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Protected: What’s in a name?…

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Protected: 20 week ultrasound!

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Protected: 16 week ultrasound!

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A small part of our pregnancy story…

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 began like any other day. I woke up late, because that is what I did during my first trimester of pregnancy, and went down stairs to do chores before work. John had worked the night before and had to work that night as well so he was still sleeping. I wanted to work on laundry and cleaning up the house but I was feeling a little off so I sat on the couch for a while to rest.

To be honest, I was feeling gassy and uncomfortable. Moving was not easy so I just relaxed all day. I assumed it was all just related to the (ahem) constipation I was experiencing during pregnancy. At 3pm that day I was finally able to “go” and my pain/uncomfortableness went through the roof.ย  I called our midwife and asked if it was normal to have this much pain associated with constipation and gas. She said if I was experiencing that much pain, then I should go to the emergency room.

This is a blog of the story of that emergency room visit. I want to share the details with you because it is a part of our pregnancy story and I believe it is important to document it and share the experience.

I woke John up after speaking to our midwife and asked him to take me to the emergency room. We were both remarkably calm, my guess is because this had sort of happened before. I had experienced pain like this in December so we thought maybe it was the same thing, a cyst on my ovary. John took me to Gilbert Hospital because it was closest and because their motto is “Door to Doc in 30 minutes.” When we got there, they had us in a room in less than 15 minutes. It was really great service and I am thankful to everyone who was there.

The first thing they did was ask me what my pain level was at. I told them it was at a 10, and they questioned me about it, asking if it was the worst pain I had ever felt. I let them know that it was. They put an IV in my arm and administered Benadryl for the pain. I know, weird right? Well apparently it can be used to treat pain and, since I was 15 weeks pregnant, the doctor wanted to use the mildest pain medicine possible. I certainly wasn’t going to argue with that of course. ๐Ÿ™‚ The medicine helped and my pain went down to about a 2 or 3. At this point John called The Keg for me and let them know I was in the ER and wouldn’t be able to make it in that night, and he called his work to get his shift covered as well. He asked me if I wanted to text my mom and I opted to call her. Can you imagine if I had just sent her a text?! “Hey mom, In the ER, not sure what’s wrong, just wanted to letcha know.”ย  Haha, she would have killed me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I called her and let her know we were in the ER but that we weren’t sure what was wrong at that point. She offered to come down. I wanted her to come, because she’s my mom, she’s a comfort, and because I wanted her there in case there was something seriously wrong. On the other hand, I didn’t want to ask her to come in case there wasn’t anything wrong. It’s a long drive from Phoenix to Gilbert. ๐Ÿ™‚ I asked her to decide whether or not she should come. She made the decision to come and I am very thankful for that. I told her she could call whoever she wanted because I wasn’t going to call anyone else.

In the meantime, they took me back for an ultrasound to see if they could diagnose what was wrong. They said I should have the results from the ultrasound within a half hour so they took me back to my room. The doctor had requested that I provide a urine sample before the ultrasound but I wasn’t able to, so when I got back from the ultrasound John and I walked to the restroom to oblige. (John had to help because I was attached to the IV.) When I got back to my bed my pain went back up to a 10. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The ER doctor came back and gave me more Benadryl and also brought in a surgeon.

The surgeon examined my tummy and explained that the results of the ultrasound showed nothing was wrong with my pregnancy or my ovaries, but that there was fluid around my appendix. He explained that they could not do the normal diagnosis procedures, an MRI or CT scan, because I was pregnant. He also said that, even if we could do those, it still doesn’t guarantee that they’d be able to clearly get a diagnosis. He suggested we prepare ourselves for surgery because he was very sure that we were dealing with appendicitis. Based on the information from the ultrasound, the fact that I could not walk/move without pain, and the fact that I was tender to the touch in the lower right quadrant of my abdomen, he felt that the issue was appendicitis and the only option was an appendectomy. He told us that we needed to be mentally prepared that we could lose the baby. The ER doctor said we could have some time, and wait and see what happened with my pain. We decided to wait just a bit.

While we were waiting, my mom arrived and we told her what the surgeon had said. Shortly after, my brother arrived as well, my mom had called him. ๐Ÿ™‚ What an amazing family we have. I was so thankful they were both there. I couldn’t believe my brother dropped everything to come and be there. He said my uncle Jamie was on his way too. Praise God! I am truly blessed and am so thankful for my family.

One thing that really touched me was my brother’s reaction to the news that we could potentially lose the baby. He’d probably be annoyed that I shared this, but he teared up. It was so touching, it meant a lot to me.

It means so much to me that I have a husband who is so loving and protective, who stood by my side so strong and reassuring. I means so much to me to have a mother who will drive clear across town, even though there may be nothing at all wrong, so that she is by my side in case there is something wrong. It means so much to me that I have a brother who cares so much about me and his niece/nephew that he is brought to tears at the thought of losing one of us. God has truly blessed me.

