Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It is Colic

We went to the Pediatrician's office today for Little E's three week check up.  We discussed all sorts of things including my milk supply.

At birth Little E measured 18 inches long and weighed 5 pounds 11 ounces.  Today she is 19 1/2 inches long and 7 pounds 2 ounces.  We are doing something right and that makes me happy.

As for the breast milk.  The Ped doc suggested I take the fenugreek tablets 2 at 3 times daily in addition to the tea I'm drinking and to try out the lactation cookies.  I said I didn't feel up to baking as of yet.  She said I can buy them online.  I noticed them on Amazon the other day so I decided to purchase them today along with the tablets.  Hopefully this will help my milk supply.  When the breast milk increases to half of what Little E normally takes in her bottle I'm to start her on the Vitamin D drops they prescribed her today.

As for the colic.  It will pass. We were told not to do water, gas drops and other remedies but to just put her stomach down on our legs and rub her back.  She is pooping just fine and gaining weight.

I, however, am a different story.  They gave me the mental health assessment sheet.  I scored a 10 and that isn't a good thing.  I was then counseled and given the number to the behavioral health clinic.  I said I'll call them soon.  I have no problem with getting help.  I used to get help when I was going through the infertility treatments.  I just wish I'd stop crying so much.

As for the pain.  The peds doc told me that percocet isn't going to hurt my breast milk considering that I don't take it that often and she'd rather I not be in pain.

Time to go pump the milk while J feeds her from the last pumping and the formula he just made up.

Here is a new photo of Little E taken today:
Here is one taken a few days ago:

She has such pretty blue eyes.  They are changing to more of J's color now.  I'm still wondering what color they will be in a year.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crying It Out

****I have a few questions for my readers in this blog post.  So if you have a potential answer or an educated guess feel free to share it with me in the comments.

Not so much the baby but me.  I'm the one crying though she is too.  I think, but will see her Ped doc tomorrow, she has colic.  I'm not crying over that.  I have the baby blues.  Rather normal.

Little E is fussing a lot at the same time of day.  She curls up her body, screams, passes gas, cries some more and at times is inconsolable.   Again rather normal from what I read.

I'm going to stop the milkmaid tea and watch my diet a little more closely.  Though we are doing more formula than breastmilk, I'm up to pumping 5 times a day, it could very well be my milk causing her issues.  However, it could be an allergy to her formula too as J's brother and I as well, not sure my genetics matter much with this as we used a donor egg, had milk allergy issues as infants.  Again if that is the case then I'll have to change my diet and eliminate dairy.  I'll find out more what the doctor suggest tomorrow.

It has been 6 days of colic like symptoms at basically the same time each day or rather evening and late night.  How many of you out there experienced colic with your babies or yourself when you were a baby?  My mom had to put me on a rice formula added to my bottle at three weeks of age because of my stomach issues.

Now back to the baby blues.  I'm not going to go out and kill myself or anyone else for that matter.  I can assure you all of that.  I have had some rather disturbing thoughts that the world would be better off without me but I'll just call that self-pity because I feel so inadequate.  Why do I feel like that?  Well my nipples aren't appetizing to my daughter because they are too big.  She'd rather J feed her than me.  Though I have done a few, just a few, feedings with her when he was out of the house.  Hey if she has no choice she'll take the bottle from anyone I figure.  I'm still feeling really weak and having some bad pains in the ribs along my kidneys and along the incision too.  I'll post a photo of what it looked like when the bandage came off and I saw the 19 staples.
This is when they changed the bandage in the hospital and I was still third spacing (major fluid retention).  The staples continue under the belly too.
While it does look better now it is still bruised, red, hot to the touch and oddly swollen on the right side.  I don't have a fever so infection can be ruled out.

As for the rib pain along the back.  When this pregnancy first started and they tested my urine for protein with the first of the 24 hour tests I came back with high numbers but that was before week 20.  Then I developed pre-eclampsia.  I was told I might need to see a nephrologist.  Kidney issues run in my family.  It doesn't matter how much water I drink I can still inherit what my dad has and what his grandmother died from.  I'm hoping I won't but I'd like to get it looked at if the pain doesn't go away.

For those of you with endometriosis and have had a hysterectomy (just the uterus removed) can the endo pain return quickly?  I'm asking this because I'm getting a lot of pain where the ovaries are located.  I'd like to blame the pain on the surgery but it has been three weeks almost since I delivered and anything is possible with endometriosis I swear.  I know that the ovaries are the culprits with endometriosis.

Oh and here is a recent picture of little E in J's arms:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy Birthday To Me

Today I celebrate my 45th year of life.

