Sunday, December 30, 2012

A new era, Day One

Well, here we are, 10 days postpartum   Again, I've been meaning to update about Logan's birth and our time in the hospital, but it has been hectic and to say that I'm still very hormonal is a bit of an understatement.
When we last left off, I was still scheduled for a C-Section on the morning of December 21st.  I had an appointment set for the day before and was told to bring my bag with me.  My OB's logic was that if I had my bag with me, there was no way we'd have a baby.  Kind of like when you bring an umbrella with you just to ensure that it doesn't rain.
But that was not the case, even medicated, my blood pressure was still high.  Also, for the first time, I had more than a trace of protein when my urine was dip-sticked.  A second dipstick did not reveal any protein, so part of me thinks I may have just been dehydrated.  But the decision was made to send me up to Labor and Delivery.  At that point, I just thought more labs were going to be drawn, but when I got up there, the nurse basically told me that I was going to be having the baby that evening at 5 PM, once my breakfast had cleared.
Upon learning that I was having the baby that day, I tried to call Adam, who had gone to work.  Adam was also at work when I was told it was time for James to come, so it was familiar territory. The nurses at the Perinatal Center were shocked that he hadn't come to my appointment, but we had already decided that Adam would go to work that day.  Of course, I couldn't get a hold of my darling husband right away, which made me a little bit upset.  Finally I called my mom to tell her what was going on and in that instant, Adam started to call me.  Isn't that always the way it works?
Eventually, plans were made for James and Adam was at the hospital.  Around 4:30, when I expected to be getting my spinal/epidural, I learned that a woman came in, fully dilated, with her baby breech.  That meant that I was getting pushed back.  My mom and Jackie had just arrived and we were now set to wait a few hours.  And wait we did.
Finally, around 7 PM I was taken back into the OR.  The anesthesiologist had already talked to me about the spinal/epidural I'd be getting and I knew what to expect from having the same procedure with James.  A spinal was put into my back to numb me for surgery and the epidural was put in for pain management afterwards.  I was very nervous about getting the spinal done, but the lidocaine did its job and after a little crunch of my spinal bones, I felt numb very quickly.  The doctor did a great job, because I was fully numb up to my rib cage.  As expected, I as quite claustrophobic once the medicine kicked in.  The feeling of the bright lights and not being able to move can be quite scary and after a few minutes, I just had to close my eyes and go to a happy place!  I calmed down easily and then waited.  I heard them call for the beginning of surgery and a minute later, Adam was in with me.
Surgery was as I had expected, I felt pressure and heard the doctor's talking.  The anesthesiologist had warned Adam not to talk to me about the surgery during the actual procedure, so of course that was what he asked about right away.  It didn't freak me out, but I guess some people get woozy if they think about what's going on.  After a few minutes of chatting about the pulling and pushing I was feeling, we started talking about Chicago Fire (a show I watch) because the doctor scolded us!
Eventually, they pulled the baby out and he screamed right away.
Logan Maverick was born at 7:31 PM.  He screamed and screamed and screamed.  I have never been happier to hear a baby cry, because James screamed for a second and then stopped.  His lungs couldn't handle screaming and he was immediately whisked away to the NICU.  Luckily. the new little guy kept on screaming.  He was cleaned and weighed and Adam took lots of pictures.  The pediatrician brought him over to me and we greeted each other.
A second son.  A second little boy for me to love, guide, and raise.  As overwhelmed has I had been the weeks prior, looking at my little guy made me feel calm and in control, even while lying on an operating table, getting sew back together.  Adam got to sit and hold Logan once he had been swaddled and was nice and warm.
We all went back to the recovery room together and Adam went to tell my mom and Jackie that it would be a few minutes before they could come see us.  Logan and I were checked over and looked after for awhile.  We attempted to breast feed, but when the baby's blood sugar came back very low at 32, he had to have a bottle.  Type one diabetics pass insulin onto their babies, so as soon as they are born, they tend to have low blood sugar.  While I didn't want to give up on breastfeeding immediately, I knew he needed to eat and he sucked down two ounces of formula like a champ.
When the other patient was moved out of the recovery room, Jackie and my mom got to come see the baby for awhile.  Eventually they left and Logan went to the nursery for a check up.  I went back to my room and it was decided my blood pressure was just not coming down enough.  Around 2 AM that morning, it was decided that I was not going to be put on an IV of Magnesium Sulfate.  Magnesium lowers your blood pressure and prevents seizures that can occur with pre-eclampsia and hypertension.  It also makes you feel like you've been hit by a truck, occasionally nauseous, and very sleepy and out of it.  Luckily, I was only put on 12 hours of this awful drug.
And that was Day One of little Logan's life.
More to come...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

