Friday, May 18, 2012

NICU - week 1

Max is here! He arrived on May 10th at 7:25 in the morning.  After 4 hours of labor (uh quick huh) I got to meet my little bundle.  He cried right away & I was able to hold him for some time before they took him up to the NICU with Randy.  His vitals were great, he didn't need any interventions at all in the delivery room or in the NICU.

4lbs 14oz
17 inches
Born at 34 weeks gestation
7:25 am

This week has been a whirlwind of emotions.  There have been some pretty tough moments, leaving your baby in the hospital to go home at night is so unnatural.  At times I feel split between 2 places & that our family isn't really one family right now.  There are my times in the hospital with Max where I barely have time to eat & then I leave the hospital & I am swallowed up into my old life of getting Jack from school, running a few errands & then we rush back to the hospital so I can feed Max.  It's odd but it's temporary right?

All I know is this week I have been very thankful for all my running & endurance training.  I think at times it is the only thing keeping me going. The day I had Max I was up & walking between his room & my room to hand deliver his freshly pumped meals.  My days consist of nursing, pumping, eating & trying to eek out a few hours of sleep.  I have to get up to pump every 3 hours to make sure I establish a good supply since Max isn't able to nurse very well yet.  He is on a every 3 hours eating plan so when I am at the hospital I feed him for 30 minutes, pump for 20 minutes - get that all washed up, eat - relax for about an hour & the cycle starts over again.

I can't believe 1 week of his little life has gone by so quickly.  I wish as a mommy I could slow time down & really savor these moments as I know this will be my last baby.  It's a little bittersweet but I am enjoying every moment.  I feel so much calmer this time around - even given the circumstances of being in the NICU and figuring out how to balance everything.  Soon enough Max will be home & we settle into yet another new little routine.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hospital Days 11, 12 & 13

I've been quiet, not much to report.  Pretty stable over here which is good.  The unit has calmed back down & it appears that most of the rooms are available again.  It's getting harder being away from home.  Last night the boys took me on my usual evening wheelchair stroll & I was a little shocked how this has become our new normal.  It's interesting how that happens so quickly in life; you start a new routine and then a week or so goes by & suddenly this is your normal life.

Tomorrow will be 34 weeks officially.  I can't believe we've made it.  Not sure what we will do for our 34 week party this week - I've been wanting ice cream & if there is ever a time when I can justify eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's, I think it's now, providing Randy can find me some chubby hubby - peanut butter filled pretzels, I say yes please. (To my personal trainer & dietitian friends, don't worry this won't become my new normal)  Tomorrow I will have some blood work done to make sure I'm not showing any soft signs of infection that aren't showing up in my daily vital checks.  Friday I will have my weekly ultrasound to check my fluid levels.  There is also a possibility of an amnio if my fluid pockets are large enough.  My Dr would like to double check Max's lung maturity & apparently they can do this be testing the amniotic fluid.  As long as everything looks fine the plan is to now push to 35 weeks.

Today I learned some news about a close childhood friend that has me thinking about how lucky I am in this situation.  It's something every woman can relate to - as soon as you see that little plus sign, your heart is instantly filled with joy (and maybe some shock & awe & quite possibly a little fear) & to have that come to a heart breaking end has got to be earth shattering.  I know several women that have struggled with loss & it's amazing to me how they move on to another day.  Their strength inspires me & pushes me towards another day.  So today my dear friend is in my thoughts & my prayers & I know that I can do this because honestly my walk is so much easier then the path she is on right now.

I've been working away on my cross stitch project.  I have 3 letters completed... I forgot how long it takes to make all those little x's.  But it is passing the time & I don't seem to notice how long the days are.  I guess little Max is going to have to stay put until the 17th so I have time to finish up & get it framed for his room.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hopital Day 10:

Or otherwise known as the day I officially became BORED.  It's gorgeous here in Seattle today - perfect spring day, the kind of day you want to spend hanging outside.  Ideally we would have grilled something for dinner, ate on the deck & then gone down to the waterfront for some gelato & a nice stroll.  Randy did bring me that iced latte & we did sit out on the patio in the sun for a little while this afternoon.  I am thankful that we moved rooms - the sun streams in so perfectly in the late afternoon.  I envision some afternoon naps in the sun this week.  It is pretty frustrating not to be able to just go out when I want.

