Thursday, January 31, 2013

And another thought...

These thoughts are coming in a timely manner as I find myself more and more argumentative these days. I am so frustrated with this whole bed rest situation, heartburn, gaining weight, feeling uncomfortable, aching all over, being thirsty all the time, watching but not engaging, looking out but not being out, eating, drinking, sleeping, repeating, not showering, waking up and sleeping in the same clothes, asking for help, needing constant assistance, having to decide between washing my hair and making a sandwich, sitting on the couch, laying on the couch, moving to bed, back to the couch again, watching the same show, checking my email, stalking facebook, checking the board, writing in my blog, reading books, watching people go out, watching JR go out, struggling with JR to go out, explaining to her that I cannot go out (cause you have a baby in your belly?).

Day in and day out I am under the blanket, legs up, trying to keep myself busy, trying to keep my mind sane, trying to find the positive, trying not to complain, pushing my way through, hanging in there, wearing a smile, not being upset, but I am so DONE! This week has been one of the longest weeks of my life. I am tired of being cooped up. I have serious cabin fever. I have no outlet. So, I start arguments, something to make my life a little more "interesting," to get me a little more "engaged." But I need not to, and I should not. I know it but need reminders; who doesn't. These reminders came just as I needed them, as if the universe had known that I needed help and rushed in to save me before I self-destructed. It may just as well be a coincidence, but I like to think it is fate!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just a thought

"An argument is a really crappy gift you give to yourself."
                                                                       Karen Maezen Miller

Friday, January 25, 2013

High Risk Pregnancy "Favorite" Things ~ 6

in alphabetical order...

Fresh air ~ Being on bed rest in the winter has been both a blessing and a curse.
A blessing because with the cold and the wind I do not feel like I have been
missing much "outdoor" time:
walks, playgrounds, open air concerts, outdoor seating, etc.
A curse because for the past fifteen weeks I have been
breathing in and breathing out the same stale air that is warmed by a heat pump.
But one day last week the weather was so fine for winter
that I was left on the couch
tucked underneath blankets, wearing my warm coat,
with the windows and door wide open.
The cold clean air came wafting in and I felt like I was in a different place and time.
If could have captured that smell I would have bottled it up,
but alas moments are fleeting and the best way to make them last
is to enjoy them while they are here.

A visit from Grandma ~ It is no secret that Jannah-Rae loves her Grandma.
So, it comes as no surprise that her visit to help us through a couple of weeks of bed rest
is instrumental both to my sanity, and JR's.
For over two weeks Grandma has been the center of JR's attention,
her playmate, bath buddy, bed pal, walker, and friend.
JR would sleep with Grandma at her side,
and wake up asking for her.
When it was time to say goodbye, JR was heartbroken,
but understanding. Grandma will be back soon.
March is not too far off.

Sidelines ~ Sidelines is a non-profit organization providing support for women and their families experiencing complicated pregnancies and premature births.
One of my friends referred me to their services and I have been corresponding with my e-mail support since October.
Her presence, and advice, have been invaluable.Her words have gotten me through some rough patches, and her encouragement has inticed me to keep my feet up.

Sunshine ~ I cannot imagine how much more challenging my journey would have been had I lived in the Northwest.
In the few days that I missed the sun, my spritis have slumped, my mood has swung, and I felt as close to rock bottom as I could be.
On sunny days, however, I tend to be lighter, the prospects for success more bountiful,
and the burden bearable.
Our living room gets plenty of morning sun, and warms up in its heat.
I am lucky to be able to perch on the couch and enjoy the warmth,
even on cold, cold days.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A reading start to 2013

I love to read. Unfortunately, I do not always have a good stack of books on hand to go through, and when I do, I seldom find enough time to read more than one a month or every other month. This year, however, brought both time and material for my enjoyment. Being on bed rest meant I could indulge more in flipping through the pages of a good novel, and recommendations from friends led me to wonderful books that provided me with education, enlightenment and entertainment.

Here is what I read in January and a favorite quote from each book.

