SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support

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Along this Path

Christie's Subsequent Pregnancy Diary

  • Kelly Ann Arrives at 34 weeks!!

    Update: March 10, 2004...see bottom of page...

    January 25, 2004 ~ Kelly Ann comes home 2/16/04!!!

    Katherine and Kelly Ann ~
    "Finally Big Sister Day"

    Contact Christe:
    Atlanta, GA
    Christie's E-mail Address

    Marcia's Note: Christie came to SHARE Atlanta after the losses of Kelly and Jamie. She attended our subsequent pregnancy group while pregnant with Katherine and we were thrilled to welcome Katherine to our circle of SHARE Atlanta children!

    Then, Christie joined our volunteer group and is our Contact Representative Coordinator for the last few years.

    This subsequent pregnancy diary means a lot to all of us here in Atlanta! Please share with Christie any thoughts you might have.

    Brief history:

    I had two early losses (6 & 10 wks) in the fall of 1998. The doctors at first told me it was “just one of those things.” After convincing them to do some testing, it was determined that I had a three-fold problem. 1) Luteal phase defect, 2) antiphosolipid antibody syndrome and 3) a septum in my uterus.

    I saw a wonderful specialist (RE), Dr. T. He did surgery to remove the septum. Then, in summer of 1999, we conceived again with the help of Clomid to get pregnant and Heparin plus progesterone supplements to keep me pregnant. With lots of help from my husbands, friends, and the wonderful “family” at SHARE Atlanta, our daughter, Katherine, was born on April 8, 2000.

    We go pregnant again in the summer of 2002 (following the same protocol). At 7 weeks we saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound and were told that the risks are extremely low for another loss. However, one week later they could NOT find the heartbeat and the baby was dead. A genetic study was done, but everything was normal – no known cause of miscarriage.

    Entry 7/1/03 ~ 4 wks 3 days:

    I’m pregnant again for the FIFTH time. I got the HCG results back yesterday. My numbers more than doubled. I just looked up on the web at an HCG calculator program and it showed that my first number was average and the second was higher than average. Could be twins!! Now I also need to say that I spotted some last night. I know that may not mean anything, but I DO NOT like it. There has been nothing today.

    Anyway, I go back in tomorrow for another HCG tomorrow morning. Hopefully some time next week we can get an ultrasound for the heartbeat (not that it means anything).

    Entry 7/14/03 ~ 6 wks 2 days

    I had my first appointment with Dr T. and my first ultrasound. The ultrasound did show a heartbeat! That was exciting; however, does not ease my mind much yet. It will probably be a couple of weeks for that. The measurements on the u/s matched the LMP dates perfectly. Everything else seems great.

    Entry 7/29/03 ~ 8 wks 3 days

    I have seen both my regular OB and Dr. T. since my last entry. Both visits show (u/s) a good pregnancy with progesterone levels off the charts. Which is one reason why I am so miserable!!! I am sooooo sick. Of course their response is: "Good". And I tell them that I had nausea with all of the previous pregnancies, but I only have one child with me. They do not say much after that. The nausea does make it very difficult to deal with my daughter on a daily basis. Dr. T gave me a prescription for Compazine to ease the nausea, but it does not seem to have any effect. This week I have lost 5 pounds because I cannot eat.

    Entry 8/29/03 ~ 12 wks 6 days

    Life has just been an adjustment. I have now started having headaches on a daily basis. I think the nausea has improved slightly, or the headaches drown out the stomach. Oh well, if it's not one it is the other. I continue to take it one day (or hour) at a time.

    As far as doctor's visits, we saw Dr. T for the last time on Aug 11. When the lady did the ultrasound, she commented that they had problems with the machine that was used previously. Therefore the previous bad measurement (the baby measured 5 days small) was invalid. The u/s that day gave us measurements that matched my date. Yeah! Dr. T was very pleased. My progesterone numbers were great so he has weaned me off the oral supplements, but continue the suppositories through 20 weeks (YUCK).

    The next day, we saw Dr. K (perinatologist) . He seems very nice. He did an u/s and got the same measurements. And everything looks good-heartbeat is great. Next week we go back to him and he will do another u/s. He will be looking at the folds in the neck for abnormalities. If there is anything evident, he wants to do blood work to confirm/conflict the results. It is a newer test that will eventually replace the AFP test. There are fewer false positives.

    Charlie does not want to do it, since we are not going to terminate the pregnancy either way. But, DR. K will be doing that special u/s anyway as a routine check. We will see what happens that day.