I'm bloated and didn't make it to my first goal weight of 199 lbs but I'm okay with that.  I know I'm sodium sensitive and have been for many years.  I actually cannot wait until the OB clears me next month to exercise.  I miss being in control of my own body, not that I ever actually had much control with the infertility treatments but I did try to control what I could with the diet and exercise.

Little E is still fussing often.  I just changed her diaper and she fell back to sleep for about five minutes.  It isn't time for a feeding.  She doesn't have a fever.  I guess she just wants to be held.  J just picked her up and she stopped fussing.  I bet putting her down again will keep her quiet for all of about five minutes again.  It is okay.  We are going to the Peds on Tuesday.  Okay one minute.  I just heard her cry.  LOL.

I'm chuckling because my mom did wish a baby like me upon me.  My mom nicknamed me "blatting Sam".  Not sure why sam but that is okay I guess.

I'm getting cake and pizza tonight.  J ordered a cake for me from the commissary.  I said "nothing special" for the design this year.  Last year it was the TARDIS cake, the year before the Monster Book of Monsters and the year before that was another Tardis cake.  My brain is practically mush and I can't think straight being in zombie Mum mode.

The hysterectomy incision is painful, I don't have a fever.  My ribs hurt and I still am getting wicked headaches.  I took a percocet last night and it didn't touch the pain.  As a matter of fact it made it so I couldn't sleep which was for the best since Little E had us up for about 7 hours straight with her fussing.  I'm hoping she gets back to a more normal for her sleep schedule soon.  I can't imagine her not sleeping well is doing her much good.

I'm up and expressing milk earlier in the day now but as of last night am still only doing it about 4 times a day.  Today since I was up earlier I hope to get in 5 sessions.  I'm not sure where the days are going but I know they are going somewhere along with the cans of formula.

Last year on my birthday I wished for something special for my husband and I.  Now that it has passed I can share what I wished for.  I wished that the donor egg/donor embryo cycle would be a success and that I would get a take home baby.  This year I'm not sure what I'm going to wish for on the birthday candle.  Mind you when I wish I word it carefully.  My wishes always come true but not always how I'd like them to come true if I'm not careful enough with the wording.  Call it superstition.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Packing it up

Last week I fit into my regular clothing again.  Please don't hate me if you are still struggling with losing the weight you gained during your pregnancy.  I still have a long way to go to lose the 30 pounds I need to lose at my age.

I put all the clothing I had purchased for the pregnancy in a sweater box and put it under my bed.  Yes, when I had purchased the clothing I had secretly hoped that maybe I'd use it for a second pregnancy.  Alas that won't happen; ever.

Packing it up is a reality check.  I won't ever be pregnant again.  I won't ever feel another baby move within me again.  I miss having my baby girl safely inside of me, especially when she is fussing late at night and nothing seems to calm her.  Yes she is starting to get into that colicky phase of growing.  Three hours or more of crying three or more nights a week and she is almost three weeks old.

I'm still hormonal.  I'm not sure how long this will last.  Its has been a few days since I last cried, well until today.  Right now I have tears in my eyes.  It is just tears of self pity.

I know that if I had been reading another infertile's blog and she had been crying over the loss of a uterus I would probably have judged her harshly in my mind, not in a comment though, for having more than I did at the time.  I'm lucky.  I know I'm really lucky.  I'm alive and I have a baby.

I'm still really tired.  J has been taking over the feedings.  I express milk because Little E can't latch onto my large nipples yet.  J has been getting to bond with her of which she needs since he'll be going out into the field soon.  Yes, I'm afraid of being left alone with her while not being able to drive as of yet.

My incision is still hot, red, bruised and hurts where the staples were.  It still bulges on the right side.  I'd say that the ovaries are waking up but I can't be sure.  I mean it feels just like it did when I had the endo pain.  Is that even possible without the uterus being there?  I think so since the endometriosis grows where it wants to and mine loved to grow on my bowels, bladder and ovaries.

We won't be adopting a baby or an older child.  We won't be looking for a surrogate either.  With what we've gone through one baby will have to be enough for us.

Another note to share:  I just ordered two more cases of newborn diapers.  Little E is just too little still for the cloth diapers I have on hand where the weight starts on the smallest one at 8 pounds.  We weighed her the other day in J's arms and estimated 6 pounds 6 ounces.  We'll know more on Tuesday at her next Peds appointment.  Her newborn clothing is still huge on her slender frame.  We bumped up her bottle to 3 ounces every 3 hours plus what I can express.  The good feeling I get when she sucks dry the bottle of the breast milk makes the sore nipples from the pumping so worth it.  She is worth any discomfort I might have in my life.

I love Little E.  Thank you God for my precious baby girl.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Yesterday was a bit of a crazy day.  J drove the three of us to Savannah's Candler Hospital so that I could pick up the breast pump rental.  So glad I decided to ditch the manual pump.  Ugh, I mean it was nice to have on hand but righty just wasn't producing but a few drops of milk.

