May 17, 2012

Abigail Juliette Mommaerts

If you have not heard... she's here!!

Abigail Juliette Mommaerts
Born May 16, 2012 at 8:55am
4lbs 10oz 18inches

Quick summary of yesterday’s events… Holly had bleeding when she got up at about 6am. The bleeding did not seem to be stopping. Holly texted me at home and we tried make a decision on if I should come up or not. I went ahead and got things together and about 7:45am they told me to come up. I hopped in the truck and drove in rush hour traffic (as quickly as I could) and got there at 8:35am. I came to the room where Holly was taken from and the nurses were there waiting for me to get me dressed in scrubs to join Holly in the OR. I made it to the OR at about 8:45am and was asked to take a seat and wait for them to call me in. There was another gentleman there whose wife was having a scheduled C-Section and we talked for a bit and he took that picture of me. He got called back and I continued to wait. As I was sitting there I heard about ten short very loud cries and I was confused. I knew it could not be the guy that just left, so was it mine? 9am came around and a nurse came to tell me that the baby was out because they had to move quicker than planned. I learned later that they were almost ready for me to come in but when they were looking for Abi’s heartbeat they could not find it. They decided right then to get the baby out as soon as possible. They cut Holly open and got her out immediately. Turns out she was just hiding from the monitor and was fine all the time. They let me look thru the OR window and I saw Abi being tended to at the left of the room, and then I looked right and saw Holly on the table with a drape right below her neck, she was smiling and talking to the Anesthesiologist. Then I looked at her lower body and I saw a large red bloody ball on her belly. I asked later and I was right in assuming it was her uterus.

Abi was delivered with no problem other than she was delivered prematurely at 34.5 weeks. She came out of the OR and I joined her as she was moved to the NICU. Back in the OR, the doctors had a hard time detaching the placenta from the uterus. It was growing into the uterus and when it was removed there was excessive bleeding inside the uterus. So much so, that Holly received a transfusion of two units of red blood cells. A balloon was placed inside the uterus and filled with saline fluid. That along with the uterus contracting, as it usually does after delivery, helped to stop the bleeding.

Birth Certificate Footprints
Back in the NICU, I was present while the nurses helped Abi clear her lungs of amniotic fluid. I watched them weigh her and measure her length. They inked her feet and took footprints for the birth certificate. Then they hooked her up to all the machines to monitor her breathing, pulse, blood pressure, oxygen level, and they put a cannula in her tiny nostrils to deliver oxygen. They also placed a tiny IV in her hand. Seeing her brought me so much joy and happiness. Her little hands are so soft and they grasp my finger whenever I put my finger in her hand. I have never felt so proud in my life and have never teared up just by looking at something. She is so beautiful. There are no words. I can’t wait until I can hold her in my own arms.

Holly’s parents and my parents came to the hospital to see Abigail and to see Holly for a short while. It was short for them but long for me. They are allowed into the NICU with only the parents and one at a time. Each time you enter the NICU you must scrub-in up to your elbows for three minutes and cannot wear any jewelry on your wrists or fingers. Doing this four times plus my own visits to see her was a bit tiring yesterday, but I am glad they got to see their grandbaby. My sister was also kind enough to bring me dinner for last night and lunch for today. My mom is making me dinner for tonight and tomorrow. Food from family and friends has been completely awesome… thank you.

Getting Vitals
A few times yesterday and once overnight Abi’s breathing became very shallow and almost stopped but they usually turn up the oxygen from 21% (which is our regular atmosphere) to about 27% and she starts breathing again okay on her own. This very normal with preemies. Overnight she also knocked the IV loose from her hand and they had to place it into her scalp instead. It is definitely more secure there and should be better for her.

