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 

 

Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving Hospital Bedrest

Hi everyone! Today marks 5 weeks since I was admitted to the hospital. I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’m so proud of BBS (Baby Boy Sieminski) for hanging in there with me.

Below are some items I had brought to my room to make my stay more comfortable. If any of you reading this are in the same boat as me — I hope these ideas help you on your journey.

Before I get started, let me note that I’m on strict bed rest with bathroom and shower privileges. I did have to lie in the trendelenberg position my first day here (ugh) but haven’t had to do that since. So for those of you in trendelenberg, with a foley catheter, or using a bed pan – not all of these suggestions will apply to you, sorry.

Bedding

  • Pillows from home – hospitals are dirty, disgusting places. You really don’t want to know what happened to the pillow on your bed before it got to your head. Just think about what actually happens in an L&D room or postpartum room. Need I say more?
  • Snoogle – see above re. hospital pillows. Rather than fighting with two or three pillows to support your back and hips, just bring your snoogle from home. If you don’t have one at home – buy one online and have it delivered to your room. Amazon, Diapers.Com and Instacart are all great delivery resources.
  • Throw blanket and twin comforter – I’ve got my soft and cozy throw blanket from home for chilly days, and for when I just want a little taste of home. Paul got me a cute twin comforter from the back to school section at BB&Beyond. It makes my room really homey and keeps me way warmer than the hospital blankets.
  • Egg crate – the mattress here is comfortable, but its encased in plastic. I was sweating like a hog my first week and a half here. Paul and BB&Beyond saved the day once again. The egg crate is comfy, keeps the heat at bay (for the most part) and can potentially help with preventing bed sores.

Room

  • Shelving & Storage Baskets – There isn’t much storage in my room, so I bought a plastic 3-drawer storage unit for my clothes. I’ve got a simple plastic storage bin for all of my snacks and a larger sized basket for all of my toiletries (there’s not a lot of counter space in the bathroom). I bought all of these from Target online and had Instacart deliver them.
  • Laptop Lap Desk – This one came from BB&Beyond and has saved my life. It helps me get the angle just right when I’m watching TV on my computer and allows me to type pretty easily from a reclined position. Paul found mine at BB&Beyond.
  • Decorations – I’ve got lots of framed photos of Nora and Paul. Not only do they make me happy, they cheer up this drab room too!
  • Lotions & Potions –  Lip salve, hand lotion and stretch mark lotion. PS – your hand lotion can double as lube for the fetal heart rate monitor. The hospital gel is super drying after awhile.
  • Water Bottle – I’ve got my 1 liter BKR bottle here. I like knowing how much water I’m consuming in a day. Plus, I hate drinking out of plastic bottles or cups – that’s all the hospital has 😦
  • Humidifier – I brought BBS’s humidifier from his nursery. My room is crazy dry. I’ve gotten a few nose bleeds since I’ve been here. So the humidifier is super helpful
  • Air Purifier – I’ve got asthma and am allergic to dust (see earlier comment about how dirty hospitals are). We happen to have an air purifier in every bedroom in our house. So bringing BBS’s purifier from his nursery was easy enough. For those of you who don’t have crazy allergies like me – you can skip this one 🙂 PRO TIP: most purifiers give off white noise which is very welcome here since there’s always a lot of commotion outside my door. If you don’t go the purifier route, def get a white noise machine or download an app to your phone.
  • Room Spray – When you eat, sleep and poop all in the same room, who wouldn’t want a room refresh now and again? PRO TIP: pour some of your room spray into your humidifier for a long lasting smell-fest 🙂