Now that I have my milking machine righty is producing as much as lefty and it feels so good to have that milk let down actually go somewhere.  I can't use the original flanges that they gave me in the hospital here at Winn.  I opted to go with the 27 mm flange but should probably have gone with the 30 mm instead.  Yes, my nipples are just that big.  No wonder Little E is having issues trying to latch on.  30 mm is XL while the 24 mm are medium sized.

The Milkmaid tea I ordered from Amazon came in today's mail.  I'm having a cup of it while typing this blog post.  Very tasty with a teaspoon of honey added in.  I'll be milking again in about 15 minutes.  While I don't expect an immediate effect upon the production of the milk quantity I can say it will soothe the nerves a bit.

There is some stress in our household right now.  It isn't from the baby having tummy troubles last night with some spit issues.  No this is the Army stress.  I won't name names but we were told that J's unit was family friendly.  They lied.  Should I have expected differently?  No.

Not only did his paternity leave end yesterday but his regular leave was supposed to start today.  Someone high up decided, knowing full well that he needed to use those 22 use or lose days, that J was needed at work for what we aren't sure as they have plenty of warm bodies on hand.  Seriously how many warm bodies do they need for staff duty?  Yes I know just how many but to put him on the staff duty roster for his first day back which should have been his first day of regular leave means that they had no intention of even granting him leave in the first place.  Funny but the higher ups that visited our dwelling last week assured us that his leave packet was good to go as long as he would agree to come back for the field problem and split his leave.  We were fine with that.  I'm not allowed to drive for several more weeks which could make things interesting.

Little E has an appointment with her Pediatrician for next week Tuesday.  If they don't get J's leave straightened out I'm going to have to call a taxi to go to her appointment, which is going to be really interesting since I'm not supposed to be lifting more than just her body which means not lifting her in the car seat.

No our FRG doesn't help out like the other FRG at the last installation.  They aren't babysitters is right on their front page of their PowerPoint booklet.  Which to me implies that they won't help out with rides either.  I mean no one came by to offer hot meals for the new parents unlike the old FRG.  I was told by an E-6 that the FRG we have here is for the officer's wives only when it comes to support.  He said next time I go to a meeting take a closer look.  Yes, I noticed it already.  Usually the officer's wives I've met could care less what rank their spouse is because they don't wear it but here it is different and I'll have to learn that and be really careful or avoid going to the meetings altogether.  That saddens me.  But I'm here to support my spouse, take care of my little family, and help where I can.

For now that help means sticking close to home and taking care of my own needs so that I can get strong again.  I haven't had a pain pill in over 10 days, instead I've been sucking up the pain.  I have a nearly full bottle of percocet on hand, acetaminophen, and Motrin too for that matter.  But I'd rather have the pain since it makes life real and makes me stop and think that I might be pushing it too much.

The incision is still swollen and bruised.  It bulges rather oddly to the right side.  The ribs on my left side hurt like the dickens when I hold Little E for more than 15 minutes.  I was supposed to have a 4 week follow up to see my surgeon but the secretary for the clinic heard "follow up" and scheduled it for 6 weeks postpartum instead.  Rather than argue with them as I've tried to do that before and failed I just let it go.  If I have too much pain or I pass out again I'll have J on hand, I hope, to take me to the ER.

Well it is time to go milk the boobies.  J just found out they found someone to cover his staff duty.  It was an O-4 that knew about the situation and still put him on the list and the O-3 was the one that decided to delete J's leave.  Ugh!  Such stupidity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Two Weeks Later

It has been two weeks since Little E was born and much has happened to all three of us.

Little E lost more than half a pound after being born.  However, she gained it all back with frequent feedings plus she grew an inch in length!

J has been sleep deprived learning how to be a dad.  His mom just left today to go back home after spending a week with us taking care of J and doing a couple of night feedings each night.  I say she took care of him because well I was taking care of me including getting my own nutrition.  I'm not going to go into the issues there but the iron pills prescribed to be taken 3 times daily make it difficult to get in proper meals since they have to be taken on an empty stomach.

When I left the hospital on the 12th of July my hemocrit was 12 something and last week Friday at an appointment we went to it had dropped to 9.6.  Yeah not good.  I was ordered back to bed for the rest of the pelvic rest.  If you know me well you know that this is going to be nigh impossible.  For one, J has to sign in off of paternity leave tomorrow which means if he can't get regular leave I'll be alone with the baby and the house work.  Secondly, I'm not the type to let the house work go especially living in a southern climate where if you let the dirt build up you'll give bugs an invitation like you would a vampire into you house; "hey come suck the life out of me while you hunt me down!".

