Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 16

Okay, since I can't keep up with doing a bunch of days at once (the post would be way too long), I'm going to do a smaller post for each day Parker's here. Expect a lot of backdated posts in the near future! I guess it's moreso me trying to keep good record of our NICU journey.
Every day has been such a huge step forward!
Today is Sunday, March 30th, and Parker is now 16 days old. He had just one more nipple feed to do to pass Phase I of his feeding pathway, and I was so anxious to catch the right feeding time. But he did it! Only left a few mLs in the bottle. He's becoming such a good eater!
The nurse today commented on how many expressions he makes, which she also said isn't very common for his age. I've noticed that, when he's finished eating, he makes this really worried face, scrunching up his eyebrows.

Of course I just can't take enough pictures! Every day. Even if nothing's changed or looking different at all. I'm totally one of those moms, and I don't care! We even did a mini photo shoot with a March of Dimes volunteer photographer this morning, including Korbin Bear. Those pictures will be so great to see in a couple of weeks!
Since Parker's really only just needing to eat well enough to keep gaining weight, Ry put the car seat in today too. 

Despite Parker being here, and everything we're doing for him, this still feels unreal. I mean, we go home each day and continue on like before he was here. Making dinner, cleaning, paying bills, working (well, just Ry is working right now). The only difference at home is that I keep pumping every few hours. I just can't wait to bring him home!
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Monday, March 17, 2014

3 Days Old

This really should be titled 'Total Melt Down' as that is exactly what happened.
Today I was discharged. And this comes with such mixed emotions as I signed up for the parent rooms for the next three nights so that I don't have to leave the hospital. But I'm on a different floor than my precious baby now, and I'm not at home with Ryan and the pups.
As I packed up all my things (flowers, clothes, pumping supplies, way more than I thought I had with me), the nurses told me to order some extra food and take my time. This was the last time I could do so, and I hadn't thought about how I would get my next meals or where from. My mobility is still slow, I'm barely walking long distances (the hallways of the hospital), and now I have to walk so far just to see my son, my Baby Love 2. 
As I moved everything down four floors to my windowless hotel room, the shock of my first major change since having Parker began to settle in. I'd built this pumping routine that worked well, and now I had to search for pumps and go to a special room to pump, hope that there was space and even a pump available. This became my second major stressor of this change.
As I continued to try to coordinate this next phase, the shock and reality that I'd soon be leaving the hospital sank in. I was wandering one of the hallways and ran into Nargis, and completely broke down in front of her. The tears just couldn't stop.
We went back to my 'hotel' room where I just let all out. I don't want to leave with empty arms again, and yet I miss home with Ryan and the pups terribly. I don't know where the pumps are and the lady showing me things was not helpful and even a bit short with me. I had been trying so hard to hold myself together as this change approached, but my emotions completely overwhelmed me and I just could not stop crying.
The long chat with Nargis was helpful. I mean, she gets it after having had Ryan at 28weeks and having to leave without him. She suggested I stay tonight, and then try a night at home. I don't have to give up the room just yet, just see how I do with going home and coming back. There's a certain comfort in being a patient that is now gone. And there's definitely comfort in being home and in my own bed, and I will be in neither tonight, but I'll still be here with my baby. It's just so unnatural to leave the hospital without my baby, and I know this all too well unfortunately. How can I do it again?
Yes, he's alive and being well-cared for, but he's still not home and in my arms.
On top of this, Nargis noticed one of my legs is extremely swollen, and I've had to make an ultrasound appointment to be sure I don't have a blood clot in that leg. More walking long distances, more stress. Stupid cankle!
Before this whole melt down business began, I started the day well and decided Parker was going to text his dad daily updates. A picture and blood test results, as well as any news on lights and oxygen improvements.
Today's news was that his bilirubin is 9 right now, not horrible, but still high and not normal. The nurses are considering a dose of IVIG, which I think I've discussed before and how it essentially eats up my antibodies in his system, though not all. He's kicking so much in his sleep, and his primary nurse commented on how much he kicks. No wonder I felt kicks all day when I thought he should be sleeping!
I'm making sure I have physical contact with my Baby love 2 each day so far, especially since I haven't been able to hold him yet. Boy was I surprised when the nurse today asked if I wanted to hold him! I got 30minutes of pure bliss and skin-to-skin contact. It was beautiful and melted my heart:

I can't believe how tiny he is, and he just looks too fragile to hold:

But OMG he is just precious, so adorable!

