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5 posts from September 2010


And The Sonogram Says . . . We're Having a Girl!

I was always convinced I'd have a boy, just because I never really saw myself having children until I was well into dating Cody. I saw a baby picture of him one day and immediately knew that I didn't want to have kids, I just wanted to have kids with him. (Amazing how falling in love with someone changes things.)

But, especially with the problems we've had, we ended up not really caring anymore. It's a cliche, but we really just wanted a healthy child.

Yesterday we are at Dr. U's office (my OBGYN) for the 20 week sonogram appointment, even though I was only 19 weeks. This is a big deal appointment because they confirm that they brain, organs, spine and other things are good to go.

I had been feeling the baby since last Sunday (I was sitting in Bible study with my hands on my stomach when all of a sudden, I felt a little bit of a pop) and I was so anxious about finding out if everything was okay. I was relieved when the technician checked the health of the baby first, as it made it much easier to enjoy the gender-finding part.

Right and the perfect moment, she rotated just enough for us to check. He typed "GIRL" into the screen and Cody squeezed my hand. How awesome to call her a "she" and not an "it" anymore!

So now comes the fun part. Follow me as I put together her new room, in a not so traditional pink way . . . My inspiration will be this beautiful flowered fabric from Pottery barn (link) which is girlie, but again, not pink.

Stay tuned as this unfolds . . .


Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)

Two weeks ago I went into my doctor for the standard 16 week appointment, where they take your blood and test you for anything and everything. I totally rocked the blood draw part, as only a few tears were shed and I managed to avoid a panic attack, which is what I had when I was in the emergency room just a few months before. (Dr. U had walked into the ER room where I was and said, “Why do you have oxygen?” I had to sheepishly answer it was because I got an IV and blood drawn . . . What? Getting blood drawn doesn’t constitute getting oxygen?)

After my standard check-up appointment I left for a quick work trip to Philadelphia. Two days later I was waiting on my flight home, letting the time pass by talking to Cody. All of a sudden Dr. U’s office number beeped through. My heart immediately jumped as doctor's offices rarely call with good news.

The nurse started off by telling me that I tested negative for HIV (Ummm . . . thanks, since I wasn't nervous about that result) and then reminded me that blood disorders were a part of the test. She said my platelet count was low, around 77k, and it should have been between 150k-400k. They wanted me to go see an oncologist to get some additional testing.

Nothing like getting little explanation when a bombshell is dropped . . . I spent the next two hours at the airport talking to Cody, who was busy Googling low platelet counts, reading different information to me so we could figure out what that meant. A few things we found:

  1. Most oncologists (cancer doctors) are also hematologists (blood doctors) so going to an oncologist wasn't anything to freak out over
  2. It could be a total fluke, since most offices mail out their blood to get tested. If the blood clotted too quickly, I could have a wrong result of low platelet counts
  3. It could be gestational (pregnancy-only) and not a chronic condition
  4. Knowing low platelet counts early means they can plan accordingly for your pregnancy

The following Monday I was able to confirm my oncologist appointment, which was scheduled for yesterday afternoon. We had a 1pm appointment and got home at around 4pm. It took forever.

After a long talk and a physical exam with the oncologist, Dr. A, he wanted to do another blood test to confirm that the low count wasn’t a fluke. I suffered through another seven vials of blood and sure enough, my platelet count came in at 86k.

It's called "Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura" or ITP. For whatever reason, and they don't know why, my auto-immune system attacks my blood platelets. Platelets are essential for blood clotting, which is why pregnant women are tested. You lose a lot of blood during delivery and they have to make sure that my body will be able to stop the bleeding. At this point, I'm not sure what it exactly all means. I've Googled it to death and have an idea of the different possibilities, but it will be good to dive into this with my doctors and see what it really means for me.

The good news . . . After sitting in the same waiting room as a lot of cancer patients, I feel very fortunate as I'd take ITP any day over the many other diseases that people suffer from. We have a good team in place, Dr. A (the oncologist/hematologist) and Dr. U (my OB/GYN) so hopefully over the next few weeks we'll figure out what we need to do.

Until then, I'll work on preparing myself for the epidural-free birth. I'm not sure who will have it worse . . . me, or Cody suffering through my screams!


Three Things in 24 Hours

It was a bad 24 hours over the Labor Day weekend for a certain black dog.

Incident #1

Spangler has pretty much finished developing into a big boy, if you will, and along with that comes the need for him to get fixed. The vet had wanted to put it off until fall since he was having some swelling after his stomach surgery.

