Saturday, December 31, 2011

30 Weeks

Dear Mia,

Today I am 30 weeks pregnant.  Wow, time is flying!  Everyone keeps asking if we’re ready for you yet and I’d have to say no, that we still need these next few weeks to prepare!  You’re still due on March 10th but I know you’ll enter the world when you’re ready, regardless of what the doctor says!

Pregnancy has been a rollercoaster ride for me.  We found out we were pregnant with you about 5 weeks after you were conceived, and I immediately started feeling sick about a week later.  I was so nauseous and weak that I was convinced I had the stomach flu.  There was no way this was morning sickness!  I was so sick that I took a few days off work and I even went to my doctor, hoping that he’d confirm my home diagnosis.  And he did!  He said that yes, I probably did have the flu and I’d feel better in a few days.

Well, the days came and went… and I was still sick morning, noon and night!  I realized that the doctor was wrong and that I was having a severe case of morning sickness, not the flu!  I felt sick to my stomach every waking hour of the day for 7 weeks.  This took a toll not only on me, but on your Dad as well.  He did a great job taking care of me and picking up the extra responsibilities around the house when I couldn’t get out of bed.  However, it was still a very stressful time and once the first trimester was officially complete and I started to feel better, I was VERY relieved!

The next few weeks were very easy for me.  I was hungrier than usual, sometimes eating 6 small meals a day instead of my usual 3.  I was starting to gain weight and grew a little baby belly so I switched to maternity pants which were much more comfortable and less constricting.  I was still able to do all of my usual activities, and other than the slight physical changes taking place, I still felt normal.

As the weeks wore on, I was able to do less and less.  Bending over to pick up dog toys became a struggle, yard work became impossible and caused me a lot of back pain, and sleeping was even problematic!  But I adjusted as necessary, and again, your Dad stepped up and took on the extra responsibilities around the house that I just couldn’t handle anymore.

Around week 27 I noticed that at the end of the day my feet had started to swell and it was painful for me to remain standing for long periods of time after I got home from work.  However, only a week later the swelling became constant and spread to my face and fingers.  I was unable to comfortably wear work shoes and my wedding rings.  They were both becoming too constricting.  Thankfully I’d previously purchased a pair of black winter boots that I was still able to wear comfortably, and I switched to wearing those to work every day.  I don’t think my boss likes my new fashion statement very much, but there’s not a lot I can do about it!

I’m now 30 weeks along and I’m in full pregnancy mode!  My belly has grown (as you’ve grown) and I’m now wearing all maternity clothes.  I’m still wearing the black boots (I’m even wearing them now!) and special socks that don’t have elastic in them so they won’t constrict around my legs.  My walk has turned into a waddle, partially in response to the feet swelling, but also because I lean backwards slightly to counter the extra weight of my belly.  I don’t wear my wedding rings anymore and I considered buying a fake ring to wear in the meantime, but I couldn’t find one I liked.  I just love my real rings so much, nothing else felt right to wear.

You won’t be here for another 8 weeks, so it’ll be interesting to see how much more my body will change between now and then.  I know that I’m experiencing all of these changes because my body is helping you grow, and making more and more room for your little body, so it’s all worth it.  I’d do anything for you, Mia!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Pregnancy Tests

Dear Mia,

Today I had to go to the doctor’s office and take a glucose tolerance test.  I had to fast for 12 hours, drink a sugar concoction, and then have my blood tested to see how my body reacted to the sugar drink.  The test will let me know if I have gestational diabetes, a condition that occurs in about 4-7% of expectant mothers.  If it turns out I have gestational diabetes, I’ll have to learn to control my blood sugar through diet, exercise, and, if necessary, medication.  It’s nothing to worry too much about.

August 5, 2011

I’ve started to consider the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center as my second home.  Ever since our first doctor’s appointment when I was roughly 10 weeks pregnant, I’ve been coming here at least every 4 weeks.  At every appointment I get to hear your heartbeat, Dr. Dutta gives me advice about what to expect, and I can ask questions.  I’ve also had blood drawn, two ultrasounds, and now the glucose test.  Thankfully everyone here is very friendly and I’ve only had good experiences.  Also, everything has been 100% covered by our health insurance, so we haven’t had to worry about paying any co-pays.  That’s a nice relief!

October 14, 2011

I’ll be going back to Dr. Dutta on Wednesday for another check-up and she’ll let me know the results of today’s lab work.  I’ll start seeing her every two weeks for now, and then ever week after that until you arrive!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Toby's Tribulations

Dear Mia,

I'm sorry, baby, but I have some bad news for you.  Toby is very, very sick and he might not be around as long as I've promised.  Toby's heart is not working the way a normal, healthy heart should, and despite our best efforts, it will probably stop beating altogether within the next year.

