Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Love Me Some Snake Oil

Okay, so two nights in, and I am loving the bed.  He seems really comfortable in it and I love the fact that he seems to be sleeping a tiny bit better. Another four hour stretch last night. . . this was from 9 PM - 1 AM, followed by every two hour wake ups, so I am pretty beat, but a long stretch of sleep always encourages me and negates some of the exhaustion.

Last night was probably the first calm evening in over a week.  I made dinner while Drew took a later nap.  The kids played without any major fights or drama.  M got home and we ate dinner.  Together.  At the table.  Well, until Drew got hungry, but I got to sit there for a good ten minutes before that happened.

We then somehow navigated tubbies and bedtime for everyone without any major meltdowns.  By 8:30, I was nursing Drew and putting him down by 9.  Unfortunately, I then had to help M administer IV fluids to our cat (Have I mentioned our cat is in renal failure and needs the fluids to keep hydrated and not get toxemia?  Have I mentioned she was diagnosed with this three weeks before Drew's birthday?), which takes a little bit of time to organize and execute.  So I didn't get into bed myself until amost 10, but then I slept straight until Drew woke me.  Three hours is still a decent chunk of sleep.

With Emma so sick and Drew so little and it being so rainy, our 2012 Halloween plans are being curtailed quite a bit.  We are all going to go to two or three houses right in our little cul de sac and then I will take Drew and Emma home to hand out candy while M takes Will a little farther afield.  We live in a small neighborhood, so it will take maybe ten minutes to do all of the houses, and that is if everyone is home.  After that, he will have to be driven somewhere, but our little downtown area does a business trick-or-treat and a small fun center at the Boys and Girls Club, so I think they will do that.  I am hoping for another good day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Last evening was rough.  Drew did not want to go to bed.  He finally did go down at 11:00 and woke up again at 12:45.  So much for the "magic bed," I harrumphed as I fell back into my own bed at 1:15 AM.

And then I didn't hear from him until 5:25 AM.  That is FOUR HOURS AND TEN MINUTES of solid sleep!!!!! (But who is counting?)

So now the question. . . is it coincidence or truly the magic of the bed?

Only time will tell, but I am grateful for any stretch of sleep that long, no matter the cause.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Too Tired For A Clever Title

So it was inevitable that Emma would get sick next.  And boy, is she sick.  This sickness is awful.  It is three days of absolutely MISERABLE kiddo.  I am talking will not eat ice cream misery.  Will missed an entire week of preschool and still sounds sick.  He is congested and has a nasty cough.  I had to drop him off this morning and make sure his teacher knew he has been fever free since Thursday and on antibiotics since Friday, so he is no longer contagious. He is definitely on the mend, but it is has been a long week.  Emma, who always sleeps the entire night in her bed, has been in our bed the past two nights.

Andrew has stopped sleeping in his bed, too.  If I am lucky, he will maybe do a two hour stretch in his bassinet in a night, but that is it.  Other than that, I have to hold him or set him down and know that within 20 minutes, he will be awake.  Same goes for naps during the day, except there isn't even the blessing of a two hour stretch.  Between a sick two year old and a newborn in my bed last night, you can imagine what kind of sleep was had around here.  I managed a couple of catnaps today, but I still have to hold Drew, so they are light sleeps.  At least I am sleeping a little, but I could use a nice, solid chunk of baby-free sleeping, and I think that is weeks in coming.

I was talking to a coworker this morning, lamenting on new baby sleep, and she recalled a friend of hers had a baby with colic and had a "magic bed" that she thought I could either buy or borrow.  The friend called me an hour later and kindly offered to meet me to lend me the bed,  I had to drive about a half hour, but it is worth it. . . if the darn thing works.  Remember, I am the woman who drove an hour to pay $40 for a "miracle blanket" that didn't do anything to help newborn Will sleep.  I was so disappointed.  I kind of think these blankets, beds, whatevers are probably things that work with "easier" babies, like Emma, who would sleep anywhere, but parents think it's the magic whatever that did the trick and the legend grows.  In this case, however, I had nothing to lose and only precious sleep to gain.

I brought the bed home and set it up, and so far. . . it has failed to be a miracle.  He likes it for a few minutes, but then he gets restless.  Or he likes it until I stop swinging/bouncing it.  If I am going to have to stay awake and swing the darn thing, it will really negate the whole purpose.  The bed is beautiful and in excellent condition and it was really nice of this person who barely knows me to lend it to me, but I'm afraid it's another case of Snake Oil round these parts.

I will have to report back tomorrow after we've given it a whirl at nighttime.  It can't make sleep worse, that's for sure!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Razor Day

Today isn't such a great day.  Drew took another long stretch of sleep, but he did it from 7:30 PM - 12:30 AM and then was up pretty much every hour to two hours after that.  Now we are in the weird cycle where my milk isn't used to this much nursing and we are playing catch up, so he has pretty much been nursing all morning.

Emma has swung the other direction, too, and is back to bursting into tears when I nurse him.  She threw a tantrum over lip balm (she wanted to eat it, I said no). 

Will is feeling better. . .ish?  He still has a terrible cough and lots of nasal yuck.  His fever is gone, but has been replaced my bloody noses and I can't find the humidifier.

The nurse I talked to on the phone for himt today has three kiddos with our same spacing.  She had to call me three times before I was able to answer because of different distractions.  She said it is either champagne or razor blades with three kids and I laughed becaue that is such an apt description.  I either feel really, really okay and AWESOME because, hey, this parenting three thing, it ain't so bad!  OR, I feel really, really panicked and NOT CUTTING IT because, hey, this parenting three, it is impossible!  There doesn't seem to be a lot of in between moments.

I have only managed to pick off two steri strips.  As a kind commentor reminded me yesterday, they come off more easily in the shower.  I recall that from last time, but these bad boys are on there GOOD.  I tried to take the shower advice this morning, and both Will and Drew had meltdowns while I was in there, so my plan to let them soak a bit didn't work out.  I might try again during nap for Will.