I had taken Spangler to the pet store a few weeks ago to get some dog food (he loves riding in the car and getting to go anywhere) and it ended up being a huge mistake. He peed THREE TIMES in the store. I was so embarrassed, especially since one of the times was on a book display. 

So, we have ruled out any pet store visits until he gets fixed. We thought that following that new rule would work until the incident Friday morning.

I was sitting on the couch, trying to wake up, and Cody was getting his coffee and stuff ready to leave for work. He happened to look over at the right time and caught Spangler with his leg hiked peeing on the chair in our living room. It was not a good couple minutes for Spangler. Since urinating in the house is a dominance thing Cody treated him like an alpha male normally would, which is pinning him to the ground by his neck and getting Spangler on his back. Ugh. I couldn't watch even though I know it's how the animal kingdom works.

I do not trust him to not potty in the house now.

Incident #2

This is another first for our beloved dog. We get home from running an errand Friday night and Cody noticed that the house was kind of warm (I'll be honest with you . . . I did not notice but I'm usually freezing in the house so I was probably just comfortable). He felt that the air coming out of our air conditioning vents seemed warm so he grabbed a flash light and went outside.

Sure enough, there was black pipe insulation everywhere on the grass that Spangler had chewed off. He also chewed the electrical line that ran from the air conditioner to the house. The AC unit didn't "know" when to turn on, so it just stayed off.

He left the upstairs unit alone (in Texas most two story houses have two AC units as the heat is too much work for just one unit) so we had the upstairs cool and the downstairs warm.

Incident #3

Saturday morning Cody took off for some dove hunting (first day of the season!) and so Spangler and I hung out that morning before I ran some errands. He got to a pair of my flip flops, a pair of new leather mary jane flats, and my sunglasses.


Be Annoying And Carry A Big Stick

Even though it's still ridiculously hot outside, I sometimes will work on the back patio in the morning. Spangler will be with me, although he usually wants to throw in the towel much earlier than I do. Two hours in the heat is just WAY too long outside, according to Spangler.

This past Thursday wasn't any differnet, as he started to get bored, ringing his bell on the back door to let me know he was ready to head back into the air conditioning. Like any good dog Mom, I ignored him. After realizing that it wasn't going to get him anywhere he went and found the biggest stick in the backyard to play with.

It was probably five feet or so in length. He carried it here and there and decided that I needed to get in on the fun. He brought it over and would not leave me alone.


If Spangler could talk, I would imagine the conversation to go like this:


Spangler: Mom, Check out my stick.

Me: Yes, I see it. It's very cool.

Spangler: Mom. Check out my stick.

Me: Spangler. I see it. Cool.

Spangler: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mommmmm. My stick. Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mom. Check it out. Look. Mom. My stick. Mom. Look. Check it out. Mom.

Me: Spangler! That is enough! Get the stick off me!


He finally settled for some fetch in the pool, with the big stick of course.



Not The Way I Imagined It to Be

It’s been an interesting few months.

Back in March when we lost Cody’s grandpa, Robert, I remember sitting in the hospital room with his grandma just waiting for his body to finally stop. Everyone knew that Robert, his soul, was already gone. I was praying for his body to go quickly. Watching Mavis make sure he was comfortable, even putting chapstick on his cracked lips, was too much for me to handle. Their marriage is the only one I know of that ended in full, unconditional love. It didn’t mean that they didn’t have struggles along the way (according to Mavis, the first 30 years were tough and she even left him, if only for an evening, twice!) but they stuck it out. Worked through it. And, were left on the other side of life standing next to someone who they loved more than anyone else. It was beautiful, although heartbreaking, to witness.

The evening before he passed Cody and I were talking. We were pretty emotionally drained, but it’s amazing how in situations where you have nothing left, you feel the most raw and honest. Both of us, separately, had realized that day that life is about (1) bringing glory to God and (2) family. We had been married just shy of six years and had done our fair share of chasing material things. But, there is something about witnessing the end of someone’s life that makes you rethink your priorities.

We didn’t realize at the time that God was preparing us for a bit of a surprise. A short two months later I went into the doctor’s office on a Friday for what I thought was a routine bladder infection-type visit. I had been getting some pretty weird abdominal pains and thought that I should probably get it checked out before the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. I am a hypochondriac and my bladder infection would turn into cancer, in my mind, before the weekend was up.

