Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Friday, November 26, 2010

I am thankful

Its not that I don't take time every year to reflect during Thanksgiving, but this year is alittle different.

Right now I am sitting her watching my daughter sleep in J's arms. Her little hand crossed over her chest and she is snoring away. Its a sight that I have been waiting for my whole life. This time last Thanksgiving, I was hoping that we would be able to have a baby, but it wasn't happening. To be honest, I wasn't sure it would. Little did I know that the next month we'd be expecting. God really works in wonderous ways.

Of course, my pregnancy wasn't the easiest with spotting in the beginning, lots of swelling and gestational diabetes but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Her arrival was definetly eventful and pretty much the hardest time of my life. Having her was the best thing that has happened in my life so far.

Every day I look at her and I fall more in love. They say that having a baby changes your perspective and it does. I look at life so differently now. Its not about me, its really about her. I am so thankful that I have the chance to be Isabel's mom. Since her birth, I have been just so thankful I made it through all the stuff that happened to me, I feel like I was meant to be a mom. Her mom. Its the best job in the world.

I am so thankful for my family that rallied around me and took good care of me.

I am thankful for the medical staff that cared for me including all the nurses.

I am thankful for J, we have been through so much and it really feels like we are just starting this journey into parenthood together now.

I am thankful that my body is healing and I feel stronger all the time.

I am thankful most of all for new beginnings, the journey into parenthood and watching how having a child can bring family together.

This year we had a quiet Thanksgiving together, just me J and Isabel. It was really sweet. J cooked and I cared for the baby and managed to make an apple pie :) Lots of family visited us before and after Thanksgiving and I think it was a much better way to celebrate with little smaller get togethers.

I definetly missed spending time with the whole family this year but it was a sweet first holiday for our new little family and I am thankful.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The support of family

In the weeks following the first one at home, I experienced unconditional love and support from my family. I could write a book enumerating all the wonderful things family did for me but I will high light a few.

Gram and Gramp have two homes, one summer and one winter. I went to stay with my mom and then aunt (who flew in from MN for the week) while gram and gramp stayed at their summer place and came to visit.

The plan was for me to rest for a week, have my aunt and family take care of me and Isabel.

While that happened, none of us really knew what we were getting ourselves into. During that week, we trekked to and from Exeter hospital for appointments 3 times that week and each day I had at least 3 appointments in different places. It was logistically tough and Isabel had no schedule and feeding her was tough when I was laying on the table having a wound vac change. She ended up getting more formula that I wanted. But what could I do? In the scheme of things she didn't get more than one feeding of all formula a day. So really it was me more worrying about my milk.

I was so thankful to my grandparents, mom and aunt for taking care of all my needs. Helping get Isabel, dressed, changed, fed sometimes and soothed whenever possible. They all carted me to Dr. appointments, helped with my VNA visits and meals. They all provided a sense of normalcy in a very abnormal situation. They all loved little Isabel so much. My sisters even came up from MA to Maine just to stay over night and help me get rest. They brought Isabel adorable little outfits and cupcakes for me :)

By the end of alittle over a week, I still needed alot of help and J was back to work so I went to stay with my sister and brother in law. At first I was nervous because I am not the neatest person in the world (thats no secret) and now I am going to stay with my very tidy sister and bringing a baby!

Jess and Scott were amazing! They just welcomed me in with open arms. They unpacked all my stuff, set me up in their spare room and took care of me and Isabel. They took over my care too and carted me to my appointments in NH. They are a good team thats for sure! I cherish the time I got to spend with them and having a chance to get to know Scott alot better. It helped that Scott was around alot and able to help so much with Isabel. He could soothe her, change her diaper and feed her in the middle of the night. Good training for the least I think! Jess and Scott if they ever have kids will be trained and amazing parents!!

Jolene, like Jess also took off a day a week to help me get to my appoitments. I really loved the time we got to spend together, just us sisters. She is calm and very good with Isabel. We had little adventures just the two of us. We had lunch in the cafeteria and it seemed that it was she that was there for big milestones like when my wound vac was taken off and my pic line removed :)

Coming home was such a bittersweet time because on one hand I was so ready to come home and be with J and our little family. In so many ways our little family didn't even get a chance to just be. We had so many complicating circumstances that we barely even got to talk on a regular basis so much was going on.

