Monday, March 19, 2018

Naomi's Birth Story

Saturday, March 3, my dad and I were sitting in my hospital room and all of a sudden the attending OB (who I had never met) came in and announced that the baby's heart rate was dropping and that she may be coming out in the next hour!  Of course I started freaking out because Josh wasn't at the hospital yet.  He had planned to hang out with Charlotte on Saturday and come to Atlanta permanently on Sunday.  The room seemed to keep filling with more doctors.  My dad started packing all of our stuff.  I called Josh and told him to hurry and get here and they weren't waiting for him.  I FaceTimed with Charlotte and that was awful.  I was so scared and crying uncontrollably and completely scared her.  It was just chaos. In the midst of the craziness, my dad somehow managed to give me a Priesthood blessing. They hurried me from the Antepartum unit (where high-risk pregnant patients stay) to Labor and Delivery.  When I got to the room, it felt like it was 100 degrees (and I had kept my other room at 65).  I was still freaking out, which I am sure was raising my temperature and I was in a labor bed (not comfortable) and I was just beside myself.  I had the anesthesiology team come in and ask me a ton of questions. I had different doctors in and out, introducing themselves to me for the first time, and I was just hoping deep down that I wasn't going to have to deliver under these stressful circumstances.  Of course I also kept saying, "I knew this would happen," referring to something happening while Josh wasn't there!  Josh frantically had thrown everything into a suitcase and got in the car as fast as he could.  Of course by the time he had reached the hospital, everything had calmed down and they wanted to just have me sleep with the baby montior all night.  When I eventually was about to go to sleep, they had said there hadn't been any episodes or "decels" since I arrived in L&D.  By the morning, nothing had happened.  So I was able to go back to Antepartum and just relax.  It was so stressful and completely took us all off guard.  I was put back on track to deliver on Wednesday, March 7.   
Four days later, March 7, 2018, I woke up with so many thoughts and emotions going through my mind.  I didn't turn on the TV or look at my phone.  I didn't want my mind on anything besides delivering my sweet baby girl.  Doctors came in and out to make sure I was ready.  I was ready as I was ever going to be.  I had been told I would need an arterial line (an IV in an artery), in addition to the midline I already had AND the epidural I was about to receive.  If you haven't caught on yet, I HATE needles more than anything else.  Like, I really don't like them.  I never have and at this point, I don't think I ever will.  So I had enough to worry about, that I just wanted to stay as calm as possible.  My anxiety of everything was definetly getting the best of me.  
The night before, Josh and my dad gave me a Priesthood Blessing.  Helping me to calm my nerves and that everything would go smoothly.  There were just so many concerns we had, and for me that gave me so much peace.  The morning of, before getting wheeled into pre-op, Josh said a prayer amongst the three of us.  It was very sweet and emotional.  We were all a little nervous and scared but also had an enormous amount of faith that things would be fine.  
I was finally brought into the pre-op room, which ended up being the worst part of the day.  Josh went in with me, as well as my L&D nurse, Raynell, (who I had had a couple other times throughout my stay). An anesthesiologist came in and informed me that I would need THREE additional IV ports, including the AV line I was told about.  I don't want to get into the nitty gritty, but I will say it was absoultuely horrible and ended up taking TWO HOURS.  Ugh!  I really felt like I was in a torture chamber.  I am amazed Josh stayed in the entire time.  They had to try the AV line four different times.  It hurt so bad.  I have zero pain tolerance and was having a hard time handling all the ports.  My artery would collapse or something would happen.  I know in that 2 hour time slot I could have had the baby!  Which I think was frustrating everyone involved.  I was pushing back schedules and everything.  It was just bad from every angle you looked at it.  I kept apologizing and I was exhausted by the end of those two hours.  
Next, they wheeled me into the OR.  I was terrified about the epidural, but I kept telling myself it couldn't be worse than what I had just endured.  Once I entered the OR I just had a very calm feeling come over me.  I wasn't nervous, I just felt like everything was going to be fine.  They instructed me up on the operating table and I watched as they prepped the room.  Several doctors came in, introduced themselves to me.  I sat and waited for the epidural.  The anesthesiologist came in and he was so great at walking me through everything.  It didn't hurt one bit and I didn't shed one tear.  I was more worried about moving than anything else.  I was so happy when that was over.  The epidural had to be a slow-drip so they could watch my blood pressure (through the AV line).  That was what the doctors were mostly worried about during the epidural.  It took a while for me to become completely numb.  When they were testing my "numbness" I kept telling them I could feel even if I couldn't because I wanted it to be REALLY numb.  They were like, "you can still feel that?"  "Yep!"  Once everything was numb, they brought in Josh and he sat right next to me.  I was dozing off before he got there because I was so relaxed.  Then he came in and we were just chatting as they performed the surgery.  Before we knew it,  the doctors said, "Naomi is here and she's so cute!"  I couldn't hear her cry and asked whatever doctor was next to me.  They said that was pretty normal and she started crying a few moments later.  Josh peeked over the drape and saw her.  Then left my side haha.  I seriously was just so calm and fine with the entire situation.  I think I was so tired too.  I never once shed a tear in the OR.  I was just so happy everything was going so smoothly.  They showed me Naomi on her way out of the room and I had Josh go with her.  I thought I would want Josh to stay with me after, but I was feeling so good, that I just sent him to be with our baby girl.  I then was wheeled off to the recovery room.
In the recovery room is where I saw my dad and Josh again.  My cardiologist came as well and said that everything was looking great.  Yay!  I was so thrilled to hear that.  After about an hour, they took me to the Cardiac ICU where I spent the night.  I ended up only spending one night there and was taken back down to the Antepartum unit.  I don't really remember much about the CCU, except that I was in so much pain!!  That night, Josh was able to sleep in one of the "Live-in Suites" next to the NICU.  It worked out great he didn't have to leave the hospital and could be right next to Naomi.  
When I moved back down to Antepartum, I was relieved.  I got to know the nurses so well that I just wanted to stay with them.  They took the best care of me and I felt like they really cared about me and my situation.  Josh could also sleep in my room, which was great to have him there with me.  My incision was still really painful.  I would cry everytime I had to stand up or sit down.  Moving was really hard.  I just kept thinking, " why do so many women choose this option of delivery?"  The area around my incision was so swollen and bruised.  But everyone that was checking up on me said that it was normal and the incision looked great.  I am not sure if we were looking at the same thing, but I just kept going along with it.  
I was able to see Naomi the day after I delievered.  It was such a wonderful, emotional moment.  Of course, soon as I laid eyes on her, I started crying.  I couldn't believe I had survived this complicated pregnancy and have a beautiful baby girl!  Instantly there was a connection and love I could never explain.  But I am sure many of you mothers know what I'm talking about.  I was so worried while I was pregnant that there wouldn't be that connection once she was born.  I struggled to feel it before I delivered.  But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her!  Each day I see her, the connection gets stronger and stronger.  Very quickly I started feeling like "how did I live without her?"  
I finally was discharged on Saturday, March 10.  Everything looked great (supposedly).  I was still in a lot of pain, but it was "normal."  We ended up staying in the Ronald McDonald House (my dad stayed there once I was out of the CCU) and it has been a wonderful setup.  Each room sleeps four people and there is food provided at all times.  They have sponsored dinners every night.  It has really helped keep costs down from having to get a hotel and eat out every meal.  
On Tuesday, March 13, my dad flew out to go back home.  It was so great to have him here.  He offered so much emotional and spiritual support to Josh and I while he was here.  I am so grateful to have a dad that cares so much about his family; about his children.  He didn't hesitate to come out to Atlanta and be with me.  This is the second time where my dad has flown across the country to stay with me in the hospital.  And both times, ironically, he stayed for 17 days.  We have started calling it the "longest daddy/daughter date ever." I know these times that I get to spend with my dad are priceless.  He got to spend time with Naomi and hold her every day.  He was so glad that we named her after his grandmother, who he loved so much.  

