Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nola is 4 Weeks Old!

4 weeks old
on 11/23/10

It was a big hassle to get retested in the carseat on 11/18 (her due date). I had an appt to come into the hospital on the 18th at noon and after my mom came in and all 4 of us went to the hospital, they said they had no idea what I was talking about. The lady who was down at the newborn checkup with me (which we had 2 days after we left the hospital) said she vaguely might have remembered something about the fact that we talked to someone from the nursery who said we should come back on her due date. So, she said she'd get someone to do the test for me (mind you this is already 1.5 hours past our appt time) and then all the nurses were busy with deliveries or feeding babies. We finally started the carseat test at 2:30 and realized that the Graco carseat straps wouldn't tighten enough to be safe for travel. She said they could still do the test in that seat but I wouldn't be able to take her home in that one. So I took my mom and Embry home (cuz it was way past her naptime) and picked up the chicco carseat to take back to the hospital. The carseat test was over by the time I got back and she had passed! Woohoo! They had also weighed her and she was up to 7lbs 3oz already! I said it must be all of the halloween candy I've been eating while nursing at night trying to stay awake. ;) I gave them the carbed back and said good riddance and finally left to run errands.

Other news is that Embry has the stomach flu, again. She started throwing up at 11pm last night (of course I was up feeding Nola, because when am I not?) and so I heard her whining on the monitor and sent Tony to see what was going on. I set up the guest bedroom for them and had him sleep in there with her for the rest of the night. She threw up about 8 times over the course of 12 hours and we thought she was over it for a while because she had a cracker and some bread and kept it down for a few hours, but then it reappeared around lunchtime. She took a long nap (like 3 hours) and seems to be doing better now, but we'll just have to wait and see. Tony stayed home with her today while Nola and I stayed in our bedroom all day to avoid getting sick. I'm not sure what this says about us hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday because I'm guessing even if she is all over it, she's probably still contagious for a while. Hmmmm.

I was thinking that Nola was doing really well sleeping at night, then it backfired on me. She went for about a week doing 3-5 hour stretches between eating and then a few days ago she started eating every 2 hours again. This is ridiculous! She eats for an hour at time, so I'll be up for an hour doing that, then sleep for an hour and then she's up again to eat. Really, is someone supposed to be able to survive on one hour stretches of sleep?! I think not.

Sunday morning I had some insanely bad back pain. It started in my spine near my bra line and radiated around to the front of my ribs. I took some percocet and it got better. I went to the dr yesterday and he said it seemed muscular, which really doesn't sound right to me, and is sending me to physical therapy. That means a lot of hassle and if they just tell me to do stretches for an hour while I'm there and I go to all the work of finding someone to watch the kids etc, then I'm just going to tell them to forget it. I can stretch at home, thanks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nola is 3 Weeks Old!

3 Weeks Old
Taken on 11/16/10

So this week has been a bit interesting.

Embry's birthday was Sunday so we had her open her presents from us and then Tony and I took her to lakeside park and to see 'Despicable Me' while my mom watched Nola. We thought it would be nice to spend some time with her alone since Nola's been getting a lot of attention since she came along (obviously). The park was lots of fun. We had a picnic and played with Embry on the playground. Then went down to feed the ducks, which she loved! We left and went to the cheap theater to see the movie. Embry was pretty good until the last 1/2 hour. Then I let her out of her stroller and she would not sit in either of our laps or in a regular seat, so I went to the back of the theater with her and let her go up and down the steps where nobody was sitting for about 20 min. During this time a teenage boy and his fam (mom, dad, and sis) quickly gathered all their stuff and left the theater while reeking of puke, come to find out, the boy had thrown up all over the floor and seat where he was sitting. Anyhow, then Embry was just non-compliant and needed her diaper changed so I took her out of the theater and to the bathroom.

This was when my headache started getting really bad. I had a slight headache for a couple days but thought nothing of it since that's normal for me. So when we got home I pumped and that was weird because the one boob that normal gives the most milk hardly gave any and it kinda hurt. I figured it was just extra full from not being home to feed nola, maybe clogged or something. So then I went upstairs to take a nap. Over the next couple hours my fever went from about 99 to 104.3 and I was sweating, shivering, ached all over, and my boob was hurting like no other. I told Tony I thought maybe it was Mastitis and he looked up the symptoms and how to help it and it seemed like it all matched. Then I called my OB and told her what was going on and luckily she didn't make me go to the hospital cuz I'm pretty sure I couldn't have made it down to the car without being carried. After figuring out that our walgreens, frys, and safeway pharmacies all closed before 6pm on Sunday she called in a prescription for an antibiotic to a Walgreens further away.

