Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today's Reminder

But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings as eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

NICU day 15 & 16

I find myself holding my breath. Holding my breath every time Lola does well; just waiting for that backward step that seems to come with a NICU stay. 

Last night I decided to stay at the hospital after Lola finished her 3 and 6 pm feedings. I got to give her the next four feedings (9pm, 12am, 3 am, 6 am). She took all 6 feedings in a row by full bottle!!!  Praise The Lord!!!  However, at midnight her temp dropped.  The NP had the RN wrap her in warm blankets and recheck her at 3. I held my breath for the next two feedings. If her temp drops again, it is back to the box.  

I am praying that this is a turn towards going home, but I am nervous saying that out loud. Will she take a step back?  Since her 6 am feeding she has been restless. Will she stay awake to eat at 9 or be too tired and pass out?  I am so nervous to write this, but I have to be patient and have faith that God will send her home when she is ready. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

NICU Day 14

Today Lola moved to an open crib. So far she has done fine holding her temperature, after changing from a onesie to a sleeper. 

Our big issue remains to be eating. Yesterday, Lola took 4 full feeds. Today, no full feeds. My first feed she ate half and then was out. 3 hours later, baby girl would not even wake for a feed. It is so frustrating.  As soon as we think we are seeing an improvement, little girl gets too tired and doesn't cue for a feeding. I am at my wits end. I do not know what to do. 

Everyone says to be patient. Continue to trust in The Lord. But, when your family is torn apart, you can't just "be patient". Your heart hurts when you look back at the number of days you have spent in the hospital and the lingering question mark of how many more days you will remain. The fact that Nathan will be back at work before she is home kills me. He spent his entire "bonding time" at the hospital with his baby girl in a box. How fair is that to him?  How fair is the fact that Tait hasn't even met "his baby"?  NICU sucks!!!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

NICU Day 12-Roller Coaster Ride

I am not feeling up to writing very much today, but a post I made on Facebook needed some clarification. First of all, Lola is fine. She is doing well. The NICU is a roller coaster and you will have awesome days that have you planning taking your baby home soon, then the next day will come and you will feel farther away from leaving than ever.

Yesterday Lola took 3 feeds. I came into the NICU this morning with my stomach in knots hoping to hear she did well for her evening feeds. I did not get that news. I got the news that she drank some from her bottles, but was given the majority through her nasal tube. That was devastating. It just shows we are a long way from going home.

We also found out (after I looked at the temperature on her bed) that they had not taken her temp down a half degree. Apparently, the order never got written. We fixed that issue after complaining to the doctor. The nurse told us she had to maintain a temp over 37 degrees for her bed temp to drop. Lola's temp has always been 36.7. We knew it didn't sound right and asked her to call the doctor. We are our daughter's advocates and I have no problem being the squeaky wheel when I do not feel right. I felt some of the same frustrations from the doctor in things like nurses rotating too often and not remaining with the same babies to understand their quirks and attitudes. It is up to me to stay close to her medical orders and complain if I see inconsistencies.

When Nathan fed Lola she drank 33ml of her 38 and had to have the last 5 ml through her tube. When she breast fed she only did so for 6 minutes (required to do 10) and then the nurse gave her over half a feed. I suspect that she did not drink or cue at her 5 o'clock feeding because I think she was over fed. My milk is very high and i can pump 110ml in less than 20 minutes. If she fed for 6 minutes, she probably got 33ml and did not need as much as the nurse gave her to meet the required 38ml. It is enough to make me quit breast feeding her and just pump and feed her by bottle. Apparently this is something I have read on many NICU boards to get your baby home sooner. I was not a fan of our nurse today and felt she was trying to prove to us that Lola couldn't eat her bottles because we complained. I hope to not see her tomorrow.

All-in-all, Lola is doing well. She is healthy and thriving. However, I do not see her coming home in the next week or two which has me very depressed. I am struggling to smile or feel normal and don't see myself doing either until she is home. Nathan and I stopped by Hobby Lobby this morning to get some things to finish her room before Tait went to he zoo with friends. Now, I don't have the heart to finish the projects we got. Finishing her room is one more thing to remind me she is not home. I m not sure I have the heart to even step into her room until she comes home.

Friday, May 24, 2013

NICU day 11-A Day of Hope

Today was a very hopeful day for Miss Lola. When we got to the hospital this morning, a nurse was feeding Lola a bottle. Let me rephrase that...Lola was finishing a bottle for a nurse!!  I was so happy tht tears came to my eyes!  The nurse was wonderful, I liked her immediately. She said that she was going to talk to the NP and ask to move Lola Bean to a different nipple. She noticed that Lola was breast feeding and watched how she would collapse the nipple by chewing on it. The nurse thought another nipple would help give Lola the reward she was needing to make her drink a bottle faster before giving up only a few ml in when her stomach had food.

