Saturday, December 22, 2012

Balancing Act

Looking good in a hat
 So now that I'm back at work full time, the tattoo shop Ian's working at is up and running, and derby is back on my radar it's time to figure out how I can (or can't) balance all the stuff in my life I want to do.  That my friends, is proving to be quite the challenge.

Merry Christmas World!
My first full time week back at work was awful.  I forced myself to go into the office Monday through Thursday instead of working from home.  Not only that, but I had something going on every night that week...starting on Sunday with derby...babysitting Monday...derby Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday...it just got to be too much.  I felt like I was hardly seeing Ian and Rowan...something I did not like one bit.  So instead of going to derby on Thursday, I stayed home so we could have a family night.  It was much needed.  That week I realized that as much as I want to keep doing everything the same, that just wasn't an option. I wasn't so naive to know that I could keep the same pace/schedule/routine once Rowan was born, I just didn't know how it would all evolve and change.

Each week that I've been at work has gotten a little easier.  It helps that I have been taking advantage of my ability to work from home more and more.  Saving the 30 minute commute downtown each morning AND evening is a huge plus.  It enables me to actually work a 630-300 schedule.  I love getting off work early, though being ready to work at 630 is pretty hard.  Thankfully Rowan is usually waking up around 5 or 530 to eat, so he's a pretty effective alarm clock. 

Montana Moose Shirt!
Working from home has its own set of challenges though.  Ian and I have set it up so that I work up stairs and he watches Rowan downstairs.  Problems is I hear what's going on down there.  When Rowan's upset, I want to hold him-not that Ian's not capable of soothing Rowan, but that's what I want to do as his momma.  When Rowan's happy, I want to see what's making him giggle.  (FYI: Rowan thinks the Violent Femmes are HILARIOUS)  I want to listen to his stories and watch him play with his toys.  But...instead I focus on my work and enjoy feeding Rowan.  That's the only care taking job I have during the week when I work from home.  It's not much, but it gives me a little time each day with my little man.  I just substitute the time I'd spend pumping when at the office for time spent nursing.


Sleep boy
When I get off work, whether I worked from home or went into the office, I don't want to do anything but hang out with Rowan.  I want to see him play, read him stories, and listen to his words.  But then there's the evening activities...derby, cooking, laundry, cleaning, and giving myself time to relax too.  So how do I fit all that in between the hours of 3:00 and 8:00?  I don't.  Our laundry piles up...dog hair lives in our carpet...dishes stack up...and I'm OK with that.  Ian's been doing a lot more of the house chores.  I think he knows I want to see my little boy when I'm done with work and not multitask.  But he can only do so much too.  One the days he goes into the shop, he leaves when I get off work at 3:00.

Then there's this whole idea of spending time with Ian.  We still manage to find time together, but it's not as easy.  Some days I really miss Ian and feel like I hardly talk to him.  He's great at giving me space when I work from home, but on the days he goes to the shop we hardly see each other.  I'm in bed by the time he gets back, so it's a few minutes of talking before he leaves.  Thankfully we have at least one night a week and some time on weekends where we can all be together.  

I know we'll continue to work to find our rhythm.  I also know I'll have to let some things change and perhaps fizzle into the background.  I'm still not sure how it's going to look, but we'll figure it out day by day.  Each day we're figuring out a little bit more. Maybe by the time Rowan moves out we'll have it all figured out.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Talk much?

video
Saturday
Rowan has been talking all the time lately.  He's also discovered he really likes his soft octopus toy...though he gets very frustrated with it sometimes.  We're not quite sure what he wants it to do, but he'll be grabbing at it and then start crying because it's not doing what he wants.  Anyway, tonight he was playing with his octopus and telling him who's the boss in this house.  Had to capture it on camera.  Their conversation lasted for a while too.  Long enough for me to realize he was going to talk for a while, go get the camera, and take two 30 second videos...so I'm not exaggerating much when I say he probably talked to his octopus for about 5 minutes.  We'll see if Mr. Octopus behaves tomorrow when he and Rowan play...


Sunday...and oh so happy!
Also I'm pretty sure he grow overnight this weekend.  I woke up Sunday and I felt like I had a big baby boy in my house.  Thankfully I did snap a picture on Saturday and then another one on Sunday.  Looking at the pictures I don't see a huge difference.  But man...I felt like there was on Sunday.  Maybe it just took me until Sunday to realize that Rowan is 3 months old...and growing more every day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

3 months

It's hard to believe that Rowan is 3 months old now.  I know we haven't been parents all that long, but I'm already forgetting what life was like as a family of two...and I'm 100% OK with that.

So where to begin with what's been going on with our little man...

Rowan and Gigi (my Nana)
Rowan: He's still amazing.  He smiles all the time and even giggles every now and then.  I was putting him in his car seat the other day to go for a run (his car seat sets in our jogging stroller) and he got the giggles.  I'm not sure if he knew how badly that 'run' was going to go (first attempt at a real run since February was NOT pretty), but something certainly made him giggle.  He also got the giggles when I was singing Jiggle Bells the other day.  Every time I see his smile or hear his laugh my heart just melts a little more.  What's even better is seeing how much joy he brings other people.  He's a pretty special gift that's for sure.
 
Me, my brother, and Rowan in the backwoods of MN

His ulcerated hemangioma is still there, though looking a lot better.  At our last appointment with the dermatologist, she said there was no need to put him in the hospital for the oral medication.  She was surprised at how clean it looked...go us!  We're continuing to follow their 'gentle diaper care' recommendations and it looks like the ulceration is healing.  I'm guessing we'll continue to use washcloths and water for diaper changes while at home, but we may start using wipes while out an about.   So much easier to toss a wipe than to figure out what to do with a wet washcloth when you're traveling or running errands.

Rowan and Nana

We could not ask for better sleep patterns for this little guy.  He seems to like the 9:00 hour for his bed time, and then will sleep until 6...7...or even 8 without waking up.  Naps are still a little hit and miss, but we're figuring out that he likes to wake up, eat, and play for about an hour, then he's ready for a nap.  His naps are still pretty short (30-45 minutes), but we won't complain as long as he still sleeps so well at night.