I peed in a cup. Got my weight and all the usual checked. Talked to the doctor for a few minutes, and only a short time later he walked in carrying a little plastic thing—in-between the size of a stick of gum and a credit card. Before he even got in the door he says, “You're pregnant; the line turned pink immediately.” I was totally dumbfounded. I had no idea. I probably lost what little color I have in my face as I was shaking and trying not to cry. I know a lot of people probably would think I was upset about the news, but it was more shocking than anything. I just never imagined myself pregnant. Ever.

I called Cody to tell him the news, and to also let him know that my doctor had arranged for an emergency sonogram as he was concerned about the pain I was having. Cody met me at the house and we headed up to the only place that would take me so last minute. I get a sonogram done and we’re waiting in the lobby of the medical office. Cody is always so good at making me feel better, so he was joking and getting me to smile.

Finally, my name was called and I was given the phone from the receptionist. A woman on the other end of the line says, “You need to go to the emergency room right now.” I immediately started crying and asked why. I could hear the crackling of the phone as she handed it to my doctor. “You have an ectopic pregnancy. You need to get over to the emergency room with a copy of your sonogram.”

I swear that was the longest 25 minute drive ever. I was trying to understand what an ectopic pregnancy was (it’s when the baby attaches itself to your fallopian tube, and not your uterus—it then continues to multiple until it finally bursts your fallopian tube, causing potentially life threatening bleeding) and trying to digest what had happened in the past 5 hours. I thought I had a bladder infection. Then I found out I was pregnant. Then, I was told I would lose the baby.

I could go into the many, many details from this point on, but long story short(er), I got to the emergency room and only had to wait a few minutes. My sister, who works at that particular hospital as a nurse, met us there and helped keep me calm during the IV process (Fear of needles? Remember?Yeah, the IV was horrible.). She also helped convey (over and over again) that I really wanted them to call my OB/GYN, Dr. U, who my sister works with. I had been going to her for over five years and she really is an amazing doctor. I knew if she would get there, I would trust her in whatever the outcome.

We were in the room for about 45 minutes when all of a sudden Dr. U walks in. I was so relieved I can’t even explain it. The first thing she did was make sure I understood what was going on and why I was there (since everyone else had done a pretty bad job of doing that). She showed me on my sonogram where the concern was. There was a large cyst on my right ovary, and combined with my weird pains I was having, everyone was convinced I had an ectopic pregnancy. That also meant that I would have surgery that evening and my entire right side of my reproductive system would be removed.

But, then some good news.

She was pretty irritated, I could tell, that no one had bothered to check my blood work. My beta level (which is the level of human chorionic conadotropin, hCG, in my blood) was only at 599. That means that I had only been pregnant for less than two weeks. IF I was having an ectopic pregnancy, I wasn’t at risk for my fallopian tube bursting for a few more weeks. She wanted me to go home, sans surgery, and take it easy over the weekend. I needed to come back to her office Tuesday morning for another blood test. My beta, if having a normal pregnancy, would double every two days and it would be at least around 2400 by Tuesday morning. If it was less than that, I’d likely have an ectopic pregnancy.

She wanted to just give it time. She said she wanted to give the baby a chance.

So we left the hospital and grabbed a sandwich at Corner Bakery for dinner. Cody and I looked at each other over our dinner, and breathed a heavy sigh. It had been a strange, life-altering, day.

(To spare you the details, and to mostly spare Cody from reliving this particular weekend . . . since I'm sure I was really pleasant to be around . . . insert in lots of anxiety, loss of sleep, worrying, and just freaking myself out all weekend long.)

Tuesday I went in for the blood test and Wednesday afternoon I got a call from Dr. U. My beta was at 3600. Oh. My. Goodness. She wanted me in the next day for a sonogram as I was at the earliest possible stages of being able to see anything on the sonogram. We saw this:


Not the baby, but the very beginnings of an amniotic sac. Good news. Very good news. I was cleared to go on my vacation to Mexico, and slowly began digesting the idea that I was pregnant for real.

And so it began . . . I am now 18 weeks pregnant, so I still have a long ways to go, but it's becoming more and more real every day. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a husband that is so supportive (he doesn't miss anything baby-related and listens to all my weird body stories) as well as a doctor who is knowledgeable and went out against her colleagues to give my pregnancy a chance.

Dr. U does give me a hard time, saying now that she's "known the baby since conception." Ha! We have been very spoiled as the first trimester I went every two weeks for checkups. I think I've had six sonograms so far. Crazy, as some women don't get their first one until 12 weeks or so.

It was a rough start, but I have faith in the future. We'll just wait and see how this story ends.