He’s Here! Welcome To the World, Kristopher!

While it wasn’t in the way that we’d anticipated, Kristopher Donovan Estepp made his way into our family – and deep into our hearts – a few weeks early. My blood pressure had been on the rise for a little while, and while pre-eclamsia was a real threat, the protein had managed to stay out of the pees until the very end. Then my MFM decided she was just ready to give the go-ahead to avoid any further complications. I was admitted to the hospital Thursday afternoon, November 19. We prepared for a c section the next morning.

It was frightening. Since we were just at the hospital for observation, I didn’t really have anything with me. Clayton went back to the house to take care of the dogs, get our things, and stop by to bring me my last pregnancy meal (if you’re wondering it was Culver’s – chicken tenders and cheese curds) and my dad and stepmom came to visit for a bit. That night it was just keeping me comfortable and waiting for the morning to come.

I was pretty uncomfortable most of the night and the baby was extremely active. I only got a few hours sleep before 6 am hit and we were prepping me for surgery. First thing was me washing up with special soap and slipping into the hospital gown, then the nurse came in for my IV and shave and everything else. The anesthesiologist followed and explained to me what he’d be doing and I started taking medicine, including the gross citrus acid stuff that helps me not die while being under anesthesia. Clayton changed into his disposable daddy scrubs and after a quick visit from his mom we were off!

They had Clayton wait outside while they got me ready for surgery. I sat on the table and bent over and the skilled doctor started to do his thing with the spinal tap. It took a long time and there was one oopsie that almost had me jerking off the table but we got it done just in the nick of time. He’d said that if it took any more he would’ve just put me to sleep, so I’m glad that didn’t have to happen. I of course got sick and woozy as soon as it started hitting and they had to compensate for that but before I knew it I was stable, not feeling anything, curtain up and they were already carving into me apparently when they led Clayton in. He sat next to me and held my hand like a boss, which was just what I needed because I was suffering from some panicky anxiety. It didn’t seem like any time had passed until my doctor was talking about how he was breech again (he’d been head down on the ultrasound two days before) and well, that explained all the uncomfortable movements from the night before. He was flipping into the best c-section position for us! And then he was out, I heard him cry, and a big sigh of relief was had. And I cried a little bit.

Kristopher was 7 lb 10 ounces (he’d been estimated at 7 lb 14 oz the week before) and 21 inches long. He passed his APGAR with a 9/9 but his sugar was a bit low and was having a few breathing issues. Clayton went to be with little man and once I was stitched up we were all in recovery together for a bit. I was finally able to hold him! The first bit of skin to skin was awesome and I did not want to put my baby down. Unfortunately I had to, because we were going to separate places. He needed to be watched in the nursery and I had to be wheeled to my room (eventually). That’s when things started to not go as planned.

His breathing was not improving – he was having rapid bouts and super high respiration levels so they decided he needed to be sent to the NICU. The grandparents all got to see him before he was carried off, and Clayton got to spend a little more time with him. And that started my crusade to be able to go. Unfortunately, because I was on a magnesium drip, I had to stay in bed with a catheter in for 24 hours after delivery. It was the hardest time because I wanted to be there with him but couldn’t even go in a wheelchair. You better believe that once those 24 hours were up I was rabid about getting someone to wheel me down to the NICU to see my guy. It was hard holding him with so many wires and sensors connected to him, but it was 100% worth it.

We were both there for four days. He progressively got better (though there was a bit of jaundice scare at the end) and I recovered like a champ. By day 2 I wasn’t even using a wheelchair to go to the NICU at all. I was impressing every nurse that came in contact with me over how much I was doing so fast. To be honest, it’s why I feel like I’m doing so well now. The motivation to be near my boy and be recovered for him was all that I needed.

We’re all home now, obviously, and he just had his three week birthday. In the past three weeks we’ve moved 2 hours from our home, celebrated Thanksgiving, been through some struggles and some triumphs and it’s all been worth it. I love this little guy and so does his daddy. He makes our little family 100% complete and he really is the sweetest baby with the best disposition ever. I’ve never been happier, even when I’m drag-butt tired.

