. That must have happened over night because when I was walking on Thursday, I swear I could feel your head pushing on my bladder.

Fortunately, Dr. G wanted to talk to me, even though she had a super busy schedule I am so grateful that I was able to talk to her. She confirmed that my liver enzyme levels had risen from when they were previously tested (now in the 100s) but still weren’t at a super dangerous level. We also talked about the her general treatment and delivery approach. She believes I have cholestasis, my blood work just isn’t showing it yet and, she is going to treat me as if I do have it, which means continuing to run weekly blood work and weekly bio-physical tests. If for some reason the Bile tests don’t come back positive by my 36 week appointment, she is going to call the hospital and request I be induced at 37 weeks as she doesn’t feel it is safe to go beyond that given my symptoms and past history.

At the end of today, I did get a call informing me my bile levels were at a 12 this time, so they doubled from the previous, but it was still considered ‘normal’. I’m not sure what is considered ab-normal, so I’ll call to find out, next week. But in general, I feel so much more comfortable knowing we have a tentative plan in place.

Other things happening at 34 weeks pregnant. Overall, I’m really starting to feel the discomfort of being 8 months pregnant. My belly is getting heavy and some of my underwear is getting tight. Breathing continues to be challenging and feel like I should carry an oxygen mask around with me. I just don’t feel like I can catch my breath whether I’m lying in bed, sitting or standing in a line somewhere. Everyday tasks are getting challenging–like getting in and out of van, going up stairs, bending over or standing up. Food is pretty unappealing right now–especially anything that is unhealthy or greasy. So I’m just listening to what my body needs and eating lots of salads and fruit.

We’ve got a big weekend coming up with Auntie Sheila getting married. It is supposed to be super hot, so hoping that I survive!!

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Love,

Mama

Memorial Weekend Updates

Little nugs,

I think this whole situation has me in a bit of a tailspin. Friday evening, I couldn’t sleep for the life of me. I was wide awake. I tried to keep myself busy thinking I would get tired, but just never did. Finally, around 1 am, I forced myself to go to bed, but just laid there for 2 hours tossing, turning and itching (including my palms and soles). In fear of keeping Daddy up, I got up and cleaned our bathroom, ate a snack and then sat in the rocking chair and finally feel asleep around 5:30, only to be woke up at 6:15 by Lexi who wanted to play with her new Shopkins toy. (update: I learned the insomnia came from the steroid shot I had gotten earlier that day)

The rest of the day went pretty well. I got my hair done to prepare for Sheila’s wedding next weekend, figured out jewelry and shoes for myself, finalized each of the kids outfits and got my second steroid shot. By 10 pm, I was exhausted and feel asleep on the couch. Thankfully, the transition to our bed went well and I feel asleep right away. Unfortunately at 3: 15, I had to go to the bathroom and was never able to fall back asleep. I couldn’t remember the last time I felt you move, was having some pain in my lower abdomen and in general couldn’t turn off my anxiety for all the potential scary things that could come. What if you are in distress right now and that is why I can’t feel you and you don’t make it, what if something happens to me, am I in early labor now with the abdominal pain? All bad bad thoughts that I just couldn’t turn off. Around 5, I came downstairs had some OJ, a donut hole and started working on some blog posts to keep me busy while I counted kicks/movements, which is the first time I’ve ever sat down and done this with any of the kids. It took a good 30 minutes to feel anything, but then got 10 kicks or movements right away.

Sunday and Monday were pretty uneventful. I spent a lot of time cleaning the house and getting ready for your arrival. I hung up clothes, moved the mattress up on the crib, figured out the outfit we’ll take you home in, got the monitor set up and my pump charged. The itchyness continued throughout the weekend, but it felt manageable.

Hope to know more early next week.

Love,

Mama

Lexi learns to ride a two-wheeler

Dear Lexi,

You are officially a two-wheel bike riding machine! About a month or two ago, we bought a bike for you. Previously, you had a strider bike, but never really got into it. You kind of understood the balance thing, but were essentially too tall for it.