Holly went to recovery after the surgery and was moved several hours later to a room in Labor and Delivery for very close observation. The nurses and doctors kept incredibly close tabs on her because of the balloon and blood loss and were in her room every hour for vitals but really almost constantly. What was impressive to me was that the doctor that performed the C-Section was there with her checking in almost all night also. You don’t see many doctors who tend to their patients like that. I was very impressed. It was so busy in the room that the doctor and I had a discussion and she urged me to head home as I would not be able to get any sleep in her room. I agreed and drove home to get some rest around 1am.

Donor Blood
I got up early and headed back to the hospital this morning after rush hour died down, and when I got there they were transfusing the second of two more units of blood. Holly looked good, but her labs dictated that her blood counts were low and she needed more blood. After that finished, things moved pretty quickly. They had already started to release some of the saline from the balloon and her vitals were improving. By 2pm the balloon was completely removed and there has been no additional bleeding. Holly has been able to use the breast pump to start pumping colostrum for Abigail and this afternoon I had the pleasure to witness her first bottle feeding of about 5CCs! She ate like a champ and was ‘milk drunk’ afterward. It was so cute! And she's even opening her eyes.

Just a while ago Holly finally got a meal of clear liquids and I think that settled her enough to get some rest. As I type this Holly is finally taking a nap and getting some sleep. She only has an IV and Foley catheter. Both of those will be removed shortly and we will be moving to a post-partum room. She has been a real trooper and the nurse that just went off shift told her that all the nurses have been saying how much they like Holly and what a good patient she is. In fact, some of the nurses know that Holly is here going through this and they specifically asked to be her nurse for the shift. I also don’t remember how many times I have been stopped in the halls here by staff asking how ‘she’ is. But now I have to clarify with them… do you mean ‘she’ as in Holly or Abigail? What a new experience. All in all, I simply cannot tell you how impressed I am with OB-GYN North and St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and Women’s Center of Texas. They are a true blessing.

Eyes open!
As of now we are requesting to have no visitors here at the hospital. Holly and I are very tired and we need time to adjust and rest so that we can focus our attention on our sweet daughter Abigail who is in the NICU. In addition, please do not send any gifts, cards or flowers to the hospital as they become a burden for us to keep track of. If you just have to do something, we ask that you please consider purchasing something from our baby registries. Specifically, we are in need of cloth diapers from our registry at We have also registered for necessities at Thank you.

Holly may be discharged as soon as Monday. But we really have no idea how long Abigail will have to remain in the NICU. It depends on her independent progress. Again, thank you to everyone for your prayers and thoughts. We could have not have done it without you. But we ask you to keep it up! We still have a way to go.

Love, Roger

May 4, 2012

Crazy Pregnancy Dreams

So I am sure everyone knows or has heard women have crazy dreams while they are pregnant. I had some pretty wild and vivid dreams before pregnancy but these during pregnancy have just been weird. I have had a dream about my little brother as a child being thrown into a lake by our pastor’s son and when I went to jump in to save him I stopped myself and called for help instead. I had a dream about us having a social gathering at our home and Roger smoking something illegal which I was not happy about and gave him a lecture in the dream. I had a dream about the maternal fetal medicine doctor calling us to tell us they made a mistake and we are actually having a boy. Don’t worry we have checked at every ultrasound that we are still having a girl. I even had a dream about being on a cruise with Shaquille O’Neal for a reality television show and his first ex-wife (I don’t even know if he has an ex-wife or how many ex-wives he has, but this was a dream.) and I hit it off really well and spent a whole production day talking and enjoying each other’s company. I even shared my testimony with her. Yes, that’s a strange one. I don't even watch basketball. The latest really weird dream was a couple mornings ago and it involved my mom. If you know my mom you know she is country and crazy and I mean that in the nicest way. All of my family is shaking their heads in agreement right now. She does stuff all the time that makes us roll our eyes, shake our heads and laugh our butts off. See the picture below of my mom in a blind fold John Deere tractor driving contest. She's fun and crazy. When I told Roger this dream after I woke up that morning he almost spit his yogurt out laughing so hard. She is hilarious. Now on to the actual dream. 

