Friday, February 22, 2008

4 a.m.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eat, feed, clean, repeat

This is Lukasz's 5th day at home. I have NOT had any baby blues yet... I think I had one little cry to Tomek on Saturday because I felt momentarily overwhelmed with it all, but since then I've just forged ahead and the hours are racing by. I feel like I spend most of my time thinking about food, feeding and eating. Seriously. Lukasz has to be woken up every 3 hours to eat, so that breaks up our nights into an hour here a couple of hours there of sleep.

Tomek has been WONDERFUL... I'm getting more sleep than he is. In the morning I try to work it so I get Lukasz up an hour before Lily gets up. That way I can get him fed, burped and changed and back to sleep in time to prep Lily's morning bottle, then while she's drinking I'm pumping milk for Lukasz's next feed (which takes 20-30 minutes), then we play for a bit, then she's ready for a real breakfast so I figure something out for her to eat. This morning it was cereal and some banana. Then it's MY turn to eat, and then I play with Lily some more or do the never-ending laundry or dishes or start another batch of formula on the stove. Lily usually goes down for a nap 3 hours after she wakes up. It's nice in the morning if Lukasz sleeps the entire time Lily is up and when she goes down for a nap, he wakes up. Then it's only the afternoons that are tricky. Lily surprised me today and went down for a nap 2 hours after she got up. I guess 8:30 was a little too early for her. I didn't know she was going to fall asleep, she just wanted to go in her crib and wanted her mobile on. And she drifted off just as Lukasz started grunting and waking up. Did I mention how easy-going he is? He hardly rarely almost never cries. So then another hour passes while I feed and burp and cuddle and do the bicycle with him (because he hasn't pooped since he got home).

Now they are both asleep although Lily will be up in less than an hour and I'll have to get something together for her and I to eat. The bottles are already washed for Lukasz's next feed, and I'll have to make sure I have a dvd or something ready to go to occupy Lily while Lukasz is in my lap.

On Monday I could not have made it through the afternoon if my friend, N, hadn't been visiting. Lily demands "up" often and screams if she doesn't get to go up. She refused to leave my lap w/o screaming when I needed to prep Lukasz's bottle and feed him, so N ended up feeding him and I held Lily. She's not mean to him at all. She loves to give him kisses and high fives and wants to hold him a lot. But she doesn't like it when one of us is holding him for an extended period of time.

Thankfully, Tomek has the rest of the week off so we can try to get Lily used to the fact that sometimes she will just have to wait because we are taking care of Lukasz. Although, he went to check on one of his projects early this morning and he's still not home. Stuff always comes up. But at least I know he's nearby so if things get hairy this afternoon I can call him and he should be able to come home.

Evenings are a flurry of timing dinner around Lukasz's feeds, although yesterday he woke up just as dinner was ready, so Tomek helped Lily eat her dinner while I fed Lukasz and then he and I sat down to eat once Lukasz was asleep, with Lily wanting to sit in her daddy's lap for the entire meal.

All in all, it's going pretty well. I don't feel too exhausted and I'm SO RELIEVED that I'm not falling apart emotionally. I was really worried about that. Today was Lukasz's scheduled arrival date and I'm SO GLAD I've already been through the c-section and hospital time and am already back at home with my family.

Now I just have to figure out how to go for walks with the 2 of them. I think Lukasz is too small for the Snugli still, although he was 5 lbs at birth and now he's 6 lbs 9 oz!!! I have a stroller that his car seat attaches to, but then Lily would have to walk, and I don't feel comfortable walking around w/o her holding my hand, unless we're at the park. Once Lukasz fits in the Snugli I can push Lily in the stroller to the park and then she can get out and run around. Until then, I may have to wait to go for a walk till someone is here with me, then we can go out with Lukasz in his stroller and Lily walking or in her stroller.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Home at last

It was the wee hours of the morning when he finally made it home.
LB is showing no major jealousy yet, she just wants to kiss him.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Waiting

Home soon

I've been able to visit you the past 3 nights in a row for your 9 o'clock feeding. The past two nights you have had NO tube in your nose. It's so nice to finally see your whole face! You eat from a bottle now with no problems. In fact, the nurses are continually surprised at how quickly you empty your bottle. On the 13th, you were pretty drowsy and barely opened your eyes the whole time I was there, even when I had to change your diaper three times! Yesterday, however, you were very awake and alert. Your eyes are so dark it's hard to see what colour they are. We had a nice snuggle and then I had to change your diaper a couple of times. I think you've been saving those up for my visits. :)
I talked to a nurse before I left, and it turns out they've been holding back on discharging you because your sister has been sick. So tonight we will take the car seat in to set up the receiving blankets in it so you'll fit, and then likely sometime on the weekend you'll be discharged and home with us!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Update