On the other hand, I was physically alot closer to most of my family by living at my sisters. Even some of my friends came to visit while I was there. I enjoyed the emotional support I got from my sisters. They were really there for me to listen to my worries, hold my hand through my own pain and calmed Isabel when she was crying. This experience though it was unexpected, difficult, challenging, painful for me and emotionally draining, there were bright spots:
  • I got to spend valuable time with my grandparents, time that though it was tough for me, was terrific for them to get to bond with Isabel in a special way
  • My relationships with my sisters grew even stronger
  • My sisters are now experts at infant baby care, even if there were a few brown legs along the way :)
  • My aunt was so loving and kind with her time and support, it was such a bonding time for us
  • I got to spend more time with fabulous cousin MaryAnn who provided such love and support in so many tangible ways
  • My mom was there from the beginning and helped carry me through the hardest time of my life

Being bounced around for the first 7 weeks of being a new mom was challenging, add a c-section infection and not being able to take care of myself and you have a difficult situation. I am just so thankful for my family. They stepped up for me in every way possible.

How can I ever thank them enough? I am not sure I ever will be able to show my gratitude to the depth I feel it. I am thankful that despite what happened, our daughter is bringing family together. I can see how each person has so much love her, it makes my heart swell with joy. She is a special little miracle.

I will never know why I had to have a c-section, why it got infected and all the rest but it doesn't help to look back and ask why. I believe God allows things like this to happen for a reason. Not because He wants to see his followers suffer but these situations draw us nearer to Him. I have learned humbleness, to trust in God for everything each day and to accept the help of others. Having to be totally dependent on others was so hard for me. I am a doer and like to do for others. Having everyone do for me was new.

As the weeks go by and the events start to fade my emotions dull surrounding the events and I can focus on my little sweet baby girl. She is the reason I live, its all for her. She has changed my life and only in good ways.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You just can't make this up

Tuesday... the start to a very long long long week:
As you can imagine coming home a second time was more challenging. I had the wound vac, the pik line and a newborn. There was baby stuff, pack and play and a hospital bed to navigate in the living room alone.

Mom and Josh quickly got us set up pretty quickly while I fed Isabel and plugged my wound vac in the wall. I was tired from the pain meds and just wanted to rest. My mom's cousin MaryAnn arrived just about the time we got home and brought food, amazing, delicious and healthy food! I so loved her visit. We even got to show Isabel her room for the very first time! That was special.

Wednesday: Happy Birthday to me, lets celebrate in the ER!
The next day was a push (and it was my birthday by the way), we took Isabel for her 2 week check up. We started getting ready at 7am for 10am appointment, I was totally exhausted before we got there! Her appointment was terrific, her pediatrician is wonderful and bright and LOVES her :)

Unfortunately, five minutes after we got home we lost power. J and my mom had already prepped my wound vac for a change and the VNA said she'd come but was running late. I started to panic because the wound vac must be changed with in 2 hrs. What would happen if it wasn't changed in the bacteria could grow. I was nervous so we went to the ER to have the dressing changed and my pik line infused. Of course it may have seemed like an over reaction and I could have waited for the power to return and the VNA. But I wasn't going to take chances at that point ya know? So we spent from 5-9pm in the ER. Mom and I celebrated with a birthday brownie. Hahahaha. My pik line was clogged so it was a good thing we didn't try to infuse it ourselves. Ugh, this pik line was harder than I thought. That was another LONG day and we were all tired. Isabel was a champ though, she slept great in the hospital. Figures

Thursday: Visits galore
Of course by this point everyone knows we are home and wants to start visiting us. Jessie and Erich came and Josh's sister came and celebrated my birthday with pizza. We got to take our first walk around the neighborhood with Isabel and I wore real clothes... granted they were maternity but still!

You may be wondering how I managed to get up and go through all this. I guess it was shear will power, family to help me, the determination to have a normal life with our family and pain medication! Plus I needed to keep moving because I didn't want to get sicker and develop pneumonia.

Friday: A Day to Rival all worse Days thus far....
J, Mom and I had a marathon day of Dr.'s visits for me including wound care, OB, and lactation. By the time we got home I was falling asleep in the car. We had dropped J off at the dealership to pick up the Prius and mom went in to open the door for the dogs. She came out to tell me there was a problem.

A big one. Poor Liam had soiled his crate, the walls and floor with poop. In a panic I let him out into the yard and started hose him off while mom watched the baby. Poor Liam!! I was shocked at the scene. I thought he'd had a seizure. We called the vet and they said it could be an intestinal parasite. So Ladybug (who seemed fine) and Liam were outside and I stayed upstairs with Isabel while we tried to figure out what to do next. J brought Liam to the vet and mom got the house cleaned. Meanwhile VNA came for the infusion and I was nursing Isabel. In a word it was a scene.

Liam stayed over night at the vet hospital to be monitored and it was sad not having him home with just Ladybug. My mother in law came up to help out the next day and mom went home. We found out that the dog's parasite could be passed along so I ended up deciding to stay with my grandparents while J stayed at the house to take care of the dogs.

I am sure as you are reading this you might think, when is the next shoe going to drop? Each day felt like a struggle, to function, to heal, to care for Isabel to just get through it.

