Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This morning I visited Kace for one (of 8) of his daily assessment times. During these assements, the nurses or parents check temperature, change diaper, and feed the baby. When I arrived, a nurse I'd never met greeted me with a big smile and told me what a big boy he was. He drank his whole bottle at his morning feeding (all 40 mL)! He still hasn't finished one for me...
Kace is in a Giraffe bed--lots of fancy things on that bed, but one of the most important is the heater. Preemies don't usually regulate their own temperature yet and need to be kept warm. Kace's heater was off and he was swaddled--Jenn, our nurse today, was trying to see if he could maintain his temp. so he could move to an open air crib. This is one of the things preemies have to do before the can go home.
As I unwrapped him, I noticed he had on clothes--for the first time. He looked like such a big boy, all 5 pounds and 1 ounce of him. I took his temp and it was good, he was staying warm! I changed his diaper and the nurse swaddled him up to get him ready for his bottle. He drank about 20 mL for me from the bottle and had the rest through a feeding tube. He was too tired to finish. The pediatrician seemed to think that if we alternate a bottle feed with a tube feed he may not be exhausted and finish his bottles.
The physical therapist came today to check on his range of motion and his feet. He was cramped in the womb and due to lack of fluid didn't have much room. His feet were pressed together (like praying hands) for quite a while and will need some stretching 3x daily, but this is positional and should correct itself with a little effort on our part.
Russ and I returned to the hospital this evening for another attempt at a bottle feeding. He drank it all, we were so proud! He was still swaddled and maintaining his temp. too!
Sweet Jenny already ordered the open air crib and had it made and ready to go for him feeling very confident that he could do it and was ready for the big jump!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
*Joanne, the quietly confident night nurse. We were blessed to be here while Joanne worked her magic for part of the year. Now she has returned home to Ghana with her husband and her non-profit (African Mothers Health Initiative) where they need her the most. She is a midwife, nurse, advocate, and a beautiful spirit. Russ and I are looking forward to seeing her and meeting her husband in June!
*Dr. Akin, my OB/GYN who walks in with his Starbucks each morning with a smile. He shoots me straight and calms my fears. Magical qualities in a doctor. Not to mention his smart ass sense of humor. That's what I love most about him. I've enjoyed his morning visits...and if he can't make those, he may pop in for a surprise later in the afternoon or evening. I'm thankful for this "opportunity" to get to know him as a person, not just a doctor. And may God bless his wife!
*Dr. DiStefano, my Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist that was given to me on October 7. She couldn't have been more perfect for us. She's a very intelligent woman, always had answers for all of our questions, and explained what "that" was each time we had a sonogram. She makes time for her patients when they need her and I appreciate that even more knowing that she has 4 children at home. I looked forward to Thursdays, our sonogram days, when she walks in with a warm smile. We were lucky to have her.
*Stephy, our happy, thorough day nurse. Stephy was the first one to realize Russ wasn't a morning person and she's afraid of him in the morning. She's nicknamed him "Starshine!" Stephy is softhearted and great at what she does. She chose the right profession for herself. Stephy has taught me so much about what is going on with me, baby, etc. I know how to read a strip, what it should and shouldn't look like. I appreciate the fact that before she turns me off the machine she says, "Baby looks great!" and on occasion, "What's going on here?" and she investigates. She's given me a crash coarse in nursing--I'm thankful for the knowledge, but teaching is definitely for me!
*Melinda, knitting teacher. And more importantly nurse. Melinda has also taught me about what's going on with me, my body, and my baby. She was the first to fill my head with stories of pPROM and NICU success that I desperately wanted to hear. She starts a pot of decaf for me when she's here and I'm so grateful. Melinda cried with me when I needed to. She's teaching me how to knit...and won't let me leave until I finish this scarf. I'm so glad!