Rowan did so very well on our trip up to MN for Thanksgiving too.  He slept for 90% of the 9 hour car ride.  We stopped every couple of hours for so he could get changed and eat.  I think Rowan was grateful for the breaks because he tried to make them last as long as possible.  When we stopped, we would change him and then I would nurse.  EVERY TIME I was nursing him, he pooped while eating so we had to change his diaper again.  I think it was his infantile way of protesting being stuck in the car seat for so long.  Both on the way to MN and on the way back he had a screaming fit for about 30 minutes on our last leg of the trip.  We couldn't do anything to make him happy so he just had to cry it out while we were holding his toy in front of him or letting him hold one of our fingers.  But...we all survived and had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Rowan even got to see his first snow...though I doubt it made much of an impression through the windows of the house.

Soaking up Nana cuddles

He is still growing, but his growth has definitely slowed down.  During the first two months he grew soooooo much!  Considering he started at 6lb 10oz, and was 11lb 4 oz at 2 months...that's a lot of weight to gain in a short time.  We won't have an update on his weight until his 4 month check, but I'm certain he hasn't gained another 4 1/2 pounds.  He's gained a few more rolls on his little body.  My favorites are the ones on his wrists and hands.  He's such a little chubster...I love it!  I'm glad he's slowed down a bit...because frankly, if he had kept up at his same pace, he would have been 50 pounds by his first birthday! (Ok...maybe not that much...but still!).  He was definitely going through a growth spurt earlier this week.  He's still wearing 3 month clothes, though some of them are starting to get a bit small.  
Papa and his grandsons

I have to admit...I've been awful about taking pictures this last month.  With trying to find that 'perfect balance' (more on that later) pictures are one thing that have gone by the wayside.  This month I'm going to try and get better.  I'm just thankful that my mom and sister-in-law were much better at documenting Rowan's first Thanksgiving and trip to Minnesota than me.  So these photos are all courtesy of them.

Yup...3 months old and a stud


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Great is Thy Faithfulness

I had possibly the best moment of my entire life today...I'm not even sure how to put it into words.  I just know it was a gift meant just for me.

It started in the kitchen doing one of my least favorite chores---the dishes.  Rowan was happily playing in his bouncy seat while I was washing dishes.  It was just the two of us at home.  I had some music playing in the background too.  When I was done with dishes, I got down on the floor in front of him and started singing along with the song.  It was past the first verse of Chris Rice's version of Come Thou Fount...so needeless to say I didn't know the words.  Skip skip went the iPod and it came to Great is Thy Faithfulness.  This one I knew a bit better, so I started singing along.  The whole time, Rowan had one of my fingers in each of his hands and was happily moving his arms to the music.  What made it even better, is that he was smiling bigger and brighter than I have ever seen and it seemed as if he was wanting to sing along with me.  It was so very special and my heart exploded with happiness.  I know...because it spilled out of my eyes. 

For a moment, I wished someone was there to capture the moment with a video camera.  But afterwards, I was so glad that moment was mine...something that only Rowan and I got to share.  It was such a gift, and something I am so very very thankful for.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2 months!

2 Months Old!
Wow...I did not realize it's been a full month since I posted last about anything, let alone Rowan.  I'm struggling to get back into the 'real world', but each day I'm taking a few more steps in that direction.  It's just hard to do anything when I could just sit and cuddle or play with Rowan all day.  Why do dishes or laundry when you can play with a cute little baby?  But alas...time has come for me to get back into the swing of the real world.

I've started doing derby again...slowly but surely.  The first week back was incredibly painful for my legs, but they are starting to get some strength back.  Now I just need to learn how hard I can push myself to get back into shape.  Though I still have about 10 pounds to loose before I'm back at pre-pregnancy weight, I'm more concerned with rebuilding my strength and endurance.

I've also started back at work.  I'm soooooo glad I will be working part time for a few weeks before jumping back in full time.  It's been wonderful easing back into the working world. 

Alright, now onto Rowan...the awesome little boy he is!  We went for his two month check right at 8 weeks because we wanted to have a spot on his butt looked at again by our doctor (more on that in a minute).  He is doing perfectly.

-Rowan measured at 11 lb 4 oz (44th percentile) and 23 inches (62nd percentile)
-He got his first round of shots...his reaction was pretty much exactly this scene from Elf.  Poor guy screamed for a bit, but calmed down after some cuddles.  I used it as an excuse to keep cuddling with him for the rest of the day
-He is developing a predictable night time pattern of when he wants to eat and when he wants to go to bed for the night.  
Happy boy's play time

-He is consistantly sleeping 6-8 hours at night...and sometimes as long as 9.  Every now and then he'll have a night where he wakes up every 4 hours wanting to eat, but those are becoming the exception rather than the rule.  I LOVE being able to sleep through the night.
-He LOVES play time on his mat.  He'll tell story after story to his toys.  He's also become quite fascinated with his reflection.  Someone knows he's a handsome boy...
-He is not the biggest fan of tummy time on the floor.  He'll prop himself up and work to look around when we hold him up against our chest, but tummy time on the floor just makes him mad.

Now onto the spot on his butt.  About a week after we got him home, we noticed a spot on his butt.  It was a redish spot that we didn't notice before.  What made us nervous about this spot was that it bled a couple of times during diaper changes.  It didn't seem to bother him, but the bleeding was worrisome to us.  Went to the doctor and she didn't quite know what to make of it.  We tried a couple of topical remedies to see if it would go away, and it didn't.  Diagnosis...likely a birth mark we just didn't notice at first.  We were told to keep an eye on it and let her know if it changed.

