Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giving Birth, Epilogue

After Schprid was born, I heard so many times that she was an easy baby.  She was, really.  She didn't cry very much, and hardly ever fussed.  At the same time, she's always been better around other people than she's been with us.  We saw the fussing and crying that nobody else did.  Wooble, on the other hand, only ever cries when he is hungry or getting his diaper changed.  Oh, and when the doctors are trying to insert a catheter, which hopefully he'll never have to go through again.  Other people told me that Schprid was an easy baby.  I believe Wooble is an easy baby. 

At the same time, babies are babies, and we are sleep deprived and sporting spit-up stains.  We're dealing with typical parenting issues, and learning a few more tips and tricks.

Schprid, fortunately, completely loves her little brother.  I'm not sure if it's sunk in, yet, that I am his mommy, too, but she looks out for him, and goes with me to change his diaper, and seems completely fascinated with anything that has to do with baby.  It's great.  I think that in another week or two, she's going to be completely adjusted and won't even remember life without him.

A few details about our Wooble:
His nose is no longer smashed against his face, thank goodness, and he's grown into the cute baby stage.
That boy has a serious set of vocal chords, and he's not afraid to use them when he wants food.
Where Schprid was very feminine, Wooble is very masculine.  At this point, the only defining factor seems to be the eyelashes.  Schprid's are full and thick and stretch almost up to her eyebrows.  Wooble has 7 of them.  7 little lashes, peeking out from his eyelids.  Beyond that, they looked very much the same at this age.
He grunts!  That's his precursor to crying, and it's very manly and tough-sounding.
For being manly and tough, he loves to cuddle and be held.
We love him and are so glad to have him here with us. 

Also, we just got Netflix to try for a month.  Because of this, we've moved our computer out into the front room and hooked up our tv to be the computer's monitor.  It makes typing a little difficult.  That, combined with the fact that I'm about to fall over from exhaustion, may result in less bloggage for the next little while.  Just FYI.  Still love ya, though!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Giving Birth, Chapter 6

The days that followed were somewhat chaotic, punctuated by visits to the special care nursery.  I was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, and our doctor told us she believed little Wooble would be able to go home the next day.  Unfortunately, when we went to visit him later that afternoon, we discovered that the issues he'd been having were more serious than they'd thought.  Overall, he was doing very well.  He ate voraciously, slept deeply, and launched poop at the various nurses who tried to change him.  However, his breathing wasn't as good as it should have been.  He had episodes where he would forget to breathe, which would in turn affect his heart rate.  The nature of these episodes was such that he needed to be monitored for seven days without a recurrence before they would let him go home. 

Thus began our daily trek to the hospital.  For awhile, while my mom was here and we had a babysitter, we were able to visit him together.  Then my mom went home, and Hubby had to go back to work, and so we would meet at the hospital on his lunch break and take turns.  One would stay with the Schprid while the other would go in, say hi to Wooble, and check on his progress.

For a few days, they had him on an oxygen tube.  He didn't need "oxygen," per se, but it did help him to have the air slightly more available to him than it otherwise would have been.  That only lasted a couple of days.  Then his bilirubin levels went too high, and we walked into the nursery to discover that his bed had been upgraded to a lidded variety and he had a constant light shining on him.  To protect his eyes, they'd given him a purple mask that velcroed on.  The tabs from the velcro stuck straight out from his face, and the overall look gave the impression of a martian baby.  It wasn't serious; he got over the jaundice before I got over the shock of seeing him like that enough to bring in my camera and take a picture. 

At one point, one of the nurse practitioners came to talk to us.  She said that he wasn't responding quite as well as they would have hoped to some of their treatments.  In fact, they'd start treating one thing, and another little issue would come up.  Nothing was terribly serious, but the overall effect was worrisome.  They needed to run the full gamut of tests, including taking spinal fluid, inserting a catheter, and doing brain scans.  That was a hard day.  Wooble and I both shed some tears, and Hubby valiantly tried to distract us both. 