    We will be alternating visits between the regular OB and Dr. K. So, I will see a doctor approximately every two weeks. I have seen the regular guy also since my last entry. It was just one of those quickie visits, check vitals, listen for heartbeat, check weight. Well, I have lost a total of 11 pounds since week 6 and the nurse was suddenly concerned. She wasn't concerned when I called her at week 8 after losing 5-6 pounds in a week. I told her I could NOT eat because of the nausea. She told me at week 8 not to worry. Anyway, she did a urinalysis and everything was fine, so again she is not worried. And I am starting to be able to eat again and the weight loss has stopped (yet no gain).

    I have rented the Babybeat home Doppler device and use it 2-3 times a week. Sometimes I can find the heartbeat, sometimes not. At this point, I'm trying not to be concerned (it's hard some days) because it is still early.

    I will be 13 weeks tomorrow. This is further than all of my losses, so I am starting to feel a little more secure. I even bought 3 newborn outfits at a consignment sale I went to last week. It was hard to actually buy them. With the last pregnancy, I bought a stroller the week after we got the heartbeat. Then we lost the heartbeat the next week. It felt like a jinx. We will just have to wait and see.

    Charlie wants me to decide whether to move Katherine into the spare bedroom or turn that room into the new nursery. I told him I do not want to deal with that yet, and he has dropped the subject for now. I know he is thinking about time constraints. It does seem to take us forever to complete a home project. I will worry about that later - when I am feeling better.

    Talking about feeling better, I mentioned that the nausea has improved slightly and the headaches have started. A new problem arose at 1:30 am this morning. I awoke with severe pain in my back - kidney area. So, I went to the ER at 2:30 am since it did not go away. I have a history of Kidney infections/stones. And I do have an infection. They could not check for stones since that would require an x-ray. I got home at 5:00 am.

    I did have problems for most of my pregnancy with Katherine with infections. I was on antibiotics for 3/4 of the pregnancy. Then after delivery, the infection went away. So, I am probably looking forward to the same with this baby.

    Entry 9/8/03 ~ 14 wks 2 days

    We saw Dr K and he did the ultrasound to check the folds in the neck of the baby. He said the measurements were great, well within the normal ranges. So, we have passed on the bloodwork. The baby’s overall measurement were great.

    I revisited the topic of nausea again since it had gotten worse again. I am up to a total loss of 14 pounds now and I am starting to worry a little. I had tried fenergan (sp?) in past pregnancies and all it did was put me to sleep. That is not an option since I have a child at home. I have also tried B-6 supplements and, even, Sea-Bands acupressure to no avail. Dr K said there are a few more options. He prescribed Reglan.

    I went to Florida to visit a friend and 48 hours after starting the Reglan, there was still no relief. So I called long distance to Dr K’s office and begged for something else. I could not continue this way. My life seemed to be centered around this awful feeling and I was unable to do anything. He prescribed Methlprednisolone, which is a steroid. In order to take the medication, I had to eat. So, I took my first dose at dinner time and by the next mid-morning I was starting to feel better. I had to eat 3 meals a days, which seemed daunting since I had not eaten like that since pre-pregnancy.

    After a few days, I was a new person again. I could eat, was not nauseous for the first time, and could actually join society again. I actually cooked dinner for my husband when I got back from Florida. He wanted to know what happened while I was away.

    Entry 10/9/03 ~ 18 wks 5 days

    About 3 weeks ago, I had a day where I started bleeding. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to concern me. I called my OB and spoke to the nurse. She gave me a couple of scenarios of what it could be, but she was not concerned. She called back in an hour to be sure the bleeding did not increase in severity, which it did not. So, she said to take it easy. I then called Marcia at SHARE Atlanta and discussed it with her. She insisted that I also call my specialist (Dr K). It was after hours by now and I did not know with whom I would end up talking. It ended up that Dr K does all of the call-backs himself. I spoke with him briefly and he told me to take it easy and come in at 8:45 the next morning so he could check things out. There was no hesitation on his part. It was reassuring that he seemed to take this event a little more seriously than the OB’s office.

    I saw him the next morning, by which time the bleeding had stopped, and the u/s showed everything looked normal. He speculates that it was probably a small placental tear. I was told to take it as easy as possible for the next few days. I also happened to have my regular appointment that day with the OB. He did an internal exam and everything looked fine by him. So, between the two doctors, I was feeling much better.

