Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Kellen Update

Oh where to start with my sweet boy. He’s yet to have a nickname stick. I’ve alternated between froggy (for how he’s constantly making jumping motions with his legs when he’s excited) and lobster (he’s always pinching me!), but Larkin’s nickname for him has stuck the most…Kiki…LOL!

I’m sure you’ll remember how I always said Larkin was a super easy baby (you’ll at least remember how you hated me for that…LOL!), well Kellen was/is a bit more “challenging”. Feel better now?

The good news is that he’s well on his way to being a good/happy baby now but we definitely had some rough spots. He cries…Larkin NEVER cried. He still cries everytime we attempt to get him to sleep…it’s normal for him (and apparently for most babies, who knew!). But for the first few weeks, he was miserable when he wasn’t sleeping. He fought with his bottle the same way Larkin did, spit up through his nose daily, would cry inconsolably (again Larkin could ALWAYS be soothed) at times, and just seemed to genuinely not be happy. Somehow that translated into me not letting anyone else help with him (I didn’t want to burden anyone else with it I guess), so he became completely attached to me and it led to bonding issues with him and Patrick.

I also got extremely paranoid about Kellen and Larkin touching…Typhoid Mary was always sick, and I was terrified he would get it. Again, it led to issues with me feeling alienated from Larkin, and clinging to Kellen even more. He did get sick, bronchiolitis at 2mo. It was horrible, we all had it and trying to take care of everyone while worrying like crazy and being sick myself was the hardest week of my life. So I have another kid with “asthmatic tendencies”, but he’s another tough cookie! Kept smiling through every breathing treatment and coughing spell. But again, him being sick made me that much more protective of him.

Finally I started to let go of my hold on him…and he’s happier for it. He has the biggest sweetest smile and the nose wrinkle that goes with it sometimes completely melts my heart. Patrick can get him laughing like crazy, and he’ll squeal if you try to clean under his neck. Everytime Larkin gets near him, he just smiles at her in adoration. Even after she’s just finished hitting him in the head, he smiles at her.

So while I can say the first few weeks were rough, we’ve settled into a rhythm. Last night, both kids were down for the night at 7:30pm…and no one got out of their room until 6:30am. It’s absolutely wonderful. He took a little while longer than Larkin to be a good sleeper, but he’s in the groove now! We’re so excited.

He’s reaching for things, playing in the Exersaucer, sitting up well with support, eating his bottles very well, just about ready to roll over (which of course will re-ignite my obsession with staring at the monitor all night…ugh!), and growing like a weed! His visit this week at the doctor revealed that he’s 17 lbs…he’s pretty much on par with Larkin’s weight, but somehow he doesn’t look quite as round as her (maybe he has bigger bones?). I have no idea how long he is since he won’t sit still long enough for us to measure, but he’s definitely over 25 inches at this point. He’s wearing 9 month clothing…he’s 4.5 months. I know I talk a lot about how big my kids are, but it’s truly such a comforting thing to me. To give birth to these tiny babies who go on to have weight gain or feeding issues and then see them grow into these strong little people…it’s just such a relief.

So now, your first real glimpse at Kellen…
February (2 weeks old), long skinny thing
March (1 month old)
April (2 months old)
May (3 months old)

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Larkin Update

So my little chubby chicken has grown a whole lot in the past few months. She continues to dominate the growth charts at 90% for height and weight, but she’s starting to slim down a bit now that she RUNS everywhere she’s going. A quick recap of what she’s been up to.

My poor little chicken has also been nicknamed Typhoid Mary…she picks up every respiratory bug running around. She’s been labeled as having “asthmatic tendencies” but does very well with her inhaler when she’s sick. They even have her on daily Flovent just as a preventative…she usually has no idea she’s sick…LOL! She did have tubes put in her ears in January, but unfortunately, she’s STILL gotten ear infections after. We head to the ENT next month for a follow-up, so I’m curious to get more info on what else we could possibly do.

She started walking right around her first birthday and hasn’t stopped since! By all accounts at school, she’s “tough”. The few “bloody” incidents we’ve had have resulted in minimal tears if any (mostly bitten tongues/lips from falls…LOL!). She just keeps right on playing regardless of what happens.