Not many changes to report today - still same old boring patient here.  No contractions except for a few random ones throughout the day, a little leaking but nothing to be worried about.  A nurse described it like getting a whole in one of those soft side swimming pools, once it's popped it's popped.  I liked that analogy.

Randy managed to get through the craft store shopping & locate the items I need to start my cross stitch project for Max's room.  I did get an email from him with about 10 pictures of needles wondering which ones he should get - thankfully we live in the world of smart phones so I was able to talk him through what I needed.

Can I just say hospital food - yuck.  Somethings are OK, but when it is bad, it is really bad.  I've been here through a full week's breakfast cycle.  There are 3 days that are OK the rest is pretty awful.  Thankfully I have requested to get a side of oatmeal & a banana every morning.  I mix in a packet of peanut butter & slice the bananas into it.  It's pretty good - but I do miss my Trader Joes peanut butter, I've been a natural peanut butter gal for years.

Randy can bring in anything for me - but usually it's just easier to order one of the choices here.  It's one less thing for him to worry about.

Thankful for's:
*Sunshine streaming into my room, maybe I need some little sun catchers in here?
*Getting outside & feeling the sun warm my skin
*Shaving my legs - I was afraid I was going to surpass Randy's leg hair in a few days, I feel much better about myself
*A friend taking the time to take me on a picture text tour of her garden & yard - I don't think she knew tears were streaming down my face as I was thinking about how alone I was feeling in that moment.  It lifted me up & reminded me of the beauty in people.

Looking forward to's:
*Starting my cross stitch project tomorrow
*Real Housewives of NJ tonight & my new found love - TLC's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.  Don't judge my options in entertainment are pretty limited

Hospital Day 9:

It was a quiet day yesterday - well for me anyway.  It was busy around here.  I wasn't sure how I would handle hearing the little cries of newborns getting to stay in the room with their Moms, but it was OK.  I even found myself giggling a few times at the funny cries they tend to make.  I am looking forward to hearing Max's cry.  I am hoping I will even revel in it when he does because that means we made it through this scary time.

It was so busy here yesterday that the on call Doc didn't get to do rounds until around 8pm last night, thank you full moon.  All still looks really well with the monitoring & I am stable as can be for now.  She mentioned we won the award for most boring high risk patient yesterday.  That's us though, bunch of over achievers. 

The boys took me on another wheelchair ride in the afternoon & we checked out the baby boutique here.  In hindsight I wish we would have waited to go.  The boutique is in the postpartum clinic where all the follow up mom/baby checks are done.  I felt OK in there at first but it was cramped & I felt weird in there in my wheelchair - like I was taking up too much space.  Then the moms started filtering through with their newborn bundles picking up supplies for their first trip home.  It hit me - Max isn't coming home with me when I get to go home.  After some reflection I realized there is a little bonus in this situation- I get to go home & will be able to sleep through the night the first few weeks where as other parents do not.  Once he gets closer to being able to come home I will start staying with him through the night to make sure I can take care of him properly & handle the feeding of a preemie correctly - but not right away.

Thankful for's:
*Saw the sun out my window all day long - that's something to be thankful for in Seattle
*The boys camped out here - which meant Randy & I got to fall asleep holding hands
*A surprise reading light for my Kindle, will be so much better then the bathroom light I have been leaving on

Looking forward to's:
*Getting outside today - I'm planning on an iced (decaf) latte in the sunshine on the patio
*Starting a cross stitch alphabet sampler for Max's room
*Discussing a plan with my Dr on how we are going to proceed past 34 weeks

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hospital Day 8:

I can really get used to this sleeping through the night & waking when I want gig.  Upside to bed rest - I can sleep as late as I want.  Also if you are trying to grow out your pixie cut, do a stint on bed rest - my hair is getting long & I can't go get it cut.  By the time I get out of this place & have time to get to the salon I might actually have a ponytail.  It's the little things to look forward to.