*Lily, smiling, happy nurse. She's always wanted to work with mothers and babies because of her father. She's good at what she does and wants the bests for her patients. She likes to take care of us. She's also worked on teaching me to knit. She's a crafty one and made me fancy Week/Day cards out of pretty paper for my information board. I appreciate her thoughtfulness!
*Annabelle, my night nurse who loves a schedule. Annabelle is from the Phillipines and has told me stories about her children and her home. I appreciate her sharing with me. She comes in and makes a plan and follows through. When you make her laugh, she covers her mouth with her soft giggle with her hand and I love it! I feel successful when I've made her laugh. When Annabelle and Riley met, the first thing he said to her was, "Why are you little?" Riley stood up next to her and reached her armpit. He was fascinated.
*Virginia, the wonderful woman who cleaned my room almost every day. The days she didn't clean it, I could tell. I enjoyed her coming in, taking the extra time to make everything that much better, and getting to know about her and her children along the way. Before she left every day, she would ask if I need anything else, wipe the doorknobs down with sanitizer, and go on her way. She is a wonderful woman (who, by the way earned Employee of the Month this week).
*Cookie (his real name is Gerard), the security guard who Riley took a liking to on his very first hospital visit. He's a man who wears a uniform, drives a large golf cart, and has an incredibly sweet smile. Riley came to visit the first evening I was here and saw Cookie on his way in and the way out. On the way out, him and Russ stopped to visit and Riley didn't want to shake Cookie's hand, he asked Russ if he could give him a hug. That says so much about his presence. He's been up to my room to check on me several times and always has a warm smile and a "God Bless You" when he leaves.
*Brian and Julia, our friends we met traveling this road together. I'm so thankful for you guys and the connection that we have that won't end here. Thanks for the good times, for making this journey one to smile about. I'm so glad we had you guys to share this experience with--and all the gory details. We'll be friends forever, you guys have such a special place in our lives. Looking forward to hanging with you guys (outside of the hospital), Julia and I having a drink or two, sharing some Thai Cuisine, and Braden and Baby Cook hanging out. Love you!
I hope these friends don't take it personally that we want to get out of here so bad. We'll see you for a while while we visit NICU, and will pop in to check on our friends when we can. Thanks for being here, thanks for being you, and thanks for taking care of me, my family, and my friends.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
My AFI was down to a 2 and I asked if I should worry. No said the expert, so I'm not going to worry about it all. She said some women go 3-4 weeks with little to no fluid. It was cruicial to have fluid as lungs were developing. I did...just a little though.
I've been feeling HUGE this week, so I was anxious for that weight estimate tonight. She measured the femur, measured the head, and Dr. DiStefano was stunned! "5lbs, 2 oz," she said, "I don't believe it!" A good surprise. There's room for discrepancy, it's not exact, but she felt more confident she got the head measurement she wanted this time than the last couple of weeks. I'm thrilled!
We saw movement, breathing, mouth opening and closing, and an enormous bladder! Dr. D also got a great face shot of our little sugar.
4 more days...
This is our Christmas card this year.
Merry Christmas to all!!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So much buzzing my mind right now:
*My husband amazes me. Just when I think I couldn't love him any more, I do. I'm so thankful for him and the peace his presence brings me.
*Christmas is 9 days away. What a unique and blessed Christmas this will be.
*The people we have met here have made this difficult journey a pleasant experience. We have added to our "family" and have made friends we will have forever. Everything happens for a reason.
*My friends and family, once again let me repeat that I/we feel so loved, thank you. This is easier because of your prayers, visits, emails, texts, calls, gifts, meals, offers, hugs, and smiles.
*I love my OB/GYN! He brought me homemade cookies...with Reese's peanut butter cups. Who on earth gets cookies from their doctor? It's supposed to be the other way around, right? His wife made them, I love her too. What an amazing woman she must be to deal with her husband being pulled away by hormonal pregnant women day and night. Hats off to them!