 The Rent Collector

"The most difficult battles in life are those we fight within." ~ Chinese proverb

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 

"It surprised him that he was remembering all this. Maybe it was the walking. Maybe you saw even more than the land when got out of the car and used your feet."

Angry Housewives Eating Bonbons

"Life is like a bowl of spaghetti, it's still good even when it's all tangled up."

Letters for Emily

"Follow your dreams, make your best choices, and peace will come as you realise that you are on the best path for yourself. Your journey is unique. What is nourishment to others, may in fact be poison to you. Have dreams, but be content with your journey."

Monday, January 21, 2013

This is bed rest

I miss the everyday things, the ordinary, the mundane. The daily showers, the regular change of outfits, the looking in the mirror.
I miss the routine, the daily chores, the responsibilities and expectations. The dishes, the laundry, the cleaning.
I miss traffic, driving and red lights. The crazy drivers, the jay walkers, the cop cars.
I miss being agitated at Jeff when he leaves me waiting outside his office when I am there to pick him up, and taking longer to get ready in the morning when I am driving him to work to keep the car.
I miss JR's cooking classes, ceramic painting outings, story times, music shows, and park dates.
I miss getting her dressed, giving her a bath, making her meals.
I miss grocery shopping, refilling water, going to the Lebanese store.
I miss the bank, the post office, the dry cleaners, the phone and Internet billing offices. The mall, the carousel, the courtyard. The museums, the zoo, the open air.
I miss coffee shops, breakfast joints, lunches, and dinner dates.
I miss road trips, mini-vacations, weekends away. The early mornings, late afternoons and long days out of the apartment.
I miss yoga, talking walks, pushing the stroller.
I miss carrying my child, lifting her off her feet in dancing, joining her on the floor for playing, running after her in the hallway, holding her hand on the street.
I miss my metabolism, my digestive system, my dry lips and chapped hands.
I miss my winter coat, my warm shoes, my new gloves.
I miss society, I miss nature.
I miss myself.

Yes, I have read four books in twenty days, kept up with my blog, watched Murder, She Wrote, 30 Rock, Everybody Loves Raymond and The Wonder Years. I have slept and rested and relaxed. I have been waited on and assisted in every possible way. I have had breaks from my daughter, from my house, from my primary role. I put my feet up and sit all day. I stare at a screen, look at my phone, check my accounts. I rotate between the TV, the computer, the iPad. I flip through my book, write in my journal, take notes on my pad. I have had an extra long time away from things people try to leave behind, hire someone else to do, or wish they did not have to take care of. When I look at my to-do-list, I see nothing there. My list is for others; I just steer from the couch, or the bed. From the outside looking in, this do-nothing life style might seem appealing, tempting, attractive.

But, no. It is not. I would gladly give it up, walk away, take it back for a chance to be with Jannah-Rae when she is laughing, learning, playing outside of these four walls. To be able to see what she sees at the same time she sees it. To be able to answer her questions, lead her to safety, couch her on society. I would like to sit across from my husband at dinner, go on drives, share a yoga class. I would love to go back to the way things used to be fourteen weeks ago, but alas, the past is the past, and this is the present. This is my life now. My life for a few more weeks. If I can hang in there, I know the prize will be worth it in the end. I have not come this far to give up, and I will not give up. But I need reminders. My writing is my greatest reminder.

Friday, January 18, 2013

High Risk Pregnancy "Favorite" Things ~ 5

in alphabetical order....


A delivery date ~ An unexpected call from my OB's office at 5:02 on Wednesday informed me that my C-section had been scheduled for Monday, March 11th at 2:00pm.
I know my OB and I had discussed scheduling the surgery, I just did not know he had pinned down a date and time.
Talk about a surprise!

No more drug refills ~ I am down to my last prescription from being a walking pharmacy in the past weeks. And, in a couple of weeks, I will completely drug free; at least until post surgery!
Until the baby is born, I will no longer need to keep track of when I took my previous pill,
wake up in the middle of the night to take another,
or suffer the consequences of not having taken a third.
I do not have to worry about JR finding the pills and mistakenly popping one in,
or about dropping one on the floor and having to bend down to reach it,
or about timing my call to the pharmacy to get the refill in time.