After that feeding, Lola did not want to sleep. I needed her to rest so that she wouldn't be too tired for her next feeding and would do well. She kept whimpering in her crib, so I took her out and put her skin-to-skin on my chest.  She rooted around for awhile wanting to nurse, but I had to hold her off for her next feeding. After she fell asleep on my chest, I started to doze off as well. How hard is it to not get so comfortable when someone you love is nuzzled up against you?!?  I put her back in her crib to sleep and we went to grab lunch so we coud be back by 11:30 for her next feeding.

When it came time for Lola's next feeding, I  turned the lights on and started to change her diaper trying to wake her up. I then nursed Lola on her next feed and she nursed for ten minutes very quickly. Ten minutes is all she needs to nurse based on the fact that a feeding is 38ml. I did have to stop and burp her twice, but she did so great!  I was one excited mommy!!  She got a full belly and fell back to sleep soon after. I put her back in her crib and Nathan and I took a nap. This is the first nap I have taken since Lola has been in the NICU. I think her doing so well relaxed me and allowed me to get so much needed rest. Or, I am just getting used to the hustle and bustle of the NICU and comfortable enough to sleep.

For her 3:30 feeding, I decided Nathan should try to bottle feed her. One, I wanted to see exactly how much she was eating. Secondly, I wanted to see if the nipple made a difference. Mostly, I knew Nathan wanted to hold his baby girl. He hadn't done that in a couple of days since we have been working on breast feeding. Lola did NOT want to wake up for her feeding. The nurse had told us earlier that she my be getting more milk when nursing which would make her fuller longer (I pump 110 ml in 20 minutes, so it is very possible). Because she had done so well nursing, I thought this might be what had happened. It took awhile to get her to wake up and eat, but once Nathan burped her and she finally "got" the new nipple, baby girl chugged her bottle. Nathan's smile said it all. We were so proud of our little lady!  She was making us so optimistic.

Three feeds and none of them were through the nasal tube!!! That was so promising to us!!  Now, we know that this is still a small step towards going home. However, this is an important step.  The nurses are taking her bed temp down half a degree every shift change (once in morning, once at night). She started at 30 degrees Celsius yesterday and was at 29.5 today. As long as she maintains her temp, they will drop it until it gets to 28 degrees. Once it gets to 28 degrees, they will look at moving her to a normal crib!!

I am praying that the night nurse will be as great as our day nurse today and push Lola to eat her bottles, and not rely on the nasal tube. We know Lola can do it...but she does tend to be much more tired in the evening.  She will need to eat all of her meals (every 3 hours) and show weight gain for a minimum of 72 hours before we can even think of bringing her home.

Romans 12:12 keeps replaying in my mind. I am trying to be patient, but everytime I leave the hospital my strength disappears. I cannot wait for the day when Tait will get to meet his little sister. I know he will fall in love with her like his daddy and I have. I know Lola Bean will love to look at him and hear his voice. I am trying to be faithful in prayer and often find myself praying for Lola at every turn. I am so greatful for her and hopeful for the day when we can take her home.

Nathan and I feel even more greatful for her life. Today, Nathan got a call from the husband of one of the women he works with. He was calling Nathan to let him know she would be out.  She was due in July and had given birth. Nathan asked how the baby was and was told that the baby did not make it. Our hearts ache for her and we also feel a bit guilty to be complaining about the world of the NICU we are living in. God gave us a gift on May 14th. He saved Lola's life by allowing her to come early. She is doing very well. It makes us feel a bit guilty. We are blessed and our hearts go out to the woman he works with. I cannot imagine the pain she is and will go through for the rest of her life. The feeling that a piece of her is missing. I pray that The Lord will comfort and support her family in this time of need.  Please include her in your prayers tonight as well.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

NICU day 10

Today was NICU day 10. Although we are not going home any time soon, Lola had a day of graduation of sorts.

First, when we arrived this morning they were taking her off of the bilirubin lights! Baby girl's levels were down to a 5. She also had 6 poopy diapers today. Those are another sign that the bilirubin levels were exiting her body. I got to change 3 of those poopy diapers and loved every minute of somewhat of normalcy (even though changing a diaper in a isolette is not the easiest thing in the world). Now that she is no longer under the light, we are able to touch and hold her much more often. The nurse allowed us to hold her through her sleeping times (instead of just her touch times) and we both got to cuddle a sleeping baby. In fact, I am typing this on my phone as I am holding my sweet girl.

Second, Lola got moved to an open-air crib. The crib looks exactly like the old one she came out of, but apparently she has to hold her own temp in this crib With the new crib came the opportunity to dress her for the first time. We picked the girliest onsie that we could find. We picked flowers, thanks to Sydney's hand me downs! The onsie is newborn sized and quite big on her, but baby girl gets to wear real clothes and be swaddled. That is a step in the right direction.