How did I do it? God, lots of prayer for strength, the love and support of my family and determination to raise this baby!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coming home: Take II

Four days after the wound vac came on (two changes later) my nurse was pep talking me about leaving and coming home.

I am not going to say I was jumping for joy at the thought. Sure, it had been a long haul, Mom, J and I had already spent 10 days in the hospital this time. One small room for four people. I was torn because on one hand I desperately wanted to come home, get into a routine and rest on my own terms. I wanted to be able to bond with my baby, she was constantly being passed from person to person. I mean needed the help but at the same time I wanted to feel like I could care for her too. I also missed my dogs like crazy and the way I left them the night I went into the ER was so rushed. I was feeling guilty that I had scolded Ladybug for licking my belly, when in fact she was trying to help get rid of the infection (she's so smart!).

On the other hand, I still felt weak, sick, in pain and overwhelmed. I didn't want to go home until I was sure I wasn't get worse like I did the first time. I was gunshy, I didn't really trust the word of the doctors anymore and I wanted reassurance. No one knows my body better than me.

In the end we got to be discharged on a Tuesday, with a hospital bed being delivered to the house, meals at the house, my mom staying with us and my Aunt coming the following week. I knew I needed alot of help, it was more than J and I could handle with the baby and me.

So what had to happen when I came home?
Dr. Lee my infectious disease doctor wanted me to have an IV at home for antibiotics, I didn't think too much of it because I figured if I could do insulin I could do an IV. A pik nurse came in and put the line in.

I was sedated and the nurse inserted the catheter in by my elbow. I couldn't really feel it but I knew it was happening. She pushed it up the vein in my arm to my heart. She actually pushed it alittle too far into my heart and it fluttered, that was freaky! She adjusted it and it actually felt so much better than having a regular IV in which at that point was in my hand. Also, I couldn't feel the antibiotics burning in my arm anymore because the vein is bigger that the pik line is in.

I also got a smaller wound vac to take home. I had to proved I could get up walk around and manage my wound vac and pik line. Not that I really wanted to go home...

The last hurdle was J had to learn how to infuse my pik line 1x a day. I didn't think it would be too hard but it was freaky having to make sure air didn't get into the line ugh.

The VNA was set up to come to the house and help with the infusions and change my wound vac.

When it came time to come home I at least felt better about the help we were set up with going home. We had my mom, J, wound care and the VNA.

So, I allowed myself to be discharged the next day and we headed home again......

Friday, November 12, 2010

It was a scary week

On Monday
Infectious disease came to visit and take samples to determine what bacteria I had and to find a drug that would work for me. Meanwhile, my infection continued to spread around to my back and up my sides. I continued to be in alot of pain and the pain meds could barely keep up, it felt like searing pain from hip to hip.

This week became a blur of doctors, nurses, Isabel, mom and J. In between feeding Isabel I tried to sleep as much as I could which with the constant poking and proding and visits was really hard. Not to mention I had the most uncomfortable bed, these labor beds are not meant for spending more than a couple of days in. My backside was numb from the pressure of the mattress, ugh!

One of my nurses, Denise was able to get me a new bed and moved me back to my original room (the one I was in the first stay). I liked that room, felt more comfortable in it and it had really good temperature control because I was flashing hot and cold. Also, the doorway was at a different angle and I didn't feel like I was hanging out when folks came in.

Mom and J were doing all the baby care, I was just feeding Isabel. That was one of the hardest things because I was her mom and I wasn't doing anything. I felt distant from Isabel. This little being I grew on the inside me for 9 months was here and I could barely hold her. The breastfeeding did help, it gave me a mission and a chance to bond. I was thankful that despite the meds, I could still feed her.

By Wednesday
I had a visit from Dr. Caron who was on call in the morning. She looked at my abdomen and pressed on it only to have the infection break through the skin... ugh! When a Dr. says interesting, thats not a good sign. She decided I would need surgery to clean out my wound and get ahead of the infection.

My heart sunk, I had a feeling I was going to need surgery but really hoped that all the dressing changes I was enduring would prevent it. I felt like I had failed. I was scared of the anesthesia, the pain and being away from Isabel and J.

I had to wait ALL DAY for the surgery because I had breakfast. As the day went on I felt more and more uneasy. Before my surgery I remember telling J I was scared I was going to die. He said I wouldn't but I just felt to scared. I took my mom in the bathroom before I went down and told her just what I wanted for Isabel if I died. I know that seems extreme but I just felt so scared.

I kissed J, Isabel and my mom goodbye and was wheeled down for surgery. Interestingly, the anesthesiologist remembered me from the surgery I has last year. I knew this surgery was a big deal when there were for doctor's there. My OB, the on call OB, the OB that delivered Isabel and a general surgeon. I just prayed that I would come out ok and live to raise our daughter.