Later that day, Josh and I were at the RM house and I was just in tears with pain.  Josh suggested we go to the Emergency Room.  I don't want to go into too many details, because they are insignificant and it was absoultely horribel, but we ended up staying in the ER for TEN HOURS before getting readmitted.  I can't even think about it without getting angry.  Long story short, I thought I had an infection but turns out I had a really bad allergic reaction to the dressing and tape after the c-section.  My skin is incredibly sensitive and really reacted poorly to every thing!  After a few antibiotics and realizing what was happening, I was released a few days later.  I am feeling so much better.  It is still sensitive, but I feel like I can function as a normal human being again!
Josh and I visit with Naomi every day, all day.  Everytime we leave her at night, I cry.  I hate leaving her.  It is really horrible.  I mean, I hate that Charlotte's room is so at the other end of the hallway upstairs from the Master bedroom, let alone leaving my child and staying 15-20 minutes away.  But Naomi has had the best nurses and we have always felt really comfortable with them.  I have been able to do a lot of skin-to-skin and I have been able to bathe her.  That was a little terrifying, since she's so tiny!!  But we are just obsessed with her.  When I was still admitted, Josh would stay with her until midnight, every night.  Now we are able to stay all day and leave anywhere between 8-10 pm.  All the nurses keep reminding me that I need to get my rest.  Which I do want to be completely rested by the time we get to go home.  I need to be able to do normal mom duties, cook dinners and drive around town.  We are missing our Charlotte so much.  I have finally stopped crying every time I FaceTime with her.  (As you can tell, I have been crying a lot lately. haha)  It has been exactly a month today that I have been admitted to the hospital and away from home.  I am so looking forward to being in my own house, on my own bed, with both my girls every day!  We don't know how long Naomi will have to be in the NICU and we don't ask.  They have told us to plan on my original due date.  If she is released before that, we will consider ourselves lucky. But we definetly don't mind being with her day in and day out.  She is our teeny, tiny bundle of joy.  I just need to see my Charlotte girl soon or I'm going to go crazy!!  We are so grateful to Eve who has been watching Charlotte while we are away.  They have done some fun things together.  It is nice not having to worry about what is going on at home. 

