Wednesday, May 21, 2008

To Valium, or Not To Valium.....

Well, on Friday morning Avery and I took the long drive down to Radford to her Physical Medicine Doctor's new office. He used to come to Roanoke twice a month, but apparently there wasn't room at that office for him anymore, so now we have to drive an hour, which I know isn't that big of a deal, but when we've been so blessed to be within a five or ten minute drive from most of her medical appointments, an hour seems like a long time! Especially with gas prices being the way they are. I filled up with gas on Friday morning before we left, and with the appointment in Radford on Friday and then her hippotherapy out in the boonies on Monday, by Monday evening I had clocked almost 200 miles in the minivan... fun times!
But! That's not what I'm here to write about! So this appointment on Friday was with the Dr who had administered Avery's Botox back in November, and we just love him. He is a great doctor, and - just as importantly in my opinion - he's a great guy. He really listens to you and your concerns and observations, and he really takes the time to communicate and get to know you and make sure you completely understand what's going on - and that is a quality which is sadly lacking amongst many of these specialists I've discovered! So we really like him and trust him. Last time we saw him it was back in February, and at that point Avery was still not interested in walking and had to be really pushed to use her walker for even a couple of minutes. It seemed that the botox had begun to wear off, and he told us that we really needed to make sure we were doing her stretches faithfully to avoid having to do more botox and/or valium. Yep, valium - this is not a word which excites us. Anyway, Avery has actually made huge progress since February with regards to walking. We've been working really hard, and when the weather started getting nice I started taking her out for almost daily trips to various parks to help motivate her to walk, and I'd get her to walk to the park from the car. We put on her braces before we leave the house, and then once we get there I find a bench and put on her belt (I just use a soft belt of mine and put it around her chest and hold the end of it so that she's a little bit protected from falling) and put her in her walker, and most days she'll walk all the way to the park. It takes a long time - sometimes it can take almost 45 minutes to walk about 200 feet, especially if it's a nice day and everyone and their dog is out enjoying the weather - she gets distracted a lot! But the important thing is that she's been getting used to walking places. We've taken her to the mall to walk, and we've started getting to church early on Sundays so that she can walk in, and we've just been trying to make her understand that walking should be her primary mode of transportation - not crawling. It's hard work, but she's doing well, although there are of course still days when she just won't do it. And it's only been in the past couple of weeks that she's started to feel motivated to use her walker at home - before that it was like pulling teeth because she didn't understand why she should have to walk at home when she can get everywhere by crawling, which for her is much easier and much faster. So it's been really exciting that recently she's not only begun to be compliant when we ask her to walk at home, but she also occasionally even ASKS to use her walker! So anyway, on Friday they did the usual measurements and exercises to see how she's progressed since her last appointment, and it was pretty interesting. Her adductors (which were the ones which were botoxed) are actually tighter than they were last time, but she's actually doing more functionally. Dr Brown was saying that this must be because of how much we've been pushing and encouraging her, and she has motivation now which she just didn't have before, but he said that it's still really hard work for her, and you can see her fighting that muscle tone with every step she takes. So he wants us to start her on a baby dose of valium. We are very concerned about this, and he says we wouldn't be normal parents if we weren't concerned, but that we should really think about it seriously for her sake because he thinks the benefits would be more far-reaching than those of another round of botox. So we have the prescription sitting on our desk, and are now in the process of researching and weighing pros and cons and hoping and praying that we make the right decision, because of course we want to do the right thing, but of course with a drug like valium there are always risks. Dr Brown says though that he feels certain that it will make Avery's life easier and get her walking sooner because she won't be having to fight against her own muscles the way she does now. So I'm still not sure what we're going to do. But he also wrote a prescription for something called TheraTogs, which she has tried twice with her physical therapist, and they were WONDERFUL! I'm super excited to get those! The first time Lisa (PT) put them on her was the first time I've ever seen Avery walk with her feet pointing out instead of in - it was like a miracle! So I am really excited to get those for her, and maybe we'll wait to see how she does with those before we make a decision about the valium. I don't know. We're going back to see Dr Brown in 3 months. We may need to change the appointment since that's when this baby's due to be born. Actually, he was saying that was another reason that he would choose valium over botox because the botox would require intensive stretching and exercising again to be effective, and since I'm getting less and less able to do that stuff with her as I get bigger and more pregnant (which is true - I've barely been able to pick her up without killing my back recently, and I'm just in pain all the time), but the valium would do it's job whether I stretch her every day or not, basically. So, you know, if anyone's had an experience with any of this, I'd love some opinions....!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Latest scans

