Saturday, May 23, 2009

Summer Break Begins

So I am taking a break from the babies' story and posting a normal blog. Jamie and Linda's last day of school was Friday. All I can say is thank goodness! It has been a horrible year. Linda has struggled so much this year (and every other year). We have fought with her school psychlogist for two years to try and get her help. She just cannot sit still and do her work. I am not sure what is her ADHD and what is Linda, but no amount of discipline has made even the littlest ding in her behaviors.

We have sought a family counselor to help her and help us parent her better. Normal parenting techniques just do not work with her. She has no impulse control and frankly does what wants regardless of right and wrong. Now on the whole she is a good kid, but she just can't seem to self regulate. She is always bouncing and moving and comes off as immature to the other kids her age. She gets picked on for it, but yet still can't seem to control it. She does poorly in her classes as well because everything is a distraction for her. Her pencil box was the biggest battle for her and her teachers.

She also does poorly during testing. It is hard to see what level she is really at because she will pretend she can't do things, or doesn't know things for attention. I was told she struggles in reading and has to sound out even basic words. But if she is in the mood, she will pick up books in her bedroom and I will hear her reading at a level way beyond what she tested at and not needing to sound out anything. Linda craves attention and positive, or negative doesn't matter.

Back to the testing, we had her tested for special education to try and get her one on one help so she could excel. The psychologist says that Linda's behaviors such as innattention, impulsivity, executive function, and peer relations are at an extremely elevated level. She is considered was out of bounds with her behaviors compared with those of her peers. Ok, so I get it, surely this means she will help right. No, she then goes on to say that further information will be gathered next year, but services are not recommended at this time. What! How can she excel if everyone acknowledges that she needs special help, but no one will give it to her.

Linda cannot continue at the path she is on. She gets picked on for her impulsiveness and this has to bother her. I just do not know what to do. The psychologist is retiring and there will be a new one next year. Maybe they will be more willing to help. In the meantime we will keep working with the counselor over the summer to try and help her overcome any issues with her past.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Noah and Mina's Story-The Cerclage-Open content warning

Ok, so we got through the first trimester in the last post. I must admit at this point we were all unsure whether or not this pregnancy would make it. The major bleed that I had at 12 weeks was continuing. No doctor would do a cerclage while the woman is bleeding. A cerclage is a purse string style stitch through the cervix that is pulled tight to keep the cervix from being able to dilate. If a woman is bleeding, there is a big chance she is miscarrying and the cervix will need to be open in order for her to do so. I was told that a cerclage would have to wait until the bleeding stopped.

This news was devastating because we knew I could not carry the pregnancy without the cerclage. The problem is that the further along you do a cerclage, the higher the risk of losing the pregnancy because of complications from the procedure. The optimal time is between 12 and 13 weeks. They won't do it earlier because most miscarriages occur in the first trimester. Any later and complications occur such as your water being broken during the surgery and causing you to lose the pregnancy because of the procedure being do to save it. My scheduled cerclage was put on hold and that was scary.

We had known that I would do bed rest in the last trimester. However, with the loss of blood and no end in sight, my OB put me on strict bedrest effective immediatly. I could lay in bed or on the couch, but that was it. I was alloted a 10 minute shower every other day, and allowed to microwave meals. That was it. After a week of bedrest the bleeding began to slow. It took three weeks, but it finally stopped. Finally at 15 weeks and 3 days the cerclage could be put in.

It was a nerve wracking day. The risks to the babies had been put to me in a open, but terrifying format. I was so afraid that the cerclage would hurt them and I would lose my babies that day. I was not ready to say goodbye. Also, the would be giving me an epidural for the procedure which was just daunting. An epidural when you are in massive pain from labor does not sound that bad, but getting one when you feel totally fine just seemed more scary.

I was prepped for the OR. Apparently not a lot of these procedures are done each year as this condition only affects 1% of women. This made me the freak of the day and everyone wanted to see this. I had interns, nurses, residents, and other OB's that wanted to watch this procedure. When I agreed to let them observe, I had no idea what I was going to be allowing them to see.

