Monday, April 25, 2011

A cause close to my heart

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. I know there are so many causes out there and you hear about all sorts of various conditions almost on a daily basis any more, and now I am going to share mine with you.

Preeclampsia has affected my life in the most awful way it can. I have had preeclampsia twice now and was just moments away from a third time.

My oldest (now 11 years old) was born 3 weeks early when I developed preeclampsia. My blood pressure was being monitored throughout the pregnancy as it was elevated from early on. Toward the end of the pregnancy we began to notice a lot of swelling and I also began to spill protein in my urine indicating that my kidneys were not functioning as they should. The only "cure" to preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Riley was great and other than some jaundice issues, she had no other problems from being born a bit early.

My pregnancy with Kelsi was an entirely different story. My blood pressure began to rise around 16 weeks. We monitored it and I was told that I was at a higher risk for developing it once again. I knew some of the things to watch out for, things like headaches, vision changes, swelling and higher blood pressure. At 22 weeks my blood pressure got into the range of 150/100's and I was started on a blood pressure medication. Even with the meds it never really brought it down much. The doctors continued to monitor me closely. I was totally naive though as I had thought that when the doctors told me I might get preeclampsia again, it would be toward the end of the pregnancy like it was with Riley. I had no idea that I could get it at 23 weeks. But that is exactly what happened. I was admitted to the hospital the day after Christmas with a blood pressure of 170/110 and elevated liver enzymes and a baby that was severely restricted in growth. Kelsi was born just 5 days later on December 30, 2004 weighing only 13oz and a tiny 8 1/2" long. Our Sweet Kelsi lived just 2 1/2 short days and passed away in my hands on January 1st, 2005.

Luckily I was blessed above all others and Kate was born only 4 weeks early with no sign of preeclampsia at all. Truly a miracle, especially when you consider what happened in my next pregnancy.

As you all know, my pregnancy with Kiari was anything but routine. She was a surprise from the beginning. Now, most of you that  read this blog know all about the transfusions and things we went through due to the Rh Antibody. But what you  may not realize is that she was not born 2 1/2 months early due to the Rh Antibody issues. The morning I went in for the 5th intrauterine transfusion my amniotic fluid levels were dangerously low. Prior to that my blood pressure had risen. I had begun spilling protein in my urine and my liver enzymes had begun to rise. Preeclampsia was looming. The only thing that kept me from going into preeclampsia this time was the fact that my doctor delivered my baby 10 weeks early. Had  he not done that, it is most sure that I would have had a severe case of PE within days, if not hours.

The majority of the babies in the NICU during Kiari's stay were born early due to preeclampsia. 

I have met some of the most amazing women through the preeclampsia foundation. While PE has been horrible in my life, it has also been a source of goodness. It has made me realize what is really important in life. It has allowed me to help others as they go through their journey of grief and loss. But the one thing that I cannot do is give others hope that it won't happen to them. Pregnancy is not a joyful thing for me. It is a very frightening and fearful thing for me. As much as I would like to be delighted for others in their pregnancy, I fear for them too. Even a healthy pregnancy can take a very dangerous turn in just a matter of hours.

Because of all I have been through I have done what I can to help raise awareness for the Preeclampsia foundation. I have made numerous pieces of jewelry for them to action off at fundraisers. 2 years ago I was honored as an artist when they asked me to design a piece that they could present to survivors at their annual fundraising gala's.

Preeclampsia Awareness Pin - Designed by Artist Melissa Muir
This year they have taken that design and transferred it onto the shirts they are selling for a fundraiser and also using as their shirts for their annual walk-a-thons.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work in the studio of another amazing artist. It was a fun day and I created a necklace for myself.

Everyone has their causes that they believe in. This is my cause. Hopefully with my story I will be able to help others that have gone through the loss or experiences I have and they will know that they aren't alone. If you are able to help with a monetary donation, it really is a great cause to donate to. The monies raised fund research and awareness programs so that others might be aware of what to watch for so they won't be like me.

Both the pin and t-shirt posted above can be purchased through the Preeclampsia Foundation Marketplace. The pin makes a great gift, just as a beautiful piece of art even if the wearer doesn't know the significance behind the piece.

Thank you for allowing me to share a cause that is very important in my life. As I said May is the Preeclampsia Awareness Month. There are numerous Walks being held throughout the United States. Please take a moment to see if there is one by you.

Preeclampsia: I AM A SURVIVOR!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time Flies

It never seems possible that as much time has lapsed as really has. It has now been another month since my last update. WOW!

Things are going well for our family. I would like to think that we are getting into a groove with the baby, but really, we don't have a schedule. We just go with the flow. Kiari doesn't like to sleep for long periods of time during the day unless you are holding her. She has gotten better at night. A lot of times she will have 4 - 6 hour stretches of sleep. That is very nice.

Both Riley and Kate have been wonderful. They are such great big sisters. They both jump right in to help take care of Kiari when she is in need of something like a bottle or even a diaper change. I am really proud of Riley with the way she has handled everything. We are currently getting the house ready to list. It has been a Super slow process and one day she watched Kiari all day so that Garth and I could get things done. She got rewarded with a video game she has been asking for.

The house, as I said, will be listed shortly. We were hoping to have it listed a few weeks ago. And quite honestly, I have been stalling a bit in hopes that the family that really wants it is able to get the financing to buy it. But we have decided that the girls and I will be moving to Dallas the second week of June. Garth and I will visit Dallas at the end of May and find us a house to rent. We have some friends that will come and stay with Riley so she can finish up the school year her in Norton. I am really going to miss this place. It is all so strange that it is really happening. For 15 1/2 years Garth and I have been together and we have been in "school" for the entire time. It is strange for it to finally be done. Garth admitted to me the other night that it is a bit daunting to know that he is finally "done." I am so impressed with him. He has handled all of the struggles that have been dealt him with such grace. He is not practicing the kind of medicine he always dreamed, but he is really good at what he does. His patience really like him and I believe he will do well with the type of medicine he will be practicing.

I really am fortunate to have snagged him for a husband. I am the lucky one. He asked me 6 times to marry him before I said "yes." I sure am glad that he waited for me to "come around." I couldn't ask for a better husband and father. I haven't always been the easiest person to live with, but he sure has gone out of his way to ensure that he has provided us with a fabulous lifestyle. I really do have the dream life.