About a week before our 2 month check, we noticed there seemed to be a lesion on the spot.  It still didn't seem like it was bothering him, but it was a bit scary to see.  We moved his appointment up to have our doctor look at it.  She referred us to a dermatologist to see what  the spot was.  At that appointment, Rowan as diagnosed with an ulcerated hemangioma.  It sounds worse that it really is. A hemangioma is a build up of blood vessels near the surface of the skin.  They can appear anywhere-face, limbs, back, chest, diaper area...anywhere.  It can become raised and is usually red in color.  It's really nothing to worry about as long as it's not interfering with a child's vision or movements.  Since his is on his butt, it was getting wiped and cleaned a lot during diaper changes...which caused it to open or ulcerate.  This could be problematic if it became infected or started to cause Rowan a lot of pain.  The dermatologist recommended we change our diapering routine-only water and wash cloths to clean him up (no wipes) and putting on vasaline at every diaper change.  She also prescribed a gel to put on there twice a day to prevent infection.  Plus we need to do a daily bath and additional baths when he has a big poop.  We scheduled a follow up appointment for the 15th to see how everything is looking.


Halloween PJs

Halloween Pumpkin

Here's where the story gets a little nerve racking...IF the ulceration gets infected and/or IF Rowan starts showing he's in a lot of pain when we change is diaper, there's an oral medication he can get that should help everything heal faster.  Bad news is he would have to be admitted into the hospital for two days when the start the medication so they could monitor his blood pressure and blood sugar.  Neither Ian nor I want him to have to go back into the hospital.  We've been there...done that...and feel no need to repeat that.  So...here's hoping that he heals and/or we can manage his ulcerated hemangioma with these measures until it can fully heal rather than having to admit him into the hospital for oral medication. Obviously we'll do what is best for Rowan...but we'd like to avoid another hospital stay.

But...besides that little hiccup, everything else is going so very well with Rowan.  We're going to take a road trip this weekend to visit my brother and his family in KC and then we'll head up to MN for Thanksgiving.  I'm super excited to introduce Rowan to my dad...it will be the first time dad's met him. 


Will keep you posted after our follow up appointment next week.  Here's hoping things look good and we can keep Rowan out of the hospital.


Meeting Grandpa Vesper for the first time

Meeting Grandma Vesper for the first time



Meeting cousin Kambria for the first time


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One month!

Rowan's one month old now!  Wait...what?  A whole month?  Crazy!  He's growing and growing and being awesome in every way possible (not that I'm biased or anything)  =D

-He's consistently sleeping for 4+ hour stretches at night.  He's slept as much as 6 hours a couple of times too...makes night times easy for mom and dad.  He sleeps well during the day most of the time too.  Once he falls asleep, he is OUT.  If he doesn't get to that 'out' level of sleep, he'll take lots of 5 minute cat naps instead of a good long nap.
-He's generally a happy happy baby.  When he has a rough night, he'll fuss and cry for about a half hour, but usually not more than that AND that's before he goes to sleep for the night.  During that half hour, he'll take breaks from crying to sit calmly.  And once he goes to sleep, he'll sleep well.
-During his awake and alert times during the day, he loves to play on his play mat.  He also loves looking into mirrors on his toys.  If we're out and about, he takes everything in and enjoys looking around.  He seems to be very curious and wanting to look at everything.
-He's gaining some major weight.  When we went to the doctor right after 3 weeks, he was up to 8 lb 15 oz.  We'll see how much he puts on between now and his 2 month check!
-He's wearing cloth diapers almost exclusively now.  If he wears disposable diapers, he's wearing size 1.
-He has pretty much outgrown new born clothes.  There are a couple of things that still fit in the new born sizes, but those aren't going to last long.  3 month clothes here we come!  (Good thing that comprises the majority of his wardrobe at this point)


We seriously love our little guy and have enjoyed this last month.  It's hard to remember what life was like before Rowan was here, but I'm loving life as a family of three. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

There's no place like home...

It's so hard for me to believe we've been at home with our baby for over a week now.  It's even crazier for me to think that Rowan is 2 1/2 weeks old.  He's already grown and changed so much since he was born...hard to imagine what the next year (and beyond) will bring.



Meeting Uncle Jason
  
Meeting Aunt Beth

Rowan's been doing awesome since he's been home.  We went to the doctor exactly two weeks after he was born (one week from NICU discharge).  He 'passed' his check up with flying colors.  His head had grown from 13.75 inches to 14.5 inches...baby boy's got a growing brain!  His weight was WAY up too.  He was 6lb10oz at birth...6lb11oz at NICU discharge...and 7lb10oz at his 2 week check!  Explains why his cheeks are getting chubby and his hands are filling out.  Still waiting on those skinny little legs to get a little bit chunkier, but he's working on it. 

Play time with Daddy
Clearly, Rowan's been eating great.  We've got this nursing thing figured out pretty well which makes the night time feedings pretty easy.  He eats regularly-about 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours at night.  He's a little bit of a chugger, so I think he gets some gas and indigestion from that (see next paragraph).  Hopefully he'll learn to slow down and just enjoy his meals instead of eating as fast as he can.  But, when the boy's hungry...he must. eat. now!

For the most part, Rowan's been sleeping great.  Last night was our first rough night because baby boy had an upset tummy.  He had pooped about 8 times yesterday (no I'm no exaggerating) and had some constant toots.  Not sure what made his tummy upset, but something was bothering him.  Ian was up with him most of the night holding him upright to help get that gas out.  He woke me up when it was time for Rowan to eat, and then I was able to go back to bed.  Here's hoping last night was a fluke and not the start of a new pattern for the little man.  

Sleeping baby headed out into the 'real world'
OTHER than last night though, Rowan's night time routine has been a dream for us.  He'll sleep for 3-4 hours at a time, wake up to eat, and then go right back to sleep.  Since he's gaining weight so well, the doctor said it's OK for us to let him go longer than 4 hours at night between feedings.  She doesn't want us going much more than 5 or 6 hours, but if he wants to sleep for 5 hours before eating again, she said that's OK.  I know it will be a while before Rowan is going that long, but each night I go to sleep hoping that he'll go just a little bit longer between night time feedings.  No luck in that department yet though.  I've been feeling pretty rested with my 3ish hour naps at night.  When I sleep, I sleep hard.  I'm also able to go right back to sleep after waking up to feed Rowan.  It's working out pretty well for us.
 
