Thursday, October 30, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Plus, the 18week ultrasound is all about finding out the sex, and we already found out at our NT scan, right?
so we thought!
It's a BOY!!!!!!!!!
Dr. Kirshon asked if we knew the sex and I told him, yes, you told us girl last time, to which he said "Did I? Did I say 80% girl?" I said "No, you said 90% girl" and he said "Well 1 in 10, this is a boy!" LOL!
Can you believe it???? There "it" was plain as day, no mistaking it!! We're having a boy, we're having a son.
The nurse was just as happy as I was I think. It was just such a surprise! So she put a piece of paper in an envelope that says "Congratulations, it's a BOY!" along with a picture of the "money shot". When I got home, I gave the envelope to Patrick and his response was "What?!? How did that happen?" LOL!
I think we're both still in shock, and this week has been so busy that we haven't had a chance to sit down and really talk about it and enjoy it. Hearing it has been like finding out all over again. You plan out in your head life with 2 daughters, you think you know what you're doing, and then you find out you'll be raising a boy along with your daughter! Craziness!!
I am unbelievably excited though, and this just feels right to me. WHEN all goes well in a few months, we will consider our family complete...who would have ever thought in just 2 short years that all of this would have happened. We are so very lucky!
I'm jumping out of my skin because I get to tell my parents in a few hours...they're on their way here for the weekend!!!
Two days later we headed to the dr. for her 6 month appt. I still find it hard to believe that I gave birth to a petite 6lb2oz baby who at 2 weeks old was at the 5th percentile for weight (50th for height and 10th for head circumference). I always tried to make myself feel better by remembering she was two weeks early, but my how times have changed!!!
At 6 months, we are now...
19lbs 6 oz that would be the 90th percentile
26.5 inches long that would be the 75th percentile
42cm head circumference that would be the 45th percentile
She's in 12-18 month clothes if you can believe that! She's sitting up on her own (although has a tendency to teeter over in pursuit of a soccer ball or rattle that gets too far away from her), she can get across the floor fairly effectively but tends to go backwards quite a bit, and she has A LOT to say. They just told us yesterday at daycare that she and another baby (cute little babygirl, 3 days older than Larkin and probably half her size...LOL!) were sitting in their Bumbos having a hilarious conversation. They said one would talk and then the other would wait and listen while the other talked and every now and then apparently someone would say something funny because they'd both start laughing...LOL! No wonder she gets bored with us on the weekends, we don't speak her language ; )
I really owe you some new pictures of Larkin. For now, here are a few of my favorite proofs from her session right before the hurricane, she was just over 5 months in these pics!!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Early last week it looked like Ike was going to head further south, straight for my parents. So we made jokes all week about how grandma and grandpa were coming back to visit. Then the damn thing turned and kept inching closer and closer to Houston. By Wednesday, the panic was starting...In the time it took me to go to the bathroom, Patrick had consulted with my mom and had decided that she would be picking up me and Larkin the next day. The whole thing was just a mess....
So Mom got to Houston about mid-day on Thursday, we packed up, and off Larkin and I went south. Patrick had school all day and then had to work on boarding up the house, getting everything out of the backyard, etc, so he finally made it down there about midnight. We didn't even get a sprinkle or a breeze where we were, but luckily DirectTV had decided to carry a local Houston channel so we could watch everything that was happening.
Patrick headed back on Saturday afternoon once the storm had passed. Starting Thursday, you couldn't get through to any Houston-based cell phones, but thankfully text messaging worked most of the time. The last we heard from any neighbors was at 3am, and that was to say our house was fine, but a tree had gone through one of the other houses. Patrick got back to see that besides some windblown plants in the backyard, we were fine (our neighbors with the tree will be gutting the house and rebuilding, it was pretty bad). Needless to say there was no power, so Larkin and I stayed with my parents.
We continued to live with my parents for an entire week! School was cancelled, so Patrick had no reason to sit there in the dark so he returned to my parents on Monday afternoon. Yesterday morning (Thursday) we came back to Houston because I needed to go back to work. Because we STILL had no power, I had to leave my sweet baby girl behind...and spend my first night (except for those two nights in the NICU) without her. Luckily, "grandma's house" is her "normal" right now, so I wasn't too worried...but I definitely felt like a part of me was missing. Patrick picked me up from work last night and we went to the movies (what else is there to do!), we also went to Target and then headed home to the dark. The cats were happy to see me as I'm sure they were convinced that Patrick had buried me in the backyard. Woke up this morning and I'm back at work. Patrick is picking me up at 3 so that we can make it back to my parents before Larkin has to go to bed. : ) I can't wait to squeeze my little munchkin!!!!
I am now the last person in my lab WITHOUT power (4 more people got power last night), and we didn't even see the utility trucks anywhere near our neighborhood. We'll spend the weekend with my parents, and then figure out what to do on Sunday. We're in the "power restored by Monday" zone, but I'm not very optimistic at this point. I don't want to spend more time away from Larkin, so maybe on Sunday I'll start to think of creative ways around the power issue for her...taking it one day at a time at this point.
Oh, and Lathonya has a new name.... Ka-a...pronounced Kadasha...let's just say we did not make that name up!!! LOL! We'll just call her K for now...LOL! She's doing great, and the flutters have begun...which is really helping me bond with her...plus, the pooch is getting bigger. More pictures on Monday, so if we have power, I'll post the 8w.12w.16w comparison. Can you believe I'm almost 16 weeks!!!
Cross your fingers that we get power this weekend!!!!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
One of the nurses was explaining my history to another nurse and it cracked me up "She went through years of infertility and miscarriages to finally get her daughter, and now they can't make it stop"...LOL!
Anyway, minimal spotting Tuesday and yesterday, nothing so far today. No Tylenol or anything after, just some napping and a lazy day at home with Larkin yesterday.
I'm still avoiding the maternity clothes, but my pants are starting to ask for mercy so we'll see how long that lasts!
