Wednesday, May 26, 2010

one week

last wednesday at this exact minute we were praying my contractions would start to kick here i sit with a boppy and little clover belle curled around me. i swear, i swear, she laughed this morning in her sleep. her smile is awesome and cheesy and huge and dimples.
our first week home has gone great, don't want to speak too soon but i think it's easier having your second child. we weren't anxious/nervous with saylor but it was still new and the schedule/lifestyle/taking care of a person was overwhelming and a huge change. this time it feels much easier/smoother. she's great, she hasn't even cried yet really, except the occasional 5-10 second squack. i don't think that's a word but.. maybe it should be. people say to nurse jaundice babies a ton but this is easier said than done because jaundice will often make them very sleepy. she nurses for 2-4 minutes and is completely passed out. her second night home i had to wake her to feed her. this has led to some painful engorgement [though otherwise her latch is great and it doesn't hurt to nurse yay] and she and i are in the habit of often nursing every hour just so she gets something, i am going to have to work on getting to her stay on longer and space the hours out.. but regardless i know she's getting enough and saylor was never a long nurser either. 8-10 mins was a solid time for him.
we took her to doc monday as recommended plus we all could see she was still pretty yellow. they tested her bilirubin again and it had gone up again to 12.2 [when we left it was 11]. 12.2 is in the low risk category but they wanted to check her again today to make sure it's remaining stable and sure enough she is ok. it is 10.6 today. doctor said no more testing her, girl's gone through enough! well ok in a couple weeks they will do a complete blood count one more time to make sure it's all working and flushed out or whatever and check her anemia as she's a little anemic right now. then it will be done.
it's been amazing having colin here and taking time off work. he's been taking care of saylor all day and i'm usually upstairs with clover, although i'm trying to get in face time with saylor too. hopefully i will heal soon [TMI warning: on a pain scale of 1-10.. when i pee... it's easily a 10... i'm like banging the walls and yelling sometimes. there's some small cuts/tears i think... it's like a knife tearing through me every time i pee, it's torture. i have to use the peri bottle 2-3 full bottles worth every time i go and that still doesn't ease it. i'm also using lavender oil, tea tree oil, ice, dermoplast, ibuprofen, warm baths...then after i go it's like.. a knife wound and it takes awhile to walk and find a way to sit down that isn't extremely painful. oh joy! it sucks.. and i'm a person that usually pees like twice an hour... so...yah] anyway colin will go fully back to work on monday and i'm trying to prep myself and am anticipating it to be hard. i haven't had any huge meltdowns yet. i cried for a few minutes in the hospital about being sad that it wasn't me and saylor anymore. and monday our doctor appt was frustrating and we did too much and i hadn't eaten all day and was in pain so i cried some then but otherwise i've been feeling pretty good. but i'm sure in the next few months as clover becomes more awake/particular and as i have to take care of both of them all day... aaaahhh! can't think ahead just have to take it one day at a time!
we've had plenty of visitors and meals have started and we are enjoying this honeymoon/newness period...
saylor today-'does the joker have a penis? what color is it?'
and he also made up a game called 'shark pad' you put a bunch of grass and mulch on the slide and then go down the slide. shark pad!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Clover's NICU visit