Trying out the swing

During the day, Rowan will be awake and alert for long stretches of time.  He'll keep his eyes wide open looking at anything and everything for about an hour or two AFTER eating.  We usually have to force him to go back to sleep, which he does without too much trouble.  He loves to look up at any toys-whether they're in his pack an play or his play mat.  He has a super strong neck...for a 2 week old.  We'll hold him on our chest for tummy time and he'll lift his head all the way up to look us straight in the eye.  Kids going to be outdoing me in the push up department in about a week me thinks... 
 

Church checking on Rowan



The dogs have adjusted well to him being around as well.  Bishop is very worried whenever Rowan makes a noise.  In the first few days, Bishop had to be right by my feet when I was nursing Rowan.  Church has been a little more indifferent, but she still checks on her baby a couple of times a day to make sure he's OK.  After a week, I think Bishop and Church are just a little disappointed that their sleep schedule is disturbed because of the baby.  That and I think they're feeling a little less loved than normal, but some puppy treats are making up for that =)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Birth Story

Before reading this, please know this is a semi-detailed account of Rowan's birth. 

I feel like Rowan's birth story began a while before he was born.  When we were 36 weeks, we were told he was still breech and we would likely need a C-Section.  During the 36th week, we tried a few different things to get him to flip.  By 37 weeks he had flipped.  This is where I feel his birth story begins as this is when I started to see the signs that labor was coming.  At this point, I had no idea that we wouldn't be able to meet him until 40 weeks and 1 day-September 7th.

After Rowan turned, I had all the signs of imminent labor.  I could tell he had started to drop.  I never had a moment of 'whoa...he dropped!', but my stomach changed shape and I could feel him lower in my abdomen.  The Braxton-Hicks contractions also picked up big time once he turned around.  None of them hurt still, but many of them were far stronger than they had been in the past.  I actually felt uncomfortable sometimes.  My stomach was frequently sore too from the workout my uterus was giving me. 

Our doctor also told us we were beginning to dilate and thin during each of our next three appointments.  At 37 weeks, we were 1 cm dilated and 25% thinned.  At 38 weeks we were 2cm dilated and 50% thinned. 

After our 38 week appointment, I woke up each day thinking "maybe today??"  I knew my body was ready.  But each night, I went to bed without going into labor.  By the weekend (Labor Day weekend) I was a little discouraged.  I really thought we would have gone into labor by then.  After all, Rowan had been measuring a little bit ahead of schedule in his ultra sound...my body was displaying all the signs of being ready...we had everything in place and ready to go...so...what was the hold up. 

Deep breath in...deep breath out.  I spent Labor Day weekend reminding myself that Rowan knows when it's time to come out and he'll let me know when it's go time.  Until then, all I could do is just take care of myself (and by proxy him) and relax as much as possible.

The week of his due date was amazing.  My mom came into town on Tuesday so neither Ian nor I had to worry about cooking or cleaning.  She was happy to take care of all of us.  I also got to spend some time with my mom just hanging out.  I only worked half days every day that week since I didn't have a whole lot to do at work and I was just mentally done with work.

When we had our 39 week appointment on 9/5, I was still at 2cm and had only gone up to 60% thinned.  I was a little surprised.  I felt so ready to go into labor at any time and had been having very strong Braxton Hicks contractions.  I figured I would have progressed a little bit.  Nope...sigh.  Our doctor didn't want us to go any further than 41 weeks, so she scheduled us to be induced on 9/10 if Rowan didn't come on his own before then.  Our job-go home and get ready for baby. 

On our due date (9/6), I was SUPER tired all day.  I just didn't have the energy for much of anything.  So, I worked a half day and then went to go get a pedicure with Mom.  We went for a short walk that night and I spent most of the rest of the night just laying on the couch.  It felt great.

On 9/7 I woke up at about 4:30.  I had slept great...4:30 was just when I had to get up to pee.  At about 5:15 I started feeling real contractions.  They weren't that strong, but started in my lower abdomen and like a wave went up the entirety of my uterus and then back down.  They didn't last that long and were about 7-10 minutes apart.  After about 30 minutes of contractions, I felt a rush of fluid.  There wasn't a whole lot of liquid, but it was enough to fully wake me up.  Contractions kept coming and after another 30 minutes or so there was a nother rush of fluid.  I woke Ian up and we called the hospital.  They forwarded us to our doctor who told us to come into the hospital.  She said she wanted to make sure we were really in labor since my water had broken.  I took a shower, Ian put all our stuff in the car and we eaded to the hospital.  On the drive there, more fluid kept leaking out.  No one told me that when your water breaks, it keeps on coming.  I'm glad I put a pad on before heading out the door though...but still...eww.

Once there, we got hooked up the monitors and the nurse checked us over.  She said we were 3 cm dilated and almost fully thinned.  Rowan's heart rate was good and strong too-we were both in great shape!  Our doctor said we had an hour to walk and make sure labor was going before she wanted to start Pitocin.  So...walking we went!  We walked through the halls for a solid hour. 

When we got back to the room (it was about 8:45 at this time), contractions were about 2 minutes apart.  They were consistantly getting stronger, but nothing too overwhelming.  We got hooked up to the monitors again and the nurse checked our progress.  I was at about 4cm and Rowan's heart rate was still nice and strong.  At this point I was feeling pretty weak and shaky from not having eaten since about 5:30 the night before.  The nurse got me some jello and a popsicle-a decision I would later regret.  I sat hooked up to the monitors for about 30 minutes and at my jello and popsicle.  Then we went out for a little more walking. 

During the next hour of walking, the contractions became much stronger.  I was struggling to find a position that felt comfortable.  Rowan was pointed in the exact perfect direction (with his face towards my back), but that meant the back of his head was pressing against the lower part of my uterus-right where I was feeling the contractions-full force.  If I was tilting forward at all, there was a lot of extra pressure which made the contractions more intense. 

We got back to the room and I got hooked up to the monitors again.  The nurse checked and I was almost at 5cm.  She asked to 'play with my cervix' a little bit to get me up to 5cm.  Between contractions, she stretched my cervix just a little (which was ironically the most uncomfortable part of labor) and she could say we were at 5cm.  Good news with that-I could get into the tub.  I was hoping to labor in water a bit to help with the pain and the nurse thought it would be a good idea to help relax my pelvis and allow Rowan to fully drop. 

