Friday, August 29, 2008

12 Week Visit with Dr. Kirshon

So it was time for our 12 week ultrasound with Dr. Kirshon on Wednesday. I wasn't nervous at all in the days leading up to it, but somehow when I pulled into the parking garage, it all hit me....hard. Unfortunately, Patrick and I had to take separate cars, so I arrived first and had some time to myself.

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 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

PSA Friday- Vaccinations...

Well it's Friday, so I'm sorry to be so serious, but I thought it was a good time to get this out there.

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)'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

A Day of Firsts: High Roller and Poop Oops!

We managed to switch Larkin to the special formula yesterday without a problem. She did give that furrowed brow look when she first started drinking, but "Mikey" ate the whole thing anyway. She still pooped, but we knew it would take a day or two to work.

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 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

The Hot Zone

Ever have one of those weeks....we're having one.

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

Fun Facts about Larkin

So because I was a bad girl and didn't really blog for the last 4 months, you've missed out on my various adventures with Larkin and learning about her as we went along. Here are a few things to know about my favorite chubby monkey!

* 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 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 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

#2 AKA Tyrone

So all was well at my ob appt yesterday, and I thought I'd update you on my latest feelings about Tyrone.

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 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'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

Mid-August Update

OK, so one more post and we're completely caught up!

The month of August brought us to Larkin's 4 month check-up....and she's still in the 75th percentile for both height and weight...LOL! Again, I like to think that because she's 75th for both, that she's proportional...but yes, she's got chubby cheeks, and two chins, LOL!

Larkin also started daycare this month which was a huge ordeal for me (not for her...LOL), but she has been doing terrific. She loves it there and the ladies are wonderful (my mom was terrific and came up for her first week and spent a lot of time with her there to ease her into it. My mom is SUPER picky and was very pleased with everything that she saw). Honestly, she's a little bored when she's home all day now because they keep her very busy and give her tons of attention at school. They've even nicknamed her "babydoll"...LOL!

Now that we're starting to get into a rhythm, things are going great.

Here are a few pictures so far in the month of August...
First, we went to the 2nd Annual Aggie BBQ, which is a reunion of a bunch of college friends. This was a big deal for us because last year we were the ONLY ones who weren't either pregnant or already had kids running around...who knew that one year later, not only would I have a baby, but I'd be pregnant, too! LOL! The party also brought us Larkin's first time in the pool...she loved it! I totally want a saltwater pool now, but Patrick says not until I learn to swim...details, details...
The family before we left...
You just wish you looked this good in a two-piece...One of those pictures that make me teary-eyed...
Swimming is SO tiring....
Do I look different now??? I lost all my hair, but it's oh so slowly coming back!!!

And one of my favorite things to do...the Exersaucer...which has more stuff than I have ever seen on any other Exersaucer...this is what happens when you send Daddy and Larkin to Babies R Us on their own...LOL!

July Update- Yes, I'm pregnant!

So yes, I'm really pregnant (and still pregnant as of today, I even have an ob appt this afternoon). I was very shocked in the beginning and went through a whole range of emotions.

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'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!)

Month 3- OH What a Father's Day! Keep reading!

So June brought us another month of a blossoming baby. Her first shots and 2 month appt were scheduled for my birthday, but she still found time to get me flowers. ; ) Remember that 5th percentile weight stat for her 2 WEEK appt...well her 2 MONTH appt found her at the 75th percentile for both height and weight...LOL! We were very pleased that she had not only caught up but was now a "big baby"...very comforting when you give birth to a smaller baby who goes on to have weight gain issues...not anymore...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" 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 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!

Month 2- My First Mother's Day!!!

May brought us a quickly growing baby!! It was so amazing to see her grow out of her preemie clothes, get control of her head, start taking her out places. The biggest things in May were my first Mother's Day and our visit back to the doctors that helped being Larkin into this world.

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'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 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 many 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 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!

Month 1- Gaining weight!

So in April, our biggest issue was #1 getting our baby home! and then #2 trying to get her to gain weight! This proved to be a huge issue. I won't go through all the details, but I will say that breastfeeding just does NOT always work no matter how many lactation specialists/doctors/etc. that you talk to and how many crazy plans you follow. Thank you to all of my friends that told me that formula supplements were OKAY! Like I said in my previous post, I learned my lesson and will be happily supplementing from the beginning next time!

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

Our (short) Stay in the NICU

So our arrival home with Larkin was fairly short-lived.

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'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...

Trying to catch up!

OK, so I've been back at work full-time for a couple of weeks now, so of course, now is a great time to start catching up on this blog. I plan to post our NICU experience today, and then update with Month 1, Month 2, Month 3, and get us all the way updated to current time. I'll entice you by saying that if you haven't talked to me in awhile....well you're going to have quite the surprise in store for you in a few days...LOL! Just's a good one!