I met with another Dr in the practice today - I can tell they are really trying to get me to mentally prep for a longer hospital stay as long as Max is still doing well & I don't start showing any signs of infection.  I heard 35 - 36 weeks today.  That seems pretty far off, but I am just focusing on 1 week at a time here.  I guess that means we just get to have more cupcake parties because I am pretty sure those go away after I get out of this bed.

We had our second ultrasound today.  They checked my cervix for changes & it is still pretty long (great news!) - they also measured my amniotic fluid again & the good news is that it is still pretty much the same.  Still on the low side of normal, but good for ruptured membranes.  The ultrasound tech was also able to see that Max had a full stomach & a full bladder so that means when he pees he will make more fluid.  All good signs.  She turned out the 3D & I was able to see his face!!! It was so weird getting a view of what he might look like, he had his little feets tucked up by his face & then he moved it so we could see his hand up by his forehead.  It looked like his little cheeks were chubby & he also kind of looked a lot like my husband.  The tech mentioned that Max scored very well on the ultrasound & he was overachieving.  I said he will fit right in with the rest of us - we are a family of 3 Type A go getters - looks like my sister called it & said he was probably going to be a little task master.  I didn't get to learn his weight, I guess they don't do it weekly because it tends to cause more concern then it's worth.  They aren't too concerned with his weight as he was already a little on the larger size last week. 

Today was a very quiet day.  I worked on cutting out more squares for the polaroid quilt.  I think I am going to have Randy bring in some crochet work for me to do as I am finding it frustrating that I won't be able to go much further into the quilt process.  I also did my physical therapy workout, that felt good to get the muscles moving again, I did a little light stretch afterward.  We ordered in a pizza & finished watching a movie.

Thankful for's:
*Another quiet day
*Randy surprised me with the coconut mocha frappucino - it was delicious!
*Jack has spent most of the afternoon & evening squeezed into the bed with me.  He's pretty much the sweetest boy ever.
*A sweet package arrived in the mail from a friend who sent some of the most adorable preemie clothes.  Between what my mother sent & this package I am sure Max will have enough outfits to make it through until we get home with him.

Tomorrow I am looking forward to making it to the baby boutique.  It's been over a week without any kind of shopping & I have some energy to get out of my system.

Thank you everyone for you visits, phone calls, texts, flowers, kind words & thoughts.  They fill me up & keep me going.

Hospital Day 7:

We made it a week!  Officially 33 weeks yesterday, one week down - one to go to the safe zone. 

Another night of sleeping through the night & no contractions.  It seems like little Max is settling in for the long haul.  Which is great.  I've had the IV port out of my hand & I feel like a free woman.

My Dr visit went well yesterday we are just taking each day, not changing anything & hoping I get to 34 weeks.  They are starting to prep me for the idea of a longer bed rest - possibly to 35 or 36 weeks.  I have to admit that in my head that sounds like a very long time from now.  However the longer he is in there the larger he will be & that is a good thing.  I will do what is needed for him to have the best start possible.  I'm for sure going to have to beg for my sewing machine if I go to 36 weeks.

They weighed me & I am down 2lbs, that is worrisome in my mind.  I am eating like a champion & I am pretty sure this hospital food isn't the lowest calorie stuff.  It could be the difference in scales between the one I use at the health club & the hospital scale.  We'll see next week - but for now I am not going to feel bad about those 2 desserts a day they bring me.  People! 2 desserts a day!! There are some bonuses to bed rest.  It's very possible that this little one is sucking down every single extra calorie I am eating to work on our goal of being the chubbiest NICU baby ever.