This posed another problem since Tony can't take both kids in the car with him alone since someone is supposed to be watching Nola in the carbed. So he reluctantly left her upstairs in bed with me and took Embry to pick up my prescription and a heating pad. It all worked out ok and luckily Nola wasn't fussy when she was with me alone. I took a bunch of tylenol, naproxen, ibuprofen etc to get my fever down and it started going down slowly overnight so it was only slightly elevated the next morning. My mom came in to help watch the kids yesterday when Tony was at work which was a lifesaver and then I was alone with them today. I'm feeling better now, but not 'good' so it's a bit trying to deal with both of them at one time.

Today went all right. Nothing really majorly horrible happened, but I swear, Embry could outlast the energizer bunny any day of the week! She just never stops, NEVER. Although I decided to take my nap downstairs (where Nola was finally asleep in the pack n play rather than moving her upstairs to her crib) and I got to sleep for about 2 hours until some guy knocked really loudly on the door and rang the doorbell. This woke me up, woke Nola up, and Embry was either already awake or woke up because then she kept yelling for me to let her out of her room. I never answer the door when I'm home alone unless I already know who's coming so all that was for nothing anyway because I didn't answer the door.

Nola's due date is this coming Thursday. I bet she's about 6&1/2 lbs now, but maybe they'll be kind enough to weigh her at the hospital when we're there on thursday. Her 2nd carseat test is at noon on Thurs. Can't wait. I'll be really glad to get her out of that stupid carbed, but there is the possibility that she won't pass the test again and then I'll be very disheartened.

Added to all this is the fact that Embry has decided to be potty trained right now. Starting when Tony's mom was here after Nola came home she slowly began to use the potty. As of now she's going pee-pee in it about 3-5 times a day and she's gone poo-poo in it once of her own accord and once when I quick threw her on when she was kinda already going. She's making quite a bit of progress and not needing much prompting to do so. I'm very happy for this, but the timing could have been a bit better (like before I had a newborn to look after as well), oh well.

Nola is ok at night time. She tends to wake up when I put her down in the pack n play after feeding her. Usually once a night I'll stand there and rock her until she is sleeping, put her down, and then tip toe back into bed praying she won't wake up. Tony was having us get up every 3 hours to feed her (since she's preterm) but we've been sleeping through those alarms lately. Even though I haven't been getting much sleep, I still don't feel quite as, um, off kilter as I did with Embry at this point. I guess having a toddler to take care of actually keeps you slightly sane?!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nola is 2 Weeks Old!

2 weeks old
on 11/9/10

Tony's mom left yesterday morning. Tony went back to work this morning. My mom came over at 7:30 am to watch Embry while I got to sleep in, which was very nice. She'll be back tomorrow morning for the same thing except she's bringing my dad along too. I don't think I'd be nearly as tired if Nola would just eat and be done with it, but it seems like it takes her an hour for each feeding. That means I'm up for an hour every 3 hours, meaning I only get 2 hours of sleep at a time. I'm tired.

Embry is really testing us. It's driving me insane. My mom and I took the girls to get pictures taken at Target today and Embry was less than cooperative until I bribed her with the promise of candy. Then once my mom left after Tony got home, Embry tried to do everything possible that would be 'bad' and I think her sole purpose was to send me to the insane asylum. She's cute, but dang, she's strong willed.

I'd like to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but I can't just leave the house in a state of disarray and actually get to sleep at night. So, up I stay, putting things away, doing little things that need to get done. Not to mention the entire list of things that I had to do before I had Nola, well...those things still need to get done. Oh and add in, thank you cards for my birthday, for the baby shower, and for Embry's birthday, plus Christmas cards and baby announcements. Tony's mom helped with the announcements while she was down, so those are actually mostly assembled and just need to be addressed/stamped/etc.