Bathroom

  • Full-Size Products – Being on bed rest is a real mind F, so the sooner you accept what’s happening and give yourself over to it, the better.  Having my full-size products helped me cope with the idea of being here for a long time. Obviously, none of us know when the baby will make his appearance, but being prepared to stay for awhile and not fight with travel sized tubes, allows me to relax into this process.
  • Bath Mat and Toilet Mat – Paul got these at BB&Beyond. Just a small little something to make it homey and less antiseptic.
  • Toilet Paper – So happy I’ve got my Angel Soft here 🙂
  • Shower Flip-Flops & Room Slippers– It’s like being in college again. I’ll say it AGAIN – hospitals, and L&D and postpartum units in particular, are gross. Don’t go anywhere bare foot. Eweeeeee.
  • Hairdryer – Having a wet head isn’t something I love, so I take quick showers and build in the few extra minutes it takes me to dry my hair into my “standing up” time.
  • Make-Up – you might not put on a full face everyday. But it’s nice to have the option. It’s an easy, time-killing activity you can do from bed.
  • Towels – Brought my own from home – the hospital ones are the size of a washcloth.
  • Shower Cap & Dry Shampoo – You def. won’t wash your hair everyday. No need to spend the extra time standing up.

Activities

  • Laptop – My hospital has decent WiFi, so I’ve got Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBOGo and Xfinity streaming
  • Kindle/IPad
  • Adult coloring books and colored pencils/markers
  • Scissors & Tape – to hang up cards and open packages you receive
  • Earbuds – I like to listen to Radio Andy on my Sirius XM app and zone out while coloring. Having my earbuds is great b/c it blocks out all the hospital noises that inevitably float in through my door.

Snacks & Food

Now that I have gestational diabetes (Oh! Forgot to mention that, didn’t I? I’ll do an update later this week to let everyone know what’s going on with me and my new milestones), here’s what I’ve got in my snack basket…

  • Peanut butter
  • Lara bars
  • Raw almonds
  • Ok-Mok crackers
  • Wheat Thins
  • Triscuits
  • Sugar Free Reese’s PB cups
  • Chamomile tea
  • Decaf Chai tea
  • No matter how good the hospital food may be at first, it *will* get old. I use DoorDash to order from my favorite restaurants – they deliver directly to my hospital room!

Please indulge me and take the survey below to let me know if you want me to post pics of my new abode. I’m happy to oblige, but only if it’s of interest to you all! xoxo

 

Day 24 – 25 Weeks 5 days

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to do a quick update for you. We were supposed to leave on our babymoon tomorrow – oh well – guess we’ll take a raincheck on that one!

I’m on Day 24 of my incarceration, errr, I mean, hospital bed rest stint. In all seriousness, I do, at times, feel like a prisoner, though its arguable that prisoners have more freedoms than I at the moment 🙂 But, when I start to feel that way, I just remind myself that this is all for my son. And, of course, he’s worth it.

Everything with my body, the cerclage and baby are holding stable. I do fetal monitoring and contraction monitoring 3 times a day. So far I’m not really having any contractions to speak of. The few I have are not painful, so are likely just Braxton Hicks – which are normal at this point in a pregnancy.  Baby boy is super active and recently moved from breech to head down (though he can easily move back to breech since it’s still really early). I get my amniotic fluid levels checked twice a week, and so far so good on that front. I get an ultrasound to check the cerclage every two weeks — my next one in July 13th.

My doctors are becoming cautiously optimistic.  While we still talk in terms of days, not weeks. They each (my OB and my high risk surgeon) have said they’re hopeful I get to 28 weeks and beyond.  My surgeon went so far as to say that he’ll be going on vacation in late August for 2 weeks and ‘I’m not to have the baby while he’s gone’. If I behave, he said he’d remove the cerclage on September 15th. That, ladies and gentleman, is TEN WEEKS from today. Holy goddamn hell. Thats a long way away. But my due date is October 15th, so to hold this guy in until September 15th would be awesome!

So that’s the update for you. Here are a few of my upcoming mini-milestones (in case you wondered about the inner workings of my brain):

  • Make it to my in-room massage on 7/7 (that’s today, yay, I made it!)
  • Make it to the RHONJ premiere on 7/10
  • Make it to the Flipping Out premiere on 7/13
  • Book another in-room massage for next week and make it to that
  • Make it until week 27 (7/16) when my OB gets back from vacation
  • Make it to my 41st birthday (7/17) b/c mama’s hoping for a damn good present this year 🙂

So those are the goals for the next little while — you can see I’m trying to keep it light and simple! Stay tuned for a post on tips n’ tricks to surviving a prolonged hospital stay. Figure I might as well pass along some things I’ve learned along the way…

xoxo