And lastly, the most exciting part of today is that Lola took an entire feeding via breast feeding. She fed so well and so long that I did not think she needed to be supplemented via her feeding tube. She also burped six or seven times while I was feeding her and some of those sounded quite manly!!! Ha ha. Nathan bottle fed her for the next feeding and she ate about 12ml before falling asleep. To her defense, after she breast fed she stayed awake for a long time staring at pictures of Tait and Dixie in her crib. I held her since she was awake and she fell asleep before Nathan's feeding.

I decided to stay behind this evening while Nathan took Tait to swim class to try and see how she would do at breast feeding again. She ate, but very little. Therefore, I asked the nurse to supplement her so she wouldn't be hungry.

I am not surprised Lola is so tired right now. She has had many firsts today. I am optimistic to see her advancements today. While in my heart I do not see her coming home in the next week, I am confident she is making strides in that direction. After my break down last night, my mommy heart needed a day like today.

Thank you Lord for helping Lola and letting us see her head in the right direction. I know you are watching over her and helping her in her maturation. Please continue to keep your healing hand on her and help her advance in her feedings and continue down the road to going home.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Struggling to Stay Strong

Since I am writing this blog to remember these times just as much as to celebrate Lola's achievements, I have to be honest that this is the hardest thing I have ever been through. Tonight while sitting on the couch watching Nathan and Tait put together Legos, it hit baby girl may not come home next week.  I know next week wasn't certain, but I have had 2 weeks in my mind as a timeline.

While little girl has advanced so much, she still has a ways to go before I can bring her home.   She really needs to be able to eat all of her feedings either by bottle or breast before she can come home.  At this time she is eating 5-8 ml of a 38ml bottle before her little tired body gives out and she goes to sleep. This kills me. There is nothing I can do to help her through this. I am trying to be patient, but I am tired of having to juggle the time I spend with her and the time I spend with Tait. I feel guilty when I am with one of them and not the other.

I try to not cry in front of Tait because I know that it affects him. He doesn't want to see me cry and doesn't understand why Mommy is sad.  So, I keep it bottled inside until I feel as if my chest will burst.  It is not fair!  I  want my family under one roof. I should be up every two hours right now...not just twice to pump. I should hear the cries of an infant in my house at 2 am instead of it bring oddly empty. Empty like a part of my heart.  The part that misses Lola tremendously, both when I am without her as well as when I watch her in the isolette unable to hold or touch her.

I am grateful for Lola and her life.  That night last week could have gone far worse.  However, I am still allowed to mourn the maternity leave I had envisioned. Instead, I watch it tick away as yet another day that my child is not at home.  I google information on length of nicu stays, how long it took babies' to eat, etc...just trying to find hope that would make tomorrow the day that I would get to start plans around when I could bring my child home.

This is so hard. So much harder than I ever imagined it would be.  I am struggling to stay strong, but I am afraid I am much weaker than everyone gives me credit for.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 

NICU Day 9-Lola is over her birth weight!

We walked into Lola's room today and were excited to see that she weighed 4lb 8oz. That is an ounce over her birth weight. We were so happy. We saw a bottle nipple on the table and asked the nurse if they had fed her a bottle. She said that Lola ate 8ml out of her bottle last night. That was almost a quarter of the bottle! Baby girl is doing so well on feedings. We just need her to push a bit further and start taking her full feedings by mouth so we can remove the feeding tube in her nose.

She was under the lights agin today, but the nurse said they like to drive her levels down pretty low because they will rebound a bit when they stop the lights. The prefer to keep them under the lights a little longer rather than taking them out and restarting the lights several times. That makes sense to me.

My milk supply (this deserves a post all in it's own later...breast feeding is hard) has come down just a bit. It is nice that I am not engorged any longer, but I am working to build it up just a bit more before Lola comes home. Having to travel back and forth so much and not be able to feed Lola when and what she needs is making it hard to get my supply in line. Today she was able to nurse for two feedings, though we ended up still supplementing since she kept falling asleep. She did much better than yesterday, so I am optimistic she will get the hang of it soon. At one point while she was sleeping on my chest one of her machines started sounding alarms. It ended up being her pulse ox that was not on her foot well. The nurse fixed it and it went back up to 100. However, for the rest of the time I was holding her I was terrified and kept a very close eye on the computer screen.

All-in-All, we are vey proud of Lola and the progress she has made in only a week! We think it will be after Memorial Day until we will be bringing our sweet bean home. I am so ready for that day though. I think I am being taught patience through this ordeal.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nicu Day 8-One Proud Momma!!!

Today was Lola's one week birthday!! And boy did she give me a great present. I got to nurse her for the first time. It started off a little tough, but the nurse got me a breast shield and she did great!!!! She didn't nurse long, but it shows how far she has come. Lets hope tomorrow she does even better.

