Turn, Turn, Turn

Today is Janet’s birthday. I ‘ll celebrate her by carrying on her memory and life’s mission. She wanted more, much more, for folks living and dying of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

Just last week Paul and I were on a kinder open house tour – and I saw a lady with a beanie on. Clearly no hair underneath (this wasn’t for fashion or style – this was chemo). I made a point to join her tour group so that I could talk with her and let her know I’m in her tribe. I was ready to flash my freshly revised port scar and all! As I approached her from behind, she turned around and faced me, I was taken aback, it was my friend Julie (was it a badge of honor that I knew the cancer lady on the school tour? Ugh, I dunno, maybe?…probably not, I’ve lost all sense of perspective at this point).

Julie is living with metastatic disease. She’s my age (ish) and has a daughter Nora’s age. Her life is very different from mine, yet exactly the same. She’s a mom. She’s going on kindergarten tours. She’s trying to figure out the lottery system for her child — same as me. BUT, she has to do all this planning wondering how long she’ll be on this earth – will she be here to watch her child go to kinder? 1st? 2nd? 3rd? You get the point. I want to scream, kick and shout for her.

So then, we continue on with the tour. Paul and I trying to picture our kid(s) at the school, marveling at the dance studio and art room – but I couldn’t stop putting myself in Julie’s shoes. The pit in her stomach as she walked the halls wondering how long she’d get to see her child grow and learn.

It’s GD heart wrenching. I hate it. I hated stealing glances at her on the tour knowing exactly what she was thinking. I wanted to scream like both of my toddlers do every.single.day. THIS IS NOT FAIR. ITS NOT FAIR. SHE’S BEING CHEATED. HER FAMILY IS BEING ROBBED.

All I can say is stage 4 needs more. It’s not just a cute hashtag. Please please please do what you can. No matter how little, because it matters. If you’re able, donate HERE.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

 

Peter’s 8 months old today!

I can’t believe it’s been 8 months since Peter was born! He’s such a happy guy, always smiling and giggling, especially when Nora is around.

He’s eating solids and crawling around on his stomach and all fours. It’s pretty funny to watch – he sort of looks like an inch worm! It gets the job done though – he’s moving around the room pretty easily and fast. We had to bust out our pack n play so that we can confine him and keep him safe if we need to leave him alone in the room for a second or two. He still can’t sit up on his own – but we’re starting to make some progress on that front.

All in all, he’s just the sweetest love bug.


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Happy Birthday!

We welcome with so much love and joy, Peter Vikram Sieminski

Born at 10:25pm on September 19, 2016

Weighing in at 6lbs 14ozs and 18 inches long

We’re so proud of our 36-weeker. He didn’t have to go to the NICU and is happy and healthy in the well baby nursery. So many blessings!

Nora is coming to the hospital later today to meet her brother 🙂 Here we go………

36 Weeks, Cholestasis & Induction

Yesterday I hit 36 weeks. Holy cow I feel so lucky to have made it this far.

While yesterday was a huge milestone, today is even bigger. It’s our last day hanging out with Nora before BBS arrives because…..I’m being induced tomorrow :0

A few weeks ago we scheduled my cerclage removal for tomorrow, Monday, the 19th. I’ll be 36 and 2 when the stitch comes out. But my doctors were torn on when I’d actually go into labor. My OB thought I’d go that day, while my MFM thought I’d go a few days later.

We don’t need to guess anymore because they decided as a team to induce me after the cerclage is removed (assuming I don’t go into labor only own). That’s nearly 14 weeks (3 1/2 months) of bed rest for BBS and I. Wow!

You might be wondering why they’d induce after I’ve come this far. Late last week it was confirmed that I developed cholestasis of pregnancy.  About 10 days ago my entire body started itching like crazy. At first it was mainly my hands and feet, but then it spread everywhere. 4 benadryls + an ambien couldn’t make me fall asleep through the itching. It was horrible. I called my OB’s night nurse and told her my symptoms. The next day my doctor sent me for lab work to test my liver function and bile acid. The results came in confirming the condition, UGH. Below is a quick overview of what Cholestasis is.