lights off, getting ready to nurse

so miss clover was born, everything was lovely, i held and nursed her all night. at 7am one of the best nurses in the world mary [katie's mom!] came to take care of me :) i had her with saylor too and she's incredible. as in- praying for me, massaging me, gave us a gift card to tim hortons [it's downstairs at the hospital], balloons, and of course lots of gentle TLC- letting me be as vulnerable as i need to be, physically and emotionally. so she comes at 7, right around the same time our pediatrician came to meet her as well. which was good timing. mary said her first thought when she saw clover was 'she's ORANGE!' i hadn't noticed, we had the lights real dimmed the whole night! but as soon as they mentioned it i saw it, wow. it's cause for concern especially for how young she was, only 14 hours old. they did a quick test to see her bilirubin numbers and it was 14. the ped. said she'd be a little concerned if it was 8 or 9 and she was 14! so the plan was to take her to the nursery and put her under a light and do a more thorough test. they put her under there for four hours, retested her and she was 16.8. not good!
babies can get jaundice for different reasons and in her case it turns out she is positive for something called coombs- i am O positive and her blood is B negative. basically my blood was binding to hers and attacking it in a sense. she needed help flushing out her system, and quickly. if it got out of control it could cause brain damage. they also took her WBC and it was elevated- normal range is 8-20,000 and hers was 43,000. the doctor said he thinks it was just because of everything else going on in her body, but there was a chance it could be from an infection of some sort. they took cultures but you don't get initial results on those for 24 hours so they say guilty until proven innocent and wanted to give her antibiotics. i was fine with this, i got nervous for a bit that it could have been a GBS infection, that i worked so hard and researched so much to avoid. but when the doctor said it likely was just from the jaundice i felt better. she needed to be moved to the NICU to be under three lights, and have an iV of immunoglobulin IgA i think, and then the antibiotics. they also had to give her formula- one as an added supplement to my colostrum to quickly flush her system out, two- they fed her under the lights [and gave her my pumped colostrum under the lights] they didn't want anytime out of there, and three- severe jaundice can make babies quite lethargic and she was, so that makes feedings more difficult. the doctor who initially explained all this to us was nice and thorough but he also was scary in a way saying things like 'we are driving fast down a hill and we are headed toward a cliff' and calling it a big fire and such. he actually really scared colin, but for some reason i was ok! i think it's a combo of it being my second child, having a sister that works in the NICU and sees this and much worse all the time, and knowing that they were taking care of things immediately so that something worse wouldn't happen. he said if her next numbers went up at all he would be prepping for a blood transfusion. [which sounds scary but again my sister was able to explain it to me and reassure me] 20 was the number he did not want to see.
so it was a strange day, you are all excited and anticipating visitors and holding her all day and it was certainly hard not being able to hold her or nurse her. we were just waiting and praying for that next result to see if what they were doing was working.
and it was! it went down to 13.9. the nurses were great in the nicu. one nurse told me they were taking bets on what her numbers would be, someone said 15, and the scary doctor said 17. he bet she would get worse! she proved them wrong. the nurses all loved and cooed all over her though and said she was amazing [which she is,of course :)]. her next numbers were 12.9 and few hours after that they were 11.9 and they were able to take her down to one light for awhile and after a few more hours turned that off, and then she was ready go to home. apparently i have a good chance of this happening with any future children as well, something confusing having to do with me and colin's blood... interesting.
we are thankful to all the nurses and docs in the nicu! we were able to come home on saturday early afternoon. clover actually gained an ounce [7lbs 6oz] with the fluids/supplements she was getting. hopefully can post better pictures soon, these are just from my phone..

our little squash, getting her tan on. it was really sad not being able to see her eyes- and she had this big 'tan line' of yellow around her eyes where the glasses were, it was funny

they gave her this paci with sugar water on it when they had do IVs or any blood testing/poking.

