Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good Riddance, 2011

It's New Year's eve, and we're staring 2012 in the face.  This past year has been one of the biggest roller coasters of my life, and probably John's life, with plenty of shitty moments.  But the year also had some positives, so it wasn't a complete loss.

I'll spare you all of the long, drawn out details - it's not necessary to post lengthy descriptions when the evidence is in my blog archive toward the bottom (so for my newer readers, feel free to click through past posts and check stuff out).  I will, however, offer the "Campbell's Soup," or condensed version of things.  So (drumroll, please), here is our 2011 Year in Review:

* Judith continued to thrive (even through that GBS infection), and was discharged from the NICU after a harrowing 9 week journey

* We survived our first RSV season without incident, and avoided illness the rest of that winter

* Judith was shuttled around to numerous specialists, and discharged from the majority of them

* We went to 2 NICU Developmental Clinics, and they caught the torticollis and developmental delays early, contacting Early Intervention for consults and services

* Judith has received EI services (PT) for the better part of the year, and it has done wonders to catch her up

* 3 sweat tests later, we got the firm diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis, adding yet another crazy loop into our lives.  We know she has the DF 508 mutation, but still don't know (and won't know until the lab panel is expanded again, and even then it's iffy) what the 2nd mutation is.

* Judith & I went to a bunch of amazing get togethers with my awesome mommy friends that I met online!  It was fantastic to meet these ladies in person, and I can't wait for more GTGs in 2012!

* As we discovered early on, Judith likes to do things differently, off-track from what "normal" kids do.  We're monitoring her eyes for the bad vision genes I managed to pass down to her, and discovered that, unlike most preemies that suffered from ROP, she's far-sighted and will need glasses much sooner than we expected.  However, she dodged the bullet and avoided them all of this year, but I doubt she'll get much luckier with that in the upcoming year.

* Our 2 wonderful NEBTR rescues are getting older, and both celebrated their 6th birthdays.  They still bring us lots of joy, provide us with tons of entertainment, and most importantly, they welcomed Judith into our family and are very protective of her.

* Despite everything stacked against her, Judith is thriving and developing, and has grown into an adorable toddler!  I am amazed at her progress, and I can't wait to see how she continues to develop in 2012!

I am looking forward to some things in 2012:

* I can't wait to see how Judith will interact with everyone as she gains/improves upon her skills.  She already loves the dogs, but I'm also excited to teach her how to interact with them respectfully, properly, and safely so she doesn't hurt them (or them, her).

* Judith will hit 22 lbs sometime in the upcoming months, and I am looking forward to having the conversation about getting The Vest to use for her daily CPT regime.  It will help save our hands, and it will also make it easier in the long run for her to learn how to be independent with her treatments/do them herself (even though that's years away, but why not build the foundations early?).

* More GTGs and play dates with our friends!

I'd love to see surprises being kept to a minimum this year, and we can have a quieter year than 2011.  Here's to hoping for a healthy, happy 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011 (lots of pictures included!)

I finally have some time to share our pictures from Christmas!

We had a great Christmas Eve - it was so nice having Judith home this year, and I was super excited to take some pics of her all decked out in her holiday finest!

You can't make me smile.

nom nom nom!

Wait, you're not supposed to eat shoes?

I'm surprised at how well Judith did throughout the service, considering I took her to the middle (7:30) service, and that fell during her normal bedtime.  She had a meltdown during the preludes because I wasn't around, but after I rang the bell piece I went back to her godfather and calmed her down.  She was great for the rest of the night, and fell asleep right after communion.

Christmas Day we skipped out on services since we had Judith out so late Christmas Eve (we took 1 car to church to help save gas, and we didn't get home until a little after 1 - Judith did sleep at church though, so she wasn't completely off schedule).  My grandparents came up in the morning to help me get Christmas dinner started, and they had fun playing with Judith:

Judith had fun with her great-grandparents, and also had fun sticking her hand in the dogs' water bowl and splashing around.  That happened twice that day, and both times she soaked her cute Christmas jammies.  Silly girl.