*So sad to not do Christmas cards this year, but I just didn't want an older picture of the family and I didn't want a picture of me in a hospital bed, so I have high hopes for a baby announcement/welcome home card in the near future. I expect all of my friends to display it proudly for at least as long as our Christmas card would've been up!
*I'm not sure what to expect of this birth experience. It will be so different from Riley's birthday. We're praying for the healthiest baby possible, a safe delivery, and doctors and nurses to do their best. I'm getting worried about a c-section, though I know I'll be fine, I want to get home.
*I know it will be heartbreaking to leave our baby in NICU and go home, but I think having Riley at home to go to will make it a little easier. Not to mention that it's Christmas...
*I'm having guilty feelings about Christmas this year. One traditional gift for family (that I know they'll love), but I know they've done more for us that we did for them this year. I know they're not thinking that at all though, just me.
*I truly feel peaceful today. Thank you for the prayers and please keep them coming. Please pray for a safe delivery, a healthy baby, and for my family to transition back to normal, whatever that is. Does it exist?
*I'm more anxious than ever to find a church home for our family. No more excuses.
*God has a plan that clearly may differ from our own. It may hurt and we may not like it, but he will take care of us. This I know.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
It was a beautiful day, I had a visit from my two favorite people, and we even took a wheelchair ride to enjoy the sunshine that's been hiding for the last few days. It was a great morning!!
I was scheduled to have my 2nd steroid shot today, I knew it was coming. No big deal. The first one didn't hurt a bit. It was administered the day I arrived in the hospital to give our little one a boost in lung development before a possible 17 week early delivery. The L&D nurse warned me that it burned, gave the shot, and I didn't feel a thing. Before, during, or after. The "booster" a day later didn't phase me either. I wasn't complaining!
4:00 this afternoon, the steroid shot comes. This one goes in the hip. I was cool...no problem on the last one--and BAM! It hurt like a son of a bitch! I'm pretty tough as far as shots go and usually they don't bother me a bit. I'm laying here on my side, getting a shot in the hip, and tears start welling up. Talking with my nurse, facing the other way, my eyes well up with tears. Keep talking, have some water, but that didn't help--they start falling. WHAT? I surprised myself. I didn't want my sweet nurse to think that she hurt me or did anything wrong. I tried to make it stop, but it was too late. My problem has always been...once I start crying, I can't stop. And no, I don't need to see a counselor, thankyouverymuch. (Note to self: a steroid addiction is not in the cards for me.)
Maybe just maybe:
I want to go home.
I'm ready to move on to the next chapter.
I want to spend the night in my home, with my husband and my son.
I want to see my Christmas tree (that I didn't decorate).
I want to have more than 10 minutes of fresh air a week.
I want to go to work and teach my kids and see my friends there.
I want to drive around and see Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate with my family.
I want to do laundry (did I just say that?).
I want to have a meal outside of these 4 walls.
I want to do things myself.
I want to hear Christmas music other than on hold while ordering a meal.
I want to hear "Do They Know It's Christmas?"
I want to kiss my puppy.
I want to read Riley a Christmas book at bedtime.
I want to cook a meal for my boys (with vegetables).
I want to wrap a Christmas gift (or ten).
I want to find Jingle's new spot for the day (our Elf on the Shelf).
I want to kiss Riley goodnight...and pick out what he wears in the morning.
I want to see the new computer we bought 3 months ago that arrived right after I was admitted. I want to be there when we buy the bicycle and helmet that Riley wants for Christmas.
I want a margarita (and boy do I need one).
I want my husband and son to not "visit." I don't like to watch them walk out the door.
I want to fix my own plate, warm up my own leftovers.
I want to see, spend time in, be a part of the nursery for our baby.
I want to inconvenience myself and not those around me.
I want to go to Sonic and order my own iced tea.
I want to go to the grocery store.
I want to order from a menu that I haven't ordered from for the last 65 days.
I want to get dressed.