She is under the lights right now because her bilirubin levels got a bit high. The drs said it is perfectly normal for a baby of her age. She has been borderline for the last few days, so I wasn't surprised when we were walking down the hall and saw the lights. I told baby girl that this was the last time she was allowed to tan! I have been calling her Jersey Shore Girl today. Let's just hope she doesn't act like Snooki when she grows up! Lola got her PIC line out today as well!! she was taken off of the lipids and LPNs and is on breast milk only. She did gain 1 oz from yesterday and was 4lb 5oz today. I could feel how tiny she really was when I was feeding her. I am not going to lie, the tiny girl made me a little nervous to hold or feed her. I am sure I will get over that in the days and weeks to come as I get more used to holding my tiny girl.

All-in-all, today was a great day and we are so proud of our Lola Bean. We are praying she will continue to grow and come home soon!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

NICU Day 6-8

Sorry I have had a chance to update everyone on Lola.  I have been very sick.  Apparently producing too much milk is just as bad as producing none.  I have Mastitis which is pretty much an infection. The last two nights I have broken out in chills that cause my entire body to shake and makes me feel like I am freezing with a very high fever.   The first night the fever was up to 101 degrees.  I am now taking antibiotics and trying to clear everything up.  I hope this clears up soon because it is MISERABLE.

So...on to the importing subject, Lola!  She is doing very well.

Pictures of her from Saturday:

Saturday, the Rinehart's took Tait and let him have a playdate with Cora.  He had a blast.  They got to go to the Touch a Truck event and Tait loved crawling up into the trucks and honking the horns.  Cora was a bit frightened of all of the wails from the trucks.  I told James that last year Tait was not very interested in crawling up into the trucks and honking the horns, so Cora may be completely different next year!  Tait had a blast.  Then, they took Tait to Little Giggles.  It is a new place that opened for kids to go and play.  It was such a neat place.  I will definitely take Tait there when Lola comes to help him get some energy out.  As soon as we got home, we got food in his belly and he fell asleep next to me watching cartoons at 6:30pm!  This is the kid I struggle to get to bed before 9pm every night.  I would say he had a fantastic time.

Sunday morning we woke up and went to church.  I wanted to get down to Fayetteville as early as I could but I knew that we needed to go to church.  We needed to hear something to give us some faith in this struggle that we are having.  In the end, I was glad that I went to church.  It was very emotional and I had a couple of breakdowns during the musical portion (namely Blessed Be His Name), but Nathan was there to hold me and help support me as I watched babies all around us.  There were tiny babies crying in service and it took all I had not to scream.  I wanted to be one of those parents rocking their tiny babies.  I wanted my Lola in my arms.

Afterwards we met the Martinez family out for lunch.  Evan and Emily both wanted to sit by Tait, so he sat in the middle and Emily sat next to me asking me to draw Disney characters.  It was so nice to sit next to a sweet girl and think about the day when Lola will be shoved into the large booth with all of us (though one more and we will need a much larger table...ha ha).  Tait went with the Martinez's to play for the afternoon so we could go see Lola.  They took Tait to the park (where he fell asleep in a swing) and then to Jump Zone where he got to eat a snow cone.   Of course the boy chose a blue one.
Nathan picked him up after taking me home because the sickness hit me hard for a second night in a row.  He also went to get me some antibiotics, I am feeling much better today.  When he got to the Martinez's house, the kids were outside having a picnic!

While Tait was with the Martinez's, We went to the hospital and got to spend sometime with Lola.  Nathan got to hold her since we are switching off each time.  I think she thought his chest hair tickled because she was having the biggest smiles!  Nathan even caught one on camera.  Or, she could have been proud of herself because she was finally off of the nasal cannula and breathing on her own!!  We are so proud of her and we think she is pretty proud of herself too by this picture...

However, she quickly got sad when we told her that she was not ready to come home...    

So how is Lola doing today?  She is doing great.  She still has to learn to start sucking her pacifier so that she is ready to eat a bottle and gain some weight.  However, they told us today she is up to 29ml in a feeding and has to get up to 30something.  They stopped the lipids today.  When she gets to full feedings (they raise it 2ml every 6 hours and if she can handle it she will move up the next 6 hours), they will stop the LPDs and she will get the PIC line out!!!  Then she will only have the nasal feeding tube until she can start sucking a bottle.  

We got a bit downhearted today when one of  the nurses was trying to get us in infant CPR class that is required before we take her home. I was holding Lola and had only been holding her for about 10 minutes.  Lola's nurse said that we needed to hold her through her feeding so I was torn.  I mentioned that the next class wasn't until the next Tuesday and Lola's nurse said "Well, you aren't taking her home before then.  She doesn't even know how to feed!"  My heart broke.  It felt as if she was telling us we would never take our baby girl home!  

