Friday, November 30, 2012

Been there, done that, but a completely different T-shirt

We have had so many friends and family praying for us and we are so thankful!  This is our second stay in the NICU with a preemie and the circumstances are completely different so I thought I would explain a few things in case anyone has wondered...  

First of all, size really doesn't matter much, it's all about development.  Yes, Jude weighs almost a pound and a half more than Liam did, but his lungs aren't as developed.  This is because the lungs are the last thing to develop and the development can come at different times for each baby.  The doctors have said that a lot of times the bigger premature babies have a harder time with their lungs because they've been growing in size and waiting on the last few weeks for that lung maturation.  So, if Jude had not been a preemie, he most likely wouldn't have been huge, just more developed.  Another thing that develops last is the swallowing and sucking reflexes.  While the baby is growing they use the placenta for all of their nutrients, in the last few weeks they start practicing swallowing and sucking.  Clearly, Jude has only just now started learning how to do those things.  

This whole experience, has been really interesting to us.  We are used to a tiny preemie.  Liam really had none of the same issues that Jude has had.  Liam was small and took a long time to gain weight, he also was jaundiced and that's what kept us in the NICU so long, he was never intubated and only had oxygen for a day or so, he also ate like a champ from the moment he was introduced to breast/bottle.  Jude's weight is great, he's only lost an ounce and he isn't jaundiced at all.  But he struggles with eating and breathing, even though he had two more weeks of development that Liam.  Just goes to show you that every child (person) is truly different and you can't compare them.

Thanks so much for your continued prayers!  I am healing well and trying to rest and not worry about cleaning and getting things ready for Jude to come home.  My mom is here helping with Liam bird.  We are driving back and forth to the hospital a few times a day (which is still really difficult for me to get into the car and to drive over bumps and stuff) and just waiting for Jude to do everything they want him to do so that he can come home!  We are so in love with this little boy and can't wait for him and his big brother to meet!  

One more thing, we have no idea when he will come home and most likely won't know until the doctor signs the discharge papers.  This was something that drove us crazy with Liam because they would tell us what they were thinking and then things would change.  So, this time, we are trying to just relax because it's not in our hands.  Jude has a list of things that he has to do and if he has a setback then he has to stay longer, so we will keep everyone posted as to what we know!

Update on Jude

I figured I should probably do an update on Jude for everyone.

Sunday, November 25, 2012
After Jude was born, he was intubated to help him breathe.  They thought that he would quickly transition to the regular nursery, but he needed a bit more help so they kept him in the NICU.

Monday, November 26, 2012
I wasn't allowed to go to the NICU until I had my pain pump, catheter, and IVs removed so it was the afternoon before I even saw him for the second time.  He did really well, they took out the tube Monday morning and had him on a low flow of oxygen through a nasal canula.  They hadn't tried to feed him anything, intending to start on Tuesday.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012
We got to hold our sweet boy this day!  It's so hard to get to look at your baby and want to squeeze and snuggle on them but not get to because they are hooked up to a lot of cords!  He has a catheter threaded into his umbilical cord instead of an IV, this is also where they get blood for his labs so that they don't have to routinely stick him. They swaddled him up for us and actually let me try to nurse.  He wasn't interested in feeding at all even from a bottle, he just wanted to snuggle.  They took him off of oxygen altogether and gave him a few bottles in the afternoon that he took after a lot of struggle form the nurses.  Later in the evening, I got a call from the nurse that he had an apnea spell where he basically forgot/stopped breathing.  These aren't considered a huge deal because sometimes babies are just tired from the events of the day (like eating for the first time, or a really big poop), but it is a setback in bringing him home.  The nurse said that they got his sats up fine and weren't worried about him.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
This was not my favorite day.  I went to visit in the NICU around 5am and was told that Jude had been doing really well.  They had him on the lowest percentage of oxygen and were pleased with all of his labs and everything.  Then, when we went back in the early afternoon, we found out that he had had three more apnea spells in the morning and was on higher oxygen and they were going to be feeding him through a feeding tube while on the oxygen.  This really sucked, I already knew that I would be discharged from the hospital without being able to bring Jude home.  But the rule for apneas is that they have to go five full days without one before they can go home.  Not good.  Everyone reassured us that he was fine, it was just taking him a while to get the hang of things.  Breathing is hard work, especially when your lungs aren't cooked all the way through.