I was wheeled back for the procedure and Jake was left to worry in the hallway. The epidural was given-Owww!!!! and I was laid on the table. Once it was established that I was numb, my legs were strapped into stirrups that were hanging from the ceiling and spread wider that I have ever been able to do without an epidural.

At this point I am flat on my back with my legs open for what felt like the whole world to see. I remember hoping I did not have any underwear fuzzies anywhere embarrasing. Then the nurse takes the cover off the tools that they would be using. It looked like midevil torture devises. There was one tool in paticular that looked like a hooked spatula with a metal ball on the end. I made the mistake of asking what it was for and I was told it was a weighted speculum. Basically they insert the hook part into your vagina and the weighted metal ball pulls down opening you up for the doctor to get in there. I thought that's it, I will never be the same after this and felt a little sick to my stomach. After that I did not ask any more questions.

The instruments were in place and the procedure began. I held my breath the whole time, praying that my water would not be broken. At one point I heard dripping, but was reassured that it was just blood. I have never been so relieved to be told "Don't worry, you are just bleeding.". After the longest 30 minutes, they announced that it was done. A sonogram maching was brought over to make sure the babies heartbeats were still good. They were. I was wheeled back to a pale Jake to begin recovery.

Not begin the part where the epidural wears off. I began to have the worst itching imaginable, but I couldn't feel the scratching. So I would itch, I would scratch and no relief. Then I began to have terrible cramping, but I was told this was normal. After several hours I was told everything was fine and released to go home back on bedrest. I was not totally out of the woods because of infection causing labor, or the stitch being broken, but the babies were as close to lockdown as they could get. Next time..more about the second trimester.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The problem with posting Jamie and Linda's story

I had a comment asking me to post Jamie and Linda's story. The problem with that is that they went through things no child should ever have to go through and I am hesitant to publish their heartache and pain for all of the world to see for basically forever. If anyone wants to hear it, just ask me in person and I would be more than happy to fill you in. I will give a very generic overview.

James and Linda were removed from their birth homes multiple times. They were also removed from several foster homes. Their last foster home was pretty great though. We recieved a call that there were twins that needed a home. They would likely be harder to place in a permanent home because they were a sibling group and quickly becoming older than people wanted to adopt. They were 2 and a half. We met them, fell in love and moved forward with the adoption.

We slowly moved them to our home and the adoption was finally finalized about a year later. It was a very hard year because you are constantly under a microscope. Social workers made surprise visits at all hours, background checks were ran, friends and family were interviewed and basically your personal life is wide open to scrutiny. Jake and I would joke that half the people we knew who had birth children would have never passed this test. Income requirements had to be met, parenting skills had to be evaluated, and there was always red tape to try and get through. It was exhausting. But finally we were before the judge and it was finalized. Our family began.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Noah and Mina's Story Part 1

I found out that I was pregnant when I was five weeks along. I was told by three doctors that I would need a cerclage in order to carry to term. At eight weeks I found out it was twins and was referred to a perinatologist to decide what we would need to do in order to carry. I was terrified at the thought of twins. I already had an incompetent cervix that caved under the weight of one baby, how in the world could I carry two.

I went to my first appointment with the peri. At this point I had changed OB's and had the most caring, and attentive doctor I could have hoped for. He really believed that I needed a cerclage as early as possible. My peri though, wanted to do a wait and see approach. She wanted to moniter my cervix weekly by sonogram and only do a cerclage if something changed. I was terrified of that because I was afraid something would change and I would not get the stitch in time. I cried, and pleaded with her and she finally agreed to do the stitch at 13 weeks. She also discovered I have a clotting disorder and would need to be on heparin shots twice a day to keep me from getting blood clots.

I slowly bided my time until 13 weeks. I was told by my OB to take it easy, no long walks or prolonged periods on my feet. My peri said no restrictions. It was just one of the many things they were polar opposite on. I always took the more conservative route.