When we were leaving for the day to get Tait, we ended up in the elevator with one of the NICU doctors.  He told us that he hadn't met us and I introduced myself.  I tried to clarify by saying "Lola's mother" but he already knew.  He said, "Yes, in room 9!"  Wow, I was impressed that the doctors really remember each patient by name (he said that after I said my last name was McClure!).  He then talked with us for a few moments about how well Lola was doing.  Nathan asked when we would be able to take her home and he quickly said that we would probably be taking her home in another week!!  He thinks she will pick up feeding in the next few days because of how well she has been catching one. He said that girls always do better than boys and that he is confident she will be home with us soon.  Those were the words that Nathan and I really needed to hear!!!!

I didn't get any pictures from today, but I got to hold Lola for over an hour and she was so sweet.  She kept smiling at me and then would fart so loud in her diaper.  I gave her the pacifier and she has improved her sucking ability over how she was doing it yesterday!!  I could see that she still needs to improve, but the Speech Therapist is working with her daily and I have seen an improvement myself!  She is a "strong woman" and will be coming home soon to us.  I can't wait for those 2 am wake ups and for her to spit up on me and have exploding diapers.  I can't wait to have my family all under one roof!!!

We are blessed to have such great friends to help us with Tait on the weekends.  During the week, Tait goes to day care and we spend the nights with him.  I have had people judge me for not spending 24/7 with her, but we have two kids we have to take care of.  I can't spend all day and night with her and not spend any time with Tait.  I need to make sure life is as normal as possible for him.  His life is going to change when she comes home and I know the nurses are wonderful up there taking care of her.  I am not going to say that it is not hard when I have to leave her for the day.  I cry every time leaving her in her isolette.  I feel so guilty.  But when my son sees me across the playground and comes running to me screaming "Mommy!!!!", it makes it worth it.  I can't not give him the love and attention he deserves.  It isn't his fault that Lola can't come home and he is as heartbroken as he can be that he hasn't gotten to meet her.  At night I carry around a little lamb that my friend Hanni got Lola.  The lamb's head is about the same size as Lola's right now.  I snuggle with it as if it is my line to my little girl. I know that God is with my little one when I am not there and he is comforting her and taking care of her when I can't be there.  So to those that judge me for not spending every waking hour with Lola...kiss my butt!  I am a mother to Tait AND Lola and this is what works for me and my family!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Today's reminder

Be joyful in hope,
Patient in Affliction,
Faithful in Prayer
-Romans 12:12

Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 4 in the NICU

Today was another great day visiting Lola Bean! Last night, Nathan and I got to hold Lola for about 45 minutes. She was swaddled and I got to hold her in my arms for the first time. I cried tears of joy for this precious girl that I love very much.

Today we got to the hospital around 11 and I got to do kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact while holding the baby) for the first time. Lola and I loved it. I may have also cried again, but I assured Lola that someday Mommy wouldn't cry every day. I got to hold her against my chest for 1.5 hours! It was the best feeling in the world. I love her so much.

They will only allow one person to hold her a day right now, so Nathan will get to do kangaroo care tomorrow. I have tried bribing him to give up his turn, but he is not budging. He wants to hold his little girl. Every time I look at the pictures of me holding her these two times, I have the most unflattering smile on my face. One that is too big, holding back tears and one that makes me remember the sheer joy and love I felt at that moment.
Lola still had the nasal cannula in when I held her today. They said she will have it removed later today. They did not want to remove it until after she did her first kangaroo care, just on case. All in all, she is doing wonderful and I am optimistic that she will be home in the next few weeks.

We are so grateful for our friends and family. We have the most amazing friends who are taking Tait on play dates so that we can see our baby girl. This weekend worried us on how we would be able to juggle Tait and visits to Lola, but our friends Stephanie and James are taking him to the touch a truck event Saturday and Damon and Leslie are going to let the kids play on Sunday. Tait is loving these play dates. He got to go eat pizza with the Martinez family and play at their house last night. The first thing he asked today was if he could play with Evan and Emily after school tonight. I think he is eating up the attention and I am so happy that we have such wonderful friends to help him in this very confusing time. We love you guys and are so lucky to call you friends!!!

And now, what you really want to see are pictures of our angel. Here you go...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 3 in NICU

Lola is doing well. She is not going to get her nasal cannula out today, but she is down to only 1 liter. They think it might be tomorrow until they can wean her. The pic line looks like it is doing well. They will take out the lines in her umbilical cord line and I may get to hold her at 5 tonight!!!

I am getting discharged now and it is going to be hard going home with only part of my family. However, I know Lola needs care and the NICU team is doing a fantastic job in taking care of my precious baby girl. I am confident our family will be together under one roof in a few short weeks.

As a side note, Tait is bummed that he still can't see Lola. He has asked several times to go see her, but unfortunately he is too young. We are trying to show him pictures and videos. Any tips on things we can do now to help Tait not feel so uninvolved?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's a Girl and a happy story by the Grace of God!!!

Note this has been updated with Nathan's View of the Birth:

Bean was born at 34 weeks 5 days gestation and is a perfectly beautiful little girl.  We have named her Lola Maron McClure.  She weighed 4lbs 7oz and was 17 3/4 " long.  She is a tiny little thing.