Your new bike came with training wheels. Previously, I didn’t even want you to try it with those because I just new you would become attached to them and never build up the confidence to learn to ride without. However, we did let you ride with them on to get you used to the idea of pedaling and learning how to turn while pedaling.

You got the hang of it pretty quick so we removed the training wheels and you were so scared and never wanted to ride. So we put the wheels back on, but put them up pretty high to force you to learn to balance. This worked as you learned pretty quickly to ride on the main two wheels. However, when you did shift your weight a little to rely on the trainers, it was too much of a shift and you would often tip over. So the wheels came off again and we would hold onto the back of the seat and run next to you while you pedaled. You did awesome going down hills, but would often stop pedaling when on flat ground or up hills and tip.

Fortunately, we had just watched Finding Dory and there was a quote Dory would repeat ‘Just keep swimming, just keep swimming’ so we started saying that ‘Just keep pedaling’ to keep you going. As soon as you figured that out, it was a cake walk for you! You’re still a little shaky on your steering, but you can get yourself going and stop all by yourself!

There was also a little bit of bribery that went into this too ­čÖé We promised to take you to the Ice Cream Factory when you learned, AND i let you pick out a new Shopkins, which was really the icing on the cake.

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I also realized you need some tough love to give you the confidence to do new and scarier things like this. Daddy always made much more progress when he worked with you. When I would work with you, there was lots of ‘I can’t’ and excuses and whining and I just can’t put up with any of it or show remorse to you as it just feeds into it. You really need me to be tough with you.

Regardless, so happy and proud of you Lexi!!

Way to go!

Love,

Mama

Changes in routine pregnancy care

Baby sister,

Today was another unpredictable and eventful day, but it also brought me some peace of mind. Last night I was pretty itchy and was convinced again that I have┬ácholestasis, but I feel asleep pretty quickly and didn’t wake up from the itchiness, which was great, but also made me question my thoughts from the previous evening. Around 11, Dr. G called to chat about yesterday. The official test for cholestasis will take several days to come back as they have to send it off somewhere. However, they did some other tests around my liver and both of them came back slightly elevated. For one test a normal was considered 40 and my number was 45 and another test the normal number was 32 and I came back as 72–which really means nothing to me, but just documenting for the sake of documenting. Dr. G. says given my history, my symptoms and these elevated numbers , it would indicate I have cholesstais. As a result, she wanted me to come into the office to get a steroid shot to help your lungs develop incase we need to deliver at any point. She also had me do an bio-physical ultrasound to check on baby.

The ultrasound tech was so awesome and really helped me relax and be at peace with everything. She explained just how serious cholestasis is and how they’re going to watch me closely for the rest of the pregnancy, and most importantly, what types of things I could expect based on how the tests go. If the blood work comes back positive, you will for sure be delivered at 36 weeks no questions asked. I was curious if things seem to be going fine and my levels are low, would they wait a little longer and she said no. It is too risky to wait and they want you out of there as soon as possible. I feel like for most people, that would probably be a pretty scary idea, which it is, but it honestly gave me more peace of mind as it helps me set expectations, prepare and just takes a lot of the unknown out of everything. I forgot to ask, if the blood work comes back negative, would they be as likely to induce given the rest of the symptoms or would they just play it by ear?

From this point moving forward, I’ll go into the office on Thursday mornings to have blood work done and then go in on Fridays for an ultrasound and a checkin with Dr. G or a nurse practitioner. During the ultrasound, they look for three main things: you taking practice breaths, movement, and monitoring my fluid levels as these three things are indications that you’re not doing super great inside. The practice breaths are really the most important. If they aren’t able to see those during the ultrasound, they’ll have me do a stress test. If things still aren’t looking great there, they’ll send me to the hospital for more monitoring and based on how those go, they may or may not deliver you. So we’re really taking it week by week knowing that you may come at any point now. Understanding this also made me decide that we for sure aren’t moving Lexi’s tonsil and ear tube surgery and we’re just going to have to wait until after the baby is born to do it. Not ideal, but again, I feel good knowing a decision has been made around that.