She is extremely strong willed, and we’re starting to have to deal with that…she definitely understands well enough to know when she’s doing something she’s not supposed to, so we’ve started using “timeout” for safety issues like when she won’t stop standing up in her chair or leave a cord alone, etc. We’ve gotten a glimpse of a couple of tantrums, so we know we’re in for it soon!! LOL!

She talks…A LOT! Seriously, she babbles constantly, but she actually communicates extremely well for a kid her age. Her first real word (used purposefully) was a toss-up between “go” and “ball”. Flash forward to 14.5 months and her word list (again, words she can use with purpose not just repeat) consists of the following (that I can remember at the moment): go, ball, mama, dada, nana, papa, keke (Kellen), hi, bye, hey, cat, dog, please, help (which comes out “helpa” and cracks me up!!), up, down, thanks, shoes, socks (which unfortunately comes out “cocks”…we’re working on that one), yes, no (of course!), simba, elmo, baby, more, wawa (water), cookie (that was a new one this weekend), etc. And then we have the animal sounds that seem to multiple everyday: baa, moo(boo), nay, bzzz, meow, woof, caw, bawk, etc. Seriously, she’ll talk your ear off already and picks up everything and uses it as a pretend phone!!

So here are some long awaited pictures! She’s currently (at 14 months) just over 27 lbs and 31 inches…you know the whole “double their height when they’re 2yrs” thing? Let’s just say she’s pretty much guaranteed to be taller than her mama at this point…LOL!

November 2008 (8 months)

December 2008 (9 months)

January 2009 (10 months)

February 2009 (11 months)

April 2009 (1 year)

May 2009

We caught some cute pictures of the kids this weekend, so I promise to keep them coming!!! Kellen's update complete with pics will be next!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Family Update

So just a quick minute to update you on how we’re all doing. I was lucky enough to stay home with Kellen through the end of May. Larkin continued to go to school but would spend a few days home with us now and then…that took some careful coordination, but I survived. I’m now back at work full-time, Larkin is still going to school most days, and Kellen is home with Patrick. Once August rolls around, Kellen will go to school, too. I dread it…just because I like knowing that he’s at home, but I know it’s a necessary part of the process. I miss them terribly when I’m here at work, but it makes me more grateful for the time I have with them otherwise.

I did pretty well after having Kellen. Breastfeeding went terrific…well at least pumping and bottlefeeding him did…LOL! We did well for the first 3 months, but then back to back illnesses (me AND the kids) killed my supply…all at the time that he decided he wanted to eat a lot more, so by 4 months I was done. I did what I could, and he got a whole lot more than Larkin did.

Still trying to get back to my dissertation…hoping to hop back on that in the very near future…hard to find the time, but now that Kellen is experimenting with an earlier bedtime?? We’ll see.

As for future family expansion…I’d say we’re most likely done. To ensure that we didn’t have to worry about that for awhile, I went ahead and had an IUD placed a couple of weeks ago. I’ll let you know what I think of it in a few months.

Post-baby body...looking pretty good. I'm actually about 5lbs lighter than when I got pregnant with Larkin, so I got rid of the baby weight plus the extra 5lbs I was carrying around from the fertility meds...feeling pretty good, I'll have to find the latest picture of me and post when I can (we went to a wedding so I was actually "dressed"...LOL!).

So for a preview of what’s to come, following this update, there will be…
The Larkin Update
The Kellen Update
and then the post I’ve been itching to write…
Reflections on the past 5 years…where we’ve been and where we’re going.

I’ll leave you with a couple family pictures…
Our first family photo
Mother’s Day 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kellen's Birth Story

Where to start…

My pregnancy continued to go really well in the fall. It took us awhile to adjust to the idea that we were having a boy, but it was a wonderful surprise in a pregnancy that was one big surprise beginning to end.

I started having fairly regular contractions in December though which started to make everyone a little nervous. I also seemed to be getting bigger faster, but in the end, I was about the same size I was with Larkin. In early January, I had a little excitement…I lost my mucus plug in the bathroom at work. I called the dr. to ask about it but because I was having an active contraction day and there was blood tinged mucus, I had to go into the hospital to get checked out. I was about 32 weeks at that point. They hooked me up to the monitors and of course, contractions every 3-5 min, but they didn’t feel like the “real thing”. Anyway, got stuck with 3 shots of terbutaline (sound familiar? LOL!) and that stopped it. Dr. Swaim then agreed to not put me on total bedrest but to put me on as limited activity as possible.