According to What to Expect:

Cholestasis is a liver disorder that most often occurs late in pregnancy, typically during the third trimester. While it  occurs in just one to two pregnancies in 1,000, it can cause complications in your newborn — which is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms and talk to your doctor if you think it might be affecting you. Fortunately, early diagnosis and active management by your doctor can help ensure you and your baby have a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery.

A quick biology lesson: Bile, excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, helps your body break down fats into fatty acids that your intestines can absorb. Cholestasis is a condition that slows down the normal flow of bile into the gallbladder, causing a buildup of bile acids in the liver — which in turn spills into the bloodstream, causing intense itching. Possible causes include:

Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy (especially in the third trimester): Extra estrogen can increase cholesterol levels in bile and decrease gallbladder contractions.

Gestational diabetes: This disease is often associated with a higher risk of cholestasis.

Genetic disposition: If an immediate family member has had cholestasis during pregnancy, be sure to tell your doctor.

Gallstones: A collection of small stone masses in the gallbladder caused by imbalances of bile (pregnant women are also more at risk of gallstones due to increased estrogen levels) can also be the cause.

With regular prenatal care and monitoring, your baby will likely not be affected during pregnancy and after delivery. Studies have found little increased risk to babies when their mothers have only mild cholestasis and low amounts of bile acids. However, in cases when maternal bile acids are higher, cholestasis can increase baby’s risk of a low birth weight, a slightly lower Apgar score, lung immaturity and preterm delivery — which is why early diagnosis and treatment are so important. In extremely rare cases, stillbirth is a risk, though it may be prevented if labor is induced before week 38.

I can’t believe I’ve managed to add more goddamn lemons to my pile. But there you have it. Because this condition can put BBS at risk, we’re opting to induce at 36 and 2. In a perfect world, we’d wait until 37, but BBS’s non stress tests have been a mixed bag. So we’re choosing to be safe than sorry.

So this is it my friends. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your love and support on this journey. Please send your continued good vibes my way – pray for an uncomplicated delivery and that BBS makes his debut healthy and happy.

I’ll post more once he’s born. But please be patient with me. Even though I’m being induced, he might not arrive until Tuesday. And even then, we’re going to want some family time to process this whole journey. If BBS goes to the NICU I expect that we’ll be quite busy with that – but I’ll do my best to post updates here for you all.

With all my love and thanks!

I heart how Maisey’s lurking in the corner of this pic. Haha

Day 80 Update

I’ve been on bed rest for 80 days and I’m 33 and 5 today! This is the 4th calendar month I’ve been on bed rest for – crazy.

This week’s appointment went well. Baby and cerclage both look good.

On Saturday I flip to 34 weeks – a day I never thought we’d see. I’m starting to believe we may actually weather this storm.

Upcoming milestones:

Ring in September – That’s today! Milestone met 🙂
Dr. Yee OB appt – Sept. 2nd
Flip to 34 weeks – Sept. 3rd
Prenatal massage – Sept. 5th
Below Deck season premiere – Sept. 6th
Flip to 35 weeks – Sept. 10th
Dr. Katz MFM appt – Sept. 12th

 

Trip Down Memory Lane

Update: We’re still chugging’ along (knock wood). My next ultrasound is on the 30th. Fingers crossed everything remains stable until then.

As BBS’s impending birth becomes more real to me, I can’t help but think back to when Nora was born. So much love. Love like I’ve never felt before.

I, like all second time parents to be, am worried I couldn’t possibly love another tiny human as much as I love Nora. But, after what BBS and I have been through, my love for him is already immense and it’ll just keep growing from here. I can’t wait to meet him (well, you know what I mean – I can’t wait for him to be done cooking and then meet him!).  I’ve been so heads down and focused on the immediate task at hand, that I lost sight of the joy in carrying and growing another human life. Don’t get me wrong though, I only allow myself to enjoy it in measured doses for fear of jinxing everything. Some of the fun things I’ve done recently are ordering decor for BBS’s nursery and personalized thank you cards for him. It’s been really nice to feel happy instead of scared and worried.