Anyway, after chowing down on an amazing dinner of ham, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, we opened presents:

Check out this big girl standing all by herself, no support!

Judith got so many awesome gifts!  A bunch of stuffed animals were included, and now it seems the zoo is officially full.  She also got some great onesies, a bunch of new books (including some Olivia books - I love it!), and some money for her savings account.  She has so much stuff that's new, and she can't make up her mind what to play with at any given time haha!

John & I also got some great gifts.  He got a Canon PowerShot (in a nice blue, close to Conrail blue haha!) so he can take pictures, and shoot some video that we can actually upload to the computer - his video camera is ancient, and we can't get the connector cables anymore, so it'll be nice to be able to post videos every now and then.  He's also going to get some DVDs that he wants, along with some new music.

I am enjoying my early Christmas gift of a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens for my camera (that's what I took all of these pictures with), and I got the Nintendo 3DS that I wanted, along with 2 games: Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7!  The 3D part is what's taking the longest to get used to, and right now I have a very shallow depth set until my eyes adjust.  I'm also enjoying the circle pad - it's a feature I've been looking forward to having on a handheld.  I'm enjoying the games so far, and I can't wait for the new Animal Crossing and Paper Mario to finally be released!

We're thankful that we had such a great and semi-relaxing holiday this year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sinus Infection

This is but the latest diagnosis in the string of things Judith has had wrong in the last month.  I wish my poor toddler would just be healthy for a full month.  I'm really beginning to hate winter.

That cough that's been lingering for the last month or so came back full-force this weekend.  She was coughing a bit Christmas Day, but by yesterday it was sounding wetter.  Overnight, she was so congested, and the cough was so wet sounding that we decided not to wait and called the pediatrician.

The whole day was one giant cluster eff: Judith's regular pediatrician was out of the office today, so we saw a different one - I was nervous about this, because we haven't seen anyone else, but he was truly awesome and had a good idea about everything (so I won't hesitate to request him again if Judith's regular doc isn't available!).  Then I tried calling Hershey to see what the pulmonologist would want us to do, and neither he or the nurse coordinator were there.  Cue some very minor frustration for me, but I knew we'd get through everything (albeit slowly).

The pediatrician looked Judith over, removed some wax from her ear, and diagnosed her with the sinus infection.  Thank goodness her lungs sounded relatively good, and the infection hasn't moved to her lower respiratory area!  We were at the office for a good hour: that included the exam, the call to Hershey to set up a course of treatment, and figuring out which pharmacies in the area would carry the antibiotic we need to give Judith.

After the appointment, I had to drive to a different pharmacy than the one we normally use to pick up the antibiotic.  I really was not thrilled with them, and it took them twice as long to fill it as it would have at CVS.  Top it off with the cold rain that decided to start, and I wasn't in the best of moods.  At least we got it though, and hopefully it'll do the trick.

So in addition to the antibiotic twice a day, we have to increase her inhaled meds and her CPT to 5 times a day.  Yep, that's right: 5 times of manual CPT for the next 10 days.  Trust me: I'll do whatever necessary to prevent the infection from developing elsewhere in her lungs, but it would be so much easier to do this with the vest (Judith has 4.5 lbs to go until she reaches the minimum weight, so hopefully we can start talking about that soon).  Hopefully Judith will start to feel better in the next day or 2, and we can wave goodbye to this crap for a while.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's A Christmas Eve Update!

I know I haven't been around much in the last week.  Things have been a little busy with rehearsals and getting things ready for Christmas.  My birthday was on Sunday, and I've been enjoying my gifts!  I got a new winter coat from my parents, and bought a new camera lens plus all 7 Harry Potter books with the money from my in-laws (well, part of that was Christmas money too, so I treated myself early!).  So between taking pictures with my new lens, taking care of Judith and the dogs, and burying my nose in books, I lost track of time and forgot to post!

