Monday, November 23, 2015

Last MFM Appointment Update

My mom so kindly reminded me that last night that if I'm going to write about my journey with Bridget and her kidneys, then I should be a little more diligent about updating the blog after an appointment. Sorry to any readers who have been checking back for updates after my appointment last Wednesday. I forget that by updating Facebook I don't update anyone who follows the blog!

So last Wednesday my mom and I went to my MFM to check on Bridget.  She is head down (like way down, and sitting on my bladder which would explain my constant need to pee...), looking to my right side with her legs/knees up under my chest.  Does that makes sense? So she's in the perfect position for birth, but there's still room in there for her to flip around. The doctors aren't concerned if the baby is breech until about 35 weeks, but so far she's in a good position and has been the past 6 weeks or so.

Bridget is looking great!  Her estimated weight as of last Wednesday was 5 pound 1 ounce (2 weeks prior she was only 3 pounds 12 girl is growing!!!!). Babies are estimated to put on a half a pound a week here on out. So if my math skills are on point, this means I could very well be birthing a 9 pounder if I go until 40 weeks. Yikes!  L was 8 pounds and J was 8 pounds 6 ounces, so 9 pounds sounds about right. It also sounds a bit painful, especially considering I really want to do this birth unmedicated.  We'll see how things go.

B's left kidney is still all sorts of crazy. But the ureterocele in the bladder is not growing bigger so urine is still able to enter the bladder from the right kidney and exist the bladder via the urethra, which are all positive things that we need to keep working. Her right kidney looked good and the doctor says we'll just have to wait until she's born to know if there's a duplication on the right side too.

So it was a rather uneventful appointment. My favorite!  There was one new development, or I should say revelation as my understanding is that this isn't new, the doctor just hadn't mentioned it before. So I've known we've been watching to see if my amniotic fluid level decreases because that would indicate something has changed with her urinary tract system (either the function of her kidney(s) or the ability to drain from the bladder). My fluid level has stayed steady since I've been seeing the MFM.  Well, it turns out that my fluid level is actually on the HIGH end of normal, so I have MORE amniotic fluid than most. I'm still in the normal range, but my understanding is that it's at the very high end of normal. This means that her right kidney is likely working overtime to compensate for the bum left kidney.  But this also means that while we're concerned about a decrease in amniotic fluid, we're also concerned about an increase!  I don't really understand the implications of what too much fluid means so I'm trying not to worry about it.  The doctor only mentioned it after my probing questions about the fluid level, so he doesn't seem concerned at this point.

I will continue going to the MFM until B is here. I thought we'd get to say 36 weeks and I'd be discharged from his care, but it looks like my bi-weekly treks to Atlanta will continue for another 7 weeks.  This to me means that there is still the possibility that things take a turn and she will need to be delivered early. While I really would love for her to arrive without an induction, if the doctor says it's time, we'll go with whatever interventions he deems necessary.  So I'm trying to stay open-minded about what her birth will be like, but I'm hoping for the best. We've hired an amazing doula and I have hopes of an unmedicated birth without pitocin or an epidural.  But if a c-section or induction is what is best, I may shed one tear but won't get depressed about the birth experience I didn't get to have.  I have one goal at the end of this: sweet B in my arms, as healthy as can be expected.

Thanks for following along as we navigate this pregnancy.  I'll do a better job of updating the blog post appointment!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Another Wednesday Nears

Tomorrow I head back up to Atlanta to see my Maternal Fetal Specialist. And the nerves are setting in again. I'm hoping for another boring appointment, but am preparing mentally in case it goes a different way. I was talking to a friend last night about everything and she commented that I was so calm and handling everything so well. I told her that I had my moments. And I do. On the whole I'm feeling good about Bridget and this pregnancy, but the fear is still lurking.

I'm almost 32 weeks, so the fact that we're that far along has eased some of my worries. Even if one of my MFM appointments doesn't go well, Bridget is gestationally mature enough to hopefully survived without too many complications. I know a NICU stay would be in her future and that would be hard, but she wouldn't be a micro-premie. Still, I'd like her to stay put for at least another 5 weeks until we're officially full term at 37 weeks.  I also realize that I have no real control over that.

