working mom

27 weeks and counting!

We have hit the 27 week mark and celebrated the last week of the second trimester with a big appointment at the OB office, complete with a follow-up ultrasound.  I have spent the last week in frequent contact with my OB office and on frequent bed rest due to a headache that wouldn’t go away, blurred vision, and high blood pressures.  All of these are unfortunately signs of preeclampsia.  Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that can affect 5-8% of pregnancies, but that typically starts later in the third trimester (Preeclampsia Foundation).  For me to be having signs of this condition this early into the pregnancy was scary to say the least.  Thankfully my blood pressure has been staying down with bed rest.  Unfortunately Tylenol has not been effective for the headaches or blurred vision for me and I stopped taking it after a few days due to the ineffectiveness and some right upper quadrant abdominal pain (which can indicate liver problems).    So I ventured into this appointment with my Mom at my side (my husband was unable to take the day off of work) with a bit of trepidation.

First up was the ultrasound.  Catriona is a bit of a mover and a shaker so it created a challenge for picture-taking, but everything look great.  The fluid levels were good, the placenta is healthy, her head is down and she is ready to roll and the best news of all is that the membranes fused!  Although there are still some (slight) risks for early delivery that go along with a late fusion we are now talking a week or two early as opposed to months early which technically means we have an excellent chance for a full term (after 37 weeks) healthy and happy baby.  Now lets just hope that she doesn’t come on Liam’s birthday!  Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers for the last few months that we would get our miracle, they certainly helped to get us through this stressful time.  We feel so lucky to have this great news to share and to see how healthy our little girl is now that my body has decided to behave properly!

Next up was the visit with the nurse midwife and the OB.  It was a tag team visit due to the high blood pressures today, that ended up with a trip to the hospital.  While we have an excellent health care system up here in the Northeast, and some of the best prenatal care in the country, it is still very concerning to have more than a week of high blood pressures and headaches, so it was off to the hospital for me to test for preeclampsia ( a set of tests that includes a urine collection, liver function panel, creatinine, and CBC), and calling out of work for at least the next week until my next OB visit.  The midwife and OB were hopeful that the headaches, blurred vision, and high blood pressures (because they were not critically high and were only pre-hypertensive) could be due to a migraine headache caused by increased estrogen levels rather than preeclampsia because it was so early in the pregnancy.  After a couple of hours in the hospital, and a couple of blood draws we had our second round of good news for the day, no preeclampsia!  I am now on migraine medication and monitoring side effects, but my blood pressure is almost back to normal and right now I am pain free for the first time in 8 days (though a bit foggy and tired from the medication).

 

 

For me the best part of the day was being able to make it home in time to tuck my little guy into bed.  He loved seeing the new pictures of his sister and was so happy to get some extra Momma snuggles tonight!

Conan and I are thrilled with the news, and are very hopeful that after the next week life will get back to as close to normal as we can!  Thank you again to everyone for the thoughts and prayers!  Lets hope the remainder of the pregnancy is now stress free!

 

*****Preeclampsia is a pretty scary and potentially life threatening condition that affects 5-8% of pregnancies in the United States and accounts for approximately 18% of maternal deaths in this country.  To educate yourself more on this condition please visit preeclampsia.org which provides excellent resources in learning the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia.  Also keep in mind that while giving birth does solve the problems caused by preeclampsia for your infant it does not always solve the problems caused by it for mothers.  Be aware and educate yourself on the potential post birth problems that can occur for mothers who experience this condition.*****

Preeclampsia Foundation. (n.d.). Preeclampsia Foundation. Retrieved February 19, 2015, from Preeclampsia Fact Sheet : http://www.preeclampsia.org/pdf/Preeclampsia%20Fact%20sheet%20v2.pdf

 

24 Weeks and Counting, an update

Well, it has been a rough couple of weeks for me.  As it turns out, I am REALLY bad about taking it easy without constantly giving myself reminders.  My husband has become a professional at telling me not to do things I am not supposed to do, and reminding me to stop and take breaks.  I have become crabby, which is not a usual thing for me and I don’t like it.  The kids, well, they have really taken to the encouraged independence.  Liam and The Bean now put themselves to bed at nap and bedtime.  I am trying to not miss the snuggles I use to steal when carrying them upstairs too much.