Well, while we were waiting, I had to go to the bathroom again. I was not happy about this, and kind of afraid to go, because I knew it meant more pain. This time, they put me in a wheel chair and John helped me to the restroom. Even though I didn’t walk this time, my pain went back up to a 10 again by the time I got back to my bed, just from standing up and sitting down. The doctor came in and said we should try and wait to see if the pain would subside if I just lay still. It did not, and eventually they gave me morphine and brought in an anesthesiologist to talk to us. That was when I knew I was going to have surgery.

Ultimately we knew what would happen so it wasn’t a surprise that we were going to have surgery. Surgery was our only option. Either way, surgery or not, it was dangerous to the baby. It was really a life or death situation, if my appendix burst we both die, if we have the surgery, the baby could potentially die. Fortunately, John and I were blessed with a sense of calm that can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit giving us that strength.We had to trust that God had it all under control, that His will would be done, and that His plan was better than our own. Our hope was that His plan included us keeping this baby, but we prayed for His will either way.

The anesthesiologist explained what would happen when I was put under for the surgery. He said that the baby will go to sleep and expel the anesthesia in the same way that I did. The risk of the surgery to the baby was not from the anesthesia, it would be from the trauma of the actual surgery. He explained that, because we were past the critical 12 weeks where the baby’s vital organs were being created, the fear of birth defects from the drugs was minimal. The surgeon came back and explained that, baring any complications, the surgery would be done laparoscopically, so it would be minimally invasive.

My mom wanted more information and asked the surgeon and anesthesiologist for statistics on surgery on pregnant women and the survival rates of the fetus. They tried to answer her but it wasn’t easy. I interrupted and said that, regardless of what the doctors said, it was all in God’s hands and no matter what the statistic were, it was ultimately up to Him. We could only pray for wisdom for the doctors and for God’s will to be done. We signed the order and prepared to go.

Unfortunately, uncle Jamie didn’t make it in time, I didn’t get to see him before I went back for surgery. It was okay though, just knowing he was on his way was great. Of course, the best, most reassuring thing was having my wonderful husband by my side. Similarly, having my mom and my brother there too really helped.

They wheeled me back and showed my family to the waiting room. I got kisses goodbye, good luck wishes and that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up a couple of hours later and groggily asked if they had done the surgery. Whoever was there said that they had. I asked how it went and they said it went well. I don’t remember much after that until I was in my hospital room.

My family was there, including my father-in-law! What a nice welcome. I can remember talking to everyone but I was so sleepy that it is pretty much a blur. All I know is that my family was there and they love me.

The plan was to keep me over night to monitor the baby and I. The first time I remember them taking our vitals, I remember listening to the baby’s heartbeat through a fetal doppler. What a relief to hear that little woosh, woosh, woosh! The nurse found it right away and the baby’s heartbeat was around 138. The nurse explained that this was probably due to the anesthesia. The next time he came in, about 4 hours later, it was back up to 156 or so. Very promising.

We stayed in the hospital overnight and they monitored the baby every 4 hours. We were able to go home that afternoon.We went to see one of our midwives, Belinda, that day and she checked the baby’s heartbeat as well. She was very caring and warm said she had just wanted to see us to follow up after the surgery. There wasn’t much she could do for us, she couldn’t say we were out of the woods, but she reassured us that we were past the most dangerous part, the surgery. We had an appointment scheduled for the next week for an ultrasound so the plan was to follow up with her then. I was so thankful for her because she was so loving. She gave me a hug. I love that about her.

Recovery wasn’t the easiest, for either John or I. Poor John, he had to help me get in and out of the bed, cook for me, shop for me, clean the house, take care of Buddy and he didn’t get much sleep because I had to get up to go to the bathroom so often in the middle of the night. He was a trooper! He was wonderful and did anything and everything I needed.

For me, it was a bit painful and emotional. I felt like I had done thousands of situps. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Every day was better than the last and I was able to move a bit more each day. Emotionally though, my biggest fear was of going back to work. I was worried about John and money and felt like I needed to go back as soon as possible but I was afraid of doing something at work that would be bad for the baby so I didn’t really want to go back. (I’m a waitress so my job is physically demanding)

It was hard to not worry about the baby and to not be afraid of losing it. I trusted that God had things in control and His plan was ultimately best but I did struggle with a bit of worry. I think that it is normal and easy to do as humans. I prayed a lot and talked to the baby. I let the baby know that I loved it no matter how long we got to have it in our lives. I thanked God for every moment we got. That was the best thing I could do I think, pray to our wonderful and loving God.

A week after the surgery I went to see the surgeon for a follow up. He was pretty quick to release me. It was frustrating but funny because all he did was glance at my tummy, ask me about my pain, and then said I was all clear. I didn’t ask him any questions because I figured it would be best to discuss my concerns with our midwife.