It's also sinking in that in less than 2 months, she WILL be here. We'll be a family of 5 and I'll have a daughter. I'm starting to get sad that Julian won't be my baby anymore. But he's helping me get lots of snuggles in and softening the blow by telling me he's "so happy to see my sister Bridget." And multiple times a day he'll randomly stop whatever he's doing, come over to me and say, "Momma, let me tell you something.... Bridget's my sister." He melts my heart. I just hope he loves her this much once she's actually here and he has to share me with her.

I feel like there's still so much to be done before she arrives. We're putting the finishing touches on the kitchen (well, the husband has been working tirelessly to do that). And her room needs, well, basically everything to be done. I did buy some pink paint this weekend. I went with Angelic from Sherwin Williams. So I need to paint. And then we need to get my white bureau from when I was a little girl from my parent's house for her room, move the crib from Julian's room into the nursey (which will require the husband to put together an IKEA bed for Julian which is a bear of a project) and then decorate her room.  I know there's still time for all this, and it's not the end of the world if we're not finished before her arrival, but I'd like to get it done. I think my hesitation to get moving is still this underlying fear that something could still go wrong with this pregnancy and her arrival. I know I need to be positive, but buying her anything or preparing for her to actually be here is something I've just been unable to do.

Please say a prayer that we have an uneventful appointment tomorrow. Bridget, please be boring my girl.  There is plenty of time for shenanigans in the years to come!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Beautycounter on Access Hollywood

Y,all! I am so excited!  Beautycounter was featured on Access Hollywood yesterday! Our CEO, Gregg Renfrew, brought a few of our holiday gift sets to share! Check out the video here:

Beautycounter on Access Hollywood

Isn't Gregg the cutest!?  I was lucky enough to hear her speak at a conference I went to in Denver and can't say enough about her. She has an incredible vision and is a passionate leader. I'm so thrilled to be a part of her mission!

And if you haven't already, check out all the holiday gift sets: Beautycounter Holiday Sets

Thursday, November 12, 2015

31 Weeks. Round 3

I've clearly fallen behind on the weekly updates this pregnancy. But in an effort to continue having a documentation of this pregnancy (and not just the kidney-related issues), I want to jump back on the horse.

How far along? 31 weeks. (Go here to check out my 31 week survey with Julian....I was obviously in a good mental state of mind at that point in my last pregnancy...)

Next OB appointment?  Next Wednesday I head to Atlanta to see my Maternal Fetal Specialist in Atlanta to check on Bridget's kidney and my amniotic fluid level. Then next Thursday I have my 32 week appointment with my midwife. I feel like I spend a good chunk of my time in doctors' offices.

Total weight gain/loss? 30+ pounds. Last week I think I was around 31 pounds at the OB's office. I've stopped weighing at home. It is what it is.

Maternity clothes?  Yes. And I'm totally sick of them. I'm trying to hang tight with the clothes I already have but have picked up a few new pieces over the last few weeks. I'm trying to stick with tunics and ponchos and other non-maternity clothes that will work after the babe is here.

Stretch marks? No new ones, just the old ones getting darker.

Sleep? Not the best, but I'm trying to get more of it. Last night I went to bed at 7:30pm after putting Lukas to bed. I woke up at 12:38 and 3:50 to pee and then was up for the day at 6:15 with Julian. I think my body needed the rest. I also only worked for an hour on Tuesday because I felt terrible and went home to sleep on the couch for 5 hours. I think I might be fighting off the crud.

Best moment last week? Celebrating Lukas' 5th birthday with a superhero themed party!  This is the first birthday party I've successfully pulled off.  Don't get me wrong, the kids have had parties, but they've been nothing to write home about. In fact, one year, my friend Emily threw Lukas' 3rd birthday party for me because I simply couldn't pull it together. I'm not a big planner and something about birthday parties stresses me out to the max.  