    Last week I had my regular appointment with Dr K. It was nice to see him again so soon after this last incident. I needed some more reassurance. Again, the u/s looked great. The measurements were within 2 days, the heartbeat was good, and the placenta showed no signs of problems. Dr K asked if I could make it the standard 4 weeks until the next appointment or did I want to come in sooner. It was nice to have the option; he seemed to understand the stress of this pregnancy.

    I told him that 4 weeks would be fine. He told me to call if anything happens before then. With my last successful pregnancy, I got to this point and was then considered a “normal” pregnancy. It was very stressful. I have since discovered all the things that can go wrong with the antibody problems, so it is such a relief to have the willing support this time.

    I am trying to decide whether to find out the sex of the baby. It depends on the day which way I am leaning. It would help out with some decisions if I knew, but my husband wants the surprise. With my daughter, I had a c-section under general anesthesia. So, I really did not care when I woke up (too groggy). I think it will probably depend on my mood on the day of the next u/s.

    I also just realized the other day – I am almost HALF way there. YEAH!!

    Marcia's thoughts: As Christie stated, she and I talked about this on the phone. I think that she absolutely needed to go and visit the doctor. To take a wait and see attitude is not the proper approach when you think something is wrong. You must be the protector of this baby like no other person would be. It is better to make sure everything is fine, then to regret that you have lost your child because you assumed that it was fine. I encourage parents to remember that their doctor is a busy person and that nurses are too, they don't keep up with your chart at all times and you are charting constantly. This is what we ask (and pay) these doctors to do...take care of us and our unborn child. No question or concern should be treated as silly or unnecessary.

    The MODs has a great list of things to watch for if you are unsure of what you are experiencing. Check their site, read the information and don't be afraid to approach your doctor, if you are, you might not have the right doctor. I am not suggesting a high level of paranoia, I am stating that if you need emotional or physical support - seek it.

    Entry 10/13/03 19 wks 2 days

    After going to bed last night, I lay there thinking of the hundreds of things to do and all of my concerns with this pregnancy (as I do most nights). Then it hit me…I mean the baby hit me and I felt it! I said out loud “I felt it move.”

    My husband, half asleep, replied “What moved?” I said “I felt Bud move.” (Bud is the name he came up with at 8 weeks.) He replied, “That’s nice, now go to sleep.” To him, it’s just another item to check off on the list of events. To me, it is more like a major triumph in this trek. It just seems more tangible that there is a LIVE baby inside that wants to be born. Even with about 10 ultrasounds by now, this seems more real.

    I continue to use the Babybeat monitor to reassure myself on bad/worrisome days. And now my daughter will get her radio with a microphone and mimic me by checking daddy’s tummy for a baby.

    Entry 10/20/03 20 wks 2 days

    I am feeling more and more movement, now that I know Bud is really there. I did get a call from the OB's office today about the blood work from last week. My platelet count is already declining to a point where he wants to do a re-check tomorrow. Now I get to find out what they can really do about low platelets. I am going to prepare myself for a c-section under general anesthesia, just in case.

    I have hit another nice milestone in this pregnancy. If I should lose this baby now, it will not be considered a “miscarriage”. It would be a “stillbirth.” Yes, it does seem a bit morbid, but all of my prior losses were miscarriages. It just seems more hopeful. Some days I need every shred of hope I can get.

    Marcia's thoughts: It is so great that Bud is really moving about. We will be awaiting news about the platelet count. I remember feeling glad to be past the miscarriage stage, now that you mention it. I know we celebrate every moment we can move past as we work to keep our hope going. Thanks for the update.

    Entry 10/29/03 21 wks 4 days

    We saw Dr. K yesterday and he was also concerned about the platelet count. He said the low count could be from the Heparin use, which is one reason he wanted me to change to Lovenox. Lovenox does not affect blood counts, but is considerably more expensive.

    The baby looks great and measures exactly on target. Katherine was always behind in measurements. The heartbeat looked great. We also were able to do a video of this u/s. Katherine was a little confused when I played it back at home. She didn't understand how we got the same picture from the doctor's office onto our TV. Modern miracles.

    I think we start to see him every three weeks now instead of four. I feel like I am always in a doctor's office now and it is only going to get worse.

    One last thing, I have proven the study, about morning sickness, correct. Boy babies cause less sickness than girl babies. Bud is now Budette.

    Marcia's thoughts: Katherine most likely is having interesting insights to much about this new baby story. I loved hearing Budette's heartbeat after the business meeting several weeks ago, to think I could now witness the u/s - pregnancy will never be the same.