Embry's 2nd birthday party was on Sunday. It was lots of fun! I feel like when I host something, I never actually get to talk to people as much as I would like, oh well. Embry actually behaved rather well during the whole thing which was very impressive considering she declined to take a nap that day. The Elmo jumping castle/slide combo was a big hit and Embry played on it till the very moment they had to take it away. Only problem was that the little kids (and myself) had a very hard time getting up the rope/ladder to go down the slide. Basically an adult would end up pushing a kid up over the top instead of having them try to climb up, it worked out ok. I'm pretty sure I over-did it a bit though, feeling better now, but I think bouncing is not recommended for someone who had a baby 1.5 weeks earlier. Yes, now you can all say, 'I told you so.'

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Birth Story and 1 Week Old!

Mama and Baby Nola

Baby Nola makes kissy lips a lot

Nola and her parents at Sears before her first photo session on 11/2/10

Align CenterNola is 1 Week Old!

Hanging onto Grandma Dorothea's Hand

Birth Story: (warning, I'm not leaving anything out, so reader beware, it's gonna be graphic)

I had my baby shower on Sunday, it was absolutely FANTASTIC! I can't believe how much work must have gone into making it so special and I felt incredibly blessed. It was Hello Kitty themed and everything was so cute! Then when I got home that night, I tried out my new Moby wrap and put Embry in it. Oddly, she really liked it and I decided to take a 'jog' around the kitchen/living room and jokingly said 'oooh, let's make baby Nola come out to meet us!' I didn't really realize how true those words would become, God has such a funny sense of humor. On Monday morning at 8:30 I went in for my normal NST. Tony's mom and sister Allison were still here to watch Embry for my appointment. The NST was ok, Nola wasn't quite as active as they would have liked, so they had to buzz her with the soundwave machine a couple of times to get her heartrate elevated properly. At the end of every NST, they take your blood pressure before sending you home. Mine was slightly elevated. It had been getting slightly higher over the previous few weeks, but was never actually 'high'. They turned me on my left side and took the blood pressure again and it had increased (we're talking maybe like 130/85 or something like that, so not incredibly high). The nurse decided to call my dr and let her know, to which she said she wanted me sent to triage to be monitored and have some blood and urine tests done.

I was wheeled over to triage where they took my BP every 15 minutes and it kept getting higher. They also did a urine test which showed no protien spilling into the urine (or an insignificant amount) and a blood test. The blood test came back and showed that my blood platelets were low, really low, and apparently they make your blood clot. So the nurse decided to run the test again to see if maybe it was a mistake. They said they like to see the platelet count above 150, but they'll accept it above 100...mine was 47. The nurse then told me that I would definitely be staying for at least 24 hours get a 24 hour urine collection (to see how much protien spilled in 24 hours) and that if I did end up having a baby, I would not be able to get an epidural because of the platelet count being so low. To that I said, 'you've got to be kidding me, that is my absolute worst nightmare come to life.' She also checked my cervix sometime while I was there and it was 2cm and 60% effaced which was quite an improvement from the Thursday before when I was 1cm. I was having some random contractions while being monitored, but nothing consistent.

Dr Golden said to admit me to labor and delivery for at least 24 hours. Tony had showed up slightly before this decision was made (he had to pack a bag etc since I hadn't gotten that far yet) and I got wheeled over to L&D. It was already around 5pm and my dr showed up and said that since my BP kept increasing and my platelet count kept dropping, I would have to be induced and that I definitely would not be able to get an epidural, but I could have IV narcotics (fentenol to be exact). The anestesiologist wouldn't do an epidural because when the platelet count is low, the likelyhood of blood leaking into the spinal fluid (rather than clotting around the catheter like it normally does) is so much higher. I asked if there were any other options at all, like ANYTHING! She basically said, no. I could have had a c-section under general anesthesia, but they wanted to minimize all bleeding and cutting someone open doesn't really bode well when you're blood isn't clotting. So, I just went with it and said ok, cuz really, what else could I do?

They gave me some IV antibiotics (since they hadn't gotten the result of my GBS test back yet), IV steroids, and then started the incredibly evil IV magnesium sulfate for high blood pressure. Then the dr broke my water around 7pm. I have to confess, I think this might have actually been one of the worst parts of the whole experience. I literally scooted backwards on the bed until my whole head was pressed into my chest because it was smashed against the head of the bed while I was saying 'ouch ouch ouch!' and clawing into the nurse's hand. After that, the water leaked out very slowly, the dr left to go get changed, and the IV pitocin was started probably about an hour later.