He could be home by this weekend! Yesterday and last night he took all but one of his feeds by bottle. Either tonight or tomorrow night, depending on how I'm feeling, I'll go in with all the milk I've pumped as well as the car seat, so they can do the car seat check. Then once I'm feeling totally better, I'll have to room in with him for 24 hours or so, just to get feeds going well before they'll discharge him. I didn't realize I'd have to go back in like that, but since he's a preemie I guess it only makes sense. I don't like the thought of being back in the hospital, but its for our own good.

I'm worried though because Lily is on her second week of this cold, and now she's waking up at night with a cough. She doesn't cough during the day so I'm not sure if I should take her to the doctor or just let this thing run it's course.

I guess I better get busy and step up the baby arrival preparations.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Arrival: Birth story and more

Thursday, January 24th, 4:00 a.m
I woke up and knew I’d started to bleed. There wasn’t much, but it was enough to scare me, and to have us rush to the hospital, which luckily is only 10 minutes away. They strapped a baby monitor to my belly and had me tell them if I bled anymore. The baby’s heartbeat was healthy and the bleeding lessened, but the Dr. decided to move me to the maternity ward for observation since I was almost 35 weeks along and had placenta previa. I hoped I wouldn’t bleed anymore and they’d let me go home on Friday. Spending the night w/o Tom and LB felt like one of the most difficult things I’d ever done. It was the first night I’d ever been away from LB; up until this day, the longest I’d been away from her was 4 hours.

Friday, January 25th
Despite being on bed rest in the hospital, I bled a little more. The baby still sounded healthy and happy and was very active. But the doctor that came to see me said he thought it best if I stayed in the hospital till the baby arrived, which could be a week or two.

Saturday, January 26th
I had no bleed in the morning, and I pushed the nurses to put in a word for me to go home. I said I could be on complete bed rest at home and I’d do a lot better emotionally if I could be near my daughter again. The nurse relayed what I said to the doctor, and he came to talk to me, explaining that he had to weigh the different parts of my situation against similar ones he’d already been through. He felt it would be safest for me to be right there in the hospital just in case I did start to have a larger bleed. Apparently about a litre of blood passes through the placenta each minute, so if it got damaged or ruptured, that blood could be coming out of me at that rate. Yikes. The Dr was an older man from South Africa. First time I’d heard an accent like that. He told me not to have this baby after midnight because he gets very grumpy after midnight.

Turns out, the Dr. was right. In the early afternoon I had a larger bleed. The nurse checked and didn’t seem too worried. I went down for an ultrasound to see if there were any blood clots in my uterus, but everything looked fine. The technician tried to show me the baby, but the bones were developed enough that we couldn’t see much detail. She told me he weighed 5 pounds. I went back to my room, and within minutes I was bleeding again. Two nurses came to see me and estimated the bleed at 300 ccs (1/3 of a litre) and all of a sudden there were more nurses and I was in bed getting wheeled to a different floor for closer observation. I asked one of my roommates (I was in a 4-person room) to tell Tomek I’d been taken downstairs.

Tomek arrived around 3:00 p.m. and I was still bleeding a bit. They had me back on the baby monitor and the baby still looked great. Good heart rate, lots of activity. At 5:00 p.m. I started having contractions. They began as back pain and then moved around to the front until it was surrounding me and then it squeezed. The nurse kept calling in “cramping”, and I kept telling her I knew it was contractions because Lily’s contractions had been the same way—the back pain hurt me more than the actual contractions.

So I waited, and hoped the contractions wouldn’t just disappear because that would feel like things were moving backwards and I really wanted the baby out so there would be no more waiting, no more being away from my family. Tomek waited with me, wiped my tears away, and did everything he could to keep me happy and comfortable… an impossible task since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast that morning and the Dr wouldn’t let me eat anything or drink anything just in case they did have to do a c-section that night. AND the Dr. had suggested they give me morphine to try to space out the contractions. So I got a shot of morphine and gravol in my hip.

Around 10:00 p.m. I got moved to a different room which seemed more like a storage room than anything. No window, lots of equipment. My room was needed for a set of twins that were on their way. I was still having contractions, but they weren’t any big deal compared to the ones I had with LB. I could feel myself fading in and out from the morphine, and I was starting to feel nauseous so I just lay very still and cracked my eyes open now and then to make sure Tomek was still at my side. While I was in the hospital he spent hours and hours just being there beside me. A comforting face. A hand to hold. I think the Dr came in at some point and said we were going to go ahead with it, but a few minutes later a nurse came in and told me the twins had bumped me out of my surgery spot. Then the Dr I think said something about waiting till morning, 7:30 a.m.