For Catriona things are going well, or at least as good as we can hope for!  We had a very positive checkup at 23 weeks where she measured exactly on target (which is amazing for a little girl who is most likely going to be tiny!) and her heart rate was a lovely 145.  Her kick counts have been perfect.  The only concerning thing that has come up recently have been frequent Braxton Hicks contractions.  Thankfully they are not following any pattern at this point and have only been over the 6 an hour allowed at this stage of pregnancy a handful of times.  At the 23 week appointment they found an infection so I am hopeful that after a week of antibiotics things will calm down in the contraction department.  Our next ultrasound is at 27 weeks and I am still hoping for a miracle!  At this point, however, I am simply thankful to have made it this far.

At 23-24 weeks babies begin making a substance called surfactant.  This is used by the body to help stabilize the alveoli in the lungs (The alveoli help oxygen get from the air to the bloodstream, but in order to do this they need to be nice and plump like a grape, surfactants help keep them from collapsing when you exhale).  With the production of surfactant comes the chance for survival with pre-term births, so if something were to happen tonight Catriona would have a fighting chance, especially with the awesome hospitals in this area.  24 weeks was a big milestone for us.  I celebrated with a braided chicken pot pie bread with Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for dessert 🙂

On a personal note, because I am carrying so low this time (thanks to the less than stable environment my body created for Catriona) life is becoming uncomfortable.  There are definitely times where it already feels like the last (everlasting) month of pregnancy.  clothing is also becoming uncomfortable.  Maternity pants with the cloth panel fall off of me because my belly isn’t quite large enough for them, but the ones with the low band are too tight for me to wear and do essential things like breathe, or not walk like a penguin.  My go to pants of choice for this pregnancy are becoming yoga pants.  I could sing a song for how much I love them lately.  I see a lot of dresses coming up in my future as well.  The plus side? My maternity scrubs are the most comfortable articles of clothing ever (even if one pocket does oddly fall right on the center of my expanding stomach).

15 months later…

I can’t believe how the time has flown, Liam is 15 months already! It has been so exciting to watch him play, grow, and learn these last few months. Everything happens so fast at this point, it’s like a neural explosion. Over the last 3 months Liam has:

  • Gone from stumbling to run-stumbling
  • Learned to say over 25 words, although he mostly refers to animals by the sounds they make, except our youngest dog, Bruise, who he calls Rooze.
  • Learned how to walk backwards and spin in a circle
  • Begun helping Conan and I with simple tasks (carrying light things mostly)

His favorite things right now are:

  • Reading… By himself, to the bear, to Conan and I… This little boy loves to be the one reading the story.
  • His big white bear, “Baby”… When Liam was born Conan’s company sent us a present, a giant white polar bear which I never named because I figured it would be too big to drag around. Liam has proven me wrong and he has named it “Baby”. The other stuffed animals are babies too, but there is only one Baby and he goes everywhere with Liam.
  • Yogurt, cereal bars, and berries
  • Going to the park
  • The tub, this little guy loves his baths (and his bath toys)

He has had a lot of adventures over the last three months, including:

  • His first sleepovers with Grammy and Grampy F.
  • His second annual Flynnstock with Conan
  • His first trip to the beach!

While I have tried (desperately sometimes) to be there for every single event it just hasn’t been possible and sometimes Conan and Liam are a two man team while I am at home with the puppy brothers doing homework or at work.  We do our best with the time we have and try to make every moment count.

Today the three of us went out to lunch to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and then to the park for some quality time (and to exhaust Liam before his nap).  It was suppose to rain all day today so it was a pleasant surprise to be able to get out and about.  My park plan however backfired as it was not just Liam that needed the nap when we got home 😉

And now a parting message from Liam himself and a few more of my favorite pictures from the last few months….

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I can’t wait to see what the next three months brings!

