March 22, 2013

Week 22- Pregnant with Placenta Accreta/Percreta, Placenta Previa, Thalassemia

Preemie born at 23 weeks...
{background info- Hello! My name is Jenifer and I am a stay-at-home mother to seven, wonderful children (2 boys and 5 girls).  I am currently pregnant with my eighth child (A BOY!!) and was diagnosed with Complete Placenta Previa (CPP) and Placenta Percreta.  I also have Beta Thalassemia Minor which contributes to severe anemia.

I am being treated by a team of specialist, mainly Perinatology, Hematology  and OB Oncology, at Oregon Health Science University (OHSU) in Portland.  I receive lots of blood transfusions, have had many ultrasounds, and try to enjoy my many doctor appointments.  I am currently on pelvic rest, partial bed rest, taking vitamins, drinking green smoothies and trying to find joy in this journey.  

We feel SO blessed to have this baby and to be in the hands of skilled doctors.  This is a record of my pregnancy for my family and for those of you who may be experiencing something similar.}

Week 22-

Doctor Appointments.
((Singing Hallelujah Chorus))
I had NO, NADA, ZILCH, ZERO...  NOT ONE doctor appointment this week!!!
It was SO nice!  I almost felt like a regular old pregnant mother...  well, aside from the bed rest.

Test Results.
In the spirit of no doctor appointments, I have rebelled against blood tests.
No lectures please.
I figured that I felt good and I wasn't in the mood to call Portland to tell them I needed more blood, so I would rather not know what my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were.
(I'll be back in the lab on Monday in plenty of time for my hematologist to get my results.)
Yes, I rebelled this week... and it was SO nice. 
(I did wonder, every time the phone rang if it would be my doctor calling to reprimand me for not going to the lab... but I have yet to hear from anyone.)
I feel as cool as I did skipping class in high school.
The, um, ONE time I ever did that (after getting permission from my mother.)

Physically at 22 weeks.
I feel really good this week. 
That may be mental and as a result of the above freedoms.
I'm certain I'm gaining more weight with this pregnancy simply because I am so inactive.
My body is CRAVING movement.
I want to run up the stairs or skip for a minute...  ahh, to move big again!!
Still NO bleeding!!!

And, my baby is just about viable!! 
With the risk of hemorrhage being so real throughout this pregnancy, I am very aware of how important each week is where my baby is still inside.
I woke up this morning (day one of week 23) and wanted to sing happy birthday to my little guy.
He could live if I had to deliver him this week. 
(After bleeding for the first 3 months and being on bed rest since then, I am celebrating this small victory!!)
25 weeks is better than 23... and 30 is better than 25... they won't let me go past 34...
I hope I have a ways to go before this little guy comes, but it does feel good knowing he is growing and developing and is just about viable.
I'm almost on the 10 week count-down and it feels good!!
(I've been on bed rest for the past 10 weeks... so, not counting recovery time, I am almost halfway done!!)
Small victories!!

My husband was out of town for a few days this week, so my mom and I held down the fort.
I have been doing a bit more than I usually do... including one trip-- by myself, to pick my kids up from school.
It felt SOOO good!!  I can't even tell you how nice it was to feel normal for one afternoon.
Ahh... I do like being a bed rest rebel every now and then.
Mentally at 22  weeks.
I feel good!

Looking back, I can attribute much of my peace of mind to a sweet blessing I received from some church leaders who came to my home.  I feel so grateful to feel the power of God in my life.  He is real.  There is power in the Priesthood of God to bless and heal.  I know it.  I also know that everything is going to be okay.  I am grateful.

I've spent this week learning about Preemie babies and the NICU.
I am reading the book, "Preemies" by Linden, Paroli, and Doron. 
It is not a fun read, I wish I didn't have to read it.
But, it is very informative and I'm glad I'm preparing myself now.
In the book, they divide the preemies up by week or gestational age. 
The youngest group is 23-25 weeks, then 25-30, 30-34, and 34+.
One of my favorite things is reading that 34+ babies have just about the same rate of survival as full-term babies. 
I've been really nervous about the preemie time... but if I can make it to 32 or 34 weeks, I feel pretty confidant that everything will be ok. 
We'll see what happens.

I have also received many sweet notes from friends of mine who have had preemie babies.
I can't tell you how nice it is to read their stories and feel like I'm not alone.  The best people I know have walked a difficult path and glow with all that they have become.

Anyone who has spent time in the hospital with their children (I have with Anna who had 3rd degree burns on her hands and leah and lily who were full-term but spent some time in the NICU), will tell you that it is a different world.
You meet people who are enduring much.  You meet children who have endured things no child should ever have to endure.
You feel sorrow and you see the hand of God. 
The hospital shows you the true strength of the human spirit and the amazing power of technology paired with the human body to heal and overcome.  Sometimes the hospital shows you our own inability to change nature.  Sometimes the best among us are called home too early.  (Doesn't death always come too early?)
I remember thinking (when I spent months in the hospital with Anna) that EVERY mother should spend a week in the hospital.
It re-sets our perspective and aligns us with what is really important. 
There are things in life that really matter, and things that don't.
Today, I am grateful for the perspective I have been reminded of.
Life is a gift. 

I also adopted a few coping mechanisms this week.
1. Don't look back.  (from this amazing devotional- "Remember Lot's Wife")
I have loved thinking about Lot's wife who turned to a pile of salt when she looked back.
I try to live in NOW.  If I'm cranky or snappy sometime, I apologize and move on, without dwelling and analyzing.  If my husband or family does something that bugs me, I just let it move quickly into the past and practice looking forward.  This has saved me, (CHANGED ME!) especially with family visiting.
I have some issues from my childhood that could resurface and drive me crazy.
I have definitely felt blessed with hope and joy as I've really focused on not looking back.

2.  Focus on the goal, not on the waves.  (From when Christ and Peter walked on water.)
There are things that make me anxious and thirsty and insecure.
When I think about timing or the future or specifics of money or planning or how my kids are going to manage the next few months or how long it will take me to recover...  I start to sink.
I have noticed that quite literally, looking at the waves brings doubt. 
When I take one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time, I feel peace and joy.
I know that God will give me what I need, when I need it.
If I sink, He will pull me up.
He does not always tell me HOW He is going to help me months before He actually does help me.
He likes it when I walk in faith.  When I trust that He is beside me and I am safe.
The world will focus on the storm.
My God created the waves and he knows just how to save a soul like mine.
My daily walk is peaceful and blessed if I don't think about the water swirling around me.
I'm actually enjoying these months of rest and excited for the experience that I am gaining.
I do remind myself every now and then to FEEL the JOY of NOW... and ignore the waves. 
He can take care of the storm... I am safe.
Life is good.

Thanks for walking this path with me.
You are my friends and we are never alone.
Let's keep on walking!!!  This is a good journey.

My journey so far...
Week 21
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Choosing Life
In a Moment...


Anonymous said...
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elisems said...

Thanks so much for sharing. It's helped me deal with my own challenges--a job search, so a totally different category, but all of them need to be faced with faith in God.

Anonymous said...
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Diane said...

You truly amaze me.

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