It seemed like no time had passed when I came out of surgery. They had opened up my incision more, made another incision and I was done. Well at least with surgery. Next was the wound vac. They were supposed to attach it that evening during the surgery but for some reason I had to wait until the next morning.

I was so greatful to be ok and back in the room. While I was in surgery J and mom took Isabel for a spin in her stroller outside the hospital and all around. I was glad they kept busy.

I must mention that my sisters wanted to be with me every minute but they were leaving for a big trip to CA for our birthday and I wanted them to go and have a blast for me. Jolene did come and visit me the morning after my surgery and it meant so much to have her there. It was so hard keeping everyone informed about what was going and I missed talking to my sisters. Mom and J kept everyone informed for me. Yet, when Jolene came it was such a relief to see her and be comforted by her. It was fun for me to see Jolene marvel at how big Isabel was getting.

Jolene, mom, J and Isabel were there for my wound vac procedure. It was a very painful experience. Basically the incisions were connected with foam and tegaderm and tape. Tubing attaches to the foam and attaches to the pump which removes the infection continuously. The wound care nurse, Kelly (who I loved and was such a character) and the infectious disease Dr (who had this happen to her) reassured me this was the best thing. It was painful and cumbersome but they said I would heal faster but I might have it on until Thanksgiving ugh!

I felt like I was tethered to my bed with the wound vac and continuous IV line that had two kinds of IV antibiotics pumping through. I have to say I am greatful they finally found the right combination of antibiotics to kill the bacteria because it was scary to see it spread and spread.

Despite it being a difficult, scary and tiring week there were some highlights.

  • Isabel was growing, they weighed her and she had gained back her birth weight and then some
  • Breastfeeding was getting better and Isabel was getting the hang of it
  • J and mom were doing so much to support me and take care of Isabel
  • Despite being tethered to medical equipment I was getting out and walking the halls
  • I ot to see some of my friends from my water aerobics class who had babies or were about to and some from my birthing class
  • My sisters were having a blast in CA and sending me pix
  • All of my nurses except for one were amazing and took great care of me, my mom brough cupcakes for them one of the days and we started saying 'cupcake for you' when I had a good nurse
  • I was also have a good experience with most of the lactation consultants
By Saturday
They were talking about letting me go home. On one hand I really wanted to go home on the other I didn't feel ready. I had to stand my ground and demand to stay and stay on the floor because they kept trying to send me up to med/surg. Gotta love healthcare system.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Worst night of my life

We got into the ER and of course Isabel is sleeping like a rock :) figures! She just looked so peaceful and beautiful. My heart was breaking that we were back here again. She hadn't even seen her nursery yet.

We were allowed to sit in the family room so I could nurse if I needed to. As I waited I called my mom and just told her we were back in the ER.

Soon they took me back and put me in a room where a nurse got me to pee and took my temperature. I felt terribly ill at that point, no fever which was good I guess. Then the lab tech came in to get blood, not just a little either. They stuck me in several places to get enough. They were checking for sepsis (infected blood)... not good. I just remember the smell of the betadine on my hand and the goose egg that formed from taking it there. The blood culture bottles looked like nips and in my blood went....

J was by my side with Isabel feeding her and comforting me. It was about 2am and I was in alot of pain. My meds had worn off so J asked for more for me. Thank God! Morphine in the IV line...heaven!

Around that time my mom showed up. It was a relief to see her but I felt bad because her being here with me meant that she would like miss my sisters running the 'Wicked' Half marathon later that morning. Mom decided not to tell them and I think that was wise because we didn't want them to lose focus.

At this point the ER Dr. came in took a look at me and my incision and basically said I was being admitted again and was going back upstairs. I wasn't shocked but I was scared. He said in the mean time I could have whatever pain meds I needed, nice HUH?! Too bad it wore off quickly.

Meanwhile I needed to pump as my milk was just coming in. I had the ER nurse get me a pump, anyone of you breastfeeders knows how important it is to keep pumping. Isabel was sleeping so I couldn't feed her anyway. So pumping it was. Looking back it probably would seem crazy that as sick as I was I pumped for her. Breastfeeding was what was keeping me going at this point and knowing that I would rather have it be me than Isabel going through this.

At 5am I was taken upstairs with Isabel, mom and J. Dr. Basilice was on call and took a look at my incision. She decided she would open it all the way and clean it out. At this point the smell was really unbearable and pain even worse. At 7am she was doing the procedure.

This is when I learned just how I handle pain, apparantly I am stoic and just grin and bare it. To get through the excruciating pain I focused on talking about Isabel's nursery and the theme. I guess I did so well the Dr didn't think I needed pain meds. Of course I was dying inside but what could I do?

