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24 September 2007



Tonya is still preggo
Ethan’s still inside
Both are still hospitalized
So we will continue to abide.


32 weeks of pregnancy has finally arrived and one of our doctors came in to wish us a congratulations for making it this far. Tonya celebrated by going to the bathroom by herself.

For those not aware of her ear plugging up pattern: for 6+ months of this pregnancy her ears ‘plugged up’ (or as Emily playfully says: “pluhgdb ubd”) due to a hormone imbalance at least 1x per day. However a couple of days before her labor prematurely commenced 10+ days ago, her ears magically ‘healed’, ergo, her hormones moderated. Now we know why. Well, yesterday her ears pluhgdb ubd again. Of course we hope that means that her body is resetting – and stabilizing - to pre-labor conditions.

She also has entered her 5th full day of no labor contractions (better living through pharmacology) so apparently Ethan and his host uterus are beginning to get with the program.

A couple of answers to frequently asked questions and for those recently joining us:

1- SITuation + REPort = SITREP.
2- Tonya is incarcerated at the {edited for privacy} and she can and does take calls. If its busy or there’s no answer, please call back. The physical location is below and directions can be found here:

{edited for privacy}

3- No news is good news. My plan is to send out an update only as developments warrant.
4- Tonya has an unrestricted diet, so she can eat anything she wants. For those Jacque Pepin’s that want to make her something though, please be mindful that she is a vegetarian (and a choco-tarian).


We have another sonogram this Wednesday to check to see if Ethan has chiseled out any more of his exit route. In the last one Ethan’s head was very much in the ‘go’ position, even though the rest of his little body seems to gyrate just fine (who knew?).

34 weeks is another milestone where some mothers in similar situations get to go home and be confined to their home bed. If that were to be offered to us, one of the tradeoffs would be a bumpy truck ride back and forth to her frequent monitoring checkups and the lack of ready access to her excellent medical team. Since my truck with its 2 lighter adapters and stack of Schlotzsky’s napkins apparently don’t qualify for an adequate delivery room, we are still of believe that the safest place for Tonya and Ethan is in the hospital.


So far so good. We are starting to get the hang of this. A couple of shuttling challenges loom ahead for me and Emily but I will coordinate those directly. Thank you all again to those that have donated your time and energy and services to us. We are extremely grateful recipients of home cooked meals, yard care, rides, visits to Tonya, her new hairstyle, the beautiful gifts and flowers and cards in her room, hosting Emily for sleepovers, shopping trips with her and many other wonderful and supportive gestures.

Anybody have a clean, sturdy, reclining lawn chair we can please borrow? Tonya is allowed to go outside onto the fresh air patio of her hospital room but has to remain supine as a condition.

Emily’s hug-o-meter runs about 5-7 per school day, which is super and makes a huge difference. If possible, do you think we could widen the response and increase her daily hug-o-meter to double digits please?

Thanks again all. I will write again when there is news.


20 September 2007

Emily Schmemily

Emily is a bright and creative young lady. And that is even before she has her vitamins. I am proud to call her my daughter. She is also whiz at picking up dog poop, makes a totally fly macaroni & cheese (yes!) and is a standout poet in her 6th grade class. The following was sent to me by Paige, her 6th grade teacher. I am humbled as I sit in a puddle of my own tears.

She was a soccer girl,
says the worn-out soccer ball,
on the floor with her shoes.
A short girl, says the size “small”
uniform hanging up in the closet;
and a baby loving girl,
says the bed that she practices nurse on
from dawn til’ dusk.
But not a girl for fishing,
says the hooks that have never been used.

A mother away from her,
says the empty bedroom with the
sad daddy in it, hoping that the
pre-mature baby is safe.
And a little one on the way, says the crib in the bedroom ready to go.
The food was MLS, says the grossed-out
faces at dinner.
and her mother was a vegetarian,
says the box of asparagus in the freezer.
It was odd here says the empty house.