Who Needs Diapers?

So today, after I woke up from a lovely sleep in (this a huge shout out to my awesomely understanding husband who totally gets the fact that sometimes I don’t get home from work until 3am, and if I can sleep I will) I had just enough time to turn on the Keurig before Liam woke up from his morning nap and started playing with his dolls in his crib.  He sounded like he was in an awesome mood so I headed right up to get him so we could have some fun.  That is when I walked into a naked butt in the air as he was working on standing up.

That is right… a NAKED BUTT!

My jaw may have literally dropped.  Casually tossed over the edge of the crib was his diaper… he decided the shirt could stay on.

Because Liam is only 14 months old there was no hope in the universe that he did not pee all over the bed.  So I gingerly reached a hand down and did the touch test… yes, it was wet.  Awesome.

As my dreams of packing up the family for a trip to York’s Wild Animal Kingdom flew out the window and visions of endless loads of laundry jumped into my head I picked up my kiddo at arms length, brought him into his bathroom, placed him into the tub and proceeded to break one of the two cardinal child bathing rules that have been drilled into my head since I was a young girl who was slightly obsessed with The Babysitter’s Club, I turned on the water while he was in the tub.  No, I did not burn my child, but his bubble bath might have been a little colder than usual.  Honestly, he didn’t seem to mind.

Conan very nicely brought me a cup of coffee while I was supervising the tub time.  He can be totally credited with saving my sanity with that one small act.  (yes, yes, I know, I have a caffeine “problem”)

Does anyone else have any diaper removal stories?  Are there any hints or tricks to getting the little guy to not keep doing it?  He was so very impressed with himself when I found him, and although I did not make a big deal out of it (to him anyway) I have a feeling that my stubborn little one will keep up the trick now that he has figured it out.

Day 37

Day 37 of the selfie challenge: 365 Days of Momma

It’s Sunday! AND! I have the day off!!!!

That’s right, its my weekend off… I firmly believe that having to work every other weekend makes me that much more appreciative of the ones I have off.

This morning Liam took off after breakfast, grabbed a book and his teddy bear, and then proceeded to set himself up on the couch next to me to “study” with me.  That’s right, I used the “s” word.  Someone though it would be a brilliant idea to take a full course load in the summer during the most gorgeous weather of the year because the semester is shorter and it would be nice to just get the work done with.  The same someone is now incredibly worried that maybe, just maybe, she might not be able to keep up.  I don’t know who comes up with these brilliant ideas but they probably should have less of them.

So the adorableness ensued this morning and Liam and I studied together for about 10 minutes before my urge to snap a picture completely overcame me.  Of course as soon as I picked up the camera phone he had to climb into my lap to get it…. The result is this:

Today’s selfie is less of me and more of us, but it is an awesome memory that I want to hold on to…. especially with the puppy photo-bomb in the second shot!

 

I do promise an update soon on my personal progress towards self acceptance of myself in photographs.  This project has turned into more than I originally planned.  What started out as something that was just for me has also evolved into a mechanism to show Liam my memories from his early childhood.

 

 

Day 34 and 35

Days 34 and 35 of the selfie challenge

Yes, I know, I didn’t post yesterday… It wasn’t for lack of trying. More importantly, I did take my selfie, so today you get a double post along with an update on the exciting and terrifying things that are going on in my life.

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Yesterday’s selfie was taken at work on my lunch break. It was a busy day yesterday before work for Liam and I, as we ran around doing last minute errands before he got to spend an afternoon with Grammy and Grampy. My summer semester classes start this weekend (I really love online courses, they really are exceptionally convenient if you have the motivation to actually learn from them) and this last year of college (which I STILL can’t believe is actually starting!) is going to be a busy one as I will need to complete my internship for my nursing home administration license while continuing to work full time and hang out with the babies. Maybe busy is putting it mildly….

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Today I put the finishing touches on my internship request letter. I keep having mini panic attacks now, which I suspect won’t subside until I actually hand it to the nursing home administrator where I work. I would greatly appreciate any positive thoughts, finger crossing, and/or praying to who ever you believe in that I will get this internship that I so desperately want! This administrator is (in my opinion) the best there is, and I would love to learn from her.