Little E can't latch on to me because my nipples are too big for her almost preemie baby size being born at 5 pounds 11.1 ounces.  She has a tiny mouth.  I am using the Avent Isis manual pump but the right breast, I think it is the one with the benign tumor, isn't producing much but a few drops of milk.  Tomorrow I'm headed to Savannah to pick up the Medela hospital grade pump I reserved with my credit card.  I'll speak to a lactation consultant while I'm there.  We are supplementing Little E's diet with formula and she is doing well on that but she loves getting the breast milk in a bottle when it is available.  Hopefully in a month or two she'll be able to latch on, for now we try daily to get her to latch when she is most hungry.  We do feed her every 2.5 hours a full 2 ounces of formula plus the breast milk.  Hopefully we'll be able to increase the feeding time and ounces soon as we hate waking her up to give her a bottle.  Sleep is important for all of us.

As for the weight I gained during pregnancy.  Here is where I'll be honest about numbers.  I weighed 224 before I found out I was pregnant.  I weighed 227 the day I delivered.  Yes, only a three pound weight gain.  Today I stepped on the scale and it read twice, I always check it twice, 200.4 lbs.  Almost 27 pounds lost in two weeks.  However, my size 16 jeans are snug where I have the incision mark from the hysterectomy.  The incision is still bruised and badly swollen.  Normally at 200 pounds I would be wearing a size 14.

With any luck I'll be down to a size 12 by Christmas I keep telling myself.  We'll see.  First I need to get strong.  Losing so much blood and a uterus really can wear a body down.  At least they saved my life and I'm here so I can once again complain about the trivial things in life.

Last night I asked J to tell me what happened after I blacked out from the blood loss.  I still have a hard time believing that I had a seizure.  I didn't know that a person going into shock would have a seizure.  I remember the people working on me calling my name a few times and seeing a bag valve mask on my face but not much else.  I remember J telling me that my blood pressure bottomed out too.  He said it kept dropping after he read to the staff the last numbers he saw which were 80/50.  I wanted to live so I did with the help of everyone and God's blessing.  Still it is scary to think about so I don't think about it much.  Maybe in a year when Little E has her first birthday I'll remember a bit more but I doubt it.

In just a few days I'll be turning 45.  Not sure what I'm going to wish for this year on my birthday candle.  I have everything I could want already.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

To Hell and Back Again

J will do another post to finish up his story but while I'm at his computer working through the pain since I totally forgot to take my motrin again I figured I'd do up a post.

 I'm home, alive and trying to recover but it was a long journey to get this far.  I'm so glad that J has been filling all of you in on what happened because for me personally it was one big blur.

Sunday night we went in for our induction day and scheduled time.  "Oh goody", I thought as they told me I was already 1 cm dilated on my own.  Maybe this won't take as long as I thought to bring our baby girl into the world.  Okay well yeah I should have known better from reading all the blogs over the years. Ladies you have prepared me for most of everything including the packing of depends undergarments for the after effects!  Thank you!

But I wasn't prepared to wake up to pee and find that I was leaking blood with a damn tampon shoved up inside of me.  I'm like "what the fuck!  did I fall asleep and miss it?".  Nope all was okay it was the cervidil or however it is spelled.  I had no clue that a tampon was its application and my doctor didn't bother to tell me either.  About twelve hours later they pulled the tampon out after a very uncomfortable readjustment by my doctor where he shoved it back up inside because my body was pushing it out.  The pictocin was then started with an 18 gauge iv line needle in my left ulnar side.  I have a huge lump from that needle but that is the least of the issues my body is now facing in recovery.

The pictocin didn't work, another tampon of cervidil and almost twelve hours later and I was still only about 2.5 cm dilated.  Dr. C. was due to end his shift and decided to break my water with the hope that in a few hours I would be delivering the baby.  Hahahaha!  Jokes on him in less than 42 minutes Eilonwy was here!

I still love how the anesthetist said it was never too late for an epidural.  I asked for one and they said no.  Crap.  I tore in three areas; urethra, labia, and perineum. I'm sure J has mentioned all this to you folks too.

Well lets see, after giving birth which wasn't all that bad I tried to sit up after the medical staff left the room.  Bad idea!  I remember telling Jason that everything was going black and that was it.  Over the next few days I managed to some how lose most of my blood volume, third space which happens when you lose too much blood and you body decides to hold onto all the fluids it can get and lose a uterus. Yup, they had to do a hysterectomy.

I mean I knew this was going to be the last pregnancy but geez I thought I could hold off on organ removal for about a year.  I still have the cervix and ovaries but we know that with endometriosis the ovaries are nothing but trouble.

