Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kieran's Hospital Stay

As I mentioned in his birth post, Kieran had difficultly regulating his blood sugars when he was born. A few moments after birth, his blood sugar level was in the 40s, when it should have been in the 60s or higher. Another check five minutes later, and his level had dropped down to 33. Once a baby's blood sugar level drops down to 30 or below, they can have seizures, and since I wasn't able to breastfeed quite yet (still getting my abdomen stitched up and all,) Kieran was given an ounce of formula to bring his level up.

After I was stitched up and moved to my original labor and delivery room, Kieran was brought in for about 30 minutes so we could bond and try to breastfeed. We were able to breastfeed for about 10 minutes on each side. As I was moved to our postpartum room, Kieran was brought back to the nursery to get the Vitamin K shot and eye ointment. Around 2:30 or 3 in the morning, he was brought into our postpartum room and we were told that his blood sugar level was not as high as the pediatrician wanted, but it were high enough for him to room with us.

At 6 am, a nurse from the nursery came in to check his levels again via a pin prick to his heel. Unfortunately his level had dropped again, so he was taken to the nursery to get an IV placed so sugar water could be administered to keep his level up.

Unfortunately the nurses had a difficult time placing the IV, so Kieran had bruises in both hands, both feet, and his arms from them trying. As much as I wish I was there to comfort him, I'm glad they did the IV in the nursery because I don't know if I would have been able to handle his cries from them poking him over and over again. 

We were told that to keep his level up, we would have to feed him a bottle of formula every 3 hours (which was equal to 2 ounces,) as well as trying to nurse and letting him get any colostrum/milk from me he could. After nursing I was to pump to try and get my milk to come in quicker. Feeding him every 3 hours during the day wasn't too bad, but at night, he'd want to sleep through at least one feed, most of the time the one at 3 am. We'd un-swaddle him, tickle his feet, rub his back with cold hands, whatever we could do to keep him awake long enough to at least get him to drink the bottle. 

For the first two days we were in the hospital, I wasn't getting anything when I pumped, but eventually I was getting a milliliter or two of colostrum that we'd suck up into a syringe and feed him. 

I can't explain how ecstatic we were when I started getting colostrum. Finally my body was starting to produce something my baby needed, something that would eventually turn into milk so that I could keep my baby's level in check. 

When Kieran first got his IV, the machine was set to "16" (we're not sure what the number meant, it somehow corresponded to how much of the sugar water he was getting.) We were told that each time his sugar numbers came back at a 60 or higher, the number would get bumped down two points and once it was at "0," he would be able to be taken off the IV to see if his body could regulate itself. Once he was able to go a day with his body regulating his blood sugar correctly, he could go home. 

A nurse would come by every 6 hours to check his blood sugar levels with a pin prick in the heel (6 am, noon, 6 pm and midnight.) Some of the nurses were wonderful at pricking and squeezing his tiny heel quickly to get the blood and then allowing me to nurse him, but some nurses had a lot of difficulty getting any blood out which forced them to prick him all over again and made him wail. Eventually we learned that if his heel was heated up with a warm washcloth for a few minutes before the prick, his blood would flow easier. By the time we left the hospital, both heels were purple from being stuck so often. 

Our hospital stay was full of ups and downs when it came to his blood sugar levels. I remember feeling so defeated, especially when I wasn't producing anything to feed him. It felt like Kieran would be in the hospital for weeks and we started getting worried about what would happen if I was discharged before he was. Thankfully we learned that our hospital room would transfer to his name for insurance purposes, but we'd be able to all stay together until he was ready to go home. 

Eventually, his body began figuring things out and we slowly started bumping the numbers on his IV machine down. We did have a small bump in the road when his IV line became clogged so they had to take him back to the nursery and place it in his other foot. Saturday morning we finally bumped it down to "0" and he got unhooked from the IV machine. They kept the line in his foot just in case they needed to start the IV up again, but for the first time, we were able to move about our room freely with him. No more worrying about crimping the line when we swaddled him, or worrying about pulling it out when I was nursing. 