The birth was very scary and I want to take some time to write down the story.  God's hand was all over this birth because there were two major complications that could have caused us to lose our precious little girl.

It all started Sunday night when I started having irregular contractions.  I had contractions all night, but nothing close enough to cause me to go to the emergency room.  That morning I wiped and saw mucus and then later saw pink tinged mucus.  I took at bath and did not see any throughout the day.  Monday, I called Parkhill and asked to speak with a nurse.   Because I had been on bed rest for 20 days and was only 34 weeks along, they asked me to come in.  I went in and Dr. Partridge checked me at 11am.  I had not progressed and was still 2.5cm dilated and 80% effaced.  She was very nice and told me that she didn't care if I came in every day to get checked, that it was essential with me being early and listening to my body.

I went home and had contractions on and off throughout the day.  At one point, I laid on my side and the contractions seemed to stop.  They were very irregular.  I would have two about 12 minutes apart and then another 30 minutes later.  It was what I was chalking up to Braxton Hicks.

At 6:24pm it all changed.  I went to the restroom and wiped and saw bright red blood...and a bunch of it!  I laid down on the couch and had 3 contractions in about 30 minutes.  At that point I called the after hours number even though I did not want to go to the emergency room AGAIN and be sent home.  I was starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf.  The nurse on the phone told me to go in.  She wasn't concerned with the blood or really the contractions, but was with the two together.

We dropped Tait off with Leslie and headed to Johnson.  Once we got the emergency room, the Dr. and nurse recognized me from my visit a few weeks earlier.  You could tell the nurse was not really concerned.  In fact the TOCO contraction machine wasn't really picking up any contractions and Bean's heart rate was strong.  However, when she FINALLY checked me, her face changed.  I was dilated to a 3.5cm and 100% effaced.  After she checked me I saw the amount of blood on her glove.  I asked if that was normal and she said I was just having a bloody show.  She said could feel my water bag bulging.  The nurse told me at that point she did not think I would be going home and that I would be having a baby that night.  However, when she talked to Dr. Duke, he was not wanting to keep me.  I panicked.  Maybe it was too many episodes of "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant", but I told her I did not want to go home and have my baby in the bathroom.  The nurse was not comfortable with the Dr. sending me could see it on her face.  Thank God, she convinced the Dr. to let me walk around the hospital for an hour and recheck me.

I walked around for about 30 minutes and then Dr. Duke walked up to me in the hall.  I think he could see how the contractions were hitting and after hearing I had had 2 LEEP procedures, he knew that when I started to dilate, I would go fast.  Apparently the scar tissue will make you efface faster but dilation will hold strong and then go very rapidly.  He wanted to go home and take a shower and then come back and check me.  I walked back to the Emergency room to get our stuff and get discharged so we could get checked in to the hospital.

After waiting in the Emergency Room for another 30 minutes to an hour, I still wasn't showing contractions on the monitor even though I was having terrible ones every 5 minutes or so.  I finally made it back to room 12 at the hospital and was being admitted.  Another nurse, probably my favorite of the entire visit, was in the room asking me a ton of questions for admittal.  She also was watching the monitor and not seeing the contractions, but she could see me each time I had one bracing on the bed.  Nathan and I asked if someone was going to check me and they said that I was just there for monitoring.  We told the nurse that Dr. Duke said he was going to check me when he got back from taking a shower and that was at 9 (it was now 11pm).  She said she was not sure and would go back and ask.

When she got back, she told us that she had told Dr. Duke that the machine was not showing contractions but I was having them every 2 minutes.  He went ahead and told her to check me.  When she did, her face changed.  She said "You are a 9cm and 100% dilated.  Your bag is bulging quite a bit and I think it will break very soon."  At that point things started to go VERY fast.  She called for the anesthesiologist, but he was in an emergency C-Section.  I started to panic.  I started having strong contractions and felt strong pressure in my bottom.  I did not want to have the baby without an was not in my plans to be Superwoman...I just wanted a pleasant birthing story like with Tait.  I was sure it was Karma after having such a great story with him.  The nurse started to break down the bed and told me that I was not going to have time to get an epidural.  Nathan told me it was going to be okay, but he was just as alarmed as me.  He knew how much I did not want a natural birth and felt terrible that he couldn't help me with the pain I would be in during labor.  At that point I started to cry.  I was crying because of the pain, even though it was not as strong as what I was expecting; but most of all I was crying because of the fear of Bean coming and not being healthy!  Every time I got a contraction the pain would shoot down my thighs.  My legs hurt so bad it was terrible pain.  She then checked me again and I was a 9.5cm.  She had three or four other nurses come in to check me and one of them broke my water checking me.  I felt a huge warm gush and they all commented on the amount of water coming out.  They had to use about 3 towels to try and clean up the bed best they could and changed my gown twice.  The most alarming thing for me was the amount of blood.  I have never seen so much blood in my life!  I kept asking if that was normal and they would just comment that it was fine.  I did not feel comfortable with so much blood, but I knew that I would be meeting my child very soon.  Nathan and I started wondering if Bean was going to come at 1:55 am like her brother!