So onto the actual appointment. Blood pressure looked good, I got the steroid shot in my butt and will head to the Maple Grove Hospital tomorrow to get the second round as it is pretty important it is administered exactly 24 hours apart. The beginning of the ultrasound was a little rough as I nearly passed out 2 different time–like to the point, I needed to sit up and put my head between my legs. I can’t lay down on my back and the angle I was reclined at prevented me from breathing. Eventually, I rolled onto my side and was able to get comfortable.

One of your hands was by your mouth for almost the entire ultrasound, but she was able to watch your breathing and you passed with flying colors there. My fluid levels were a little high, which she said was good because they are much more concerned if they are too low. You also had lots of movement so you got a 8 out of 8 on your very first test! Again this made me feel really good. She confirmed that you are head down (you got extra credit from mom on that one). We also looked at many of your measurements. According to the machine, you weigh just over 6 lbs., which is equivalent to a 35 week baby! Way to go! I don’t think you actually are that big as the machine can be off, but still it is reassuring to hear. You’re also measuring at the 89.9% for your gestational age, and 90% is considered a big baby, so in my eyes, your a big baby. Again, all good reassuring signs that if you do come early, things will be ‘oh-tay’ as your big brother likes to say.

After my appointment, I swung into target to return some stuff and also picked up some essentials so I’m ready if you do come. I didn’t have any newborn clothes because your siblings were too big for them, so i picked up a couple of onesies, wipes, nursing materials like pumping bags, nursing pads, some nursing tanks and lounge/athletic shorts to wear after you are born.

To top the day off, Lexi learned how to ride a two-wheel bike this evening. She has been able to for awhile but was lacking the confidence to actually do it. A little bribery helped and she rocked it. She’s a little wobbly steering but can start and stop by herself–now we need to work on turning while riding!

As we head into memorial day weekend, I’m hoping for a relatively quiet and uneventful weekend. Don’t pull any funny stuff on your mom little one! I need a mental break!

Love,

Mama

Baby #3 33 Weeks

Dear Sweet Pea,

Today started out with an unexpected visit to the Dr’s office. I woke up around 5 am this morning and was pretty itchy. I have been itchy in periodic spots for the past couple days but chalked it up to dry skin and didn’t think it could be cholestasis because the itchiness wasn’t concentrated to the soles of my feet or the palms of my hand and until last night, it didn’t seem worse at night. Given that I woke up from being itchy made me want to do a little bit of research on cholestasis to make sure I understood all of the symptoms. Sure enough, itchy hands and feet are the most common symptoms but you can also have itchiness all over. Part of this information went straight to my head and I think I started to think I was more itchy than prior to this information. Regardless, I decided I would call the Dr. to get their thoughts on it. The nurse on the phone said my symptoms sounded like┬ácholestasis and that they would want to do some blood work and check on me. After getting my blood drawn, I chatted with the nurse to get a better understanding of this condition. I was curious, ‘Are there varying levels of it and you have more intense symptoms if you have higher levels? ‘Can it go away?’ ‘If the medicine is working, would they still induce or can you go to full term?’ Unfortunately, this is a pretty rare condition so she didn’t know a ton about it and just had to google it, annoying because I had already done that. So basically, I need to wait until the blood work comes back to get more information and figure out a plan with Dr. G.

What I do know is that I had this same condition with Lexi, but it showed up closer to 37 weeks and I had the intense itching on my palms and soles. When the blood work came back positive, I was 39 weeks and was induced within 2 hours. Essentially,┬ácholestasis is a condition that prevents bile from flowing out of your liver. As a result, it builds up in your liver and the acids from the bile enter your bloodstream and cause your skin to itch. These acids are harmful to you and since we’re sharing bloodflow, it can cause babies to be stillborn. I’ve read there are medicines you can take to help ‘fix’ this if you aren’t full term yet.