Last visit to the MFM office ~ They have done everything they canfor me and from here on after I am on my own. When I went in on October 17th for an anatomy scan,
we walked out with heavy hearts and worried minds.
The January 15th visit, however, stood in direct contrast. We walked in with no expectations and walked out with light hearts and eased minds.
The journey is far from over, but at least we now are through the heavy woods.

The public library ~ The most trusted way to get the books I needed to keep me entertained during this dragging time. While only a small percentage of the books I check out end up on my shortlist, the service the library provides has been instrumental,
both to me and to Jannah-Rae.
From the comfort of my bed or couch I look books up, put them on hold,
request they be delivered to the nearest branch, and wait until my mother picks them up.

Sundays ~ These are the days that mark the passage of time. Every Sunday that passes, my baby grows another week, and with every Sunday we move closer to a full-term pregnancy.
Sundays used to stamp the end of a week, now they usher in the beginning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy new year

We are only 15 days into the new year and yet all it has brought has been happy news.

  • I am still pregnant
  • My cerclage is holding up, my cervix is still "long" and my uterus lining is thick
  • I do not have gestational diabetes
  • I saw the maternal fetal medicine doctor for the last time yesterday
  • Our family is entirely up-to-date on vaccinations, so no more shots before the baby comes
  • I pre-registered at the hospital for the baby's birth, and scheduled the delivery for 39 weeks
  • The construction work on our patio is finally done and we have our "play room" back
  • It has been a mild winter so far
  • My mother-in-law will be helping us for two weeks, which gets me to 34 weeks
  • Jeff started his last doctoral semester
  • JR tunred 3 surrounded by friends and family
  • I managed to cook some meals for my family, with plenty of help prepping and cleaning up 

While I am sure life will surprise us plenty in the days to come, having these positive landmarks to look back on will make the journey more pleasant and enjoyable.

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Story: What happens next: Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery

The long winding road brought us to rest in the surgeon’s waiting room. It was time to come face to face with reality and lay it all out on the table. My uterus was damaged and surgery was our only saving grace. Whether or not Jeff and I wanted more children, I had to undergo a pelvic reconstructive surgery; I just could not go on living with an unhealed organ.

The surgery would be performed robotically from the outside looking in. Through the use of a minimally-invasive surgical procedure, I was told I would emerge with no more scars on my belly than I already had. Unfortunately, when I was laid on the table and the measurements were taken, three more incision holes had to be created to allow the proper performance of the operation. What I now boast is a bullet-hole belly reminding me daily of my previous hardships.
The operation was performed by the former Vice Chairman and Director of Urogynecology and Vaginal Reconstructive Surgery at Georgetown University Hospital. He is trained in pelvic surgery and experienced in robotics and is widely published. All these qualifications were designed to put our minds at ease that we were in “good” hands. But when you are under the “butcher’s” knife, nothing you are told can comfort you. But we had to push through with the surgery without further delays. So, after checking with the surgeon and my OB’s schedulers we were given two possible dates to choose from. Those then had to be lined up with Jeff’s schedule, my mom’s schedule and his mom’s schedule. I would be in recovery for at least four weeks and needed at-home support and assistance during that time.
On the day prior to the surgery I had some physical, and mental preparations, to undergo.  I was required to cleanse my system with the help of foul tasting drinks and pills, fast for hours before the surgery and come in high spirits. I successfully completed the first two parts of the assignment but failed miserably at the third. The integrity of my uterus was on the table and until it emerged repaired on the other side, there was no rest for me.
The surgery took longer than anticipated. When originally it was supposed to be a “routine” procedure for the surgeon, it apparently proved to be more challenging that he had anticipated. If I remember correctly, I was “under” for over two hours. Did I mention they even had a urologist in the operating room! I had a whole team of highly qualified MDs at my side while I lay unconscious to their presence. Luckily, all the urologist had to do was bill for his time in surgery; his skills were not put to the test that day.
When the surgeon’s role was over, my body’s role began. External intervention and modern medicine had done all they could to grant me future chances at child bearing, now it was up to my body to heal itself towards that end; it had 9 months to do so.

