Friday, March 28, 2014

What is a Cervical Cerclage?

This post also could have been titled "more info than you ever, ever cared to know about a pretty embarrassing and private procedure."

But, if you're facing one yourself, hopefully you find this helpful!

For my surgery, I was scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 6:30 am for a 7:30 surgery time.
The worst part, I think, is the waiting. We waited to check in in OB Triage. Then we waited in a "room" (a bed with a curtain around it) for a nurse to come in and tell us what to do.  The waiting can really make you crazy and lets your worries get the best of you.

After I peed in a cup and got changed into my gown, we waited for the resident doctor, who looked to be younger than Kemi or I, to come in and practice on me with his list of awkward question after awkward question.

"When was your first period? Like, as a kid?"
"Do you have a history of STDs?"
"Do you feel safe at home?"
"Do you use, uh, recreational drugs?" (to this I obviously answered "no" to which he responded "cool.")

The two anesthesiologists came in and introduced themselves.  They both seemed very level headed and calm, and put me right at ease.

Then, finally, the surgeon came in, said good morning, and that as soon as everyone got things moving, we'd be in the OR.

Finally, I was wheeled back to the OR.  The nurses showed Kemi the waiting area, and I was on my own.  The nurses wheeled me to a station where we all suited up for the OR…as in, we all got hairnets.

They wheeled me in, and told me to move from the bed and sit on top of the OR table.  The anesthesiologist came in and explained how the spinal anesthetic would be administered.  I was most nervous for this part of the procedure, because I had heard it was pretty painful.  The nurse had me face her while I hugged a pillow and tried to roll my back into a curve.  The anesthesiologist was behind me and I braced myself for the big sting.

And nothing.

"Did you do it?" I asked.
"I'm already done," he said. "Your butt should be feeling warm and tingly any second now." And sure enough, as he said it, I started to feel like warm water was being poured down my butt and legs.  "I feel like I'm going to pee my pants" I said to the room.

This is where things get awkward.  Within a minute or two I couldn't feel my legs at all, or anything below my belly button.  Nurses lift your legs into stirrups that hang from the ceiling, and you are stuck there in the most awkward position of your life.  I looked around the room and counted heads. One surgeon, two anesthesiologists, four nurses, and three residents.  That's a lot of people looking at your what-nots under ginormous operating room lights.

The nurses had told me that during the procedure I'd feel a bit of pressure and be aware that they were doing something, but not feel any pain.  As the surgeon began the procedure though, I was thankful I couldn't feel anything. I had absolutely no feeling at all below my waist.

All in all, the entire procedure lasted about 15 minutes.  The nurses wheeled me down the hall and one of the nurses went to find Kemi.  We got settled into a recovery room where I was left to basically wait for feeling to return to my legs.
Staring at my feet, willing them to move again

 After a few hours I got up and tried to pee. The nurses said as soon as I was able to pee on my own, I could go home.  I tried to go, but was only able to pee a tiny amount. They brought in an ultrasound machine that scans the bladder for how many ounces remain. My bladder was super full, so they put in a straight catheter and drained 1000 cc's.  The next several hours involved me trying to pee, the ultrasound technician being called back in, telling me my bladder was still full, and to wait.

it wasn't too bad with this guy to keep me company.

We continued to wait for my bladder to "wake up" again from the anesthesia until after 6 pm.  By this time I was super annoyed.  We left the house at 5:45 am and I hadn't seen Evie all day.  I begged the nurses to let me go.  They finally called up the on-call OB who agreed, but only if I promised to come back in with any issues.  The concern was that if I developed a bladder infection it could possibly trigger labor. Not only that, but if my bladder was too full, it could rip my stitches or trigger contractions.  So it goes without saying I was pretty stressed.

The next day involved me measuring everything I drank against how many ounces I was peeing. It wasn't until today, two days post surgery, that I finally know everything is 100% back to normal.

I'm so thankful that we found things in time, and were able to have the cerclage before things progressed further and it was too late. Now we just continue to pray for this little one, and that we can make it the next five months! We know God has great things planned for this soul, and we can't wait to see what they are!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Around the Interwebs

Had zero inspiration for dinner tonight and no time to shop.  We had 1/2 a head of cauliflower in the fridge, and a quick google for "kid friendly cauliflower" yielded this awesome recipe. Everyone ate it. Success!

I just bought this sweet onesie for a going home from the hospital outfit. Isn't it a perfect boy or girl pattern?

