Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night

Still pregnant. Things have remained the same. The doctor said this morning that if I lasted 35 weeks, they would induce me. He also complimented our room and said he encouraged other patients to bring in as much stuff as we have. He also said that my condition was fairly common and that it was people like me with extended stays who "pay the bills" of the hospital and keep it running. Thanks Doc.
Luke Sullivan came by to visit me today while he was working in South Bend and delivered some candy :).
The baby was moving around so much this evening that three different nurses couldn't put him on the monitor. They got the doctor's approval to "leave me alone" for the evening after trying for an hour and a half. Mikan's inability to be monitored is reminiscent is one of John's many toddler temper tantrums in JC Pennys. Might have to break him of that habit early.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thursday Evening

Jenna continues to crochet a baby blue blanket while watching SportCenter. Jenna enjoyed bed yoga once again today. The doctor Jenna met with today and said that 35 weeks is probably going to be the ultimate goal to keep the baby in for. That would make late April. We are at 27 weeks and 2 days right now. The doctor was unwilling to provide a percent chance that a C-section would be required. There is a higher probability that Jenna will have pre-term labor for a future pregnancy, but not necessarily the same situation we are going through now. Overall, Jenna is doing well.

The leaking continues, but the baby continues to urinate. The baby does move a lot. Therefore, this gives the indication there is a decent amount of amniotic fluid available. It also is a sign that the baby is still pretty small.

Every new nurse comments on our room decoration and food supply. I think decorating the room sends Jenna's cervix a subconscious signal to keep the baby inside for as long as possible. Our house is not as well decorated as the hospital room.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Thursday Morning

Sorry for being late. The blogger site had a maintenance outage last night. Everything with Jenna and baby is still good.

The baby is doing well and Jenna is doing even better. No contractions, cramping, or dilations. It appears as though the chances are higher for a C-section with Jenna's ruptured membranes. The reason for this is because the umbilical cord could get in a squished position during regular labor.

Jenna did bed yoga today and the baby is resistant to being monitored. "He likes to squirm around and hug his mom's spine" as Wednesday night's nurse put it.

My brother and his wife came to visit this evening. They brought my dinner along with delicious strawberry sugar cookies with a creamy ice cream. We had to eat all of the cookies so that Pete could take his cookie carrier home. It was a nice visit, but they still have not been to our house in New Carlisle yet.

Another day down! Thanks and please keep the prayers coming, Jenna and baby are thriving on them.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jenna's first day alone...kind of.

The baby is still doing well by all measurable signs. Heartrate, kicking, no contraction, no dilation, all is good. The doctor said that Jenna looks really good. It's amazing how much the doctor and I agree about these kind of things. There will be an ultrasound next Monday to give us an update on amniotic fluid levels and approximate baby size. Jenna had a couple of pains that are associated with the baby moving around and hitting some of her nerves.

Jenna's dad visited, played cards, had intelligent conversation, and brought Jenna a Subway sandwich. Once again, it is always good to see family and friends in these uncertain times.

I was able to go to school today and tell some of the story of the past week. I am not sure how much middle schoolers were able to understand about what I told them. They were entertained by my hand drawn sketches of pregnant Jenna. Hopefully, they got the message that having babies is serious business. It is certainly more serious than I ever thought it would be.

Monday, February 25, 2008

One Complete Week

Another day down! This is officially one week in the hospital. While on bed rest, Jenna has actually lost about 2 pounds this week. The doctor said it is because of the hospital food. The baby continues to appear to be doing well according to all measurable signs. Today is Jenna's last day for antibiotics. The doctor said that if she were to continue taking antibiotics, the bacteria inside her may become resistant to antibiotics. If this were to happen, then the baby would be at risk of having a superbug infection at birth. The doctor also told us today that if we make it to 34 weeks, they may induce labor because the risk of infection inside of Jenna would outweigh the benefits of development that would go on inside of her. Jenna will not allow me to post an update on her use of laxatives.

Jenna was able to work with an occupational therapist for the second time and do bed yoga. In the most serious portion of the meditation, the baby was delivering some serious kicks/turns/twists to Jenna's stomach. During Jenna's bed yoga, I went for a walk along the St. Joe River. It was nice to get outside a little bit.