Around 11:00 p.m. the contractions were still steady about every 4 minutes despite the morphine. The Dr came back in, studied the printout of contractions and heartbeats for a while, studied my face for a while, then told me we were going to go ahead and get the baby out. Then he said, "good thing I didn't listen to the nurse, eh?" (and send me home).

Tomek told me later that his gut clenched when he heard that we were going ahead with the cesarean, and I remember starting to shiver and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably, even though I wasn’t cold. Tomek had to take my stuff that he’d brought downstairs back upstairs then, because they needed the room for someone else. While he was gone, they wheeled my bed out of the room and towards the operating room. I told them to wait because my husband was upstairs and they said he’d be in the operating room with me after I was all prepped. I felt bad for him, always running here and there, getting me this, getting me that, and then getting left behind.

So I got wheeled into O.R. #8, which I took as a good sign because my lucky number is 8. :) They had me shift myself off the bed and onto a padded operating table… which is very tricky when lying down and pregnant. I got hooked up to a blood pressure monitor, and got a catheter, OH and I’d been hooked up to an IV since Thursday.

Then they had me sit up and swing my legs off the side of the table and hold onto a pillow while a nurse/dr someone held their hands on my shoulders. It was time for the spinal. The person holding my shoulders commented that the table must be a little lopsided because I felt uneven. Then I made an effort to relax my shoulders and everything evened out. I hugged the pillow and rested my head against her shoulder and tried to relax. The spinal didn’t hurt much at all, and actually I never took a look at where it went in to see if I had a bruise or anything afterwards. It was just a lot of pushing and then I could feel my feet slowly going numb from the outside, in. I was laid back down, and then my legs were strapped down, and that freaked me out a bit because I felt like I could still lift them if I tried. Then they put a heavy pad with a hole in it over my stomach, and then I think Tomek arrived. They put a blue tarp above my head, angling so it was inches above my nose. I didn’t like that because it smelled and made me dizzy to try to focus on it. They pricked my belly a few times to see if I could feel it and I could. The anesthesiologist told them to give me a local anesthetic and they did, but my blood pressure dropped so he said he wasn’t going to give me any more. They pricked me some more but I could still feel it, so he said I had to go under a general anesthetic. That meant Tomek had to leave the room and go sit in a chair and wait. I remember apologizing to him, and then he was gone and they put a mask over my face and pressed it down hard. I remember counting the breaths, and I think I got to 8 and then I smelled something kind of bitter and thought that must be the gas. Then I breathed two more times, and that’s all I remember of the operation.

What was filled in for me later via various Drs who talked to both Tomek and I over the next couple of days was that a) the baby got stuck, even though he was head down (he’d been horizontal during my ultrasound) and the Dr had to turn him around breach to get him out , after he’d kind of broken through and removed the placenta and b) before he could get him out, he had to make a vertical incision up my uterus in addition to the horizontal one and c) the little guy wasn’t breathing on his own when he came out so another dr had to manually help him breathe with some kind of pump until he started breathing on his own.

While I was still out cold, a nurse left the OR with LG and walked by Tomek, as he was told she would. He followed her to the NICU and saw LG get weighed and poked and blood drawn and other stuff that was really hard for him to see. He was wondering when and where he’d see me again and somehow he found his way to the anesthesiologist’s room where I was being monitored until I woke up. Tomek was apparently in there for a while with me, but when I kept being sick, the anesthesiologist told him it’d be best if he waited outside. So he was waiting again. The anesthesiologist apparently gave me 5 or 6 different drugs to ease the nausea. That on top of the morphine, spinal and general anesthetic.

January 27th, around 3:00 a.m.
I was taken back upstairs to my room, which I vaguely remember, and I slept until late in the afternoon of the 27th. Tomek slept in a chair next to me that night and most of the next day. He did call my parents and his parents just after the baby arrived though, to tell them the news.

In the evening I finally kind of woke up. Tomek had been to visit the little guy and showed me pictures. By this time I hadn’t eaten in 2 days but I think I had some jell-o. I was told that the baby arrived at 12:20 a.m. on January 27th. My brother’s birthday is on the 26th and frankly I was a little disappointed that LG just missed being born on the same day as my bro, but at least they share a middle name.