I want to feel like I'm not missing out on my son growning up right before my eyes.
Sorry...you get the idea, right?
I think I've figured out that December 21st is the day I've been looking forward to and dreading at the same time. It's going to be a wonderful day!! For me though, , it makes me anxious knowing that this delivery is scheduled. With Riley, it just happened. I didn't know he was coming that day. I didn't have days to focus on it with no real distractions.
It's becoming an obsession of sorts right now and it's emotional. That's the day we'll have our latest miracle. I'm worrying about delivery, baby's health, NICU, etc. We will have made it through this hospital bedrest journey only to begin a new one with a premature baby. So many questions unanswered at this point. I'm hoping and praying for a fat little thing who can breathe, eat, and regulate his/her own body temperature. Only time will tell.
It wasn't the shot, it's the anxiety. Temporary break. down. Now if I can just make it through the night without anyone wanting to talk about it (and start these all over again), tomorrow is a new day! Tomorrow is 33 weeks and 1 day. Tomorrow is one week until our family is complete.
Okay, so today for the first time on my gender prediction chart, we have a tie! I'm more comfortable when "boy" is in the lead because I just think this baby is a boy. Not because I prefer one over the other, but because I know what to expect of boys because I have one. I'm not a girly-girl, never have been, so girl drama is somewhat frightening.
When the pregnancy drama started, I was convinced it was a girl. A sweet boy would never do this to his mother, right? Russ has bounced back and forth a few times. I'm not sure how he's feeling today!
A moment I will never forget was when we had Riley--we were surprised with him as well. We knew we were having a baby, so there was no surprise there. Having the sex be a surprise was sweet anticipation. I wouldn't have changed it for the world. The greater gift was having our moment with our boy and then Russ leaving the L&D room to walk out to our 20+ friends and family who anxiously awaited until 11:59 p.m. to hear the verdict. I couldn't be there physically, but Tina videotaped the moment and I'm so thankful to have it. I'm excited for him to have the opportunity to do that again.
I know it drives everyone crazy, and honestly I'm surprised I'm one of those people who can wait. I wouldn't give up this little 9 month secret for anything. Stay tuned because on December 21 we are going to find out.
p.s. If you want to make your prediction on this chart, you have to do it "live and in person," so come and see me. You have 8 more days to cast your vote!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Though Riley continues to do well, this is taking a toll on my sweet little boy. He said this week, "Mama, when I see the doctor, I'm going to say, 'When can my Mommy come home?'" So darn cute, but breaks my heart at the same time. I told him the baby would be here in two more weeks and he's been chanting, "Two more weeks, two more weeks, two more weeks!"
Physically I feel like I've doubled in size in a week. I'm having to use the handles on the bed to get up. Ugh. When Russ is here, he pulls me up. They need cranes in these ante-partum rooms! How did I ever get out of bed 9 months pregnant with Riley? Roll off?
Christmas is out there, I know it, I just don't feel the Christmas spirit like usual. Christmas is going to be different this year, pretty bare boned, but I fully expect to really feel the Christmas spirit in a different way this year. Not overdone with gifts, parties, cooking, wrapping, shopping, and trying to fit it all in, but appreciating the finer things in life--a new baby--a Christmas blessing, being home with my family, and treasuring every moment of my boys that I've been missing. I absolutely cannot wait to walk into my home, see Doak, cook dinner for the 3 of us, take a bath in my bathtub, and most of all, put Riley in his pajamas and snuggle with him as we read books together in his bed.
Dr. DeStefano came tonight for our weekly sonogram. Fluid is down to 4.25, but she said it was normal at this point because baby is getting bigger and taking up more space. We saw baby opening and closing it's mouth, practicing breathing, moving, and a very large, full bladder (are you sure that wasn't MINE?)! Baby's weight measurement this week is 3 pounds 15 ounces!! Wonderful news!! We saw baby's face from an underneath angle--the eyes nose, and mouth opening and closing. The view is even more odd laying down in bed, trust me. Remember the Friends episode where Rachael feels so stupid because she can't see the sonogram? I feel like that often. Even after it's been spelled out to me...(the first step is admission, right?)! I'll blame in on the angle, not my intelligence!