We are also so grateful to everyone who has prayed and fasted for our family.  We have felt the love and support.  Your prayers have been heard and Heavenly Father has something special planned for our family. I have seen many miracles in my life and this is among them.  Going from having a 7% chance of living to building a beautiful family makes me think I have some things I need to accomplish on this Earth.  I know that my Heavenly Father loves all of us and has different lessons for all of us to learn and He teaches us all differently.  I try my hardest not to take anything for granted.  This entire expereinece has been one of the most spiritual experiences I have had.  Before getting pregnant and during the pregnancy, I have leaned so much on my Heavenly Father.  I put all of my trust in Him.  Nothing has made my faith grow so much than having my two girls.  They are my little angel babies.  I hope one day they can realize just how special they are to their dad and me, and how much Heavenly Father wanted to send them to us!!  

I am not a good writer, this is manily for my personal journal, but I am happy to share these thoughts and memories with anyone who cares enough to read about them.  I know there are some of you who have asked about how I am doing and this seems to be the best way to reach everyone.  :)

Friday, March 2, 2018

31 Weeks and 2 Days

I have had requests for an update on my pregnancy and since it's now been over a week, I guess I am long overdue.  

I am now over 31 weeks and still pregnant.  Yay!  I am really feeling great, but I am not using any energy whatsoever, so that's why!  The doctors come in every day and check on me.  I am sure I am the most boring patient they've ever had because nothing seems to change.  It's very uneventful around here, but that is a good thing!

There is a pressure gradient across my valve they have continued to check.  I am not completely clear on how the scale works or how high the scale goes up to (I tried looking it up and WOW...I was confused and there was way too much math involved), but before I was pregnant I was at a 6.  The day I was admitted I had reached 16 and that's what made me stay at the hopsital.  They have been watching my fluids very closely, my I's and O's (input and output).  I had another echo done on Monday and  the number had gone down to 14.  Good to hear that the number hadn't risen.  The fluids inside my body are what they are really concerned about.  Too much fluid pressure on the valve is dangerous, which has resulted in heart failure, now for my second time.  This is what they will be watching closely right after the baby is born.  There are a lot of fluid shifts after delievery for the normal pregnant lady, but in my siutation it's very dangerous.