I then asked if the head was down.  After being in the hospital a few weeks earlier when Bean was head up, I never felt like she had turned head down again.  They checked me and said that they could not feel anything engaging.  The nurse started looking very nervous.  She called the Dr. and told him that none of the nurses could feel the head, but they weren't sure what position the baby was in.  The Dr. came in with an ultrasound machine and the baby was in a transverse (sideways) position.  He tried moving the baby...which was extremely painful!  I told him I did not mind a C-Section and that I was not comfortable with moving the baby because this one did not like to stay head down.  He said I was dilated to a 3-4 (based on the US machine) and said I had time to get an epidural.  He wanted me to get one and then try and turn the baby again.

I was shocked that I went from a 9.5 to a 3-4, but the nurse said it was the pressure of the water along with my 2 LEEPS that probably did it and since the baby wasn't engaged, I went backwards.  After my epidural I was not quite numb and could feel half of my belly and one of my thighs.  I thought it would be okay and that having 90% of the pain wiped out would be tolerable.  The Dr. came back in and tried to turn Bean.  However, the baby was having none of it and would pop back into the transverse position.  She was sitting extremely high as well.  I was not surprised...I knew this baby was stubborn!  Plus she had been in transverse position most of the pregnancy, so I knew she liked this position.  Dr. Duke told the nurses to start prepping me for a C-Section.  Nathan asked how soon it would be and the Dr. said the baby would be here in about thirty minutes!

(Note:  some of the following may be a bit out of order, it was very quick and emotional and I can't remember exact order of some of these events)
They took me back and prepped me for surgery.  Before I was rolled in the room I saw a sign that said the temperature had to be up to 75 degrees (can't remember exact temperature) for all births less than 35 weeks.  That alarmed me, because it reminded me that my baby was being born way too early and was going to need help.  When I entered the room I was shivering.  Part of the shivering was due to the epidural (I shivered when I had one with Tait) but a big part of it was just nerves.  The anesthesiologist asked if I was cold and said the room was warmer than it had been when he was in there earlier.  I started panicking telling the nurses and anesthesiologist that half my belly was not numb.  The anesthesiologist checked my back and moved the wire a bit.  He also gave me a bit more medicine.  I started to feel the numbness, and he checked me by pinching me several times.  I got to a point where the pain was tolerable and it was more of a pressure.  I think the Drs. thought I was crazy because they said you could see the pinch marks (that is how hard they were testing to make sure I was okay) but I could still feel it.

Nathan was taken to put on scrubs before he could join me.  He said the scrubs were much too big for him and that the time he was waiting took forever.  He felt very alone and hoped that they would not forget to bring him in!  He did mention the booties over his flip flops were nice because they kept his feet warm!  Then, Nathan joined me and I knew that they had already started cutting me.

While the Dr. was moving the organs and getting her out, he mentioned two very scary things that could have taken our daughter's life if the events had not played out.   First he mentioned that the placenta had already started detaching from the wall of my uterus and that is why I saw so much blood. I knew then that is why Bean was born so early.  If I had not gone into the Emergency Room that night, my daughter would not be here.  He then said as he pulled her out that she had her cord wrapped around her neck twice.  That was the second sign of God for me in the operating room.  If the Dr. had been able to turn her, she would have been choked to death as I was pushing.  Thank goodness that I was back to a 3-4cm so that they had the time to prep me and thank goodness she was such a stubborn baby liking the transverse position!!!

I was so nervous and every emotion welled up inside me.  It took a few minutes and then they told Nathan that he could look and announce the sex.  The moment he looked at me, I knew I had a little girl.  I could read it in his eyes.  He then said "Momma, we have a baby girl.".  I could not stop the tears from falling down my face (as they are at this time).  It was the most special moment.  I told him "go with her and stay with her!"

They took her over to the side of the room and the NICU nurses started to check her.  She wasn't crying and I kept asking why she wasn't crying.  The Dr. said it was because they had put an oxygen mask on her as a precaution.  Then they must have removed it because I heard her cries.  Tears flowed down my face and I could not stop them. All the events of what could have happened were right there in front of me and I could not stop the emotions.

Nathan wanted to add a section to this story of what happened when they took her over to the table:
He knew something did not look right because she was so gray and she wasn't moving.  He says she was as gray as my MacBook.  Her Apgar score was a 2 right at birth, so he was alarmed.  The nurses were hovering watching Bean and he couldn't see her breathing.  He wanted to ask questions, but he wanted to let them do their jobs and not have to cater to him.  He wanted as much attention on her as he could get.  He said it was so hard to watch.  Once she started breathing she started to pink up a bit and Nathan started to breath normally again. They put in a suction line in her nose and wrapped her up.  A few minutes later they took another Apgar and it was up to a 7.  He said the time between the two scores took forever to him as time stopped before she started breathing.  He asked about the weight and prints like in a normal birth, but the nurses told him that was not a priority for Preemies. Their priority was to get her up to the NICU floor as quickly as possible so they could to put lines in her umbilical cord and get her stabilized with temperature and breathing.  However, they did allow Nathan to bring her over for me to meet her for the first time.