Friday, August 29, 2008
I think I had truly still been in denial that I was actually going to have another baby, that I was really pregnant, that things could actually work out AGAIN when they had failed so many times. The odds just never seemed in my favor. So as I sat there in the car, feeling like I was going to throw up (and morning sickness has mostly left me this week), I realized how absolutely terrified I was that they were going to tell me that something was wrong, that this one wasn't viable, or that things didn't look good, that there was some sort of horrible defect. After all, this one wasn't conceived in the wonderfully controlled environment that Larkin was. I wasn't faithfully taking my prenatals or extra folic acid, I was playing soccer, tennis, and running, I was drinking full caff Starbucks (which yes, now I know is ok now that they've posted their caffeine content online : ) ), wine, I even had a massage a couple of days before I found out I was pregnant...I did EVERYTHING wrong!
And so in that moment of panic sitting in the car, I bonded with this child. For the first time I realized that I needed this one to be ok. I needed this one to be as strong and amazing as Larkin...but most importantly I realized that I NEEDED this one...
It never fails that Dr. Kirshon gets called to the hospital right before my appt. Even though my appt was at 8:30, he didn't walk in the room until 9:30. Boy was he surprised to see us, but he seemed absolutely giddy, which is saying something for him...LOL!
He gets right down to business. Of course, I start crying when I see this whole baby. I remember thinking that after Larkin's 12 week scan..."I made a whole baby"...well I made a another one. : )
Everything was just perfect...2 arms, 2 legs, great NT measurement (1.2mm), nasal bone present, great heartrate (163 bpm), and boy was this one feisty! Larkin just sat there kicking her leg and hiccuping. This one....would do total flips!! Boy am I in trouble! I hadn't even had any sugar or caffeine that morning!
And then Dr. Kirshon caught us completely off guard! He asked us if we wanted to know the sex! I knew that sex differentiation began right around 11-12weeks, but it's rare to get a good glimpse. Well I guess this one flipping all over caused a great view because Dr. Kirshon said he's 90% sure that we're having another girl!!! He did a couple of closer views, and I could even see the three lines, so I'm pretty darn sure we have another girl in here.
So on that note, from this point forward Tyrone shall be referred to as Lathonya. Funny back story there. Many of you know my real name, but it may amuse you to know that the 2nd choice name for me (picked by my grandmother) was in fact Lathonya....just imagine me with that name...can't do it can you?
I felt bad at first wondering if everyone was counting on me to have a boy. Patrick seemed to care less, he was just so relieved that she was healthy. Financially, it's terrific. All we need is another nursery and everything to go in it, but we have all the clothes, bouncy seat, swing, etc. And I never had a sister, so I'm glad that Larkin will be able to have that. I just hope they like each other...and that they don't hate me too much when they're teenagers.
I cried a little to Patrick and said I was sad because most girls hate their mother at some point in their lives but never seem to go through the same phase with their dad. He said that he thinks all kids go through general "parent hating" phases regardless. But I think it's the fact that my mom and grandma had and still have a horrible relationship. And Mom and I really only became close in the past 4 years...really once I started dealing with all of the infertility and losses. I want something different for my girls...so all I can do is vow to do a better job, right?
I'll try to post the scan pictures sometime this weekend! But for now, I'm feeling better, I'm feeling attached, I let the cat out of the bag at work (which is also helping me to bond, it's so much easier not to have to keep the secret), and I'm even starting to get poochy already!!! Well poochy compared to this time with Larkin at least. We took a picture on Wednesday, so I'll work on posting that, too!!!
Cerclage is still scheduled for Tuesday as long as Hurricane Gustav doesn't rearrange my schedule!
Friday, August 22, 2008
First, let me say that I am not at all preachy about what I think about vaccinations. I obviously have an opinion (every parent does!), and given my profession, maybe people on the fence would actually care about my opinion, but I rarely offer it unless blatantly asked. I honestly have no idea if any of my friends/acquaintances have decided to forego their child's vaccinations because #1 I'm not nosy like that and #2 it's their choice. However, keeping this in mind, I do feel like it's my responsibility to at least voice where I stand on the issue.
Larkin is 100% compliant with the recommended vaccination schedule, and I plan to keep it that way (barring an illness that would push her a couple of weeks here or there). Now I know some parents like to break it up and not have to deal with their child getting 5 shots in 2 minutes, and I completely understand and respect that. If Larkin had shown any issues beyond the point where we left the exam room, then I certainly would have thought to do the same...but she apparently could care less...LOL!
I won't go into details, but many of you (most of you?) know what I do for a living. Suffice to say that I'm a scientist who happens to specialize in pediatric illness. This makes me privy to some information, but most of what I based my decision on is publicly available information. And again, those of you that know me well also know that I will research the HELL out of anything that I have a question on. So naturally, I did a ton of research on the vaccination/autism issue as the data was being released. Again, you can see where I stand on it.
So now finally, the word has started to get out (and by out, I mean on the nightly news) that maybe we're starting to see some repercussions from the decrease in immunized children. Measles is the latest culprit. I can also tell you that we're seeing A LOT of pertussis (whooping cough)...it's been on the rise for awhile, but something strange is happening now.
Now to sidetrack for a second, I highly recommend that everyone reading this consider getting a pertussis booster themselves. I'm guilty of not remembering to do it after Larkin was born, and now I have to wait until after Tyrone is born. I'm making Patrick and my parents do it. I highly recommend it because our little munchkins are not fully immune until after their 6 month shots, and we can easily have a mild persistent "cough" without ever realizing that we are actually bringing pertussis home. Just something to mention at your next family dr. visit...ok, that's all the preaching I'll do on that one.
Back to the topic at hand...
So here's my issue. Someone doesn't want to vaccinate their kids, and they believe it's their right to protect their children from some harmful effect of the vaccine. But then that child becomes a vessel for these diseases, again, that was their parent's decision, but if that child somehow comes in contact with my 4.5 month old who is on schedule with her vaccines but hasn't acquired full immunity yet...then could my child suffer (and let's be honest possibly die, these diseases are not something to play around with in an infant) based on someone else's decision?