My wonderful boss agreed to let me work from home most days, so I ended up only going in 1 day a week. My due date was March 9th, but we had a tentative induction date of Feb. 24th. With restricted activity, we figured we could make it until then. I had lots of contractions though, some days worse than others…I had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it.

On Thursday, Feb 5th, I had an especially active day. That evening, I felt really bad. I remember telling Patrick that I was starting to think I wouldn’t make it to induction day, that something just felt “off”. When I woke up the next morning, Larkin was still in her room and Patrick had gone downstairs to make her bottle. I had slept really miserably and when I walked to the bathroom, I felt achy…I remember sitting on the toilet and thinking to my groggy self “I feel like I’m on my period”…then the realization came to me that beyond the crampiness, I was having the familiar “blood flow” feeling…I shocked myself awake when I looked into a toilet full of blood.

Somehow I managed to go into crisis mode and head straight for my phone. I called my doctor’s answering service and let them know what had happened. By the time I got downstairs and told Patrick, the dr. on call was calling me back and telling me to head straight to the hospital. If the bleeding started soaking through then we were to stop at the nearest ER. Patrick hurried to get Larkin ready to go to school, I helped and tried not to move much. Strangely, I had packed my hospital bag the NIGHT BEFORE! How crazy is that?

We knew we were looking at two options. #1 (best option) I was ripping through my cerclage #2 (bad option) I was having a placental abruption. The end story is actually kind of interesting…you’ll see.

So we head off to drop Larkin off at school, all the while I’m keying into my trusty contraction timer on my IPhone…yep, contractions are 3-5 min apart, and these do feel like “real” ones…complete with the downward know the "being squeezed like a tube of toothpaste" feeling. All the way there, I’m trying to explain it all away and say that I’m sure it will be nothing, but I was in total denial and was in total labor! Patrick meanwhile proceeded to make jokes and get stuck in traffic. I told him to put on the flashers and drive on the shoulder…he refused, at which point I told him that if he didn’t hurry I was going to kick him out of the car, leave him there, and drive the rest of the way myself…he laughed.

I never thought I’d be the woman walking into the hospital having contractions. My labor was to be carefully planned and coordinated…not a mad dash on a Friday morning…I didn’t even get to shower or put on make-up! So I make it all the way up to L&D where they are expecting me. Multiple tests ensue, and I’m asking how long they think I’ll be there…hah! Once they get me hooked up to the monitor, they say that I’ll be there “awhile”.

The doctor on call (which coincidentally was the same doctor on call my very first visit to Woman's Hospital...for my emergency ectopic...) comes by and says that I’m only 1cm dilated but that she can see blood and thinks I’m ripping through my cerclage. Contractions were also very regular and at 35.5 weeks, they weren’t going to stop them. We’d have to see if they stopped on their own. She calls Dr. Swaim while they draw my blood, we fill out paperwork etc. I remember asking the nurse if she thought this was it and she just said that my contractions were very regular…but I could see in her eyes that I was in trouble. I had to fill out more paperwork for a “premature delivery”, and panic started to set in.

Then comes Dr. Swaim, walks in joking. They’ve decided they have to cut my cerclage. It takes two doctors, a nurse, Patrick, and about 20 minutes of torture to get it done. Those 20 minutes were easily the most painful of my life, and you all know how much crap I've been through. I remember the first cerclage removal being really uncomfortable, but this took probably 4 times as long and was done WHILE I was in labor and having major pressure and contractions…I hadn’t even had a Tylenol, it was fairly brutal. I made it through though, not a single tear/yell/whine (just a few owowowowow, are you done yets). The minute they finally cut it, Dr. Swaim said I immediately dilated from 1cm to 3cm. That’s when she said we’re having a baby today…and before I could process that info, she broke my water…

…THAT'S when I started crying. They were concerned I was in pain, but I was only terrified that it was too early…that I hadn’t done my job and kept him in longer. I was so worried that he wasn’t going to be okay.

