An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More Pics of Miss Lilah

Just Hours Old:

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Arriving Home:

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Five Days Old:

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Announcing Miss Lilah Margaret

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Sorry if I worried everyone. It has been a LONG two weeks! Blogging will be light until DH returns to the Sandbox...

Here is the story of Lilah's entry into the world:

My water spontaneously ruptured--which was what was worrying me when I found out she was transverse.

My friend graciously picked me up at 2:30 am on the 8th. Three doctors consulted because they were not sure if she was still transverse or not. Meanwhile, a nurse tried to get an IV in me and I refused. I wanted a hep lock. She kept saying--but when you have a c-section...I kept saying, but that is not certain yet.

Finally, they decided Lilah was a little twisted, but head down enough to proceed.

They allowed me to labor for about 8 hours but I was not making any progress at all--in fact I went backwards. With the water broken they urged pictocin. They put it all the way up and I handled it for about 2 hrs. I tried to play my hypnobirthing tapes but they kept interrupting any relaxation I was able to achieve. When they said it was going to still be a long while, I went for the epidural.

My mom was delayed at the airport--she was due in that day at noon! She arrived just as they were prepping me for the epidural.

Then we started to make progress...but I developed an infection, and the contractions stopped really working. With the epidural wearing off and pushing past the 24 hour mark, I still managed to get her out. I told the midwife there was no way I was having a c-section after 24 hours of labor!!! (OF course if it had been life or death I would have--but other than that I was determined.)

Lilah Margaret was born on August 9, 2:38 am, and was 7 lbs, 2 oz, 19.5 in. I have never felt so perfectly warm and wonderful as when they placed her on my chest.

Over the next two days, the doctors came to me with increasingly worrisome reports about Lilah having a heart murmur. Finally, they decided to transfer her to San Antonio...but at the last minute decided it would be safe for me and my mother to drive her down so I could continue to breastfeed her along the way.

Unfortunately, at San Antonio we discovered that she has a condition known as Tetralogy of Fallot. Lilah will require surgery sometime between 3-6 mos. Later is better as she will be stronger. Please pray that she will require the surgery closer to 6 mos and that they will be able to salvage the artery so she will not require future surgeries.

In the meantime, Lilah is behaving like any newborn--I just have to keep her extra calm and take exra germ precautions.

DH was able to hear Lilah's first cries on the phone and arrived back home for leave the day after our San Antonio trip.

Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes!


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Usual exam can miss potential breech births

Yeah, no kidding...

Usual exam can miss potential breech births

THURSDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) — The usual examination that doctors perform to determine the position of a baby in a mother's womb in late pregnancy
isn't sensitive enough and misses breech and other abnormal fetal positions, a new Australian study suggests.

Knowing the position of a baby in the womb is important, because if the fetus isn't in the normal head-down position — called cephalic presentation—vaginal delivery may be difficult or impossible. A non-cephalic presentation discovered after the start of labor can increase complications and even result in the death of mother or child.

Just for the record, I am far from obese (the article notes this increases the difficulty of determining fetal presentation)...but my midwife did not notice my transverse.

I agree with this recommendation:

One expert thinks that ultrasound should be done in late pregnancy to
accurately determine the infant's position in the womb.

In light of this, I hope these late ultrasounds become standard.

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Transverse Update

Thank you everyone for your words of support.

I know you will understand that DH and I will have to make the decision that is best for us and Lilah.

I've gotten over the surprise that Lilah is in the transverse lie position at over 38 weeks. and am focusing now on encouraging her to turn and remaining as relaxed as I can so that she can turn if she is ready and willing.

Transverse lie is NOT breech. It carries a whole different set of risks if I labor too long or my water breaks while she is in this position.

I am still hopeful that she will turn one way or another (on her own or with help) and I will be able have the natural birth experience for which I have been preparing.

Part of the difficulty is that there are basically two camps and they each think the other is completely wrong.

One camp argues that current External Cephalic Version (ECV) is a very safe procedure that turns some babies that would not have done so on their own. The success rate is by no means outstanding, but it is well-documented in actual clinical trials.

