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 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 body was displaying all the signs of being ready...we had everything in place and ready to 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 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 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 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. 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. 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 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.'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.'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 when I tried to nurse, he wasn't able to get food to keep his sugars he had to get 'easy' food from a 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. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

I'm at the point now where I'm really anxious and oh so ready to meet this kid!  I as thinking he'd be here by now, but nope...he's comfy.  I know he's not 'due' until Thursday...and really a due date is just a relative term...but come on kid...let's get this show on the road! 

39.5 weeks...3 days to due date
Ok...that's enough of me whining and throwing a temper tantrum now.  I'm still feeling pretty good...though I would say I'm only 'comfortable' about 5 minutes each day.  Sleep has been OK.  Last night I was really restless and did not want to go to bed.  Once I finally forced myself to go to bed (it wasn't that late...11:00 or so), it took me a while to fall asleep.  I'm still waking up at least once to go to the bathroom...and now when I roll over from one side to the other I'm waking myself up as well.  Part of it is moving the giant belly and another part is feeling the 'pop' in my lower back or hips each time.  (Guess that means my joints are all loosey goosey and ready to go?)  My energy is really good in the morning so I've been taking advantage of my ability to work from home and using that extra time in the mornings to go on walks.  With the return of summer (including the humidity...where did that come from???), morning walks are far better than afternoon/evening walks.
My body is showing so many signs of being ready to go into labor.  Rowan has dropped a bit more, but I'm not seeing a huge change in my belly.  He's still head down and moving his feet quite a bit.  It's weird to feel (and see) his feet move along my belly.  Braxton-Hicks contractions are more frequent and stronger.  I've had less patience than normal.  I wouldn't say I've really done a lot of 'nesting'...but Ian may beg to differ. Oh yeah...and my belly is HUGE!

I'm resisting the temptation to try all the things that are supposed to get labor started.  Partly because there's so little empirical evidence that they work (though the stories people tell are pretty convincing), and partly because I'm just trying to relax and enjoy these last days (hopefully few days) of life before kids.  While I can honestly say I'm 'over' this pregnancy thing, I know Rowan will come when he's ready.  If for some reason he decides to be stubborn, then we'll talk about induction when it becomes medically necessary.  Until then, all I can do is relax and let my kid work with my body in deciding when it's time to come out. 

So until the kid decides to come out, we'll just keep on moving a long waiting for him to grace us with his presence.