The contractions steadily got more painful as the hours passed, but were never nearly as bad as I had expected. Even once I was ready to push, I could still handle them with breathing and holding onto something (ie, the bed rail). I was even able to get some sleep between contractions for a while. At some point I threw up quite a bit, but I'd only had 'clear liquids' so it wasn't too terribly bad. Around 4:30 am, I was having strong contractions really close together and I looked over at Tony and said, 'ummm, I literally can't NOT push!' So I started pushing involuntarily. The nurse got the dr (who had gone home after breaking the water and changed and stayed the entire night at the hospital in case I needed her for anything...now that's a good Dr) and switched the bed out to 'pushing mode'. They checked me and sure enough the head was right there, so pushing commenced.

We had them bring in the mirror so I could see the progress and Tony got all the cameras set up on the tray for when Nola arrived. I pushed for about an hour, but it was an incredibly weird experience. At first it wasn't so bad. The dr gave me some lidocaine shots down there in the perineal area and the pushing didn't necessarily hurt for a while. Then it got pretty bad. My back basically felt like it was breaking in half. I kept asking if they could do anything else, like anything, to get her out. I asked if they could use the vacuum, they said no cuz they didn't want me to tear (ie bleed) any more than necessary. I also told them that my IV narcotics must not be working, haha, always a jokester. I was completely exhausted and inbetween contractions I would fall asleep and actually have little dreams until the pain got so bad to wake me up again for more pushing. The nurse (who was awesome) and the dr kept saying how close I was to getting her out and I repeatedly said, 'are you kidding me?' as in, I could see how close it was and I knew I still had a long way to go. I kept remembering on those birth shows how everyone says to just push through the pain, so that's what I did. I figured she had to come out eventually and it was up to me to make it happen. At 5:54 am, I finally got her head to come out (which was sunny side up), then pushed her body out and felt complete immediate relief from pain.

They set her on my chest for about 20 seconds and she wasn't crying too much, so they took her over to the warmer to get her stimulated. I pushed out the placenta (which was super easy after pushing out the baby) and then the dr gave me two stitches for a small tear. Everyone said that I did a really great job and that I was super nice and I am pretty proud of myself. It actually feels really surreal, like did I actually have a baby without an epidural? Me? I did that? And I didn't yell or scream or hurt someone? Wow.

After the birth I continued to bleed quite a bit for about 5 hours. I kept passing clots which is what they want to avoid after delivery. Then around 10 am, Tony had left to go pick up the family to visit us and I looked over at the nurse and said, 'I'm not feeling so well, maybe I have to poo.' So she grabbed the bed pan and put it under me, then I said 'ummm, I'm gonna need that bucket' and proceeded to throw up the pancake breakfast I had about 2 hours earlier. While puking, my stomach muscles would contract and just pushed tons of stuff of my uterus. The nurse wisked Nola out of the room while this was going on and I was apologizing saying I couldn't help it and I kinda saw this look of, well, horror on the nurse's face. While this was happnening, apparently my BP was down to around 60/35. After I was done, there was a pool of blood at least a couple inches deep in the bed pan. This was not good.

About 10 min after my mom, Embry, Tony's mom, and Allison arrived to visit the nurse came over to me and told me that they needed to do a D & C on me right away to clean out my uterus. The Dr explained everything to the family and said that they were ready for me in surgery and they needed to take me back. It was kinda funny though cuz the nurse stated it like I had an option, when really, I didn't. So I was like 'oh um, ok I guess.' Then they wheeled me out. This was rather heartbreaking because Embry was scared and screaming 'mamaaaaaaaaa' and I could hear her as I was wheeled further and further away and I could hear my mom trying to comort her. Oh, I just wanted to give her a big hug, poor baby.

