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.


Anonymous said...

Oh Bee...I've been on and off the boards sporadically, and just found out about little Maddy when I was searching for your name. I'm praying for the best case scenario, and a wonderful life for all of you. You are such a special person, Bee....and this little soul is lucky to have you for a Mommy. I'm not familiar with blogs, and couldn't find a place to email you, so I'm just posting here. Anyway, email me anytime at

Anonymous said...


I have been worrying and wondering and I am glad that little Madelyn is still hanging in there as are you. I cannot wait until you are able to hold her little toe and breathe in her scent.

My (DE) little one is 16 months old now and he is the embodiment of myself and dh combined- and has brought us so much happiness. I think how very lucky we are to share the world with him and I know that you will have the same with Madelyn.

I am praying for her health (and yours-) and hopeing for all happy things for her future-

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog by searching for "Spina Bifida" at

Have browsed through your posts, and just wanted to let you know that my son Donovan (age 8) was born with a myelomeningocele and is doing well. Very well, actually. He did not develop Hydrocephalus and his defect is in the sacral area.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions. We did not know that Donovan had spina bifida when I was pregnant, but as far as I was concerned, he was perfect. It's a different journey than the one you thought you were embarking on when you started, but it's so worth it.

Madelyn Faith should just know that she's not 'less than' in any way. Some things about her may be different, but she will be stronger than most of her peers. . .she'll have bigger obstacles than her friends. The low times will be tremendously low, but those high times will totally eclipse that.


Anonymous said...

I was so happy to see you post. What a time you have had, and your strength show through.

I had sent you an email to your hotmail account about my 15 yo niece who recently had surgery to correct problems caused by spina bifida that she didn't even knew she had (she was born and raised in a developing country). I hope you got the email and it gave you insight to how well things can turn out for Madelyn Faith.

My sister had a house guest this weekend, who, after walking all over NYC complained that her foot hurt. I knew that she had had some sort of problem in her youth, so I asked her what was bothering her. She told me matter of factly that she has spina bifida, and had surgeries as a child to correct most of the problems, but she has a clubbed foot that doesn't work quite right so when she over does it, it bothers her. Imagine my surprise on this revelation as I have known her for four years and had no idea. I was especially interested because I had followed your story so closely, and I was happyy that I could pass on another inspirational story to you. She is an attractive, bright funny lady who lives a totally fruitful life.
I guess my point is that Madelyn Faith has a great chance for a very normal life, and with you as her mom, she can't go wrong.

I was sorry to read of alyour woes and am glad that you are feeling better now. Take care of yourself, and please update your blog as time permits. There are a lot of people out here praying for your family, and your precious Madelyn Faith.


Amy Linder said...

Welcome back, Bee!

SO wonderful to read a new posting from you. And especially wonderful to "hear" your spirits up in the way you write!

Madelyn Faith is a wonderful name - so pretty! Great to hear of her toe wiggling. Sorry to hear of your own health problems. Please take care of yourself and rest up as much as you can!

Anyway, just wanted to check in and say hi. I've missed reading your posts and hope you find the time to continue to occassionally post. We all appreciate and look forward to your updates on your daughter.

Take care.

Amy :)

Teendoc said...


It is so great to hear from you. I am sorry for all your recent health issues.

I love the name and can't want to for Madelyn to make her entry into the world.

Anonymous said...

Bee, I'm so glad I checked in on you today. Despite everything you've already been through, and face in the future, you always sound so positive and uplifting. It uplifts me, just reading. There are quite a few of us out here in DE land who really look forward to your posts, and want the best for you. Please keep us updated.

Anonymous said...

Well, after being worried about your well being, now I can see why. You've had quite a lot going on! I hope the remainder of your pregnancy goes more smoothly. Funny about your gestational diabetes diet making you lose weight. I gained 5 lbs. the first week I went on the diet. Waaaay too much peanut butter prescribed. Hope to meet you at some point in the near future

Anonymous said...

Hi Bee--thank you so much for posting! I've been checking in hoping for an update. Madelyn Faith is a lovely name.

I'm sorry you've been having health problems on top of everything else! Poor thing! Take care of yourself. Your little daughter will be in your arms before you know it.

Pam in CA

Anonymous said...

Hello Bee,

It's so good to see your update. You have been on my mind for the longest time. I am so sorry to hear about your health problems. Please do continue to take care of yourself.

What a beautiful name you have chosen for your little girl. I can't wait to greet Madelyn Faith into the world.

I am praying always, for good things for you and your little one.

Thank you for updating us.


chris said...

I'm so glad you updated. Love the name--it's one of my favorites. I'm so sorry you've been so sick. You certainly deserve a break. Please take care of yourself and update when you can.

We're all pulling for you and Madelyn.

Anonymous said...

Glad to have you back, Bee. So sorry to hear of all the health problems you are having, though. Geez! Can't a girl get a break? I was also pleased to hear that Madelyn is wiggling her toes--yes!

Anonymous said...

Bee, I've been checking your blog regularly and it is so good to read an update, although I'm sorry you've had so many health scares. Madelyn Faith is a beautiful name! I hope the next couple of months until she arrives go as smoothly as possible. And by the way, I definitely believe you are already a mother, and a wonderful one at that.

Anonymous said...

Bee...I keep looking for an update on you and Madelyn Faith...I think of you often and hope you are both well...please let us know how you are doing when you can.