I am overwhelmed today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Naps All Around

Will is doing better today.  He still is very hoarse and has a low grade fever, but he spent the morning out of bed and ate a little bit and is not nearly as ill.  Thank goodness.  He had me pretty worried yesterday.

Drew gave me another five hour stretch of sleep last night.  This is the third night of such miraculous happenings. I actually feel semi-rested today after such a bounty of sleep.  After such a lot of sleep, he spent that majority of the morning wide awake, which is perfect for getting him on a good day/night clock.  My little meatball loves to be WARM.  He likes to wear a onesie, socks, jammies, and be swaddled (I do keep an eye on his body temperature as I know overdressing for bed has been linked to SIDS).  And this is with the heat in our house set to 72.  So today, I got him down to a long-sleeved onesie, diaper, and socks, put him on a soft blanket, and turned on the gas fireplace.  He hung out on the floor near the fire for over an hour, just looking around, kicking his legs, and luxuriating in the heat.  I sat next to him and loved the heat as well, since one of my post-c-section recovery "issues" this time has been the constant chills.  I am like Drew, wearing several layers and still being cold!

Emma has gone from not wanting anything to do with the baby to wanting to hold him all of the time.  This was not such an issue with Will when Emma was born.  He liked Emma, he would hold her if we offered, but honestly, he went about his life almost as if she wasn't here.  Emma calls the baby, "My baby Drew" and is always asking to hold him.  And if you take him away, she says, "You give me back my baby!"  This is kind of cute and honestly kind of frustrating all at once.  I love that she loves him, but when he is hungry or needs a diaper change, and then she is upset because she can't hold him, it really is more exasperating.  I know, I know.  Such a "problem" this is.  I know the novelty of holding him will wear off soon enough and I'll be wishing for the days when she wanted to hug "her baby" instead of steal toys from and fight with him.

I have my two week incision check tomorrow, which means that I have to start peeling off my steri strips tonight.  Usually, at least a few are off by now, or at the least hanging by threads, but they are all on there pretty good.  I hate peeling them off.  It's like ripping off a bandaid. . . times twelve, since there are twelve strips on there.  It isn't that painful, really, but I try to avoid that area of my body right now and peeling things off of the incision gives me the heebie jeebies.

I did some laundry today, cleaned the kitchen a bit, made lunch for Will and Emma, and basically, feel as if I am getting back to normal.  It is a tremendous help having our nanny here.  This is a luxury that I have not had when bringing previous babies home.  I definitely feel very spoiled and it is hard for me to take advantage of the extra pair of hands at times, but right now, with both older kiddos napping, she has the baby so I can shower and nap.

So, that is what I am off to to.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Frequent Flyers

Now I feel all sorts of guilty for considering Will's illness any sort of blessing.  Not long after hitting Publish on yesterday's post, Will went from sort-of-kind-of sick to holy heck, this kid is sick

He spent the night in our bed with M while I spent the night downstairs on the couch with Drew.  So much for the family bed, which I am now seriously regretting, since while a sick 4-year-old sucks, a sick newborn will suck a lot more.  And if Drew gets a fever, that is an instant hospital admit and a whole bunch of scary tests, so right now, we are just hoping and praying that he doesn't get sick.  Or that if he does get sick, he doesn't develop a fever.

I could hear Will's hacking coughs from all the way downstairs.  At 3 AM, his fever had climbed to 103.8 with ibuprofen on board.  Will is a fever spiker, so in and of itself, a high fever isn't necessarily worrisome to me.  But the fact that he looks like death, is falling asleep sitting up, is crying that his throat hurts, AND he won't eat ice cream or popsicles is what prompted us to go back to the pediatrician's for the third time in five days.  The pediatrician was also concerned by how sick he look and acted.  His lungs are clear and he didn't sound too terribly nasal, so she thinks it is truly just a nasty virus, but she is also concerned it could possibly be something called a peritonisillar abscess.  He has what she called the "hot potato" voice and some of his other symptoms are leading her towards that line of thinking.  However, the best way to diagnose it is with a ct scan or biopsy, which she didn't want to put him through unless she is more certain.  So we took him home to see if he gets better by Wednesday (or if he gets much worse tomorrow).  If he doesn't get better or gets much worse, then she thinks more tests are necessary. I am just keeping fingers crossed that it is a nasty virus and that he'll be on the mend quickly. 

I am glad that yesterday was such a calm day, because today has been anything but.  The good news is that since we were at the doctor's already, we had another bili check on Andrew and it is still at the same level as Friday.  While it should start going down soon, the good news is that it isn't going up and isn't in any sort of danger zone right now.  So that is one issue resolving very nicely.

I just wish we could get a punch card at the pediatrician's office.  You know?  Nine visits get one free?  That would be awesome.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Family Bed

Today was a pretty decent day, hormone-wise.  I think it was due in large part to the fact that it was our first day without any sort of appointment to get to, test to have, hospital to stay in.  It was lovely.

We had planned to get up and get to church, but Will woke up sick.  He has been fighting off a cold for nearly a week, but today it morphed into full-on "yuck" (which I am hoping and praying that Drew doesn't catch), complete with fever and a cough.

I think it was a small gift from God, to be honest (though there might be something not-so-nice looking at my son's cold as a blessing).  It would have been our first official outing as a family of five, and while I know it would be doable, it would have made for a hectic, rushed morning.  Instead, we spent all morning just hanging out in our bed.

We snuggled with each other, cuddled Drew, and I got to take some seriously precious pictures of our three little monkeys together.  We watched a movie, read books, sang songs, and had a pretty silly, fun time together.  Then it was lunch and a quiet nap.  One of my very best friends and her husband and two boys stopped by after that.  With last week being so hectic and filled with doctor visits and hospital stays, we haven't had any visitors beyond family.  Honestly, I prefer not to overload with visitors, simply because it puts pressure on me to be presentable and have the house also presentable. It is nice, though, to have people hold your baby and oooh and aaaah over him.

My mom had made several dinners before she left, so I warmed up one of my childhood favorites for dinner.  Then, in an attempt to get back on a schedule, we did tubbies for everyone (well, sponge bath for Drew, who is still sporting his stump) and then three freshly washed kiddos had stories in our bed. 