Sunday, we were given the ok to head home, all three of us. We were instructed to continue feeding him formula and breast milk every three hours until his follow up appointment at a week old. At that appointment, we were told to stop the formula and to only breastfeed. We were pretty excited when we heard that; we had run out of the premade bottles of formula the hospital had given us, and while we thankfully had a sample of the same formula at the house that had been sent to us, we were really hoping we wouldn't have to buy any.  

Even though I understand why we had to feed him so much, I do think it caused us a few problems once we came home and he was off the formula. I wasn't (and still am not) making as much as he was getting when he'd eat a 2 ounce bottle and then feed from me. For about a week, we had a very fussy, hungry baby because we'd basically taken half of his meals away. We had stretched his cherry sized stomach so much that it took a while for it to shrink down again to the size it should be at his age. Thankfully we have (mostly) moved past that, and it looks like I'm able to feed him enough to keep him satisfied....for a few hours at least. 

Just like the birth, our hospital stay was nothing like I had imagined it. I am so thankful that we had an amazing hospital staff who first of all realized that Kieran's blood sugar level was a problem, but also stuck with us to make sure we were able to go home together. We had some of the most compassionate nurses who really tried to cause the least amount of pain to Kieran, and a wonderful lactation consultant who helped us figure out breastfeeding when we could barely get him to wake up. We also had two great pediatricians who never made me feel like his condition was my fault, even though it technically was caused by my gestational diabetes. 

Our experience definitely made me have even more respect for families who have children in the NICU or in the hospital for any length of time. We were only confined by one IV line; I couldn't imagine trying to hold and care for your child when they're hooked up to so many machines. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Kieran's Birth Story Part 2

After Dr. L said the words "c-section," the whole room burst into a flurry of excitement.

Surgery nurses came in and starting prepping us. A nurse shaved the surgery area, I got a hair net, and Dr. L left to prep. They didn't want any metal in surgery, so I had to take out my earrings and take my bra off which was difficult since I was hooked up to an IV and epidural. I told the nurses they could cut it off, but they were determined to take it off in one piece. I also had to drink seltzer water to neutralize my stomach acid so I wouldn't throw up during surgery. The anesthesiologist came in to give me a second dose of epidural and Jennifer placed a catheter. Keegan and I said goodbye to my mom, dad and sister, and I was wheeled down the hall.

Keegan was told to wait outside of the surgery room while they prepped me. I was transferred to the surgery bed and the nurses started doing the prep work, including swabbing my stomach. The blue sheet was placed just under my chin and I got warm blankets placed on my arms which were strapped to the edge of the bed. The anesthesiologist came in and gave me medications for nausea and my nerves because I couldn't stop my body from shaking. The anesthesiologist also had an assistant who explained to me everything the doctors were doing and what sensations I would feel during the process which I really apprecaited.

Around 11:50, Keegan was brought in, sat by my head and held my hand. Dr. L started cutting, and every time she would cauterize a cut, my stomach muscles would involuntarily jump. At 12:07ish, Kieran was worked out of the birth canal and Dr. L asked Keegan to stand up, look over the blue sheet and see Kieran be pulled out. At 12:09, Kieran was born and we heard his first cries.

Kieran was handed off to the pediatrician, Dr. W, who brought him over to the warmer. He was wiped down and given his first APGAR check. Dr. L had left the umbilical cord long so that Keegan could cut it, which he did at this time. Kieran was then brought over to me for a few seconds on his way to the nursery. Dr. L sewed me up, I was given more pain medications and another dose of medicine to stop my shaking.

In the nursery, Kieran was generally checked over, and his heel was pricked to check his blood sugars which came back at a 43. Dr. W called down to the OR to see if I had been transferred to the recovery room and was able to breastfeed to bring up Kieran's blood sugar levels, but I was still in surgery. After 5 minutes, they checked his levels again and they had decreased to 33. Around 30, babies can have seizures from low blood sugar, so it was decided he had to be given formula to try and bring his levels up.

I was eventually moved back to my original Labor and Delivery room and got to see Kieran for about 30 minutes in which we breastfed. Unfortunately I don't remember any of this time. I'm not sure if it's due to the medications or to the shock my body went through, but I have no recollection of those few minutes. After Kieran breastfed, they checked his levels again and they came back at a 43.

