Freedom at Last!

So this morning, Friday June 1,  was “the doctor visit” that would determine if I would go insane or keep my sanity.  I received another cute ultrasound.  After all the baby measurements, I glanced up at my doctor and said, “So am I finally off bed rest?!”  She said, “Yes.”  I didn’t ask her any more questions because I didn’t want her to change her answer.  ALLELUIA! I was now 2-3cm dilated and 100% effaced so she still said to take it easy. There wasn’t really anything I wanted to do, I just wanted the freedom to do it if I needed to.

As soon as I leave the doctor, I head to my fitness studio.  My first time being there since March 27.  All I did was some administrative things and by the time I left, I was so worn out.  I go home and once again put myself in bed to rest.  Imagine that!  I didn’t want to push myself but I also liked that a had mobile options (even if limited).

Saturday was similar.  Milton and I went to charizYa Fitness so that I could see all of the ladies after Jessica’s Zumba class.  It was so great to see them.  It was also a sad time because I announced that I would be closing the studio at the end of June once my lease was up.  Afterwards we walked across the street to the bank.  Those two things tired me out so once again I went home to rest. Later that night we went to Cold Stone Creamery and ate some ice cream and then back home we went again.

It’s the simple things that make me happy.  I have a license to drive and I’m finally able to use it!

Mother’s To Be Day

Today Baby Turner has made it to 34 weeks. Each and every day is a blessing.  Although I thought I’d get off of bed rest this week, my doctor would like to keep me on for another week – so bed rest lives on.  It was a difficult transition at first because I went from being  in the hospital and having EVERYTHING done for me, to being at home and having just the opposite.  Luckily I have an AMAZING husband that has been there 100% of the way and has never complained.  I see how tired he is most nights, and a couple of times tried to help out.  But I was told to lay back down and bake a baby.

This morning, Mother’s Day, I woke up to the following post from Milton on my Facebook wall:

Michelle: I have watched you grow literally and figuratively over the past eight months. A little over a month ago, I got a call saying that you had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance because of pre-term labor. I rushed to the hospital not knowing whether our son would be OK at little over 2 lbs. You were told you couldn’t get out of bed for a month, but you used love, patience, and ingenuity to help our baby grow to more than twice his size. You beat the odds when even your doc didn’t think you could make it this long. All the while, you still ran three businesses from a hospital bed. I know it was hard and we shared a lot of tough times and contractions together, but you learned the great skill every great mom has: sacrifice. Mothers sacrifice everything they have for their kids and you are living, walking (ok, maybe waddling right now), talking proof that that nothing is more valuable. Thank you for giving our son a chance at a healthy life. Happy Mother’s Day, baby. I love you.

Of course it brought tears to my eyes. Milton helps me realize that being on bed rest is not just about being lazy all day, it’s about creating a safe haven for a developing baby.  Seven weeks ago my child try to make a special early appearance.  Seven weeks.  And for seven weeks I’ve helped slow down that process. Like Milton said, it’s the beginning of many sacrifices I’ll make.

Today was somewhat hard for me because I miss my mother.  Both of my parents are deceased and today brings up the realization that neither will be around to raise/spoil their grandchild.  My mother was one of the most amazing people you could meet.  I don’t say this just from personal experience, but everyone that met her said the same.  Even after her death, people were doing things to honor her.  Nobody can replace my mother, but luckily many of her friends have stepped in to do motherly things. Currently a group of them have started organizing a food delivery list so that Milton doesn’t have so much to do after working a 10 hour day (with a two hour commute). They have been a blessing.

What would have made my mother proud is that I reached out to them for help.  As an only child, one my my mother’s largest worries was that I didn’t reach out to people when I was in need and always tried to do everything by myself.  I’ve come to realize, though, that especially once I become a mother, I will need people’s support, love and advice more than ever.  Life is all about relationships.  Some are built over time and some are unexpected. My mother has an amazing legacy because of relationships she established with others.  I think I’m finally prepared to do the same.

Hairy Communion

Milton and I had a great weekend together, mainly because we were able to spend quality time together. I still hate that he has to run around so much doing errands for the both of us but he says one reason he got married is to be the provider and protector.

I was hoping to have some sense of normalcy while in the hospital and today some of those things happened.  It started with a phone call from Chenica.  Chenica is my AMAZING hair stylist that I’ve had for several years.  Many of my friends now go to her also.  I knew doing my hair everyday was not something that I could maintain, especially with my hair being pressed flat against a pillow. I reached out to her to see if she could help and on Monday afternoon she stopped by.  I washed and conditioned it.  Then she blowdried it and put it back in twists.  The nurse and cleaning lady (both African American) came in while she was doing it and commented on how much hair I have.  Although my hair probably looked very wild while she was blowdrying it, the finished product has made life easier.

Around the same time, Lucinda, the rector at my church, St. Matthews Episcopal, came to visit.  She brought not only conversation, but communion.  I had been down that I would be missing Palm Sunday and Easter, so I loved that communion could be brought to me. My church has a very special place in my heart.  My mother and I faithfully attended every Sunday and many yearly traditions that I look forward to each year are based in that church.  Although my mother has passed away, it’s been great to now share those experiences with Milton!

A Taste of Freedom

All of my symptoms have been improving.  All of my IVs are gone.  I just get monitored twice a day and I can eat whatever I want.  Today I was even told that I could take a wheelchair ride twice a day for 20 minutes. HOORAY!