Childbirth After Adoption

18 years ago, I made a very painful decision: After having a baby completely too young and struggling with many things, including providing, I decided to give my baby girl up for adoption. She was almost a year old and it was a family situation with a relative who, along with her husband, was having fertility issues. I won’t go too much into that because that part is not my story to tell, but mentioning it is relevant. The adoption process was pretty quick and (on the surface) painless, and she got a new life being the only child of a very devoted mother and solid father, something I wouldn’t have been able to give her for a very long time. While I quite frequently wonder what if, I do not regret the action in and of itself.

Flash forward to now: Stable marriage, stable home. Our decision to start a family was honestly not an easy one, mostly because of my past. There was a part of me that didn’t think that I deserved happiness with a family because I “squandered” away my chances when I was younger. Throughout this entire gestation and family planning process I’ve had so many doubts and fears because of the way things went before. In my head I know I’m older, wiser, and overall more stable and things won’t be the same. It’s hard to rationalize that though when you’re worrying about everything from so many different angles. It’s a struggle.

With every day that passes I wonder what life could’ve been like had I actually gotten my stuff together years ago .. but I wouldn’t be where I am now, so I suppose there’d be a trade off. And right now I’m happy. I guess there’s no real point to any of this except musing. And lamenting that I always second guess myself now. I have faith that it’ll be ok though!

A Day of Doctors

Yesterday was a pretty long day. I’m going to detail as much of this as I possibly can, but who knows if I’ll remember everything because it was a lot of information to let sink in. It also started fairly early (for me), but by the end of the day I was both elated and exhausted.

I’ll start with a little backstory. I was diagnosed with type II diabetes a year and a half or so ago, but I didn’t really care to control it – that is, I didn’t care until I started to try to get pregnant. The OB that I saw at the first of the year told me I couldn’t get pregnant if my diabetes was uncontrolled. She said I shouldn’t start, and I wouldn’t be responsible, and a few other things. I decided to accept that challenge. Stubborn me started to control my diabetes. My family doctor did my blood work in February and it was a 9.0; now, granted, I’d not been on good medication and I hadn’t been taking care of myself, but the doctor was going to put me on insulin if I had another A1C that high.

At my last doctor’s appointment they took eight vials of blood for testing and what-not, one of those tests of which were another A1C. I had called and got the results before hand and it had gone down to a 5.9! All the work that I’ve done has paid off! I hadn’t gotten any feedback from the doctor though so that was due yesterday.

I started the morning at 10:30 with the genetic counselor. She asked Clayton and me about our ethnic background (apparently calling my husband a “mutt,” even if it was in an endearing and loving way, gets dirty looks from both Clayton and the counselor). She explained some risks that we had from my age and we opted for the blood work that tests for chromosomal abnormalities. This test also tests for gender so I was just 100000% on board for it! She didn’t think there were any other real risks so that was the only thing we really did. She did explain how I am a carrier of the color blind gene because my dad is color blind. It’s passed down through the X chromosome from the father to the daughter. So, if we have a son there’s a 50% chance he’ll be color blind. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s something to look out for.

After I was done with her I had my first appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) doctor and it was better than I was bracing myself for. They did the NT scan and I got to see my little baby on the screen! He or she was jumping around and swimming all over and they couldn’t really get a good still shot, but they did date the baby six days further ahead than my regular ob. At their calculations I should be due December 12, which was a day off of my calculations and more accurate from when I know I ovulated and conceived. She talked to me about managing my diabetes and blood pressure and when I told her about my previous 9.0 A1C she was over the moon with my progress. She was kind and considerate and gave me lots of helpful tools. I left that office feeling amazing and happy.

After a lunch at Jason’s deli, I went to get my blood drawn for the genetic testing. With that out of the way it was time for my afternoon appointments. I had the briefest visit ever with my doctor, but it went well. I only gained four pounds (much to my amazement) and she said she wasn’t ready to move my due date up just yet, which is fine. I still think december 12 is right and she will eventually too. She thought everything was fine and she congratulated me on taking care of myself. It felt good.

When I was done there, I had a visit with the business office of the ob and we had a discussion about the insurance and what we’d have to pay if our out of pocket maximums weren’t met already. I’m glad they were because being high risk, old, and needing a C section? Well let’s just say the charges are pretty astronomical. I’m glad that we timed the baby like we did. Big props to God for allowing our time table to be his time table.

