Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NICU experience with our son

Our son, Owen, ended up in the NICU the same day he was born. This was a huge shock since the labor and delivery went great, and Owen seemed to be perfectly healthy. However, after we were put in the recovery room, they gave him his bath and took his vitals. They checked his hearing and listened to his heart and lungs etc. The nurse that listened to his heart listened, and listened and listened some more. Then the next thing I knew they took him to the nursery to run some tests as a precaution. That's all they told me! Hours went by! Seemed like an eternity! They took him from me for about 4-5 hours! They tested his heart with EKG and echocardiagrams. Then it was off to the NICU for him. It turned out that he had a low (bradycardia) and irregular (prolonged QT) heart beat. His heart rate was supposed to be at least in the 120bpm and his went down as low as the 60's and was not beating with a normal rhythm. It was scary, but yet I always had a feeling that he would be ok.

The nurses took great care of him, although not such good care of my families emotions and mine. The nurses spoke to Joe and I like we were children/teens. They kept important information from us and just out right didn't explain things or tell us much, until we asked to speak to the Doctor to hear what he had to say. They spoke to other nurses about us quietly under their breath and were extremely unprofessional! They made my mother cry, and to keep it brief without going into a big rant, those couple nurses made our NICU experience much more stressful (as if it wasn't stressful enough already) then it should have been.

We went to visit Owen as often as they would allow. So I went down to feed him every couple hours. It was very hard for me to walk to the NICU so after a couple times there and back and a nurses telling me to take it easy, Joe started pushing me in the wheelchair. I felt very short of breath everytime I had to stand or walk after I delivered. My legs were weak and I was very sore, especially from the stitches. My lungs felt so very heavy and I felt like I could never catch my breath so by the time I got to the NICU I couldn't even breath to stand by Owen's incubator. So I would sit and a nurse would give me him to hold.

Looking at Owen and seeing all the bruises and places he had been jabbed with needles and IVs was heart breaking. He even had needle marks and bruises in his head from them trying to draw so much blood so frequently. His heels were covered with marks, and his hands and arms and legs all had spots from needles. Holding him while being hooked up to all the heart wires was scary and sad too. Then hearing the monitors beep as his heart rate would drop, and the alarm sound when it dropped even lower. ... ... Needless to say, Joe and I are so happy that phase is over!

I was discharged monday night well technically 12am tuesday. That was hard to leave Owen in the NICU and go home! Worst thing ever!

Owen was in the NICU from Saturday evening December 10th until he was discharged Wednesday morning the 14th. Owen was hooked up to various heart monitors including a heart monitor while in the hospital. He also had periodic EKGs and ECHOs. Thankfully by the time he was discharged things looked mostly normal. He had to go back for a check up with the pediatric cardiologist when he was 2 wks old. And he has another check up next week March 27, 2012 at 3 months of age. He must go every 3 months for the first year of life to keep an eye on it all. So far so good! Praise God for a healthy baby boy since we have been home!



Labor & Delivery December 10, 2011

Labor & Delivery: 39 wks 2 days

.......Continued from last post..... We went to bed around 12:30am (DEC 10th) after the concert and after getting food at sonic.  Then just a few short hours later at 2:40am I woke up with a strong contraction. I got up to go pee thinking that would help lessen the contractions and then went back to bed. Then 10 min later I had another strong contraction  and had to pee again, and then 5 min later another contraction and 5 min later another, then after just a few contractions it progressed to 4 minutes apart then very quickly to 3 min.. I woke up Joe and said hey I think it is time!!!

This will be written rather bluntly and be some what detailed so if you don't want to know about that, then don't read any farther. But I am not one to sugar coat things and I don't see the point in hiding the gross or not so fun parts of pregnancy or labor, its like false advertising. So here it goes.... With every contraction the pressure would cause me to leak a little bit of fluid, which I thought was my water leaking. I also had to pee frequently and had loose stool which they say is a sign of labor. I literally had loose stool every few minutes as well so I kept going to the bathroom. Each time I went to the bathroom I noticed I was getting my bloody show on the toilet paper. (I had already lost my mucus plug during all the contractions I had during my early stage of labor the previous couple weeks when I was dilating and effacing) Most of my pain during my contractions was in my lower back, but I did have some in my lower abdomen and thighs as well. While getting contractions every 3 min I was trying to get dressed and throw a few last minute things in my hospital bag. Around 3:20am I called my mom and dad to let them know I was in labor, because my Mom wanted to be here for the delivery and she had a 4 hour drive to get down here. After that I went downstairs and called the hospital to let them know. They told me they would call the midwife and she would call me back. So in the mean time I wrote on my facebook around 4am, then got on skype to tell my sister and her hubby in Asia that it was time! I talked to them for about 15 min. While I was talking to them the mid wife called me. I told her I was having contractions 3-5 min apart for over an hour, I was having my bloody show, and leaking some fluid during contractions. Then I gave a little chuckle out of excitement and nervousness. The midwife says "uh oh your laughing, that's never a good sign, that usually means its not the real thing. well because you tested positive for Group B Strep come on in so we can check you just to be safe" I said ok and hung up, knowing full well this WAS in fact the REAL THING, even though I was still talking and laughing in between contractions. During contractions I was focusing on breathing and NOT talking.