To be honest, the next few hours are a blur. There was some debate as to whether I could have an epidural because I had taken my last heparin injection about 12 hours prior. The funny thing is, that was the first time I had switched from the Lovenox. If I’d taken the Lovenox, an epidural would have been a big NO. They decided to run some bloodwork to check my clotting/platelets and then consult the anesthesiologist. This was around 9am. In the meantime, we’re filling out paperwork, calling parents, they’re explaining how things will be different with a preemie, I’m panicking and still in denial that it’s happening.

The contractions were very regular, very strong, and there was A LOT of pressure. Finally a little after 10am, I get “approved” for my epidural. My nurse walked out for a second, and I told Patrick that I thought I was in trouble…I felt the urge to push, but I didn’t want to tell the nurse because I knew if she checked me, she’d say no epidural. About 10 min later, the anesthesiologist walked in and placed my epidural…a few minutes later, they checked me and I was complete…oh really, what a surprise! The epidural this time was interesting…I never lost feeling in my legs at all, I had complete control of them and could have walked myself to the bathroom….weird. So now I know that I "could" have made it through birth with no pain meds...but the epidural allowed me a few minutes to calm down a little before I had to push.

Anyway, considering that it took me 4 pushes to get Larkin out, they moved pretty quickly to get everyone ready. Kellen took 2 pushes…that’s right…2. I still tore though, oh well! The other interesting thing was that there was blood in the amniotic fluid...a placental abruption had started! For once, my body may have actually done something right and forced him out before it got too dangerous for both of us...the possibilities terrify me.

I heard him cry right away so that was comforting, but in less than 30 seconds, he was whisked out of the room. Apparently, for infants under 36 weeks, they have to take them to a stabilization area where they are seen by the neonatologist. Then they have to be monitored in the NICU for a minimum of 6 hours. So where Larkin was placed on my chest immediately and left there for an hour, I barely got a glimpse of my son.

They came and got Patrick a few minutes later, so at least someone was with him…but I felt very detached. A few more minutes later, they brought him in and let me see him briefly…and then away he went to the NICU.

The next few hours were very rough…I just couldn’t quite accept what had happened. I hadn’t even gotten to hold my son…

Patrick and my mom quickly recognized how disconnected I was and became really worried. The nurse was sweet enough to wheel me over in my bed to see Kellen on my way to my post-partum room. It almost made it worse…I got to touch his foot, but to see this tiny baby in the NICU just upset me even more because it reminded me of Larkin’s time there. I was a mess.

So once my epidural wore off, Patrick ran off to get a wheelchair and take me (force me) to see my son. Finally, I got to hold him…and then the tears came…and things started to get better.

Kellen Patrick was born at 11:17am on February 6, 2009 weighing 5lbs 9oz and measuring 18 inches long.

He was so small, and I was terrified that something was going to happen to him. But he did wonderfully. After his 6 hour NICU stay, he graduated to my room, and I kept him with me as much as possible. He didn’t have a single problem with jaundice…always in the absolute normal range. I credit this to our immediate formula supplementing! I did not want a repeat of Larkin’s issue although I was sure it would happen since it’s common in siblings and he was so much earlier. But we just kept bottle feeding and I started pumping the same day…he avoided jaundice, started gaining weight, and my milk came in terrific! Lessons learned from last time!

So here’s the first picture…LOTS more to come!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009


So I was thinking to myself "Self, what happened in the fall that led to you not posting anymore?" Then I remembered the month of was one big blur.

Larkin got sick, which you'll come to learn is the norm at our house. But she got really sick, major cough, congestion, then came the wheezing and inconsolable crying (by both of us). We ended up at the ER on a Saturday afternoon, it was a disaster. Her pulse ox sucked (down to 87 when sleeping) and her test results showed RSV, so we spent the night in the hospital. All the while, I'm of course very pregnant (I think maybe 20-21 weeks at this point?) and coming down with the "cold" as well. Luckily, Larkin did great and only spent one night there. We did end up having to do breathing treatments with her at home, and she of course had a horrible ear infection, but she recovered very well. What should have been a "cold" in an adult turned into major illness in a stressed out and pregnant mom. I was in misery, poor Patrick had to do it all, and my parents helped out a ton...all the illness ran straight into Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving ran straight into Christmas preparation, all the while I'm stressing out about the early contractions, and that pretty much steamrolled into January...where the rest of the story will continue shortly.

Here's our holiday picture...