I've also been visited by the Physical Therapist & have been cleared for some bed rest workouts.   So here I come old school Jane Fonda arm circles.  I also get to do some leg & hip work laying down in bed I just obviously can't engage any core muscles.  Did you know that you can loose 3-5% of your muscle mass during bed rest?

We had a little party in our room last night to celebrate week 1.  After dinner the boys took me on a wheelchair ride off the unit to see the patio on the 1st level.  It's a really nice little courtyard with lots of plants & little cafe tables to sit at.  We had our cupcakes & then Jack & I settled in for his first John Hughes flick - Uncle Buck.  It is still just as good as in 1989 if you are curious.

Thankful for's:
*Week 1 is complete!
*Jack hung out with me for almost a whole hour at the end of my bed telling me about his day & then we played UNO together.  I really miss our moments during the day - so this was really special.  Shh... he even held my hand a few times.
*A husband who is trying so hard to do everything while still working his super demanding high stress job.  The things he does for our family impress me on a daily basis & that is after 10 years of marriage.

Looking forward to's:
*Tonight we are having pizza night in our room - normally we make our own at home, but tonight we will get delivery from a place we really like
*I have an ultrasound this morning to check weight on Max & cervical length
*Saturday the boys have promised to bring me a Mocha Coconut Frappucinno as I hear they are back - it's the little things right?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hospital Day 6:

It's a day late - but Randy hijacked the laptop from me last night.  Something about having to work...

I slept through the night & slept so hard I actually had some crazy pregnancy dreams throughout the night.  I take that as a good sign.  It was also another contraction free night.

I met another one of the Dr's in the group we are seeing now.  So far I have been pretty impressed with each of them in their own way.  Every time I meet with another Dr or RN here I am constantly reassured that we made the right choice to switch providers.  We talked a little bit about what my labor process could possibly be like - it's possible that if I make it far enough along I could still have one of the Certified Nurse Midwives in their practice deliver the baby with an OB doc present in the room in case they need to step in & take over.  That gives me hope that I might actually get to have the experience I would like to have.  However my main concern right now is that we end up with a healthy little boy in the end - how he gets here really doesn't matter too much.  It just matters that he gets here & is as healthy as he can be.  Everyday I am on bed rest we are one day closer to that goal.

Emotionally I am better, I think I needed to go through the yucky stuff, to face the fear of the unknown so I could move past it. 

We had some surprise visitors yesterday for the afternoon - it was wonderful.  Sometimes you are lucky enough in life to have that one person who has seen you through all the shit & knows you at your best & your worst & that person still chooses to be in your life.  If you are really lucky - you have a few of these people.  I am count myself pretty lucky.  They came up & spent the afternoon, it was great to get my mind off things, to laugh & to catch up on all the gossip. 

Thankful for's:
*Realized that there are other mothers who have it much worse then I do - if I have to live 2 weeks on a bed to get my baby, that is nothing compared to what some families have to go through.
*We moved to a new room in the night with a view where I am supposed to be able to see the sunset - if the sun ever comes out to in fact, set.

Funny story that has kept me giggling:
I have had a few nosebleeds because of the dry recycled air in the hospital (I actually have 2 humidifiers running in my room). 
I got up to make trip number 37 of 50 to the bathroom for the day - I'm drinking approx 90oz of water a day & found myself in a situation that can really define the type of marriage you have.  I am pretty sure after this, Randy & I can make it through anything.  I ended up with a nosebleed while taking care of business.  This is when you know that your body likes playing funny jokes on you.  This is also when you know what kind of man you have married.  I called for Randy as I was trying to stop the bleeding - he walked in & said, "oh honey, you are one hot mess." Laughter in moments like that is all you can really count on.  We decided the best course of action was for him to hold my nose & for me to take care of the other end.  Then came the big decision - how were we to get my pants up.  It was a tag team effort, but we finally got me decently attired.  It might be the only time in our married life where he appreciated the fact that I was wearing "lounge" pants without any kind of buttons, ties or zippers.