Ten days into having three children, can I just tell you that my number one "must have" has been our king sized bed.  Even though all three are sleeping in their own beds at night (okay, so we are still working on that with Drew, but he spends a least one stretch of night sleep in there), we are spending a lot of time there during the day.  It is good for me to rest a bit and it is good because we can pull everyone in together.  It is very cozy and warm and feels. . . really nice. 

It was a nice, relaxed day and I am grateful for it as M returns to work tomorrow.  I have our nanny to help, but it will still be a busy day with a different rhythm.  So, here's to a good day and to tomorrow being one, too.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Getting There

We took Drew into the pediatrician's yesterday. Everyone agreed that he is looking much less yellow. His bilirubin level was 13.2. Anything under 15 is just fine, so he is in the clear. We have a weight check and his PKU on Thursday, so they will do another check then (as they already have to stick him) just to make sure everything is good. Other than that, he is perfectly healthy. No one can give us any further idea as to why he had the "episode", but it appears to have just been something random that won't happen again. The hospitalist pediatrician does think he might have reflux (based on observing a nursing session) but as it doesn't seem to be bothering him, we don't need to to treat it for now.

Thursday night, he was a champ sleeper and went a FIVE HOUR stretch in his bassinet. He made up for that last night, refusing to sleep without me. He is definitely my little buddy and even though M tried his best, Mommy was the only one that would do. He didn't even want anything to eat, he just wanted snuggles. I could get him completely asleep, and then put him down, and within five minutes, he was crying.  I would pick him up, he would snuggle close, and stop crying.  Lather, rinse, repeat. The good news is that after I gave up on making him sleep solo and took him to bed with me, we both slept in until 10 AM. M took Will and Emma to the beach park across the street from our house and then to Burger King for lunch, so the big siblings were happy.
Speaking of the big siblings, Will is in LOVE with his baby brother. He loves to hold him, burp him (and he has the magic touch), and shushing anyone who might be noisy around him while he is sleeping. He tells us about every fifteen minutes that he loves his new baby brother and at night, he requests that Baby Drew get in his bed to have stories with him. I am so proud of him, I could burst. He is still same old Will and argues with us a lot and fights with Emma, but he is doing a really nice job of being a big brother for the second time.  Last night, M took Emma to the grocery store and asked Will if he wanted to go. He chose to stay home with me and help with Andrew instead. So sweet.

Emma is. . . a little less enchanted with the whole new baby thing. She does not like it when I nurse him, usually bursting into tears at the sight of it and declaring, "My Mama, Baby Drew!" She then asks to hold him, but that is just a clever ploy so that I can't.  I am just trying to spend some time with her, but it is hard, because Drew loves to eat.  When Emma was a newborn, I could use nursing time as reading and snuggling time with Will, too.  Since she has such a strong aversion to the nursing, that isn't a tactic I can take here.  So instead, I am taking her upstairs for "girl time", which is stories, hair brushing, snuggling, or just watching t.v. in her favorite place - Mama Bed.  On a positive note, she is not mean to the baby and actually seems pretty interested in him, so long as I am not holding him.  Her behavior otherwise doesn't seem to have changed.  She isn't throwing any more tantrums than usual or really acting any differently than she was prior to Drew's arrival.  So, overall, I think she is doing a pretty good job, especially considering how much I have been gone lately and the fact that she was the baby until now. I think she'll adjust pretty quickly and I am going to focus on having just Mommy/Emma time while Will is in preschool and our nanny can watch Drew.
As for me, I am still emotional.  I range from feelings of intense happiness to anxiety.  There are moments when I am incredibly happy.  This afternoon, for example, we all snuggled down after nap and cuddled in our bed and it was peaceful and sweet.  The kids were both "playing" with Drew and he was in one of those quietly awake newborn dazes, just kind of looking around, and it was surreal and incredibly amazing to look at our THREE babies.  Less than five years ago, I couldn't imagine one RLB being in my arms, let alone having THREE.  Tonight, I read stories to Will and Emma and then they crawled up in my lap on Emma's rocking chair and I sang songs to them and I felt as if my heart would swell with so much love that my chest would burst from it.
The anxiety creeps in, too, however.  M returns to work on Monday.  My parents were planning on coming back up, but due to a lot of extenuating circumstances, it would work best if they didn't.  Now, I have our nanny, and she is incredible.  But M works long days and has a long commute.  We can't expect A to work those long hours.  She usually comes around 8 AM and leaves at 5 PM.  So I will have a few hours each day with them on my own.  It's not a ton of time, but the afternoon after she leaves can be hectic.  I am glad for my frozen meals and my crockpot, so that I hopefully won't be doing too much meal prep and can just focus on them during that window of time. 

I also am already thinking about having to return to work in January.  When Will was a newborn, I had always planned to stay home, but then the enormity of actually quitting my job kept us from making a firm decision throughout much of my five month maternity leave.  This time, there this no option.  We bought a house that we simply cannot afford on M's salary alone and, even though I loved being a SAHM, it just didn't work for us long term.  Also, because of my short tenure with the company, I am fortunate to be getting any sort of maternity leave, but it won't be five months.  I get eight weeks of short term disability to recover from my c-section and then saved up 11 precious vacation and floating holiday days.  My company also gives us the week between Christmas and New Year's off, so I don't have to go back until January 2nd.  This is really a gift and it is fully paid with benefits, but. . . it just doesn't seem long enough.  I know, it is weeks and weeks away, but I also know the time will fly by and it will be January before I know it.
Much to my dismay, I am not healing as quickly as I did after Emma's birth.  I realize I am only 9 days post-op and that isn't that long, but with Emma, I had stopped taking all pain pills and felt pretty "normal" ten days out.  I had a lot more pain following the c-section this time.  The nurses told me it was likely due to the tubal that I had at the same time.  In any case, I was pretty miserable for the first three days, and now I would say I am just uncomfortable most of the time, but in actual pain sometimes.  I am only taking Tylenol during the day, but boy howdy, am I ready for the official pain meds by bedtime.  I know that part of this is that I am overdoing it, but with Will and Emma around, it isn't as if I can just take it easy.  The night I stayed with Drew in the hospital also didn't help.  It was a lot of standing by the bili-bed and walking him around.  I was on my feet more than I probably should have been.  That, in combination with sleepless nights, and more than the pain, I am just still really tired.  I will get an occasional burst of energy, but it is quickly sapped, and I am looking forward to feeling normal again.