To VBAC or not to VBAC

When I had James, there was no doubt in my mind to have a C-Section.  I wasn't dilated or effaced and I was facing crazy high blood pressure.  Pre-eclampsia had set in and I knew that I wanted him out of me as quickly as possible, for both of our safety.  My doctor asked if I want to induce and in the blink of an eye, I said no.  I knew that James was already a bigger baby, even at 5 weeks early and I knew that inducing without my body being ready for labor at all was just asking for an emergency C-Section later.  I knew that I'd rather wait for Adam to arrive, have the surgery, and get James out safely.  And honestly, I have never once doubted that decision.  I know a lot of moms feel like they have failed in some way when they end up with a C-Section.  But I never felt that and I never felt for a moment that I didn't have a chance to connect with James.  I didn't see him for more than a second for the first 2 days, but without a doubt, he's always been my little boy.  Adam swears he kept a close eye on him, so you know, hopefully he is my little boy.
Having had one C-Section, I have been left with what is actually a pretty tough decision for baby number two.  I have all the same health concerns going into this birth, but now I have a surgical history.  If you look at statistics for births in the US, C-Sections are on the rise.  There is a lot of talk about VBACs (vaginal birth after caesaran) and how doctors aren't supporting them.  While I agree, there are far too many C-Sections performed, I have to say that my experience has been quite the opposite of all the hub bub made on the internet about doctors being unwilling to perform or try to perform VBACs.
For the record, the Perinatal Center at St. Joe's in Towson, MD is all about the VBAC.  They support them, want them, encourage them and from day one of this pregnancy have made it clear that if I want to try, I should try for a vaginal birth.  Now I figured that I wouldn't have one of these crazy stories where some surgery happy doctor demands that they slice my baby out, but I am really amazed at the support my three high risk OBs have offered.  The director, Dr. Rossiter, is on the Baltimore's Best list and is known nationally, and I can see why.  If every woman felt as supported in a VBAC as I do, then certainly there would have to be more of them.  
So what am I to do?  Well, I am not trying for a VBAC.  That has been my decision from day one and while I'm sure I will always have questions about it in my mind, I know that a repeat C-Section is the right decision for me.  For one, baby number two is already huge.  For two, diabetic labor can be long and complicated and would mostly likely be induced, and honestly, I'd like to avoid all that blood sugar craziness.  Finally, I just don't want to do it.  I know that if I'm not 100% committed to a natural birth, that its just not going to happen and I'd rather be upfront about that.
Update:  I wrote this some time ago and forgot to publish it....  Oops.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lack of updates!

What a crazy few days it has been.  The end of this pregnancy has certainly been one to remember and while I've been wanting to update the blog (and record for posterity) I have just been so tired.
Last Friday night, I went to bed even though my blood pressure was very high (around 154/100).  I knew when I woke up that it would probably not have gone down and I was right.  At 6 AM Saturday morning, I was up to 160/105 which was within the range that the doctor had given me on Thursday to call them.  So I called the doctor's service and they called me back around 30 minutes later.  We finished packing up my things and got to Labor and Delivery triage around 8:30 AM
Long story short, they decided to admit me.  My blood pressure was high enough that they didn't feel comfortable sending me home.  On the other hand, my urine protein was not high enough to deliver immediately.  So the doctor ordered another 24 hour urine collection, certain that on Sunday evening it would show protein and that we would deliver first thing Monday morning.
If only that had been the case.  There was some protein in my urine, but not enough to meet the standard for pre-eclampsia.  So I went home Sunday evening, with a prescription for blood pressure medication.  I was frustrated and tired, but happy that the baby would have some more time to develop.
Monday morning, I went to my regularly scheduled Biophysical Profile appointment.  The baby looks good, he's wiggling and breathing as he should be.  When we talked to the doctor, she basically said "Let's get this baby out".  We looked at a variety of dates, but ultimately it was decided that this Friday, December 21, we will be having the baby.
I am happy and excited to be done with this pregnancy.  We're very glad to have made it to 37 weeks, which I will be exactly on Friday.  Hopefully we can have a short hospital stay of 4 days and both be on our way home!
Thursday morning I am still scheduled for my regular Non Stress Test, although I have been warned by my doctor's office to have all my things with me, in case they decide not to let me go home.  I'm assuming my blood pressure would have to be very high or protein would have to be spilling for this to happen, but I will pack my bag and head off on Thursday morning.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh baby!

I haven't been updating much this week, as I've been home, resting.
On Monday, the doctor decided that my blood pressure was high enough that I shouldn't be working, I should be home.  I quickly agreed!  I completed a 24 hour urine collection, we'll see if there is enough protein in the sample to warrant moving up my scheduled C-Section by two weeks.  I'm pretty sure there will be, as my blood pressures have been high.  Well, I say that, but they've been high everyday at home and not as high at the doctor's office.
I will take any extra days that the baby wants to stay in!  We hit 36 weeks tomorrow and I am very excited that the little guy is taking his time getting here.
Aside from the blood pressure issues, everything has been fine.  My Biophysical Profile Ultrasound on Monday was great.  The change in his diaphragm/breathing in a week was amazing and his movement was strong and easy to locate.  The technicians like it when babies cooperate and actually do their 30 seconds of practice breathing up front.
Today I go in for a Non Stress Test and hopefully that is all.  I am feeling pretty good this morning,  so let's hope that's a good sign!  I'll also get the results of the 24 urine!  Ew.  It was gross...