Last weekend Toby started coughing and we thought he was trying to cough something up.  As the days went on the coughing got worse, he began to act very lethargic, and he stopped eating.  And you know someone's really sick in this house when they stop eating.  Your Dad took him to the vet on Tuesday thinking that maybe they'd be able to give him some antibiotics for the cough and we'd be on our way.

However, the vet noticed that Toby had a very rapid heartbeat (an arrhythmia and tachycardia).  They thought the irregular heartbeat and his other symptoms could have been caused by some sort of toxin that he'd eaten.  However, further tests showed that he had excess fluid in his lungs (pleural effusion) and one side of his heart was larger than it should be (atrial enlargement).  Our regular vet recommended we take Toby to the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital (somewhere we've been WAY too many times in the past few months) where they could perform more advanced testing.

After days of observation and testing, the veterinarians at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital diagnosed Toby with having atrial fibrillation as a complication of chronic heart valve disease and a severely dilated/enlarged left atrium.

  • Atrial fibrillation:  An abnormal heart rhythm where chaotic electrical activity in the upper two chambers of the heart result in the muscle quivering instead of achieving coordinated contraction
  • Heart valve disease/mitral regurgitation:  When the mitral valve does not close properly when the heart pumps out blood, so there is regurgitation of blood back into the left atrium
Toby now takes five different medications each day in the morning, afternoon and evening, and he's being monitored by the Veterinary Teaching Hospital with follow-up visits.  His most recent visit was on Monday night, and they ran another test to make sure the medications are doing their job.  They were satisfied for the most part, but asked us to increase the dosage of one of his medications.  We're going to take him back to the vet again this weekend to have his blood levels checked.  We hope that they will find his condition has stabilized, and we'll only have to take him back for checkups every two or three months.

Daddy counting out Toby's pills

Your Dad and I have talked about it, and we've decided to pursue all necessary medical procedures to ensure that Toby lives the best life possible.  We're going to help his heart by giving him medications and we're going to have him checked by the vet to make sure the medications are doing their job.  We're going to love him, and give him hugs, and let him sleep on the bed (ok, just sometimes) as long as we, and he, can.  

Toby in 2010

We're doing our best to make sure Toby is as happy and healthy as possible, for as long as possible.  Toby's going to want to meet you, Mia, and we're doing our best to make sure that happens.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Nursery Remodel

Dear Mia,

Believe it or not, I barely bought you anything during the first three months of my pregnancy.  I focused mostly on finishing the rest of the house- hanging picture frames, buying lamps, and arranging knick knacks.  We'd only been in the house a few weeks so there was still plenty for me to organize and straighten before I even started thinking about your living space.

That changed the day we found out you were a little girl.  It was like the ultrasound technician was gave me a green light to buy as much pink, bow-clad baby stuff as possible.  But every time I went to hang another newborn onesie in your closet I was reminded that we needed to upgrade your space!  As I'd mentioned previously, I'd been using this space as a scrapbook studio and this was the original paint job.


The room is very small and there's a sloped ceiling so my first thought was that the paint colors we chose needed to be much, much lighter and brighter.  I wanted the paint to open up the room.  With the expert help of your Grandma Snipes, we ended up using Sherwin Williams paint in Minuet White, Wisteria and Brave Purple.  

We came home from the store, unloaded all of the supplies we borrowed from Grandpa Snipes, and got to work!  First we sanded and patched holes (with the help of your cousin, Aaliyah) and then got started on the trim.  We decided to paint all of the trim white except the chair rail which we painted Wisteria.  That was your Dad's idea and it looks WONDERFUL!

We let the trim paint dry overnight and then the next day your Grandpa Snipes came over to help us with the walls and ceiling.  We painted the walls above the chair rail and the ceiling the same color- Minuet White.  We painted Brave Purple below the chair rail and in the closet.

Daddy, Aaliyah & Grandma Snipes
We let the paint dry, removed the tape, and then your Dad did some great touch-up work around the window, door frames and on the trim.  The room instantly transformed from an extra bedroom into your nursery and I couldn't be happier with the final result.  Everything is coming together so perfectly!

I should also mention that your Uncle Josh came over to help with the nursery remodel as well.  He installed a light in the closet with a switch so now we can see your beautiful wardrobe.  It makes a huge difference!

Next up:  furniture!