I got out of bed and we walked around the room a few minutes.  I was still feeling really shaky and just weak all over.  After a few contractions in the room, I got sick and immediately regretted eating that jello.   The nurse gave me some anti-nausea medication in hopes it would make me feel better.  Ian went to get me a sprite too. 

The nurse said I should walk the halls for about 10 minutes to make sure our labor wasn't going to stall.  While we were walking, she would fill up the tub.  We did a couple of laps with some very strong contractions. When we got back to the room (it was about 11:00 at this point), I was starting to think I couldn't finish labor without getting medicine.  Ian kept telling me I was doing a great job and that I could do this, but also said it was OK if I needed some pain medication.  He was giving me the exact type of support I needed during our entire labor-it was wonderful.  The anti-nausea medication hadn't fully kicked in yet, but it wasn't doing much for my nausea.  My body just kept feeling weaker and more shaky with each step we took.  I really hoped the tub would help me through labor.

I got into the tub.  The first contraction in the tub wasn't that bad-strong yes, but manageable.  The second contraction in the tub was the most intense feeling I had ever felt in my entire life.  At that point I asked the nurse to call the anesthesiologist and have an epidural.  I worked on getting out of the tub and had a couple of contractions in the process.  They were strong, but not as strong as the one I had just experienced.

By the time I got to the bed, the anesthesiologist had come into the room.  I don't think I said a single word to him, but just laid on the bed while he gave me the epidural.  He tried to talk to me between contractions, but it didn't happen.  Instead he just gave the epidural and headed out of the room.

After a few minutes, I began to feel some relief.  I was in a complete daze at this point.  When the nurse checked my progress again (at about noon), we were dilated to 9 1/2 cm!  I had gone from about 5 cm to 9 1/2 in an hour-no wonder those couple contractions in the hall and the tub were so intense.  Our nurse said she figured I went up to 8cm with that one contraction in the tub. 

Our nurse left to call the doctor.  She came in at about 12:30 and said we were fully dilated.  She said it was time to learn how to push.  We 'practiced' pushing for about 3 contractions and then they said it was time to push for real.  We pushed for 2 1/2 more contractions-during the 3rd the doctor told me to stop pushing.  I stopped and she pulled Rowan out at 1:09 pm.  There he was...our little baby.  It was crazy how quickly he came out once it was time to push.

Ian was amazing during the entire process.  He never left me...except for once to go to the bathroom when he tagged out with my mom.  He was positive and encouraging the entire time.  He backed my decisions and never second guessed any decision I made.  It was even better to see him become a daddy.  He's continued to amaze me each day we're at home with Rowan.  He takes such good care of him and me...I'm one lucky mom.

While our labor didn't go exactly as I had planned, I am so glad I elected to have the epidural.  I don't know how I would have felt had I not had the epidural, but I do know my recovery has been...(dare I say it)...easy.  I was sore in the hospital and very thankful for Motrin, but my pain was never terrible.  I could get in and out of bed without any problem and walking down the halls actually felt good.  I felt rested shortly after labor and even felt 'normal' after one night of 6 hours of sleep.  And now, 2 weeks later, I feel as though I'm fully recovered.  I'm off Motrin and feeling anxious to get back to a 'normal' routine.  I'm definitely enjoying the time we have now to not have a schedule, but in a few weeks I'll be ready to start getting Rowan (and myself) on a schedule.  After all, I am a bit Type A and thrive on a routine and structure.  Ian's a bit more...relaxed, so I'm curious to see what Rowan will prefer =)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Almost home!

Ready for my first bath!
It's so nice to know that by this time tomorrow Rowan will be home with us.  He'll either be sleeping in his crib or hanging out with his family in his house.  It's going to be wonderful!

His nurses at the hospital have been so wonderful.  They have let us do pretty much everything for him.  They have only had to feed and change him during the night these last two nights because we've been able to be there and take care of everything.  They have also been so encouraging in helping me establish breastfeeding, pushing me to go sleep and take care of myself, and offer advice when I had questions or needed a little help.  I am so thankful for the nursing staff...but I'm also glad that I won't be seeing them again after tomorrow. 


Getting all cleaned up after 6 days of living on the outside

I can't really give any updates on Rowan, because he's been doing the same exact thing.  He's just plain awesome.  He's even back up to his birth weight plus a little bit.  Great to know that the kid is getting plenty to eat and will continue to do so.  He's such a pig, but it's giving him the chubbiest and cutest cheeks.  He's had an eventful couple of days.  He got his very first bath yesterday (day 5).  He didn't hate it too much-what made it the worst was the his bath delayed his next meal.  And well...one thing we learned is that Rowan does NOT like to have his meals delayed.  He certainly goes from HUngry to HAngry in about 3.14 seconds.  And once he's hangry, he has a hard time calming down to realize we'll give him food.  Just another reason it will be so nice to have him home: we'll be able to do everything on our schedule instead of having to work around other babies and checking vitals and all those other pokes and prods the hospital staff have to do to make sure he's happy and health. 

So fresh and so clean clean!  With curly hair even!



Other than that, he continues to be a perfect little angel.  Each and every day though he does something to remind me that he is his father's child.  His feet are so dang long and he has the longest monkey toes.  Tonight he also leaned back with his arms behind his head...just like his father does.  I keep looking for something about him that's more me than Ian, but the only thing I've been able to find so far is his curly hair.  His eyes are a bit more blue than anything else, but they are very dark...not quite sure where that comes from.  Mom thinks baby Rowan looks like baby Meghan.  We have the same nose at least.

Cuddle time with my Nana.  I love her!

Can't wait to post the picture of him in his car seat tomorrow as we're driving home to stay!






Finished eating so it's time to take on the world! Or enter a food coma...one of the two.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NICU Days 3 and 4

I can't believe we're been in the hospital since Friday and Rowan's been in the NICU since Saturday...and it's only Tuesday.  It feels so much longer than that.  But, we're in the home stretch now as long as things keep going the way they are going.