The reason for the hysterectomy is the placenta accreta.  One would have thought that if my high risk OB in Savannah had actually done the study he said he was going to do but then promptly forgot to put it in my chart then they would have been better prepared for the birthing.  Why do what should be done when you only want to spend 5 minutes every three weeks with your patient!

So after gaining more than 16 staples in a vertical incision, 6 pints of blood (4 A+ and 2 O+), numerous bags of ancef (antibiotic), and multiple bags of saline I'm writing to you from my own bed while trying to lie on my left side and think clearly about what really matters.  I'm pissed.  No not because I almost died.  No not because I lost a uterus.  I'm pissed because my bodacious ta-tas that are producing a good quantity of milk aren't staying erect enough to allow my Eilonwy to latch properly.  My nipples and aerolas are just too fricken big!

I've looked at vids on latching.  I've talked to a lactation consultant that tried to help us with our latch but wasn't all that successful.  But she did show me how to use the milking machine.  While at home I'm using the manual pump that I have on hand as it is helping reduce the fluid build up in my hands from the third spacing.  Now if only I had dexterity to use my feet to pump with as those are so swollen they look like I have had major collagen injections to remove every wrinkle and bend.

For now I'll be happy knowing that I can pump and J can feed her.  I'll be happy knowing that I'm alive.  If I didn't have so much to live for I probably would have kissed the pain in my life good bye as we know that I have a lot of medical issues that give me a lot of pain.  I can deal with pain as long as I have love in my life.

Oh and by the way we now know with medical evidence which of the embryos took from the two we put back.  Remember we did donor egg and donor embryo.  The donor embryo mom and dad produced offspring that were O+.  The donor egg person was A+ and J is O+ which means that any of their embryos would be A+ upon testing.  Eilonwy is A+.  Yup the little embryo that could and did make it is J's baby.  Not like it matters a hill of beans because she is so wrapped around his heart.

This blog will continue to be written and evolve.  I'm more than just my infertility and I'm more than just a parent too.  I'm an Army Wife and this is my life!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Our Birthing Story, Part 2

I didn't mean to leave everyone hanging with the end of the last post, but that was the best spot to end it.  Yes, she stabilized, but no, that wasn't the end of it . . .

At some point, and I don't remember what happened first or how long it took, but once Rebecca stabilized, coherent and functional, the staff agreed to move my girls from Labor & Delivery to the Mother-Baby Unit “just down the hall”.   Rebecca quickly discovered it hurt way to much to sit in the wheelchair that they provided, so they agreed to let her walk and even guide her own IV stand, while I wheeled Eilonwy along in her fancy Army-hospital-issue bassinet, which I don't think I've taken any pictures of yet . . . come to think of it, I don't really remember how we transferred Rebecca and her IV stand, Eilonwy in her basinet and our meager luggage all in one trip, but we took a nice long walk from one side of the wing to the other and settled into a smaller room in the mother baby unit. Unfortunately, Rebecca left a small trail of blood and once we arrived she suffered through more poking and prodding and IVs and even a blood transfusion at the hands of Nurse (Lt) L. and Dr F (one of the team who stabilized her during her post partum hemorrage induced hypotensive shock), while I fed Eilonwy, changed her, swaddled her and we settled in for the night.

At some point in the wee hours of the morning, after changing a few bloody sheets, chucks and pads and even a blood bag, Dr. F. decided to move Rebecca to a room closer to the front desk . . . I guess to be closer to the nurses and doctors, so we gathered up Eilonwy and all our baby gear and moved again; this time Rebecca stayed in bed.

We spent the rest of the night in that room, under almost constant monitoring of Rebecca's vitals and drainage (I stopped counting after a the third chuck and second set of sheets).  Dr. F. even performed a manual . . . umm . . . purge of the bloody tissue in Rebecca's uterus, which she begged her to stop.  After the second unit of blood was done and seemed to have no effect, Dr. F decided that Rebecca would be moved to the Progressive Care Unit, downstairs (Rebecca compared it to a step-down ward or recovery room) where they could better monitor her conditions.

The details of the early morning of 9 July are something of a blur, as much because of fatigue as psychological shock.  Around 7AM, Rebecca asked me to go home and check on the kitty; the staff asked me to wait to leave until after shift change, when Dr N. (who had met us at L&D, Sunday night when we arrived) would take over care of Rebecca from Dr F.  There was a quick changeover huddle and Dr N. opted to do his own exam of Rebecca, so I decided to head home for an hour to check on Bugsy and the house . . . I should have stuck around . . .