Fortunately, the tests they ran came back showing that everything was normal.  No swelling in his brain, no infections.  Of course, that wasn't quite enough to really reassure them, and so they also started him on a complete regimen of antibiotics.  At first they were able to administer the antibiotics through the IV on his hand, but eventually that went bad and they had to put one in his head.  Apparently it's better for babies, but it sure looked awful.  That one went bad, as well, and they inserted another one a few days later.  I'm glad I wasn't there for either of those procedures.

Finally, one day we came in to find that he looked almost like a normal baby.  They'd taken the tube out of his head, his jaundice had cleared up, and the only monitors they still had on him connected to his foot.  And, they just wrapped around his foot, rather than being anything intrusive.  A few days later, two weeks after he was born, we were able to bring him home and be a family.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giving Birth, Chapter 5

It took a few minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive.  To me, it felt like forever.  But, arrive he did, and then they asked me to sit up.

As soon as I did, the pain eased somewhat.  Again, if I'd been better able to think, I may have just asked if I could labor in that position for awhile, without the epidural.  At the same time, having already asked for an epidural, maybe I would have just gone through with it.  I hate being wishy-washy.

The anesthesiologist was, I believe, rather amiable.  He asked after Ryan's hand, and laughed when he heard that the bandage was precautionary.  He stuck a needle into my back to numb me before he put in the actual epidural.  It was a little bit of a shock, but didn't hurt too bad.  He was good enough to do things in between contractions.  I tried hard to sit still so that nothing would slip and accidentally paralyze me. 

I didn't know what was going on, really, when he actually did the epidural.  I do know, however, that he sprayed my entire back with an adhesive.  I think he placed a bandage or something over that to keep everything in place as I was delivering the baby.  That was a weird feeling. 

After that, things seemed to slowly calm down.  As the drugs took effect, the contractions eased in intensity until I was able to breathe normally, think calmly, and hold Hubby's hand without hurting him.  I carefully lay back down and a nurse checked me.  I didn't care what she found.  I could tell, though, that the contractions were such that I could push the baby out.  If I hadn't had the epidural, nothing would have been able to stop me from pushing at that point.  However, my doctor wasn't there, so I decided to wait.  That was also a weird feeling, knowing that the baby was right there and ready, but that I could choose to hold off for a little while.

When the doctor finally did show up, I heard the nurse tell her that I was "complete."  I'm assuming that meant I was finally at a 10.  I'm pretty sure the epidural helped me to get there, because I was able to relax.  That was nice.  The doctor asked how I was feeling, and I told her I felt good, and I was pretty sure it was time.  She and a nurse helped me get my legs up in the stirrups, and she told me she could see his head.  Crazy.

The birth itself was a little anticlimactic, for me.  Granted, the pushing itself was rougher than I was expecting, just because I hadn't felt the conctractions up until that point.  Still, it went smoothly, and I didn't even tear.  Can't tell you how nice that was. 

For Wooble, it was a little more traumatic.  He tried to come out face-up.  When his head was halfway out, he decided that wasn't a good idea and he turned over to come out the right way.  That bruised up his face quite a bit and contributed to some jaundice later on, but otherwise the whole thing went pretty well for him.  He didn't think so, though.  He came out crying louder than Schprid cried in her first 3 months of life.  I got to hold him, briefly.  I remember thinking that his nose was squished very flat against his face, and that he was darker than any of our children had a right to be.  He looked like a little Indian baby!  All in all, while I loved him dearly, he was a little funny-lookin'. 

After that, it was all about recovering.  Wooble got taken to the nursery to monitor some wheezing when he breathed.  After a couple hours, I got wheeled into a recovery room.  It was four hours before I got to see him again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Giving Birth, Chapter 4

The doctor directed the nurses to give me a little pitocin, to see if we could get things started again.  I was nervous about that, truthfully, given my last birth and how much the pitocin made the contractions hurt.  Still, there wasn't much else to do at that point, so they put me on the lowest dose.  The plan was to keep me on the pitocin until my water broke or until the clock pointed to an hour that didn't constitute the middle of the night, at which point my doctor would come in to break my water.