Yestrday (day 3) was a really good day.  Rowan kept on being a rock star in every way possible.  He had to have his Spinal Tap in the afternoon. The nurse giving us the run down about the procedure say it takes on average 45 minutes, but it all depends on the kid.  If the NNP is able to get a good 'poke' and get the fluid right away, then it could be quicker.  They came in at about 4:30 to give him his spinal tap and everyting was all done by 4:50...first poke and first draw.  Then he was eating by 5:00 and just happy as a clam.  Preliminary results a few hours later looked all clear too...YES!  We haven't gotten any 'official' results yet, but according to everyone no news is good news. 

Daddy feeding Rowan
I also met with a lactation consultant yesterday to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing.  I really wanted to be able to nurse Rowan.  Since I'll be working full time, I know pumping and bottle feeding will be a requirement.  But...the idea of rolling out of bed in the middle of the night and plugging him into a boob and then going right back to bed is so much more appealing then getting out of bed, warming a bottle, feeding him, rinsing out the bottle, and then going back to bed.  Call me lazy...but Option A just seems far more desireable to me.  Anyway, meeting with lacation consultant was very encouraging.  We couldn't get Rowan to wake up, so I didn't get to try nursing with her there to watch us latch and make sure it was OK.  But, we tried nursing on our own later that evening and we did pretty good.  We nursed during his night time feedings too and did well during those.  It felt so good to know that we can get this figured out.  The doctor still wants us to supplement with bottles after nursing so we can make sure he's getting enough to eat.  Last night Ian got to give him a bottle after I nursed...it was wonderful to see. (thanks mom for snapping the pictures while I pumped!)

Yesterday was also the first day I allowed myself to leave the hospital.  It was a good thing for me to get out of there.  I didn't want to leave, but I knew I had to.  I needed to spend some time with Ian and get a change of scenery.  The thing that was bad about me leaving was the crash I felt after my nap.  I went home, took a nap, woke up to pump, and then tried to go back to sleep.  That wasn't happening so I got up to shower and eat.  After my shower I felt ALL the adrenaline leave my body.  Walking down the hall to the kitchen took forever and all the energy I had.  Huge clue that I needed to come home to get some rest.

I think the best feeling yesterday though was when our whole family was together.  I got to hold a sleeping baby Rowan while sitting on the couch next to Ian and Ian gently stroked Rowan's said and calmly whispered to him.  That was the best feeling I have ever experienced.  I'm sooooooo looking forward to a million more of them when we get to bring our little one home.

Rowan's short lived window decoration
Now...onto Day 4.  This one was a little more rough on me.  Early in the morning, we were told that Rowan would be moving up to the 4th floor NICU.  I was really excited about this because the 4th floor NICU is where they put the babies that are close to going home.  Praise. The. Lord!  (funny story: they put Rowan's name on his window yesterday when I was at home...then we moved less than 24 hours later...teehee)  Before we could be moved, they needed to get a new IV for Rowan.  His wasn't flushing as well...probably because it had been in his hand for 3 full days.  It's common for infants to need new IVs every 2 to 3 days because they move their hands around a lot and the IV wiggles.  So, while mom and I went to the bathroom and to get some breakfast, the nurses (2 of them) started getting a new IV ready for him.  When I came back, a third nurse had joined the crew because they ended up needing to put the IV in Rowan's head instead of his hand.  Apparently his vein rolled and the needle went through so they couldn't use it.  Yikes...now my baby has an IV attached to his head.  I hate how it looks, but he did very good getting it placed and didn't even cry when it was flushed-something he would do with the IV in his hand.  So...it may feel better for him...but still...=(

Time to get moved to the 4th floor NICU.  This I was not prepared for.  See...the 3rd floor NICU (where we have been) is all private rooms with a sink and fridge in every room, a TV, a recliner, and a pull out sofa.  It has two sets of curtains for privacy and is just beautiful.  The 4th floor NICU is a large room where eight cribs are placed along the edges with medical equipment stored next to the bed.  There are 4 rockers and 8 folding chairs.  One communal sink and fridge.  What??  This is where my baby is going to be?  Where can I sleep?  How am I supposed to nurse my baby during the night if there's no place for me to sleep?  Reality set in and all I wanted to do was hold my baby and cry.  So I did.  I held him, I rocked him, I told him I loved him, and I cried realizing I wouldn't be staying with him during the rest of his nights in the NICU.  Dis.Like.

About an hour after we moved into the 4th floor, my OB doctor came to see what was up.  It was good to see her and be reassured by another medical professional that it's good this infection was caught so early so that Rowan could get medicine now instead of getting him home and then having to go back to the hospital.  Oddly enough, I also really appreciated that she didn't ask one question about my recovery...she was just worried about Rowan and wanted to see how he was doing.  She also got after me (in the nicest way possible) for not being home more and sleeping more.  Our nurse chimed in as well and reittereated that I needed to go home and sleep.  I tearfully said "I know" over and over again and by the end of our conversation I believed it too. 

Then Rowan's NICU doctor came over.  She gave us the run down and said he would be able to go home on Saturday morning since all his tests were looking good.  I asked if that was the soonest since his last dose of antibiotics was due Friday evening.  She said that since it's due at 8:00 Friday night, we'll have to wait until Saturday AM.  *sigh and grrrrr*  I tearfully said OK and just looked at the perfectly peaceful baby sleeping in my arms.  I told him he'd be home soon and he would be perfectly healthy when that time came.  Then Rowan's doctor reminded me that I needed to go home and get some rest.  OK OK OK...I get it people.  I need to sleep.  I'll add that to my to do list of nursing, pumping, taking care of my baby, eating, and dealing with all these changes in one day.  I told her I would be staying at home tonight and would hopefully get a good night's sleep. 

A few minutes later, she came back over and said she would be willing to give Rowan his last dose of medicine at 6:00 on Friday instead of 8:00...and then he could go home Friday night!!!!!!  Again...tears...but this time good ones.  All I could muster was a quiet thank you.  My baby was coming home...we just have to get through three more nights. 