I was at home for less than 20 minutes of a 45 minute visit with Bugsy, nominally to check his litter and food and water and fur, when I got a rather abrupt call from an unidentified Georga cell phone number.  It was the Mother Baby Unit at Winn and they were saying that Rebecca was being taken into surgery. I skipped brewing fresh coffee and went straight back to the hospital, arriving just in time to help them do an emergency surgery interview (consent forms, medication, allergy and surgical history) for Rebecca and wheel her out of her mother-baby sanctuary room, a full 26 hours before she was scheduled to leave.  Removing her, they left an empty space in that room that was never properly filled.

The next several hours that I spent with Eilonwy in that mostly empty room are another empty blur in my memory; I fed her, burped her, changed her, dressed her, swaddled her, cuddled her, read to her. In a hospital ward labeled “Mother Baby Unit,” we were in the only room without a bed and a mother; it became our “daddy daughter room.” Even now, I don't remember what else happened to us, until one of the medics told me Rebecca was out of surgery, in the Post Anasthesia Care Unit (the Army loves its acronyms) and would be transferred to the Progressive Care Unit once she stabilized. I left Eilonwy at the front desk in the care of the nurses and SSG C. guided me to the third floor.  He showed me where to go when the time came, right to the room that was already reserved for her and we returned to the fourth floor, he to his rounds and me to my daddy-daughter room with my baby to wait for word on momma.  That day, I only made it home twice to feed, water, and generally reassure Bugsy that mommy would be home soon. I never thought she wouldn't make it back.

No, I'm not inserting another dramatic pause here, I'm trying to remember what happened when, because I didn't exactly take great notes at the time.

I think it was mid afternoon when Dr. N. came up from the PCU to tell me that Rebecca was ready for me--Me, not any other visitors, that part seemed pretty clear--and what had happened to her in surgery:  part of the placenta had remained attached to the uterine wall, hemorrhaging blood, it resisted a D&C and he had to . . . well, I'll let her share her own details later.  

So I left Eilonwy with her part-time babysitters on the Nurse staff and went down to see Rebecca.  She was pale, exhausted, puffed up from something she called thirdspacing (ask her about it later, all I understood was fluid retention) and beautifully, gloriously ALIVE!  I helped her move around a bit so the Nurses, one of whom was fittingly, literally, a Miracle (Ma'am, if this gets to you, I'm sorry for breaking your privacy, but it just fit), could clean her up a bit and change her bedding and they gave us a few minutes to discuss her medical situation and more importantly her daughter.

When I got back upstairs an hour or so later, the staff was happy to see me, ecstatic to hear the Rebecca was doing better (better than bleeding out is definitely better) and generally beside themselves about how cute and precious and adorable and I forgot all the other words they used, little Iley (since so many people were having trouble pronouncing or even spelling Eilonwy, we went public with our first nickname for her on day 1) was for them and how happy they were to look after her while I was gone.  So I gave them another opportunity not much later when I went home to take care of Bugsy, brew some coffee and grab a shower before returning to the hospital to spend a calm, mostly stress free night with my beautiful two day old baby girl, knowing that her mother was safe and sound, somewhere below us less than 30 feet away.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Our Birthing Story, Part 1

Being a dad is all it's cracked up to be.

And when I say cracked, I mean just that: cracked wide open and into little pieces, but I'll get back to that in a bit. First, I should try to break it down by the time-line, so, as my once-comrade used to say, from jump . . .

At 1730, we called Labor and Delivery, as instructed, and were told “come on in”, after diffusing the immediate confusion assuming they meant come in right away, they confirmed our arrival time at 1930, and the wait was back on, crisis number zero averted.

I had the car packed that morning, just had to grab a pot of coffee and . . . I already forgot what else, and we checked into L&D at 1910. It took less than an hour to get settled into the room, which was surprisingly nice for an Army facility, then another hour or so to get all the rest of the equipment attached, because all the L&D staff saw was “ Complicated OB”, High Risk, Hypertension and other warnings, so Rebecca got a heart monitor for the baby, a uterine monitor for contractions, blood pressure cuff, lower leg cuffs (to simulate walking and prevent clots) an IV drip and . . . actually, I think that was it—until they added an extra pick for blood transfusion, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Shortly before 2100, they dosed her with cervadil, which was supposed to dilate her cervix the rest of the way (she was already at 1cm on her own) of 12 hours . . . it went to 2 by 0900 Monday, when her Doctor from OB showed up to take over.

Dr C was very optimistic that baby would arrive today, with just another dose of cervadil and pitocin (another induction drug for the the drip), but first he got her some hospital breakfast, which she ate about half of, the half she quit on and told me to take care of wasn't that bad. Then they put her on another dose of cervadil and settled in for the long wait . . . sarcasm not withstanding. Because the nursing staff was busy with other patients, I had to step up and help Rebecca out of bed (and the myriad of hose and wire connections) so she could get up and walk off some of the cramps every hour or so (her regular readers are probably chuckling at my colorful manipulation of facts here . . .). She sent me home three times during the course of the day to check on the cat, his food, water, litter, etc. and grab up any remaining items.