Last but not least, a baby photo!

pregnancy blog

Trudging on Along

pregnancy blog

I am 9 weeks and a few days pregnant now. It’s insane how it feels like time is creeping by right now and yet then again it’s not. I’m dealing with all the fun first trimester gripes: extreme fatigue, nausea and sickness (not just morning, because that’s a myth) and a chest so sore at times I wish I could just cut it off. I’ve had my first ultrasound and my new obgyn dated me at about a week behind what I’d thought for myself which puts my new due date at December 18. No big deal, really. I’ll still be scheduling a C-section before then so it’s all gravy. The ultrasound pic doesn’t look like much more than a blur but I am super excited that the heartbeat was strong and baby was healthy.

This is a new doctor for me. We’re new in town since last November so I was picking a new lady doctor as I’d just gotten all my yearly maintenance done in August back in Louisiana. At the beginning of the year I thought we’d actually gotten pregnant almost as soon as I’d gone off birth control, but it was a false alarm. The obgyn that I picked out was really rude and had 0 bedside manner at all. She told me all kinds of things like “Women like me” don’t ovulate and that I shouldn’t get pregnant even if I could. Fast forward to a few months later when we nailed it on the first try and I’m normal and healthy. Needless to say, I’m not using that doctor anymore.

Due to that terrifying appointment, I was really apprehensive when I met my new doctor. She was amazing! Listened to my questions, helped take care of any doubts, involved the husband in the whole process… it was awesome. I will be making an appointment this week to see a MFM high risk doctor, due to my age and diabetic status, and hopefully get some testing that lets me find out gender early because I am all about knowing what I’m going to have as soon as possible.

These are good times. The first trimester is kicking my behind but I’m dealing with it. I have an amazing protective and supportive husband that’s not letting me go at my normal pace and it’s nice that he worries. I am truly blessed in so many ways.

It’s Time!

I had expected the next post (or actually multiple posts, to be honest) to be about our fun trip to
Tennessee to spend time with my friends and family, but something wonderful happened in the interim. This weekend, Easter weekend specifically, I took a home pregnancy test that read a faint positive. Being worried because I’d had a fake positive before, I took two more that day and one more today. I am definitely pregnant! Baby Estepp will be arriving sometime around December 11, 2015 and we are so excited! I cannot wait to meet this little miracle peanut inside me and even more so I just want to know what we’re having so I can start planning for real!

Our first OB appointment is May 7, where I’ll have my first ultrasound and probably quite a bit of testing. I have a lot of questions to ask and I am sure Clayton does as well. He’s been very supportive and already a bit protective which is just the sweetest thing! Then yesterday he had to leave, just two days after finding out, to go offshore for up to four weeks. I know he would have rather stayed home but I did manage to make the doctor appointment for when he got back. It’ll probably be another 2 months after that until we can find out what we’re having, and I am an impatient person. The waiting game is afoot! But at least it’s happening. It worked and it’s happening and I’m so happy. I will post about our vacation soon but for now enjoy our pregnancy announcement!

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I am a rather impatient person. As I write this it’s a Tuesday afternoon and we are leaving for a little mini vacation to visit my family on Friday and I literally am going antsy waiting on the time to pass to get here. There’s a few reasons for this though. See, I know when I need time to pass quickly I just jam lots of activities into the days leading up to it and I’m usually so busy that the days just fly by. Tonight we have orchestra rehearsal and a few things to do the next few days, but at this very moment I’m sitting here watching the minutes tick by ever so slowly. There’s something even more urgent on my horizon though, something that will happen after the trip is over: I’ll find out if we are on the way to being parents.

I got the exciting smiley face on my ovulation monitor last week on Thursday. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we took special measures to try to further parent-becoming along (without going into too many details) and even those extra special tricks to try to conceive a girl. (Note: if our future child ever reads this and you in fact did turn out to be a boy, don’t fret. We’ll love you just as much, I promise! and I won’t be disappointed!)

Now that last weekend has passed, it should be the first part of April (like the 4th or 5th really) that I can feasibly test and get an accurate answer. Considering I have two First Response tests, I might test the day we get home because they are typically good at testing early. I will undoubtedly test four or five times, especially if I get a positive result, considering the last mishap we had. I want to be 100% sure it’s happening! Then the task of finding a new obgyn will start. So much excitement!

I promise not every post I write is going to be about having kids or the process thereof. I’m going to probably make a large picture filled post (or two) about the trip when we go, and I’m sure there’ll be some Easter goodies and whatnot as well. I’m actually excited to use this site as a journal of sorts. So hopefully people will like to come along on the journey with us.