It started to become a reality for me, then.  I was having a baby.


Since it was official at this point, Hubby and I took some precautions.  I clipped all my fingernails short.  He wrapped his hand in an ace bandage.  We had learned, the last time around, that I will break the skin on his hands after only a few contractions.  It never quite got to that point; he'd found a rag to wrap around his hand before too much time had passed.  Still, we figured it would be good to minimize his pain this time around.

Again, or perhaps still, we waited.  I still dozed in and out a little bit from the morphine, but I was definitely more awake than I'd been for the beginning of the night.  I felt the contractions pick up a little bit, but nothing that really helped things progress.  In fact, I stayed at a 7 for the next few hours until my doctor came in.  They even upped my dosage of pitocin, but I felt no different from it.

When the doctor arrived, I fought a desperate fear.  My doctor is awesome; she's very personable and friendly, and happens to be pregnant herself.  However, when Schprid was born, they had to break my water and the very next contraction was the most painful thing I've ever felt in my life.  Hence, this time around, I was scared to pieces.  The doctor and I chatted for a couple minutes, then she broke my water and left.  I waited tensely for the next contraction to hit.

Fortunately, my pitocin dosage was much lower this time around, and there was very little difference between the contractions before and after she broke my water.  I was relieved about that, but still a little nervous.  I remembered birth not being fun the last time around.

As I lay there, Hubby holding my hand, the contractions started to build in intensity.  I imagine I felt more like what normal women feel when they go into labor naturally.  Once they started, however, the intensity built quickly.  It wasn't long before I felt like my body was being torn into pieces.  I whimpered, moaned, squeezed, and at one point even bit Hubby's hand.

For all this time, I had been on my back.  However, I remembered last time I liked being on my side for some of the contractions, simply because I felt that my body was doing what it needed to do to push the baby out.  This time, when I tried rolling to my side, I felt like the same terrible pain that had before been somewhat localized around my hips was instead able to explode all through my back, belly, and even my legs to some degree.  That obviously wasn't going to work.

Hubby was great.  He did everything this time that he'd done before.  He held my hand, he talked to me about happy things.  He tried to talk me through it.

But this time, he was my only support.  I hadn't done much to prepare myself mentally for the rigors of giving birth, and the doctors and nurses were far less involved this time than they were last time.  If I had been able to think about it, I would have realized that the benefit of having a midwife over a regular doctor is that they are trained in natural techniques, in helping to minimize the pain.  I would have realized that doctors, with every good intention, have themselves become so dependent on drugs that they have lost the ability to help deal with the mental and physical stress of having a baby.  I would have realized that, even though I hadn't felt most of it, my body had been laboring through the night and I was tired.  I would have remembered that I hadn't eaten dinner the night before, and so I didn't have the strength that I normally do. 

However, I wasn't able to think my way logically through what was happening.  Instead, I was the one actually dealing with the pain.  Every minute or two, another wave of pain would threaten to tear me apart.  I had little time to recover from one before another would hit.  To make matters worse, the nurses would occasionally check me and report that I still had not progressed beyond a 7.  With all of these factors working against me, I surrendered.  I want to say that I broke, that I really couldn't take it anymore.  The truth is, I simply didn't want to.  I found that I no longer cared about things I thought were supposed to be important to me.

And so, I asked for an epidural.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Giving Birth, Chapter 3

Another hour.  I was at a 5 1/2. 

Really?  A 5 1/2?  Everything was still in question, so we decided to press the issue.  With morphine.  The idea was that if it wasn't real labor, the morphine would stop the contractions and I could go home.  If, however, it was real labor, I would just get some pain relief for a few hours.  While I wasn't in a lot of pain, I was okay with the idea of having some pain relief in case it hit.