The Doctor finally stopped the cervadil after it's 12 hour limit, let her have a cold dinner (her first turkey cold cut sandwich in Months, for which she was earnestly grateful), then put her on a pitocin drip to further induce labor. Well, it gave her frequent cramps, made her extremely uncomfortable, whether lying on her side as they let her or her back as the first put her in the bed. Around 0800, Dr C's shift was over and Drs W (a midwife) and F (both Army Majors, so I was very confident) took over. The nurse anesthetist, Dean, came in to discuss pain meds, including various injectables and an epidural; Rebecca declined at the time, and he left saying “It's never too late for an epidural,” . . . I'll revisit that later.

I still don't remember whose idea it was to Break Rebecca's water with one of those foot-long white plastic hook probes, but that's exactly what they did, and less than 15 minutes later she was in full active labor. At one point she asked for pain meds—and that should give some of you Pause: Rebecca Asking for pain relief—and we were told they had to get the baby's heart rate first, which was problematic because the baby's heart monitor wasn't staying still. She actually asked if it was too late for an epidural—or maybe I asked—and someone said, with a bit of (what I hope was a nervous) laugh: “It's too late for an Epidural.” The next half hour or so was—to borrow a colloquial term—absolutely Epic.

Rebecca dilated to the full 10cm in the first 15-20 minutes of contractions and pushing. At some point, she asked “can somebody hold my legs,” so I grabbed her left and the nurse monitoring the monitors grabbed her right. Then, my amazing wife pushed almost straight through the next 15 minutes or so with nothing but me and an overtaxed nurse holding her legs. I looked down and saw the baby crowning at about 0910, stammered through my job as a coach—fortunately the nurse on the other side of me, able to spare only one hand for Rebecca's leg, had been a cheerleader and did an excellent job coaching her through in my place. Dramatic writing fails me utterly: shortly after the baby crowned, Rebecca Screamed through another push, ignored the contraction—or absence of—and at 0917, flying headfirst at a very calm but surprised Major W., our Grace entered the world.

There's a pause here because I am tearing up remembering it, just as I did the moment it happened, as she was wrapped in a blanket and placed on Rebecca's chest, whimpering and sighing, but not gasping or crying. In the afterglow of pain I don't care to guess at, she managed one word, none of the staff really heard or understood, so they all leaned in and asked her what she said, but I knew, we'd been discussing that word for Days, knew it inside and out, and now knew who it belonged to: Eilonwy.

Another pause as I tear up again, just so you folks understand why this writing seems to bounce around so much . . . For those of you not already googling Eilonwy, (we say it eye-LAHN-we, but nobody pronounces anybody else's name quite right) here are the facts: she is the Lost Disney princess, from the Movie “The Black Cauldron,” based on the book, by Lloyd Alexander, of the same name and its 1982 prequel, “The Book of Three.” Together, they are books 1 and 2 of the 5 part “Prydain Chronicles,” books I found by accident when I was in 5th grade, borrowed from the town library and wanted for my own. It was childhood dream granted by Rebecca years ago when she found the “Chronicles of Prydain” boxed set, and from which I've been reading to her belly for the last two or three weeks since we went through the mother goose's rhymes book.

Back to the time-line, Dr W clamped the cord and showed me where to cut it--there's a picture of that, too--and I stood beside Rebecca, Eilonwy on her chest, as Dr. W delivered the placenta and . . . finished up (I leave out all the details, but I'm sure you regular readers or experienced moms know what else that entailed). Because she was so small—visually, they hadn't weighed her yet—and slightly under temp, one of the nurses put Eilonwy under the baby warmer, where I was invited to help towel off the vernix, and where I stayed while Rebecca finally relaxed and got a little much-earned sleep.

Our Nurse showed me how to bathe, feed and diaper the baby, while Rebecca continued to recover from her delivery. Because she was so petite, Eilonwy's temperature remained slightly below average, so she spent most of her time in the baby warmer, under the heat lamp. It was still sometime before noon, while I was reading to Eilonwy from “The Book of Three,” when Rebecca said she wasn't feeling well, that she was blacking out, then “get someone” and her arms and legs began to shake violently, beyond the scope of the worst cold chills I'd ever seen. I hit the nurse call button, decided it wasn't fast enough, went to the door and called for help. It took less than 10 second for two nurses and a doctor to show up, another minute for two more doctors and another nurse to have Rebecca's bed flat, then inclined, a pressure bag, oxygen, another IV, so many cc's of this, so many mils of that, all the time rubbing her chest, calling her name, asking her where she was . . . I spoke up from the other side of the baby warmer when they asked details of medical history, MI, seizures, even helped them untangle a cord from the monitor, read a display to the lead doctor because it was facing the wrong way and a nurse was on the wrong side before they got it turned.