On the way to the hospital I was sending some bulk texts to let people know and asked them to pray. I was also downing apple sauce because my midwife told me to drink juice for the calories because I would need them. I didn't have juice so i figured apple sauce would do. We got to the hospital around 5:15am (I thought it was 4:15am, but when I looked back at the time I skyped it was 4:41am) I was walking slow and holding my stomach which felt so very low and heavy :) They sent me back to this little check in place where a nurse asked what felt like a million questions and had me sign in and stuff. All the while still having contractions 3 min apart and I had to stop talking during them all, and she would expect me to answer her questions! Lady I am in labor, this is not false labor! ha ha ha. So then they sent me back to a room to check me and see if I was ACTUALLY in labor. Joe seemed nervous through all this but handled himself quite well. He remained calm and supportive for me :) The nurse hooked me up to a FHM and also monitored my contractions. They drew some blood too. They also said my blood pressure was high and asked me how my vision was. I said "fine" then promptly started seeing stars twinkling, lasted only a few seconds, but very strange.

Finally, the midwife came in and she took her time, still thinking I was not in actual labor! She checked me and her eyes got REAL big, she said "you are 7cm and 100% effaced!!! You are having a baby!" I thought duh! I knew that already! lol

They then moved me into my own delivery room, and my contractions picked up! The nurse again had a million questions to ask me... ugh! I was having a hard time getting comfortable by this point. I needed to change positions with every contraction but with the IV and the 2 monitors, and the oversized gown I had a hard time moving fast enough before the contraction would be there full force! I tried the labor ball and I tried standing and I tried leaning on the bed and the "slow dance position" and things like that. It was best if I stood during a contraction because there was so much pressure I couldn't sit. However, having only 2 hours of sleep the night before, my legs were quite weak and shaky when I would try to stand. Oh and the contractions gave me the shakes REAL bad, it was weird, because I could NOT control it at ALL. I also got sudden waves of nausea during labor which made me throw up my apple sauce, twice. Thankfully the nausea would go away after I threw up. I also drank water and ate ice chips. Another annoying thing was that as the contractions intensified I also had to keep going to the bathroom to pee and have loose stool. I know it is God's way of naturally cleansing the body which is good for when you get to the pushing stage, if you catch my drift. When the contractions got to their worst, I felt like I no longer had a break in between each one. I was no longer talking and I was breathing VERY heavy and trying to breath out slow and long. My contractions were right on top of each other! I remember as soon as I thought the contraction might start to lessen another would be there strong as ever. At some point though I remember when the pain lessened in my back and intensified in my lower abdomen and thighs, this was when he turned to face backward like we had been praying for. I remember praying to myself "God please let Owen come soon, please don't let this be hours longer!" I didn't want an epidural, but wasn't sure if I could go for 8-12 more hours or something ridiculous! At this point it was about 8am and I decided to get into the jacuzzi tub. My mom also arrived around 8am and then a few minutes later my mother in law arrived too. I could hear my mom and mom in law and sister all talking while Joe sat by me while I was in the jacuzzi. I remember having a hard time trying to stay relaxed because by this point the pain just didn't stop! The jacuzzi really didn't help any, but at least I didn't have to wear that stupid gown while I was in there. Oh... but on a funny note, the nurses couldn't believe how well I was doing! They kept telling me I was doing an excellent job. You could hear it in their voices that they were amazed at how I stayed calm and breathed through each contraction. That encouraged me a great deal :) The one nurse would periodically bow to me with her arms outstretched in front of her as she would say "Wow!  great job! hail to you" kind of thing it was funny. The last hour before my water broke was the worst, that was as I said the time when the contractions felt like they NEVER stopped! This was also the time I was praying it would be over soon. ha ha ha. I was in the jacuzzi with one hand holding the bar and my other holding Joe's hand. I was in the tub for about 40 min when at 8:41am I had a super hard contraction and felt a great deal of pressure when my water BROKE. I thought at first that it was Owen coming because it felt like his head, but when I looked down I realized oh that was just my water breaking! I then JUMPED out the tub and called for the nurses to "please hurry!!!!! PLEASE HURRY!" They helped me walk back to the bed and I was already having a HUGE strong urge to push and I was telling them "I have to push, I have to push!!!!" They responded with "not yet honey, we need to wait for the midwife" I said "OHHH I have to push, please hurry, I have to, I have to!!! Oh I have to!" They said "just grunt, you can grunt if you have to" I was thinking you don't get it GRUNT!!! How is grunting going to help when my body is taking over and I can't stop him from coming! Finally, the midwife came (a different one from the one that checked me when I got there, because the shifts changed) it felt like forever, but it was only several minutes. She checked me and said "yep its time" I said "can I push?!?!?!" she said "yes" so I started pushing and ALL the pain STOPPED with that first push, it was great! The pain just disappeared! They told me to push with each contraction, but the problem was I couldn't feel the contraction anymore. ha ha. So the nurses would feel my stomach and tell me when. I said "can I push again?" they said "sure if you can keep pushing, then just do it" So I pushed and they said with stunned looks on their faces, "EXCELLENT job!!" Then Owen was crowning and the "ring of fire" started as the birthing class instructor had informed us about in our class a few weeks prior. Just another couple pushes and Owen was born at 9:03am only 22 min after my water broke. I only pushed for maybe 10-15 min of that time I think. Owen was healthy and doing great! 7lbs 1oz, 19.5in long. I had some pretty bad tearing and had to get a lot of stitches, which hurt bad, but they let me hold Owen skin to skin while they stitched me. I even got to nurse Owen within the first hour after his birth :) When Owen was born, I got emotional and cried a little as I said "we did it!" and gave Joe a kiss. I just kept saying "We did it! I did it! It's over! I did it!" Joe cried a little too. It was the most beautiful moment of our lives! God has truly blessed us! God helped me get through it naturally, He gave me the strength and determination and calmness that I needed! I love how great my delivery was, even though I am not ready to do it all again yet! But it went just as I hoped and prayed! Joe did great encouraging me and helping me stay calm as well!