That's what has me riled up today. None of us of childbearing age know what the world was like when these diseases ran rampant, but I'm sure we all have stories from our grandparent's generation. My grandmother lost 2 siblings before they were 5 due to disease...diseases that could be completely prevented due to the wonderful medical advancements called VACCINES!
So I'll just say one more time, I did my research, Larkin is vaccinated. You have to make your own decision, but I hope you take the time to critically analyze every single study out there and make a truly informed decision.
PSA over. ; )
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Anyway, I headed upstairs to get her in the bath not knowing what was ahead of me. I was running the water to get it to temp, and she was laying on her towel on the floor. She rolled onto her side (which she always does), then rolled back. Then I thought to myself "That little sneak is going to roll over when I'm not looking". So I looked back at her, saw her get on her side again, and then poof, there she went..as if it was so easy she could do it all along (which I'm pretty sure is the case). However, the minute she got on her stomach, she popped up on both hands, picked up that head, hiked up those legs and looked around like "Hmmm, I bet I could get somewhere if I tried"...boy are we in for it! LOL!
So a good 5 minutes after that first, we got another...first tub pooper. LOL! I heard it, I saw it, I picked her up and watched it drain out of the tub. When Patrick walked in, she was still suspended in mid-air. Thank goodness for that Clean Water tub (it drains the entire time so not only does the temperature stay constant, but dirty, in this case very dirty, water runs out).
She seems to be doing better today, so I'm thankful for that!!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Larkin is sick for the first time...and it's diarrhea...lovely. This started on Friday and after going through several outfits, we called the dr. They said keep her hydrated (supplement with Pedialyte) as long as there was no fever, no worries. Larkin had no clue anything was wrong with her, and she drank the Pedialyte without a problem (I was smart enough to get unflavored so I didn't have to worry about her tasting "sweet" for the first time).
Anyway, I was really looking forward to some rest since I'd had a stressful week and well, I'm pregnant and in the exhausting first trimester, so I was excited for Patrick to help out this weekend. Well of course, he was gone all Friday night for volleyball, and I was exhausted since she was pooping everywhere. Saturday started out a little better until....Patrick started to get sick. Son of a ....
Yep, he was sick and sicker all Saturday night, so this led me to quarantine him on Sunday until we realized it was Larkin that had gotten him sick to begin with. Either way, he was of no use to me Sunday and it was an exhausting weekend to say the least! Then Monday when we thought she was better, she had another blowout diaper at school...all the while I'm getting more and more nauseous. Son of a...
So then I have it, but Patrick has volleyball practice and in-service, so I've got to tough it out and take care of her for 4 hours until he gets home. Somehow I get through it (without puking even!) and Patrick gets her down for the night. Both Larkin and I stayed home yesterday, thankfully I was feeling better by mid-afternoon because of course it was volleyball night again so besides bringing me lunch, we didn't see Patrick all day! Although he did change the 11pm pooper and give her a little Pedialyte while I went to bed.
So this morning, she starts off with a bang, and I call the dr's office when I get to work. Of course there's nothing they can do, but they'd just like to see her to check her out. So he's there with her now...and I'm trying to be good supportive wife/mother (and not dash home and make him think that I don't trust him to handle this on his own) and have faith that he will remember to tell the dr. everything and remember everything the dr. tells him and somehow tell me all of this...all without a voice. Did I forget to tell you that? He lost his voice last night, too...
Ever have one of those weeks....
UPDATE from poop central: Of course ever since I called the dr. she hasn't pooped, but I'm sure that will change this afternoon. They're not concerned about her in the least considering she's in good spirits (she was smiling and talking to the dr.) and doesn't seem to be having weight issues (umm...she's up to 17lbs 2oz...LOL!). They suggested moving her to a soy formula specifically for diarrhea, but she mentioned it was hard to find. Aha! Not when you work in the Med Center : ) 5 bottles currently in my car. So we'll try that for a few days and call on Monday if it hasn't gotten better. I hate hearing "oh, it will just take time"...I like having a plan, so changing the formula makes me happy. : )
Friday, August 15, 2008
* She is a GOOD baby...I don't just mean that she's good for us, I mean I've seen other babies, and Larkin is AWESOME! She is truly one of the easiest babies I have ever seen.
* She's a good sleeper, like she was sleeping nice spurts at night by 8 weeks and completely through the night by 10 weeks (in the bassinet in our room). At 3 months, she slept 8pm-6am in her room in her crib every single night! These days she's down for the night by 7am and we're getting her up around 6:30am. We didn't use any book or gimmicks. She would show us she was sleepy, do it once, and then we would do whatever we could to encourage it every night. If she showed she was sleepy at 9, then we would make sure she was down by 9 every night. If she started getting grouchy at 8:30 and was sleeping later in the morning, then we shifted bedtime up an hour. She just followed along, and it was super easy to get her on this schedule!
* She's a bad eater turned good. My only "complaint" with her was that she used to get mad at her bottle (this was from aroung 6 weeks-10 weeks). She would scream in the middle of it, but it wasn't reflux, she wasn't in pain, she didn't want the faster flow nipple, we had no idea why! Thankfully, it was something she grew out of...whew!
* She's learned to scream and is very good at it. She especially likes to scream at her Daddy and then smile!
* She likes to abuse the caterpillar that hangs on the bar of her carseat. It's a chimey one, so I thought for awhile it was the bumps on the road that made it chime...until I caught her manhandling it herself. : )
* She loves the cats...poor Spencer gets a chunk of fur taken out everytime she walks by...but keeps coming back! Tough love...LOL!
* She's not afraid of big dogs...something about a 4 month old looking a Great Dane straight in the eye when they're less than 6 inches away just makes you think this little girl isn't going to be one to mess with in a few years on the playground...LOL!