I may be jumping the gun as it hasn’t even been confirmed that I have this yet, but emotionally I’m kind of all over the board. For the past 8 months, I’ve been mentally preparing to have a baby in mid-July and be on leave until October. We’ve made plans around this including Daddy’s transition plan, Lexi’s tonsil surgery, work transition plans, vacations, how I’ll use my PTO and I’m having a hard time realizing how none of what we had planned may work. I should know better than to make plans and anticipate because you little ones like to do everything to disrupt those plans but it is really hard not to. Overall, all of those things are trivial and what really matters is making sure you arrive as a healthy baby and I’m willing to do anything to make sure that happens. It would just be more convenient if we didn’t have to. Additionally, the thought of you arriving before 37 weeks is a pretty terrifying thought for me. Adding a 3rd munchkin to the mix will be challenging enough the way it is, BUT if you’re a premie and I have to figure out how to split my time between your big siblings and you at a hospital, I am really, really going to struggle. Your daddy and I are both praying for your safe arrival and any strength we’ll need to help us get through this unpredictable transition, whatever that may look like.

Aside from those major updates, many of my symptoms remain as they were last week. Lots of bathroom breaks, shortness of breath continues to get worse, heartburn, restless feet syndrome, difficulty sleeping at night and lots of braxton hicks contractions. Either they are getting stronger or are shifting to some real contractions as several of them have been somewhat painful. You continue to be very active and I can often feel a little foot or hand moving across my belly.

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I continue to get lots of questions at work, ‘when are you due again?’ ‘July’ ‘It’s coming up’ and have recently had several people tell me I look great for being so far along. They’re probably lying, but I’ll take a compliment when I can get one!

This past weekend was Lexi’s first dance recital and she rocked it! I was a little nervous as the dress rehearsal didn’t go great, but we practiced that evening and the next morning and she did so great! It was so fun to watch her and I was so proud to see her out there on the stage with the lights and all these people watching her, especially as she has been a pretty shy little girl.

More updates to come about my test results!

Love,

Mama

Lexi’s 1st Dance Recital

Little Love bug,

Congrats! You just completed your first dance recital and I couldn’t be more proud of you! There were two songs you performed: Edelweiss for ballet and Broadway Babies for tap.

You started your first dance classes back in September learning many of the basics of ballet and tap and would also spend time in most classes doing an obstacle course to work on other coordination skills.

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Around halloween time, you had your first performance for us. All of the parents were invited to come into the class and watch you perform three little songs. At Christmas time, you had a little more formal performance and Grandma B and Papa were able to come. Then came January and you started learning your routine for your recital songs.

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It was so fun to watch you practice and learn these routines each week. I loved how they would practice turning off the lights and quietly walking across stage and teaching you how to bow. So sweet! After many many weeks of practice, it was finally time for the big recital. On Friday evening we had dress rehearsal. We got you all glammed up with your fake hair and outfits on. Unfortunately, we were a little late as you were trying to put bows in your brothers hair and although we both told you to stop on two different occasions, you continued and he bit you in the stomach. Given that we were a little late and you were still upset about your owie, I think you were a little flustered and you didn’t do super great on your tap routine, but did much better on the ballet. Regardless, I decided that we needed to spend some time practicing that evening and in the morning before the big show.

I had recorded the routines on my phone so we projected them onto the TV and you went through them a couple times each, but didn’t seem to improve a whole lot. The next morning we tried the same thing and it was just a struggle-fest, so instead of watching, we just played the music and you did SO much better. You remembered the cues in the music and what you were supposed to be doing verses trying to follow someone on the screen. I was so impressed! We even had a mini-practice show for Daddy downstairs. However, you told me that made you a little scared so I was nervous what you would do up on stage.

