Wednesday, May 28, 2008

6 lbs. 1 oz!!!

We took Valerie in for her 2-week pediatric appointment today, and she has gained 11 oz. in the past week!! I am thrilled - I thought she looked bigger, but never thought it would be by that much! Two nights ago she hit a new level of HUNGRY - nursing at 10 p.m., 11, 12, and 1 a.m. and then again at 3 a.m. Then she let us sleep until 7.

Leave it to the Phantzis, though, to find a way to have a newborn and still stay in bed until noon... we have these great dark curtains that my sister put up for us, so after breakfast at around 7 Valerie and I just go back to bed...
(I know this picture is sideways)

Friday, May 23, 2008

at home

So we are home with little Valerie, safe and sound - here she is in "newborn" sized-diapers relaxing on the lambskin that was a gift from Wendy and Dave (we've switched to preemie size for now). Eats, sleeps, and poops! I am getting better by increments every day; the latest achievement is being able to get in and out of bed unassisted! Also, an increase in my blood pressure medication and going off the pain meds altogether has resulted in much better blood pressure readings - FINALLY! It will probably take from 6-12 weeks to get back to some semblance of normalcy, but for now I'll take what I can get. And now to bed, for anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours until she's hungry again...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Please welcome...

Valerie Lynn Phelps Jantzi
Born by cesarean at approximately 9 a.m. on May 15, 2008
5 lbs. 10 oz., 18 inches long
Current status: sleeping!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Coming down the pike

1 day, 13 hours, and 45 minutes left until the OR.

How strange is that?

Terry and I had a long talk with the Doc last night, who is unwilling to let us postpone the cesarean (in hopes of the baby turning) or go to acupuncture (which is supposed to help turn baby) because of another high BP spike on Sunday morning (157/114). She just doesn't feel like the potential risks are worth the potential benefits.

So tomorrow we start the paperwork and other processing.

I feel like I have dealt with most of my fears, except perhaps the fear that we're making a big mistake by not just walking out of the hospital and insisting on doing this on our own terms, without major surgery. I feel like the baby is happy and doing well where s/he is, so why take him/her out right now?

On the other hand, I've read enough blogs to know that the potential risks are very real; babies and mothers have died as a result of pre-eclampsia. Even though I don't have pre-e now, it's such an unpredictable condition.

So it seems like erring on the "safe side" means giving myself up to the knife.

I can't imagine what it's going to be like to finally meet our baby.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

News Flash: Grading Raises Blood Pressure!

I don't know if it's the sitting up, or the actual act of grading, but as the final round of term papers come in I'm trying to figure out how to get my work done while keeping BP low(er). Yesterday morning I sat up for two hours entering grades and downloading papers; by noon BP was 164/111. So after lunch I just lay in bed watching TV, and by 4 p.m. we were down to 128/84.

It probably makes a difference who is taking the BP, and which cuff they use, and even which arm... but I do see a pattern in higher BPs after grading sessions. So my plan is to limit myself to 45 minutes at a shot and take long breaks in between. Thanks goodness for ANTM marathons on the tube.

Last night Terry and I went downstairs to the cafeteria for a "date night" - we also took a turn around the gardens (they make me take a wheelchair). After dinner we came back upstairs and watched a movie on my laptop. It was fun :-)

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Tuesday was not a good day. High BPs, tired, just lay around all day with a headache.

Wednesday was a very good day. Had a visit from a family friend who prayed for me, another visit from a pal who brought flowers, lower BPs, felt much better.

Thursday was another good day. Lower BPs again, Terry brought me a mini carrot-cake (he had to one-up the flowers!), got to watch "Survivor."

Hoping for another good day tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Pointing at a child-sized hospital bed with metal bars that can be raised or lowered on all sides: "Who is that cage for?"

Monday, May 05, 2008

Long Day

Today felt like a long day. The usual rounds of monitoring and so forth were mostly all good news; BP still not where I'd like it to be though. Around mid-morning, the doctor popped in and announced that she's scheduling me for a c-section on May 15, then popped out again. I was slightly stunned, but also excited, and also disappointed, not sure what to feel really. I like to have a Plan. I like knowing what's going to happen next. Uncertainty makes me anxious. But at the same time, it did seem so final.