Friday, December 7, 2012

35 weeks

Here we are at week 35!  The baby is the size of a coconut.  Well, an averaged sized baby is the size of a coconut, but since we're measuring almost 3 weeks ahead, who knows what kind of fruit my kiddo is shaping up be!  Some sort of melon, if I recall correctly.  35 weeks is especially meaningful (and scary) for me because James was born at 35 weeks and 4 days.  That's next Tuesday, for anyone keeping track, so we'll see what happens!
I have started my biweekly biophysical profiles and non stress tests.  Both have been fine, with a healthy, large and responsive baby!  Yesterday I also had a routine OB check up after my NTS.  The routine checks are the ones that worry me the most, I must say, because those are the appointments where I'm weighed.  At this point I'm not worried about gaining weight, but I am worried about water weight.  Yesterday was no exception as I seem to have gained nearly 11 pounds in the last 3 weeks.  Weight gain of this type seems to point to my having this baby sooner rather than later for a number of reasons.  Based on what we saw with James I had a gradual rise in my blood pressure from appointment to appointment, a rather sudden water weight gain, and then wham - protein in my urine/the onset of pre-eclampsia.  We've also seen a slight drop in my insulin need, which is good in one way, but also is a sign that my placenta is "aging" and may not be in use much longer (a "thriving" diabetic placenta demands lots of insulin).
So that's where we are.  We've seen my blood pressure going up ever so slightly, now the weight gain, and all of a sudden I'm on the look out for a baby.  Yesterday the doctor estimated that within the next 2 weeks the little guy will be here.  That, of course, is no guarantee, just her estimate.  If I can prolong this pregnancy, I will do so by any means, but at this point, if I have pre-eclampsia, he's coming out.  I hope that we can make it one more week.  This is a random time frame, but James was on the border line for needing oxygen during his NICU stay.  A few extra days might just help develop the baby's lungs a little better.  Then again, some babies, particularly boys, are born at 37 or 38 weeks and have breathing problems, so again, the longer we can prolong my pregnancy the better.
Last night, after all this information had set in, I was pretty upset.  I was worried and the thought of having the baby so early really scared me.  Also, news flash - we're having a SECOND baby.  TWO little lives to manage and take care of.  I know, for the person who's been tracking every week of this pregnancy, you'd think the information would have set in.  But all of a sudden everything was very real last night.  More than anything, I want to do a good job.  I care so much about James and the new guy already, that the thought of messing anything up or not doing the best for them really upsets me.  Adam has told me repeatedly, even before James, that the very fact that I care so much is more than enough for any child.  But what can I say - I'm a bit of a spaz!  And so ended the freak out.  I've processed everything and have my game face back on.
We are very prepared for the little guy to come, in all the ways that we weren't for James.  His clothes are washed and in drawers, we have diapers, wipes, bottles, and formula.  With James the day after I was released from the hospital/the day before James came home, Adam and I went to Target to pick up all those things!  So we are at least better off than we were 2 and a half years ago.  I have to keep reminding myself that even though you're exhausted, taking care of little babies is pretty easy - diaper, feed, burp, repeat in 2 to 3 hours.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Me Too!

We love to read to James.  He gets 3 or 4 stories every night before bed, to help settle him down and to let him know its time for SLEEP.  Some people suggest a bath during the bedtime routine, but James' skin gets so dry in the winter that a bath every night is a terrible idea.  Because I've always loved to read, I love story time, almost as much as I love bed time!
One of our favorite authors in Mercer Mayer, who writes the Little Critter books.  I loved Little Critter as a kid and I definitely do now.  We try to read stories that might tie into our lives a bit, lately those have been books about sharing, siblings, and GOING TO BED.  Me Too is about Little Critter and his little sister, who wants to do everything that he wants to do.  Little Critter has to be patient, share, and help his little sister and in the end she shares with him too.  Its a good story for someone who is getting a sibling soon.  We also have The New Baby and Just Me and My Little Brother.
The funny thing is that since we started reading this book, James wants to do everything "too".  No matter what Adam or I are doing, James will tell us that he wants to do it too.  The really funny part of this is the way James says "too" as though he's really amazed that he just so happens to be doing the same thing mom or dad.  But sometimes it doesn't work out for him.  On Sunday, Adam went to the football game and James was none to pleased about it.  He wanted to hang out with dad (Can you blame him? Mom is large and moody and probably laid around the house most of the day).  He repeatedly asked "Where is daddy?" and I told him "Daddy is at the football game, he'll be home later."  To which James responded "Me go to football game too!"
If you're eating dinner, James will let you know that he's eating dinner too.  If you're walking upstairs, James is going too.  And if mom is complaining about her back hurting, James' back is hurting too.  He's a very sympathetic little guy.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Toddler Logic

Toddler's have a special kind of logic.  This morning's special thought from my little guy was to give his mother a huge hug.  A bigger hug than I've gotten any morning this week.  Of course, this morning was the only one this week where my toddler peed through a diaper, undershirt, and pair of fleece pajamas.  Fleece holds liquid well, so I didn't notice my wet shirt and bra until I'd handed James to Adam.  In addition to changing James' clothes (and giving him a baby wipe bath), my clothes, and Adam's clothes, I also got to change the sheets and blankets on James' bed.
Love that toddler logic!