Eventually, the time came and you and mommy headed out. You LOVED getting to wear makeup–especially lipstick. For whatever reason, you really seem to love the smell of it. We didn’t go overboard on the makeup, just a little eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara and blush. I dropped you off in the changing room, got you situated with your snacks, coloring book and water and headed out to meet all of your fans! Grandma B, Auntie Sheila, Grandma S, Great Grandma S, Auntie Teresa, Courtney and of course Daddy and William all came to watch you. The show was about an hour and a half with an intermission and you performed one song in each half and totally ROCKED it! You knew the routines and danced and didn’t appear to be nervous or scared at all. 17-05-20 Lexi's First Dance Recital Prof pic-2

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Lexi, this whole experience was such a proud moment for me as a mom! I was so impressed and excited to see how you responded to everything. It was amazing to see my shy and timid little girl who was scared of everything/everyone come out her shell and handle a fairly intimidating situation so well. Way to go girlfriend! That evening you were exhausted, but kept telling me how fun it was and asking when you get to do it again. You even cried that evening because you were sad you won’t get to do it for another year! The ONLY downfall for the weekend (aside from the biting) was that it down poured ALL day on Saturday. I was hoping we were going to be able to take some pictures of your all dolled up outside, but had to suffice for some indoor ones with less than ideal lighting.

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Love you Lexi and am so proud of you!!

Love,

Mama

Baby #3 32 Weeks

Two months to go until we meet sweet sister! It feels so far away but yet so close at the same time. This past week has been a tough one for me. ┬áA lot of my 1st Trimester symptoms returned, nausea (although I haven’t thrown up!!) sensitivity to smells, food aversions, peeing twice in the middle of the night and exhaustion. Plus I continue to have shortness of breath, heartburn and just a hard time moving around. I’ve also started to experience restless leg syndrome in my feet. ┬áMy feet feel like they need to be rubbed constantly while falling asleep. I’ve been putting lotion on them and giving them a little message and then putting some heavy socks at night. I also stopped drinking anything with caffeine and am going to try a magnesium supplement to manage. So all in all, fun times!

When I think about your arrival, it feels so far away but yet so close at the same time. When I’m tossing and turning for 3 hours at night before I fall asleep, I can’t help but think, how am I going to get through the next 8 weeks. But then, I think about all the plans we have between now and your due date and think, you’ll be here in no time.

Several weeks ago, I mentioned I had no patience and would snap on people, but I feel like my patience has returned to the level of a normal person. I don’t get quite as frustrated with the kids and am just a little more even tempered.

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In general, I feel like the bump is huge. William hates that he can’t sit on my lap to read books and I feel like I have a sign on my back that says ‘wide load, make way’. It is challenging to get up from sitting, bend over, get close to the mirror while getting ready, get in or out of the car, go up stairs, be comfortable sitting in a chair or laying down. However, while at the Dr. this week, I’m barely measuring over what I should be and am still under the 20 lb weight gain and know the bump is going to get a lot bigger. Your heart rate was at 140 and my blood pressure continues to be low or ‘really good’. I think you are officially my most active baby. You are constantly moving around, stretching out your legs or arms, and tap dancing those little toes almost to the point where it is painful.

Life updates:

We finished the bunk beds (and by we, I mean daddy). They look great and your big siblings LOVE them! Your auntie Sheila had her bachelorette party over the weekend and had an amazing time. Then, Lexi has her first dance recital this weekend which should be really fun! I’m eager to continue to make progress on house projects (finishing the mirror in the entry way, building a frame for the mirror in the bathroom, finishing the mudding and tiling in the basement and getting daddy’s office set up downstairs) and just getting rid of stuff we don’t need. Your daddy tends to be a bit of a pack rat and I tend to want to throw/give away anything that doesn’t have an immediate or known future purpose.

But the weather has been amazing this past week (temps in the high 70s and 80s) and I love it so much. Love wearing shorts and sandals or just bare feet and not having to deal with jacks and hats and mittens is so great. The big kids LOVE playing outside and it is so wonderful to send them into the backyard when we get home from school and have them play while I make dinner.

With Lexi at this point, things were going pretty well. I still had some minor kidney pain, but it was manageable and was also experiencing some hip pain. I was pretty confident she was a boy. With William, so many similarities to you. I had restless leg syndrome in my feet and was anxious about all the house projects I wanted done. We had just moved Lexi into her new bedroom and had gotten the nursery ready. I was also feeling the shortness of breath that I’m experiencing now and the frequent trips to the bathroom.

Love you sweet girl,

Mama