And back under the lights he goes:

A volunteer made these signs to decorate his space too:

Something to scrapbook when we're finally home! And I know we have a long road here ahead of us, but I just can't wait till he's home.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Two Days Old

Two days old and still so much happening with my second baby's tiny little body. He's getting daily blood draws to check his bilirubin levels; his poor feet! And his primary nurse is talking about putting in a PICC line, which can be difficult to do as it involves threading a tiny wire tube through a main vein in his foot, or hand or even head, all the way to his abdomen. How does nothing get punctured?!? This will help with getting him basic nutrients, though, until his stomach and intestines have developed enough to give him breast milk.
Unfortunately, the pneumo came back, this time covering the whole front of his chest, and again restricting his breathing. This area is too risky to aspirate by needle as they could easily puncture his lungs, so they opted for oxygen displacement therapy. They basically are flooding his body with 100% oxygen to push out the nitrogen buildup. The oxygen will then be reabsorbed by his body, and hopefully his lungs can continue to develop and heal.
The orangey spot below on his chest is the bit of bleeding below the sticky bandage they put over the aspiration site. :(

With every visit, during his care times so that I can see him without the lights, maybe even do a diaper change and take his temperature, I talk to Parker. I'm trying to keep this up, just like when he was still in my belly. Encouraging, telling him how strong he is, reminding him that he's a fighter and we're taking him home. I don't know if he can hear me through all the head gear and tubes and wires, but I still talk to him.

Today I am walking a bit further, down the hall without the wheel chair. It's difficult, but I've got to get up and move. To see Parker and to get myself healing that much faster. The perinatologist on staff is talking about my discharge now, which I don't want to think about as it means leaving the hospital without my baby, again. But, they may give me one more day, and then I can sign up for the parent rooms which are attached to the NICU. That way I'm still here, and I don't have to leave Parker here just yet.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

One Day Old

What an adventure we have been on since P's arrival (on pi day)! We've learned so much, and have had to keep up with constant change, thankfully almost all good and moving in a positive direction. I have of course taken a million pictures along the way, and it's still not over!
Being in recovery without our newest little guy was rough. Ryan got to run up to the NICU with Parker while my c-section was completed. After a couple of hours of monitoring me, I was finally wheeled up on a stretcher to see my second baby boy:

Here one of the nurse practitioners went over everything they're watching out for in him, and thankfully ended her list with, "Everything is treatable."
Thank God! I think my eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger.
I've already listed everything P needs to accomplish and get through in my last post, but here's how he's done since his arrival:

Not even a full day old and so many tubes and wires! He was puffy from the fluids they were pumping through his system, too. But he was getting a break from the lights and the CPAP machine every four hours to be sure nothing was reshaping his head.

In his first day out, he got what's called a pneumothorax (not sure I spelled that correctly...). Basically, the high pressure of air from the CPAP machine was too forceful for his little lungs, resulting in a hole in his lungs that made a huge pocket of air which restricted his breathing. Thankfully it was to the side of his lungs, so they could easily aspirate the air with a needle in his chest without the risk of further punctures to his lungs. This also meant he was taken off the CPAP and put on just a regular oxygen tube that has the prongs that go in his nostrils. Lower pressure too. 
Today I walked the two to three feet to the wheel chair from my hospital bed. It's amazing what the body is capable of after being sliced wide open! I think it's moreso that I am extremely motivated to see this wonderful little human whom I've been blessed with getting to have here with us right now. The physical pain is there, but I can ignore it so much more easily this time around. I just want to see and touch my baby boy.
I was afraid to at first, to touch his foot, or part of his little hand. But he's my baby boy, I'm allowed that bit of physical contact, despite all the lights and tubes and wires. I need to remember that going forward and not hold back being here for him.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Started out with my last belly shots:

(In the hospital, not quite so pretty....)