Speaking of delivery,  we have a set date and time on the books!  I rather not share publicly what that is, just in case it changes, but it is SOON.  I will be having a c-section, which I am a little nervous about, but I know it happens daily and everything will be fine.  At this point, I am the most nervous about my epidural.  Only because I hate needles so much and they will not let Josh in the room with me, AGAIN.  I seriously can't catch a break in this department.  Haha.  But I am trying to wrap my head around it and be prepared as much as possible.   The epidural has to be administered very slowly and I've been told it will take an hour to put in all the medicine.  Apparently, when given an epidural, your blood pressure can easily increase.  They do not want this to happen to me so they have to go slow.  Of course, just drag out my most nerve-wrecking moment. ;)  Once that's in, Josh can come into the OR.  Once the baby is out, they will show her to us and then take her straight to the NICU and I will go off to the CCU (Cardiac Care Unit, equivalent to the ICU for heart patients).  I will be there for at least 24 hours.  Josh and my dad will basically be going back and forth from me and the baby.  Of course I wish I could be the one next to the baby's side, but it's only for 24 hours.  I am glad I know everything ahead of time.  I can mentally and emotionally prepare.  

The doctors anticipate I'll only have to be in the hopsital for another three to four days after delievery.  Make sure I am stable.  I am not sure how long Josh will stay in Atlanta with us, but we are trying to get into the Ronald McDonald House.  The social worker has all of our information and can make the call soon as the baby is born.  Not much can be done before that.  We have also talked to the neonatalogist about transferring the baby to the NICU in Charlotte, NC, closer to home.  That would be amazing if we could do that.  Then I can see both of my girls every day!!  We just have to approve it with insurance.  So cross your fingers!!  If not, I will be in Atlanta until the baby is discharged.  The NICU has told us to plan on being here until the baby's original due date (May 2).  That's what I am planning on but, obviously, hoping for a sooner date.  

My dad is here with me.  If you follow my Instagram account (@tiershawhitmore) you've seen his little bed.  He is such a trooper and I really appreciate the support he has offered while being here.  Both of us being talkers,  keep each other company.  We both have a love of the Gospel and discuss different topics and pray together every night.  Earlier this week was his mother, my grandmother's, birthday.  We talked a lot about his childhood and his parents and grandparents.  I am so grateful to come from such a loving family (on both sides of my parents).  My grandparents love each other so much and I have been able to see that example throughout my entire life.  This was the first time my dad has ever missed his mom's birthday and I appreciate her support and understanding as to why he wasn't there to celebrate her.  

Josh and Charlotte came up last weekend.  It was emotional, to say the least.  Due to flu season, children under 12 cannot come to the individual rooms.  They can only stay in the lobby.  We had to deal with finding a place to hunker down.  It was just a little complicated.  It will probably be the only time she comes to Atlanta.  She cannot visit the NICU either, even though she's a sibling.  There will be a lot of FaceTime.  But when we finally walk through the front door with our sweet new baby, Charlotte will be one thrilled big sister and it will be the best day ever.  I cannot even think about Charlotte without crying.  She is seriously the best thing that has happened to Josh and I.  I really cannot imagine loving another little girl as much as I love Charlotte.  I know it will happen, but WOW!  I am able to FaceTime her every night.  I love that she is distracted during the day with her Gram.  They are having a ball.  Josh's sister, Meg, is also at our house with her two kiddos for a little bit.  Charlotte is in heaven with her cousins and so much is going on to keep her busy.  I am so grateful for all of our family's support!

I still can't get over the fact I'll have TWO kids!!  I know some of you reading this have probably double that, but I have had one for so long, I really can't even believe it.  I am so excited to have two little girls, and it's getting more real each day.  This tiny baby will complete our eternal family.  I am so grateful to the inspiration I have followed to get to where I am today.  I am grateful for such a supportive husband whose faith has never wavered when it came to this.  Josh has been saying for the last five years I could do this.  I have been so up and down and really did doubt my ability to carry another child.  I am so glad Josh was patient with me, never pressuring me or making me feel inadequate.  We really had to be on the same page when it came to expanding our family and I'm glad everything worked out the way it did.  Josh will come up again this weekend and I cannot wait to see him!!  Thank you to everyone who has sent mail, packages, messages, phone calls, hospital visits, putting my name in the temple, and most importantly, your thoughts and prayers.  I really do feel so loved and hope one day I can repay all of the service you have done for me and my family.  I really cannot tell you how excited I am to get back to my normal self!!!  I can't wait to be back in the social circle, get to know my neighbors and ward family better, play outside with Charlotte and take the baby on walks, go to Carowinds this summer, enjoy the wonderful weather it will be by the time I get to leave with the baby,  and just everything that comes along with NORMAL LIFE!! I am not sure what else to write or comment on, but feel free to ask any questions.  I am very slow to respond, but I everntually get around to it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

30 Weeks

Today I hit 30 weeks pregnant.  There were many days where I thought this day might not come, probably was going to deliver before.  I am so glad I have been able to make it!  Now to the home stretch.  

