Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alex's NICU Story

On July 7, 2012 our beautiful baby boy, Alex was born.

When the doctor broke my water we saw that there was meconium in my amniotic fluid.  Meconium is the baby's first bowel movement.  With my nursing background I knew that this posed a great risk for Alex upon birth.  I knew the risk ranged from minimal to severe, and it added another element of fear in my birthing process.  So we all began to pray.

My doctor, Chris and I all agreed to continue to let labor progress because a natural labor would be the best at this point to give the gunk a bit of a push out.  But as I detailed in the last post I wound up needing a c-section.

When Alex was born we felt as though our prayers were answered, Alex had a very strong cry and his APGAR scores were 9 & 9, which is almost perfect.  He cried and cried in the operating room.  When we got to recovery he immediately began to breastfeed.  He had a great latch, and he had a great color to him.  The nurses and my doctor thought he looked great.

After our time in the recovery room we were transferred to our room where we would be in for the rest of our hospital stay.  We all got settled, Alex was given a bath by the nurse, they checked my incision and bleeding and everything checked out great.  

At that point, it was about midnight, I nursed Alex again, he did fantastic!  After he was safely swaddled back into his crib, Chris headed home, so he could sleep (he had to work on Sunday), and then the nurse took Alex to the nursery so I could sleep.  At about 2 I woke up again and called for the nurse to bring Alex into my room since a. I could move my legs again and b. it was about time for him to nurse again.

It seemed to be taking awhile for them to come in, my mind was wandering, getting the best of me, but I convinced myself that the nurse was just busy taking care of another patient.  

And then my heart stopped.  My nurse walked in I could see Alex's crib was behind her, I could see ventilator tubing inside of it, and another nurse was pushing the crib.  

They both came in and began to tell me about what they noticed during an assessment of Alex.  They told me  that it appeared Alex was breathing very fast, his color was very dusky, and his oxygen saturation levels were not high enough, in fact they were in the low 80's.  

They then told me they were gonna take him to the NICU for further evaluation.  I asked if I could go with them, they suggested against it, saying he would be having x-rays and bloodwork taken and they would call as soon as I could come up.  

Their calm demeanor is what got me through that night alone.  I called Chris to let him know what was going on, he to this day thought he was dreaming when I called.  I told him to stay at home and I would call him if anything changed.  I then waited and waited for a phone call.

After about an hour I still had not received a call so I called myself.  I spoke with his nurse who told me that he had what the doctors said to be meconium aspiration pneumonia, which is where the meconium that was in my amniotic fluid had gotten down into his lungs and caused pneumonia.  She said thy would be giving him antibiotics and keeping him to monitor him.  

I was not allowed to leave the floor without someone with me because I was still under the effect of a lot of pain killers and I did not have complete feeling in my legs, just enough to move them.

When Chris got to the hospital at about 7 we went to the NICU to see our son.  He was on IV fluids, and was hooked up to a cardiac monitor and oxygen saturation monitor.  There were so many wires.  He looked helpless laying there under the warmer and it made my heart sink.  

I then began to check his monitor readings.  His heart rate was in the 140's, his respiratory rate was in the 80's and his oxygen saturation was 89% on room air.  I asked the nurse if I could try to breastfeed him and she said we could as long as we monitor his saturation levels.  

He was hard to latch at this feeding.  It was a new feeling, watching him become so frustruated, I was producing milk, but it was like he forgot how to latch.  We eventually stopped because his sats dipped, and it was decided that we would supplement with formula.  

The day continued like this, we would try to breastfeed at each feeding, with a few successes, and Chris and I stayed in the NICU for the majority of the day.  We decided together we wanted to keep visitors to just our parents that day and then close family and friends for the remainder of our stay.

We also decided to keep the fact that Alex was in the NICU off of Facebook in order for us to better focus on him and to prevent an overabundance of visitors.  Instead we had family pass around the information and ask everyone for prayers.  

The days ticked on and things were very touch and go up until the last day.

On Monday it was decided that Alex's oxygen saturation levels were not satisfactory and the doctor ordered him to be placed under an oxygen hood.  This provided him with oxygen and also a better way to determine how much oxygen he was requiring to keep his sats up.  

