Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Once Again...

Today was sonogram day, and luckily for me, it started early. When the night nurse woke me for my 6:00 am meds she asked if it was my sono day because instead of the already early 7:00, the doctor would be here at 6:15. She seemed to think that would be a bad thing, but I was thrilled to have 45 fewer minutes to wait for whatever news the day would bring.

Like everything else here, the sonograms are becoming routine. It's worked out that a different nurse has taken me every time, but the doctor is getting to know me well. When today's nurse asked if I was shaking because it was so cold, he answered her before I could. He knows I get nervous, and he's even started making attempts to distract me when the nurses don't. Turns out he's not such a bad guy once you get to know him.

Once again, everything looked good, and this week that meant something hugely exciting: a visit from my Maggie who I've missed desperately for the last 27 days. I had to wait all day for Kevin to figure it all out and get here from work (and by the end of the day I was getting very impatient!), but it was totally worth it. Even though we didn't stay out long, I got a few minutes with my precious dog and was able to breathe fresh air for the first time in weeks. I couldn't have been happier. Today was a fabulous day.

Tomorrow Tate will be 29 weeks... funny how it feels like he's getting so old. :)

me, Mags, and the wheelchair!

Monday, August 29, 2011


This weekend was awful.

It all started last Monday when my doctor came in and said I'd have to do my glucose test at the end of the week. Despite the fact that everyone here told me I was wrong, I knew I'd fail. All week long the cloud of dread hung over me, and all week long people got more and more annoyed when I wouldn't listen to their assurances. Then they got the results from the lab, and suddenly everyone was quiet. I'd failed just like I said I would.

I've heard more times than I can count that many people fail the first test, and it's not something to be upset about. I get why people kept saying that, but to me it WAS something to be upset about. I hate needles, and even if I passed the second test, it meant going through a lot more blood draws. I also heard many times that the worst case scenario would be a restricted hospital-only diet and four finger pricks every day for the next two months. No big deal! I'm not clear on how that was supposed to sound positive to anyone, but to me it sounded awful, certainly much worse than if I'd faced this as my only complication and was dealing with it at home. On top of all the ways my life has been restricted thus far, I was now looking at losing the one piece of my old life I'd been able to keep. To me it was a very big deal.

The other hard part of the past few days has been all the comparisons, as if hearing stories worse than mine should make my issues not matter. Are there other people here in more dire situations than me? Absolutely, but it's not like things are all safe and fine for us either. We're almost to 29 weeks which is much better than 25, but it's still a long way from safe. We've been blessed to make it this far, but things could go awry at any moment. And I live at the hospital! Obviously I've got some problems too, so I certainly didn't want to add another to the list...

It's been a very frustrating time, but for now all of that is over. The results today were good, and aside from a very sad looking arm, all is well. Tomorrow morning I'll wake up to another sonogram, so it's quite possible that in a few hours we'll be facing some of those more serious complications... at least we had a little while to relax.


This morning started a little rough. It was dark and gloomy outside. When I got here, Adrian had already been stuck three times in an attempt to draw blood once and drank her large bottle of Glucola. We sat here waiting. Every hour, on the hour for the next three, they came in to draw more blood. The final hour was especially nice for A as they had an intern doing the sticking.

By around 10:30, all blood had been drawn, and the sun was starting to peek out of the clouds. The nurse had come in to check on A, and said that the results from the first two draws were looking promising. Still, it was a long couple of hours waiting to hear the final results. I finally left to go grab some Chickfila for A. Just after I got out of the garage, my phone rang. It was A. There was a short pause in her voice, and my heart sank for a second. The jubilation and relief that came with the words "I passed!" is hard to describe. It definitely had my allergies acting up again for the millionth time in the past few weeks. I couldn't wait to get those nuggets and get back to give my wife a big hug.

We know that Gestational Diabetes is something that a lot of people deal with in pregnancy. It wasn't the end of the world, but the possibility of adding another thing onto the pile of complications was a hard thing to stomach. It was a huge weight that was piled onto our shoulders for the past week, and that weight is gone now.

Thanks for all of your prayers.

Things to be thankful for today:
1. The obvious. No special diet and no extra needles. The road looks a lot brighter than it did a few hours ago.
2. A giant Elmo balloon that is here in front of me. One of A's friends' daughters brought it up for A on Friday near the lowest point of the weekend. It was tough to see his goofy smiling face then, but now, it is perfect.
3. Realizing that the Chickfila on 635 is quite a bit quicker to get to from the hospital than the one on 75.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Little Bit of Bad News

A couple of hours ago, we got a little bit of bad news. They ran a glucose test on Adrian this morning, and the results weren't good. They are going to have to run the more complicated test on Monday morning. It's a somewhat common problem, but piled onto everything else, this news is about the biggest gutshot we have had since the day we ended up here. It means more needles will probably be involved. It means that my evening and weekend routine of bringing her outside food is in jeopardy. Some of the last remnants of outside normal that have helped us with hospital life might be going away.