Jenna's dad came to visit today on his way to Chicago. He brought us some laundry that Jenna's mom did for us. He also brought us Subway sandwiches. All of this was much appreciated. I am not sure if I mentioned this last week, but the faculty at St. Adalbert created a care package of goodies and reading material that Jenna and I are thankful for.

Jenna knitted a baby blue baby hat today.

While I have mentioned that I am going back to work tomorrow, there is a chance for a snow day! We are expecting about 6 inches of snow between late tonight and tomorrow night. I think it is supposed to blow around too! But if it does snow, I won't have to brush off my car because it is in the parking garage. At home, we have a one car garage, so I always park outside and have to remove snow. So, while we are in the hospital, bring on the snow.

Yesterday, Jenna and I looked up George Mikan's biography of Wikipedia. We plan on naming our baby Mikan. After reading about how he became the first big man in professional basketball, we have become even more excited about the name. Before Mikan, there was not a goaltending rule in basketball (they later made the rule because of his shot blocking ability). Also, when he was a kid, he spent 1.5 years in bed with a shattered knee. He wanted to be a priest before going to DePaul University, where he worked hard to develop his agility after being labeled as a clumsy big guy. His parents were also Croatian, like my great grandparents.

Sunday, February 24, 2008


As far as the baby goes, everything continues to be good. Jenna's stomach has been bothering her (laxatives, indigestion, and baby action). Quote of the day: "If our baby doesn't play soccer, I don't know what. For real. Simmer down. Stop kicking me in the gut."

I wanted to let everyone know that the amniotic fluid continues to be replenished inside of Jenna at a rate of about 0.5 liter each day. While the amniotic fluid continues to come out of Jenna, we are unsure of the rate of the leak (definitely less than the initial flow). There is a very outside hope that the rupture in the membrane could heal. Our last ultrasound was on Monday. We expect our next ultrasound to be at least a week from now. They space ultrasounds to be at least 2 weeks apart because the size error in the images would make measurements meaningless if they are too close in time.

We were worried during the morning monitoring of the heart-rate. The heart-rate was consistently around 150 bpm, but then it dropped to around 80 bpm for about 6 minutes. It turns out the baby moved away from the monitor and then the monitor started picking up Jenna's pulse.

We had some nice visits today with family and friends. My prolific Aunt Mary and Uncle John visited this morning on their way to pick up some Kimes boys from St. Mary's little sibs weekend. I am interested in hearing how Joey, Robbie, and Danny faired at St. Mary's. Jenna's friends Angela, Aubrey, Kathleen, and Jason stopped by for visits this afternoon also.

Today was very relaxing. We watched television Mass and noticed the irony of having the readings be about water (Moses story of drought and Samaritan woman at the well). Jenna also had the hospital chaplain bring her communion. He asked us what our occupations were. Upon finding out that I worked at a Catholic school, the priest asked how we planned on paying for our child. Good question, we're frugal.

We are thankful for making nearly a week with Jenna's water broken. I am worried about going back to work this week. Jenna is so tough, that if she starts to feel different or worse her first inclination is to wait it out. If she feels anything different in her body, I consistently hand her the nurse call button so she can let the nurse know what is going on. I am trying to train her to let the nurses know if there are any issues.
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. We are continuing to benefit from them.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Another day down! After meeting with our doctor, we have a new goal date. The doctor said that everyday that Jenna is pregnant that is three days less in the NICU. The doctor also told us that babies who make it to 28 weeks have a 90% survival rate and and 90% intact rate. While babies at 25 weeks are 50% survival and 50% intact. The word intact means the child turns out "normal," meaning no chronic lung disease and no learning disabilities. So right now we are between the 50% and 90% time-frame. The 28th week will start on March 4th. The doctor said we should have a party when we make it that far.

The reason 28 weeks is so important is because of lung sac development. Once a child is born, it has all of the sacs (aveoli) that it will have for its life. Therefore, the longer the pregnancy the better, as we already knew. Right now, the baby is only gaining about 15 grams (about 0.5 ounces) each day. More energy is going toward development than growth right now.