It was Monday night that I had an emotional breakdown.  I had been incredibly strong up until that point.  I felt like I had to be strong for everyone.  My family looked to me to know, "is that beeping sound ok?" or "Is it ok to pick him up?"  Chris tried to hide it as best he could, but he was scared out of his mind.

Then I would see the mother's of the other babies in the NICU who were much smaller and sicker than Alex and I felt like I had no right to be scared or upset.  

So up until I met one doctor, which I had met dozens at this point, I had remained strong and positive.  It just proves that it takes good bedside manner and a little heart and you will keep everyone happy.  And still to this day I do not know this doctor's name.

It also did not help that I was pushing myself way too hard to be by Alex's side at all times, I was exhausted.

But with the help of an excellent nurse, my family, and fantastic husband I pulled myself together.  

I took that night to recoop, sleep, and mainly sleep.  Chris went up at each and every feeding and fed Alex, all while I slept.  When I woke up I felt like a new person.

By Tuesday afternoon the nurses were able to wean Alex off of the oxygen and his sats were staying right around were they should only occasionally dropping.  He was breastfeeding well, not as good as he did originally, but good enough, and also putting some of his weight back on.  

Tuesday was also the day Alex was cleared to have all of his procedures done, he could finally have his hearing screen and be circumcised.  

It was Tuesday that I hit my health road block but, that is for another post.  (Which should not be as long)

Tuesday progressed, Alex continued to do well.  And I finally had hope that we could be taking our baby boy home the next day, as long as everything checked out with his blood work and chest x-ray the next morning and the tests they ran on me.

On Wednesday morning I was still under a pump and dump order so Chris was going up to feed Alex formula when we got his discharge orders and while I was waiting on mine.

The second I got the ok I grabbed everything and ran, I did not want anyone or anything to keep me in that hospital any longer.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Welcome to the World!

Welcome to the world Alexander!!

Born via c-section on 7-7-12 at 7:23 pm.

Weighing in at 8 lbs 13.1 oz.

Measuring 22 inches long.

Already the light of Mommy & Daddy's world.

Induction Day 7-6-12

Well the day had finally come for us to begin the process to meet our sweet baby boy.

Our appointment time was at 11 am but of course Mommy could not sleep because she was so so so nervous.  I think we went to bed around 1 am and then had to be up at 8 to run errands before we had to head to the hospital.  

I woke up that morning around 5 am rip roaring and ready to go.  I mainly laid around trying to do word puzzles to calm my nerves but it did not work.  I ate breakfast showered and got dressed then twiddled my thumbs until 7:30 when I decided to wake up Chris.

Chris showered and we were off. I dropped Chris off at the Great Clips so he could get a hair cut, then went to the bank so I could get the mortgage taken care of.  

On my way back from the bank I had a small panic attack.  I think that was when it really settled in that I would be meeting my son by the end of the next day, OR SOONER!  After 9 long months of waiting the time was here.

So after I pulled over, threw up and recollected myself I was on my way to pick up Chris.

And we were off.  We were headed to the hospital to meet our son.  We knew we were early but we did not care.

We arrived at the hospital at about 10:15 am and they had us wait in the waiting room.  I have never felt more impatient in my life. 

We finally heard our name called over the loud speaker and we went to check in. 

After the proper paperwork was filled out and signed they directed us back to the Labor and Delivery Unit.   We were met by the NICEST nurse named Peggy.  She was very informative and to the point but friendly and carried on genuine conversation.  

She directed us into Suite 17 and had me change into one of the hideous hospital gowns and then took my vitals.  

Then we began the wait for the medicine that they were inducing me with.  Cervadil.  This is basically a shoestring they place on your cervix to help thin it out and sometimes dilate it.  

When it finally came up from the pharmacy and was put in place it was 1:30pm.

Now the waiting game began.  The medicine had to remain in place for 12 hours.  This meant that at 1:30 am  it would come out and I would be transferred to the other Labor & Delivery unit to be placed on Pitocin, which cause contractions and starts labor.  