This has been a tough, tough pregnancy. From the 24/7 sickness in the first two trimesters to now, our toughness has been tested. A's especially. I'm proud of the way she has handled it. She's been a trooper and has shown me how to keep things going. This latest change is testing her as much as the day we got here though. Please pray with me for comfort for her, and that she will feel loved. Please pray that she'll find some extra strength and courage to keep chugging along this hard road today. This isn't the time to worry or comment about test results or what may happen next week. Just please pray that she'll find comfort in the situation today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Non-Birthday, Tate!

Just under three weeks ago, we had no idea what today would look like. Would we have already met Tate? We hoped and prayed that we wouldn’t, and asked you guys to do the same. There is a small brightly colored index card sitting on the table next to A’s bed. The card was part of the neonatologist’s discussion with us the second day we were here. Week by week, it showed two things. The top row was the likelihood of Tate surviving if born at 24, 25, 26, 27, or 28 weeks. The bottom row showed the likelihood of him being born without major problems with lung or brain development. In those numbers, one thing was very clear. Getting to week 28 would be focus #1.
We still have a long road ahead, but today, we celebrate that milestone. 28 weeks. We celebrate a boy who we haven’t met yet, and a God who is faithful. We have been blessed beyond measure. If you’re in the area of Medical City this afternoon, drop by for a visit, have some cookie cake, and celebrate Tate’s non-birthday with us. If you want to come and don’t know your way up here; let me know, and I’ll get you directions and the room number.
Thanks for all your prayers and help these past three weeks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Good Day

Today is a good day.

The past couple of days were extremely hard. Part of what makes being here bearable is having the regular nurses around, and this week there have been lots of floaters. The random people are totally qualified, but they do things differently and are far less personable. It makes sense. Why would this person who knows she's unlikely to ever see me again care to get to know me? I understand why they behave the way they do because it's exactly what I would do in their situation, but understanding doesn't make dealing with it any easier. Most days my nurse is the first thing I see when I wake up, and until Kevin gets off work she's often the only person I talk to... so when the person who comes in to wake me up is unfamiliar, I know immediately that the day is going to be rough.

Yesterday I woke up dreading another floater, and sure enough, that's just what I got. She actually tried harder than most to be kind and understanding, but Monday isn't the day to offer me a list of random ideas to improve my mood. I was extremely stressed about today's sonogram, so what I really needed was reassurance. The only problem is that since this woman had never met me, she had no clue what to tell me or any background to suggest that reassurance would even be appropriate. For all she knew my fear was justified. At any rate, her attempts to be helpful ended up being more upsetting, and by lunch time I gave up and resorted to sleeping just to avoid talking to her for awhile.

Luckily today more of the regular people are back. Of course, it's also sono day... which has turned out to be filled with good news. Since tomorrow will be 28 weeks, the doctor took a more detailed look at Tate, and he was great as always. He's measuring pretty much right where he should except for his extra long legs (no surprise there!) and now weighs 2 lb 10 oz. My measurements were good this week too, showing another week of no progression. While there is a small chance that there could be signs of improvement, no one seriously expects that to happen, so continued stability is very exciting.

Tomorrow, on the last day of week 3 in the hospital, we'll reach our first milestone of 28 weeks. On August 4, this day felt unimaginably far away, but it's finally here. I can't wait!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Mondays are full of uncertainty. Tuesdays are sonogram mornings. After two of them so far, we don't know whether to be excited or terrified. The bed rest is still doing its job. Nothing has gotten worse since A's been here, and we are very close to the important milestone of 28 weeks The first week of sonograms showed a small improvement. After things had gotten significantly worse over the span of the previous week, this was amazing, encouraging news. The second week wasn't necessarily good news, but it wasn't bad news. It was basically no news. Things were a little worse than the week before, but definitely not as scary as the day A was admitted.

We again don't know what to expect tomorrow. The uncertainty is a huge part of what makes this tough. It's been a somewhat rough last couple of days. It hasn't been Tate. He's been a good little guy. The room is wearing on us both a bit. It's been very quiet and a bit lonely. They've been on a gap in the nurse rotation, so some of the familiar nurses have been gone and floating nurses have been here. The floaters haven't been bad, but that familiarity with the regulars that I talked about the other day was nice. Even with plenty of nurses in my family, I have never quite appreciated them as much as in the past few weeks. Weekend TV is pretty bad. Karate Kid 4 really didn't seem that good any of the many times it was on, and you can only watch so much Say Yes to the Dress and 48 Hours Investigates.

With as long as we'll hopefully be here, there will be plenty more ups and downs. Lots more fun days and hard days. Lots more sonograms and bad TV. Lots more good news and in all likelihood some more bad. Please pray with us for tomorrow. Pray for good news. Pray that Tate will behave and that there will be no change with anything. Pray that we will be prepared for whatever they say. Pray for patience and perseverance with the hospital bed. We constantly remember that staying here is what means that Tate will be healthier and stronger when we meet him. In the long run, this is a blip in time. In the short run, it feels like it might never end.