Yesterday several doctors came to visit me, meet me for the first time, etc.  They have informed me that the pregnancy will not go past 34 weeks.  Some doctors made it sound like they just want to get me to 32 weeks if possible.  The entire team working with my case agrees that they will take this day by day and they don't want to let my heart go one day more than it should.  

Everything is revolved around my valve.  Forget my original heart problem and really any other issues,  my valve is torn and once that has more strain from labor and, ultimately, child birth, they are worried that soon as it shuts down, it will affect the baby first.  The doctors don't want me to push at all.  They will be ready with forceps.  They are considering a c-section, but there are many issues that come with that as well.  More blood loss, cause for infection.  It's still surgery and with any, you never want to have to go into surgery if you absolutely don't have to.  The other issue is the baby is BREECH.  So if the baby doesn't flip, there might not be another option.  

I feel like every time I write a post, they may come across a little selfish.  This pregnancy has been so unlike my first.  While I was pregnant with Charlotte, I didn't really worry like I have this time around.  Everything went so smoothly.  I was excited from day one of finding out I was pregnant.  With this pregnancy, it was so planned out (a five year decision), that all I can do is worry and wonder how this is all going to work out.  Did I really follow the promptings of the Spirit or did I lean on my own thoughts and desires?  Of course I'm excited to add another little girl to our family.  Seeing how excited Charlotte gets when we talk about baby is pure joy.  She is going to be the best big sister.  But honestly, I have been so concerned about my well-being and getting home alive to Charlotte and Josh.  When this all does end up working out, I have pictured us walking into our beautiful home with our new little bundle of joy and being a happy family of four, forever.  

There have been so many tender mercies throughout the pregnancy.  I know that Heavenly Father has his hand in everything.  I am so grateful for my knowledge of Him and his eternal plan for all his children.  If anyone knows what "miracle" means, it's me.  I have had so many experiences throughout my life (not just health related) where I was guided only by the Spirit.  I try not to use the word "blessed" because I don't feel like those who have hard times are forgotten (and I have had plenty of rough patches along the way), but I do feel like I have so much more to learn, to give, to experience, and to do!  I am so fortunate to have family who is willing to come non-stop and help us at home.  I get emotional thinking about the love of family and the willingness and support that everyone has had for us.  I just hope I am well enough to return the favor someday.  

This Saturday, Tahnee will leave to go back to Utah and my dad will fly into Atlanta and stay at the hospital with me until the baby is born.  Josh's mom will be at our house Sunday night, when Josh and Charlotte arrive back home from visiting me this weekend.  Once we know the baby is coming, Josh will come back to the hospital for however long he needs to.  The baby is expected to be in the NICU and as long as I am doing well, I will stay with her for as long as she is here.  It gets tricky being so far from home, but I have amazing doctors and haven't regretted my decision to come to Atlanta to have this baby.  
Thank you to all who have reached out, it really does mean so much to me and my family.  We feel so loved.  So many have asked what you can do to help, all I can ask is please pray for us.  I know there are so many people that need prayers, and when you include us in your list, I can't think of anything kinder or more thoughtful.  

Monday, February 19, 2018

Pregnancy Update

Prolonging the inevitable can only go for so long. Monday I was admitted to the hospital and it’s been an emotional roller coaster kind of day.

We drove to Atlanta Sunday night, stayed at our friend’s house again and got up this morning to start the long day of appointments. 

We started with the OB. We talked to her, asked some questions, she listened to the baby’s heartbeat and we were done.

Luckily the cardiologist is in the same building, so we headed there next. I had an echo, then saw my regular cardiologist, Dr. Book. She expressed how my heart looks worse than the last appointment, the valve is torn and would need repairing, and she wasn’t comfortable with me being so far away. Dr. Book finally used the term “bed rest” and said she wanted me under daily watch here in the hospital. I came prepared with my “bag” but I hadn’t really mentally prepared for actually being admitted today! She let me and Josh talk it over and soon as she left the room I just lost it. All I could think about is not being with Charlotte for several weeks. It kills me that I can’t be with her. But I also understand she won’t remember this when she gets older and if she does, she’ll understand Mommy had to do this for the family. 

