Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cholestasis and God's Grace

Monday I updated the status on my Facebook page to say, "God's grace is not sufficient. God's grace is overly and abundantly awesome! Dave and I will be meeting our baby boy in just a week!"

On Thurs. Nov. 29, I got a major surprise.  After the Thanksgiving Weekend of Horrible-ness, I woke up in the middle of Sunday night/Monday morning with the palms of my hands itching.  I contributed it to an adverse reaction to the Bug, until the itching spread.  Head to toe.  I felt like a drug addict going through withdrawls, and probably looked like it too considering the circles under my eyes.  I was waking Dave up in the middle of the night with my scratching.  But there wasn't any rash.  Since I had a Drs. appt. that Thurs. I just decided to wait it out until then.  So when I told my Dr. about the itching, she said that it sounded like cholestasis, they were bumping my induction from Dec. 31 to Dec. 17 and I would be seeing a specialist the next morning.  Wow.  That was a lot to process in just a few short minutes.  I know I had a shocked look on my face because she said something to the effect of, "Look at me, I'm not excited.  Not excited is good, this isn't anything bad."  I was shocked because all of a sudden, there were two weeks that I thought I had to prepare for our little Dumplin' that I no longer had!  And on top of that, I really haven't nested.  So since then I've been nesting out of necessity.  On top of finishing Christmas stuff.  Hallelujah for online shopping! 

So to explain the cholestasis in what little terms I know.  I knew the word from Med Tech school and knew it had something to do with either my gallbladder or liver.  Couldn't remember which one.  But I had also been told by my Dr. not to go looking it up because I'd find a ton of things that would just scare me to death.  I looked it up a little just to refresh my memory because it would drive me crazy otherwise.  From what I understand, my pregnancy hormones are keeping my gallbladder from moving bile like it should and that's causing bile acids to build up in my body which is what is making me itch like crazy.  There's about 1 in 1000 cases in pregnant women, and it ususally isn't a big deal, until after 37 weeks.  Then the bile acids can start causing problems for the baby. 

This was all discovered at 35 weeks.  So now I've seen the specialist 3 times and will see them one more time before I'm induced.  Once for lab work, an ultrasound to make sure Josiah's growing right and to put me on some medicine to bind the bile acids up (helped the itching tremendously!).  Found out then that Punkin' Head already weighed 6 lbs 5 oz then.  Big babies run in both our families.  Once for another ultrasound.  Once for a non stress test in which Josiah got the "Good Baby of the Day" award.  He kicked so hard a couple of times that the heart rate monitor got knocked out of place and lost his heartbeat for a bit before he settled back down.  And the last appt. will probably be for another ultrasound.  I'll know Friday from my regular Dr. whether or not I'll need to go to the hospital Sunday night or Monday morning. 

I have hit the jackpot!

We ran into some trouble with our insurance.  We have a high deductible, but anything after our deductible is covered 100%.  At least this past year.  So we put our deductible away in an FSA because we knew we'd have to be paid up before the end of the year on our baby.  Except the Drs. office can't file the insurance claim until Josiah actually gets here, and the FSA won't pay us back until the claim is filed.  If he came after the end of the year, we would lose all that money in the FSA.  Plus after the end of the year, our insurance benefits are going down thanks to the Affordable Heathcare Act (I do agree that something needs to be done about the costs of healthcare, but I don't think this is the way to do it, that's another story...).  So even if Josiah got here before the end of the year, if we were still in the hospital after the beginning of next year, we'd still have a good chunk of change to pay out.  Dave did the math and it would be the difference between paying no more than what we already have this year, or paying $11,000 next year. 

Plus you saw that at 35 weeks he was weighing in at about 6lbs 5 oz.  After doing some extrapolating, he would weigh between 9.5 and 10 lbs if he came at 40 weeks.  I know women have big babies like that all the time, but that doesn't mean they want to.  And, I'm kinda on the small side. 

That's where God's Grace took over.

I always knew he'd take care of us.  If we had to pay the money, he'd provide a way.  Things might be tight, but He'd get us through.  If I had to have a 10 pounder, He'd help me through it.  If I had to miss Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, He'd make next year's that much more special.  But I never imagined He would do what He did for us.

Now that I'm being induced on the 17th of Dec, as long as things are normal (even if I need a C-section), we'll be out of the hospital several days before Christmas.  Which means I'll get to do at least some Christmas festivities.  And which means we'll be home before the end of the year!  We shouldn't have to pay anymore than what we already have.  And extrapolating again, Josiah should only be between 7 and 8 lbs.  And then, on top of all that, He provided for us in a way that we hadn't even really asked or worried about.  Dave got more fire fighting money this year than he though he would.  And with a new baby, more money is always a useful thing. 

Sufficient to me means enough.  Just enough.  A sufficient Christmas present for my 4 year old little cousin is a Hello Kitty t-shirt.  And she would love that.  But I want to give her over and above that.  A Hello Kitty game, coloring book, hairbows.  If we had the money, everything Hello Kitty I could get my hands on.  I can imagine the delight in her eyes, and even though she won't love me less for not giving her the whole Sanrio store, I can imagine the hug that she would give me if I did.  I think that's the way God is.  I think that even though we ask for small things, He delights in giving us over and above what we ask for.  More than we can imagine He would do for us.  And because He's God, He can give us the whole Sanrio store. 

So by God's Grace, I have a pregnancy complication that is making my baby come 3 weeks early.  And I'm not even worried about any health issues either Josiah or I might have.  God has taken such great care of me so far, why would He do anything less in the days to come?   

