Friday, October 10, 2014

Baby I is Two Weeks Old!

He's actually almost three weeks old now, but I hadn't had a chance to post his two month pictures yet.

He's doing great! He had jaundice in the first few days, but is doing very well now and has gained almost two pounds!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Unpredictable Birth of "Baby I"

8pm, Friday, September 19th-

It all started when I had the unmistakable feelings of another pancreatitis attack. I was so hoping it was just a horrible case of heartburn, but once I was vomiting from the pain, I knew there was no way around going back to the ER. Once there, and everyone seemed to remember me, they were quick to do the appropriate tests this time and determined that my lipase levels were even higher than they were during my last attack.

Rather than admit me to the ICU again, they determined that I need to be seen by people more specialized to handle a 39+ week pregnant woman with acute pancreatitis. Here's where my first scare occurred... they decided to FLY me, ALONE, down to our state capital, which is about 3 1/2 hours away, in a helicopter. It turned out to not be as scary as I thought, but I think it may have helped that it was about midnight and very dark outside- so I couldn't see much other than lights.

Above, the only picture I took in the helicopter. My feet were all the way up against the front window. Scariest parts were taking off and landing, as the helicopter would do a little wobbling. Oh, and I was strapped down to a board about the size of an ironing board. And I had heart monitors and a blood pressure cuff on. The ride only took about an hour and a half. 

Around 1am, Saturday, September 20th-

Once admitted to the "best" hospital in the state, they proceeded with the standard OB stuff- fetal heartrate monitors, contraction monitors, etc. They did pull more bloodwork of their own to confirm pancreatitis. I was finally admitted, and they took me to a room.... in the Labor & Delivery department. I asked why I was there, as I thought I'd just be admitted until my pancreas had rested sufficiently. I was told that I'd be able to be monitored more closely in L&D, than in the ICU.

I had two ultrasounds done on my pancreas/gallbladder area, and it was finally determined that it was indeed gallstones that were causing my pancreatitis. I have several more stones just waiting to jump into the shared duct and inflame the pancreas.

9am, Saturday, September 20th-

The following morning, after I'd been there eight hours or so, I was visited by several different doctors, and was told my options as far as the pancreas goes. They all recommended inducing labor, and having my gallbladder removed. I knew, being only 39 weeks, my body may not take to induction very easily, so that made me very nervous. My babies always stay in until 41 or 42 weeks, so 39 weeks just seemed way too early for me. But I consented, as the idea of having another pancreatitis attack before or even during labor, scared me too much.

4:30pm, Saturday, September 20th-

They started inducing with the placement of the foley bulb. Up to this point I had been alone in the hospital. But Handy Husband and Oldest Daughter would soon be joining me. It was, afterall, a long drive, and with Baby W and the older boys at home, we agreed it best that they wait as long as possible before coming down. They arrived around 8:30pm.

The induction went well at first. The foley bulb did it's job in just 40 minutes, and we found I was dilated to 4cm's (started out at just a fingertip). Baby remained very high though, but was in a good position. Pitocin was started very slowly and I handled the contractions really well. Honestly they didn't hurt at all for a long time. I was able to move around and use the bathroom whenever I felt like it. I labored easily throughout the night. Progress was very slow.

11:30am, Sunday, September 21st-

Water was broken. Contractions immediately started getting much stronger and closer together. Eventually they are were on top of each other and I would get an involuntary urge to push with each one. I knew that I wasn't fully dilated, but no matter what I did, I could not stop my body from pushing. I was nearing the maximum dosage of Pitocin, and I could no longer bear the pain. Pitocin contractions are unlike anything I've ever felt.

In one of the lowest moments of my life, I was begging for the epidural. There was no getting around the pain. No changes of position, and no amount of breathing, or relaxing, or going inside of myself would give me relief. It was the most unnatural, writhing pain I could imagine. Contractions were on top of each other as I waited what seemed an eternity for the anesthesiologist.

Around 3pm, Sunday, September 21st-

Once the epidural was placed, which was so difficult with contractions coming back to back, I got relief almost immediately. I'm not a fan of having any part of my body numb, but I couldn't go on the way it was, so am thankful I got it. I was checked at this point and was dilated to 8.

