Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Road Ahead

God bless our Baby Doctor. Seriously. After a visit with him yesterday, I will forever sing his praises because we have been put so at ease after a very good appointment despite some very difficult circumstances. Actually, believe it or not, yesterday afternoon was the first time we stepped foot into his office. Since the day we found out we were pregnant, the baby doctor has been one of those things that we just never felt very settled about. At eight weeks we started seeing the doctors at the hospital here in town, but after one appointment in particular I knew that they were not the ones who were supposed to help bring our son in the world. At the same time, we had been seeing a wonderful woman who is also a midwife here in town, but she only delivers at home and we were never one hundred percent comfortable with the home-birth idea... at least not for our first child as these are uncharted waters for us. But because those were the options, we continued our visits with both and figured that the answers would come to us eventually.

About a month ago, a nurse from another hospital started coming to our church. Josh got to know her before I did and mentioned that she worked for another baby doctor in the next town over. Out of nowhere, another one of his nurses came to our church the following week just to check out our campus and visit friends who have been attending ours. Both ladies were very pleasant and I could tell that they loved their jobs. One of them even mentioned that they have a midwife on staff and my ears immediately perked up. A midwife at a hospital? This sounded like the perfect combination of what we had been looking for! During that same week there was one thing after another that seemed to be pointing us in that direction. A friend of mine has been seeing him since the beginning of her pregnancy and the more we talked, the more I realized that she had the same "wish list" that I did for my birth and he has been accommodating her every request. That was music to my ears. The icing on the cake was when Josh went to a Crossroads dinner at the new White Pines building and ended up being seated at a table with him. They hit it off and he told me all about how much he enjoyed meeting him when I got home. Based on all of this, we called the next day to make an appointment with him just to "check it out." Since everything had been so up the air for so long, I did not cross the other two options off of our list, but simply added a third possibility. Now normally, a doctor would probably not take on a new patient at 30 weeks who had been visiting another baby doc, but based on them meeting and the fact that I had been having a super-easy pregnancy, he put me on the schedule. My first appointment was scheduled for this past Monday.

The only reason I went into all of that is to share that God truly does nudge us in the right direction when we need Him to. This past Monday, I was in the hospital and missed my appointment of course, but when I was admitted, the new doctor was already treating me as his patient. Had we not had an appointment already lined up with him, there is no way we would have been able to make the switch. Not only that, but our midwife only handles low-risk pregnancies, and mine no longer falls in that category. Compound that with the fact that I only saw my old doctor twice during the three days that I was in the hospital and he introduced himself the first time (um, hello! I've been pregnant now for seven months... I think you'd know me by now!) and never once asked me how I was doing or if we had any questions about the months ahead, the delivery, etc. and it reaffirmed my feeling that he was not the doctor for us. To be honest, if he walked into the room to deliver my sweet baby, I would figure out a way to hold this kid in until his shift was over! The new doc, on the other hand, called as soon as he found out we were in the hospital (at 11pm at night!) and then again in the morning. Throughout the weekend, Josh spent many hours on the phone with him to keep him updated, ask his questions, and make sure I was being well taken care of. Like I said, God bless the new baby doc... He truly brought him to us when we needed him.

So anyway, sorry for the little side story, but I think it's an important one. While there are people who would argue that the above events do not interconnect or are merely coincidence, I know without a doubt that there was a higher power watching over us. Often times we don' t find this out until we reflect back on a situation, but even so, I know He was with us every step of the way. And He certainly was there with us when everything seemed so daunting.

But I digress... let me get back to what is ahead for us from here. We went to the new baby doctor Tuesday and had a fantastic appointment. As I said, we had never been there before, but we were greeted with hugs and questions about how we were handling everything. He checked on me and little Jake and both of us were the picture of health (aside from the obvious). Before he went too into detail about where we go from here, he made sure that we understand that from here on out, we will see him at every appointment and will never walk in and find that we're scheduled with whoever is on call. In fact, even if he is not on call when Jake is born, the hospital knows to call him as he delivers every single one of his patient's babies. As he put it, "we got into the business to help people, and it's the right thing to do." Josh and I were blown away. He then went into the details of our coming weeks: as it stands, I will be on Lovenox (a blood thinner) for the next 4-5 weeks. The Lovenox is an injection that Josh administers twice a day and he is doing a fabulous job! I could technically give them to myself, but I don't have the stomach for it. After the 4-5 weeks we will switch to Heparin, a different blood thinner, until the delivery. The logic behind the switch is that there are medicines out there that can counteract Heparin in about 20 minutes just in case I go into labor early. Granted, he also said that if I go into labor before we make the switch I will still be just fine, but they will have to treat me a as a patient who is high-risk for hemorrhaging, which is not uncommon. The Lovenox just takes longer to get out of the system. If all goes well up to this point, we will stop all of the thinners for 48 hours and induce my labor at 39 weeks. Now those of you who know my original plan for my birth know that the word "induce" is not my favorite. I associate that word with the drug pitocin, which was on my "get near me with that stuff and I will scream" list and for me it also means an automatic epidural. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not against modern medicine, but I am not thrilled with the idea of not being able to feel my legs and move around during labor. Before I could even bring this up, he let me know that there are alternative methods to pitocin, and he will do everything he can to have as little intervention as possible. For those of you who are interested in all of this stuff (I find it fascinating... can you tell?) I am planning on doing an entirely separate post later on these details, birth plans, etc. so stay tuned for that. But the point is, being induced does not require me to no longer have a say in what I want and do not want for the birth. Phew.