I was totally exhausted and felt like I had the worst flu ever on top of that just getting up to pee was tough, painful and tiring. Add to that a breastfeeding newborn and you can see the situation was overwhelming. Silent tears rolled down my face but it hurt to much to cry hard.

As I laid there a million thoughts ran through my mind, primarily, was I goin to die and how much worse was this going to get? I had a feeling surgery was imminent but I was honestly skeeved out at the thought of my incision being opened. It actuslly was at this time and all I could imagine was my guts coming out. I know I am a biologist but it was tough to be rational. finally I gave in and asked how deep they went and they said just to my abdominal wall....creepy but I could deal with that.

Woest day/night of my life yes, but it was then that I realized just how greatful I was it was happening to me and not Isabel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Going home.......

I got myself cleaned up and ready to go but I really felt terrible, being a tough cookie I just decided to go for it and go home, did I have a choice?

Here is a photo of us ready to leave and I still look very puffy and tired.

The ride home with Isabel was slow and quiet :) When we got home I really just didn't know what to do with myself, I literally just walked around the house aimlessly while J unloaded the car and set stuff up. Isabel was asleep in her infant seat so I tried to do stuff but I felt nervous to leave walk around the living room.

J got us settled and went to the store to get lunch, meds and baby stuff. Wow, I was alone in the house with the baby. Woo. Kind of overwhelming considering I could barely walk or stand long. We didn't have a choice though, it was just us. Our fearless little team.

J came home with a late lunch and then headed off to get our furkids and I had my neighbor come over to keep me company while he was gone. Of course the pups were overjoyed to see me and amazingly good to the baby. Our family was complete and we tried to settle in for the night. I did call my mom that night and complain that my 'pooch' where the baby had been in my lower abdomen was getting heavier and more painful (we figured it was the edema and cellulitis), I just tried to suck it up and keep up with pain meds, which was percocet.

Instead of sleep, Isabel had other plans, she basically cried and fussed all night long so J and I got no sleep. I think I handled it better because I hadn't been sleeping through the night for the past 7 months. By 5am she was sleeping and at 9am I woke up to the phone ringing.

We had a nurse visit from a nurse at the Family ctr there to check Isabel and me. She's a pediatric nurse, Angela who happens to live down the road from us. Isabel was fine and she looked at my incision and warned I should check it often througout the day. She said if my incision opened for any reason I should come right back and baby and J could stay with me but they would have to open it all the way up and then not stitch it back together and it would have to grow back on its own. I thought it was strange she was making such a big deal about it but took her advice as the day went on.

In the afternoon, I decided to take a shower once the baby was sleeping on J. I will say as bad as I felt, it was the best shower I ever had, I was probably in there for about 45 minutes. I came out feeling like a new woman despite how crappy I was feeling.

That night J's mom and sister came over to bring us a recliner and we had dinner made for us by our neighbor. I basically got waited on for a while by his family. It was so nice to only have to feed the baby and get up to pee. I was honestly feeling hazy and in a lot of pain. The pain was in my abdomen and it was feeling heavier and heavier. The nurse had said to put a pad in the incision every once in a while to wick the moisture away. Around 8pm I did that. J and his mom were at the grocery store and Jackie was with me. I had gone to pee and noticed my new underwear were bloody but I figured it was from the lochia (bleeding after the baby).

*****warning this part is not for the faint of heart****************************************
I changed my underwear and sat back down. It was around that time I started noticing the pain in my abdomen increasing (burning) on one side. Also there was a smell, like gas. I figured I was gassy from the stool softeners. J's mom came back with J and J decided to take a nap while I fed the baby and hung out with his mom. They left around 10:30pm and J came down from his nap around 11pm.

Ladybug came running over the me and began to try to lick my abdomen, I was shooing her away (gross right?!) and decided to go to the bathroom because it had been a while. J helped me to the bathroom and was there to check my incision. He helped me take the pad out and we both smelled the smell stronger than ever. The pad was bloody and green.

Sheer panic set in, but I was numb at the same time. I instantly thought to myself, my God, my incision broke open and its infected, I am going to die. That may have sounded dramatic but I honestly thought I was dead. I came out of the bathroom and J was already calling the Ob. I didn't even pee because I was too scared that if I sat my incision would break open more. I looked at Isabel as she slept in her pack and play and began to think the worst but praying for the best.

J began packing up Isabel's things and some of my stuff ( I hadn't really unpacked yet) and before we got the call back from the OB we were on the road. In the mean time while J packed I remember repeating, "I am not OK" "I am not OK" but I felt basically numb other than that.