Jenna's aunts visited today. They brought a nice basket of goodies and talked for a couple of hours. It was nice to see them.

Jenna is taking a nap right now. She wants to try and stay up for Saturday Night Live tonight. We heard somewhere that Mike Huckabee was going to be on tonight. I don't know that she or I would vote for him, but he is entertaining. But I think Colbert would make for an interesting vice president.

We got J.T.'s (My sister Annette's baby) birth announcement yesterday. We like the camo pants. It looks like he is ready for capture the flag this Thanksgiving.

Continued thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, February 22, 2008


The status remains the same-very good. All measured signals (baby's heartrate, no contractions, no dilations, Jenna's temperature, blood pressure, and white blood cell count) are good, except for being in the 3rd percentile of amniotic fluid levels.

Tonight Jenna took 6 pills with dinner (4 zithromax-antibiotics, 1 prenatal vitamin, and 1 folic acid). As we get ready to relax and watch Jeopardy, I cannot help but remember living with Grandma Gensic.

For not "working" this week, it has seemed to take awhile to get to Friday. Jenna started bed yoga today. She enjoyed the small amount of stretching and isometric exercises. She feels good that she can go to sleep thinking that she did "something" today.

Jenna's mom left today after visiting both Thursday and Friday. We thank her for looking over the house. Thank you to all family and friends who are taking care of our house. You can turn up the hot water heater and furnace.

If you are thinking of coming to visit and wonder what you would do with children who may get restless in a hospital room, bring a football or frisbee. I am itching to get out and run around a little bit. There is a park just a short walk from the room.

We are thankful for all of those praying and thinking about us. It has certainly been working. We are excited about the doctor we have. We are staying sane and Jenna feels comfortable.

Pictures of the Room

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day Four

Still pregnant. No infections, dilations, or contractions. YES! During the 8 am monitoring this morning, Jenna was laying on her right side for about 2 minutes and the baby's heart rate went down. The nurse came in and made Jenna switch back to her left side. The amniotic fluid continues to come out at varying rates throughout the day, based on the baby's position.

Jenna's mom, principal, and English department head came to visit today. The English department chair from New Prairie had a child at 27 weeks 12 years ago. It has been interesting listening to hear all of the stories from people who have been in similar situations. I think they want Jenna to stick around New Prairie. Jenna's mom gave Jenna a pedicure and a facial, two things I forgot to do in the last 3 days.

We have been doing things to help create an environment of "we're going to be here a long time." We taped up about 15 pictures from our trip last summer throughout the room. We have 3 plants on our windowsill. We put up a couple of posters. Also, a common comment from nurses sounds like, "You guys have more food on your shelves than I have at home!"

We are also starting to do things that will help us from feeling too cooped up. Today's highlights for Jenna were: Taking a shower and using the restroom. Tomorrow, Jenna may be able to start bed yoga. As for me, with Jenna's mom around, I got to go for a walk down by the river. I may have seen a Hooded Merganser, always a good sign.

We appreciate everyone's support and prayers. We welcome healthy (no one who may be contagious/communicable) visitors. If you plan on visiting, give us a call to give you directions because the hospital is under construction and parking is difficult.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day Three

Jenna is still pregnant. She has not had any contractions, dilations, and has shown no signs of infection. The baby is being monitored for heartrate at 8 am and 8 pm each day. This morning's monitoring looked and sounded as good as we can hope for. She had her first bloody nose of her lifetime today. That is due to the dryness of the hospital air. They keep the air so dry so that air-born bacteria/pathogens cannot be spread. The steroids (betamethazone) will have full effect on strengthening the baby's respiratory system (lungs) and circulatory system especially the walls of blood vessels in the brain by tomorrow morning. She has been on a myriad of antibiotics since she came here (zithromax, amoxicillin, and ampocillin?) to reduce the risk of having the amniotic fluid become infected. She is also on a stool softener to reduce the risk of constipation, and that is all I am allowed to report about that. Overall, today was uneventful. We hope to keep the coming weeks this way.