Things to be thankful for:
1. The Boy in the Plastic Bubble. After some random mention of it on TV, A and I watched it over the weekend. Great, cheesy fun.
2. Weekly parking passes.
3. Brownies. Both from Whole Foods and day old ones from one of the nurses.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hard Days

Today’s been one of the hard days. One of the days where it feels like there is no end in sight. I never mind meandering paths to get to places, but I hate feeling like there is no direction at all. Today is one of the days that under normal circumstances, I’d either sit around and watch tv or maybe take off on a Half Price Books trek and listen to a lot of moody music. Instead, I can’t be that selfish, impulsive Kevin.
I know the direction and the goal. A healthy wife and a healthy baby boy. I know my role right now is to keep things together and moving forward. I have the easy job.
Today's three things:
1. Music. Get Lonely by The Mountain Goats happens to be the album in particular today.
2. A laugh
3. A sunny day. Yeah, yeah, I know it's been this way for a long time, but the sun feels especially good today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

On to Week 3

Tate's first big milestone of 28 weeks is now five days away. Only five. That sounds so much more manageable than 20. Next Wednesday we'll be having a party to celebrate.

My first big milestone has actually already passed. I don't completely understand why the first two weeks were considered such a critical time, but from the beginning my doctor has been all about getting through the first two weeks... and we're officially done! This morning when she came in she informed me that her new goal is to have me here long enough to meet every doctor in the combined Dallas and Plano offices of her practice. Since I only see other doctors on weekends and she was on call last, I'd have to be here six more weekends before I'd hit all eight doctors. She was halfway joking, but even that is a big change from where we were. No one was joking two weeks ago.

So it looks like life is calming down. There's far less discussion of the next few days and far more discussion of preparing to be in the hospital until October when Tate would be 35 weeks. The constant stress of the first few days has mellowed into a predictable routine of monitoring and medications, and in many ways, I feel more secure now than I did before all of this happened. I'd just prefer to feel this safe at home...

Tomorrow starts weekend number three, and I can't say I'm looking forward to another boring Saturday... at least we're getting closer to our goal.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


A and Tate have had a good last couple of days. She's settled in to her cheerful room, and he's behaving. Thanks to my job and the Sawyer's, Maggie and I have settled into a pretty nice routine too. We both miss A at the house, but she continues to amaze at her 24 hour job here at the hospital. I've explained A's job to Maggie. She understands and said she'd do her part too. She keeps the yard clear of pesky squirrels during in the morning and the house safe and clean in the afternoons.

Today marks two weeks of hospital life for A, and to a lesser extent me. In two weeks time, A's seen the hallway twice. I've learned my way around here pretty well. The nurses know when I'm coming and going. The guy down down in the cafeteria now knows me by my ice cream purchase. The lady at the parking pass place remembers how to spell my last name. The parking lot attendants don't say "Have a nice evening" when I leave around 5:00. They know they'll see me again before the night's over. I'm able to give elevator advice to the newbies who can't seem to figure out how to get to the 8th floor.

For a guy who thrives on variety and tends to like to remain anonymous, this routine and familiarity feel good. It means that A and Tate are in good hands. The longer we are here; the more familiar it will become. The more familiar it becomes; the bigger and stronger Tate is getting.

Today's little things:
1. A's bumblebee and 5:30 Rocks parents. A loves her kiddos. Seeing some of her former students and girls from her small group has been a huge lift.
2. My aircard. It's letting me spend more time up here while still being able to get work done.
3. I got the desk that was in Tate's room sold. One more step down towards getting his room ready.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


The nurses who work in this unit have said since day one that there would be moments when I'd fall apart. I'd assume that's common for any hospital stay, so I can't say that I doubted them. Of course, it has quickly proved to be true... yet, somehow it still surprises me when it happens over and over again.

In general I'm a pretty cheerful patient. My two main nurses call me "Sunshine," and for once it actually fits... until I hit a wall. The past few days that's happened a lot, and this afternoon was no exception. I'd hoped for better news this morning, and after a few hours of contemplating the news I actually got, I was feeling overwhelmed with knowing that after a week filled with uncertainty I'll have to do this all again next Tuesday.

And then, just like every other time I've thought I couldn't do this for one more minute, God provided an out. Last Tuesday it was a surprise sono. Saturday it was a nurse who took the time to chat with a woman she barely knows. Today it was a mom and three of my former students who arrived with flowers, cards, and cookies along with their precious smiles.

By the time they left I felt refreshed and ready to do this for another week, but about an hour later I was surprised again by one of the girls from the small group I lead at church with notes from my group and sweet verses she had written down for me to read when I get scared. Then not too long after that another Bumblebee showed up with her mom. The day that started out to be discouraging turned out to be one of the best so far, filled with children I adore.

I haven't always believed that God is truly faithful and often struggle to accept that I really matter to Him, but when I look at how the past three weeks have played out, it's harder to argue my point. Nothing about this situation is fun, but Tate and I are safe. Yes, it's hard to be me right now, but every time I think I can't do it anymore, He provides a way to get through, even if it's as small as a kick to remind me why I keep going. I would have preferred He keep us safe in a different way (like perhaps a normal pregnancy), but He's been faithful in big ways even though this is hard.

My nurse will be here any minute with my last meds of the day, so day 13 is almost over. Tomorrow Tate will be 27 weeks and still hanging out in my belly... on August 4 we never thought we'd make it this far.