    Entry 12/11/03 27 wks 6 days

    It’s been awhile since I made my last entry. Fortunately it is because the pregnancy has been somewhat uneventful compared to the beginning. Although, I have battled with a cold off and on for a month.

    I have seen Dr K twice since the last entry. The first visit went very well. (With these visits, a technician does the initial scan, then Dr K does his own scan.) They checked for growth, amount of fluid, heart rate and blood flow in/out of the cord. The growth was right on target, matching my gestational age perfectly. As well, all of the other items looked great too. He is always very sympathetic about the bruising from the Heparin injections, and trys to be gentle when doing the ultrasound.

    The second visit also went well, but I had some concern after the technician finished her scan. Her measurements put the baby a week behind. This seemed strange since all of our other measurements were perfect. When Dr K came and started to do his scan, I asked him. He said, “Wait a minute – let me do something here.” (very polite). He took another belly measurement and recalculated. His new number put the baby back to within a day. He said he also was not comfortable with the other dates. It was nice to have that immediate reassurance. And again all of the other items they checked were great.

    One new thing that they have started to look for is “practice breathing.” Evidently, the baby will start to practice using it’s diaphragm and actually appear to be breathing. It is not a constant occurrence, but they should be able to see it at least once during the ultrasound. “Budette” cooperated very nicely, although my husband missed it – he must have blinked.

    I’m getting a lot of questions these days about whether or not we have chosen a name yet. I just do not think I am ready for that. Charlie has come up with a few and is getting frustrated with me because I have not given him any feedback. Maybe next week…….

    I recently read an article that was posted on the ABC News website about a medical journal report on increased risk of stillbirth. The article discussed that women who have had a c-section with their first baby are at an increased risk of unexplained stillbirth at or after 34 weeks. Since this is my scenario, it makes me a little uneasy. I asked Dr K at the last visit if he knew anything about this. He had not read the article, until I gave it to him. He said that there easily could be another study out there that could disprove this study. He did not seem too concerned, and said that he would be watching me very closely, so not to worry. Easy for him to say….

    The article did kind of make me think more on the topic of “what do I tell Katherine if this happens.” She has gotten really attached to this baby. Every day, several times a day, she has to give the baby a hug, a kiss, and a rub. Sometimes she will even make the baby dance (grabbing my belly and moving it around). She keeps asking, “Two weeks and the baby comes out, right?” I just can not imagine trying to explain if something goes wrong.

    I have also gone to my OB’s office twice. I had to see another doctor these past two times, since mine was out. This guy has no personality. I will make sure I go back to MY regular guy from now on. These visits are the quickie ones – check weight, urine, and blood pressure. All of those are fine.

    I have only gained 11 pounds from my starting weight (unless you count the 14 pounds I lost and regained). I also have to be sure they do blood work every week to check my clotting factor and platelet count. I got a call back today that my platelets have dropped some more. They have gone from 133, up to 145, now down to 119. It is my understanding that once they hit 100, I will be ineligible for an epidural at c-section time. I have my fingers crossed. Dr K has said that the Heparin can cause this. I have a call into his office to see if there is anything he can do.

    Only 11 more weeks to go. I am hoping at my next visit I can find out an actual target date for delivery.

    Marcia's thoughts: Christie and I talk on the phone so my comments are often made directly to her.... One thing that I want to point out to anyone who is reading this, is Dr. K's willingness to support Christie. He doesn't make her push him to take extra care. He understands her need to have "all bases covered." He calmly checks those things that might be reason for alarm. He is a high risk doctor who has worked with many high risk moms and dads and knows that their stress level is high and normal. His support is one of the big reasons why it is important to find a doctor who will support you during a subsequent pregnancy.

    I get many emails and questions in groups from parents saying "is it good to accept their present doctors seeming lack of interest or care" and I always say NO. Find a doctor that you can talk with, who understands your stress level, and who will go that extra mile to relieve your mind and heart as you travel through a subsequent pregnancy. YOU are not being over bearing, you are protecting your unborn baby and your family-to-be.

    It was wise for Christie to take the article in to Dr. K and ask his opinion. If something you read or hear bothers you, ask the doctor. That is what you are paying him to do for you. I have had doctors say that they aren't sure but will follow up on it. That is a sign that s/he is still willing to learn and grow in his/her profession and willing to make you an active part of the patient/doctor team.