During these 9 months, little and lots happened. JR turned two, I gradually went back to yoga, Jeff got promoted and life carried on. We celebrated small victories and big milestones. We played with friends, visited with family and spent time together doing nothing.
Shortly after the surgery, we packed and left for a family Thanksgiving in MN. It was a wonderful visit and a great gathering. JR “helped” pack our bags and made sure we had all the necessities. During the dinner, she “toasted” a “new” beginning and a year ahead full of hope. She had a great time being the center of attention, and I had an even greater time not being the center of attention. I had received more than my share of being “tended” to in the last couple of years that it was refreshing being able to take a back seat and be a spectator instead of being the lead actor.
Upon our return we put our trials behind us and moved on. We headed to Virginia Beach in December and in January went back to the radiology lab for one final sonohysterogram. When the results of that showed that our journey was marked with success, we marveled at the gift and looked forward to the summer when we could start trying for another addition to our family.
Winter turned into Spring and then Summer brought a fourth pregnancy. It is this pregnancy that leads us back to The Way the Story Ends. How will the story end? We are hopeful that it will end with a healthy baby, a healthy mama, and little or no time in the NICU.  

all packed!

JR toasting a "new" beginning

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sweet Revenge

When they say it is the little things in life, they really mean it is the little things. Like a chocolate croissant and a bottle of cranberry juice for breakfast when for days I worried about eating this and eating that, and cutting out all sweets, and giving away chocolate and cake, and resisting juice. But when the phone rang and I saw the number and heard the voice on the other end, the choice was obvious. For all the self questioning of what I can and cannot eat, should and should not eat, and will and won't eat, downing that sugar infused treat after sitting, or rather lying down, through excruciating three hours at the lab, getting pricked four times, being denied a drink of water and needing an official approval to take my medicine, seemed like the sweetest revenge. And, it was! The remainder of this pregnancy, and bed rest, will not be clouded by food decisions and worry over gestational diabetes and the health of this baby. Rather, it will continue along the same routine: getting by with the help of my friend and family and counting down to delivery time.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Diaper Cake

I was first introduced to diaper cakes when I was pregnant with Jannah-Rae, and I really wanted one at that time. Then, I was introduced to the price tag this merchandise came with when ready made and I could not bring myself to justify the cost. But, I still wanted one!

I wanted one with the subsequent pregnancies, too, but still could not fork over the cash. And, I did not think I had the talent to pull one together, let alone the time to craft it.

This time, though, I decided to try my hands at one; after all I had all the time in the world to try and try again if need be. Little did I know that assembling one required almost no time and no talent, just a little patience, and some creativity. So, when my first order of new born diapers arrived at my door, I sat on the floor and started working. A little over an hour later I had a beautiful 4-layer cake to display on the dining table that has not been used since I have been on bed rest. Now, our play/living room has a new centerpiece for my looking pleasure.

You can make one, too. Here is how.

• 60 plus diapers, depends on how big you make it. For this cake I used 74.

• Ribbon, choose a color and pattern that fits the gender, or a neutral shade if gender is a surprise.

• 60 plus small rubber bands, depending on how many diapers you use, wrap around the diapers.
• Tissue paper, choose a color and pattern that fits the gender, or a neutral shade if gender is a surprise.

• 6 plus large rubber bands, depending on the number of tiers you will be making. To hold the diapers together around the center.

• One 8-oz baby bottle or one large bottle of baby lotion. You can also use a large water bottle, which is what I did.

• One 4-oz baby bottle. Or a small water bottle, which is what I used.

• A cardboard or a cake platter. I used a glass serving platter.

• Cake decorations and baby items- for example, baby confetti, artificial roses, pacifiers, bibs, miniature stuffed animals, wash cloths, baby hygiene products, etc.

• Magic tape.
Building the cake:

Roll diapers up tight, one at a time, starting from the front of the diaper and rolling it to the back. The tighter the better. Place a rubber band around the center after you roll each diaper up to hold it tight.