A couple of days later, when I was 16 weeks along, we went for the ultrasound and a follow up with Belinda. The ultrasound technician was wonderful and took her time with us. We got to see the baby’s arms, legs, feet, heart, brain, and even it’s kidneys. It was pretty cool to see the baby and to know everything was okay so far. We heard and saw the heartbeat and it was up in the 15o’s. The ultrasound technician told us that we want the heartbeat to be between 120 and 180. When she told us that it really made me feel good because I knew our baby stayed strong while we were in the hospital, I never saw it go below 138. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  Belinda said everything looked great and said she felt we were out of the woods! Woo hoo! Praise God! We get to keep our baby for the time being. ๐Ÿ™‚

Throughout all of this, John was amazing. He was so strong and supportive. I praise God for having him in my life. I can’t thank him enough for everything that he has done for me. He helped me to the bathroom, helped me in and out of bed, he catered to my every need. He made sure he did everything he could to make me comfortable and to help me get better. He was perfect. He went many nights without much sleep, he cooked, he cleaned, and he did everything for me. I mean everything. All the while he never showed if he was scared. He stayed strong and helped me to stay strong. His faith helped me to stay strong in my faith. We both believed that God had things under control and I think that is why he stayed so strong. I am blessed to have a man who relies on God for his strength.

I want to say thank you to my mom too. She was wonderful and came to help out a lot. I am so thankful to her for everything she has done for me and for us.

Keep an eye out for another post soon, I’ll post pictures from the ultrasound! ๐Ÿ™‚ Make sure you check it out, it will have a surprise in it!

Always in Him and with love,

These are some “thankful for more time” words…

By Nicole

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God has blessed us… again…

We are proud to announce that God has blessed us with the gift of a baby. We found out on February 14thย  that we are expecting in October. We went to the doctor the following week to confirm. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sure enough, we are pregnant. I was pretty positive before going, because 4 home pregnancy tests can’t all be wrong, but it was good to confirm it and to ask a few questions.

I had been feeling a little “weird” for a few weeks. I thought I might be pregnant, but when I first took a test, it came out negative. I assumed I was just stressed and that was what was causing my fatigue and crying. Every time I would complain about being tired, or any other symptom that might be related to pregnancy, John would say “you’re pregnant!” I just wasn’t sure. I wanted to be, but I also didn’t want to get my hopes up. On the day I was supposed to get my period I took another test and saw a very faint line. I was completely unsure if it was actually a line or if I was just seeing things because I wanted to see a line. ๐Ÿ™‚ John couldn’t tell either. The next day I took another test and the line was a bit more clear but still faint. I was pretty sure it meant I was pregnant but I waited another day and took another test. This time, the test was clear and I was sure I was pregnant. ๐Ÿ™‚ The funny thing about having a positive test for me was John’s response. He went from saying “you’re pregnant” after everything, to saying “we need to wait to confirm with a doctor, you might not be pregnant.” It cracked me up. He was joking of course, I think he knew we were pregnant, but I think it is still a bit surreal for him. I have to be honest, it is a bit surreal for me too, but I feel the changes.

Our first appointment was just a “congratulations” appointment where they confirmed the pregnancy and took some blood work. On March 9th we went in for a more in-depth appointment and our first ultrasound.

It was amazing to say the least. We saw our little peanut and heard his/her heartbeat. The coolest thing for me was actually SEEING the heart beat. Wow. Our blessing was about 7 weeks along so that puts us due on October 26th.

All I can say is praise God! We are so thankful that He has blessed us with a child and we are looking forward to His plans for our life. I am astonished by how quickly we got pregnant so I know it is God’s work. Some of you may not know this, but we weren’t sure if we would be able to have a baby because of my PCOS, but we knew God was bigger than any medical issue that I had! It is all because of God that we are going to be parents and to Him we give all the glory.

Now we are about 3 months along and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat again today. I still can’t get over the miracle of it all, and sometimes it doesn’t seem real, but when I hear that fast “woosh-woosh-woosh-woosh” coming from the monitor, I know God is working hard at making little Helmstetler who he/she is going to be. It is the most amazing thing. I am happy to report that Baby Helmstetler has a strong heartbeat and I am doing pretty well. I think I am finally coming out of the first trimester yucky’s. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Praise God for that!) I am excited to get back to the gym, having more energy, and getting back to being productive. We go back in 4 weeks for another ultrasound and checkup. Because of some medical concerns, our midwife wants to do more frequent ultrasounds to make sure everything is okay with my cervix. She said there is no need to worry right now, I can continue on normally, she just wants to be safe and monitor things. I’m pretty excited about that because it means we get to see Baby Helmstetler more! We’ll see him/her at 16 weeks, and then again at 20, 24, and 28 weeks. The 20 week ultrasound is when we get to hopefully find out whether Baby Helmstetler is a he or a she! ๐Ÿ™‚ John and I will be finding out the sex of our baby, but will be keeping it and the name of Baby Helmstetler a secret. We want it to be a surprise. ๐Ÿ™‚

Always in Him and with love,

These are some โ€œnewly expectingโ€ wordsโ€ฆ

By Nicole

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