I have my 2 week post-op visit with my OB on Thursday and I will bring up my feelings with him. I am not ready to get on any sort of medication at this point (I have nothing against it whatsoever), simply because I think it is a bit early to determine whether this is normal post-partum/baby blues or anything more serious.  What I am doing is trying to put in a "check point" of sorts with Dr. S, so he'll ask me about it for sure at my eight week post-op visit and we can make a better determination then.

So, that is where we all are for now.  Mostly, I think we are all doing okay, though I definitely anticipate continued adjustments and growing pains for all of us.  But we'll get there.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jaundice: Round Three

Update:  We are home!  I took the most incredible nap of my LIFE. Seriously, it was only an hour, but it was a deep sleep that left a circle of drool on on my pillow and me feeling rested.  Funny how the body so easily gets used to such little sleep that an hour feels like eight!  I haven't taken any pain pills in two days, as I did not want to be the only person responsible for making medical decisions for Andrew and be under any sort of narcotic influence.  So I did take one precious pill when we returned home and my pain is much better.  I think for being seven days post-op, having had very little sleep in that past week, and being on my feet pretty much for the last 24 hours, I am doing pretty well. We have a follow up appointment for Andrew tomorrow, just to make sure he is continuing to gain weight and stay hydrated, but other than that, it's time to settle in and find our "new normal". 

Both Will and Emma had jaundice.  Will avoided phototherapy after a 48 formula push and Emma needed the bed at home to turn her jaundice around.  Andrew is proving each and every day to be my  trailblazer and we were admitted to the hospital yesterday for phototherapy after home therapy failed to bring the numbers down (they went up). 
His numbers are not in any sort of danger zone (25 and up and you are admitted to NICU - we are at 24 and in the normal pediatric care unit), but in addition to the jaundice, he had some other vitals that were concerning to the home health nurse who came to set up the bed (his respiration rate was high again, which was the same issue he had prior to his "episode" last week).  Also, his numbers had gone up pretty substantially in less than 24 hours, and we wanted to make sure that wouldn't happen again.
We arrived here about 3 PM.  Admitting took a little bit of time, but then we were brought up to the floor.  The room is awesome and the nurses were seriously incredible.  The room is like a hotel room, with our own bathroom and flat screen tv.  There is a kitchen with soups, ice cream!, jello, juices, sodas, cereals, and more.  They also let parents order a courtesy tray, so I was given a menu and a form to fill out to order dinner.  The pediatrician spent a lot of time with us, examining Andrew, explaining jaundice and the phototherapy process, and answering questions.  We then had two nurses to get us all set up.
That's when the wheels fell off the wagon a bit.  Andrew HATED the bed.  He would be completely calm and then we would put him down.  He would start writhing the second my hands left him.  And then he would SCREAM.  After about a half hour of this, I pulled him off of the bed and nursed him again, only to have it all start over when we tried to put him down.  It was during this time that M had to leave so that our Nanny could go home.  So I was flying solo.  I never even got to order dinner from that fancy-dancy menu.
I could settle him for a few minutes, and then BAM!  He would startle or just start crying.  I had to stay hunched up with him under the lights, patting, shushing, etc., and he was still crying.  The nurses came in and out, tried different things, but we were getting nowhere.  I kept watching the minutes tick slowly by on the clock and knew I was in for possibly the longest night of my life.
After about four hours, I asked the nurse about giving him a formula "topper" since I hadn't had a chance to pump yet and they wanted him on the bed, rather than being nursed. FOUR OUNCES (this is a LOT) later, he was a much happier boy, though he still wasn't loving the bed. We got a couple of hours under our belts and then he seemed to be okay with nursing and being on the bed for a bit in between sessions, but the pediatrician said he still needed more time on the bed. So the night nurse and I got creative and made him a swaddle out of the cover material they use for the bed (side note, why do they not make blankets like this to go with the beds. . . I should patent this idea) and tucked blankets around his legs to make him feel more secure. Since then, he has been happier, though I have learned this guy is a big time cuddle bug. The minute that he is picked up, he plops his head down on my shoulder, sighs and shudders, and goes right to sleep. So he isn't hungry, in pain, or any of that. He just wants to be loved. I have promised him that when we get home, he will get lots of snuggles and loves to make up for the past day. I don't think I will put him down for a week!!

Probably my favorite part of last night is when I was trying to soothe him and gave him his binky. He literally took the binky out of his mouth and hurled it out of the crib. The nurse laughed so hard she was crying, because even though there is no way a newborn could have that type of coordination, it really looked like he did it on purpose. 

It was a long night, but we got labs drawn this morning at 7 AM and it seemed to be worth it - his bilirubin was down to 11.6 (it needs to be below 13 for discharge)!!! We all got very excited until the pediatrician was skeptical of such a quick drop and we realized the lab tech had made a mistake and drawn the blood while the lights were still on. The lights are so good at breaking down the bilirubin that it will do it in the vial while it is being drawn. So, now we have to have another draw and see where his numbers are truly at.
The other good news is that the fast respirations were likely from dehydration.  They gave him fluids and everything has been stable since.  Thank goodness. 

So I will update here as I can, but he is making lots of diapers (a fantastic sign), looks less yellow already, and his feistiness is a great sign he is feeling okay despite the jaundice (it makes some babies feel sick, but it doesn't seem to be doing that to him). We are hoping the numbers later on today look good and we are home by tonight.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Things We Don't See Coming

Andrew was born at 9:24 AM on 10-11-12.  I went down to the wire on whether I would be able to be awake for the surgery or not.  My platelet count came in at the exact level that the anesthesiologist required.  I would be allowed to have an epidural!