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

As we all have at least heard, pregnant women are some of the most emotional people in the world.  I'm thankful that I have not been super emotional for the past 8 months.  I've had a few breakdowns, mostly over my ability or inability to care for my baby properly, but it's a rare occurence.  But over the past 8 months, I've compiled a list in my head of things that I will never say to a pregnant woman.  I know most people ask or say things because they care about you (drawing some thoughts from my last post there), but there are some things that should just be kept to yourself :)  Note:  All of this is said in jest.  If you have said one or more of these things to me, you are not on my bad list.  Most things I don't even remember who said them.  This is meant to make people laugh more than it is a rant.  Because I know most pregnant women have heard at least some of these things. 

Belly Size Statements.  I think I get these more than normal because I'm short.  And Josiah has measured a week and a half ahead of schedule since 20 weeks.

1.  Are you sure it's not twins?
Yep, ultrasounds are really good these days.  And I've had 5. 

2.  You know, another one could be hiding behind a kidney.
Really?  A 6 lb baby could be hiding behind a 150g organ.  Seems plausible.

3.  You're not going to make it to your due date.
This one is usually said with such authority that I'm convinced that the person making the statement is a Dr.  Not really.

4.  You're huge!  Or the variation, You look like you're about to pop!
As if this makes anyone feel good.  Coming from my brother isn't so bad, but that's because we give each other a hard time a lot.

I would much rather have someone say, "Oh, it's gonna be a big baby!" than any of the above.

Lies!  These are unique for different situations.  They have been true at times, but at times they haven't.  The short of it is, don't say something to a pregnant woman if you don't think it's exactly true.  We like to hear things that make us feel good, but we also know when it's not true.

5.  You're just glowing!
Even though I do feel like I've glowed through most of my pregnancy, I got this one last Monday after I had a stomach bug most of the weekend and Daddy had already told me that he could tell by the look on my face that I was sick.  Dark circles, no color, that distant look that said my brain was elsewhere...well, maybe I was glowing some way or another...

6.  You're just so cute!
At some points, yes, I think I look cuter pregnant than not.  At others, like when my hair hasn't been washed and I've worn the same sweater 3 days in a row and I don't have on makeup...not so much.

The Stress Factor.  The last thing we pregnant women need to be reminded of is how ready we aren't.  Some people may have no problems with these statements.  I, the procrastinator, do.

7.  Is the nursery ready?
Nope, still piles of trash from new baby gear in the floor.  Still toys in the crib.  Still junk piled on the changing table.  He's gonna sleep in a shoebox beside the bed (I told my grandmother, Mama Pat that one just to get a rise out of her even though it wasn't true.  Mama Pat is usually asking for us to get a rise out of her). 

8.  I bet you're ready to have him.
See above.  Plus, no, I've never changed a diaper and is anybody ever ready for sleepless nights?  Am I ready to push a watermelon out of my body?  In all honesty, I'm ready to have my little boy here to hold.  What else I'll do with him, I don't know.  I'm still mildly terrifed of babies.  Right now, he's still snug and warm and doesn't need anything.  I feel like he's grown so independent in the past months, squirming and kicking by his own free will.  Then he'll be born and be completely dependent on someone else to take care of him.  It's kind of scary.

Let's Rephrase That.  These are honest, I-care-about-you questions that I'll just rephrase when I ask another pregnant woman in the future.  It just makes me feel like I'm letting people down when I answer some of these because I'm bursting their assumptions.  I know that's probably all in my head.

9.  You're miserable, aren't you?
No, not miserable.  I'll rephrase to say, "Have you reached the miserable point yet?"

10.  Are you excited?
One of my friends who had a baby 6 months ago clued me in to this one.  And it kind of got funny at that point.  She said pregnant women are supposed to remain in a constant state of excitement evidently.  I'll rephrase, "I know this is an exciting time for you!"  

Misc.  I don't know how else you would ask these questions, but they kind of make you want to print out business cards to hand out to answer these questions.  They're usually rapid fire too.

11.  When are you due?  Do you know what it is?  Have you picked out a name?  First one?  Have you been sick?  Natural delivery or drugs?

Then finally for good laughs, there are the memorable statements.  The things that I've only heard once.  But the things that have made me have to turn around and laugh at times.  These I didn't mind hearing.

Me:  I just thought you would want to know that Dr. Pat (my Daddy) is going to be a Grandpa!
Patient:  Oh my goodness!  That's so exciting! is you and not Sam, right?  (Sam is my unmarried brother who is still in college.)

Patient 2:  (Looking at my belly) Whoa!  What have you been doing?
Me:  Probably what you're thinking about.

Mama Pat:  (Hollering across the church.  Thankfully it was mostly empty.)  Evan's getting seduced on the 17th.

A close friend of my Daddy's:  I wanted to tell your dad what the worst part about being a Grandpa is.
Me:  What's that?
Friend:  Having to go to bed with Grandma.

(Before we found out it is a boy)
Daddy:  We haven't found out if it's a boy or a girl, but I guaratee you, it'll be born naked.

If I think of anything else, I'll write it down later.  It's amazing the emotions and inhibitions that pregnancy breaks down.  You find yourself telling friends things you never thought you'd say.  And close friends, especially those who are also pregnant, get even more of an earful.  It's also amazing what other people will say to you.  I find out new things everyday it seems.  There are a million things that nobody tells you about until you get pregnant.  It's like it's some big secret and if you tell it before a woman gets pregnant, she won't ever get pregnant.  Which I find to be rubbish because most people have more than one baby.  They know the secrets and still got pregnant again. 

If there's anything else you'd like to add to make me laugh, just leave me a comment.  I'm always up for pregnancy stories!

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