So my mom was driving my vehicle on Highway 21 from Smetana, the community where I grew up, and Bryan. Smetana is about 10 to 15 minutes outside of Bryan, Texas. She was driving a little crazy. Nothing really new here. Sorry mom. (I know she will read this.) And I said something to her about her driving. I don’t know if I was pregnant in this dream or not. So we’re driving down Highway 21 and it’s really curvy in my dream. It’s not super curvy in real life. And I keep seeing grass as we are driving along almost like I’m flying right above the top of grass. I don’t know if my mom is swerving on and off the road or what but I see grass over and over again. At one point I told my mom I felt like she should go the speed limit. So she sped up really fast. Obviously she was going under even though she was driving crazy. Still seeing grass in between these other events. We came around a very sharp turn and almost hit a semi as it was crossing over the highway which is divided in the between the East and West lanes. And of course I said something to her about her driving so crazy and we were almost in an accident. As we are driving along, I look out the window to the right where there was a steep driveway to a closed business and there were football players in full uniform running drills up and down the driveway. This is weird because there is no school anywhere near here. We continue to drive along and I look to the left across the divided highway and there are open fields full of crops like wheat or something. And I say to my mom, “When did they start growing grain here? It was always just cattle here before.” All of a sudden we are in the field but instead of there being wheat growing it is grass. I turn around a few times and it is just grass all around me. I say to my mom something about the grass. Then I ask her, “What is that?” I look behind me and there is a wild fire heading straight to us. I turn back forward and I see my parents’ house in front of us which is really far from where we were driving. My dad is sitting on a lawn chair under a big oak tree in their yard and my brother is walking past the side of the house. My mom is now near my dad. So I run to the fence that separates my parents’ yard from their front pasture as I’m yelling at them to get the water hose. I jump up on the fence yelling over and over again as I see them running into action. Someone hands me the water hose and I start yelling to turn it on. That’s when I woke up. 

See told you it was weird. My mom might kill me for this. Or knowing her she’ll just laugh her head off. ~ Holly

Apr 30, 2012

Nursery Progress

I got a lot later start on the nursery than I wanted and we didn't get very far by the time I was put on bed rest. We got the crib and book shelf assembled the weekend before. And we got the dresser assembled the day before I went to the hospital. Other than a friend getting the upholstered rocker glider into the room for us a couple days later, we didn't get anything else done. Once I got home I asked my mom if she could come sew all the items I had planned to sew myself. But then my dad was scheduled for bypass surgery in a few weeks and only had two weekends available before his surgery. I didn't think my mom was going to be able to come before because they were going to have many things to do around the farm to get ready before my dad had surgery. And I knew his recovery was going to take many, many weeks so I didn't think she would be able to come after his surgery for a long, long time. I thought about my options and really only had two. Pay someone to make everything I had planned to make myself since I had already bought all my fabric and materials. Or buy store bought, un-customized, mass produced items which was not my top choice. Then my mom informed me and my siblings my dad had canceled his surgery and she was coming that weekend. I wasn't sure how much we could get done with me on bed rest not able to help and trying to explain to my mom what I wanted as most of the sewing I had planned had no patterns and were basically in my head. Plus my mom and I have different sewing styles so I was also a little worried about that. One thing about being on bed rest is you have to give up a lot of control which if you know me well is not easy to do.

So I quickly created a to do list for me and my mom to follow and designed some of the items in Microsoft Publisher just so we had drawings and measurements to go by. Thank God my mom is a busy bee worker. She got half of my sewing done the first weekend and we got the remaining sewing done a second weekend. Probably the most labor intensive sewing was the curtains I designed for the nursery. They took the longest of all the projects but man they look amazing as you can see from the image to the left. Many friends and neighbors helped us with spray painting items, washing baby clothes and bedding, organizing and arranging things for me in the nursery and gathering supplies I didn't previously purchase. Roger even got in on the action many times helping my mom to cut fabric, hanging d├ęcor pieces and putting items up and away for me. We are pretty much done now with setting up the nursery except for a couple simple items. You can see more pictures of the nursery by clicking on the curtain image above. Now we are just trying to stay on top of washing and organizing clothes we receive and organizing gifts as they arrive. And we have turned our attention to getting ready for Lady Mo’s arrival by creating our birth plan, packing a hospital bag for all three of us, setting up the bassinet/play pen, installing the car seat in the truck, sanitizing and washing all the breast pump parts and bottles and organizing a cabinet in the kitchen for baby stuff. Although we are trying to be prepared I am sure there are many things we have forgotten or just don’t know to do yet. I guess there’s only so much preparation we can do. ~ Holly