So I was awake when Dr. S pulled him from the incision and announced, "We've got a 10 pounder!"  Indeed.  Andrew weighed in at 10 lbs, 9 oz., which explains why I have been so dreadfully uncomfortable these past few weeks!

In recovery, M leaned over and said, "Well, that was easy."

I laughed because the room was spinning and I was a tad bit overwhelmed, having just had major surgery and becoming a mom for the third time.  To use the word "easy" seemed inappropriate, and yet completely fitting, since everything that we had worried about happening:  me needing a general; tranfusions; infusions, none of that had been necessary. 

Recovery was uneventful.  Andrew latched on without issue and I got the longed-for nursing session less than a half hour after he was born.  Dr. S moseyed in and told us everything had gone well.  We would continue to follow my labwork, both in and out of the hospital, but he was confident that everything would return to normal as far as my platelets went.  We called family and texted friends to let them know that Andrew was here and healthy and I was recovering well. We were transferred to our regular hospital room. Everything was going as planned.

Three hours after Andrew was born, I asked M if he thought his feet looked purple. He shrugged and reminded me that Emma's feet had done the same thing. He was right. They had. I pulled the blanket back up over our son and continued to marvel at his perfection.

He started rooting for food and we went for round #2.  Andrew was enthusiastically nursing away.  By this point, I noticed a couple things that I had never seen with either Will or Emma when they nursed.  First off, he kept shaking and shuddering, about every two to three minutes.  He was almost gasping.  I had asked the recovery nurse about this and she mentioned that some large babies have trouble with regulating their own blood sugars post-delivery, so he could be having "sugar shakes".  She watched him for a minute and decided that was probably what it was.  She let me know that eating was the best way to handle this, so to keep feeding him.

The other thing was that he made a different noise while nursing.  I couldn't describe it well, but it just sounded "off" to me.  I made a mental note to ask the pediatrician during his first exam.  I noticed his left arm and hand looked purple and pointed it out to M.  Again, it had happened before, and M said it was barely noticeable.  I got distracted then, as the nurse handed me my precious pain pills.  As I took them, I felt Andrew stiffen at my breast.  I looked down at the most horrific sight of my life.

"Purple!" I screamed.  "Really, really PURPLE!"

Andrew was dark purple from head to toe.  And he wasn't breathing.

The nurse glanced down and then it all happened so quickly and yet so slowly all at once.  She grabbed him away and tilted him, rubbing frantically at his back.  He stayed purple.  The look on her face was terrifying.  She had him on a table and an oxygen mask shoved on his face within seconds. But he was still purple.  She called a code.  The student nurse that was helping her that day didn't even know how to call a code.  She grabbed the phone from him and did it.  CODE BLUE. The room quickly filled with people.  Tubes.  Wires.  Monitors.  Another tube.  I had to turn away, I couldn't watch.  Then I had to turn back, because you can't NOT watch.

I laid there, feeling so completely helpless.  My legs were still numb from the anesthesia.  I felt as if I was the one who couldn't breathe.  "Go to him," I instructed M.  He tried, but he couldn't, because there were too many people and he was pushed back.  So, he came to me, and held my hand, because now I really couldn't breathe and was hyperventilating.

Another nurse came into the room and to my side.  "Go ahead and cry all you want, Momma," she said, holding my other hand.  I wasn't crying more than gasping, trying to breathe air into him from across the room.

He was pinkening and then they were taking him to NICU.  M went with him.  My parents were there shortly after and sat with me while I cried and worried.  I called our pediatrician who assured me that he was in the best possible place.  They did tests and more tests, ruling out anything serious.  M kept me updated via text as one cause after another was eliminated.  His heart seemed fine; lungs clear; blood infection unlikely. 

And all I kept thinking is that we did not see this coming.  In everything that we worried about, we did not worry about this.  I kept praying for more time with my little boy, for a miracle.

I got my miracle.  The tests never revealed anything at all.  We will have follow up testing done, but at this point, they just think his airway somehow because compromised.  They have no reason to believe it will happen again.  We stayed extra time in the hospital.  It hasn't happened again. 

I will write a more complete birth story later, including of course my latest battle with post c-section constipation (this time, it's personal). But honestly, this was the most important part of it.  Everything else, all of the little details pale in comparison to that moment that Andrew stopped breathing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Day Before

The day before Emma was born was a bit hectic.  We had to get Will to my MIL and my pre-surgical bloodwork caught my previously undiscovered platelet issues, so I had to go get more bloodwork and worry about that.  I felt as if I ran around all day like a chicken with my head cut off.

Today seems a bit more chill.  This time, my nanny is here, doing a lot of the legwork with the kids.  I am not exactly running around, but I am keeping busy. I took Will to preschool this morning.  I am doing some last minute laundry.  I am running to the grocery store for a few odds and ends (milk, bread, things of that nature). 

My parents are arriving this afternoon and will be able to help with dinner and other things tonight.  They will be staying until we get home from the hospital.  If I am doing well, they will probably leave the day after we get back, to give us some family time, and then come back when M goes back to work (Monday, Oct. 22).  And again, I have our nanny during the day to help with things, so I feel as if I have a lot more back up than I did last time.

I have done a lot of random things to be ready for Andrew's arrival, though I know there are things that I should have done.  The nursery is done, down to the wipes already in the wipe-warmer and the Ergo washed and hung up, ready to be worn.  His bassinet, swing, bouncy chair, and playmat are all at the ready.  I have my post-surgical meds (including stool softeners, pain meds, hemmorhoid creams, etc.) in the bathroom.  I have a life time supply of the biggest pads you have ever seen.  I have nipple cream and pads in my hospital bag.  I have cleaned every piece of bedding (including our pillows) in my super fancy washer (on the sanitize cycle - nest much?).

