Tuesday, June 16, 2015

30 weeks

So I have reached the 30 week mark and every Braxton Hicks, especially well placed kick and discomfort has me on guard. Not in a panic per se, just on high alert. I keep asking myself (and the great World Wide Web) what is normal. When do I call the doctor? Do I need a maternity belt and this discomfort will go away. Do I start counting these tightenings? Or have I forgotten and now they are gone? Which is reassuring? 

I have already planned out who is responsible for my duties when I am on leave and plan to go over it soon just in case. This time I have posted it in a shared folder so it can all be found and easily accessed.  Unlike last time when I couldn't help or meet with the therapist who took over for me. Lessons learned. 

Things are as they are, will be as they will be. There isn't much you can change when it comes to pregnancy. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

25 Weeks and Counting

Tomorrow I am 25 weeks pregnant.  At this time during my first pregnancy I was on bed rest at home with high hopes that I would return to work in two weeks after a follow up appointment.  Although no tests could confirm it, I was clearly leaking amniotic fluid. I wasn’t officially diagnosed until 27 weeks with PPROM—Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes. 

No known cause, which is frequently the case. 

Thus far I have had a pretty straightforward pregnancy. I count with joy each week that is normal.  For a few months I was having intermittent panic attacks (no doubt driven by raging hormones, fatigue and nausea).  When will the other shoe drop? 

Hubby gives me injections of progesterone with the hopes it will prevent another premature labor.  I have sharps containers, syringes, alcohol swabs and bandaids weekly at the ready.

Pregnancy is something we very much take for granted in the United States.  Yet, according to the CDC, 1.5 million married women ages 15-44 are infertile and 7.4 million women in this age range seek out fertility treatments.  Unless one has had fertility issues themselves or know family or friends with fertility issues, they are largely unaware. 

Women who are fortunate enough to become pregnant through whatever means have nine months ahead of them that can be peaceful and straight forward or tumultuous, stressful, uneasy. 

150,000 women a year suffer from PPROM with the most serious outcome being premature birth.  Preemie survival rates vary based on age of gestation at birth, medical complications unique to the babe itself and various other factors. (American Alliance for PPROM support).

Other serious complications include placenta previa, preeclampsia, and various infections during and after childbirth.  Per the CIA website, maternal mortality rates in the United States in 2010 were 21 per 100,000.  Lowest rates throughout the world were Estonia with 2 per 100,000 and Greece and Singapore close with 3 per 100,000.

Consider that maternal mortality rates in developing countries range from 300 to 2,054. 

I count myself to be very fortunate.  Even with the complications, I now have a healthy little boy and, if all goes well, another healthy baby on the way. But I can’t forget the anxiety, the statistics, the unpredictable thing that is pregnancy.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Joy and Pain

Joy and Pain

First the pain:

Today should be Gray’s first birthday. He entered the world in a rush, a quick four hours including a useless epidural and Magnesium Sulfate that in combination with my pain made me so out of it that I hardly remember the first hour or so of the miraculous struggle. His Apgar scores were good, he was on CPAP and I got to hold him for a couple minutes before the NICU team whisked him away.

Paul got to visit him while I was in recovery and then they wheeled me down to his room.  Gray looked so helpless in his isolette, bilirubin lights on and eyes covered.  By our second visit in the afternoon he had been placed on a ventilator—his oxygen saturation numbers dropped on the CPAP.  But on the ventilator he was doing ok.  He needed morphine so he wouldn’t work against the ventilator.  He had the tiniest little IV.

They took blood draws from pricking his heels and they were red and raw. 

I had to start pumping.  I won’t get in to the hell that is, particularly when you’re doing it for every “meal”.  That can wait for another day.

The next day we were visiting Gray, getting an update from the team who had been keeping a watchful eye on him.  In that moment we saw blood come out of his ventilator tube.  They rushed in to action and told us that he must have bleeding in his lungs. 

With little time to prepare or truly give “informed consent” we signed a waiver for blood products.  Paul asked if we could be the donors but the resident said there really wasn’t time for that.  We were in such a daze we didn’t really understand that Gray was on the edge of life.

The next step was putting Gray on an oscillating ventilator.  This acted like putting pressure on a wound—air pushed in to him on and off and sounded like a jackhammer, rattling his little chest up and down.

They tried to put in a PICC line three times to give higher calorie nutrition than they could give through the line.  He took some through an NG tube and over several days was finally digesting it. No PICC line needed, no more attempts. 

Gray gradually came off the ventilator and we got to hold him!

The day to day became routine, travelling to the hospital, pumping every three hours, chatting with the nurses.
He got better and better and after 11 weeks between the NICU and Special Care Nursery he came home. Between hormones, exhaustion, general stress , Gray’s daily oxygen ups and downs, and navigating the day to day (making dinner was low in the list of priorities) it was a bit of a blur.  It’s hard to say it is history.  We still have some PTSD but it’s becoming less and less.

And the joy:

We have never felt so much love from our families and friends.  We had meals for days, followers of our Carepage with encouragement and support.  When we had to move out for lead abatement our parents and friends helped us pack and carry and our neighbors let us stash the stuff we didn’t want the movers to touch.  Our baby showers were so thoughtful and bursting with affection.

The kind of affection that they continue to give through hand me downs, care packages, babysitting and checking in. 

My boss was generous with my workload and I was able to hang out with Gray everyday.

We owe the world so very much.  Without you we would not have made it through with the minimal emotional scarring we have now.  At least once a day we look at Gray and feel such pure love and joy and though we don’t express it enough we have love and joy in knowing all of you.

Sunday, August 05, 2012


It's been ages since I posted.  Summer is always crazy busy at work.  Covering vacations is one reason, people behaving recklessly when the weather turns nice is another.

This year, however, we have an added layer.  The hospital is picking up and moving to a brand spanking new building next April.  We will be in the Charlestown Navy Yard.  The building is gorgeous.  Gorgeous!  As is the view.

Preparations include reviewing every policy and procedure.  We have to think about the way we do things now and how we will do them in the new hospital.  Where we will store things, how we will schedule things, new equipment etc.  It's quite a job, but it's very exciting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The Grownup Noise at SXSW! Great music, great time. It was awesome.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

South by Southwest!

The Grownup is playing in Austin. I will be there Wednesday through Saturday too. Can't wait!

If you're there or know someone who is here's the schedule:

Wed. March 14th, 12-6 @ Agave (As Built PR/ Vanya Records Day Party)
We are on at 2:30 pm - 415 E. 6th St.

Thurs. March 15th, 7pm @ Lambert's, 401 2nd Street
Official SXSW Showcase (Green Room Music Source/ Rock The Cause) w/ Tommy Stinston of The Replacements
We are on right at 7:15 sharp

Fri. March 16th, 1-6 pm @ Friend's Bar, 208 E. 6th St.
Berklee's Official SXSW
We are on right at 3:30 sharp

Sat. March 17th @ 12 noon
SXSW Party @ Waterloo Cycles
2815 Fruth, Austin Tx. We are on at 1:30pm

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Dance with Dragons

Well, finally on to book 5. I can't seem to put these books down. But when this book is over, it's over. Until Martin can finish books 6 and 7. And then it will really be over. I will have to go back to my old New Yorkers for the past 4 months that I haven't been reading.

Because I am obsessed with these fantasy books.