Another Tuesday

It's Tuesday which means it's officially my most dreaded day of the week. I absolutely hate the weekly sonograms, and I'm pretty sure that's not going to change. This week was far less stressful than last thanks to the distractions provided by my lovely nurse, but it's still scary to know that the course of our lives could change in a split second based on the results.

Today the results were good: everything is basically the same which means no new restrictions (yay!). The high risk doctor is confident that we'll make it another week, probably further, and suggested a 28 week party for next week to celebrate our first big milestone. My regular doctor was even more positive, pointing out that the fact that things are still stable even though the baby is now two weeks bigger is great news and bodes well for the next two weeks. It's definitely refreshing that no one speaks in terms of days anymore. It's always weeks now, often multiple weeks, but it's a little discouraging to think about just how many weeks we have to go.

I know I should be super excited about another good sono. Everyone else is, and I know they can see that I'm not because they keep telling me what great news it was. Part of the problem is that although the doctors say I'm stable, I'll never be completely stable. Measurements will always change from week to week, and since I'm me, I remember exactly what the measurements were before and know without being told if they are better or worse. I'm not good at accepting that anything within a certain range is considered ok. I want same down to the millimeter, or I want better, not a few millimeters worse. Last week stable meant a few more millimeters. This week stable meant a few less. It's hard not to worry that next week I'll be looking at another smaller number.

But for this week all will stay the same, and for that I'm thankful. Another week for Tate to grow, and selfishly, another week with no IV (HUGE fear!). At least I'm not at staff development!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I've learned a lot about hospital life in the past eleven days. In some ways it's sort of the opposite of life at home. Days are easier than nights, and weekdays are far more bearable than weekends. My emotions run high or low with very little middle ground, so it's easier to become overwhelmed. I'm essentially trapped in my bed, dependent on others for most things and isolated from the outside world, so having the right nurse is everything. It's a unique situation, but for the most part I've adapted enough to make it work... most days anyway.

Yesterday was hard, probably the hardest day since the day I was admitted. It was cloudy outside, and since Kevin spent much of the day sleeping, I spent much of the day alone with my thoughts. I never cease to be thankful that I'm here where I know I'm as safe as can be, but during those hours of staring out at the dreary day it was hard not to think about the unfairness of it all. The vast majority of pregnancies are relatively uncomplicated, and of the women that do experience complications, only a very small number will be faced with this sort of extended hospitalization. Many of those hospital stays are caused by things the women could have prevented had they followed their doctors' orders earlier, but in my case, there's nothing I could have done differently. I would never ever EVER consider not doing what my doctors say, so I have no desire to leave this bed... but sometimes I wish I could just be one of those average women who doesn't have to worry every time she moves.

My nurse came in yesterday at a particularly low moment, and after crying with me for a few minutes, she cheered me up. She told me how great I'm doing so far, even on the hard days, and how sure she is that I'm going to get more good news on Tuesday because I DO follow the rules. Then in another reminder of just how different things are now, she encouraged me by pointing out that if we reach our first goal of 28 weeks with no progression, I'll probably get wheelchair privileges (occasionally someone could push me downstairs to go outside) which would mean Maggie could visit. It's the sort of thing that's only encouraging in a very specific situation, but for yesterday it was the perfect thing to bring a smile to my face. She stayed and chatted with me for almost half an hour until I was feeling less overwhelmed by reality, and by the time she left I was ready to face another long night. It's too bad she can't just be here every day...

I'm excited for tomorrow when I know things will get easier again. Today has been totally fine, but when all the rest of you are back at work tomorrow my job will seem great! For now I'm holding onto the fact that because I'm here, Tate is still safe and healthy. This may not be fun, but it will be worth it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lazy Day

Things are going well. Tate is checking out well on his daily monitoring. He still likes to hide a bit and has been known to fall asleep while they want to check him, but everything is looking perfect. A is getting gold stars for her compliance, cheerful demeanor, and colorful room. She makes the nurses laugh.

A lot of my rushing around is done for now. Starting today, the marathon portion of this race started for me. It made for a weird day. For the first time in a week and a half, things were slow. I've spent most of the day here at the hospital. The phones were quiet. Other than a short visit from A's parent's, it has been just the two of us today. I ran out once to grab some breakfast and then later in the day to grab a shower and some dinner for A. I need to fight the urge that I have to always be on the move and enjoy today for what it was. A lazy Saturday.

Today's things to be thankful for:
1. Naps. Probably caused by equal parts of a busy week plus me trying to read a book about the bond markets, but I dozed off several times today.
2. A clean house. After my parent's earlier in the week, and A's parents this weekend, the house is cleaner than it has been in ages.
3. The 3M corporation. Without their post-it notes, this would be a different room.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Easy Job

Week 2 is off to a fabulous start. My current favorite nurse will be here for the entire weekend. When my doctor came in, she cheered because we're halfway through the most dangerous two weeks. I'm finally settling into enough of a routine that I'm sleeping through the night (at least until they wake me up for my meds), and I've spent the last 30 minutes or so watching Tate roll around in my belly which is pretty amazing to see. It's been a great Friday so far.