Have I ever mentioned that I like morphine?  I've had it a few other times in my life, and the stuff is great.  I got sleepy, and a little silly, and I just didn't care how I may have sounded when I said things.  I started talking about China, I believe.  I remember telling the nurse that I wasn't as loopy as I sounded when I said something she was pulling out smelled like China.  Looking back, I was pretty loopy.  While it doesn't make a great part of the story, this was probably my favorite part of the whole experience.  Ah, morphine.  :)

An hour later, I was at a 6.  After another hour, I was at 6 1/2.  I slept through most of it.  It was great.  Poor hubby alternated between sleeping in the chair at the side of my bed, holding my hand, and curled up in the most uncomfortable couch he's been in since Schprid was born. 

After a couple more hours, I was somewhere between a 6 1/2 and a 7.  The drugs started to wear off.  I wistfully watched them go and wondered what was going to happen in my life.  I still wasn't really convinced that it was time for me to have a baby.  The whole thing just didn't seem real.

At around 3 in the morning, a nurse came in and told me that the contractions had stalled.  Apparently my body has no idea how to do the labor thing.  She also told me that they couldn't send me home at a 7, so they were trying to contact my doctor.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Giving Birth, Chapter 2

We arrived at the hospital approximately 20 minutes later and we walked up to the door, announced our presence, and were ushered into the "natural birthing room."  I was told to put on one of those lovely hospital robes that has no discernable shape that fits over the human body.  I had to ask Hubby to come in and help me.  I don't know how he knew how to put it on; he's never been admitted to a hospital before. He seemed to get it right, though.  At least, we never heard anything derogatory about how it was put together.  Is it weird that I'm apparently fixated on the hospital robe?

Anyway, I laid down in the hospital bed and one of the nurses came in to attach a couple of monitors to me and check to see how far along I was.  The nurse thought I was 90% effaced and dilated to a 4.  They decided to wait an hour before officially admitting me to the hospital.  If I had progressed, then I was almost definitely in labor.  If not, then they'd send me home.

We settled in to wait.  Before long, we were wishing we had brought books to read.  At the same time, Hubby and I have always had interesting conversations, so we talked.  We called my friend who was scheduled to come over to our house for dinner that night and told her we'd have to cancel.  We twiddled our thumbs.  We decided not to call family members until we knew more about what was going on.  Through all of this, the contractions faded somewhat, then picked up in intensity, then faded again.  They never comepletely went away, though.

At the hour mark, the nurse came back in to check me again.  Apparently I was dilated to a 5.  I had progressed, but not enough to really say I was in labor.  They decided to wait another hour before officially admitting me.

Through all of this, they were keeping in contact with my doctor.  She was delivering another baby at another hospital, but was advising them in what to do with me.  If I had been further along in the pregnancy, they may have given me something to speed things along.  If I had been less than 36 weeks, they may have given me something to stop me progressing any further.  As it was, I just at the border of every deciding factor, and so they mostly left me alone.  And so we waited.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Giving Birth, Chapter 1

It was Sunday.  Church had been spiritually uplifting, but physically miserable.  Besides the fact that sitting for 3 hours on hard chairs would hard on any pregnant lady, our building was kept warm enough to overcompensate for the winter weather outside.  When we arrived home, I was swollen, sore, and hungry.  I kicked off my shoes and we had enough time to eat lunch before the contractions started.  At first, of course, they were nothing to worry about.  They were more intense than I'd felt before, and I paid attention to them, but I really didn't think they were anything strong enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.  We worked on dishes, thought about putting Schprid down for a nap, and generally settled in to enjoy a Sunday afternoon.

After 15 minutes or so, after Hubby had firmly put me down in a rocking chair and insisted on taking care of the chores for a while, the contractions picked up in intensity.  They were sharp enough that I noticed a change in my breathing.  Since the doctor had told me to go to the hospital with such contractions, I mentioned the possibility of that need to Hubby.  He immediately became a flurry of activity that almost surprised me.  After all, it was 3 weeks early.  The contractions weren't that bad.  Going to the hospital was more precautionary than anything.  Yet within minutes, the love of my life was on the phone to a friend who had offered to babysit our little girl for us.  He gathered up hospital bags, switched carseats, and pried the Schprid away from the keyboard where she was blithely playing "The Entertainer," completely oblivious of how her life was about to change. 