I have to say that I've been enjoying the Harry Potter books immensely!  Believe it or not, I never read them before now (I was kind of bucking the trend for quite a while), and in retrospect that was one of the dumbest things I've done.  Thanks to many of my awesome mommy friends constantly talking about the books and movies, I finally caved and began reading them.  I'm hooked!  I'm getting ready to start the 4th book, and can't wait to get the movies with the rest of my birthday money!  I'm still kicking myself a bit for not reading these sooner (I had a major "WTF self?!" moment after reading the first chapter in book 1), but I'm glad that I'm remedying the error of my ways now!  Hopefully once Judith gets older, she'll decide to read the books herself, and will enjoy them as much as I am enjoying them!

One source of frustration this week has been with the sippy cup.  When Judith was sick last week, we didn't force the sippy on her as much and just gave her the bottle - that way she could use her energy to fight off the virus rather than burn the calories fussing about the sippy.  As a result, we had some minor regression.  So this week I was working with her to get her back to where she was.  She was only taking maybe an ounce or 2 at a time from the straw sippy, and I kept second-guessing our decision to keep working on transitioning/dropping bottles (as a side note, it's not the sucking part that she's having problems with - she can get liquid through the straw fine.  It's the intake that was concerning me).  For some odd reason, I decided to give the soft spout sippy another try, and the little stinker took to that right away!  The past couple of days, she's downed at least 2-3 ounces with each meal.  Talk about easing up on the frustration!  I'm thrilled that she likes it, and while shopping with my mom yesterday we picked up 2 more cups - 10 oz size this time, so we can fit an entire can of Pediasure in it.

We also had a surprise this week: remember when I mentioned before about Judith getting ready to cut one of her upper teeth?  The one right beside the upper front left tooth?  Well, it cut through, and the surprise part is the tooth in the same spot, but on the right side also cut at the same time!  When I felt/looked at her gums, that tooth definitely did not feel like it was anywhere close to emerging, but after a quick swipe I noticed it was there!  Her total tooth count is 5, and the final upper front tooth feels like it will come through in the next week or 2.

I am getting excited for tomorrow!  I know Judith probably won't be super enthusiastic about Christmas this year, but I can't wait to see her open her presents!  This year is a far cry from Christmas last year, and John & I are grateful that we can celebrate Christmas at home with our beautiful little girl.

John, Judith, Buster, Lady, & I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Our two lovely BTs are very well fed these days.  Not that they didn't eat well before, but the extra handouts are definitely a regular occurrence anymore.

Judith has figured out how to feed the dogs, and I have to be extra careful what I give her now so I can be sure Buster & Lady don't eat something that could be poisonous/toxic.  I knew this day was coming.  Judith actually looks for them, will hold something out and babble or laugh at them, then proceed to eat it herself.  I'm not wild about her teasing them, and try redirecting her.  After a couple rounds of this game, she proceeds to either throw food over the side of the high chair to the floor (Buster's always first in line for handouts - he's such a foodie), or will hold the food and dangle her hand over the side where the dogs lick the food out of her grasp.

She thinks this is the most hilarious thing in the world.

I'm just glad she's feeling better and is back to her normal antics.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


It's been an interesting past couple of days.

I worked yesterday, so my mom came up to watch Judith (John also had a day off, but went to the church most of the day to get ready for Christmas services and whatnot).  She threw up everything she had that morning, and still wasn't herself.  So by the afternoon, I decided to take her to her pedi and get checked out.

Everything was generally looking ok, except she had a fever and her lungs sounded a little crackly when she was laying down.  Her doc said she more than likely was fighting off a virus, and took a swab of her nose to check for bigger problems (like RSV, flu, etc.).

Today her fever seemed to be breaking (yay!), but she started to get the squirts, and they were really mucousy.  I put a call in to her pulmonologist to make sure it wasn't antibiotic related, and he also said it sounds like a virus, so we could stop the antibiotics since she already had 2 rounds prior to this.  This afternoon, I got the call from the pedi that Judith's nasal swab was negative for more major viruses (another yay!).  So we could still be looking at a cold, or she may have picked up a rotavirus infection.  Whatever it is, it seems to be working itself out of her system, and I hope she'll be in better shape by this weekend.  In the meantime, we'll keep doing her CPT 3-4 times a day as needed, and we increased her Albuterol to help keep her airways open - hopefully that will prevent anything bad from setting up shop in her lungs!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


We're learning to share in our house this week!  /sarcasm

It's official: Judith caught the cold that John & I have.  ::sigh::  This isn't unexpected, but the timing is what threw me for a loop.