{MLS, for our mostly vegetarian household, refers to the non-meat items we eat that are made to look like meat. Aside from the health benefits, we find great folly in calling it Meat Like Substance.}

19 September 2007


F2 (Friends & Family):

SUMMARY: Mom and unborn baby are healthy. Mom’s contractions/labor continues, therefore so does her hospital confinement.
DETAIL: After enjoying a brief 24 hours of no labor contractions, they returned on Tuesday (9/18). This baby wants out. Because his head is already in the delivery position, it is placing even more pressure on her cervix and is further increasing the likelihood that we will be going from pregnant status to premature newborn status faster than you can say ‘umbilical cord’. As a result, we are preparing ourselves for a longer stay in the {edited for privacy} hoosegow under their exacting but excellent supervision. Factoid: did you know that umbilical cords can be as long as 2 feet in length?

To avoid ODSPP (Over-Describing-Spouse’s-Private-Parts), below is a link to an illustration of an anonymous, effaced cervix, for those that were in need of more anatomy lessons to understand what is happening.

Tonya and our son, who will likely be called Ethan Michael when he makes his appearance, are both physically healthy. In their sonogram this morning Ethan passed his recent ‘biophysical’ which included measurements of his fluids, tone, movement and heart. They are all “good” according to our swashbuckling perinatalogist. We didn’t get to see his face (he still down low, trying to dig out) but I can only hope he will be as beautiful as his mother. Unfortunately, she is nearly 50% more effaced today than she was Monday which is an unwelcome decline.

Our current target (among many) is to keep him inside until at least Monday the 24th which is his 32nd week ‘inside’. That milestone marks a statistical difference between preemies that are born with brain bleeding and related defects and maladies and those that are not born with those. According to her doctors, every DAY Tonya stays pregnant is equal to TWO DAYS that he will not have to stay in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

NEXT: More of the same. As long as any forthcoming labor contractions don’t lead to his premature birth, Tonya will stay confined to the hospital bed until delivery. They don’t talk much about us going home anymore, they refer more to the situation as our ‘high risk pregnancy’ and speak mainly about just getting us to 32 weeks. When pressed however, they do suggest that the likelihood is promising that we will make it to 35 or 36 weeks, but nobody is willing to place any bets. Although 37 weeks is considered full term, 36 weeks is considered quite manageable apparently. So far, there is not a scenario that intimidates our Medical Team at {edited for privacy} ...which is of course quite comforting.

LOGISTICS: Does anybody know of a hairdresser that would be willing to come to the hospital and cut Tonya’s hair? A hair cut was on her schedule but the baby had different ideas, a dynamic I suppose we should grow accustomed to. If you know someone that would be willing to work in that setting and that won’t charge us too much, please let Tonya know. She is still in room {edited for privacy}.

Thanks to everyone for the offers, the food, the success stories, the visits to Tonya, the rides for Emily and for the well wishes, prayers and thoughts. They ALL matter and your thoughtfulness and service is greatly appreciated. Ethan will come wash your car when he gets older.


17 September 2007


Friends & Family:

SUMMARY: Tonya and baby boy are healthy, will remain in hospital for at least 1 more week, possibly up to 5 more weeks. Her new room and # is {edited for privacy}.

DETAIL: We saw the perinatalogist tonight who provided Tonya’s first opportunity to leave her hospital room since Thursday night. She got to travel a whole 3 doors down to a shake ‘hands’ with an icy cold medical device which confirmed that her cervix is still dilated and is still effaced to an undesired and therefore risky level. She also got another sonogram which, in addition to giving the doctor some helpful stats, it gave us a comforting glimpse of our little trouble maker.

He is approximately 4.4 pounds and is still, um, VERY male (wink, wink), and is “perfect” according to the doctor in answer to our incessant questions about his health. What a relief.

We also saw our primary pregnancy doctor who concurs with his findings. Between her cervix condition and her recent labor contractions on Thursday, Tonya will be staying in the hospital until at least next Monday (9/24/07), when they will review her condition again. The most likely scenario however involves Tonya being hospitalized until at least week 36 (5 more weeks).

To simplify our findings: unless we have an emergent condition that leads to a premature birth, our son will either spend the next 5 weeks in Tonya’s uterus or the next 5 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In the rough draft of our 5 week plan, it is much more palatable to see a healthy, dormant, but still pregnant wife in the hospital rather than us having to go visit our prematurely born son in the NICU and helplessly watch him develop artificially by caring strangers. Regardless of what happens, either scenario routinely and successfully produces successful children at this hospital, which is comforting.

Doing the right thing is easy to say, often times harder to do and can certainly be a bitter pill to swallow when it involves leaving your spouse alone in a hospital room. As the Russian Proverb goes…..“The same hammer that shatters the glass forges the steel” so Tonya, Emily and I decided we will use this challenge to get stronger rather than to shatter.