Friday night I was 12 weeks and my employer had a big day for employees at the zoo. I went, but I was careful not to over do it. I sat on a bench while most of my family went through the exhibits. Saturday I had a few sharp pains all day. Saturday night I was sitting on my loveseat when I felt a really sharp pain. I stood up to switch positions and felt something warm and wet go all the way to my ankles. Jake had a buddy over, so I kind of slunk off to the bathroom. I thought I had peed my pants, how embarrasing. I get to the bathroom and pull my pants down and there is blood everywhere! I freak out and yell for Jake just as another sharp pain doubles me over. I was sure I was miscarrying. There seemed like there could be no way I could lose this much blood and have the babies be ok.

Jake rushed me to the emergency room. I was having horrible pains and gushing blood each time. The ER actually gets me right in. They tell me it doesn't look good and list it on my chart as a threatened miscarriage. They give me morpihine for the pain and send me over for a sonogram. The sonogram technician comes, I can't look. I am so afraid of not seeing a heartbeat. But, she finds one...and then two heartbeats! The babies seem fine despite everything that is going on. The ER sends me home with instructions to see my OB on Monday and stay on bedrest until then.

Monday comes and I see my OB he cannot find the source of the bleed. He puts me on bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy.

Next time, the cerclage.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mason's Story-warning open discussion of reproductive systems and childbirth

I started this blog as a way to encourage other woman going through the burden of infertility, prematurity, or incometent cervix. When I spent over 5 months on bedrest, I spent hours every day searching for success stories. I needed to know that someone out there had beaten these and every blog I found that gave the open and honest truth made me feel that much more hopeful.

My story begins in 2002. My husband and I had been marred for a year, but together for five years. We were doing foster care for a wonderful sweet baby boy and decided it was time to try for one of our own. Fast forward a year and still no luck. We tried clomid (fertility pills) and had absolutly no luck. In 2004 we moved back to Wichita and gave it a break for awhile. In the meantime we adopted 3 year old twins from the foster care system and our family was taking shape. I got a great job at a local aircraft company and decided in 2007 it was time to try more aggresive fertility treatment. We opted for a treatment in which injections are given to mature the woman's eggs and then an injection is given to release them once they are mature. After a month of painful, expensive injections, sonongrams, and blood work, we were pregnant! I cried when I found out and I thought my husband would explode from excitement.

The pregnancy seemed to be going great. Very little morning sickness, every sonogram showed a healthy growing baby boy, we got to 20 weeks and we thought we had it made. Then I started having some very thick, mucus discharge. After a few days of this I called my OB's nurse. She said that an increase in discarge is normal. For the next week it got heavier and heavier and still I was told it was normal. Finally, I made an appointment and lied about why I needed to be seen in order to get in. My gut was telling me that it was not normal, but there was no blood, so I let myself be eased by the nurse.

I left work that day just generally feeling blah. I kept feeling like the baby was kicking me way low, but this being my first pregnancy, I didn't know to worry. When I got to the doctor, I was 21 weeks exactly. After chit chat in which the doctor told me he was sure I was fine he began his exam. He inserted the speculum about halfway and then just froze. I immediatly began to get uneasy. He took it out and began looking over my file. He asked if my last sonogram showed anything unusual, I said no beginning to panic. He than told me the my membranes were bulging and did I have a ride to the hospital? I had no idea what that meant, but I told him I didn't. I really began to panic when he asked the nurse to call an ambulance even though the hospital was only a few blocks away. The ambulance was going to take awhile so I said I would take myself. He said not to stop for anything.

I get to the emergency room just weeping. I don't know what is happening or if my baby is going to be safe. They put me in a wheelchair and rush me to labor and delivery. The nurse tries to comfort me and says something about just needing bedrest and I begin to calm down. I have visitors while I am waiting for a perinatologist and I am feeling like everything might be ok. They start talking about a cerclage. I don't know what this is. They explain that I am dilated to 4 centimeters, and with a 21 week old baby, that is dilated enough for the baby to literally just fall out. What!? How can I be dilated without any contractions? They explain that I have a cervix that can't stand up to the weight of the baby and just gives out and dilates. They said that a cerclage is a purse string stitch through the cervix that closes it and holds the baby in, but only a preinatologist can do this surgery.