* She's ACTIVE! Lord knows she was super active in the womb, but that never changed when she was born. I used to call her "fish out of water" when she first came home and would squirm while I change her diaper. At night, she always picks up her feet all the way to her head and slams them down on the mattress, making the monitor turn all the way to the red level...LOL! Sometimes she's moving so much you can hardly hold on to her!
* She loves to watch soccer...no really, it makes her happy. When Euro 2008 was on, everytime that goofy little Euro-disco song would play when they cut to commercial, she would giggle...LOL! Plus she really likes to watch the game...and she likes to watch golf and tennis...we're convinced that her favorite color is green!
* She loves to watch other kids. I think this is one of the reasons she enjoys herself so much at daycare. She's completely enamored with other children and immediately starts talking to them like they understand her...LOL!
* She LOVES the water. Bathtime has always been easy, never a cry, but now she's learned to splash, so I'm sure we'll have crying when she doesn't want to get out soon!!
* No one can make her laugh like her daddy. I can make her laugh, but when he gets her going...it makes me cry it's so wonderful.
* The word "chicken" is the single funniest word in the English language to her.
* She loves her room. You don't know how many times I've started crying because I hear her babbling in the morning and look at the monitor to see her staring up and having the conversation with her dragonflies. I worked so hard on that room that it just makes me so happy to see her enjoy it.
OK, I could go on and on forever, but I think that's enough for now!!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I magically woke up earlier this week and had an interesting conversation with myself. I said "Self, what in hell do you have to be upset about? You spent years praying and hoping for a child and fearing that you would never be a mother at all. You wouldn't even have dreamed of the perfect 2 kid family because you didn't even know if you could have ONE. You didn't even want to talk about TTC#2 because you didn't know if you could put yourself through that heartache of trying unsuccessfully, losses, tests, etc. again. What the hell is wrong with you that you aren't saying Thank You God every second for this happening easily and going absolutely perfectly so far?"
That seemed to shake off this craziness I've been in the past few weeks, and I'm finally feeling normal again!! So here are my top ten list of things that I'm thankful for in regards to #2 (that I can think of on a whim at least...LOL).
#1 I'm at my pre-pregnancy weight with Larkin and in all my old clothes (including my skinny jeans). Most people would be upset about being pregnant again because they would start out at a higher weight...I should NOT be complaining.
#2 All of my maternity clothes are still in style AND the right season. : )
#3 I look pretty darn cute pregnant, and beyond the "potential drama" that exists with all my conditions, I have EASY pregnancies (and deliveries...let's see if we can do that again, shall we!).
#4 If Tyrone is actually Tyra, then we have the BEST wardrobe ready to go for her. If Tyrone is Tyrone, then we'll have fun shopping for a boy (and grandpa already said no grandson of his is sitting in a pink bouncer so I have a feeling there would be lots of new things)!
#5 We didn't have to try...years of planning our lives around my ovulation schedule, pills, temperatures, charts, shots....and POOF, it just "happened" this time.
#6 Building on #5, this baby was FREE to conceive (as opposed to the thousands it took to get us to Larkin)...LOL!
#7 Larkin will be young enough not to be jealous and will appreciate a built in playmate at home! Not to mention she won't be alone when she's older. It hurts me to see Mom dealing with all of our family issues on her own because she was on only child.
#8 Patrick is an amazing dad and the most helpful husband. I couldn't ask for a better partner in this, and I know we can handle two...we'll just have to move from zone defense to man-to-man defense.
#9 The timing is perfect again, I'll stay home the first 3 months, and we'll stretch using Mom and Patrick's vacation time, so that Tyrone won't have to go to daycare until he's over 5 months old!
#10 This is the stuff you dream about...good jobs, good house, (mostly...LOL!) good pets, 2 kids, and an amazing future. I cried so many times thinking how quiet my house was with no children...now the idea of two crazy kids racing down MY stairs makes me cry for a completely different reason.
So I've definitely come full circle, I've come to completely embrace this new addition. I'm pregnant again...we're really (the way it looks so far!) going to have another baby...
Just one year ago, I was in agony everyday hoping that I would just stay pregnant this time...and that gave us Larkin. A year later, who would have ever thought...it's absolutely amazing.
Dr. Swaim and I did have an interesting conversation yesterday though. A new article in an ob/gyn journal suggests that maybe we don't need Lovenox for inherited thrombophilias (like Protein C and MTHFR). It was a meta-analysis so it looked at a combination of many studies and found that there was very little benefit. Interesting, but maybe not enough to take me off of it, but she was going to mention it to Dr. Kirshon (my high risk dr.). We started talking though and realized that we never tested me for the autoimmune disorders. We had discussed it with Dr. Mac but agreed that since the treatment plan for those is simply Lovenox, then there was no point since I'd be on it anyway. Interestingly, Dr. Swaim said those results are not skewed by pregnancy, so we went ahead and tested for them yesterday. We should know in the next couple of weeks, and I'm intrigued to see how they turn out!
So I see Dr. Kirshon in 2 weeks for our NT scan. If all is well there (and please let it be, I don't think I could deal with having to wait on CVS results), then my cerclage is already scheduled for the day after Labor Day. Once that goes in, then it should be smooth sailing!!!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Swimming is SO tiring....
Do I look different now??? I lost all my hair, but it's oh so slowly coming back!!!
First...complete and utter shock....then I cried the entire next day...then I was mad the day after that...and then somewhere along the way denial just set in. What were the odds I'd actually end up with a viable pregnancy on my own, with no meds, after all I'd been through? Seriously, why get attached, I'd just be setting myself up for a fall.
I'm embarrassed to say I was upset that I was pregnant. I never could have imagined a single day in my life where I wouldn't be ridiculously thankful to be pregnant...but those were my true feelings. I had just gotten my body back, life was great and returning to normal, I was playing soccer and tennis, my old clothes (including my skinny jeans) had started to fit again...I didn't sign up for this! All of my reasons for initially being upset were completely SELFISH!