I'm starting to think that I've really got the good end of the deal in this whole situation. Yes, I'm the one stuck in bed, but I don't have a lot to worry about. Someone takes care of me every minute of every day. I don't have to deal with the pressure of providing for our family or trying to tie up all the loose ends that I unintentionally left behind. Don't worry... I'm not in denial. I fully grasp the implications of what's to come, but if the shoe were on the other foot and Kevin was the one laying in this bed... I don't think I could be the other person. That job sounds WAY harder!

My life has completely changed in the last eight days, but it's really turned out to be a pretty good change. Even though Tate's behaved well and stayed right where he's supposed to, I became a mommy late last Thursday. When I was admitted that morning I was still regular old selfish me. I'd heard other women talk about how much they loved their unborn children, but I felt nothing. It's hard to explain, but he just didn't feel real yet. So when I cried for hours straight, not one of those tears was for my child. I cried because of the pain and discomfort I was going through. I cried for the freedom I was losing. I cried because I was scared for myself, not for Tate. It was completely selfish. Then my doctor came in and explained the magnitude of what was happening and that she was seriously concerned that this baby would be here in a matter of days, and I finally understood what those other women were talking about.

What I do isn't fun, but it doesn't matter anymore. There's only one possible response. I follow the rules and deal with painful shots and uncomfortable exams because it's the only thing I can do to help keep my son safe. When I hear his little heart beating and watch him kicking inside my belly, it's easy to do the right thing, even if I know it means putting myself through something I'd rather not go through. He's real now. He's part of me. He's my Tate, and he matters more than my selfish comfort. I definitely got the easy job.

Only 12 more days until 28 weeks. We're almost halfway there! I can't believe how quickly the time is going...

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Today was the first day I really cracked. Coming into today, I had an idea of what I wanted Adrian's birthday to look like. I've always liked to surprise her, and I was wanting today to be a day full of calm surprises. I didn't really succeed on much of my plan, and I was somewhat upset about it.

While waiting at the to-go counter at Chuy's to grab A's birthday dinner, I read a Facebook post where she mentioned what she was thankful for today. It snapped me out of my daylong funk and caused my allergies to act up a bit. She had a great day. She felt loved. Tate is staying put. These days are precious.

Happy Birthday my love. I'm so proud of you.

26 weeks and 1 day...

Today was my 30th birthday. It was also day one of my second week in the hospital. Not exactly how I imagined this day would go...

That said, it's been a great day. Tons of people have been in and out of my room. I had Society Bakery cupcakes to share with everyone. I've gotten more birthday wishes than I can count and some very sweet notes and gifts. Aside from being stuck in my hospital room I couldn't have asked for more, and I feel very blessed.

At this point, there's not a lot of daily news. My doctor visits every morning to check in, but we'll mostly be waiting for my weekly Tuesday sonograms. As far as anyone can tell things are still going well, and considering where we were a week ago, that's very encouraging.

Anyway, I'm exhausted (yay!), but we're another day down. Tate is 26 weeks and 1 day old now, and I'm 30. Very thankful that we won't share a birthday!

Birthday Scheming - Plan B

So technology has bitten me so far today. I couldn't get the hospital wifi working with my grand idea, so now I've moved to plan B.

One of Adrian's birthday gifts is a digital picture frame. This particular frame has an email address AdrianAndTate@kodakpulse.com . Anyone in the world can attach a picture to an e-mail sent to that address, and it will show up. My plan was to have that thing updating throughout the day with pictures from whomever felt like sending them. Now with plan B in place, the frame is sitting here at my house. It will still receive email all day. Later tonight, I will bring it back up to the hospital updated with whatever you folks might want to send to it. I'll probably be taking it offline sometime around 8:00 tonight and bringing it up to finish off her birthday. I wanted A to have as many visitors as she could stand today, and I was hoping this might be a fun way to get some folks right to her room who otherwise might not be able to visit.

If you get a sec, take a quick pic and send it to her frame. I want her to have a lot to see and smile at later tonight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hurried Shopping

Today was a crazy day for me. I didn't make it up here to the hospital for the first time until around 4:00 this afternoon, making it my longest stretch away since we arrived at 8:45 last Thursday morning. I didn't really like being away that long. I get to enjoy time with my amazing wife, and things slow down. My time outside is mostly hurried. I've been doing a lot of running around. I get home, play with the dog, eat a little bit of food, and then usually have something to pick up at the store. I run through the store, picking up things that are typically outside of my realm of expertise. Admittedly, the only shopping expertise I have exists at music stores and Half Price Books.

I got some really funny looks in the Target lingerie department while holding my cell phone in one hand and a pair of purple striped pajama pants with the other. The funny looks were probably because I was holding the pants up to my waist trying to figure out if they were long enough for A. I bothered a sort of creepy old cashier lady in the Dillard's hosiery department trying to find slipper socks. She couldn't find any. I had an electric toothbrush whose on button was much easier to access while still in the package than the off button. Under the stare of a concerned Target employee, I finally got it turned off after a minute or two of fumbling. I searched every possible store at the intersection of Park and 75 for a light-weight, twin-sized down comforter. Just in case you are curious, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Homegoods, TJ Maxx, Dillard's, and Nordstrom Rack are not the place to find one. Macy's is your best bet. All in all, I think I've been pretty successful in my shopping endeavors. I don't know if A would completely agree, especially with the one trip that involved me returning with a bag full of new clothing items....all of them had stripes...none of them matched.