Our hospital room has a window facing south. It is nice to get some natural light into the room. We are looking forward to the lunar eclipse tonight. For being in South Bend, we have actually had some sunlight the past couple of days.

This evening Mary Ann brought us some KFC which was much appreciated.

Cable television offers more options than Jenna and I are used to. Jenna's favorite show on television is Univision Telenovelas. Her goal for the next 12 weeks is 1.) Stay Pregnant 2.) Learn Spanish. I have been catching up on Sportscenter. We also watch the newborn channel for short periods of time (lots of information). We also watch the news a lot.

Jenna is one hot momma.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Second Day

Jenna is still pregnant-good. Our next short term goal is 3 am Wednesday morning. That will be 24 hours from the second steroid shot which will help the baby's lungs develop. Jenna is starting to settle in a little even though she can smell the amniotic fluid leak. We have been hearing about many stories of people who have been in our situation. For each story there seems to be a unique outcome. We like hearing those stories.

Okay, now for other random updateable information. The fluid consistency is unchanged. No blood, no color. She is starting to take oral antibiotics instead of through the IV. Her white blood cell count was at 22 at last check. The baby's heart rate looked good in the morning hovering around 150 bpm. No contractions or dilations. Jenna has group b strep. Therefore, the baby will be treated during and after delivery for it. Her blood pressure is low, which apparently is not a huge concern. She can only get up to shower and use the toilet.

We are feeling better today than yesterday. I hope that is a common comment for the upcoming month or two. As each day passes, the percentages grow in our favor. We played RISK today with my sister Nikole and my mom. The game ended because Nikole had to get home. Jenna and I tied for first. Nikole came in third. While mom did well in her first RISK game ever, but still was annihilated from the face of the earth by the black army. My mom also brought carmelcorn which was good. We like the healthy visitors.

During the morning monitoring, the baby was being obstinate toward the nurse. Every time she got the heart beat, the baby would move and then bump or kick the monitor. The nurse kept saying to the kid, "Okay buster!" or "We need to put you in time out!" So the first nurse left and got another nurse who also struggled to place the monitor in a good position. After about 40 minutes of efforts they were able to get the apparatus set up and record the beats. The baby is active, and according to the nurse, somewhat defiant.

Monday, February 18, 2008

End of the first day

The baby is still inside Jenna, and that's good. Jenna is done with her third year of teaching at New Prairie High School. The principal made making decisions and the whole process very easy. There has been a lot of support coming from the New Prairie/New Carlisle, and St. Adalbert communities which is great. We thank everyone for their support and prayers.

There haven't been any contractions or dilations. We still don't know if it is group b strep or not. Jenna is going to get another steroid shot at 3 am to increase the lung power of the baby. The amniotic index (some measure of amniotic fluid) is low, with the continuing constant leak.
We are tired and ready to rest at the hospital for awhile. The nurse encourages guests but discourages kids, or adults who are ill. Right now we are trying to make it through the first 24 hours. We are pretty close to that. But we'll wait, see, and react.

One day at a time

Last night, right after Ryan Newman won the Daytona 500, Jenna's water broke. We weren't real sure what was going on. So we both fell asleep around 10 pm, then woke up around 12 am. We called her parents, called the doctor and headed to the Hospital. They tested the fluid and sure enough it was amniotic. Therefore, we are going to be at the hospital until the baby arrives. The longer it takes the better. We are worried about infection, the condition of the umbilical cord, and the turgor pressure of placenta. However, there haven't been any contractions yet and no dilation.

There is no explanation for why this is happening. I have some hypothesis:
1.) Jenna and I had a conversation yesterday afternoon about how struggles and hard word lead to character development. We talked about how we didn't want our kid to have it too easy. I think God will take care of that worrying.
2.) Saturday we went to the Shedd Aquarium, Soldier Field, and Field Museum in Chicago. I think the baby heard what we were talking about and wanted in on a piece of the action outside.
3.) It got above 50 degrees yesterday and the baby wanted to go outside to play.
4.) The excitement of watching Ryan Newman passing Tony Stewart in the 50th running of the Daytona 500.
5.) Wait, I'm a science teacher. There must be a physical reason for the occurrence. But it happened and now we react to the hand we've been given.