down to one light

daddy love

getting ready to leave

Friday, May 21, 2010

Clover Maybelle

Clover is here!!! and what a grand entrance she made! here is her birth story-and i'm sharing it all so don't read unless you like this kind of stuff....
wednesday morning at about 4am i woke up to my water breaking. gushing. while it was exciting [and messy] i was totally not expecting that to happen, usually your water doesn't break before labor. i've read countless stories of people's water breaking and they don't go into labor for days... i didn't want that to happen-first of all they say risk of GBS increases if your water has been broken for more than 18 hrs, and secondly i was having a hospital birth. hospitals want you to start labor within 24 hrs depending and they will induce you if necessary. i did NOT want to be induced. so of course i waited at home until labor kicked in. going to the hospital they would check you continually and that is where your risk of infection increases so i felt good staying at home. [your fluid replenishes itself-as i noticed because i kept gushing and leaking]. but it's an annoying waiting game- i wanted to have her soon because my favorite midwife was working until 6pm and then my least favorite one was working next. haha!
SO i feel a little braxton-hickish, a littly crampy. but if i layed down it would stop so i just kept walking around. we even went to the mall for a couple hours. this went on for awhile... there was occasional patterns to contractions but they were so mild i was hesitant to even call them real contractions. definitely not painful. around 2:30 colin and i prayed it would kick in and i also did some nipple stimulation. [google it, it's known to be very effective!] around 3ish i had a couple contractions about 10 minutes apart so i thought yah ok that felt real, but what if it fizzles out? we decide to go to the hospital. my mom gets saylor and we leave my house at 3:37pm, still hoping they don't fizzle out... texting people in the car, making jokes.
arrive, do the quick sign in and they take you to a room to verify you are in fact, in labor. now they are getting painful and i was all for being checked. i was about 3-4cm. i can't walk or position myself in any way to make them more bearable. i started throwing up intensely and i hated that!
i ask to go to the room with the tub for the unmedicated birth. at this point i did not know how long i would be laboring, of course. but the contractions are about 2-3 minutes apart already and lasting 45 seconds to a minute. it is becoming the worst pain EVER. no other way to describe it. i start begging for an epidural. this means i have completely lost control.. i mean really. i lost it. i started clawing colin, scratching and grabbing him and saying 'help help help help i can't do this' i was yelling and throwing up still. they check again and i'm about 4-5cm so i'm thinking this will be at least a few more hours and i said i need something, i don't care give me something. so they give me an iv of fluids so i could get an epidural. which probably was nice to have since i was throwing up so much anyway. but it takes about 30 minutes so i couldn't have an epidural until then. and i was a mess. had the shakes, sweating from throwing up.. i soon noticed that the contractions were not ceasing, they were coming one right after another- i was able to breathe through a couple and those were more bearable but i could not maintain my composure for long. finally they said ok someone is coming soon for the epidural and right when they said that i said 'I'M PUSHING!' and suddenly my body was pushing her out, it was incredible!
they look and said we're having a baby! and my [favorite] midwife left a woman who was pushing-told her to stop pushing!- and came to me! i apologize to that woman. she comes in and i pushed her out in about 5 minutes i think. i loved pushing- it was still painful but you could see and feel results, it was a new focus. and it felt GOOD in a way. i was sitting up, legs back [like bradley method recommends] so i had a great view and my midwife tiffany was awesome-too bad we didn't get to spend much time together! during contractions i had my eyes closed a lot so it was great to make eye contact with people and be able to respond to encouragement. it was entirely my body in charge, pushing her out. she came out and i could tell she was smaller than saylor! they had to rough her up a bit, she wasn't crying- kinda shocked from the fast delivery. i had a tear in the labia but otherwise was intact, thanks to tiffany's gentle care of me. she was born at 5:29. i mean REALLY. i wasn't even in the delivery room until 4:30 or so. it was less than two hours!
immediately after i felt so great and was apologizing to colin and the nurse who had been with us. they said i did great and laughed it off but i really felt i was out of control. i realize now that basically my entire labor i was in 'transition'. around 7-10 cm women hit transition and they often hit a wall of 'i can't go on i can't do this' and some throw up, get the shakes, etc. i've read you should be encouraged at that point because it means you are almost done. had i realized i was already at that point i don't think i would have begged for the epidural, duh. but again, you're in transition so that's where your mind is 'i can't do this'. i went from 5-10cm in such a short amount of time! my friend carriane had planned to be there as a support and when she walked in colin was holding clover! haha. colin was great with me though he let me claw him and he was good at encouraging me although it would have been nice if i had a doula or a midwife that was in my face more helping me breathe. it was the most painful hour i've ever had but it was hilarious at the same time and i love how it worked out. my mom's labors were the same and she was like 'don't you prefer that? it's awful but then it's done so quick'. i'm perplexed now at people who labor in the tub, walk around, sway and such. what are they feeling?! i didn't have contractions that gradually got stronger so like... all i felt was what people feel at their hardest moment right before they push!
[with saylor i was [unnecessarily] induced and had an epidural that didn't work at first then they tried again and it numbed my contractions but not my legs- just half of me. so i did get to feel it all when i pushed as well, though they also gave me an episiotomy and i was laying back more so it was more painful than satisfying].
clover maybelle was 19 inches and 7lbs 5oz. i thought for sure she'd be at least 8, it's funny how small she is to us!
she had a rough bout of jaundice and we are staying in the hospital an extra night but i will explain all that in the next post. and i will work on getting some good pictures up too!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