One good thing about this pregnancy being high-risk is that I get to see my baby at every appointment! Also, on top of my regular prenatal check-ups at my ob-gyn, I am also going to the prenatal diagnostics center, and their ultrasound machine thing is cooler than the one at my ob-gyn's! The picture is clearer, which means I get a really good look at my little boy! So this week I had an appointment there, just to make sure everything was still looking good in there - which it is - so that was great! I wish the pictures they printed out looked as good as the pictures on the screen, but they never do! But here are a couple of them anyway.

The first one is his profile, obviously :) The second picture is looking at his cute little face, and that's the one that really doesn't show how cute it was! You know how a lot of the time they look like little skeletal aliens when you see them face on in these ultrasounds? Well, because he's getting fatter and stuff now, you can actually see his cute little nose and lips and eyelids now, and it looked really cute! You can sort of see that in the second picture, but believe me, it looked even cuter when I was there watching him move around on the screen!
Thankfully the little boy has decided to get his feet out of my pelvis and stop kicking me in the bladder and all the other uncomfortable places he was kicking me down there! Monday afternoon I had a feeling that he had moved into a better position, and at the scan on Wednesday I found out I was right! I find I'm much more aware of what position he's in than I was when I was pregnant with Avery. The lady who did my scan on Wednesday said that it might have something to do with the fact that the placenta is all the way at the back (which is also good because it's nowhere near my c-section scar), which means that there's only about 1.5cm between my skin and him, so I can probably feel him a lot more. Which also explains why he seems to move so much more than Avery! Maybe he does, or maybe I can just feel it more.
I'll tell you though - I am not enjoying these braxton hicks. Tuesday I swear I had about 15 of them, and they're just not comfortable at all. And the bottom of my back has been hurting a lot more too - sometimes I just can't move it hurts so much! Most of the time it's not too bad, but when it hurts, it really hurts. My goodness, I look forward to the day when I don't have to carry my sweet little girl around so much! I'm sure that's not doing anything for my aches and pains!
Avery started hippotherapy again on Monday. This new place isn't nearly so convenient location wise - we have to drive 25 miles to get there instead of the 10 miles we were driving before - and it's a shame we can't do it with Lisa anymore since she knows her so well, but they seem very nice at this new place. It's called Many Blessings farm, and it's out in the middle of nowhere. The horse Avery rode was called Promise, and Avery was excited to ride the horse again, but I think she was a little overwhelmed at first with all the new faces, but she'll get used to that I'm sure. The new therapist's name is Cathy, and the girls who led the horse and did the side-walking were very nice too. Because we didn't find out whether insurance would cover it until last Friday, we had to take the only time slot they had left, which is 2:45pm, which is fine except that it meant that I had to wake her up from her nap at 1:45 to get there in time, but she fell asleep in the car again on the way there, so it wasn't a big deal. Coming back though we got stuck on those little roads behind a truck that couldn't go over 25mph if we were on the slightest slope, and even when it was flat he didn't go over 35 or 40 mph, and the speed limit was 55mph, and so then when we got back into Roanoke we were jsut in time for the beginning of rush hour which meant that it took us about 15 minutes to get across Elm Bridge! Oh how I despise Elm Bridge! So anyway, we left the house at 1:50pm and didn't get home until 4:30pm, all for a half hour ride! So I really hope this hippotherapy helps a lot if we're going to be doing that every week!! But I do think it's helping already, and she does love it, so I'm sure it will be worth it.
Anyway, that's it for now. Bridget - I would post pictures of my pregnant self, but I don't have any!! You'll have to nag my husband about that one....! Until then though, you'll just have to believe me, I look plenty pregnant enough :D I always feel like I have to tell people I'm not as far along as I look when they ask how far along I am, because I seriously look about 8 months pregnant already!!!!