Apr 28, 2012

Hospital Bed Rest

While I was at the hospital Roger had me set up with my phone and his laptop so I was well connected. My mom and I emailed many times a day. One day she asked me if I can get up and walk around at all and what I do all day at the hospital. Here was my response back to her.

"Nothing except get up to go to the bathroom & take a shower 2-3 times per week. I have the laptop. My friend Amber gave me a gift subscription to Netflix so I can watch movies & TV show series on the laptop. I could do it on my phone also but that's too small. Here's my typical day:

I get up every morning at 7am. I can't sleep any later in here. It’s hard to sleep here. Then I go to the bathroom & wash my face real quick while I’m in there. When I walk back I open the blinds to the window. Then I get back in bed to call in breakfast, brush my teeth, put on my moisturizer, etc. I watch the local news while I’m eating breakfast. When they start repeating news I turn it off. When I finish eating I call the nurse and they bring me my meds, stool softener and multi-vitamins. Then they flush my saline block which is the IV in my hand, but I'm not connected to a drip… it always stings. Then they hook me up to the fetal monitor and I have to be on that for at least 20 minutes unless the baby is not cooperating and I have to stay on longer. Every time since I’ve been here this visit she doesn't cooperate and I’ve had to stay on an hour. And when I start that I also put on the leg compressors and keep those on for 4 hours to prevent blood clots.  After I get off the monitor, I usually check my email for work and home, which sometimes distracts me for a while as I go back and forth with people about stuff. In between I check Facebook and I get lots of texts from people asking me how I’m doing or asking/telling me stuff. I read a chapter or two out of a book of mine. My OB or MFM (maternal fetal medicine dr) come in at any time of the day to check on me. They ask me lots of questions. I ask them questions. We talk for a while. Then they leave and go put everything in the computer that's right outside my room. The nurses come in at different times of the day to check on me. Then all of a sudden it's 11-12 so I order lunch. It takes about 30-40 minutes for meals to arrive. It’s delivered to me in bed. I have to wait for someone to move the empty tray for me. Usually in the afternoon someone comes to visit me. If my tray is still here I ask them to move it for me and if I need anything done I’ll ask them to do it for me. While I have visitors I don't check my phone or email or Facebook or texts or anything. I turn on my side and have them sit in a chair next to the bed so I can give my back a rest from sitting up all morning. When they leave, I check everything again, email for work and personal, texts & calls I missed while I had a visitor, Facebook, sometimes I play a game on my phone or laptop. Sometimes I watch a movie. Then about 4pm I lay back and rest my eyes and turn to the other side to rest my back again. Sometimes I fall asleep, sometimes I don't. About 5pm I put on the leg compressors again. If I haven't fallen sleep I get bored so I call in for dinner so I eat and am done when Roger gets here. He gets off work at 5pm now but does stuff at home when he gets off so he doesn't hit too much traffic coming up. While I eat I’ll watch HGTV to pass the time. When he gets here I turn off the TV and he either eats dinner here if he brings something or he'll eat at home before he comes up and we'll just talk about the day, what the OB's said, what happened if I had an ultrasound, etc. He does stuff for me like helps me take a shower if I need one, brings me stuff I remembered needing and puts it where I want it to go. About 7:30-8pm I call the nurse for my evening meds and to get on the fetal monitors again. They flush my IV again. As soon as I get off the fetal monitors, I wash my face in the bed and Roger brings me a towel to dry off. We usually have a last snack together. He helps set me up for the night if I need his help. About 9pm I take off the leg compressors. Rog leaves about 9:30-10pm sometimes later because he doesn't want to leave. I brush my teeth in bed. Call the nurse for Ambien so I can sleep. Turn everything off. Read a little bit and go to sleep. I wake up 2-3 times every night to shift as my hip hurts laying on one side for too long and I turn over to the other side. Then I start all over again the next day. Same old, same old usually. But sometimes interesting things happen. Like when they order an ultrasound. And I found out this morning there is antepartum social hour every Monday and Thursday at 4pm so I will start going to that if I am here. They do a craft or activity so that will help the time go by also. I think I’m going to watch some You Tube videos and try to teach myself how to French braid my own hair. I can do it to other people but can't do it to myself and no one I know knows how to French braid so I never get my hair French braided. I figure this is a good time to learn."