And this year was no different. But L was turning 5, which is a big deal in kid-land. So I knew I had to have a party for him. I decided that our awesome "new" park down the road would be the perfect place - there's a pavillion for cupcake eating/parent sitting and a huge park for the kids to play on. Easy peasy. I sent out a Paperless Post invite and was done.  No theme, no hoopla. Just a good old fashion party.

Until the weather forecast set in. Rain. Rain and more rain. I tried to convince myself we'd have sunny skies come Sunday afternoon, but eventually I had to face reality. This outdoor party was not going to happen. So the husband and I took advantage of our 2 hour car ride the Friday before (on our way to Athens to visit some of my sorority sisters!) to plan a new party. Then Saturday afternoon we ran around town like crazy people buying all the goods to have a party at our house. I shot off a message to all the parents to let them know we'd moved indoors to our house and we all set to work getting our house in an acceptable condition for guests and making the party a reality.

We bought superhero masks from Target (I had planned on the kids making their own masks but then the thought of kids and glue and glitter set in, and we changed course), my mom and I made super hero capes out of tee-shirts from Hobby Lobby, hubby cleaned the garage so we could spend most of our time outside and then we went about preparing the games. We found an elaborate Pinterest superhero party full of superhero games and decided to go with 4: Pin the Star on Cap's shield, Superhero Mind power (guess the # of starbursts in the jar), Spidey String (silly string fun...bad idea in retrospect), and a Batman pinata. I think a good time was had by all. Oh, and we served Publix cupcakes because ain't nobody got time for homemade at 8 months pregnant.

Lukas felt so special and my mom is a pro at keeping a party moving along so everyone was in and out in an hour and a half and the house wasn't a disaster!  All in all, it was a huge success! But I don't think I'll be starting an event planning business any time soon....

Movement? I'm pretty sure Bridget is an octopus.

Food cravings? Carbs. Give me ALL.THE.CARBS. This is a problem because I stopped eating gluten free this pregnancy, but gluten gives me massive indigestion. And when I eat something with gluten, I just can't stop. Like the leftover Chex Mix from Lukas' birthday party. Forget it. I'm fine if I don't eat something, but once I have one, it's over. I'll probably have gained 10 pounds this past 2 weeks.

Food aversions?  Nope.

Gender? I'm still a little shocked I'm having a girl.

Labor signs? Nope.

Belly button in/out? Outie. As in you can see my belly button poking through all my shirts. It's a little disturbing.

What I miss: My energy. I have been exhausted lately.

What I am looking forward to: Getting started on Bridget's room. So her room is constructed, but that's about it. I am sort of stuck with what to do. I get an idea and then it takes a detour or is too expensive. Basically, I have no idea what her theme is or what colors I'm going with. I need help.

Milestones: We are into single digit weeks left! 9 weeks buddy!  And that's if I go to her due date.  While I really want her to go full term, I'm not going to lie - another 9 weeks sounds sort of miserable.  Obviously I want her to keep cooking, but I'm just feeling so, well....what's the word?  Rotund. Yes, that's it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Holiday Gift Giving Made Beautiful

I have a goal this year of getting all my holiday shopping finished before December 1st. The main reason is that I want to be prepared in case Bridget arrives early. But I've seen a few people write about this goal and I love it - if you get all your shopping out of the way before December even starts, then you can enjoy the month for what it is - a festive, special time with family, friends and loved ones.

So if you're trying to change your procrastinator ways this year, I'm here to help you get a jump on your holiday shipping!  Beautycounter has you beautifully and safely covered this Holiday Season. I spy some exciting new products for everyone on your list! I would love to sit down and help you check everyone off of your gift-giving list with these beautiful ensembles while keeping your budget in mind.