Place the large bottle in the center of the cake platter. Place a large rubber band around the bottle then, place about 5-6 diapers through the rubber band to hold them tight.
Next, form a 2nd ring by placing a large rubber band around the 1st ring of diapers. Then place more diapers through the rubber band.
Repeat for 3rd and 4th ring.
When you are done with this tier, dress it up with tissue paper to cover the diapers. Use the magic tape to secure the tissue paper to the diapers.
The remaining tiers are made much the same way only using less and less rings are you go up. Dress these tiers with tissue paper as well, alternating patterns and colors if available.

The last ring is probably easiest to assemble on a table and then place it on the rest of the cake after it is assembled. Take the small bottle and surround it with 5-6 rolled up diapers. Cover this tier with tissue paper leaving enough paper at the top to create a flower using a ribbon to tie around it. Now place the assembly on top of the construction.

Finally, add little baby items and decorations around your cake.
The cake is now ready!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Friday, January 4, 2013

High Risk Pregnancy "Favorite" Things ~ 4

Books ~ hours of learning, snuggling, and fun. On the couch, in the bed, or on the floor.
From the library, the shelf, or online.
A story book, a coloring book, or even a sticker book.
In Arabic, or English.
Hard cover, paper back, or even soft books.
As long as it is a book,
JR wants us to read it.

Braxton Hicks ~ only because I have made it far enough in the pregnancy for them to become par for the course, and because I have the means to ensure they do not turn into more than just "practice runs."

Couch, or rather the back of the couch ~ because I need somewhere to store my stuff while I recline for hours on end in one spot.
Throughout the day JR brings me books, puzzles, the iPad,
packages, the mail, the camera, you name it, 
and I stash them where my arms can reach and where they do not get in the way.
By the end of the day, the back of the couch becomes our new storage area. 
Some days can even find empty plates, water bottles, and power chargers sitting there.

Fetal Kick Counter ~ while I do not feel like I really need it, it is another milestone in this pregnancy. This baby has been quite active since I hit my second trimester
and it is fun to feel, and share with Jeff and JR, all the commotion,
while being able to see my belly move up and down with every movement.

Friday night family dinners ~ a new tradition I look forward to!
I am allowed a few outings a week, and I chose to spend it family style;
eating out!
We usually frequent a favorite diner, but some Fridays we mix it up:
Indian, pizza, Afghan, Asian.
The rarity of the outings makes them more valuable,
and renders the act of "eating out" more of a tradition
than just a mere banality.

Showers ~ every third day, if I am lucky.
Unfortunately, I have to make choices and somehow showers always end up
on the bottom of the list. But when I do indulge in one,
all I can say is that it is a true indulgence.
I do not take any activity for granted anymore,
and I certainly do treat this one like a treasure.

Road trip ~ because it is well-deserved,
 and because both my OB and my specialist said I could go!
Of course I spent most of my time reclined in the car,
or being pushed around in the wheelchair,
or sitting in bed at the hotel,
but at least I got to spend one last vacation with
Jeff and JR before the newest member is physically among us.
The change in scenery was worth the effort it took to get there,
and the time we spent was precious in every way.
Next road trip, there will be four of us!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Story: What happens next ~ Tests

One would think that at this point I have been through enough and that I was going to get a break. But no, there was more to come and I am yet to get a break! The stopping of the bleeding during the D&C turned out to be temporary and once home and active again, signs of it crept back. A red, no pun intended, flag was raised. Something was still not a 100% right. The OB had his suspicions but I needed more tests to confirm his thoughts. Those tests turned out to be hardcore, invasive, intrusive, painful procedures, not the likes of taking blood sample and running them to the lab, but rather tests where I myself was the specimen and laid there on the examination table while doctors poked and prodded, jabbed and looked at. At the conclusion of these tests my medical terms repertoire expanded way more than I would have cared for.

