our wee home

musings by michelle

Mother’s Day, 2013

I haven’t gotten personal on my blog since I wrote about my unmedicated birth experience when Norah was born, or my panic about the impending end of nursing her…  but this month gave me a life experience that I guess I need to write about.

On May 10th, at around 2pm, I was at co-presenting an orientation to about 20 people at work.  We had reached a point of question-and-answer, and I stood up to answer a question. When I stood up, I felt three gushes of liquid come out of me and I thought my water had broken.  I was 26 weeks pregnant, NOT a good time for my waters to be breaking.  I walked straight out of the presentation (luckily, the other presenter was talking and it wasn’t conspicuous that I left) and rushed to the bathroom.  Then things got surreal:  it was blood.  Lots of it.

I tried to clean myself up enough to leave the bathroom to get help.  Luckily a coworker was in her office just a few feet from the bathroom.  I just told her, “I need an ambulance.  I’m bleeding.  A lot.”  I went back in the bathroom and went between not knowing what to do and just losing it.  I threw my soaked underwear in the trash.  My coworker came in a minute later to tell me they were on their way.  I remember sobbing and telling her, “I don’t want to lose this baby!”  It all seemed surreal to me.  In that moment, in my mind, there was no room for hope.  Whatever was happening to me was bad.  It could not end well.

I got my cell phone and called Matt.  “Babe, I’m bleeding heavily and the paramedics are on their way.”  I don’t know how, but he barely missed a beat.  “Where are they taking you?” he asked.  “I don’t know, they haven’t gotten here yet!”  My coworker brought me a towel to wrap around myself and I just sat on the floor in my office to wait.

As a side note, I am so grateful there are people in the world who want to be paramedics.  I don’t know how they do what they do.  They must see some really freaky stuff.  While I was having the most terrifying moments of my life, they were just going about their job, business as usual.  They arrived, asked me questions (How old are you?  How many weeks pregnant are you?  Is the baby moving now?  When was the last time you felt the baby move?…), took my blood pressure, put me on a gurney, and wheeled me through my office building (sooo embarassing), out the front door, and into the ambulance.  All while encouraging me to be calm, that was the best thing I could do for my baby in that moment.

During the short ambulance ride, they put an IV in each arm (inside each elbow) and put me on oxygen.  The paramedic told the ER folks that the “most exciting” thing that had happened since they picked me up was that my blood pressure had dropped 40 points.  I guess that’s why I felt like I was going to pass out in the ambulance.

I spent all of 30 seconds in the ER and they took me directly to the Labor and Delivery floor.  I remember asking a man as I was leaving if my husband would be able to find me (I had texted him the hospital name from the ambulance).  He asked for Matt’s last name and told me not to worry, they’d send him up.

As another side note, Labor and Delivery nurses are the absolute best!  Once I got there, things felt much calmer, less urgent, and I was able to calm down a bit.  They weren’t rushing around acting like this was an emergency, so I guess I figured they knew best.  Instead they were bringing me warm blankets and saying things like, “Oh, you poor thing, you got blood in your shoes!  That must have been scary.”   They hooked me up to a baby monitor and that little heartbeat was the absolute best sound I have ever heard.

I don’t know how much time passed, but it was such a relief when the door of my room opened and Matt appeared.

So what had happened?  At my ultrasound at 18 weeks (the one where you can find out if it’s a boy or girl), they discovered that I had marginal placenta previa.  Basically it means that the placenta is low and is blocking the exit for the baby, so if it doesn’t “resolve,” then you have to have a c-section.  When they told me this, they said that I would need to have another ultrasound at 32 weeks to see if the placenta had moved out of the way, and to let them know immediately if I had any bleeding.  I don’t recall them telling me that I was at a higher risk for bleeding, nor did they describe what they meant by “bleeding.”  Perhaps they don’t want to needlessly scare expectant mothers…

So I had experienced a “bleed” typical of mamas with placenta previa.  Luckily, it wasn’t bad enough to put me into preterm labor, or too significant of a hemorrhage to put me or baby in danger.  So I was fine, and baby was fine.  But basically as long as my placenta remains “low,” I continue to be at a higher risk for bleeding.  When they first told me about placenta previa, I thought my biggest fear was a c-section; now I just want baby to keep cooking as long as possible so that she’s healthy.  I really don’t care how she arrives anymore.

They kept me in the hospital for 4 days (including Mother’s Day), gave me steroid shots to help baby’s lungs be more ready for the outside world “just in case,” and then I was on bed rest at home for another week.  By the time I saw my regular doctor, she gave me the go-ahead to ease back into life… but taking it easy as much as possible, no heavy lifting, etc…  So that’s where I am now.  In limbo, hoping it won’t happen again, not sure how “easy” I have to take things, and counting down until my next ultrasound (and of course hoping for good news) in late June.

One doctor put it well, when I told her we were having a girl: “Looks like you’ve already got a diva on your hands.”

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May 30, 2013 Posted by | Just Life, Parenting | , , , , | 2 Comments

Curb appeal, stage 2

Stage 2 will likely be the last stage for curb appeal in 2013.  With baby #2 arriving sometime this summer, our attention and money will be going elsewhere for a while.  But there were a few things that I just couldn’t live with any longer… so without further ado:

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The old storm door was NOT our style, and it kept breaking.  While we originally wanted to replace it with a new one, we finally realized that we really didn’t think we would use a storm door (even a new one).  At our old house, the storm door came in handy for two reasons: (1) the retractable screen was great for airflow, and (2) it provided a spot for the Luci (the pooch) to look out the front of the house.  But this house has a nice big front window that already does both of those things.  So once we decided we didn’t need to wait to save up for a new screen door, we could just paint the front door and get rid of the old storm door.  It took one day.

I followed the tips shared on Young House Love for painting a front door, though we’re not really sure that the deglosser really did anything.  We used Behr Marquee exterior paint in “Deep Blue Sea.”  It was one of those colors that gives you a panic attack when you’re staring at it from a foot away while you’re painting it on.  But once we stepped back, we love it.

We also finally got some flowers planted in the planters up front.  Two of the three plants in each planter are actually perennials, so we’ll transplant them to the yard at the end of the season.

But I think my favorite part of this “stage” was updating the house number plaque!

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Now that dated light fixture is screaming to be replaced, too…. but that’ll have to wait until we find something new that we love.

Isn’t that a cute little mandarin tree by the front door?  Matt got it for me for Valentine’s Day this year.

Most of the updates to the house were simply paint: black paint on the shutters and mailbox, blue paint on the door, and touching up the white trim around the door with paint and caulk.  It was free to remove the old storm door (we put it on the curb and it was picked up within 10 minutes by a passerby — we didn’t even have to post it on craigslist!).  The house numbers were $25 at Home Depot, and we made the plaque with some wood that we had (and left-over paint from the shutters).

Ah, this was one of those instant-gratification house projects that gives serious satisfaction.  We think these little changes made a dramatic change to the personality of the house, and it’s definitely more “us.”

May 29, 2013 Posted by | DIY, Home Improvements, On the cheap, The Outdoors | Leave a comment