    I am sorry that we even have to consider what we might tell our living child IF something happened to the baby we are carrying. It is a reality that those of us who have had a loss do face. I hope and pray that things continue as they have for Christie...most likely they will. But, the love that Katherine has for Budette is there and will be there - no matter what happens. In my mind that is a positive thing. Our children learn that, as our theme for our Memorial and Candlelighting states, "A person's a person no matter how small." That awareness is special. Siblings survive loss with their own unique understandings. (There is an entire section on the website about sibling's grief.) Each one of us faces, during the subsequent pregnancy, moments like what Christie is describing - article or not. It is a normal thought for those of us who have experienced a loss.

    Entry 12/24/03 29 wks 4 days

    As a follow-up on my last entry: I had to put a call into the OB's office on the 12th. I noticed blood in my urine, which probably means a kidney infection. It's weird though, I do not have any other symptoms. I went in to the OB's that afternoon. I just saw the nurse (Lucy) and she had me give a sample. Her first comment was "there IS blood in your urine." Wow! What a revelation. Anyway, she consulted with the only doctor there today and I am on antibiotics now. I wish I could have done all of that over the phone. I knew what was wrong. Oh well. Late that afternoon I got a call from Dr K. He is not concerned with the platelet count now. We will just repeat it in two weeks when I see his associate (he's out of town). And he has no concern over the infection.

    I so glad no one is too concerned about anything. I guess that means I have to do the worrying. I'm getting good at it.

    On the following Monday, the nurse called back and told me there was just a trace amount of bacteria in my sample. She (and the doctor) do not know why there was blood, but continue with the antibiotics. Which of course, for me, means a yeast infection is coming on.

    I saw Dr S (Dr K’s associate) today. Everything looked okay for heart rate (which was slightly lower than before), cord blood flow, and amniotic fluid levels. The interesting part is that the measurements came in a week behind. I asked the doctor about this. She said that she noticed that also and she added that the femur length was less this time than last. At this point she is concerned, but not panicked. She would see no reason to intervene in the pregnancy at this point. She will make a note of it and carefully check the measurements in two weeks. It was nice that she was willing to show some concern, but also was reassuring in not panicking me. Yet, I am very concerned, as this was a potential problem with my antibody disorder – slow growth or failing growth.

    So, now I will try to take it one day at a time.

    Marcia's thoughts: Christie and I talked and agreed that any two people taking measures could come up with two sets. So, we talked of Christie calling on Monday and catching Dr. K up on what is going on and see what he suggests. No one wants to panic here, but I don't think we need to be not keep Dr. K up with what is going on, either. Christie has medical issues that are being closely watched and SHE needs to make sure the doctors are all on board with what is found out each visit (In my opinion). That way she knows her bases are covered. Because of the low platltes and the possibility of growth retardation factor, she needs to be right on top of this.

    We try not to panic, but to be aware. As the saying goes: better safe than sorry. I feel this is especially true when any red flag goes up around our subsequent pregnancies. I don't think we need to panic about every little thing, but there are some signs that we need to watch for. MODs does an excellent job of helping moms know those signs. Check out their website - we have a link to it under our MODs section in our Drop Down Box..

    Entry 1/6/04 31 wks 3 days

    Last week, I had my appointment with the OB. This was one of those in and out visits. We re-visited the kidney infection topic since I had some severe back pain on Christmas day and again on the day before this appointment. They did another culture a couple of days before and it DID show infection this time. So, I am back on antibiotics, and probably will be for the rest of the pregnancy.

    Today I had my appointment with Dr. K. There is now some genuine concern for the growth of the baby. The measurements were off again. Two weeks ago, we were 1 week behind. This time we are now 2 weeks behind. The baby is approximately 3 pounds, but should almost be 1 pound heavier. Dr K has been mapping the growth and seems okay with the way it is today.

    Two weeks ago, the baby was in the 30-35% and this week she is in the 25%. This supposedly is still within “normal.” The concern is that the growth is declining as time progresses. He did say that the head measurements have been the best and that is very important! He also tried to do a non-stress test today, but the baby was moving too much to get a good pattern. The technician doing this test said she would much prefer an active baby to one who shows no movement.

    Dr K did ask when we had scheduled the C-section –> February 27 (39 weeks). He said it would be unlikely that we would make it that far. He is thinking around the 36 week mark. We will be back to see him in 2 weeks.

    When I was in to see the OB, they did a re-check on my platelet count. It has dropped from 119 to 109. It is getting awfully close to that 100 threshold. The nurse at the OB’s stated that Dr K would put me on steroids if it does drop that low. I had blood drawn again today for another re-check. I should find out tomorrow. Cross your fingers!!