So that’s the jist of hospital bed rest. Boring. I’m so glad to be home. ~ Holly

Apr 26, 2012

Wow, Are We Behind Or What?

Yes, we are truly behind on this blog. Not only was our last blog post on March 9th, well over a month ago, but a lot has happened since. I promise to try to stay up to date on the blog. Today’s post will be as short as possible to catch up and I will also post some belated blogs about everything else soon. Sorry.

As you know from our last post on March 9th, I have a complete placenta previa and was prescribed pelvic rest. Well, two days later on Sunday, March 11th I woke up during the night to go to the rest room and as soon as I stood up I felt something going down my legs. Yes, it was blood. Thank God we had asked what to do if I bleed and knew what to do. Roger called 9-1-1 and an ambulance took me to Texas Women’s Center. I was admitted into Labor & Delivery (L&D) triage. I bled one more time right when we got there. But it stopped. I stayed in L&D for the night until I was considered stable then moved to the antepartum floor for observation. My doctors told me I would have to not bleed for a few days then I could go home. A few days to them ended up being six. I had a couple ultrasounds there and also saw the maternal fetal medicine doctor I was referred to. I was discharged on March 16th.

I was sent home on modified bed rest and told this was strike one. The first night home was nerve wracking but I didn’t have any bleeding. The second night home I spotted and called the on call number and my OB told me to lay on my side, drink lots of water, try to relax and keep an eye on it. I spotted the third and fourth night home. During the morning of the fourth night, I woke up to heavy bleeding again. We called the on call OB and she told us to come in. I was admitted again on the morning of March 20th. Same drill as before: L&D triage, L&D overnight, moved to antepartum, six days of no bleeding, a couple ultrasounds and discharged on March 26th

This time I was sent home on strict bed rest and told this was strike two. If I bleed again heavily it will be strike three and I will have to stay at the hospital on bed rest until Baby Mo is born. Either, then by emergency c-section if the bleeding doesn’t stop or if we make it to full term and have a scheduled c-section on Week 37.  I have been on bed rest just over six weeks and home for just over four weeks with no bleeding. Praise God we have made it this far. I will start week 32 of my pregnancy tomorrow which means we have four weeks of bed rest left. So we need all the prayers we can get for me to stay stable on bed rest and for Baby Mo to keep growing well which she has been. Thank you for all your prayers and support. And I will post about bed rest, follow-up appointments, ultrasounds and everything else soon. ~Holly

Mar 9, 2012

More praises!!