All of the laundry hampers are empty, the fridge and pantry have the essentials we will need.  My mom plans on adding some frozen meals to my collection (I have been making and freezing extras for about a month - I have 16 meals at the ready).  This isn't my first time at the rodeo, so I feel as if I have a good idea of what I need to have ready to be prepared and those things are done.  Because our house is still so new, a lot of things that I had to do to prep for Emma's arrival I just didn't have to do this time.  Closets were already cleaned.  The house is spotless because we haven't lived here long enough to get that build up of dirt a lived-in-for-longer-house gets.  Oh, and I have a biweekly housecleaning service already in place.  The house will be scrubbed clean tomorrow and still be nice and tidy when I arrive home on Sunday.  I have two baskets (one pink, one blue) of wrapped "big sibling" presents, little things to have the kidlets open on days when we need a little perk or to celebrate extra good behavior.  My hospital bag is packed. . . I have packed and repacked it about a million times this past month.  Andrew's bag is ready, too, although I never bring much to the hospital for them, since it is all provided.

I am writing this all down to reassure myself.  Because, despite all of the above, ALL OF A SUDDEN, I DON'T FEEL READY.

It is funny how, for the last month, I have been "done".  I have fantasized about sleeping in my bed without this large bump, not having to get up five times a night to use the restroom, not having ferocious heartburn that causes me to wake up, choking on my own stomach acid.  I have longed to see my ankles again, wear shirts that fit, and basically have my body back.  I have tried to enjoy these days of pregnancy and mostly failed, because I have been physically pretty uncomfortable.

And now, on the eve of delivery, I am feeling decidedly nostalgic about all of those things and wishing that the surgery was next week or the week after.  I am SUCH a hormonal, emotional goofball right now!!!  If you are still reading this, you are a glutton for punishment.

In any case, 24 hours from now, Andrew will be here.  All of this anxiety will be over.  I can't wait.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Two Sides

I am on emotional and hormonal overdrive right now.  Everything seems so RAW.

I had my pre-op appointment today and all of my routine pre-surgical bloodwork.  The very strange thing about a c-section (to me) has always been how clinical it makes something that should be anything BUT clinical.  Yes, this is surgery.  I know that they have to dot i's and cross t's, and that there is a routine that should be followed for solid reasons.  But this is also the birth of a child and that kind of gets lost in the medi-speak.

So, first, the CLINICAL:

Dr. S was his usual awesome self.  I had a list of questions pertaining to the use of a general.

1)  Will Andrew be sent to the NICU or straight out to M (who cannot be in the OR due to the general)?

Assuming everything goes well with him, and as soon as he is stable, has been weighed, assessed, and all of the normal newborn things done to him (about ten to fifteen minutes), he will be brought to M in a recovery room.  I will be brought to a separate recovery room and, 2 - 8 hours later, depending on how I recover, we will be reunited in my hospital room where I can finally have skin to skin time and attempt to nurse.  Which leads to my next question. . .

2)  How long will they wait to feed Andrew?

He said this is very different, varying from nurse to nurse and baby to baby.  The bottom line is, they will try and keep him from eating until I am well enough to nurse him.  I know Will waited five hours for his first nursing, just because I was kind of a mess after the unexpected surgery, and he was fine.  So. . . I am hoping Andrew will hold out until I can be there, but I also don't want him to be uncomfortable and hungry waiting, so I understand if he needs to eat.

3)  Can someone take a birth picture for us (we have pictures of both kiddos "fresh out the oven" as it were and would like the same with him)?

Yes.  Again, it depends on whether the surgeon is okay with cameras in the OR (Dr. S is) and then if the charge nurse is okay with managing the camera.  He has not been assigned his charge nurse for the day, but he said that he will talk to them personally and make the request that morning and he doesn't think it will be an issue.

4)  Since I will not have a spinal, how will my post-operative recovery differ?

He said that I will be able to feel my feet and thus get out of bed faster by a few hours, but that I will likely have an external pump for pain management, so that tethers me a bit, which is kind of a tradeoff  He said I shouldn't notice much, if any, difference in my recovery, as everything else is the same.

He then discussed his concerns specific to my delivery.  The first is that it is likely that I will need both a platelet and blood transfusion following surgery.  He said that many women are very weak after a blood transfusion and that will complicate my recovery slightly.  We also cannot be discharged until my platelet count begins to climb.  He would like to see two increasing lab values over 100k, which he believes won't be until 3 - 4 days post operatively. 

I also cannot have anything as far as an NSAID or gas relief post-delivery.  This delayed passing gas with Emma and added a lot of pain and an extra day to my hospital stay.  But both of those medications could alter my platelet counts and he is very eager to see those climb.  I stayed in the hospital with both babies for three days (going home on the fourth day), so this really isn't going to be different.  I know this is a very personal thing, but I like that extra day in the hospital.  I do NOT feel ready to go home on that third day, but I am READY to go on the fourth day.  I know I will miss Will and Emma like nothing else, but I also know that once I am home, there will be no laying around with (albeit hospital) food delivered, on-demand narcotics, and extra hands to help with Andrew. 

So, you see, there it is in all of its clinical glory.  It is easy to forget that there is a BABY on the other side of all of this.

Then there is the EMOTIONAL side:

I am a mess.  I am always an emotional person (really?  shocking!), but these past few days, I range from crying at the drop of a hat to getting angry at the dog for doing something dog-like and normal.  I am trying to cling to all of these "final" moments as a family of four.  I am huge, uncomfortable, have to pee every five seconds, and pretty much DONE being pregnant, but then I feel guilty for not savoring these last bits of pregnancy.  Pregnancy was once everything I wanted, with a desperate passion, and to be wishing these past few days away seems. . . so wrong.  Everything seems so monumental, but yet I don't feel up to the monumental task of truly appreciating/savoring it.

I remember these feelings with Emma's impending arrival.  I remember being sad, wistful, emotional, and wanting to cling to my final days with just Will.  And once she was here, it was as if she had always been here.  It took me some time to LOVE her the "same" way that I did Will and actually, I will never love Will and her in the "same" way.  What I mean by that is that there is an initial surge of love that comes from deep within the second you put your eyes on your baby.  It is primal and forceful.  But your love for your older child is that love PLUS the love of that individual and all of their uniqueness.  It takes a bit of time for that second love to kick in.  I expect much the same with Andrew, but it still makes these last moments with my two bigger kids bittersweet.  I know that everything is going to change.  I know it will be a mostly amazing change, but with all change will come some growing pains for all of us.