    I am trying to figure out now how to get everything done in the next 4-5 weeks instead of 8 weeks. I do book-keeping part-time and it is year-end processing time. Charlie has offered to help out as much as possible. That will help a lot. But we also need to get Katherine moved into her new room soon, so that it does not coincide with the new baby coming.

    Also, there is also the possibility that if the baby comes too early that the baby will be spending some time in the NICU. How do I handle visitation with the baby and taking care of Katherine…..

    Too much to think about.

    Marcia's thoughts: Christie and I have been talking on the phone about all of this. We are very glad that she is going to a well known perinataligist whose speciality is high rish pregnancies. He has dealt with these issues a lot and knows what he is looking at. He also is working closely with her regular doctor. At least Christie is not worried with the doctor not having the background to work with her situation AND she trusts him - AND he listens and respects her. That is very important when you are worried about the health of your baby. A parent should not have to worry that the doctor isn't supportive of her/his concerns.

    Keeping the doctors all onboard with what is going on is part of a parent's responsibility. Unfortunately, it is work at a time that we wish could be nonstressful...

    Now, the details of planning set-in. I found out that my baby didn't need a "room" and that my older child adjusted just fine being moved after the baby came home. There was so much going on that one more thing didn't matter! I know we would like the best case scenario, but sometimes it just all doesn't go as planned...Christie sure knows that...but it is worth hoping all will be "in order." As we all know, the most important thing is this little person.

    1/13/04 32 wks 3 days

    One thing I forgot to mention in the last entry was that Dr. K wants me to start taking in more calories. The extra calories shouldn’t be too hard. I’ve never had anyone tell me to eat all I want! I will just have to be really good once the baby is born. He also wants me to drink Ensure, Boost, or something similar.

    I got back the results from my latest platelet check: a whopping 127! That was the best news in a while. I am not sure why they suddenly went up, but they did. I am optimistic for an epidural c-section.

    I saw Dr W (OB) today and he had not gotten the report from last week’s visit with Dr K. I told him about the decline in the growth. He asked what the percentages were and I told him 25%. The concern is for IUGR (intrauterine growth retardation). I have done a little research on the internet about this.

    It can sometimes cause brain damage/non-development. It is usually caused by the mother doing something harmful to herself, ie smoking, drinking, etc. But it can also be caused by antibody disorders such as mine.

    I asked Dr W at what point is IUGR diagnosed. He said that the usual benchmark is growth at the 10% mark. And gross IUGR is at 3%. So, that did make me feel better. I also asked if an amnio would be necessary if Dr K decides to take the baby at 36 weeks. Dr W said that usually if it is determined that it is better to deliver at that early date; we would go on that information. If an amnio is done and shows immature lungs, it would present a whole new dilemma. Do you deliver for the sake of non-growth or wait in hopes the lungs develop quickly….. So, his opinion would be to go with Dr K’s gut feeling of when it is time. I will pose the same question next week to Dr K.

    I again had blood drawn for another platelet count and should know tomorrow where that stands. I am hoping for upwards again.

    I am trying not to stress out over the fact that I now have less than 4 weeks (approximately) before this baby is here. After talking to Marcia about getting Katherine moved, I feel better. She convinced me that all does NOT have to be prepared before the baby. Especially since the baby will start out in my bedroom. I do need to start thinking about names though. The hospital prefers that you give the baby a name before you leave.

    Entry by Marcia January 18 through Feb. 1 - Kelly Ann Arrives at 34 weeks!!

    Marcia's Notes: Thoughts and prayers are needed, but Kelly and Christie are doing well...

    Week of January 18th: Christie was put on bedrest by Dr. K. due to low platelets and the increased concern that the baby was showing fetal retardation symptoms due to the platelet issue. He wanted to keep a close watch on them both.

    January 24: Christies platlet count was dropping below 100 - the "safe" number for a C-section without general anesthesia. Then, her blood pressure went up and pre-clampsia or HEELP syndrome was obvious. So she was rushed to surgery and delivery.

    January 25th: Kelly Ann was born, in the early morning hours, (3 lbs 9 oz and 16 inches long!) and taken to the ICU for premies. Christie awoke to being in intermediate ICU with pre-clapsia - low platelets (17!) and high blood pressure etc. and their baby is in special premie unit. She is on oxygen at 3 lbs and 9 oz birth (34 weeks). Christie could not see her, but Charlie was able to go in and be with Kelly.

    Kelly came off the respirator this afternoon, is still on oxygen and a feeding tube and an IV for nutrients. She is doing well, though.