Today's things I'm thankful for:
1. Raegan, Rachel, and Alexa. These three, plus a couple of teacher's from A's old team with an assist from Alexa's laptop, took time out of their schedule to help me pack up A's classroom this afternoon. I would have done a much worse job, and it would have taken much longer without their help. I would have attempted to pack up 6-ish years of school gear in two large baskets.
2. Our families. My parents, sisters, brother in law, niece and nephew are in town today and tomorrow. A's mom and dad are coming tomorrow night, following up a visit from her sister earlier this week. They have all already done so much from afar, and been so patient with me as I've been trying to get things settled.
3. It's 10:18, and I don't have to leave this couch tonight. My dad is staying with Mags, and I get to stay with A.

Please check back here first thing tomorrow morning. It's A's birthday. If technology agrees, I have an assignment I'd like for people to help with in celebrating my favorite girl turning 30.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This morning my nurse woke me up an hour early and announced that the high risk doctor was here ready to do my weekly sonogram. I knew that was going to happen and was totally prepared (in other words, filled with dread)... except it was supposed to be Thursday. Since it's not like I really have any choice, I climbed in the wheelchair and let her push me down the hall, but I was totally freaking out at this sudden turn of events.

See, most pregnant women think sonograms are great. Those are the people that don't consistently get bad news. It IS fun to see the baby, but particularly right now, the stress of wondering what they might find crowds out that little bit of fun. So by the time she'd gotten me set up on the table I was shaking uncontrollably. I was by myself with a woman I'd just met this morning and a doctor I've seen for less than twenty minutes, and I was about to find out if anything had changed. I was terrified.

As it turns out, the news was good! The doctor did another check of Tate's heart since that stinker refuses to behave during his daily monitoring (he prefers kicking the monitors then moving out of the way), and everything still looked great. Most importantly I was unchanged... which is HUGE since the change the week before had been significant. For now it appears that what we're doing is successful, and everyone is hopeful that we're going to get another week.

Today has been fabulous, and after five long, hard days I really needed this one. Several people have commented on my positive attitude, and I'll admit, even I'm pretty surprised at how well I've been able to focus on the good. It's not my natural response, and after yesterday I was worn down from the complete helplessness and lack of answers. I needed something hopeful to hold on to, and although a surprise sono wasn't my idea of a good way to start the day, God had a better plan. He gave me just what I needed.

Tomorrow will be 26 weeks! 15 more days to our first milestone, and for the first time I'm actually hopeful we'll get there...

The secret is out!

Until this week it wasn't that hard to keep our baby's name secret. People would ask, but aside from a couple of very persistent relatives, everyone was accepting of our plan. A few people even turned it into a game, and I have to admit, it was highly entertaining to hear all the guesses. No one ever even got close.

However, one of the first things I learned about being in the hospital is that everyone wants to know your baby's name. I'd assume it's because it makes the conversations more personal. It definitely has for me. It's one thing to hear someone talk about threats to the baby or the fetus. It's another altogether to hear them talk about my Tate.

Our baby boy's name will be Noah Thomas, but we're going to call him Tate. I know it's a bit of a stretch as a nickname, but you know what? No one's going to criticize my choice of name at this point! I've always loved the name Noah, and Thomas came from the name of a dear friend. But for some reason Tate just fits better. For awhile I wasn't sure, but the more I get to know this child, the more certain I am that we've chosen correctly. His name will be absolutely perfect.

It's time to stop typing and let them hook up all the monitors, but now the secret is out. I'll definitely be writing more later... this morning has totally rocked. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adapting to my New "Normal"

Day five is almost over.

Just saying that is a little surreal. I should have spent today getting ready to go back to work, but instead I'm almost a week into an indefinite hospital stay with no idea what's going to happen next. The weirdest part is that this already feels normal.

My hospital room is becoming vaguely homey, and I'm settling into a routine. The course of the day is all determined by the time I spend hooked up to fetal monitors as soon as I wake up. If baby is behaving, I'm free to start my day. If there's any sign of a problem, I stay on the monitors until things settle down. Those first 30 minutes are the most stressful of all, but once the doctor gives the all clear the weight is lifted... at least most days, at least for awhile.

Today the anxiety never totally left. While this has become familiar and far less scary than the first miserable 24 hours, it's just starting to sink in that "no bad news" is about as good as it's going to get. I think I want someone to sound hopeful that five days in everything is still going well, but the reality is that things could change at any moment, without any notice. I have to find hope in getting no bad news, and today that didn't feel like enough.

But, at least for now, we're one day closer to the ultimate goal and only one day away from 26 weeks, and although I'm not feeling quite as peppy, I'm thankful that tomorrow I get to do this all again.

Back to Work

I made it back to work for a little over half the day today. I may give my bosses a hard time every once in a while, but they are all class acts. We've got so much going on at work that it isn't a great time for me to be in and out of the office, but their understanding is making this time a lot easier to manage.