*
After a fabulous quick and relatively "easy" delivery, we were shocked just a couple hours later during his routine vital checks, to find out they were worried about a heart problem! Read next post to know more.





Wednesday, January 4, 2012

39 Weeks!

39 Weeks (December 8, 2011)
 This is my last weekly picture! Didn't know it would be at the time but two days later I delivered! This week my swelling all returned, and I continued to have all my other symptoms like sciatica, contractions, pressure, difficulty sleeping, difficulty walking too much... etc etc. At my doctor appt on the 7th I told my midwife that I had a few episodes of false labor where I would get regular contractions for hours at a time usually about 6-8 min apart but then everything would stop. The contractions were decently hard, not like braxton hicks and it turns out that they were real labor contractions (early labor) At my appt I was told that I was 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced, thanks to the early labor contractions/false labor! I was so happy! Midwife said all those false labor episodes were progressing me! She also said that she could tell I had dropped since last week just by my belly measurements! On the 8th I figured I should make sure I had all of Joe's Christmas presents because I wasn't sure how much more time I would have! I bought Joe a bicycle and then had to get it out of the car and up 3 flights of stairs by myself... while being 9 months pregnant! NOT EASY to do... and I don't really recommend it!
On the 9th I decided I should be productive so I cleaned my entire bedroom and also dusted the baby's room and the stair banister... not realizing I was nesting!

Later that same night Friday December 9th, Joe and I decided to be somewhat spontaneous before the baby was born and it was a good thing because it was the last chance we had before he was born! We decided to go to the Love Came Down at Christmas Jars of Clay concert at Lancaster Bible College. We got a free ticket at the door :) The concert started at 8pm... and so did my contractions. I had contractions 6 min apart throughout the entire thing. I also had to go pee what felt like every 5-10min throughout the entire concert. Good thing we sat in the back row! We debated on if we should leave the concert or not because the contractions were so regular, but then I figured since they were not 3-5 min apart that it was probably more false labor and I didn't have to leave yet. We left the concert a few minutes early to beat the traffic rush, then went to Sonic to get some food. I ate a hot dog with sauerkraut and tator tots. Then we went home and I told Joe I should probably take a couple pictures of me and him because I figured our baby would be born soon. So these pictures are taken around midnight I guess technically the 10th of December. We went to bed around 12:30am and at 2:40am I woke up with a strong contraction. I got up to go pee and then went back to bed. Then I had another contraction and then 5 min later another one and 5 min later another one, then it continued to progress 3-4 minutes... I woke up Joe and said hey I think it is time!!! ... to be continued at next blogpost...

38 weeks!

38 Weeks (December 1, 2011)
 This week I started having more frequent contractions that were somewhat harder than braxton hicks. Yay another step closer to delivery! I did some stretching and pre-natal yoga hoping it helps prepare me for delivery! I also lost 2 lbs so according to my birthing class instructor that means baby should be born in a week or two I think! I also painted soem pictures for the baby's nursery that match his bedding set. All other symptoms remain the same as previous weeks except my swelling all went down! Maybe thats why I lost 2 lbs!

We made a gingerbread house with our friends which is our 2nd year into this tradition :) Last year each couple made a gingerbread village! This year each couple made one big gingerbread house! It was lots of fun. I was also getting some contractions that were somewhat hard while we made them.