Kieran was eventually brought back to the nursery to get bathed and warmed up. Afterwards, we were moved to our mother and baby room where we would stay for the next few days. Dr. L later told us that Kieran's head measured at 14.5 inches and was way too big to fit through my pelvis. He also has broad shoulders, so if his head had managed to make it through the birth canal, they would have had to break his collar bone to fit his shoulders through. Even though our delivery was the complete opposite of what we wanted and planned for, I'm thankful that we had a doctor who was able to recognize the dangers and delivered our son safely.

Kieran's Birth Story Part 1

You can say that things really started with Kieran's birth on Tuesday, August 12. Keegan and I went into my last OB appointment at 40 weeks and 2 days, and it was decided that we'd induce the next day due to Kieran's projected size (he was measuring 8 pounds, 6 ounces at our ultrasound two weeks prior.)

My parents and youngest sister were already on their way down to stay with us for a few days after the birth and they arrived around 9 that night. After some catching up, we decided to head to bed because we had to be at the hospital at 7 am the next day.

Come Wednesday, Keegan, my mom, and myself got up at 6, made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and went to the hospital (we decided my dad and sister would come to the hospital later on once things got rolling.) We arrived at the Emergency room around 7 and began the check in process. Unfortunately Labor and Delivery had experienced a very busy night, so there wasn't a room immediately available. We decided to wait in the Labor and Delivery waiting room instead of the Emergency room for a room to become available.

Approximately 7:30, Keegan and I were brought into a Labor and Delivery triage room to begin monitoring. Baby and I had to be monitored for about 20 minutes before they were willing to start the Pitocin. We were excited to find out that our nurse, Chelsea, from our preterm labor scare would be our nurse that day as well!

8:15 we were brought into our labor room. I changed into the hospital gown, but kept my bra on for comfort (this will become important later on in the story.) After a quick set of vitals were taken, I got an IV in my left wrist and Pitocin was started at the lowest dose and set to increase every 10 minutes until my contractions were to my OB's liking.

The contractions I was getting from the Pitocin were manageable, but I was had the worst back pain of my life that didn't stop in between contractions and was absolutely exhausting. Around 11:30, I asked for my first dose of IV pain medications. I'm pretty sure that if I didn't have the back pain, I would have been able to labor without medications of any sort.

At 1:05, I felt a pop and a huge gush of liquid, my water broke! The next few contractions after my water broke were the most intense feeling I had ever felt in my life. I ended up asking for an epidural to try and combat the back pain and allow my body to rest. Chelsea checked me and said I was at a 4 and hadn't really progressed much.

We waited for about an hour and a half for the anesthesiologist, and right before he walked in, Chelsea decided to check me again and announced I had progressed to an 8! I decided not to get the epidural because I figured if I had progressed that far, I could make it the rest of the way without the epidural. There was a flurry of excitement; the nurses brought in a large table with all of the equipment needed for delivery because everyone thought I would be delivering within the hour!

I labored another 1-2 hours in which my body started spontaneously pushing. It was the weirdest feeling, I would get a contraction and I could feel the muscles in my abdomen contract and push down. Everyone was telling me not push because I wasn't fully dialted, but it was something I couldn't control!

Dr. L came in to check me and said that she believed I was only at a 6 which was the most heartbreaking thing to hear. She also said that my cervix was swelling from the pushing, so she suggested getting an epidural to let my body relax and stop the pushing urges. While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist, I decided to get a second dose of IV pain medications which relaxed my body enough to labor to a 7 when I was checked again right before getting the epidural.

At this point of labor, I don't remember much because I was in such a zone trying to manage the contractions. I do know that my mom, sister and Keegan were asked to leave the room by the anesthesiologist and I remember trying to tell the anesthesiologist that I had had 4 spinals previously so I was nervous about getting the epidural. Everything went fine, thankfully, and the epidural felt amazing. The next few hours were spent sitting around, talking, and finishing our game of Ticket to Ride that Keegan and I had begun earlier in the day.

Chelsea eventually ended her shift, and we met our new nurse, Jennifer. Around 9 pm, Jennifer checked me and I was fully dilated with only a bit of a cervix lip left. Jennifer announced we were ready to push, so we did a few practice pushes and the cervix lip moved. Due to the epidural, I had to have Keegan or Jennifer tell me when a contraction was starting so I could push. I was able to feel the back pain during a few of them, but I wasn't able to feel anything in my stomach. During the pushing stage, the epidural started to wear off, and we eventually had to call for a second dose due to my increase in back pain and feeling returning to my right side.