She was a little more "off" today, but I was chalking it up to the possible growth spurt.  I kind of brushed off some of the other signs, because they're so typical for a Tuesday around here: disinterest in her lunch, wanting Pediasure more than the food, fussy before therapy, etc.  She was fussy during therapy today, and she hasn't been that way for a while - normally she's fussy at the end because she wants a nap after all of that work.  Today, though, I put her on my lap and she snuggled into me and noticed her forehead felt warm.  As soon as we finished up, I headed upstairs (like normal - she'll usually take a good nap when she's done) and took her temp.



I put a call in to the clinic and talked to the nurse coordinator about what we should do.  She took a record of everything I noticed (Judith's temp, symptoms, that sort of stuff) and passed it on to the doctor.  She called back after a bit and said that the doc would phone in a prescription for another antibiotic, and that it sounds like Judith has another virus she's fighting off.  She also told me that we could take Judith to her regular pedi to get checked out if it would make us feel better, and I asked if we could wait a day or 2 since we were starting the antibiotics.  Thankfully she said that would be ok, but also gave us some signs to look for that would indicate Judith was getting sicker.

So now we're on round 3 of antibiotics (bactrum again), we're increasing CPT, and we're to give her Tylenol to help with the fever.  Currently, Judith is sleeping off whatever is invading her system.  While it's nice to have some quite time, I'd rather have it because she's healthy and it's bedtime.

I have a feeling it's going to be a long winter...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the Season

I have a love-hate relationship with this time of year.  I love the holidays (having 2 birthdays to celebrate - mine and Judith's - helps too... as much of a pain as gift buying can be haha!), but I despise the germs.  It's turning into an interesting time when we're out in public, and it's going to get super interesting at home now that it seems like both John & I are getting colds.  I'm really hoping that Judith will have some protection since she just finished round 2 of antibiotics on Saturday, but we'll have to wait and see.  In the meantime, we're doing extra hand washing/sanitizing, and are trying to keep Judith away from our faces.  Thank God for the Synagis - she'll have some protection with that.  But I can guarantee the first moment I notice any symptoms I'll be on the phone with her pulmonologist to find out what our next step should be.

We finished decorating the house for Christmas on Saturday.  The tree is up and decorated, and looks nice in the corner of the living room!  We haven't had the 6 ft. tree up for a couple years, and it felt good putting it up again.  Judith really hasn't been super interested in touching it, but loves looking at it - so far, the herding away from the tree technique has worked just fine.  We'll see how long that lasts - we intentionally avoided any breakable ornaments this year just in case.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Official 1 Year Stats & A General Update

We just got back from the pediatrician's office.  4 shots (Synagis, Hep A, Varicella, & MMR) and 1 blood test later, I have Judith's official 1 year stats!

Weight: 17 lbs 4 oz (5th percentile)
Length: 26.5" (not on the charts yet)
Head Circumference: 17-something" (10th percentile, and I can't remember what it was exactly - mommy brain lol)

Her pediatrician is pleased with everything, and is pleased with her progress!  While we will continue to adjust her age for another year, Judith is catching up nicely!  She's practically caught up to her actual age, and it will be interesting to see how she tests when we go to our next NICU clinic appointment.  We're continuing with the monthly Synagis injections, but unless she gets sick we won't have to go back until her 15 month well-baby appointment.

In other news, I heard from the medical supply company, and Judith's Pediasure will be shipped any day.  I was rather pleased with how fast they contacted me, and was extra pleased when I found out that they could provide us with a variety of flavors!  Judith's really enjoying the stuff, and I'm enjoying having the peace of mind that she's getting the extra calories she needs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Now That Judith's 1

There are a lot of new and exciting things happening!