After several long minutes, they stabilized her blood pressure, which had dropped to less than half her normally elevated levels, but remained wary of her bleeding, such that she remained in the labor-delivery room well into the afternoon and evening.

Pictures will follow soon...but we'll save that for another post.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Induction Day is Here

This afternoon I'll be calling Labor and Delivery to confirm a time for this evening's induction.  Where did the time go?

Just for fun I tried on a pair of my size 16 jeans this week and believe it or not I can get them on and zipped but not buttoned.  I'm hoping that in a week or two I'll be back into them and maybe, just maybe a size 12 by Christmas.

Somehow I hurt my right hand this week.  I'm going to have to mention that tonight when I go in.  I think it was when I was moving a box that I injured it as the corner on the box was crushed when I put it down.  I guess since my hands are so numb of late I can't feel just how hard I'm gripping on to things.  Don't ask why I was moving things as you'll have already heard about the nesting instinct many times over so I'll just blame it on that.

Wish us luck.  Baby Hiccup will be here soon.  I've given my husband my password for this account and asked him to do the first blog post after she is born so that if I'm too tired or in too much pain he can upload the photos and write a bit about our daughter for me.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Yesterday was my last day at Coastal Perinatal.  I wasn't due for a full anatomy scan since I had one last week but the pregnant tech took pity on me knowing that I will be induced on Sunday.  She measured baby girl and even though she warned me that ultrasounds can be off by a pound either way for weight I was pleased to note a marked difference from just last week Wednesday.  Baby Girl is weighing 13 ounces more than last week.  Yeah I've been pushing food consumption even when it makes me vomit in the attempt to add more weight to her.  I haven't gained but she did this week!  YAY!  She is listed as now weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce.  I can only hope she'll weigh about that at birth.

Today is my last non stress test.  We are hoping that I pass this one today.  However, my packed bags will be going into the car along with her car seat today just in case.  I've been warned.

I just put in my order for the photos from the maternity session.  I will also be receiving the other photos on a flash drive with a print release so that I can make more copies over the years of the photos as needed.  My photographer is pcsing in about a month so I will be trying to find someone else to do Baby Girl's newborn photo session.

Oh J and I have basically settled on a name for Baby Girl.  She will be getting my grandmother's first name as a middle name.  So Grace is the middle name.  We are thinking of using a Welsh name for her first name.  Though baby girl isn't mine genetically I do have Welsh heritage and would like to give me as much in the way of roots as possible.  Her genetic mother is just Irish and English.  J is Scottish, English, Portuguese, Austro-Hungarian, Dutch, German, and Czechoslovakian with the majority being in the Portuguese and Dutch.  J is a blonde with a Portuguese nose but it still looks good on his face.

I can't wait to meet Baby Girl and see whom she looks most like.

Happy Fourth of July to all my American friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Induction Date Set

Today's regular OB appointment didn't go so well.

First off I checked in.  I get my vitals checked by the nurse

Right arm BP: 163/88
Left arm BP: 152/95
Weight:  still no extra gained.  I've only gained a whole 2 pounds for this pregnancy.

I go back to the waiting room.  Another nurse calls me back and says that they will schedule me for Labor and Delivery for Friday.
I said:  "WHAT!?"  "NOOOOO"
Then she clarified that it was for the non stress test since it falls on a holiday.  Phew okay I'll be fine just have to get my heart back out of my throat.
Since we don't have time for the non stress test before the doctor we head back to the waiting room.

Next nurse calls me back.

Doctor Canady told me after looking over my chart that  this means he is taking the baby early.  Um, yeah I know I figured as much.  His words were: "We need to end this pregnancy now."  He said if I don't pass the non stress test today he would do it today.  Luckily I passed the non stress test and the BPP (biophysical profile) ultrasound too.

Next non stress test is set for Friday.  If I pass that one then we are going with a scheduled induction for Sunday at exactly 37 weeks.

So glad the nursery is all set up and that I bought plenty of newborn clothes for baby girl.  We are prepared for the most part.  Still chokes me up a lot to know that she has to be born three weeks early because as the doctor said it is not the baby they are worried about losing it is me.  I want to be there for her.

So I'm going to work a bit more on her scrap book today since I have new ultrasound photos to put in the book.  Still waiting on the maternity photos from the session.  My photographer went on vacation and is suing someone right now which means that things are a bit behind schedule.

If I remember I'll let you all know how it goes on Friday, in-between I still have one last appointment on Thursday with my Perinatologist.