In total, I ended up pushing for two hours. We got close enough that we could see Kieran's hair when I'd push, but he got stuck behind my pubic bone. Around 11, Dr. L came in to check on our progress and looked at the printout of the contractions and Kieran's heartbeat. Dr. L ripped off the sheet and started looking at it closely with our nurse, Jennifer. She eventually told us that Kieran's heartbeat had started to decelerate at the beginning of my contractions and accelerating at the end, which was concerning. After some time, his heartbeat would decelerate in between contractions which made her believe he was in distress and a c-section was necessary.

She also checked me once more, felt Kieran's head and agreed it was stuck behind my pubic bone. She felt the top and bottom of his head and decided that it was too large to fit through my pelvis, another reason why a c-section was necessary...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

He's Here!

Kieran Brian was born on Thursday, August 14 at 12:09 am.

He was 9 pounds, 1 ounce, 22 inches long with a head circumference of 14.5 inches.

We tried for a natural birth, but after about 14.5 hours of labor, Kieran was born via semi-emergency c-section. He had some complications with his blood glucose, but we were able to all come home on Sunday the 17th and are currently finding our rhythm as a family of three.

Birth story will be up shortly, but probably in multiple parts because it's a long one.

Thank you all for the love and support you've given Keegan, myself and our son. It absolutely means the world to us!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Breadcrumb Week 39

How far along: 39 weeks! 

Total Weight Gain/Loss: Up 24 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight as of 8/4. 

  • exhaustion 
  • loss of sex drive
  • getting winded easier
  • super vibrant dreams  
  • heartburn / acid reflux - This was just occurring during the night, but it's also been happening during the day as well this past week. 
  • I've officially had to go up a size in underwear. 
  • Gestational Diabetes 
  • General aches and pains. Hello third trimester! 
  • Increased discharge
  • Charlie Horse cramps
  • Two Three weeks of contractions after a bout that sent us to the hospital
  • A few days this last week I've had to take my rings off due to swelling. 

Maternity clothes: I have two shirts that fit now. I refuse to buy more maternity clothes, so they're just going to have to do!

Stretch marks: The ones I have are getting darker and longer. I now also have tiny ones on both sides of my hips. 

Sleep: I'm in love with my pregnancy pillow. I may not give it up after baby comes. 

Best moment last week: Keegan and I got to have a weekend of "lasts before baby comes." We went out for our anniversary, went shopping to stock up on a few necessities (but of course forgot the toilet paper, the main reason we went!) and just generally hung out. 

Movement: Movement has slowed down a lot. I still feel him at least once a day, but they're slow sweeps across my stomach and small bouts of hiccups. 

Food cravings: Water, I can't get enough! I'm also loving fresh fruit.

Gender: Our little man!

Labor signs: As of 8/4 I'm 100% effaced, 3 centimeters dilated and my cervix has "moved in front of the baby instead of being behind his head." Breadcrumb is measuring 8 pounds, 6 ounces according to the ultrasound. 

Belly button? Pretty much completely flat! The top of my belly button is sticking out a bit, but you can't see it though my shirt yet. 

What I miss: I want a fountain Coke, alfredo, and a chocolate cupcake after delivery.    

What I am looking forward to: Our little man getting here! As everyone has been saying, it could be any day now! 

Baby Buys: Nothing. Saving any baby buys for until after he gets here and we figure out if we need anything. 

Milestones: Woohoo 39 weeks! 


We had a long talk with our regular doctor, Dr. L, today and ultimately decided not to induce. We're not really sure why Dr. G brought up the idea of induction last week, but we're assuming it's something that she does with all of her patients. 

Dr. L said that we could have induced today if we wanted since from week 39 to week 40, all baby does is add on weight, but Keegan and I have never wanted to induce and we've wanted to do as natural a birth as possible which includes allowing baby to come when he wants. 

Since I'm progressing by myself (3 cm dilated, 100% effaced,) baby could come any day now. Dr. L said that since I'm so dilated, if my water breaks, I'll know for sure since it'll most likely come out as a huge gush. 

