Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Finally getting to meet

While I was stuck at MoBap recovering, baby boy was hanging out at Children's.  I pumped like it was my job, and family and kind friends would take milk down to Children's so baby boy could eat that instead of formula.  Four days later, I was able to get out of the hospital and head down to Children's and finally get my hands on this baby boy.  
Best.  Day.  Ever. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

St. Louis Children's Hospital

{W meeting baby boy for the first time}
{SheShe feeding baby boy}
{Lizzie meeting baby brother}
{Little glow worm}

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Happy birthday! Baby #3

I had arrived at MoBap Hospital around 10:30 a.m.  By noon, they said I would be going home.  Around 2:00...they wanted to watch me a bit longer.  By 4:00, things really started to get going.  And by 6:00...in the words of hospital doctor, "I looked like a lady who was going to have a baby."  

"When?" I asked.  "Like, next week?"

"No," Dr. McCarthy responded.  "Tonight.  We have a 8:00 p.m. appointment in the operating room.  We're just waiting for Dr. Knight to get here."  

Say what?!  Cue emotional meltdown.  

I wasn't supposed to be having a baby today.  Or even this month!  I was supposed to be having dinner with my family.  I was supposed to be going on with friends tonight.  My mom wasn't here yet.  We didn't even have the baby's space put together in my room at home.  Nothing was ready, especially me.  

Something to keep in mind; I had sent Dave off to have dinner with the kids and his parents.  Again, I thought I'd be checking out.  Winst and Lizzie thought I had just gone to the doctor that morning to listen to the baby's heartbeat.  They were clueless and I didn't want to give them any cause for alarm.  In trying to keep things normal, I found myself alone in a hospital triage room having a complete breakdown.  I believe my text to Dave went something like this:  "Where are you?!  Hello!  I'm having a baby!"

Dave got back to the hospital shortly after 6:00. A little frazzled himself, but holding it together because, well, someone had to and it wasn't me.  He called our bishop who detoured his whole evening to come to the hospital and assist in giving me a blessing. In my beautiful hospital gown, monitor-strapped belly, and swollen crying eyes, the words I remember from the blessing were that I would feel calm and peaceful.  That was hardly how I felt in that moment.  Not even close to it.  I was scared out of my mind.  And that's when they started to happen.  Miracles, that is.  Call them coincidences.  Or tender mercies.  Or whatever.  The following hours and days were filled with miracles, one after another.  

Near the end of the priesthood blessing Dave was giving me, my doctor-on-call walked into the room.  She couldn't really see what was going on, so she just announced herself, "Hi, this is Dr. Knight."  I had my eyes closed, so I just stuck my hand out with my finger up, indicating her to wait just a minute.  When the blessing was over, she quickly apologized, saying, "I see there was some laying on of hands there.  I'm so sorry to have interrupted."   I introduced her to Dave and to my bishop.  She asked, "Oh, are you LDS?  What ward do you go to?"  We were all a little caught off guard.  You typically don't ask those questions if you aren't LDS yourself.  I said, yes, we are.  We attend the Frontenac ward.  Then I slowly asked if she was LDS or which ward she attended.  She said she lived in the Pagedale Branch area.  That's even my stake!  Small world, I'd say.  But more than that, I felt immediately that Dr. Knight "got me."  I say that in the sense that she knows where I'm coming from.  To some degree she knows my core.  She knows what I value.  She gets me.  I had never seen her before in any church setting.  I had no idea of her activity in the church -- or lack thereof.  But it didn't matter.  Her calm voice reassured me that I would be OK, that I was strong, and that Heavenly Father would be there with us through the whole procedure.  Everything would be OK.  

That was just what I needed.  That was the calm, the peace, the reassurance that I needed. And from there, it was go time.  

I quickly got cleaned up and changed into my surgical attire.  Dave was making a bazillion phone calls trying to get a hold of my parents (at CHOICE gala and shortly thereafter heading to Seattle), his parents (Katie needs some things at the hospital...oh, and the kids), and Briana Larson (dropped out of her family activity for the night to come to my house and watch kids so Steve and Sherry could meet the new baby).  

I walked back to the OR and hopped up on the table.  Just like before, I hunched over the pillow and waited for the anesthesiologist to do his work.  This time, though, Dr. Knight was there to wrap her arms around me (I was shivering cold) and calmly talk to me while the anesthesia zinged down my legs.  That pillow hug part is sort of where I mentally prepare, and I was easily able to do that without even a hint of fear.  