I'm feeling the baby move in my lower belly lately. I'm still enjoying that little but sticking out on the right side that I can pat. Feeling larger movements, more often, in more places, not just the same couple of spots. Russ has seen some pretty large movements from across the room. That's been fun!
I'd like to visit NICU again the next time Russ is here with me. The last time we visited, I was still in the daze of arriving here, paralyzed with fear, not knowing what was in store for me/us/baby. Just plain terrified. Too terrified to blog and actually post anything, afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve. I want to go see NICU again from the perspective of 32 weeks and 4 days (today). Maybe now we'll have some actual questions, not just the blank stare of being admitted to the hospital and the possibility of delivering our baby 15 weeks early. I'll never forget Russ wheeling me in there for the first time and the nurse saying, "So you're the 25 weeker?" That was me. 7 weeks ago. I'm so thankful to still be here cookin' this baby.
Tonight was busy with the sonogram and Brian and Julia's nightly visit--we look forward to them popping in. Tonight was all about laughing, which is so tough for Julia because she just had a c-section and me because of my enormous belly. We all needed a good laugh though. Even if it was inappropriate laughter! We're both laughing while trying NOT to--you know, the kind you get in trouble for in class or church--Julia's pressing her green polka dot pillow to her belly and I'm holding mine with both hands. Painful, but in the best way!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The mantle is up...notice the stocking with no name--I can't wait to get it monogramed!
The tree is up, plugged in, and decorated!!
Breakfast with Santa was a success, but he's still not very sure about that guy.
Holiday spirit is in the air (thanks for the cinnamon rolls AND the bows, Steph)!
Monday, December 7, 2009
What I've Learned on Hospital Bedrest:
1. God is good (I realize this now more than ever)!
2. My husband is amazing!
3. My son is amazing...and very resilient...and slightly manipulative (where his grandmothers are concerned)!
4. My mother is amazing!
5. My mother in law is amazing!
6. If you have a friend on bedrest, they need: food (not the hospital kind), a variety of lip moisturizers, books and magazines, movies, lotions, and lots of friendly visits (my family and friends have provided this and SO much more).
7. I like coffee before breakfast, not during or after.
8. Not to take pregnancy for granted. I will admit that I did with my first. I'm now much more aware of preemies, loss, viability, gestational development, fear, and blessings.
9. Nurses become your friends and family.
10. Fetal monitoring--accels, decels, variability, what a good strip looks like, how to put myself on and take myself off the monitor.
11. Drink more water.
12. If something isn't right, don't google it. Call a professional. Ugh.
13. My friends leave me speechless.
14. Thanksgiving isn't complete without cranberries.
15. I can't watch Sandra Lee anymore. You're clothes aren't supposed to match your kitchen, silly. Who does that?
16. I didn't expect to make friends here, but developed a special bond with a variety of people (patients, their families, nurses, doctors, housekeepers, and security guards). Russ said I would probably cry when we leave. He knows me well.
17. The secret to the French toast here (the best I've ever eaten) is a little nutmeg and some extra sugar. I asked.
18. I need to visit friends when they're in the hospital and get over my emotions regarding it all.
19. To be thankful for every day.
21. I tend to pray more when I need to. I should pray more and tell God how thankful I am when things are good.
22. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
23. I miss the daily grind (but could change my mind when I get back to it)!
24. I didn't think I could do this, but I am!
25. I prefer to do things myself, but am so grateful for family and friends doing so much for me right now.
26. Take pleasure in the little things.
27. I have low blood pressure (but not in a bad way), A+ blood, and my normal body temp. is 97.
28. I'm pretty fond of having clean sheets every day/every other day. Too bad it'll never happen again!!
29. Ambien is a good thing.
30. I am so blessed.
Russ and Riley assembled the dresser.