This has inspired the gift-giving spirit! So how about a little something for yourself? The first 5 customers to place an order that includes at least on gift set, will receive an extra special gift from me. Shop here:


Our gently cleansing Body Bar features our classic Citrus Mimosa scent, while our Charcoal Cleansing Bar for the face detoxifies and absorbs impurities in your skin without drying it out, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion.
***Perfect for EVERYONE! (this one is a particularly man-friendly choice) ***

Have a mistletoe-kissable pout with our new Sugar Lip Scrub in Peppermint, which exfoliates and hydrates cold-weather-chapped lips, and Lip Conditioner Peppermint Balm, a moisturizing formula that goes on solo or under your favorite Lip Sheer.
***Perfect for HER***
Indulge overworked hands with our luxurious new Hand Soap Bar, which contains moisturizing shea butter, and our lightweight, easily absorbed Hand Cream. Both are infused with our sophisticated new Rose Neroli scent, a combination of fresh rose and floral, citrusy neroli.
***Perfect for the HOSTESS***
Make the holidays even sweeter with our Enrich Body Butter and Lustro Sugar Scrub—the best pairing for soft, smooth skin. While our brown-sugar scrub gently buffs away dull skin, our rich body butter absorbs easily without feeling greasy.
***Perfect for the person who never spoils themselves. Let them indulge***

Back for the Holiday season, our 5-pack of hand cream makes 5 perfect gifts (make sure you keep one for yourself).These lightweight moisturizing creams revive dry hands. Shea butter and vitamin E, combined with organic sunflower oil, aloe, chamomile and calendula, hydrate and soften skin with no stickiness - leaving a subtle, refreshing citrus scent.
*** Perfect for TEACHERS!***
Give them all or divide them and include your favorite Lip Sheer or Hydrate Body Lotion. This trio of bags features a unique, convenient shape, allowing each pouch to stand on its own and giving you easy access to tools and toiletries. All three sizes feature chic finishing touches, such as our signature logo zipper and a stylish striped black & gold lining.
***Perfect for the FASHIONISTA***

Get glowing this holiday season with our Lustro Body Oil in our new Rose Neroli scent. This luxurious blend of 11 oils hydrates skin while leaving behind the clean, light fragrance of rose and a hint of floral, citrusy neroli. Who needs toxin filled perfume when you can smell beautiful with this safe body oil?!
***Perfect for HER***

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, our collection of four skin and hair products will simplify the packing process. Comes with a free gift—a chic travel bag to carry all the essentials. Includes:
Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion
Clean Everyday Shampoo
Rinse Everyday Conditioner
Wash Everyday Body Wash
Cosmetics bag (8.5 x 3.5 x 5.4)
***Perfect for the JET-SETTER***

Hit the party circuit with this duo, designed to give you that holiday sparkle. Our new Lustro Shimmer Oil in Rose Neroli delivers a head-to-toe glow, while our versatile Lip Sheer in Twig complements any beauty look.
Lustro Shimmer Oil - Rose Neroli
Lip Sheer in Twig
***Perfect for the SOCIAL BUTTERFLY***

Our wish-list-worthy Lip Gloss Collection includes two new, festive colors: Ruby, which is a soft, wearable red, and Opal, an opalescent shade with a sheer finish. For a bolder statement, layer either of them over Lip Sheers.
Lip Gloss in Opal
Lip Gloss in Ruby
***Perfect for THE CHAMELEON***

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

When Boring is Great

I saw the Maternal Fetal Specialist this morning and I am thrilled to share that we had a boring appointment! There was basically no change from two weeks ago which means Bridget is stable and we weren't given any additional bad news!  Hallelujah. My amniotic fluid level looks great which means that at least some of Bridget's kidney(s) are functioning properly!  This is hugely encouraging!  The doctor does suspect Bridget has the duplicated ureters on both kidneys, rather than just the left side like we'd originally thought.  BUT, the right kidney tissue looks normal and is not dilated size. This is all great news.  No change is what we want. We want to stay boring!

She is measuring over a week ahead (I'm 29 weeks + 6 days today but she's measuring 31 weeks + 1 day), so her growth is great. This is positive. She currently weighs 3 pounds 12 ounces!  My big girl!!!!  We still want her to stay in until she's full term, but it's good that she's measuring on the bigger side in the event she does come early.