While these next three nights are going to be sooooooo long being away from my baby, it will be good to sleep in my own bed.  I'll be able to get a full night's sleep for three nights in a row before bringing my sweet angel home and I loose the ability to sleep through the night for a while.  I'll take these last three nights and gladly sacrificy a million sleepless ones to get my baby home one night early. 

My perfect baby sleeping so peacefully
Thank you for all your prayers and kind words.  I don't know who all has been praying that Rowan keeps being the BEST BABY EVER, but THANK YOU!  We would not be doing as well as we are doing if Rowan wasn't as awesome as he is.  He sleeps so peacefully, eats well, and has the biggest eyes wide open when he's awake.  All of his medical procedures he tolerates with minimal fussing.  I know every parent says this about their kid, but Rowan really is the best. 

Hopefully will post again soon.  Until then, I will rejoice in feeling more and more hopeful each and every day that we're in the clear and Rowan will be home on Friday night like the doctor said. 


Sunday, September 9, 2012

NICU Day 2

Day two in the NICU has been an eventful day for Rowan...all in good ways! 

There are three things Rowan needs to do to be able to get out of the NICU.  1) Get off IV fluids and keep his blood sugars above 45 on his own for 24 hours 2) Get out of the OMNI bed (climate controlled bed that helps his temp stay up) and into a regular crib and maintain a body temperature of 97.5 or higher on his own 3) show no signs of infection. 

He is well on his way to checking items one and two off his list.  After one of his night time feedings last night/this morning the NNP (neonatal nurse practitioner) gave the all clear for him to get off IV fluids.  His NICU doctor didn't feel the need to have his sugar checked before each feeding too, so he only had to have it checked once today.  The result: 78!  He's been eating really well too so we'll see how frequently the doctor wants to monitor his blood sugars.  It looks like he's on the road to having his blood sugars under control.

Sleeping in his crib-all wrapped up nice and tight
Item two: he got moved into a regular crib today.  The first temperature check after getting moved was a little close...it was right at 97.5.  We had a couple of things going against us for that one-he only had on a sleeper and blanket and I checked the temperature on his IV arm that wasn't wrapped up.  His IV arm has to stay out of his sleeper for access to the IV for antibiotics.  So that shoulder is exposed-it can only be wrapped by the blanket.  So...our nurse suggested we add a onesie under the sleeper, a pair of socks, and then check his temperature the next time.  At the next temperature check he was at 98.8!  Apparently kids can have cooler temperatures during the night, so here's hoping that he stay strong overnight.  Eitherway, we're certainly on te way to him being able to self regulate his temperature!

Now onto treating this infection.  During rounds this morning, the doctor gave us a mix of news.  Good news: his blood work is showing that he's kicking the infection.  No way to tell if it's the antibiotics he's getting or if he's kicking it on his own-frankly it doesn't matter to me.  He's kicking it.  The bad news: she wants to keep him in the NICU long enough to get a full round of antibiotics.  That means he'll be here for a full week at least.  She also will need to give him a spinal tap to make sure the infection hasn't gone into his spinal fluid.  From what I've learned, adults have a brain/body block which will prevent infection from spreading into the brain in most cases.  New babies don't have that.  So...it's possible, though highly unlikely that an infection in a new baby like Rowan can get into the spinal fluid and then get into the brain.  Getting a spinal tap is very common for babies in the NICU...but still scares the crap out of me.  I don't like that idea one bit and had a very hard time hearing that he would have to have one in the next few days.  But...it's the only way to make sure he's in the clear.  If the spinal tap shows he has a more severe infection, then he'll have to have antibiotics for three weeks-meaning we'll be staying in the NICU for three weeks. 

Visit from daddy, wearing a mask so he doesn't share germs.
So that's where we're at.  Rowan is still doing everything perfectly.  He's eating, pooping, peeing, sleeping, and being just plain awesome.  Not only that, but the ONLY cord he has attached to him now is his heart rate monitor.  He'll keep the IV in so that he can get IV antibiotics, but it's not connected to anything full time.  My mom has been so great to have hear while Ian's been working on kicking his sickness.  Ian did come up to the hospital for lunch with mom and I and then spent a little time with Rowan.  I think that was the best medicine for both Rowan and I.  Ian got to hold both of us for a little while...felt so good.  Ian stayed for Rowan's biggest feeding too.  It was really important for Rowan to eat well at 1:30 because his blood sugar was going to be tested at the following feeding.  Ian told Rowan to eat well before we started eating.  He had been eating between 30 and 35 mL between what I had been able to pump and formula.  While Ian was there, Rowan at 48 mL and then promptly went into a food coma.  Ian then left to go on a mission to find some warmer sleepers for him so that we can get him into something warmer if we get worried about his body temp again. 

I am so very thankful for so much we've seen and experienced during the last 48 hours.  First and foremost, I am so thankful for Rowan.  He is such a trooper and a calm little baby.  He's doing everything he needs to do.  I also have the two very best support people around me making sure I eat, sleep, and take care of myself.  Rowan has great nurses that are giving him the best care.  It's also very clear that no one thinks he's going to be in the NICU for very long.  His room doesn't have his name on the window, but most of the other rooms have the kiddo's name on the window-meaning they're going to be here for a while.  I also think my milk is really close to coming in.  Pumping just feels different and I'm starting to get a little more.  Here's hoping by the time Rowan is headed home I'll be able to give him just about all the food he needs.  Since Rowan will be here during the week too I'll be able meet one on one with a lactation consultant and make sure I'm prepared as possible to transition to nursing down the road. 

While I wouldn't have EVER asked for this experience, it has been as good as possible.  Rowan, and the rest of my family, continues to amaze me and I'm reminded each and every day of all that I have to be thankful for.  I can't believe how blessed we really are through all of this...God is being so good to us.  All of your words have meant so so much.  I can't wait to get Rowan home so he can meet all of you. 