I warned you that I was a bit all over the board.  This is a just a brief snapshot of the crazy slingshot of emotions I have been wrestling with for the past couple of weeks.  With my c-section just a little over a day away (!), the feelings are far more intense.  I just have to hold on and try to enjoy the ride.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Nursery

Well, there were definitely times when I didn't think it would get done before his arrival.  But now, three days before my scheduled c-section, I have to say. . . Andrew's nursery is complete.

With each nursery, I have gotten more confident in what I want and less concerned about finding the "perfect" anything.  I have realized that most of the nursery is going to be spit up on, pooped on, peed on, and that most of my time in that room will be spent in the dark.

This was, by far, the least work that I have ever personally done on one of my nurseries, too.  First off, the room was already painted with the perfect accent color.  Secondly, my nanny set up all of the furniture and washed and hung/folded about half of the clothes.  I hung/folded the other half here and there (this kid has a LOT of clothes).

This was also the nursery that didn't turn out AT ALL as I had originally planned.  There were lots of "accidents" along the way, and it just goes to show that "accidents" can be a good thing when nursery decorating.

My MIL purchased the bedding set for us.  This is a very generous gift and we were very grateful.  The only small hitch with this was. . . it was the wrong set.  She had asked which one we wanted, and I had another in mind.  I sent her the link for that set (and I have double checked, it was the right link), but for some reason, when she clicked on it, it brought up several choices, so she picked what she liked.  When I opened the bedding set, I was a bit surprised.  Had this been my first baby, I am sure I would have freaked out and spent much angst deciding on how to handle it, but this being my third baby, I threw the bedding into the crib without so much as a second thought.  Will loves the trains and Emma likes the airplanes, and it has ended up being a fun set to decorate with.  We definitely ended up with a very different look than what I'd been aiming for, but I am very happy with it.

I then found a framed picture at the Goodwill that I thought would look nice with the bedding.  It was $1.  In the store, I found the red frame and blue matting too garish and planned on reframing it.  When I got it home, I LOVED the look of the red with the bedding.  So much so, in fact, that I decided to run with the red as an accent color. 

When I was admitted at 35 weeks, I made M a list of things to do, one of which was to buy red curtains (I had already bought the accent rug and told him to just match to that color) and a curtain rod.  So he purchased and hung up the curtains as well as some other things.  Again, things didn't end up quite as I had planned, but it ended up looking great.

I did stumble across two things during my search for nursery items that really make the room special.  The first is this set of transportation prints. My MIL made these at a crafting party when my husband was 5.  They were in pretty ugly brown frames, which I was willing to use, simply for the nostalgic value, but even M wanted to change them out.  I found these fun frames at Ikea in th red I was going for.  I love how they look and the very neat fact that they hung in M's room for a decade.

The second is thing I found in a Hallmark store for 75% off when I was about 8 weeks pregnant.  I think it ended up being $4.  The funny thing is that I hemmed and hawed about whether to  even buy it.  $4, people.  I just hadn't really thought much about nursery theme at that point, and with our history, buying anything for the nursery seemed a bit nuts.

Then I realized that I could use the picture in another room OR just send it to the Goodwill if I didn't end up needing it.  The thing about this picture is that I have always sang this song at bedtime.  Both of my kids can sing it, word for word, with me or on their own.  I loved this song, especially with Will, as I almost stopped believing so many times that I would ever have my own RLB.  With this baby being so unplanned, it is really full circle for me.  These stars are also from Will's original nursery decoration, so again, I love repurposing things and how well it all came together.

This shelf is actually a bath shelf from Ikea and it is the thing that I spent the most on in the entire nursery - $25.  But I love, love, love it.  I love how it matches the curtain rods and also that I can hang little things from it.  Since we actually purchased so little for this room, I don't mind that I splurged on one thing.

I don't know if you can see the star hooks that the clothes and red bag are hanging on.  These are also from Will's room.  I had planned on spray painting them red, but I decided against it.  They don't really pop on this wall as I was hoping, so I might still paint them later.  But. . . probably not!  Once Andrew is here, I will be too busy to worry about whether stars pop.

So, that is the nursery.  It really came together well.  I don't think these pictures do it justice.  I just got this camera phone and haven't figured out the settings yet.  In person, the red is really vibrant and the navy wall is really warm.  The room is cheerful and bright.  It makes me happy just to walk in there.  Now, it's time to add the key ingredient. . . Andrew!

Friday, October 5, 2012

No, I Didn't Pick It

Update:  Everything is fine.  My platelets are in the 80k range now, but that is still okay.  I am supposed to take it easy this weekend and we are leaving everything as scheduled for next Thursday

Between the contractions and the fact that I am the heaviest I have ever been in my life (way heavier than when I delivered either Will or Emma - but that is a whole other post of shame), I am a bit of an achy mess right now.

I spend most evenings in a warm bath to quell the achies and relax before attempting to get some sleep (I say attempt because I have wicked pregnancy insomnia right now).  We get the kidlets to bed and then I soak for at least an hour before going to bed myself.

So, that's where I was last night when I felt my nose drip.  I reached my wet hand up to my nose and it came away covered in blood.  I am not trying to be dramatic, but it was a LOT of blood.  I am sure my platelet count doesn't help, as well as the fact that my hand was wet and smeared the blood.  I am not usually woozy at the sight of blood, even my own.  During my iron transfusions, when the blood would go EVERYwhere and would even pool in a sticky puddle under my arm, and even the nurse seemed startled, it didn't phase me a bit. 

But this?  This startled me a bit.  Especially when I got up (a bit unsteadily) and it dripped into the tub water and all over the bathroom floor.  I then caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and my face was covered in blood.  I went to the door and opened it, and asked M to please come in to help me.  He saw my face and leapt up from the bed.  He got me a wash cloth and helped me to lay down.

"Should you call the doctor?" he asked.