We're still working on what normal looks like. I don't quite know when or if we'll find it, but that's ok. Last night, I slept here at the hospital since one of Maggie's two favorite nannies drove from Oklahoma in an un-airconditioned car to stay with her (Her other favorite gets here late on Thursday). I won't be able to be here every night of our hopefully long stay, but I truly enjoyed being able to. The couch isn't the most comfortable, but it's just about long enough for me, and you can't beat the location.

We called our families yesterday and let them know what our baby boy's name is going to be. We were going to keep it a secret until he was born, but decided that we'd spill the beans yesterday. You might get it out of A one day before too long, but probably not today.

Today's 3 Little Things:
1. Maggie had great company last night while I got to stay with A.
2. Even in inconvenient times, my company believes that family comes first.
3. The couch at home is 11 minutes away from the couch in the hospital room.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Who would have thought...

This week I have much to be thankful for.

If you'd talked to me before Thursday, I'd have said something very different. For a number of reasons I won't go into, summer had been hard, and although it sounds really callous and insensitive, I was sick of being pregnant. I know that there are tons of people who would have given anything to be in my position. I was one of them for years, but from the other side, pregnancy has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. I've been sick for months, and even before things went bad, I constantly worried about my baby. Not exactly fun.

So I wasn't feeling so thankful. I was actually a little bitter, but by Friday afternoon that had all changed. It seems counter-intuitive that as my life was falling apart I started feeling LESS bitter, but that's how it's worked out. Maybe it's because there's so much that's bad and scary that I'm now overjoyed at every bit of positive news, but I think the change mostly came when I realized how much worse the situation could be.

The thing is, I had NO obvious symptoms of preterm labor. It's not like I went into the doctor with complaints that would lead to this diagnosis. I felt totally fine, and if she hadn't wanted to double check a totally separate issue, no one would have ever known anything was wrong. I would have gone on doing all my normal stuff, including going back to work with a new set of kindergartners... right up until it was too late. Luckily, that's not what happened.

And because of that one decision, we have an almost endless list of things to be thankful for. As of now, the medications I'm on are keeping things totally under control (as far as we can tell). We've been able to postpone delivery long enough to allow the steroids to take effect which gives our baby boy a huge advantage if he is born this week. I'm safe and sound and watched over by some fabulous doctors who will be able to immediately intervene if something else does go wrong. When I think of what could have been... going into labor way too early while at school or even out of town, far from help, having no clue what was happening or why... this is SO much better than that!

Now for some specifics prayer requests...

1. Statistics say there's a 50/50 chance this baby will be here before August 18, but there's no way to predict which 50% I'll be in... which is hard to accept. Pray that I can let go of the statistics and focus on the fact that as of now all is fine, and my baby is staying put!

2. Pray that the medications I'm on to prevent contractions will continue to work with no further dose increases. Keeping this under control seems to be the biggest focus for now.

3. Pray that we make it to August 24 when Baby B will be 28 weeks. Obviously longer is better, but even just 28 weeks would be HUGE!

I'm off to continue my very busy schedule of laying in bed and watching TV... you know you're jealous. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Plans

Once we found out we were going to have a baby, I knew that things were going to have to change. Me time, me money, and me mindset would have to change. Not as many trips, not as many concerts, not as many restaurants. I had sort of planned out a last hurrah leading up to November. For August, I had an extra day and a half packed on to a business trip to San Francisco. I was going to make sure to hit up Amoeba Records and Tartine and Golden Gate Park and as many of the other places in one of my favorite cities in the world. For September, I had already bought some nice tickets to see one of my favorite bands. They came in the mail on Thursday. Two of my favorite bands happen to be playing here that night, so I was trying to figure out if I could reasonably make it to both. I wasn't sure what October held, but I was sure something fun would come up. At the very least, I'd be heading down to an Aggie football game or two. I was slowly getting things together. I was working on getting the house refinanced. I was slowly getting things set up and ready for a baby around the house. All in all, I was mostly focused on me and how my life was going to change.

Since Thursday, every one of those plans has changed. The trip will be canceled on Monday. The concert tickets will be up for grabs. (Anybody want to buy 4 pretty good Explosions in the Sky tickets?) Aggie football tickets will be given away or sold. My focus has had to shift from those things I wanted to complete before my life changed to making sure that I am doing everything I possibly can for my wife and our son.

Over these last two days, I have been so thankful for people who haven't been as focused on themselves as I have been on me. You people have been nothing short of amazing. Tons of people have offered help in any way they possibly can. I'm having to forgo my normal reaction of saying I can do it myself and accept. Our families and friends from home are amazing, but they live hours away from here. They will do anything we ask, but the little things that folks around here have done and offered to do give me such a peace. This love has been working hard on my selfishness and pride.

Today's Three Little Things to Be Thankful For:
1. Adrian got a good night's sleep last night.
2. A call I received last night from a friend that I have not done a good job of keeping up with. In that selfish, isolated mode I tend to operate in, I let relationships with people die on the vine. I really appreciated his reaching out.
3. I bought a Kindle a couple of weeks ago on a bit of a whim. It has been a nice, convenient way to pass the time.