We visited LG that night… I felt so nervous seeing him. And I couldn’t really see him—he was all covered with c-pap, sensors, etc. He was sleeping peacefully, and we were allowed to reach into the incubator to touch him. The nurse said that he’d know we were there by our scent, the sound of our voices and our touch. I hope he knew who we were. We didn’t get any of that initial bonding right after he was delivered.

Monday, January 28th: A letter to the little guy
Hey little boo boo, You sure are a trooper. Tonight I saw you for the second time, all hooked up to the IV and oxygen mask with a tube in your mouth. I can’t wait till you don’t have to have all those attachments anymore—I know you’ll feel much better! We aren’t allowed to hold you yet, but tonight you held on to my finger with that strong grip of yours. I hope you recognize when we are there touching you and talking to you. And I hope I can hold you and feed you soon. I love you, Mommy

Wednesday, January 30th
6:30 p.m.: You just went under the uv lights for your jaundice. So now in addition to all the tubes and sensors, you have a little mask over your eyes to protect them. Even though you are on c-pap, your breathing is getting much better. The nurse thinks you’ll be off c-pap and onto hi-flow in a couple of days. You held my finger again today, and you seem to relax when your tatus puts his hand on your chest.
8:00 p.m.: We got to hold you for a little bit tonight for the first time!!! It was sad to see all the wires stuck to you that we had to work around in order to hold you, but you snuggled right up to me and your tatus. I think you know who we are. :)

Saturday, February 2nd
a.m.: The nurses say you are off c-pap and out of the incubator! Well done!!
p.m.: Now you are off the hi-flow and completely breathing on your own and sleeping in a little crib! You are improving by leaps and bounds! I hope we will all be over this stomach flu soon so we can come and visit you.

Monday Febraury 4th
He’s taking full feeds! 46ml (based on his weight, which is just over 5 lbs). This means he’s off the IV. Yay! No more needles in a different place every time we see him. The nurses say he’s a very snoozy baby, and would sleep through his feeding times if they let him. He’s still getting fed via a tube into his tummy, which really, he can sleep through, so I guess he doesn’t know any different yet.

Tuesday February 5th
8:00 p.m. Your tatus and I finally got to visit you again—it’s been 6 days since we last saw you! Your sister was sick with a stomach flu AND teething, and then your tatus and I got the flu too, and we had to wait till 48 hours after our symptoms disappeared before we could visit you. It was a long 6 days. And you’d changed so much in that time. It was great to see you in a little crib, breathing on your own, without an iv. It was also the first time I got to see your face not covered by a little respiratory mask. AND we finally gave you a name!! You were sleeping when we got there so at first we just looked at you, and admired how great you are looking. Then the nurse said we could hold you, so I got to have a nice long snuggle with you sleeping in my arms. Then the nurse had us undress you so she could weigh you. It took a while… it was the first time I’d really handled you and you are SO tiny. It took even longer to get new clothes on you, but you did wake up and looked at us for the first time. You have big dark gray-blue eyes.
We had our first try at nursing tonight, and you don’t quite know what to make of it yet. So I fed you through the tube, and you fell asleep again while I was feeding you! I guess if you were still inside me you would be spending most of your time sleeping and growing, so it only makes sense that you sleep so much now.
They had to give you a pretty bad haircut while you were on the iv because sometimes they had to put the iv in your head. Ouch! So it looks like you have a little crooked mohawk. I think we are going to get them to completely shave your head before you are discharged, that way it can grow back evenly. It’s such a shame that they had to do that, though, you had such nice dark hair!

Wednesday Feburary 6th
He took a whole bottle at 3 p.m.!! His first successful feed without the tube. The nurse said it knocked him out, though. Poor guy. Drinking from a bottle is hard work! We are all sick again, so now again we have to wait a few days until we can see him again. Sigh.

Friday, February 8th
I called the NICU and they told me he’d been moved OUT of it and up to the pediatrics ward. Major improvement!!

Sunday, February 10th
I talked to his nurse and he’s getting a bath today. He hasn’t been spitting up after his feeds, which is another great improvement. She also told me he’d been a bit of a stinker and pulled the tube out of his nose (the one they feed him through… the one that goes down to his stomach and is normally taped to his cheek).

Monday, February 11th
He took 3 of his feeds last night by bottle, and only had one tube feed. This morning he took his bottle with ease as well! He now weighs 2.580 kg, which is 5.6 lbs. I’m pretty sure he was 5 lbs when he was born. The nurse can’t really give us any idea of when he’ll be home, but if his feeds keep up like this and he continues to gain weight, he could be ready to come home within a week. I hope we are all over our colds by then. It’s been 6 days since we’ve seen him.