Monday, March 26, 2007

Falling in Love

Most people remember the early days with newborns as hectic, sleepless, sometimes even a blur and while admittedly these things are true, what stands out to me most is that it is a time for falling in love. Of course, it is a time to fall in love with a new baby and Noah, like my other two, has made that extremely easy. He's such a sweet little guy. He cries when he is hungry, sleeps a whole lot, and spends an hour or two each day just checking out his surroundings. We spend a good deal of time each day just gazing at each other and I am so thankful for these times. I wish I could bottle them because if I could, I would be a billionaire for sure. I am fairly certain that he will be my last baby so I am trying to savor every single second of his "newbornness". Falling in love with the new baby is obvious. Who can help but fall in love with such a sweet, innocent little being who smells so sweet it's almost intoxicating? But the early days with a newborn are also a time to fall in love (again) with other family members.

First of all, I should mention my parents. With our house on the market and me recovering from surgery (so not able to keep a house "show clean"), they have been very gracious in letting us stay at their house. Their typical household of two has been totally over-run by our "party of five" and we really appreciate their generosity and patience with us.

Secondly, seeing Tyler interact with his younger siblings has reminded me of what a good kid he really is. Occasionally with a "tween" you need reminders of this and right now I don't have to look very hard. He's been so helpful in entertaining Grace and is totally smitten with his tiny little brother as well. It warms my heart to see him take such an interest in these little people who will certainly look up to him as the years go by.

And then there is the sunbeam. You would think little Grace would be the most "affected" by this new addition, but so far she seems to be taking it all in stride. Granted, she is unaware of her own strength, so we do keep her at least an arm's length away from Noah most of them time. Still, she is fascinated with him and seems nothing but happy when she sees he's still here every day. Every morning, when she comes in and sees him, she points and says "ohhhhhhhhh" as if to say "ohhhh, he's still here!" If you ask her where Grace's baby is, she points to Noah and grins from ear to ear. When the postpartum hormone drop hit leaving me with a short-lived case of baby blues, I mourned the fact that her "babyhood" was taken away so early, but in her own little way, she has given me the reassurance that everything is okay. She is still a baby and as long as we don't forget that, she's going to be just fine.

Finally, with the birth of each of our two babies, I have found the early days of their lives to be a time for falling even deeper in love with my husband. You see, I knew before we had children that he was a wonderful, special man, but there is something about seeing a daddy take an active part in his children's lives that makes the "small stuff" seem so insignificant. After a grueling couple of months getting our house ready for the market, Aaron's paternity leave and my "vacation" couldn't have come at a better time. It has given us a chance to re-connect and to focus on the most important thing, our family. When life gets busy, it is so important to take the time to fall in love with your spouse all over again.

As I reflect on this entry, I think I understand exactly how the postpartum amnesia mentioned in a previous blog entry occurs. All of the discomforts of pregnancy are completely superseded by the overwhelming love that follows. Second and later children everywhere should be thankful to a loving Heavenly Father for a clever plan to ensure their existence. :)

Much love to all!

Friday, March 16, 2007

He's Heeeeeeeeeere!

Just a quick post from the hospital to report that:

Noah Aaron was born at 9:44 am on Thursday, March 15.
He weighed in at 8 lbs, 13 oz and was 22 inches long (at 36 weeks, 3 days)
The c-section went well and the doc said we were quite lucky to have decided on another c-section instead of a VBAC. Noah's cord was wrapped twice and an extremely thin uterus near the scar tissue from the last one combined with a huge baby would have made me a good candidate for a uterine rupture had I attempted a VBAC. TMI I know, but just wanted to point out that while things were a little tough, they could have been worse and we were actually quite blessed.

You may have noticed that the middle name has changed from what we had originally planned on. Daddy has been SUCH a hero during this whole process that Mommy insisted on honoring him with the middle name. We kicked around some variations of using Aaron as the first name, but we've known this baby as Noah since we were pregnant with Grace so just couldn't quite justify changing that.

Little (ok, not SOOO little) Noah is doing great. He is nursing like a champ and so far is as mellow as his big sister was (fingers crossed that that continues because we KNOW we don't deserve it!) Right now, he has really dark hair (though I'm sure because I said that -- it will all fall out tonight and be blonde in the morning). His features look very much like daddy, but he is the first of three to have mommy's blood type (hey, I cling to every little thing I can get...LOL)

We're all pretty tired after a long, dramatic couple of weeks. We hope to get to go home on Sunday and get back to normal life. All of your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated!

All our love,
Aaron, Melissa, Tyler, Grace, and Noah (hey, hey the gang's ALL HERE!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

False alarm

For those loyal followers to this blog spot you know that Mommy thought she would be delivered today. This just goes to show that nature will not be too complacent and allow mere mortals to plan births so easily. For spring has sprung and bugs are in the air, and in her belly too. The doctor came in this morning and informed Mommy that bugs aren't allowed in the operating room.