Liam is off for an overnight visit with Grammy and Grampy F, as well as a couple of aunts and cousins. I am sure he will have a blast. Hopefully Aunty and Uncle Moonshine survive the car ride. Conan gets a fun night of household chores and puppies having panic attacks due to fireworks while I get school and work… I know, the Fourth of July excitement is overwhelming in our house. I have the weekend off!!! So the posts will (hopefully) get a little more fun filled tomorrow after Liam gets home!

And now a bonus puppy picture.

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Someone is getting his rest in now… Panic attacks due to loud noises are exhausting, even with daddy cuddles to keep you safe.

Day 11

Day 11 of the selfie challenge

Today I started an IV certification course across the state, so I spent a good portion of my day either sitting in the car or sitting in class. When I got home I was super excited to spend some time with Liam so I opted for a spaghetti dinner with take and bake grocery store bread. This resulted in:

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An injury. Who knew that when in a rush the plastic oven lock, which so nicely prevents little toddler hands from reaching into hot ovens, I would get a plastic splinter? (FYI, I think plastic splinters hurt more than wood ones.) Thankfully Liam generously let me use one of his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle band aids, so I did not bleed in the spaghetti sauce (I hope).

Now we are hanging out in the bathroom in Liam’s favorite place… The tub!

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I seem to have a permanent mental block on how very messy spaghetti is for a toddler.

On another note, today’s full story is a long one and worthy of another post and possible selfie challenge check in which I will not have time to write out until tomorrow when I promise I will also go back and add the appropriate linkage to the last few days posts… I just can’t seem to get the hang of/hate how much of a PIA it is to do it on my cell phone (first world problems).

A Long Journey In Nursing Part 2, The Love/Hate Relationship

So as I mentioned before I currently have a love/hate relationship with my job. I think this is something that every mom who chooses to go back to work can relate to. I love going to work. I love my job. Practicing the art of nursing is vital to my overall happiness and well being. I hate leaving my son….
I know! I can’t have it both ways, and it really doesn’t make any sense to love going to work but hate leaving my son, but that is how it is. Every day that I pack up my lunch and head out the door I do so with a sense of anticipation regarding what that evening will bring at work. One of the joys of nursing is that no two nights are ever the same. Nursing is certainly not a dull career; it’s a career for those with a sense of adventure. There I also a little part of me that is just happy to be heading out the door to spend some time with adults.
Now don’t get me wrong, I cherish every little moment Liam and I have together. Every dance party, music party, play time party (we like to party), and snuggle-fest are part of those little moments I like to try and capture to carry with me. I fully realize that he is only going to be 9 months old once, and I don’t want to miss anything. I hate to leave him for fear that I will miss that “first” that I so desperately want to be there for.
I also know that if I need to go to work to take on the challenges it provides: advocating for my patients, catching that patient’s start of urosepsis before it gets too bad, educating my staff, building relationships within the nursing team, and a million other little things that help make life better for those that are entrusted to my care. If I didn’t my personal view of myself would change in a negative way. I don’t feel like I could be as good of a mom to Liam and wife to my husband without meeting the challenge of balancing a career and a family.
So what does that say about me that part of my sense of self worth is based on a title that I hold and a job that I perform?
Honestly , I am really not sure. Part of me feels like it’s ok, I have worked really hard (and paid a lot of money) to earn these degrees with the intention that I would use them. I continue to work hard to further my education and career because my parents taught me the value of hard work, and to enjoy the satisfaction that performing a difficult task provides. I firmly believe that the harder you have to work for something the more enjoyment it will bring in the long run (and the more appreciative you will be for it). I hope that the example I set for my son as a working mom by choice will be a good one and will encourage him to have similar ambitions and drive. At the same time I worry that by not staying at home to satisfy my need to work I will somehow miss something that he needs to grow into a productive and responsible adult.
Only time will tell…

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