As for Little Jake, he is still just happy as a clam in there. Because there is a very small chance that the blood thinners can cross the placenta, Josh and I will now be headed to the doctor every week from here on out. If there is a perk to being a high risk pregnancy patient, it's that we will get to see the little man on an ultrasound at every visit and they will monitor his heart rate for 20 minutes just to make sure there are no anti-coagulating effects going on in there. Yes, my vocabulary has rapidly expanded in the past week due these events! And as it turns out, we will get to meet him a little sooner than we expected and it sounds as if we will be induced somewhere around March 15th. Oh how we can't wait for that day!

Oh, and the leg? How's it doing? It's funny that I'm typing this from the comfort of bed rest and almost forgot to mention it, but it really does not worry us the way it used to. The doctor told us that on these blood thinners, the risk of the clot dislodging has gone down significantly. Over time, as the circulation improves and the clot starts to dissolve itself, the pressure should ease and the pain will begin to subside. As this starts to happen, he wants me to be "as active as I can be" because activity is good for circulation and in 8 short weeks my body will need to be strong. So for now, due to the pain, this means that I spend most of my day in a recliner or on the couch with my feet up, only making trips to the bathroom. Josh has me go up and down the stairs once a day as part of my exercise regime. Over time, I should be able to get around the house on my own and make some short trips out and about. We both look forward to that.

Wow... another uber-long post... thank you for hanging in there. Rarely do I have this much information to pack in, so I hope I did not bore you with all of the details and answered just about everyone's questions. Even though we're not entirely out of the woods, all of the risk factors are very low now and should stay that way up through delivery. Things are looking up. Again, thank you all for your continued prayers, phone calls, emails, visits, text messages, and help through all of this. Your prayers have certainly been heard and Josh and I feel comforted knowing that we have so many great folks who love us and want to help. We go back to see our favorite doctor next Thursday and we will continue to share any information as we have it. But for today, I leave you with a verse that one of the pastor's wives prayed over me last night and sums it all up perfectly:

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
~Romans 15:13 (NIV)


  1. AMAZING! I'm so excited for you and your family and your new baby doc. That is such wonderful news! And I'm so excited to hear that he wants to work with you and be a collaborator in this birth, rather than taking over. That is so important. I really think you've hit the jackpot! I'm so excited to hear all about your birth and plans!

    You and your family are in our prayers!

  2. Personally, I LOVED having an epidural. I slept like a baby from the moment I got it until delivery. And I wasn't able to walk around before I got it anyway because of the heartbeat and contraction monitors, etc.

    Next time, I think I'll stay home longer and walk around a while, then go when I'm closer to needing the epidural. It being our first, we were like "We're in labor? Let's go!" Now I know that we could have taken our time a little more.

  3. I'll be happy to give you an induction and epidural pep talk if you need it. :) They can turn it down low enough that you'll feel all the pressure you need to - I never once had to be told when to push, and in fact, told my doctors BOTH times when it was almost time for the babies to be born! And Jessica's right - I wasn't really able to walk around with all the monitors anyway, either, so the epidural wasn't really a hindrance of that.

    However it goes, it will be perfect, because it'll be yours, Josh's and Little Baby Jake's special time! Love you.

    p.s. JM asked if you would like Hops to come visit you and keep you company :) And he sends his love, too.

  4. Thanks, ladies. I love that every birth story is different and I can't wait to be a part of this special club and have one of my own. And like I said, I'll share my plans, but he may very well have plans of his own. :)

    And Kristen, I would take Hops in a heartbeat if I could trade you one of ours... they've been terrible lately! I think they just know something strange is going on. Give him a hug and a kiss for me though (along with your sweet little kiddos)