The perinatologist Dr. O'Hara shows up a few hours later. She is very friendly and reassuring. She says that a cerclage may be possible and would save my baby. She has to make sure I am a good candidate. She does an exam and then looks at me with tears in her eyes. She says that she is sorry, but I am now dialted to 6 centimeters and fully effaced. She said it would be like trying to stitch wet tissue paper and that she can't do it, she needs to preserve future fertility. I cry and tell her I don't care about future fertility, this is my son, I want him safe and sound. She holds my hand and cries, but says I am too far gone.

I ask what will happen to the baby and she tells me he will be born in less than 24 hours, that he is too young to survive and so he will be placed in my arms and he will pass away. How can this be happening?! How could we have waited six years to be prenant and then just hold our baby in our arms until he dies? Who could ask this of me? I am strong enough for this. My mind says this is my fault, that I am letting my son and my husband down. After several hours of weeping, I just stop. No, this will not happen, I will not let it. I will do whatever it takes.

I am placed on Morphine for the night because they are sure labor will begin. The next morning....nothing. 24 hours later...nothing. The nurses are amazed. It is suggested that I let them induce me. No! I will not remove any chance this baby has. You must be kidding me, you want me to just give up and let you take my son? I tell them no and begin to get hysterical again.

They say that if I can make it 2 more weeks to 23 weeks, there is a chance my son could survive, that is the earliest that NICU's will try to save them. I make up my mind to do this. They tell me I have to be on total bedrest, with my head lower than my legs to try to keep him in. I cannot sit up, I must use bed pans, my feet cannot touch the floor. Anything, I tell them, I will do anything. The days tick by. 1, 2, 3...people from church come to pray. I have faith, I know my God can do this, my God can do anything. I pray, I beg, I weep...I start a new day. This goes on for another week, and then at 22 weeks exactly things begin to go bad.

I had back pain all night long and then that morning my placenta tore away and I begin hemorrhaging. I am losing blood so fast, every contraction causes more bleeding, and they are coming seconds apart. Jake begins to get scared for me and the baby. I have never felt pain like that in my life. They tell me I have to go to the delivery room. I have to deliver this baby and there is no time for an epidural. I get hysterical, I can't have him, it's too soon. The NICU won't take him for another week, I have to make it another week. They say I can't, he is coming. I am weeping, begging God to save him. I don't understand why this is happening, why God is not stepping in to save the day. I have faith in Him, I know he can do this, please God, please.

My OB cannot be reached. Another from his practice steps in. She says my son is breech and they are going to give me morphine for the pain. She says I have to push. I tell her no, I am not condemming him to die, I will not help this. More time goes by, the pain is so bad, she say I have to push now. She says he is coming whether I push or not. If I push I may have more time with him alive and if I don't he may be stillborn.

I push. Once, twice and then he is here. They clean him up and hand him to me. I am so drowsy from blood loss and morphine, but I fight to stay awake. Once he is in my arms, I stop weeping. I need to be strong for my baby.

He is beautiful. Perfect. His eyes have not opened yet and he looks like he is sleeping. There is no movement, but his heart is beating. Family and friends see him and I drift in and out. Finally, one hour and 45 minutes later a nurse checks his heartbeat and says he is gone. They call time of death 2:48 p.m. November 19, 2007. He is still in my arms. They say they need to take him, I let my son go and then all is dark as the morphine makes me sleep.

The day after Thanksgiving, the funeral for Mason Landon Shaw is held. It was so surreal. Our pastor did a great job and was very comforting. Still, two weeks ago I was picking out cribs and two days ago I had to pick out a casket. I am so numb, how can this be happening. It has to be an awful dream.

Mason was 10 inches long and weighed 15 ozs. It was later discovered that I have a clotting disorder that cause a placental abruption. I am told I will need a cerclage for any future pregnancies, but I can't think about that at the time. Jake and I go on and try to heal. At first I try to fight God's healing presence, but then I am broken and allow Him to comfort me. Somehow I become closer to my God than ever.

5 months later we find out we are pregnant with twins. Their birth story in the next post.