Beautiful bracelet.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Letting Go

Yesterday we had our 18 week ultrasound to check up on how Baby #3 is coming along.  After a loooong ultrasound, we met with the perinatologist for a consultation.  He informed us that my cervix is not yet dilated, but is already shortened, much more than it should be this early in pregnancy.  He said untreated, my cervix will continue to dilate, shorten, and this pregnancy would result in another loss.

Our hearts sank.  There was a chance, until this afternoon, that this pregnancy would be as humdrum and routine as so many pregnancies are.  There was a chance that our loss of Celeste was a "one in a  million" and was not an indicator of a greater issue.

In seconds, this doctor had undone that hope.  We now learned that I did indeed have an "insufficient cervix," meaning my cervix is not strong enough to do what it's supposed to do and stay strong and closed throughout the pregnancy.

I felt such deep immediate sadness.   As soon as the doctor stepped out of the room, Kemi grabbed my hand. I could only stare out the window.  He wanted to know if I was ok. "I can't do it again." I told him. "I just can't bury another baby." I'm not strong. Definitely not strong enough for this, this painful path God keeps putting us on.  I felt a sinking feeling inside. Why would God allow me to have this issue? Why would He allow Kemi and I to stay up late at night, dreaming about the dozen babies we wanted to have, only to make it near impossible?

We went over the treatment options at length with the doctor.  He scheduled us for a cerclage next week, which is a surgery to sew closed my cervix. This will prevent it from dilating or shortening any further.  I'm also receiving weekly progesterone injections, and a second progesterone medication.

But you know what?

This. This makes it all worth it.

It's funny. When I was pregnant with Evie, I read every book on natural childbirth.  I had a two page birth plan detailing exactly how things were going to be, and was determined to give birth the old-fashioned way, the way my mom did, without so much as a Tylenol in sight.  And you know what? I did. And it was an incredible experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. This time around? The priorities have changed. Healthy baby, healthy mama.  That's it.  Weekly injections and being stitched closed sure wouldn't be part of my dream birth plan if it were up to me, but it's not.  All I can hope for is to make it to 37 weeks, and to deliver a healthy baby.  That's all I want.  It seems like God keeps directing me back to letting go, and reminding me that I'm not in control.  It's hard and painful but I know He is good all the time, and His plans for us are better than our own.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Family Is Growing!

A few weeks ago Kemi and I announced that we are expecting our third babe in August!

We couldn't be more excited!

I am 17 weeks along now, and feeling really good! Entering into the second trimester has definitely brought more energy.

Since losing Celeste, we knew all subsequent pregnancies would be considered "high risk" and would mean a unique set of circumstances.  Having had a preterm labor, I am 50% more likely to have another.

With this pregnancy, we are under careful watch from our amazing doctor, which we are so thankful for. We're having frequent ultrasounds, and I'm on medication to prevent preterm labor as well.

Admittedly, it's been difficult to not have the same naivety I had when I was pregnant with Evie. The common cramps and aches of pregnancy that I didn't know to be anything but normal now make my heart jump and wonder if I'm experiencing contractions.  This time around, I find myself consciously telling myself to not get worked up over every little thing.

But, there is a certain sweetness too. Every ultrasound that shows me that tiny baby kicking and squirming brings tears to my eyes.  Every night I lay my head on my pillow and my hand on my belly and know there's still a baby growing in there makes me breathe a sigh of relief.  I feel so blessed to be carrying another soul.  No matter what happens, I am humbled that God allows us to participate with him in bringing this new life into the world.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Introduction to Stitch Fix, or How Corinna got her Groove Back

Having three pregnancies in two years has definitely changed my body since it's pre-baby days.  Recently especially, I have struggled with finding clothes that I feel good in and that fit my new shape.  I definitely have extra baby weight from Evie and Celeste, and now being 17 weeks pregnant, my body continues to change weekly!

Frump-Town, USA
Don't get me wrong-I am okay (most of the time!) with the marks that bearing three babies has left on me.  I know that someday, I can work on getting back to the shape I'd like to be in. After this little one is born, I can concentrate on becoming fit again and getting back to an exercise routine.  But for now, I have to follow doctor's orders (no gym!) and take it VERY easy this pregnancy. A healthy baby is the priority, and enjoying my free time with Evie before we become a family of four.