Dr. Book was talking to another specialist, Dr. Bobalrous, who specializes in the structure of the heart. We discussed different ways to replace my tricuspid valve without having to open up the chest cavity. My heart cannot handle another open-heart surgery, so performing the least minimal invasive surgery is the best option right now. Either they will go through the groin or make a pen-size hole in the chest. It’s a relief if I don’t have to have my sternum cut open! When would this be? Hopefully we can get through the pregnancy without having to replace the valve. They are hoping my body can recover from having a baby and do this operation 6-12 months post delivery. The valve is the biggest issue right now. Praying that it can withstand the rest of the pregnancy. 

The last appointment was with the Maternal and Fetal Medicine team. This appointment is in Midtown Atlanta, same place where I will be delivering. They did another ultrasound on the baby. Everything looked great. This is the only benefit of a high-risk pregnancy...lots of ultrasounds and getting to see our baby girl. Baby Whitmore is weighing in (according to ultrasound) 3 lbs. 5 oz. Seems so big for this early! They are basically planning on me delivering between 32-34 weeks. I was really shocked to hear such an early due date, but they will take it day-by-day. 

After I met with the doctors, we went down to Labor & Delivery and got all registered. I have my own room (thank heavens) and Josh stayed until 8:00. He needs to be home for Charlotte and work! But before he left, we ordered room service, got my IV in (I needed the moral support because I HATE needles), blood draws, and got settled in. He has been so patient with this entire situation of driving out of state every month and I really have appreciated his support! I will see him on the weekends and when it gets closer to actually delivering the baby, he will come to stay permanently. 

I am completely drained emotionally and mentally. I have had a rough time adjusting to the circumstances just because I have actually been feeling really good lately and was hopeful I would be going back home after my appointments. If I don’t respond right away to your messages, please do not take it personally. I am tired and it takes a lot of brain power to type out responses (even this...I’ve been putting it off all day and it’s almost midnight) and chat. Luckily I had packed in the sense that Dr. Book had told me to come prepared just in case. I hope this isn’t too hodge lodge to read and makes sense. My mind is a little scattered right now. 

Thank you to everyone who has included our family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you to everyone back home who has helped and reached out with love and concern. Our family has been amazing in helping us on the home front. Tahnee will be there through Saturday and Josh’s Mom will come back on Sunday. We feel very fortunate to have so many willing people helping us along the way. Like I said before, this has been a group effort!! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pregnancy Update

I thought I would do a little update on my pregnancy. I have had so many of you reach out to me and I wanted to tell you that I truly appreciate all of the messages, texts, prayers, and more! I can’t tell you how much it means to me that there are so many thinking about our family. Thank you, thank you!!

My doctor had previously told me that weeks 22-28 will be the hardest. To prepare to be hospitalized. To try and get to the latter of that to deliver the baby.  I am so glad to say that I am 28 weeks today! Baby girl is still cooking and I am still at home!! 

As far as how I am feeling, I am exhausted pretty much all the time. I have a hard time breathing for most of the day. I am not sure if that it’s just getting bigger or my heart issues, but probably both! Going up stairs is always the hardest. I try and limit that as much as possible. I try to get ready and everything before I come down for the day. I am slow moving. I take a while to get out of bed. Luckily Josh will go down with Charlotte in the morning and get her breakfast and my mom gets her off to school. I can stay in bed and take my time each morning.  I haven’t swelled, which is a huge indicator I’m retaining fluid and would be admitted. I am not having trouble breathing while I sleep. So those are very good things!!! I get really winded when I talk a lot (which we all know I love to do) and if I sing (haha which we all know I love to do as well...even though I’m basically tone deaf...yes, I’m well aware). That’s why I haven’t called or try to avoid being social. Not being social has been one of the hardest things during this experience. I love getting out and about and meeting new people and this whole thing has really put a damper on that! 

It’s so hard, naturally being a busy body and getting stuff done all the time, to just sit back and rely on everyone around me. Right now I am mentally nesting, because that’s pretty much all I can do. I have been able to do some online shopping and gather things for the arrival of our baby. My mom has helped with several projects around the house. Rearranging furniture, hanging stuff on my walls, etc. I can’t lift or carry or do anything, so Josh and my mom are doing it all.  I am so glad my mom is here. I know there are a lot of sacrifices her and my dad have had to make with all the little kids still at home. I appreciate her coming to take care of me and my family. Taking Charlotte to and from school every day, doing our chores, cooking dinner every night and so much more!!  