The first of these tests was a sonohysterogram. A sonohysterogram, is a special ultrasound technique, that utilizes a saline to provide images of the inside of the uterus. It is a very specific procedure that can only be performed within a certain time framework. I needed to keep close watch on my cycle and as soon as I hit the designated day, I was to call the scheduling department who was then required to fit me into the first available timeslot. The trick was balancing Jeff’s schedule with my cycle with the time slots available for that particular doctor that my OB had recommended. If you think that was easy, think again! What it all meant was that Jeff’s schedule had to be the least important factor and the doctor’s the most. And since then, the pattern has not changed. Since that first dent in the totem pole, Jeff has had to modify his schedule every time I needed to see a doctor, get monitored by a specialist, take a test, or refill a prescription. It has not exactly been a smooth ride, and doctors’ offices are notorious for having little respect for people’s times and lives other than what coincides with their own schedules.
Once we had the test scheduled, we had to get to the office. It was on the opposite side of town, in rush hour traffic, with a toddler and an extra pair of hands. We opted to take my dad with us to the visit because we needed someone to watch JR during the procedure. Once at the office, JR was entertained with all the newness and we waited. When it was our turn, we got ushered into the sonogram room and waited again. Then, when the nurse became available, I got prepped and we waited some more. Finally, the doctor came in and from there it was a 10-minute look at what was causing the havoc in my uterus. I had some “open” wounds, unhealed tissue and blood residue from the last D&C. The placenta from the previous surgery had implanted on the scar from the C-section I had with Jannah-Rae and it was all madness in there. Something needed to be done to “fix” all that. I could not be walking around with a uterus that looked like a bomb had exploded in it.
And yet, the OB was not satisfied with these findings. Although they did confirm his suspicions, he needed more proof, especially since the doctor at the radiology lab had recommended more testing. It being my body, I think the decision for them was easy: get me to undergo more procedures to confirm the same findings. And as we knew very little at the time about what was medically necessary and what was not, Jeff and I were willing to do whatever they recommended to get answers.
Hysteroscopy was next.
A hysteroscopy is the inspection of the uterine cavity by endoscopy with access through the cervix. It allows for the diagnosis of intrauterine pathology. Hysteroscopy is usually done in the hospital under general anesthesia but my OB recommended we do it in a clinic under local anesthesia. Considering how much general anesthesia I had been under in the last two years, Jeff and I agreed to go the local route and get it done at a clinic. Little did we know that this decision would come back to haunt us in the future.
We scheduled the procedure for a Friday afternoon. Jeff and my mom both took the afternoon off and escorted JR and me to the location. Having my mom with us later proved to be the best decision we had made around that procedure. We had directions to the office, and were told it was a “modest” office in the hope of preparing us for what we were about to encounter. But nothing could have really prepared us for what we stumbled upon. The building was old, the elevator was creaky and we, and the doctors and nurses, were the only English speakers in the vicinity. Even the television spoke Spanish. The clinic was sparsely furnished and even less sparsely decorated. Other than the expensive piece of equipment that was later used on me during the procedure, the place looked run down, clean but run down. The image that comes to mind when I now think about it is a back-alley abortion clinic. The doctor could have been really talented and experienced but I was not the type of clientele he served.
Our appointment was at 3 in the afternoon. We got there promptly, signed in and sat down. Two hours later, we were still sitting down. I was ready to leave. Apparently, we did not have an “official” appointment but were at the mercy of the existing schedule and were only seen when all the other patients had been taken care of and there was no one but us left in the waiting area. Remember when I said having my mom there was the best decision we had made that day? Well, as it turned out, there was a bookstore nearby and we decided that it was best for JR and Teta to wait there than in the clinic. It was close to 6 before we were out of the office and by then we were drained both physically and emotionally.
The procedure turned out to be painful, impersonal and invasive. I laid back on the examination table while the doctor inserted needles of anesthesia into my cervix and poked to make sure the medication took. No, it had not taken yet. I needed more. So I got more. My heart rate started racing so I could not have any more anesthesia and had to toughen it through. Then the hysteroscope went in and it was show time! A little to the left, a little to the right, further up, a little more. And the images started appearing on the screen. Yes, I had had a placenta accreta and yes, it has caused damage. My uterine lining was thin, there wounds from the D&C had still not healed, and there was unhealthy tissue residing there. My OB’s suspicions were now even more grounded in facts. He took the pictures, had a video made and escorted us out. Our work here was done and now his work was about to start. But not until we jumped through one more hoop would we be on our way to salvation. That afternoon, my OB tried to calm us down and talk us through the situation but no amount of “talking” was going to get us through what was yet to come. 
And what came next was just as dreadful as what had come before it and just as time consuming. You would think that by now I would have guessed that an appointment at a doctor’s office was merely a space saver and not a guarantee of service. Yet every time I make an appointment, and specifically ask for the first available of the day, I convince myself that my experience will be different.
The road now lead us to a third “specialist.” This time a surgeon, or rather a pelvic surgeon. Although we came to him prepared with a thick file of documentation, reports, results, medical history, he, however, had his own idea of how to diagnose my condition. To us this meant another excruciating test: an MRI.
If you have not had an MRI before, I highly recommend you try and maintain that condition; MRI’s are not exactly a walk in the woods.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize internal structures of the body in detail. You lie within a large, powerful magnet where the magnetic field is used to align the magnetization of some atomic nuclei in the body, and radio frequency magnetic fields are applied to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization.