I had my fair share of ups and downs on this first unit all mainly centered around pain and frustration,  not from the labor but from the way they restricted my movement.  I knew I would never be able to get close to my goal of a natural labor if I could not move.  

So 1:30 rolled around they took out the Cervadil and I was able to move!! They let me walk to the other unit, where I was then able to shower and get really comfy.

Here is where things begin to get hazy.  

I know it was not until we got to this unit that Chris actually got some sleep.  And I also remember how in love with the portable monitoring system I was.  It allowed me to freely walk around my room, sit in the rocking chair and to roam the halls of the unit.  I know I did a lot of this simply because it made my hips feel better.  

I laid down and napped for awhile and then the sun came up and so did I.  There was no sleeping at this point I was too excited..... and hungry.  

The day progressed, we had family come sit and wait with us, my contractions got stronger and I progressed little by little.

I made it until about 2-3 hours after my water was broken, which showed the baby had a bowel movement inside of my uterus, managing the contractions on my own.  That was when the contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute but I was only 3 centimeters and 75% effaced.

Chris and I had a heart to heart and we decided that I was only wanting to try to deliver naturally because of my history of the spinal tap and blood patch and the fear of suffering that pain over again. 

We were straightforward and honest with the nurses and the nurse anesthetist and they all helped the procedure go that much smoother. I wound up getting an epidural and it was the best decision I could have made.

Time continued to pass and my labor kind of stalled out.  I was not really dilating much, if at all, and per the internal monitor my contractions were normal and VERY strong. 

The doctor had the nurses position me almost on my belly in hopes that within an hour or two it would help my cervix change.  Well I progressed about a half a centimeter and the doctor was finally able to feel the babies head.  She discovered that yes he was head down, but his he was turned the wrong way and also his head was coming down wrong, which she was afraid was cause a very long and dangerous labor.  

The decision was made for my safety and Alexs' to have a c-section.  With the meconium (poop) in my uterus the doctor was not going to let me go too much longer anyway.  

Within 20 minutes I was laying face up on operating table and the medical staff were performing their first time out.  

One of the very few things I remember about the surgery was at 7:23 pm the sound of his cry, I immediately started crying, my boy was here!!! Another was the first time I saw Chris holding our son.  It was the most serene sight I have ever laid eyes on.  And finally the first time I looked into my son's eyes.  I know it is cliche but my heart grew and I discovered a love I have never felt before.  

And then to top off my memories I remember the doctor showing my husband my uterus and ovaries and how amazed he was.

We were then headed to recovery.  This was the first time I was able to experience my boy in my arms.  All of the family came back to see him.  They were all amazed at not only how big he was but how beautiful he is.  

After everyone left I began to breastfeed and an instant bond was formed between my son and I.  As he continued to feed out the window in the distance we could see 3 different fireworks shows and I just made the moment that much more special.

This is definitely not the end of the story, the days we spent in the hospital were long and trying but as a family, and with A LOT of help we made it through.   

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Alex's Nursery

So this week I finally got Alex's nursery done and to my liking. So here are some pics for your enjoyment.

His Toy Story closet organizer/toy box. 

His horsey bouncer.  $39.99 at a consignment shop.

My old dresser that Chris refurbished for Alex.

His crib

Love these cups above the dresser/changing table.  Got them at IKEA for 0.99 each.

His window and our big comfy chair. 

39 Weeks Pregnant

How far along:  39 weeks and 5 days today
Growing?: Yes I do believe he is still growing as I feel like my skin has less and less room to stretch each day.
Best Moment of the Week?:  Knowing that tomorrow morning we are headed in for an induction.  And also the fact that it is the night before and I have started having contractions.
Worst moment of the week?: The random morning sickness episodes. 
Cravings: Not really anything new. 
Movement?: His movement has really picked up the last few days.  I never have felt him move so much!
Still nauseous?:  Yeah every once in awhile.
Belly button?:  It is not gonna pop but it is so sore!
Wedding rings?:  They are still on that necklace. 
Mood?:  Your dad and I are uber excited for your arrival and cannot wait to meet you.