I am so grateful to have a supportive family who has been willing to stay with me and do everything. My mother-in-law stayed with us for a month, my mom has been here for three weeks (by the time she leaves on Saturday), Tahnee comes for a couple weeks and then possibly my dad next. I have had several other friends and family reach out and volunteer to come stay with me, and I am so grateful to all of you! 

Every day I am more in love with Josh.  He is so patient with this entire situation.  I just can't really put into words how grateful I am that he is my eternal partner.  I feel so lucky every day.  He has dealt with so much lately.  New city, new house, new job, people in and out of our house constantly and yet he has never complained or made things difficult.  But always so willing to do whatever needs to be done.  

My next appointment is on February 19. My first time on a Monday and it worked out that Josh has the day off for President’s Day. Tahnee will be here to watch Charlotte. I have to come prepared to be admitted to the hospital. I am just hoping and praying I can come back home. I am not ready to be in the hospital and away from Josh and Charlotte for so long. Ugh. It’s going to be awful when it finally does happen, but it’s the price we will pay to have the best care. 

Everyone keeps telling me that I’m handling this so well. And while I feel like I do during the day, nights are the worst. I lay in bed undistracted and think about what is going on. I concentrate so much on my heart beat. Is that a normal pace? Is it going too fast? Why does the artery in my neck feel huge? Will I wake up in the morning?  To be completely honest, I’m scared. I am scared of what’s going to happen, what isn’t going to happen, how long I’m really going to be hospitalized? what if something happens before I can make it to Atlanta? What if my heart can’t take the delivery and I die in childbirth? What if something goes wrong after delivery and the doctor can’t get there fast enough? “What if’s” are constantly on my mind. We knew this would be a challenging pregnancy. While it looks from the outside that everything is going well, the reality is that I’m in heart failure and my body is FAILING. During the day I don’t really about it too much (besides this blog post haha). I have to be strong as possible for Charlotte. I want to keep positively thinking all the time. The mind is such a powerful tool and I want to know I can overcome this hurdle. I get ready every day. Shower, dressed, makeup. If I didn’t, I’d feel sick. I want to feel as normal as possible. 

I realize I am just blabbing on, but this is real life people! This is what is happening. Again, the blog posts are the best way to reach everyone and answer all of your questions at once. If you are still reading this, bless you!! 


Nursing cover, swaddle blanket, and baby wrap.  I didn't use any of these with Charlotte.  Tahnee will be teaching me how to use all of these when she gets here! Andrew will be our model. haha

Baby crib is up.  Now to figure out the configuration of the nursery.  

Some basic newborn clothes.  I learned with Charlotte they are only in newborn clothes for a couple weeks, tops.  Unlike with Charlotte, I have really reeled it in with the clothes buying.  Hardly any at all! #winning

Friday, January 19, 2018

Good News and Bad News

Today was the long awaited day of appointments that would determine if I would be admitted to the hospital until baby is born or allow me to go home...

As you may know, Josh’s Mom, Eve, has been living with us for the last month. She has been doing everything for us and it has been absolutely wonderful. The doctors were thrilled to hear this. I was on strict instructions to not do anything and save all my energy for baby. I have been doing my best and laying low as much as possible. Charlotte is loving have all of Gram’s attention and they have a blast playing all day, every day! 

Eve was able to stay at our home with Charlotte while we drove down to Atlanta last night. We stayed with our friends, the Salemme’s. It was great to see them and their cute girls and new house. We really appreciate their hospitality. 

We started this morning with the cardiologist, Dr. Book. She asked how I was doing, got my vitals, EKG, and pacemaker check. Everything looked great! She sent me down to the lab for blood work and told me if the labs and echo come back good, I won’t be admitted. After labs, I had to run up to the OB (luckily in the same building) before coming back to the cardiology department for my echo. Yeah I was running around, totally rushed (not good when your heart is being tested) all while wearing a hospital gown. 