    January 27th: Kelly is doing very well! Christie finally was moved back to the High Risk (at her request) floor where it is quiet. Her platelets are at 40 and her blood pressure is bouncing around but low enough to come out of ICU. Charlie pushed her in the wheelchair to finally visit Kelly. And, we have pictures!! Christie is doing better now she has held and seen Kelly.

    January 31: I wonderful up-date on Christie and Kelly Ann and family. Christie came home, much to Katherine's happiness, and is doing well. Her platelets are coming up to normal and her blood pressure is returning to normal.

    Kelly has been moved to the regular premie unit and Katherine has seen her sister through the window! Kelly is beginning to take a bottle - albeit a small bottle, 5 to 10 ccs, - at different times each day. She is still on a tube to keep her intake level as well as an IV for a steady douse of nutrients. Her weight dropped some as always but she is back to 3.8 ounces and climbing.

    I will include Christie's thoughts as soon as she writes them.

    Kelly - several hours old!

    Entry Feb. 3, 2004 from Christie

    Kelly is doing great. She is up to 20 cc per feeding and taking a bottle with greater ease. I am going up for the 3:00 feeding and should be able to give her a bottle. If, and it always is a big if, she continues to progress with her feedings, she may get rid of her IV within the next 24 hours. Yeah!!

    Entry Feb. 3, 2004 from Christie when I called her this evening:

    Kelly got rid of the IV and was moved to a incubator.

    Kelly Ann in her first clothes and looking great! - 2/5/04

    Sat, 14 Feb 2004 20:32:49 -0500 from Christie...


    Are you sitting down? It is possible that Kelly may be home tomorrow. It all depends on whether she takes all of her feedings by bottle between 6 am this morning (Saturday) and tomorrow morning. The doctor said she would definitely be home by Wednesday, but the nurse said that it could be as early as tomorrow. We completed our CPR class today and she should have her car-seat check by morning. Then she will be set to go home. It is kind of a scary thought, but I will manage .

    Today after our CPR class, I was able to nurse her. The little piggy took 56 cc by the scale calculation. She has definitely upped her quantity of intake. She is now approximately 4lbs 2 oz.

    Sun, 15 Feb 2004 10:20:01 -0500

    Ok, it's not going to be today. But she is coming home tomorrow (Monday). I just got a call from the doctor this morning. There are a few more blood tests they have to run before she can be released. I was able to talk the doctor into giving Kelly a RSV antibody injection. Supposedly they have to "qualify" to get it, based on gestation age and other factors. We are at the end of the RSV season, but there is still a risk for it. Evidently this antibody injection is also quite expensive, so getting her to "qualify" will help with the cost.

    She will be 22 days old tomorrow. So, she will be pretty close to your age/weight when she goes home.

    Marcia's comments: My mom has kept up with Kelly because I came about the same time!! I came home on the 21st day at about 4 pounds and 5 ounces. It has been sweet to share all of this with my mother...she has been praying for Kelly Ann, too!

    February 15 - More Good News... Kelly Ann most likely will be coming home tomorrow on the 16th!!! She is looking good! AND here are Christie's own words about what happened and how Kelly Ann has progressed!

    2/5/04 Post-Delivery (35 wks, 4 days) by Christie

    As I sit here and write this, it is hard to believe what has happened over the past two weeks.

    On January 21, I had an appointment with Dr K. The ultrasound on that day showed that the baby was continuing to lag behind in growth. She was now approximately 3+ weeks behind. It also put her teetering on the 10% mark. Also, he was a little concerned about blood flow through the cord. So, Dr. K told me to go home and get a few things and check into the hospital for monitoring. I would be on bed rest and non-stress tests (NST) twice a day.

    He repeated the u/s in the morning with one of his colleagues. Dr G had more experience with cord issues, and he checked out the baby and cord. He felt that everything looked okay with the flow.

    So, I was taken back to bed and the baby was monitored twice daily. These NSTs showed that baby was doing great. I just had to take it easy.

    I was scheduled for another u/s on Sunday morning (1/25) to determine if there was any improvement in the growth. If not, an amnio would be done and it would be determined if the baby would be delivered early. BUT, late Saturday into early Sunday morning, I started to have a lot of back pain – not terribly uncommon in late pregnancy.

    Then came the intense “indigestion” feeling. The doctor (OB) on call was paged (never saw her) and she had the nurse order an EKG to make sure my heart wasn’t doing anything weird. It showed nothing.