Nunny and Buzz painted the room. (Nunny also went to Home Depot to pick out paint samples to bring up to me and brought them along with the nursery bedding so I could compare. I narrowed it down to a few and decided on "Toast," but only if everyone agreed that color looked good in the room, with the lighting and the bedding--the natural light in my other room was minimal.) Toast was the winner. I can't wait to see it in person.
And last week, Russ and his mother brought out some of the baby tubs from the attic. Riley took a 3 hour nap that day so Nunny could be even more productive than usual! She was able to pull out the few preemie clothing items that we had, some newborn clothing, and some blankets and get them freshly washed and put away in the dresser.
I don't know what I'd do without my family and friends right now. I'm still in awe and so incredibly thankful.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
32 weeks from http://www.babycenter.com/:
By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.
Your baby weighs about 4 pounds and is about fifteen to seventeen inches tall. Photographs of babies in utero at this stage show their skin becoming less translucent and pinker, as layers of fat are deposited under the skin. Her skeleton is rapidly ossifying (turning from cartilage into solid bone), which means that kicks will become visible through your shirt as the trimester progresses. Well-placed kicks under your ribs can take your breath away!
She's starting to get ready for her big debut, tipping the scales at almost four pounds and topping out at just about 19 inches. In these last few weeks, it's all about practice, practice, practice as she hones the skills she'll need to survive and thrive outside the womb, from swallowing and breathing to kicking and sucking. And speaking of sucking, your little one has been able to suck her thumb for a while now. Another change this week: As more and more fat accumulates under your baby's skin, she's becoming less transparent and more opaque.
Here's a little video of my heart monitoring this morning. All is well, baby looks great!
**p.s. I copied and pasted these development updates from a website, we do NOT know if our baby is a he or a she. Don't get excited (Jack, Karol)!!
Friday, December 4, 2009
I had my usual morning visit from my OB/GYN and he confirmed that I am in the books for December 21st, our induction is scheduled! On that day baby will be 34 weeks and 1 day. I am being induced (and do have a chance of an c-section) because as the size of baby increases, it becomes harder to move without much fluid in there. We are hoping that either way, I'll be home for Christmas (my new favorite song of ALL time).
We had a visit from our perinatologist last night. She's awesome. Sonogram looked good, my AFI was up from last week to a 5.5 (the highest it's been since my arrival) and our little baby weighs approximately 3 lbs and 10 ounces. Baby's heartrate continues to look good each day and I'm still getting to pat that little hiney a few times a day, too!!
The snow today was exciting to see. I saw it from my window, but didn't get to play in it. Riley was home with Nunny today. They bundled up and went outsside to see the snow--he wanted to eat it! I was glad there was no accumulation, hopefully no ice tonight. I definitely need to get outside tomorrow and feel the cold front (in my pajamas, it won't last long)!
We've been through this journey together and developed a special bond. We are asking our friends and family to pray for all 3 of them right now.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Being in the hospital wasn't going to stop me either. Mom picked up the book and elf for me; I hid it in the room for a few days and wanted to introduce it on Dec. 1. Of course it was a horribly dreary, cold, rainy day. Mom picked Riley up from school, brought him to the hospital, and met Russ under the covered drive so they could pass him off, and Russ brought him up.
I'd placed our new friend and his book on the x-ray machine in the room and initially, Riley didn't notice. I finally started telling him to look around. He spotted the elf and the book and said, "What's Pinocchio doing in here?" I laughed and thought, "Oh no, don't confuse these two stories!" He immediately wanted to touch it. Well, part of the story is that you can't touch the elf or it loses it's magic. Riley was going to obsess over touching the elf, I could tell. This wasn't what my "vision" looked like. Ugh!