Ryan joined before the party started:

And the morning ended with this little guy:

Welcome to the world Parker Sadiq Love!
17 3/4" long
5 pounds
What a trip. Despite how unplanned the timing was, my OB was able to make it! I cried when she walked into the preop room.
We went into this delivery filled with anxiety. The only birth we knew of personally did not have the positive outcome you expect when having a baby, making anticipating this delivery with any positive thoughts so difficult.
I cried for pretty much the entire surgery, Ryan holding my hand, the anesthesiologist updating us continuously. And then suddenly, there he was, held up in the light by my OB. And then he cried! That's when I really lost it. We never heard Korbin cry, so hearing Parker cry and scream was absolutely beautiful. And oh so relieving. They let me give him a quick kiss before taking him up to the NICU, where he'll stay for about a month.
He is preemie still, so he has a lot of things to deal with and learn and overcome.
Even though he's breathing, his lungs could still collapse, so he's hooked up to the CPAP machine which keeps his lungs inflated. This causes some air to collect in his little not fully developed belly, which is really uncomfortable. So he has a tube hooked up to a syringe that a nurse can use to aspirate his tummy and relieve the pressure. He also forgets to breathe at times, so he's on a small dose of caffeine to stimulate his brain which then tells his body what to do.
He still can't eat, as his tummy and gut are not fully developed and wouldn't know what to do with breast milk, so he has IV keeping him hydrated and giving him some basic nutrients. He can still have colostrum (pre-breast milk filled with nutrients and antibodies), so we bring it down every few hours and then nurses swab his mouth or dip a pacifier in it and then let him suck it off the pacifier. Thankfully the hospital is uber supportive of breast feeding or even just giving baby breast milk. They prefer it over their formula, and really make sure I'm doing my part in this, which includes resting up and eating well so my recovery from surgery goes smoothly.
And then there's the antibody issue. Thankfully, his bilirubin levels aren't high enough to warrant a transfusion just yet. They've stabilized for now, and hopefully that continues. But, my antibodies are still in his system, eating up his red blood cells, and probably for at least six weeks. One thing to try and stop them is the IVIG shot, which in a way eats up some of the antibodies. They can do a course of these for a while to help alleviate the antibody issue. And then there are the lights, which will be continuous until they see a marked decrease in his bilirubin levels. Unfortunately, we cannot hold him until that happens.
Here's how he's situated now:

He's beautiful, and perfect, and I can't wait to snuggle and hold him. His big brother sure has been, and still is, watching over him. And Korbin Bear has found his place in the NICU with his little brother.
Parker is just beautiful, and perfect, and I can't wait to snuggle and hold him.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Ready or not, this little guy's on his way, maybe even than we were hoping. So many thoughts and worries have been running through my mind now, and I'm struggling to keep them all straight. I guess I just have to have faith that the timing is right, whatever that timing may now be.
Earlier today I had a moment at work where I was completely overwhelmed by emotion. I just couldn't stop the tears, but somehow I his them. It struck me all of a sudden that we're really getting ready to have this little guy. And an image of me holding Korbin and saying goodbye popped into my head. The only birth I know haunts me now. All I hear is the anesthesiologist saying, 'I'm so sorry.' And then the tears. I still wish I could go back in time and somehow save him. The pain really never goes away, and I think I'm feeling it even moreso right now.
I know we're so much further with this little guy, and that we've overcome so much now. But it still doesn't feel like enough. I want Baby Love 2 to just keep growing and developing inside my belly like any other normal pregnancy. And I want the kicks and punches. I've been trying so hard to make sure he's moving as often as possible. Partly for reassurance, but also because we've only had so much to enjoy them. For Ryan to place his hand on my belly and have the little guy kick at it, even to see my belly move as he jumped around inside. It's so amazing, and I'm just not ready for that to be over quite yet.
I need more time to be sure he's okay, that he's going to breathe well and eat and eat and eat and grow and gain weight from the get go. I just need these things to happen, regardless of what day he shows up now.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

What are you doing down there?!?