After my echo, we talked to the doctor again. Dr. Book explained that my blood work was all stable (phew) but that my valve was leaking even worse than before. That it is actually torn. The overall function of my heart is failing as well, so much that I cannot have another open-heart surgery because my heart would not last on the bypass machine. The next SURGERY would be an open-heart to perform a heart transplant. Of course I want to be much older for that and put that off as long as possible. Until then, they would need to replace the tricuspid valve with another pig or cow valve through an artery up through my leg. Yeah, they can do this now and it’s amazing!!! The technology is constantly changing! When will this happen? Not sure, but in the near future. They really want to wait until the baby is delivered. Hoping we can get to that point. The cardiologist wants to see me in three weeks and reassess everything. She told me each time I come to be prepared to be admitted. I told her I had my bag in the car! Luckily, the medication dosage she prescribed last time has been working well! On our way home we go!!

As far as the baby and delivery is concerned, she looks great and weighs 2 lbs. 1 oz. Her fetal echo was completed today and everything looks normal. She was totally cooperating during the ultrasound today and looking right into the probe! Haha. All the doctors would love to see me reach 38 weeks for delivery but it will all depend on my heart. 

I am so grateful for all of your prayers, fasting, calls, texts, and messages. I can feel your love so much. We love this little baby so much already and are so excited to bring another baby girl into this world! 

We are so sad to see Eve leave tomorrow but know that she’ll be right back if we need her or when baby girl makes her grand entrance. My mom arrives this weekend and will be with us for nine days. Charlotte isn’t going to know what to do when the Grandmas stop coming!! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pregnancy and Heart Update

Friday, December 8, we had the baby's anatomy appointment and my cardiology appointments.  We drive down to Atlanta, GA each time. We have a fantastic team of doctors working with us and it was an easy choice to keep them and make the commute from SC.  

We are so thrilled to say that the baby is healthy and BIG (already).  They said she was measuring at 10 ounces, when my app said she should almost be 7 ounces.  It made me laugh. They checked everything from head to toe and explained that everything looked like it was developing perfectly.  They did an early fetal echocardiogram and what they could see ruled out Transposition of the Great Arteries (which is what I have) and what they could see looked great.  That really put my mind at ease.  I have been having these weird thoughts from day one about the baby and it was just paranoia.

When we got to the cardiology department (a completely different campus and side of Atlanta), they ran an EKG, pacemaker test, echocardiogram, and other vitals.  Here was the conclusion:

My tricuspid valve, that was replaced ten years ago because of a leak, is now leaking at a "severe" level.  Which currently means I am heart failure...again.  What does this really mean??  When my valve is leaking, the backwash goes into the lungs, which makes it hard to breath and for me to have zero energy.  They have upped my medication dosages in hopes that this can control the leak and help to not retain so much fluid.  My doctor, Dr. Book, has recommended that I do NO kind of physical work at all.  Not to vacuum, mop, and if I need to walk, make it very leisurely; and that all my energy has to go to the baby.  

When a woman is pregnant, her heart works 50% more, and that begins between weeks 22-28.  I have not hit that yet.  I will be 19 weeks tomorrow.  So the worst is yet to come.  During these weeks, actually starting now, it will be crucial to basically do nothing and just let my body rest.  If the home medication is not working and my heart simply cannot take the pregnancy any longer, I will be admitted to the hospital during my January 19th appointment, put on IV diuretics, and stay until the baby is born.  We are trying to prolong this and keep the baby in as long as it is healthy for my body.  

I am a busy body and love being out and about.  Staying home and down is hard for me.  Allowing the house to stay messy until Josh gets home is hard (and it's only been a couple days).  Most of you other women probably can understand.  I still take Charlotte to school and pick her up because I literally am sitting down.  Her teachers get her out and bring her back.  Thank goodness for Walmart Grocery pickup, I do that every Monday right after I drop off Charlotte.  Again, just sitting in the car. Our ward (local church congregation) has been so accommodating and willing to serve us at this time.  

As for how I am feeling, completely wiped out.  Within a day I could feel the effects of the medication and am tired from the moment I wake up in the morning.  Luckily my in-laws are coming for Christmas and I know we will be in great hands.  My MIL will stay with us after the holidays are over and then my mom will come at some point and so will Tahnee.  I really do feel so fortunate to have the best support system.  This is going to be a group effort.  I cannot do this on my own.  I knew getting pregnant would cause some challenges and that is why I waited so long to make a decision.  We are ready to face whatever comes our way and know that Heavenly Father is on our side and everything will be wonderful in the end.  We are so excited for this baby girl to come to our family.  We have been waiting for her for five years and she is exactly what we need to complete our eternal family!