Friday, August 5, 2011

So it's not as bad as I thought...

A week ago I went to the doctor for my routine 24 week checkup. As far as I could tell all was well, so it should have been no big deal. In fact, as I was walking out the door I quickly grabbed a dollar for the parking garage. Just one because there was no way I'd be there more than an hour. Little did I know how wrong I was...

By the end of that appointment, for me, everything had changed. My doctor didn't give me any official restrictions, but even through her typical calm demeanor I could see she was clearly concerned. That was only reinforced when she scheduled a follow up for yesterday rather than the end of the month. What little confidence I'd mustered that things would turn out ok was gone, and despite the fact that pretty much everyone around me thought I was overreacting and the next appointment would be fine, I knew there was no going back. Every time I moved I was scared something would go wrong, and I knew that fear wouldn't diminish no matter what the outcome of the next appointment. Selfishly, my absolute worst fear was ending up on hospital bed rest away from Maggie for as long as 15 weeks. I was sure I couldn't bear it.

Unfortunately, my fears were less off base than usual.

So here I am, laying in bed, and it's not as bad as I thought. Don't get me wrong, it's not fun, but it's completely bearable... the being in bed part that is. The missing Maggie part is wretched. On the upside, I'm learning a lot. Apparently I'm the exception to the rule in that I'm horribly concerned about possible outcomes for my baby and terrified to get out of bed. The neonatologist came in this afternoon to fill me in on what life's going to look like if this little one insists on coming out this week, and the first thing she said is that she's usually called up here to chastise non-compliant mothers who are sure that everything will be fine rather than to calm down an overly anxious one. I'm pretty sure I actually laughed out loud because my immediate thought was, "Who on earth are THOSE people?" Even now, hours later, I find it completely absurd that there are women who could be told their babies might be born at 25 weeks and be anything less than horrified, but she promised they exist.

Nonetheless, meeting the super awesome baby doc was the highlight of my week. Yes, it would be bad if he's born now, but it's not as dire as I originally thought. And there's a good chance we'll make it at least another week or two. If we make it to August 24, there's a 91% chance that IN THE LONG RUN, he would have no major complications. Yes, his life would start with an extended stay in the NICU, but there's a really good chance that eventually he'd completely catch up. She also said that when it comes to developmental delays, our impact as parents will be greater than any impact she can have as a doctor. Looks like all those years working with my little ones are going to pay off!

So today I'm hopeful. It's one more day towards 26 weeks, and although the odds aren't good, each day without further progression is a good sign. Hopefully we'll be counting for a long while.

And just for you Suz... the three things I'm thankful for today:
1. When I blindly chose a doctor long before I was pregnant, God guided me to someone who I adore, and she was able to admit me to the hospital rather than the obnoxious high risk guy... meaning I get to see her daily rather than him.

2. She just so happens to be at the only hospital in the area that will be able to care for both me and our baby, regardless of what rare or obscure complications he has. Many women in my situation would have their baby whisked away to another hospital immediately after birth. I won't have to worry about that.

3. I've gotten so many texts and emails of encouragement that I'm having a hard time keeping up. I've felt very alone recently, but today I feel immensely loved.

Until tomorrow...

Day 1

Today's the day after everything changed. I'm sitting here in a hospital room watching my wife go through the hardest thing she has ever gone through. She has hardly slept in the past 30 hours. Emotions range from scared to lonely to angry to content. Our baby is 25 weeks and 2 days old. He is healthy in every way for a baby that young. He's spunky. He likes to kick the monitors. He likes to hide when they try to take his picture, just like me. There are no problems except that the biology of the current situation says that he might be introduced into this world earlier than would be ideal.

We don't know what the next days, weeks, months, even years will hold. We are standing at the front end of something that we don't know how to handle. We've got to figure out what the new normal will be. It will changed daily.

People have been amazing so far. Our family has been ready to drop anything they have going, drive for hours, and come help with anything at a moment's notice. Friends and coworkers have been ready with a kind word and offers to help in any way possible. Yesterday, completely out of the blue a dear friend of Adrian's was able to make it over here to comfort and bring a smile to Adrian's face as she was adjusting to the news and her room and her bed and the situation. I don't think that God could have put a better person in this room with her yesterday.

She left an assignment on the dry erase board here in the room. Adrian needs to list 3 things she is thankful for....every day. There are big, overarching things that we can be and are thankful for, but I want to keep track of some of the small ones.

Here's my 3 things for today:
1. Suzanne was able to come to bring the kind of encouragement A needed yesterday afternoon, and keep her company when I ran home to grab some of Adrian's things.
2. The night nurse was amazing. She comforted my scared and lonely wife while I was at home getting some rest and checking on the dog.
3. Speaking of that dog, she was perfect yesterday. A loves Maggie so much. A was so worried about her being inside alone for so long. Seeing her sitting on the couch waiting patiently for us to get home made me smile after a long, hard day.

I'm starting this to get updates out to friends and family and keep everyone in the loop. I'll be posting whenever we have news. We really appreciate everything that everyone has and will be doing. We feel very loved in this hard time. Please keep us in your prayers.