With all the stress and anxiety and fear that we've been dealing, there thankfully have been numerous moments. There are parts of pregnancy that no one tells you about, but are really quite funny when they happen. And I find them even funnier when I actually tell someone about these little occurrences.
First, the cervix punches. This is not an exaggeration. At around 14 or 16 weeks I asked my OB about some rather painful sudden twinges in my cervix. I was concerned as we just don't know if my cervix is an issue or not. The only way to describe the pain was to say that it felt like he was punching my cervix. My OB smiled, and said that's exactly what he's doing. What? Sure enough, when we checked my cervix on ultrasound, he swung his arm up and over his head and bam! Punched me right in the cervix. This just totally cracked me up, especially since we caught it, we actually saw him do it! It still totally hurts, but I just can't help by laugh.
Second, raspberries. Or whatever you call them. He's very consistently head down, has been for at least a few months, and I swear, he blows raspberries against my uterine wall almost daily. Of course, I know there isn't air in there for him to actually do that. But that is the only way to describe what I feel. It is such an odd sensation. And it toally cracks me up.
My bladder has become a punching bag, and sometimes a pillow that apparently needs fluffing up. It's these moments where I really want to know, what are you doing down there?!? There was a good month where I'm pretty sure he was taking after one of aunts and training for the Olympics. There were definite combos, and they were strong hits! Who knows what he was learning in those moments. And then there's the 'pillow fluffing' where, I swear, he's found both sides of my bladder, and just starts punching like crazy. Thankfully it's just a quick movement and then he's done. But no matter how recently I've used the restroom, I have to make a beeline for one in those moments.
I'm just going to keep enjoying this little moments, despite how awkward or painful they can be at times. As soon enough I won't feel them any more, and who knows, I may even miss them.
Because I got a lotta love to give.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


What a week. And it ended in a whirlwind this morning. At this point I'm thankful to be home and relaxing, and still pregnant with our happy little guy.
I woke up this morning completely not feeling one way or the other how things would go. Would his Doppler recheck be okay? Would I have more contractions? How long would my next NST last? So many unknowns.
I had my usual morning chat with Baby Boy 2, but this time I really emphasized that we're going to do whatever he needs us to do. And I told him that he needs to show all of us which direction things will go today. If he needs more help than what my body can do for him, okay. Time to move up delivery. But if he's still okay in there, still our happy little guy I feel kicking me and moving around, then he's got to be pretty clear about that too. We don't want to jump the gun on anything here!
During the ultrasound, one of the Doppler levels looked normal, but the other two were still high like Tuesday morning. And yet he was moving and grooving, opening and closing his hands, even practicing his breathing, his little diaphragm moving back and forth so well. Despite being so familiar with the Doppler levels and what they mean, I still had no clue what sort of decision would be made with this bit of info.
Next was the NST. As I got all settled after being hooked up to the monitors, the nurse started questioning when I last ate and drank anything. And then she took away my water and said we're just going to see what that does right now. I honestly just thought they wanted to see if I would still have contractions during monitoring like I typically do. To keep my mind off of it (because it stresses me out), I just started reading.
An hour later the nurse came back and said things looked worse on the Doppler, but the doctor is consulting who is the head doc for my case. In the meantime we need to keep monitoring.
Another hour later, she came back again to say we can go off the monitors, no c-section today, but I won't be discharged. I quickly let Ryan know that the good news was we weren't delivering early, but unfortunately I'm still not coming home. I started to make a list of things I'd like him to bring because now I was going to be there a while for sure. And I was seriously lacking some basic items still.
Well, another hour later, the doctor on rotation today came in to go over everything with me. First off, I'm being discharged. Second, the little guy is very obviously still happy inside my belly and not struggling, so they don't want to bring him out too soon. I asked if there was any reason to be concerned about his brain function with what the Doppler is showing. She said no, definitely not. He's basically stabilized at this point, and she as well as the other docs are very confident he has a good blood supply at this point based on the hematocrit they got him to after the last transfusion.
They feel like we can still make it to 34 weeks, but that trying to get to 35 weeks is pushing things too far.
I'm glad they feel confident we can keep him cooking for a bit longer. It really changes how delivery and then NICU care goes for him. Delivering pre-34 weeks, he'd be whisked away with us barely being able to see him, and only Ry could go to the NICU as I still have to recover. If we can get to 34 weeks, we'll be able to see him, and as long as he is breathing well, he could even come back to my room with me for a little bit before being taken to the NICU. I like that option so much more. Just emotionally and mentally I think it will help me to really know he's okay and with us still. Versus being whisked away immediately I think would throw me back to having and then so suddenly losing Korbin. And with how traumatizing that was, I think it could traumatize me again.
So, from being prepped for delivery, to no delivery but staying for monitoring still, to finally being discharged, I'm exhausted. All over again. I'm relieved to be home, and so happy to be with Ryan and the pups. And I'm still pregnant with our very active, happy little guy. Who's currently kicking my diaphragm like it's in his way. Just like he should be, and hopefully will be able to do until 34 weeks.
Until then, I pray Korbin is watching over his little brother, and that I only have occasional, or even no, contractions.
Here's to making it to 34 weeks!
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