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Jude had a really great day!  The doctor was pleased with his labs and his oxygen saturations and wanted to get him off of the umbilical catheter so that we could love on him some more.  They also scheduled an appointment with the speech pathologist to recommend a good nipple for his mouth and to make sure he didn't have any issues that would impede his feedings.  They started an IV and removed the catheter because he tolerated the IV well.  They also gave him two bottles in the afternoon that he scarfed down!  At his 8pm feeding, Ryan was able to hold him and give him his bottle.  He didn't drink very well because he was so tired and they wound up giving it to him through the tube later, but this is normal since he had a huge day!

Friday, November 30, 2012
We are getting ready to go see our little lamb.  I'm going to attempt to nurse him again.  The doctors haven't rounded yet, but Jude had a great night and has taken his bottles really quickly (it's important that preemies eat in a small window of time because otherwise they burn more calories than they take in).  They are going to work on getting him onto a low-flow nasal canula today and off of the 2 liter oxygen tank!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Baby Story: Jude Monroe

Disclaimer: there will be words used in this post that are associated with birthing babies...if that freaks you out, don't read.  :)  This will also probably run quite long...

Friday, November 23, 2012
After cooking and stuffing myself full of good food all day Thursday, I got up early to open the store Friday morning.  On my drive in to work I noticed that I was having a bit of cramping and some contractions.  This was my "roll-over day" so I was officially 35 weeks pregnant.  Throughout the morning, I kept having contractions that were a little painful.  I knew they were more than Braxton Hicks, but they weren't really regular and seeing as how I was standing on my feet doing fast paced work I figured they would ease up once I got home.

After work I rested on the couch with my sweet Liam bird.  At some point when I went to the restroom, I noticed that I was spotting a bit.  This is exactly how things started progressing with Liam's premature arrival, so I started to pay attention and record the contractions I was having.  Over the course of a few hours I was having contractions every 8-12 minutes.  Kirsten, who had been staying with us, had gone to spend the night with some other friends and we had plans to meet up for lunch on Saturday.  I decided that I would call the doctor Saturday and see what they wanted me to do if I was still having contractions after sleeping all night.

Saturday, November 24, 2012
When I woke up Saturday morning, I still wasn't feeling right.  I was still having frequent contractions along with spotting.  So, I started cleaning and doing laundry!  Around 10:00am, I called my OB office and the on-call doctor said that I should go into the hospital to be checked and monitored for a little while.  So, we met up with Kirsten for an early lunch and then went to the hospital while she took Liam home for his nap.

Once we arrived at the hospital, they checked me into OB triage and got Jude and I all hooked up on monitors.  I was relieved to see and hear that his heart rate was doing great with the contractions that I was having.  We discovered that I was actually having contractions every 3-4 minutes but since I wasn't in active labor they didn't really hurt and I didn't notice a lot of them.  It took 2 nurses and 1 doctor to check my cervix (not exactly a walk in the park), I was dilated a "fingertip."  After about 30 minutes on the monitors, Jude did have a drop in his heart rate after I had a really strong contraction.  This resulted in earning us a "23 hour observation" stay in the hospital.

At this point, I was a little frustrated.  We had company in town and had planned to decorate for Christmas and go look at Christmas lights with Liam for the first time.  I really thought that these contractions were the result of me over-doing it for the past few days.  So, we assumed that resting, fluids, and some anti-contraction drugs would do the trick.

Sunday, November 25, 2012
The medication I was given to slow/stop my contractions seemed to be working pretty well during the night.  I was still having contractions, but they hadn't developed into active labor and I wasn't in any pain.  So, Dr. Heideman (the on-call & amazing dr) decided to let me go home.  We talked about bed rest and continuing to take the medication.  I was supposed to follow up with my OB on Tuesday.