5:30pm, Sunday, September 21st-

 Another cervical check revealed I was dilated to 9.5cm. The doctor called for an ultrasound machine because he suspected the baby had turned, and sure enough, that was his butt... nice and low and ready to be delivered. Naturally, the order for a C-section was placed and in 10 minutes I was being prepped for surgery. Taken to OR, moved onto operating table, epidural turned way up... I felt like I was dead weight laid out on a slab. A curtain was hung all around my body, just under my chin, so all I could see of what they were doing was from the reflection on one of the bright lights above me.

Handy Husband finally joined me, though I was barely aware of him. Tears would stream down my cheek as I could feel the hard tugging and pulling of my insides being pulled out. I wasn't even aware of where my baby was, as I kept falling in and out of sleep. Finally I realized my baby was not inside me anymore and I tried looking around, and asked my husband where he was. He motioned that he was over in a corner of the room. I couldn't see him from my place on the operating table. Thankfully I had my husband take some pictures of him, because this was the only way I would be seeing my baby for the next eight hours.

Baby I was taken to the NICU, where he was monitored because his oxygen levels were a bit low. Handy Husband took lots of pictures of him for me, as I was taken to a recovery room.

Finally, at eight hours old, I got to hold my sweet baby.

Handy Husband was so awesome during this whole ordeal. Once Baby I was able to room with us, Handy Husband would bring him to me, and change him, and do anything I asked of him, since I couldn't walk and could barely move.  

Our wee little babe, Baby I, born at 6:29pm, Sunday, September 21, 2014.
Weighing just 8lb 7oz, and measuring 20.5 inches long.  

Recovery was hard. Once I was able to stand up, the overwhelming feeling that all of my guts were going to fall out of me was very scary. Obviously it took a while to get the right medication level for me, because I shouldn't have been able to feel this much pain so early after surgery.

We were discharged Tuesday, September 23rd. Every day has been better than the day before. I still can't lift much right now, and sitting up still hurts a little, as does laughing and coughing... but baby is doing great. He is a wonderful sleeper and is nursing very well. Even though this was not at all the natural, homebirth experience I wanted or planned for, I'm thankful that everyone is happy and healthy.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

38 Weeks!

Here's a couple views from this week... my belly looks way bigger in the lighter colored tops. I feel huge though, no matter what I'm wearing. Haha!

Baby I is doing great- has had perfect health throughout my entire pancreatitis ordeal and is just snuggled in nicely, waiting for the right time to be born... which hopefully won't be too soon, since I haven't even begun to get ready!  

Saturday, September 6, 2014

It's Been a Rough Week...

My wonderful mother passed away last week on Friday. She had been fighting stage IV lung cancer for about a year, and in the end it took her pretty quickly in her sleep. I'm thankful that she's not suffering in pain any longer, but her absence in our lives will be felt for a very long time.

On Saturday, the very next day after her passing, I was admitted to the ICU ward of our local hospital. I had been having extreme pain throughout my stomach, back and chest, and after extensive testing, they found that I had acute pancreatitis. I was kept there for four days, three of which I was on a strict starvation diet, where I was not allowed to have any food or water. I couldn't even brush my teeth or use lip balm. Here I was, 37 weeks pregnant and not allowed to eat. It felt like torture.

My lipase enzyme levels were in the 23,000s upon admittance (hospital staff were shocked how high they were), but by the next day they were sharply dropping. My hospital stay was much shorter than anticipated, since my pancreas was responding nicely to the "bedrest" it was on.

I was discharged on Wednesday, and my mom's funeral was Friday morning. I'm so glad I didn't miss it. I feel extremely worn-down and my body is still recovering, but hopefully I'll have all my energy back before I go into labor. So, at this point, I'm perfectly content letting this baby grow for another two or three weeks. I can't imagine having a baby any time soon, feeling the way I do.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of School

Oldest Daughter started school last week at the local high school. She is a sophomore.The two boys started homeschool today. Son "J", who is in 2nd grade, loves school and couldn't wait to start, but Son "P", 4th grade, says he hates school.

County Fair Horse Show

Despite the near 100 degree temperatures, the kids had a great time at the county fair horse show. This was the boys' first horse show ever, and all the kids did really well.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Belly Lovin'

Baby W loves to kiss and rub my belly. He knows his baby brother is in there!