At least I'm not on bed rest

After 24 hours of monitoring Monday, the team decided I should stay another 48 for continued monitoring. Part of me is really totally fine with this plan as I'm in the best place possible in case something happens, or needs to happen. But it is also a very frustrating experience at the same time.
First off, I went straight from a check-up to the hospital. No packing, no last minute good bye to the puppy dogs. Each day I have a list of things for Ryan to pack and bring for me. From clean clothes to my toothbrush to a decent book to occupy my mind. I was prepared for work on Monday, not four days in the hospital.
Thankfully, my main doc on my case gave me permission to walk to work. It's connected to the hospital, and really just a five minute walk away. And I'm not on any sort of bed rest. All the monitoring is of Baby Boy 2 specifically, not necessarily my body, despite the occasional contractions.
That being said, I did go to a support group today for moms on hospital stay till delivery, aka antepartem. Of the four of us currently in the hospital, one is on strict bed rest, and has to be wheeled around if she leaves her bed. The others may be ambulatory, but they can't stray as far as I've been given permission to stray. And one has already been here six weeks. Yikes.
First, I'm so thankful I can get up and wander within the confines of the hospital (my work included). Second, I have only been here since Monday, and my stay will (hopefully) be quite short. The plan is to be discharged tomorrow if the ultrasound results are normal compared to Tuesday's where the little guy's Doppler was pretty high. If, however, his Doppler remains high, we're looking at pushing up delivery, maybe even to this weekend.
Holy crap! I'm excited to think that we've come so far, we've hit so many milestones. But I also really wanted to get to 34 weeks. Getting that far would completely change how delivery goes and how much I can see him before he's whisked away to the NICU. Any sooner and it's pretty much gauranteeed that he'll be checked in the OR but then taken away to the NICU immediately, with only Ryan able to follow as I'll still need to recover before I can make it over to see him.
Of course, Baby Boy 2s well being is what's most important. And, as one mom pointed out today during the support group meeting, there comes a point when the body is no longer doing what it needs to, and the little guy will be so much better off out than in. I said that this is a really hard thing for me to come to terms with after having already lost Korbin to prematurity. No matter how many mile stones we hit, I don't think any time preterm is going to be good enough in my mind. I'm so grateful we've come so far, and that odds are better and better, even with each passing day now. But I just want to keep pushing a little further. Another day, another week. Whatever the little guy can squeak out and still be doing just fine in my belly versus out.
So, these past few days have been rough. It's not a vacation. I don't have my daily routine any more. My husband to sleep beside me. My puppy dogs to keep me entertained. There is only so much Facebook, Pinterest, and crap TV that can happen in a day. But I'll keep pushing as long as Baby Boy 2's doing well enough to go another day or even another week.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Monday, March 3, 2014