The rest felt surreal and I remembered in the car that we had to open a window because the smell was so strong. I looked over at Isabel and she was sleeping peacefully in her seat next to me and the moon was bright shining on her. I remember just thinking, its going to get worse before it gets better and I kept saying to J, I hope I don't die. He just kept praying the whole way there.

We finally got a call back from the On-call OB and we were told to go to the ER. We were half way there at that point. They were waiting for me when I got there and carried me out of the car and into a wheel chair.

This is when the longest and scariest day began.....................

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The first few days with Isabel

Saturday: The first night

The first night with Isabel was in a word surreal, she was sleepy and precious though, all I wanted to just hold her forever. All I can say is J and I were absolutely in love with her. We just kept looking at her and each other marveling at this little creation. We prayed for her health because of the uterine infection I had and the IV she had just in case.

I finally got to nurse her with the help of the lactaction consultant, Heather. And honestly, I felt how I would imagine it would, it was comforting to actually be feeding her because it was something I felt was so important during pregnancy and was so worried I wouldn't be 'good at'. She definetly instinctually knew what to do, it was just such a beautiful moment. Being able to nurse her was the ultimate in bonding for me, as all the nurses and family and J were taking care of her the rest of the time, that time was 'our time'. And believe me I lost all inhibitions about anyone seeing my breasts...they became like any other useful appendage, like arms and legs and I didn't care who saw them.

J made the calls to family telling everyone Isabel had arrived. Some of our family knew were in the hospital but no one knew I had a c-section. We decided to keep the experience of the c-section to ourselves and we didn't want to worry anyone especially because the decision to do it was so fast no one could have gotten there in time anyway.

Katie our night nurse was back and recommended we let her go to the nursery. Of course, I didn't want to but I needed to sleep and so they just brought her in for feedings. The night was a blur and I just kept waking up reminding myself that we actually had a baby!

I was hooked up to an IV, had a catheter and really could not get out of bed so everything was done for me day and night. I was given meds and had my vitals checked so much I felt like a science experiment.

Sunday: First visitors
In the morning the visitors lined up. Mom was the first to arrive and after a quick visit with Isabel she and my day nurse Carrie helped me get cleaned up... which was amazing just to shower after all that! Then my FIL, his wife, my sisters and brother in law arrived around the same time. It was so special to get to show her off to family. What was tough was the logistics of trying to have privacy to feed (not that I was embarrassed more that I needed to focus on how to feed her properly and visitors were distracting). As the day went on more family came, my MIL and Susie our friends Jessie and Erich. I was so beat honestly by the end but could understand why everyone wanted to be there.

That night Katie was back as my nurse and she was checking my incision and saw that I had a pink rash forming from my incision point up to my belly button. The on-call OB recommended to mark it with ink so they could see if it spread. Awesome, it was like connect the dots because I had scars from my previous surgeries, stretch marks and now this!!!! I can't say I was feeling all that great at that point but was doing ok.

Monday: Cellulitis? Ick!
Monday morning my OB was on the floor and looked at my skin and determined it was cellulitis and they put me on an antibiotic that I could take while nursing. Of course I am allergic to the best antibiotic for most things, penicillin so finding a drug that would work and was ok for nursing was harder.

I wasn't too worried about the cellulitis because mom had had it before but it was disconcerting when the pink patches were spreading on Monday. That night my Dad, Darlene my MIL and Susie came to visit. It was great to show her off but exhausting too. J did a good job keeping the visits brief as possible. It did give me a chance to eat while everyone else held the baby.

Tuesday and Wednesday: Days becoming a blur
By Tuesday they were pinker and more angry but we all thought that the drugs just needed more time. I was getting up and walking around more with help. I got another shower. Nursing was getting alittle easier and I was resting when I could. I know my grandparents visited and my mom did too but I can't really remember when. I think the fatigue was catching up, mixed with pain meds that make this time the most blurry for me.

J did alot of the baby care, diapering, holding, rocking, swaddling, washing bottles and taking Isabel out and about. The only thing I really did for Isabel is hold her and breastfeed her as often as she needed it. My colostrum was enough at first and finally my milk started coming in on Wednesday. With the help of pumping it was coming along but she did get alittle formula as a snack to keep her going. It took longer for me because I was so sick after my c-section.

Wednesday: Am I ever going home?!
By Wednesday my cellulitis was at a standstill and my skin in my abdomen was hard as a rock in places (freaky I know). Dr. Browne ordered a CT scan just to be sure I didn't have an absess. I almost had to pump and dump because of the contrast dye but lactation said I could still feed Isabel so I continued on. I have to say I was not excited about another CT scan since I had one the year before. That is massive amounts of radiation, however, I didn't want to take chances I had an infection and would go home with it, so on I went. The OB on the floor upped my IV meds to stronger ones to try to kick the cellulitis. By Wednesday night we were told that I would probably go home Thursday because my CT scan looked normal.