The surgery went well, but seemed to take longer than expected and I had to stay an hour in recovery alone. I was put under general anesthesia for the surgery which meant I had a breathing tube and when I woke up they pulled it out and I couldn't talk and kept gagging on the mucous in the back of my throat. I managed to croak 'ice chips' to the nurse who kept telling me she couldn't give me any. I swear, I could have strangled her. Then she proceeded to smash my uterus (which just had a bunch of stuff scraped out of it) while watching blood come out and saying 'I'm not really sure what I'm looking for (smash uterus smash uterus) maybe we should get the labor and delivery nurse up here.' Um yeh, no kidding freak face, get someone who knows what they're doing instead of hurting me for no good reason! I was clearly ticked at her and everyone knew it. The L&D nurse was super gentle and nice and said everything was fine and gave me ice chips as soon as we were away from the post-op nurse. Oh, I could have kissed that woman. Apparently the dr got out a huge handful of clots and possibly leftover membranes which was sent in for evaluation.

After the D&C they cut my dose of Magnesium Sulfate in half and then stopped in completely 24 hours after delivery. This really cut down on the nausea and I started feeling much better. My platelet count slowly started to increase and was up to 80something by the time we left the hospital on Thursday. Although my blood count was incredibly low due to all the blood loss, so I was told to eat a lot of iron and the dr now wants me to start an iron supplement. My blood pressure was stable shortly after delivery and has stayed that way since. Woohoo!

Coming Home:
As we were trying to leave on Thursday 10/28/10, Nola had to have a carseat test since she was preterm. She failed. I guess her oxygen level dropped too low while she was in the carseat for an hour being monitored. So they loaned us a carbed which is huge and has to go sideways in the backseat, so the end of that story is, we bought a van. It's an 02 Honda Odyssey with 86k miles, 7 seater, dvd player, and navigation system. We got in from craigslist, the guy seemed kinda shady on the phone, but we ran the carfax and it was fine, so we ended up buying it. I like it a lot, the carbed fits really well, and we can all go places as a family now :)

When we finally got home from the hospital at 6pm on Thurs night, we had an incredibly bad experience. Embry basically did an hour long screaming freakout. I think it was a combo of her missing us and then not getting all the attention once we got home. Anyhow, once she went to bed she was fine and then the next day all was well. She does want to cuddle with me when I feed Nola which doesn't work out so well most of the time. We've let her hold Nola a few times which she LOVES but then when we try to take Nola away, she freaks out and screams, 'miiiiiiiiiiiiine!' Embry really does love her baby sister though, it's very heartwarming.

The First Week:
Nola had a check up at the hospital on Sat (10/30/10) and weighed 5lbs9oz which was up 5oz from the 5lbs 4oz she weighed when we left the hospital on Thurs. We tried to get them to redo the carseat test in our other infant carseat but they said she can't be retested till her due date, so I made an appt for 11/18, bleh. Then she had a dr appt with her regular ped on Monday and was up to 5lbs 13oz which was an ounce more than her birth weight so yay!

I had a 1 week post delivery appt with my OB on Monday which went fine. I told her my back hurt the most since delivery and she said the prescription strength Ibuprofen should help with that. My BP was normal and she had me go in for more bloodwork which showed that my blood count is still really low (=even more exhausted than I'd be otherwise) and that my platelet count is up to 155...soooo I say, BRING ON THE EPIDURAL! Oh wait, it's a little late for that now, oh well. I asked if this same thing is likely to happen if I were to get pregnant again and she pretty much said yes. Not that the low platelet count is necessarily correlated with the high BP, but she'd be surprised if I didn't get pregnancy induced hypertension again in subsequent pregnancies. So, that means we're gonna have to think long and hard about having more kids. She asked us about birth control and we figure if we were to get pregnant without trying really hard, then it must just be meant to be and who are we to question God's plans?

Nola is doing really well and she is just a perfect little baby. I love her so much, I can't even describe it. When you have a child, you think you can't possibly love anyone as much and then when you have another one, your heart just grows to accomodate an overwhelming amount of love for both children...it really is amazing. Nursing is going really well, no complaints there, my milk came in the Fri after we got home from the hospital. Nola eats about every 3-4 hours which is pretty standard and I'm so thankful for all the help I've had since coming home. I'm trying not to think about what will happen on Tuesday once tony's mom is gone and tony goes back to work, but I'm sure I'll manage somehow.

This whole experience has just reaffirmed for me how much God loves us. He is watching over us all the time and I am so greatful for his grace and mercy. I think of how much I love Embry and Nola and then just try to imagine how much God loves each of his children, it's simply amazing.