Please continue to pray that Rowan stays on this path to a quick recovery.  Pray that Ian can get healthy (seeing the doctor early next week is on his agenda).  Pray that I can stay healthy (I feel like I'm starting to get a little sick).  Pray I get good rest and I can make sure I'm listening to my body. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rowan's Trip to the NICU

Holy wild ride Batman!  I'll post Rowan's birth story later, but I tell you what...these last 36 hours have been crazy.  All I can say right now is I have an amazing husband, a wonderful mother, and the sweetest, most relaxed baby boy.

Before we were moved from the delivery room, the nurse tested Rowan's blood sugar.  It was a little low.  He tested at 42 and 45 is the threshold for 'normal' blood sugar.  We had to give him a little formula to get his blood sugar up.  His second blood sugar test showed a level of 46.  Passing, but barely.  Because it was still borderline low, they wanted to test his sugar before the next three feedings.  We went upstairs and got settled into our room.

Rowan's sugars never stabilized.  He had some higher tests (as high as 68) and then some lower ones (as low as 35).  He never had three tests in a row that were above 45 so we had to keep checking his sugars each time before he ate.  He was such a trooper each time he had to get checked too.  (Checking his sugars consists of a poke to the heel to get a drop of blood and reading that blood.  His poor heels have so many pokes in them now from the constant testing.  I'm so so glad that he's got his feet wrapped up so I can't see all the pokes...)  Each time he got tested, he fussed a little bit but didn't throw too big of a fit.  He also managed to calm down if he was talked to and I stroked his head.  Such an angel! 

Each time his sugars were low, he had to be fed formula so that the amount he was eating could be measured.  Not only that, but my milk hasn't come in yet so we have to make sure he was getting enough to eat...especially since he's a little guy.  He isn't low birth weight, he's just a small guy.  Problem with him getting formula is that formula out of a bottle comes really easy...breast milk doesn't come out as easy.  So when we are learning how to nurse, he gets frustrated because getting food has been easy so he doesn't eat all that much...so when I tried to nurse, he wasn't able to get food to keep his sugars up...so he had to get 'easy' food from a bottle...so nursing just became more and more frustrating for him.  He never really showed his frustrations though...he just didn't work all that hard to eat.

Before his 4:00 feeding Saturday morning, they checked his sugars and it was 41.  Because he was unable to consistently get his sugars above 45, they decided to admit him to the NICU.  We went down there at about 5:00 to get him set up.  He had to get an IV, have more blood drawn-but this time from his arm so they could do a culture and check for possible infection.  In his IV, they were going to give him some dextrose (sugar) and antibiotics.  The dextrose was to help his sugars stabilize and the antibiotics were preventative.  During the entire ordeal, he was very patient.  He cried a little bit, but really did just fine.  I think I cried more than him.  Seeing your baby who's not even 24 hours old have to get an IV put in their teeny, tiny little hands is the worst feeling I have ever experienced. 

Checking his temperature
Ian came down with a cold on Thursday or Friday of this week (great timing huh?), so he was sleeping on the couch-bed in our room while I was watching the nurses get Rowan settled.  When I came back to our room, I crawled onto the couch with him and just fell apart.  Our little baby boy had to be in the NICU...we didn't know how long he's be there and what was going to happen.  And the NICU just sounds scary.  Granted his reasons for being in the NICU are VERY minor compared to so many of the other babies in there...but this...this is MY baby.  My baby boy, who hasn't even been out in the world for one full day has some medical concerns serious enough that he has to receive intense, round the clock care at a level far above what I can provide.  Absolutely ripped. my. heart. out.


Snack time!

I let my mom know that Rowan was in the NICU a little before 7:00.  She was at the hospital by 7:30.  We headed down to the NICU and spent time with Rowan until he woke up enough to eat.  Ian had to wear a mask to make sure he didn't share his germs.  Ian got a chance to hold him for a little bit and I tried to feed him.  Rowan was just getting so frustrated with nursing.  Ian asked the nurse to help me out a little bit, but since he had been getting almost all his food from formula, Rowan had just had enough of trying to nurse.  We gave him some more formula and then went upstairs to get some rest and get set up with a pump so I could at least get Rowan some breast milk and work on getting my milk to come in.  Ian went home to get some good rest and some medicine to help him kick whatever he's fighting.  Mom's been by my side ever since.

After pumping, a nap felt great.  I had barely slept the day/night before so the two hours I got were amazing.  This started our new routine: feed Rowan, get him to go to sleep, come to my room to pump and eat and nap.  Repeat.  Rowan's eating like a champ and still just so calm.  He's a sweet sweet baby that's tolerating everything so well.  When he's up for a feeding, his eyes are open and he's alert staring at me and stealing my heart.  He's up for about an hour in total and then goes to sleep until his next feeding.  He doesn't fuss when he's being woken up-even though they have to take his temperature and check his blood sugars (ok...he whines a little during this part, but not bad considering it's a poke and a squeeze).  He happily eats and then calmly falls asleep.  We couldn't ask for him to be doing any better.

A little bit of snuggle time.
We're still not sure when he's going to be discharged.  He has had some elevated white blood counts in his last two blood works (though his blood sugars are looking good!), so it looks as if he is fighting off an infection.  His temp is good and he's eating well, so those are all good signs.  They'll just keep a close eye on him and make sure he is infection free before he gets to come home with us.  They did ask us to bring in some clothes for him so we can dress him in clothes if we want.  Mom went home to get those and a few things for herself (since she didn't know she would be staying here with me until about an hour ago).  I called Ian and he put together a perfect bag of clothes for Rowan which was all ready for mom when she got home.  Hoping he keeps moving in this direction so he can come home early next week.
  

My perfect angel.
I can't thank you all enough for your kind words and prayers.  I really am doing OK know that Rowan is going to come through this just fine.  But I'm still a bit of a hot mess...hormones, lack of sleep, physical exhaustion...all of that is reeking havoc on my tear ducts.  But knowing that Ian is taking care of himself is such a helpful reminder for me to take care of myself.  Plus then I know he'll be able to take care of Rowan when we're at home and I need to take a nap without fear of Rowan getting sick again.  Mom is great at encouraging me to sleep.  Will update when there is something more to say, but until then please keep praying that Rowan eats well, sleeps well, kicks this infection, and can be weaned off the IV fluids so he can come home.