Thursday, October 13, 2005

Madelyn Faith

Hello everyone. I cannot believe I have allowed so much time to go by since I updated the blog. I am in much better spirits than when I last wrote -- although much worse health; more on that later -- and as you can see from my title above, we have settled on a name for our baby girl. "Madelyn" because I love the name, and "Faith" because we have to believe in her, and all the good things that will come into her life, to find the courage to be her parents. Her father says he is going to call her Maddy for short, but I'm calling her Madelyn until she tells me not to.

I spent about a month hibernating after we got back from Philadelphia. Because I had reached the point of helplessness, with nothing constructive that I could do for my baby, I turned to shameless escapism. I slept as much as I could manage. I put away my spina bifida books and stopped compulsively googling. I spent entire weekends reading one book after the other. I worked on a web site I want to launch someday about one of my hobbies. I let my husband bring home pints of ice cream entirely too often, though it didn't show up on the scale (not sure how that happened). Anything and everything that I could think of to distract my mind. I suppose it was a good thing. I believe I needed the time and distance.

But now my c-section is two months away, and my stomach is trying to take over the planet. It arrives at work three minutes before I do, and I have been gently accused of being "great with child." I have had to admit that I waddle. And then there are those mild annoyances of pregnancy. I don't think there's a single one that I haven't had: Heartburn, carpal tunnel in my right hand (from tissue swelling), back pain, sleeplessness...I could go on, but I'm boring myself.

What was not so boring was spending a couple of days in the hospital with preterm labor. My husband and I had worked in our yard on a very hot day, and afterward I wasn't feeling very well. I stayed home from work the next day with fever, chills, diarrhea, and killer back pain. When I called the doctor, she had me come to the office and discovered that not only was I ill with what we think is diverticulitis, but I was also dilated to 1-2 cm. She sent me straight to the hospital and they discovered via monitor that I was having contractions. I could not feel them except as intense back pain -- and I had been blaming that on all the yard work. It was scary to realize I'd been in labor and had not known it.

Thankfully, they got the contractions stopped with medication and started massive antibiotics for the diverticulitis. I think I also had a sinus infection starting because as soon as the drugs came onboard, my sinuses started draining. They found I was dehydrated from the diarrhea and the hot day's work out in the sun. The OB thinks that the infections or the dehydration or both caused the contractions, so now I have to force myself to keep drinking water even when I don't want to.

The day after I came home from the hospital I had another scare -- a massive cramp that I was positive was a contraction. I freaked out and went running back to the hospital, but this time it was a false alarm. The cramping was just from my diverticulitis. I was embarrassed but the doctor said it happens to lots of people and it's hard to tell the sensations apart. But I said to her, "Now I'm discouraged. On Monday I had no idea that I was in labor and I was, and today I was sure I was in labor and I'm not!" She said to relax and come to the hospital whenever I need to...but I am not sure my insurance company would agree.

Meanwhile, my doctor told me I flunked my sugar test and have gestational diabetes. I have to follow a special diet and check my blood sugar four times a day. It is almost not worth eating, except of course that I have to for the baby's sake. I'm losing weight steadily...a few more pounds and I will weigh less than when I became pregnant! But I've certainly got them to spare.

As if all of the above were not enough, about a week after coming home from the hospital I started coughing uncontrollably and having wheezing and chest pain. So back I went to the hospital for a chest x-ray (baby suitably shielded). The x-ray showed that a spot on my right lung had collapsed, and they could not agree on whether it was a mucus plug, a cold, or pneumonia. I came home with a third antibiotic for my regimen and an inhaler to ease my breathing, and orders to sleep, sleep, sleep. It got to where I couldn't carry on a conversation without being short of breath, and I had to cling to the banister to go up the stairs -- which I did as little as possible, believe me.

The bright spot through all this was that Madelyn showed no signs of distress. She is still very active and her heart rate and size are perfect for her age. She weighs 3lbs, 2oz as of yesterday's ultrasound, and we saw her wiggle her toes! She has the sweetest little face that I can't wait to kiss. We are a little concerned about her hydrocephalus -- her ventricles (the fluid-filled areas inside her brain) are up to 21mm. The doctor said the progression in size of about 2mm per month is not alarming and is consistent with normal growth of her head, but I still worry. Yet those on the spina bifida parents group on Yahoo say that similar things happened to their babies in utero, and their children are thriving today.

Lately I have been thinking how long ago and far away are my concerns about Madelyn being a donor egg baby. She is so very mine, that I can make myself sick with worry for her, and I can make myself cry with love for her. I just can't wait to be her mother.