May 18, 2012


It hit me at 1:00 AM on Sunday morning. Mother's Day. I woke up to nothing in particular, but one thing was certain, I felt like I couldn't fully breath. Like each breath didn't nearly satisfy. And I began to panic.

Before I let myself get too worked up I made my way to the bathroom. That's typically what I do when I wake up in the middle of the night, although this time it wasn't the reason. But I felt suffocated by the darkness; the dizziness the light caused when I turned it on made it no better. By the time I was back to the bedroom I was in tears. And pacing. And woke up Seth in the meantime.

"Do we need to go to the emergency room?" I didn't know what else to do so I mindlessly began putting on my  clothes. I knew this wasn't about to go away anytime soon. What good was it to sit around, or pace around, while I waited it out or should there actually be something seriously the matter. 

We rushed upstairs and I opened the door to my parents bedroom. (We were in Minnesota that weekend celebrating my niece's first birthday.) "What's the matter!" exclaimed by dad. I had never seen him wake up and jump out of bed so panicked. My mom met us outside their room and all agreed I should be taken to the hospital. "Does everything seem okay with the baby?" my mom asked. The baby. The baby! Everything below the lungs felt fine, although I hadn't felt her since I woke up.

Seth pulled up directions to North Memorial Hospital, my birth place, on his iPad. My dad said a quick prayer over us and we dashed out the door. Few words were exchanged in the car except those I used to try to explain what was going on. I was thankful to have Seth. My protector. And while I sensed his deep concern, he knew what needed to be done and rolled though several stop signs and a red light or two to do so.

There was no waiting when I arrived. The pregnant nurse behind the counter immediately brought me to the adjacent room where she took my blood pressure and fashioned me with identification bracelets. In the patient room, the ER doctor, husband to an OB, and nurse number two, also pregnant, began asking me questions about what was going on. Both were extremely sympathetic. I explained the shortness of breath and acknowledged my response may be nothing more than a panic attack/anxiety. Because when you feel like you can't breath, apprehension ensues. 

The doctor explained this may be exactly what it is. As my pregnancy progresses, additional pressure is put on my lungs. Couple that with pregnancy hormones and my reaction is not uncommon. While this was the likely scenario, the doctor ordered a CT scan of my chest in case this was being caused by a blood clot in the lung, which can be very serious.

So pregnant nurse number two prepped me with an IV so that a contrast solution could be injected for clearer imaging. (Nurse number two unknowingly blew the vein.) I was then wheeled into the scanning room where I was laid onto my back, hands over my head, and a protective sheet was placed around my torso to protect my belly. Already unhappy in this position, especially since I am not supposed to be on my back when pregnant and could feel the pressure on my uterus, the radiology nurse noticed the defective IV. This nurse was also unsuccessful in his first attempt and moved to a location on my wrist. Success at last. I did my best to try to hold myself together but I began to feel heated and my blood pressure was rising. To make matters worse, the nurse announced that he would be asking me to hold by breath for several seconds during the scan even though I still couldn't breathe well. 

The actual scan didn't take more than a few minutes. On my second pass through, the nurse told me to hold breath (I did the best I could) and at the same time I felt heat go through my body from the chest to bladder from the solution. The scan was over, but I lost it and nearly gave Seth a heart attack when I was wheeled back into the patient room where he had been waiting. He thought I had already heard some bad news, but I was able to explain the traumatic experience between sobs.

The results came in about 30 minutes. They were negative, as I had expected. The doctor offered to give me something to help calm me, however the medication was classed where neither he nor I felt comfortable with taking since it could be harmful to the baby. So with information about anxiety/panic attacks, I was discharged with the recommendation to follow up at this weeks' appointment with my OB.

Seth and I both were exhausted when we got home. I was presently surprised to be able to fall asleep, now nearly 4:00 AM. 

Sunday was a tough day. I never felt the same kind of shortness of breath that I had felt in the night, however I still felt very emotional and shaken from the night's events. It didn't help being at church for my niece's baby dedication followed by attempting to be social at lunch with relatives and the reading of Mother's Day cards.

I could only hope this was the last time I had such an experience. Unfortunately this is not the case. So if you're reading, I would more than appreciate your prayers. 

May 7, 2012

It’s a Girl!

The time has finally come that I can proclaim it from the rooftops: We’re having a girl! And we’re ecstatic.

After receiving the news during the second ultrasound of the day, I managed to ward off my tears as far as the hallway outside the doctor’s office. There, Seth and I stopped. Seth beamed with a smile as he held me together (literally) and I began to come to terms with reality that my fantasy for having an eldest son would not actually become a reality. But only shortly after on my solo ride home (Seth and I having driven directly from work) the Lord began a great work in me. I was reminded of the post I wrote on March 2. God doesn't give us what WE want; He gives us HE wants according to HIS purposes. And over the course of the next couple of days before the big gender reveal party, I am proud to say that I am going to be a mama to a daughter.

Gender Reveal #1
A long three days after finding out the gender, the big party hosted by the Pietrini parents finally came. I was so excited to have my sister come in for the event (and to help me register the following day). It's  been a long time since we've had time together just us "seesters."
While gender reveal parties are somewhat new to expectant mothers and their party throwers, and inspired by the single source of inspiration, namely Pinterest, Maria (a.k.a. grandma-to-be) nailed this one.
Team Pink and Team Blue were exactly even! 
Team Blue
Team Pink

To reveal the gender, I filled a decorated box with pink helium balloons.

Gender Reveal #2
My coworkers also wanted to have a (cupcake) gender reveal party of their own (particularly because it meant there would be cupcakes) so I told the cupcake master of the second floor the gender on that Monday afternoon, and on Tuesday morning arrived these:

My division and other friends throughout the building gathered around, standing to my left if they thought I was having a boy and to the right if they thought I was having a girl. Unlike the balance at Gender Reveal Party #1, the guess was about 15-3 in favor of a girl. And as you already know, the majority was right.
Gender Reveal #3
At this point, my parents were about the last to know the baby gender - the exceptions being the students in our youth group, and the full Facebook community. Seth and I arrived in Florida on a Friday, however my parents still wanted to wait until Saturday to share the experience with my sister Sarah, her husband Peter and baby Elora arriving that afternoon. Up to this point, I had successfully been able to conceal the news before the appropriate reveal (doing my best to call the baby, "the baby"), however I had one "she" slip of the tongue in the car from the airport with my parents. Apparently it went unnoticed.

Shortly after my sister's family arrived, we gathered in the living room equipped with a boy and girl balloon and German chocolate cake (both provided by my parents) and a small wrapped gift to reveal the gender to my parents. 

Watch and see the reveal.

Following the reveal, my dad shared a blessing from my parents, as well as one that Seth's parents sent along. This blessing follows the one given by the two dad's (and soon-to-be granddad's) at our wedding. The theme verse:

Seth and I are so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family that support us as we bring a new little joy into the world.