i am SO pregnant

38 and a half weeks pregnant with baby girl = heartburn, constant braxton hicks, paaaain down there, can't breathe, can't sleep, feet hurt, nothing to wear... etc, etc...
however. i am suddenly patient. [unless we hit june, then i'll be annoyed that i haven't had her. before june, little one, pleeease!] this whole pregnancy i've been quite impatient, staring at my planner, counting the weeks... and now we are in the sweet anticipating time.. and so i'm really trying to savor my time with my son, and enjoy being pregnant. ok the only enjoyable part is feeling her move around. i do love that. and just the general buzz of everyone around us excited and waiting... tim's sister was due the same day as me and she had her girl on sunday! i am doing everything i can to get her to come but time will tell...i want to say i enjoy the not knowing when feeling... i kinda do. and i kinda hate it at the same time. as much as i want to be a free spirit, casual person... i'm not! i'm totally a scheduler type. so i'm trying to be like 'this is fun, it could happen anytime!' but i'll suddenly get caught off guard and feel like 'oh crap this could happen anytime!' hard to explain. and i constantly am trying to get my ducks in a row but there seems to be about 1000 ducks and they keep wandering away or new ones appear. i need to chill and realize it's ok if we get curtains or clean the fridge AFTER she comes. the emotions are just hard to handle. excitement, nervousness, joy, fear, overwhelmed, peace, anxiety, anticipation...i am constantly feeling all of these and the roller coaster of those makes me wonder how do some women handle being pregnant so much? maybe it gets easier or you just get used to it. maybe they feel more peace and elation versus anxiety. but then the physical part? how does michelle duggar function being pregnant all the time!?!? i'm exhausted!
ah yes so this is all that is going on with me at the moment. can't sleep cuz i'm so uncomfortable yes, but also because my mind won't stop going. but i laugh when people who complain about being tired when pregnant... cuz it's a whole new lack of sleeping overwhelming mental exhaustion when the baby comes!
my son has been awesome. he is a huge snuggler and i love it 'give me a squeeze mommy.' 'lay your head on me mommy, i play with your hair' 'let's snuggle on the couch together' 'close your eyes mommy, let's snuggle' 'i love you, give me a kiss' everyday he says things like this! it's quite lovely. today he kept kissing me, and they were long kisses. then he said 'this is what little mermaid and the prince do' and oh dear does that mean he was pretending to make out with me? perhaps.
colin's parents got us these bootleg type dvds when they were in africa and we have a disc that has a ton of kid's movies on it, sweet! for awhile he could care less about tv/movies but lately he's gotten into movies again [just in time buddy] and so we've been watching little mermaid and beauty and the beast frequently, with occasional scenes of star wars. he also INSISTING on being called whatever character he decides he is and the most popular choices as of late are darth vader or little mermaid. if i say 'sit down hon it's time to eat' i hear 'it's not hon it's little mermaid'. it's pretty humorous he even corrects strangers who may say 'hey buddy'.. allll day long... and with little mermaid he insists we refer to him as 'she' as well. we are often characters as well, i'm flounder a lot and colin has been gaston, princess leia, whatever.. oooh i love him! i love everything about him. he reminds me SOOOO much of myself when i was little. every time his lip quivers if he is confused/scared/misunderstood it's like i have flashbacks i just know exactly how he feels and i SO remember feeling that way that way when i was really helps me remain patient with him and understand him... i love his heart.