So now we are on hold. We think the delivery will be tomorrow, but we have learned our lesson on stating definitives. If the baby is born tomorrow, the Ides of March and the first day of the NCAA tourney, maybe that will mean he is destined to be a ball player. Then again, he could turn out to be a geek like his dad.

Stay tuned. An alert will be sent out as soon as something more substantial happens. In the mean time, thanks to all for your thoughts and prayers. Both are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

How does Wednesday, March 14 Sound...

for a birthday? Hopefully it sounds great because it looks like that is the day we will be welcoming baby Noah. I spoke with the doctor yesterday and he told me to pick out a birthday between March 12 and March 16. Wanting to give Noah as much time as possible to bake, yet aware of the fact that the docs would like to deliver before things get unmanageable, I thought through the possiblities...

Monday seemed too early. He'll just barely be 36 weeks and at this point every single day makes a difference. Aaron also already has a client visit scheduled for out of town that morning and hey, if we get to *choose* the date, it might as well work into the existing schedule! :)

Tuesday is the 13th -- and while I'm sure the 13th is a great birthday for those who are naturally born on it, if we have the option of picking, I'd prefer a less "unlucky" number. No, I'm really not superstitious...Aaron happens to have a meeting scheduled for that day as well.

Thursday is the 15th - the Ides of March. The soothsayer's warning to Julius Caesar, "Beware the Ides of March," has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding. Given that I am having a "Caesarean" Section and that there were two other potential days still available, I decided to pass this one up.

and then there was Friday the 16th. Now, I have no problems with the 16th and it would fit into our schedule just fine, but the fact is...I've already been in the hospital for a week. If I have the baby on Wednesday, I could leave the hospital on Friday or Saturday. If I put it off until Friday, I'll be here throughout the weekend. After having both of my first two babies on Fridays, I happen to know that as in the real world, things in a hospital function a little differently on the weekends. The overall staff seems a little lighter and when you need something it takes a little longer to get it. This isn't usually a huge problem, but having to wait an hour to get a nurse to come in to check my oxygen level when I was complaining of not being able to breathe after Grace was born did create a bit of a problem. As it turned out my oxygen level was quite low and I was retaining fluid in my lungs thanks to one of the medications I was on after surgery. Once the problem was diagnosed, it was remedied fairly quickly, but the scary wait for a nurse to come in was one of the few things not erased by post-pregnancy hormonal amnesia.

So Wednesday, March 14 it is (barring anything unforseen before then). We don't know yet what time the surgery will be. I know there are a couple of other patients with more extreme emergency situations scheduled ahead of me, so it will more than likely be afternoon. I'm excited and nervous and maybe just a tiny bit disappointed all at the same time. I really thought I was going to make it to full term with this one and I fantasized that on this, my last pregnancy, I might get to experience the feeling of going into labor on my own. You know...walking through the grocery store when all of the sudden my water breaks or being awakened in the middle of the night with excruciating contractions. Sure, those who have had those experiences will think I'm crazy, but sometimes I feel a bit odd about the fact that I will have had three children and never really know what those things are like (I had contractions and went through labor with Tyler but I was induced and was already on an epidural by the time they started). But I digress...

I'm having a baby Wednesday!!! I can't wait to meet him. All of the nurses in the hospital predict that he is going to be one feisty little guy. When they try to monitor him, he very visibly kicks the monitors and moves as far away from them as he can. Apparently the excess fluid he's in, in addition to making his name (Noah) extremely appropriate, also allows him plenty of room to move (despite the fact that he's huge). I've been told by nurses who have seen TONS and TONS of babies in tummies that if there was a prize for most active baby, he would win. Of course, they aren't telling ME anything I didn't know. :)

I will try to get Aaron to post details and pictures on Wednesday. In the meantime, prayers for a healthy baby and successful surgery and recovery would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

YEP, here we go again!

Yesterday I went for my 35-week appointment which was also a follow-up to last Thursday's hospital visit and fun-filled weekend of bed rest. I had spent all day Sunday with my trusty friend, biohazard Bob. He's a nice orange jug that I have occasional dates with throughout my pregnancies to conduct 24-hour urine collections. So, Bob in hand, I went to the appointment.

All seemed to go well during the appointment! My blood pressure, though still slightly elevated, was 143/80 (much better than it had been the previous Thursday). No protein showed in my urine on the standard office dip test and no weight gain in the last week (which would indicate fluid retention and possibly pre-eclampsia). The doctor seemed satisfied with these results and released me to go home, with the understanding that they would get the results of the 24-hour urine results in the afternoon and would notify me of the results. I asked if I could be released from bedrest and was told that I should be as much of a couch potato as possible. While there have been times in my life when that would have been a welcome prescription, that was not what I wanted to hear. However, "as much as possible" can be interpreted different ways and I rationalized that yesterday morning, with a realtor coming to assess our house (which was a mess!) in the afternoon, it just wasn't possible, so went home to help Aaron tidy up.