And sadly, I was raised to worry entirely too much about what people thought so I found myself embarrassed of my current situation. For heaven's sakes, I'm not a unmarried teenager or someone with 3 kids that they already can't afford....I'm 32, we've been married for 9 years, we wanted Larkin for 4 years, we always wanted 2 kids if possible anyway. What in the HELL do I have to be embarrassed about? Yes, it was an oops/accident, but when it happens to people like us, it's just funny and becomes one of those stories that everyone talks about..."My friend had 5 miscarriages and it took her 4 years to have a baby and then poof, she got pregnant right away with no problem". I've gone from "that girl" to a completely different "that girl"...LOL!
But then other reasons set in...what about Larkin? I wanted to devote all of my time and attention to her, why would I ever want another child? Will she feel cheated? Will I be a bad mother to the second because I'll resent them for taking time away from Larkin? I'm glad that I wasn't blogging at the time because I'm ashamed of the various whiny/selfish/unrealistic complaints I had about being pregnant...I've since worked through all of it, but it was definitely an opportunity for growth for me.
Dr. Swaim's entire office was very excited...LOL! This wasn't supposed to be able to happen on its own. I always had to use fertility drugs to get pregnant. And then to get a viable pregnancy...after just one time...doing EVERYTHING the wrong way...just unbelievable. She monitored me closely the first couple of weeks to make sure it wasn't ectopic. My betas were terrific, and we saw a small sac at 5 weeks. A week later, a heartbeat! Can you believe it?
Here are my betas before I forget where I put them.
14dpo hcg = 145 16dpo hcg = 282 18dpo hcg = 689 21dpo hcg = 3001
I started to feel sick (sicker than with Larkin) but have yet to throw up (and most likely won't). My complexion on the other hand has been terrific (it was terrible with Larkin!). Dr. Swaim said she'd see me in 4 weeks...and strangely I was okay with that. I know now that there's nothing I can do (besides take my meds and my Lovenox) to change how things go. So I was fine with seeing her at 10 weeks (my appt is today).
Anyway, I'll talk more about how I'm feeling about all of it now (which is really a recent thing...) in my August update next.
For now...more pictures of my chubby monkey!
Our first 4th of July...notice the stars on the Pjs.
I'm so bored....someone entertain me...Thanks Daddy, that's better...July also brought me heading back to work full-time. Larkin says "Daddy, are you sure you can handle me all by yourself?" LOL! But Daddy as always did an amazing job!
The shirt says it all...Mom and Larkin dressed up for yet another visit to Dr. Swaim...she thought she wouldn't see us for a year...LOL!
And to be fair...here's the first belly pic at 8 weeks with #2 who we are lovingly calling Tyrone (and for the record NO, we're not actually going to name the baby Tyrone and YES, the name will be a secret until delivery again...LOL!)
The biggest happenings in June were her baptism and Father's Day.
Here are some pics from her baptism... which was also her first road trip since she was baptized in the church I grew up in (and the church we were married in). I'll have to get pics of her in her baptism dress, but those are on the other computer.
Ready for our road trip....
Driving is boring...Four generations of girls!!
Random pic of the first kitty snuggler (Noah) that was too cute to pass up. Larkin was there first and Noah decided that was a good place for a nap. I'm convinced his purring helped her sleep since he always cuddled and purred with my tummy when I was pregnant!
and here are some from Father's Day...
Father's Day was a great time for us. Actually, the morning of Father's Day I was feeling especially nice and I decided it was a great time for us to finally try to have sex for the first time since I gave birth to Larkin...oh what timing! Everything went okay, but that evening, much to my surprise....I got a few signs that I might be ovulating. Patrick and I had a huge laugh because we had done EVERYTHING wrong, so there was no way I could get pregnant from one time, breaking ALL of the sacred "don't do this" rules that we've all been taught while trying to conceive. We pretty much laughed it off and didn't think of it much for a couple of weeks...
...until 2 weeks passed and I didn't feel like my period was coming...well I did have cramping, but it was different cramping...anyway, why not just take a test Patrick says. So off we go to Wal-Mart to buy a new bin to pack away my maternity clothes, a few other things, oh and why not, a pregnancy test (Patrick even went to go get it, so he picks up the digital...what is it with men and the need to see the word "pregnant"...is the 2nd line just not believable to them?).
Suffice to say...we didn't need the bin!
I took the test upstairs mid afternoon while Larkin was downstairs with my parents. I remember going in after a couple of minutes and seeing the hourglass still blinking and telling Patrick "Oooooo, it's still thinking" and laughing....when I went back after 3 minutes, I was not laughing. The darn thing said "Pregnant"...Patrick came up behind me and all I could say was "No, no, that can't be right...no way!" Several minutes of googling told us that hcg stays in your system for a maximum of 8 weeks post-delivery.....Are you sure? No way you could have meant 13 weeks?????
I was pregnant...and very much in shock.
I told my mom the next day and strangely expected her to be mad (what am I? Fifteen?) She was excited (is she crazy?).
This bring us to the end of June....I'll continue with our craziness in July's recap!
First Mother's Day....We had a great weekend, and Larkin really splurged and got me a new digital camera...which I am STILL learning how to use, but I think I finally have the setting I like...LOL! We also went for a walk at a nature park (and managed to spill formula all over the car...it's funny now, but not so funny when it happened...LOL!) and had lots of great food (including mimosas and pancakes for breakfast).
Out for our walk at Jones Park
Me and Larkin on my first real Mother's Day.May also brought me my post-partum visit to Dr. Swaim. I was so excited to walk into that building with my baby. I can't begin to count the number of times I've been to that office through the years...so many emotions: the anticipation of the start of a new cycle, the disappointment of a failed cycle, the shocking news of the latest test results, the grief over finding yet another loss...so many memories...to finally walk in there with my baby was just amazing. We took her to see Dr. Mac, but unfortunately, she was hungry and was not interested in pictures...LOL!