amber and i. and baby girl and baby boy kye

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

my experience with GBS

last week i asked to be retested for GBS as i had tested positive in my urine early in my pregnancy. [a low count by the by- and i was prescribed antibiotics to take, but not told why i should take them. since i wasn't having symptoms i did not take the antibiotics and didn't even read up on why she prescribed antibiotics until later]. one midwife told me no. i asked someone else and they said sure. they say having it in your urine indicates a higher risk but if you look into that it is only because you are then assumed to have a high colonization. they say it 'indicates' or 'suggests' you will be highly colonized. i found this small study that retested women [vaginal swab at 35-37 weeks] who had it in their urine and only 30% were still GBS positive! the study concluded "genital tract cultures at 35–37 weeks for GBS correlate poorly with first trimester asymptomatic GBS bacteriuria. Recommendations for GBS prophylaxis in labor in women who have first trimester asymptomatic GBS bacteriuria should be investigated further and reconsidered".. as in you shouldn't just assume someone is highly colonized and give them antibiotics-the swab test right toward the end is a better predictor [although then it's not perfect, GBS is transient, it can come and go] yet this study was done in 2003, have any further studies or changes been made? not that i can find. so when i went to retest the nurse said 'um you know you are still going to be positive'...
which is frustrating but that's all she's been taught. i know more about GBS than any person should now, it's been exhausting.
there are a few risk factors that increase the chance of your baby getting an infection from GBS. now if i reached a point where the risk of infection was greater than the risk of antibiotics- i of course would opt for the antibiotics. but people need to take charge of their own health! there are risks with antibiotics! not only that, with me being allergic to penicillin, the antibiotics they would have to give me would be less effective in preventing an infection, and also increase her chance of getting e.coli or other infections...
there are also things you can do to help reduce the risk of infection in your newborn. while you can't always control preterm labor, fever during labor and premature rupture of membranes [or water being broken 24 hours+ before labor begins]- you CAN decline cervical checks [and/or sweeping membranes] and ask the baby not to be washed. cervical checks obviously can increase risk of infection and vernix has been found to inhibit growth of many bacteria, including GBS. duh. god knows what he is doing. in some countries it is standard that they don't bathe newborns until they are 3 days old.
in addition to that there are things you can do to eliminate the GBS you have in your body. there are LOTS of things you can do, easy google search will give you loads of info- but this is what i did- and will continue to do since i did test positive once, i am going to continue some of these things until/thru birth.
*daily probiotic supplement- i'm taking reuteri primadophilus pearls.. it 'colonizes in the intestine [where GBS is] and provides healthy benefits.'
-i will add that i read pepcid [not sure about other heartburn meds] would kill off the probiotic before it reached my intestines, so i've been steering clear of pepcid as much as possible as well. [at the least i take reuteri in the am and hold out till late evening for the pepcid.. my heartburn is awful!]
-i also have tried to reduce my sugar intake.. which is hard :)
*consistent with prenatals and add Vitamin C supplement. i am not doing this daily but occasionally.
*organic tampon with tea tree oil [diluted with organic olive oil] once a day for a few hours
* garlic suppository [sounds crazy but google it, it works. garlic is amazing. and for me i'd rather use/try something safe, natural and god made if it works before i resort to medicine where we don't always know all the side effects/long term effects etc]
*chlorhexidine - it's a chemical antiseptic and i'm thankful a friend let me borrow some she had, although it is easy to buy-look for the name hibiclens. i have done this a couple times but have it primarily to use during labor, i will 'wash' myself [like a bidet...] after each time i use the restroom while in labor.
*i also happen to have grapefruit seed extract [that we use in a mix for homemade fruit/veggie wash] and i may make a drink with 10-15 drops in there as it has antibiotic/antifungal properties to it
*on my own accord i am also using all natural [no added chemicals/bleach] panty liners and toilet paper. i have read nothing that would tell me this would help but it's just another thing i do to help be clean and safe down there.
ALL this to say, my test came back negative! is this because it is transient or because i have been taking action? i would say it is both. i would recommend to anyone whether they are positive or negative to take a probiotic supplement, decrease sugar intake, request minimal cervical checks, and don't bathe your baby for at least a day.
i feel quite comfortable with what i'm doing and declining antibiotics in labor [as hospital policy they still suggest i take them as i tested positive once.] the midwife i usually see was on par with me and was supportive and encouraging of what i was doing. there are actually several midwives in the practice i see, which is the only downfall to me. there are 2 that have been super supportive of me- one even suggested the garlic to me- 2 who are super nice and neutral in what i want to do, 1 who i felt treated me rudely, and 1 never met as she only works in their other location. PRAYING big time i am able to give birth with one of the two women who i connect with really well! but no matter what i'm still looking forward to it... :)