First, though, some pictures from Judith's party on Saturday (these are all smash cupcake pics):

Judith's party was good.  She was cranky (a combination of teething, barely napping, and overstimulation), but she did enjoy herself in that way that a 1 year old can.  She got some cute outfits, lots of toys, her own Nativity set, some books, and an Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn Kids!  The following day (Sunday), she had worship appointments put in at my parents' church in honor of her birthday, and her grandparents, John, & I sponsored the altar flowers at our church - she had 4 beautiful bouquets sitting on the altars, and we got to bring one from our church home.  :)

We're going through some big changes right now.  One of the biggest is she's graduating from formula to Pediasure.  I have 1 can of Neosure left that I just opened this morning, and once that's gone we're done with it!  She needs to be on the Pediasure to keep her calorie consumption up, and thank God that our insurance and her MA will pick up the tab because that stuff's EXPENSIVE (we're talking close to 10 bucks for a 6 pack), and for her it's considered a medical necessity.  I have bad memories of that stuff from when I used to volunteer at S. June Smith center years ago - one of the kids had to drink it, and it smelled so nasty!  It's definitely improved over the years, and now it kind of smells like a McDonald's milkshake.  Anyway, that's going to be her new primary liquid source, and a medical supply company will be delivering it to our door monthly.

I'm still working with her on the sippy cup.  Saturday she took a whole ounce of Pediasure, and I was so excited!  We're making progress, but it's extremely slow progress.  It reminds me a lot of the struggles we went through in the NICU trying to get her to nipple feed, and just like then we'll have to wait for whatever it is to click in her mind before she really takes off with the sippy.

On top of all of these changes, I need to come up with new, possibly creative ways to get Judith's daily salt amount into her.  One thing I'm grateful for is that we don't have to make this transition during the summer months - since it's cooler, she's not going to lose salt as quickly, but we still need to make sure she gets enough to replace what she is losing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweet Little Miracle!

It's your big day, peanut!  You are 1 year old today, and you've come so far in the past year!  We are so proud of you, and of your accomplishments!  You are already growing up so fast!

Judith's 1 year (12 month) Stats:

Adjusted Age: 9 months, 2 weeks, 3 days

Weight:  16 lbs 15 oz (about 8.5 times more than you weighed at birth!)

Length: 27" (you grew 12.75" since you were born!)

Hair & Eye Color: You are starting to grow more hair, and it's still a nice reddish-brown color.  Your eyes are getting more and more brown color in them every day!

Teeth: 3.5 - 1 tooth is almost through the gum, so that's your "half" tooth haha!  You have the 2 bottom teeth that you've had for a while, and just before Thanksgiving you cut the upper front left tooth.  More teeth are queued up under your gums and are ready to make their journey through.

Clothing: You are in a bizarre in-between stage.  You need 6-9m pants and sleepers, but the waist is huge on you.  You can wear 3-6m tops and onesies comfortably.  Your shoe size (when you actually wear and keep shoes on your feet) is a size 2.

Diaper Size: Still in size 3!

Meals: You are on all table foods, and love to feed yourself!  You will allow Mommy to feed you yogurt, but you do like to grab the spoon and try to feed yourself with it.  You take about 20 oz of Neosure every day, but that will change very soon - you will get to try some whole milk, and you will start taking supplements of Pediasure daily.  Most of your liquids are from bottles, but you are learning how to use a straw sippy cup.

Developmental Milestones: You regularly pull yourself up at everything you can.  You can climb the stairs, and you are trying to cruise around rooms.  You learned how to wave, and enjoy waving at the "baby in the mirror."  You can give kisses back when someone kisses your cheek.  You love to babble, and you study everything you can!

Happy birthday, sweet little miracle!

Judith's Birth Story (Part 5)

Friday, December 3, 2010.  A date that will forever have importance in our lives.  Judith was born that morning!