Having learned my lesson about waiting in medical offices, I opted to schedule the test for the first available morning appointment. On the designated day, we showed up with JR confident that it will be an in and out visit. We were wrong – again! We spent an hour in the waiting room and another 30 minutes in the back room, me in a hospital robe, waiting for our turn. The hold up this time: a scheduling conflict! The technician experienced to undertake the kind of imaging the surgeon required was not due to arrive till 9am; our appointment was at 8 and we were asked to arrive by 7:45. At 9:30, neither the technician had arrived nor was the MRI machine available to take me. I was beyond outraged at this lack of communication, lack of respect, and irresponsibility. We actually had to call for the office manager to find out the cause of our delay and although he apologized profusely, covered the cost of parking and gave us meal vouchers in an attempt to appease us, that did not correct the wrong we had been dealt.
When my name was finally called out, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing the end was near and that Jeff and JR could now hang out somewhere other than this  box of a waiting room. I was ready for it to be over but I was not ready for what came next. I had never seen an MRI machine before, let alone be slid inside one. It was huge, and metal, and cold. The room was almost taken over by this monstrosity and once I was prepped it was only the machine and I in that room. I was scared. I almost cried. I tried to be strong but it was hard. The only company I had in that dark cave was the voice through the speakers and the voice in my head. The one on the outside was guiding me through the process, asking how I was doing and updating me on the time left. The voice within was reminding me that this was my journey, my life, my practice. It kept repeating to me words I had read in a book, “Your life is your practice,” and reminding me to accept it and live it.
And I did. I went through another tunnel in the road and came out the other side. Once there, I hugged Jeff and Jannah-Rae tight. After all they are as much part of this journey as I am and they are part of my practice. I have never taken either one of them for granted but on that day I renewed my intention to be hold them closer and dearer.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Commemorating 12 weeks

Today my entourage and I mark a trimester of rest: bed rest. To that end I want to give myself, my baby, and my family and friends a huge pat on the back, a big hug, and a loud kiss. We have all seen this pregnancy to 29 weeks 3 days, through 84 days of love, support, caring and sharing, empathy, sympathy, tears and laughter.

At the start line, I did not think I would make it this far. But as it turned out, with the right kind of people, I am still in the running. This trial was not a sprint, and I never thought I was equipped for a marathon. Thankfully, I trained fast.

My baby's survival rate at this point is markedly increased and lasting complications equally reduced from what they would have been only a few weeks ago. That certainly says a lot when you think that when this journey first began at 18 weeks the baby had zero chance of survival!

This baby has been a fighter, and I doubt she will be anything but. To say that her will to survive had as much to do with her still being right here right now as any other "external" factor is an understatement. I truly believe she is at the heart of this journey's success.