As I neared completion of the tasks I'd deemed crucial prior to the realtor visit, the phone rang. I could tell by the tone of the nurse's voice that the news wasn't great, so my head immediately started spinning. The basic gist of the conversation was this:

Whatever it is they test for in that 24-hour urine collection, they like it to be less than 300. Mine was 407, so they would like me to head back to the hospital. "Do I need to be prepared to stay in the hospital?" I asked. "Yes, look for the admitting office when you get off the elevator, they have a room waiting for you" I was told. Now, throughout this pregnancy, I have tried very very hard to remain strong and positive. Sure, there have been complications with both of the first two, but THIS one was going to be different. My blood pressure and other stats have been good all along allowing me to believe that things really COULD be uneventful this time. So, the news that I was going to be admitted to the hospital on the EXACT same time frame I was with Grace was hard to swallow. Not to mention that staying in the hospital is not pleasant for ANYBODY and that I had NEVER spent a night away from Grace in her almost 16 months. And further complicating things was the fact that I'm not READY for this baby yet. We have been sooooo focused on getting our house ready for the market, we haven't really had time to think about things such as where he will sleep and what he will wear.

I barely got off the phone with the nurse before the tears started flowing. It took me a few minutes to even share the news with Aaron because I was processing lots and lots of information. Eventually, we gathered up the things I needed, made sure Grace was settled in with my parents and headed off to the hospital.

And here I am...waiting. Waiting for more test results, waiting to see the doctor, waiting for time to pass, waiting to find out what the "plan" is (the doc told me last night that we'd discuss a "new delivery date" in the next couple of days), waiting for the next visit from Aaron and the kids.

The good news is that my blood pressure has been better than it has EVER been in my ENTIRE life since I checked in. 118/60, 116/56, 124/58 , etc. I actually even asked the nurse if she was sure it wasn't measuring only HALF of my blood pressure or if it was on the wrong system of measurement. The nurses have said things like "maybe your urine test will come out ok today and you'll get to go home!" But...I've lost my positive attitude about things. Somehow I have a feeling I won't be leaving this hospital without a baby and I've come to terms with that It's just my prayer that Noah will get enough time on the inside not to have to deal with complications after he is born. At 36 weeks, Grace had a few minor issues but was, for the most part, completely baked. So, I'm hoping to keep this little guy baking for another week at the very least!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Here we go again?

Yesterday started out like a normal day. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for 2pm (a twice weekly occurence now) and I tried to plan the rest of my day around the appointment. Aaron was working out of town so I made arrangements for Tyler to ride home from school with a friend and for Grace to stay with my parents for an hour or so while I was at my appointment. Little did I know how the rest of the day would play out.

I got to my appointment and got all hooked up for the NST. On Mondays I see a doctor following the NST, but on Thursdays the nurse just get a doc to sign off on the printout and I go home. This NST did not seem any different than any other to me, but when the nure went to get the doctor to sign, I waited and waited and waited. The doc came in and took my blood pressure and said she wanted me to have an ultrasound. Apparently, there were a couple of decelerations during the test (in plain English, there were several instances where Noah's heartate slowed instead of increased when he moved). Sometimes this can be caused by lack of fluid when can cause the baby to press on the umbilical cord. So, she wanted me to have an ultrasound to check the fluid level. Now, considering I had A LOT of fluid less than two weeks ago, I thought this was a little unnecessary, but I do trust my docs, so waited around for 30 minutes to be able to have the ultrasound.

As I expected, my fluid was not low. In fact, it has increased to a level that is considered polyhydramnios (too much fluid). Still not to the level it was with Grace, but just over the line into that diagnosis. I waited for the doctor to look things over. In the meantime, the nurse came in and took my blood pressure again (this was actually the third time they took it but I lost track of the second time somewhere along the way). About 20 minues later the doc came back with an envelope labeled "4th Floor - L&D." Somehow I knew she wasn't going to ask me to drop something off at Labor and Delivery for her on my way home!

Sure enough, she told me my blood pressure was measuring around 150/100 (it had been 120/82 in their office on Monday) and that that combined with the high fluid levels and decelerations on the NST made her decide it was best to send me over to the hospital to be monitored for a while. At the hospital, my blood pressure remained high, but a blood test ruled out pre-eclampsia at this point and Noah looked just fine on the NST. After about 3 hours, the doctor on call came in and told me they were going to release me (yay!! I've never made it out before til after baby was born!), but that I need to be on bed rest through the weekend. I have an appointment Monday morning and they are going to repeat some of the tests then (and basically keep repeating them to monitor everything).

I asked the doctor at the hospital how good the chances were that I would make it to my scheduled c-section on April 5th. His response: "not very good." He said that basically once I hit 36 weeks (a week from this coming Monday), if I experience any complications, they will "bail out" and go ahead and deliver me. Given my history, I know this is the safest route and given the stellar care I received with Grace, I know they will take great care of us. Still, I hope we can hold off for a few more weeks to give Noah the best possible start!

So, here I am - confined to bed until Monday. I can get up to use the bathroom, take a shower, and eat, but otherwise am supposed to stay put. We are staying with my parents so they can watch Grace and Tyler while Aaron continues with our house preparations.

We'll keep ya posted!