We woke up knowing that Judith was arriving that day.  My c-section was scheduled for around 10:00, and our family, pastor from our church, and the lay parish assistant from my parents' church all arrived at the hospital bright and early to support John and me (my parents' pastor sat with my grandmother since she was unable to make the long trip to Bethlehem).

The mag was shut off in preparation for the surgery, and that was such a relief for me; I didn't feel the effects wear off for a little bit, but it was nice to not have that constant flow anymore.

Naturally, they were running behind in the OR, and I was taken to surgery later than anticipated.  John looked a little silly in the scrubs they gave him, but I was looking forward to seeing his reaction when Judith was born.  I decided that, as much as I would've liked pictures of her birth, it was easier to not have him try to learn to use my camera so he could get shots, and we doubted we'd be able to get any good shots since the NICU team would have to whisk her off to stabilize her.  It's a good thing we didn't plan on it, because it never would've happened anyway.

I was supposed to get a spinal, and once that was placed, John would join me in the OR.  God bless the anesthesiologist: he tried 6 times to place it, but couldn't advance it past my vertebrae for some reason.  So general anesthesia it was, and John was not permitted in the OR.

Judith was born at 11:44 AM, weighing 2 lbs even and measuring 14 1/4" long.  Her Apgar scores were decent for a preemie: 6 and 8, I believe.  More stunning was the news that she was breathing room air, and needed little oxygen intervention.  They did place her on CPAP - the pressure was needed to help keep her tiny lungs open, and she essentially was breathing pressurized room air (or 21% oxygen).

Let me tell you: waking up from general anesthesia after a c-section hurts.  They couldn't start the morphine before that, and I was in the worst pain of my life.  It took a few hours for things to settle down, but once it did I was good to go.  I am sad, though, that because of everything I was unable to see Judith her first day of life, save for a couple minutes when they wheeled me into the NICU before taking me back to my room.

John took pictures (after me giving a very drowsy crash course on using my DSLR), and participated in her first care times.  I'm grateful that he spent so much time with her the first day, so she knew her daddy loves her and would be there for her.  He brought reports back to me, and I was excited to hear that she was doing well.

Judith, only a few hours old

I cannot believe it's been a full year since our lives were changed so drastically.  No one ever anticipates a preemie or a NICU stay, and I truly never believed we would be in that boat.  A lot has happened over the past year, and I am thankful that Judith has done and is doing as well as she is.  She truly is a little miracle!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Judith's Birth Story (Part 4)

Thursday, December 2nd was a bit hazy.  I was on the mag for 24 hours, and feeling rather loopy from it.  My vision was starting to go double, but would resolve itself - a side effect of the mag rather than problems from the pre-e, thank goodness.  I couldn't sit completely upright, because I would get dizzy from the mag, and it was getting harder to watch TV because I couldn't focus on the screen.  John decided to go into work for a few hours that morning (his bosses and co-workers all declared him nuts), which in retrospect was probably good because he would've driven me nuts.  Plus it gave him something to do, and something to help take his mind off of everything.

The important event of the day was getting the 2nd steroid shot.  Honestly, I don't understand why so many women complain about these, or why they declare them so painfully evil.  Yeah, it stung a bit, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I was anticipating.  Maybe it's all the padding I have back there or something, but I'd take the steroid shots over the mag any day!

We had consults with a bunch of doctors, most importantly with the neonatologist.  He was able to give us some general expectations about babies born at 29 weeks: these babies have a very high survival rate (over 90%), and we could expect an average of 8 weeks in the NICU.  Some form of respiratory assistance would be needed, whether it was a ventilator or CPAP.  I was told I would have to pump breastmilk for her, since she would not be able to nurse directly for a while, and would receive her feeds through a feeding tube.  We were told to expect an umbilical line to be placed, hopefully quickly followed by a PICC line.  This consult helped a little bit, because I was able to realize that they would do everything possible to help her fight and thrive.  Not that it took away the fear, worry, and anxiety over her early appearance, but it was almost comforting to know that she would be in the best of hands.

John & I went on a tour of the NICU, and were able to see where Judith would be spending the next weeks of her life.  We saw a quiet room, had the monitors explained to us, and began to prepare mentally for all of the tubes and wires that would be hooked to her tiny body.