Well, we're in the hospital again. Thankfully just for observation because the docs are erring on the side of caution. But trying to squeak out another couple weeks is going to be exhausting.
This morning I woke up somewhat excited. We're at 32weeks today, the goal perinatology originally set as a good week to try to get to. My weekly belly shot:

Still pregnant, still kicking and moving. Today was going to be a good day.
My check-ups were first thing this morning, and then I was going to go to work, and then return again on Thursday for my next check-up as scheduled.
Except the NST today had some hiccups. Baby Boy 2s heart rate had a few moments of dipping way down, and then it stayed quite low after a random contraction. He also was moving and kicking and showing accelerated heart rates, which is good. But because we've done two IUTs by now, we can no longer assume that the dips in his heart rate are just like any other normal baby's at this age. It could mean the umbilical cord is having issues from being punctured twice now. Ya, that freaked me out. Big time.
I was immediately admitted to the hospital for more monitoring that lasted another four hours or so. Of course, once admitted, Baby Boy 2 no longer had any dips in his heart rate, even during the four contractions I had in one hour (of which I think I felt one...maybe). So really, the little guy is doing great and there's nothing to be concerned about. And I'm so grateful he's actually just fine and there's nothing to worry about in this moment.
This is all part of the process. All part of Baby Boy 2s story of how he came into this world. And it is exhausting. The constant worry and intense emotional moments when something unexpected turns up, it weighs one down after a while. And I am being worn down. I am really feeling it now.
I confessed to one of the doctors today that I don't feel sick, but I'm definitely starting to feel exhausted. He kind of just said 'ya' like, of course you are by now. I guess it's to be expected with everything being thrown our way. I just wish this wasn't the exhausting journey it's become. And honestly, I get angry sometimes because the majority of this is completely preventable and should not be a concern for us whatsoever.
I'm most definitely not done. We've got two more weeks to push through now, and I'm in, whatever it takes.
Because we got a lotta love to give.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


An old friend told me recently that I have such courage. This completely shocked me as I don't see myself being courageous in the least, in fact I feel scared out of mind most of the time.
By this point in my second pregnancy, I am a mess of emotions. Being so far along, I am excited. Being just not quite far enough still, I am nervous, and feel fragile and like the slightest mis step will send me ino labor too soon. And, probably most of all, I'm scared.
Every day we get through now feels like such a miracle. Baby Boy 2 is still active, and I continue to not have any issues doing movement counts because he is so active. Despite the off and on contractions (mostly just Braxton Hicks), we make it through yet another day without my body going into full labor too soon. Each ultrasound shows us a 'happy little guy' meeting all the appropriate milestones. My belly, amazingly, keeps getting bigger (I mean really, can it possibly get any larger? Apparently yes it can...) each week.
I have aches and pains which make me move a lot more slowly now. And mostly because I'm just so afraid of disrupting the delicate balance that is remaining pregnant with a healthy growing child. Especially since we really have no idea why I went into labor so early with Korbin, I don't want to repeat some unknown mistake. I guess there's paranoia playing a part in this as well.
Now that we have a date set, I'm afraid we've jinxed things. So silly, I know. But it's almost easier just pushing forward as far as possible without a true hard set date to get to. Each week being a mini goal to get to and through as Baby Boy 2 develops more and more inside me. Each week being a better place to be if he comes early. I'm scared that by setting an actual date, now we really won't make it that far. But, as a dear friend has wisely counseled, I have to imagine getting through these next two weeks, making it all the way to our final goal.
So, I just keep pushing ahead. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. And somehow each day I wake up still pregnant and the little guy's still kicking away. Thank God.