ECV is no longer the rough procedure performed under general anesthetic that it once was. A doctor procedes very carefully, monitering the baby the entire time. The risks are essentially the very thing the procedure is designed to avoid--that either fetal distress or membrane rupture or commencement of labor will require an emergency c-section. Proponents of ECV scoff at the various alternative methods.

The other, "alternative medicine" camp argues that External Cephalic Version (ECV) not very successful and represents a drastic intervention that could create the need for a c-section, anyway.

This camp supports use of a variety of treatments that run from the "why the heck not?" category (exercises designed to turn breech babies, hypnotherapy, hot and cold therapy, sound and light therapy, diving in a pool, Moxabustion/Acupuncture, etc.) to the "isn't this awfully close to medical intervention in a non-medical environment category?" (Webster technique, Cranial Sacral Massage, use of Pulsatilla).

Of these, I am open to pretty much all of them with the possible exception of the Webster technique--it seems as if this could launch someone who is close to the due date into labor. If the baby hasn't turned, we are basically back to the risks of an ECV except I would be in a chiropracter's office instead of a hospital. I might feel differently about this if I was not so far along at this point or if I had ever seen a chiropracter before...but given that I am and I haven't, that is just how I feel.

I do wish I had more time to explore these issues and that I had someone living at the house with me already. My mother arrives on Tuesday, so I will breathe a big sigh of relief at that time--hopefully sighing Lilah all the way down into a head down position.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Of Mice and Babies

Our best laid plans...well, they often go awry.

I have been listening to Hypnobirthing tapes in hopes of having a "natural" birth (without medical pain killers).

Today I found out that Lilah is 38 weeks. If I present in labor with a transverse lie, I cannot have a vaginal birth. If my water breaks, or if I labor too long in this position, serious complications are likely.

Mom is not here yet, DH is not here yet. In laws are expected at some unknown date for some unknown length of time.

I need to just hold out at least until Mom gets here...hopefully safely holding out until DH gets here.

I am a little miffed at the Women's Clinic (again) because:

(A) I realize now that her transverse position should have been obvious...why was this not address at my 36 week appointment?

(B) I did not see my regular midwife today (38 week) appointment and the doctor (and the semi-retired "expert" she called in for consult) acted like "typical" doctors. They just said, "Come in at the first sign of labor." No explanation of examination to determine if I developed late placenta previa (apparently a possible cause) discussion of suggestions for exercises or anything that might fix the problem. Of course I asked questions, but without any base knowledge of this issue, I had no idea what specific questions to ask. My general questions were basically answered with the sentiment that there is nothing I can do.

When I got home, I began my usual strategy of researching every issue to death...and what I found suggests babies in transverse at 38 weeks don't turn. Still, I am praying and hoping for a turn.

Of course, I will be very happy with any birth that results in DH and I holding our healthy baby girl.

So, I am braving the phone system of the Ft. Hood Women's Clinic tomorrow to try to get some answers...what are the odds of her properly positioning at this point? what can I do to increase these odds? at some point, is it safer to schedule a c-section rather than wait for a potentially dangerous labor to start and have to do an emergency c-section anyway?

I also contacted the Austin Hypnobirth center to see if they could give me a session to encourage Lilah to turn.

In the meantime, I have been doing pelvic tilts, while shining a flashlight at my pelvis. Tomorrow I buy headphones for the same purpose. Amusing, no?

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Prayers for the 172nd

I just wanted to say that my thoughts and prayers are with the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team and their families.

Deployments are never easy, extended deployments are never easy, and finding out just as your soldier was about to head home--that has to be difficult. A big understatement, I know.

The welcome home signs were already up; weddings, vacations, and moves were in the works; some of the troops were even back in the states when the word came down of an extension of their tour of duty in Iraq.

I know they will do their job, and the spouses and parents and kids will do theirs, but I also know their hearts are breaking. Some will be silent, others will express their heartache (A Mom Asks Bush to Reconsider). I don't know why this particular decision was made. I will not second guess in an area I don't know. Still, there is a part of me who asks, "How is this fair? Why extend a unit about to return home?"

If I may be a little selfish, I am going to say that I hope we don't start seeing more extended tours again. It is hard enough to imagine what these families are feeling--I'd rather not get a personal vivid illustration of their frustration and deferred hopes.