After watching a Palm Sunday church service on television, Milton and I decided to go on a walking date.  Well, make that strolling date.  He wheeled me downstairs and we went around the entire block of the hospital.  It felt good to see the sunlight and move around.  We saw a great patch of tulips. It wasn’t necessarily the smoothest ride and Baby Turner did kick some while in route, but I definitely appreciated the opportunity.

I thought about the people that live their entire life in a wheelchair with someone pushing them around and how difficult it must be on both individuals.  I still have full use of all of my limbs and am just temporarily inconvenienced.  Baby Turner is good, I am good, Milton is good – everything is going to be alright!

Bed Rest Diaries

Once I was settled into my room, I started dealing with the reality that my regular life as I know it has changed.  My Type A personality came on and I had to get in major planning mode.  I called my friend and great Zumba instructor, Jessica, and she helped me get everything in place for the fitness studio.  I made a list of things for Milton to bring from the house.  I tried to explain in detail where each item is since I couldn’t be there to point it out.  I called all of my family and friends to let them know what had happened.  Everyone said to be strong.

Wednesday night and Thursday morning I was put on a clear liquid diet.  For those that don’t know what that consist of – chicken broth, apple juice, jello and italian ice. The first time I ate it, I actually looked forward to it since I hadn’t eaten in 10 hours.  I was still on strict bed rest and had to use a bedpan when I needed to urinate. Thursday was difficult because for the first time I was having to be dependent on everyone else. The bed was my island and all the action happened around me.

Thursday at lunchtime I had graduated to regular food.  For the meals here, you given a menu of foods and you can call down and decide what time you want to eat.  For my first meal i chose pizza (surprise) and chocolate cake.  It was good for the simple fact that I hadn’t eaten real food in 24 hours.

I had originally been on magnesium, but they stopped giving me that. The round the clock baby and contractions monitor was taken off and now they only monitor me twice a day. Freedom was mine – as long as I could do it from my bed.

The most difficult thing about Thursday and Friday was my concern for Milton. I experienced a major setback, but Milton experienced an even larger one with more emotion. Here both his wife and unborn child are rushed to a hospital, Milton is driving back and forth to the house to get all necessary items, when all he wants to do is be by my side.  Everything I’ve always done to maintain the household now falls on him.  He turned into the ultimate provider.  His job could tell how overwhelmed he was that they made him take Friday off – which was good for the both of us!


Swept Off My Feet, Just Like That

I woke up excited Wednesday morning because I had a pregnancy massage planned.  11:00am to be exact. Happy, happy, joy, joy!  I was 27 weeks pregnant and my body really needed it. I called my doctor’s office to see when I could come and have my cervix measured.  They didn’t know a time at first, but soon called back and said to come in at 11:00.  Yuck!  I picked up the phone and canceled the massage.  I walked in the office as normal and went into the ultrasound room. They did a transvaginal ultrasound.  As soon as they started, the lady said, “We need to get a doctor.”  Of course I became worried.  My doctor was not in the office but Dr. Link entered.  They were unable to recreate what they saw but they did save a photo of it. I was told to get dressed and the doctor would talk with me in his office.  Not good.  He said my cervix was funneling and that I needed to go home and rest. He said he’d follow up with my regular doctor and to come back in a week for another measurement.

I got dressed and went to my fitness studio to drop something off. As I was headed back down to the car, my phone rang and it was my doctor, Dr. Kuntz.  She asked if I could stop by the office.  Sure, I replied.  I’m thinking I’ll go in and come right back out and continue my errands. I walk back into Baptist East Hospital and got back on the contractions monitor.  They were still better than the day before.  I was given another transvaginal ultrasound. Although they saw some funneling, my cervix measured fine.  I was getting ready to be let go and then my doctor asked if she could go on and do a regular ultrasound so we could check the baby.

This excites me because I get to see Baby Turner again.  This time the mood changed.  They saw what they call “dynamic cervix funneling” and it was something they could only see on the abdominal ultrasound.  I knew something wasn’t right but didn’t exactly know what was going on. Long story short: my doctor called the Advanced Fetal Medical doctor, he said I need to go to the hospital with a Level III NICU, I was moved via ambulance (during a hail storm) to University Hospital and immediately placed into a room.

I tried to be cool, calm and collective until that moment.  I hated having to call Milton to tell him the news and just wanted Baby Turner to be okay. Of course he was very nervous and left work to meet me at the hospital. An IV was placed into my arm and monitors were placed on me to monitor my contractions and Baby Turner’s heart rate.  My newly appointed doctor, Dr. Weeks came in and did another abdominal ultrasound. Milton was there by this time and we were both able to see the funneling. Here’s the best way to describe it. My cervix measures fine in it’s normal state.  However, whenever I have a contraction this big funnel appears (which is my water sack) and it gets very, very, very close to my cervix – which means there’s a great chance my water could break.  This made Dr. Weeks very nervous, especially being only at 27 weeks.  So, I was told that I would be on bedrest – in the hospital – until I’m at least 32 weeks along.

This broke my heart.  I had so many plans for the month of April and now each and every one of them needed to be canceled. I thought about my Zumba studio and the fact that I wouldn’t be able to see that beautiful group of ladies for awhile.  It was overwhelming because I had no time to prepare my life for the drastic change.  Fear, stress, worry (and hunger)  all took over my emotions.  I tried to remain calm, though, because I knew it was all being done for a cute baby boy that needs to “cook” just a little longer before he can join us!