However, if I haven't gone into labor by our appointment next Tuesday, then we will induce. Dr. L doesn't want me to go much past 40 weeks due to the gestational diabetes and baby's size (he's measuring around 8 pounds, 6 ounces,) so we'll help things along with a bit of Pitocin. I really didn't want to use Pitocin, but Dr. L made a good case for it. I asked about cervical ripening medications, but Dr. L said that once that's inserted, what happens, happens (basically we don't have any way to control what's going on.) However with Pitocin, we can turn it up, down, or off, depending on how my body reacts. We're hoping baby will come on his own and we won't have to worry about induction at all, but if that doesn't happen, it's nice to have a plan. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Before The Baby Comes

The last few weeks, I've been making the joke that we've been doing "XYZ the last time before baby gets here!"

Went to the movies "last time before baby gets here!"

Took a trip to the big city "to stock up on supplies before baby gets here!"

Went out to dinner for my birthday "last time it'll be just the two of us before baby gets here!"

But then, on my way to work today, it hit me. If we end up inducing on Monday, or if Breadcrumb decides to make his debut this weekend, this was my last time of driving to work before baby gets here.

And I cried.

I cried because I think it finally hit me in my core that we're going to have a baby, a son. A little person who is going to rely on us for the rest of his life. A son who we will get the privilege to see grow up, become a man, and eventually start his own family.

These last few months, I think we've been going through the motions of getting ready for baby. Getting the nursery prepared, buying tiny clothes, having showers and installing carseats. Always in the back of our minds, we knew that someday in the near future, we'd have a little being wearing those clothes, sleeping in that crib, sitting in the carseat. But for me, it finally hit that this is actually happening. Something that we hoped for, tried so hard to achieve for over a year and a half is finally coming true.

I cried because I'm scared.

Sometimes, during one of my middle of the night pee breaks, it hits me how big of a task raising a child is. During those infant days, they rely on you for everything, and to be quite honest, I know next to nothing about raising a baby. Thankfully we have friends and families that will help us out, and I have the best support system in the world through all of the friendships I have made through this blog and Twitter. I also reassure myself that if Snooki can raise a baby, I'm sure we'll do just fine.

But it is scary. I'm not scared about the basic parenting motions, I'm scared of how to explain sex, wars, terrorist attacks, death, why my son's crush likes his best friend, the big things of the world. I hardly understand them myself, how am I supposed to explain them to another being in a way that will answer his questions, but not scare him of the big world out there?

I'm scared of labor, I'll admit it. At 36 weeks, when we went into Labor and Delivery for a preterm labor scare, I felt like I could handle labor and kick it's ass if it happened that day. I felt strong and ready to go through the pain to bring my baby boy into the world. However, after almost three weeks of intense contractions, my body is tired. My abdomen feels like a huge muscle that has been worked over and over again. I'm not sleeping well and it's taking a toll on me emotionally. Add on an induction and the potential use of medications to make my contractions more intense, and I'm scared I won't be able to handle labor with the strength and grace I once thought I had.

I've mentioned potentially using pain medications during labor and Keegan reminds me of the natural delivery we've both been hoping for and looking forward to this entire pregnancy. He's been such a rock for me throughout the entire pregnancy and our labor scare gave me a preview of how amazing he'll be when the big day comes. I know that ultimately getting Breadcrumb here safe and sound is what is important, no matter if that's through a natural delivery or a c-section. It just saddens me a bit to think about giving up the labor we've been dreaming of.

I think this outpouring of emotions is due to a mix of pregnancy hormones, lack of sleep and just feeling overwhelmed.

I'm so lucky to have Keegan as my husband, and I know that no matter how Breadcrumb comes into this world, Keegan will be there by my side, encouraging and loving me. If we end up inducing on Monday, I will also most likely be lucky enough to have my mom at the birth of my son which will be absolutely amazing.

Keegan and I are going to "live it up" this weekend. One more movie, one more trip to the big city to stock up on supplies, one more nice dinner (for our anniversary!) before baby comes. One more weekend of just the two of us with the cats. Two more days of sleeping in, of lazing around the house.

One more weekend of being just a family of two...before the baby comes.