Thursday: We are going home!!!!
We got the word on Thursday morning that we could go home. I think every new mom feels trepidation about going home. Will I be able to do it all? Feed her enough? Deal with the sleep deprivation? How will J handle it?

We spent most of the day getting ready to leave, packing up clothes, gifts, bottles, it felt like we were moving! My IV was disconnected, I could put on real clothes instead of the johnny which was my new friend. I felt kind of crummy but decided that if the Dr.s thought I was ready I was going to go and do it.

Looking back this was my first false assumption. From here on out I had to learn to be my own best advocate. No one knew how I felt but me. Not the Dr., not the nurse, not even J.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Its Go Time

Ready to Push

During that two hours all I could do was shake, shake, shake. It was uncontrolable and frustrating. During that time, Carrie was trying to get blood just in case I needed the c-section. My IV was in the right arm and looking back that was a stupid move, why? my right arm is better for drawing blood. So I endured Carrie's poking and it wasn't that bad but she could get all the blood she needed. So she called in one nurse after another, no one could get it. They tried putting a warming pad on my hand because it was so cold to get the blood. Next they tried the best lab techs in the phlebotomy lab and they were trying to get the paramedics which are pros. In total 7 people tried, and no success. Finally, they gave up. What was I thinking as all this was going on? Not much. I was focusing on trying to control my shaking because it was making it hard to breathe.
So if you can imagine, I was laying there with my left arm getting poked and proded and the rest of me curled up trying to breath.
J was holding my hand and talking me through it, I mean I wasn't in pain anymore but I was just shaking so hard. And oh, the thirst!!! That was probably the worst!!!!!!!! I got so dry I couldn't swallow and was begging for ice chips.... but no I couldn't have anything.
Dr. Browne came in after two hours and checked me and said I made progress and could push. They turned down my epidural and waited for me to feel contractions. I was feeling so cold at this point and my oxygen levels were dropping so I got some O2 and prepared to push.
I was feeling so weak and still shakey. I pushed and pushed just like how you see on TV minus the screaming. Boy, I felt so weak and like she was barely budging. It was the most helpless feeling. I got 30m to push at as time went on baby's heart rate began to climb and my temperature did too. I got to 103.1 and her heart rate was 200 (normal is 140). Dr Browne said she was sunny side up which meant she was face up instead of face down like she should be.
This was the turning point.

Dr. Browne said it just wasn't going to happen and that we needed to do a c-section. On one hand I felt relief because I was feeling so tired and thirsty. I didn't really have time to be scared. I actually asked Carrie how soon after the c-section could I get to drink water...see where my mind was?! I think I had already prepared myself for the possibility knowing I had Gestational Diabetes.

I still needed to have the blood drawn and the chances looked slim. In comes the cocky anesthesiologist. He decides to get my blood by putting a needle into my arm an inch and a half!! You would think it would hurt but at that point I didn't even care.
J was getting suited up for the delivery room and all I can remember was seeing him sweat because our room was hot. Since I was getting a c-section they were going to move me to c-section alley so J packed up our room as I was being prepped for surgery.

It felt like forever to get into the operating room but when we got there I was alone with the pediatric nurse, my nurse, the anesthesiologist, Dr. Browne and the pediatrician. J had to wait outside while they put the spinal in. After I was ready, J came in and sat beside me. I was literally just hoping that I wouldn't feel anything and that was about it. Of course I was excited to see our baby but I was just so anxious.
It didn't take long for Isabel to come out and J and I waited for her to cry. Nothing pretty much silence. I kept asking why she wasn't crying. A minute later we heard a wail and J got her in his arms. They brought her over and I kissed her but I was so hot and tired I could barely take the moment in. Isabel had meconium in her mouth and so they were preventing her from crying. J left with Isabel and I was stitched up.

As I was wheeled out of the operating room I threw up, ick. Once I was in my new room all I wanted was water which I drank alot of only to throw up! Oh well, it was worth it!

It was about 20 minutes before J came in with Isabel and I got to hold her and see her. It felt surreal. I got to hold her and the pediatrician came in and said she was going to need an IV because I had a uterine infection and thats why my temperature was so high and so was her heart rate.

While she was getting an IV, this period is a blur. I can't remember who we called first but I know J called around. When Isabel came back I got to breast feed her.

It was alittle awkward with her IV in but the lactation consultants were great. I wish I could say I remember that moment clearly but it too is blurry. But I know it happened.

I spent the next few hours resting and J called around as Isabel slept in her basinett. The whole scene was surreal! What I can remember is feeling pure love for this little baby that we just welcomed into the world!