We could see her eyelashes on the ultrasound and spotted a few wisps of hair, but it doesn't look like she'll be coming out with a head full of luscious locks! Considering her oldest brother was bald until he was almost 2, it's no surprise that she might be hairless. I'm still holding out hope that the hair she does have will be brown, but I'll be happy with another little toe head.

This is the first appointment I've come out of in a while feeling good. I don't feel defeated and I actually feel positive. The anxiety hasn't set in. I've cried no tears today.

Instead, Todd and I enjoyed the afternoon alone together. We went for Thai food in Decatur and then went shopping at our believed Dekalb Farmer's Market before heading home to Macon. We then spent the afternoon working on the house (him) and following up with Beautycounter clients (me). We got the boys at the end of the day and just had a nice, normal evening. Bridget started bumping around as I was laying down with Lukas at bedtime and he got to feel his sister kick, and then we had a fun conversation about HOW Bridget is going to get out. I actually used the "V" word and ended up with a very giggly boy convinced that Bridget would get pee-ed on when she was born. Clearly we have some anatomy lessons ahead of us!

Thank you for the continued prayers and good thoughts!  We all so appreciate the support! xo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2 Weeks at a Time

My bi-weekly appointment with the Maternal Fetal Specialist is tomorrow in Atlanta. I’ve been going to them for over 8 weeks now and I’ve noticed a pattern. My mental state is OK in the days leading up to the appointment, but the day before I start researching online. I start hunting for stories of other babies prenatally diagnosed with duplicated ureters, ureteroceles and kidney issues. I hunt for stories and statistics, desperately wanting to know what the chances are that I’ll go full time. What the percentage of cases are that require intervention in utero. There’s not much out there, but it doesn’t stop me from continuing to look.

Slowly my anxiety creeps back in. I start worrying that this will be the appointment where my amniotic fluid level is suddenly low. This will be the ultrasound that reveals her right kidney is starting to have issues. This will be the appointment where things get serious, fast. I mean, they’re already serious but we’re in a “wait and see” pattern hoping to make it to full term. Then the hope is that she has a normal output of wet diapers. And then the hope is that the tests at 2 weeks will come back as positive as possible and we can hold off on surgery until she’s at least 6 months old. But the wait and see nature is put on hold every other Wednesday when the doctor actually looks at Bridget and sees where we stand. The day leading up to this is hard for me. All the what-ifs roll around in my head.

The appointment itself is pleasant. The staff and doctor are wonderful and they know how to make a high-stress situation as calming as possible. Plus, I get to see my girl and am reassured that she’s still growing and holding strong. I love seeing her sweet nose – Julian’s nose – and watching her acrobatics in motion. It is comforting to hear she’s growing ahead of schedule and that she looks great aside from the kidney issues at hand. And it is even comforting to get to see the kidney and try to wrap my head around what I’m looking at on the ultrasound screen. I have yet to really lose it in the midst of the MFM appointment. I think it takes time for the new information to sink in.

But the evening after the appointment and much of the next day is when the sadness, anxiety and fear set in. This is the time when I’ll cry. This is when my husband looks at me and asks what is wrong. We handle these appointments differently. He hears the positive things the doctor is saying (or taking the good from the things the doctor’s AREN’T saying). Yet I don’t feel reassured by the appointments. My worry and the reality of the situation smacks me in the face each time. I crumble. I am so fearful of what could go wrong. And I cathartically need that day to wallow.

And then a day or two later the fog lifts and the cycle starts again. My anxiety lessens. My acute fear of the unknown lessens and I’m able to enjoy being pregnant again.

As hard as this all is, I hope the crushing depression sets in tomorrow night after an uneventful appointment. I can handle a day of sadness, because it means a 2 week reprieve is coming until the anxiety and fear starts again. I’m not really sure how I’d handle things if one of these appointments were to actually go bad. As Bridget flips around inside me as I write this, I pray with all my being that I don’t find out what happens if things go sour.

10 weeks and 2 days. That’s 5 more cycles to make it through. Please let me have those 5 more depressing days.

Sweet baby B, stay put. We’re not quite ready to meet you.