Note to self: stop with the grey sweater. And do your hair more.
With that said, I still have to get dressed everyday!  During the week at work, I wear jeans and school tee-shirts. Our dress code is very casual since we're working with kids each day. But come Sunday when I need to get dressed for church, I tear apart my closet trying to find something, anything that hangs right.  So many of my pre-Evie clothes just don't fit me anymore.  Forget fancier occasions like my upcoming school fundraiser, or a wedding. I am totally lost.  I'd love to have some casual-chic clothes I can wear to church, date nights, or to a meet a friend without feeling frumpy!

I recently found Stitch Fix, a monthly styling service for women. You fill out a style profile, with info on your style, sizes, and budget, and a personal stylist sends you five items handpicked uniquely based on your preferences.  There is a $20 styling fee, but you get to apply that to your first order. If you keep all five items, they knock 25% off. If you keep nothing, you lose your $20.  You are only charged for the items if you decide to keep them, otherwise you just mail them back.

I think one of the best things is you get to try on the items in the privacy of your own home.  I love that, because then you can try things on with your own shoes and accessories, to see if you'll really wear it or not.  I hate buying something and then realizing I need different shoes for it, or different pants, ya know? I love the concept! I have absolutely no time to shop---I would so much rather spend the little free time I have with Evie and Kemi. Usually when I go shopping it's because I have to find something for an occasion RIGHTNOW and it ends up being super stressful.  I'd love to just be able to choose one or two pieces I love each month, and over time, grow a new wardrobe of pieces that really work for me.

I also love that you don't get mailed a box each month unless you want one. There's no long term commitment, so you could just order a box when you feel like spicing up your wardrobe!

I think the items might be a little more than I'd usually spend (most of my clothes are from Gap sales) but if I do find something I absolutely LOVE, I think it's worth a little splurge. Besides, I just don't have the time to raid sales racks and try on dozens of things in hopes that something will fit.  If I find something that totally works on me and I love, I'm okay with spending a bit more.

My first Stitch Fix box will be arriving next month, and I can't wait to show you guys what's in it! I hope I love it! It's kind of fun to have a box of surprises to look forward to, don't you think?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Celeste's Heaven Day

On Wednesday, February 12th, we celebrated Celeste's one year anniversary in Heaven.  Kemi and I were both able to take the day off to just spend time as a family.

I really wanted to make the day special, and to start some traditions that our family can look forward to, as a special way to remember our little saint.  It was also really important to me that Evie have positive memories on Celeste's birthday, so I wanted to make a cake and make it more of a celebration.

On Tuesday night, I started baking the cake. I made the same Strawberry cake I made for Evie's first birthday, and that really made me nostalgic in a way. It was hard to think that we would have a one year old now.  What kind of birthday party would we be having? What would she be like?

On Wednesday morning, my brother in law dropped by a care package my sister had put together. Some pastries and bacon from Whole Foods, a card and some tulips.  It was so nice to be able to just hang out with Kemi and Evie, drink tea and eat breakfast together, and sort of mentally prepare for the day. 

These started disappearing fast!

We decided to hitch up the bike trailer and ride bikes to the nice park near our house. It was so good for our hearts to have no schedule and nowhere to be.  We stayed at the park for almost two hours, just enjoying a rare weekday off and time together.  After a few hours we rode back in time for Evie's nap. 

While Evie napped I ran up to the flower shop.  We planned to go to the cemetery, and I really wanted to bring daisies, since they always make me think of Celeste.  After the cashier rang up my daisies, she smiled and said "are these for someone special?" I burst into tears. Tears that were already sitting on the surface, waiting to come out. I didn't know what to say, and the not knowing resulted in a total breakdown. I started to cry and just couldn't stop. I muttered "my baby died" and got the hell out of there as fast as I could.  Even now, a year later, I don't know how certain questions, certain interactions, catch me completely unaware and cause my emotions to just spill over.

I picked up a few groceries for dinner and cards for Kemi (our fourth wedding anniversary was the next day, and Valentines Day the day after that) and got home just as Evie was waking up.

We headed out to the cemetery together.

The cemetery where Celeste is buried has a section just for children. It is heartbreaking to see all the tiny gravestones.  Babies like Celeste, who only lived one day, and others who lived a few days or weeks. It's such a special spot to remember Celeste, and pray for the families whose little ones rest there too.

My mom had brought a really beautiful arrangement earlier in the day. We left our daisies and Evie wanted to leave a pinecone (her new favorite "treasure" to find at the park). We still haven't ordered a gravestone, mostly because we just can't decide what we want it to look like.

Overall, it was a beautiful day spent with my two favorite people, remembering our sweet girl in Heaven. Saint Celeste, pray for us! We can't wait to hold you again.