For that matter, I was a little oblivious myself.  During all this, I felt contractions, kept my feet up, and apologized as much as I felt I could for being such an inconvenience to everyone.

With the animals fed, Schprid packed off for the evening, and the house locked up, we made our way down the road to the hospital.  The contractions varied in intensity and length apart, further adding to my conviction that this would be a short stay at the hospital and I wasn't really done being pregnant, yet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wooble Pictures

Here, for the first time ever seen anywhere, we have Wooble pictures!  Bon apetit!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Poll Results, Again

Man, you guys are good!  You voted we were having a boy, and we did!  You voted he would come early, and he did!  You voted we would name him Rafe, and we did!  There was a tie for the middle name, so let me just say, his full name is:

Rafe Kenneth Roberts

Welcome to the world, little boy!

He was born on Monday, March 7, 2011, at 8:56 AM.  He was 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 19.5 inches long.  He was also 3 weeks early, just 3 days shy of being considered full-term.  He has dark skin, darker hair, and we wonder where on earth that coloring came from, because the rest of his little family is about as fair as can be.

So far, he eats well and poops even better.  He sleeps like the dead and only wakes up when he's hungry or being poked by something sharp.

Unfortunately, the latter has happened a lot in his little life.

Because he was born so early, and because he's a boy, he's not as mature as he should be at this age.  His breathing was labored when he came out, and so he was taken into the special care unit at the hospital.  He has little episodes where he forgets to breathe.  At the hospital, it's not a major problem.  They have several monitors on him that beep whenever this happens.  They basically rub his head or his tummy and that's enough to remind him of that constant little chore.  At home, it would be more of an issue because we have no such monitors and there'd be nothing to remind him to keep breathing.  I hate to think of the consequences.

The doctors aren't terribly worried, but just to rule out the possiblities of infections or of something truly abnormal, they've tested his blood, his brain, his spinal fluid, and his urine.  They've pumped him full of antibiotics and tried to give him a catheter.  He firmly rejected that idea.  I can't say I blame him.

At this point, he's still in the hospital, and will be until seven days after his last episode of forgetting to breathe.  At this point, we're hopeful that we'll be able to bring him home next Saturday.  In the meantime, I'll freely admit that I'm loving being able to sleep through the night as I heal, safe in the knowledge that there is a well-trained staff looking after my baby.

A couple of nights ago, we went to give him a blessing.  It went really well.  Because of the blessing, I'm not worried about little Rafe.  At the same time, I continually pray that we'll be able to bring him home soon.  Any other prayers for his health would be greatly appreciated.  :)

Okay... sorry this post took so long to post.  There will be more in the next few days... you know, the birth story, how Schprid is responding to all this, pictures, etc.  In the meantime, thanks to everyone for the warm comments on facebook... and, I'm assuming in advance, here too!  ;)

Lots of love!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Schprid's Christmas Present

 So, we finally redid the Princess Room for Schprid's main Christmas Present.  And I finally have a camera with which to take pictures of said room.  It went from this:
Note the too-bright walls,
Recurring, hit-you-over-the-head Princess theme, broken wall lights,

and dark purple carpet.
 To this:
So much lighter!

Oops... that butterfly is doing a nosedive off the window...

I like the colors.  Very feminine.

No more broken lights!

Schprid was enjoying jumping on her freshly-made bed during some of these...

You can't see it, but there are pretty little butterflies on these see-through curtains.

The butterflies on the walls are 3D.  They originate at the wall, and then stick out about a foot by the time you reach the wingtips.  So pretty! 

The carpet made a huge difference, too.  No more dark purple!!!
We're all pretty happy with how it turned out... minus the yellow pjs that should have been in the laundry for this picture...

We had the dresser and bookcase already, thanks to Grammy and some ingenuity.  The rest of the decor actually came from my little sister, who has outgrown such things as butterflies in her bedroom.  Schprid, however, will enjoy them for years to come.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heebie Jeebie Smoothie

Yesterday, I made a smoothie for lunch.  Headline news, I know.  The story gets better, but in the meantime, here's my fail-proof recipe for a fantastic smoothie:

Frozen fruit
Minute Maid Cherry Limeade
Blend well
Feel free to add other ingredients if desired.  Yesterday I added baby carrots and vanilla yogurt.  Didn't change the taste at all, but it did feel a little healthier.  For frozen fruit, I usually get the tropical fruit blend (already frozen) from Costco.  Good stuff.