After leaving the hospital around 1pm, we had to go to target to get my prescription filled.  While walking around there (why is the pharmacy always closed for lunch when we are there?) I started having some pretty painful contractions.  I thought it was just because I was getting close to needing my next dose of medication.  We got home and I laid on the couch for a while and took my medicine.  The contractions lessened for about an hour and I was able to rest, then they were back with a vengeance.  I was in so much pain that I was vomiting and couldn't walk or talk during the contractions, they seemed like they were right on top of each other.  So, I called the doctor back and she told me I needed to come back to the hospital.

We checked back into the hospital a little before 7:00pm and they immediately put me on the monitors. I was having back to back contractions, but Jude was doing really well.  They checked my cervix (in one try!) and I was dilated to a 4.  This sent everyone into hyper-drive, they started immediately checking me in for a c-section and getting IVs started and getting the doctor called back to the hospital. They were concerned at the speed that I was progressing and they reacted accordingly (I was told later that the bottom portion of my uterus was so thin that I almost definitely would have hemorrhaged if I had continued progressing).  I was so impressed with the calm approach everyone had.  They had me checked in, prepped, anesthetized, and ready for a c-section in a little more than an hour.  We were calm and ready to see our baby boy!

And, at 8:44pm Jude Monroe was brought into the world!  At birth, he weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.  He was pretty quite upon birth and started grunting a lot which is a sign of lung distress so he was immediately taken to the NICU and wound up being intubated for a few hours to clear his lungs.  We are so happy to have baby Jude here and are hoping to not have a long stay in the NICU.

Thanksgiving Recap:

Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite holiday!  You have food, family, and fellowship without the pressure of gift giving: perfection!

Seven years ago, our "sister/daughter/friend" came to visit us in Nashville for Thanksgiving and our holiday traditions began!  Kirsten moved to San Francisco and was unable to come to Thanksgiving last year, and we were all committed to making sure she could be here for this years' festivities.

I love to do the cooking, I learned the art of Thanksgiving cooking at the right hand of my older sister.  So, although we don't spend the holiday with my family, we eat roughly the same foods!  In recent years, we have moved to a gluten free diet so this year was the first year without "cheating" I made everything gluten free!

Our menu this year: (and I should mention that this was for 3 adults, you just can't scrimp when it comes to Thanksgiving!)
Butter/herb roasted turkey breast & gravy
Lemon/thyme mashed potatoes
Maple/thyme roasted acorn squash
GF cornbread Italian sausage dressing
Sweet potato spoon bread
Lemon pepper green beans
Cranberry salad
GF rolls
GF pumpkin pie

My favorite thing that we do, besides eat, is watching all of the Thanksgiving "Friends" episodes.  We usually start them out while we are cooking in the morning and then continue watching them after the meal.  Every year, we forget just how hilarious they all show ever.

Everything was so so yummy, and we are so thankful that we got to spend the holiday with one of our most favorite friends.  Especially with the events that were about to occur...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pregnancy Update!

How far along: 34 weeks! I'm officially the most pregnant I've ever been, hooray! From this point on, it's like this is the first time.

Size of baby: 19 inches/6 pounds/large cantaloupe (Jude is measuring an average of 3 weeks ahead, so these estimates are probably on the small side).

Weight gained/lost: up 12 pounds

Maternity clothes: yes, my belly is getting very large

Gender: boy, double checked at last ultrasound!

Movement: kid is a mover...all the time wiggling and poking and kicking.

Symptoms: heartburn, aches, fatigue

Sleep: meh, not so hot. I've still been coughing a lot which a) keeps me up and b) causes vomiting when combined with heartburn and laying down. So, yes, I'm as tired as I look.

Food cravings/aversions: I think I'm the weirdest pregnant woman ever. I'm just not a craver. I've eaten the same thing for dinner the past three nights because it's what we have leftover. I'm trying to eat healthy and spread lots of healthy snacks throughout the day since large meals make heartburn worse.

What I'm looking forward to: maternity leave! Mine is scheduled to start in exactly one month! I'd also like to make it to that point. :) We are getting very excited to have a new little buddy to love on!