And then we took her to my appt with Dr. Swaim.
I was so glad to get pictures with both of them since they were the two most important people in helping bring her into this world. I am forever grateful that I was lucky enough to have them take care of us over the last 4 years.
Interesting side note: We did discuss birth control at my appt...but we're out of options due to my history. Because of my clotting disorder, hormonal forms of birth control (the pill, the shots, the patch, etc.) are a no-no for me. Because of my previous ectopic, the IUD is also out...so we were a bit stuck...but honestly, what were the chances of an "oops" for someone like me, right?.....right? Think about that for a few days...
Moving on, other pictures from May
Larkin hanging out with Tristan...
A SMILE! Boy those were hard to catch back then...between trying to figure out the camera and getting her to keep smiling...I've gotten better I think! LOL!
First pair of jeans to head to the dr. visit! Mom and Larkin dressed up for the dr. (and coordinating of course!)
On to Month 3!
So poor Larkin had a horrible time gaining weight. By 2 weeks, she had almost gotten back up to her birth weight, but then didn't gain ANY weight the 3rd week (this is when I was trying to exclusively breastfeed and pumping like crazy, too). DID NOT WORK! Added formula to the mix and away we went. She was 5% for weight at 2 weeks (and 50% for height). You'll see how these numbers compare later...LOL!
Anyway, I know what you really want to see is pictures, so here you go!!
One of my favorite pictures of her and I. When she was little, she would wake up around 5:30am, eat, and then want to nap again, so I'd pull her into bed with us...some of my favorite times snuggling with her.
Larkin in her swing...I wish they made those in adult sizes!
First bath....she loved it!
First bath...look at that long skinny baby!
Larkin's first boyfriend Brody (yes make the jokes...Larkin is Larkin Clara...aka LC and this is her good buddy Brody...LOL!)...already abusing the boys!!
First bow...her look is priceless!
First manicure...awww, and look at all that hair! It all fell out!
On to Month 2!!!
Monday, August 11, 2008
The morning that I was to be released, they tested Larkin's bilirubin level again. It was 12. I was terrified that they were going to say she had to stay behind. The pediatrician say no big deal, take her home, but bring her back the next day (Friday) for another test. At worst, she would need some home phototherapy lights. Ok, I can handle that.
We happily drove home and spent our first night as a family. The next morning, Patrick even went to work. Mom and I drove down to the hospital for her test. We were supposed to wait there to get the results so that we could pick up the order for the lights if we needed it. An hour and half later, I got a call from the pediatrician...just thinking about the call makes my stomach turn. Her results had jumped up way more than they had expected. We were to head upstairs, she was bring admitted to the level 2 NICU and would be there for "a few days". I started crying that second and I don't remember when I stopped. I had to have Patrick paged at school, and he headed down to the hospital as fast as he could. Gosh, recounting all of this now just makes me want to get through this story quickly and get to the happy times of the months that followed....
Anyway, we got to the NICU, and all of the nurses were just wonderful. I was still crying and not wanting to let go of my three day old baby. But there it happened, I had to hand her over to a nurse while they were getting her isolette ready. The NICU at Woman's Hospital allows you to be with your baby the majority of the time, except during shift changes for an hour or so. That gives the nurses a chance to catch up on the patients without having nosy parents around listening to the other patients' info. I understand that, but the timing sucked. She was admitted just before a shift change, and they also don't like the parents to be present when they administer the IVs. My poor baby had to have an IV...and then add to it that they had a hard time getting it in.
Patrick got down there in record time, less than 30 minutes from when I first spoke to him. I just remember meeting him in the hall and crying. We got over to the NICU and called in (you call from the phone outside the main entry door), and they said they were still working on her IV...that killed me to think they were hurting my baby and I wasn't even there to comfort her. When we finally got to see her, she was in her isolette, under the lights, with the eye coverings, with the IV, with all of the monitors....it's a horrible thing for any mother to have to see. I'm crying right now just remembering it. This is what my poor baby looked like.
Now somewhere in the course of the day I calmed down. I know that there are babies in there with real problems. We just had jaundice, she just needed the IV fluids, formula supplementation and the lights. We had a completely fixable problem that would just be a bad memory a few days later. But that doesn't stop the pain you feel when you see the child you waited so long for separated from you...all you want to do it hold her, but I could only hold her when it was time to feed her.
Of course my milk came in the day she was admitted. I'm convinced that the stress I was under those days contributed to my supply issues, but that's another story. The nurses there were wonderful and encouraged us to interact with her as much as possible (but it was important she stay under the lights). We would take her temperature, Patrick would change her, we'd weigh the diaper so that they could measure input/output, and then we'd feed her. I nursed her, but we'd also offer her a bottle afterwards. She was such a lazy eater that it was frustrating. We needed her back under the lights as quickly as possible.
The first day was a bit of a blur between trying to get adjusted, renting a breastpump, figuring out the schedule. I was determined to say by her side non-stop as long as she was there. But the nurses and the pediatrician talked to me (and Patrick and my mom) and convinced me that I needed to get home and get some sleep or I was really going to have trouble nursing/recovering from childbirth. So I finally agreed to leave after the last evening feeding and get back before the first early morning feeding. So I only missed 2 feedings a day. We'd leave there around 10:30 pm at night, and we would be back around 5:30 in the morning.
Day 2 was Saturday and Patrick and I got there early to feed her. They had done another bilirubin level at midnight and it was down a bit (to 18.9 I think). This was good, but nowhere near where it needed to be to bring her home. Another level that morning only had it drop to 18.0, so I was devastated. Again, not an issue with her health, but an issue in how long we were going to have to stay. We had an amazing nurse that day, Stephanie. She helped us to get stronger lights, try a few different things (including feeding her in the isolette under the lights), and just coach us with what she would do. We tried everything we could, and that evening we got another amazing nurse, Mary, that Larkin would eat really well for.