Now that Tonya is a bona fide short term resident of {edited for privacy} Hospital, they moved her into larger dorm-like quarters, inclusive of a fridge, extra chairs and a microwave (I am sure many college students would be envious). Her new room # is 189 and her direct phone # is {edited for privacy}. She can, will and would surely appreciate some friendly faces if you can spare the time. Now that she is allowed to shower once per day, the visits are much more pleasant too. : )

She is on an unrestricted diet so any treats you chose to take her should be fine, unless they are fried pork skins or something that won’t jive with her vegetarian preference. Other than that I think she is already set with books, magazines, and those sexy compression socks.

Emily and I are doing okay. Now that we have a timeline to work with, we will be developing our schedule and from that, our own logistical requirements. We have already tapped into some of you for help and service and may likely lean on some of you again here and there, etc. as we try to maintain a support system for our hero Tonya/Mom and also make a soccer practice or two along the way….

Thanks again for supporting Tonya during this less than ideal time.


How it All Begins: Situation Report (SITREP) #1

Friends and Family:

To capture the relevant updates and send them out efficiently without forgetting facts, people or call back numbers, I will send out SITREPS to commemorate Tonya and Baby’s status. This first one will be longer and include more in order to catch everyone up. Future SITREPS will be shorter.

If you want a different email address used, have others you want me to add or prefer to not receive these updates, please reply with your wishes.

First, THANK YOU all for your thoughts, prayers, calls, visits, food and well wishes. They ALL help and they – and you – all matter. We are fortunate and grateful to have such awesome support.


Tonya started having pre-labor contractions last Thursday night (Sept 13th). [Hospital] admitted her and started running through their playbook of treatments to keep our baby boy in her uterus. At the time she was 30.5 weeks pregnant … she is not due until November 19th.

At the time of admittance, her cervix was effaced 85%, her contractions were rapid fire and 30+ seconds in duration each, plus she was already dilated 1 cm. The nurse who performed the initial tests remarked, “his head is face down and is ‘right there’ for delivery”.

In order to avoid an unwelcome and premature delivery, and the obvious complications that go with it, the awesome staff in the Nursing & Delivery Department worked through the entire playbook including their “last resort” - an evil cocktail delivered continuously to Tonya over 24 hours called Magnesium Sulfate aka “The Mag”. Though it drugged Tonya – and the baby – into a dreadful stupor, fortunately, it suppressed the uterus from further contractions…at least for awhile. Our son also received 2 separate does of steroids to help advance his lung development in case he is born early.

Her contractions started up again Sunday morning (Sept. 16th) so the pros in L&D along with our doctor utilized an additional combination of drugs to settle the uterus down again, including max-ing out the 4x daily dosage of Procardia in addition to injections of Terbutaline. All of this while Tonya stays confined to strict hospital bed rest (bathroom visits only).


As of this writing, her contractions have subsided and she was finally allowed to take a shower. (At some point I am sure I will be scolded for sharing so much personal information!) If she is able to maintain a contraction-free 24 hours in a row, it has been suggested that other privileges are possible, such as being released to come home for bed confinement; at the moment though the pregnancy is considered too much at risk for her and our baby to be anywhere but in the hospital. We don’t disagree.

Tonya continues to adjust to each new challenge in this pregnancy and her strength, courage and commitment is truly awe inspiring. She is the most incredible person I know. Emily has risen to the challenge of not having her Mom at home and has also been courageous in dealing with the many frightening, unpleasant and confusing features of this current situation. She has not hesitated to tackle extra chores at home and she has been especially service minded and action oriented when at the hospital. I am very proud of her.


Monday the 17th (our 31st week of being pregnant) we will meet with a perinatalogist and our primary baby doctor/gynecologist. Tonya and our baby will undergo tests to determine the extent of damage - if any - the weekend’s events have had on them. We also expect to learn what our doctor’s recommendations are to manage the rest of this pregnancy (hospital v. home, length of drug treatment, modified delivery date, etc.)

For those that wish to reach out to her directly... [info edited for privacy].

When I know more and can send an update I will, hopefully tomorrow (Monday the 17th). Now that everyone should be up to date, future SITREPS will be much more concise.

Thank you all again for your tremendous support.