We have so much to be thankful for! Praise God we found out it is not vasa previa, but total previa. I know this may not sound like a better diagnosis, but it is. Vasa previa would have meant possible rupture of the blood vessels, emergency c-section and premature delivery of the baby and worst case scenario, hemorrhage or worse. Total previa means there are no fetal blood vessels over the cervix which is great. There are blood vessels over the cervix but they are maternal, meaning mine, because the placenta is over the cervix. The image to the left is the type of previa I have. It's the best I could find on the internet. The main placenta is on the anterior side of the uterus, on my belly side. But there is a smaller section of placenta on the posterior side of the uterus, on my back side. It took the sonographer and the maternal fetal medicine doctor a while to accurately determine if the vessels were fetal or maternal. But I was so happy when they said over and over they believed them to only be maternal. They can tell by the wave length of the blood flow. It was really neat. The whole ultrasound was neat. It was long too. The sonographer started with an entire anatomy scan again then did a transvaginal ultrasound. Then the doctor came in and did both again just on the specific areas he was interested in. And I had to go empty my bladder during the ultrasound. I was so glad I went to the practice I went to. They were super nice, let me ask all my questions and gave me so much information. It was great. I was really excited to go to the specialist to get a thorough evaluation and diagnosis. I will follow-up with them in four weeks and have more ultrasounds during the pregnancy to keep an eye on it. They are keeping me on pelvic rest and want me to continue to take it easy to prevent any chance of bleeding. Another praise is as long as there is no bleeding they will schedule a c-section for week 37. That's great because a baby is fully developed by week 36 which is much better than being born earlier. Of course if there is any bleeding this will change. Spotting and light bleeding will result in bed rest. Severe bleeding will result in hospitalization. Uncontrolled bleeding will result in emergency c-section. So thank you all so much for your prayers. Please continue to pray for both my health and Lady Mommaerts health, for me to take it easy and for us to get to week 37! All these ultrasounds mean more images of her so I have to share them with you all. Love, Holly

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Mar 7, 2012

24 Week Praise Report & Prayer Request

Tuesday, March 6, 2012, we had the follow-up ultrasound to my 20 week anatomy scan where marginal placenta previa was discovered. They informed us I most likely have vasa previa. You can Google it for more info (warning you there's a lot of scary stuff out there), but it basically means my placenta is attached to the uterine wall too close to my cervix but there are also fetal blood vessels going over the cervix. We were able to see the placenta still very close to the cervix and the blood flowing through the fetal vessels in the ultrasound with color Doppler. It also means the placenta and blood vessels could rupture at any time and if that happened I would have to have an emergency c-section asap to save my life and the life of my baby. Since I am basically a ticking time bomb I have been put on pelvic rest for now and have had to cut all my activities, work, volunteering, etc in half plus cut out all physically straining activities until I see a maternal fetal medicine doctor this week to confirm it. So no prenatal yoga, no exercising, no walking, no lifting, no dancing, no nothing, until I see the specialist hopefully this week. But most likely I will eventually be put on bed rest if any slight bleeding occurs or hospital bed rest if more significant bleeding occurs. I found a really good article from the April 2006 issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Vasa previa is covered on pages 11-13 of the article. Warning, there are graphic images. Peruse it at your leisure. I found it to be one of the better sources of information on vasa previa out on the Internet.

Of course there are lots of super sad stories on the Internet about vasa previa ending in death which is why we are so glad this was caught now as most people go undiagnosed with this until it is too late and they find out under horrible circumstances. I have been reading up a lot on vasa previa and it seems like it goes undiagnosed because the placenta is not examined during routine ultrasounds during pregnancy. We have to thank God that examining the placenta during ultrasound is policy at our OB/midwife practice or we would not have known until it was too late. That is a huge blessing and praise right there. But I have to really take it easy which is going to be hard for me but I will manage if it means saving the life of my baby and myself. They would like for me to go to as full term with this pregnancy as possible but I will definitely have an early scheduled c-section at around 35 to 36 weeks as I can not go into labor or the placenta and blood vessels will rupture from the contractions. Hospitalization in diagnosed cases occurs at week 30 to 32 and steroids are administered to help the babies lungs mature. Of course, all of this is dependent on what the specialist says when we see her hopefully this week. She will do a more in depth transvaginal ultrasound to evaluate and confirm the diagnosis then she will set a course of action such as immediate bed rest, etc. I have pages of questions for her and my OB especially if the diagnosis is correct and we have to look into a scheduled c-section.