Anyway, I threw the ingredients into the blender and grabbed the lid.  As I flipped it over onto the blender, a spider flew out and onto (thankfully) the outside of the blender.  Then he started crawling around in a panic, looking for somewhere to hide.  I gave him the nice cozy fold of a paper towel that then got thrown into the nice dark toilet and flushed down into the even darker pipes.  I hope he's happier now.

You know that creepy-crawly feeling you get when you find a bug crawling on you?  And then for the next ten minutes you twitch at every little thing that might happen to touch your skin, including your clothes?  Yeah, that feeling is worse when you don't know if maybe there's a spider you missed that ended up in your smoothie.

Mmmm... protein.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Poll Happy

Polls are fun.  Don't you think so?  I like them.  Hence, today, I'm putting up two polls at once.  Woohoo!  Let's get crazy!

They are related, though.  We don't want to get too crazy.

Here's the deal: we still don't know what to name this kid.  We have decided to decide at the hospital, after we've met him.  Until that point, we are still up for suggestions.  We do want to use the initials RKR, after his Daddy.  For first names, we like Rafe and Ryder.  For middle names, we like Kenton and Kenneth.

Here are the facts.

Rafe is a good name, despite the fact that Ben Affleck's character in Pearl Harbor is named Rafe.  It's an obscure enough character that it shouldn't be remembered much in the course of our little boy's life.  It has a good meaning, it's simple, it's strong.  At the same time, picture this:  I'm at the park, dealing with three other kids, and Rafe mischievously runs off.  I can't very well run after him because, like I said, I'm dealing with three other kids.  Instead, I call out to him.  "Rafe!  Rafe!"  I could see that getting some interesting looks from those who don't know us and can't necessarily hear that the consonant I'm using is an "f" rather than a "p."  And you know that scenario is going to happen a time or two.  It has been suggested that I add in some context such as "Rafe, come here!" which would lead to less confusion, but in the heat of that moment, will I really be thinking about context?

Ryder is a good name.  There aren't many people who have the name.  It's good, solid, strong.  At the same time, I worry about it being connected with riding horses... or even riding in cars.  (Despite his parents, the kid may end up loving cars, who knows?)  It's sortof like the hippies who name their daughter "Cloud."  Cool name, sure.  Did you really have to go with such an obvious reference to your culture?  Plus, at family reunions we would end up with a Ryan, a Ryder, and a Rydan.  If that won't twist your tongue, I don't know what will!

On to middle names.

Both Kenneth and Kenton are good middle names, I think.  If he decides to go by his middle name at some point, either could be shortened to Ken and be perfectly respectable in any business situation, I think.  I don't like the sound of Kenneth quite as much, but it is a family name and is perfectly acceptable for a middle name.  Kenton is cooler, but also weirder.

So, please vote on what names you prefer.  If you select other, then a comment on this post with other options would be most appreciated.

One final note- it has been suggested that we name our child Russell Krow.  I would like to state for the record that I will not, under any circumstances, be using that particular suggestion.  I'm sorry if that's what you were going to recommend. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Poll Results

I love you all.

These last couple of weeks, I've had a poll up where you could vote on when Wooble will make his grand entrance. 15 people voted. 4 of you voted that Wooble would come on time. 10 votes were for an early appearance. Hubby's vote was offline, but his was the only one for late. (Not that he's wishing that on me... he's just feeling pessimistic. Plus, I think he's a little nervous. Having been induced last time around, neither of us has dealt with having to figure out when I'm in labor. Truthfully, I'm a little nervous about that, too!)

Anyway, the point is, thank you all for the votes for Wooble coming early or on time. Your predictions that he would be a boy came true, so here's hoping this one does, too.