During our stay there, all of the nurses kept laughing at Larkin. Usually they have very small, calm babies...not my Larkin. While she was small to us (she dropped to 5lbs 7oz when she was admitted to the NICU), she was big for a NICU baby...LOL! And jaundiced babies are supposed to be lethargic...but someone forgot to tell Larkin that. All the nurses joked that she was trying to escape the isolette. She constantly ended up out of position, and when they put in a little snuggly to keep her contained, she decided to prop up her feet and use it as a footrest...LOL! She was also notorious for tearing off all of her leads and they had to replace them several times a day...LOL!
Saturday was a long day, and as usual I cried the whole drive home. There's just something about having to leave your baby behind...when all you wanted was to be woken up 5 times a night by this bundle beside your bed...our bedroom just seemed so quiet. I was also in quite a bit of pain. Because I was so focused on her, I had not been doing all of things I was supposed to to care for my stitches, and I kept forgetting to take my pain medication. I felt completely miserable physically those days, but I know it would not have been the case had we all been home together.
Anyway, Sunday morning we headed back to the NICU early in the morning. I was expecting to have her bilirubin test drawn at 6am, but low and behold they had done it at midnight...and it was 12.8!!! Now the pediatrician had said the magic number was 12, so I didn't think she'd get to go home, but we were definitely going in the right direction so I felt like we'd get her home on Monday. I remember going out to Starbucks during the morning shift change and just feeling so wonderful. What a relief. Well the shift change brought us Charlotte, yet another amazing nurse. She was confident that we could work to get Larkin home THAT DAY! They talked to the dr. and decided to run another bilirubin and stop therapy. They came and drew the test and then my baby got to come out of the isolette, got her IV removed, had her "sunglasses" removed...I just held her the entire time while we waited for the results and waited for the pediatrician on call.
Her results came back at 9!!!!! And soon the pediatrician came by and said we were ready to be discharged, just to follow up with our pediatrician at home in a few days. Bringing her home that day was her true homecoming. I was so unbelievably grateful to have her home.
I know we've had friends that have spent significantly longer in the NICU (months in some cases), and to you I just say that you are a stronger woman than I am. Our three days was an experience that I would love to forget, but we survived. Those of you that have spent longer, you have my utmost respect!
Now let me say one last thing...I plan to do everything in my power for this NOT to happen again. Jaundice is very common in early babies (she was born at 37w6d). She was a lazy eater, but that could have been the lethargy from the jaundice which of course causes a vicious cycle since we need babies to eat in order to poop and flush the excess bilirubin out of their system. At the hospital, there are 2 schools of thought. The breastfeeders want you to refrain from any kind of supplementing so that the baby can establish your supply. The actual nurses kept pushing for us to supplement with formula (which was frustrating to me since I was determined to nurse). Looking back now, 4.5 months wiser....I would do things completely different. I would (and plan to) supplement with formula starting with feeding #2. I WILL NOT spend days in the NICU again simply because I'm too stuborrn to give my child formula. I had significant supply issues which could be due to hormonal issues (infertility is a risk factor for supply issues), the fact that she was a lazy eater, or the stress I was under during that time. Regardless, I've learned my lesson and will absolutely supplement the next baby and do my best to avoid this happening again!!!
OK, next post...a quick recap of Month 1...
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Anyway, shift change brought a new nurse, Judy, who proved to be absolutely amazing. She expected Dr. Swaim to show up around 8am, so she gave me permission to take a quick shower. So I did, and then hopped back in bed just in time for Dr. Swaim to get there. As soon as she walked in, she said okay, let’s break your water. Somehow this idea startled me. I didn’t expect to get started that quickly, and the thought that there was “no going back” after she broke the water seemed absolutely overwhelming. She of course just laughed at me. So she took out the Cervadil, and poked around and broke my water. It didn’t take long at all, but what a strange feeling. It was just weird. She said I was 1cm dilated and my cervix was soft (so the Cervadil had done something since I was dilated at all the night before). The fluid was clear (I felt it trickling…again, what a strange feeling), so that was good news. Then she said that we’d start the Pitocin, and she’d be back around lunch time to check on me. Then Judy brought in the Pitocin and away we went at roughly 8am.
Within minutes after breaking my water, my contractions picked up big time. I definitely felt them and they were getting closer, every 3-4 minutes. Soon after starting the Pitocin, I started getting grouchy…LOL! Mostly, I just didn’t want to be touched during the contractions. I talked with Judy about pain options. She said since I planned on the epidural (which again she highly recommended due to the Pitocin, and Dr. Swaim practically required it for me…LOL!), that she would recommend trying to tough it out without the narcotics until it was time for the epidural. I agreed since I really didn’t want anything to make me sleepy and more importantly, I didn’t want anything that would get to the baby.
So we actually moved me to the rocking chair, Patrick handed me my Ipod, and I just zoned out and breathed my way through the contractions. It wasn’t comfortable, but they were certainly bearable. I just didn’t want to talk during, but I was laughing and chatting in between. The rocking chair really felt great, so I highly recommend that. Judy kept upping the Pitocin (I stopped looking, but Patrick kept making joked everytime she upped it…LOL!), and my contractions kept getting closer and stronger. At about 10:30am, Judy decided to check me since my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. I was a stretchy 3cm and almost completely effaced. So she called Dr. Swaim, and she said go ahead with the epidural.
Now that’s what I call service. Within 5 minutes of calling for the epidural, they were in there. Five minutes later they were done. Five minutes later, I was super relaxed. It’s so weird, it feels as if it’s soothing/tranquilizing you, but in fact, it’s just your body’s response to the relief of pain. They had me on my side, and I was completely relaxed. I didn’t nap, but I had some great rest.