Another praise is the baby is looking great. She is moving like crazy inside me. It's kind of weird and neat at the same time. The ultrasound showed her heart beat is great (141 bpm), they were able to confirm the one item she was hiding with her hands during the anatomy scan and it showed she is where she is supposed to be in weight and size. Previa is also known to hinder the size of the baby as the placenta can’t get the blood supply it needs over the cervix as that’s not the ideal place for the placenta to be attached. But she's good. Thank you God. So we are just hoping she continues to grow well and healthy and we make it as far as we can, to the scheduled c-section and not an emergency c-section. Please pray for this and for us to have peace and comfort and for me to not go crazy taking it easy especially if I get put on bed rest. One more neat thing we got to see at the ultrasound was Lady Mommaerts yawning as you can see from the image below. I hope she loves to sleep like her momma and daddy. That or she was taking a big gulp of amniotic fluid. She may be a good eater like her parents too. :) ~ Holly

Feb 10, 2012

5 Months Already?!

Yes, we are five months pregnant. I can't believe it either. Not only is it going by super fast but it's still so surreal to me. Which is really weird. How can I be five months pregnant, with a very expanded belly and our 20 week anatomy scan last Thursday and I still can't believe I'm pregnant? Crazy. I guess I'll eventually feel pregnant. I wonder if this happens to other women or am I just weird? Don't answer that.

Before I go much further about the anatomy scan I want to give an update on Roger's most recent scans since he hasn't managed to post yet about the results. We went to MD Anderson on January 19th and 20th for his regular three month MRIs and lab tests. His neuro-oncologist Dr. Conrad said the site looks so amazingly clean which means no new tumor growth and he suggested putting off radiation. We had thought of doing the radiation soon so it would be done before the baby is born since the radiologist said there was a 100% chance of the tumor coming back without radiation. But Dr. Conrad said they usually like to wait 8-10 years between radiating the brain again to prolong the chance of necrosis and with new technology and research they are more comfortable with doing it sooner now, but he thought we should wait. Then Roger asked Dr. Conrad about the Delta 24 Clinical Trial to which he told Roger it has been approved by the FDA for a second phase and Roger would be eligible for it if his tumor came back during the second phase. Roger is more excited about that than the thought of doing radiation again. Not only would it prevent him from the side effects of radiation but it could also help others with his type of brain tumor. So far no one with his type of tumor, ependymoma, has done the trial. Of course, his type is very rare in adults so that explains it. They have tested the virus on his type of tumor in petri dishes in the lab with amazing results. Roger would be one of the first ependymoma patients on the trial. So we discussed it and decided to put off radiation and keep watching the MRIs every three months as usual.

On to the anatomy scan! So it was amazing. Even though I was laying there watching the baby move and swallow, I still couldn't believe that was inside me. The ultrasound technician told us she checks for 64 fetal items to ensure normal growth and check for any signs of abnormalities. This was the most important thing for me, healthy growing baby. Of course we wanted to know the gender of the baby (more on that later) but that was the least important thing for me. She was able to confirm 63 points but Baby Mommaerts' feet and hands were in front of the face so she couldn't check for cleft palate. Already doing yoga! Which meant I would have to have another ultrasound at my next monthly check-up to hopefully rule that out. It was so cool as she went through each item with us and told us more about it. We got to hear the heart beat again and it was 143 beats per minute. It was also discovered I have marginal placenta previa. My placenta has decided to place itself within 2 cm of my cervix. I'm telling you every time I have an ultrasound they find some exception. The first time is was an extremely horizontal uterus then it was an extremely large corpus luteum. Guess I'm just exceptional. The ultrasound technician and the midwife said it was nothing to worry about as it's very common and as the uterus expands during the remaining months of the pregnancy the placenta usually expands with it. Of course they'll check it again at the ultrasound next month to see. They did say if it is still within 2 cm of the cervix it would mean a c-section for me. As many of you know, I would like to have as natural a birth as possible but when they told me this I was like, "No problem. If that's what I have to do then that's fine with me." I'm not putting myself or my baby at risk. And I'm not worried about it either. I'm sure it will be fine.