Our pastor came to visit that afternoon, and it was a pleasant diversion for me.

I was allowed to take a shower that evening, and it was much needed - I felt so scuzzy by this point, and my hair was a greasy mass.  John laughed at me so much, and if I knew I could get away with it I would've slugged him - because of the mag, I couldn't stand upright, and resembled a drunken sailor trying to walk to the shower.  I moved slower than a snail, trying to keep my balance, and for the first time he had to actually help me bathe.  The shower felt good though, and it was nice to go back to my bed feeling clean and less greasy!

With my c-section looming the following day, my oral intake was stopped.  I was without water, and was getting so thirsty, but I knew it had to be done to help prepare me for the morning.

To be continued...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Judith's Birth Story (Part 3)

Wednesday, December 1st dawned a very warm, rainy, stormy day.  It was unusual weather for that time of year - temperatures were well into the 60s, and it felt more like spring than late fall/early winter.  This was also the day when the shit really hit the fan.

My OB indeed received the results of my urine catch, and it was not good: I had +3 edema, particularly in my legs; my kidneys were spilling 10+ protein, and were on the verge of shutting down.  He broke the news to us that I had  severe preeclampsia, and his goal was to have me make it as long as possible before delivery so they could administer steroid shots to help Judith's lungs develop.  He informed me that I would have to be transferred to a different hospital, one with a Level III NICU that could handle a very premature baby.  He explained that St. Joseph (where I was at) had some sort of relationship with St. Luke's in Bethlehem, and that was where they were going to transfer me.  My perinatologist was from St. Luke's, so I felt comfortable being transferred and placed under his care up there.

I was immediately started on magnesium sulfate, to help prevent any seizures that could be caused by the pre-e.  If you have never been on mag, I hope you never have to be.  That stuff sucks.  They give you a bolus over the course of an hour, and it's wicked - you get major hot flashes, and it can make you nauseated (thank God I avoided that part, but it did make me feel very funky - like an acid trip or something).  They also had to place a catheter, because the mag pretty much robs you of the ability to walk like a normal person; my urine output also had to be monitored, so this was an easy way for them to do so.

A group of student nurses was on the floor that day, and they asked if it would be ok for them to place the catheter.  I'm big on learning opportunities like these, and it didn't bother me.  Just my luck, though, it was storming at the time, and the freakin' power went out right as they were getting ready to place the catheter.  It took a little bit for the generator to kick in, and once it did the ladies got everything placed quickly and accurately.

I spent an hour in a medical van on the way to Bethlehem, and that was one of the most uncomfortable trips of my life.  I had some bad sciatica by then, and every bump hurt my poor bum.  I couldn't move my legs around (strapped down for safety), and I couldn't switch positions.  Combine that with the looming fact that I was only 29 weeks along and was facing the very real possibility of my daughter arriving by the end of the week.

My mom and John drove separately, and met me at the hospital.  I arrived first, because John got directions to the wrong place.  I was settling into my room by the time they figured out they were at the right place, and I had an ultrasound scheduled with my peri.  Mom didn't stay long - it's a good hour and a half drive for her, and she needed to get home; she stayed long enough to make sure I was settled, then made the trek south.

John went with me to the ultrasound, and the peri took a look at everything.  The day before, I had an ultrasound at St. Joe's, and my OB noticed something funky with the placenta.  My peri told us what happened: as a result of the pre-e, my placenta shut down, and Judith stopped growing.  It happened in the span of 2 weeks - I had an appointment with him 2 weeks prior, and everything was fine.  He also told us that because the pre-e was so bad, Judith was Intrauterine Growth Restricted (IUGR), and because my placenta wasn't functioning, they would have to deliver as soon as possible.  The hope was for me to hold out long enough to get the 2nd steroid shot, and they would schedule a c-section for 24 hours after the last shot (Judith was also breech, so an induction wasn't even possible).  They would perform an emergency c-section if things deteriorated further.

To be continued...