After what felt like ages, Nathan brought her over wrapped up.  I saw how tiny she was.  I knew that as small as Tait was (5lb 11oz), this baby was so much smaller.  I asked how big she was and he said they were not sure.  They would weigh her properly in the NICU.  I then asked what time she was born and the Dr. said 3:10am.  I then looked at Nathan and said "this is our Lola!"...the name I knew he wanted to use so badly.  It was such an emotional and wonderful feeling and I know waiting until the birth was the perfect way to find out that our baby was a girl.  I knew Tait would be so happy!

They took her to the NICU at that point and Nathan went with her.  He said when they got up to the NICU floor, they took Lola back into the room and had Nathan scrub in for 3 minutes and put a gown over the scrubs he was wearing (This is a policy for the NICU in general so we have to do this every time we visit our little girl now).  He went to Lola's side and the nurses started to introduce themselves and begin to explain the lines that they were going to put into Lola's umbilical cord, her mouth and the cannula in her nose.  They also pointed out the pulse ox and temperature probes.  He knew at that point how hard this was going to be on him and on me since we would not be able to hold her.  He said even though she was right there, she felt so distant.  Not a feeling you expect at the birth of your child.  He said the first instinct he had was to pull close the things that you wanted to protect and hold your child close to your heart.  But he couldn't do that.  He had to leave her there in a box alone.  He had to fight the urges to scoop her up and run away with her home because he knew she needed help.  They then told Nathan that he was going to have to leave for the procedures.  He was not even allowed to stay and watch.

He then came down and asked to see me in recovery.  At first they told him no and that he had to wait  until they brought me to the room.  He stayed by the door to the recovery room just so he could be next to me as they wheeled me back to our room.  I guess they felt empathetic for him waiting because the nurse came out and said that the Dr. said he could go back.

I did not realize how long it would take them to finish with me in the operating room.  I fell asleep a couple of times as they were sewing me up because I was exhausted.  I hadn't gotten much sleep Sunday night and had not slept any Monday night up to that point.

After they were finished, they took me back to a recovery room.  I could hear the Dr. talking on the phone and I guess he was updating records of the surgery.  I could hear all of the scary events that could have gone far worse.   When he came by to talk to me, I thanked him for not sending me home and for giving me the C-Section.  He didn't look me in the eye, but he mentioned that he is glad he didn't send me home because she would not be with us if he had.  I could see the lump in his throat and I said "Yes, God was with us here tonight".  (Note, Nathan did not hear about the cord being wrapped twice until he entered the recovery room and I told him.  He was emotional at that point knowing how blessed were were in all of these events happening when and how they did, even though it was not what we thought we wanted at the time).

This story was very emotional, even just writing it a day later.  I wanted to write out the story to remind myself how precious life is.  Lola is doing well. She had to have a blood transfusion last night due to the amount of blood she lost.  However, she is on room air and keeping her temperature.  Now it is just time to get her weight up and get her to learn to eat before we a can take her home.  The Drs. think it will be about 2-3 weeks until we can take her home.  I would be lying to say I haven't had breakdowns in my room and with her in the NICU.  Seeing her little body with so many wires and tubes kills me.  The fact that I haven't held her really kills me.  Seeing others mothers with their babies in their room kills me and I know when I walk to the NICU later this morning and see some mother taking their baby home out the front doors, I will want to cry again.  But I am doing well.  I have a beautiful little girl, and wonderful son and the most fantastic husband in the world.  I cannot wait for the day when Tait will get to meet his little sister, the one he has been asking for since I told him I was pregnant!  I know that the next few weeks will go by and soon I will have my entire family at home under one roof and life will begin.

I thank God even more today for the precious gifts I have been given.

We would also like to thank the staff of Willow Creek.  They have been wonderful for us through this ordeal.  The nurses are amazing and the staff up in the NICU have been so warm and comforting while they are keeping us up to date on Lola and what they have planned for her care.  I am so thankful for her to have been born here with the events that played out.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

34 weeks pregnant

Terrible picture, but I have made it to 34 weeks pregnant. 2 more weeks on bed rest!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

33 weeks 5 days

Today I am 33 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I am grateful that Bean is still in my belly, although I am mentally and physically DONE with bed rest. However, I will remain on bed rest until the Dr is sure it is safe for me to go back to normal activities.

First place I am going when bed rest is over?  To redeem the prenatal massage Nathan bought me while I was in China!!  This momma's back needs a massage!