A little while later, there was a little concern because we were starting to see decelerations of her heart rate with each contraction. They tried a few different positions, but it seemed to be getting worse. Of course, I panicked. Judy called Dr. Swaim, and they sent over the doctor on call, Dr. Wynn, to come and look at my strip. They put me on the oxygen mask, and after Dr. Wynn looked at the strip and talked with Dr. Swaim, they decided to do an amnio infusion (infuse fluid into the uterus to help move her off the cord if that’s the problem). Of course, everyone tried to calm me down, say this happens all the time, but that if it didn’t resolve soon, then we might be looking at a C-section.
The amnio infusion helped a little with the decels, but they came and went. Dr. Swaim got there around noon, calmed me down, and checked me. I was a stretchy 5, and she was moving down fairly fast, so they attributed the decels to that. A quick emptying of the bladder by catheter (it was really full) and another change in position got them back under control. Dr. Swaim stopped by again later and all was well. She said she’d get an update when they checked me again at 2pm.
After that, we went ahead and sent Patrick to eat lunch while my parents sat with me. We just talked and laughed, and then I started feeling the contractions again. Not pain, but I felt a pushing sensation up and the top of my belly, like something was pushing down and it was in time with each contractions. Incidentally, they kept saying what a beautiful contraction pattern I had. Considering that we were inducing early (37w6d) and that we were worried my cervix would be scarred shut after the cerclage, it was amazing how well my body responded. Shortly before 2pm, we kicked out my parents since Patrick was back from lunch. Judy checked me and said “Oh wow, you’re ready.” I said “I’m what”. She said “You’re complete, you’re ready to start pushing.”
Those words sent me into yet another panic, and I was laughing nervously. She went to call Dr. Swaim to say we were going to start pushing. Patrick went to tell our parents to sit tight in the waiting room, that we should have a baby in a couple of hours. I asked Judy how long she thought the pushing phase would take. She said first time moms usually take a couple of hours, but that I looked athletic, so you never know. Patrick got back, and Judy said we’d try a few practice pushes so that I could get an idea of what to do. I think she said we’d try 4 pushes or so. So we got me in position, I asked her if I should truly push as hard as I can, she said yes, and away we went. We’d push for 10 counts, breathe and then try again.
1-2-3-4-5-6-7- STOP!! I asked what was wrong. She said nothing, but that I was an excellent pusher and the head was already there!
Panic sets in…LOL! I thought I had a couple of hours. Patrick looks like an anxious little kid at this point…and worse, he’s staring at the thing poking out of my crotch…LOL! Immediately, Judy gets on the phone calling all kinds of people telling them to come NOW. At this point, they look down there again and say that she has hair….hair…I was bald, Patrick didn’t have much at all, so we were completely convinced we’d have a little bald baby. I started crying, and I just remember looking at Patrick not thinking that this was really happening.
People started running in the room, smiling, and laughing about the fact that it took one push to get ready. Dr. Swaim came running in praising me for being such a good pusher. They turned off my epidural and away we went.
One push….take another deep breath, push again…STOP! Her head was out. Patrick, who I had made promise he wouldn’t look “down there” was looking down there the whole time…LOL! The look on his face once the head was out was amazing…he didn’t see blood and yuckiness…he saw our daughter. One more push, a weight lifted off my belly…a weight lifted off my heart. 4 pushes, and Larkin Clara came into this world at 2:21pm. She started crying immediately, and they put her right on my chest. I just remember staring at that beautiful little baby through my tears. There she was, everything that I had worked so hard for, prayed for, fought for. She was doing so well that they were able to clean her up on chest. She stayed there for quite a while. Her Apgars were 9 and 9, so she was just perfect. She cried, then sneezed, but mostly she just looked at us.
They took her over to finish cleaning her, weigh her, measure her, etc. while Dr. Swaim finished me up. I had a 2nd degree tear from her flying out so fast, but it wasn’t bad. I only lost about 300ccs of blood which was also good since we were concerned about any lingering effects from the blood thinners or my uterus not contracting from all of the traumas of the previous surgeries. Everything went perfectly.
They measured her at 19.5 inches and 6 lbs 2 oz. Dr. Swaim said congratulations and headed back to her office (she left her patients to come deliver Larkin…they don’t do that, they have a partner on call, but if they have a special patient, they make exceptions….sorry to all the people who ran late that day because Dr. Swaim was with me…LOL!).
Once they were done measuring her and footprinting her (they even put fingerprints on Patrick’s shirt…a pink T-shirt I had made that said “First Timer”…LOL), they handed her to Patrick for the first time. As he turned to walk her over to me, he broke down in tears. That’s one of those moments that I won’t forget as long as I live. Later we let all the grandparents come peek in, then I tried to nurse her, and off she went to the nursery. Patrick went with her to video her first bath, etc. Meanwhile, I got to order my first meal! I ordered a cheeseburger, fries, apple pie, and a Sprite…it was good…LOL!
Patrick got back just as they were ready to transfer me to my private room. He went and ran a few errands (paid for the room, grabbed things from the car, checked on Larkin again in the nursery) while I took a nap. The pediatrician came in and said she’d checked her out and that she was perfect. I was so excited when they brought her back to me.
We had lots of visitors and then sent everyone home so we could rest. I was definitely starting to feel everything. Later that night we sent her to the nursery so we could rest a little. Then we had drama. Apparently her temperature was low, so they had to check her blood sugar. Her blood sugar was low, so they had to give her a bottle and put her under the warmer. They had to keep her until she could regulate her temperature on her own for an hour. I hated this because they wouldn’t let me up there to take came of her )the general nursery). I lost it and was crying uncontrollably. Luckily our night nurse was great and told me this was really common and not to worry. A couple of hours later, Larkin was back in my arms thankfully.
The rest of our hospital stay was pretty boring, and we were released 48 hours later with instructions to come back the next day for a bilirubin follow-up (that would be our NICU drama to come next).
Driving home with our baby was an amazing feeling…our dream had come true….finally…
And now some pictures...
Her first picture