We got some great photos from the ultrasound and amazingly a DVD of the ultrasound. Of course we couldn't watch the video or see all of the ultrasound photos because the ultrasound tech sealed them in an envelope for us. You can watch it here. She also wrote the gender of the baby on a piece of paper and sealed it in an envelope for the baker. We had a gender reveal party Saturday night with our family and a few friends. We don't live close to a lot of our family and we don't get to see most of them often so we decided to include them in finding out the gender with us so they could participate in our pregnancy also. It was a hoot. No one had any idea what the gender of the baby was (including us) except the ultrasound tech, the midwife and the cupcake lady. Once everyone arrived at the party and we took team pink and team blue pictures, everyone got a cupcake and we all took a bite at the same time. It was awesome and so much fun. We'll post more pictures from the party when we get them from our photographer. Here's a sneak peak of what's in store.

It's a girl!!

Jan 19, 2012

Carpe Diem?

So I'm sitting here in front of the computer at 4:30 am on Thursday morning. We are driving to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston as soon as Roger wakes up for his next MRI's, scans and labs and to see when he starts radiation. Yeah, I think it's crazy also. I should be sleeping. But a few weeks ago this started happening. I started waking up many times through the night. At first it was because of lower back pain. Then I started doing the prenatal yoga poses I have learned in my weekly practice at Yoga Yoga 360 that helped for a while and I could go back to sleep. But I kept waking up every morning anyway. It would start about 3:00-3:30 am. Most of the time I stay in bed, struggling to fall back asleep. A couple times it crossed my mind I should just get up and do something productive but I would fight it and try to fall asleep unsuccessfully for hours. I mean, I have been blessed with the ability to take naps most days but right now I just can't do naps unless it's necessary. I know, I know, I'll eventually want to take naps. And yes, I know, when the baby is here I'll wish I could take a nap and wished I would have taken a nap all these days leading up. I know. Just like I know, this waking up all during the night "is to prepare me for what's coming" and "just wait until the baby is born and you'll be waking up all night anyway" which is what everyone says to me when they ask ME how I'M doing. I know people. Then they go into a long rant about how awful their pregnancy was, how much they threw up, how bad their back pain was, how swollen their legs got, how they could never find a comfortable sleeping position, how much they couldn't sleep, blah, blah, blah. I mean, if you were just going to talk about yourself, why did you even ask how I was doing? I understand some people's pregnancies aren't great. And I have all sympathy and empathy for someone going through it at the moment. But the people who have already been through it and got this same treatment from everyone else should know they are repeating this vicious cycle (I know, that's a strong word but when you are hearing it over and over and over again it feels vicious.) and that's not what we want to hear right now! I was thinking I hope I don't do that to people after my child is born and I hope I remember what it felt like when I was asked how I was doing and I just needed someone to listen, sympathize and not change the subject to themselves and their horror stories. Then I read this blog post titled "Don't Carpe Diem" that was shared by friends on Facebook. It's pretty funny but very relatable and what we all do to other people. My favorite part is,

"But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here's what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

"It's helluva hard, isn't it? You're a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She's my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime." And hopefully, every once in a while, I'll add -- "Let me pick up that grocery bill for ya, sister. Go put those kids in the van and pull on up -- I'll have them bring your groceries out."

Anyway. Clearly, Carpe Diem doesn't work for me. I can't even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question."

I have been working for years to be a better listener. And I know I will be working the rest of my life on this, but if I try to just listen to what others are saying (and not think of what my response will be instead of listening) maybe I can help myself from reacting with my own experience and just let the person share how they are feeling and encourage them and support them. (Reminds me of a scripture verse: Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.) Because believe me, I know all too well how amazing this miracle is growing inside me and I have my moments when I cherish it and am in awe of it. Especially at 4:30 in the morning. ;)