Starting at the beginning

September 17th started with another restless night of heartburn, tossing and turning and a swig of diet coke at 3am to make sure that Isabel was still active (yes I was obsessing about her movement because GD can increase the risk of still born babies).

J had a huge work deadline but was hanging out with me and doing work in the morning just in case I went into labor. I got showered and changed but was so tired that by 8am I crawled back into bed and slept until noon. I woke up with my dogs snuggled up to me and it was very sweet. J came in and snuggled with us and then went to work.

I had been feeling kind of off all day (I never sleep that long especially in the morning). I got up ate lunch and sat on the couch feeling still tired. I had noticed some changes when I went to the bathroom. I will spare the details but it felt like I was peeing all the time. By 2:30 I took the dogs out and decided I should call the OB to see if the nurse could describe the difference between amniotic fluid and pee. That got an immediate call back from my OB. She was like 'tell me what you feel like' and I said 'Like I am gushing pee all the time even when I am sitting'. She told me to come right in do not pass Go and collect $200. I was shaking and nervous. I looked at the dogs and felt a bittersweet sadness.

Was this the day our sweet baby girl would arrive? Was I even ready? How would this change our lives (I knew it would).

So I called J, who had just gotten to work and said I was heading into the OB for a check. I collected my stuff changed and hopped into the car. My bags were packed and in the car already so I just kissed the pups and off I went.

I was probably in denial that I was in labor. I called a friend who's water broke without contractions and described my feelings and she was convinced that my water broke.

By the time I got to the hospital parking garage I had to waddle to keep from feeling like I was peeing with every step. It was the longest walk ever!

At the OB, the office had closed but my Dr was waiting for me and she checked me and said yes indeed my water was broken.

That was at 4:30. She sent me over to the Family Center aka labor and delivery. I had to be reminded of the directions of how to get through from my Dr.'s office, I was so nervous!

Off I walked to the Family Ctr. and when I got there they knew I was coming, I must have looked funny 9 months pregnant by myself, no bags, no husband and in a good mood. They put me in a room and I started making calls to J, my family, the friends who were going to bring Ladybug and Liam to boarding and so on. It still felt weird.

J arrived around 6:30, I told him to eat and take his time because I still wasn't having contractions. Around that time Dr. Browne came and checked me and I was 2.5cm dialated and 100% effaced so I didn't need to be induced. They decided to let me eat dinner and gave me a sleeping pill so I could rest.

So around 9:30 we tested my blood sugar and I tried to sleep. J was on the sleeper sofa and we just looked at each other kind of amazed we were there! It really felt like we were in a hotel room with extra medical stuff around. It was surreal.

I slept ok until about 4am. I started feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, ya know like diarrhea cramps. I got up and tried and nothing. Then it dawned on me... these might be contractions. About 15 minutes later I was sure they were contractions, they were radiating all the way from my back to the front about every 5 minutes.

I woke up J and he helped me into the jacuzzi tub. I had my maternity bathing suit on and hung out in there for about 2 hrs. By 6am they were coming on fast and furious. I mean it was hard to catch my breath and it was in a word excruiating. J held my hand and I breathed through them, standing, sitting, walking around.

The nurses in all this are the heroes. Jamie, the nurse that had brought me to my room at 6:30 had handed me off to Katie who is about our age and lives in our town... awesome huh? She was pretty matter of fact about my labor pain. Annoying yes, but it kept me calm.

She had gone by 7am and by then Dr. Brown was back and so was my day nurse Carrie. They checked me and I was 4cm... go me :) Then I begged for the epidural.

At 8am the anesthesiologist came in. He was cocky and smelled, I mean reaked of cologne like he had been our clubbing all night. Later the nurses said he was recently divorced and so he was spiffing himself up. Whatever, the smell of cologne and perfume to a pregnant lady in labor = torture!!

After going over the risks of the epidural I went for it. J, held my hands and helped me breath while Carrie talked me through it with the anesthesiologist. I was shaking which is how I deal with pain. The whole procedure took about 10 minutes and in another 10 minutes the pain was subsiding and I was just shaking.

At this point I had a moment to get to know Carrie abit better. She was single, been an L&D nurse for a while was very thorough but loved to be organized to the point where she was zooming around the room here and there. It was alittle stressful at first!

I was getting regular monitoring of the baby and my contractions using NST and an internal monitor attached to her head.. yea weird right?!

Dr. Browne came into check me at 10am and I was 10cm... most women dilate 1cm an hr. and I did 6cm in 2hours! Go me!

But she was still high and so I had to wait to push. Dr. Browne gave me 1.5hrs to get her down, or I was going to have a c-section.

Oh those words stung, how could I have gotten so far just to have a c-section?! But if it was for the best I was going to do it.

So I spent that hour and a half trying to rest until the shakes set in so hard I could barely talk.