I wasn't really sure.  I know nose bleeds can be a common issue in pregnancy and it was 11 PM.  Our two babies were sleeping peacefully.  I knew if I called in, they would probably insist that I come to the hospital, because this low platelet thing is a bit of an outlier.  When I was in the hospital, I could tell there isn't exactly an established protocol for how to handle it.  No one wanted to be the one to send me home and then have me bleed out somewhere (not that this was ever truly a risk, but you can tell, they just don't know what to do).  I didn't want to go in and then be admitted for truly no reason while they did bloodwork.  I also have a feeling that if we go in, then it will be baby time, just because we are so close to the scheduled c-section.  It isn't that I am not "ready" for him to come, because I AM, but I also don't want him to come earlier than is necessary.
I suggested we wait to see if the bleeding stopped.  It did.   

And then I promised him that I would call first thing this morning.  I did.

They wanted me in for a blood draw anyway today, but the nurse insisted that I do it sooner than later.  So I did.

And now we wait to see if my platelets have dropped or if they are still the same.  I feel just fine (well, no different than any other day the past few weeks).  My nose feels a bit stuffy, but nothing out of the ordinary other than that.  I have a feeling this was your run of the mill pregnancy-related bloody nose.  To me, the fact that my nose stopped bleeding is what we should be celebrating.  I might not have an abundance of platelets, but those platelets that I do have??  Clearly, they know how to do their job!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Most

I am offically the most pregnant I have ever been.

Will made his appearance at 38 weeks, 3 days, after my 38 week appointment where the midwife swept my membranes. . . without telling me that she was doing it first! 

With Emma, a combination of swelling, moderate protein in my urine, and platelet issues, led to her slightly early appearance at 38 weeks, 2 days.  Both have been considered term and born without any complications, and I KNOW that the belly is the best place for Andrew to be.  I am impatient to get the show on the road, but I also am trying to savor these last days of the truly final pregnancy I will ever have.  Also, I know how hectic the newborn phase will be, and I am also trying to spend a little extra time with Will and Emma, knowing my focus will have to shift in the next few weeks.

I am now 38 weeks, 4 days pregnant.  I had my 38 week appointment today, where we discussed moving my c-section up to this week.  Ultimately, we made the decision to do daily platelet counts and leave things as scheduled for next week, on Thursday, 10-11-12, unless he decides to make an appearance on his own schedule before then.

Dr. S also had some disappointing news for me.  He had said when I was discharged that if we could show a long history of platelet counts in the 80-90,000 range that it would be possible that I would be allowed to be awake for the c-section.  It turns out that my hospital's policy is any count under 100,000 in the past two weeks means an automatic general.  ALL of my counts have been under 100,000 and have been for awhile.  Dr. S said that it is possible (though unlikely) that the anesthesiologist could make the call the day of, based on my platelet counts that morning, but it truly depends on the provider and most of them do not want to be making decisions that go against hospital policy (which you can't blame them for).

I am disappointed, though I do appreciate the fact that my safety is being taken into consideration.  I do understand the extra risks that a spinal would mean and I am not arguing the decision.  I am just sad that I won't get the immediate post-surgery nursing time that I did with Emma.  I realize that I have a lifetime with Andrew, it's just that. . . well, that time with Emma was so special and I really did want to have a repeat of that.  Then again, Andrew and I will have our own special moments.

After my appointment tonight, M presented me with my "push present" (known as my zipper present 'round these parts).  It is a beautiful silver necklace with Will, Emma, and Andrew inscribed on it.  Since we had discussed me not getting such a gift this time around (what with a new house being a gift in and of itself), I was really surprised with it.  Because I am lazy and don't want to go downstairs for my camera to take a pciture, here is the necklace pic from the etsy site, though obviously NOT mine! ;)

It is really beautiful and I love seeing their three names together.  It makes it all seem a bit more "real", I guess, even though you would think that my growing belly and active boy would make it "real".  When I was leaving the hospital with my two kids and growing belly, an older woman wearing a grandma sweatshirt stopped me and said, "Honey, that was me, forty years ago."

It took me a minute to realize that she meant her with three kidlets.  We chatted for a moment and she wished me luck.  It was said with that camaraderie that women have . . . with the knowledge that there will be tough moments ahead, but that it will all be worth it. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting To Okay

I am fully 38 weeks pregnant.  That is full term, for those of you keeping score at home.  Yay!

I had another platelet draw today.  It has dropped again, but is still above the "danger" zone.  This platelet checking thing has been a bit of a rollercoaster and I will be glad to be off of it.  I honestly think that whether I will be able to be awake for the c-section or not will be a "day of" decision. 

I am enjoying my time off work, though I haven't been doing as much resting as I should.  I would say I am likely nesting, as I am finding the energy to work on things like laundry and cleaning my refrigerator.  I am tired, but there is a restless edge to this fatigue.  Even when I settle into bed, physicially spent, my mind will not shut down and stop thinking of all that still needs to be done.

There really isn't that much to be done, to be honest.  The nursery needs a few things hung, but my dad doesn't like to sit around while he is here, so I have made him a list of things that need to be put up.  But my mind keeps buzzing about those darn things anyway.   Each day, I get a few more things ticked off of my list of "nice to be done", but the "have to be done" things were finished awhile ago (side benefit of a hospital admission at 35 weeks). 

One of the "nice to be done" things was going and picking out a gift from the kids to Andrew (we chose the Tranquil Turtle based on some good recommendations from friends - kind of pricy, I will have to let you know if it is worth it) and we picked out gifts from Andrew to the kids.  This was something that we did with Will when Emma was born and I felt it was successful.  Another "nice to be done" thing I will do tomorrow (unless Andrew makes other plans for me) is to go to the dollar store and get some little presents to wrap for the kids and have for days when they are really extra good big siblings.  I guess you could call it bribery, but it worked like a charm when Emma was born, and I am  not above a bit of bribery here and there.

I am a mix of so many emotions.  One minute, I am happy and excited to get this show on the road.  The next, I am overwhelmed and anxious, wondering how we will possibly handle all of this.  I range from laughing to crying to everything in between.  This is a crazy, crazy time and I think I am just ready to get on with the program. . . while still clinging a bit to the life with "just" two.  I recall these exact emotions when Emma joined us, so I know it will all be okay.  It is just the getting to okay that I am a little bit worried about.