I called Terry; he had a lot of questions but the doc had already left to do other things.

After lunch Anita, Solana and I went out to the hospital gardens to relax in the dappled sunshine. Solana had fun running around the garden paths collecting dandelions for us while we talked and I let my hair dry in the sun. She declared herself a "baby tree climber" (some species of animal that eats leaves) and threw leaves into the little creek running through the garden. We colored and relaxed and watched ants collecting the crumbs from Solana's chips.

At about 4:00, Terry and I met with our doula to catch up on everything that's happened since my hospitalization. While we were talking, the doc came by again and was able to give us the whole run-down on their thinking, based on the measurements and monitoring they've been doing. Much better than just having me try to repeat all her explanations.

The bottom line is that there is still a gray area within which the cesarean might not happen: my BP would have to stay below 140/90 for a good long time, and the baby would have to decide to flip. The reason for scheduling the c-section is to reserve that time slot - it's easier to cancel one than it is to squeeze one in.

So, just taking it one day at a time. All that thinking though pretty much tired me out. And then I finally finished grading the current set of papers from the class I teach. Their re-writes are due next week; I told them that the original due date of May 13 still applies, but if they want to be certain that I grade them and not somebody else, then they need to get them in by May 9th. So it's a pretty short reprieve right now!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

no news is good news

I'll post pictures soon, but wanted to post a quick update: no change.

I'm much more at peace with the situation now, however, and was so happy to be allowed to go to a shower that my friends here organized for me on Saturday. It was great having Anita there, as well as my aunt Cathie (who of course gave us books! My favorite thing!)

This afternoon Terry took me out for a spin in the hospital gardens since it was sunny and beautiful out.

Baby continues to look good in all the monitoring.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Long-lost relative

Meet Lucy Phelps! Yes, PHELPS!!! I'm not making it up, even though the name tag didn't really show up in the picture. It's pet therapy night again... and wouldn't you know, tonight's furbaby had a familiar name! I think I can see the family resemblance, actually. She's a Shi-tzu/Maltese mix. Cute! I hope my baby's not this hairy though :-)

Medical update

It's been a lot to process - but here is the current picture as best I understand it.

The Doc came in on Monday with a portable ultrasound machine to check on the baby's movement and the amniotic fluid. We could see it practicing breathing, sucking its fists, wiggling around, and plenty of fluid. All is well with the Critter! S/he seems perfectly content to hang out in the same breech position s/he's been in for over a month, elbow poking at my belly button.

We had a frank discussion about blood flow, placenta, contractions, and whatnot - as I understand it, I had a contraction while on the monitor the other day which showed that the baby "doesn't like" contractions. More specifically, the contraction seemed to compromise the blood flow to the Critter. Because high BP can also negatively impact blood flow through the placenta, that's additional cause for them to keep me here for regular monitoring. They ordered another 24-hour urine test, which came back yesterday still low for protein. In other words, I'm still in the the "gestational hypertension" category, not officially pre-eclampsia, although at least one of the Docs (I see three, on rotation) believes I will certainly develop actual pre-E at some point.

I don't mind the bedrest, and I don't mind being in the hospital. I even like the food, for the most part! What I do mind is hearing that even if the baby were to turn head-down, they'd still probably want to do a C-section because of concerns about blood flow during contractions. Assuming I don't get worse (e.g. progress into full pre-eclampsia), they'd want to do this at 37 weeks - two weeks from now. Having my sister here has brought me a long, long way closer to feeling ready for the baby as she is working on preparing the physical space and helping me figure out what "stuff" we still need. But mentally? I've never had major surgery, and frankly I'm pretty much scared spitless. But Terry is a very calming influence (believe it or not) :-)

What's encouraging are all the people who have rallied round with e-mails, phone calls (if I don't pick up when you call I'm probably on the monitor or in the bathroom!), offers of help, visits. I'm going to spend the next six months writing thank-you notes, I think!