As soon as the anesthesia gets going, the shakes come on.  I sort of expect it now.  This is the point where I start singing to myself (and sometimes out loud) to get through the several minutes of prep they have to do.  It's the only way to distract myself from the shaking and anxiety from what is to come.  This time was no different, though the prep time seemed to fly by.  I was totally alert.  Shaking.  But calm.  

After maybe 10 minutes or so, the shield was pulled and Dave come in the OR.  And within probably five minutes or less, I heard the anesthesiologist saying to Dave, "You want to see this.  Here comes baby!"  It was so quick!  I had hardly noticed all of the pulling and tugging that I associated with my first c-section.  Forget that part, the baby was coming!  As they reached in to get him out, the doctor, surprised herself, said, "Oh, there's his bum.  He's breech!"  He definitely hadn't been breech earlier that day.  And out he came.  Immediately, he let out a little cry, and then a big scream.  Music to my ears!  I cried.  I was so worried about how his lungs would or wouldn't work.  And he was able to scream right out of the gate.  Hooray!  Everyone cheered along with me.  

Dr. Knight handed the baby off and continued to work.  I looked to the side and watched the nurses and Dave get the baby cleaned up, measured, weighed, etc.  Baby cried through the whole thing.  It was great.  When it came time to weigh him, the nurses excitedly counted as the scale went up and up and up.  Six pounds, eleven ounces; 6lb 11oz!!!  They could hardly believe it themselves.  Everyone in the OR was surprised and, again, we all cheered together.  

Dr. Knight calmly guided me through the whole procedure, saying what was going on within giving too much of the yucky details.  She was surprised at how long the umbilical cord was.  Dave got a glimpse of it too.  In his words, "You could jump rope with that thing."  Gross.  

Again, the remaining surgery time flew by.  Dr. Knight was so gentle through it all.  I literally never felt any pulling, tugging, etc.  That was a miracle in itself.  Baby boy had a couple of little breathing episodes that the nurses watched, but they all cleared up on their own before we even left the OR.  In fact, both baby and I were well enough to leave the OR together and head to the recovery room.  

We spent the next hour or so in the recovery room just trying to process the fact that we were now a family of five.  Three kids!  Wow!  We had no idea what this baby's name would be.  We had no newborn clothing.  No newborn diapers.  Crib wasn't set up.  But here he was and he was perfect.  We wheeled into our new home for the next few days.  I obviously hadn't come to the hospital prepared to stay, so Sherry brought some toiletries for me and met baby boy.  Around 12:30 a.m., the nurse came in to check on me and see if I wanted to send the baby down to the nursery until it was time for him to eat.  I said yes, I would prefer for him to stay in the nursery and come to my room for feedings.  She agreed and said she would prefer that so he could be monitored through the night, as well.  I asked a few questions and just as she was walking out the door I said something like, "Oh, my other two children have been jaundice because we've had different blood types.  Will you check his blood type?"  She said they would check and also monitor his billirubin.  And off he went to the nursery.

Dave left for home and I was off to get some sleep.  I was officially on newborn time, so I wanted to get all the sleep I could.  It wasn't too long after I'd fallen asleep that the pediatrician made her first visit and this baby's new life turned a little upside down.   

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Paci Princess

I knew it was time to get rid of Lizzie's beloved "paci" or pacifier.  Especially with a baby on the way, I knew we needed to get rid of it much sooner than later.  Given how much she LOVES that thing, I knew this transition could be tricky.  
For about a week, we talked about how "next week" or "In X# days," you're going to give your pacifier to the Paci Princess in exchange for something amazing.  Lizzie seemed completely on board, almost excited to give this Princess her special gift.
That morning, Lizzie specially colored an envelope, dropped her last pacifier inside, and sealed it up. We talked it out to the mailbox together and she confidently placed the envelope inside.  No crying.  No tears.  It was rather pleasant.  When she came back inside, a special Rapunzel doll was waiting for her.  Strategically, this was her pacifier replacement; something to take to bed at night instead of her pacifier.  The first night was OK; she wasn't too happy, but not too upset, either.  The following night was the same.  If I remember correctly, the third night was a little difficult, but after that, no problems.  Hooray!!!