In the meantime, I never published Nora’s entire newborn photo shoot. There are lots of duds in there for sure – but I don’t even care anymore – I’m overwhelmed by love (and pregnancy hormones!) and want the world to see them all.  Hope you enjoy (esp the few that include Maisey — she’s such a character)…

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(Photo credit goes to Kim Lind Photography)

 

 

And on the 53rd Day…

I went home.

After 7 1/2 weeks on hospital bedrest, I’m heading home. BBS is still safe ‘n sound in utero. So my doctors are letting me take this party back to my own bed. I’ll still be on strict bed rest at home, but at least I’ll be home.

I’m so happy that I’ll get to see Nora on a daily basis. She only came to visit me on the weekends because I felt it was important for her to maintain her routine and have stability during the week. I wanted her to go to the park and run around outside everyday, not come to the hospital and sit couped up in my room. The upside to all this craziness is that Paul and Nora have enjoyed an incredibly special two months together. Their bond has been cemented and then covered with tar for good measure! And, extra little bonus, Paul can now do a mean ponytail 😉

But truly, not seeing Nora regularly was the absolute hardest thing  for me to deal with. I had to emotionally shut down during the week in order to cope with her absence. Thankfully BBS is an extremely active kiddo. So his kicks, punches and rolls served as a reminder of WHY I’m sacrificing. His life and health far outweigh my own ache and long for Nora.

Whenever I feel down about this process, I force myself to refocus by recalling how far I’ve come. When I was first admitted, my doctors fully prepared Paul and I to lose BBS. Upon admission, Dr. Katz gave me three choices (1) do nothing and allow my body to finish delivering BBS and he would pass away, (2) take medicine to purposefully end the pregnancy and try to get pregnant again at a later date or (3) do everything medically possible to save BBS knowing there are zero guarantees. I was alone at the hospital when given these choices because Paul and Nora were still making their way up. For me, the conversation was surreal but not scary. I think I may have even laughed at the first 2 choices (perhaps a nervous habit? or maybe a sign of how naive I was about how bad my situation was?). Number 3 is what I chose on June 14th and I continue to choose today. No brainer.

Perhaps one day I’ll blog about the insanely tough conversations we’ve had with the neonatologists and about the stats of my ever shortening, basically non-existent cervix. But not today. Today I focus on the next stage of the fight. I’m not to the finish line yet.

I have very mixed emotions about leaving. Mentally, I like knowing that the doctors and nurses can spring into action within seconds should anything go down. But I have to remind myself that I’ve been super vigilant thus far and I’ll continue to be equally, if not more so, at home. Emotionally, I lose a bit of confidence every time someone says something like “What?!! You’re going home? Are you sure that’s a good idea? Whose decision was it? Well, don’t overdo it at home.”

Ummm, thanks for basically saying you have zero confidence in me. It’s insulting and undermining. I’m the one who has fought every second of every day for the past 53 days to keep my child alive and safe. I’m the one who lays in bed all day long. I have constant heartburn because I eat my meals laying down. I have the beginning of bed soars on my thighs because I lay all day. I worry every.single.time I get up to go to the bathroom. Trust me, it’s me who knows more than you what’s at stake here. I realize that you say these things out of concern, but you’re effectively saddling me with your own fears. Please stop putting me in the position of comforting and reassuring you.

The reality is that I will go into labor one day. Whether that happens tonight (on the very night I arrive home) or one month from now is irrelevant because it won’t be my fault. It won’t be because I walked to the bathroom in my home instead of festering in the hospital and walking to the bathroom there. It won’t be because Nora jumped onto the bed to read a book or snuggle with me (newsflash she does all of that when she visits the hospital). It won’t be because I walked into the kitchen to get a water refill. It won’t be because I did or didn’t do anything.

Next steps/milestones: Tomorrow I’ll hit 30 weeks which is a HUGE accomplishment and something I plan to celebrate with Paul, Nora, Maisey and BBS. I’ll have an ultrasound Wednesday the 10th. They’ll measure the baby and check the cerclage. Dr. Katz will look at the results and determine if I can stay at home or if I need to come back in.

Sorry I went so deep with this post, apparently I had a lot of pent up emotion…

Final spin on the monitors before being discharged