    Then came the abdominal “discomfort.” The doctor was paged again. By the time she got to my room, I had started to throw-up. I am a little vague as to the chain of events from this point, but I know she was concerned. I think she poked and prodded a little and then asked how long it would take my husband to get to the hospital (it is now about 5 am). She told me to call him and ask him to come.

    I called him and told him he needed to come because “we were going to have a baby.” At that point the doctor took the phone and asked him if he could be there within a half-hour, which he agreed.

    He grabbed my daughter out of bed, to which she told daddy “it’s not time to get up yet – it’s still dark”. Katherine ended up at Grandma’s house (10 minutes away), where she promptly went back to sleep. Charlie made it to the hospital in 35 minutes, just in time to see the final preparations before my c-section.

    The hospital had done a platelet count at some point on Saturday and it came in around 98 – too low for an epidural. So, I went under general anesthesia.

    In the few days before this trouble, I discussed with the nurses that I wanted to be sure that there were orders for a tubal ligation in my chart. They voiced a concern that if something should happen to this baby, would that really be what I want. After this discussion, I was thinking twice about that decision. However, as they were wheeling me down to the operating room, I knew that I did not want to go through another pregnancy again. This was it, good or bad. After all there other ways to have a baby – adoption. My body has been trying to tell me something – I was not made to have babies.

    After I woke up, I asked how long it would be before I could see my daughter. I was told she was fine and it is usually about 12 hours before they will move a c-section patient. So, I sent Charlie to see the baby who was in the NICU.

    She weighed 3 lbs. 9 oz. and had been intubated. Charlie said she looked fine but small. He brought back a picture for me that the nurse had taken.

    A few hours after I had returned to my room from recovery, they did another platelet count. Pre-surgery the count was 94; and post-surgery it was 78. When they checked again in my room, it dropped to 17!!

    The doctor then informed me that I would not be going to see my daughter, but going to the intermediate ICU for close monitoring. My blood pressure had soared. And I had developed HELLP syndrome, which is elevated liver enzymes and low platelets. Evidently this syndrome in conjunction with the raised blood pressure can lead to seizures.

    So, I was put on magnesium sulfate and given a unit of platelets and two units of whole blood. I spent 2 days in the ICU before returning to the high risk perinatal floor (my request) for my remaining stay.

    I chose the high risk floor so that I did not have to listen to babies day and night and I really liked the nursing staff. It was not until then that I was given the okay to go see my daughter.

    Charlie was able to see the baby very briefly right after birth, as they were taking her to NICU in her incubator. Then after I was situated in my room, he went to the NICU to see her again. She was on a ventilator for the first half of the day. She was not breathing at birth, but came around quickly with the assistance. Then she was moved to a nasal cannula (the tubing thing in the nose that you see on tv) by the end of the day.

    I was able to call to the baby’s nurse at any time. It was frustrating though, because I would call and the nurse would ask what I wanted to know. I said “HOW IS MY BABY?. I had no idea of what to ask specifically, so Charlie was my go between. He would visit briefly then come tell me things.

    We also had still NOT picked out a name, so she was referred to as “the baby.” I did vow though to give her a name by the first time I saw her, which we did – Kelly Ann. When Charlie wheeled me up to see her for the first time, it was really weird. I felt very detached, like she wasn’t mine. I didn’t want to touch her or talk to her. It was harder than I thought it would be.

    If I touched her, it would make everything that had happened over the previous three days REAL. And I was not ready for that. This was supposed to be a “regular” pregnancy . When the nurse asked if I wanted to hold her, I didn’t know what to say. Of course I did want to, but would that make it too real. Would that make her mine?! It was nice to hold her, but there still was that detached feeling. I told myself to give it time.

    Marcia's thoughts: My mother has told me similar thoughts. She said that once I came home and she had to fed me every four hours (it would take an hour to do so), I became very real.

    Marcia...more to come...

    On Wednesday, March 10, little Kelly weighed in at 6 lbs 8 oz! The baby book I have states that newborns should gain approximately 2/3 ounce each day. Kelly is gaining just shy of 1 ˝ ounces each day. And this is after the Lactation lady told me that she should not be breastfed exclusively (other than the 2 NeoSure formula bottles) because she could not possibly get enough. Well, she seems to be doing okay!! As of yesterday, we are off of the NeoSure. So, let’s see if she continues to gain that quickly.

    Kelly on March 9, 2004

    March of Dimes Walk, Kelly Ann, and Jennifer's, our newsletter editors, number one reason for walking this year.

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